9/11 according to Richard Dawkins
"Many of us saw religion as harmless nonsense. Beliefs might lack all supporting evidence but, we thought, if people needed a crutch for consolation, where's the harm? September 11th changed all that. Revealed faith is not harmless nonsense, it can be lethally dangerous nonsense. Dangerous because it gives people unshakeable confidence in their own righteousness. Dangerous because it gives them false courage to kill themselves, which automatically removes normal barriers to killing others. Dangerous because it teaches enmity to others labelled only by a difference of inherited tradition. And dangerous because we have all bought into into a weird respect, which uniquely protects religion from normal criticism. Let's now stop being so damned respectful!"-- Richard Dawkins

Let the debate begin!!

Charles : As opposed to Atheism. Hitler's conquest of the world was justified by Survival of the Fittest, and he obviously didn't believe in God, but evolution. That was the basis for his "Master Race" philosophy. The basis of Scientific Racism, of which Darwin was a firm believer (read the earliest versions of "The Descent of Man", before they were censored in Modern times, you actually have to get a late eighteeenth century printing), was that as man was evolving from the apes, certain races evolved separately from each other, and some were further along the evolutionary chain than others. Naturally, Darwin selected his own race, the white race, as being the most highly evolved of the races, followed by the chinese, the American Indians, the Actual Indians, and the lowest (in his opinion) were the blacks, which he considered the closest to an actual ape of all the human races. Hitler believed that the master race had an evolutionary mandate to wipe out the rest of the races and dominate the world. Obviously, atheistic evolution is a MUCH better faith than any religion in existence.
SEPTEMBER 11 AT 2:28PM · Like

Chris Don't forget Mao the atheist killed 50 MILLION and Stalin killed over 20 MILLION.

Vincent Hitler, Mao & Stalin didn't kill because they were athesist or to further spread atheism. They just happened to be atheist just as Hitler happened to be vegetarian. All them communist/facist fucks just wanted to replace God with themselves. That's not atheism. Some religions call upon their followers to initiate a holy war - a war between religions. Religion is the CAUSE and not a characteristic.
Vincent This is my favorite passage from the Book of Simpson:
Homer 21:18 "..Faith is what you have in things that don't exist."

Vincent http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxGMqKCcN6A&feature=youtu.be

Richard Dawkins: An atheist's call to arms

Chris You should reread the
Sermon on the Mount.

Charles No, human nature is the cause, holy war or evolutionary eugenics programs are simply an excuse. If you eliminated all religion from the planet, it would not become a peaceful paradise, it would probably be more like Africa is today, full of civil wars, dictatorships, and genocides.
SEPTEMBER 11 AT 10:52PM · ·

Vincent For every Stalin there is a Bill Gates. For every Anders Behring Breivik there is a Martin Luther King, Jr. For ever Osama bin Laden there is a Siraj Wahhaj or a Dave Chappelle. Regardless of if you believe in things that don't exist or not, you're still just as likely to start a war or rape an altar boy...
However, to suggest that without religion we'd be "full of civil wars, dictatorships and genocides" is absolutely outrageous. There is plenty religion in Africa, what it lacks is a real government. The government is what keeps people in line, not fairy tales and ghost stories.

-- Doug


Charles It's not outrageous, it's human nature.

Eric Another one of these conversations, huh? Wait, Charles , do you really not believe in evolution?
Charles I believe that evolution is scientifically impossible. Therefore, there must be a better explanation of life, the universe and everything. No, the answer is not 42. I am a fan of science, and scientific thought, and I trust the scientific method as a means of gathering information about our world and putting it to use reliably.

Chris Your understanding of history is incomplete at best. Before Jesus Chris t, the most enlightened and advanced civilizations on every continent practiced slavery with absolutely no moral objection from the most enlightened philosophers or governments of their day. The Chinese, the Greeks, the Romans, the Incas, the Mayans, the Indians, the egyptians and the list goes on and on. Plato, Aristotle, Confucius, etc. Had absolutely no problem with it. There is no evidence in any of their teachings of any moral objection or philosophical struggle with the issue. All of these societies and great philosophers freely accepted the institution of slavery. Government does not create morality. It creates and enforces laws, and those who control government have a tendency toward despotism, if not kept in check. It is precisely the absence of morality which is based in religion within the framework of society and government that leads to totalitarianism. In this matter all religious philosophies are not equal. Jesus Chris t was the first person to put forth this notion of the equality of all human beings in his teachings and philosophy and his true (not false) disciples more than any others are responsible for the near eradication of slavery. This is indisputable and any argument to the contrary is revisionist history, even if it is from the modern day philosopher Doug. :-). Your zeal for atheism is dare I say....religious like!

Doug Evolution is scientific fact. Anyone who thinks evolution is impossible must still be part ape. Catch up with us, Chuck!
Doug Also, Chris , you forgot to mention America and all its Jesus glory in you list of advanced civilizations that practiced slavery. Thank The-God-That-Is-Made-Up that the government put a stop to it.
Doug Jesus was nothing more than a victim of capital punishment.
Chris Doug: I love you, but you are seriously misguided. If your philosophy was the most intelligent moral law, people would invoke Doug's name to do evil too.

Charles Evolution is not scientific fact. If the scientific method were actually followed with regards to evolution, it would not make it past the hypothesis stage. You should read the book "Evolution: A Theory In Crisis" by atheist scientist Michael Denton. It's from 1985, but Evolution really hasn't moved on from there. Scientifically, it should have been abandoned long ago. If atheist scientists were intellectually honest with regards to origins, I don't think they would stop being atheists, but they couldn't believe in Evolution. However, they need the comfort that Evolution theory provides, in their minds. Evolution is not scientifically, but instead idealogically driven.

Doug I love lunch breaks because they allow me to finally reply!
People invoke all kinds of names to do evil (and all kinds of names to do good, too). But, to suggest man isn't capable of morality without religion is crazy because religion is man-made. Regardless of the cultural significance of Jesus, he was just a man. All his magical powers were made up by the men who wrote the bible. Therefore, any morality that exists right now is man-made. If Jesus and his magic weren't invented by the men who wrote the bible, someone else would have made up a different person with different pretend magical powers. Religion of all kinds undervalues the abilities of man.

