Monday, June 11, 2007

My ongoing conversation with the religious at The Things That Matter Most...

Well, anyone that is still with me after reading that monstrous, convoluted blog entry of yesterday is truly hardcore. For those who have not read the prior blog entry on this, it is necessary to at least refer to it to fully understand this and the next several entries. I'm going to give people a bit of a break and separate my response out into several parts. I'd like to say that these things are labors of love, but I don't think the word 'love' is appropriate. Certainly, they're not my usual cup of tea, since I like to pick a topic, write succinctly and clearly on that without going off on tangents, and not bore/confuse you poor readers to death.

I don't know that I will ever send this off to Don Ortloff (via Lael Arrington), but I will post it here. The quote mining of Don's I ignored, as I did the anecdotal emotionalistic claptrap at the end designed to try to convert me. To quote Bugs Bunny, 'He don't know me vewy well, do he?' It begins.....


plays the same invalid numbers game that Dembski plays. William Dumbski [sic] has been thoroughly debunked elsewhere and in the interests of brevity I won't get into it here. All one has to do is google it. Suffice it to say that these number games are self-interested convoluted methods of promoting the argument from personal incredulity that show no more than that DNA sequences could not arise through random chance. Fancy that. ToE says the same thing. The massive fallicies in his arguments have been pointed out to William Dumbski [sic], yet he continues to say things like 'we can not explain cellular machinery without invoking a purposeful design' and then usually brings forth Behe's example of the bacterial flagellum when it has been shown clearly in the literature how in fact the bacterial flagellum could evolve. This makes Dumbski a LIAR. He wants you to believe that a non-purposeful evolutionary process is the same thing as saying it is random. Bullshit. Natural Selection is anything BUT random.;

tries to tell me that Tacitus and Josephus were contemporary sources on Jesus. It is in doubt as to whether Tacitus even was the author of the missive on Jesus, and neither Tacitus nor Josephus had even been born before the supposed Ascention! I reiterate: there are no contemporary accounts of the Jesus/Horus myth! As for the existence of Caesar and why his existence is (now) accepted without question, scholars had long ago established from numerous sources (not all literary) that Caesar was a genuine personage. The reason no on questions his existence is that his existence was established long ago. At least we have Caesar's own writings, which is much more than we have for Jesus. Unlike for Julius Caesar's life, the data surrounding Jesus' birth, life and death is completely uncorroborated even though records from the period are available.;

hypocritically accepts hearsay data of the absurd account of Noah and the flood, and then asks for 'real' evidence for Evo (which he doesn't accept anyway). People say that they have seen reminants of the Ark (you mean that geological formation that people keep mistaking for the Ark?) and finding a bit of wood of approximately the right age. Yes, there was wood, even in the time of Noah. Of course, the whole myth is just a retelling of Ziusudra and the flooding of the Euphrates in ca. 2900 BCE for which we actually have evidence of the event. The same can not be said for poor Noah, nor for the myth of Moses and the Exodus, nor for....;

tries to tell me that the 2nd law of thermodynamics can be applied to preclude the generation of order in an open system (He's trying to snow a Chemist with this?! Boy, was he barking up the wrong tree.);

that asymmetric synthesis is impossible without direction when all that is required is a surface for one optical isomer to be preferred in a reaction. The synthesis of one optical isomer of dl-pairs, such as l-amino acids, over their . l- and not their mirror image d-amino acids are exclusively the building blocks of enzymes, yet have identical physical properties. (asymmetric synthesis is big money in the pharmaceutical industry, which according to him isn't possible);

that Evolution includes the origin of life in its theory, when abiogenesis is a completely different problem. The only relationship between the two is temporal – abiogenesis had to occur before Evo could start its work. We've come a long way since the Stanley-Urey experiment. This is primary evidence that Don has never read anything on Evo outside of Christian 'Science' lit;

that behavior has no biochemical basis (in answer to his question of what part of the genome governs emotions like love, a number of biochemicals like oxytocin, the genes that encode their synthesizing enzymes and the genes which control their activation come to mind immediately) and therefore cannot be under evolutionary control (I would like to know how he then explains the observed genetic changes in the Russian silver fox experiment of Dmitri Belyaev if genetics play no role in behavior, where silver foxes were bred for either tameness or viciousness). Your friend seems to think that one gene-one enzyme is how DNA works. It does not. Genes interact, sometimes in unpredictable was (definitely the case in the Belyaev experiment, unintentionally resulting in changes to coat color and tail stiffness). Emotions such as love are just as likely to develop as fear. Co-operative behavior is just as effective in species which use social coherence as a survival strategy as the fight-or-flight response, even in tooth-and-claw natural selection (there is no such thing as Darwinism). None of this takes away from the actual feeling of love itself or makes it any less wonderful. Again evidence that Don has never read anything on Evo outside of the Disco Institute's official reading list (which means all he knows of Evo is the usual strawman the Diso Insitute disingenuously touts);

Part II tomorrow....

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