Evolution vs. Creation

Discussion in 'Religion Archives' started by Boris, May 30, 1999.

  1. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    Cisco ....

    Your response is more than its weight in words: "I don't know exactly what your point is but I'm participating in a debate entitled "Evolution vs Creation". How about you?"

    Well ... okay. You start out railing against evolutionists in a manner unseen since the Missouri Synod walked out of the Lutheran Convention over the Scopes trial. And then the posts move over to this forum and you've given us a list of scientists who believed in God or believed that "God" created the world.

    I'm wondering what your point is inasmuch as you've posted the list at all. What does it demonstrate? If there's some inherent point to its presence, I've utterly missed it.

    I mean, if all of that work went toward demonstrating the validity of Creationist theory, that would be something. But all it demonstrates is the validity of the systems, theories, and classifications developed by those people. Sum total: I fail to understand the significance of the fact that, until recent years (historically speaking), most of the world believed in creation requiring an intentional act of God.

    Furthermore, you seem to be hung up in the way "atheists" and "evolutionists" like to "belittle" those who believe in godly Creation.

    This sounds like a version of AWM Syndrome. Angry White Male Syndrome is a social condition (not medical) describing a sense of frustration known by statistical majorities. The Promise Keepers were a great example (Angry Christian Syndrome?), as well as the 1995 push for prayer in public schools. (On a social level, various anti-affirmative action initiatives were directly inspired by notions that the majority was somehow being "cheated".)

    And, frankly, that's how I see evolution and creation. As independent concepts, without political or faith considerations, they're neutral ideas which bear philosophical and scientific insight. But their significance has been moved to the forefront of defining the public spirituality, as has Free Speech, abortion, homosexuality, drugs, taxes, and guns. Strangely, we all need to be celibate, drug-free heterosexuals who like to use our tax money to shoot people who say things we disagree with in order to achieve our national spiritual potential--this, at least, is the manifestation of that philosophy.

    In the context of evolution and creation ... yes, there are people who saw evolution as the "Death of the Bible" ... but that's what you expect when you polarize cultures to dual opposites. When an alternative arises that is condemned by the majority, it finds a place among the canon of the minority, right or wrong. Frankly, I would have no problem agreeing with you if the Scopes trial had been about a man being fired for teaching Creationism. But from the word "Go", evolution has been condemned (much as the idea of a heliocentric solar system was) by undereducated religious conservatives who never tried to work the idea into their notion of God.

    In that sense, I admit a political prejudice. Much like revolutionary situations around the world (N. Ireland, E. Timor, &c) I have a hard time sympathizing with a majority that never tried to avert the crisis. As such:

    * (For illustrative purposes only) It's hard for me to sympathize with the British in Northern Ireland. Four-hundred years of heritage--forced at the point of a sword--inspires little sympathy in me when I hear modern complaints of terrorism and chaos. After all, we could have avoided this situation if the people complaining of chaos hadn't invoked it in the first place.

    * Likewise, it's a hard thing for me to sympathize with a cultural majority (say, a church) whose complaints about the way society regards them all have to do with fights the cultural majority chose to have.

    Furthermore, evolution works well within almost any notion of God. (Once again ... Only you can prevent evolution from working in harmony with God. Creationist theory makes some definite points about God's workings in the Universe. To that notion, I submit:

    * A book you haven't had the misfortune of my bombarding you with is Lucifer: The Devil in the Middle Ages, by Jeffrey Russell Burton. (I've littered other posts with it.) One of the things about which the author is very careful is the idea that when you attribute certain powers to the Devil, you might accidentally proscribe God's authority in the Universe, making the idea of an Immutable Divine Will or Knowledge, and the idea of an all-encompassing God impossible. The Cathars, as such, were wiped out for the simple heresy of believing in a Kingdom of Light and a Kingdom of Dark. Specifically, the heresy came in the notion that the Cathar notion of dualism (for Catholic response, see the Fourth Lateran Council) created a situation in which either A) God did not create all of creation; or B) portions of creation exist outside God's dominion. Both these possibilities were unacceptable if God was logically to be what It is.

    All I want to convey from that is: what happens to evil in a "created" Universe? What happens to the rest of the Godly formula, as such? When you assign an attribute to God, how does that affect the whole of how one perceives God? Creation, I think, limits God; but that's part of a grander idea I have that God is anything but the interactive cheerleader with a spanking fetish we've come to know and love/revile (circle one, as necessary).

    I also wanted to comment on a notion of yours: Hitler and Stalin killed for political reasons. They did not kill "for atheism" or "for evolution" (well, Hitler arguably could fall under a eugenic paradigm). However, atheism and evolution were not the motivating causes of the terrors these men wrought.

    The Crusades, however (including the 20,000 Muslim women and children slaughtered in the desert outside Accre after the Christians had guaranteed them safe passage as a settlement to hostilities), as well as the Inquisitions (including the Bishopric of Trier, where two neighboring villages were left with a single childbearing female apiece) ... hey, these murders, rapes, tortures and other atrocities, were most definitely committed in the name of God ... and, as the Cathar heresy indicates, Creationism by proxy. (Their theory affected the "method" by which God would have created the Universe.)

    So I might advise against your condemnation of atheist countries. Sure, they get it wrong. Infuriatingly so. But the one thing for sure is that when it's over, because it's not "God", the system will undergo some sense of change. But if you've got God, you can write off those tragedies, 'cause hey, we're all sinners, right?

    Have you ever read Facing Mount Kenya by Jomo Kenyatta? You mentioned African clitoridectomy; yes, it's a bad tradition, in my view. But when you consider the basic "Creationist" story that goes into it, hey, it works. Essentially, the story goes that, after the creation of the world, societal guardianship was entrusted to the women, for they held the power of life. But, in time, the women grew lazy and the society declined, until the men held a revolt to stave off future agonies. Sexual promiscuity being blamed as one of the primary causes of the women's indifference to the state of the society, clitoridectomy emerged from that as both a punative measure and as a safeguard against future disaster. Now, it's not so much that I agree with it, but the myth itself is no different in principle from the belief that Eve is the cause of womens' suffering in childbirth.

    You know, I recall seeing Bakunin's name around anarchist circles. One might recall Emma Goldman, in her essay "Anarchism": "Religion, the dominion of man's soul ... creating a tyranny such that naught but blood and gloom and tears have ruled the earth since gods began." In the libertarian, social sense, such a statement as Bakunin's abolishing of God makes sense.

