I'm from Missouri

This site is named for the famous statement of US Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver from Missouri : "I`m from Missouri -- you'll have to show me." This site is dedicated to skepticism of official dogma in all subjects. Just-so stories are not accepted here. This is a site where controversial subjects such as evolution theory and the Holocaust may be freely debated.

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

My biggest motivation for creating my own blogs was to avoid the arbitrary censorship practiced by other blogs and various other Internet forums. Censorship will be avoided in my blogs -- there will be no deletion of comments, no closing of comment threads, no holding up of comments for moderation, and no commenter registration hassles. Comments containing nothing but insults and/or ad hominem attacks are discouraged. My non-response to a particular comment should not be interpreted as agreement, approval, or inability to answer.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The hypocrisy of theistic evolutionism

A New Republic article by Jerry Coyne says of theistic evolutionists Karl Giberson and Kenneth Miller, authors of Saving Darwin and Only a Theory respectively,

Together, "Saving Darwin" and "Only a Theory" provide an edifying summary of the tenets and the flaws of modern creationism, the former dealing mainly with its history and the latter with its specious claims. If these books stopped there, they would raise a valuable alarm about the dangers facing American science and culture. But in the end their sincere but tortuous efforts to find the hand of God in evolution lead them to solutions that are barely distinguishable from the creationism that they deplore . . .(page 1)

If rational scientific evolution theory is sufficient to explain the diversity of life, then why did Giberson and Miller find it necessary to add a supernatural explanation, "the hand of God"?
.
. . . . Miller opts for theology. Although his new book does not say how God ensured the arrival of Homo sapiens, Miller was more explicit in "Finding Darwin's God." There he suggested that the indeterminacy of quantum mechanics allows God to intervene at the level of atoms, influencing events on a larger scale:

The indeterminate nature of quantum events would allow a clever and subtle God to influence events in ways that are profound, but scientifically undetectable to us. Those events could include the appearance of mutations, the activation of individual neurons in the brain, and even the survival of individual cells and organisms affected by the chance processes of radioactive decay.

In other words, God is a Mover of Electrons, deliberately keeping his incursions into nature so subtle that they're invisible. It is baffling that Miller, who comes up with the most technically astute arguments against irreducible complexity, can in the end wind up touting God's micro-editing of DNA. This argument is in fact identical to that of Michael Behe, the ID advocate against whom Miller testified in the Harrisburg trial[Kitzmiller v. Dover].(emphasis added) It is another God-of-the-gaps argument, except that this time the gaps are tiny.
. . . .(page 4)

The idea that "Goddidit" is synonymous with the idea of "God-of-the-gaps."

I have wondered why Michael Behe's Intelligent Design is often considered to be a violation of the constitutional principle of separation of church and state while Kenneth Miller's theistic evolutionism is not, even though the two are often virtually indistinguishable.

Although Giberson and Miller see themselves as opponents of creationism, in devising a compatibility between science and religion they finally converge with their opponents. In fact, they exhibit at least three of the four distinguishing traits of creationists: belief in God, the intervention of God in nature, and a special role for God in the evolution of humans. They may even show the fourth trait, a belief in irreducible complexity, by proposing that a soul could not have evolved, but was inserted by God . . .

Accepting both science and conventional faith leaves you with a double standard: rational on the origin of blood clotting, irrational on the Resurrection; rational on dinosaurs, irrational on virgin births. Without good cause, Giberson and Miller pick and choose what they believe. At least the young-earth creationists are consistent, for they embrace supernatural causation across the board.
(page 6)

Maybe this "double standard" could be called "Cafeteria Christianity." Anyway, I don't agree with Coyne's notion that all criticisms of evolution are irrational.
.

Labels:

27 Comments:

Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

I just discovered that "Cafeteria Christianity" is a real term -- Wikipedia has an article about it.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009 12:36:00 AM  
Anonymous dootland said...

COYNE: The facts are these: you may find religion without creationism, but you will never find creationism without religion

Coyne has no idea what he's talking about. You very well can have creationism without religion, all it takes is asking the question "where did the elements (carbon, nitrogen etc) in a tree come from and could a mindless precess cause these elements to form themselves into a tree?"

Honest reflection with applied common sense says non-living, blind, mindles matter cannot form itself into an organism capable of life and reproduction. It just ain't so.

LARRY: why did Giberson and Miller find it necessary to a add a supernatural explanation...?

