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Creationism vs. evolution debate to be topic of two-day Clarksb
Clarksburg ^ | May 17 2004 | Kim Mines

Posted on 05/17/2004 10:46:51 AM PDT by yonif

CLARKSBURG -- Was the earth really created in six days? What happened to the dinosaurs? Where do fossils come from?

According to Ken Ham, president and founder of Answers in Genesis, the answers are all found in the first book of the Bible, Genesis.

Ham will be speaking at the Answers in Genesis conference May 21-22 at Robert C. Byrd High School.

"It is a blessing for the Christian community to have such a world-renowned speaker come to our area," said Jay Wolfe, chairman for the event. "The best part is that it's free. Typically, it costs $35 per family."

Ham, a native Australian who now resides near Cincinnati, is one of the most in-demand Christian speakers in North America. He is the author of numerous books on Genesis, the accuracy and authority of the Bible, and creationism vs. evolution.

His radio show, "Answers with Ken Ham," is heard on 680 stations worldwide. He is also a contributing author for Creation magazine. A former teacher, Ham is concerned with how education teaches the theory of evolution as fact and how the whole scientific aspect of the Bible is being ignored.

Others from Answers in Genesis participating in the conference are Buddy Davis, Michael Oard and Stacia McKeever.

Davis is a dinosaur sculptor, author/speaker and popular musician. He is also an accomplished paleo-artist, specializing in building life-sized dinosaur sculptures for Answers in Genesis's Creation Museum near Cincinnati.

He will sing selections from his eight CDs.

An expert on Noah's Flood, the Ice Age and Mammoths, Oard recently retired from the National Weather Service as a meteorologist. He'll give illustrated talks on the compelling evidence for Noah's Flood and the Ice Age that resulted, and how the woolly mammoth connects to biblical history.

He is also author of a children's book, "Life in the Great Ice Age," and a book for teens and adults, "The Weather Book."

McKeever is an author and children's speaker. She'll lead workshops for ages 4-6 using a variety of hands-on activities, taking children on a journey through the "7Cs of History."

She graduated summa cum laude in biology and psychology, and has been working full-time for Answers in Genesis (USA) since 1997. She is also a co-author of the Answers for Kids section in Creation magazine, and has written or co-authored a number of articles for that magazine and also for the AiG Web site.

Local church pastors and lay leaders are excited about the conference.

In March, Ham spoke to a standing-room-only crowd at a breakfast/planning meeting held at the Holiday Inn in Bridgeport. At that time, the planning committee and local church leaders set out to raise enough money to bring the conference to Clarksburg at no cost to the community.

"We have raised over $14,000 so we can offer it to the community for free," Wolfe said.

Wolfe added that he felt it was important for everyone to attend the conference.

"There are two world views -- God is or God isn't -- creation or evolution," Wolfe said. "Which one is the predominant world view, espoused by most information media?"

He added that the church must take responsibility for allowing the creation world view to be defeated in our culture. It is time, he said, to "equip ourselves with the sword of the spirit, which is the truth of God's word, and enter the science arena to battle for the hearts and minds of the young people of this generation."

Wolfe said that he realizes that the creation world view is controversial.

"Some will be skeptical," he said. "But the people who are still open-minded even though they now believe in evolution can come out and hear a specialist. They can then analyze for themselves the creation point of view."

Rev. David Hulme of Clarksburg Baptist Church said that hearing Ham speak and reading his books has radically changed the way he looks at some issues facing the church and society.

"I have his book and DVD series, and we've watched it at church," he said. "There seems to be a lot of interest. I think it's because he uses the whole of scripture, not just the creation."

Tressa Shaw of Bridgeport is hoping that everyone attends Answers in Genesis.

"Everyone should come and see that God's word is truth from beginning to end," she said.

Ham will also speak May 23 at Calvary Baptist and Trinity Assembly of God churches. To pre-register for workshops or for more information, call 622-2241.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events; US: West Virginia
KEYWORDS: creationism; crevolist; evolution; wv
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1 posted on 05/17/2004 10:46:53 AM PDT by yonif
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To: yonif
"There are two world views -- God is or God isn't -- creation or evolution,"

Sigh -- the Fallacy of the False Dichotomy rides again...

The majority of evolutionists are Christian, so obviously something is wrong with with his "either-or" notion, and with his trying to equate evolution with atheism.

2 posted on 05/17/2004 10:52:44 AM PDT by Ichneumon
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To: Ichneumon
Not to mention that Intelligent Design does not assume or require a deity.
3 posted on 05/17/2004 10:59:47 AM PDT by Know your rights (The modern enlightened liberal doesn't care what you believe as long as you don't really believe it.)
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To: yonif
Robert C. Byrd High School

Is that who I think it is? If so, what kind of guy has a school named after him while he's STILL ALIVE?!?!

4 posted on 05/17/2004 11:06:35 AM PDT by jtminton (<><)
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To: yonif
Ham will be speaking at the Answers in Genesis conference May 21-22 at Robert C. Byrd High School.

I wonder who paid for that school?
5 posted on 05/17/2004 11:07:09 AM PDT by microgood
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To: microgood
I wonder who paid for that school?

My first guess is it wasn't Robert C. Byrd.

