If I lack tact

- an email exchange regarding Darwinian Evolution and Faith

In the heat of discussion on an email list some months ago, this exchange occurred between myself and another member who was at least familiar with some of the details regarding why an old earth is claimed, and yet he is still clearly disposed to reject all of "Evolution" or darwin's theory about it. I have seen fit to publish this exchange on the web for the simple reason that nowhere else have I ever found such a clear and even faith-affirming account of what Darwins theory of natural Evolution is really all about and why it is that we Catholics need not be afraid of it. Any personal names of any list members or other nonpublic figures have been taken out and a few spelling and other typographical errors fixed, but this exchange is otherwise conveyed here precisely as it occurred.

In this email exchange, the usual customs have been followed regarding the manner of indicating which statements are mine and which are those of my correspondant (to whom I am responding):

>Comments of the correspondant to which I am responding are started with >a single ">" character at the start of the line. Comments without any such character are part of my response. >> In a few places, my correspondant has cited some of my words from previous >> emails in this exchange (not reproduced here), indicated by the double ">> "

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>I have been following this debate all along and have refused to put in my >two cents until I read this message. I finally feel that I must respond >with my own thoughts. First, let me state that I do not like what I feel >has been presented as a dichotomy in this debate: that one must either >believe in Darwinian evolution or in creationism. I reject both. And I accept both. For you are correct to say that the dichotomy is false, as if God "had" to make everything in a one-literal-week period or else there can be no God. Who is to say whether or not Darwin's first crude insights into evolution might be a glimpse into the creative processes God used to create, mold, and shape the living beings that inhabit this planet? I believe that the false dichotomy was set up by Satan himself, so that believers in God would tie themselves to a demonstrably false creation "scenario," so as to undermine faith. If your "faith" says that in one week God just made the entire universe - POOF! SHAZAM! There it is!, then every scientific finding which shows that to be false becomes a direct assault on your faith, and forces you to choose between doing the "ostrich" syndrome (which injures your integrity and damages your ability to think or reason, thus rendering you useless for the Gospel, or anything else for that matter), and losing the faith (and end up thowing out the baby with the bathwater). Since all that is true comes from God, and God is the author of order, not confusion, there can be no real contradiction. We are actually dealing with five distinct entities here: 1) Those things which the Bible and the Magisterium actually DO teach about it all, 2) The interpretations and extrapolations some have made from those things, and even from misreadings of those things, 3) The actual scientific observations and discoveries made, 4) The "spin" put on those observations and discoveries by certain persons who want to "do away with" God, and 5) The gross distortions and deliberate misrepresentations of (3) invented by advocates of (2). (2) and (4) are the "false dichotomy" we are faced with, but I posit a real dichotomy between (1) and (2), between (3) and (4), and between (5) and everything else except (2). (1) and (3) have their origin in God and therefore cannot actually contradict each other, no matter how much proponents of either (2), (4) and/or (5) would like to make it seem such. (5) is invented solely as a pseudo-scientific excuse to buttress up position (2), but is the one thing real scientists and those of scientific leaning and thinking methods (such as myself) most strongly object to. For the sake of my Faith I reject (2) as well. Atheists gain a tremendous amount of strategic mileage from exposing the sheer fraudulent nature of (5), and in order to fight the faith itself will insist on (2) as being what religion teaches, so as to be able to dismiss religion as something not worth taking seriously. >It seems to me that there is too much evidence that the earth, and >universe, are far, far older than creationism allows for to accept its >notion of a "young" earth. Thank you! Tell that to [another list member, who insists on the literal six days, or at least a young earth]... By rejecting the "young earth" claim, you have thrown out a sizeable portion of precisely what it is I so strongly object to. Unfortunately, many of the specious "arguments" of the young earthers have been inadvertently picked up by the old earth creationists, unaware of the inherent dishonesty and gross logical (and factual) fallacies these "arguments" contain. >On the other hand, Darwinian evolution is completely without scientific >basis whatsoever. Darwinian evolution constitutes proof positive that a >little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Perhaps in the 19th Century, we >had sufficiently little knowledge that Darwinian evolution