    By the way, the "Double-sixes" probability calculations only work in a consistent environment. If the environment is not pure, as such, variations will appear in the results. Rolling dice is a cool analogy, but the universe is such that I'm inclined to ask what happens if you weight the dice for cheating. Throws off the 1:36 ratio, doesn't it? Were the universe a single density, were life capable of happening under any conditions (we cannot rule out that such is the case, but for now ....) we might see a standard diversity pattern resembling the "Double-sixes" example ... of course, I can almost guarantee that we wouldn't be here at this point in time and space to argue the point, were those the conditions. Let me reiterate that the Universe seems to be infinite. Thus, infinite diversity is possible. You can call it a game of chance, but the odds-game changes when infinity is a factor. Suddenly, we are not so much a statistical chance as a statistical inevitability.

    * Quick potshot: Atheists only disprove God by setting up rules within which He must fit because that's the way the faithful have done it for millennia. The only thing that motivates the D'Holbach quote that God "must be comprehensible ..." is weakness. On the one hand, it's true, except it will be a million generations at least before humanity has the tools of comprehension; in this case, why do Creationists work to hamstring the effort? On the other hand, it's an idiocy if the statement applies to anything short of the duration of the human presence in the Universe. For if we comprehend God, the rest of the Universe ceases to make any sense, even in the idea that God created it.

    When humanity kills itself off (rather, If ...), what does God do? Does It move on to the next planet that gives life and run the experiment again? Does it go home and leave this Universe to decay? Or is it a triumph of God's will that we've all come home, and the Universe ends when we do? (Other answers are appropriate; it's not like it's multiple-choice, or anything.)

    You told me I seem to be supporting elitist notions when I wrote "The smarter one is, the less they know about God."

    Tell me ... have you ever found out a fact, about anything, and discovered that it only begged more questions? Only a fool is secure that he knows enough about God. The secret is that the more we know, the more questions arise, and we can know those answers, and work through the next set of questions. But God cannot be known in a set period, else we see the fact that nobody--Christ included--has figured God out yet; there's no point to going on with the charade otherwise.

    And I'm sorry you don't find challenging logical problems beautiful. I think that anything humans do that, say, deer or raccoons, don't ... well, it's quite unique when we reach the pinnacle of that act. If logical thinking is something that raccoons don't have, then there is a certain beauty in the ultimate logical paradox.

    Answers are like art ... the good ones take time. Anything short and prefab is bound to look just that--prefab and cheap as hell.

    But the Universe is infinite. Its potential for diversity is infinite. Creationism denies this by its traditional rhetoric. In that sense, show me a Creation story that accounts properly for the Universal mysteries we call God, and I'll show you the most brilliant anthropological manifestation of the human conscience ever.

    The first clue is found in the fact that every Creation story sets the culture that invented it foremost in God's eyes. You never heard the Cherokee say, "Well, God liked the Jews better, so He put us out here until it's time for Him to like someone else, who will destroy the Jews, and then will destroy us." With a motivation like that, I wouldn't get out of bed in the morning.

    Is "soda pop" Coca-Cola, or is Coca-Cola "soda-pop"?

    Creationism and evolution are not mutually exclusive. All the Coca-Cola fans have attempted to declare a monopoly on the definition of soda-pop, and they're upset because Pepsi is trying to steal their definition. (Or could it be that Pepsi's just trying to sell some soda-pop?)

    The schism between evolution and creationism is purely left to the creationists to reconcile. After all, the creationists dug it. Maybe if it hadn't been for all the condemnations, excommunications, rebukings, ad nauseum that went with believing God created the heavens and the earth, people wouldn't have been so quick to see evolution as an "alternative"--as such--to God.

    But it's all in the past now. Can you reconcile the two? Or will you peel slivers from the cross and stab them through the shell of theological credibility?


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    ***This message has been removed from the post The Nth Round and placed here, where it is more appropriate and where it was intended to be in the first place. Apologies to all. Some typographical errors have been fixed. Take a note kids: stay away from mind-altering substances while computing. Thank you, The Brain of the Tiassa***

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    The whole business with the fossilized dinosaur eggs was a joke the paleontologists haven't seen yet. (Good Omens, Gaiman & Pratchett)
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  3. MoonCat Registered Senior Member

    Hey, this topic came back to life while I wasn't looking!

    Okay, I've reviewed the more recent posts, very interesting.

    Can I point out a couple of little things?

    Pluto is not the only planet with an "abnormal" orbit. I think it's Saturn and Uranus (?) that have interlinked orbits - they cross eachother, so sometimes one planet is the closer one, sometimes it's the other. Damn, I can't remember which two planets it is, but there is a pair in our solar system that does this.

    Evolution vs. Creationism...well, I'm not Christian, but even I think I can see a way for these two to co-exist. I think most Christians agree it's not a literal week God took to create everything, right? So who is to say that evolution isn't the tool God used to make us? If evolution doesn't exist at all, how do you explain black skin, white, red and yellow skin? This isn't some temporary thing, like the moth's wings - blacks breed more blacks even if they're in the arctic circle. It's something they evolved because they lived in a harsher climate (sun-wise) than the fair-skinned folk. I suppose, eventually, if a group of blacks lived in a climate with less sun, they might over the centuries loose some of the melanin in their skin, but that's just evolution at work again. And it's not like we are seperate species or anything, humans are humans and can interbreed easily regardless of skin color, so to me, that indicates we all started from the same basic source.
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  5. Boris Senior Member Registered Senior Member


    If the seven days is not literally how it happened, then why assume that "creation" is literal? If the Tower of Babel, Garden of Eden, the Great Flood, etc. are not true, why should <u>anything</u> metaphysical in the Bible be true? If the Bible gets one thing (well, actually very many things) wrong (all the while claiming the ultimate Truth), why assume it gets anything right? What if there is no God, and no "Creation"? Why should those claims be any more trustworthy than the 7-day analogy? Why should they be any more probable than their direct negations? And why try to reconcile them with a theory which doesn't need them at all to explain everything it concerns itself with?

