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Alchemy, Marxism, and the future of Darwinism
Discovery Institute ^ | Feb 27, 2007 | Jonothan Wells

Posted on 03/02/2007 7:18:55 PM PST by balch3

recently found myself in a conversation with two college undergraduates, both of them seniors in the natural sciences (physics and biochemistry, respectively). At one point we were discussing alchemy, which they knew as a pre-modern attempt to transmute lead into gold. I asked them whether they could name any famous alchemists. They could not, though one of them dimly recalled hearing of “someone whose name began with A.”

I then predicted that Darwinian evolution would eventually fade into the same obscurity that now shrouds alchemy. Although I knew from previous conversations that my young friends were skeptical of Darwinian theory, they expressed considerable surprise at my prediction, if only because Darwinism is presently held in such high esteem by their professors.

So I proceeded to explain the basis for my prediction.

First, Darwinism is similar to alchemy in purporting to hold the key to transmutation. Alchemists sought the secret of turning lead into gold; Darwinists think they already possess the secret of turning bacteria into baboons.

The alchemists, of course, were looking in the wrong place, expecting to find their secret in physical mixtures or chemical reactions, when transmutation of the elements had to wait for radically new discoveries in nuclear physics. Darwinists are also looking in the wrong place, expecting to explain large-scale evolution by DNA mutations and natural selection, when abundant evidence already indicates that those processes cannot do the job. When biologists eventually unravel the true organizing principles of life, they will quickly put Darwinism behind them.

Of course, there are also significant differences between alchemy and Darwinism. One is that alchemists were self-consciously searching for The Answer; Darwinists think they already have It. Another is that alchemy contributed many insights, materials and tools to the development of modern chemistry; Darwinism has almost nothing to contribute to the development of biology. The insights, materials and tools used by Darwinists have almost all been lifted from animal and plant breeders, classical biology, Mendelian genetics, biochemistry, and molecular biology – none of which owe anything to Darwin’s theory. The only things Darwinism can call its own are speculations about common ancestry and the transmutation of species that look increasingly implausible with each new piece of evidence.

Finally, alchemists knew that philosophy and theology were as integral to their discipline as observation and experimentation; Darwinists think they are above philosophy and theology. Even though Darwin’s Origin of Species and subsequent defenses of his theory are inextricably tied to arguments about why God supposedly wouldn’t have made living things the way they are, Darwinists invariably accuse their critics of being religiously motivated while they think they’re just dealing with the facts.

Which reminds me of another conversation I had fifteen years ago with some communists. I was a graduate student in biology at the time, and we were discussing the nature of science. I stated that no science is entirely objective – that is, based only on the facts and free of subjective elements. One of the communists replied that he knew of such a science. I asked him what it was, expecting him to say physics (for which I already had a well thought-out response). But his answer was “The Marxist theory of history.”

Darwinists, like Marxists, tend to be blind to their own commitment to materialistic philosophy. In this regard, Darwinists are more like Marxists than alchemists. So instead of becoming, like alchemy, just a dim recollection (“someone whose name began with D”), Darwinism might, like Marxism, persist for a while (after passing into oblivion everywhere else in the world) – on American college campuses.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: antiscience; creation; darwinism; idjunkscience
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1 posted on 03/02/2007 7:19:00 PM PST by balch3
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To: balch3

another Home Run from Jonothan Wells.


2 posted on 03/02/2007 7:19:26 PM PST by balch3
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To: balch3

Home run? He can predict anything he likes, but he's right there reading from the playbook of the inquisition. Galileo was right, the planets did move, and the earth did move.

Darwin's insight into the origin of species isn't going to disappear any more than Galileo's insight into the movement of the planets.

The evidence is simply overwhelming. The fossil record, the DNA record, the blindingly obvious similarity between apes and humans, mammals and other mammals, and even, if you delve deep enough, fish and mammals, is proof of common ancestry.