seemed >plausible. That is not the case now. I wonder if even one person on this list knows the difference between a) the FACT of evolution, and b) THEORIES of evolution. What is the FACT of evolution? Let us start with basic brute-level claims which even the most rigid and literalist six-day creationist would have to be constrained to admit: 1) Non-life preceded life. In the Bible (as interpreted by the six-day creationists), there is the intial creation of Heaven and Earth, and two (count 'em, TWO) entire creative "days" with no life forms mentioned, (except God, and presumably the angels, all of whom are spirits anyway, not corporeal (or "biological") life forms. In the terms of modern geology, nearly the entire "Pre-Cambrian" period of this earth was without life; only the tiniest little round nodules of what may have been some extremely primitive and simple one-celled creature occur towards the very end of that era, and then again they might not have been alive, in which case the entire Pre-Cambrian era was utterly without life. 2) Lower forms of life preceded human life. Again, creationist's interprations of the Bible place the emergence of plants and animals on the "third" and "fifth" "days," respectively; humans don't exist until the "sixth," and even that only after a few more animals come along. Geology and paleontology place the arrival of the various lower life forms, including many extinct forms such as dinosours and trilobites, in the various ages to follow the Pre-Cambrian era, namely the Paleozoic (consisting of Cambrian, Ordovician, Silurian, Devonian, Carboniferous, and Permian), Mesozoic (consisting of Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous) and Cenozoic (consisting of Tertiary and to modern times). Guess what? Mankind emerges very late in this sequence. Returning to the Bible for a moment, one even finds in the lists for each of plants and animals, an ordering which also agrees with the fossil record. In plants, Genesis 1:11 (Douay) lists first "green herb" (which could be any sort of plant life, from algae and moss and so forth), then "such as may seed" (which includes the more primitive and ancient "gymnosperms," such as pine trees), and finally "the fruit tree yielding fruit" (amgiosperms, the most advanced and recently appearing plant life, according to the fossil record). The animals seem a bit more jumbled (and the separation of plants and animals by an entire day in between proves that it was never intended that the days be taken as explicitly sequential), but the sea creatures are formed first, and this part makes a great deal of sense if "flying creatures" (translated "fowl" in the Douay) were actually understood to mean insects, not birds or pterodactals or bats, and "whale" is understood to mean (as it apparently means in Jonah), "great fish" i. e. a large shark, not air-breathing whales, such as blue whale or sperm whale or humpback whale, etc. Similar inferences could be made regarding the "cattle" (amphibians, actually), "creeping things" (reptiles, including snakes which literally do "creep," and beasts of the field (warm-blooded creatures, mammals and real birds), and so forth but I leave linquistic clarification to others at this point. At the end of all that (and clearly afterwords, after all other animals) comes mankind. Not bad! Especially given that it was written at a time when the science of Paleontology was totally non-existent. Let us briefly fill in some of the details which the fossil record adds to that thumbnail sketch of the "arrival" (let us say) of the various forms of life inhabiting the earth. The lowest strata have no life forms showing at all, after that, tiny round nodules which may or may not have been alive, next clear evidence of one- celled life forms (somewhat similar to our bacteria, and our protozoa). Next up comes a rich variety of microscopic multicelled organisms, followed by many more complex organisms such as the many varied invertibrate life forms many of which still live in our oceans. After that comes more advanced invertebrates such as the arthropods (insects and spiders and so forth, and also trilobites), still later, the cartilaginous fishes (sharks and lampreys), and after that "bony" fishes (such as goldfish and halibut), and still later reptiles, birds, and mammals. Same thing for plants: from one-celled bacteria and Euglena through algae and mosses, then next come the simplest vascular plants with only stems (psilotails), then later with roots (club "mosses"), then later with leaves (ferns), then seeds ("seed" ferns (now extinct) and gymnosperms), and finally fruits and flowers (angiosperms, both dicot and monocot). Notice that even here in this listing, it is of great convenience to me to list separately the plants from the aminals just as is done in the Bible, even though advancing types of fossils of both plants and animals are totally entertwined. This "progression," this "sequence," is indisputable and even glancingly hinted at in the Bible, and thoroughly demonstrated in the fossile record; no sensible person disputes it. The proper name for that "sequence" is "EVOLUTION." That is what is meant by the "FACT of evolution." "THEORIES" of evolution refer to attempts to explain or answer the great question: "How is it that all of this