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14641Re: Unposted quotes: 2002-2004 #6 (was Faith V Law ...)

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  • Stephen E. Jones
    Jul 21, 2005
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      On Thu, 21 Jul 2005 07:12:03 -0000, Chris Doyle wrote:

      >SJ>I doubt that anything I say in defence of
      >>Christianity would make any difference to Chris (apart from the fact
      >>that the deeper things of Christianity can only be understood by
      >>Christians: 1 Cor. 2:14)."

      CD>4. This is possibly true but then what I've said above gives me a
      >rational basis for that. What's Steve's excuse? Steve suggests that
      >only Christians can understand the mysteries of Christianity. That's
      >like evolutionists saying only evolutionists can understand the
      >mysteries of science! [...]

      The difference is that: 1) "evolutionists" don't "say... only evolutionists can
      understand the mysteries of science". They say evolution is so simple it
      can and should be taught in schools. And there was no prerequisite that I
      had to be an evolutionist to obtain a biology degree (which included all
      distinctions in my evolution subjects); and

      2) Christianity *does* teach that "The man without the Spirit does not
      accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness
      to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually
      discerned." (1 Cor. 2:14).

      This is no article of blind faith. It is an *empirical reality* that Christians
      find *every day* in discussions with non-Christians. This is not so say that
      it is a "mystery" that Christians try to hide from non-Christians. *Far from
      it*, Christians like me are only too happy to keep nothing back, and try to
      explain anything and everything to non-Christians, as I have done these 4+
      years on CED. But I have found, not just in my 4+ years on CED, but in
      my 38+ years a Christian, trying to get a non-Christian to *understand*
      what I am trying to tell them about Christianity, is like trying to explain
      the colour blue to a blind man.

      A classic example is so-called "Bible contradictions" that non-Christians
      like Chris trot out. Most of them I can see the reconciliation almost
      immediately without any effort but when I try to explain them to Chris and
      his ilk, what I say gets rejected out of hand as "nonsense", etc, which just
      confirms 1 Cor 2:14's "foolishness" Either because Chris, et al., don't
      *want* to see the reconciliation or because they *cannot* see the
      reconciliation, or both (since they are in the final analysis the same thing).

      It is not for nothing that Jesus said in John 3:3, "I tell you the truth, no one
      can *SEE* the kingdom of God unless he is born again" (my emphasis)

      I am not surprised if non-Christians like Chris scoff at this as incredible
      and accuse Christians like me of improper motives, etc. I would probably
      to the same in their position. But there it is. In the final analysis
      Christianity is a work of the Holy Spirit and can only be *understood* by
      those who have the Holy Spirit, i.e. Christians. To paraphrase the old
      saying, "you can lead a horse to water but you cannot make him drink," a
      Christian can explain to a non-Christian about Christianity, but the
      Christian cannot make the non-Christian *understand* Christianity. The
      only reason we try is we never know in which non-Christian the Holy
      Spirit is starting a work.

      The bottom line is no one is excluded from Christianity. Chris, John and
      Cliff, etc, could become Christians *today* if they were willing: John
      1:12: "Yet to all who received him [Jesus], to those who believed in his
      name, he gave the right to become children of God." Those who are
      excluded from Christianity have excluded themselves.


      CD>Mithras was born of a virgin, the "Mother of God" and remained
      >celibate his entire life. Followers of Mithras believed in heaven and
      >hell. They believed that Mithras would purify them of sin and grant
      >them eternal salvation would be theres in the next life. They drank
      >wine ("drink, this is my blood") and ate bread ("eat, this is my
      >body") as part of a eucharist ceremony. Sunday was the holy day, a day
      >of bell ringing and prayer. They celebrated the birth of Mithras every
      >year... on December 25th. Eggs were also very symbolic (probably not
      >chocolate ones though). Before Mithras ascended to heaven to cherish
      >the faithful from above, he held a Last Supper with his companions.

