Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Trip to the Zoo

[Does he belong in the monkey house?]

Many Orthodox Jews in the New York City area visit the Bronx Zoo during the Passover holiday week. It's a great place to go with the kids. My family and I were there yesterday.

One of the most popular exhibits is the gorilla habitat.

One thing which crossed my mind is that from the point of view of evolution, not only gorillas should be on exhibit, however African Americans should be too.

“The great break in the organic chain between man and his nearest allies, which cannot be bridged over by any extinct or living species, has often been advanced as a grave objection to the belief that man is descended from some lower form; but this objection will not appear of much weight to those who, from general reasons, believe in the general principle of evolution. Breaks often occur in all parts of the series, some being wide, sharp and defined, others less so in various degrees; as between the orang and its nearest allies--between the Tarsius and the other Lemuridae--between the elephant, and in a more striking manner between the Ornithorhynchus or Echidna, and all other mammals. But these breaks depend merely on the number of related forms which have become extinct. At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes, as Professor Schaaffhausen has remarked (18. 'Anthropological Review,' April 1867, p. 236.), will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilised state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the negro or Australian and the gorilla.”
(The Descent of Man by Charles Darwin, chapter 6)

Many people realize that evolution promotes atheism, as Richard Dawkins has written "although atheism might have been logically tenable before Darwin, Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist." (The Blind Watchmaker page 6.)

Less known is that evolution promotes Fascism. In Mein Kampf, Hitler concludes "A state which in this age of racial poisoning dedicates itself to the care of its best racial elements must some day become lord of the earth." This is not "social Darwinism" and a twisted misinterpretation of Darwin; this is almost a direct quote from Darwin.

This is in sharp contrast to the Jewish point of view, which teaches that all men are ultimately brothers, descended from Adam who was created by God. Needless to say, Chancellor Hitler was not a big fan of Judaism.


הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

One thing I noticed recentely is that while gorillas are more reninicant of Africans than Europeans, many baboons look like old grumpy white guys..

jewish philosopher said...

Most probably old men are descended from the baboon.

DrJ said...

You are correct that evolutionary biology makes atheism a viable ideology. (athough many have found ways to reconcile theism and evolution).

But burying your head in the sand by attempting to discredit the overwhelming evidence for evolution doesn't make it go away.

Also, saying that a scientific theory promotes immorality does nothing to discredit the theory, any more than saying the germ theory of disease is wrong because it promotes immorality by allowing antibiotic treatment for STDs, or that nuclear physics is wrong because it could create an atom bomb.

"all men are ultimately brothers, descended from Adam who was created by God. "

-except for anybody that you think your god is angry at, and who can be killed. Only your brand of God fearing Jews are your "brothers" from a practical point of view.

In fact, religion does promote kindness, but really only to those in your "tribe".

Anonymous said...

Ah Judaism does NOT teach that all men are brothers.

Judaism seperates between the chosen people (Jews) and the gentiles, which it reviles.

Half the Talmud is hatred of gentiles

jewish philosopher said...

As most readers of this blog no doubt know, I have several problems with evolution.

First of all, there is no natural process which could have caused evolution. Random genetic mutations and natural selection could no more create new limbs and organs any more than random printing errors and customer selection could create new books.

Second of all the direct evidence of natural history, which is the fossil evidence, in fact indicates a series of special creations, not evolution. The problem is not that fossils don’t exist. Hundreds of millions have been found. The problem is that they tell a different story. "Punctuated equilibrium" is a flimsy attempt to deal with this.

Evolution is based solely on unconvincing circumstantial evidence, such as homologies and vestigial organs.

However besides being false, evolution is also extremely destructive. Evolution has made both atheism and Fascism possible, philosophies which have devastated Europe and to some degree the United States and other countries. Nothing positive or constructive has resulted from evolution.

Judaism does not make any racial distinctions. Judaism does makes spiritual distinctions based on peoples choices. No one is racially inferior because we are all children of Adam, but some people are evil due to their evil choices.

Anonymous said...

There's a gemora in Brachos that says that one Amara said he vlived the Persians because they went into the field to discuss private matters, they greated by kissing on the hand and not the face, and they sliced meat on a board, not in their hands. Another Amora said he loved the Mediansw because they were modest, in eating, in marital relations, and their bathroom habits. Doesn't sound like hatred of gentiles to me.

DrJ said...

"First of all, there is no natural process which could have caused evolution. Random genetic mutations and natural selection could no more create new limbs..."

This directly contradicts both direct observation and basic understanding of probability.

"Second of all the direct evidence of natural history, which is the fossil evidence, in fact indicates a series of special creations, not evolution..."

"Special creations" directly contradicts the bible. Besides, for many species (although not for homo sapiens) the fossil record is quite comprehensive. Almost no serious biologist rejects this, only theologists and pseudoscientists in fields other then biology.

"Nothing positive or constructive has resulted from evolution."

