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Why People Believe What They Do
Scientific American ^ | April 10, 2009 | Miller, Lombrozo

Posted on 09/16/2009 3:29:20 AM PDT by Ethan Clive Osgoode

Steve: You're doing really interesting work. You've decoupled sort of, "Is evolution true?", you know, "What are problems with evolution?", from people's interpretations of whether or not they accept evolution. Regardless of evolution itself, we're just talking about the psychological profiles of how you come to either accept or not accept evolution. Some of that work is yours and some of it you're very well familiar with from other people; so let's talk about some of the basics and some of the surprises about the people who accept and don't accept evolution and their reasons for it.

Lombrozo: Sure. So I think one of the most surprising findings has to do with the relationship between understanding the basics of evolutionary theory and accepting it as our best account of the origins of human life. So most people, I think, [or] in particular scientists, tend to think that if people reject evolution and in particular evolution by natural selection, it's because they don't understand it very well; they don't really understand what the theory is telling us. But in fact, if you look at the data from psychology and education, what you find is either no correlation between accepting evolution and understanding it or very, very small correlation between those two factors, and I think that's surprising to a lot of people and in particular to educators and scientists.

Steve: Yeah, it was surprising to me when your data were presented. So what [does] that mean for, you know, education in the country? What should people be thinking about if they have a desire to have evolutionary theory be more accepted by more people?

(Excerpt) Read more at scientificamerican.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: crevo; darwin; evolution
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Comment #1 Removed by Moderator

To: GodGunsGuts; metmom; tpanther; count-your-change

ping


2 posted on 09/16/2009 3:30:09 AM PDT by Ethan Clive Osgoode (<<== Click here to learn about Evolution!)
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To: Ethan Clive Osgoode

I worked as a stone mason. most of the material was/is sedimentary. Breaking open stones and continuously seeing skeletal remains makes you wonder where they came from.


3 posted on 09/16/2009 3:37:28 AM PDT by allmost
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To: Ethan Clive Osgoode

You’re right, the “guy-in-the-sky”, “magic-apple”, “talking-snake” story is much more credible.


4 posted on 09/16/2009 3:39:13 AM PDT by muir_redwoods (Buck Ofama!!)
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To: All

Evolution means different things to different people. Besides genetics and natural selection (which are provable), we have creation theories which is where the schism has divided the two main groups. God (The Creator) can only be believed in by faith, not science. Science may provide statistical odds of His existence but that’s all.


5 posted on 09/16/2009 4:09:11 AM PDT by BipolarBob (Yes I backed over the vampire but I swear I didn't see it in my rearview mirror.)
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To: BipolarBob
Science may provide statistical odds of His existence but that’s all.

Science can prove that the systems we have for natural selection, etc follow a programmed course. Science may never be able to prove who created that system.

6 posted on 09/16/2009 4:18:48 AM PDT by Erik Latranyi (Too many conservatives urge retreat when the war of politics doesn't go their way.)
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To: Erik Latranyi

“Science may never be able to prove who created that system.”

That question implies that the system had to have been created by a ‘who’, but there’s nothing to prove that it had to have been a ‘who’.


7 posted on 09/16/2009 4:57:26 AM PDT by AussieJoe
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To: Ethan Clive Osgoode
Lombrozo: Sure. So I think one of the most surprising findings has to do with the relationship between understanding the basics of evolutionary theory and accepting it as our best account of the origins of human life. So most people, I think, [or] in particular scientists, tend to think that if people reject evolution and in particular evolution by natural selection, it's because they don't understand it very well; they don't really understand what the theory is telling us. But in fact, if you look at the data from psychology and education, what you find is either no correlation between accepting evolution and understanding it or very, very small correlation between those two factors, and I think that's surprising to a lot of people and in particular to educators and scientists.

Only an evo would be surprised at that, because they are so convinced that it's a matter of *proper* education.