happened?" One could properly say that God (somehow) brought about each life form over the course of the long period of time that the earth has existed, and (for reasons of His own) starting with the simpler creatures and slowly moving to the more advanced, until finally bringing about mankind. So far, so good (and we have already parted company here with the atheist who would claim that there was no God at all the leastways involved in this, not even by setting up the biological processes (or principles) by which all of this is brought about). But what exactly goes inside that "(somehow)" and "(for reasons of His own)" to explain what happened? Again, I take issue with a false picture which many "creationists" seem to be implying, if not directly stating: God just waved His magic wand and POOF! a flash of light, a puff of smoke, and voila! There it is, like a rabbit pulled out of a black top hat. This scenario betrays a false (or at least grossly inadequate) understanding of the miraculous manner of God's working. How many of us have obtained the miraculous answers to our prayers, not by dramatic apparent (or real) violations of established laws of Physics, but merely by a person's change of heart, or by some extraordinary "coincidence" or even "serendipity?" By all evidences, God normally and most frequently (by far) functions in accordance to the laws He Himself set up, not in violation of them. Ergo, God may very likely have utilized naturalistic means (using laws He Himself established) to accomplish at least much of that evolutionary sequence of life forms. There is no reason to assume therefore that the attempt to find and describe natural processes by which progressively more and more advanced life forms can emerge must therefore be an exercise in doing away with God. The bare ability to even think about such things, to ask these questions, and to seek and find answers (however naturalistic they may be) itself implies the existence of a God who imparted this ability or quality to some of His creatures (i. e. ourselves). The fact of evolution was already well known even when Darwin was born, but by his own adult life, the best anyone else could come up with was Lamarck's "theory" that things that happen to living organisms somehow get passed on to their decendants. So, by Lamarck's "theory," if you cut the tails off rats and then breed these tail-less rats, soon you will have rats which are born without tails. As all of us know, it doesn't work that way, and their descendents remain as long-tailed as ever. The real genius of Darwins theory (it really was the first idea good enough to dignify with the word "theory") is not that it is somehow unassailable and perfect in all details, for clearly some parts of it are no good at all and altogether rejected by modern science, especially those parts which Darwin invented as a kind of "intellectual scaffolding" (Darwin knew this part would not hold up) to explain what only the later science of Genetics could explain, of genes (Mendel), crossbreeding (Burbank), DNA (Crick), and the gene mapping that goes on today. Rather, it was his fundamental insight into the creative process itself which makes his work so important. In a very tiny nutshell, and rather crudely put, the creative process requires two basic componants: 1) The random generator, which comes up with brand new patterns continuously and utterly randomly. Since the vast majority of the "new patterns" it spews out are useless and worthless, the second componant is needed, hence: 2) The judging selector, which scans all of the random spew for useful and worthwhile new patterns, and somehow retains and preserves them for future use. For Darwin's "random generator," he used the well known and widely observed fact every organism is unique, not like any that precedes it or follows it. For example, you do not resemble either of your parents, nor any of your siblings (unless you have an identical twin, and even then there are still at least some small differences; people who know a pair of identical twins well have no difficulty telling them apart). Where do the small differences which make each person unique come from? Darwin really didn't know of course, but no one disputes THAT it happens. To Darwin, it seemed entirely random. Obviously that isn't exactly the case, as geneticists have found out since. Darwin's real contribution was "natural selection" which is what mechanism would naturalistically preserve any "change" which happened to produce a superior ability, and quickly eliminate any of the (doubless far more common) changes which happened to produce an inferior ability. It is the relationship of these two componants, and especially the nature of the second, which is carefully kept out of the creationist writings. Repeatedly, again and again, and anon, the creationist writings (even the more respectible ones which acknowlege the old earth) misrepresent "evolution" (never distinguishing the fact from the theories) as consisting of only the first of these two principles. How many times does one see in the creationist literature such lame arguments as: "Imagine a tornado blowing through a junkyard and somehow constructing a fully functional 747 Jumbo Jet." Ignoring for the moment the clear and obvious problem of "where in a junkyard is the jet's