Evolution is happening right now, all the time, all around us. The evidence is so extremely overwhelming. Also, you may think Michael Denton is an atheist, but he is CLEARLY a creationist. Either way, evolutionary pattern and process stands vindicated from Denton's assault. It does not win out by default, being implausible but socially established and lacking a superior alternative - rather, it is a plausible process with no contenders, and is backed up strongly by empirical evidence. There is debate within evolutionist circles about systematics, tempo, and the roles of genetic drift and preadaptation, and still plenty of work to be done fleshing out stories about the development of certain structures, but none of this in any way puts macroevolution and the pattern of non-teleological common descent in a crisis situation. Rather, they are indicators that evolutionary biology is still a field which offers work to be done, just like any other field.

Chris You sure about that?

Charles Doug, you've been fed and have digested what you wrote. Doesn't mean it's true. You are unaware of how many built in assumptions and hypothesis "supported" hypothesis there are in your statements. Darwinism is NOT happening right now, all around us, pigs are still pigs, cats are still cats, bacteria are still bacteria, so on so forth. There are no truly random variations, and the only genetic changes that occur are destructive ones (excluding hybridization which is incapeable of producing a truly evolutionary change), even if they seemingly confer some kind of benefit. The types of genetic changes necessary to advance evolution have never been observed to be possible, in the lab, or in nature.

Doug ?"You've been fed and have digested what you wrote. Doesn't mean it's true." LOLOLOLOLOLOL!!!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! For real though, did a CREATIONIST really write this sentence? What kind of crazy backwards time warp did I just fall into? Where is Tim Curry? He's with you, right Chuck? You and Tim Curry are over there building instruments together, right? For real, Tim Curry has GOT to be around here somewhere because we must be in a time warp. Yup. We're all doing the time warp dance and Tim Curry is here because there is no way that a creationist just wrote that sentence. WHERE IS TIM CURRY?!
Seriously, Chuck, how can you apply so much skepticism to evolution (demanding more proof when there are already countless examples of it), but have no problem believing the absolute foolishness written in the bible? How can you dispute scientific fact that you can actually SEE HAPPEN with your own eyes, but fully believe the ten plagues of Egypt, people coming back to life, people walking on water, thousands being fed by 7 loaves of bread and a few fish and countless other impossibilities just because they were written in the bible? You've never seen any of these things happen and they would be impossible to prove using the scientific method. You want to you why? Because they are nonsense, Chuck, complete nonsense. Anyone who tells you to believe in magic is a liar.

Charles I haven't even mentioned the bible. As has been demonstrated, atheists have come to the conclusion that Darwinism fails, based purely on the faulty science behind it and the scientific implausibility of evolutionary scenarios which require literally impossible odds that make them indistiguisheable from miracles. Is that all you can say? I don't believe in evolution because I'm a Creationist? Is that why you labeled atheist scientist Michael Denton a Creationist? (for the record he is a non-Darwinian evolutionist and still an atheist). Your logic is seriously flawed. If indeed, as you say, evolution is happening all around us, can you give me an example of a Darwinian change in an animal from one type to another type?

Chris Charles , arguing the metaphysical here is futile. You are operating on a different level.

Charles I'm not arguing the metaphysical. I'm talking science. Science can't detect or take into account metaphysical effects.

Eric 1) Stating that something is indisputable does not make it so.
Eric 2) You should read more Plato, Aristotle, and Confucius. While they didn't all object to it, they all considered and "philosophically struggled" with it.

Eric 3) Slavery was around and practiced by Chris tians until very recently. It was not Chris tianity, but humanism that played more of a role in ending slavery (although it does still exist). Many great Chris tian leaders and thinkers also had no problem with slavery. And don't get me started on all of the atrocities that have been perpetrated by and in the name of Chris tians/Chris tianity.
Eric 4) Charles , do you also believe that the Earth is only 6,000 years old and that Noah had a real ark full of animals?
Eric 5) Not sure what kind of evidence you're looking for, but how about dinosaurs evolving into birds? What would convince you that evolution really occurs. How do you explain the fact that humans and chimps share 95%+ of our DNA? Or do you not believe in DNA either?
Eric http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/

29+ Evidences for Macroevolution: the Scientific Case for Common Descent

This article directly addresses the scientific evidences in favor of macroevolutionary theory and common descent. It is specifically intended for those who are scientifically minded but, for one reason or another, have come to believe that macroevolutionary theory explains little, makes few or no te...

Vincent The Creationist's view of science is dare I say... AntiChris t like!

Vincent http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1026340/Jurassic-Park-comes-true-How-scientists-bringing-dinosaurs-life-help-humble-chicken.html#ixzz1Xvfbfe74

How scientists are bringing dinosaurs back to life with the help of the humble chicken

Deep inside the dusty university store room, three scientists struggle to lift a huge fossilised bone.

Doug You're not talking science... You're calling science a lie. You're trying to make science fit what you believe.

Vincent Charlie, look up Australopithecus sediba, it's the latest discover in the fossil 'gap'.

Chris Charles , you are on your own. But fellas, there is nothing mutually exclusive about evolution and intelligent design.

Chris And no, intelligent design is not creationism. That is a third graders argument

