Author Topic: 26 Questions for Atheists from a Class of 8th Graders . . . gird thine loins!  (Read 3972 times)

Mr. IXTUS

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I certainly wouldn't say evolution cannot be true simply because it is a theory. I only contend that it remains a theory, not settled fact or history.

Oh dear.  I've been wondering how well educated the teachers at your school are in science and scientific theory, and there's a red flag already.  definition of scientific theory

I'm assuming you do not consider the theory of gravity to be "not settled fact or history"?

I am getting better at clicking your links to articles.  You are using the word "Theory" like it means "settled fact or history."  I use to mean something that is not necessarily settled. The article you cite describe all theories more the way I am using the word: some are very well established (gravity) and some not so much.  I am saying evolution falls in the second category, where from time to time theories come and go.  Besides that I am also saying there are areas which I mentioned about the theory which cannot be tested, which vexed Darwin as he admitted in Origins, and are still difficulties today. 

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Nonetheless, being Christians, we would certainly rule out (by argumentation) evolutionary models that are entirely without God.  Even a theistic evolutionist needs a first cause.  So we wouldn't shy away from pointing out the areas of evolutionary theory that remain unobservable and therefore both unfalsifiable and unprovable. Example: the transition from inorganic material to live creatures, the changing from one fundamentally unique form to another, the origin of objective morality, etc.

Any science that contains God is no longer science.

And evolution is a process, therefore, it needs no first cause. Perhaps you're referring to abiogenesis (theories about how life can arise from non-living chemicals or structures).

Also, you may want to impart the scientific definition of "theory" to the students. It's very different from the common linguistic meaning. Here's a link: https://www.livescience.com/21491-what-is-a-scientific-theory-definition-of-theory.html

... and another that may be helpful: A Simplified Version of The Scientific Method - https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/science-fair/steps-of-the-scientific-method

Any eighth graders should already be well versed in these ideas.

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1) Do you base your whole belief (or non-belief) system on Science?  If so, why, instead of God?
No, I just don't believe that which is postulated without evidence.  Science does not require belief, merely acceptance of the evidence.

2) Do you have any least favorite religions? Most favorite?
I don't like any religion that seeks to impose its rules on others, whether that be by violence, coercion, or by seeking to influence lawmakers to make laws based on religious beliefs.

3) Are there any Atheistic schools, the same way there are Christian schools?
There is no such thing as an "atheist" school, there are secular schools.

4) Why did you become an Atheist? Or: What made you switch from being a Christian to being an Atheist?
I realised it was all just bullshit

5) Why do you think it’s a good idea to be an Atheist?
It's better to base one's ideas on reality than fairy tales

6) Do you feel happier since you became an Atheist?
Yes

7) If you are hungry you eat, and if you are thirsty you drink, but when you die, what is the solution to death?
Death is not a problem to be solved, it is simply the inevitable end result of having been alive.  Being dead is exactly the same experience as that from before you werre born.  In other words it is an absense of experience, asking what it is like to be dead is a meaningless question as there is nothing to experience.

8) If the resurrection (of Jesus) never happened, then why did the Apostles and many more Christians die for it?
There are any number of possible explanations for this, no one else saw the "resurrected" Jesus, so maybe the apostles just lied to stay on the gravy train - nothing supernatural about it just humans doing what humans are known to do, lie when suits them, or maybe none of it ever happened at all and Jesus is just a myth, or at least all the things ascribed to him are myths.  Who knows?  I don't care.

9) How would you explain a bacteria with a motorized flagella?
It's a bacteria with a "motorised" flagella. Oh, you mean how did it evolve? Well there are examples of the evolutionary path of flagella. This is a very bad ID argument.  For more information see this article

10) How would you explain the fact that humans are always seeking God?
I don't have to, they don't

11) Why do you believe what you believe?
I don't

12) Do all Atheists believe in the Big Bang?
The big bang is the currently best explanation for the beginning of the universe.  I accept that explanation until and unless a better one is discovered.  No belief required.  Whether other atheists "believe" in it or anything else is not something I can comment on.