fuel going to come from," one can see that such a scenario is strictly a case of the first componant, the random generator, all by itself (and not even an adequate one of that since, recall the jet fuel problem). Without some mechanism to make any two colliding particles, which could actually be the first parts of some Jumbo Jet, somehow stick together for the duration, while other combinatons of particles which are not usefull in that construction somehow don't stick together, of course the jet could never emerge. (duh!) How many other similar "points" are made in the creationist literature: "sheer chance" "chance alone" "what are the odds..." "the likelyhood of..." "1 in a goolgeplex" and so forth, all with the same dishonest misrepresentation of Darwin's theory that natural selection is what makes the evolution of life possible. > The ever expanding fossil record and >our massively increased knowledge of microbiology have given the lie to >Darwin. Were it not for the fact that atheists need a cosmology (which >only Darwin provides), Darwinian evolution would have long since been >discarded onto the ash heap of science along with Malthus. When a theory >violates certain known scientific and philosophic laws, then I can >calmly sit in my armchair and condemn it with comfort. Genuine theories of evolution (such as Darwin's), unlike the hideous parodies of it invented by the creationists, and also unlike the distortions and abuses of it, such as by Teilhard or the contemprary "liturgical experts" who use "evolution" as some sort of excuse for their change for the sake of change, in fact violate no known basic "scientific and philosophical laws." Certain specific details, such as the progress to certain specific animals, that Darwin postulated have of course failed to continue as valid in veiw of later finds, and of course the science of genetics is vastly more advanced today than what Darwin had to use as his "intellectual scaffolding," but that is all. >Darwinian evolution posits three things as having occurred which violate >both scientific and philosophical laws. First, that we got something from >nothing (the material that constituted the Big Bang -- and this violates >both science and philosophy). Darwin never heard or of nor thought of any such thing as a "big bang." That idea comes later, and some might reasonably link the initial "creation of Heaven and Earth" (Genesis 1:1) with a "big Bang," should such latter continue to be borne out by the facts. By the way, standard theology posits that God made this initial creation "ex nihilo" from nothing. This belief (a great many Catholic saints have upheld it) similarly violates your same "science and philosophy" as you define them here. > Second, that life came from non-life (a >theory disproved by Pastuer and others). Darwin had not the faintest idea where the first life from non-living matter came from, and so put in his writings the admission that "God" must have "breathed life into a few forms, or at least one." > Third, that intelligent life >came from non-intelligent life (which is violative of Catholic >philosophy/theology). One must not confuse mere intellegence with being in the image and likeness of God. Some animals can be very, very smart, but only mankind has the ability to make a moral choice about his actions, to reflect upon what he has done, make plans for the future, to sacrifice his life for a cause, and so forth. Naturalistic processes can and do explain the rise of mere animalistic soulish (but non-spiritual) intelligence, but the crossover from merely such to the spiritual man must be (and the Faith and Scripture explicitly confirm) an instance of an overt action of Divine intervention. "God ... breathed into his face the breath of life, and man became a living soul." Genesis 2:7 >All of which leads me where? I do not know. I know that the Church >requires me to believe in two first parents, Adam and Eve, given immortal >souls by God, and I believe that, ultimately, all things have been made >by God. Other then that, I am not sure. Creationism is not scientific, Sounds to me like from this you have a fairly good idea, and most importantly the real purpose of the Divine account of Creation. >but neither is Darwinian evolution. The earth is very old, but the >evidence of the age of man is unconvincing at best. I am left with the >humbling realization that I do not know how, in exact detail, we got >here. Griff, you seem to be sure you know. The Creationists seem to be >certain that they know. However, neither side can prove their case and >both sides have holes in them big enough to drive a truck through. Every understanding of any field we could study is necessarily limited, as is the nature of our status as limited beings. However, I have the benefit of understanding what Darwinian evolution actually teaches, not the parodies of it, and can therefore see its strengths in helping one glimpse the working of God in populating this planet with its rich diversity of life, and also being able to see its real limitations, such as not explaining the source of the first self-replicating molecules on this earth, and again, accounting for the spiritual nature of man. Moreover, my understanding of the basic principles of biological evolution furnish for me a tremendous source of