For the nth Time, Man did not evolve from Apes

And I could add, from a common ancestor but that is a subject for another post.

Frank Pastore is a columnist at Townhall and I enjoy reading his work. I agree with his point of view, due to the fact that we are both in Christ.

However, Pastore’s latest offering, “The Latest Problems with the ‘Man Evolved from Apes’ Thesis”, has some points of concern , mainly the title (though I agree, for the most part, with his conclusions).

As a general rule, us creationists are painted as ignorant rubes who are blinded by dogma and what is believed to be a blind faith.

Admittedly, sometimes Christians offer plenty of reasons for those dogmatically entrenched in naturalistic worldviews to make such statements. Though, I would argue that the average “evolutionist” is not as learned in his articles of faith as he expects his creationist opponents to be.

Back to Pastore’s column, the title is troublesome because “evolutionists” do not believe that “man evolved from apes”. If I had a nickel for every time a well-intentioned Christian made this misinformed statement, I could probably build another one of these.

“Evolutionists” believe that apes and humans share a common ancestor, an altogether different proposition than “man evolved from apes”.

Though this is not the assertion of any strand of evolutionary theory, paleontologist G.G. Simpson did make the following point in his classic piece “The World into Which Darwin Led Us”,

In fact, that earlier ancestor would certainly be called an ape or monkey in popular speech by anyone who saw it. Since the terms ape and monkey are defined by popular usage, man’s ancestors were apes or monkey (or successively both). It is pusillanimous if not dishonest for an informed investigator to say otherwise. Science 131:966-969

Unfortunately, Pastore repeats his mistake within the column. He also makes the following statement,

I’m talking about the two discoveries that came out in August that should force all those “man evolved from apes” evolution charts in schoolbooks to be redrawn. You know the ones. You’ve got the knuckle-dragging, club-wielding ape on the left hand side and a businessman carrying a briefcase on the right hand side, with all the hypothetical evolutionary links filled in between (as in this one).

He even has a link which shows the famous chart which was made popular by its inclusion in the Time-Life Nature Library tome, Early Man.

What needs to be pointed out is that the scientific establishment has considered this famous diagram to be “fiction”. Well if one considers the journal Nature to speak for the scientific establishment.

For example, in the journal, Nature (403 [27 January 2000]:363), J.J. Hublin wrote:

The once-popular fresco showing a single file of marching hominids becoming ever more vertical, tall, and hairless now appears to be a fiction.

Draw your own conclusions as to why the general public has not heard about this “retraction”.

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47 Responses to For the nth Time, Man did not evolve from Apes

  1. osipov says:

    How do YOU know how God created man? He didn’t create the world in (literally) 6 days. He could’ve created the animals and years later, created the evolution of man. Most of the time tables used in the Bible we use are not literal.

  2. Laz says:

    In the post, did I claim to know how God created man? All I can do is reference what Genesis says,

    Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. — Genesis 2:7

    Given how the Bible is NOT a scientific journal. in which methods and experiments are laid out in some detail (at least in some papers), any further speculation as to the how is just that, speculation. The Bible affirms that God created human beings, as well as the universe, this is not up for debate for the Christian. The time issue well, there is a vigorous debate within Christianity regarding that.

    He could’ve created the animals and years later, created the evolution of man.

    Well Os, according to Genesis, the animals were created first, then human beings.

    There is something that differentiates human beings from the animals, even those more “closely related” to us. The Bible calls that “the image of God”, as to what this is exactly I’m not sure, though I do have an opinion. There is plenty of speculation as to what this is exactly.

    Os, you did understand the point I tried to make in this post, right?

  3. Creationists don’t do themselves any favors when they proclaim that “man didn’t evolve from monkeys” because that just shows ignorance of what evolutionists believe… you are quite correct on that.

    For a while (until I read up on creation science and learned better) I thought that God had created the heavens and the earth over a very long time frame, following the order of creation but with an evolutionary timeframe. But that would be impossible since he made the plants on day 3 but didn’t make the sun until day 4. I think that the plants would have died off if they went millions of years without a sun, LOL.

    In reference to Osipov’s comments, it all boils down to what you believe. You can choose to believe that the Bible is not literal, but that would in a way be calling God a liar. If he was literal about something as non-figurative as creation, which says that morning and evening were a day and it took 6 days to create the Earth, it opens up the can of worms that perhaps sin is figurative, or hell is figurative. I choose to Believe God and the Bible.

  4. osipov says:

    don’t we sometimes say “a month of Sundays?” same principle – do we literally mean a month of Sundays?? not usually. I believe in creation – just not sure how God did it. He has the power to do it anyway He wants. We’ve also been taught hell is “down there.” Where do we come up with that? I’m just suggesting we tend to turn things into actuals when sometimes they’re not.

  5. osipov says:

    Day 1 – Day 2 – Day 3 etc. – these are for our benefit. God does not measure time – we do.

  6. J Crowley says:

    It’s funny that atheists seem to give God far more credit than Christians do. What, God can’t create a complex, self-developing system of biology? He’s so stupid he couldn’t make something that didn’t require his direct and constant intervention?

