Over the Past Four Years, Republicans Have Become More Likely to Accept Creationism December 31, 2013

Over the Past Four Years, Republicans Have Become More Likely to Accept Creationism

When Gallup released its 2012 data on Americans’ acceptance of evolution, we learned that 46% of Americans were Creationists, believing that God created us in our present forms within the past 10,000 years. (An additional 32% believed in God-guided evolution while only 15% accept natural evolution.)

Now, the Pew Research Center has released its own data on the matter and they appear to have slightly better news: Only 33% of Americans are Creationists!

According to Pew’s data, 24% of Americans believe in God-guided evolution while only 32% offer the response that all the evidence points to.

So why are those responses so different from Gallup? Mostly, I would think, because the phrasing of the question is slightly different in the two instances.

But here’s where it gets really weird… yet completely predictable.

In case you needed more evidence that science has become a pawn in the culture wars and that evolution is now, somehow, a partisan issue, Republicans over the past four years have become more likely to accept Creationism, from 39% in 2009 to 48% in 2013:

It’s no surprise when you consider how many anti-science Republicans sit on the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee. Or how even GOP presidential candidates have no problem admitting they deny basic science.

You know, there is one easy way to fix this problem: If President Obama just announced that he’s a Creationist, the Republicans would become science advocates in a heartbeat.


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  • Damn Obama and his water-fluoridation mind control!

  • snort! now that would be some 11thity dimensional chess from the O administration. a brilliant strategy, Hemant. call the WH now… 😉

    being more scientific, and i’m sure you can explain it better than i could, these numbers have to be put in context. what is the total number of republicans today, and is it greater or smaller than what it was in 2009? what is the average age of republicans? contextualize both of these questions within changes in the overall population.

    i guess what i’m saying is that i suspect (and fully admit i could be totally wrong) that two things are at work here. a) the republican party, people who openly proclaim association with it or register as such, is shrinking and b)those that remain are getting older all the time.

    younger conservatives, for a host of reasons ranging from support for gay rights, to legalization of pot, and a concern for the environment, are taking up the mantle of “independent,” so as not to be associated with the hard core older die hards in the party who reject logic, fairness and science on those issues. in the end many of these independent conservatives will still vote for a mainstream (or should i say ‘far right’) republican candidate.

    but in the primaries, and in polls, they are seeking to distance themselves from the official republican platform. so while it’s depressing to see an increase in conservative science deniers, it’s heartening to see the indies as strongly in the other camp as they are.

  • LesterBallard

    Because of the evidence.

  • Malcolm McLean

    There’s no way of distinguishing the “God guided evolution” from the “pure natural selection” hypothesis by looking at the fossil record. In 2001, one of the spacemen picks up a stick and inserts it into the hand of a chimpanzee. Forest dwelling creatures don’t fossilise (hardly). Of course the film is fantasy, but there’s no way of knowing that it wasn’t a real incident.
    The “brains are computers made of meat” hypothesis has some real problems with it, however. Until you can resiolve those problems, you’ve no basis for saying that the “God-guided evolution” hypothesis is implausible, or even unnecessary.

  • David

    I don’t know. This doesn’t really bother me anymore. I think it was Neil Degrasse Tyson who said that science, whether it’s true or false, doesn’t care whether you believe it or not.

  • revyloution
  • RoverSerton

    i wonder if the number of People willing to call themselves Republicans has dropped leaving only the older/teaparty/ultra conservatives? Those that wouldn’t admit to any “liberal” idea like (established science) evolution. Sadly, these dinosaurs don’t admit what happened to the other ones.

  • revyloution

    Entia non sunt multiplicada praeter necessitatem

  • RoverSerton

    “God-guided evolution”… The proof of a God is a starting point of this. I’ve not seen any evidence of a god, or happily, the need for one.

  • David Pearce

    Occam’s razor would prefer the simple elegance of evolution over a spaceman finding their way to a remote planet in an uninteresting part of the galaxy at exactly the right moment to put a stick in the hand of a chimp (rather than a common ancestor of chimps and humans), or for that matter a capricious, vicious but lately inconspicuous sky fairy guiding evolution.

  • Richard Thomas

    “There’s no way of distinguishing the “God guided evolution” from the “pure natural selection” hypothesis by looking at the fossil record.”

    This is proof that it was Xenu.

  • Malcolm McLean

    Read the second paragraph.
    We know that a simple nerve cell will take a signal, threshold it, then pass it on to an effector (motor) cell. We can see how a process of natural selection could build up an extremely complex network of such cells capable of very advanced behaviour. That’s the “computer made of meat” hypothesis, and it’s right up to a point, a barin can emulate a computer, it’s got computer-like characteristics. But it’s got problems with it. A computer can’t emulate a brain.

    So you either need to remove those problems and explain how to set about building a computer that does emulate a human brain. (Then it will probably be pretty trivial to show how natural selection could have built it). Or you need to add an entity.

  • Are moderates leaving the GOP, making it the party of concentrated stupid?

  • Sorry,but, to quote Hitchens, “That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.”

  • Psychotic Atheist

    The reason why computers can’t emulate brains is because they have completely different architecture.
    The human brain is one of the most complex things known in the universe. Before we can start manufacturing such objects we need to understand what we’re doing.
    There is no guarantee that we’ll ever understand brains enough and also to have sufficient technology to create an artificial brain that is comparable to biological brains (especially of primates). The brain is an information system made of meat, it isn’t a Von Neumann machine made of meat. We have built some machines that mimic brain function, but we’re still in the infancy of such technology.
    If it turns out we could do this, would you become an atheist? Would you reject that God guided evolution? Why?

  • Jeff See

    I think that’s part of it. The reality of the GOP’s recent actions in the government shut-down, and the current state of do-nothing legislative sessions has ruined it for all but the most hard-core GOP followers. I cannot see any rational person defending them effectively.

    The bad part is, those who have some level of smarts, usually migrate to the Libertarian side, and unfortunately, they drag their knuckle dragging cousins along with them, (this is how the Tea Party ended up violated by the religious). If you notice the poll info, Libertarians have become dumber as a group as well, and I blame the migration from the GOP.

  • Raising_Rlyeh

    not to nit pick, but it’s multiplicanda not multiplicada

    multiplicada is spanish for multiplied.

  • code_monkey_steve

    Republicans over the past four years have become more likely to accept Creationism

    Or it may be that Creationists are more likely to become Republican (correlation is not causation).

  • Brian Westley

    In 2001, one of the spacemen picks up a stick and inserts it into the hand of a chimpanzee.

    This doesn’t happen in the movie or the book.