6 posted on 05/17/2004 11:10:48 AM PDT by azhenfud ("He who is always looking up seldom finds others' lost change...")
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To: yonif

I submit that the chemical artillery shells found in Iraq naturally evolved from ordinary artillery shells.


7 posted on 05/17/2004 11:12:39 AM PDT by Blood of Tyrants (Even if the government took all your earnings, you wouldn't be, in its eyes, a slave.)
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To: azhenfud
My first guess is it wasn't Robert C. Byrd.

Good first guess.
8 posted on 05/17/2004 11:19:07 AM PDT by microgood
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To: Blood of Tyrants

you are correct.


9 posted on 05/17/2004 11:31:35 AM PDT by job ("God is not dead nor doth He sleep")
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To: yonif

It took God 6 days to create everthing. How long was each day?


10 posted on 05/17/2004 11:35:38 AM PDT by inflation
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To: yonif
Been working on a new description of ID.

If you let go of a ball it will fall to the floor. Did God cause the ball to drop to the floor? Or did God create gravity, and gravity pulled the ball to the floor?

You can say that this is an example of "intelligent action". I.E. the ball went to the floor rather than across the room because the intelligence sent it in one particular direction (down) rather than across the room.

I'd call this an "intelligent process".

So if a creature with slightly superior capabilities than another survives because of those capabilities, is that Darwin's "Natural Selection"? Or is it "intelligent design"?

Just as the ball dropped because of gravity as created by God, "Natural Selection" occurs by the life processes as created by God.

Bottom line: there is no conflict between Genesis and Evolution. Just as God created Gravity, he created Evolution. The chapters of Genesis that describe creation are only a few hundred words. Not nearly enough to describe any details, leaving plenty of room for Evolution.

When Christians fight Evolution, they marginalize themselves, and aid the anti-Christian bigots by giving them something to criticize.

11 posted on 05/17/2004 11:37:17 AM PDT by narby (Iraq prison abuse looks like Frat house hazing to me.)
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To: Ichneumon

Sigh the fallacy of the fallacy of the false dictomony rides again and again....
God either is or he isn't....
If he is then evolution is lie....
The bible tells me so....
:)


12 posted on 05/17/2004 11:39:47 AM PDT by joesnuffy (Moderate Islam Is For Dilettantes)
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To: Ichneumon

13 posted on 05/17/2004 11:40:11 AM PDT by Sender (<a href="http://www.democrats.org/">Miserable Failure</a>)
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To: jtminton
Is that who I think it is? If so, what kind of guy has a school named after him while he's STILL ALIVE?!?!

Classic. He is dead, but typical of Dimocrats that have the dead on the voting rolls, in this case they just propped up a dead politician and elected him.

14 posted on 05/17/2004 11:42:56 AM PDT by highlander_UW (A liberal is a man too broadminded to take his own side in a quarrel. - Robert Frost)
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To: jtminton

Byrd has a bunch of stuff named after him in WV.

Robert C. Byrd High School
Robert C. Byrd Highway
Robert C. Byrd Hardwood Technology Center
Robert C. Byrd National Technology Transfer Center
Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center (WVU)

etc...

There's also a giant bronze statue of him in the rotunda of our State Capital.

Makes me proud to be a West Virginian.

/sarcasm


15 posted on 05/17/2004 11:44:44 AM PDT by FLAMING DEATH (Why do I carry a .45? Because they don't make a .46!)
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Comment #16 Removed by Moderator

To: yonif
Here is the web site of Ken Ham's Answers in Genesis.
17 posted on 05/17/2004 11:57:53 AM PDT by protest1
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To: yonif
The first Book of Semiconductors, chapter 6, verse 12, states:

"And let computers multiply throughout the land. Be they used for running car engines or for the running of video games. Let them become numerous and be sold cheaply."

The rest deals with the availability of pornography so I won't address it here.

18 posted on 05/17/2004 12:03:01 PM PDT by <1/1,000,000th%
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To: Know your rights
Not to mention that Intelligent Design does not assume or require a deity.

Can you point me to an ID source that does not mention a deity?

19 posted on 05/17/2004 12:03:06 PM PDT by Shryke (Never retreat. Never explain. Get it done and let them howl.)
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To: narby

Well said, and thanks for saying it.


20 posted on 05/17/2004 12:07:05 PM PDT by FactQuest
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To: Shryke
Can you point me to an ID source that does not mention a deity?

More importantly, can anyone point to a promoter of Intelligent Design that doesn't also bemoan secular education?

21 posted on 05/17/2004 12:10:01 PM PDT by js1138 (In a minute there is time, for decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse. J Forbes Kerry)
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To: Ichneumon
The majority of evolutionists are Christian

Your evidence for this is what?

22 posted on 05/17/2004 12:37:39 PM PDT by LiteKeeper
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To: PatrickHenry

Ping.


23 posted on 05/17/2004 1:08:34 PM PDT by yonif ("So perish all Thine enemies, O the Lord" - Judges 5:31)
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To: LiteKeeper
[The majority of evolutionists are Christian]

Your evidence for this is what?

Every national poll on the topic. For example:

February 2001 Gallup Poll:

Which of the following statements comes closest to your views on the origin and development of human beings -- [ROTATE 1-3/3-1:
1) Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided this process,
2) Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God had no part in this process,
3) God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so]?

