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Vatican Rejects Intelligent Design? 2345

Posted by Hemos
from the tell-that-to-kansas dept.
typobox43 writes "A Vatican representative has expressed a defense of the theory of evolution, stating that it is "perfectly compatible" with the Genesis story of creation. "The fundamentalists want to give a scientific meaning to words that had no scientific aim," he said at a Vatican press conference. He said the real message in Genesis was that "the universe didn't make itself and had a creator"." Of course, it'd probably be best if fundmentalists actually talked to, say, the rabbis who wrote the whole thing down. The Orthodox rabbis I've spoken find it amazingly amusing that people take the creation story as literal truth, rather then a story about YHWH's power.
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Vatican Rejects Intelligent Design?

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  • Um, why? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by flyinwhitey (928430) on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:05PM (#13970342)
    "Of course, it'd probably be best if fundmentalists actually talked to, say, the rabbis who wrote the whole thing down."

    Why? I mean apart from them being dead for thousands of years, would it really be enlightening in any way to hear a different, yet equally self serving account of a fictional event?

  • by MankyD (567984) on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:08PM (#13970372) Homepage
    [blockquote][i]I don't see why the two theories can't be merged. *shrug*[/i][/blockquote] If someone wants to believe in ID, by all means, that is your choice. However, the reason the scientific community is reticent to "merge" the two is that their is no scientific fact or observation supporting ID. It is a tautology, stating that there' must be a Designer because the world can't exist without one. That's just bad science.
  • by Omnifarious (11933) * <eric-slashNO@SPAMomnifarious.org> on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:11PM (#13970406) Homepage Journal

    They tend to reject rationalism and go in for magical thinking whenever it suits their purpose. It is a creed that is devoid of any value to humanity. It would be much better if they simply stated "All this change, we're worried that it isn't right, and we should carefully rethink our aims and values!". Because basically fundamentalism in America is all about fear of radical social change.

    Of course, it doesn't help that many (on all sides) see public school as a ground for indoctrinating young people with their particular values. It was reprehensible when we hauled Native American children away from their families and forced them into western style schools. It's similarly reprehensible to force diversity training and acceptance of homosexuality and all kinds of other social things down the throats of young people who's parents don't agree.

    I, personally, think all these are fine values. But I think it's wrong to force them on others. They will come to them in time, since I believe strongly that these values have much greater utility and survivability in the long term than the ones they replace.

    As River puts it so eloquently in Serenity: "People don't like to be messed with."

  • by TheWhaleShark (414271) on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:12PM (#13970419) Journal
    Let me preface this by saying that I am a scientist, a Bacteriologist for New York State to be precise.

    (residents of New York State, you are paying me right now to post on Slashdot; thanks)

    I went to a Catholic grammar school from 3rd to 8th grade (I'm 23 now, so you can get a reference as to roughly when I went to school), and I remember being SPECIFICALLY taught in my Religion classes, by nuns no less, that there is NO conflict between scientific evolution and the creation story, so long as you believe the soul was created by God. Since the soul cannot be touched by science one way or another (cannot prove or disprove), that's absolutely fine. There shouldn't be any conflict whatsoever; Genesis is a version of how everything got here, and evolution tells you how what is here changes. No problems, at least in theory; it seems that fundies just keep trying to drag up the old debates.
  • by VolciMaster (821873) on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:12PM (#13970420) Homepage
    Many ID proponents (myself among them) do not throw out the baby of evolution with the bathwater of origins. God's having made the universe (ie, the Intelligent Design) does allow (and perhaps even demand) some evolution to occur. Repeatedly in the creation account God tells His creation to 'reproduce after their kind'. He tells Man (a special creation that did not come from 'lower' beings) to 'be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth'. He also tells Adam that he is in charge of the brids of the sky and beasts of the ground.

    A great deal of man's dominion over nature has been shown in selective breeding. Now that we can experiement with genertic engineering (on a far more fine-grained scale than breeding alone allows), we have the opportunity to see all sorts of new variations of exiting plants and animals.

    What evolution can not speak to, without getting into philosophy, is the actual origins of life. Eventually in the evolutionary timeline, yuo get back to a point where the question of 'where did the matter come from' pops up, and evolution comes alogn and says that matter is eternal: we've been in an unending cycle of compression and expansion of matter for eternity, and this time around humans popped up to figure it out.

    What the Biblical creation account gives as the answer to that question is not that matter is eternal, but that there is a supreme being who is eternal, and He decided to make the world for His pleasure.

    Intelligent Design is an alternative to the origins of life, not the continuing processes since that have shaped our world.

  • Re:A few points (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Otter (3800) on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:14PM (#13970454) Journal
    Also, I would add that while Hemos is correct that non-literal interpretations of Genesis have been widely (if not universally) accepted in Judaism for thousands of years, his overall understanding of Jewish theology as expressed here is so head-spinningly mistaken that I'd advise him to pick less public opportunities to hold forth on it.
  • by G4from128k (686170) on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:15PM (#13970457)
    If Intelligent Design is really a science, then the next step is to generate and test hypotheses about the designer(s). Surely the fossil record and current genetic and phenotypic characteristics of organisms could be used to hypothesize the nature of the designer(s). If scientists did this I suspect that Christians might be less supportive of the theory. Consider these likely hypotheses about the designer:
    1. Multiple Designers: Why are there so many different designs for the eye and what does that say about the designer(s)? Why does the human eye lack important innovations such as the reflective layer in the cat's eye that improves night vision or the more logical retina-over-blood network of the octopus eye or the four-color vision of the jumping spider eye (or the 6-color vision of the mantis shrimp) or the polarization sensitivity used by bees and ants for navigation? One strong hypothesis is that multiple designers participated -- different designers, working independently, created these different designs. Perhaps the joke that a camel is a horse designed by a committee is really true.

    2. Flawed Designer(s): The waves of extinctions and vast numbers of extinct species suggest that the designer(s) were flawed in their designs. It would seem that the designer(s) thought that velociraptors, plesiosaurs, trilobites, Homo erectus, etc. were good ideas, but then changed their mind(s) or found they created creatures that were too flawed to survive.

    3. Lazy Designer(s): The fossil record suggests that little happened for the first 6/7ths of the Earth's existence -- everything happened on the seventh "day". Out of the last 4.5 billion years of the planet's existence complex life only in the last 600 million years or so have complex life forms appears. Humans didn't appear until about 30 seconds to midnight late on the metaphorical 7th day. (Note that this fact is used by some non-atheistic scientists to say that a deity set up the rules of evolution and then "rested" while the mechanism of evolution created everything. This explanation refutes IS because then the designer is not participating in the creation of all these complex organisms on the seventh day).

    Overall, I'd wager that the scientific evidence would provide more "scientific" support for a polytheistic religion with humanistic/flawed dieties (such as the ancient Roman/Greek religions) than for an omnipotent monotheistic religion such as Christianity.

    The bigger issues is that the allegedly religious ID people probably don't want to entertain hypotheses about designer(s) and would be especially uncomfortable letting school children even discuss these questions. Yet the entire purpose of science is to ask these questions and that is why it doesn't mix well with religion which is entirely based on faith. From a theological standpoint, I would suspect that Christians would prefer a separation between church and science.

  • by DAldredge (2353) <SlashdotEmail@GMail.Com> on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:16PM (#13970479) Journal
    Why is it that when religion is talked about on /. that it is only the Jewish and Christian religions that are insulted? Why isn't Islam included in the list?

  • by judmarc (649183) on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:17PM (#13970485)

    Orthodox rabbis in Israel have objected to the display of dinosaurs on yogurt containers because they felt it contradicted the story of Creation as taught by Genesis.