Charles Phylogeny, vestigial organs, blah blah. Have you even read Darwin's publications? The work is fundamentally flawed. Darwin himself said in the very book that all the evidence he was presenting only proved evolution if you assumed it to be true in the first place. This makes it not a true science. Same thing with all the evidence in the Talk Origins website. You don't prove a theory by assuming it's true and then interpreting all the data from it. The research and methodology as pertains to evolution is not objective and pure, either. It relies heavily on interpretive soft science and unproven and unproveable assumptions. These assumptions are used to calibrate tests and filter out actual data that disagrees with evolution (and renders it in violation of basic physical law). I don't blame you for advocating the only side you've been shown by the scientific community and have been told is flawless and perfect all your life, but you've only been shown a small part of the actual real-world story. The evidence I'm looking for is not subjective interpretations of a supposed fossil record seemingly showing dinosaurs evolving into birds if you assume evolution to be true, but actual evidence that animals can become other animals. Some bacteria, the "simplest" form of animal, has the ability to replicate on the order of every few seconds, very rapidly. billions of years of human evolution can take place in a matteer of years with these animals. Yet, no matter what types of environmental changes that they have been subjected to, no matter how hard scientists try to force them to evolve, they stubbornly remain just simple bacteria, with no directly observeable evidence that they CAN naturally converge and specialize into a multicellular organism, a necessary step in the evolution of animal life on land. That requires a reprogramming and reorganizing of their DNA into something completely different, much like erasing a computer program and rewriting parts of it. This doesn't happen in nature. Also, a human has 2 million base pairs of DNA, a chrysanthemum flower has 15 billion. How do you explain the lengthening of the flower genome by multiple billions of characters, and the reorganizing of said base pairs into meaningful information, when the simple changing of one gene in humans results in conditions such as Harlequin Ichthyosis? Polyploid conditions in plants which lengthen genes typiclly results in sterility, and in animals such as humans results in death and miscarriage in the real world. If you want me to believe in evolution, you must present some evidence that evolution is happening right now, and present some evidence that the types of changes to genetic material that result in completely new species can do so without harming the organism and rendering it steril, and that there is some mechanism in nature that can reorganize the extra genomes once added into meaningful information. Natural selection has been proven inadequate, since typically the best and strongest representaions of species that are fully "adapted" to the environment are the ones that survive, so natural selection in the real world (not the theoretical world) actually serves to PRESERVE species as they are, not evolve them.

Doug Geographical isolation of finches on the Galápagos Islands produced over a dozen new species.

Charles OMG you haven't moved on from that. They are still Finches. All the "adaptations" that Darwin observed are examples of dominant/recessive genetic expression, not evolutionary change. I'm not talking about changes to existing animals, I'm talking about lengthening genomes on the order of billions of informational characters and reorganizing the encoded information into new structures, and types of plants or animals that have not previously existed. DO you have any actual examples of that, or any plausible idea how any natural unguided random mechanism can accomplish that?

Vincent An anonymous person would like to reply to your "Evolution is not scientific fact." comment:

"I'm going to go an a bit of a rant, so let's make it clear that this is directed toward your friend, because blatant ignorance in this regard really irritates me:

Well, he is right in one aspect, it's not a scientific fact. It's a scientific theory, just like most things in science. Also important to note that the difference between "just a theory" and "scientific theory" is dramatic. There's the Germ Theory, Cell Theory, Atomic Theory, Heliocentric Theory, the Theory of General Relativity, the Theory of Plate Tectonics, and so on and so forth. None of these are "just theories", and they have all survived intense experimentation, scrutiny, and inspection. These remain theories in the event that we, however improbable it may be, discover new irrefutable evidence that suggest otherwise. For instance, in a hypothetical scenario where we were to discover a new spectrum of light that revealed the cause of gravity was actually invisible hands holding down objects so they don't float away, the theory of general relativity could be debunked (yes, a terrible example for anyone with an understanding of General Relativity, but it makes it's point). In the case of evolution, perhaps something along the line of a "rabbit in the precambrian" as Douglas Adams suggested. The only undeniable and absolutely irrefutable object fact is math. Two plus two will always equal four, whether you write it 2+2=4, Charlie and Charlie make Dan, etc regardless of how you pronounce it, if you have || and then get || you will always have ||||. If you have more or less than that, your equation is wrong, thus isn't 2+2=4. This essentially leaves a scientific theory the absolute closest any observation, method, or idea (outside of mathematics) can be to factually true.
Now that the difference between "just a theory" and a scientific theory has been clearly established, it's time to address what a hypothesis and the scientific method actually are. A hypothesis is the equivalent to the "just a theory" idea. It is a proposed explanation of an event or phenomenon. A hypothesis, while usually based on is strictly speculative until said event/phenomenon has undergone strict experimentation and can show observable, repeatable results. Scientific theories are born from only the hypothesis that have survived this gauntlet of challenges and successfully provide evidence for the subject in which they pertain. These hypothesis are scrutinized and experimented on, and should a hypothesis fail to bear desired results, is inconsistent, or fails to account for evidence (etc) the hypothesis is dismissed/revised/retested. This strenuous process is the scientific method.

Now that we're caught up on how elementary science works, let us begin the evolution "debate", as it were. To make the claim that evolution, which has survived rigorous scientific experimentation and scrutiny for over 150 year, is just a hypothesis would show a deep misunderstanding on the subject itself (unless you're in possession of evidence the rest of the world would enjoy being privy). Now, I could not say I am familiar with this Evolution: A Theory in Crisis book, but to make the baseless assumption that there has not been any advances in the field of Darwinian evolution since 1985 is absurd. Furthermore to make the insinuation that by 1985 there was still not plentiful, solid evidence to adamantly suggest evolution beyond any reasonable doubt is equally baseless, uneducated, and absurd. In the last 26 years alone, there has been nothing but floods of evidence concerning the subject, I'll direct you to the most recent discovery of the Australopithecus sediba (the latest discover in the fossil 'gap') and this is only within the last month of 2011. There has also been numerous experiments in the field of bacterial which have only further cemented evolution as a solid, factual, and evidence based theory. These experiments have shown the process of natural selection actively working in time spans easily observable within months. Months! Not a life time, milenia, or millions of years, but 60 to 90 DAYS. These experiments have shown bacterias ability to evolve, through natural selection, to be able to consume new food sources, be more resistant to antibiotics, survive more and more extreme temperature, and develop thicker cell walls to withstand longer exposure to lethal amounts of UV light. This isn't mentioning breakthroughs in the mapping of the human genome or the understanding of genetics or paleontology. Simply put, the last 26 years have provided a wealth of new evidence in support of evolution, and no evidence to even remotely shake its throne. So incredible is the evidence for Darwinian Evolution that the even the Catholic Church has announced their acceptance of evolution, and this is from the mouth of the Pope himself.