8 posted on 09/16/2009 5:27:19 AM PDT by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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To: 2Jedismom; AAABEST; aberaussie; adopt4Christ; Aggie Mama; agrace; AliVeritas; AlmaKing; AngieGal; ..

Ping.


9 posted on 09/16/2009 5:28:21 AM PDT by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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To: muir_redwoods
You’re right, the “guy-in-the-sky”, “magic-apple”, “talking-snake” story is much more credible.

And those are so hard to believe, why?

You don't think there isn't life out there that is more highly advanced than humans?

Who said the apple was magic?

Why is a talking snake so improbable?

10 posted on 09/16/2009 5:31:08 AM PDT by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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To: AussieJoe

Maybe a what? A machine rather than an entity?

A who is more reasonable than any other option.


11 posted on 09/16/2009 5:32:43 AM PDT by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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To: Ethan Clive Osgoode; Fichori; Mr. Silverback; Gordon Greene; betty boop; Alamo-Girl; YHAOS; ...

ping


12 posted on 09/16/2009 5:34:57 AM PDT by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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To: muir_redwoods
Science has overwhelming evidence of "Intelligent Design". From the mind boggling complexity of the human DNA to the perfect balance in the universe.

To believe in evolution is similar to believing watch parts can be placed inside a box, shaken and out comes a completed watch.

Just common sense tells us "Intelligent Design" (i.e. God as THE creator) is responsible. Add in Christ's shroud that has NEVER been duplicated, belief in God is a no brainer for anyone with a brain and an open mind.

13 posted on 09/16/2009 5:38:43 AM PDT by newfreep ("Liberalism is just Communism sold by the drink." - P.J. O'Rourke)
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To: metmom

“Why is a talking snake so improbable?”

Given everything we know about snakes, why do you think that a talking snake in probable?


14 posted on 09/16/2009 5:49:01 AM PDT by Natufian (The mesolithic wasn't so bad, was it?)
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To: muir_redwoods
You’re right, the “guy-in-the-sky”, “magic-apple”, “talking-snake” story is much more credible.

Actually, it is (though the "magic apple" comment is not a relevant nor intelligent interpretation of the story). I find it infinitely more credible that God created the universe and ordered it according to His principles than that random organic chemicals magically turned into life from nonlife, especially as the proposed mechanisms for this abiogenesis all violate known scientific laws.

Face it - to believe in the evolutionary story of abiogenesis requires a REJECTION of actual science.

15 posted on 09/16/2009 5:50:41 AM PDT by Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus (We bury Democrats face down so that when they scratch, they get closer to home.)
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To: Natufian
Given everything we know about snakes, why do you think that a talking snake in probable?

Given everything we know about chemical laws, why do you think abiogenesis is probable?

16 posted on 09/16/2009 5:51:40 AM PDT by Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus (We bury Democrats face down so that when they scratch, they get closer to home.)
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To: Ethan Clive Osgoode

Here is why people believe what they do:

Heb 8:10
“I will put My laws into their minds,

and I will write them on their hearts,

and I will be their God,

and they will be My people.”


17 posted on 09/16/2009 5:55:24 AM PDT by MrB (Go Galt now, save Bowman for later)
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To: Natufian

Since it was neither a snake nor an apple, I don’t have to worry about a talking snake being probable or an apple being magic.


18 posted on 09/16/2009 5:55:30 AM PDT by ican'tbelieveit (Join FreeRepublic's Folding@Home team (Team# 36120), KW:Folding)
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To: Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus

“Given everything we know about chemical laws, why do you think abiogenesis is probable?”

I never said it was.


19 posted on 09/16/2009 5:57:13 AM PDT by Natufian (The mesolithic wasn't so bad, was it?)
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To: BipolarBob

For most evolutionists, faith is placed in the scientific textbooks they have either read or others who have studied them and their rational arguments.

Much the same may be said of those who have faith in religion, but thinking through faith in Christ is a different system having rewards directly given by God to the believer.