13) If you believe in the Big Bang, why don’t you believe God caused it somehow?
Lack of evidence

14) Is there anything wrong with God?  If so, how can you prove He is wrong?
Non-existent beings can be neither right nor wrong. A meaningless question

15) What did you find to be more true about Atheism than Christianity?
Atheism = acceptance of reality, christianity = mythology

16) Do you think that any sort of eternal something must exist?
The universe might be eternal, but the evidence is not yet in

17) What do you feel is your purpose for living.  Or: what is the purpose of your life?
The purpose of my life is what I choose to make of it.  There is no external objective purpose.

18) How would you respond if the Bible was shown to be historically accurate?
Not going to happen.  World wide floods, talking donkeys...

19) Assuming you believe in evolution, what do you think caused us to evolve?
I don't "believe" in evolution, I accept that it is real.  The answer to the second question is natural selection acting upon genetic diversity.

20) In light of the Big Bang, do you believe that the universe was created out of nothing?
Creation out of nothing happens all the time, look up quantum fluctuation.  What happened at the big bang is not entirely clear. We don't have to know all about something in order to know something about it. I don't know is an acceptable answer to any question.

21) Is there anything wrong anywhere? If so, how can we know unless there is a Moral Law?
All morals are human constructs.  What is right or wrong is whatever we collectively decide is so

22) Do Atheists ask for forgiveness?
All the time, when we have done the wrong thing to someone else, just not to some big daddy in the sky. 

23) Why do you believe in the singularity if you have know idea what came before it, or how it was made?
Based on our current understanding the singularity is an artefact of the geometry of space-time.  Asking what happened before the big bang is entirely analogous to asking what is north of the north pole.

24) Why do you believe in evolution if you have no factual evidence that apes actually became human?
Humans are apes.  The evidence for the evolution of earlier forms to humans is overwhelming, that some people refuse to acknowledge that evidence is their weakness, not atheists'.

25) What was it that told you that God is not real?
Nothing, except the absolute absence of any evidence that it is real.  Eventually lack of evidence is evidence of lack.

26) What standard of right and wrong do you hold to?
I follow the societal norms, I obey the law, if I think the law is wrong, I still follow it but I seek to have it changed. There is no objective standard of right and wrong.
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As was already mentioned, 'theory' has a different meaning in scientific discourse. You might want to know what you're talking about before passing it on as valid knowledge to your students.
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I certainly wouldn't say evolution cannot be true simply because it is a theory. I only contend that it remains a theory, not settled fact or history.

Oh dear.  I've been wondering how well educated the teachers at your school are in science and scientific theory, and there's a red flag already.  definition of scientific theory

I'm assuming you do not consider the theory of gravity to be "not settled fact or history"?

I am getting better at clicking your links to articles.  You are using the word "Theory" like it means "settled fact or history."  I use to mean something that is not necessarily settled. The article you cite describe all theories more the way I am using the word: some are very well established (gravity) and some not so much.  I am saying evolution falls in the second category, where from time to time theories come and go.  Besides that I am also saying there are areas which I mentioned about the theory which cannot be tested, which vexed Darwin as he admitted in Origins, and are still difficulties today.

Did you notice the word "scientific" in front of theory?  Scientists use the word theory in a very specific way, and if you're talking about a scientific theory you use that word in the scientific sense.  When you talk about something that's not necessarily settled yet, that's a hypothesis.
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Caliasseia

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Oh this looks as if it is going to be good ...

Let's take a look at this, shall we?

I am a Christian and Bible teacher (8th-10th grade) at a preparatory school.  I will be posting here mostly on behalf of my 8th grade Apologetics students who have questions for atheists like you!  In light of that I thought about adopting a screen name like "Legion" since we are many, but then I thought better of it . . .

Anyway, just be aware that when posting I will be representing more than just my own thoughts.  In fact, almost never my own thoughts. 

Here are a list of questions for you and we would be very grateful for any you are willing to answer!

I wonder how many of these puported "questions from 8th graders" are copy-pasted from a creationist website? Again, inquiring minds would like to know. But, let's continue, and break out the dissection kit (an essential possession for any invertebrate zoologist) ...

1) Do you base your whole belief (or non-belief) system on Science?  If so, why, instead of God?

That's two questions in one. But I'll let that laps slide for the moment, as it's more important to head to the substance.