Now on the subject of "intellectual honesty". If you for a moment think that it would not be the wet-dream of every respectable scientist on Earth to find evidence undeniable disproving and contradicting evolution, you are naive to an extend normally reserved for children and the mentally disabled. Irrefutable evidence against evolution of such magnitude would make it's discoverer, arguable, the greatest scientific mind in the history of the world. Not only that, but it would give the human race a much greater perspective into the world science is striving to understand by opening new venues to explore. Science is, ultimately, the uncompromising search for truth and no respectable scientist would ever deny something supported by evidence to jeopardize that mission, very much unlike religions that promote the ignorance of information that contradicts their beliefs. On a final note, to imply that evolution, despite the absolutely stunning mountain of evidence supporting it, is not a scientifically driven, but a frivolous ideological belief may as well be a fireworks show of ignorance, a misunderstanding of how science works, and a total lack of knowledge in the very subject you're attacking. The ultimate irony is that you're attacking evolution, stating that it's an ideological system, because it doesn't agree with your religious beliefs, your ideology."

Charles If he says so. The fact is, he's misrepresenting several things. Evolution is not testable in a lab, nor has it been repeated.There have been no new animal types or organisms created in a lab setting using completey random natural processes. This is fundamental to the scientific method. Aspects of evolution CAN be tested, but any time that happens, the evidence is inconclusive at best, and only proves evoltion if you assume it to be true from the get go. No plausible explanation for how a genome can be extended, and the information reorganized into new structures and organisms has been demonstrated at all. Cell wall thickening, bacterial resistance, new food source consumption, all those changes utilize existing genetic information, either by deletion, or activation of inactive genome regions, or both. Positive recessive genetic mutation also plays a part. That's not disputed. However, these conditions coupled with natural selection have not been shown to be able to lengthen the genome and reorganize the extra genes into new structures and organisms. Bacteria without cell walls don't gain cell walls, they don't grow stomachs or new organs to digest food that was not previously present in the genome, they don't link up and become hydra, then planarians, etc. Hydra and bacteria have completely different genomes. Without this mechanism, it is unreasonable to assume evolution is true, as even Darwin advocated in his book. As far as the fossils go, the "record" is embarrasingly complete, and no transitional animals have been found, only completely adapted fully formed organisms. Some share common traits, but that doesn't prove evolution, The only way to arrive at a transition is to interpret the fossil record in light of assumed evolution. That is not scientific. Simply insulting me and presenting incomplete and misleading information doesn't make it so. Again, Darwin himself advocated that none of the information he was presenting made the case for evolution, without prior assumption that evolution was true. This is still the case. He also advocated that his theory should be rejected unless a sufficient mechanism for evolutionary change has been discovered and demonstrated. This hasn't been discovered. I am simply taking Darwin's own advice. Sure advances in science and evolutionary "theory" have been made, but they are all built on a fundamentally flawed unscientific principle.
BTW, I am not advocating Creationism, nor am I arguing from a belief system, I'm arguing purely from the scientific method and the available facts, you (evolutionists) are the ones continually bringing up creationism and ideology. The fact is, without evolution, atheism has no creation myth, which is why it is so vehemently defended, despite the fundamental flaws in it's methodology and prior assumptions, and despite the fact that the aspects of evolution that rae indeed testable in a lab setting are inconclusive without prior assumption of evolution. I suggest that in fact, YOU are the one who is defending a system simply because the discarding of evolution suggests that there may be a flaw in YOUR ideology. I suggest that if the Bible and other religions advocating a supernatural origin (and subsequent accountability to that Creator) did not exist, evolution would have been discarded long ago, on purely scientific grounds. Insulting me and calling me ignorant, doesn't make me so. I have studied the subject from both angles, as an atheist (I used to be one), and as a person of faith. The conclusion I have come to is that science doesn't prove evolution without a priori assumption of evolution, nor can it disprove the existence of God, nor can it prove the existence of God. Science is an evermore vast and growing DESCRIPTION of the physical universe we inhabit, with no real explanatory power other than to describe how things can work without explaining how things can work. Gravity, electromagnetism, strong and weak force, etc. However, as they say, Garbage In, Garbage Out. If the fundamental assumptions are flawed in ANY scientific theory, then all conclusions that follow are also necessarily flawed, especially if the conclusions assume the hypotheses beforehand.

Charles BTW I meant dominant/recessive genetic expression, not mutation.

Vincent PART I of rebuttal
> Evolution is not testable in a lab, nor has it been repeated.

Actually, I gave you several examples of evolution taking place in laboratories. I'm going to assume that you're still making this claim because I didn't include source material. Here you go:
E. coli Experiment, at Michigan State University – The link will take you directly to the genomic summary of the experiment, although I would recommend exploring the site further. Interesting stuff :http://myxo.css.msu.edu/ecoli/genomicsdat.html
S. aureus Experiment held at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases – The first link is Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology's summary of the studies results, the second link is the actual published article: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1931312808003028http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1097276508005376
Hopefully, this settles this idea you seem to have that "evolution can't be tested in labs" .

> There have been no new animal types or organisms created in a lab setting using completey random natural processes.

There are three issues with your statement. The first, and most obvious, is that you're looking for "complete randomness" in a laboratory setting (a controlled environment). This is the exact opposite of how experiments work. The entire idea behind experimentation is to perform a test within a controlled environment that can be repeated, without random interference from the outside world. Perhaps what you are trying to imply is that Natural Selection is the "random natural process", but I would hope not as this would simply convey a complete and utter lack of understanding the basic mechanism behind evolution on your behalf. Just in case, though, it's vital to the understanding of evolution to know that Natural Selection is not a random process at all. It is the nonrandom process in which traits are dispersed throughout a population by means of sexual reproduction. The second issue is that you fail to specify what is your definition of a "new animal/organism". Do you mean a chimpanzee giving birth to a human, or a observable change within a species? If you're assuming the former, well, you would be correct in that sense and no respectable proponent of evolution would ever suggest such a thing was possible. However, if you are referring to the latter, you are absolutely wrong. Instead of going back to bacteria like Staphylococcus or E. coli, I'll point you to the Silver Fox Farm Experiment. This experiment started in 1959 and is still being continued today (~52 years) and is a perfect example of a scientific experiment, held within a controlled environment, that has, essentially, birthed a "new animal": https://johnwade.ca/attachments/article/359/russianfoxfarmstudy.pdfhttp://www.americanscientist.org/issues/feature/early-canid-domestication-the-farm-fox-experiment/1

> 1) Cell wall thickening, bacterial resistance, new food source consumption, all those changes utilize existing genetic information, either by deletion, or activation of inactive genome regions, or both.
> 2)Bacteria without cell walls don't gain cell walls, they don't grow stomachs or new organs to digest food that was not previously present in the genome
> 3) they don't link up and become hydra, then planarians, etc. Hydra and bacteria have completely different genomes.