Answer: so they can reject God's word without appearing to do so.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009 10:57:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

I removed the typo "a" from one of the sentences you quoted.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009 11:32:00 AM  
Anonymous Gandalf said...

> Honest reflection with applied common sense says non-living, blind, mindles matter cannot form itself into an organism capable of life and reproduction. It just ain't so. <

So it was created by God. Who created God? What problem have you solved by inventing him?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009 6:27:00 PM  
Blogger Jim Sherwood said...

Theists hold, in a perfectly rational manner, that God is self-existent and thus didn't need to be created. I'm not exactly a theist, my views are more or less Buddhist. But I am suprised that those who apparently cherish atheistic materialism as their religion, would ask such a silly question as "who created God?"

Wednesday, January 28, 2009 7:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Michael said...

One of the reasons some ask, "who created God" is their way of saying, if it's not natural it doesn't exist.

Thursday, January 29, 2009 1:29:00 AM  
Anonymous dootland said...

GANDALF: So it was created by God. Who created God? What problem have you solved by inventing him?

Well Gandalf, I basically have 2 choices to choose from concerning the origin of life: (1) matter has always existed and has always been in motion or (2) God has always existed and created matter.

It's either one of the two, and since I find it ridiculous to the extreme that matter can self-organize itself into complex entities I can but only choose God.

I did not invent God. It is a logical conclusion based on the reality of the existence of matter and the observation of how it is arranged into fantastic complexities of design and workmanship.

Thursday, January 29, 2009 4:26:00 AM  
Anonymous Gandalf said...

> I did not invent God. It is a logical conclusion based on the reality of the existence of matter and the observation of how it is arranged into fantastic complexities of design and workmanship.<

I find it ridiculous to the extreme that matter can self-organize itself into complex entities such as God. It is much more believable that he was created by people desperate to understand things beyond their own limited intelligence.

Thursday, January 29, 2009 6:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The triumphant question "Who created God," is an indicator that the university system has become little more than a failure when it comes to a liberal education. This is (or should be) Philosophy 101 stuff, folks. To ask the question as if it were some kind of stumper, far from representing a moment of argumentative triumph, instead indicates a deep philosophical ignorance on the part of the questioner. Honestly, it's pathetic, and would have been considered embarrassing in more intellectually civilized eras.

I'll lurk to enjoy all of the hootin' and hollerin' as a result of this comment, but will not dialog with anyone so intellectually lazy as to expect a philosophical education in a blog comment.

Larry, keep up the good work!

Thursday, January 29, 2009 9:40:00 AM  
Anonymous dootland said...

It is much more believable that he was created by people desperate to understand things beyond their own limited intelligence

Ah, the tired old arrogance founded upon human pride: desperate, stupid people unenlightened by the latest scientific theories are too unsophisticated to understand materialistic philosophy thus they use God as an excuse to explain the inexplicable.

My conclusion that there is a God is not caused by desperation, duress, threat, fear, ignorance, stupidity nor any other "fling words" tossed at believers to disparage their ideas; no, my conclusions are based upon the consideration of the evidence around me.

Thursday, January 29, 2009 12:43:00 PM  
Blogger Jim Sherwood said...

Right, dootland. There are certainly many impressive reasons for believing in God.

For instance, why do material objects, and electrons, obey natural laws? What compels them to obey any laws at all?

An omnipotent and omniscient God could create the laws in the first place, and because of His omnipotence, cause them to be obeyed.

That's a very impressive argument, actually.

I also find Michael's suggestion to be a very good one.

Thursday, January 29, 2009 2:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Gandalf said...

Anonymous snorted:

> To ask the question as if it were some kind of stumper, far from representing a moment of argumentative triumph, instead indicates a deep philosophical ignorance on the part of the questioner. <

Anonymous, if you don't know, why not just admit it? Clearly none of the deists on this board have an answer so they have to blow smoke.

Jim Sherwood's inept circular argument is below even his standard:

> For instance, why do material objects, and electrons, obey natural laws? What compels them to obey any laws at all?<

> An omnipotent and omniscient God could create the laws in the first place, and because of His omnipotence, cause them to be obeyed. <

The material objects and electrons need no compulsion to obey omnipotent natural laws. They don't need an imaginary deity to do so.

Thursday, January 29, 2009 3:35:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Due to the flood of comments this blog is now receiving, I have decided -- on an experimental basis -- to turn off comment moderation in order to speed up dialog.