    I mean, come on. You’re also not giving him much credit if you think that the way the human body currently looks and operates is some kind of perfect design. It’s not even intelligent. If we ourselves can determine that it’s a bad idea to make the food intake and the air intake the same hole, why couldn’t an omnipotent being? If a biology 101 student can see that the tipped-forward pelvis (which strongly resembles that of apes) is kind of poor design for a creature that’s supposed to stand fully upright, why couldn’t God?

    You have to realize, too, that the Bible was written when people used their knuckles to count. And, for advanced mathematicians, their toes. When “thousands” seems almost infinite, the idea of “millions” or “billions” is going to be completely beyond them.

    Even if the Bible was “divinely inspired”, it’s not like humans are themselves infallible. It’s difficult to really make assumptions about what that “inspiration” process may have been, what with all the “mysterious ways” and such. Did he speak clearly into their brains? Etch it into the dirt in front of their houses? Hallucinations? Brief images flashing into their minds? Unless we know absolutely for certain, there’s no way you can say with absolute confidence “but the Bible is God’s Word!”

  7. Laz says:

    Well since the human body is not designed well or even intelligently (as you implied) Mr. Crowley then why should anyone take your comment seriously? Can you even prove the validity of human reasoning?

    “Arguments” such as yours remind me of the words of CS Lewis (a former atheist),

    But there is a difficulty about disagreeing with God. He is the source from which all your reasoning power comes: you could not be right and He wrong any more than a stream can rise higher than its own source.

    When you are arguing against Him you are arguing against the very power that makes you able to argue at all: it is like cutting off the branch you are sitting on.

    Your obstinacy reminds me of Mr. Lewis’ hypothetical lunatic,

    A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell.

    I hope you don’t go to the grave in your darkened understanding. I hope that like Lewis you are born again and live your life to glorify God.

  8. J Crowley says:

    I glorify God by being a good person without requiring fear of eternal damnation to be so. My motivations are far purer than a Christian who acts primarily with concern for their own personal salvation in mind. A truly just and loving God would have greater appreciation and respect for a person who was genuinely good than one who was merely obedient. A truly just and loving God is infinitely better than the raging, jealous monster depicted in the Bible, but I’m still not going to believe in him anyway, because a truly just and loving God would want it that way.

    I’m not entirely sure what you’re driving at with your initial paragraph. Instead of actually attempting to refute the fact that a windpipe and a food intake being the same passage is a thoroughly bad idea, you simply dismissed the entirety of what I said with no real basis other than “why should anyone take your comment seriously?” I wish that actual argument was as easy as simply incredulously proclaiming that others’ perspectives shouldn’t be taken seriously.

    What’s amusing, here, is that your implication seems to be that God can get away with anything he wants to simply because he made us too stupid to be able to authoritatively cast judgment on or impugn his actions and motivations. It’s like intentionally raising a child without any sort of education so that you could remorselessly beat it and then dismiss any of its complaints because your mind is so much higher-functioning than theirs. If this is the kind of God you want to worship, you’re certainly welcome to.

  9. J Crowley says:

    I guess the thing of it is, we can only experience God inasmuch as he’ll allow us to experience him, so why would he present himself in the way that you feel he has?

    Why would he have created a system of morality by which we can identify right and wrong and good and evil, only to do things to us that we can clearly identify as wrong and evil? Does God expect us to somehow be able to one day think on a level he does so that his actions and motivations make sense, or does he want us to overlook the fact that within this framework he created, using definitions that he defined, he has done some pretty terrible and unjustified things?

    Is that why he was so upset about the Tree of Knowledge incident? Because it would allow us to actually identify some of his thoroughly abominable actions?

  10. Laz says:

    Mr. Crowley you took your statements out of any serious consideration when you said,

    It’s not even intelligent.

    So why should I consider anything you say with any seriousness when you so gallantly undermined yourself?

    I’m not taking you seriously because it is apparent that you do not do so either, yet hypocritically you go on as if you did.

    Good day.

  11. J Crowley says:

    Please explain to me, then, how a windpipe and a food intake being the same passageway is an intelligent design decision? Or why we have the same forward-tilting pelvises as apes, when we’re intended to walk upright? These were UNINTELLIGENT DESIGN CHOICES. Do you not get what I mean? Are you being intentionally obtuse?

    But thanks, I fully dismiss you out of hand as well, you rhetorically-challenged, self-righteous, arrogant lunatic.

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  13. lolz says:

    j crowley destroyed you and you missed his point entirely… was it on purpose or what?
    p.s. im writting from my wii =)

    Thanks for letting me know the bit about the wii, always good to see that we’re putting our technology to good use…

    Quick question: Did you actually read my post?

    As for the perceived destruction, like I pointed out, Mr. Crowley undermined himself without me or anyone else needing to say anything further. It’s not difficult to see how, just read comment #6, paragraph #2. If you cannot discern it, I’m sorry, keep looking it’s there.

    Any further discussion with someone who has torpedoed his position so thoroughly, will only be a total disregard for the Proverb,

    Do not answer a fool according to his folly,
    Or you will also be like him.