      Most (if not all) of the above is simply *false* (Chris does not even cite
      his sources) and similar claims have been refuted by me on CED (and on
      one of the evolution-run lists I was on before CED). I haven't got time to
      do it again (I am terminating CED in about 25 hours time). But what I will
      do is say four things:

      1) Leading classical historian Michael Grant (who is a non-Christian), has
      dismissed as "hard to credit" that the first Christians (who were Jewish)
      based their "story" about Jesus death and resurrection on "pagan
      mythologies inventing fictitious dying and rising gods":

      "This sceptical way of thinking reached its culmination in the
      argument that Jesus as a human being never existed at all and is a
      myth. In ancient times, this extreme view was named the heresy of
      docetism (seeming) because it maintained that Jesus never came into
      the world `in the flesh', but only seemed to" .... Subsequently, from the
      eighteenth century onwards, there have been attempts to insist that
      Jesus did not even `seem' to exist, and that all tales of his appearance
      upon the earth were pure fiction. In particular, his story was compared
      to the pagan mythologies inventing fictitious dying and rising gods. ....
      More convincing refutations of the Christ-myth hypothesis can be
      derived from an appeal to method. In the first place, Judaism was a
      milieu to which doctrines of the deaths and rebirths of mythical gods
      seems so entirely foreign that the emergence of such a fabrication from
      its midst is very hard to credit." (Grant M., "Jesus," [1977], Rigel:
      London, 2004, reprint, p.199)
      the only extant writing of Mithraism are post-Christianity, so sim

      2) the only extant sources of Mithraism are post-Christianity. So it is far
      more likely that the threatened pagan, syncretist mystery religions like
      Mithraism imitated elements of Christianity than vice-versa;

      3) that some (not all-the Eastern Orthodox church didn't) branches of
      Christianity *later* celebrated "December 25th" as Jesus' birthday and
      adopted the pagan custom of Easter "Eggs" to celebrate Jesus' resurrection,
      is *irrelevant*. This is *not* in the Bible, which it would be if Chris'
      Christ=Mithra version of the "Christ-Myth" theory was true.

      4) what all these Christ-myth theories (e.g. Christ=Mithra, Christ=Horus,
      etc) theories don't explain is why *Christianity* won. If one of them was
      the original (and which one was it?) and Christianity the counterfeit, then
      why is not Mithraism or Horusism(?) a world religion with nominally a
      billion adherents, as Christianity is?

      Steve

      PS: More unposted quotes. Only about 170K, and a day, to go!

      --------------------------------------------------------------------------
      "Population genetics is less firm, however, than classical mechanics. Its
      chief variable, gene frequency, is seldom measurable in practice; its
      principal independent variable, fitness, can only be guessed because it is
      impossible to determine to what degree survival is a matter of special
      genes or accident or special circumstances. More broadly, an organism
      cannot be treated simply as the product of a number of proteins, each
      produced by the corresponding gene. Genes have multiple effects, and
      most traits depend on multiple genes. The selection of individual genes
      is most important in very simple organisms. That is, population
      genetics is best applicable to bacteria, and it does not tell much about
      the evolution of organs and higher animals." (Wesson R.G., "Beyond Natural
      Selection," [1991], MIT Press: Cambridge MA, 1994, reprint, p.11)

      "Still another need for specification: the term 'evolution' can
      expand and contract upon demand: it covers a multitude of sins, as some
      might put it. First, there is the idea that at least some evolution has
      occurred, that there have been changes in gene frequencies in populations.
      I suppose everyone accepts this, so we can put it to one side."
      (Plantinga A., "Creation and Evolution: A Modest Proposal," 95th Annual
      Meeting of the Eastern Division of the American Philosophical Association,
      Washington DC, 27-30 December 1998).

      "Although Darwin's idea is simple-perhaps because it *is* so simple-it is
      hard to believe that it can really explain the complexity we see around us.
      We may be able to breed cows that give more milk, but we could not breed
      pigs that fly, or horses that talk: there would be no promising variants that
      we could select and breed from. Where does the variation come from that
      has made possible the evolution of ever increasing complexity? Biology
      textbooks are liable to say that mutations-that is, new heritable variants-are
      random. The statement is near enough true, although 'random' is a
      notoriously difficult word to define: it would be better to say that, in
      general, new mutations are more likely to be harmful to survival than
      adaptive. Can it really be true that mutations that in their origin are
      nonadaptive led to the evolution of the wonderfully adapted organisms we
      see around us?" (Maynard Smith J. & Szathmary E., "The Origins of Life:
      From the Birth of Life to the Origin of Language," Oxford University
      Press: New York NY, 1999, p.2. Emphasis in original)

