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Re: Evolutionary Biology/Flood Stories

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  • D R Lindberg
    ... ID theorists just sit around inventing problems with evolution. ... evolution, the only difference being that the problems you see are REAL problems
    Message 1 of 96 , Sep 24 6:17 PM
      --- In OriginsTalk@yahoogroups.com, Jim Goff <JamesGoff_960@...> wrote:

      > Me: "...it's quite fatuous to say - as you say - that creationists and
      ID theorists 'just sit around inventing "problems" with evolution.'"
      > D R Lindberg: "It would be IF they were discussing the REAL problems."
      > Then you agree with them that there are problems with the theory of
      evolution, the only difference being that the problems you see are "REAL
      problems" while the problems they see aren't. If that's supposed to be
      an argument, I have to wonder why you think you're the arbiter of what
      are or aren't the real problems with ToE.
      Why on earth would anyone think I was the arbiter of anything? The
      people who decide such things are those who know something about the

      > Me: "As I've repeatedly said (apparently to no avail in your case), ID
      theorists argue against the sufficiency of Darwinian mechanisms
      > (especially the mechanism of random genetic mutations) to account for
      life's diversity and complexity. The same could be said of a number of
      mainstream biologists, such as Margulis, Gilbert, Opitz, Raff, etc."
      > D R Lindberg: "What, pray tell, does the alleged Darwin-Hitler link
      have to do with 'the sufficiency of Darwinian mechanisms (especially the
      mechanism of random genetic mutations) to account for life's diversity
      and complexity'?"
      > Nothing, as I've repeatedly said (apparently to no avail in your
      case). The intellectual connections between Darwinism and Nazism are
      worth discussing in their own right, but they have nothing to do with
      the scientific legitimacy or the theoretical merits of Darwinism. So far
      as I know, no one in the ID community argues that they do.
      But this alleged link is the ONLY subject coherently discussed in that
      film that you keep praising which is supposedly a demonstration of why
      ID is better, more scientifically legitimate, than "Darwinism."

      > Me: "Recall that when I asked you what evidence convinces you that the
      macroevolutionary claims of Darwinism are likely to be true, you replied
      by talking about how you were most impressed by the theory's
      > D R Lindberg: "And if you had asked me what part of the plot of a
      movie I liked best, and I replied that I was more impressed by the
      > music, you would insist that I am claiming that the music is part of
      the plot, would you?."
      > Me: "Red herring alert. I didn't ask you what part of Darwinism you
      liked best; I asked you what evidence convinced you that its
      macroevolutionary claims are likely to be true."
      > D R Lindberg: "How many times do we have to stay on this
      merry-go-round where I try to explain what I meant, and you keep on
      insisting that is not what I meant?"
      > Huh? I'm not insisting that you meant anything; I'm merely commenting
      on how you responded when I asked you what evidence convinces you that
      the macroevolutionary claims of Darwinism are likely to be true. You
      replied (as you'll recall) by saying that you were most impressed by the
      theory's usefulness, which suggested to me that you think the usefulness
      of a theory entails that the theory is likely to be true. We can get off
      this merry-go-round when you answer the question instead of dancing
      around it.
      I have already said, in case you missed it in your rush to judgment,
      that there is too much evidence to meaningfully pick out one little
      piece as most convincing.

      On the other hand, just to make things perfectly clear, I seem to have
      less problems with ambiguity and uncertainly than you appear to. I am
      not "convinced" in any sort of religious sense as being emotionally
      attached to one particular answer. If you (or anyone else) have any
      valid evidence to the contrary (incredulity not being classified as
      valid evidence), if you have any other plausible theory, let's hear it.

      > D R Lindberg: "Truthfulness and usefulness are two different things."
      > That was, of course, the point I made when I asked what evidence
      convinced you that the macroevolutionary claims of Darwinism are likely
      to be true, and you replied by saying that you were most impressed by
      the usefulness of the theory.
      See above.

      > D R Lindberg: "(Weikart) did falsely claim, or at least insinuate,
      that Darwin advocated extermination, as seen in the following quote
      > 'Darwin clearly believed that the struggle for existence among humans
      would result in racial extermination.'"
      > Quite clearly, the Weikart quote shows that he was not claiming that
      Darwin advocated extermination. Instead, Darwin believed that the
      "civilised races" would exterminate and replace the "savage races."
      Thinking (as Darwin did) that this would happen does not amount to
      advocating the deliberate extermination of the "savage races." If
      Weikart intended to make the claim you falsely attribute to him, he
      would have never written (as he did in "From Darwin to Hitler") these
      > "Like most of his contemporaries, Darwin considered non-European races
      inferior to Europeans, but he never embraced Aryan racism or rabid
      anti-Semitism, central features of Hitler's political philosophy."