We see evolution going forward today. Naturally, as our lives are short and evolution takes time, we never get to see the whole story played out from beginning to end. Nobody lives to see the galaxy turn one whole spin, for that matter, but we don't have to have arguments about whether the galaxy does spin. Things that go slowly, go too slowly for us to watch the whole event. But there is evidence aplenty for those with minds that are open to the evidence.


3 posted on 03/02/2007 7:32:36 PM PST by lostlakehiker (Not So Fast There)
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To: balch3
Darwinists think they already possess the secret of turning bacteria into baboons.

Certainly someone has discovered the secret of turning Democrats into baboons. Or is it the other way around?

Say, which IS the higher life form of the two, anyway?

4 posted on 03/02/2007 7:32:41 PM PST by Hardastarboard (DemocraticUnderground.com is an internet hate site.)
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Comment #5 Removed by Moderator

To: balch3
Darwinists, like Marxists, tend to be blind to their own commitment to materialistic philosophy.

Agreed. They see themselves as Gods. They assume, blindly, there is nothing else.

6 posted on 03/02/2007 7:34:59 PM PST by concerned about politics ("Get thee behind me, Liberal")
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To: lostlakehiker
The fossil record, the DNA record,

There is no link between human and their human like animal samples. There is no human DNA in anything they claim is human. Darwinism is simply another theory that has yet to be proven.
If man evolved via apes, how did their cerebrialspinal system, in one instant quantum leap, go from that of a monkey to that of a bear?

7 posted on 03/02/2007 7:41:03 PM PST by concerned about politics ("Get thee behind me, Liberal")
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To: balch3
Darwinists are also looking in the wrong place, expecting to explain large-scale evolution by DNA mutations and natural selection, when abundant evidence already indicates that those processes cannot do the job. When biologists eventually unravel the true organizing principles of life, they will quickly put Darwinism behind them. >

Abundant evidence already indicates that those proceses cannot do the job. RIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIght.

Horsepucky.

8 posted on 03/02/2007 7:45:24 PM PST by Timocrat (I Emanate on your Auras and Penumbras Mr Blackmun)
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To: balch3
But his answer was “The Marxist theory of history.”

Marx held high respect to chemistry because he thought the society had to be studied the way people studied molecular chemistry. His doctoral dissertation was on philosophy of nature, especially atom. He argued that Social Scientists need to learn how the mechanism in the society work, the way Chemists learn how sugar dissolves in water and makes water sweet: by observing how the molecules of water react to the molecules of sugar.

Since Marx believed he already had analyzed the society the way molecular chemist did with sugar and water, he also believed that his Social Science is the objective science (of human).

Like usual, his followers shared his optimism.

9 posted on 03/02/2007 7:49:39 PM PST by paudio (WoT is more important than War on Gay Marriage!)
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Unification Church placemarker


10 posted on 03/02/2007 7:52:25 PM PST by Oztrich Boy ( for those in Rio Linda, there's conservapedia)
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To: balch3
Darwinists think they already possess the secret of turning bacteria into baboons.

That is pretty much it in a nutshell, although the Darwinist wont admit it

Darwinists think they are above philosophy and theology.

Touche!!

Darwinists, like Marxists, tend to be blind to their own commitment to materialistic philosophy. In this regard, Darwinists are more like Marxists than alchemists.

I like this Guy.
11 posted on 03/02/2007 8:05:34 PM PST by RunningWolf (2-1 Cav 1975)
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To: lostlakehiker
The evidence is simply overwhelming. The fossil record, the DNA record, the blindingly obvious similarity between apes and humans, mammals and other mammals, and even, if you delve deep enough, fish and mammals, is proof of common ancestry.

I say the closer you get to it to take a look, the more it breaks down, unless you are firmly wedded to the concept going in.