"Evolution" has 2 components; the historical and the biological. Would you say that the study of history is useless?
Regarding the biological-- all advances in biotechnology, cellular genetics, and microbiology are based on the insights gained from evolution. Please don't make ignorant statements.

"Evolution has made both atheism and Fascism possible,.."

Agree with the atheism part. Fascism doesn't need evolution, there have been plenty of murderous radical nationalist entities in history. (The social darwinism part admittedly is uniquely Nazi).

I agree that Judaism is not racist. The flaw in your argument is that you claim to have a superior morality because it is free of racism. However, racism is but one form of bigotry. You make no attempt to hide your contempt for people of different beliefs than your own, and homosexuals. So fine, your ideology is not racist, but still bigoted, against others who have made "different spiritual choices".

jewish philosopher said...

"Special creations" directly contradicts the bible.

I have explained how it doesn't.


DrJ, can you cite a single new technology or medical treatment which could not have been discovered by someone who was a fundamentalist, young earth creationist Christian? I don't believe there are any. This in contrast for example to Einstein's theory; someone not believing in them could not create a nuclear reactor for example.

"Fascism doesn't need evolution"

If not for Darwin, there could not have been Hitler.

Anonymous said...


What I read is that evolution actually prevented scientists from accepting genetics for a long time. It wasn't until the development of the modern synthesis that evolutionists were able to accept the existance of the gene. This is because genetics means that heredity is controlled by discrete units that pass the genetic information intact from parent to offspring. There is none of the needed variation for evolution to work on.

And I first learned about the fact that species-to-species change, that is, evolution is almost completely absent from the fossil record from biologists and arch-evolutionists like Stephen J. Gould and Niles Eldrige. They developed the theory of punctuated equilibrium to explain the fact that species show up in the fossil record fully formed, and exist unchanged for millions of years. No evolution.

Anonymous said...

According to this article published in Genetics:


it would take >100,000,000 years for the simplest sort of mutation that can cause genomic change, two point mutations in a control gene, to work its way through the human population, assuming that the mutations were neutral and not harmful. After Michael Behe pointed out the mathematical and logical errors in the report, it turned out it would take a lot longer.

Larry Tanner said...

"If not for Darwin, there could not have been Hitler."

Perhaps, but Martin Luther and Pope Pius certainly helped too. In my mind, ML is the direct link.

Some European rabbis claimed that reform Judaism was also a cause of the Holocaust.

Evolution made neither atheism nor fascism possible. Atheism existed for millenia before Darwin. Origin of species helped show that there was a rational, evidence-based explanation for the development of life on earth that required no divine intervention or magic.

Fascists and fundamentalists depend on gods to authorize and legitimize their oppressive ideologies. Nazi belt buckles appealed to "gott." Fundies dream of armageddon and hope it comes to pass soon.

What good has ever come of religion, really? Democracy, the US, technological progress - all of these good things happen when people break free of religion's shackles.

jewish philosopher said...

"Evolution made neither atheism nor fascism possible."

I think Richard Dawkins and Adolf Hitler might beg to differ.

'Nazi belt buckles appealed to "gott."'

Did any leading Nazi ever pray? Not that I know of.

"Democracy, the US, technological progress - all of these good things happen when people break free of religion's shackles."

Perhaps you were reading Lenin and thought it was American history. In fact, dear Larry, my ancestors have been in this country since 1631. All believed in God and the Bible, with the exception my my own parents, who unfortunately were miserable losers. The more America leaves God, the more it falls into debauchery and poverty.

DrJ said...

"DrJ, can you cite a single new technology or medical treatment which could not have been discovered by someone who was a fundamentalist, young earth creationist Christian?"

What a preposterous question. The uses of evolutionary biology in science are too numerous to mention:

(remember that humans are not the only species that evolve and continue to do so...)


development of bacterial resistance to antibiotics is impossible without evolution, and subsequent development of new drugs is dependent on understanding the mutations involved.

Vaccine technology also must take into account mutation of bacteria and viruses, as they change from year to year.

Determining the genetic mutations involved in certain diseases (expecially genetic nervous system diseases) was necessary in order to understand the defects involved development novel drug treatment. This involved tracking mutations over time.

Phylogenetics, using the interrelatedeness of different species allows for tracking of diseases and development of vaccines.

All of these things are based on evolutionary theory, specifically natural selection.

JP, your rejection of this entire field of science makes OJ (at least your form of it) look pretty ignorant...

jewish philosopher said...

The word evolution includes a lot of things. In it's broadest sense, it means any change. I have curly hair, my daughter has straight hair - that's evolution. If a famine would cause the average American to become shorter due to poor nutrition, that's evolution too.

The type of evolution disputed by many Christians, Jews and others is the spontaneous creation of useful new organs and limbs through a gradual, natural process. This has never happened, never will happen and never can happen. Your descendants in 20 million years, if you have any, will not have gills or wings or six arms.

The development of new vaccines therefore could easily be accomplished by the most fundamentalist creationist; maybe it sometimes is.