Responses:
1. 37%
2. 12%
3. 45%
Other/No opinion: 6%

So the "God is involved in evolution" responses outnumber the "God not involved in evolution" responses by a 37:12 ratio.

Since this is a US poll, clearly the great majority of the "God involved in evolution" respondents will be Christians.

So as I said the majority of people who people who accept evolution are Christians (and/or some other kind of believer in God), not atheists. QED.

Even among respondents who specifically chose to identify themselves "evolutionists" over "creationist", the same relationship holds:

Total

"Evolutionists"

"Creationists"

 

%

%

%

 

 

 

 

Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided this process

37

51

28

Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God had no part in this process

12

34

1

God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so

45

10

67

OTHER (vol.)

1

1

2

Don’t know

4

3

2

Refused

1

1

0

The "theistic evolutionists" outnumber the "atheistic evolutionists" 51:34.

And just to show how badly the "creation or evolution" false dichotomy is when compared to people's actual beliefs, check out the 10% who identified themselves as "evolutionists" but who chose the response that "God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so". I guess we have some "Young Earth Evolutionists" out there, who believe that God made man 10,000 years ago, but that other Earthly life has evolved.

It really isn't an "either or" thing.

Interestingly, here are the responses for people who identified themselves as scientists:

1. 40% (God-assisted evolution)
2. 55% ("Godless" evolution)
3. 5% (God made man "as is" around 10,000 years ago)
Note that this covers all kinds of scientists, including those working way outside the field of biology. Among scientists actually working in the field of biology, support for evolution rises to over 99%.
24 posted on 05/17/2004 1:22:58 PM PDT by Ichneumon
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To: Ichneumon

Amazing leap of logic. You take a poll of the general population, say that most people believe in God, and therefore, based on this poll, most Christians believe in evolution. Where did you learn your logic? From the Democrats? Try again!


25 posted on 05/17/2004 1:26:09 PM PDT by LiteKeeper
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To: LiteKeeper
Amazing leap of logic. You take a poll of the general population, say that most people believe in God,

Not what I said, try again. I said that most Americans who believe in God are Christians. Do you dispute this?

and therefore, based on this poll, most Christians believe in evolution.

Not what I said, try again. In fact, you have it exactly *backwards*. I said that "most evolutionists are Christians", not vice versa.

Where did you learn your logic? From the Democrats? Try again!

Where did you learn your reading comprehension, from liberals? Try again.

26 posted on 05/17/2004 1:46:37 PM PDT by Ichneumon
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To: Shryke; js1138
Can you point me to an ID source that does not mention a deity?

Michael Behe, in Darwin's Black Box, explains at some length why ID doesn't require a deity.

More importantly, can anyone point to a promoter of Intelligent Design that doesn't also bemoan secular education?

As far as I know, Behe has taken no position on secular education.

27 posted on 05/17/2004 1:54:44 PM PDT by Know your rights (The modern enlightened liberal doesn't care what you believe as long as you don't really believe it.)
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To: Ichneumon
most Americans who believe in God are Christians. Do you dispute this?

This is simply NOT true! I guess it depends on how you define "Christian."

28 posted on 05/17/2004 2:00:00 PM PDT by LiteKeeper
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To: LiteKeeper
[most Americans who believe in God are Christians. Do you dispute this?]

This is simply NOT true!

I see that you're as reliable/knowedgeable about religious issues as you are about scientific issues:

Largest Religions in the United States

Unlike some countries, the United States does not include a question about religion in its census, and has not done so for over fifty years. Religious adherent statistics in the U.S. are obtained from surveys and organizational reporting.

U.S. Religious Affiliation, 2002

(self-identification, Pew Research Council)

In February and March 2002 the Pew Research Council conducted a survey of 2,002 adults. Questions about religious preference were included. The results are below:

Religious Preference % June 1996 % March 2001 March 2002
Christian 84 82 82
Jewish 1 1 1
Muslim * 1 *
Other non-Christian 3 2 1
Atheist * 1 1
Agnostic * 2 2
Something else (SPECIFY) * 1 2
No preference 11 8 10
Don't know/Refused 1 2 1

This table was published in a study titled "Americans Struggle with Religion's Role at Home and Abroad", released on March 20, 2002.

The authors listed are:
Andrew Kohut, director of The Pew Research Center For The People & The Press
Melissa Rogers, executive director of The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life

Methodology:
"The nationwide survey of 2,002 adults, conducted Feb. 25 - March 10 by the Pew Research Center and the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life..."

Page 49:
Now,a few questions about your religioius affiliation.
Q.18 What is your religious preference -- do you consider yourself Christian, Jewish, Muslim, other non-Christian such as Buddhist or Hindu, atheist, agnostic, something else, or don't you have a religious preference?

Christian includes Protestant, Catholic, Mormon, Orthodox, and other, including non-denominational. Christian respondents were further broken down into branches. See below.




The largest, most comprehensive surveys on religious identification were done in sociologists Barry A. Kosmin, Seymour P. Lachman and associates at the Graduate School of the City University of New York. Their first major study was done in 1990: the National Survey of Religious Identification (NSRI). This scientific nationwide survey of 113,000 Americans asked about religious preference, along with other questions. They followed this up, with even more sophisticated methodology and more questions, with the American Religious Identity Survey (ARIS) conducted in 2001, with a sample size of 50,000 Americans.