I don't know if you are a Darwinist, but that is one characteristic that is a hallmark of the Darwinists.
12 posted on 03/02/2007 8:11:57 PM PST by RunningWolf (2-1 Cav 1975)
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To: balch3

What a buch of rehashed twaddle.


13 posted on 03/02/2007 8:15:55 PM PST by RadioAstronomer (Senior and Founding Member of Darwin Central)
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To: RadioAstronomer

buch = bunch


14 posted on 03/02/2007 8:16:19 PM PST by RadioAstronomer (Senior and Founding Member of Darwin Central)
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To: balch3; lostlakehiker; Timocrat
Traditionally, one of the principle opposition groups to announced findings in science, whether it be the rotation of planets, or the occurrence of meteorites, has been the religiously devout.

It is curious now to see the accusation made against "Darwinists" that they have adopted a new religion.

In truth, the truly scientific analytical mind does not care whether discoveries might prove the existence of a Creator, or the undeniability of happenstance. Scientific research yields what it yields.

Galileo determined through logic, analytical thinking, and experiment that the Earth rotates. Though he was forced to deny these discoveries, they still remained true.

Similarly, Darwin postulated that there was a mechanism which permitted gradual changes leading to a point where a single species branched into more diverse forms. This seems obvious enough, once it is pointed out, but he also backed up his thinking with careful observation and analysis, just as Galileo had done.

Darwin called this "The Origin of Species", not the Origin of Life.

I do not expect to see this argument end, ever. Not because the evidence is not available to prove it one way or the other, but because far too many will simply refuse to look at the evidence.

"There are none so blind as those who will not see" and you know who you are.
15 posted on 03/02/2007 8:16:45 PM PST by NicknamedBob (I know where I have gone wrong, and I can cite it, chapter and verse.)
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To: RunningWolf

More twaddle. You just scrunch your eyes closed, put your fingers in your ears, and yell "la la la la" whenever anyone points you towards the evidence. Self imposed ignorance. ..Sad..


16 posted on 03/02/2007 8:20:39 PM PST by RadioAstronomer (Senior and Founding Member of Darwin Central)
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To: RadioAstronomer
What a bunch of rehashed twaddle.

A never ending search for exactly the right combination of just the right perjoratives that will turn twaddle into reason.

17 posted on 03/02/2007 8:22:23 PM PST by tacticalogic ("Oh bother!" said Pooh, as he chambered his last round.)
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To: tacticalogic

LOL! The never ending quest.


18 posted on 03/02/2007 8:23:20 PM PST by RadioAstronomer (Senior and Founding Member of Darwin Central)
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To: balch3

Where is the barf alert for this bit of IDiocy?


19 posted on 03/02/2007 8:30:26 PM PST by AtomicBuffaloWings (Still not hot enough, A few of my taste buds are still alive.)
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To: RadioAstronomer; balch3
Captain Obvious says that you guys like words like 'twaddle' a lot.

Anyhow, lets take your evidence here one piece at a time and look at its origins /history. Oh thats right, the evo never wants to get close to it, then its not a mountain of it anymore
20 posted on 03/02/2007 8:30:26 PM PST by RunningWolf (2-1 Cav 1975)
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To: RadioAstronomer
This sort of fantasy twaddle always gets posted just before a full lunar eclipse.

And after....

21 posted on 03/02/2007 8:31:44 PM PST by longshadow (FReeper #405, entering his tenth year of ignoring nitwits, nutcases, and recycled newbies)
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To: balch3
I then predicted that Darwinian evolution would eventually fade into the same obscurity that now shrouds alchemy.

If these folks keep on talking, they'll prove to be just as good as the Global Warming folks at spinning the Big Lie. They hope it will bring them as much money as the environmentalists bring in. Both GreenPeace and the Discovery Institute are non-profit foundations, selling their stories to the faithful. And both claim they're promoting "science".