devotional reverence: There is a profound parallel between the utterly naturalistic fact that certain forms of changes to life are "naturally selected" to "out-evolve" certain others. Likewise, not all persons are "chosen," and not all go to heaven. The fascinating difference is that where an animal has no choice as to what it is and its ability to survive, we DO have a choice to "evolve" ourselves into what God wants us to be, or to refuse that and go to Hell (without even the handbasket for company). It even has bearing on our traditionalist cause which sets us apart from all others who call themselves "Catholics" or even "Christians": Darwin's theory has this meaning for us, namely that we traditional Catholics fight to preserve the Mass which alone has survived the harsh "natural selection" process of the persecution of the early centuries. While there certainly never existed anything in the ancient Church as artificial and contrived as the Novus Ordo, there certainly was some considerable room for liturgical spontineity and originality and even (of a sort) experimentation. The alternate Rites (Eastern, etc.) are surviving examples of some of that initial variation, but a considerable continuity no doubt existed between and around those few discrete forms, all of which have failed to survive the harsh conditions of the early centuries. In other words, God created the Tridentine liturgy we value so much exactly the same way He created every living thing, by natural evolution! The Novus Ordo on the other hand is a sheer artifice, like a machine which may even imitate life, but which has no life (obviously), or at absolute best, it is like those wingless, eyeless, or crinkly-winged fruit flies scientists used to grow in their labs by irradiating fruit fly eggs. To the complete irony and confusion of all, some contemporary "liturgical experts" have even concocted their bastard creation in the name of "evolution." But their "evolution" is mere change for the sake of change, and bears no real similarity to the real evolutionary processes which created the living creatures and the Tridentine Mass in its present form. (It's a forgone conclusion that Jesus, at the famous Last Supper, could not possibly have prayed a full Tridentine Mass, since, for one thing, the saints listed in the Canon hadn't been born yet, for another no Gospel readings had been written as yet.) I am therefore an open and unabashed Liturgical Darwinist. We fight for the traditional Mass, Sacraments, and teaching, not because we fear it will disappear without our help (it is incapable of disappearing; God's promises to His Church have utterly guaranteed that), but rather to save our own souls, and that of others around us, and to "magnify the Lord." >I would also like to intersperse some comments into the text of your >missive: > >> It is the height of scientific illiteracy to believe that some >> armchair >> speculator, with a degree (?) in some altogether unrelated field, >> can just write some book, and with that sweep away several >> centuries of scientific observations, experiments, explorations, >> findings, theories, methods, processes, and discoveries. > >Would you mean people like: >Copernicus, who's book changed the scientific world's view on the >relationship of sun and earth? >Newton, who's work changed the scientific world's views on so many things >that I will not even attempt to list them? >Darwin, who's book changed the scientific world's view on how life came >to be? >Einstein, who by simply sitting in his patent office armchair, changed >the scientific world's view on light and motion and time itself? None of these great men qualify in any sense as mere "armchair speculators." All did experiments, many explored, all ran their theories and ideas and evidences past other scientists of their day to see their worth, and carefully refrained from publishing any radical new theories until evidences were found for them which other scientists of their day had seen and could respect. Rather, I refer to the likes of George McReady Price who invented the whole "flood geology" which more contemporary creationists merely repeat (and rather palely at that), Duane Gish who deliberately misrepresents what he had learned in his own more conventional schooling in biology (he at least did obtain a degree in the right field (or close enough), but has been shown to be culpably dishonest in his representation of what he learned). He is a bought man, writing things he himself knows to be untrue, for sheer profit and popularity with the creationist crowd. Practically all resorts to "fossil evidence" all other creationists make refer, directly or indirectly, to the lone source of Gish. Henry Morris, who makes a big deal about all the minerals which wash into the sea, and by his deliberate miscalculations seem to imply that the earth must be young else all the minerals would have long since flowed into the sea. "Deliberate" because many have tried to point out to him the geological processes such as plate tectonics which cause what may have been once sea bottom to ascend out of the water, lifting the minerals right back out again. His own figures even have it that all the Aluminum should have gone into the sea in a mere 17 years, a young earth indeed! >I could list others, but I think