    Also, not surprising that not all Vatican representatives are hopping on the Intelligent Design bandwagon (though at least one friend of the current Pope did, from a New York Times report a few weeks ago). ID posits that there are structures that cannot have resulted from evolution (eyes are one frequently cited example). Now, if God created the universe, this is equivalent to saying that God can't have created it in such a way as to evolve these structures. Thus, according to ID, God is not omniscient and/or omnipotent. Sure sounds like heresy to me.

  • by theStorminMormon (883615) <theStorminMormon@gmail. c o m> on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:18PM (#13970497) Homepage Journal
    So I'm curious - how could evolution be falsified?

    Note: I'm not a fundamentalist/IDer or anything. I dont' have any trouble with the theory of evolution: I'm just not an expert on evolution.
  • by Jeff DeMaagd (2015) on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:19PM (#13970522) Homepage Journal
    On the flip side, I had an English teacher in high school that went to Catholic schools and had never heard of evolution until she went to college. She said that she was completely caught off guard.
  • by erroneus (253617) on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:19PM (#13970526) Homepage
    The Greeks had it right all along. People can mate with horses and the guys in the chariots in the skies, flying with wax wings getting too close to the sun... all that happened. I BELIEVE!!!

    This ridiculous reduction of gods down to one only goes to show how retarded people really are that they can't keep up with more than one or two gods. I think we need more gods, not fewer. This way we can each follow our own and with more diversity comes more tollerance right? No one should be denying that there are gods at all (or else they'll become angry and I'll have a car accident in the morning... I just KNOW it)... we should merely discuss the number of gods there are... and there's a bunch!
  • by alucinor (849600) on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:20PM (#13970531) Journal
    Assuming that we did teach ID in schools ... what would be the material?

    "And so God created all the organisms on earth."

    Little Johnny asks, "How?"

    Teacher replies, "Well, he just created them. Poof! And there they were."

    That's all ID would contribute to science.

    If someone wants to believe now that the HOW is evolution, and the WHAT/WHO that started it all is God, then great, but it's not science. Science (apart from cosmology) makes no attempts at explaining the origin of Origin, just all the processes. In the end, to explain the origin of everything, you have to get axiomatic about something: everyone agrees that axiom to be some form of infinity, whereas some attribute consciousness to that Infinity and others, non-consciousness. Did Void spawn the Universe, or did the er ... opposite of Void (God) do it?

    As someone who believes God exists, I think evolution is fine. I accept spiritual evolution as a necessity for myself, so I don't see why physical evolution would be a problem either.
  • Re:A few points (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Erwos (553607) on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:22PM (#13970561)
    "3. If you're going to mention Yahweh (aka YHWH, aka Jehovah, aka God of Israel) in proper Jewish context, you need to mark out some of the letters as a sign of respect. e.g. "Y-WH" or "G-d""

    He shouldn't have written that, period. Observant Jews don't EVER pronounce or phonetically write that name. G-d will do fine, thanks.

    Back on topic: Orthodox Jews can't take creation literally, because it anthropomorphizes G-d. How does G-d rest? He has no body, and, if you go for non-Maimonidean thought (popular these days in the yeshiva world), the world wouldn't exist without His constant divine intervention. Ergo, a literal account of creation cannot be true. The Orthodox question is more along the lines of just how allegorically should it be taken, and how to handle the calendar issues. There have been remarkable books written on both sides of the argument.

    -Erwos
  • by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:22PM (#13970562) Homepage
    This is the thing that confuses me. The Vatican supports evolution because it makes perfect sense (evolution never says there is no God, God could be directing evolution). Now I know that the ID people aren't Roman Catholic, but you would think they were the media portrays it. Most stories I've heard have two sides: the scientists/"normal people" (who seem to be portrayed as atheists most of the time) and the ID proponents (who are described as religeous people). Thus all religeous people (specifically Christians) don't like evolution.

    Yeah right.

    This would have been over long ago if in every report about this "debate", the media would point this fact (that the Vadican supports evolution) do dispell this fact. I have to wonder how many Catholics even know this, and how many support evolution and think they disagree with their religion on that point.

    This whole thing is rediculous. Atheists support evolution. The roman catholoic church supports evolution. Just about ever major religon supports it. A few nuts start a fuss though and all of a sudden there is a "religious war" between the "religous" (radial fundamentalists) and the "sane people" (everyone else).

    This whole thing just confirms that old quote (paraphrased): "Evil triumphs when good men stand idly by."

    Note that I don't think that the fundamentalists are evil. But you can't let that little group remove evolution from schools. The "good men" need to stop standing idly by. If even 10% of the "good men" were to stand up and say "No way," then this debate would end FAST. Pure supiriority of numbers.

    -- A fed up Kansan Catholic.

  • Sorry, I misremembered. It's not Wells' theory, it's Ernst Haeckels [wikipedia.org]. His theory was referred to as Recapitualation [wikipedia.org].
  • by hcob$ (766699) on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:23PM (#13970571)
    I've always found it odd that "thinking people" and "people of faith" see their "theories" as the, pardon the pun, God's Honest Truth? I mean for goodness sakes, its a FSKING THEORY (both of them). Now, the good thing about Darwinism is that there is alot of evidence to suppor that theory. ID, most of it is circumstantial at best.

    Being that I do believe in a Single creator (sorry multi-diety people), I've found that the Creator has a PROFOUND sense of humor. I mean, look at the freaking duck-billed platapus! But if the ID people take a step back and think about their religious teachings, they'll find something about being humble. And last I checked, claiming to know and understand God's plan is ANYTHING but humble.

    Here's my humble little theory. The universe was created by "God". He set in motion all that is and has become life. Now in that creation, He also set in motion the ability for his creation to grow, adapt and become better that it's original creation.

    I think I'll coin a term and call this theory "Intelligent Darwinism." The universe was created persuant to God's Plan, and then he allowed that creation free will to grow, evolve, change, and adapt in the way that Darwin has described.

    To paraphrase from Babylon 5:

    The truth is a triple edged sword. There is your side. There is my side. And, there is what really occurs.
  • by tehwebguy (860335) on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:23PM (#13970572) Homepage
    if someone claims to believe to be a christian, but rejects certain parts of the bible, have they not just written their own bible?

    the same applies to every religion that is based on a holy book. how can a book be holy if you write your own?
  • by nickname225 (840560) on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:24PM (#13970584)
    The problem with ID - is that if the people and other animals are too complex to exist without an intelligent creator - well then certainly god is too complex to have spontaneously sprung into existence. You can't have it both ways - either there is a process by which complex objects can exist without a creator or god must have a creator - and if he does - then you have the whole infinite regression problem - somewhere there must be a prime mover...
  • by marcop (205587) <marcop.slashdot@org> on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:24PM (#13970586) Homepage
    I believe in the literal translation of the Bible. I believe that the Bible is God's words (penned by men who were moved by the Holy Spirit) and thus must be followed because it is what God wants for us.

    If we say that it is open to interpretation because it only has some nice stories, then what parts do we follow and what parts are just there as example? This leaves a wide door open for man's imperfect interjection of man's own beliefs.

    For me, I have faith in the Bible because (by faith) I have chosen to believe it is God's literal word. As such, I will follow its teachings the best I can. However, if I believed that the Bible had man's interpretation in it, then I would view it as any other book. For me it's all or nothing.

    BTW, this doesn't forbid me from learning and understanding the theory of evolution. I commend your school for teaching both in their respective classes. As many people here on /. has said - keep science in science class and religion in a theology class. Teach students boths sides then let them decide what to believe in.
  • by alucinor (849600) on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:27PM (#13970613) Journal
    public final class God {

    private God() {}

    public static Universe createUniverse() {
    Universe uni = new EvolvingUniverseImpl();
    return uni;
    }
    }

    public static void main() {

    Universe theUniverse = God.createUniverse();

    }
  • by DataCannibal (181369) on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:27PM (#13970620) Journal
    So, by your argument, forcing integration down the throats of southern parents and school boards was wrong as well ?