    Thanks for your input.
    –Laz

  14. GODWARRIOR! says:

    […]how a windpipe and a food intake being the same passageway is an intelligent design decision?[…]

    So according to you, evolution cant exist because the fusing of the two pipes is a bad idea?

    So I guess this god of yours really sucks, doesn’t he? I mean, if I were him, I would know to make two holes. So maybe if he didn’t **** up the first time, evolution wouldn’t have to step in to fix everything, huh?

  15. anonanonanon says:

    It’s true… he asked you to defend your faith, and your choices, by pointing out the ways in which your beliefs don’t seem to match up. Can you actually defend your opinions on this matter without dismissing opposition out of hand?

    PS: Evolution is not usually considered a dogma by those who understand the meaning of the word. Since it can be revised, and must withstand vigorous attempts to invalidate it, and does not claim to be a complete answer to anything, it’s about as far from a religion as you’re likely to get.

  16. Mursam says:

    -Laz
    When he said “It’s not even intelligent”, Crowley didn’t mean the body isn’t intelligent, but rather that the body”s design isn’t intelligent.
    The mere fact that after a 600 word response questining you’re entire belief system, you best response is “Well since the human body is not designed well or even intelligently (as you implied) Mr. Crowley then why should anyone take your comment seriously?”, which isn’t what he meant at all

    Thanks for your comment Mursam, I’m not sure what Mr. Crowley meant but why stop at the windpipe? How can we be self-assured that our brains aren’t also poorly designed? How can we prove that human reasoning (as it stands now) is valid?
    Sincere questions to the Christian faith can certainly be entertained. Though I will recall the Apostle’s words,

    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.

    However, entertaining lines of questioning (like Mr. Crowley’s poor design) which undermine themselves in such a pitiful way, will lead one the way of the Proverb I quoted in my response to “lolz”.

    -Laz

  17. Prometheus says:

    Laz fails. Hard.

  18. Atlas says:

    Fundies getting floored in rational debate? Now there’s something you don’t see every day.

    Oh wait.

    Name-calling has its place in rational debate? *Shrug*

    Thanks for the ‘comment’

    -Laz

  19. Mursam says:

    You can’t use a slippery slope argument to argue your point here. Crowley said (as an argument against intelligent design and for evolution) that the body wasn’t intelligently designed. You can’t take that argument, and extrapolate it to the point of saying, well according to you the body design is flawed, ergo he brain is flawed, ergo how could you be possibly be right.
    It would be like me saying:
    “Satan convinced Adam and Eve to eat from the tree of knowledge, ergo knowledge is satanic, and thus theologising by using knowledge is an extension of devilry. Ergo we are committing a sin by discussing the whole matter.”
    Next time try to rebut arguments based on their substance not they’re possible extrapolations.

    I understand your point Mursam but is it not obvious to you that the very thing we use to judge whether or not something is poorly designed may itself be poorly designed? How can be so sure that it is even capable of making such pronouncements? Why is the brain an exception?

    I agree with rebutting arguments based on their substance, but in this particular case the argument has none because it is hypocritically assuming the brain is not susceptible to the same ‘flaws’ as the aforementioned windpipe.

    -Laz

  20. W. Melon says:

    “Do not answer a fool according to his folly,
    Or you will also be like him.”

    It must be quite convenient to have such escape hatches when an argument gets too tough for you.

    Thanks Melon for the comment, please refer to my response to Mursam.

    Not sure it is an escape hatch (you are entitled to your opinion) though I’m sure it is the Word of God
    -Laz

  21. W. Melon says:

    “I agree with rebutting arguments based on their substance, but in this particular case the argument has none because it is hypocritically assuming the brain is not susceptible to the same ‘flaws’ as the aforementioned windpipe.”

    The argument assumes no such thing. Many organs display what most competent engineers would consider poor design. This is because evolution is not an intelligent designer. But while these organs are far from perfect, they still function adequately. The brain, for example, is far from infallible, as I’m sure you would agree. “Fallible,” however, does not imply “always wrong.”

    Perhaps the argument assumes no such thing but can you see at least see that it is unavoidable? Again, forgetting the fact that the thing we use (the brain) to make judgments on whether or not something is poorly designed may itself not be well designed. Who’s to say?

    I guess the ‘competent engineer’ but then again his brain might not be well-designed either and we’re back at square one.

    -Laz

  22. Natalie says:

    Laz, you don’t really understand what a logical fallacy is, do you?

    Maybe, maybe not Natalie, but you are making an appeal on the grounds that human reason is valid. Which of course depends on whether or not the brain is well-designed and once again we are back where we started…

    –Laz

  23. W. Melon says:

    “Again, forgetting the fact that the thing we use (the brain) to make judgments on whether or not something is poorly designed may itself not be well designed. Who’s to say?”

    The brain is poorly designed. Or at the very least, not optimally designed. This is clear when we note how often people commit logical fallacies in casual conversation. This would not happen if the brain was intelligently designed. Likewise, we would never choke if the windpipe was intelligently designed. Both organs were not intelligently designed, but rather evolved through a process of natural selection working on random mutations. Thus, they work adequately well, but occasionally malfunction.