    I am; therefore I think.
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  7. Lori Registered Senior Member


    Something that is not literal is not necessarily "wrong". The Bible is written so that certain prophecy within it is sealed. Different societies within different ages have been able to discover new truths in the Bible that had not been seen before. For example, I think that anyone out there that is dumb enough to believe that a snake gave Eve an apple and she ate it and gave it to Adam and he took a bite, and THAT constitutes the fall of man, should have their head examined. Some things in the Bible are meant to be metaphorical, but truth lies within. It's also imperative to look at the Bible from a "global" perspective, instead of trying to analyze little slices of it out of context. You think that I'm nuts for thinking that the fall was actually a voluntary genetic manipulation, but offer up another realistic theory that makes sense. We didn't get "this way" from eating an apple, and I fail to see how Eve would be so stupid as to trust a snake with her destiny. What does the snake stand for in that medical insignia? Why can't you reconcile that God created us to be who we are by creating our DNA the way it was? I think that Satan screwed around with it, and opened us up to a bunch of "natural inclinations" or "tempations" that we didn't used to have. You know as well as I do, that in the "beginning" one day was not necessarily the same period of time that one day is now. It's all relative to the earth's rotation around the sun, which was all being put together at the time. For being such a smart guy, why don't you delve into the Bible with a little more thought and effort? You just blow it off, and unless you've just been locked up in a library somewhere your whole life, you definately have the IQ to "get this". If you would only try.

    "Go Jesus, go! Go Jesus, go!"

    I finally get to be the cheerleader that I always wanted to be but could not, as I was not a fluff chick.
  8. MoonCat Registered Senior Member


    I agree, it's difficult to take anything the Bible says at face value. At the same time, I think anyone would have to admit that there are certain things in there that have worth. I don't believe in the God that the Bible speaks of, but I can find several moral stories in there and within Jesus's teachings that bear lessons worth learning. I don't think Aesop's fables are "true" either, but I do think the morals of the fables ARE "true". I am awfully fond of using analogies and metaphors in my writing, so it's easy for me to see how quite a bit of the bible is just that - an analogy or metaphor for something that is beyond words most of the time.

    Having said that, I was pointing out that possibility only as just that...a possibility. A single possible explanation. Since I don't really believe in this God, the "Christian" god, I don't think that possibility is the "truth", I just thought I'd throw it out there for debate, mostly for the Christian crowd to chew over - I think it fits more into their frame of beliefs than it does into my own.

    Personally, I believe that we, along with the earth itself, the universe at large, and the dieties themselves all evolved together. That if this universe was formed differently, everything would be different, but since the universe DID form the way it did, so did everything contained within...I think I'm explaining it badly...basically once the universe was formed, the universal forces "forced" us and everything else to evolve a certain way, based on the phyisics and such that developed in this universe. I also believe the universe was created several times in the past (series of big bangs after big bangs), but was unstable and subsequently collapesd upon itself. Finally, happily, chance brought about the current, stable universe we are a part of, which is still expanding with no real end to that in sight (at least last I heard there's no end to the expansion in sight yet, I may be out of date).

    I don't have any proof for that, but that's my belief just the same. One of these more recent posts states something along the lines that a cell couldn't live without some of it's parts, so it's foolishness to say it may have in the past...well, what if the rules were different in the past? Maybe the laws of physics evolved along with the physical world too - wouldn't that make sense? Maybe that doesn't explain evolution on this particular planet, but it's worth thinking about, I think.
  9. Cisco Registered Member


    Here is the actual sequence of events:

    First - After venturing onto this site a couple of days ago, I first refuted an atheist's sweeping statement that inferred that those of "faith" had diminished mental capacity and the inability to think logically. I pointed to flaws in the theory of evolution because that is what many atheists use in an attempt to rationalize that there is no God. Just as there are "faults" or "gaps" in the theory of creation, so are there faults and gaps in the theory of evolution. Because one accepts one theory or the other or both or none does not make them mentally inferior or superior.

    Second - In Boris' response, he posted links to this particular thread. I checked it out and decided to add to the discussion. Simple.

    Third - The list was posted to show that there are many scientists of "faith" - and many "notable" scientists of faith who were (are) brilliant and logical thinkers - thereby further refuting the diminished mental capacity and illogical thinking argument.

    Hung up? That's one way to look at it. I can assure you that I won't refute such elitist statements if they cease to be uttered and I won't mention it to you again once you decide to stop quizzing me about it.

    We do? That's news to me. Where do you live?

    True. People usually fear change, rightfully or wrongfully. However, as you stated, once the evolutionary theory was more understood, many can reconcile the two and reason that they are not mutually exclusive. Given that, do you believe that only one should be allowed to be taught in schools? That the other should be "excluded"?

    Being seccond-generation American, the descendent of a high-ranking English-Protestant Navy officer, the descendent of a high-ranking Irish-Catholic IRA officer and the descendent of Atheistic-Germans (among others), I won't even start to address this right now (I could write/re-write volumes) other than to say, as in all world atrocities as I see it, the motivating factors are such things as elitistism, human greed and human abuse of/lust for power.

    You have read my position concerning evolution? Although I find the big theory to be lacking, it certainly has some merit, particularly in the area of micro-evolution. It looks like your beef would be more appropriate if addressed to someone like, say, Boris for example.

    You ask what "happens" to evil in a created universe? From what I can see, it exists. There are many factors which contribute to the extent of its proliferation. Look around, watch, listen and act on it if you choose.


    That would depend on the individual. If one assigns an attribute to a human being, how does that affect the whole of how one perceives that person? I think that varying attributes (even opposing attributes) are sometimes difficult to understand at first but in most cases, we have the reasoning ability to logically reconcile and understand the differences. This same process can be applied to our understanding of God.

    Creation limits God, huh? Well, there you go. A case of one individual's inability to reconcile.

    Your statements lend much credibility to what Zacharia has written (posted under Nth Round, I believe). If the faith of those in political power is considered to be the cause of the actions of the faithful, then in the same way, so must the lack of faith of those in political power be considered as the cause of the actions of the non-faithful. (Personally, I don't see either as the motivating causes).

    Sorry if you took my offer of history to be condemnation. That was not my intent. I condemn noone. Another poster asked for historical examples and I gave them to him.

    And if one reasons that, "blood and gloom and tears have ruled the earth since man began" - in that sense, does abolishing man make sense to you?