    What is the point of having values if you dont try to teach them to anyone?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:29PM (#13970638)
    My literal you mean 6 days really is six days right. Or are you defining 6 days as 5 billion years? Also, I'm sure you've read the latin and hebrew version of the old and new testament. And I'm sure you've also read the king james bible. Having read them and understand the errors in translation, you still hold the story to be literal? Or do you mean the "literal intent" of genesis?

    Some would say "literal intent" is not the same as "literal word of god." Of course, many think parts of the bible are literal, while others are meant to be analogies. The question then is this, "which parts of the bible are literal and which are analogies?" Which interpretation of the "interpreted parts" is the "correct" one?

    The point of religion, be it baptist, catholic, islam, hindu, bhuddism are meant to teach people lessons about living in a society. To claim "literal" is really based on ego and political agendas. Havin a creationist day and go read the bible for once and analyze it.

  • by Roger_Wilco (138600) on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:29PM (#13970639) Homepage

    Evolution isn't a theory about the start of life.

    I suppose it depends what you mean by "start" and "life" :)

    If you read Dawkins' The Selfish Gene [wikipedia.org], he argues that chemical compounds which replicate begin evolution, even if they aren't something that one would consider to be "alive". If the chemical can make a copy of itself, that chemical will quickly become quite common. A few of the copies won't be perfect, and a few of these imperfect copies will be better (faster, more stable, etc.), and will thus make more copies than the original.

    The "start of life" need be only the random coincidence of an amino acid, perhaps one which attracts matching atoms until it is full, at which point it splits into two copies of the original. If you allow that, (and I seem to recall it's been done in a lab, but I can't find a reference right now), evolution will proceed from there.

  • by Dixie_Flatline (5077) <vincent DOT jan DOT goh AT gmail DOT com> on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:29PM (#13970640) Homepage
    It's worth noting that Gregor Mendel was a monk, obviously religious, and now is someone so important to our knowledge of basic genetics that we all learn about him in high school. Scholars of all kinds have come out of Churches and religions, so it's depressing how big a step back we're starting to take. If Mendel had been an IDer, he would have given up the moment he saw two different breeds of peas and declared the whole situation unknowable.

    I've started to notice a different breed of religious person that I like to call the rational religious. I'm sure they've existed throughout the ages, but they seem to be scarce. Thankfully, they're becoming more populous. Of course, these are the people that understand not only science, but their faith and themselves. More and more, I've seen that people that don't understand science don't understand their church or themselves either.
  • by LO0G (606364) on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:29PM (#13970642)
    If it could be shown that a significant change occurred in a species without a series of intervening mutations, that would falsify evolution.

    Of course, the challenge would then be on the discoverer to propose an alternative that would also explain all of the things that evolution describes, and all the experimental evidence supporting it.

    This HAS happened in the past. For instance, when Einstein proposed his Theory of Relativity, he threw out Newtons Theories of motion. But Einstein's theory was able to supercede Newtons theory by including all the existing experiments - Einstein's theory only becomes significant when your dealing with velocities close to the speed of light, and none of the previous experiments validating Newtons theories were executed close to that speed.

    There is a huge volume of scientific evidence in favor of Evolution, just as there was a significant body of evidence in favor of Newtons theories of motion. Just like Newtons theories, it would be quite hard to falsify it, but it COULD happen.
  • by fl_litig8r (904972) on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:30PM (#13970656)
    "This is rather as if you imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, 'This is an interesting world I find myself in--an interesting hole I find myself in--fits me rather neatly, doesn't it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!'"
  • by royli57 (742263) on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:30PM (#13970661)
    Disclaimer: I am part of the 'religious right'

    I don't usually bother to respond in slashdot political/religion debates, because of the strong anti-Christian sentiments here. However, I feel compelled to explain the viewpoint of an intelligent design proponent - I certainly don't think of our believers as rubes or idiots.

    "Intelligent Design proponents no more believe in their so-called theory than any other critically thinking human. ID is simply fundamentalist's latest attempt into having evolution taught in highschool science classes. They have been knocked back time and time again on this issue, and now are trying to beat science at its own game."

    I am sure you meant to say that we are trying to teach creationism in the classrooms rather than evotluion. That point aside, there is a dual argument that the ID proponent has againt current educational standards.

    The first is an attack on evolution itself. It is simply not true that evolution has been proved beyond doubt - in fact, most illustrations of evolution given in classrooms are known by scientists to be incomplete or erroneous examples. Haekel's embryos, Darwin's tree of life, the Miller-Urey experiemnt are all 'evidences' of evolution that in themselves do not stand up to scientific rigor. I could go into details, but I would suggest that you google these topics independently. Simply speaking, Darwin maintained that future science would justify his research and his theory. He thought that the many gaps in the fossil record would be filled in the years to follow. This has not happened.

    The fact that evolution is taught in classrooms as mere fact is an affront to many Americans (85% believe in literal creationism/intelligent design guided evolution).

    The second argument of ID proponents is that we need a system that will offer a view of the rise of life separate from Darwin's model of selective evolution. Although I personally question whether our public education is mature enough to handle an argument that a designer is the answer for the unbelievably complex systems of life and universe, I certainly do not argue against the merits of intelligent design (Lee Strobel's Case for a Creator gives several excellent examples of nature that seems complex beyond chance). I certainly think that it is time a critical challenge was waged against Darwin's evolution, so that people can make a decision on their own. I was spoon-fed Darwin's model of life through high school (from the liberal Bay Area), but came to see its flaws after going into biochemstry at UC Berkeley.

    One more point:

    "Normally I would espouse a policy of "attacking the message, not the messenger." But in the case of ID, the problem is the messenger."

    Yes, there is a validation of ID if you try to attack the message. But just the same, unless you try to attack the message, you are simply closing your eyes to the arguments (and beliefs of a majority of Americans), unwilling to even consider that they may be right. Why is Darwin's theory so invincible, that you automatically dismiss any attempts to discredit it? Have you researched both sides of the Darwin argument?
  • by nickname225 (840560) on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:31PM (#13970672)
    There is a big difference between the idea that people are too complex to exist without a creator, but god is not to complex to exist without a creator and the search for ETs. Once we realize that people are (supposedly) intelligent life that came into existence through natural processes - it makes sense to look for other intelligent life that came into existence through a similar process. It makes no sense to look for something as complex as god which just sprang into existence. If you are telling me god EVOLVED - then I say go look for him - but if he can evolve - then so can we - so who needs him?
  • Re:Exactly! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by varith (530137) on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:32PM (#13970684)
    Actually, according to a whole slew o' fundies, the King James version of the bible was a later divine revelation. Yup, directly from God to the English court. So they feel free to ignore anything written before then.
  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:33PM (#13970697)
    Funny though the FSM thing is, it's tactics could work, though not the FSM theory itself. If the ID thing ever comes to the school district here, I'll be making a trip over to all the reservations and talking to any tribal leaders that will listen. I suspect I'll be able to get them to come and argue that fine, if Christian creation is taught, their creation has to be taught as well (and it varys per tribe). They can also play the all-powerful race card if people try to shut them down.
  • by VolciMaster (821873) on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:38PM (#13970779) Homepage
    Except that there are certain systems which are irreducibly complex.

    Another point to be made is that everything we have observed in terms of evolutionary changes are all variations around a common theme. If you stick a whole posse of different dog breeds together, it won't take very many generations until you regress to the common state of 'dog'.

    Intelligent Design posutlates that someone or something designed a big chunk of what we see on the earth today. It allows for minor changes to occur since. What it does not allow for, just as Theistic Evolution does not allow for in its pure form, is for sudden speciation. The IDer (for sake of argument call Him God) implemented all basic forms of life, including the parent species of everything we see now. some of these parent species have undergone minor changes, in multiple different places, giving us such things as Emus, Ostriches, and Cassowaries. God didn't give us primordial ooze and a spark for the amoeba to start life, and then let it go on its merry way.