The comment rules are simple: no gossip about private affairs, no lies about objective facts (e.g., saying that Judge Jones said that he was going to follow the law when he actually said that the Dover school board election results would not affect his decision), no comments containing nothing but insults and/or ad hominem attacks, etc.. If I get any more comments like those, I am going to turn on comment moderation again.

Also, unlike a lot of other bloggers, I have never banned a commenter. All comments have been considered on a case-by-case basis.

Thursday, January 29, 2009 4:19:00 PM  
Blogger Jim Sherwood said...

David Berlinski discusses some of these questions in detail in his book The Devil's Delusion: Atheism And Its Scientific Pretensions. Reading it might help to educate some of the dogmatic materialists and philosophically unsophisticated Darwin-fans who comment here; although that is probably too much to expect.

Thursday, January 29, 2009 6:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

An omnipotent and omniscient God could create the laws in the first place, and because of His omnipotence, cause them to be obeyed.

So, if electrons were to turn left against a red arrow, they could be severely punished, is that right?

And they are so obedient! They always wait for the green arrow. Always!

Thursday, January 29, 2009 9:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Voice in the Urbanness said...

> no lies about objective facts (e.g., saying that Judge Jones said that he was going to follow the law when he actually said that the Dover school board election results would not affect his decision) <

That is a lie about an objective fact. In saying that the Dover school board decision would not afect his decision he was saying that he would go by the law. The law doesn't allow him to take into account election results. What part of this simple fact do you not understand?

> If I get any more comments like those, I am going to turn on comment moderation again. <

I am sure that if you find yourself losing arguments, which is inevitable, you will turn it on again.

> Also, unlike a lot of other bloggers, I have never banned a commenter. <

What happened to VIW?

Friday, January 30, 2009 9:56:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Comment moderation has been off for only a few hours and already the trolls are back in force. These trolls have been trying for years to sabotage this blog because they see it as a big threat to their dogma.

ViU barfed,
>>>>>> In saying that the Dover school board decision would not afect his decision he was saying that he would go by the law. <<<<<<<

But according to you, he didn't say that the election results would not affect his decision -- he only said that he would follow the law. I argued that saying the election results would not affect his decision was improper legal advice to the board because it implied that repeal of the ID policy would not affect his decision and that such an implication could have affected the board's decision on whether to repeal the ID policy. To duck that argument, you just kept repeating over and over again -- like a broken record -- that he only said that he was going to follow the law. You are not fooling anybody -- and I am not going to let you mess up this blog again with that kind of crap.

>>>>> Also, unlike a lot of other bloggers, I have never banned a commenter. <

What happened to VIW? <<<<<<

I warned you about lying about objective facts, dunghill. If you want your comments to remain on this blog, don't try that again.

Friday, January 30, 2009 2:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Voice in the Urbanness said...

> These trolls have been trying for years to sabotage this blog because they see it as a big threat to their dogma. <

To the contrary, your blog does more to discredit the anti-darwinists than any on the net.

> But according to you, he didn't say that the election results would not affect his decision <

That is an outright lie and, in accordance with your claimed standards, your reply should be banned.

> I argued that saying the election results would not affect his decision was improper legal advice <

Making a statement of fact is not giving legal advice at all.

You seem to want to beat this into the ground under the theory that a bad argument repeated a sufficient number of times will be good. Sorry. It won't.

>>>>> Also, unlike a lot of other bloggers, I have never banned a commenter. <

What happened to VIW? <<<<<<

> I warned you about lying about objective facts <

How can asking you a straight question be considered "lying about objective facts"?

Friday, January 30, 2009 5:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Gandalf said...

Voice said:
>> But according to you, he didn't say that the election results would not affect his decision <<

Larry replied:
> That is an outright lie and, in accordance with your claimed standards, your reply should be banned.<

Larry's statement should not be called a lie. It is really a misinterpretation, much like a lot of what he posts.

Larry said:
>> I argued that saying the election results would not affect his decision was improper legal advice <<

Voice replied:
> Making a statement of fact is not giving legal advice at all. <

I would have to agree. While the board may react to statements of fact, that does not make them legal advice. Where would you draw the line? You could say that if they decided to delay their meeting due to a forecast storm, by your standard, the weatherman was giving legal advice.

Voice asked:
>> What happened to VIW? <<<<<<

Larry blurted:
> I warned you about lying about objective facts <

To which Voice reasonably asked:
> How can asking you a straight question be considered "lying about objective facts"? <

Did Voice ever claim that you had banned VIW? If not, your response to this seems quite odd. You seem to repeat your arguments on end yet you do not in this case. If it is your claim that you did not ban VIW, why not just state it?