Item number one. I dispense with "belief" altogether, the reason being that all too often, supernaturalists demonstrate that "belief" consists of nothing more than uncritical acceptance of unsupported assertions. This is, of course, in direct violation of the proper conduct of discourse, which demands that all assertions be subject to whatever tests can be devised to determine their veracity or otherwise. In the absence of such tests, assertions possess the status "truth value unknown", and remain in that limbo until relevant tests are devised and conducted. Indeed, this is one of the valuable lessons we learn from science, which succeeds precisely because it tests assertions to destruction. Those assertions failing the relevant tests are discarded, except for pedagogical purposes, while those that pass the relevant tests, form the basis of scientific theories.

I accept science as a valid and rigorous enterprise, because it manifestly works as such, and has manifestly delivered goods that the authors of mythologies were incapable of even fantasising about. The authors of your mythology (though they were not unique in this matter - this applies prtty much to all authors of pre-scientific mythologies) knew nothing about the existence of the continental land mass you are currently residing upon, they knew nothing about large parts of the biosphere, they knew nothing about the fundamental forces of nature, and while compiling their mythology, presented therein assertions that have been found to be plain, flat, wrong, the moment scientists started investigating the relevant subject matter. Your famine-free, disease-free life surrounded by expensive electronic toys, is entirely the product of diligent scientific endeavour, and owes nothing to your mythology. Science isn't a matter of "belief", it's a matter of evidence. Do learn this elementary lesson before proceeding.

Moving on ...

2) Do you have any least favorite religions? Most favorite?

No. I regard them all as failed attempts to provide an explanation for the universe and its contents. Furthermore, I regard them all as having exerted a malign influence upon the development of humanity. The most malign influence of all, being to propagate the insidiously dangerous idea, that uncritical acceptance of unsupported assertions is not only purportedly acceptable, but purportedly constitutes a sound foundation for policy decisions. This idea is not only flat out wrong, it has been demonstrated time and again throughout history to be lethally harmful.

3) Are there any Atheistic schools, the same way there are Christian schools?

Here in the UK, where I live, the education system doesn't have "atheistic" schools as such. Religious subjects are taught even in the most secular establishment, but therein, are taught principally in the context of comparative mythology.

4) Why did you become an Atheist? Or: What made you switch from being a Christian to being an Atheist?

The biggest influence on my early life, was a work called The Children's Encyclopaedia, edited by one Arthur Mee. All 10 volumes are still resident in my home. Mee wrote this work, in collaboration with a fairly substantial team of educational specialists, with a specific aim in mind (bear in mind he was alive in the Edwardian era, which accounts for that aim). His aim was to prepare young children to become model British citizens, as defined at that time, which meant being wedded to God, King and Country. Unfortunately for him, in my instance, this aim failed, not least because he made the mistake of arranging for the science sections of the encyclopaedia to be within easy reach of the section on religion. The science sections were, despite being outdated today, a tour de force in the era in which they were written, and were compiled by some of the best science educators alive at the time. The message that repeatedly leapt from the pages thereof, was "you don't have to take on trust what we tell you, you can go out and discover the same entities and phenomena for yourself". That was a wonderfully revolutionary message for a curious 6 year old. Consequently, I went out, and, where possible, sought to discover if the wonders being described in those pages were right. My first microscope went a long way toward helping in that direction. Those science sections taught me, that the world can be known through diligent investigation, and that one can perform experiments to test one's ideas. One can imagine the fun I had once I obtained my first chemistry set, with that notion under my belt!

The religion section was a woeful disappointment by comparison, offering up a diametrically opposite message to the science sections. The religion section, at bottom, said "here are some mythological assertions, treat them as fact, regardless of whether real world data is saying something different". I saw that as a gigantic fraud even at six years of age. Paradoxically, I have to take my hat off to Arthur Mee, for making the business of comparison so easy, and making it manifestly obvious which of the two were more majestic and wonderful to embrace.

5) Why do you think it’s a good idea to be an Atheist?

Because there is zero evidence for merely asserted mythological entities. The good part being, of course, that one can change one's mind without distress, if evidence for a god-type entity does arise in future. However, I am also aware of the fact that even defining a god-type entity in a manner consonant with the vast wealth of observation we now have, will on its own be a monumental task, and one that mythology signally fails at. Finding data pointing to a god-type entity will, if it ever happens, be headline news around the world, and result in the discoverer thereof being a guaranteed candidate for a Nobel Prize. That this has not happened yet, should be telling you something important.