    In fact, ID and creationism do claim to be abionetic processes: life was created from non life, but it didn't do it on its own.

  • by Dangero (870946) on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:45PM (#13970872)
    If there is an intelligent creator, then he could have designed us with a mind that cannot understand his infinite nature, or how His presence could be possible. Meanwhile the same is not true if the universe was formed by "random chance". Then you have to ask by the second law of thermo, if no energy can be created or destroyed, where did the energy in the universe come from? There's no valid explanation for that.
  • by cens0r (655208) on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:49PM (#13970933) Homepage
    I believe in the literal translation of the Bible. I believe that the Bible is God's words (penned by men who were moved by the Holy Spirit) and thus must be followed because it is what God wants for us.

    So what do you do when it contradicts itself?
  • by Cpt_Kirks (37296) on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:50PM (#13970952)
    Most fundementalists do not consider Catholics "Christian". They have a long, boring explanation of why this is so.

    From what I can dig out of their "logic", it has something to do with John the Baptist (or so my Grandmother used to say).

    The fundementalists consider the Pope the "Whore of Rome" or even the Antichrist, so I don't them being swayed by what the Vatican says.

  • Re:Exactly! (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:52PM (#13970983)
    I would not put too much stock in what comes out of the Vatican - weren't they in the "world is flat" camp for quite some time?
    What I find ironic is how closed minded "objective people of science" can be. Just because an event described in the Bible cannot be explained by our current understanding of the universe does not mean it should be excluded from being a possibility.
    If you believe God created the universe, how much harder would it have been for Him to create everything in a way that made it appear much older than it is? Is He not allowed to specify initial conditions in His own universe?

  • by AndersOSU (873247) on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:54PM (#13971000)

    It is an empty argument from incredulity

    My personal take on ID supporters is that in their arrogance they believe that they should be able to understand everything that is not supernatural. As a result if they don't get it it must be God's work.

    So they build up this God of the Gaps that is responsible for everything man cannot expain. Then once we get close to understanding something they get all upset, because we are removing some of God's power.

    My blanket dismissal for all IDers is that they are limiting the power of their god to that which they don't understand. My God is more powerful than that and not subject to my arrogent limitations - If He wants to violate non-contradiction He can. I don't know what that means, but just because I can't imagine a world where something can both be and not be simultaneously dosen't mean that God can't do it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:56PM (#13971033)
    First, they didn't write it down. Someone wrote it down and the rabbis chose that writing to be part of the Bible. (Not all books became part of the Bible. Some were rejected outright and there were some that were selected or rejected after considerable controversy but got a majority vote for the final decision.)

    Secondly, you can find out the opinions of the rabbis who did the selection by looking in the Talmud. For example, there was a debate about whether to use the present tense ("boreh" in Hebrew) or past tense ("barah" in Hebrew) for "creation" in prayers that are a basic part of Jewish liturgy. One group argued for the past tense, implying that creation was completed. The other group (and the final decision) was that the present tense would be used, implying that creation is ongoing and continuous. There are numerous other decisions that reflect that view, and even hold that human beings are partners in creation (for example, that the Sabbath is brought on by the woman lighting the candles, not by the sun going down).

    BTW, I don't think there is a functional difference between evolution and continuous creation. Or put another way, there was intelligent design behind creation and evolution is the design.

    There are a lot of other current political issues that are caused by failing to look at the opinions of the rabbis as recorded in the Talmud. For example, the wickedness of Sodom had little or nothing to do with sexual perversion and everything to do with wicked maltreatment of the poor and the stranger.

    You may not be able to directly "talk to those who wrote it down" but you can surely find out what their interpretations were of the writings they selected for the Bible.
  • Wake up (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:59PM (#13971074)
    Wake up and smell the coffee: there is no God. There is no Santa Claus either.

    The simple fact that I have to post this anonymously to avoid being flamed to extinction (both on /. and in the real world) should tell you how much religious blindness and supersition still have a role in today's world.

    I find that scary. Very scary.
  • by schiefaw (552727) on Monday November 07, 2005 @02:01PM (#13971108)
    Actually, if those were only those two options, you would be correct. But, he is not saying that Genesis is a parable and therefore I.D. is correct. He is only saying that the creation story in Genesis is not be taken as a literal truth.

    One would have to think, however, that if you believe in a God, and you believe that God created life, you would have to believe that God has some influence on the shape of life.

    I don't believe in God. But, if I did, I would not think that he/she/it set up life to develop on this planet and then lost interest. That being said, I don't believe that I.D. should be taught as a valid theory because it gains us nothing scientifically. If anything, it becomes a roadblock where once you reach a certain point everything becomes "God's will" and no further knowledge can be gained.

    True knowledge can only come to those who can admit that they don't already know the answers.
  • Re:Exactly! (Score:1, Interesting)

    by letxa2000 (215841) on Monday November 07, 2005 @02:10PM (#13971222)
    As a catholic, I think the Vatican's statement has exposed the fundamentalists' fanatism regarding the Holy Scriptures: The ID proponents are not only going against science, they're also going against the Church that represented christianity for more than 15 centuries - that ought to say something.

    As a life-long protestant who has been attending Catholic mass for the last 10 years after marrying a Catholic...

    Understand that while the Catholic Church almost signularly represented Christianity for over 1000 years, it didn't always do so in a very Christian manner. Quite the opposite in many cases. The Protestant branch of the Christian faith originated precisely because of the Catholic Chruch's poor stewardship of the faith.

    Things are improved today as compared to 500 years ago, but you still need only walk into a Catholic church and a Protestant church to see the difference in priorities. As a general rule, the Catholic churches still spend way too much money on ornaments and decorations and material objects in the church. This money could be much better used for helping the poor and taking the faith to the unbelievers.

    Anyway, I digress...

    That the Vatican would have an opinion that disagrees with Fundamentalists is a complete non-story. These two groups of Christians believe in two different things--otherwise, two separate groups wouldn't exist in the first place!

    I personally don't follow the big bang/evolution/Intelligent design debate closely, but the Vatican's statement is not a blow to intelligent design and it does not help evolution. It simply doesn't matter.

  • by xmartinj (527134) on Monday November 07, 2005 @02:15PM (#13971274)
    From the cited article: 'He said the real message in Genesis was that "the universe didn't make itself and had a creator".' To say there is a creator is to say there is Intelligent Design. It seems like many people who are participating (including the author of the original post) in this discussion are unfamiliar with the correct use of the term. I'd recommend reading the Wikimedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligent_design [wikipedia.org] The article would be better titled: "The Vatican Rejects the Young Earth Theory" "The Vatican Rejects literal Genesis account" "The Vatican Rejectc Fundamentalism"
  • Re:Exactly! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MightyMartian (840721) on Monday November 07, 2005 @02:16PM (#13971287) Journal
    I would not put too much stock in what comes out of the Vatican - weren't they in the "world is flat" camp for quite some time?

    No, they were never in that camp. They were, for a goodly long time, along with everyone else, in the geocentric camp, and that's where the embarassment that makes them far less willing to make grand pronouncements on science than certain religious groups in the US.

    What I find ironic is how closed minded "objective people of science" can be. Just because an event described in the Bible cannot be explained by our current understanding of the universe does not mean it should be excluded from being a possibility.

    The problem lies in the fact that the Bible, when read by someone who has taken the theological blinders off, doesn't exactly read like any accurate historical document, and makes a number of rather extraordinary claims that should require something other than "It says so in the Bible" to be taken as evidence. Do you also think that Greek or Hindu mythology ought to be given similar weight?

    If you believe God created the universe, how much harder would it have been for Him to create everything in a way that made it appear much older than it is? Is He not allowed to specify initial conditions in His own universe?