Not everyone reading this blog is aware of everything that has gone before. Please keep this in mind.

Friday, January 30, 2009 6:47:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Voice in the Wilderness barfed,
>>>>>> These trolls have been trying for years to sabotage this blog because they see it as a big threat to their dogma. <

To the contrary, your blog does more to discredit the anti-darwinists than any on the net. <<<<<<<<

If you really believed that, you would be trying to promote this blog, not sabotage it.

>>>>>> But according to you, he didn't say that the election results would not affect his decision <

That is an outright lie <<<<<<

You quote-mined me, dunghill. Here is my complete statement: "But according to you, he didn't say that the election results would not affect his decision -- he only said that he would follow the law." You just kept repeating over and over again that he said that he would follow the law, while ignoring my claim that he really said that the election results would not affect his decision. So for all practical purposes, according to you he didn't say that the election results would not affect his decision.

>>>>>>> I argued that saying the election results would not affect his decision was improper legal advice <

Making a statement of fact is not giving legal advice at all. <<<<<<<

You quote-mined me again, dunghill. Here is my complete statement: "I argued that saying the election results would not affect his decision was improper legal advice to the board because it implied that repeal of the ID policy would not affect his decision and that such an implication could have affected the board's decision on whether to repeal the ID policy." The issue was whether making that implication was improperly giving legal advice.

>>>>> You seem to want to beat this into the ground under the theory that a bad argument repeated a sufficient number of times will be good. <<<<<<

You are the one who is beating this into the ground, dunghill. You are trying to win an argument by quote-mining your opponent. I won this argument a long time ago.

>>>>>> How can asking you a straight question be considered "lying about objective facts"?<<<<<<<

If you mention ViW again -- directly or indirectly -- your comment will be deleted.

Friday, January 30, 2009 7:03:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Gandalf said,
>>>>>>
Voice said:
>> But according to you, he didn't say that the election results would not affect his decision <<

Larry replied:
> That is an outright lie and, in accordance with your claimed standards, your reply should be banned.
<<<<<<<<

Gandalf, you have the authors of those statements reversed -- I wrote the first statement and Voice wrote the second.

>>>>>> Larry's statement should not be called a lie. It is really a misinterpretation, much like a lot of what he posts. <<<<<<

Show me where I misinterpreted something, doofus.

>>>>>> I would have to agree. While the board may react to statements of fact, that does not make them legal advice. <<<<<<

But even saying that the election results would not affect his decision was not necessarily a statement of fact -- he might have just been saying what he wanted people to believe he was thinking when he was actually thinking something else entirely. I think that the election results actually did affect the way he wrote the Kitzmiller opinion -- I think that the opinion showed lack of restraint because he knew his decision against the board was not likely to be appealed because of the election results. Or the election results might have caused him to delay releasing his decision until after the first regular meeting of the new board in order to see whether the new board would repeal the ID policy. And he might have wanted people to think that repeal of the ID policy would not affect his decision -- but that is wrong because the school board might have filed a motion for dismissal of the case on the basis of repeal of the ID policy, and he would have had to respond to that motion and his final decision would have had to discuss his response to that motion, since the issue could have been raised on appeal. The election results could have affected his decision in different ways.

Anyway, one of the issues here is what Judge Jones actually said -- he actually said that the election results would not affect his decision, but that dunghill ViU just kept ignoring that and kept repeating over and over again that Jones said that he was going to follow the law. I am not going to put up with that crap anymore on this blog.

>>>>>>> You could say that if they decided to delay their meeting due to a forecast storm, by your standard, the weatherman was giving legal advice. <<<<<<

No, that is not my standard, doofus. The weather forecast would not be advice that would affect their decision on whether to repeal the ID policy, and the weatherman would just be giving a weather forecast to everyone and not specifically to the school board.

>>>>>>>> Did Voice ever claim that you had banned VIW? <<<<<<<

Yes, Voice has claimed that I banned ViW.

Friday, January 30, 2009 8:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Gandalf said...

Larry said:

> You quote-mined me, dunghill. <

His statement does not seem inconsistent. You are claiming that by not mentioning things that many would consider irrelevant he is quote mining. In contrast, you are claiming that he said things that it appears he did not. Let's stick to what he actually said and not what you believe he implied.

As for your statement about giving legal advice, you have not shown where legal advice was given so not repeating your misinterpretation doesn't constitute "quote mining".

> Gandalf, you have the authors of those statements reversed <

True. My mistake.