These three statements show a complete misunderstanding concerning how the entire process evolution by natural selection works. The quote I've labeled #1 is almost the definition of how natural selection works. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines natural selection as "a natural process that results in the survival and reproductive success of individuals or groups best adjusted to their environment and that leads to the perpetuation of genetic qualities best suited to that particular environment". The changes and adaptations you listed in statement #1 all "result in the survival and reproductive success" of said bacteria, literally the first part of the equation that is natural selection. Now to address point #2, what kind of time period are you addressing – 200 generations or 20 billion generations, or more? Would it even be beneficial for the bacteria you are referencing, in their current environment, to develop stomachs, cell walls, or new digestive tracts – or would it be detrimental? You don't seem to address the possibility that it may be more beneficial for whatever theoretical bacteria you are referring to develop better ways of absorbing different types of nutrition instead of growing a stomach, thicker cell membranes instead of cell walls, etc. It strikes me that you're implying that evolution is the process in which all life evolves to meet human standards of complexity, not to meet the standards of said life's own habitat. By the same mentality, one could argue that since you can't withstand the temperature of a hydrothermal vent or survive on sulfur so you are less evolved than some bacteria that live on these volcanic vents. But why should one expect you to be able to since these vents are not a part of your natural environment, nor is the only food source pure sulfur- so to think you should evolve to possess such a trait is just as irrational as it would be to insinuate modern bacterias that have not developed stomachs makes them "less evolved". It is also prudent to point out your apparent misunderstanding of what a genome actually is. You made the remark that changes in physiology of a living organism cannot arise if said changes were "not previously present in the genome". This is an absolute fallacy and brings your understanding of what the word genome actually means into question. A genome, to be put simply, is the history book concerning the ancestry of the creature it belongs to. It is just a recorded log of the genes and DNA that has been passed down from the ancestors of a particular living organism. The genome sequence is less like a concrete road map and more akin to a guideline for what the genetic future of said creatures descendants should be like to a certain degree. An error in the protein-coding sequence of DNA can cause a genetic mutation in an organism that creates a trait or feature that has, in all probability, has never before arisen in the genomic sequence of that organism. To be blunt, concerning statement #2, you are completely wrong in every sense; not just from an evolutionary stand point, but also concerning the genetic process through reproduction as a whole. This website: http://www.genomenewsnetwork.org/resources/whats_a_genome/Chp2_1.shtml can hopefully aid you in better understanding what a genome and genomic sequence actually are. As for statement #3, this is, once again, not how evolution works. It is the equivalent to saying "If evolution was true, why aren't chimpanzees giving birth to humans?", and I believe I've already dignified such absurdities with a response pertaining to why such an idea is ridiculous to begin with already.

Summary data from the long-term evolution experiment

Dr. Richard E. Lenski, Michigan State University.

Vincent PART II of rebuttal
> Without this mechanism, it is unreasonable to assume evolution is true, as even Darwin advocated in his book.

From this, I feel it's safe to use deductive reasoning and assume that you have never actually read Darwin's Origin of Species and are simply paraphrasing lines you've read on the internet, or that you did read it and completely misunderstood the lines that followed, or at worst you're quote-mining in an attempt to prove your point. I sincerely hope it isn't the latter. While I cannot quote it verbatim, Darwin says that evolution would be highly improbable without a mechanism/guideline to distinguish what helps/harms a species ability to survive and adapt, only to go further (the next sentence if I recall correctly) and immediate state that this mechanism does exist and is the process of natural selection. I would find the exact passage for you, but I'm not going to reread the entire essay tonight because you have not bothered to check your sources of information. I will however give you this:
Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, Charles Darwin, 1st Edition text (1st edition is the honest edition, published before Darwin had to revise his theory because it offended the theist pseudo-scientist of his time): http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/origin.html

> natural selection have not been shown to be able to lengthen the genome and reorganize the extra genes into new structures and organisms

I've already addressed this by both explaining what natural selection is and how it works (if I did poorly you now have Darwin's book in the last link so you can educate yourself) and by explaining what a genome is, and how you are using the term wrong.

> As far as the fossils go, the "record" is embarrasingly complete, and no transitional animals have been found, only completely adapted fully formed organisms.

Actually, the fossil record has many gaps. For a moment, imagine if we had a complete, or even remotely complete, fossil record. Using primates for an example, if we happened to be lucky enough to have a complete primate fossil record, assembled every skeleton with a slight physical mutation from Australopithecus to modern Homo Sapien it would be nearly impossible to tell where which species began and ended. Unfortunately, fossils are exceedingly rare due to the process it takes for organic material to fossilize, but regardless, there is enough evidence for evolution that it would stand just as strong a theory had a single fossil never been discovered.

> without evolution, atheism has no creation myth

Atheism doesn't need a creation myth.

> nor can it disprove the existence of God, nor can it prove the existence of God.

I never made the claim that it could do either. It does make the concept of a "creation by an intelligent designer" that much more improbable when you compare evidence and notes, though.

> Science is an evermore vast and growing DESCRIPTION of the physical universe we inhabit, with no real explanatory power other than to describe how things can work without explaining how things can work.

Another misunderstanding. Science is not the study of why things are, but HOW things came to be or HOW things work. It cannot answer philosophical questions, like "What is my purpose in life?", but it's pretty damn good at explaining "How did the planets become planets?" and "How did I get here?"

> fundamental assumptions are flawed in ANY scientific theory.