      "The purpose of this review has been to clarify what we would have to
      find in the molecular evidence, or any other body of new evidence, before
      we would be justified in concluding that Darwinism is probably true. We
      would need to find evidence that the common ancestors and transitional
      intermediates really existed in the living world of the past, and that natural
      selection in combination with random genetic changes really has the kind
      of creative power claimed for it. It will not be enough to find that
      organisms share a common biochemical basis, or that their molecules as
      well as their visible features can be classified in a pattern of groups within
      groups. The important claim of Darwinism is not that relationships exist,
      but that those relationships were produced by a naturalistic process in
      which parent species were gradually transformed into quite different
      descendant forms through long branches (or even thick bushes) of
      transitional intermediates, without intervention by any Creator or other
      non-naturalistic mechanism. If Darwinism so defined is false then we do
      not have any important scientific information about how life arrived at its
      present complexity and diversity, and we cannot turn ignorance into
      information by calling it evolution." (Johnson P.E., "Darwin on Trial,"
      [1991], InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, Second Edition, 1993, p.91)

      "In Darwin's time protoplasm was all the rage. Many a scientist was happy
      to agree that he could trace his ancestry back to a protoplasmic primordial
      globule of slime. The gap between living and non-living was one which
      the Darwinian evolutionist was obliged to fill. Haeckel proposed a
      hypothetical precursor to the amoeba, the moneran, 'an entirely
      homogeneous and structureless substance, a living particle of albumin,
      capable of nourishment and reproduction'. The search was on. In 1868
      Huxley, examining mud samples dredged off northwest Ireland some ten
      years earlier, identified a jelly in which were embedded tiny calcareous
      discs (coccoliths) which he incautiously linked with Haeckel's moneran. In
      honour of Haeckel he called it Bathybius ('life of the deep') haeckelii and,
      speaking before the Royal Geographical Society in 1870, maintained that
      it formed a living scum on the sea bed extending over thousands of square
      miles. There was great expectation in 1872 as HMS Challenger steamed
      out of port on an expedition to explore the world's oceans. However, no
      more Bathybius was found. Indeed, Mr Buchanan, the expedition's
      chemist, observed that he could produce the characters of the indescribable
      animal simply by adding strong alcohol (such as was employed to preserve
      biological specimens) to the mud. A specimen examined under a lens
      showed that calcium sulphate was precipitated in the form of a gelatinous
      ooze which clung around particles as though ingesting them, thus lending
      superficial protoplasmic particles as though ingesting them, thus lending
      superficial protoplasmic appearance to the solution. Thomas Huxley's
      sample had been thus contaminated. Although it lingered in Haeckel's
      mind, for everyone else Bathybius died the death." (Pitman M., "Adam and
      Evolution," Rider & Co: London, 1984, p.49)

      "Haeckel in Germany and Huxley in England were proceeding to show
      that as one passed below the stage of nucleated single-celled organisms
      one arrived at a simple stirring of the abyssal slime wherein something that
      was neither life nor non-life oozed and fed without cellular individuality.
      This soft, gelatinous matter had been taken from the ocean bed during
      dredging operations. Examined and pronounced upon by Professor
      Huxley, it was given the name of Bathybius haeckelii in honor of his great
      German colleague. Speaking before the Royal Geographical Society in
      1870, Huxley confidently maintained that Bathybius formed a living scum
      or film on the sea bed extending over thousands of square miles.
      Moreover, he expanded, it probably formed a continuous sheet of living
      matter girdling the whole surface of the earth. ... Haeckel conceived of
      these formless `monera' as arising from non-living matter, their vital
      phenomena being traceable to `physico-chemical causes.' Here was the
      `Urschleim' with a vengeance, the seething, unindividualized ooze whose
      potentialities included the butterfly and the rose. Man was mud and mud
      was man. Mechanism was the order of the day. Unfortunately for this
      beautiful theory wistfully remembered by one writer as `explaining so
      much,' Bathybius proved to be what the microscopists call an artifact; that
      is, it did not exist. A certain unfeeling Mr. Buchanan of the Challenger
      Expedition discovered, as he tried to investigate the nature of Bathybius,
      that he could produce all the characters of that indescribable animal by the
      simple process of adding strong alcohol to sea water. It was not necessary
      to drink the potion. One simply examined a specimen under the lens and
      observed that sulphate of lime was precipitated in the form of a gelatinous
      ooze which clung around particles as though ingesting them, thus lending
      a superficial protoplasmic appearance to the solution. Mr. Huxley's
      original specimen had apparently been treated in this manner when it was
      sent to him. Huxley took the episode in good grace, but it was a severe
      blow to the materialists. The structureless protoplasmic `Urschleim' was a
      projective dream of scientists striving to build an evolutionary family tree
      upon existing organisms." (Eiseley L.C., "The Immense Journey," [1946],
      Vintage: New York NY, 1957, reprint, pp.34-37)