So anyway, let's try it again: "Can you cite a single new technology or medical treatment which could not have been discovered by someone who was a fundamentalist, young earth creationist Christian?"

Anonymous said...

Dr. J:

Many bacteria that develop antibiotic resistance, when put in a petri dish with the original bacteria without the antibiotic, wind up being outcompeted by the original bacterial strain. This means that antibiotic resistance actually is the result of some loss of function or efficiency or damge to a structure. The bacteria loses something. It just happens to confer resistance. It is like sickle cell disease in humans, which damages the hemoglobin molecule, sometimes fatally, but confers an advatage. This is easy. What is hard is creating something new by a random process. And I recall an article in the Nov. 2006 issue of Scientific American magazine that said that some bacteria have a built-in pre-existing mechanism for developing antibiotic resistance. Nothing evolutionary about it.

Anonymous said...

"Fascists and fundamentalists depend on gods to authorize and legitimize their oppressive ideologies. Nazi belt buckles appealed to "gott." Fundies dream of armageddon and hope it comes to pass soon."

The practise of putting "Gott Mitt Unse" on the belt buckle was started by the Kaiser. The Nazis were merely continuing a military tradition.

What good has ever come of religion, really? Democracy, the US, technological progress - all of these good things happen when people break free of religion's shackles.

And Larry, have you ever read the Declaration of Indepedance? It says straight out that people are endowed by their Creator with inalienable rights? And remember where it says "All men are created (not evolved) equal?"

alex said...

Dr. J, when you wrote, "development of bacterial resistance to antibiotics is impossible without evolution, and subsequent development of new drugs is dependent on understanding the mutations involved. " -- I think you forgot to take into account what the famous evolutionist Jerry Coyne wrote: "if truth be told, evolution hasn’t yielded many practical or commercial benefits. Yes, bacteria evolve drug resistance, and yes, we must take countermeasures, but beyond that there is not much to say. Evolution cannot help us predict what new vaccines to manufacture because microbes evolve unpredictably. But hasn’t evolution helped guide animal and plant breeding? Not very much. Most improvement in crop plants and animals occurred long before we knew anything about evolution, and came about by people following the genetic principle of ‘like begets like’. Even now, as its practitioners admit, the field of quantitative genetics has been of little value in helping improve varieties. Future advances will almost certainly come from transgenics, which is not based on evolution at all."

alex said...

Anonymous wrote: "And I recall an article in the Nov. 2006 issue of Scientific American magazine that said that some bacteria have a built-in pre-existing mechanism for developing antibiotic resistance. Nothing evolutionary about it."

I think it might've been 2004:

Is the Evolution of Bacterial Resistance a Just-So Story? 09/12/2004
Evolutionists frequently point to the emergence of bacterial resistance to antibiotics as an example of Darwinian evolution occurring right under our noses. Bruce R. Levin of Emory University, writing in the Sept. 10 issue of Science,1 is not so sure about that. He points out that cells might just have a built-in mechanism to shut down growth and reproduction in times of stress (the SOS response), to minimize the damage from toxins in the environment. He points to two studies in the same issue that indicate how noninherited resistance to antibiotics can be generated without reference to Darwinian natural selection.
What’s more interesting in his report is his rebuke against fellow Darwinists who leap to unsubstantiated tales of evolution to explain how these mechanisms come about. His final paragraph states:
'It is easy to concoct just-so stories to explain the evolution of a mechanism that, like the SOS response, produces quiescent cells that are refractory to lethal agents. Yet it seems unlikely that ampicillin was the original selective force [sic] responsible for the evolution [sic] of the induction mechanism observed by Miller and colleagues. A bigger challenge to those in the evolution business is to account for the generation of lower fitness cell types when they do not provide an advantage to the collective, like the persisters of Balaban et al. in the absence of antibiotics. Then again, just like people, bacteria do some seemingly perverse things that are not easy to account for by simple stories of adaptive evolution.'

1Bruce R. Levin, “Microbiology: Noninherited Resistance to Antibiotics,” Science, Vol 305, Issue 5690, 1578-1579, 10 September 2004.

DrJ said...

JP and Anon-- study biology and you will understand...

The changes in bacteria mediating antibiotic resistance are genetically mediated and first appear as random mutations that are then perpetuated by natural selection.

People becoming shorter (in one generation) due to malnutrition is specifically NOT evolution, as it is not transmitted genetically (we'll not go into epigenetics). But people getting taller or shorter or darker or lighter, over generations, in adaptation to environmental factors and which is genetically transmitted, that is evolution. That is why blacks are blacks and whites are whites.

Small changes may take a few generations, but big changes can take millions of years. A genetic change coding for a resistance protein, and a genetic change coding for the loss of a coccyx (tail) are essentially the same thing, just a matter of degree.

Artificial(as opposed to natural) selection , done all of the time (as early as the bible!), is just a special case of "man-made" evolution.