A bit like your fundamental assumption that evolution is a fail hypothesis that is only still around because of the scientific communities "intellectual dishonest", or that evolution is "not scientifically, but instead idealogically driven."? It would seem to me that with your complete lack of knowledge for the subject you are debating against, as well as the how the steps of the scientific method are to be preformed, and general misunderstanding of biology as a whole, you probably aren't the most accurate source for what the "flaws" are in any scientific criteria.

And I didn't mention "god" once. Goddamn, well, now that I've resolved this, off to bigger and better things.
Your friend lacks the basic comprehension of the very basic components that serve as the foundation for the scientific method, elementary biology, and The Origin of Species. It honestly appears that they just paraphrase some Intelligent Design promoter web page.
If anyone wants to read it, here's a link to the full text of Origin of Species:

The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin

The Origin of Species, first edition, by Charles Darwin

Charles Rebuttal of rebuttal. The lab experiments prove my point. The only changes present were mutations, and deletions, as I stated in my previous argument. Thank you for bringing some examples. Information that pre-existed was either changed, or deleted as is stated right in the lab reports. Plus, the mutations required man's interventions with synthetic chemicals that don't exist in nature, and destroyed the already existing information. This is NOT naturalistic evolution, in fact, the opposite. Again, I repeat, the bacteria are still bacteria, and the genome was shortened. Nothing new was created. In order to create new species and animals, the genome must be lengthened, not simply changed slightly, and the new pieces must be reorganized into information capeable of producing new structures such as wings and legs instead of pseudopodia. Anyone can see that, why can't you? Your lab experiments don't demonstrate that ability, none have, ever, without direct manipulation by humans, such as when they made fruit flies grow legs on their heads, instead of antenna. Even then the structures were not new, just relocated. It's incorrect to say that those human manipulated lab experiments prove that bacteria can become rats, which is what saying they "prove evolution" logically concludes. 

As to your second point, you are admitting that no new animal types have been created in a lab, and can't be, not demonstrating my incorrectness. Foxes are still foxes. A similar experiment of the type with the foxes has been going on longer with dogs and cattle. They are still dogs and cattle. Plus when the animals are removed from the man-controlled environment, and allowed to mate randomly (as opposed to being forced to mate with whatever animal the experimenter selects), they revert to their original sizes, colors, and behaviours, or else go extinct. It's incorrect to say that the dominant recessive trait experiments, while highly detailed, are creating new types of animals, or even evolving them. Evolution implies new information. All the genetic information is already present. BTW, many self-respecting proponents of evolution have proposed that monkeys have given birth to humans, but since this has been proven impossible, the line of thinking has been abandoned. BTW, random natural processes started before life existed. The ones I'm referring to are in reference to the molecular changes that had to take place before, during, and after life began and started to "evolve". These had to be truly random, and have been shown to be impossible. 

AS to your third point, the way evolution works as formulated by Darwin, is that traits randomly appear. Forces in the environment act on those traits to either "select" for them, or force their extinction. This implies that bacteria don't have to have a "need" to develop a stomach or whatever, in order for it to develop. The stomach would develop randomly and either help or harm the bacteria. If it helped the bacteria, it would be selected for, if it harmed the bacteria, it would be deleted. Natural selection can't act unless a trait appears. The mechanism Darwin was referring to (he referred to a many different mechanisms for many different things, if you read his book, thanx for providing it to our spectators) was a specific mechanism that would cause a trait to appear, BEFORE the mechanism of natural selection could act on it. He stated that until THAT mechanism could be found, his theory should be viewed skeptically. THAT mechanism has NOT been found, as my discussion has previously put forth. A cell with only a cell membrane does NOT develop a cell wall. A slightly thicker cell mambrane still has the same molecular structure and proteins as a slightly thinner cell membrane. There is no known mechanism to turn a cell membrane, once thickened, into a cell wall. That is impossible. Also, the definition of genome is the entirety of an organisms hereditary information. That's the sense that I've been using it in. A dog has different hereditary information than a cat. Change the genome, change the animal. How is my usage incorrect? Having read your article, I don't see how I've been using the term incorrectly. If an animal doesn't have hereditary information for a cell wall, a cell wall is not 

Charles Rebuttal part 2
As to your next point, I've already explained how you misunderstood the specific mechanism of which I speak. Perhaps you should read Darwin's book, you will have a better understanding of how he formulated evolution. BTW in his sixth and final edition (he was continually updating and revising his theory) he concede natural selection alone couldn't account for evolution.

As to your next point, you did not explain how a DNA strand could be extended by billions of base pairs, and then reorganized into new structures, creating a new animal, despite your assertions that you did. The types of mutations necessary for evolution to occur would harm the organism beyond repair.

As far as the fossils go, you are defining "gap" as being a spot where a transitional animal should be but has not been found, if I follow your description to it's logical conclusion. By that definition, that "gaps" will never be closed, not matter how many billions of plants and animals are discovered, because they all have been fully formed animals and not transitions. In Darwin's time, fossils were rare. Nowadays, rock layers have been probed and defined, fossils have been catalogued. True, we occasionally find a previously undiscovered fossil, but that is rare, hence the celebration whenever one IS found. However, they are always fully formed, completely adapted animals, not transitions of existing animals into other types of animals. (bacteria into frogs, for example.) YOUR gaps can never be filled. You say that if we had a complete primate fossil record, it would be nearly impossible to tell where which species began and ended. That's a speculation, but even if it were true, that's primate to primate. In reality, if a fossil record such as you describe were complete, we would be able to go completely from bacteria to man, and it would still be nearly impossible to tell where one species ended and another began. What's lost in all this speculation is HOW these changes must occur. Genetic mutation and natural selection cannot account for these changes. Even a slight deviation causes sterility, death, deformation, especially in the higher animals. The changes to the organisms have to start in the genetic molecule, since a trait must randomly appear before natural selection can act on it, and the genetic code determines thel structures, behaviours, and physiological characteristics of the animal acted on by natural selection. 

As to your next point, atheism NEEDS evolution, or there is no justification for a continued denial for the existence of God. As one prominent atheist put it, there is no middle ground. However, as you have pointed out, the Pope himself has no problem with evolution. 

As to your next point, we agree. I stated very clearly that science describes how, and doesn't explain why. 