> Show me where I misinterpreted something, doofus. <

I did. Since it is still on the blog there is no need to repeat it.

> Anyway, one of the issues here is what Judge Jones actually said -- he actually said that the election results would not affect his decision, but that dunghill ViU just kept ignoring that and kept repeating over and over again that Jones said that he was going to follow the law. I am not going to put up with that crap anymore on this blog. <

Voice is giving a reasonable interpretation, that ignoring something that the law does not allow him to take into account is just going by the law. In contrast, your claim that it is giving legal advice is indefensible and you have not been able to defend it, only repeat it.

I said:

>>>>>>>> Did Voice ever claim that you had banned VIW? <<<<<<<

To which you replied:
> Yes, Voice has claimed that I banned ViW. <

I don't see where he has claimed this. Perhaps it is another one of your "interpretations". If he actually has said this in some previous thread, please give a reference as to where. His allusion to this is supported however by your own statement:

> If you mention ViW again -- directly or indirectly -- your comment will be deleted. <

This seems to support Voice's implication; that ViW was indeed banned. You are now threatening to ban even the mention of ViW (whoever he is). You can delete this post then and prove Voice's claim.

Saturday, January 31, 2009 4:58:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

This blog has a new troll, Gandalf.

Gandalf, you completely ignored the points that I made, dunghill. I will repeat those points just once -- if you ignore them again, you are outa here.

>>>>>> You are claiming that by not mentioning things that many would consider irrelevant he is quote mining. <<<<<<<

The things he did not mention are central to my arguments.

>>>>>> In contrast, you are claiming that he said things that it appears he did not. <<<<<<

ViU did not actually have to expressly claim that Judge Jones did not say that the election results would not affect the decision -- all ViU had to do was just (1) keep repeating over and over again that Jones said he was going to follow the law while (2) ignoring my claim that Jones actually said that the election results would not affect the decision. Anyway, that's a side issue.

>>>>>> Let's stick to what he actually said and not what you believe he implied. <<<<<<

No, let's not stick to what he actually said. I am not going to play games with you, dunghill.

>>>>>> As for your statement about giving legal advice, you have not shown where legal advice was given so not repeating your misinterpretation doesn't constitute "quote mining". <<<<<<<

You despicable dunghill, so what you are saying is that ViU did not need to repeat my interpretation because that interpretation was wrong! You are so full of living crap it is coming out your ears.

I said that Jones' statement that the election results would not affect his decision implied that repeal of the ID policy would not affect his decision, and that such implication constituted legal advice -- he was in effect telling the board, "don't bother to repeal the ID policy because it won't do you any good." Fatheaded Ed Brayton on Dispatches from the Culture Wars actually claimed that Jones gave such legal advice but did not describe how.

Also, the statement that the election results would not affect his decision was meaningless. There was no way to stop the election results from affecting his decision -- for example, IMO the election results affected his Kitzmiller decision because he knew that the new school board was not likely to appeal the decision. For example, Jones copied the opinion's ID-as-science section nearly verbatim from the plaintiffs' opening post-trial brief while ignoring the defendants' opening post-trial brief and the plaintiffs' and defendants' answering post-trial briefs, so if the decision had been appealed, the opinion would have gone to the appeals court without answering the defendants' arguments on the ID-as-science issue. Also, the opinion does not answer the question of whether ID encourages critical thinking. Also, if the new school board had repealed the ID policy prior to judgment and subsequently filed a motion for dismissal, that would have definitely affected his decision.

>>>>>> Show me where I misinterpreted something, doofus. <

I did. Since it is still on the blog there is no need to repeat it. <<<<<<<

I don't know what you are referring to, but whatever it was, I showed that it was not a misinterpretation.

>>>>>> This seems to support Voice's implication; that ViW was indeed banned. <<<<<<

What I told ViU applies to you: mention ViW again, directly or indirectly, and your comment will be deleted. I won't have this blog cluttered up again with garbage.

Saturday, January 31, 2009 7:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Sunday, February 01, 2009 12:02:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Anonymous barfed,
>>>>>> Gandalf, you completely ignored the points that I made, dunghill. I will repeat those points just once -- if you ignore them again, you are outa here. <

No. He completely debunked the points that you failed to make. <<<<<<

I said no lies about objective facts. He did not address the principal points that I made.

Sunday, February 01, 2009 12:18:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Sunday, February 01, 2009 7:24:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Sunday, February 01, 2009 7:24:00 AM  

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