  • The principle of parsimony is important for the process of refining scientific hypotheses. But the question wasn’t asking “which hypothesis is best in a scientific sense”, it was asking “what do you believe happened”. A person’s beliefs about events implicates more than science, and everyone’s full account of beliefs about any event tends to violate the principle of parsimony as it is used in science, because our beliefs our bound up in etiology (humans need to create narratives to understand the world and our place in it, and so we must speculate as to “why”).

    If a person believes in a god or gods that makes creation claims, the only way to square the circle is to accept the biologist’s account of evolution (the mechanism by which species differentiate), but simply say it was not entirely undirected. And we know from personal experience as a species that it can be directed (the process of domestication), and so it is, if you like, the least disruptive, most parsimonious way to harmonize the empirically-based theory with other metaphysical assertions.

    And since the [evolution] and [evolution + god] hypotheses have exactly the same implications as pertains to biology, (because the ‘god’ part is ignorable from the biology point of view; easily strained out by insisting on parsimony), I don’t see the big deal.

  • Nichelle Wrenn

    As someone who is actually Libertarian I have gotten real tired of the uber religious types who simultaneously claim to be Libertarian and try to shove their religion into government. Anyone who spent five minutes in a political science class would realize those two stances are incomparable. Sure you can be a religious and Libertarian but enacting laws favoring your religion is detrimental to other people’s personal choice and therefore has no place in Libertarian thought.

  • Until you can resiolve those problems, you’ve no basis for saying that the “God-guided evolution” hypothesis is implausible, or even unnecessary.

    The problem here is not parsimony but falsifiability. “God-guided evolution” can be a metaphysical speculation, but it cannot be a scientific hypothesis simply because it contains an unfalsifiable assertion.

    The [evolution + god(s)] metaphysical answer is simply a way to harmonize a scientific hypothesis [evolution] with a metaphysical speculation [an active, creator deity], and does not itself, as a hybrid explanation, belong in the category of science. It does, however, represent a parsimonious and efficient way to harmonize widely held beliefs with known scientific facts, so it is infinitely preferable to an idiotic creationism that chooses to cavalierly disregard those same facts.

  • WallofSleep

    I suspect that while the rank and file truly believe in creationism, the elected elite see it only as a useful tool to pander to the shrinking constituency of rubes that elect them.

  • Mario Strada

    Thanks, I thought I was going insane. There are no Spacemen in the movie, aside from the protagonist. If I recall, the Chimp picks up a bone, uses it to smash things and then after crushing a few skulls throws it in the air and it turns into a space station.

  • Most likely there is a positive feedback loop, since political and social beliefs tend to converge due to social reinforcement effects pertaining to self-selection. If the GOP becomes more friendly to people expressing creationist beliefs, more creationists will join the GOP so as to have a social environment friendly to the expression of creationism, and their presence and vocalization of creationism in turn will drive out those less friendly to creationism and encourage more creationists to join the GOP.

  • Perhaps he was thinking about Waiting For The Galactic Bus by Parke Godwin.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waiting_for_the_Galactic_Bus

  • Mario Strada

    Actually, I heard he has started fluoridating jet contrails.

  • But first ape sees slab and appears to be inspired by it.

  • Rhodent

    It is definitely the case that the number of people self-identifying as Republicans is shrinking, and it seems reasonable to conclude that the closer a Republican is to the political center, the more likely they are to no longer self-identify as such.

  • WallofSleep

    I walked away from the GOP many years ago, but remained a registered republican for some years after that because of all the kick-ass pre-election literature they mail out. They (GOP candidates) tend to be a bit more forthcoming about their creationism or belief in a literal bible (and sometimes even racist beliefs) when they think they’re speaking to a member of the flock, so I looked at the material as a handy “who not to vote for” guide.

    However, after Obama won the ’08 election and the GOP at large went absolutely batshit, so blatantly and shamelessly playing cover for racism the way the vatican plays cover for pedophelia, I felt it was necessary to drop all association, even when at that point it was in name only.

  • Who’d a “thunk” that all that science-bashing could have an effect on accepting science someday?

  • Chemtrails are old news. They jumped the shark when a movie was made about them.

  • Pitabred

    Or perhaps the ranks of Republicans have dropped, and only the creationist nutters remain? A quick Google isn’t bringing up anything already compiled for the numbers of Republican voters or how they’ve changed over the last 4 years.

  • What the hell are you talking about? What happened in 2001 that had anything to do with spacemen or chimps?

  • mikedave

    The “brains are computers made of meat” hypothesis has some real problems

    such as?

  • WallofSleep

    Yeah, dude. We’re onto Sprinkler Rainbows now.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_c6HsiixFS8

    Just click that link whenever you’re feeling bad about yourself.

  • Pitabred

    The movie “2001: A Space Odyssey” starts with chimps learning to kill because of an alien monolith, or something along those lines 😉 The movie’s so dry I’ve never made it through.

  • WallofSleep

    Oh thank science! Do you have any idea how long I was waiting to see a response like that?

    Thank you, TOW, you have made my day. 😛

  • Malcolm McLean

    Occams’ razor. If you can explain a human by totally natural means, then any distinction between the “natural” and the “artificial” is meaningful only because of the accident that the people using those words are human. So it’s hard to defend the “supernatural” in terms of your world model. You’d still have special cases of claims of supernatural events, some of which would be more plausible than others, but you’d have to say “there’s probably a natural explanation we haven’t found”.

    However that’s not the current situation. There is a distinction between the natural – subjects like physics and biology – and the artificial – subjects like English literature. it makes sense to believe in the non-natural, because it’s all around us, and we can’t explain how it reduces to the natural, and because attempted explanations about how it reduces to the natural run into deep philosophical problems – it’s not just a case of “it’s a bit too complicated to model but essentially it works like this”. As you say “it’s not a Von Neumann machine made of meat”.

    Now if you can believe in the non-natural, there’s really no compelling reason to reject the supernatural. “God-guided evolution” is a wholly inadequate explanation, but at least it’s a starting hypothesis to work from. “It’s not part of nature but, whatever it is, it definitely has nothing to do with God”, is just an assertion.

  • Armanatar

    There is a vast gulf of difference between what you’re describing as non-natural and the supernatural. Artificially created objects still are bound by the laws of physics. The supernatural is not. God-guided evolution cannot be considered a hypothesis because there is no way to differentiate the results of God-guided evolution from just plain old evolution. Maybe God did have some invisible, undetectable hand guiding the process, but it’s useless to assume its existence without evidence or testability. It’s a classic Russel’s Teapot.

  • Psychotic Atheist

    Did you just equivocate between natural vs artificial and natural vs supernatural. How utterly absurd that was. “God-guided evolution’ is not a hypothesis to work from. I’m glad at least you acknowledge that your original argument that we can’t create fully functioning brains therefore we can conclude brains are more than just computers, but the argument you are replacing it with is possibly worse.