    You see Creationists hamstringing the effort? That's interesting. As far as I know, many Creationist scientists are very active in research which it is hoped will serve in the long-run to help us better understand a creator. Sometimes, various scientific discoveries contradict each other and are put forth to support various theories. Yes, scientific discoveries and data which are interpreted and put forth to support one theory or another might frustrate those in the other theory's camp (creationists vs evolutionists and vice-versa). I wouldn't call that hamstringing.

    On what do you base such a conclusion?

    Personally, after many years of careful study and critical analysis, using my above average intelligence

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    , I base my understanding on what is going to happen based on the plan for salvation that was revealed through Jesus Christ/the Word of God. How familiar are you with God's plan? What do you think will happen?

    Given your explanation, I would more readily agree with a statement such as, "The more knowledge one gains (about God or anything else), the more knowledge one seeks." Your original statement tended to indicate that the more intelligent one was, the further they are removed from the knowledge of God. Given that indication, at the extreme ends of such an intelligence spectrum, the most intelligent would not perceive God at all, and the least intelligent (those with diminished mental capacity) would know the most about God. As such, your original statement tended to support Boris' elitist statement which I originally refuted. Your explanation of what you meant to say paints a somewhat different picture.

    Now, that's an irrational and illogical conclusion!

    Specifically, what is the rhetoric which you believe denies the infinite potential for diversity?

    I believe this has been covered quite nicely, thank you. Again, you're barking up the wrong tree here.

    Is that so? I see quite the opposite. What I generally see is that many creationists are able to reconcile evolution and God/creation. What I do not see is such a reconciliation on the part of evolutionists. Do you?

    [This message has been edited by Cisco (edited February 29, 2000).]
  10. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member


    Where do I start? Hmmm ....

    First, I think I see part of what's going on here.

    First, you dislike the notion that faith limits intellect. Secondly, you feel resentful about the hostility aimed at faith, and have picked evolution as your battleground.

    If any of that is remotely close, then the following remarks apply. If not, then I'm sorry, I'm not grasping what your problem actually is.

    So I'll answer some of your shortliners with my own short answers, if I might:

    * I live in the United States of America, where the 1990's asked me to vote on a number of ridiculous ideas purported by people of faith.
    --1992, Oregon: Measure 9 (asked the state to fire homosexuals, censor libraries, and openly condemn homosexuality in schools and public functions) Consider also 1992 Colorado Amendment 2 (killed by courts, thankfully)
    --People of faith regard drugs as a corruption of our spirtual whole; I might invoke here the suppression of peyote, marijuana, psilocybin, and others. Furthermore, a Colorado Republican once proposed to the US Congress to make drug-legalization advocacy illegal on the internet, and to ban American citizens from internet use upon conviction ... that's about 1994. More on that is somewhere in the massive archives at http://www.drcnet.org . The Colorado Republican was moved by spiritual values. (Have you ever heard the religious institutions in this country lying about drugs?)
    --I will leave it to you to untangle the strange web that binds conservative faith to gun use in the United States; I personally don't understand how the two go together, but we could ask our Republican presidential candidates, who have argued both their faith and their allegiance to the Second Amendment.
    --The 700 Club and other national ministries have criticized fiscal policy in the past and the present. Lower taxes, apparently, allow our American families to reach their full spiritual potential.
    --Faith and free speech transcend political boundaries. The rally cry of the faithful often seems to be: "I demand my First Amendment right to tell you to shut up!" (Usually: "I'm all for free speech, but there has to be some limits." Why do those limits so rarely transcend the idiot making that statement?)

    Thus, taxes, guns, drugs, speech, sexuality ... it's the focus of the spiritual America.

    How about you? Where do you live?

    (Okay, I'll give up the idea of being "short" in my answers. It never really works anyway, but we hope ....)

    I agree with your assessment that all atrocities come form elitism, greed, and powerlust. To that notion, I would recommend Max Weber's Protestantism and the Rise of Capitalism, which provides insights to certain elitist, greedy, principles which still shake the foundations of modern faith.

    To be clear on my regard for the schools (I see the zones of vagary in my statements): I think there is definitely a place for creationism in public schools. However, I would continue to teach evolution as science while including creationism within the social studies framework.

    And I am unsure why I would have a beef with Boris. I'm just happy he's here to do the numbers. (Unfortunately for quantitative arguments, I'm a conceptual historian, metaphysical scientist, and tangential philosopher.) Part of it is convention. Even if my definition of Boris' words aren't exact, we have enough of a contextual convention for me to understand what he's getting after. I might disagree with a word-for-word sentence he writes, but, as with certain parts of the current exchanges, I believe I understand enough of the reference behind the words to extract their intended meaning. I'm sure that when I get it wrong, Boris will let me know. (Hi, Boris!

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    The reason I asked what happens to evil in a created universe is that I am of the opinion that one must be careful when describing God that one does not reduce God. Certain perceptions of the Devil have gone by the wayside for the specific reason that their construction implied a Mutable Divine Will, or an imperfect Divine Knowledge, as well as regions of creation which the Lord does not rule. In a similar context, what happens when the description of God's creationary act nullifies part of God? (It will happen; most of American faith proscribes God.)

    And you're dead on when you state that "Creation limits God" implies a failure of reconciliation. The failure is on the part of the faithful, and they are failing to reconcile the idea that God is bigger than petty human concerns, that the Universe is infinite, and just because we don't know enough about God doesn't mean that what we do know is right.

    Try this, it's an old question by now in this forum: "When you say that God is something, what happens to those things which God is not?" I mention this because you may have missed a point about what happens when one assigns attributes to God.

    When you mention Zecharia ... well, here's the problem ... Christians believe in God, in Jesus ... it's a single idea. The "non-faithful" you mention, however, do not center around a single idea. Some are feminists. Some are libertarians. Some are ______ (write in a philosophy). You would be better off comparing what social faults caused Muslim atrocities and how those compare to the motivating faults of Christian atrocities. The problem is that in order for your argument to be valid, we must accept the assumption that all atheists center their lives around disproving God, which makes them religious, anyway.

    And yes, Creationists do hamstring the effort. The problem with looking back to Creationist scientists is that, once again, I need you to demonstrate that their work went toward a cohesive Creationist theory. Otherwise, they're just scientists who happen to believe in Creation. (Parallel: Gangs? They're not "black criminals". They're criminals who happen to be black.) How many of the scientists on your list made evolution and creationism exclusive?