Science is unable to give spiritual gifts. Nor does science love its own. Science is merely an application of reason to a material world advancing ideas to advocate laws of the Creation, without ever accepting the existence of their ultimate source.

While science may provide many pragmatic solutions for daily mediate cause, it is woefully inadequate in explaining the entire spiritual domain, its persons, and consequences of rejecting it.

It is possible to study and apply science through faith in Christ, but substituting science as a counterfeit for God as the object of our faith is ignorant.


20 posted on 09/16/2009 6:04:32 AM PDT by Cvengr (Adversity in life and death is inevitable. Thru faith in Christ, stress is optional.)
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To: Natufian

Sounds about as probable as talking birds.

Besides, it wasn’t a snake yet, it was a serpent.


21 posted on 09/16/2009 6:06:59 AM PDT by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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To: metmom
Besides, it wasn’t a snake yet, it was a serpent.

Otherwise, the curse of making it crawl on its belly would have been redundant.

22 posted on 09/16/2009 6:08:58 AM PDT by MrB (Go Galt now, save Bowman for later)
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To: newfreep

” To believe in evolution is similar to believing watch parts can be placed inside a box, shaken and out comes a completed watch.

Just common sense tells us “Intelligent Design” (i.e. God as THE creator) is responsible.”

Then who created god?....

What doesn’t work for me is that the complexity of DNA or the ‘perfect balance’ of the universe must have been created because of their complexity and balance, yet the far more complex and perfect God has no creator..... Either perfection and complexity requires a creator or it doesn’t.


23 posted on 09/16/2009 6:09:32 AM PDT by AussieJoe
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To: ican'tbelieveit

Well stated,...amazingly ignorant how the same adversarial arguments and methods are used in different contexts,...first with Eve, then with modern man.


24 posted on 09/16/2009 6:10:12 AM PDT by Cvengr (Adversity in life and death is inevitable. Thru faith in Christ, stress is optional.)
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To: AussieJoe
Then who created god?....

Common question with huge implications. If you're genuinely interested in the answer, read on. I don't deal with "snipers" though.

God is the unique, eternal uncaused cause. He has to be uncaused, because it can't logically flow that He would have a cause (or creator). And He has to be unique, because if He were multiple, logic would dictate that some other entity created the multiples.

25 posted on 09/16/2009 6:12:52 AM PDT by MrB (Go Galt now, save Bowman for later)
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To: AussieJoe
God always was and always will be.

To reject God is to accept the sheer impossibility of the watch parts analogy.

In addition, the fact Christ's shroud has NEVER been replicated speaks volumes. How does someone who rejects God explain Christ's shroud?

I hope someday you accept God in your heart.......

26 posted on 09/16/2009 6:14:44 AM PDT by newfreep ("Liberalism is just Communism sold by the drink." - P.J. O'Rourke)
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To: Ethan Clive Osgoode
People believe what they want to believe then start justifying it from there.
27 posted on 09/16/2009 6:19:40 AM PDT by Manic_Episode (Some mornings, it's just not worth chewing through the leather straps...)
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To: metmom

“A who is more reasonable than any other option.”

What may appear to be more reasonable to you does not in itself constitute proof (like you said, there isn’t any proof). Having said that, I completely respect your choice of which question to ask, and which answer you choose to put your faith in.


28 posted on 09/16/2009 6:21:08 AM PDT by AussieJoe
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To: metmom
I believe in both.

Obviously evolution occurs, and has been documented.

Similarly, there are things about which we will never have answers, and that is where faith comes in, whether you are talking about scientific theory or religious beliefs.

Why people become hateful and judgmental over things that cannot be proven I will never understand. Heck, most wars have been fought, and millions of people killed, simply because one group didn't share the same beliefs with another, and neither could be proven.

Why does it have to be either or? Why can't it be both?

I think humans are arrogant if they think they will ever be able to specifically prove the who, what, when, where and why of this planet, or of humans. This is where faith comes in, and it is where human beings are consistently divided.