    Fine, Melon it is not optimally designed but it is unavoidable that the thing by which you make such a pronouncement is itself the subject of the pronouncement. We think and rethink and over think about our brains not being optimally designed, yet we forget the fact that we are thinking.

    Your argument seems to assume that if something is poorly designed we can never count on it to do anything right, but you haven’t explained why you make this assertion. It certainly does not appear to be true.

    This is not my argument at all, my question is how can we make a value judgment (poorly designed) and take it seriously when the thing making the judgment is the subject itself? By introducing ‘anything right’ you have peeled back another layer, what is ‘right’? How is it determined, back to the brain we go…

  24. Dean says:

    You’re an idiot.

    LOL…That may very well be Dean, but are we to assume that you made such a judgment using the well-designed part of your brain? Thanks for the ‘comment’ –Laz

  25. W. Melon says:

    “This is not my argument at all, my question is how can we make a value judgment (poorly designed) and take it seriously when the thing making the judgment is the subject itself?”

    Why shouldn’t we be able to? Is Michael Jordan incapable of determining that he is a great basketball player? Of course not. Am I incapable of determining that I am a terrible artist? Of course not? Why should we be incapable of determining the relative efficiency of our brains? We do it the same way. We compare our own minds to the minds of others, and we see how well we stack up.

    Good point, however basketball has certain rules, it has a purpose: to win the game and we judge good players by their ability to achieve this. What is life’s purpose, if any?

    I’m not saying we’re incapable of determining the ‘relative efficiency of our brains’, but we must acknowledge that from a naturalistic perspective, this determination is tainted and perhaps loses all value due to the fact that the determinant is itself the subject of said determination

    “By introducing ‘anything right’ you have peeled back another layer, what is ‘right’? How is it determined, back to the brain we go…”

    Are you alluding to the fundamental philosophical question of how we can know anything about reality at all? This, of course, is an ultimately unsolvable problem for any worldview, since certain philosophical possibilities, such as solipsism, are logically irrefutable. We could all be in the Matrix. We all must assume that our senses are not misleading us in some fundamental way. But once we make that necessary assumption, there is no reason why we can’t determine the ways in which our brains, and other organs, sometimes fail us. And, once we note how they do, we can begin to examine why they do, which is where evolutionary theory comes in.

    “We must all assume…” This is the assumption I’ve been trying to get at. Necessary on what grounds? Round and round we go 🙂

    Nevertheless, it is a philosophical assumption not a scientific one. Philosophy must come first. As CS Lewis said,

    Unless human reasoning is valid no science can be true.

  26. W. Melon says:

    “…which is where evolutionary theory comes in.” And, of course, where intelligent design “theory” fails miserably, which is the point of this little side argument.

    (And, for the sake of completion, where creation “science” throws up its hands and uselessly exclaims “the Fall!”)

    Straw men are exceedingly easy to erect, Melon…

  27. Mike W says:

    Laz,

    It appears to me as though you’ve created a dichotomy of two possible scenarios in your mind:

    1) God is not the intelligent designer of humans and if this is the case, we cannot trust anything about our own faculties to discern the world around us because the haphazard way in which our brains developed is not reliable.

    2) God is the intelligent designer of humanity and has created us ‘intelligently’. As such, things are worked out just the way they should be, and our bodies and minds are of sound design.

    Given that it seems that you are a firm believer of the latter choice above (I’m by no means saying that these are the possibilities in my mind), would you care to elaborate why there are so many parts of the human body that just don’t work all that well for their intended purposes?

    Mike, thanks for your elucidation of what has been laid out here. What is your standard for making the assumptions you make in asking your question? i.e. “all that well”, “intended purposes”

  28. W. Melon says:

    “What is life’s purpose, if any?”

    Irrelevant. We’re not talking about the purpose of life here, we’re talking about how well our brains work.

    Only brought it up because of your basketball example

    “I’m not saying we’re incapable of determining the ‘relative efficiency of our brains’, but we must acknowledge that from a naturalistic perspective, this determination is tainted and perhaps loses all value due to the fact that the determinant is itself the subject of said determination”

    Didn’t we just deal with this? There’s no reason to think that a determination about oneself is necessarily tainted. You keep asserting that it is, but you’ve provided no reason to think so. And it’s only tainted “from a naturalistic perspective?” Does that imply that we can make untainted determinations about ourselves from a supernaturalistic perspective? If so, how? What’s the difference?

    No I didn’t assert that it is, I’m saying that we can’t be sure it is or isn’t. From a supernatural perspective, the assertions come from outside of Nature, from an omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent Creator, if one is to believe His Revelation in Scripture.

    ““We must all assume…” This is the assumption I’ve been trying to get at. Necessary on what grounds?”

    Well, of course we don’t have to make that assumption. We only have to make it if we want to believe that we have any sort of reliable knowledge about reality.

    “Unless human reasoning is valid no science can be true.”

    Indeed, as I said, knowledge depends on that fundamental assumption. All of this is completely irrelevant to the issue of determining how and why our organs perform less than optimally.

    No, actually it is not. Sorry you can’t connect the 2.