Indeed, that's a misconception about atheism that I shall subject to the discoursive minigun right here and now, so that NO doubt is left as to the nature thereof, at least when considered in its rigorous formulation. Atheism, in its rigorous formulation, is nothing more than a suspicion of unsupported supernaturalist assertions. That is IT. It does not involve presenting contrary assertions, indeed, when conducted properly, atheism, does not involve presenting any assertions at all. It consists, at bottom, of "these are YOUR assertions, YOU do the work of supporting them". All we have to do is sit back and watch the usual suspects fail comically.

Indeed, I'm on record on several other forums, as stating that [1] I regard the existence question (that is, of a god type entity) as unanswered and currently unanswerable, [2] once answerable, almost certainly likely to falsify all of our mythologies at a stroke once actual data is available to examine, and [3] that any entity truly consonant with a properly constructed,  robust definition of 'god type entity' will almost certainly be so unlike anything encountered before in human experience, that the people best placed to understand it once the data arrives, will be particle physicists, because these people deal with counter-intuitive phenomena on a routine basis in their research.

In short, I don't "reject" your god, I merely reject your mythology as being competent to inform me about any actual god that exists.

6) Do you feel happier since you became an Atheist?

I don't remember a time when I wasn't an atheist. The question therefore does not apply.

7) If you are hungry you eat, and if you are thirsty you drink, but when you die, what is the solution to death?

Does there have to be one? The mere fact that you assert that there does, on its own leads to the question I've just asked.

Quite simply, all the evidence available to me, points to death being, in short, the final shutdown. Power off, game over. Plus, some of the fun aspects of such topics as cardiac physiology (I learned a lot about this following my angioplasty) and the vagaries of metabolic processes (that chemistry set led me to some interesting avenues to explore in my later education), tells me that numerous mythological assertions are, quite frankly, nothing more than failed attempts at wish fulfilment. For example, quite a few of your vital nutrients, without which you will die in fairly short order, have a dark side to them, that ultimately leads to your life being finite.  For example, oxygen is a vital repiratory gas, without which you will die of asphyxiation in about three to five minutes. But that same oxygen gas you are so reliant upon, as an obligate aerobe, will wreak havoc upon critical metabolic processes, if it manages to oxidise the wrong molecules. Organisms that have efficient antioxidant enzymes tend to live longer than those with inefficient ones, but even the best are cut down eventually. As for glucose and triglycerides, all vital energy sources for our bodies, they have their own fun flip side that one learns about in biochemistry, and here, that knowledge of cardiac physiology comes into play to add to the hilarity. Because, wait for it, the part of the lymphatic system that delivers triglycerides (fats, in short) to your bloodstream, does so ... right into your coronary arteries. There are plenty of places where this connection would be far better located, say, for example, into the arteries supplying the liver, which is the organ that's on the front line for fat metabolism, but no, those fats are dumped straight into your coronaries, all the better to fur them up and precipitate heart attacks in later life. A feature we share with the rest of the placental mammals, I might add.

8) If the resurrection (of Jesus) never happened, then why did the Apostles and many more Christians die for it?

People have died for bad ideas throughout history. Doesn't stop those bad ideas being bad ideas. This is a bit like saying if Muhammad was wrong, why are so many Muslims prepared to be suicide bombers.

9) How would you explain a bacteria with a motorized flagella?

And it's at this point, that I harbour suspicions about the veracity of this list of questions. This is one of the "hot button" questions, variations on which can be found on dozens of creationist websites, though of course none of them actually cover in proper depth the scientific research that has been conducted into this topic. Speaking of which, which of the 15 or so scientific papers in my collection on this would you like me to bring here?

10) How would you explain the fact that humans are always seeking God?

I'm not, and neither are millions of others. But I'm used to supernaturalist presumption in this regard.

Those that claim to be doing so, invariably are the products of supernaturalist indoctrination at an early age. Though I notice it's extremely rare for anyone to "seek" a god other than the one enjoying local cultural hegemony. I wonder why?

11) Why do you believe what you believe?

As I said above, I dispense with "belief" altogether. If a postulate does not enjoy evidential support, I regard it as inherently discardable.

12) Do all Atheists believe in the Big Bang?

This isn't a matter of "belief", it's a matter of evidence. Such as the cosmic microwave background. Learn about it in proper physics classes.

13) If you believe in the Big Bang, why don’t you believe God caused it somehow?