      Then what did Hitler's ideas have to do specifically with Darwin? Why
      does Weikart select Darwin as somehow Hitler's intellectual ancestor,
      rather than any other of those "most of his contemporaries?"

      As I and others have often pointed out, anti-Semitism is a long-standing
      and hallowed Christian tradition, extending past Luther
      luther-jews.htm), through the early Church Fathers
      (http://www.stormfront.org/forum/t569635/), right back to the Bible.
      (Bart D. Ehrman's Misquoting Jesus: the story about who changed the
      Bible and why (2005), pp. 190-5 gives examples of how the early scribes
      altered the text to make it even more anti-Jewish.)

      There seems to be a monumental case of mind-boggling hypocrisy and
      self-delusion at work here. People like Weikart have completely missed
      the point of the parable about the "beam that is in thine own eye." As
      inheritors of the Christian tradition, it certainly behooves all of us
      to own up to our past, instead of pointing fingers elsewhere. How can
      anyone who fails to do so honestly describe himself as Christian?

      > Thinking that races are inferior does not amount to advocating their
      But it's the first step. Look at the hysteria about "Commies" and
      "anti-Americans" and "frauds" among those attacking scientists
      investigating climate change! Is it surprising that this demonization
      (denying someone's humanity, in effect) had led to death threats?

      > Me: "If someone says a theory should be accepted as true on the mere
      basis that it's won a consensus, he's wallowing in logical fallacy."
      > D R Lindberg: "You've said that. Many times. Funny how you only apply
      it in this particular case."
      > Huh? This "particular case" is an example of the logical fallacy of
      consensus gentium; I've neither said nor implied that it's the only
      instance of that logical fallacy.
      What other instance have you ever mentioned?

      > D R Lindberg: "And you do not need to tell me that experts can
      sometimes be wrong."
      > That's not what I've been trying to tell you. What I have been telling
      you is that it is logically fallacious to think that a proposition
      should be accepted as true (or at least, as likely to be true) on the
      mere basis that the proposition has won a consensus. If you agree that
      the truthfulness of a proposition is not determined by majority rule,
      then you should have no quarrel with what I've been telling you.

      Of course. But, do you agree that it is just as fallacious, if not more
      fallacious, to REJECT a proposition on the mere basis that it has won a

      Do you reject the proposition that those who have studied a subject are
      likely to know more about it than those who have never studied it?


      si post fata venit gloria non propero
      If glory comes after death, I'm not in a hurry.

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • D R Lindberg
      My internet connection was playing funny games so I was unable to get back to you about this posting, but I think there are a few points to be made. ... phrase
      Message 96 of 96 , Dec 21, 2010
        My internet connection was playing funny games so I was unable to get
        back to you about this posting, but I think there are a few points to be

        --- In OriginsTalk@yahoogroups.com, Jim Goff <JamesGoff_960@...> wrote:
        > D R Lindberg: "Wikipedia has some further thoughts on this: 'The
        phrase "survival of the fittest" is not generally used by modern
        biologists as the term does not accurately convey the meaning of natural
        > Well, the reliability of Wikipedia is suspect, given that anyone can
        edit its entries. But I think it's safe to say that Ernst Mayr, one of
        the leading evolutionary biologists of the 20th century, wrote with
        unimpeachable authority about Darwinian evolutionary theory (or what he
        referred to as "Darwinism," just as I do). In "What Evolution Is"
        (2002), Mayr wrote:
        > "Herbert Spencer, when saying that natural selection is nothing but
        'the survival of the fittest,' was indeed quite right. Natural selection
        is a process of elimination, and Darwin adopted Spencer's metaphor in
        his later work."
        Have you actually read Mayr, or is this something you found in some list
        of "Handy-dandy quotations for defeating evilutionists"? In context, he
        is much more subtle than you give the impression he is.