    Evolution is part of nature. Brains are part of nature. Computers are part of nature.

    Everything we know about brains points to natural explanations for the mind.
    Nothing we know about brains points to supernatural explanations.

    I think I know which is the more tenable position to tentatively adopt.

  • Malcolm McLean

    The artificial is a sort of halfway, maybe hybrid between the supernatural and the natural. If it exists, and isn’t just a complicated case of the natural that we can’t explain yet, then modern atheism collapses. The worldview is fundamentally wrong.

    Hemant’s claim is:

    According to Pew’s data, 24% of Americans believe in God-guided
    evolution while only 32% offer the response that all the evidence points
    to.

    But if a spaceman did put a stick into the hand of a chimpanzee, that would be compatible with our observations. there’s no way biology could rule that out. So in the weak sense he’s wrong.
    But in the strong sense he’s also wrong. We do have good reasons for thinking brains aren’t computers made of meat. So the evidence actually suggests “evolution by natural selection, plus entity X”. If you give people three choices in a questionnaire, “God-directed evolution” is the one to tick.

  • Malcolm McLean

    I remembered it slightly wrong. I thought a spaceman had explicitly put a stick into the hand of the chimpanzee, knowing that by so doing he’d give evolution a little tweak and start a process that would lead to humans. Actually the film’s not quite like that so the point isn’t as neat as it could have been.

  • Malcolm McLean

    It’s hard to summarise. But basically computers can’t talk. They can do things which superfically look like language use, but it’s always an extremely sophisticated version of “abort, retry, fail”. Factor X is missing. But we don’t really know what factor X, or why it seems to be fundamentally impossible to program.

  • The Captain

    My god they’re getting even dumber!

  • Eliot Parulidae

    This was my thought as well. The Republican Party is eaten up with extremism right now.

  • Jeff See

    I used to proudly identify as Libertarian, until too many Tea Party/religious types started spewing about how they’re Libertarian because they defend the ‘right’ to indoctrinate government with religion.

    I’m now just backing whoever makes sense, and claiming no affiliation.

  • EdmondWherever

    Heh. How to make a party of CONCENTRATED stupid: Have a respected party figure warn that they should not be the stupid party. Observe concentration occur.

  • If he is talking about the movie, then he needs to specify that it’s a movie, not just a year reference. Punctuation marks matter.

  • Malcolm McLean

    Our working, everyday model has to be that we are surrounding by both natural and artificial phenomena, and the two need to be spoken of, treated as, studied as somewhat distinct. We might have a philosophical position that the artifical is really just a special case of the natural, but it can only be a theoretical speculation.

    It’s not unreasonable to reject the philosophical position that the articifical doesn’t really exist. So it’s also not unreasonable to accept that the supernatural exists, because once you’ve accepted that there’s one class of non-natural phenomena, there’s no particular reason to think there won’t be other classes. (If you see one black swan, that’s a huge surprise. But a second black swan, or a grey swan, or a brownish swan, much less of a surprise).

  • What is the dividing line between “natural” and “artificial” things?

    Every “artificial” thing, including computers, works on natural principles and is created from naturally-occurring materials that have been altered by other natural materials into a shape and molecular configuration we, as humans, find more pleasing and/or useful. Still, they are all made up of atoms and molecules, and what could be more natural than that?

  • b s

    “The artificial is a sort of halfway, maybe hybrid between the supernatural and the natural.”

    What…the….?????

    In what sense could anyone confuse the terms “artificial” and “supernatural”? That stuff they put in twinkies is artificial. There is almost no way that stuff would be found in nature, formed through natural processes. But every ingredient is derived from a substance that exists naturally on earth. In that sense, twinkie filling is natural.

    Supernatural implies that it lies outside of nature and cannot interact with it. How do you propose to hybridize two things that cannot interact?

    “If it exists, and isn’t just a complicated case of the natural that we can’t explain yet, then modern atheism collapses.”

    No, the supernatural could exist and atheism still would remain. The supernatural could be something as simple as poltergeists and have nothing to do with a deity that demands we love him or he will send us off to be tortured forever.

  • DoctorDJ

    But she’s allowed to vote… And that makes me nauseous.

  • b s

    “If you give people three choices in a questionnaire, “God-directed evolution” is the one to tick.”

    Why? Why not (Zeus, Odin, Nu-Wa, Arwan, etc) directed evolution?

    Also, why take a perfectly reasonable explanation (evolution) then tack on something unseen, unproven and untestable (god) and say it is more reasonable? Which is more reasonable, the earth orbits around the sun because of gravitational forces or the sun is pulled across the sky by an undetectable guy in a chariot in such a manner that it is indistinguishable from the first?

  • I am not glad I clicked on that.

  • Whaaaaaaaat.

  • It’s good… for insomnia.

  • diogeneslamp0

    Malcolm, do you think when you write things like “There’s no way of distinguishing the “God guided evolution” from the
    “pure natural selection” hypothesis by looking at the fossil record.”

    This is false; and moreover, it’s like saying: there’s no way of distinguishing between an apple that falls due to gravity, and an apple moving downward because it was pushed by an invisible leprechaun acting in a gravity-like way.

    It’s also false because in some cases, the fossil record does show evolution *by natural selection*, for example changes in the morphology of horse ancestors (teeth shape etc.) in response to changes in vegetation. We have no need to hypothesize invisible Middle Easter war deiites.

  • diogeneslamp0

    Malcolm: “Now if you can believe in the non-natural, there’s really no compelling reason to reject the supernatural.”

    Fuck that’s stupid. You’ve glommed together two completely different categories of entities. Then you say that because we’ve got evidence for one, we’ve got evidence for the other? That’s a poor attempt at sneaky ID bullshit.

    By “supernatural” you mean spooks and ghosts and deities that get angry and tell rabbis to circumcize babies with their fingernails. By “non-natural” you mean artifacts produced by material objects (humans) interacting with matter by material means. We have observed “non-natural” things being created and they are ALWAYS produced by material entities acting by material means. But we have never observed spooks creating anything, and you assume they’re not made of matter and interact non-materially. So they cannot be glommed together in a class with the “non-natural”; that’s pathological induction.

    You’re trying to glom together two totally different classes of entities, one valid and one invalid.

  • Just more proof that the GOP is becoming more and more entrenched in their religion. They view education as “indoctrination” while ironically refusing to admit that religion is actually indoctrination and like to label evolution as a competing “religion” that is incompatible with Christianity. And their puppet masters keep pulling the strings to stay in power and keep the money flowing in.