    Omphalism creates some pretty severe problems for the faithful, because it essentially makes God into a liar. On the emperical end of things, it's a meaningless statement. If the Universe was created last Thursday with the appearance of great age, then science could still function simply by accepting that age and leaving the theological Last Thursdayism claim out of the picture entirely.

    Where you stumble, I'm afraid, is on the idea that somehow science is a quest for TRUTH(tm). It is a search for the best explanation for the evidence. If some uber-powerful being has made the Universe appear as it is by the proverbial snap of a finger, then yes, science cannot find that truth, because that truth could never be arrived at by any rational, emperical means.

  • Designed by WHO? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by trurl7 (663880) on Monday November 07, 2005 @02:32PM (#13971473)
    Guys (and the occasional girl),

    Picture this: your friend Tom comes to tell you about his friend "Bob". Now, you've never met Bob. For some reason Bob is never around, and Tom has never introduced him to you. But Tom tells you that Bob exists, and they hang out, and talk, and things like that. Frequently, Bob will have these amazing things that Tom doesn't, and Tom will excitedly tell you about them. Sometimes Tom relates things that Bob has told him, or opinions he has based on something Bob says.

    Now, what kind of behavior is that? If Tom is 8, we call that "having an imaginary friend". If Tom is 30, he's probably hallucinating, or schizophrenic (or experiencing some psychosis). But....if Tom is 30, and we replace "Bob" with "God", and this is said in the context of "faith and community" then Tom is a fundamentalist christian who has a "personal relationship with God".

    So, what's the difference? What's the difference between a serial killer who "hears voices in his head" telling him to go into McDonalds and let loose with an Uzi, and a drunk frat boy hearing the voice of God saying "You will be president", and staging a couple of wars? It's only a question of degree, yet the first is clearly a candidate for a white jacket and a padded cell, while the latter is the "Leader of the Free World (tm)".

    Ladies and Gentlemen: There Is No God. None. Nada. He ain't there. Nobody home. Get it? Stop using your insecurity and inadequacy, and face the world for what it is - a harsh, brutal, and sometimes beautiful place. It's harder this way, but at least you are an adult human being, not a kid hiding behind an "imaginary friend". Any form of belief that starts out with "there's an invisible man who did X" is utter madness and self-dulsion. This is the 21st century! How did 300 years of progress and science and rational thinking pass you by? ID is crap not because it's not consistent, or because it's not a theory, but because it presupposes the existence of a god. Stop whining, get off your knees, and quit talking to yourself - no one's listening. Whipe your own butt and face reality like Monday morning - it's tough, and you're tired, but when you get up you are a Man.
  • by anomaly (15035) <tom.cooper3@gmai l . com> on Monday November 07, 2005 @02:33PM (#13971489)
    Right. Let's not use our intellect to examine possibilites and then choose to follow where the facts may lead. Let's instead be quick to run to "ad hominem," "straw man" and other approaches that will squelch the free expression of ideas. That's the way to really be a scientist, right?

    Let's be clear. Science, since it deals with what can be observed and tested, is ill equipped to speak authoritatively about origins.

    Evolution provides an explanation of the collected data points, and is currently accepted conventional wisdom when it comes to speciation. As a scientific theory, it may be falsified at some point in the future, as have countless other scientific ideas in the past. It may be bolstered by future study, or merely continue to hold the position it has. None of us know.

    A true scientist will be open to new ideas, test them and evaluate whether they fit the facts or not. If ID is completely baseless, then science can investigate, falsify and then ignore the whole thing.

    I think that it is particularly telling that materialists are threatened by the ID movement. Why do you think it is so upsetting?

    Respectfully,
    Anomaly
  • by slappyjack (196918) <slappyjack@gmail.com> on Monday November 07, 2005 @02:40PM (#13971588) Homepage Journal
    Calling Creationism "Intellignt Design" is basically marketing spin on behalf of the fundamentalists.

    A lot of people see evolution itself as "intelligent design:"
    Some big omnipotent all-powerful robed bearded dude(ette) set up the system, threw a bunch of stuff into the pot, and gave it a good hard spin. Evolution is part of that system. I think that's what the Roman Catholics are getting at.

    The Fundamentalists are saying that intelligent design is the aforementioned dude(ette) waving his arms and making everything wih one big POOF! Which is a nice way to explain things - if you're a little kid.

    Its nice to see the religion of my youth stepping away from crackpottery a bit. I mean, sure, they're still fairly totemic (what catholic doesn't remember the hubub in church when a splinter of the cross came through on one of its tours) and they like big ceremony (but really, who doesn't?) and they think homosexuals are going to burn in eternal damnation forever no matter what; just give them a little time. Its a big slow boat to steer.

  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Monday November 07, 2005 @02:53PM (#13971714) Homepage Journal
    When did it become unacceptable to express an opinion? They are jackasses. Not necessarily because of what they believe, but because they want to force other people to be indoctrinated into their own ways. However, I do think they are jackasses for believing in so-called intelligent design (ever hear the quote about how only a civil engineer would put a waste processing facility right next to an amusement park? or think about your fucking appendix, for that matter?) because it's such an indefensible position. To utilize another quote, minds are like parachutes, they only function when open. Being so closed-minded that you can actually believe that Jehovah put dinosaur bones here to test us is pretty damned lame. Granted, God is always testing people in the bible, which is one reason I can't believe in "H"im; I'm not going to follow any god that fucks with me that much.
  • by Golias (176380) on Monday November 07, 2005 @02:55PM (#13971742)
    My mistake. It is indeed in the fifth book, but still long before the end of the Torah.

    The book goes on to describe Joshua and Caleb leading the next generation of Isrealites into the Promised Land, which Moses never got to see himself.

    Then there's the problem of Numbers 12:3...

    "Now the man Moses was very humble, more than all men who were on the face of the earth."

    If Moses wrote that himself, it's hard to make a strong case for his humility, isn't it?

    Deuteronomy 34:10 makes it even tougher...

    "There has never been another prophet like Moses"

    Since most of the Hebrew prophets came after Moses, it seems strange (assuming that it was divinely revealed to Moses what the prophets would be like) that this line would be written in the past tense... unless it was written by somebody else after the time of the prophets.

    So, in spite of my getting mixed up on whether his death is recorded in Exodus or Deuteronomy, there's no debate that it happened before the end of the five books, which means that he either recorded his own death (after failing to see the Promised Land himself) and the events which followed (not to mention constant references of things which stand "to this day"), or that somebody else picked up where he left off (some scholars like to say Joshua filled in the gaps), or else it was written by some other person(s) entirely.
  • by terjeber (856226) on Monday November 07, 2005 @03:13PM (#13971961)

    When those who believe in Evolution present it and mandate it as a fact in schools, it is an affront to those who believe in Creation

    No, it is in fact not. Evolution isn't a belief, but a matter of observed fact, and as such we should teach it in school. Evolution as the method at which humans appeared on the planet is a scientific theory based on the observed realities. As a scientific theory it should also be taught in school, in science class. ID and Creationism are, along side with Astrology, belief in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy, belief systems with no basis in any observed reality. As such they should be taught in school too, but not in science class.

    There are many scientific examples of data that contradict the theory of evolution that are not explained.

    Eh, no, there isn't. There is in fact not a single piece of scientific data that contradict the theory of evolution. There are parts of evolution process that we do not fully understand, but none of them contradict the theory of evolution.

    It would be best to present multiple theories and state that is what they are.

    I agree completely, and to my knowledge that is currently what happens. In science class all available theories that describe the creation of humans are taught. Alle one of them. ID and Creationism are not scientific theories, they never have been and they never will be, and as such don't belong in science class. If you do not know what a scientific theory is I would recommend you read up on it.

  • by Golias (176380) on Monday November 07, 2005 @03:15PM (#13971996)
    Still, a heck of a way to end a five book trilogy. "Perhaps he was dictating."