No, in 20 million years we will not have 6 arms or gills, (since different branches of the evolutionary tree evolve independently, after the common ancestor) but our arms might get longer or shorter, or our vision might get more or less acute, or we might be able to survive on less water, or our brains might change to allow us to be adapt to whatever the environment is at that time. We haven't even discussed the evolutionary changes in other species, which have been observed.

The link I provided in my previous comment lists several advances in technology based on the understandings of evolutionary biology.

Whether or not a "creationist" would be capable of discovering these things would be more a function of how good a scientist he is, rather than if he believes in creationism. So that is totally speculation, and your question therefore really proves nothing.

jewish philosopher said...

My question proves that evolution has not contributed anything to mankind, since everything which we have could have been discovered without it. Except for atheism and Fascism.

Someone who denies that the earth is round could not launch a communications satellite. Someone who denies that germs cause disease could not invent antiseptic cleaners. Someone who denies evolution could still invent everything.

Anonymous said...

If a bacteria develops atibiotic resistance because of a pre-existing mechanism, then it is not an evolutionary mechanism. Scientists call this mechanism epigenetics.

And if anti-biotic resistance is the result of a mutation that damages a structure o function, which seesm to be the case, you can't extrapolate from there that it can produce a new structure or function.

Anonymous said...

"someone who denies that germs cause disease could not invent antiseptic cleaners"...

Actually, Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis in 1840 advocated and popularized washing of hands with soap and water in order to decrease the incidence of hospital infections. He knew nothing of bacteria causing disease!

I say this to illustrate that people can invent things without understanding the underlying mechanisms.

Thus, when a breeder is selecting a horse for his muscles, he is using a special form of "natural selection". He is essentially using evolution to create new breeds. He might not know that this is what he is doing. Evolution explains scientifically why breeding works.

DrJ said...

"Someone who denies evolution could still invent everything."

Just like someone who denies God could still not use drugs, have free sex, and not murder.

Its a statement that proves nothing. It does not prove that either God or evolution are not useful.

Anon, regarding antibiotic resistance, You took the authors comments out of their original context. His article refers to ONE mechanism of non-genetic persistence (not transmitted), as opposed to the genetic mutants of resistant forms that ARE transmitted. His comments about evolution refer to that specific mechanism.

Other forms of resistance clearly are genetic and evolve. This is the ABCs of microbiology (read any standard source), And knowledge of evolution helped us figure out how to defeat it in some cases:

Clin Infect Dis. 2001 Sep 15;33 Suppl 3:S147-56.

Restricting the selection of antibiotic-resistant mutants: a general strategy
derived from fluoroquinolone studies.

Zhao X, Drlica K.

Somebody denying evolution would not make this discovery. All of the creationists would be dying of kidney infections from antibiotic resistance strains.

Of course, anybody believing anything could discover anything by chance. The point is that because of knowledge of evolutionary biology scientists were led to a very specific conclusion for therapy.

jewish philosopher said...

Evolution, in the sense of new limbs and organs being created spontaneously, is false and therefore has never helped anyone do anything, except provide an excuse for promiscuity and gas chambers.

Creationists can also breed animal or develop antibiotics as well as any atheist because those things have nothing to do with Darwin's myth. Darwin has contributed nothing positive to mankind. Genetics is not based on Darwin; Gregor Mendel was a creationist.

DrJ said...

Sorry to confuse you with the facts, but antibiotic resistance is about more than genetics, its talking about spontaneous mutations and natural selection. And the same machanism that allows genetic mutations to code for antibiotic resistance can cause legs to gradually become webbed to become fins and to become wings. When you look at the skeletons and fossils of birds, fish, reptiles and mammals they look just like ours but just "morphed". The fossil records plainly show this progression in many cases.

As you know evolution does NOT address itself to the origin of life itself (abiogenesis), just the origin of species.

"Darwin has contributed nothing positive to mankind."

Just as nuclear physics produced nothing positive, only the bombing of Hiroshima.

I would argue that evolution actually promotes morality in that it shows us that we are all equal, since there is no God who people claim favors them over others, as you do. The Jews are the chosen of Elokim, the muslims are chosen of Allah, and the Christians are the chosen of Jesus...I know, you are privy to the "real" truth.

jewish philosopher said...

DrJ, you stated above:
"all advances in biotechnology, cellular genetics, and microbiology are based on the insights gained from evolution"

Please give me one specific example of an advance in biotechnology, cellular genetics, or microbiology which could not have been made just as easily by a creationist as it could have been by an evolutionist. A creationist would, and for all I know, has noticed that bacteria have developed an immunity to one antibiotic and therefore would use another antibiotic. No Darwin needed.

"evolution actually promotes morality in that it shows us that we are all equal"

Just the opposite. Darwin believed that every organism is different and improvement comes from survival of the fittest. Music to Fascist ears. More gas chambers, more "improvement".

DrJ said...