Ignoring the presumption inherent in your latest question, given the answer I gave previously, try the following. We have evidence in abundance for testable natural processes. The scientific literature provides evidence for these by the supertanker load. The evidence for your mythological magic man is precisely zero.

14) Is there anything wrong with God?  If so, how can you prove He is wrong?

This presumes the existence of this entity in advance, which you have yet to establish by means other than mythological assertion.

However, there is plenty wrong with mythological assertions about this entity, not least the matter that several of the assertions are mutually contradictory. The authors of your mythology were execrably bad proof readers.

15) What did you find to be more true about Atheism than Christianity?

Atheism isn't a "truth claim", it's a suspicion of your truth claim. Do learn the difference.

16) Do you think that any sort of eternal something must exist?

Best people to ask that would be the cosmologists down the corridor.

17) What do you feel is your purpose for living.  Or: what is the purpose of your life?

Learning. Problem being, of course, that there's already too much data for one human being to encompass in one lifetime, so I have to be selective. Thanks to that nice Arthur Mee, learned to choose wisely from an early age.

18) How would you respond if the Bible was shown to be historically accurate?

It isn't. I'm aware of numerous instances where actual history, and the archaeological evidence, says that your mythology was fabricated.

19) Assuming you believe in evolution

BZZZTTT! And here I'm going to lace up the titanium armoured nonsense stomping boots, fire up the minigun, and have at it.

Evolution is not a matter of "belief", it is an observed fact. An observed fact that is accompanied by possibly the best supported scientific theory in the entire output of modern science. There are, if a proper audit is ever conducted, in excess of one and a half million scientific papers containing the evidence for evolution, including direct experimental tests of evolutionary postulates. My own collection of papers in the field is woefully incomplete, but if you ever want to try and dismiss the validity of evolution, you have to ask yourself which of the 3,818 scientific papers on the subject in my collection, you want me to bring here.

what do you think caused us to evolve?

The same testable natural processes applicable to the rest of the biosphere. Inheritance plus variation plus selection.

20) In light of the Big Bang, do you believe that the universe was created out of nothing?

Once again, I dispense with "belief". Do learn this lesson.

As for the actual nature of the instantiation of the current observable universe, this is an active research topic in cosmological physics. I've spent enough time reading papers from some of those cosmological physicists, to know that there exist a number of options for the testable natural processes applicable to said instantiation, and NONE of them involve the fatuous supernaturalist "nothing". Indeed, the people who genuinely believe that the universe was created out of "nothing", are those supernaturalists who assert that the universe was a gigantic conjuring trick on the part of their favourite magic man. So let's put this fallacy to bed once and for all, shall we?

21) Is there anything wrong anywhere? If so, how can we know unless there is a Moral Law?

Oh dear. You really are treading in territory you didn't prepare for, aren't you?

I'm aware of numerous scientific papers covering the evolutionary and biological basis for our capacity for ethical thought, and the emergence of the same capacity in other primates. How many of those papers would you like me to bring here?

Oh, and while you're at it, can you explain why a good number of "pastors" in various US churches, end up on prime time news being accused of various serious criminal offences? I have a nice little list of these, that's been growing since I started in back in 2010 or thereabouts.

22) Do Atheists ask for forgiveness?

Is there an actual point to this question? I see none.

23) Why do you believe in the singularity if you have know idea what came before it, or how it was made?

Once again, read my lips ... I don't do "belief".

Furthermore, if you're talking about the cosmological singularity (a topic I doubt features heavily in the day to day conversations of 8th graders), this is again a matter of active research. Said research includes two papers by Stenhardt & Turok, in which they propose a singularity-free mechanism for instantiation of the observable universe. If your tensor calculus is up to it, I'll bring the papers here.

24) Why do you believe in evolution

BZZZTTT!

Once again, evolution is not a matter of "belief", it's an OBSERVED FACT, accompanied by a supertanker load of evidence.

if you have no factual evidence that apes actually became human?