        > Nonetheless, if one makes it his goal (as Hitler did) to bring about
        "a more noble evolution of mankind" by exterminating what he sees as
        "inferior races," he can convince himself (as Hitler did) that
        biological evolution - elucidated by Darwin's theory and adapted to
        human society by social Darwinists - provides "justification" for that
        When I was much younger and more interested in theology, I used to get
        into rather spirited discussions with my favourite aunt, who was then a
        very convinced Jehovah's Witness. I discovered that they have their own
        translation of the Bible to justify some of their beliefs.

        It appears that you and Weikart are doing the same thing, slanting the
        translation to support your claim. When I google your expression "a
        more noble evolution of mankind", it seems that half the hits are from
        someone who styles himself "Jim from Vermont." The rest are from others
        influenced by Weikart, such as Coral Ridge Ministries. There are plenty
        of translations of Mein Kampf and other of Hitler's writings on line,
        but none of them come up. Why would this be?

        Is this not the ultimate in circular reasoning? You assume that Hitler
        was influenced by Darwin, then find phrases in Hitler's writings that
        can be twisted in translation to vaguely resemble your image of
        "Darwinism," and then use those passages to "prove" your assumption. As
        I said, I'm sure the same technique can be used to "prove" that Hitler
        was deeply influenced by any prolific writer, from Shakespeare to Little

        If I am wrong, and you have actually done the reading yourself, rather
        than cribbing it from Weikart, can you give the exact source of the
        phrase, with the citation reference?

        But let's look at that passage again. The most complete version I can
        find right now is:
        …the purity of the racial blood should be guarded, so that the best
        types of human beings may be preserved and that thus we should render
        possible a more noble evolution of humanity itself.
        "Purity" and "blood" (as the means of transmitting genetic inheritance)
        are religious concepts, mentioned many times for example in the Old
        Testament, especially the Torah. Is the Old Testament "elucidated by
        Darwin's theory and adapted to human society by social Darwinists"?

        > D R Lindberg: "You may believe you have been chosen by God to
        determine who is and who is not a 'real' Christian, but I'm afraid I do
        not have such chutzpah, and I have to content myself with provisionally
        defining a Christian as someone who says he is."
        > I believe no such thing about myself. But I do think that common sense
        and ordinary powers of observation are all one needs in order to know
        that a man who says (as Hitler said in "Mein Kampf") that "the advent of
        Christianity was the first occasion on which spiritual terror was
        introduced into the much freer ancient world," who scorns Christian
        morality (as Hitler did), who makes the destruction of Christianity one
        of his life goals (as Hitler did), and who (like Hitler) shows no sign
        that Christ is Lord of his life, is not a Christian even if he describes
        himself as one.
        I might feel like agreeing with many others who say the same thing about
        political leaders who start unnecessary wars and approve torture, or
        religious leaders who lie to children about science but, as I say, I do
        not have the arrogance to really judge others in that way. If someone
        says he is a Christian, I am not the one to decide he isn't.

        . . . .
        > You've argued that Hitler was greatly influenced by Luther's
        anti-semitism. If that were so, then in keeping with your argument that
        we should see explicit references in "Mein Kampf" to Darwin if Hitler
        had been influenced by Darwin's ideas, we should also see explicit
        references to Luther. But Hitler mentioned Luther only once in the book,
        and that was for the purpose of citing him as an example of a "great
        reformer." You've also never explained why, if Hitler was a Catholic, he
        would have taken the ideas of the founder of Protestantism seriously.
        Luther was only a particularly outspoken example of the Anti-Semitism
        that was common throughout all denominations of the church since its
        inception. There are however quotations of Hitler expressing admiration
        for Luther, such as this one, here imbedded in a second quotation.
        Adolf Hitler himself was indeed a true (spiritual) son of Luther and
        in many ways was only being logical to the principles set forth by
        Luther in his approach to things. Hitler himself declared the reality
        of this point in one of his speeches saying: "I do insist on the
        certainty that sooner or later – once we hold power –
        Christianity will be overcome and the German Church established. Yes,
        the German church, without a Pope and without the bible, and Luther, if
        he could be with us, would give us his blessing." - ( Adolf Hitler,
        Hitler's speeches, edited by Prof. N.H. Baynes [oxford, 1942], pg.
        There are many sites with similar messages but, since they are mostly
        pro-atheist or pro-Catholic sites attempting to throw all the blame on
        Protestants, it would not be fair not to take them with the same grain
        of salt as I apply to your quotations, and look for further evidence.
        This can easily be found in the parallels in rhetoric between Hitler and
        Luther, too numerous to be quoted here, though I can if you wish.
        Compare that with the weakness of your argument based on one or two
        highly questionable translations.