I made my point. The very nature of >science lends itself to just this sort of thing. Theories are posited >and are shaped by evidence. But when someone comes along with a greater >understanding and a superior theory, then that one person can change our >understanding of nature overnight. > >There is a very good argument that Michael Behe, in Darwin's Black Box, >has done just that by pointing out that microbiology is so complex that >random mutation over time cannot possibly explain the complexity of life. There is not a single tenable scientific theory that takes the position of "Oh, it's far too complicated!" The very most he would be legitimately capable of doing (given the above description of his work, not having read it myself I admit) would be to point up whatever limitations the current theories might as yet still have, rendering them inadaquate to explain all that is seen. (They are adequate to explain much of what is seen, but admittedly not everything.) >> If we arbitrarily knock out biological evolution from our scientific >> understanding somehow, we not merely damage, but negate: >> >> Biology - study of physical life in general >> Biochemestry - study of chemical proccesses of living oragnisms >> Pharmacology - study of chemical interactions with life >> Toxology - study of poisons and toxicity >> Pathology - study of what can go wrong (e. g. diseases) >> Zoology - study of physical animal life in general >> Botany - study of physical plant life in general >> Hydrology - study of fluid dynamics, water movement, erosion >> Paleontology - study of fossils in the geologic strata >> Radiology - study of radioactive disintrigration >> Geology - study of the earth and its movements and processes >> Genetics - study of genes (i. e. DNA) >> Astronomy - study of the stars, planets, planetary motions >> Spectrography - study of light >> Thermodynamics - study of heat flow and processes >> Physics - study of physical processes and motion > >This is hyperbole and, worse, is just plain nonsense. It is irrational >from the point of view of fact as well as logic. Before having the good >sense to switch my fields to history, then law, I was a chemistry >(polymer) major at Case Western Reserve University. I took a number of >courses in physics and chemistry. Let me take just one of those: Physics. Young earth creationists have no credible explanation for the fact that we can see stars and galaxies so far away that the light we see soming from them today had to have been eminated by them millions and even billions of years ago. Some try to claim that they really are not anywhere near so far away as all that (which you should be able to see what damage that does to our methods of astronomical science), or that the universe was created with the "light" already there coming (in that case why have the original exist at all, especially in the case of those galaxies so far away that no light from them could ever possibly reach the earth before the world ends anyway?). Their main response (and I have seen someone on this list actually claim it) is that "the speed of light is changing." I have seen in creationist literature where they attempt to prove this (quite some time ago, so I only remember it in general terms), by citing some early attempts to measure the speed of light, the earliest attempts of which could find no difference between the speed of light and infinity, so the first measurement is "infinity." Later methods might have measured to the accuracy of (let us say) the nearest 100,000 miles per second, and therefore arrived at the figure of 200,000 miles per second. Still later methods might have measured it to the nearest 10,000, giving a figure of 190,000 miles per second. Only much later do current methods give us the totally accurate 186,282.whatever we have and work with today. But chart it out! See? first measurement: Infinity second measurement: 200,000 third measurement: 190,000 last measurement: 186,282.whatever It's going down; the speed of light is decreasing, so therefore the light of those remote galaxies first travelled at an infinite speed and therefore already arrived first thing after creation. Ludicrous as that obviously is, I have seen that exact argument seriously put forth in print in the creationist literature as the reason to believe that the light from remote galaxies could reach the earth despite everything having appeared only 6,000 years ago! How much smarts does it take to see through that? Repeat today the same primitive experiments that obtained the higher figures back then, and the same higher figures will be obtained again. Nothing is changing. (duh!) Now, where do such creationist claims leave the subject of Physics? If the speed of light is not constant (then it should never have been designated by the letter "c" for "constant," obviously), then what happens to all of the many Physics equations (e = mc(squared) being only the best well known of them) which use the constant "c"? Einstein's theory of relativity has shown us the fundamental role light, and the speed of light, plays in nearly all of Physics, even where "c" may divide out of the equation. Now, if "c" is constantly changing and untrustworthy (and that without creating any sort of "red shift" or "blue shift" (amazing), all of that goes out the