      "In the 1880s Thomas Huxley-Darwin's bulldog, as he was known-worked
      on a newly discovered entity sort of halfway between dead matter and
      living organism known as Bathybius haeckelii. Huxley and others believed
      that there had to be such an organism, and its discovery was no particular
      surprise. Indeed, it was considered a triumph of a general evolutionary
      paradigm. There were numerous observational confirmations concerning
      this quasi-organism. Its existence was not even controversial in some
      circles. But other scientists with the same equipment and techniques, but
      without Huxley's mindset, could see nothing like an organism at all and
      indeed categorized it as purely mineral-which, as a matter of fact, scientist
      now do also. Somehow, background mindset had filtered into what was
      and was not taken to be observed." (Ratzsch D.L., "The Battle of
      Beginnings: Why Neither Side is Winning the Creation-Evolution
      Debate," InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, 1996, p.123)

      "What about the junk that was dredged up from the ocean's bottom, given
      the name Bathybius haeckelii, described as moving, responding to stimuli,
      assimilating food, and considered the 'mother of protoplasm?' This
      amorphous material was thought to be the evolutionary mother of life
      itself, but had to be abandoned when chemical analysis showed it to be a
      precipitate of calcium sulphate deposited when alcohol was added to ocean
      water. Not even a trace of organic material was found. Thus, Bathybius
      haeckelii, like all evolutionary links, came to an inglorious end." (Wysong
      R.L., "The Creation-Evolution Controversy: Toward a Rational Solution,"
      [1976], Inquiry Press: Midland MI, 1993, reprint, p.417)

      "Since `change of gene frequencies in populations' is the `official'
      definition of evolution, randomness has transgressed Darwin's border
      and asserted itself as an agent of evolutionary change. (This process
      of random increase or decrease of frequency is called `genetic drift.'
      Contemporary Darwinism has always recognized drift, but has
      proclaimed it an infrequent and unimportant process, mostly confined
      to tiny populations with little chance of evolutionary persistence. The
      newer theory of neutralism suggests that many, if not most, genes in
      large populations owe their frequency primarily to random factors.)"
      (Gould S.J., "Chance Riches," in "Hen's Teeth and Horse's Toes," [1983],
      Penguin: London, 1984, reprint, p.335)

      "Since evolution is a change in the genetic composition of populations, the
      mechanisms of evolution constitute problems of population genetics. Of
      course changes observed in populations may be of very different orders of
      magnitude, from those induced in a herd of domestic animals by the
      introduction of a new sire to phylogenetic changes leading to the origin of
      new classes of organisms. The former are obviously trifling in scale
      compared with the latter, and it may not be convenient to have all of them
      subsumed under the name `evolution.' Experience seems to show,
      however, that there is no way toward an understanding of the mechanisms
      of macro-evolutionary changes, which require time on a geological scale,
      other than through a full comprehension of the micro-evolutionary
      processes observable within the span of a human lifetime and often
      controlled by man's will. For this reason we are compelled at the present
      level of knowledge reluctantly to put a sign of equality between the
      mechanisms of macro- and micro-evolution, and, proceeding on this
      assumption, to push our investigations as far ahead as this working
      hypothesis will permit." (Dobzhansky T.G., "Genetics and the Origin of
      Species," [1937], Columbia University Press: New York NY, 1982,
      reprint, pp.11-12)

      "Flying is so basic to the lives of most birds that everything about them, not
      just their feathers, is specially adapted for that purpose. Weight is
      everything when working against gravity, and birds' bodies are as light as
      possible. Scientists have figured that a bird weighing more than 40 pounds
      could never fly; it couldn't fit enough muscle into its body to become
      airborne. The bones of other vertebrates are solid and filled with marrow,
      but the hollow bones of birds make them quite light. The bodies of birds
      are shaped for moving through the air without turbulence. Birds have slim,
      delicate legs that can be pulled up under the body and tucked into the
      feathers to further streamline the flying form. It takes strength to fly, and
      birds have very large breast muscles to power their wings. The breastbone
      of a flying bird has a big keel, like a boat, in front. This keel gives the large
      breast muscles something to pull against in flight." (Patent D.H. & Munoz
      W., "Feathers," Cobblehill/Dutton: New York NY, 1992, p.25)