    Now, I'm inclined to ask what the relationship between a person and God is. If we discover our true nature in the Universe and fulfill it, then God's plan for the Universe has come to fruition. It will take millions of generations before we can understand enough of a fraction of the universe to guess better about its nature. Anytime we in the modern age say, "Eureka!" about God's plan, it had better well be about some mere facet discovered, because elsewise there's an entire Universe God never got around to using. (This idea also requires the assumption that humans are the center of God's focus; a common idea to human religion.) I just don't think that in a Universe holding more miracles than there will ever be human lives, we can possibly reach the answer fourteen-hundred years after the last Abramic messenger. If the Universe is forever, then all of human existence doesn't equal a heartbeat in the time scale; likewise, if Universal knowledge is ... say, the sun ... well, our knowledge barely constitutes a quantum particle; in other words, we don't know how big the particle is compared to the whole, and we have only a theoretic proof that the particle exists at all. That's what I mean when I say idiocy. That we would be dumb enough to think we've found the answer at this point ... I can see that. That we're dumb enough to believe it for long ... I feel justified in saying, "God help us."

    I love this quote: "Given that indication, at the extreme ends of such an intelligence spectrum, the most intelligent would not perceive God at all, and the least intelligent (those with diminished mental capacity) would know the most about God."

    I have to ask ... your point being?

    I would say that Creationism denies the Universal diversity in the fact that the Universe has a beginning, according to God, and a forseeable end, according to God, which makes it anything but infinite. A finite system has a finite amount of matter and energy, and therefore a finite diversity in the ratios of the two. Creationism denies the potential diversity of the Universe.

    Also ... as to the schism between evolution and creationism ... read the first page of Clive Barker's Weaveworld. It's a great philosophical bit, that "Nothing ever begins". In both the literary and the philosophical, its as airtight as one can get in an objective Universe. Just the first page. The remaining several-hundred are fun, but not so vital to the argument at hand. Are we declaring Evolution and Creation as the beginning of the schism? Are the concepts themselves the actual beginning of the schism, the purpose of the schism itself? Or are the concepts mere players in a grander scheme, a long-running battle between the former oppressed and the wretches they now oppress?

    Oh ... and I would have continued asserting that you don't find logical challenges beautiful. But I went back and reread your words. But it doesn't change one fact: if you can't see beauty in the Universal mystery, then I can't help you with that. You have to peel away the blinders yourself. You have to be able to evolve philosophically. Or do ideas just "create" themselves according to the pre-set design?


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    The whole business with the fossilized dinosaur eggs was a joke the paleontologists haven't seen yet. (Good Omens, Gaiman & Pratchett)

    [This message has been edited by tiassa (edited February 29, 2000).]
  11. Cisco Registered Member


    According to my notes, the quote about Darwin's deathbed days came from "The Life and Death of Charles Darwin" the author was Croft, I believe. I have also seen it in another book, I believe the title went something like "The Darwin Legend" but sorry, I can't remember the author.

    I'll discuss some of your other comments with you shortly.
  12. Cisco Registered Member

    For anyone who is interested:

    It was only twenty years ago when this statement was made:

    "Darwin... was embarrassed by the fossil record... we are now about 120-years after Darwin and the knowledge of the fossil record has been greatly expanded. We now have a quarter of a million fossil species but the situation hasn't changed much. The record of evolution is still surprisingly jerky and, ironically, ... some of the classic cases of Darwinian change in the fossil record, such as the evolution of the horse in North America, have had to be discarded or modified as a result of more detailed information."

    David M. Raup, Curator of Geology, Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago; "Conflicts between Darwin and paleontology" Field Museum of Natural History, vol.50, no. 1, Jan 1979, p.25

    As a correspondent also wrote in an email:

    G. A. Kerkut is also an evolutionist who recognizes that the theory has some faults. His main problem with the horse series is that the original fossils are not available -- everything on display is a reproduction, and there's no way of knowing which bones were really found and which were added from imagination. He wrote: G.A. Kerkut, "The Implications of Evolution," (New York: Pergamon Press, 1960), pp. 141-149:

    "At present, however, it is a matter of faith that the textbook pictures are true or even that they are the best representations of the truth that are available to us at the present time. ... It makes quite a difference whether a name on a diagram represents a whole skeleton or just a tooth, ... "

    Kerkut refers to the common practice of 'reconstructions' in textbooks and museum displays, where a full image of a presumed ancient creature is based on just a few actual fossil bones.


    Approved North Carolina biology textbooks [and many others] hold up the so-called "horse series" as proof of evolution. Dr. Niles Eldredge, a curator at the American Museum in New York, has said: ". . . the most famous example . . . still on exhibit downstairs is the exhibit on horse evolution. . . That has been presented as literal truth in textbook after textbook. . . [T]he people who propose these kinds of stories themselves may be aware of the speculative nature of some of the stuff. But by the time it filters down to the textbooks, we've got science as truth and we've got a problem."

    The magazine "Creation ex Nihilo", Vol 14, no.1, (Dec. 1991-Feb 1992) has a short article on page 50 making the following points and more:

    1. The horse series was constructed from fossils found in many different parts of the world and nowhere does this succession occur in one location. The series is formulated on the assumption of evolutionary progression, and then used to 'prove' evolution!

    2. The number of ribs varies within the series, up and down, between 15, 19 and 18. The number of lumbar vertebrae also changes from six to eight and then back to six.

    3. Fossils of the three-toed and one-toed species are preserved in the same rock formation in Nebraska, proving that both lived at the same time, strongly suggesting that one did not evolve into the other (National Geographic, January 1981, p. 74)

    [all emphases in the original]

    Perhaps the best known demonstration of an evolutionary scenario is that of the horse series displayed in school and college textbooks and in museums. These charts and displays make the theory of horse evolution very neat, seemingly historical, all cut-and-dried. Actually there are important problems with the theory and some serious disagreement, even among evolutionary scientists. [Simpson, G.G., Tempo and Mode in Evolution (Columbia Univ. Press, New York, 1944), p. 167; Cousins, Frank W., Creation Research Soc. Quarterly, Vol. 8, Sept. 1971, pp. 99-108; Nilsson, Heribert, Synthetische Artbuildung, (Verlag C.W.K. Gleerup, Lund, Sweden, 1953: reprint of English summary published by Evolution Protest Movement of North America, Victoria, B.S., 1953), pp. 1193-1194; Kerkut, G.A., Implications of Evolution (Pergamon Press, New York, 1960), pp. 144-149; Wentworth Baroness, Thoroughbred Racing Stock (Charles Scribners, Sons, New York, 1938), p. 379.]