    “Straw men are exceedingly easy to erect, Melon…”

    Is it a straw man? What are the ID and creationist explanations for why our organs don’t work as well as they could?

    If I recall correctly, creationists don’t assume that our organs “don’t work as well as they could”. Though, of course if by that we mean that eventually the “bad design” leads to death, well yes then they hold that the Fall was the initial cause of this.

  29. Mike W says:

    Laz,

    My assumption is that people have observed reasonably well what the functions of various parts of the human body are.

    I posit that we have a reasonable idea that the primary function of the lungs is to remove oxygen from the air and move it into our bloodstream.

    I have a mild form of asthma, which impairs this function to some degree. It sounds like you are saying that we are not in any place to judge whether any part of our body function is good or bad. Would you say that there’s no way to judge whether or not it’s better to be asthmatic or not to be asthmatic?

    Asthma is not part of the design, it is a departure from the design (an aberration not a deviation, I think). We know this of course for reasons you have stated. The poor design argument would have legs if everyone suffered from asthma but it is apparent that this is not the case.

    I wouldn’t wish to have asthma, just like it would not be my preference to have a trisomy in 21, but to say that this is poor design is inaccurate because not all of us are born with these defects.

    And what would explain so much variation across the spectrum of humanity in terms of organ/body function if indeed we were intelligently designed? Why so much deviation from the design?

    Variation, care to elaborate?

  30. W. Melon says:

    “No I didn’t assert that it is, I’m saying that we can’t be sure it is or isn’t.”

    Why not? As long as we accept the assumption that our senses are not fundamentally misleading us, we can reach quite a high level of confidence in our assessments. And the question of whether our senses are misleading us is one none of us can ultimately answer, so what’s the point of bringing it up?

    Well that’s convenient…

    “From a supernatural perspective, the assertions come from outside of Nature, from an omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent Creator, if one is to believe His Revelation in Scripture.”

    I’m not following. Are you saying that if God exists, then he’s the one who’s actually making the judgments we make about ourselves?

    If the naturalist is correct (Nature is all that exists therefore any existent deity would merely be part of it) then we have no basis for the validity of reason and thus our assertions.

    “No, actually it is not. Sorry you can’t connect the 2.”

    Um, little help? We all have to make that assumption if we want to be able to have knowledge, whether we believe in God or not, and whether we accept evolutionary theory or not. So how is it relevant?

    And the assumption is made with what? Drum roll please…

    “If I recall correctly, creationists don’t assume that our organs “don’t work as well as they could”.”

    One doesn’t have to assume that the sky is blue. We can see it. The placement of the windpipe leads to choking. An alternate placement would lead to no choking. This is obvious.

    Leads to choking? In every human being every time he/she sits down for a meal? It’s a miracle (using the term loosely) that all infants don’t choke to death…

    “Though, of course if by that we mean that eventually the “bad design” leads to death, well yes then they hold that the Fall was the initial cause of this.”

    So, not such a straw man after all then.

    It is a straw man after all, why? Notice the quotation marks. God, after creation, declared everything to be good. Things changed after the Fall, they started unraveling if you will. Since no one has a plutonium-fueled DeLorean laying around, we can’t say for certain how exactly the Fall affected us, though speculation runs rampant.

    Your straw man is in assuming that creationists “uselessly” throw their hands up for the investigation doesn’t end because the Fall happened.

  31. Mike W says:

    Well, Laz, from your comments above, it appears that your belief is that asthma is not part of the design, but is an aberration.

    I was including asthma as a variation, but how about eye color. I’m assuming, perhaps incorrectly, that by your statements above, that one eye color must be the design and the rest are aberrations. How does one determine exactly what the ‘design’ is? That sounds like a dangerous line of reasoning to me.

    Asthma is a disease, do you consider disease a variation or an aberration? Perhaps both? To best of my knowledge, eye color has never been considered a condition, disease or disorder (the albino phenotype might be an exception, except that it is not eye color that causes it). As for your ‘design’ question? That’s kind of what started this discussion…

    To clarify what you said above, it’s my read on things that the other commenters above are not saying that humans are the result of poor design. They are saying that humans are the result of no design. But to run with your line of reasoning, wouldn’t the fact that some people do possess what seems to be super-human physical skills in terms of sports or athletics tend so support the line that the majority fall under the category of poorly-designed, if we were in fact designed.

    If the fact that most folks cannot, for example, throw a 70-yd pass on a dime reflects poor design, then somewhere our priorities have gone awry. Since when do phenotypes (and/or the work done by the individual) which prove to be athletically advantageous prove whether or not the race as a whole is poorly designed?

  32. W. Melon says:

    “To clarify what you said above, it’s my read on things that the other commenters above are not saying that humans are the result of poor design. They are saying that humans are the result of no design.”

    Exactly. We are clearly not designed. One of the reasons this is so obvious is that no competent designer would put the windpipe in a place that makes choking such an obvious hazard, and numerous other examples of what would generally be considered terrible design were it actually the product of an intelligence.

  33. W. Melon says:

    “If the naturalist is correct (Nature is all that exists therefore any existent deity would merely be part of it) then we have no basis for the validity of reason and thus our assertions.”