There are things regarding spirituality than in this life I may never know. And I am fine with that, because I have my own beliefs. Can I prove them? No. But it doesn't mean I disregard what others believe.

In my view, there are two groups of people; good, and bad. Other than that, people can believe whatever they want to believe.

29 posted on 09/16/2009 6:22:40 AM PDT by teenyelliott (Soylent green should be made outta liberals...)
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To: AussieJoe; newfreep; betty boop; Alamo-Girl
Then who created god?....

God is an entity, not a thing, like the material universe. Beyond that, you could keep going on forever about who created the one who created, ad nauseum. Since we are bound by time and space, it is beyond our comprehension that nobody needed to create God.

Whatever was the highest order of creative entities is the one that we would call God, the first mover. If something created God, He wouldn't be God, he'd just be a created being.

What doesn’t work for me is that the complexity of DNA or the ‘perfect balance’ of the universe must have been created because of their complexity and balance, yet the far more complex and perfect God has no creator..... Either perfection and complexity requires a creator or it doesn’t.

What doesn't work either is rejecting creation because of a lack of explanation of where God came from, but accepting that the universe created itself, with no explanation of where it came from.

30 posted on 09/16/2009 6:36:10 AM PDT by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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To: MrB; newfreep

“Then who created god?....

Common question with huge implications. If you’re genuinely interested in the answer, read on. I don’t deal with “snipers” though.

God is the unique, eternal uncaused cause. He has to be uncaused, because it can’t logically flow that He would have a cause (or creator). And He has to be unique, because if He were multiple, logic would dictate that some other entity created the multiples.”

“God always was and always will be.

To reject God is to accept the sheer impossibility of the watch parts analogy.

In addition, the fact Christ’s shroud has NEVER been replicated speaks volumes. How does someone who rejects God explain Christ’s shroud?

I hope someday you accept God in your heart.......”

MrB, please be assured that I have no time for infantile “sniper” games, doubly so for such an important issue as this one.

As an engineer and scientist I have grappled with these questions for quite some time. I was brought up in a loving household surrounded by family of strong faith, yet I find myself somewhere between agnostic and atheist.

I just find it very difficult to accept anything on the basis of faith alone. Thanks for your replies, and please don’t take offense, I’m certainly not challenging the validity of your faith.


31 posted on 09/16/2009 6:36:30 AM PDT by AussieJoe
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To: teenyelliott

One main area of conflict is the interpretation of the fossil record.

Even amongst creationists, including groups like AiG, there is recognition of variation within species and natural selection. The belief is that God created kinds of animals with enough variation in the DNA to produce what is labeled as species today.

It’s that variation that is misinterpreted as macro-evolution, or speciation.

The fossil record does not disprove that concept.


32 posted on 09/16/2009 6:42:52 AM PDT by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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To: metmom

Is it probable that birds talk?


33 posted on 09/16/2009 6:46:48 AM PDT by Natufian (The mesolithic wasn't so bad, was it?)
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To: Ethan Clive Osgoode
Not too far into the interview is the none too subtle charge that to not accept evolution as fact may well indicate a person is suffering from Alzheimer's disease, unless one is a child in fact.

“The motivation for looking at Alzheimer's disease patients was that they have some of the characteristics of healthy adults, they have undergone normal cognitive development, they have undergone normal science education, and so on. On the other hand, because of their memory impairments, they may not be able to access the kinds of rich caus[al] beliefs that most adults consult when evaluating explanations. In that sense, they might be somewhat like the preschoolers who haven't yet acquired certain kinds of scientific beliefs. So looking at the Alzheimer's patients allows us to see whether or not you see that population falling back on this kind of preference for purposive explanations in the absence of the kinds of alternatives that most healthy adults have available, like the idea that rain results from water condensing in clouds. In fact, what you find is that if you do a task like the one I described with preschool children with the Alzheimer's disease patient’s—so [if you] ask them, “Why is there rain? Is there rain because water condenses in clouds or is there rain so that plants and animals can grow?”—they will also prefer the teleological option much more often either than healthy young adults or their age matched controlled participants who are the same age as the Alzheimer's patients but don't show signs of Alzheimer's.”