        > D R Lindberg: "As for Hitler, if he believed in natural selection, why
        was it so urgent for him (and his followers) to do the selecting
        themselves – at times even to the point of undermining their war
        > Within the Darwinian scheme of things, the selecting done by the Nazis
        was just another way for natural selection to do its work. Once it is
        alleged (as Darwinian evolutionary theory alleges) that human thought
        patterns and behaviors are attributable to natural selection, an
        exception can't be made for the Nazis.
        In other words, all human activity is "inspired by Darwinian thinking."
        Do you except yourself then? You are writing these things because you
        are "inspired by Darwinian thinking?"

        > Me: "As Nazi Party leader Rudolf Hess put it: 'National Socialism is
        nothing but applied biology.'"
        > D R Lindberg: "Yes, politicians like meaningless slogans that sound
        good, don't they? The Nazis invented the 'soundbite' and this bit of
        their program was been followed by virtually every politician since."
        > Calling Hess's statement a "soundbite" neither drains the statement of
        its meaning nor shows that Hess was wrong.
        But it doesn't prove he was right. I see "he studied political science
        <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_science> , history
        <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History> , economics
        <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economics> , and geopolitics
        <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geopolitics> "
        (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudolf_Hess). Do we have any evidence that
        he knew anything about biology, applied or otherwise?

        > Me: "To be a social Darwinist, one must first be a Darwinist."
        > D R Lindberg: "I see. So all those supporters of capitalism in your
        country, all those who object to the government being involved in health
        care, all those who support the various wars, all those call for cuts in
        taxes on the rich and in labour protection and welfare for the poor are
        > Not necessarily. One can think that Darwinism and social Darwinism are
        baloney and still be an advocate of capitalism, privately-run health
        care, pro-active national defense, low tax rates (even on the rich), a
        minimal regulatory regime, and minimal government involvement in aiding
        the needy. But one can't be a social Darwinist without first being a
        Darwinist. There's no reason to see any merit in social Darwinism unless
        one first sees merit in Darwinism. The former, however logically or
        illogically, is built on the latter.
        Whether you or I happen to like them or not, those ideas (capitalism,
        privately-run health care, pro-active national defense, low tax rates
        (even on the rich), a minimal regulatory regime, and minimal government
        involvement) ARE what is usually usually meant by "social Darwinism."
        Here, as elsewhere, you appear to be changing definitions to suit your

        Here are a variety of uses. Which one are you adopting here?

        Definitions of Social Darwinism on the Web:

        * Social Darwinism is a pejorative term used in criticism of
        ideologies or ideas concerning their exploitation of concepts in
        biology and social sciences to artificially create political change
        that reduces the fertility of certain individuals, races, and
        subcultures having certain "undesired ...
        * A theory that the laws of evolution by natural selection also apply
        to social structures
        * A social theory which states that the level a person rises to in
        society and wealth is determined by their genetic background.
        * refers to the idea that competition spurs growth in groups,
        societies, and cultures. The survival of the fittest is one idea of
        social Darwinism.
        * Belief that Charles Darwin's theory of evolution was applicable to
        human societies and justified the right of the ruling classes or
        countries to dominate the weak.
        * The application of the concept of evolution to the historical
        development of human societies, placing special emphasis on the idea of
        "struggle for survival." Hitler picked up these ideas and incorporated
        them into Nazism.
        * A pseudo-biological justification which employs Darwin 's Theory
        of Evolution to explain the development of human society and provide
        the genetic reasoning for the superiority of specific humans and/or
        groups. ...
        * A discredited social theory stating that the political and
        economic advantages in a developed society are derived from the
        biological advantages of its collective membership. Producing a culture
        that embraces the "survival of the fittest." This is based on a
        misunderstanding of Darwin's theories.
        There have been a number of commentators who have pointed out, during
        the recent political arguments in your country, that the developed
        nation with the lowest percentage of "Darwinists" (in the sense of those
        who accept evolution) has the most "Darwinist" (in the social Darwinist
        sense) health care system.