The abstract of the reference I gave above can be found at the following link on Medline:

This article is about PREVENTING the emergence of resistant strains, not about curing a particular infection. In simple terms, it explains that we know that genetic mutations cause antibiotic resistance. We also know that these "mutants" are selected for because of antibiotics (based on natural selection), in particular concentrations. Furthermore, if only bacteria with 2 simultaneous mutations can be allowed to grow, then resistance won't emerge (because it it much less probable). This can be accomplished by using a specific concentration (MPC) of the antibiotic or by using 2 antibiotics together, which require 2 different mutations to appear in order to develop resistance. Since 2 mutations are much less likely than one , this becomes an effective way of preventing the single gene mutants from surviving.

I would say that this was a remarkable step forward in understanding antibiotic resistance and how to fight it.

Now a creationist might have discovered some of this by trial and error, but understanding the specific mechanisms involved in natural selection and genetics helped researchers focus on a specific strategy, to PREVENT resistant strains from developing.

"Darwin believed that every organism is different and improvement comes from survival of the fittest"

NOT improvement. More adapted, yes, but NOT necessarily "BETTER". That is your distortion. That is "social Darwinism".

Yes, a mentally retarded person is less "adapted" to survive. But evolution makes not judgement about "Better" or "improvement".

jewish philosopher said...

You keep hammering on this bacterial resistance thing, which has nothing to do with Darwinian evolution or macroevolution, which is what creationists dispute.



It's as if I would argue "You must believe in God, because God is love, and we all feel love so there is a God." Likewise evolutionists say "Any kind of change in a group of organisms is evolution. Well, we see do changes in populations, so that's evolution."

About "improvement":

"It may be said that natural selection is daily and hourly scrutinising, throughout the world, every variation, even the slightest; rejecting that which is bad, preserving and adding up all that is good; silently and insensibly working, whenever and wherever opportunity offers, at the improvement of each organic being in relation to its organic and inorganic conditions of life. We see nothing of these slow changes in progress, until the hand of time has marked the long lapses of ages, and then so imperfect is our view into long past geological ages, that we only see that the forms of life are now different from what they formerly were." The Origin of Species Chapter 4: Natural Selection by Charles Darwin

It's interesting how just like so many Christians don't read the New Testament, so many atheists don't read Origin. Both are stupid little books which don't stand up under scrutiny.

Anonymous said...

Dr. J:

Dio any of the cases you sited above about anti-biotic resistance demonstrate the creation of a new structure, or new information, or do they involve destruction?

Anonymous said...

According to the article linked above, the chances two mutations that confer antibiotic resistance will happen are very slight. But in all probability, the number of mutations needed to creat a new strcutre or function in anyh organism would be more than two.

And according to this article:


two mutations would take
>100,000,000 years to work through the human populations. And thatonly if they were neutral. Even slightly harmful mutations would take much longer.

DrJ said...

Anon, I don't know what your field is, but you clearly don't understand what you are reading. The Schmidt reference refers to the waiting time in humans of 2 PRESPECIFIED mutations. This is like specifiying the chances of getting a specific prespecified head tails sequence in a million tosses-- very low. But evolution does not work that way--it mutates randomly, and some mutations work out and some don't.

JP-- I don't think I get your position. Do you agree that there is random mutation and natural selection, in, say, bacteria? This is everything about evolution. Good, bad, and "improvement" refer to the organism "in relation to its... conditions of life", not about good or bad morally.

DrJ said...

Anon-- regarding the antibiotic article--you completely missed the point of the study. Even one mutation DOES produces a change in proteins that confers antibiotic resistance. (That is what happens most of the time when resistant strains emerge). It is this scenario that the MPC is developed to deal with. If a single gene mutant (which is likely) is allowed to survive, then a second mutation that confers even more resistance can also occur. But two mutations occuring at the same time is less likely, thus the MPC strategy works.

JP-- so you do accept "microevolution" which is observable, otherwise you would be a crackpot (which I don't think you are). But if you do admit that evolution occurs at a low level, than you must explain why it occurs in some places and times but not others. Granted, it is not directly observable, and only through circumstantial evidence. But this is the nature of inferential reasoning and prevail throughout science. And how would you deal with all of the intermediate forms of homo species seen, like homo erectus, etc? Were they apes from "special creations"? Because some of them existed, according to the fossil record, at the same time as homo sapiens.

Your references are simply suspect because those articles are not published in peer reviewed journals (other than "creationist" ones) that subject them to scientific critique and review.

Anonymous said...

Dr. J;

Let's suppose for a moment that your point about bacteria and evolution is correct.

Do you have any other demonstrations of the Theory of Evolution leading to a discovery or invention?

Further, do you have any examples of a mutation with subsequent natural selection that confers a new functionality to any organism?

jewish philosopher said...

Basically, DrJ, your "proof" of evolution is that if we broaden the definition of evolution far enough ("any change") then we have proven evolution. If I have curly hair and my daughter has straight hair, then surely my descendants in another 20 million years can have wings. Secondly, since the scientific community after about 1870 has been dominated by atheists, who must believe in evolution for religious reasons, that proves that evolution is true.

