Friday, November 17, 2006

Daniel in the Saber-tooth den


[Quoting me] And your argument isn’t really a scientific argument at all, but an atheological argument dressed up in pumps and a wing [sic].

“Well, how about this? I've laid out the best case that ID Creationists can come up with, and point-by-point rebuttals and refutations of the claims.”

i) Since this thread was never about ID theory, your “rebuttal” is irrelevant.

But your diversionary tactics are duly noted.

ii) Please forgive me if I don’t think that Danny is the most reliable source of information when it comes to presenting the “best case” for ID theory.

“I wouldn't even dirty my brain with reading YEC stuff.”

Danny is like the cardinals who refused to peer into Galileo’s telescope for fear it would destroy their faith.

Nothing quite like self-reinforcing prejudice. Secular ignorance is bliss.

“Yes, that's an ‘unequal bias’. I'll gladly admit that my free time won't be wasted reading the PRATTs and canards of young-earth creationism.”

i) The only canard is the evasive maneuver of trying to change the subject of the thread to a debate over ID or YEC.

ii) If you click on his link, it will take you to an article at

How coincidental! In my reply to the Evangelutionist, I also linked to an article from on ice core dating techniques. So it’s not as if I got my supporting material for “reading YEC stuff.”

[Quoting me]: As such, naturalistic evolution isn’t even a live option, although we can still debate the point. Do you have an argument to show that evolutionary psychology does not commit intellectual suicide?

“Do you have an argument that it does? You presups always get things arse-backwards. The burden is on the claimant, pal. The question of whether evolution is ‘truth-directed’ or ‘survival-directed’ does not impinge upon an argument that natural processes cannot produce a brain that processes reality and uses logic. Survival is logic-dependent, after all. Is that so hard to see? Brains that don't comport with reality, and logical truths, won't be likely to survive long, will they? Illogical brain: Water or poison, doesn't matter which I drink! Tools, what the crap are they? What for? Survival fitness?”

Do I have an argument that it does?

i) Apparently, Mr. Morgan suffers from the premature onset of senile dementia. I’ve posted quite a bit of material on the self-refuting scepticism implicit in evolutionary psychology.

ii) Danny is raising a stock argument in favor of evolutionary psychology, as if no one had ever heard of this argument before, must less addressed it.

But Plantinga, for one, responded to that argument years ago. Evidently, this is another instance in which Danny can’t “dirty his brain” by consulting the standard literature from the opposing side.

Daniel is the secular equivalent of an Appalachian snake-handler.

iii) Dr. Anderson just posted a meticulously reasoned and well-documented essay on some of the fundamental problems with evolutionary psychology:

iv) And it isn’t just us Christians who have made that point. A number of high-profile Darwinians have admitted that natural selection selects for false beliefs.

Not only is Daniel too much of a secular fundy to keep up with our side of the argument, but his hillbilly atheism inhibits him from keeping tabs on his own side of the argument. I’m afraid all that evolutionary moonshine softens the brain.

v) Needless to say, the Darwinian has his own burden of proof, pal.

“You've basically rambled on and on about the faulty idea that fangs and claws and strength shrank before brainpower and socialization and tool-making had adequately developed.”

No, I didn’t make that claim. What I instead said is that given, on evolutionary grounds, there is a transition from one to the other, the onus is on the Darwinian to show that there was no fatal gap from the possession of a natural defense mechanism to the possession of a compensatory adaptation.

“Is that idea evidenced? No.”

He then links to an article that supposedly justifies the negation. Among other things, the article says the following:

“Chimpanzees in West Africa living under natural conditions habitually use stone tools as hammers and anvils (Box 1). Therefore, because Pan and hominins are almost certainly sister clades, it is probable that the common ancestor of chimpanzees and humans
used stones as tools, though they may not have intentionally modified them
(Fig. 2).”

Are hammers and anvils a match for fangs and claws?

Perhaps Danny could be kind enough to link us to some footage in which chimps in the wild repel a leopard or pride of lions by throwing hammers and anvils at them.

“But don't ever let facts get in the way of a good speculation.”

Ah, yes, the “facts”! The “facts” in contrast to “speculation”!

And when we go to the link provided, what are the “facts”?

“Finding out what early hominins actually did and how they acted are tricky tasks, particularly since it is difficult to imagine what the landscape might have been like hundreds of thousands—or even millions—of years ago. While the fragmentary remains of the past are ingeniously interpreted by researchers, additional information is often required to corroborate some of the conjectures that arise.”