        > D R Lindberg (quoting from "Mein Kampf"): "The fox is always a fox,
        the goose a goose, the tiger a tiger, etc., and the difference can lie
        at most in the varying measure of force, strength, intelligence,
        dexterity, endurance, etc., of the individual specimens."
        > D R Lindberg (commenting on the quote): "Funny thing – sounds more
        like a creationist to me."
        > It sounds to me like something gluadys - a defender of Darwinian
        orthodoxy - might say. She keeps insisting that Darwinian theory does
        not mean, for example, that foxes might evolve into something other than
        foxes, or geese into something other than geese, and so on.
        You had better ask gluadys whether she meant it in the same way. Hitler
        was in effect saying that there can be NO evolution (remember all that
        talk about "purity"). If I understood gluadys correctly, she was talking
        about how the definitions would change when and if the animals evolved
        into different species.

        > D R Lindberg (quoting Robert Michael): "The Protestant and ultimately
        the Catholic leadership endorsed the regime wholeheartedly."
        > Other historians dispute Michael's claim. For example:
        > - "The Christian churches (Protestant and Catholic) expressed
        opposition to the attempts of the Nazis to undermine long-standing
        > Christian doctrines and practices.... In the long term, Nazism and
        Christianity were incompatible. After all, the Nazis were educating the
        > German people to see Nazism as the 'National Religion.'" - Frank
        McDonough, "Hitler and Nazi Germany"
        > - "The strength of the Catholic opposition to the (Nazi) regime is
        emphasized by the fact that a total of 400 Catholic priests were
        incarcerated in the Dachau concentration camp alone." - Frank McDonough,
        "Hitler and Nazi Germany"
        > - "The most obvious example of the bitter ideological dispute in the
        Third Reich is provided by the confrontation of the Nazi regime with
        > the major Christian denominations." - Ian Kershaw, "The Hitler Myth"
        > - "The continuing conflict with both the Catholic and Protestant
        churches...amounted to a recurring irritation...rather than a priority
        > concern as it was with Goebbels, Rosenberg, and many of the Party
        rank-and-file." - Ian Kershaw, "Hitler 1936-1945: Nemesis"
        > - "The 'Church struggle' stirred up animosity against the Nazis, but
        had a far less negative impact on Hitler's popularity. In escaping much
        > of the odium the bitter conflict produced, in fact, Hitler was
        frequently viewed - remarkably, it seems, also by some Church leaders -
        as the
        > defender of the religious values of Christianity against the
        ideological fanatics of the Nazi movement." - Ian Kershaw, "The Hitler
        > - "Hitler's impatience with the churches prompted frequent outbursts
        of hostility. In early 1937, he was declaring that 'Christianity was
        ripe for destruction,' and that the churches must yield to the 'primacy
        of the state,' railing against any compromise with 'the most horrible
        > institution imaginable.'" - Ian Kershaw, "The Hitler Myth"
        > - "...however much Hitler on some occasions claimed to want a respite
        in the conflict (with the churches), his own inflammatory comments
        > gave his immediate underlings all the license they needed to turn up
        the heat in the 'Church struggle,' confident that they were 'working
        towards the Fuhrer.'" - Ian Kershaw, "Hitler 1936-1945: Nemesis"
        > - "In February 1937 Hitler made it plain to his inner circle...(that)
        calm should be restored for the time being in relations with the
        churches. Instead, the conflict with the Christian churches
        intensified." - Ian Kershaw, "Hitler 1936-1945: Nemesis"
        > - "(Hitler) realized that it was not necessary to win full control of
        the churches by the Trojan horse of German Christianity but rather that
        > in order to achieve his ultimate goal, namely the destruction of
        Christian beliefs and their replacement by some kind of racist German
        philosophy, the Party should display open hostility to all churches and
        keep away from all church parties, including the German Christians." -
        Hajo Holborn, "A History of Modern Germany"
        Did you read all these books and find all these quotations on your own?
        Did you check the contexts? As I told you, when I checked Weikart's
        quotations, I found a very different meaning within the context of the

        The Nazis found a strange way of "display[ing] open hostility to all
        churches and keep[ing] away from all church parties, including the
        German Christians," by putting crosses on everything (including the
        Swastika - a variation on the cross) and "Gott mit uns" on their belt

        Some of these quotations you like to use are at best questionable. See:

        > D R Lindberg (quoting Michael): "The Nazis, the Third Reich, and the
        SS could not have achieved its genocidal goals without the acquiescence
        of the Churches and the voluntary cooperation of millions of Germans and
        other Europeans."
        > Quite so. The pursuit of acquiescence and cooperation from Christians
        is precisely why Hitler paid lip service to Christianity in his public
        So the question is, why did all those Christians go along with him if he
        was not expressing ideas (such as anti-Semitism and other racism) that
        they already agreed with, that they had grown up with for generations?