The ARIS data is published online at: http://www.gc.cuny.edu/studies/aris_index.htm

The following three tables comes from the NSRI and ARIS data:

Top Twenty Religions in the United States, 2001

(self-identification, ARIS)

Religion 1990 Est.
Adult Pop.
2001 Est.
Adult Pop.
% of U.S. Pop.,
2000
% Change
1990 - 2000
Christianity 151,225,000 159,030,000 76.5% +5%
Nonreligious/Secular 13,116,000 27,539,000 13.2% +110%
Judaism 3,137,000 2,831,000 1.3% -10%
Islam 527,000 1,104,000 0.5% +109%
Buddhism 401,000 1,082,000 0.5% +170%
Agnostic 1,186,000 991,000 0.5% -16%
Atheist   902,000 0.4%  
Hinduism 227,000 766,000 0.4% +237%
Unitarian Universalist 502,000 629,000 0.3% +25%
Wiccan/Pagan/Druid   307,000 0.1%  
Spiritualist   116,000    
Native American Religion 47,000 103,000   +119%
Baha'i 28,000 84,000   +200%
New Age 20,000 68,000   +240%
Sikhism 13,000 57,000   +338%
Scientology 45,000 55,000   +22%
Humanist 29,000 49,000   +69%
Deity (Deist) 6,000 49,000   +717%
Taoist 23,000 40,000   +74%
Eckankar 18,000 26,000   +44%



Top Ten ORGANIZED Religions in the United States, 2001

(self-identification, ARIS)

[Nonreligious, Atheist, Agnostic have been dropped from this list.]

Religion 2001 Est.
Adult Pop.
% of U.S. Pop.,
2001
Christianity 159,030,000 76.5%
Judaism 2,831,000 1.3%
Islam 1,104,000 0.5%
Buddhism 1,082,000 0.5%
Hinduism 766,000 0.4%
Unitarian Universalist 629,000 0.3%
Wiccan/Pagan/Druid 307,000 0.1%
Spiritualist 116,000  
Native American Religion 103,000  
Baha'i 84,000  



Ten Largest Religions in the United States, 1990

(self-identification, NSRI)

Religion Estimated
Adult Pop.
Estimated
% of Adult Pop.
Christianity 151,225,000 86.2%
Nonreligious 13,116,000 7.5%
Judaism 3,137,000 1.8%
Agnostic 1,186,000 0.7%
Islam 527,000 * 0.5%
Unitarian Universalist 502,000 0.3%
Buddhism 401,000 * 0.4%
Hinduism 227,000 * 0.2%
Native American Religion 47,000 --
Scientologist 45,000 --

* Islam, Buddhist, Hindu figures in table have been adjusted upwards by Kosmin to account for possible undercount.

ADDITIONAL NOTES:

Christianity. Note that in the NSRI and ARIS studies, based on self-identification, Christianity includes: Catholic, Baptist, Protestant, Methodist/Wesleyan, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Pentecostal/Charismatic, Episcopalian/Anglican, Mormon/Latter-day Saints, Churches of Christ, Jehovah's Witness, Seventh-Day Adventist, Assemblies of God, Holiness/Holy, Congregational/United Church of Christ, Church of the Nazarine, Church of God, Eastern Orthodox, Evangelical, Mennonite, Christian Science, Church of the Brethren, Born Again, Nondenominational Christians, Disciples of Christ, Reformed/Dutch Reformed, Apostolic/New Apostolic, Quaker, Full Gospel, Christian Reform, Foursquare Gospel, Fundamentalist, Salvation Army, Independent Christian Church, Covenant Church, Jewish Christians, plus 240,000 adults classified as "other" (who did not fall into the preceding groups).

Islam. Muslim leaders in the United States optimistically estimate that there are approximately 6.5 million Muslims in the country (Aly Abuzaakouk, American Muslim Council, 1999). More recent newspaper accounts (2001) frequently refer to an estimated 8 million American Muslims. This would equate to 3% of the U.S. population, or roughly 1 in every 33 people in the country. No comparable figure has been confirmed by independent research similar to the Kosmin or Glenmary studies, or the Gallup, Harris, Barna. polls. Currently, surveys consistently report less than 1% of people surveyed identify themselves as Muslims. Muslim community leaders say that many American Muslims are relatively recent immigrants who either do not have telephone service, or do not participate in surveys. Researchers generally agree that the estimate of 300,000 Muslims in the Kosmin study (1990) and Kosmin's adjusted estimate (to 500,000) are too small to reflect current (year 2001) numbers of American Muslims. The latest edition (2000) of the annual Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches estimates 3,950,000 Muslims in America. According to a study released by the American Jewish Committee in October 2001, the highest possible realistic estimate for the current number of Muslims in the United States is 2.8 million.

Jews and Judaism. The American Jewish Identity Survey of 2000, conducted by Barry Kosmin, Egon Mayer, and Ariela Keysar at the Center for Jewish Studies at the City University of New York's Graduate Center, concluded that there were 5.5 million Jews in the United States. Of these, 1.4 million were aligned with a religion other than Judaism, 1.4 million were secular or non-religious, leaving 51% of American Jews (just over 3 million people) whose religion was Judaism. The study surveyed 50,000 randomly selected adult Americans. More.