    You were being funny, but that's not far off from the traditional Fundamentalist view (both among Evangelical Christans and some Orthodox Jewish sects.) The idea is that Moses was simply writing down exactly what God told him to write down.

    There are at least a few lines in there which can be used to argue that this is how the Torah is meant to be read.

    To me, it's not terribly important. I come at Old Testament validity from the opposite angle: Since I happen to believe in the divinity of Christ, and consider Him to also be the greatest Rabbi in history, the fact that He taught from those same scriptures instructs me that they are worth reading and trying to understand.

    As a non-Jew, the issue of whether Moses wrote them or not matters about as much to me as the instructions to never eat shellfish, never cut my earlocks, and always wear tassles on the corners of my cloak.
  • by The Fun Guy (21791) on Monday November 07, 2005 @03:17PM (#13972020) Homepage Journal
    Evolution cannot be true as it contradicts the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

    Using the same logic as you have used here, it is impossible to separate gold from sand simply by swirling them in a pan full of water, because this would be an increase in the orderliness of the mixture of gold+sand. The mistake that you are making in applying this argument is that you are not looking at the whole system. For every bit of the world that becomes more orderly, a bunch more becomes more disorderly - a lot of chemical energy gets turned into heat in the process of panning for gold.

    However, the theory of Evolution has the basic principle that everything is getting more organized and more complex.

    A lot of people make this mistake. Only the *organisms* are getting more complex and sophisticated... on the other side of the energy ledger is all of the food they eat and energy they expend. Of all the billions of terawatts the sun has shined down onto the earth over the last 4.5 billion years, some dinky proportion was captured and stored as chemical energy, which was then liberated and used by the metabolism of some organism to do something productive, creating heat in the process.

    The organisms are only one small part of the sunlight-into-heat progression. When you consider the whole system, there's no violation of any thermodynamics. Most people who use this argument are operating from an incomplete understanding of thermodynamics, evolution or both.
  • by porcupine8 (816071) on Monday November 07, 2005 @03:19PM (#13972037) Journal
    "All work processes tend towards a greater entropy (disorder/lower energy density) over time."

    However, the theory of Evolution has the basic principle that everything is getting more organized and more complex.

    2. Evolution cannot be true as it contradicts the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

    Exactly. And water cannot be changed from a liquid form to a more stable solid form, because that would also contradict the second law of thermodynamics.

    Oh, no, wait. That's a complete misunderstanding of the second law of thermodynamics. Just like yours. Something can certainly become more orderly and complexly structured, we see this all the time when crystals form, etc - but there is always some tradeoff that increases the overall entropy. According to your argument, just the process of creating a human being, wherein a mass of undifferentiated cells differentiate themselves into a highly complex system of organs and other body parts, would be impossible. And yet women do it all the time - but they have to use a LOT of energy to do it.

    And you can see the increase in entropy in their mood swings.

  • Re:Exactly! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by FellowConspirator (882908) on Monday November 07, 2005 @03:31PM (#13972171)
    While I don't consider myself evangelical, I do consider myself non-denominational -- though I currently am a member of a Presbyterian Church.

    I would consider myself non-denominational in the sense that the term "denomination" refers to the administration of a church and to its policies. Short of any constructive administrative role, a denomination does little more than distract from message about which the church was formed. Presbyterians seem to be a pretty good lot without a terribly obtrusive denominational dogma; but I'm not picky.

    The problem comes with "value-added" religion, where you start with a traditional religious message and then BAM! you kick it up a notch with a feedback loop chock full of co-dependent self-righteousness, reactive politics, maybe even some paranoia, and you've got yourself a born-again rabble.

    In the 4th century, the book of Revelation was nearly rejected as part of the Christian canon. The reason? Too many felt that the book might be taken literally, not as an allegory as was the understanding of the leaders of the early church. Yet, today, their fears are realized in fire-and-brimstone sermons spewed forth like half-digested chutneyby quasi-gnostic evangelicals.

    Mind you, evangelical is typically used as a pejorative, but I think it's safe to say that there are evangelical Christians that most wouldn't lump together with so-called fundamentalists.

  • by JungleBoy (7578) on Monday November 07, 2005 @03:31PM (#13972172)
    I have two thoughts on ID and Genesis, but since I'm posting on the thread late, they'll probably get buried.

    1) The label "Inteligent Design" was hijacked by the Young Earth Creations (those who believe that the years is no more than 10k years old and was created in a six literal 24 hour days. Inteligent design has its roots in Michael Behe's book, "Darwin's Black Box". Behe's purpose in this book is to provide counter examples to current evolutionary theory at the biochemical level. I think it's a great book and asks the right questions, scientifically, about evolutionary theory. Though I think his answers are weak. Basically his answer is: if current evolutionary theory can't explain a biochemical system, then God did it. Luckly, the book is mostly questions and counter-examples to evolution and a little of his answers. It is a very good read.

    2) On the book of Genesis. Christian fundamentalists try to view Genesis from a western, scientific perspective. Which is why they try to see it as a scientific text. This view and culture is so different from the original intended audience that their interpretations are laughable. 15th century BC nomadic herbrew tribes were certainly not a scientific, post-enlightenment culture. The stories recorded in Genesis were intended, in my opinion, to give the hebrew tribes a perspective on who they were, who thier God was, and how they were different from the people around them. Whether the creation story in Gensis is literal or mythical isn't really knowable, and doesn't really matter. What mattered was what it meant spiritually to the ancient hebrew tribes. Anything more than that is speculation.
  • by tgibbs (83782) on Monday November 07, 2005 @03:32PM (#13972182)
    Intelligent Design contradicts evolution on the variability between and among species. ID says that at least some of the variability between species arises from the intervention of a designer; evolution says there's no. So the argument isn't really about the origin of life, but the origin of species.

    Actually, one of the reasons why ID does not qualify as a theory is that it is vague about what did happen. Basically, ID boils down to "Evolution can't explain everything."

    Behe--who's virtually the only real biologist in the ID camp--clearly believes that something like a microorganism was created and everything evolved from there, possibly with some supernatural tweaks along the line. But the ID guys keep this pretty quiet, because if they actually advocated this view as part of their "theory," they'd lose the bulk of their support, which comes from fundamentalist Christians who aren't concerned with how the flagella evolved; they want to be reassured that there isn't an ape in their family tree. Behe was very amusing in the recent trial; the opposition kept quoting him passages from the ID tract "Pandas and People," which he supposedly co-edited, and which makes claims such as "various forms of life began abruptly through an intelligent agency, with their distinctive features already intact," and Behe would have to admit that he didn't agree.
  • by raider_red (156642) on Monday November 07, 2005 @03:45PM (#13972320) Journal
    Never mind the fact that it (The Pentateuch) ends with Moses' death.

    A preacher I know once told me that the Bible doesn't have to be literally true for us to have faith in God. He believed that those who hinge everything on the absolute truth of every word of Scripture are those who really lacked faith. They need something outside themselves to justify what they believe.

    The Bible tells us about God, in the best way the authors knew how, and it represents an evolving view of our relationship to him. The creation story tells of God's ultimate power, and doesn't imply a final result. The ideas of justice evolve throughout the Old Testament. In several place in the Hebrew Scriptures, it is stated that God's judgement would pass to the third generation. In Ezekial, the prophet proclaims that we were each responsible for our own actions, and that a son would not be held responsible for his father's actions. If nothing, this shows that we still have a lot of room to grow as a species, and that God's not done with us yet.
  • by like_pilate (621406) on Monday November 07, 2005 @03:45PM (#13972327)
    Actually, thats incorrect.
    The Jewish calender is counted from the creation of Adam - the first man/creature with a divine soul.