        > D R Lindberg: "How can (ID theory) be a BETTER explanation if it
        'makes no attempt to explain' phenomena that the theory that it is
        supposedly better than does explain?"
        > This question arises from your apparent misunderstanding of the scope
        of ID theory, which - unlike Darwinism - does not purport to explain all
        biological features. ID theory simply contends that there are certain
        biological features (such as irreducibly complex molecular machines, the
        information content of DNA molecules, etc.) that are best explained by
        an intelligent cause.
        So if the scope is so reduced, how is it a better theory? You seem to be
        contradicting yourself again here.

        If I come up with a notion (you can't really call Intelligent Design a
        theory) that gravity cannot explain everything about motion, and stop
        there, do you think I would get much agreement on the proposition that
        it's a BETTER theory than gravity, not matter how many "explanatory
        filters" I threw in?

        > D R Lindberg: "Actually, I did read through Dembski's Design
        Inference...or at least the parts that he said were needed to understand
        his thesis.... As I understand him, he claims that anything that cannot
        be explained by regularity OR chance, must be explained by design. He
        allows no other options. So by definition, he has ruled out any
        possibility of anything being explained by evolution, which involves
        regularity (natural selection) AND chance (mutation). Sort of like
        stacking the deck, isn't it?"
        > You've misunderstood Dembski; he does not "(rule) out any possibility
        of anything being explained by evolution, which involves regularity
        (natural selection) AND chance (mutation)." In "The Design Revolution"
        (p. 92), he wrote:
        > "Critics object that in distinguishing chance and necessity, the
        (explanatory) filter fails to account for the joint action of chance and
        necessity, especially as these play out in the Darwinian mechanism of
        natural selection (the necessity component) and random variation (the
        chance component). In particular, the Darwinian mechanism is supposed to
        deliver all the biological complexity that the filter attributes to
        design. If correct, this objection would overthrow the explanatory
        filter. But it is not correct. I approach chance and necessity as a
        probabilist for whom necessity is a special case of chance in which
        probabilities collapse to zero and one. (Think of a double-headed coin:
        what is the probability that it will land heads? What is the probability
        that it will land tails?) Chance as I characterize it thus includes
        necessity, chance (as it is ordinarily used) and the combination of
        these. The filter could therefore be compressed by assimilating the
        necessity node into the chance nodes, though at the expense of making
        the filter less user-friendly. At any rate, the filter is robust and
        fully applicable to evaluating the claims of Darwinism." [End quote]
        I wonder whether it is possible to find an English translation of that

        > D R Lindberg: "And another thing that occurred to me: even if
        (Dembski's) mathematical musings were correct, he mentions no
        experimental evidence that they relate to the workings of the real
        > Why should that bother someone who sees merit in computer simulations
        of evolution - simulations for which there is no experimental evidence
        showing that they relate to the workings of the real world?
        I don't remember ever mentioning computer simulations, or having thought
        much about them. As I understand it, they are usually used to analyse
        and extrapolate from various findings and scenarios, and to compare the
        results with the real world. They are also used for teaching concepts,

        How exactly has Dembski's "filter" been tested? What has it been used
        for? How has it been applied?

        > Me: "One doesn't need to be a 'Moslem-baiter' to understand what a
        monumentally bad idea it is to build a Muslim mosque near Ground Zero."
        > D R Lindberg: "You or I may not think it a brilliant idea, but it is
        their constitutional right to freedom of religion, one of the supposed
        > for the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere."
        > I've neither said nor implied that Muslims don't have the
        constitutional right to freedom of religion. But in exercising that
        right, the Muslims planning to build a mosque near Ground Zero are
        behaving provocatively, insensitively, and stupidly. It's almost as if
        they intend to inflame passions against Islam. If they had any common
        sense, or a sense of decency, or any respect for the families who lost
        loved ones in the World Trade center attack, they'd build the mosque

        They're not "planning to build a mosque." They're renovating a community
        centre, one that has been there, I understand, since the 1800s.

        You failed to answer my question about whether you think all Christians
        should be kept away from the site of the Oklahoma City bombing. After
        all, what's sauce for the goose. . .

        What about the Muslim families who also lost loved ones in the attack?
        What about the mosques in the Trade Center that were destroyed? Funny
        how these details are not mentioned.