We ARE apes. So much so, that Linnaeus, back in 1747, wanted to place humans and chimpanzees in the same taxonomic Genus. You can read the letter in question, at the Linnaean Correspondence, maintained by the University of Uppsala in Sweden, where Linnaeus spent much of his working life. The letter can be read in full here. Here's the text of the relevant part of that letter, in the original Latin:

Quote
Non placet, quod Hominem inter ant[h]ropomorpha collocaverim, sed homo noscit se ipsum. Removeamus vocabula. Mihi perinde erit, quo nomine utamur. Sed quaero a Te et Toto orbe differentiam genericam inter hominem et Simiam, quae ex principiis Historiae naturalis. Ego certissime nullam novi. Utinam aliquis mihi unicam diceret! Si vocassem hominem simiam vel vice versa omnes in me conjecissem theologos. Debuissem forte ex lege artis.

This translates as follows:

"It does not please (you) that I've placed Man among the Anthropomorpha,[22] but man learns to know himself. Let's not quibble over words. It will be the same to me whatever name we apply. But I seek from you and from the whole world a generic difference between man and simian that [follows] from the principles of Natural History. I absolutely know of none. If only someone might tell me a single one! If I would have called man a simian or vice versa, I would have brought together all the theologians against me. Perhaps I ought to have by virtue of the law of the discipline."

Indeed, he was lamenting religious interference in his science in that letter. Note that he wrote that letter fully sixty two years before Darwin was born.

I'll also present an example of the science that leads to the conclusion that we shared a common ancestor with chimpanzees, courtesy of Ken Miller, starting with a nice video clip:


Here's a transcript of the relevant part of that video, which I suggest you read in full before attempting to cherry pick:

Quote
The second thing that you saw at the trial, was that when data was introduced at the trial, which I and another witness introduced from whole genome sequencing, the intelligent design advocates just literally had nothing to say. We weren't asked questions in cross-examination, the other side never brought it up, they never argued against it, they just left it. Here's an example.

Many of you may know that a few months ago the genetic code of the chimpanzee was published. Therefore we can compare our genome to these primate relatives. What do we find? I want to show you one striking finding that dates to about a year ago. You all know that evolution argues that we share a common ancestor with the great apes - the chimpanzee, the gorilla and the orang-utan. Well, if that's true there should be genetic similarities, and in fact there are. But there's something that's really interesting, and has the potential, if it were true, to contradict evolutionary common ancestry, and that is we have two fewer chromosomes than the other great apes - we have 46, they all have 48. That's very interesting. Now what does that actually mean? Well first of all, the 46 chromosomes that we have - you've got 23 from Mom and 23 from Dad, so it's actually 23 pairs - these guys have 24 from each parent so they have 24 pairs. So everybody in this room is missing a pair of chromosomes, so where did it go? Could if have gotten lost in our lineage? Ah-ah - if it got lost, if a whole primate chromosome was lost, that would be lethal. So there's only two possibilities, and that is if these guys really share a common ancestor, that ancestor either had 48 chromosomes or 46. Now if it had 48 - 24 pairs, which is probably true, because 3 our of 4 have 48 chromosomes - what must have happened is that one pair of chromosomes must have gotten fused. So we should be able to look at our genome, and discover that one of our chromosomes resulted from the fusion of two primate chromosomes. So we should be able to look around our genome, and you know what, if we don't find it, evolution is wrong - we don't share a common ancestor. So if - how would we find it?

Well, biologists in the room will know that the chromosomes have nifty little markers - they have markers called centromeres which are DNA sequences which are used to separate them during mitosis, and they have cool little DNA sequences on the ends called telomeres. What would happen if a pair of chromosomes got fused? Well what would happen is the fusion would put telomeres where they don't belong in the centre of the chromosome, and the resulting fused chromosome should actually have two centromeres. One of them might become inactivated, but nonetheless it should still be there. So we can scan our genome, and you know that if we don't find that chromosome, evolution's in trouble.

Well, guess what?

It's chromosome number 2.

Our chromosome number 2 was formed by the fusion of two primate chromosomes - this is the paper from Nature a little more than a year ago - and I put up a little of the paper, I'm sorry if it's technical but look at what it says! "Chromosome 2 is unique to our lineage. It emerged as a result of head-to-head fusion of two chromosomes that remain separate in other primates." Those of you who have not kept up with how much we know about the genome should pay attention to this because you'll be amazed at how precisely we can look at things ... the precise fusion site has been located at base number 114,455,823 to 114, 455, 838 ... in other words, within fifteen bases ... and you'll notice - multiple sub-telomere duplications - the telomeres that don't belong, and lo and behold, the centromere that is inactivated corresponds to chimp chromosome 13. It's there, it's testable, it confirms the prediction of evolution. How would intelligent design explain this? Only one way - by shrugging and saying "that's the way the designer made it" - no reason, no rhyme, presumably there's a designer who designed human chromosome number 2 to make it look as if it was formed by the fusion from a primate ancestor ... I'm a Roman Catholic, I'm a theist in the broadest sense, I would say that I believe in a 'designer', but you know what, I don't believe in a deceptive one, I don't believe in one who would do this to try to fool us, and therefore I think this is authentic - it tells us something about our ancestry.