  • diogeneslamp0

    Malcolm: “It’s not unreasonable to reject the philosophical position that the articifical doesn’t really exist. So it’s also not unreasonable to accept that the supernatural exists”

    Again you’re pulling the common Christian apologetic/ Intelligent Design trick of glomming together two very different entities. By “the supernatural” you mean invisible spooks and spirits and deities that take the form of ghosts to knock up teenage girls, by immaterial means. By “the artificial” you mean arrowheads, space shuttles, computers, etc. that we observe being made by material objects (humans) interacting with matter by material means.

    This dirty trick is so common I gave it a name: the Glom. In apologetics and Intelligent Design there are many kinds of gloms, this is the ID trick of glomming together humans and spooks. Because humans can make something, therefore spooks can make things? Fuck no.

    You can’t glom together humans and spooks because 1. we observe humans making things and we don’t observe spooks doing shit or even existing; 2. we know the mechanism by which humans make things, it necessarily involves having a material body and interacting with matter by material means, whereas your spooks have no bodies and don’t interact by any known material means; 3. we can observe humans so we know their powers and properties, but we don’t see spooks, so it’s precisely the properties of spooks that we’re arguing about!!

    I hope all you atheists pay attention: there are many kind of Gloms in Christian apologetics so look out for them.

  • this is absolutely true. if the rubes knew what their leadership says about them on the Beltway cocktail party circuit, they’d riot. there are more homosexuals, atheists, and heathens in the republican party leadership than any other party. lived in DC, saw that truth up close and personal.

  • Complexity, mostly. Neurons are connected far more densely than any circuitry we’ve been able to make, and they have the ability to form new pathways, which computer hardware has a really hard time with.

    The answer to “why are we sapient?” is “we aren’t really sure”, not “Goddidit”. Then we continue investigating, and we may figure out the answer! We do know that one big difference between our brains and those of our closest cousins is that the connective tissue between lobes is wired differently, and we have far more connective intermediate bits between our lobes than they have. So that’s probably part of the answer.

  • I do hope you meant to reply to Malcolm, not to me. Your point is the point I was trying to make through rhetorical question.

  • Spuddie

    The inmates have taken over the asylum.

    In the past the GOP kept the religious nutterbutters in check. They were good for delivering votes but nobody within the party hierarchy took their agenda seriously and they avoided discussing it openly on national media.

    Things changed awfully fast after 9/11. The religious right was invigorated with a God’s honest crusade against “the heathens” and the economy took a nose dive, reducing the political capital of the “fiscal conservatives”.

    These creationist morons were always around the GOP, but this time they are not scared of saying so in public anymore. There is less ridicule among their own.

  • Spuddie

    There is no way to discern “God guided evolution” at all or “God guided” anything. So there is no reason to disprove it. It can’t be proven at all. Belief in God and his works is an act of faith, not an evaluation of facts. Faith is the absence of proof.

    Creationism is inherently dishonest in its approach. It denies faith as the basis for religious belief by pretending it can be proven objectively. No Creationist will ever stop belief with objective proof, so in the end such methods and beliefs are a sham.

  • Spuddie
  • Spuddie

    Nah, that’s just Kubrick messing with you. He did that alot.

    It was a bone thrown in the air which became a spaceship. Millions of years of evolution in one sequence. And according to some, still “The Dawn of Man”. Ape to spaceman, still the same underneath. [The astronauts touched the monolith the same way the apes did]

    2001 is a litmus test film. People will project whatever belief they want onto what the monolith means. Some look at it as religious, some see it as anti-religious, optimistic, bleak, pessimistic….

  • Spuddie

    The guys at Clavius moonbase with the monolith and on the spaceship Discovery.

  • Spuddie

    Its amazing, Creationists have to redefine the entirety of reality in order to shoehorn their ideas into anything people are willing to discuss in public with a straight face.

  • Spuddie

    Watch what happens to Chris Christie in the 2016 GOP primaries. Watch whim contort to the whims of the midwest Bible Thumpers in order to win red states.

  • Nichelle Wrenn

    Politically I’m Libertarian but like you I will vote for whoever I think is the sensible choice, usually the Democrat.

  • Spuddie

    In about 20 years we are going to find out that HAARP was really a secret weapon invented to render an enemy too stupid to live.

  • diogeneslamp0

    Apologies. I did mean to reply to Malcolm.

  • Science is a conspiracy by reality against superstition.

    The most superstitious are defending their superstitions against reality.

    Democrats and independents are not immune from this.

    Alternative medicine is another example of people being stupid for their superstition – and alternative medicine kills some of the believers.

    .

  • Where is there any evidence that any Gods were responsible for the diversity of life?

    What kind of Incompetent Design results in a God with an excretory system?

    Who designed God so badly?

    It only makes sense if God is designed in the image of very flawed humans.

    .

  • diogeneslamp0

    “I’m just wondering what the HECK is in our water supply.”

    Theyr’re putting water in our water supply!

    Idiots misspelled “Constitutional” and “Thirst”. Their Constitutional rights are so important that they can’t spell it right.

  • diogeneslamp0

    It doesn’t matter WHY computers right now can’t generate natural language. Malcolm is invoking God-of-the-Gaps logic: science can’t explain something, therefore it’s explained (?) by a triune deity who’s one god but three persons, one a Middle Eastern war deity, one a dead rabbi who comes back as a zombie, and the third a pigeon who takes the form of a ghost to inseminate teenage girls. Um, no, that’s a non sequitur. Just because science doesn’t understand something doesn’t mean it proves your queer-hating baby-murdering god.

    You have NO evidence that any laws of physics are violated in the brain. Which law of physics is violated in the brain? Conservation of matter? Conservation of energy? Second law of thermodynamics? WHICH LAW IS VIOLATED and in what part of the brain is it violated?

    As for computers, they will understand natural language in the near future. In 50 years, your lawyer-app will sue the other guy’s lawyer-app, and your doctor-app will diagnose the lump in your ball-sack.

  • “Oh, shit. Spaceballs. There goes the planet…”

  • No problem! Disqus can be wonky like that.

  • UWIR

    The monolith was created by being from space, so it’s somewhat reasonable to call them spacemen.

  • UWIR

    “Until you can resiolve those problems, you’ve no basis for saying that the “God-guided evolution” hypothesis is implausible, or even unnecessary. ”

    Privileging the hypothesis, and false dichotomy. And really, it’s not even an implausible hypothesis, since it’s not a hypothesis in the first place. It’s utterly lacking in semantic content. It’s just putting a label on ignorance.

    “ But we don’t really know what factor X, or why it seems to be fundamentally impossible to program.”

    That’s a problem with the “humans can program computers to think like humans” hypothesis, not the “computers can think like humans” hypothesis. Just because humans can’t do something, doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.