22 posted on 03/02/2007 8:31:55 PM PST by narby
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To: NicknamedBob

In my opinion, this is the problem with so-called Darwinists. You say "he also backed up his thinking with careful observation and analysis". That is deductive, whereas the scientific method is inductive. It starts with a question, then observation leading to conclusions. It is not a metter of chasing down data to prove a theory. That risks leaving out conflicting data which would lead to something different.


23 posted on 03/02/2007 8:40:40 PM PST by ClaireSolt (Have you have gotten mixed up in a mish-masher?)
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To: narby; RadioAstronomer
Hey there is at least one web site dedicated to that Darwinist twaddle. Care to guess its name?

Oh BTW, the word is they don't do any science there either.
24 posted on 03/02/2007 8:41:02 PM PST by RunningWolf (2-1 Cav 1975)
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To: ClaireSolt; NicknamedBob
"he also backed up his thinking with careful observation and analysis"

And with what his most pivotal observations and analysis were based on, it becomes absurd that his deductions took the world of science by storm. It was only because they wanted to believe it so much that they were seduced by that so quickly.
25 posted on 03/02/2007 8:49:22 PM PST by RunningWolf (2-1 Cav 1975)
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To: balch3
O.K. Here's a new entry! Who's got the big list of predictions of Darwinism's eminent demise (stretching back to the 1800's)?
26 posted on 03/02/2007 8:50:59 PM PST by Stultis (I don't worry about the war turning into "Vietnam" in Iraq; I worry about it doing so in Congress.)
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To: NicknamedBob

"Galileo determined through logic, analytical thinking, and experiment that the Earth rotates. Though he was forced to deny these discoveries, they still remained true."

Actually, no.

"It is, moreover, undeniable, that the proofs which Galileo adduced in support of the heliocentric system of Copernicus, as against the geocentric of Ptolemy and the ancients, were far from conclusive, and failed to convince such men as Tycho Brahé (who, however, did not live to see the telescope) and Lord Bacon, who to the end remained an unbeliever. Milton also, who visited Galileo in his old age (1638), appears to have suspended his judgment, for there are passages in his great poem which seem to favour both systems. The proof from the phenomenon of the tides, to which Galileo appealed to establish the rotation of the earth on its axis, is now universally recognized as a grave error, and he treated with scorn Kepler's suggestion, foreshadowing Newton's establishment of the true doctrine, that a certain occult influence of the moon was in some way responsible. In regard to comets, again, he maintained no less erroneously that they were atmospheric phenomena, like meteors, though Tycho had demonstrated the falsity of such a view, which was recommended only as the solution of an anti-Copernican difficulty."

Galileo may have been right, but he did not know why he was right and could never prove what he claimed (that was left for Kepler). Moreover, he brought his own troubles down on his head by being so offensive in the way he presented his opinions.


27 posted on 03/02/2007 8:51:49 PM PST by Robwin
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To: RunningWolf
It was only because they wanted to believe it so much

Ah, evolution, the single most unpopular theory of all time, succeeded only because people wanted to believe it.

28 posted on 03/02/2007 8:52:55 PM PST by Stultis (I don't worry about the war turning into "Vietnam" in Iraq; I worry about it doing so in Congress.)
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To: balch3
Wasn't Newton an Alchemist? Hasn't lead been transmuted to gold? Alchemists made quite a few scientific advances. Their basic theories were wrong of course, but many of their careful observations laid the ground work for our present understanding. Do we have all the answers now? No, but we are getting closer.
29 posted on 03/02/2007 8:54:23 PM PST by LeGrande (Muslims, Jews and Christians all believe in the same God of Abraham.)
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To: concerned about politics
If man evolved via apes, how did their cerebrialspinal system, in one instant quantum leap, go from that of a monkey to that of a bear?

It didn't. That would be ridiculous.

See the following chart, and note that there are no bears anywhere:

Source: http://wwwrses.anu.edu.au/environment/eePages/eeDating/HumanEvol_info.html

30 posted on 03/02/2007 9:04:04 PM PST by Coyoteman (Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.)
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To: LeGrande
Do we have all the answers now? No, but we are getting closer.