That's before we cover such matters as the fossil record, endogenous retrovial insertions, etc., all of which constitute a huge body of evidence linking us to the other apes.

25) What was it that told you that God is not real?

What told me that the assorted gods of mythologies, yours included, were not real, was the incompetence of the mythologies.

26) What standard of right and wrong do you hold to?

That which is consonant with reciprocity.

* Twiddles thumbs and waits *
Bad ideas exist to be destroyed ...

Caliasseia

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I certainly wouldn't say evolution cannot be true simply because it is a theory. I only contend that it remains a theory, not settled fact or history.

BZZZTTT!

Before we go ANY further, let's settle the "only a theory" drivel once and for all.

In science, a theory is an integrated collection of explanatory postulates, covering a set of entities and interactions of interest, that has been tested empirically to determine its accord with observational data, and found via such testing to be thus in accord.

The notion that a theory in science is "guesswork" or "fabrication" is, to put it blutly, a venomous lie. The reason why evolutionary theory is called evolutionary theory, is precisely because it has been subject to a mass of empirical tests, and has passed those tests with flying colours. Again, which of the 3,818 scientific papers on the subject would you like me to bring here first?

Indeed, one of those papers, describes in detail, an experiment that can be performed in a suitably equipped school laboratory, demonstrating the validity of a proposed mechanism for allopatric speciation, which was submitted to a relevant scientific journal in 1989.

So, let's put this "only a theory" crap in its cesspit once and for all shall we?
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Sandra Craft

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I am getting better at clicking your links to articles.  You are using the word "Theory" like it means "settled fact or history."  I use to mean something that is not necessarily settled. The article you cite describe all theories more the way I am using the word: some are very well established (gravity) and some not so much.  I am saying evolution falls in the second category, where from time to time theories come and go.  Besides that I am also saying there are areas which I mentioned about the theory which cannot be tested, which vexed Darwin as he admitted in Origins, and are still difficulties today.

I'd be interested in knowing where in the article you got these impressions, because that's the opposite of what it actually says about scientific theory.  And your statement certainly doesn't conform with this, also from the Wiki article:

Quote
A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on a body of facts that have been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experiment. Such fact-supported theories are not "guesses" but reliable accounts of the real world. The theory of biological evolution is more than "just a theory". It is as factual an explanation of the universe as the atomic theory of matter or the germ theory of disease. Our understanding of gravity is still a work in progress. But the phenomenon of gravity, like evolution, is an accepted fact.
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Mr.Ixtus

In the interests of open and uncensored exchange of ideas I have created a direct link to this discussion on the PVCP Facebook page.

If religions were TV channels atheism is turning the TV off.
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Remember, your inability to grasp science is not a valid argument against it.

No one

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Here we go again with this "only a theory" hogwash.  Mr. Hovind, is that you?

Bad Penny II

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1) Do you base your whole belief (or non-belief) system on Science?  If so, why, instead of God?

Partially, because there is evidence for it and it works.
Our modern civilisation is made possible by science.

I enjoy and value the natural world and my family.  I don’t really care about a scientific explanation for my valuing children or a beautiful day.

2) Do you have any least favorite religions? Most favorite?

Islam seems problematic at present.

3) Are there any Atheistic schools, the same way there are Christian schools?

Try Google

4) Why did you become an Atheist? Or: What made you switch from being a Christian to being an Atheist?

I don’t know if I was ever a Christian, probably not, I was very young when I concluded god was BS.  They were a young person reasons, not complex scientific ones.
There are many religions why choose the Christian one?
I was sent to Sunday school and school scripture  classes, I didn’t believe those people, Jesus never deigned to talk to me. 

5) Why do you think it’s a good idea to be an Atheist?