    “A computer can’t emulate a brain. “

    Yes, it can. There are about 9 billion computers on Earth right now emulating brains. If you claim the thing inside my skull is not a computer, you’re just begging the question.

    “So you either need to remove those problems and explain how to set about building a computer that does emulate a human brain.”

    No one’s built a star, but we still believe that they are natural phenomena.

    “ (Then it will probably be pretty trivial to show how natural selection could have built it)”

    You clearly have no understanding of natural selection. “How natural selection built it” consists of every single one of your ancestors, going back billions of years, and the totality of each of their interactions with the environment.

    “it’s not just a case of “it’s a bit too complicated to model but essentially it works like this””

    That’s exactly what it is. Everything in the human brain follows physical laws.

    “ “It’s not part of nature but, whatever it is, it definitely has nothing to do with God”, is just an assertion.”

    No, people who are saying Goddidit are the ones making the assertion. Failing to accept an assertion does not constitute making an assertion.

    “Our working, everyday model has to be that we are surrounding by both natural and artificial phenomena, and the two need to be spoken of, treated as, studied as somewhat distinct.”

    My working, everyday model is also that the sun revolves around the Earth, but that’s just because saying “the time at which Earth rotates sufficiently that the sun is visible on the horizon” every time I want to talk about a sunrise is very clumsy. But congratulations on spelling “artificial” correctly.

    “We might have a philosophical position that the artifical is really just a special case of the natural, but it can only be a theoretical speculation.”

    It’s not a “theoretical speculation”. There are no observable differences between the two other than that one is an emergent property of the other. It is no more “theoretical speculation” to say that they operate by the same laws as is it to posit that Mercury and the Sun are attracted towards each other by a gravitational force that follows exactly the same rules as the attraction between an apple and the Earth.

    “It’s not unreasonable to reject the philosophical position that the articifical doesn’t really exist. “

    The very fact that you have to twist that into a double negative to make it sound reasonable shows that it’s not. We aren’t the one making the assertion, you are, and so you have the burden of proof. You are positing an entirely new and entirely undefined set of physical laws, with no evidence whatsoever. This is one of the most blatant cases of privileging the hypothesis I have ever seen. Science doesn’t allow people to just say “Hey, I’ve got this wild idea, I have no evidence it’s true, and I can’t even give a rigorous set of rules for it, but it should be treated as being on equal footing as established theories.”

    “(If you see one black swan, that’s a huge surprise. But a second black swan,”

    Your argument is absurd. First you argue that there is reason to accept “non-natural” as a separate category, and then you claim that once you accept that, there’s no reason not to accept the supernatural. But you just claimed there is! You just went to all that trouble explaining how there’s reason to believe in special rules for non-natural. So either you argument is crap, and there is no reason to accept that, or your argument is valid, in which case there is a difference between artificial and supernatural … we have an argument for artificial! We have no good reason for accepting the supernatural, so if we have good reason for accepting “artificial”, then there is a difference between artificial and supernatural. You can’t spend all this effort arguing for a proposition that, if true, would distinguish artificial from supernatural, and then turn around and say that there’s no difference between the two, and if we accept one, we should accept the other!

    “But if a spaceman did put a stick into the hand of a chimpanzee, that would be compatible with our observations.”

    You being a child rapist is also perfectly compatible with our observations. Should we call the police?

    “there’s no way biology could rule that out. So in the weak sense he’s wrong.”

    Who’s wrong about what? What the hell are you talking about?

    “We do have good reasons for thinking brains aren’t computers made of meat.”

    In your previous posts, you’ve been trying (rather pathetically, IMO) to argue that we have no good reason for thinking that brains are computers made of meat. Now “we don’t have reason for believing this” has magically transformed into “we do have reason disbelieving this”. Nope, sorry, absence of proof is not proof of absence.

  • UWIR

    And there’s people like Ron Paul, who want to shrink the power of the federal government, and get mistaken as libertarian by people who don’t realize that Ron Paul doesn’t want a weaker federal government so that people will have more power, he want a weaker federal government so states will have more power.

  • Drakk

    God-guided evolution cannot be considered a hypothesis because there is no way to differentiate the results of God-guided evolution from just plain old evolution.

    Actually, I wonder about that. (CAUTION: physicist talking about biology. Dear biologists, please slap me upside the head if this is nonsense).

    Suppose we have a mutation A* of a gene A, which by itself confers no particular advantage nor disadvantage to the organism that carries the mutation. Suppose now that there is another mutation B* for a gene B, and that B* does confer an advantage to organisms that possess that mutation, but only if those organisms also possess mutation A*.

    Natural selection has no possibility of “planning ahead”, thus, if A* and B* are separated temporally with A* occurring before B*, there should be no selective pressure to increase the frequency of A* and so we should see no increase in its frequency compared to the standard A – despite the fact that A* is necessary to the advantage conferred by the combination of A* and B*. We should only observe changes in frequency when the first organisms with the combination of A* and B* begin to appear – that is to say necessarily after the appearance of B*.

    However, directed selection does possess the ability to plan ahead and to preselect mutations based on knowledge of future advantages. So if we observed the otherwise unimportant mutation A* significantly increasing in frequency before the appearance of mutation B*, that would seem to imply some directed force behind the selection process.

    I don’t think any cases of pre-selected mutations has yet been observed, if that is the case we appear to have no grounds to conclude directed selection.

    TLDR: Natural selection looks like natural selection, but natural selection + magic man should look more like animal husbandry. Differences!

  • UWIR
  • If I had to give a reason why I don’t think any intelligent agent is involved, it’s that that agent would have to be called ‘Loki’, not ‘God’.

  • Malcolm McLean,

    How does Occam’s razor make a case for inserting a supernatural being in the theory of evolution?

    Who created the creator?

    Who created the creator’s creator?

    Who created the creator of the creator’s creator?

    As you can see, this need for a creator is ridiculous and could go on for ever with no solution to the problem of What moved the first mover? or What created the first creator?

    Something had to be first and that something could easily have been an unstable nothing.

    Is a perfect being who incompetently creates imperfect beings a good explanation?

    No.

    That is an impossible explanation, but it is the explanation offered by Creationists.

    I have drawn out Occam’s razor to make a point.

    That point is that a perfect creator is impossible.

    However, the Greek Gods are possible, because they do not claim to be perfect.

    One thing we do know is that we are not the product of anything perfect, because we are not perfect.

    The idea that a perfect creator is necessary is just an example of not understanding the question.

    God guided evolution requires an imperfect God, but the need for a God to guide evolution is the belief that a perfect creator is necessary.

    That hypothesis is not valid – a perfect creator is impossible.

    .

  • The supernatural could exist, but it would require a reassessment of natural laws.

    The supernatural would have become natural because it exists.