      Questions like these have prompted the postdarwinians to reconsider
      alternative theories of evolution-many that existed before Darwin-that were
      eclipsed by the dominance of Darwinism. In a kind of intellectual survival
      of the fittest, contemporary biology places very little importance on these
      "inferior" beaten ...(Kelly K., "Out of Control: The New Biology of Machines", [1994],
      Fourth Estate: London, 1995, reprint, p.471)

      "Spencer's philosophical dictum that homogeneity passes to heterogeneity
      is applicable to any theory of evolution, as it specifies no method and is
      directly contradicted by the pronounced persistence of undifferentiated or
      homogeneous forms of life; his famous phrase, the survival of the fittest, is
      but reasoning in a circle for, if the fittest alone do survive, then all existing
      individuals are necessarily fit to survive and the eugenists' worry about
      Jukes and imbeciles is futile; they are alive and therefore fit." (More L.T.,
      "The Dogma of Evolution," Princeton University Press: Princeton NJ,
      1925, Second Printing, p.305)

      "The differences between quantum speciation and conventional
      geographical speciation are as follows. ... Quantum speciation is rapid,
      requiring only a few generations. ... The ancestors of new species do not
      include a large proportion of the populations belonging to the preexisting
      one, and may consist of only one or a few individuals. Conventional
      speciation is a process of splitting, quantum speciation is a budding
      process. ... Conventional speciation in its entirety is either guided by or is a
      byproduct of natural selection. Quantum speciation usually and perhaps
      always including one or more stochastic or chance events." (Dobzhansky
      T.G., Ayala F.J., Stebbins G.L. & Valentine J.W., "Evolution," W.H.
      Freeman & Co: San Francisco CA, 1977, pp.198-199)

      "There are obvious difficulties in discussing unique events that happened a
      long time ago. How can we ever know that our suggested explanations are
      correct? After all. historians cannot agree about the causes of the Second
      World War. We accept that certainty is impossible, but there are several
      reasons why we think the enterprise is worth while. First, we have one
      great advantage over historians: we have agreed theories both of chemistry
      and of the mechanism of evolutionary change. We can therefore insist that
      our explanations be plausible both chemically, and in terms of natural
      selection. This places a severe constraint on possible theories. Indeed, the
      difficulty often lies, not in choosing between rival theories, but in finding
      any theory that is chemically and selectively plausible." (Maynard Smith J.
      & Szathmary E., "The Major Transitions in Evolution," W.H. Freeman:
      Oxford UK, 1995, p.3)

      "Unfortunately for devotees of extraterrestrial civilizations, Wetherill's
      simulations also indicate that Jupiter size planets might be relatively rare in
      the cosmos. The basic problem, says Wetherill, is that a Jupiter has to form
      quickly or it won't form at all. Observations of young stars have shown that
      they lose most of their surrounding nebula of gas and dust within about 10
      million years. For a protoplanet to be come a Jupiter, its rocky core must
      grow to 15 times the mass of Earth before the nebula disperses, so that the
      gravity of the core can haul in the planet's immense atmosphere. That
      doesn't happen very often in Wetherill's simulations-which means that solar
      systems where life can evolve without being continually obliterated by
      comets may not be very common." ("Our Friend Jove," Discover, Vol. 14,
      No. 7, July 1993, p.15)

      "This brings us to the last million or so years of the naked ape's ancestral
      history, and to a series of shattering and increasingly dramatic
      developments. Several things happened together, and it is important to
      realise this. All too often, when the 'to told, the separate parts of it are
      spread out as if one major advance led to another, but this is misleading.
      The ancestral ground-apes already had large and high-quality brains. They
      had good eyes and efficient grasping hands. They inevitably, as primates,
      had some degree of social organisation. With strong pressure on them to
      increase their prey-killing prowess, vital changes began to take place. They
      became more uprightfast, better runners. Their hands became freed from
      locomotion dutiesstrong, efficient weapon-holders. Their brains became
      more complexbrighter, quicker decision makers. These things did not
      follow one another in a major, set sequence; they blossomed together,
      minute advances being made first in one quality and then in another, each
      urging the other on. A hunting ape, a killer ape, was in the making."
      (Morris D., "The Naked Ape," [1967], Corgi Books: London, 1969,
      reprint, pp.19-20)