Perhaps if we broaden the definition of God to mean "love", then since you love your child, then surely God must exist. And since all rabbis believe in the Torah, this proves that the Torah is true.

I'm sorry, but this is simply dishonest, stubborn close mindedness.

DrJ said...

Anon- here is another excellent example, from a credible source:


and more examples:


and here: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/07/060714-evolution_2.html

The lizards evolved, before our very eyes, including changing the size and shape of their head and developing a new structure (cecal valve). The birds got smaller beaks.

Now admittedly, these are not new species. But that takes much more time, and would not be directly observable (except via fossils/skeletons) This satisfies both your questions, because it helps clarify the mechanisms and function of structures (cecal valves, which only some animals have).

Many other aspects of science are "only" theories, in the fields of astronomy, cosmology and physics, where we use inferential reasoning to explain the evidence. If the theory withstands the test of time, it is accepted. If not, is is rejected. Evolution has withstood the test of time in the scientific community for 150 years. If you want to reject the scientific method and its insights-- go ahead, but in so doing you reject the validity of more things than you can imagine. But you can't say that one science is OK but another is invalid because it contradicts your faith.

JP, it has nothing to do with close mindedness. It is seeing the evidence and then deciding what theory makes more sense, based on experimentation. Presumably you have looked at the evidence (which for you included the Bible), and come to your conclusions. I reject the Bible as a reliable source of history, and consider the remaining evidence and come to my conclusions, which happens to be on the side of science. So you're an anti-scientist, what can I say. All of these conspiring scientist/atheists who want to have sex and use drugs. Its hopeless :)

jewish philosopher said...

What exactly makes evolution "science"? Is it based on exact, reproducible laboratory experiments? It's based on a misinterpretation of the fossil evidence. I can just as well claim that Judaism is "science".

The motives of Torah deniers are clearly suspect.


DrJ said...

"science refers to a system of acquiring knowledge based on scientific method, as well as to the organized body of knowledge gained through such research"

Taken from wikipedia.

Do you disagree?

Evolution is science.

What's doin, JP? Insomnia? Or are you visiting the evil zionist entity, unbeknownst to us?

Anonymous said...

Dr. J:

The article I cited is talking about the simplest sort of mutation that can cause genomic change that can be beneficial, two point mutations in a control gene. Random change is always possible. The problem is building a new complex system or structure via a random process.

And the case of the bird beaks you cited is merely a statistical shift in the relative frequencies of the various beak sizes due to changing weather conditions. There is nothing new. And when the weather conditions change back the beak sizes change back also. No long term.

Anonymous said...

And the lizards may very well have been a phisiological adaption by individual organisms. Or it may have been an epigenetic thing. They had these built in mechanisms to allow change to a new environment all along. The article does say that they were indentical genetically to the original population. The same thing happens with certain snails that when carbs nare introduced into their environment, with a species of barnacle when exposed to predators, and to a type of water flea.

jewish philosopher said...

A guardian of the faith can never rest.

"Evolution is science."

No. Science must be confirmed by repeatable laboratory testing; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method#Evaluation_and_iteration
evolution, being an opinion about natural history, of course cannot be tested.

DrJ said...

"Theories that encompass wider domains of inquiry may bind many hypotheses together in a coherent structure. " (from the same wiki entry)

You keep on ignoring all inferential reasoning, which does not always allow direct measurement.

This is evolution.

It is testable, in predicting and confirming intermediate forms and ancestral species, and being found in the right places. If I found a Neanderthal fossil mixed into a Staten Island garbage landfill, or a modern man fossil curled up inside a dinosaur egg nest, I would have a problem. But, alas, fossils are found where they should be, with the right age, consistent with the theory.

There are more kinds of testing than just "laboratory testing". Analysis of fossils and species is like analyzing light and sounds from the cosmos. You cannot always run a "laboratory experiments", testing can also be by observations. Are you negating the validity of astronomy and cosmology regarding all past events, since they aren't "testable"?

If I see shards of glass on the floor next to a table where a glass was previously standing, I can infer that the glass probably dropped. I can test other glasses, see how they behave, and infer how my glass behaved but I can never "prove" according to your criteria, that the aforementioned glass in fact fell and broke, unless I observed it. This is, nonetheless, science.

Anon-- the articles clearly state that there was a population change. Whether due to genetics or epigenetic factors, natural selection occured-- not simply "because of the weather", but because of the need to survive against the competition in the new conditions. I would concede that in the case of the finches it was so fast that it is unlikely to be purely genetic mutation, but rather natural selection of a pre-existing variant that gets selected for and perpetuated and reinforced and built upon over time. This is classic evolution!. If JPs curly hair for some reason had a survival advantage, then in most likelyhood it would be selected for over time. The genetic "change" is just drift that is reinforced by natural selection.

JP its not just about "change" it about change in a certain direction.

I acknowledge that the inferential 'jump' from these finding, to whole species coming in going, is extrapolation, but the fossil record confirms it. (Unless as JP would say god is just fooling us by planting false evidence.