That may not be true and could well be false.

However to this statement of yours I agree with it to a large degree. In fact I have tried to make that point on a more general level

Alchemists made quite a few scientific advances. Their basic theories were wrong of course, but many of their careful observations laid the ground work for our present understanding.
31 posted on 03/02/2007 9:04:11 PM PST by RunningWolf (2-1 Cav 1975)
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To: ClaireSolt
"That is deductive, whereas the scientific method is inductive."

The Scientific Method is based on all forms of logic and deduction. The goal is to prove the contention.

Regardless of the inductive leaps it took to come to the inspiration, only demonstrable analysis based on deductive reasoning can be used to constitute that proof.

The scientific method compares a control group or population with an experimental group as identically situated as possible, so that only the experimental variable can be cited as evidence to support the supposition.

For further proof, the experiment has to be repeatable by other researchers.

32 posted on 03/02/2007 9:07:39 PM PST by NicknamedBob (I know where I have gone wrong, and I can cite it, chapter and verse.)
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To: Coyoteman; concerned about politics
See the following chart, and note that there are no bears anywhere:

Well you have definitely proven beyond all statistical models that the evolutionist can draw up a flow chart that will represent his beliefs.

Lots of dotted lines in that series, 8 is it?
33 posted on 03/02/2007 9:11:54 PM PST by RunningWolf (2-1 Cav 1975)
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To: Robwin
In regard to comets, again, he maintained no less erroneously that they were atmospheric phenomena, like meteors,*shooting stars* -- for the sake of those amongst us who may have been home schooled.

though Tycho had demonstrated the falsity of such a view, which was recommended only as the solution of an anti-Copernican difficulty."

34 posted on 03/02/2007 9:19:26 PM PST by AtomicBuffaloWings (Still not hot enough, A few of my taste buds are still alive.)
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To: Hardastarboard
"Certainly someone has discovered the secret of turning Democrats into baboons. Or is it the other way around?"
Psst... as there already is more than enough baboonery, creating any more of them is prohibited by law.
35 posted on 03/02/2007 9:21:02 PM PST by GSlob
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To: Robwin
You are perhaps correct that Galileo had at least one less demonstrable proof than I thought. I had conflated Galileo's pendulum experiments with those of Foucault.

"The proof from the phenomenon of the tides, to which Galileo appealed to establish the rotation of the earth on its axis, is now universally recognized as a grave error ..."

Hmm. It is odd that he failed to notice the relationship of tides with the moon. Evidently, he was an early victim of having an inadequate model to explain global events.

36 posted on 03/02/2007 9:26:13 PM PST by NicknamedBob (I know where I have gone wrong, and I can cite it, chapter and verse.)
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To: NicknamedBob

Sorry, but you are wrong.


37 posted on 03/02/2007 9:27:00 PM PST by ClaireSolt (Have you have gotten mixed up in a mish-masher?)
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To: ClaireSolt
"Sorry, but you are wrong."

Possibly not for the first time, even on this thread, but in what way am I wrong about the scientific method?

I. The scientific method has four steps:
1. Observation and description of a phenomenon or group of phenomena.

2. Formulation of an hypothesis to explain the phenomena. In physics, the hypothesis often takes the form of a causal mechanism or a mathematical relation.

3. Use of the hypothesis to predict the existence of other phenomena, or to predict quantitatively the results of new observations.

4. Performance of experimental tests of the predictions by several independent experimenters and properly performed experiments.

38 posted on 03/02/2007 9:40:00 PM PST by NicknamedBob (I know where I have gone wrong, and I can cite it, chapter and verse.)
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To: NicknamedBob; ClaireSolt
Excuse me, but does this lead back into the article to a degree?

germs to apes to man.