As to your next point, you didn't mention God specifically, but you DID mention "religions that promote ignorance of information that denys their belief" and stated that I'm "attacking evolution because it doesn't agree with my beliefs and ideology". Okay, you didn't mention God specifically. {Facepalm} I understand that you believe that evolution is such a solid theory that ANYONE who doesn't accept it MUST be a religious ignoramous, but that is simply not true. There is no evidence for evolution that does not presuppose evolution, as was true in Darwin's time and is still true today.

Charles I don't believe evolution, not because I'm religious, but because the facts don't support it.

Doug The facts support your religion significantly less.

Charles Why are you so obsessed with my religion? I'm not sure I ever told you what religion I am.

Doug It doesn't matter what religion.

Vincent I'm not sure if your friend is suffering from selective reading or dyslexia. I already established that he obviously didn't understand how "genomes" work, explained in detail and provided links to help them better understand it. Yet, he is persistent in making the entirely inaccurate statement that "the genome must be lengthened, not simply changed slightly", and is apparently ignorant to the fact the genome lengthens, and therefore changes, with new generation. Only to then go on later saying "the genome was shortened", which make absolutely no sense whatsoever in any context, to what they were addressing or otherwise. Unfortunately, I cannot think of any sources that could dumb down what a genome and genomic sequence is beyond what I have already given them.
On their second paragraph, at some points it seems like they are arguing for natural selection. With statements like "Plus when the animals are removed from the man-controlled environment, and allowed to mate randomly...they revert to their original sizes, colors, and behaviours". This is exactly what would be expected to happen through natural selection, so I'm not entirely sure what he/her is trying to imply. Beyond that, there's the issue to be addressed where your friend is still trying to indicate that if evolution were to be believed, foxes should be giving birth to something other than foxes. No one with an understanding of evolution would ever claim that animals suddenly give birth to entirely new species Evolution by natural selection is at its core a process of gradual change over time, a concept they cannot seem to fathom. But if, using the Fox-Farm Experiment as our example, the breeding for docile and domestic traits were to continue, it's obvious that eventually, over time, these selected foxes would bear absolutely no resemblance or characteristics of the wild silver foxes they were bred from, thus being a "new animal", as your confused friend likes to rant about.

The third paragraph illustrates that, once again, they are either quote-mining or never read Origin of Species, they are still have a misunderstanding of the term "genome" (but are getting a bit closer to the proper usage, kudos. Much closer than they were in Paragraph one), finally wrapping back into the "animals don't suddenly become other animals" gibberish with the reference to "cell membranes can't become cell walls". Once again, it is entirely possible if the cells environment favors bacteria with cell walls, but if it were to happen it would be over a gradual period of time and many many generations, not over a single generation as your friend seems to suggest. Ultimately, your friend ends with the multiple editions of Darwin's book and could not be bothered to research the actual(http://history1800s.about.com/od/scienceculture/a/darwin-on-origin-of-species.htm) (http://darwin-online.org.uk/EditorialIntroductions/Freeman_OntheOriginofSpecies.html) historical reasons behind his editing. Once again, I've been kind enough to provide links: the "actual" hyperlink will take you to a breakdown of all 6 editions, while the "reasons" hyperlink will take him about.com to provide a brief summary concerning the history of The Origin of Species, since he as continuously displayed an inability to understand big words or concepts. From this point forward, I will direct will be directing the usage of "you" toward your friend and no longer address them as him/her to prevent confusion:

You apparently cannot grasp that a genome, your genomic sequence, is different from person to person, and changes in every new generation. If we were to map your genome, it would have the genetic ancestry of both of your parents within it, and if you were to have children, this childs genomic sequence would consist of you and your wife/husbands and both of your parents genetic history, so on and so forth, and all it does is serve as a guideline for how this child should develop. It is simply the folder that holds the files of DNA, genes, and chromosomes. There is also the genome of a species, which works in almost the same general way. It cannot be put much simpler than that, so quit pretending that you have the slightest clue what it is. You're only making yourself look stupid and confusing me.

Charles Darwin Published On the Origin of Species in November 1859

The British naturalist Charles Darwin published his book On the Origin of Species on November 24, 1859 and profoundly changed the way people considered biology and science in general.

Vincent: As to your next point, you did not explain how a DNA strand could be extended by billions of base pairs, and then reorganized into new structures, creating a new animal
I never said attempted to explain anything of the sort. Mostly because what you're asking for makes no sense. Perhaps you are still misunderstanding how DNA works, and should do some research on the subject. Furthermore, I certainly never made an assertion of such ridiculous nature. I'm beginning to doubt you thoroughly read what I spent so much time on writing. For the remainder of that statement, I have no idea what you are trying to say. I can only assume that when writing this part of your rebuttal, you saw the letters DNA and thought "Hey, I have no idea how biology works, so I'll just take whatever he said entirely out of context and fail to make a logical, coherent, rational retort in an effort to confuse him!" You did succeed in confusing me to a point, but mostly because you are beginning to display no understanding of what we're debating and starting to come off as a bit....stupid. I've read what I wrote three times now, and there is not a single instance where I make a statement concerning whatever-the-hell it is you're talking about. The only part of your statement that bears any resemblance to something I wrote is the part where you wrote "DNA". I concede to that point, it is true, I said "DNA", the rest of this, however, in no way/shape or form represents anything I said. This may actually be the root of your inability to comprehend anything I've written thus far.

And then you essentially restate everything I wrote about fossils, agreed with it, claimed the points I made as your own, added in your own weird and irrational twist to it, and eventually end by making another statement on genetics and natural selection. Up until this point, you've displayed a complete lack of understanding for both (despite lengths I've gone through to find you suitable links and simple explanations that you could understand), only to go and decided to reiterate the fact that you have no clue how "genetic code" or natural selection work.

Obviously, you do not understand what "atheism" means since you are still maintaining the idea that it hinges on Evolution. The two are not synonymous. Atheism has nothing to do with evolution, it is simply the strong lack of belief in a god/gods/magically pink unicorns. I don't know which "prominent atheist" you are referring to, nor what this "middle ground" is in context to. If it wasn't written in such a vague fashion and I knew who you were referencing and what they were talking about, I may or may not be inclined to with them.