Baha'i. Some representatives of the Baha'i Faith have questioned their omission from the 1990 NSRI "Top 10" list. The NSRI study indicated there were 28,000 self-identified Baha'is in the United States in 1990, making them the 11th largest religion in the country. If one excludes the "nonreligious" and "agnostic" categories from this list, then the Kosmin study would place Baha'is as the 9th largest religion in the U.S.

Although the Kosmin study is well-respected, it should be noted that even with a random sample of such unprecedented size (113,000 respondents), the practical margin of error for this study was high for relatively smaller groups -- those with less than 300,000 individuals. In this study, there were a few more respondents who said they were Scientologists or Native American religionists than said they were Baha'is. But given the margin of error, it is possible that in 1990 there were actually more Baha'is. This would be the case especially if, as some Baha'is suggested in response to these findings, there were a high proportion of Baha'is who lived communally and did not have phones for each family, or were recent Iranian immigrants reluctant to identify their Baha'i affiliation over the phone because of past persecution. In 1990 the Baha'i world faith itself claimed 110,000 adherents in the United States. If there were 110,000 self-identified Baha'is in 1990 they would have ranked as the 9th largest U.S. religion (assuming that the other Kosmin figures are accurate).

It is quite possible that growth within this group during this last 9 years has outpaced growth of some other groups, and that Baha'is are now among America's ten largest religions. But this proposition has not been verified empirically and similar claims of recent growth have also been made by the other groups. Current official estimates from the Baha'i National Spiritual Assembly for the U.S. Baha'i population are about 130,000, or about 0.05% of the U.S. population. On 31 March 2000 received information from the U.S. National Spiritual Assembly listing the number of U.S. Baha'is at 133,709. A non-Baha'i historian from the University of Michigan who has scrutinized American Baha'i statistical practices has estimated a current (1999) figure of about 60,000 self-identified Baha'is in the U.S. But, with the ARIS survey now estimating 84,000 adult self-identified Baha'is in the U.S. in the year 2001, it appears that that historian's estimate is too low. If children are included and a slight undercount assumed, it is quite possible that there were closer to 100,000 (perhaps more) Baha'is in the U.S. in 2001.

It may also be noted that Baha'is are ranked as one of the world's ten largest international religious bodies and are among the top ten largest organized religions in the world, based on their current reported estimated membership.

Neo-pagan/Wiccan: There were 768,400 Neo-pagans (largest subset were Wiccans) in the U.S. in the year 2000, according to the Wiccan/Pagan Poll, conducted by the Covenant of the Goddess (CoG) beginning in late July, 1999. [Online source: http://www.cog.org/cogpoll_final.html] The Covenant of the Goddess (CoG) poll methodology is not comparable to methodology used in the Kosmin NSRI/ARIS studies, Harris Poll, Gallup polls, or Glenmary study.

Another source, published before ARIS data was available:
According to the 2001 edition of David Barrett's World Christian Encyclopedia, the largest non-Christian organized religions in the U.S. are:

From http://www.adherents.com/rel_USA.html

I guess it depends on how you define "Christian."

Uh huh -- Bill Clinton, is that you?

29 posted on 05/17/2004 2:16:29 PM PDT by Ichneumon
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To: Know your rights
Michael Behe, in Darwin's Black Box, explains at some length why ID doesn't require a deity.

Behe, as far as I know, posits G-d or a "higher intelligence" as the origin of our life. But, let's say we stay with "higher intelligence". What created that intelligence? If that intelligence isn't G-d, than how did it come to be? Eventually, you always arrive at the same starting point: G-d, no?

Additionally, you may not want to put all your eggs in the "Behe basket". He's been more debunked than phrenology.

30 posted on 05/17/2004 2:17:57 PM PDT by Shryke (Never retreat. Never explain. Get it done and let them howl.)
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To: Shryke
But, let's say we stay with "higher intelligence". What created that intelligence? If that intelligence isn't G-d, than how did it come to be? Eventually, you always arrive at the same starting point: G-d, no?

As Behe says, the "higher intelligence" can be explained by evolution so long as none of its biochemical systems are irreducibly complex.

Additionally, you may not want to put all your eggs in the "Behe basket". He's been more debunked than phrenology.

I've seen the attempted rebuttals---and his cogent replies.

31 posted on 05/17/2004 2:24:06 PM PDT by Know your rights (The modern enlightened liberal doesn't care what you believe as long as you don't really believe it.)
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To: Know your rights
As Behe says, the "higher intelligence" can be explained by evolution so long as none of its biochemical systems are irreducibly complex.

I don't understand your answer. I'll repeat, how do you avoid beginning with a deity?

32 posted on 05/17/2004 2:28:16 PM PDT by Shryke (Never retreat. Never explain. Get it done and let them howl.)
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To: Shryke
The "higher intelligence" evolved---as we can't have done because we contain irreducibly complex biochemical systems.
33 posted on 05/17/2004 2:32:21 PM PDT by Know your rights (The modern enlightened liberal doesn't care what you believe as long as you don't really believe it.)
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To: Know your rights
[Additionally, you may not want to put all your eggs in the "Behe basket". He's been more debunked than phrenology.]

I've seen the attempted rebuttals---and his cogent replies.

Try this one:

The next idea you probably will not like, and that is irreducible complexity.