    You’re going to have to explain that one.

    I think the difficulty is for the naturalist explaining how irrational causes give rise to rational beings. How matter came to contemplate itself…

    “And the assumption is made with what? Drum roll please…”

    Our brains, of course. As I said, they function adequately. Just not as well as they would if they were designed.

    Well yes Melon this is the whole crux of our discussion… Adequately? What does that mean and by what standard that is independent of human judgment can we judge by?

    “Leads to choking? In every human being every time he/she sits down for a meal? It’s a miracle (using the term loosely) that all infants don’t choke to death…”

    Wow. Speaking of straw men. Anyway, let me see if I can help you understand here. Why do people ever choke? Because the same opening that we put food in also leads to the tube we breathe through. Anyone, not just a competent engineer, but anyone with any tiny bit of sense whatsoever, can easily see that separating the breathing tube from the feeding tube would eliminate choking entirely. Are you telling me that God is so stupid that he didn’t realize that?

    Competent, value judgments (see above)… So you’re saying there is no good that comes out of the current arrangement? If not, then could the possibility exist that perhaps our so-called not-as-well-designed-as-it-could-be-brain hasn’t pegged it yet? Who’s to say? We used to have the same sort of arrogance towards so-called junk DNA, but let’s not confuse us not seeing a purpose (or conceiving an inane purpose) for the current arrangement having no purpose at all

    “It is a straw man after all, why? Notice the quotation marks. God, after creation, declared everything to be good. Things changed after the Fall, they started unraveling if you will. Since no one has a plutonium-fueled DeLorean laying around, we can’t say for certain how exactly the Fall affected us, though speculation runs rampant.”

    So what would you speculate? Did our windpipe used to be separate from our mouths before the Fall?

    Not at all, there is no reason to reach this conclusion.

    “Your straw man is in assuming that creationists “uselessly” throw their hands up for the investigation doesn’t end because the Fall happened.”

    Doesn’t it? You just said that we can’t say for certain without a time machine. How can we investigate?

    I personally know 2 research scientists that are creationists and see no conflict between their faith and their research. If either one of these 2 profs. were grading an exam and a student answered a question on a metabolic pathway with “God did it”, they would count it as incorrect. Why? Because, knowing, accepting and being convinced that God created the universe does not (should not) terminate inquiry into His creation.

  34. Quail says:

    I like the comment about “evolutionists” being much less educated in their “articles of faith” than creationists… 5 pages of the Book of Genesis is a hell of a lot shorter than over 120 years of scrupulous scientific experiment leading to volumes upon volumes of tested, approved, and (yes) some disproved evidence. Which body of evidence would be more difficult to learn?

    Who said Genesis was the only source for the creationist?

  35. Quail says:

    BTW…this post is officially the Word of God and is infalliable. So says the LORD anyone who refutes so is going to hell for perpetual, painful death in a lake of molten arsenic. He, the Almighty, declares that there is a purple giraffe behind you at all times.

    Can you tell me if there’s a purple giraffe behind you?

    That’s good and all, your attempt at humor is duly noted, thanks for the comments

  36. W. Melon says:

    “I think the difficulty is for the naturalist explaining how irrational causes give rise to rational beings. How matter came to contemplate itself…”

    It’s no more difficult than explaining how non-yellow gold atoms can join together to form yellow chunks of gold, or non-liquid hydrogen and oxygen atoms can join together to form liquid water. It’s called an emergent property.

    “Well yes Melon this is the whole crux of our discussion… Adequately? What does that mean”

    Well enough to get by, to make sense of the world. Not well enough to always avoid logical fallacies, or to always avoid developing mental conditions, etc.

    Actually you’d have to assume these things, you can’t know them with certainty, see beginning of this discussion. Which brings me to point out that we’re going in circles, though this should have been obvious from almost the very beginning. Such a discussion most of the time goes nowhere, as we have seen…

    “and by what standard that is independent of human judgment can we judge by?”

    None, of course, by definition. If we are judging, the standard is human judgment. Why is this a problem?

    Yes, then the problem comes in when there is a higher judgment than human judgment, but then again if your presuppositions don’t allow for this, well not much further we can go here.

    “Competent, value judgments (see above)… So you’re saying there is no good that comes out of the current arrangement? If not, then could the possibility exist that perhaps our so-called not-as-well-designed-as-it-could-be-brain hasn’t pegged it yet? Who’s to say? We used to have the same sort of arrogance towards so-called junk DNA, but let’s not confuse us not seeing a purpose (or conceiving an inane purpose) for the current arrangement having no purpose at all”

    Are you saying there might be a reason why choking is good, but we haven’t figured it out yet? Or are you saying there might be something else about having the mouth connected to the windpipe that’s good that we haven’t figured out yet that we’d lose if the windpipe weren’t connected to the mouth? Either way, that’s quite a stretch. The design flaw is obvious. The evolutionary explanation makes sense of it. Yours is just hand-waving.

    It’s the latter. The evo. explanation is an explanation (not in a Biblical view certainly) but it is not THE only explanation.