    There is no counting before then (what some would refer to as the 6th day), so Genesis doesn't really comment in any way on how long the creation of the universe itself would have taken
  • by Proteus (1926) on Monday November 07, 2005 @04:02PM (#13972478) Homepage Journal
    Now there are those that will say, "Sure, but do it in a mythology class." Right there, that's an inappropriate judgement that just shows that certain people are afraid to have the debate at all. They feel safer if it is pre-ordained that creationism or ID is a myth.

    Well, I've never seen that particular comment made. From what I've seen, the opponents of ID are largely scientists and the teachers the public schools have hired to teach Science courses; the proponents are typically religiously-motivated fundamentalists. This, to me, suggests that the motivation to teach creationism and/or ID in science class is based in a desire to teach a religious rather than scientific ideal.

    Creationism as a scientific theory has been widely discredited, so why should it be taught in a science class, except perhaps as a historical note? I'd have no problem with creationism taught in the same manner as science references the theory of spontaneous generation. And no, I don't mean mocking it -- spontaneous generation was discredited because it didn't stand up to scientific scrutiny, much as creationism has been. Unfortunately, teaching it this way would offend many Christians who believe in creationism as a matter of faith. I think it's a fair compromise to simply avoid the topic. The unfortunate part of ID is that it's just a "kinder, gentler" version of Creationism.

    I do happen to agree that the controversy and alternate viewpoints should be taught, but such things don't belong in a Science class. I'd love to see it taught as part of philosophy, comparative religion, or social studies. In the latter case, the focus would probably have to be on the controversy and debate to be topical.
  • Re:Theory needs work (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Hrvat (307784) on Monday November 07, 2005 @04:14PM (#13972619)
    Erm...evolution is not predictive because it depends on the actual environmental state. Since you can't really predict environment and its state in the long term, you can't predict how a species might evolve in reaction to that state.

    I guess the simplest example of evolution would be the existence of the "superbug". (you can also look up "Antibiotic resistance"). Bacteria existed for a long time with many different strains. Then penicilin came along and killed off a lot of bacteria, all except for the ones carrying the resistance genes. Now the superbug can multiply unhindered, since the death of competing bacteria left plenty of food and room.
  • by SeanDuggan (732224) on Monday November 07, 2005 @04:33PM (#13972808) Homepage Journal
    Honestly, I'd always heard it as a refutation of those against evolution. If we were created perfect, why all of the redundant systems like nipples for men?

    Now, of course, once one considers male lactation [wikipedia.org], one wonders if maybe it's not so much an evolutionary dead-end as that we just don't get around to using them properly. Personally, I believe God designed us by method of nudging along evolutionary changes. Some things are not ideal, but there's an amazing amount of human development which serves a purpose that we don't recognize. Just look at the people who were saying that humans would eventually have their little toe shrink and disappear over the years... now, we find it's got a crucial balance function.

  • Re:Theory needs work (Score:3, Interesting)

    by itchy92 (533370) on Monday November 07, 2005 @04:45PM (#13972934)
    If you look to the clergy to settle the matter you are no more scientist than Reverand Jimmy in his Waco Texas megabox church. He is just as convinced that the bible is infallable. He makes blind assertions too.

    The difference is this: while there is no concrete or "rigorous formulation", every observable fact leads to this conclusion. It's not called the Theory of Evolution because some guy just thought it up, it's called such because it has not yet been authoritively proven. That doesn't discredit its merit; every field of science generally agrees that all life evolved from single-celled organisms. But since there are still a few holes to be patched up, scienctists refer to it as a theory.

    Now, in my opinion, there's nothing wrong with Intelligent Design inherently. I'm an agnostic (who leans towards atheism) who believes in and supports the theory of evolution, but I also believe ID is a possibility, just not a probability. The problem I have with Intelligent Design is that there is NO EVIDENCE to support it, as opposed to MUCH EVIDENCE for evolution. Just because they are both technically "theories" does not put them on the same footing, as ID supporters claim.

    /* Rant

    Regardless of whether you believe in evolution or ID, god or God or gods or no god, I think there is one fact that no human being can honestly deny: Human beings are logical. Whether we were designed this way or evolved into it, we are a species that possesses a great capacity for logic and rationality (regardless of how or if we choose to use it...). If god/God created us, it would be wrong of it/Him to expect us to forgo our logic -- the very thing which makes us human-- to believe something for no reason. And if we evolved this way from nothingness, it would be wrong of us to stop evolving by not utilizing our abilities.

    End Rant */
  • A Jew's perspective (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AB3A (192265) on Monday November 07, 2005 @05:03PM (#13973130) Homepage Journal
    Having read "Bresheet" (Most English speakers call it the Book of Genesis) for many years in the original Hebrew, and having been through the experience of a technical education, these are my opinions:

    1) The Catholic Church isn't stupid about this issue. They've learned a thing or two since they contradicted Galileo. Basically, The Bible is not a text to tell us what we can figure out for ourselves. It is a text for the purpose of telling us the appropriate morals upon which we can build a lasting society. To assign it a purpose other than that would denigrate the human race's image in God's eyes.

    2) The real miracles are not physical. They are social. The miracles we should be thankful for are when a criminal develops a concience and turns him/her-self in; when a person finds a large sum of unmarked money and returns it to the owner; or when a person reveals the truth on the witness stand in a court of law. Those are the acts of faith that we should all take note of and be thankful for. If they didn't exist, our societies would not last long.

    3) Many people are happy with a very childish God-in-Sky view of things. But for those who seek it, there is plenty more to study in most religions. I am quite content and clear minded about my beliefs. I also don't think those beliefs have anything to do with Science except in an extremely abstract way.

    4) Fundamentalists and cults of all faiths attempt to install a denial of surrounding community in their followers so that they can wrench their flock from the communities and build one of their very own. It's a power trip. There are plenty of wide eyed people who are willing to follow because they do not understand the nature of religion. I fault the leaders of these movements, but I also fault the followers just as well. We all have a responsibility to understand the world around us better. You can't get that veiwpoint from inside a cult, a fundamentalist movement, or even from a nebulous bit of philosophical quackery called Intelligent Design.
  • Re:Theory needs work (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mfrank (649656) on Monday November 07, 2005 @05:22PM (#13973307)
    A few years ago Scientific American had an interesting article about people who had the left and right halves of their brains seperated (last ditch treatment for profound epilepsy). The way they responded to some experiments afterwards displayed quite powerfully how we humans go to extraordinary lengths to explain reality, well beyond the use of reason. Humans are *not* logical, and people who can reign in irrational thoughts well enough to calmly engage in scientific reason are, by a long shot, the exception rather than the norm. I mean, seriously, do you think being able to think logically is something that will increase your chances of propogating? This is slashdot, for crying out loud.
  • by FatSean (18753) on Monday November 07, 2005 @05:37PM (#13973495) Homepage Journal
    So you are dismissing Evolution as a theory because it does not predict what will happen? Goodness.

    Consider the vast scope of evolution: everything that ever did and ever will exist on Earth!

    And you wonder why there is no predicitivty to it. Shit man, they can't predict the weather either.
  • Re:Exactly! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nathanh (1214) on Monday November 07, 2005 @05:44PM (#13973559) Homepage
    I would not put too much stock in what comes out of the Vatican - weren't they in the "world is flat" camp for quite some time?

    No. During the time of Columbus the Church knew that the Earth was spherical and they even had a fairly accurate value for the circumference. In fact, knowledge of the spherical Earth dates back to the Greeks who had famously worked out the circumference by measuring reflections in the bottoms of wells. However during the time of Columbus they only way to travel from Europe to India by sea was around the cape of Africa, which was a very dangerous journey. Columbus had reckoned that the circumference was much smaller than the Church was claiming and that he could reach India by sailing West instead of around the cape.

    The Church was right and Columbus was wrong. If it wasn't for the previously unknown continent called The Americas then Columbus and his fleet would have starved to death before reaching India.