    The supernatural is the name we give to things that do not follow natural laws and appear to be the result of superstition, rather than reason.

    I felt a draft – It must be a ghost!

    It is reasonable to look for a natural explanation for the draft, not for a ghost.

    I don’t understand – God did it!

    It is all too natural to jump to the conclusion that what we do not understand is miraculous, but it is only natural – it is not reasonable.

    .

  • cyb pauli

    This is the reverse Flynn effect. How is it even possible?

  • shart of turin

    Doesn’t god-guided evolution throw a monkey wrench into the concept of original sin? How do apologists reconcile the two?

  • Drakk

    I’m not sure what you’re trying to say. Is this a commentary on the fact that structures developed by natural selection tend to be less than optimally designed?

  • Malcolm McLean

    We do have evidence. The physical basis for this post is pressure exerted by my fingers on a computer keyboard. But I’ve got a powerful subjective impression that I am choosing which keys to pres, of my own free will.
    Now you can say that “nothing unusual is happening in your brain, everything is occuring according to ordinary physical laws, this subjective impression is an illusion”. But that’s just an assertion. All you’re doing is brushing aside the evidence that doesn’t fit your model.

    I don’t know how free will or the illusion of free will is created, of course. It’s a very big question.

  • Malcolm McLean

    Imagine a purely physical system which consists of a cliff, a plank of wood, and some stones.,The plank is about halfway over the cliff, its centre of gravity slightly over the edge. It’s a bit flexible. Another purely physical process causes the stones to accumulate on the end of the plank. Let’s say the plank has a slight ridge at the end which traps stones, and every so often stones roll down from a melting glacier above.
    Now lets graph the distance from the end of the plank to the ground below the cliff. What happens? As we add stones, we get a centimetre or so of displacement towards the ground. This continues for some time.Until suddenly one stone moves the plank’s centre of gravity over the cliff. Then you get a discontinuty. Distance from the plank to the ground below the cliff goes from ten foot to zero in about half a second.

    Purely physical systems can have threshold effects.

    .

  • Malcolm McLean

    Darwin believed there were three forms of selection, natural selection (survival of the fittest), artificial selection (breeding by humans) and sexual selection (selection of attributes such as a peacock’s tail because it appealed to the aesthetic sense of penhens).
    We now realise that sexual selection is just an interesting special case of natural selection. The peahen’s aesthetic sense is itself created by natural selection.
    But we haven’t reduced artificial selection in the same way. There’s no particular reason to suppose that non-human agency might not have done a bit of artificial selection. If you’ve no evidence that it happened, then you could say that by Occam’s razor, rule it out. But Occam’s razor is just a rule of thumb. Sometimes a more complex explanation turns out to be the true one .
    My Christmas tree was bought from Homebase down the road. So anyone would assume that it travelled from the Homebase, up the road, to my house. Actually I bought it, carried it in the other direction to my parents’ house, then my father drove with it in his car through the housing estate. The more complex route is the correct one.

  • Randay

    I registered Republican for a while because I wanted to vote in the primaries for the candidate most likely to win nomination but lose in the general election. If I were still registered, I would vote for the local Tea Party wingnut.

  • shart of turin

    At what point was mankind warned about rolling stones down glaciers onto teetering planks, then? At what stage in our development did God start keeping score? Why didn’t God fiddle with our wiring when we were still too ignorant to hold our transgressions against us; dial us in, so to speak? If God initiated evolution, why is his judgment imminent, after all, we’re still evolving? I didn’t think it was possible to get sillier answers than Genesis contains. This must be where God’s mysteriousness enters the equation.

  • Psychotic Atheist

    They don’t need to be distinguished, its just occasionally convenient to do so.
    Artificial literally means ‘man-made’ you can’t use a man made object (your computer and its peripherals) and a man made network (the internet) to say it is not unreasonable to reject the existence of the man made. That’s just more absurdity.

    Artificial things however are perfectly natural in that they occur naturally. These are not classes, just useful words to describe certain distinctions for the purposes of easy communication. You really are equivocating on the dichotomy between artificial vs natural and supernatural vs natural. Are you a complete moron? You are writing like one.

  • Spuddie

    Arguing against evolution by referring to Darwin misses about a century of development, elaboration and research on the subject. Its like using an encyclopedia from 1975 for a social studies report due next week

    Your argument that natural selection may just be selection by agencies we do not know yet misses the primary point of artificial selection. To breed life forms which serve a specific function or use. Artificial selection implies human agency because it is done for a function in human society which is recognized.

    There is no evidence that wild life forms serve any function or use beyond just existence. Essentially its the major criticism of the Paley’s watchmaker argument. A watch is a device which serves a function of a machine in human society, therefore its artificial created nature can be assumed. A living being living wild does not. Since you cannot divine apparent use or function, you cannot infer artificial agency.

    Occam’s Razor is a rule of thumb, but a more important rule is on the production of evidence and burden of proof. The legal rule of the prima facie case. The one making the claim must be the one with the burden to provide evidence to support it. If you have no evidence to support “God-centered evolution”, your claim must be dismissed as unsupported.

  • Spuddie

    Computers also serve a different function than a brain does. In addition to thinking, a brain regulates functions of keeping a messy, always on the verge of dying, squishy life form alive.

    There really isn’t a commercial/military/social value to anything like an artificial human brain. We design tools to enhance our abilities not emulate them. Computers act and calculate things faster than human beings. Replicating a human brain would be a step down.

  • Sue (Yet, She Persisted) Blue

    Ironic that the more Religiopublicans deny their primate antecedents, the more they act like them.

    Oh, sorry, apes. That really was an insult. Maybe a little further back….like when cockroaches diverged?

  • Mostly, yes. I started out wondering whether we could expect evidence to test your hypothesis, but it got long and covoluted and I’m not a biologist either, although I have taken a couple of courses in genetics and evolution. So I reduced it and left it just as or more confusing.

  • Nichelle Wrenn

    Yes and on top of that he also eats out of the religious right’s hand as well.

  • articulett

    Wrong– smart people can definitely say that adding an invisible poorly defined immeasurable magic man to the explanation is goofy… it’s not a real explanation… Saying god guided evolution is on par Satan guided evolution… or Zeus… or invisible interdimensional aliens… or Superman. It doesn’t mean anything.

    You don’t know where missing children are… but you can deduced that it probably didn’t have anything to do with magic… or undetectable beings… or space alien abduction. These are not the sort of explanations that would suffice to anyone interested in the truth as to what happened to a particular missing child. These sort of “explanations” do not further understanding nor do they lead to more evidence.

    We can definitely say if any gods guided evolution, the evidence shows them to be slow, cruel, very wasteful, and unnecessary– and certainly NOT omnibenevolent, omniscient, and omnipotent.