    a. A complete series of horse fossils is not found in any one place in the world arranged in the rock strata in proper evolutionary order from bottom to top. The fossils are found in widely separated places on the earth.

    b. The currently accepted sequence of fossils starts in North America, then jumps to Europe and back to America again. But there are still differing opinions on whether one of the jumps was from America to Europe or vice versa. Many different evolutionary histories for horses have been proposed.

    c. Hyrocotherium (eohippus), supposedly the earliest, founding member of the horse evolution series, is not connected by intermediate fossils to the condylarths from which it supposedly evolved. [Simpson, G.G., Horses (Oxford Univ. Press, New York, 1951), pp. 105-112, 115-116.]

    d. The first three supposed horse genera, found in rocks classified as Eocene, are named Hyracotherium, Orohippus, and Epihippus, and they are said to have evolved in that order. However, the average size of these creatures, sometimes called "old horses," decreases along the series, which is contradictory to the normal evolutionary rule, and they were all not larger than a fox. [Ibid., pp. 116-117; Simpson, G.G., ref. 3, p. 135]

    e. Between Epihippus and Mesohippus, the next genus in the horse series, there is a considerable gap. [Simpson, G.G., ref. 30, p. 124. Other fossil horse data cited below can be found in the same work] The size increases about 50 percent and the number of toes on the front feet decreases from four to three. The series of genera, Mesohippus, Miohippus, and Parahippus, sometimes called the (small) "new horses," were three-toed animals much more similar in appearance to modern horses than the previous group discussed.

    f. Merychippus, the next genus in the supposed horse evolution series, and the first of the (large) "new horses," was about 50 percent larger than the group of genera just discussed. It was three-toed, but the two side toes on each foot were quite small and unimportant, and the animals looked very horselike. Pliohippus, the next genus in the series was a one-toed horse.

    g. According to the theory, in Europe and North America three-toed horses evolved into single-toed horses. It is interesting that fossil horse-like ungulates of South America would seem to tell the opposite story. If one kind of ungulate evolved into another in South America, it would appear from the location of the fossils in the rock strata that the following succession of evolutionary stages occurred: first, the one-toed Thoatherium gave rise to Diadiaphorus having two small extra toes, which then evolved into the three-toed Macrauchenia. [Gish, Duane, Evolution: The Challenge of the Fossil Record (Master Books Pub., San Diego, 1985) pp. 83-84; Romer, Alfred S., Vertebrate Paleontology, 3rd Edition (Univ. of Chicago Press, 1966), pp. 260-261]. Perhaps all of these animals were created, rather than evolved.

    h. In northeastern Oregon the three-toed Neohipparion is found in the same rock formation with the one-toed horse, Pliohippus. [Nevins, Stuart E., Creation Research Soc. Quarterly, Vol. 10, March 1974, p. 196.]

    i. There is a mystery about the theory of horse evolution. It arises from the fact that the brain of little Hyracotherium was simple and smooth, as indicated by the smooth inner surface of the fossil skulls. The brain of true horse, Equus, has on its outer surface a complex pattern of folds and fissures. [Simpson, G.G., ref. 30, pp. 177-179; Davidheiser, Bolton, Creation Research Soc. Quarterly, Vol. 12, Sept. 1975, pp. 88-89]. Cattle brains are quite similar and equally complex and have an almost identical pattern of fissures. Cattle and Hyracotherium supposedly evolved from a common ancestor which had a simpler pattern of fissures. Therefore, it must be assumed that parallel evolution by chance processes produced the same complex brain pattern possessed by both modern cattle and horses. Such a tale is difficult to swallow.

    Intelligent, purposeful creation provides a more believable explanation.

    j. Dr. Niles Eldridge of the American Museum of Natural History admitted in an interview that the Museum houses a display of alleged horse evolution which is misleading and should be replaced. It has been the model for many similar displays across the country for much of this century.[ Bethel, Tom, "The Taxonomic Case Against Darwin," Harper Magazine, Feb. 1985, pp. 49-61. Niles Eldredge is quoted on page 60.]

    To summarize, the alleged horse evolution series actually appears to be three groups of genera. The first in the series has no connection by fossil intermediates to the supposed ancestors. The three groups may well have no connection one with the other, and the overall fossil horse data can be fitted into the framework of the biblical creation model. The three groups of genera may represent three created kinds which should be fitted into the classification system as three separate "families" of ungulates. There is no need to assume that horses were evolved rather than created. The faith of atheistic materialism leads one to evolved horses. The faith of biblical theism leads to created horses...

    Helen Fryman
  13. Boris Senior Member Registered Senior Member


    No question about it! This is what I've been insisting upon ever since...I can't even remember! The Bible is full of fables and moralistic fairy tales, and their entire cumulative reason for existence is to variously promote and elaborate the ten commandments. That's it. There is <u>nothing</u> factual in the Bible when it comes to metaphysics. The Bible is a book of fables (thank you for bringing that word to my mind, I've been searching for it.) The only additional value of the Bible is that it echoes some of the historical cultures, people, and events that coexisted with its various writers as it was being created through the ages. In this respect, the Bible does indeed possess historical value -- but only as a literary document reflecting its times, not as an accurate account of the universe, for J.C.Penney's sake! (sorry, this ire is not directed personally at you, I'm being somewhat rhetorical here.)

    Did you read my answers to this claim? Nothing so extraordinary as changing physical laws is necessary here. If you haven't read my answers above, please do. If (or when) you have read them, I should be interested in knowing whether you find them reasonable (or indeed comprehensible). If not, let me know what you think and we'll work on it from there.

    P.S. I'm editing this post because upon re-reading the last paragraph I realized it sounds as if I'm presenting the "answers" as "mine". Well, that's not true; a lot of the answers I provide are not homebrewed by Boris, but rather are products of modern science of which Boris is aware and understands well enough to argue about.

    I am; therefore I think.

    [This message has been edited by Boris (edited March 01, 2000).]
  14. Boris Senior Member Registered Senior Member


    Here's another realistic theory: we evolved! (Given the topic of the thread, I thought it would be obvious!)

    Viper venom has long been known for its medicinal properties. Snakes entwined around the stem of a grail, with their heads positioned over the grail so as to donate venom, is the basis for the venerable medical insignia. (It certainly has nothing whatsoever to do with Christianity.)