As an "idea" I like it just fine, and so do evolutionary scientists. The problem is that Behe (and the creationists who follow him) have created a "straw man" version of "IC" which is quite simply incorrect -- but appears to give the conclusion they want.

The original notion of "IC" goes back to Darwin himself. He wrote:

"If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down."
-- Charles Darwin, "On the Origin of Species", 1859
That's "Irreducible Complexity" in a nutshell. It's not as if Behe has pointed out anything that biologists (or Darwin) didn't already realize.

But let's examine Darwin's description of "IC" in a bit more detail (emphasis mine):

No doubt many organs exist of which we do not know the transitional grades, more especially if we look to much-isolated species, round which, according to my theory, there has been much extinction. Or again, if we look to an organ common to all the members of a large class, for in this latter case the organ must have been first formed at an extremely remote period, since which all the many members of the class have been developed; and in order to discover the early transitional grades through which the organ has passed, we should have to look to very ancient ancestral forms, long since become extinct.

We should be extremely cautious in concluding that an organ could not have been formed by transitional gradations of some kind. Numerous cases could be given amongst the lower animals of the same organ performing at the same time wholly distinct functions; thus the alimentary canal respires, digests, and excretes in the larva of the dragon-fly and in the fish Cobites. In the Hydra, the animal may be turned inside out, and the exterior surface will then digest and the stomach respire. In such cases natural selection might easily specialise, if any advantage were thus gained, a part or organ, which had performed two functions, for one function alone, and thus wholly change its nature by insensible steps. Two distinct organs sometimes perform simultaneously the same function in the same individual; to give one instance, there are fish with gills or branchiae that breathe the air dissolved in the water, at the same time that they breathe free air in their swimbladders, this latter organ having a ductus pneumaticus for its supply, and being divided by highly vascular partitions. In these cases, one of the two organs might with ease be modified and perfected so as to perform all the work by itself, being aided during the process of modification by the other organ; and then this other organ might be modified for some other and quite distinct purpose, or be quite obliterated.

The illustration of the swimbladder in fishes is a good one, because it shows us clearly the highly important fact that an organ originally constructed for one purpose, namely flotation, may be converted into one for a wholly different purpose, namely respiration. The swimbladder has, also, been worked in as an accessory to the auditory organs of certain fish, or, for I do not know which view is now generally held, a part of the auditory apparatus has been worked in as a complement to the swimbladder. All physiologists admit that the swimbladder is homologous, or 'ideally similar,' in position and structure with the lungs of the higher vertebrate animals: hence there seems to me to be no great difficulty in believing that natural selection has actually converted a swimbladder into a lung, or organ used exclusively for respiration.

[Example snipped]

In considering transitions of organs, it is so important to bear in mind the probability of conversion from one function to another, that I will give one more instance. [Long detail of example snipped] If all pedunculated cirripedes had become extinct, and they have already suffered far more extinction than have sessile cirripedes, who would ever have imagined that the branchiae in this latter family had originally existed as organs for preventing the ova from being washed out of the sack?

-- Charles Darwin, "On the Origin of Species", 1859

Darwin makes two critical points here:

1. A modern organ need not have evolved into its present form and function from a precursor which had always performed the same function. Evolution is quite capable of evolving a structure to perform one function, and then turning it to some other "purpose".

2. Organs/structures can reach their present form through a *loss* of function or parts, not just through *addition* of function or parts.

Despite the fact that these observations were laid out in 1859, Behe's version of "Irreducible Complexity" pretends they are not factors, and defines "IC" as something which could not have arisen through stepwise *ADDITIONS* (only) while performing the same function *THROUGHOUT ITS EXISTENCE*.

It's hard to tell whether Behe does this through ignorance or willful dishonesty, but the fact remains that *his* definition and analysis of "IC" is too restrictive. He places too many "rules" on how he will "allow" evolution to reach his examples of "Behe-style IC" structures, while evolution itself *IS NOT RESTRICTED TO THOSE RULES* when it operates. Thus Behe's conclusion that "Behe-style evolution" can not reach "Behe-style IC" hardly tells us anything about whether *real-world* evolution could or could not have produced them.

For specific examples, Behe's example of the "Behe-style IC" flagellum is flawed because flagella are composed of components that bacteria use FOR OTHER PURPOSES and were evolved for those purposes then co-opted (1, 2), and Behe's example of the "Behe-style IC" blood-clotting process is flawed because the biochemistry of blood-clotting is easily reached by adding several steps on top of a more primitive biochemical sequence, *and then REMOVING earlier portions which had become redundant* (1, 2).

Even Behe's trivial mousetrap example turns out to not actually be "IC".

The usual qualitative formulation is: "An irreducibly complex system cannot be produced...by slight, successive modifications of a precursor system, because any precursor to an irreducibly complex system, that is missing a part is by definition nonfunctional..."

Note the key error: By saying that it "breaks" if any part is "missing" (i.e. taken away), it is only saying that evolution could not have reached that endpoint by successively only ADDING parts. True enough, but Behe misses the fact that you can also reach the same state by, say, adding 5 parts one at a time, and then taking away 2 which have become redundant. Let's say that part "A" does the job, but not well. But starting with just "A" serves the need. Then add "B", which improves the function of "A". Add "C" which helps A+B do their job, and so on until you have ABCDE, which does the job very well. Now, however, it may turn out that CDE alone does just fine (conceivably, even better than ABCDE does with A+B getting in the way of CDE's operation). So A and B fade away, leaving CDE. Note that CDE was built in "one change at a time" fashion, with each new change improving the operation. HOWEVER, by Behe's definition CDE is "Irreducibly Complex" and "could not have evolved (been built by single steps)" because removing C or D or E from CDE will "break" it. Note that Behe's conclusion is wrong. His logic is faulty.