        And why is there so much fuss about this community centre (it's not a
        mosque that's proposed), and not about the mosque in the Pentagon, which
        was also attacked?


        > D R Lindberg: "Could you be more specific as to what you mean by
        'obfuscatory use of that weasel word "evolution" by proselytizers for
        > Darwinian philosopher of science Michael Ruse provided an example of
        what I mean when he declared that "Evolution is a FACT, FACT, FACT!"
        Well, perhaps it is, but what in the world does he mean by "evolution"?
        Do you have a context if you want me to explain?

        Actually, I see that the book is in our university library, but is out
        just now. I'll try to get it and take a look and get back to you.

        But I think that any scientist (well, 99.987% if you insist) will tell
        you that evolution is a fact. Why do you find his sentences particularly
        "obfuscatory"? I think your use of the word "proselytizers " is more
        obfuscatory, if anything, since you are trying to pretend that a
        scientific theory is a religion.

        > D R Lindberg: "Has teaching science now become 'proselytizing' by your
        > No, in most instances the teaching of science is not proselytizing.
        But the teaching of Darwinian theory - teaching that brooks no
        criticisms of the theory - quite clearly is. Teaching of that kind
        amounts to indoctrination, not education.
        I assume that you are referring to high school, but just how much
        criticism of anything taught in high school gets much criticism. In
        fact, in a world where the majority of graduates don't know whether an
        electron is larger than a molecule, or vice versa, or whether the sun
        goes around the earth, or vice versa, and how long it takes, how much
        time is there for criticism of anything? Judging by the level of
        discussion on these sites, very few people have the minimal
        understanding of evolution needed to appreciate any criticisms of it,
        especially since it is normally not really taught until people have two
        or three years of university biology under their belts.
        How much time did you spend in high school discussing "criticisms" of
        quantum mechanics and relativity or string theory?

        In short, this is a pretty bogus argument.

        > D R Lindberg: "...at least my measly little evidence is enough to show
        that we might have reason to hesitate to accept the word of those who
        claim that 'Global warming is nothing but a hoax and a scare tactic,' or
        that we are now experiencing 'global cooling.'"
        > Yes, but my focus has always been on the theory of anthropogenic
        warming (AGW), and on how illogical it is to accept that theory (or any
        other theory) on the mere basis that it's won a consensus among
        scientists. Your "measly little evidence" lends support to the
        hypothesis that the Earth is warming, but it does nothing to
        substantiate the theory of AGW.
        It has been established that increased CO2 causes warming.

        It has been calculated how much warming should be expected, given the
        increased levels of CO2 found in the atmosphere.

        These increases pretty well match the increased amount of CO2 produced
        by human activities over the past couple of centuries.

        The increases in temperature seen around the world pretty well match the
        calculations given above.

        Other predictions of the model, such as increases in extreme weather
        events, larger termperature increases around the Arctic, etc., etc., are
        reflected in items reported in the daily news.

        All of this is a coincidence?

        Might it not be prudent to take preventive action just in case it isn't
        a coincidence? Especially since many of these measures (turning off
        lights, turning the thermostat down in winter, up in summer, and
        adjusting your clothing in consequence, driving less, and more
        intelligently, etc., etc., etc) would in themselves save us money and in
        some cases lives, and maybe improve our health (such as walking more)?

        Does it make sense to refuse to look at the evidence, but rather throw
        up a wall of sound about "left-wing, socialist, anti-American,
        anti-business, anti-Christian" hobgoblins?

        > D R Lindberg: "'There is (is not) a consensus, therefore
        evolution/global warming/whatever is (is not) true.' This is not the
        kind of logic that science works on."
        > I've never said that it is. I've instead said that it's illogical -
        for scientists or for anyone else - to accept that a scientific theory
        is true (or at least, likely to be true) on the mere basis that the
        theory has won a consensus among scientists.

        No, scientists accept a theory on the basis of the evidence.

        But for those of us who do not have easy access to the evidence or the
        expertise to evaluate it if we did, what do you suggest?


        What amuses me about it is that the very idea of a "genetically pure
        master race", is anti-evolutionary. Evolution **depends** on genetic
        diversity, and cannot work without it.

        Any "genetically pure master race" would suffer the same fate as
        a monocultured wheat field when faced with a disease or parasite. Its
        future would be short, and its demise certain.

        "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank


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