    Why can't I reconcile that humans can't breathe oxygen? Hmmm, could it be that there's too much evidence to the contrary? Lori, evolution makes so much more sense than creationism, that it's almost improper to even compare the two! I know you are busy, but do try to read this thread thoroughly from the start to see what I mean.

    No, the "natural inclinations" you speak of are also readily observed in other higher animals. Did Satan tinker with their DNA too? Whose universe is this, God's or Satan's, in your opinion? I offer another theory: our natural inclinations are evolved behavioral traits. Simple, isn't it? And yet so wonderfully complete, wouldn't you agree?

    Lori, while you are at it, why don't you ask me to delve with an equal tenacity into the latest re-print of Mao's red book? I don't "just blow it off" -- believe it or not, what I post does make sense beyond being a mere "blow off". Strange and sad you can't see it.

    I am; therefore I think.
  15. Boris Senior Member Registered Senior Member

    Cisco, Cisco, Cisco...

    And what help does the above quote offer creationists? Accounts based on fossil record are being discarded and revised based on new evidence and fresh reviews. Yawn. A big huge yawn. It's so typical of the scientific method, I don't even think it deserves another sentence.


    You've quoted some people arguing for creationism. I will not discuss their claims in detail, since I'm not a specialist in paleontology (and some of them appear to be.) However, I would note the following:


    Note the dates on above papers. Most are a half-century old. That long ago, there was an equal disagreement among scientists on everything from how genes are inherited to whether the Big Bang ever happened. Why don't your sources go even further back a few centuries, for relevance's sake?

    Secondly, your other citations, up to and including the final conclusion...

    ...are irrelevant. The horse tree is now known to be both nonlinear and multi-branched, so all the objections are duds. Here's an excerpt from a paper on talkorigins.org to address this issue:

    Here's the <A HREF="http://talkorigins.org/faqs/horses.html">link to that paper</A>, which contains a good summary of the latest analyses of the horse fossil record (note the data is current as of 1980's and 1990's.)

    Also, this guy is saying something very similar to what I've been saying, and it is a very important point that keeps getting ignored in this discussion. So, I repost it once again to emphasize:

    Btw... Where are those replies of yours to my arguments that you keep promising?

    I am; therefore I think.
  16. Cisco Registered Member


    O.K., Boris, you might want to sit down for this one. Oh! You are sitting down. O.K., then. I agree with your assessment concerning generalizations. Personally, I do not like them either. As a matter of fact, it was a generalization of yours which I read which prompted me to post a rebuttle on this board in the first place. Surprise, surprise!

    Unfortunately, it seems that generalizing is becoming a way of debate on bulletin boards these days. So, seeming that we are on the same page concerning such tactics, how about we make a pact, hmmm? I promise try my best not to generalize when communicating with you (with the exception of quotes of others which I might use to support my position - but I promise to scrutinize them first in an attempt to filter out such generalizations or at least qualify that it is not my personal generalization) if you promise to do the same when communicating with me. A meeting of the minds with respect to how we communicate with each other would probably serve the debate well. I will not, personally, make such sweeping statements if you also refrain.

    Are you in agreement?
  17. MoonCat Registered Senior Member


    Sweetie, you sound grumpy. Have some peach tea: C(_)

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    I did read your previous post, and I did follow it fairly well. I wasn't intending to disagree with you, I was just trying to throw out yet one more possibility. You made perfect sense, and I would have to say I agree with you on most points.

    I also feel strongly that we only know maybe 20% of the whole evolutionary story. Protein strands forming, linking together, single cell critters floating about in a pool of water (or in a volcanic area, as I hear the new theory)...but what made those strands stick together in the first place? What's the motivation for them to do so - why would an unthinking bit of gook care if it "survives" better or not? There are a lot of questions we have yet to answer.

    My theory does relate to the divine. I know you are an atheist and don't believe in such things, so I don't really expect you and I to agree 100% on this, but I think we probably agree for the most part, despite our differing "religious" theories.
  18. SailorMike Registered Member


    Of all the nonsense u bible pounding retards spit out this "right and wrong sense" is the most.

    Did u ever here, "we have to teach them right from wrong"? Isn't that the point of all this bible pounding? We have to act as if we believe as u do. We have to be carefully taught?

    And doesn't every culture define right and wrong a little differently? This right and wrong stuff is relative and CULTURAL and has to be taught, carefully taught, to each individual. Or sometimes not taught at all. In which case u guys howl about the lack of "moral teaching".

    If it came from god as part of our god image, why does it have to be taught and why do different cultures define it differently?

    Do ANY of u guys have ANY learning beyond grade school!!???

    The Sailor says, remember Omar was right.
  19. Cisco Registered Member


    Amazing! There is now an unmistakable sequence? Both of our previous posts support the fact that there is no such obvious sequence.

    Horse fossils can be explained by creation, micro-evolution and extinction.
  20. Boris Senior Member Registered Senior Member


    I find it amusing that you chose not to include the remainder of that paragraph in your quote. Though I guess that would have rendered your objection moot, wouldn't it?

    A sequence doesn't have to be 100% complete to be unmistakable. How about this: 0, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 -- can you guess the next number? Or, could you give me a general characterization of the following: 1, 11, 23, 83, 157, 13, 119, 3, 1001, 37, 43, 2, 59... Those numbers may not be in order, and not all of them are present between the largest and the smallest, but there is something definitely very special about them -- can you guess? This is what we talk about when we say "unmistakable". The pattern may be noisy and incomplete, but nevertheless enough of it is there to hint at a non-coincidental structure. In science, we call it "statistical significance". And the fossil record, even though it is patchy and noisy, is nevertheless far above the threshold of statistical insignificance. (Have you ever heard of that arcane skill called "connect the dots"?)

    But let me stick another blade into your rib cage while I'm at it. Practically all creationist arguments try to demonstrate (in all of their sad futility) that evidence utilized by anti-creationist theories is somehow faulty. However, I have yet to see any creationist evidence that specifically points toward creation, independently of research in the secular sciences. Consider the following:

    Genuine theories do not arise out of nothingness; they are always attempts to explain empirical observations. If the Bible did not exist today, do you honestly think that Creationism as you espouse it (complete with Biblical descriptions and chronologies) could be formulated and supported based purely upon the available empirical data, as a viable hypothesis?? I sincerely hope you don't, else you better prepare yourself...