We haven't event talked about the plant world....There evolution happens much more quickly. http://hcs.osu.edu/hcs300/evol.htm

jewish philosopher said...

OK, so Judaism is science too.

We don't find that machines build themselves. Hence, the Watchmaker Principle.

We don't find that people fabricate mass revelations. Hence, the Kuzari Principle.

There you go. You do believe in science don't you?

And, yes the fossils do show that life was different in the past than it is now. They just don't show evolution; they show a series of special creations.

Anonymous said...

Dr. J:

When the weather changed back to normal, the statistics of the beak changed back to the original counts. No long term change.

And epigenetics means that there was something there all along. The problem is creating something new by a random process.

And saying that when there is variation, those better equiped to survive will survive is so self evident that it is almost a tautology. But this doesn't explain how a complex system or strructure can be created by a random process.

Anonymous said...

This is interesting:


It seems that one of the perpetrators of the Columbine massacre was an ardent Darwinist. He also had at least one protege.

DrJ said...

"We don't find that machines build themselves"

Yes we do: take an inert seed and stick it in the ground, and in the right circumstances, we observe that it "self assembles", all by itself, into a complex plant. No builder needed. Ditto with animal ova. Biological systems are inherent different than non living organisms. Organic systems build themselves:)

Watchmaker and Kuzari "principles" are faith based claims, not scientific theories. This is because they have never been subject to the scientific process, by the scientific community, for verification or rebuttal. They are philosophical analogies. I believe that we argued these points on other posts so I won't go into it again...

Anon-- Darwin doesn't explain the origins of life, only the origin of species. If you want to say the God created the first forms of life, go ahead, doesn't have anything to do with evolution. Thats a different argument. Regarding Columbine, JP already mentioned the clumsy idea of social darwanism, as a political philosophy. So people distorted his ideas for bad ends, so what? Don't people use/distort religion for bad ends as well? I don't hold that against religion.

I think we're beating a dead horse here, don't you think?
Question is who is the dead horse :)

jewish philosopher said...

"Organic systems build themselves:)"

If my computer could build copies of itself, I guess that would prove that no one built it. Or would it perhaps prove that the builder of the first computer was incredibly intelligent, far more so than any human engineer?

"Watchmaker and Kuzari "principles" are faith based claims, not scientific theories."

If you interpret natural history to mean that evolution made us, that's science. If I interpret human history to mean God gave us the Torah, that's faith. In other words, you're right because you say so. Can't argue with that.

DrJ said...

Perhaps our disagreement isn't so great.

Since science, by definition, investigates only the NATURAL phenomena of the world, and finding NATURAL explanations, using NATURAL law, it really has nothing to say about claimed supernatural phenomena. So if you want to say that god directs the whole thing, or is the original designer, or miraculously stuffed 10's of millions of species into the ark, as a scientist I can't prove or rebut it. What I can do is come up with a plausable explanation using the laws of the universe. Then you can still say "god did it" just like he makes gravity or light waves. Same with evolution. It is an extremely plausable (and probable) natural mechanism for the differentiation and development of species.

Also remember,as I mentioned, that evolution says nothing about the origin of life, and current theories about abiogenesis are just speculation.

jewish philosopher said...

I think that "evolution" and "science" are words that are often used in different ways by different people.

Evolution can mean "any change". Hence, if peppered moths become darker, that's evolution.

"Science" can mean "knowledge" (from the Latin scientia, meaning "knowledge"). Hence, there can be scientific racism, scientific Socialism, Christian Science, Scientology, etc.

The type of evolution which is contested by creationists is the spontaneous appearance of new, useful organs and limbs.

The type of science which has created new technologies and medical therapies is exact, verifiable, observable information.

According to this, evolution is not science.

Darwin's beliefs that we are descended from monkeys and that Negros will soon become extinct were his personal speculation and they were wrong.

DrJ said...

Is astronophysics science?

DrJ said...

I meant astrophysics...

jewish philosopher said...

Physics yes; astronomy, not exactly. It doesn't get a Nobel. Is geography a science?

DrJ said...

So Nobel is your criteria?

Yes geography is a science. Observation, measurement, testing.

Why physics yes and astronomy no?

jewish philosopher said...

The type of science which has created new technologies and medical therapies and which has achieved huge prestige in recent years involves repeatable, testable laboratory experiments.

Geography is not usually considered to be a science.

DrJ said...

Look at wiki for geography.

So prestige is the criteria? You restrict science to a very narrow body of knowledge that throws out most of the physical and social sciences.

Granted, sometimes the distinction between "discipline" (such as the arts) and science can be muddy.

But any field that involves assumptions (which can change)observation, hypothesis, inferential and deductive reasoning to explain what is observed is considered science.

Even sociology, economics, and ecology are sciences. No they're not physical sciences but they involve discovering the truth via the scientific method.

I reemphasize that scientific theories are sometimes wrong, and being able to disprove it is part of the process.