  • RedGreenInBlue

    Mind control? That’s just what NObama wants you to think! The CIA knows you trust your tin-foil hat to stop the mind-control, but the tin foil is actually how they poison you with fluoride!

    Oh, you can laugh if you want, but what “they” never tell you is that “tin” foil is really aluminium. Aluminium is extracted from bauxite in smelters using cryolite. Cryolite’s chemical formula is Na₃AlF₆. You want fluoride? Cryolite’s nearly FORTY PERCENT fluoride! And sheeple are worried about 1 ppm in water…

    /snark

  • Pitabred

    Gotta love some Mad magazine 😉

  • Malcolm McLean

    Noam Chomsky, who is probably the most significant linguist in the world, believes that language must have arisen “at a stroke” That’s hard to square with evolution, unless there was some sort of threshold effect – brains get bigger and bigger, until some critical mass is reached, then you get a castastrophe, like with the planks.
    Language involves two people, so it must have happened to two individuals at the same time. It’s reasonable to suppose they were a pair bonded copulating couple. It also seems that language is intimately connected with self awareness, free will and so on. No-one can remember what it was like to be a baby, before they had language. It’s also impossible to have any moral sense without language. Chimpanzees can’t understand right an wrong. They occasionally kill other chimpanzees in disputes, but it’s nonsense to try them for murder, they can’t think in those terms.

  • Malcolm McLean

    The respondents were given three choice, creationism, which we can’t reconclle with the fossil record, pure natrual selection, which we can’t reconcile with phenomena like free will and consciousness, and God-guided evolution. so given those three choices, everyone, including atheists, should go for “God-guided evolution” as the best box to tick.
    However an atheist could legitimately protest, “what I meant was natural selection, plus another force or entity the nature of which we don;t know, but doesn’t necessarily have much relation to the Christian God, so to call it “God” is misleading”. That’s fair enough.

  • Except that we totally can reconcile free will and consciousness with evolution. You can’t just throw that out there like it’s obvious and expect people to take you seriously, because hooboy are you so very wrong. There is absolutely nothing suggesting that evolution cannot lead to free will or consciousness, and quite a bit of evidence suggesting it can (aside from the obvious consciousness of humans without any indication of an outside force causing it). Brains are super complex and we don’t understand them very well, but we know that the brain is the seat of the mind and also that there isn’t anything in brains that is supernatural.

    This atheist legitimately protests that there is absolutely no evidence of any outside force at all doing anything at all to mess with our evolution. Zip. Zero. Nada. Why believe there is something there for which there is no evidence?

  • Malcolm McLean

    No you can’t. A “computer made of meat” can be produced by pure natural selection, and at some level a brain is clearly that. It seems to have synapses which could be turned into logical circuits. No-one’s actually deduced a single circuit for a single behaviour, except the degenerate case of the knee-jerk reflex, but we can see how that explanation might be built up.

    But computers can’t talk, Humans can. Therefore brains are not just computers made of meat. Now it’s possible that someone could come up with an explanation of what the brain is, which is totally material. But it’s very hard to see where they would even begin. No-one has offered anything that even remotely constitutes a first attempt.

    So the “absolutely no evidence for any outside force” position is very thin. It’s true in the sense that, if you remain totally within the domain of biology, you’ve no idea what the outside fore might be. But that would be the case if the outside force wasn’t something biological.

  • Actually, computers haven’t created language. That doesn’t mean they won’t ever. It just means we haven’t made one that does. You are imputing to current technological limits some sort of absolute limiting factor for which you have neither explanation nor logical reasoning. Furthermore, what do you think a computer is doing when it follows the code written for it, if not parsing a language into its component parts? We’ve even written computers that can write their own code- that’s what learning algorithms do.

    Also keep in mind that there are all sorts of animals that communicate through noise- birds, monkeys, big cats, elephants, canines, dolphins and whales, and many others. Words are just taking that oral/aural communication and adding additional information to it. It’s not surprising that tool-using, environment-manipulating animals would also increase the complexity of their oral communication as the complexity of their brains increased. In fact, it’s entirely expected and in line with evolutionary theory.

    I go into the whole domain of physics, which is the whole domain of the entire universe, and still find no evidence of any outside force at all, let alone one that cares enough to mess with the evolution of one species out of trillions on one small planet orbiting one rather unremarkable star out on the ass-end of one moderately sized galaxy out of trillions. Remember, just because we don’t know the answer does not mean “Goddidit”. It means we don’t know. Saying that gods exist in the spaces of human ignorance is a classic God of the Gaps argument, a known and thoroughly debunked apologetic. Since we don’t know how our minds and brains work, but there is also no evidence for any gods or outside forces, then all we can truthfully say is that we don’t know how they work.

  • Original sin throws a monkey wrench into the concept of Intelligent Design.

    So do the Bible, science, and logic.

    .

  • Occam’s razor means that we should not assume overly complicated explanations are correct, unless we have a good reason.

    The person claiming that we should ignore Occam’s razor has the burden of providing evidence to justify the exception.

    Provide evidence to support your claims.

    .

  • one species out of trillions on one small planet orbiting one rather unremarkable star out on the ass-end of one moderately sized galaxy out of trillions.

    Yakko said it best. “It’s a great big universe, and we’re not.”

    http://youtu.be/f_J5rBxeTIk

  • Malcolm McLean

    We can program a computer to say “abort, retry, fail”. We can also make it a bit more complicated. We could program in that if the users types in :huh?” it prints out “Let me make it easier for you”. But we can’t scale up so that the user has the impression that he’s talking to something with a bit of intelligence. It doesn’t work like that.
    Now it’s hard to explain why there are no algorithmic methods which will produce language, and why we have reason to believe that such methods are inherently impossible. We don;t know exactly what the limits of algorithmic natural language processing are, we don’t understand exactly what is missing. But we know it’s not just a case of adding more circuits.

    Of course it’s a God of the gaps argument. One side claims a complete explanation of human origins which squeezes out God. We show that the explanation isn’t complete. You can;t do anything else, because you’re conducting the dialogue on the atheist’s blog, on the atheist’s terms. You can show that his case is fallacious, you can’t show that your own case is sound. The right place to do that is on your own blog.

  • mandas

    The Gallup question is a nonsense.
    Firstly, all the options include discussion about a god. And since there is no such thing, you have no option to put forward a correct response.
    Secondly, the question talks about evolving from a ‘less advanced’ form of life. We did no such thing. Evolution does not work that way. Our predecessors were not ‘less advanced’ They just came before us.