  • by drgonzo59 (747139) on Monday November 07, 2005 @06:28PM (#13974059)
    You are right that traditionally the early church and the present day direct descendants of that Church (Catholics and Orthodox) have never interpreted the Bible literally. Fundamentalism is a relatively recent (compared to 2000 years church history) development.

    By the way, I asked an Orthodox priest once what the Orthodox think about Evolution and Genesis and he said "If the science found that it took place, then it took place and we believe that is how God worked". I was expecting he would say that "The world was created in 7 days" and then I would start an argument with him about it, but his answer left me speechless.

  • by samjam (256347) on Monday November 07, 2005 @06:28PM (#13974068) Homepage Journal
    Or would that be from the fall of Adam, rather than the creation?

    Who knows how long he hung around the garden before then, or what was going on outside the garden while he was in it?

    Sam
  • by CaymanIslandCarpedie (868408) on Monday November 07, 2005 @06:52PM (#13974341) Journal
    Hard to dispute without knowing what criteria use based these rankings on. What exactly do you mean by "predictive ability"?

    To me the "predictive ability" of evolution is pretty amazing. On one hand is idea of common decent. We know "Animal A" exists and we believe it evolved from known "animal C". For this to be true, some unknown "Animal B" would be quite likely as a transitional specices. Some of these hypothosis, and later discovery of fossils which match this expectation shows there is cetainly some pretty decent predictabilty. Now I don't think there has ever been a 100% match to "expected" Animal B, but there would be no reason to ever think such an animal could even roughly be predicted without evolution.

    Another example would be genetic diagnosis. If you have genetic marker X then you will have disease Y. Some of these "predictions" based on evolution are 100% while others have a VERY strong corrilation and this will only increase as our knowledge of these topics increase.

  • Re:Theory needs work (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Mateito (746185) on Monday November 07, 2005 @08:24PM (#13975114) Homepage
    The Fundamentalist response to this is that HIV was developed by God to kill all the nasty homosexuals, unchaste women and all those horrible unbelievers in Africa.

    You can't really apply logical reasoning to an argument built from a fundamental premise that is illogical.
  • by TClevenger (252206) on Monday November 07, 2005 @09:42PM (#13975662)
    I see that a lot. When it comes time to persecute people for homosexuality or premarital sex, the Bible is an "absolute", and "literally and completely accurate." But when fundies are presented with other lessons, like not eating pork, giving away worldly possessions and wearing beards, suddenly the Bible is figuratively true but not literally true.
  • Re:My sources (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Sj0 (472011) on Monday November 07, 2005 @10:10PM (#13975810) Homepage Journal
    I could say that Nietzsche believed in the idea of the overman, and the greek gods are over man, therefore belief in the greek gods is supported by Nietzsche. Nothing, however, makes this statement true. Even if he HAD believed in greek gods, however, doesn't mean that it's true. He'd have to present a coherent, logical arguement backed up by empirical facts to make a claim and be taken seriously. Newton, for example, believed strongly in alchemy, and wrote more than a million words on the subject. Modern man understands chemistry and nuclear physics to the point where alchemy can be proven to be wrong.

    In this case, you unfortunately seem to miss the nature of this science while trying to create an arguement against it. The reason that dynamics can be used in the case of inert matter is that it is just that -- inert matter. You can reduce inert matter to the forces and counterforces which are situationally as perfect as your instrumentation will allow.

    In the case of evolution, you simply cannot reduce the system to such a simple set of dynamics. How do you tell which viral strain will survive the onslaught of drugs and the human immune system? You cannot do this in practice, for the same reason you cannot determine who will become a serial killer in society -- the systems have simply become far too large to model effectively.

    In the case of evolutionary systems, it is important to remember that there is no inherent superiority in any given genetic at T0. Unlike energy levels, where you can see that one part of a system has X joules of energy in a certain potential/kinetic configuration, evolutionary traits cannot be effectively reduced to numbers. To do so is like trying to decide a basketball game between two sides of the same team -- there are so many subtle factors, that the decision is goes beyond a simple numerical dynamic of "This virus is superior to this virus by 10%".

    A piece of DNA which would be beneficial against all other species in one situation may prove deadly in another situation with the same species. A fish growing lung analogues may survive more effectively near the shore because it can climb onto land and get food there. The same fish far from shore, however, is at a disadvantage beacause it has a large, useless organ increasing it's mass and bulk.

  • by schuttsm (929356) on Monday November 07, 2005 @11:55PM (#13976359)
    I posted below MightyMartian, but here's why I appreciate ID (as a fundamentalist)...Please don't shoot me until you hear my points. 1) Evolution is a model with a similar monopoly on academia that the Catholic Church had about 500 years ago (remember the opposition Galileo and Copernicus encountered). There are a few who determine what to believe (Dawkins, Gould, etc.) and everyone else must fall in line with a particular set of foundational doctrines or else risk excommunication. 2) Intelligent Design challenges the structure in place. It must be heard and considered like other Scientific conclusions. If it is not an accurate description of the world, then it will be thrown out, if not then it must be given credence. 3) Creationism has attempted to bring open discussion about the theory of evolution to the table, but has been prevented from doing so because it is wrongly regarded as just a "religion". 4) Christian Creationism is a worldview, just like materialistic atheism and must be dealt with as a way to view the entire world. It must be dealt with on a philosophic and foundational level before the various other issues can be confronted (Evolution being one of those). On the philosophic level, Christianity dwarfs all other alternatives (yet this is outside the scope of this post). I hope this explains my perspective better. I welcome feedback.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @12:34AM (#13976489)
    "Researchers believe the pentateuch was more likely written by at least 4 scholars/rabbis during the exile in Babylon."

    That idea has been out of fashion for a few decades. There are parts of the pentateuch that were almost certainly written in Babylon. But many parts carry the grammar and style of a pre-Hebrew semitic language, indicating that they probably pre-date the formation of Israel.
    Bullshit. "Out of fashion" with who? Bible thumpers? What "pre-Hebrew semitic language"? Biblical Hebrew is indistinguishable from old Phoenician, aka Caananite. There's absolutely no evidence that the "Hebrew" speaking population of ancient Palestine was ever distinguishable from the "Phoenician" speaking population of the rest of the Levant of that time period. Sure, some old Hebrew stories carry this older language in them, but they were assembled and edited in Babylon and probably, later, in the "return" to Jerusalem. But whatever dates back to before the "exile" is in no way "Jewish"; it is polytheistic and "pagan" and was heavily edited and changed to conform to Babylonian-Jewish "monotheism" under the influence of Persian Zoroastrianism.

    Some people have gotten it into their heads that some committee in Babylon sat down and wrote a Torah de novo.
    Nice strawman argument, jackass.
    That's silly. Why would Israelites accept a religion/history unfamiliar to them?
    Why does anyone accept a new religion/history unfamiliar to them? It happens. It happened when Christianity was forced on Europe. Carrot-and-stick inducements can be very effective in "changing hearts and minds".

    We can never know the definite origin of the pentateuch, but it was almost certainly a unification of earlier religious texts and histories.
    Yes, and no one said differently. However, the transformation of these earlier texts transformed their meaning radically into something entirely new. That is the real creation of the OT Bible; the fact that some of the plagiarized source material was older than the newer material is irrelevent and misses the point that something radically new was being created.
  • by MP2030 (854347) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @02:15AM (#13976896)
    None of what parent mentions are predictions in the sense of GP's post. Those are all observations from testing an existing scenario. You only know you'll get a particular genetic disease for that marker. You can't predict the results of a change in general. If you change the dna to have a stop at/near the front of a protein ok you don't make that protein... awesome... but if you make a non-trivial set of changes, what disease or benefit or whatever do you get? That is not really something we're able to predict in the same way that newtonian physics can predict the flight of a thrown object.

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