    But since that is not so, you cannot claim Creationism to be a valid scientific theory. It is not a hypothesis that puts out predictions and expects to be tested. It is a fable that has come to the point of spilling blood (allegorically speaking) over the last shreds of credibility it has left in the face of new evidence, in a valiant effort to languish through another day.

    In view of that (and for the moment forgetting all the other snags), how can you honestly argue that Creationism and Evolution be put side-by-side as equals in the course of teaching <u>science</u>?


    About that proposed agreement of yours, my answer is: of course. Thanks for at least proposing to be reasonable. (Though it is a rare moment when we agree, ain't it?

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    I am; therefore I think.

    [This message has been edited by Boris (edited March 01, 2000).]
  21. Boris Senior Member Registered Senior Member


    Thanks for the tea!

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    Oh good, I was beginning to wonder whether I'm not making any sense to you (or anyone else). Good to know you follow my arguments. As to your question:

    Well, the simple (and idiotically so) answer would be: quantum mechanics. It's what ultimately governs the rules according to which atoms form, aggregate, and chemicals react. Of course, molecules can't care about anything. And those that can't survive simply disintegrate. The point is that some don't disintegrate (at least not right away) due to their peculiar structural properties. Some even act as catalysts to make copies of themselves. That's how life starts out.

    Now, is that really what you were asking, or are you questioning the odds of the right molecule forming by chance?

    I am; therefore I think.

    [This message has been edited by Boris (edited March 01, 2000).]
  22. Boris Senior Member Registered Senior Member


    I usually don't argue with people who support my positions, but I do make exceptions when their claims or methods beg for it. Now, I suspect that you may be trying to say something other than what actually comes out of your mouth (you do sound like a teen, forgive me if I'm wrong.) So, I'll just point out the questionable parts and see what you think:

    But is basic morality (like good vs. evil) across different cultures really all that different? Do you not see common trends when it comes to love vs. hate, fighting vs. civility, crime vs. law, family vs. promiscuity, social hierarchy vs. anarchism, fairness vs. unfairness, reciprocity vs. selfishness, etc.? Do these really have to be "taught"? Consider a hypothetical situation: if a group of children were abandoned on an island and allowed to spontaneously form their own society and tradition, and the resulting society was allowed to persist for several generations -- do you think the basic moral structures that emerge will not follow the general global trends?

    It is the last sentence of this quote that makes me wonder if you really mean to say what you seem to be saying. Indeed, if morality does not need to be taught to exist, then just how relative, or "CULTURAL", is it really? Sure, there are "little" differences, as you put it, across cultures -- especially when it comes to less fundamental (to a tribe's survival) things like codes of dress, racism, sexism, rituals, etc. But would you not agree that there exists an innate, fundamentally primate, core of emotions and attitudes that serves as the ultimate foundation for all human moral structures in existence?

    I am; therefore I think.
  23. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    Boris ...

    I was going to simplify your quantum mechanics answer; then I realized the answer I was going to give was succinct, but dependent on the quantum. But it got me to thinking ... though it's mostly irrelevant, it does show a possible tie between astronomical and theological cosmologies.

    * I was going to say that the simpler answer was density. Irregularities in density of the universe repeat through the progression of time. Thus the slightest irregularity in density at the time of the Big Bang would have massive implications for the diversity of that vague notion of matter and energy. But I dropped density because the BB is, at least partially, a quantum event.

    * Which leads me to wonder what would cause the irregularity in quantum density. Which brought me to this story here at Exosci: http://www.exosci.com/main/news/shownews/?id=836 . The key element for me was when I saw the story elsewhere (Reuters, I think); one of the scientists asserted that the quantum state lasted about ten microseconds.

    * I point again to Jeffrey Russell Burton, whom I must apologize for bludgeoning this forum senseless with. At various points Dr Burton considers the notion of whether Lucifer fell immediately upon creation, immediately after creation, or at the dawn of man. Limitations on free will cancel the notion of immediate evil upon Creation: the Devil cannot choose if he is made that way. Among the arguments against the fall at the time of human creation is that there already existed a Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil; the power of evil predates humanity. However, if the Devil fell immediately after his creation, it means that the angel, born with perfect knowledge (essentially no "learning capacity") instantly chose to turn away from God. This, of course, the philosophical aspect.

    * Does ten microseconds constitute "immediately after"? I now invoke Douglas Adams (seriously!) with the idea of the Magrathean Earth. The idea that the destroyed Earth having been a computer; and Arthur Dent, of the two surviving earthlings, having been on the planet nearest its destruction, might possibly bear an organic signature of the last functions of the computer program the Earth ran. Now ....

    * .... Philosophically, I would assert that the story of the fall of the Devil might be partially an "organic signature" of the Big Bang. That the fall, an instant after the angel was created, represents the transition from the quantum state of the universe into the atomic.

    It's a crude assembly, I admit, but I think time and study might refine it. I can even envisioning the idea dead-ending in a few weeks because I've simply missed a critical flaw.

    However, if the Big Bang was the single creationary act .... (Anything on thermodynamics within a quantum system? I feel no guilt for applying a simple kind of thermodynamics, since this whole thing's tacked together like a Frankenstein prop for the third-grade revue.) But, when the Bang went bang, and everything moved out and started cooling, could the cooling process, during those ten milliseconds, throw off quantum density so that its variations repeat in the atomic manifestation? And then, if we casually observe e=mc^2 (casually, not strictly; I apologize, it was such a temptation to get silly-high before astronomy classes back then), will not the necessity of maintaining an appropriate balance of matter and energy cause variation in the manner in which the two interact? If the universe is infinite, then it must get around to the elements, forces, and factors of life, in all its marvelous diversity, including humanity. Infinite space to attempt infinite diversity.

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    Now that I'm looking at it, it's a little longer than I wanted. M'apologies.

    If there's enough of a cohesive idea there to connect the sparse dots, then I'll be happy to try to fill in some of the holes. But I'm realistic about the possibility of not making any sense at all. If that's the case, then the whole thing becomes irrelevant, and you will once again have my apologies.


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    The whole business with the fossilized dinosaur eggs was a joke the paleontologists haven't seen yet. (Good Omens, Gaiman & Pratchett)

    [This message has been edited by tiassa (edited March 01, 2000).]

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