window. And maybe Max Planc's constant is also constantly changing, and maybe Avogadro's number as well! Who knows? > I have a great number of friends who >are engineers and scientists. My father-in-law (R.I.P.) was a medical >doctor. How much of what any of us learned, studied, or used was >dependent on evolutionary theory? Zip, zero, nada, null, etc. Other >than an anthropology course I took, evolution was irrelevant to what I >learned. If you didn't sit in all his classes, how can you say that? The fact is that without the fact of evolution (and even our admittedly imperfect attempts to theorize just how it all happened), there is no reason whatsoever for there to be any other creature on earth which would share even the remotest similarity to humans, on which for surgeons to train or drug inventors to experiment on, let alone so many different creatures which share with man: a backbone, ribs, a four-chambered heart, lungs, a brain, two eyes, two ears, a tongue, a digestive system, skin, teeth, and hair, etc. either just exactly like ours (chimpanzie's teeth, for example are truly exactly like our own), or close enough to be obviously a mere variation from mankind's. If every living "kind" (whatever that means, creationists seem at a loss to know exactly where that falls on the scale of: Kingdon, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, and Species), then there is no reason that any "kind" whatsoever would the leastwise resemble mankind at all. And don't say "God created them to be like man because He knew that one day surgeons in training would benefit from such otherwise needless similarities," because God could just as easily put dolphin bones in the same geological layer as trilobites (which He never did). Obviously, each progressively more advanced creature served at the very least as some sort of "prototype" for the next more advanced, and at least to that extent can be regarded as the "source" of the next. Even if a man could go though medical training wihtout even thinking of this fact (nor having it explained to him), and even if (as I do know of some few medical doctors who are six-day creationists) they use the knowlege and training while disowning the theory which explains why such knowlege and training would be the least bit valid, or even available, so what? It's still there in the background. >Furthermore, your claims constitute a logical fallacy. Most of these >fields of study deal with learning about, studying, and attempting to >understand the world we live in. The physical laws of the universe have >been set and do not change. As demonstrated above with the speed of light example, many creationists do believe that the physical laws of the universe do change. They furthermore posit a big and unexplainable change in that "God is no longer creating." [snip] >You should read Behe. He is a microbiologist writing about microbiology. > His claim is simple (but extremely nuanced): life is so complicated that >random mutations and slow evolution cannot possibly explain the systems >of living organisms. No Darwinian evolutionist has been able to >discredit his science, so they simply do what you did: call him a >Creationist and dismiss him and his arguments. But sophistry is not >science, and Behe's arguments have yet to be refuted. Creationists demand the impossible, that somehow a theory should come into existance which explains everything totally and completely, without any room for further knowlege. Even if such a thing were attainable, creationists still fault scientists for not having attained it instantly, and refuse to entertain any of it until such a point should be attained. If it was up to the creationists to come up with theories, that "attainment" would be doubly impossible since even the beginning would not have been embarked upon. One could have similarly said (before the discovery of Thermonuclear fusion) "gee, you have not satisfactorily explained how the sun keeps burning, so why don't you just forget about studying it altogether and accept our claim that it is all just another one of God's magic tricks." By the way, I don't see creationists coming up with any "theories" at all. The whole creationist "case" boils down to "we can't explain it; therefore it must be God." From what you are saying, Behe is merely a simpler case of "we can't explain it (it's so-o-o complicated...)," leaving it for others to supply the "it must be God" part. Well, OK, maybe not quite. Creationists do attempt some very crude "theories" (hypothesis, actually) about "Flood Geology" and attempt to make the worldwide flood (clearly a chaotic and random process like the tornado in the junkyard) somehow produce the finely detailed layering of sediment and the fossil record, but that's it. That's all. Most important what is altogether missing is any serious attempt to explore How, When, and Why God has been creating this extraordinary universe we live in. The theories of evolution, however flawed they may prove to be, at least represent such an attempt, and our religious tendancy to abandon such research to the atheists is Christianity's Great Shame. There were many great scientists who were Catholics way back when, but you don't see many (if indeed any) today, especially in the biological sciences. Even fewer fundamentalists. [snip]