    “I personally know 2 research scientists that are creationists and see no conflict between their faith and their research. If either one of these 2 profs. were grading an exam and a student answered a question on a metabolic pathway with “God did it”, they would count it as incorrect. Why? Because, knowing, accepting and being convinced that God created the universe does not (should not) terminate inquiry into His creation.”

    So they make use of evolutionary science in their professional lives, but deny its validity in their personal lives?

    They just come at it with different presuppositions, which as I stated above should not kill inquiry into God’s creation.

  37. Mike W says:

    “If the fact that most folks cannot, for example, throw a 70-yd pass on a dime reflects poor design, then somewhere our priorities have gone awry. Since when do phenotypes (and/or the work done by the individual) which prove to be athletically advantageous prove whether or not the race as a whole is poorly designed?”

    Instead of throwing a 70-yd pass, let’s discuss visual acuity. Tests have shown people with 20/10 eyesight, which is a significant improvement over 20/20. Who is the design? Who is the aberration?

    Maybe the 20/10 crowd is just “lucky”. To quote Dr. Dawkins,

    In a universe of blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at the bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no other good. Nothing but blind, pitiless indifference. DNA neither knows nor cares. DNA just is. And we dance to its music.

    I think the good professor makes your point much better than perhaps wished for. Seriously though, the design is the human eye, in other words we can see.

    We don’t have the visual acuity of say a raptor but God did not intend us to endow us with such acuity. That we have devised ways to do so gives testament to our creativity but more importantly to the incredible design of our brains by our Creator..

    20/10 and 20/20 can be seen as variations, perhaps degrees? Not sure. To be sure though, myopia is not the norm, I would call that the aberration along with say astigmatism.

    In regards to your discussion with W. Melon, where you’re saying that humans are definitely not the ultimate judge on things, and we may be way off in terms of our perception of the world around us. Fair enough. That may be the case. But of course at this point it’s all we have to go on. Given your view on that, what makes your perception of God and/or the Biblical story any more real or relevant than anything else?

    It’s all we have to go on insofar as we’re bound by a certain set of naturalistic presuppositions. As for the answer to your question, refer to what I told Melon in the gay “marriage” post.

  38. W. Melon says:

    “Actually you’d have to assume these things, you can’t know them with certainty, see beginning of this discussion. Which brings me to point out that we’re going in circles, though this should have been obvious from almost the very beginning. Such a discussion most of the time goes nowhere, as we have seen…”

    What are you talking about? All we have to assume is that our senses are not fundamentally misleading us. It’s the same assumption you and every other person has to make in order to have any basis for knowledge. Once you make that assumption, however, you no longer have to assume anything. You can observe that our brains work well enough to get by, but not well enough to always keep us from committing logical fallacies, etc.

    Assumption*

    “Yes, then the problem comes in when there is a higher judgment than human judgment, but then again if your presuppositions don’t allow for this, well not much further we can go here.”

    What’s the problem? If there’s a higher judgment than human jugment, we can’t make it, being humans, so why bother mentioning it?

    “It’s the latter. The evo. explanation is an explanation (not in a Biblical view certainly) but it is not THE only explanation.”

    It is the only useful explanation, and the only explanation arrived at by objective examination of empirical evidence.

    *A philosophical assumption is ’empirical evidence’?

    ‘Round and ’round the mulberry bush…

  39. Mike W says:

    “It’s all we have to go on insofar as we’re bound by a certain set of naturalistic presuppositions. As for the answer to your question, refer to what I told Melon in the gay “marriage” post.”

    What of other people who are equally in touch with the Spirit and know equally that their faith is true, but just doesn’t happen to be the same faith that you have? i.e. Muslim, etc.

    No Muslim (or unbeliever) can be indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Therefore there is no unbeliever that is “equally in touch” with the Holy Spirit.

    So far as I know, Muslim theology does not involve the Holy Spirit in any way. Certainly they don’t recognize the Trinity.

    Or how about another question in terms of faith and knowledge. Let’s imagine that the world is embroiled in a nuclear war (doesn’t seem too farfetched at this point) and the only place that has any surviving humans are some remote islands in the South Pacific and a few tribes deep in the Amazon. None of the surviving people have ever heard of Christianity (or at least don’t adhere to it) and there is no copy of a Bible to be found, and all other existing Bibles get destroyed in the war (let’s imagine). What becomes of humanity?

    It goes on as it goes on now in places where the Gospel has not reached. For example, some Muslims (who live in oppressive nations) tell of their conversions via dreams. What God does as far as redemptive acts are concerned at that point is as hypothetical as your scenario.

  40. Mike W says:

    Laz,

    I’m asking you what you think might happen should the Bible or any real knowledge of it be destroyed. There would be no more Christianity on Earth, but there would still be humans.

    Yes, you’re right but God would somehow (exactly how is mere speculation) reveal Himself to the remaining humans. In Genesis 4:26 we read that “men began to call upon the name of the LORD”, implying that somehow mankind had either declined to do so or perhaps at this point in history forgotten about Him.

    Yet God chose to reveal Himself to individuals after this point in history, starting with Enoch, then Noah, then Abraham and so on.