You get 5% off in certain stores and a reservation on the escape ark.

6) Do you feel happier since you became an Atheist?
n.a.

7) If you are hungry you eat, and if you are thirsty you drink, but when you die, what is the solution to death?

Death is the solution to life.
What is the solution to not wanting to die?
Pretending you won’t.

8) If the resurrection (of Jesus) never happened, then why did the Apostles and many more Christians die for it?

Misguidedness

9) How would you explain a bacteria with a motorized flagella?

Try Google and you’ll find the evolution of an eye is possible too.

10) How would you explain the fact that humans are always seeking God?

I’m human and I can’t remember the last time sought god.
I do wish upon a wish bone occasionally.


11) Why do you believe what you believe?

The universe made me believe what I believe.

12) Do all Atheists believe in the Big Bang?

Indifferent, is it the best explanation going? Ye OK I’ll go with it, Ho hum.

13) If you believe in the Big Bang, why don’t you believe God caused it somehow?

‘cause I’m not indoctrinated into the cult

14) Is there anything wrong with God?  If so, how can you prove He is wrong?

Which god?

15) What did you find to be more true about Atheism than Christianity?

honesty

16) Do you think that any sort of eternal something must exist?

no

17) What do you feel is your purpose for living.  Or: what is the purpose of your life?

To live.

18) How would you respond if the Bible was shown to be historically accurate?

So has the resurrection been proven to have happened?
I’d probably start practising obeisance.
How would you respond if Doctor Who was shown to be historically accurate?

19) Assuming you believe in evolution, what do you think caused us to evolve?

Natural and sexual selection.

20) In light of the Big Bang, do you believe that the universe was created out of nothing?

Don’t care.

21) Is there anything wrong anywhere? If so, how can we know unless there is a Moral Law?

As there is no god we make our own rules

22) Do Atheists ask for forgiveness?

For what? I’m nice.

23) Why do you believe in the singularity if you have know idea what came before it, or how it was made?

It makes no difference to me.

24) Why do you believe in evolution if you have no factual evidence that apes actually became human?

I am a human and an ape.
What’s the problem with fundis and our ape lineage?

25) What was it that told you that God is not real?

Intellectual dishonesty.

26) What standard of right and wrong do you hold to?

What’s on offer?
« Last Edit: January 19, 2019, 02:19:26 PM by Bad Penny II »
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Bad Penny II

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I have to applaud the measured, reasonable, and polite response of the members here to these questions. I'm on another thread where the poster would have been pilloried as a moron.

Give us time.
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Icarus

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Sorry Bruce, the newest member, Caliasseia,  has in fact pilloried Mr IXTUS  decisively and and unmercifully.     

In my welcome to Ixtus in the new member section, I warned him that there are some very bright people here and that we are not a militant lot except when reality is attacked.  I also mentioned that we have functional bullshit filters.

I do suspect that Mr. Ixtus is a nice guy, even a well meaning though misinformed one, who has stumbled upon a group of people that are debate skilled and credentialed well beyond his pay grade. 

I will attack his position in a separate posting.

Caliasseia

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And it's time to deal with this ...

So we wouldn't shy away from pointing out the areas of evolutionary theory that remain unobservable and therefore both unfalsifiable and unprovable. Example: the transition from inorganic material to live creatures, the changing from one fundamentally unique form to another, the origin of objective morality, etc.

Item 1. The transition from molecules to protocells is an active area of research, with a growing body of empirical data arising therefrom. So your assertion that said transition is "unobservable"is roundly false. I have several papers in my collection devoted explicitly to this topic.

Item 2. Morphological change occuring in populations of organisms has been documented time and again in the scientific literature, and has been observed taking place by, among other people, fancy goldfish keepers (of which I have been one in the past). All of the myriad morphological variations seen in fancy goldfish, were produced in the last 500 years via selective breeding. But wait ... those breeders had to wait for the requisite mutations to occur, to produce those morphological variations in the first place, before they could get to work. Another false assertion of yours roundly destroyed.

Item 3: Numerous papers exist documenting the underlying molecular evolutionary biology responsible for our development of the capability for ethical thought. How many of these would you like me to bring here?
Bad ideas exist to be destroyed ...

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Caliasseia should not be a “Padawan Learner”.  He was one of the heavyweights on the Dawkins site. Beware the blue butterfly.