  • Ah, no. See, when you posit a god of any sort, you still have the burden of proof for it. A god for which there is no evidence is not a very convincing one, and if the only things that god does are things that humans don’t understand yet, then eventually there will be no gaps left for gods to fill. Gods used to bring the lightning- then we learned about electricity and why lightning happens. Gods used to bring the locusts and the plagues- then we learned about the life-cycle of the locust and that plagues come from microorganisms. Gods used to just POOF life into existence- now they apparently nudge RNA and DNA to mutate in inefficient, indistinguishable-from-random ways. No one claims we completely understand human origins, but we do know enough to safely say God-didn’t-do-it.

    Basically, if your god is the sum of human ignorance, your god is disappearing fast. We probably won’t ever understand the entire universe, but the amount we won’t know will eventually be very small. How does it feel to know that as human knowledge grows and grows, your god shrinks and shrinks?

  • WillBell

    If that were true there would probably be a larger jump in Democrat/Independent acceptance than we actually see, so I don’t know about that.

  • TCC

    But the overall percentage is stable, so RoverSerton is probably on to something with that hypothesis.

  • Spuddie

    God guided evolution simply means, “I accept current scientific thinking about evolution but it is done by the hand of God”. It is actually the POV taken by most scientists of a religious bent. It is philosophy, not science. There is no talk of proving the handiwork of God in a scientific manner (beyond the usual hyperbole for the press and self-aggrandizement). Many scientists who are religious will say that there is no appeal to the supernatural in such belief because one is simply claiming that God’s work is through laws of nature.

    One is not proving God’s existence as much as just assuming it and moving on from there. It doesn’t have to be taken any more seriously than any other religious belief. It is based on faith and nothing else. The separate magisteria argument is one of the sanest ways such things are expressed while maintaining intellectual honesty. Leave belief in God to faith, leave scientific proof to science. Never shall the two meet, nor need to.

    You are not really arguing for god centered evolution. What you are talking about is really warmed over creationism. The idea that one has to accept the supernatural as a possible scientific explanation for things or just say “God did it” to address gaps in knowledge. God centered evolution is simply saying, “leave god out of science and continue your belief based on faith”. You are not doing that. You are trying to prove God’s existence or turn it into a choice one has to take seriously but lack support to do so.

    So the long and the short of it is, the objective evidence compels acceptance in evolution. Some may chose to say “God did it” but it is not necessary for anyone to do so.

  • Spuddie

    Animaniacs reference, squeeeeee.

  • Malcolm McLean,

    pure natrual selection, which we can’t reconcile with phenomena like free will and consciousness,

    Where does God get free will?

    Clearly God needs a creator to give him free will.

    .

  • Malcolm McLean,

    So the “absolutely no evidence for any outside force” position is very thin.

    Show us the outside force evidence.

    Brains rewire themselves in response to experience, because they are alive.

    This is true of the brains of other animals, too.

    What is so special about human brains that requires a God of the gaps?

    .

  • Malcolm McLean,

    Of course it’s a God of the gaps argument.

    Then it is not a valid argument and you should stop this silliness.

    We show that the explanation isn’t complete. You can;t do anything else, because you’re conducting the dialogue on the atheist’s blog, on the atheist’s terms.

    We could give you free will.

    You can show that his case is fallacious, you can’t show that your own case is sound.

    A God of the gaps argument is not sound.

    Of course it’s a God of the gaps argument.

    Your logic is not sound.

    .

  • Malcolm McLean,

    But I’ve got a powerful subjective impression that I am choosing which keys to pres, of my own free will.

    The same is probably true for an other animal doing something.

    Why does a cat act as if it wants to go out, then change its mind when you open the door?

    Is the cat making a manipulative choice?

    I don’t know how free will or the illusion of free will is created, of course. It’s a very big question.

    Who gave God free will?

    Obviously, God could not have come up with free will on his own.

    A computer made of God meat is not any different from a computer made of meat, except that there is a perceived need to insert a God where a God is superfluous.

    Brains are alive, while computers are not.

    Living brains will alter their construction in response to experience, just as other living tissue will alter its construction in response to experience.

    No God is necessary according to what we know.

    God is just the way some of us claim to know more than we know.

    .

  • Malcolm McLean,

    Chimpanzees can’t understand right an wrong.

    Bonobos seem to do this very well.

    Are bonobos Gods?

    Noam Chomsky, who is probably the most significant linguist in the world, believes that language must have arisen “at a stroke” That’s hard to square with evolution,

    Development of language seems to depend on much more than linguistics.

    The human brain may have developed in the way it did because of the shape of the skull allowing for more space for some areas of the brain.

    The length of the trachea and the development of vocal cords, and other structures, capable of greater degrees of phonation than other primates, may have also been responsible for the development of speech.

    Was a God necessary? Or a monolith to provide an evolutionary advance?

    That is a God of the gaps argument.

    A God of the gaps argument is not a valid argument.

    .

  • revyloution

    Fair enough, I did it from memory, and I speak Spanish 🙂

  • revyloution

    Perhaps, but I still see adding gods, or aliens or any other agent to the concept of evolution as simple adding unnecessary elements to the argument.

  • It’s only unnecessary from the point of view of a person who does not believe in the existence of a god or gods.

  • revyloution

    or aliens 🙂

  • revyloution

    Ok, I’m not going to argue that Occams Razor is an absolute law, but going on it as just a basic principal:
    Assuming that someone does believe in god, gods or aliens, can the principal of evolution stand on its own without these influences?
    Obviously they do, since secular scientists work with a theory of evolution.
    So, if a secular version of evolution is identical to a theistic version of evolution, by Occams razor, you can eliminate the extraneous part (theism).

  • Sure, but as I explained below, [evolution + god(s)] isn’t really a scientific theory at all, it’s a compensation mechanism for a person holding the two hypotheses (one scientific, one metaphysical) at the same time.

    Biologists who happen to be religious use the their of evolution the same way that secular biologists do, since they are using merely the scientific theory, which neither contains nor needs god(s). But, being religious humans, they hold a belief in a creator entity or entities, and since humans aren’t under normal circumstances possessed of multiple completely distinguishable personalities, the same scientist who in the context of the science they do brackets out his or her religious opinions cannot do the same when it comes to the question of what they believe actually happened.

    Since evolutionary theory is agnostic as to etiological questions, as it makes no direct claims that exclude the possibility of outside influence (and as I pointed out, we know from our own efforts at species alteration that it is in some circumstances a directable process), the coordination of evolution with religious belief isn’t that difficult and requires no alterations to the scientific theory and only minimal ones to the religious hypothesis.

    So [evolution + god(s)] is the most parsimonious answer to the question “What do you believe happened (to explain the diversity of life on Earth)?” available to a believer who is aware of the scientific theory. Would it, strictly speaking, be more parsimonious to discard god(s) altogether? Yes, but then they wouldn’t be theists.