“Much of the archaeological evidence also points to a shift in dietary composition, although direct evidence of meat-eating is rarely found. Instead, meat-eating has been inferred from many different sources. One source is through the interpretation of the presence and quantity of different skeletal elements found in living floors (supposed places of hominin occupation). High densities of bones found in association with stone tools have led researchers to believe that processing and consumption of carcasses took place at these sites. However, interpretation of this information can often be misleading, particularly if taphonomy (the study of how archaeological sites are formed) has not been adequately investigated.”

Good thing that our man Daniel refuses to indulge in speculation. No, he is, instead, a man committed to the facts and nothing but the facts.

“Facts” defined in such factual terms as “tricky” facts, “fragmentary” facts, “ingeniously interpreted” facts, and “conjectural” facts—not to mention “misleading” facts.

Thank you, Daniel, for saving us from perils of “speculation.”

Oh, and one more fact from the same source: “The earliest stone tools—large, rough-hewn pebbles called Oldowan tools—appear in the fossil record at about 2.5 mya.”

Now that pretty well cinches the argument for Danny, don’t you think?

I mean, if flicking “rough-hewn pebbles” at a Saber-tooth tiger isn’t your idea of a foolproof defense-mechanism, then you’ve obviously been spending way too much time in church.


  1. It doesn't change the FACT that you subscribe to YEC. You believe that the earth is 6000 years old. Oh, and also that there was a global flood, where Noah brought dinosaurs aboard an ark made of gopher wood.

    Hey, you and Kent Hovind have a lot in common. You should link up with hin sometime, oh, I forgot, he's in jail for tax evasion!

  2. Lots of rhetoric here.

    I was a bit angry at first, and almost replied immediately with lots of pejoratives and expletives. Then, pity began to set in.

    Nothing quite like self-reinforcing prejudice. Secular ignorance is bliss.

    Funny, cause I spend more time arguing with people like you (creationists) and reading their arguments and refuting them than I wish I did. I'm almost embarassed at the amount of time I've spent doing that sort of thing, esp on this bulletin board and this one. [I'm 'Skiddum', with 700 posts]

    When I say "dirty my brain", I guess that's misleading: I've dirtied it enough already. I should've said, "I won't continue to". I fibbed. I'm none too ignorant of moon dust and Darwin's deathbed recantations and NASA's computers finding the long day in Joshua, and Lucy's knee joint being found miles away...

    I know all the "goodies" that give people like you the illusion of solid footing. That's why I don't have to continue to dirty my brain with it.

    On the other hand...

    You, please continue your slide into intellectual and historical obscurity, oh courageous band of scientific-anti-realist-YECs.

    We'll [scientists] keep you healthy and wealthy with our efforts, so long as you don't tick us off too much. And that's why I pity you. You're on your knees thanking a vast expanse of hydrogen while we invent the Teflon that allows you to get up off of them.

    Your babblings and speculations and "deep thoughts" may even continue to pique someone's interest from time to time amongst us "secular fundies". Heck, I enjoy a good session of brain rubbing in these unfalsifiable silly scenarios.

    Only in the US, where educational standards are atrocious, does your way of thinking about the world continue on in force. And that's where the pity comes in again. I am hopeful that our educational standards will catch up with those of Germany, Italy, France, Japan, Sweden, etc. For whatever reason, those countries have *much lower* rates of theism generally, and a basically nonexistent sector of people like you (YEC fundies). It's so sad that the US was once the "greatest nation on earth". Now it's being run by a man whose brainpower, theology and pandering policies smoothly dovetail with the John Hagees and Steve Hays of the world.

    Religious belief will continue on here unabated, of course, with or without an educational revolution [I'm not so hopeful about the US in the near future]. Perhaps it's beneficial to us in some way -- religion in general, I mean. I don't have delusions that religion will be completely done away with anytime soon. I do look at countries like Japan and Sweden with some hope, though...

    But your sort dim some of that hope. The types who actually look at Genesis as more than one myth among many, who really think that animals and plants got "poofed" into being in six days a few thousand years ago...they're fading fast in numbers and intellectual influence, but still around. The trend downwards is the only good news. You really believe that Bronze Age goatherders walked and talked with the Creator of the universe, who has, for some odd reason, went off into a corner and died for the past few hundred years.