> There is no evidence for evolution that does not presuppose evolution, as was true in Darwin's time and is still true today. I don't believe evolution, not because I'm religious, but because the facts don't support it.

No, what the situation actually boils down to is that you lack a very elementary understanding of Evolution by Natural Selection. Not only have you failed to grasp the central ideas of evolution, but of genetics, DNA, biological reproduction, heredity, and biology as a whole. Of course you will read this and still proclaim the same nonsense you started off with, but if remaining ignorant to how science works and justify it with incoherent gibberish that's your prerogative. But just remember, just because you cannot understand it, or choose to deny the obvious evidence, or misinterpret the text detailing the process in which it works, or close your eyes and say "LALALALA I CAN'T HEAR YOU" does not for a moment suggest you are remotely close to being correct. You presented no evidence that proved contrary to evolution, you made poor and uneducated assertions on the subject you know nothing about, and tried to support these assertions with even more flawed misunderstanding. Don't worry though, you don't have to believe in evolution. It won't send you to hell or reward you with eternal paradise, nor will it punish your children or your children's children because it is not an entity or a force, but a process. A process that follows guidelines for biological change and adaptation. Evolution is indifferent to your existence, just as it is indifferent to the existence of myself and all life that has ever exist.

Charlie's reply:

admin on Fri, 09/16/2011 - 13:05


Also why don't you deal with the substance of what I'm saying, rather than labeling me stupid and giving vague sweeping answers? An honest critique would be something like, "You stated that natural selection as formulated by Darwin that traits appear at random, and natural selection can only act on them once they appear. This is fundamentally flawed because..........". Or "You stated that there is no mechanism by which a DNA molecule can be lengthened from 12 million units to 15 biliion units, and then organized into meaningful information to create new animals or plants that previously did not exist. This is a stupid question because...." Simply stating that I am stupid and don't understand the subject doesn't make it so. He should re-read my section on the silver foxes. The point to that section is that all the foxes changed according to information already present in their genome (why is that incorrect?) and when they were released into the wild, the differences homogenized. They still remained foxes throughout the experiment, so no new animals were created. My referrnce to the dog experiment was to show that even in longer instances of selective breeding, dogs still remained dogs, and did not become cats. The fox experiments don't prove evolution. That point is very clear, logical, and concise, not stupid.

In order for evolution to occur, changes have to occur to the genome of a specific animal, such that new traits can be expressed in order for the environment to select for or against them. Since the simple organisms that we supposedly evolved from have far fewer base pairs of DNA in their genome (I'm referring to the specific DNA molecule, per Matt's definition in his book on the Genome), it must be lengthened on the order of billions of base airs of DNA, such that the extra base pairs are organized to encode for new traits, organs, and behaviours. Darwin himself stated that until the change mechanism for new traits (not natural selection, since that can only select for or against traits once they appear) is found, his theory should be viewed with skepticism. It has been proven that there is a limit to the types of changes that dominant/recessive genetic expression can evoke, and that mutation mostly harms animals, and never increases the size of the genome in a meaningful informative way that facilitates evolution. Therefore, evolution does not agree with available scientific information, and cannot be regarded as a working scientific theory. It is a hypothesis.

Why is this stupid, and where are the incorrect statements in the above sentence, and why?

He's not really dealing specifically with what I'm saying. He's just calling me stupid and making vague statements that don't really deal with the substance. No wonder he's spent. I understand evolution fne, my understanding is not deficient, I've confirmed this with scientists and professors.

For all his obvious intelligence and education, maybe HE doesn't understand evolution. You need a new expert witness.

He keeps saying I'm using the word "genome" incorrectly. If he means that the word "genome" specifically and only refers to the informational content, and not the molecule itself, I can see his point. However, the information has a physical manifestation in the actual molecule, in which the information is encoded, in which case a change to the molecule represents a change to the genome. In order for evolution to occur, the DNA molecule itself must change physically to manifest the evolutionary changes to the organism. So too, the genome must change correspondingly, animal to animal. If he wishes, I will refer to the genome and the information seperately, so he can understand what I'm saying better, but functionally, a change to the molecule and a change to the genome is synonymous

Atheist's reply:

admin on Fri, 09/16/2011 - 13:05

I think the Gish galloping got to him:

"I'm spent. Truly, I am. I feel like I'm trying to explain how television works to a person who has lived in a cave. It's just frustrating at this point."

Charlie's reply:

admin on Fri, 09/16/2011 - 08:10

If a human has 3 billion base pairs of DNA, and a Chrysanthemum has 15 billion base pairs of DNA, and a yeast has only 12 million base pairs, and they all have a common ancestor, then you can't go from a yeast to a human, or from a yeast to a chrysanthemum without adding billions of base pairs of DNA to the molecules, lengthening the molecule. That is so simple a concept, maybe you can't grasp it. In order for evolution to occur, then base pairs must be added to the DNA, arranged in such a way that a chrysanthemum or a human can develop, instead of a yeast molecule. Here's the definition of genome I was going by :"In modern molecular biology and genetics, the genome is the entirety of an organism's hereditary information. It is encoded either in DNA or, for many types of virus, in RNA. The genome includes both the genes and the non-coding sequences of the DNA/RNA", according to Matt Ridley's book on the genome. By this definition, the genome must be lengthened to go from a yeast to a human, by almost 3 billion base pairs of DNA. I don't know what you mean when you say that the genome lengthens with each generation. When child is conceived it recieves 23 chromosomes from the mother, and 23 from the father, no more no less, without serious birth defects, so the genome must stay the same size. Explain to me exctly why this usage of the word "genome" is incorrect.

I'm beginning to think you actually can't explain what I'm asking, so you instead call me stupid and ignorant, instead of saying you just don't know. Exactly where is the logical fallacy or incorrect useage of the word genome in my above statement? Let's limit this round to a single concept, to make it easier for you, so you don't have to write as much. I appreciate the responses, but don't want your hand to get tired or take up TOO much of your time. To keep it simple, where do the extra base pairs of DNA for a human VS a yeast come from?

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