The other error in Behe's definition lies in this part: "...any precursor to an irreducibly complex system, that is missing a part is by definition nonfunctional". The problem here is that it may be "nonfunctional" for its *current* function, but perfectly functional for some *other* function helpful for survival (and therefore selected by evolution). Behe implicitly claims that if it's not useful for its *current* function, it's useless for *any* function. The flaw in this should be obvious.

"Since natural selection can only choose systems that are already working, then if a biological system cannot be produced gradually it would have to arise as an integrated unit, in one fell swoop, for natural selection to have anything to act on."

True as far as it goes, but but this is hardly the same as Behe's sleight-of-hand in the first part of his statement, which relies on the false premise that a precursor to a structure is 100% useless for *any* purpose if *taking away* (but not adding) one part from the current purpose makes it unsuitable for the current purpose. Two gaping holes in that one...

Behe (an anathematized name)

For reasons I've outlined above.

And:

They cannot have evolved from a flagella that need three.

Contrary to creationist claims (or Behe's) that flagella are Irreducibly Complex and can not function at all if any part or protein is removed, in fact a) there are many, many varieties of flagella on various species of single-celled organisms, some with more or fewer parts/proteins than others. So it's clearly inaccurate to make a blanket claim that "flagella" in general contain no irreplacable parts. Even Behe admits that a working flagella can be reduced to a working cilia, which undercuts his entire "Irreducibly Complex" example/claim right off the bat.

For a semi-technical discussion of how flagella are *not* IC, because many of their parts can be eliminated without totally breaking their locomotive ability, see Evolution of the Bacterial Flagella

But even if one could identify, say, four specific proteins (or other components) which were critically necessary for the functioning of all flagellar structures (and good luck: there are three unrelated classes of organisms with flagella built on three independent methods: eubacterial flagella, archebacterial flagella, and eukaryote flagella -- see Faugy DM and Farrel K, (1999 Feb) A twisted tale: the origin and evolution of motility and chemotaxis in prokaryotes. Microbiology, 145, 279-280), Behe makes a fatal (and laughably elementary) error when he states that therefore they could not have arisen by evolution. Even first-year students of evolutionary biology know that quite often evolved structures are built from parts that WERE NOT ORIGINALLY EVOLVED FOR THEIR CURRENT APPLICATION, as Behe naively assumes (or tries to imply).

Okay, fine, so even if you can prove that a flagellum needs 4 certain proteins to function, and would not function AS A FLAGELLUM with only 3, that's absolutely no problem for evolutionary biology, since it may well have evolved from *something else* which used those 3 proteins to successfully function, and only became useful as a method of locomotion when evolution chanced upon the addition of the 4th protein. Biology is chock-full of systems cobbled together from combinations of other components, or made via one addition to an existing system which then fortuitously allows it to perform a new function.

And, lo and behold, it turns out that the "base and pivot" of the bacterial flagella, along with part of the "stalk", is virtually identical to the bacterial Type III Secretory Structure (TTSS). So despite Behe's claim that flagella must be IC because (he says) there's no use for half a flagella, in fact there is indeed such a use. And this utterly devastates Behe's argument, in several different ways. Explaining way in detail would take quite some time, but it turns out that someone has already written an excellent essay on that exact thing, which I strongly encourage you to read: The Flagellum Unspun: The Collapse of "Irreducible Complexity" .

(Note: Several times that essay makes a reference to the "argument from ignorance", with the assumption that the reader is already familiar with it. I'd like to point out that contrary to the way it sounds, Miller is *not* accusing Behe et all of being ignorant. Instead, he's referring to this family of logical fallacies, also known as the "argument from incredulity".)

That is called irreducible complexity.

That's what Behe likes to call it, yes. But the flagella is provably *not* IC. Oops for Behe. Furthermore, while it's certainly easy to *call* something or another "Irreducibly Complex", proving that it actually *is* is another matter entirely.

As the "Flagellum Unspun" article above states:

According to Dembski, the detection of "design" requires that an object display complexity that could not be produced by what he calls "natural causes." In order to do that, one must first examine all of the possibilities by which an object, like the flagellum, might have been generated naturally. Dembski and Behe, of course, come to the conclusion that there are no such natural causes. But how did they determine that? What is the scientific method used to support such a conclusion? Could it be that their assertions of the lack of natural causes simply amount to an unsupported personal belief? Suppose that there are such causes, but they simply happened not to think of them? Dembski actually seems to realize that this is a serious problem. He writes: "Now it can happen that we may not know enough to determine all the relevant chance hypotheses [which here, as noted above, means all relevant natural processes (hvt)]. Alternatively, we might think we know the relevant chance hypotheses, but later discover that we missed a crucial one. In the one case a design inference could not even get going; in the other, it would be mistaken" (Dembski 2002, 123 (note 80)).
For more bodyblows against the notion of Irreducible Complexity, see:

Bacterial Flagella and Irreducible Complexity

Irreducible Complexity Demystified

Irreducible Complexity

Review: Michael Behe's "Darwin's Black Box"

By Behe's fundamentally flawed test for "irreducible complexity", you can "prove" that the following structure is "impossible" to form naturally, since it would collapse if the top, or either side, were removed. Behe's illogical position is that since nature couldn't have made this arch by only *adding* material a little bit at a time, then it couldn't have formed at all! But as detailed above, the fundamental flaw in Behe's notions is that nature is not restricted to forming things only by *addition* -- in this case, the stone arch was formed first by adding layers of sediment (note the obvious layers in the arch), then hardening them into rock, then *removing* material from around and under the remaining arch via erosion.