    Christianity will continue to evolve, just as it has throughout time. From Essenes transmitting their tapeworms to each other through superstitious cleansing rituals to Marcionites to Inquisitors, you "holdouts" will always be around.

    Regardless, the tides will continue to wash you and your ilk out to the sea of extinction. Thank God for that. Makes me almost want to worship something. Almost.

  3. Daniel,

    You responded to absolutely nothing Hays pointed out; your lack of interaction with his statements and launching a cry baby polemic speaks volumes.

  4. Daniel:

    You're happy that France, Germany , and Sweden are "secular" and have "lower rates of theism" ?(I may disagree about Italy). Well, don't stay happy for too long. In about 100 years they will all be bowing toward Mecca five times a day! Then atheists will be longing for the days when those "fundamentalist" Christians were their main worry. Japan, so far, seems to be safe from Sharia law, for maybe another 200 years anyway.

  5. What Robert says is likely true.

    However, the progress of science and technology, unhindered by religion, will eventually pull us up by our bootstraps and bring about the dawn of a new and glorious day for humanity. Kind of like it did back in the early 1900's, just before 1914 or so. Wait a sec... Well, okay, maybe -after- that. We had some good "scientifically" run societies back then. They only had to kill a few million of their own people to bring about their little scientific utopias...

    (Waiting for the obligatory, and irrelevant, Crusades comment...)

  6. And obviously, the comment about Hovind is irrelevant as well.

    A question for the Triabloggers... this is a little off-topic, but tangentially related.

    Where do you feel that the line is drawn with respect to how "Greek" we should get?

    You've (correctly) made the point elsewhere on the blog that neither opposing viewpoint is going to convince the other here, so granted that's not the purpose. Obviously, at some point we run into irreconcilable differences, removable only via the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit in bring dead men to life. So, my question again is, in your opinion, rhetorically how far do we go presenting things beyond the Resurrection with non-believers?

  7. Scrape asked:
    So, my question again is, in your opinion, rhetorically how far do we go presenting things beyond the Resurrection with non-believers?

    I think Scripture gives us the bounds. The Bible doesn't only speak of the Resurrection; indeed, Paul didn't only speak of that when he dialogued with the Greeks in Athens, for instance.

    Personally, I don't think there's a one-size-fits-all cookie-cutter answer to evangelism. Each person is different to some extent. Therefore, certain tactics are going to work more than other tactics.

    I myself am primarily geared toward discussions with atheists. This is because I like philosophy. I would be the first to admit that people who are not philosophically oriented will probably not benefit from my evangelism techniques as much.

    On the other hand, in my experience there are far more non-philosophical evangelists than there are philosophical ones, so I see me as helping to fill a niche that only a few others (such as the fine folks here at Triablogue) are in. This enables us to impact those who are concerned with the philosophical aspects, while others can deal more with the "pastoral" aspects (to use the term loosely).

    I think God does this on purpose. Not everyone is designed to be a hand in the body of Christ. Not everyone is a foot. Etc. God has each of us for specific emphasises in evangelism.

    Ultimately, however, each of our techniques must be rooted in Scripture alone. Since Scripture is the foundation for both pastoral care and for philosophical argumentation, it provides a sufficient base for both types of evangelists. As such, if we're staying within the bounds of Scripture then I see no reason not to present any specific argument, point, tactic, or method.

  8. CalvinDude,

    All very good points. I think perhaps I was latching on to the Resurrection a little too much(*) based on Paul's interaction in Acts with the Jews and Romans during his incarceration under Festus and Agrippa. There, he emphasized and re-emphasized that he was on trial for preaching the resurrection. However, applying what you said in this case, this is clearly very germane to the audience at hand, and he's ensuring that he pits Saducee against Pharisee.

    I guess what I'm leery of is getting too far off the beaten path to where we fail to remember that (a) the Gospel is foolishness to those apart from Christ, and (b) only via regeneration will it be efficacious for anyone.

    This, I think, does all tie in pretty well with presuppositionalism, which is why I think I lean that way and am generally somewhat skeptical of evidential apologetics. Man will figure out his own to explain away what he will, including all the evidence provided: OT prophecy, Christ's fulfillment thereof, the witnessed bodily Resurrection, and the signs of the apostles.


    (*) Not that I think the Resurrection can be over-emphasized.