    And of course, because the written word perishes, this does not mean the redemptive work on the cross of the Incarnate Word is null and void

  41. W. Melon says:

    “*A philosophical assumption is ‘empirical evidence’?”

    No, our observations of the world around us are empirical evidence.

    Yes but the philosophical assumption must come first. Any observation will be made to fit whatever philosophical assumptions (perhaps, starting point) we bring to the table.

  42. W. Melon says:

    You seem to be arguing that the fundamental assumption that our senses are not deceiving us somehow prevents us from gaining knowledge, but that makes no sense, since we all make that assumption, and yet we have knowledge. The argument kind of shoots itself in the foot.

    No, I’m just saying that the naturalist has no reason to assume this.

    It’s true that we could all be brains in jars. Or we might be under the deception of Loki. Or the world might have been created last Thursday with the appearance that it had been around for much longer. Any one of these possibilities could be true, and we would have no way of knowing. Thus, we have no choice but to assume that our senses are not deceiving us in one of these fundamental ways, and are instead giving us a relatively accurate portrait of the world around us. Once we make this assumption, we can examine the world empirically in order to gain knowledge. This how everyone in the world gains knowledge. You, me, everyone. This is how you learned everything you learned, so it makes no sense for you to be arguing against it.

    Round and round the mulberry bush…

    All you’re really doing is saying, well, we might be wrong. And of course, I agree. We might be wrong. We can never reach 100% certainty in any of the knowledge we gain about the world around us. But, through empirical observation, we can reach very high levels of confidence. We can become sure to the point where the only way we could possibly be wrong is if our senses are deluding us in some fundamental way. But if they were, we’d never know, so what’s the point in considering it?

    But we can know, the naturalist (by the em, nature of his philosophical underpinnings among other things, chief of which is our total depravity) lives in uncertainty.

  43. W. Melon says:

    “Yes but the philosophical assumption must come first. Any observation will be made to fit whatever philosophical assumptions (perhaps, starting point) we bring to the table.”

    But we all bring the exact same starting point to the table: the assumption that our senses are not fundamentally deceiving us. Everything else comes after that fundamental axiom. So we are all on common ground.

    “No, I’m just saying that the naturalist has no reason to assume this.”

    No less reason than the supernaturalist. Actually, I’d say the naturalist has more reason to assume it. The supernaturalist believes in supernatural beings who could theoretically cause our senses to deceive us. The naturalist does not believe in any such beings.

    “But we can know, the naturalist (by the em, nature of his philosophical underpinnings among other things, chief of which is our total depravity) lives in uncertainty.”

    If by uncertainty, you mean we can never know with 100% certainty that we are not being deceived in some way, then we ALL live with this. Naturalist and supernaturalist. Fortunately, we don’t need 100% certainty. 99.999999etc.% is just fine.

  44. Storot says:

    One more flaw that I don’t believe has been mentioned: the human uterus. The thing jettisons one egg every month, right? And an infant only fully develops if a fertilized egg implants properly. It’s not hard to imagine a fertilized egg getting jettisoned. In fact, it happens more often than you’d think. Furthermore, even if the egg does implant, there’s still the chance of miscarriage, which is even higher than normal the first time a woman gets pregnant. Sometimes, a woman will get pregnant and miscarry soon enough that she didn’t even know she was ever pregnant.

    Basically, my point is that, if there IS some grand intelligence designing all life, he’s got an AWFULLY high tolerance for abortion, seeing as he’s willing to do it himself ALL THE TIME.

    While we’re on the subject of flawed reproductive anatomy, we have the cervix, which is simply smaller than it should be, in light of the massive human head. That’s not a constant problem, of course, because infants have soft bones to compensate and allow them to squeeze through, but it requires that the baby be born in a state in which they are basically immobile, due to minimal muscular development. They’re basically born before they’re fully formed.

    Of course, it’s not only the female organs that have problems. Consider the male testes: they just hang out there, perfectly exposed to the elements and all sorts of hazards. The reason, of course, is that sperm cannot handle the higher temperatures inside the main body, so they’re given this cooler little peninsula, if you’ll pardon the metaphor. A better choice would be to redesign the sperm to withstand higher temperatures, then pop them back into the rest of the body.

    When there are this many problem with organs designed for replication and propagation of the species — a necessity for ANY life-form — you can hardly call the design intelligent.

  45. Laz says:

    Thanks for the comment Stor.

    It’s any wonder human beings have been able to reproduce at all, one might call it a miracle, but then again that’s a dirty word…

    However your comment only brings us back to what I’ve already pointed out regarding our brains. Mainly what I’ve already said above,

    I repeat,

    Is it not obvious to you that the very thing we use to judge whether or not something is poorly designed may itself be poorly designed? How can be so sure that it is even capable of making such pronouncements? Why is the brain an exception?that the thrust of your comment, by all accounts, was arrived upon by utilizing your brain.

  46. wow says:

    i don’t believe in creationism but i do know a possible reason for thee trachea and bronchus (and actually also the inner ear) being joined: it allows for equibriasation of pressure. If they weren’t we would suffer inner ear damage if we moved anywhere where the air pressure was different (eg up a mountain).

  47. wow says:

    lol, just noticed how old this thread is

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