34 posted on 05/17/2004 2:41:59 PM PDT by Ichneumon
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To: VadeRetro; jennyp; Junior; longshadow; RadioAstronomer; Physicist; LogicWings; Doctor Stochastic; ..
PING. [This list is for the evolution side of evolution threads, and some other science topics like cosmology. FReepmail me to be added or dropped. Long-time list members get all pings, but can request evo-only status. New additions will be evo-only, but can request all pings. Specify all pings or you'll get evo-pings only.]
35 posted on 05/17/2004 4:02:22 PM PDT by PatrickHenry (A compassionate evolutionist!)
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To: Ichneumon
The Flood explains it all.
</creationism mode>
36 posted on 05/17/2004 4:34:36 PM PDT by PatrickHenry (A compassionate evolutionist!)
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To: Know your rights
Not to mention that Intelligent Design does not assume or require a deity.

Taken to its logical conclusion, it does. ID postulates that life-as-we-know-it could not have arisen naturally. Therefore, any designer could not have arisen naturally. The designer must therefore be supernatural -- hence, "God."

37 posted on 05/17/2004 4:36:16 PM PDT by Junior (Sodomy non sapiens)
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To: Junior
Creationism hiding behind the mask of ID isn't fooling anyone.


38 posted on 05/17/2004 4:41:45 PM PDT by PatrickHenry (A compassionate evolutionist!)
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JUST
ENJOYING
SCIENCE
UNDER
SCRUTINY
39 posted on 05/17/2004 4:46:16 PM PDT by NewLand (Prevent the Clinton White House from being re-opened under new management!)
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To: yonif
Separated at Birth


40 posted on 05/17/2004 4:57:47 PM PDT by Oztrich Boy ("Despise not the jester. Often he is the only one speaking the truth")
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+ =

?

41 posted on 05/17/2004 5:00:54 PM PDT by NewLand (Prevent the Clinton White House from being re-opened under new management!)
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To: Ichneumon
This is simply NOT true!

I see a "No True Scotsman" type of reply coming your way...

42 posted on 05/17/2004 5:53:46 PM PDT by RightWingNilla
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To: PatrickHenry
Creationism hiding behind the mask of ID isn't fooling anyone.

Creation science is an even uglier business than I thought!

Actually your'e onto something here PH...its safe to say Mr. Jackson's nose was an act of "special" creation.

43 posted on 05/17/2004 5:56:54 PM PDT by RightWingNilla
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To: yonif

a Tomorrow AM bump. Thanks!


44 posted on 05/17/2004 6:01:05 PM PDT by aShepard
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To: LiteKeeper

Anyone else hear bagpipes?


45 posted on 05/17/2004 7:08:00 PM PDT by Dimensio (Join the Monthly Internet Flash Mob: http://tinyurl.com/3xj9m)
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To: yonif

Are Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan going to be on the ticket again? I'll get my palm fan and jug of lemonade ready. Nothing's better than a good monkey show.

It is amazing how Americans extend our minds to the planets while our feet never leave parochial muck, isn't it?


46 posted on 05/17/2004 7:23:40 PM PDT by gcruse (http://gcruse.typepad.com/)
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To: PatrickHenry

Thanks for the ping!


47 posted on 05/17/2004 8:49:16 PM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: PatrickHenry
"Everyone should come and see that God's word is truth from beginning to end," she said.

Amen.

Thanks for the ping, Patrick.

48 posted on 05/17/2004 8:57:19 PM PDT by Victoria Delsoul (The BushAdm has apologized for abuse of suspected terrorists-Has the Arab world apologized for 9/11?)
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To: Ichneumon
Behe refers to the mousetrap purely for illustrative purposes; his argument stands or falls on biochemistry (his academic specialty).

Behe's example of the "Behe-style IC" blood-clotting process is flawed because the biochemistry of blood-clotting is easily reached by adding several steps on top of a more primitive biochemical sequence, *and then REMOVING earlier portions which had become redundant* (1, 2).

The author of reference 1 had the intellectual honesty to provide a link to Behe's reply---which is more than can be said for the chest-thumper who composed the text you cut and pasted.

49 posted on 05/18/2004 6:03:42 AM PDT by Know your rights (The modern enlightened liberal doesn't care what you believe as long as you don't really believe it.)
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To: Junior; PatrickHenry
ID postulates that life-as-we-know-it could not have arisen naturally. Therefore, any designer could not have arisen naturally.

False; see post #33.

50 posted on 05/18/2004 6:06:28 AM PDT by Know your rights (The modern enlightened liberal doesn't care what you believe as long as you don't really believe it.)
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