Doctors test for Alzheimer's disease by asking questions that require varying levels of reasoning and memory.
Now here the statement is being made that offering a teleological explanation may indicate incipient disease unless one is a child because healthy adults of the same age tend to not offer such teleological explanations.

A point well made in the interview is that when people are asked about belief in evolution the questioner has to be careful about defining the terms of the question.

“Lombrozo: Different questionnaires will find different numbers; you do typically find that if you give people that option you get what looks like a larger numbers of people accepting evolution. What gets a little bit tricky is that when you ask people whether or not they accept a position like theistic evolution, you don't quite know what it is that they are endorsing if they say they accept evolution. So you might have people who end up falling into that bucket who think that plants and animals evolved but that humans were created in their present world, for example. Another fairly common view is someone who will accept microevolution—the idea that a given species can change slightly over time—but not macroevolution, the idea that you might get one species from a different species. So you really have to be careful about what it is you are asking people to accept and making sure they understand what it is you're asking them to accept in order to even make assessments of what kinds of views people have.”

Left out is that evolution has been defined so broadly that almost anything can be cited as an example of its occurrence from such superficial traits as color of an animals coat to whether or not animals will mate.

I'll have to come back later to this.

34 posted on 09/16/2009 7:18:08 AM PDT by count-your-change (You don't have be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: Natufian
Ask yourself this, "Out of 'everything' there is to know, how much of it do we actually know?"

Now be generous and say 20%

Is there not room for God and Creation in that other 80%?
35 posted on 09/16/2009 7:22:23 AM PDT by Frogtacos (It all went to hell when we started cooking outside and crapping inside.)
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To: AussieJoe
That question implies that the system had to have been created by a ‘who’, but there’s nothing to prove that it had to have been a ‘who’.

Everything we know about randomness shows clearly that it does not lead to increased order. Intelligence begets systems, randomness does not.

36 posted on 09/16/2009 7:29:20 AM PDT by TChris (There is no freedom without the possibility of failure.)
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To: Ethan Clive Osgoode
Lombrozo: I think it has a couple of consequences. So, one of them is that any kind of educational intervention that increases people's understanding of evolutionary theory is not necessarily going to have a consequence to whether or not people accept evolution. I think that's surprising, but it also raises a lot of complicated ethical issues; whether or not it's even appropriate in the classroom for teachers to be trying to deliberately influence students' acceptance of evolution as opposed to whether or not they understand it. We normally think about the role of education as being one to communicate basic concepts, to communicate scientific theories, not to actually change whether or not people accept a particular theory that might conflict with their relative views. So I think it raises some complicated issues there.

A refreshingly open viewpoint.

37 posted on 09/16/2009 7:39:33 AM PDT by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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To: Natufian

I don’t suppose that you ever heard of parrots?

http://www.birdsupplies.com/talking-parrots-s/68.htm?gclid=CLnH9Yeu9pwCFdND5godchE_ag

Bird Speech Training Supplies


38 posted on 09/16/2009 7:41:39 AM PDT by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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To: TChris; AussieJoe
Everything we know about randomness shows clearly that it does not lead to increased order. Intelligence begets systems, randomness does not.

When we know the cause of ordered systems, we know that there is intelligence behind it.

For ordered systems where we don't know the cause, the best we can say is that we don't know the cause.

There is a lot of thinking that indicates that if we don't know the cause, it's presumed that there is none, or at least no intelligent cause. But that is merely an assumption and should never be stated as a fact.

So basically, precedent indicates that ordered systems for where someone might say that they don't know the cause, the logical assumption came be made that it is intelligent, as opposed to having none.

Presuming no intelligent cause for an ordered system takes faith as there is no precedent for it.

39 posted on 09/16/2009 7:47:35 AM PDT by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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To: Ethan Clive Osgoode
But in fact, if you look at the data from psychology and education, what you find is either no correlation between accepting evolution and understanding it or very, very small correlation between those two factors...