I think so.
39 posted on 03/02/2007 9:48:53 PM PST by RunningWolf (2-1 Cav 1975)
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To: RunningWolf
Hey there is at least one web site dedicated to that Darwinist twaddle. Care to guess its name?

No need to guess.

40 posted on 03/02/2007 9:53:06 PM PST by js1138 (The absolute seriousness of someone who is terminally deluded.)
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To: NicknamedBob

There are means of verification other than experiment.

Until recently, astronomy was not experimental. In the absence of experimentation, hypotheses can be tested if they predict naturally occurring phenomena, particularly if the results of observations rule out competing hypotheses.


41 posted on 03/02/2007 9:57:32 PM PST by js1138 (The absolute seriousness of someone who is terminally deluded.)
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To: RunningWolf
"... does this lead back into the article to a degree?"

The flawed article with the flawed analysis of a flawed interpretation of Darwin's Book? -- No.

"germs to apes to man."

What about 'em? DNA is a strand. So is life.

42 posted on 03/02/2007 9:59:19 PM PST by NicknamedBob (I know where I have gone wrong, and I can cite it, chapter and verse.)
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To: js1138
bluegill to bait, bluegill to bait, bluegill to bait

hole in ice, light appears. One tiny unadorned gold hook dangling on a 2lb test line.


js1138 I'd hit it
43 posted on 03/02/2007 10:00:49 PM PST by RunningWolf (2-1 Cav 1975)
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To: js1138
"There are means of verification other than experiment."

Okay.

I like the solidity of experiments with controls, but okay.

44 posted on 03/02/2007 10:02:15 PM PST by NicknamedBob (I know where I have gone wrong, and I can cite it, chapter and verse.)
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To: NicknamedBob
DNA is a strand. So is life.

Care to expound upon that FRiend?
45 posted on 03/02/2007 10:04:17 PM PST by RunningWolf (2-1 Cav 1975)
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To: RunningWolf
If you aren't already drinking heavily, it's time to start. In the meantime, here's a link to another Darwin site.
46 posted on 03/02/2007 10:05:15 PM PST by js1138 (The absolute seriousness of someone who is terminally deluded.)
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To: js1138
Okay, so you aren't going to name your own Darwinist twaddle site.
47 posted on 03/02/2007 10:09:55 PM PST by RunningWolf (2-1 Cav 1975)
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To: NicknamedBob

You want controlled laboratory demonstrations of evolution?

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1634489/posts


48 posted on 03/02/2007 10:10:55 PM PST by js1138 (The absolute seriousness of someone who is terminally deluded.)
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To: js1138; NicknamedBob
You want controlled laboratory demonstrations of evolution?

And you present a FR evo thread?
49 posted on 03/02/2007 10:22:25 PM PST by RunningWolf (2-1 Cav 1975)
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To: RunningWolf
"DNA is a strand. So is life. "

"Care to expound upon that FRiend?"

Well, the preliminary statement was "germs to apes to man."

That's like saying Alpha Centauri to Beta Centauri to Pluto.

From a germ's perspective, apes are indistinguishable from man. For many germs, that is literally true.

But evolutionarily, to get from a germ to any higher organism, collosal steps must be taken. First the leap to multicelled organisms, then to skeletal and neural structures, and then the whole development of eyes, ears, feet and so forth. It would take billions of years.

To get from an ape to a man would take only a couple of million years. A caveman could do it.

The fascinating thing is that all three, germ, ape, and man share the same kind of DNA. This indicates they are related. If we stretch out the strand of life, it is considerably longer than you might guess, even for a germ.

So too, the lineage of life that leads to any creature is a long one. According to "Darwinian" theories, each species can be related back to primordial ancestors of greater and greater simplicity, like strands of a completely unraveled rope.

50 posted on 03/02/2007 10:35:02 PM PST by NicknamedBob (I know where I have gone wrong, and I can cite it, chapter and verse.)
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