      "As the battle was to be won by brain rather than brawn, some kind of
      dramatic evolutionary step had to be taken to greatly increase his
      brainpower. What happened was rather odd: the hunting ape became an
      infantile ape. This evolutionary trick is not unique; it has happened in a
      number of quite separate cases. Put very simply, it is a process (called
      neoteny) by which certain juvenile or infantile characters are retained and
      prolonged into adult life. ... For you and me, then, brain-growth continues
      for another ten years *after* we have attained sexual maturity, but for the
      chimpanzee it is completed six or seven years *before* the animal
      becomes reproductively active. This explains very clearly what is meant by
      saying that we became infantile apes, but it is essential to qualify this
      statement. We (or rather, our hunting ape ancestors) became infantile in
      certain ways, but not in others. The rates of development of our various
      properties got out of phase. While our reproductive systems raced ahead,
      our brain-growth dawdled behind. And so it was with various other parts
      of our make-up, some being greatly slowed down, others a little, and still
      others not at all. In other words, there was a process of differential
      infantilism. ... The brain was not the only part of the body affected: the
      body posture was also influenced in the same way. An unborn mammal
      has the axis of its head at right angles to the axis of its trunk. If it were
      born in this condition its head would point down at the ground as it moved
      along on all fours, but before birth occurs the head rotates backwards so
      that its axis is in line with that of the trunk. Then, when it is born and
      walking along, its head points forwards in the approved manner. If such an
      animal began to walk along on its hind legs in a vertical posture, its head
      would point upwards, looking at the sky. For a vertical animal, like the
      hunting ape, it is important therefore to retain the foetal angle of the head,
      keeping it at right angles to the body so that, despite the new locomotion
      position, the head faces forwards. This is, of course, what has happened
      and, once again, it is an example of neoteny, the pre-birth stage being
      retained into the post-birth and adult life. Many of the other special
      physical characters of the hunting ape can be accounted for in this way: the
      long slender neck, the flatness of the face, the small size of the teeth and
      their late eruption, the absence of heavy brow ridges and the non-rotation
      of the big toe. The fact that so many separate embryonic characteristics
      were potentially valuable to the hunting ape in his new role was the
      evolutionary breakthrough that he needed. In one neotenous stroke he was
      able to acquire both the brain he needed and the body to go with it. He
      could run vertically with his hands free to wield weapons, and at the same
      time he developed the brain that could develop the weapons. More than
      that, he not only became brainier at manipulating objects, but he also had a
      longer childhood during which he could learn from his parents and other
      adults. Infant monkeys and chimpanzees are playful, exploratory and
      inventive, but this phase dies quickly. The naked ape's infancy was, in
      these respects, extended right through into his sexually adult life. There
      was plenty of time to imitate and earn the special techniques that had been
      devised by previous generations. His weaknesses as a physical and
      instinctive hunter could be more than compensated for by his intelligence
      and his imitative abilities. He could be taught by his parents as no animal
      had ever been taught before." (Morris D., "The Naked Ape," [1967], Corgi
      Books: London, 1969, reprint, pp.30-32)

      "Various contemporary currents of thought have given rise in recent years
      to the impression, perhaps the hope, that the notion of evolution has
      somehow been discredited and that the doctrine of special creation has
      been reinstated and possibly even put on a scientific foundation. There is no
      substance in either view, though it is difficult not to sympathize with the
      layman's bewilderment upon learning that acceptance of the hypothesis of
      evolution does not rest-as he had assumed it must-upon the validity of so-
      called proofs of evolution, most of which are unconvincing or open to
      other interpretations, but rather upon evidence of a different and far
      weightier kind. The best way to explain the difference is to consider why
      we believe that the world is "round" (spherical). ... No scientist need
      convince himself of the truth of the matter by looking apprehensively-it
      might be thought-at photographs of the earth taken from the moon.
      Essentially the same holds for the hypothesis of evolution; opponents of the
      idea, who are so often philosophically as well as scientifically illiterate,
      think it shifty and evasive to contend that acceptance of the hypothesis
      does *not* depend upon acceptance of certain proofs of evolution; but
      indeed it does not. ... . Finally, only the theory of evolution makes a
      convincing story of the fossil record. A man who believes that fossils are
      the remains of organisms inundated by Noah's flood can believe anything:
      no effort of credulity would be too much. ... There are still many
      uncertainties about the mechanism of evolution, and some at least about
      the exact course it took in the history of existing animals and plants.
      Nevertheless, the theory of evolution is scientifically acceptable, is indeed
      widely accepted: it is the product of an exercise of mind wholly different
      from that which gave rise to the moving, imaginative literature of the first
      chapter of Genesis. (Medawar P.B. & Medawar J.S., "Aristotle to Zoos: A
      Philosophical Dictionary of Biology," Harvard University Press: Cambridge
      MA, 1983, pp.92-93)