“When you believe in things that you don’t understand
“Then you suffer...
“Superstition ain’t the way!”

40 posted on 09/16/2009 7:53:34 AM PDT by RichInOC (No! BAD Rich! (What'd I say?))
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To: metmom

Parrots don’t talk. They imitate sounds. Do you still think that snakes (a synonym for serpent) can probably talk?


41 posted on 09/16/2009 8:34:18 AM PDT by Natufian (The mesolithic wasn't so bad, was it?)
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To: metmom

A crystal could be described as an ordered system. Do you believe that some form a deity is involved in their creation?


42 posted on 09/16/2009 8:39:26 AM PDT by Natufian (The mesolithic wasn't so bad, was it?)
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To: Natufian; MrB
Parrots don’t talk. They imitate sounds.

And people call it what?

Do you still think that snakes (a synonym for serpent) can probably talk?

If a parrot can imitate sounds that can be considered *talking*, for lack of a better word, how do you know that some species of reptile could not have possessed the same ability?

FWIW, serpent and snake are not necessarily synonymous, otherwise the curse to crawl on its belly would be not only redundant, but useless.

Sheesh, anything but admit that creationists might have a valid point.

43 posted on 09/16/2009 8:42:17 AM PDT by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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To: Natufian; MrB

Look beyond the crystal to the atomic level.

If the atoms were designed to behave in a particular way at certain temperatures, it in no way disallows a creative intelligence behind the formation of the crystal.

Besides, the crystal is magnitudes of order simpler than DNA and does not contain information.

And still the precedent is intelligence, in that when we see ordered systems and know the cause for sure, it’s intelligent. Otherwise, the best we can say is that we don’t know if there was intelligence involved.

There’s no way to say definitively that there wasn’t intelligence involved, because we’ve found no way of determining that. It’s merely a philosophical conclusion that is assuming the conclusion.


44 posted on 09/16/2009 8:48:25 AM PDT by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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To: metmom
For ordered systems where we don't know the cause, the best we can say is that we don't know the cause.

Only if you're resistent to the obvious, for whatever reason.

Randomness does not beget ordered systems. Ever.

45 posted on 09/16/2009 8:51:51 AM PDT by TChris (There is no freedom without the possibility of failure.)
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To: TChris
"Everything we know about randomness shows clearly that it does not lead to increased order. Intelligence begets systems, randomness does not. "

Randomness is not one of the forces of nature that results in bonding, or other associations. Intelligence relies on some machinery, or system, which of necessity can not have been generated by that which the machinery gives rise to.

46 posted on 09/16/2009 9:05:19 AM PDT by spunkets
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To: spunkets
Randomness is not one of the forces of nature that results in bonding, or other associations. Intelligence relies on some machinery, or system, which of necessity can not have been generated by that which the machinery gives rise to.

LOL!

Nice piece of gobbledygook there, FRiend.

Intelligence does NOT "rely on some machinery".

47 posted on 09/16/2009 9:07:52 AM PDT by TChris (There is no freedom without the possibility of failure.)
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To: TChris
I see. It exists all by itself, like other words and concepts and effects things through unfathomable, mysterious forces.
48 posted on 09/16/2009 9:14:52 AM PDT by spunkets
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To: spunkets
I see. It exists all by itself, like other words and concepts and effects things through unfathomable, mysterious forces.

If you say so.

49 posted on 09/16/2009 9:29:30 AM PDT by TChris (There is no freedom without the possibility of failure.)
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To: spunkets; TChris
Randomness is not one of the forces of nature that results in bonding, or other associations. Intelligence relies on some machinery, or system, which of necessity can not have been generated by that which the machinery gives rise to.

If intelligence comes from machinery, where did the machinery come from? Other machines? Self-assemble? Or is it machines all the way down?

50 posted on 09/16/2009 9:39:29 AM PDT by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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