      "The natural selection of those individuals most fitted to their environment
      is a truism, especially when expressed in its inverted form as 'the survival of
      the fittest', a phrase first used by Herbert Spencer." (Matthews L.H.,
      "Introduction," in Darwin C.R., "The Origin of Species," [1872],
      Everyman's University Library: J.M. Dent & Sons: London, 1972, reprint,
      p.vii)

      "It is unfortunate that Darwin used the expression 'natural selection'
      because it implies a parallel to artificial selection-indeed he derived it from
      the comparison. The breeder of domestic animals uses selection in an
      attempt deliberately to reach a preconceived result, whereas natural
      selection has no such directed end; Spencer's tautological 'survival of the
      fittest' avoids the unwarranted implication. I have said elsewhere in
      illustration: motor buses do not select careful pedestrians jay walkers get
      killed. The confusion is perpetuated even today, particularly by ecologists,
      in the expression 'selection pressure', generally used as an explanation of
      the occurrence of special anatomical or physiological characters, or
      patterns of behaviour; what is really meant is 'predation pressure' or
      'pressure' from some other inter- or intra-specific stress, or physical feature
      of the environment." (Matthews L.H., "Introduction," in Darwin C.R.,
      "The Origin of Species," [1872], Everyman's University Library: J.M. Dent
      & Sons: London, 1972, reprint, p.ix)

      "Darwin was less than candid when he implied in the first sentence of the
      Introduction to the Origin that his observations, made while he was a guest
      of Captain FitzRoy, R.N., as unpaid naturalist during the voyage of H.M.S.
      Beagle, were the foundation of the theory of evolution by means of natural
      selection. It is true that the fossil bones of extinct mammals in the Pampean
      deposits of South America, and the plants and animals of the Galapagos
      Islands, especially the distinct but closely related species of giant tortoises
      and of finches peculiar to the different islands, turned his attention to
      speculation about their origin, but the theory had already been proposed
      before he left England. (Matthews L.H., "Introduction," in Darwin C.R.,
      "The Origin of Species," [1872], Everyman's University Library: J.M. Dent
      & Sons: London, 1972, reprint, pp.ix-x)

      "During the last fifty years genetics has unravelled many of the extremely
      complex phenomena of inheritance, and has shown that evolution by
      natural selection of random mutations, generally of small size, is a logical
      explanation of the origin of the immense array of organisms now and in the
      past living on earth. The theory is so plausible that most biologists accept it
      as though it were a proven fact, although their conviction rests upon
      circumstantial evidence; it forms a satisfactory faith on which to base our
      interpretation of nature." (Matthews L.H., "Introduction," in Darwin C.R.,
      "The Origin of Species," [1872], Everyman's University Library: J.M. Dent
      & Sons: London, 1972, reprint, p.xii)

      "Theism claims that every other object which exists is caused to exist and
      kept in existence by just one substance, God. And it claims that every
      property which every substance has is due to God causing or permitting it
      to exist. It is a hallmark of a simple explanation to postulate few causes.
      There could in this respect be no simpler explanation than one which
      postulated only one cause. Theism is simpler than polytheism. And theism
      postulates for its one cause, a person, infinite degrees of those properties
      which are essential to persons-infinite power (God can do anything
      logically possible), infinite knowledge (God knows everything logically
      possible to know), and infinite freedom (no external cause influences which
      purposes God forms: God acts only in so far as he sees reason for acting.)
      (Swinburne R.G., "Is There a God?," Oxford University Press: Oxford UK,
      1996, p.43)

      Stephen E. Jones, BSc (Biol). http://members.iinet.net.au/~sejones
      Blog: http://creationevolutiondesign.blogspot.com/ Book, "Problems of
      Evolution" http://members.iinet.net.au/~sejones/PoE/PoE00ToC.html
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