This, as opposed to faith in paranormal and supranatural phenomena, which cannot be disproven. Prove to me that UFO's DONT'T exist...

It seems to me that your refusal to classify certain disciplines as "science" is basically a way to deligitimize the ones that contradict your world view by downgrading them, without justification, to mere speculation.

That's your right, but realize that in doing so, your position is illogical and inconsistent.

jewish philosopher said...

If you want to expand science to include all knowledge, then fine, evolution is science and so is Judaism, history and the study of literature.

However it's probably most precise to define science as being limited to repeatable, testable laboratory experiments. This is what has distinguished modern science from earlier philosophies and this has made possible all modern technology and medicine.

DrJ said...

Technology and medicine. So that's your definition of science. OK.

So all of the social sciences, economics, criminology, psychology, geology, meteorology, etc, which use quantitative scientific methods and mathematics to test and reject hypotheses-- all of these according to you are not science. Sorry, JP, that's pretty ridiculous. Your distinction is simply invalid.

Religion and literature are man made creative and expressive endeavors, not attempts at discovery. Like Philosophy. History does have some scientific aspects, and might be considered a social science.

jewish philosopher said...

What about political science? Or scientific racism?

I think that since Louis Pasteur starting saving millions of lives in the 1870s, everyone kind of jumped on the "science" bandwagon; for example the Church of Christ, Scientist was founded in 1879.

I don't think you can compare people like Darwin, Freud or Marx to people like Marie Curie, Alexander Fleming or Linus Pauling, for example.

DrJ said...

Don't throw Marx into the same category as Freud or Darwin, you know better.

I agree the term "sceince" can be abused, but don't compare pseudoscientific theories with legitimate scientific inquiry.

My point is that it refers to a method of acquiring knowledge, regardless of the field of endeavor.

So OK, evolution is not technology. But anthropology and paleontology are no less science than any of the other things I mentioned in the previous post.

BTW, by your definition a theoretical physicist (such as Einstein) was not a scientist. He never did experiments, , didn't work in a laboratory. All he did was come up with models that made sense of what we knew, and also made predictions, which were subsequently confirmed. But no inventions, no cures, no new sexy technology. What did Einstein ever do for you?

Larry Tanner said...

Why bash on Marx? This is a guy who saw a pattern in history and speculated about where it would lead. Indeed, his hope was a world of political and economic equality for all.

We all know how folks such as Lenin and Stalin appropriated the term "communism" and made it another form of tyranny and oppression. We also know that Marx was no saint.

Yet to paint him as a villain and progenitor of an evil system is not entirely accurate or fair. Marxist criticism remains among the most effective and productive forms of challenging presuppositions that people hold without question or reflection.

jewish philosopher said...

Karl Marx was a political economist, historian, and sociologist.

Freud is generally discredited today.

Anthropology is on the border of the humanities and the social sciences.

I'm not alone in calling Darwin unscientific, even among Darwinists.

DrJ said...

If Freud is thrown out, so be it.
Thats what good about science. Either something holds up, or its thrown out...

jewish philosopher said...

I would throw out a few more.

Larry Tanner said...

I hope religion is among the trash you throw out.

jewish philosopher said...

Irrational religions like atheism, of course.

Larry Tanner said...

I'll throw away atheism if you throw away Judaism.

jewish philosopher said...

If we switch religions, what net gain is that?

Incidentally, my point above is not the definition of the word "science". Rather my point is that I keep hearing atheists insist "Everyone agrees that science is a good thing - look at vaccines, antibiotics, computers, airplanes, that's all thanks to science. Well, evolution is science too." However this is deceptive. You cannot put Darwin in the same league with Pasteur or Curie. If Origin of Species is science, then so is the Kuzari.

DrJ said...

Lets compare:


Subject matter- supernatural

Evidence- current faith of Jewish people, events described in ancient book.

Logic- circular-because mass revelation tradition exists, it must be true. Makes many false assumptions about the behavior of masses of people, how myths begin and transmission of their stories. Ignores that without writing, information is not transmitted reliably more than 1-2 generations. How many Egyptian "remember" their real history?

Counter evidence: persistence of other religions and myths


Subject matter-- natural phenomenon

Logic: inductive reasoning

Evidence: collection of thousands of specimens, observations in natural habitat. Subsequent verification by fossil records, modern biology

Counter evidence: ancient book

Now you decide which is science!

It is clear that Kuzari is philosophy and Darwinian evolution is science.

DrJ said...

Here's a great proof that the Kuzari priniciple doesn't work.

Take a 16 year old boy, named, say JS. He is not Jewish. In his search for truth and meaning, he stumbles acroess an ancient religion named Judaism. Among the things that this religion claims, is that the world was destroyed by a flood over 4000 years ago, and the world was repopulated by a man named Noah, from millions of specimens stuffed into an ark. JS thinks that this is an interesting story, but has just one problem: He askes around a bit, and none of his gentile friends have any recollection of such an event being told in their families. In fact, most of them barely know what happened in their own families in the past 50 years.

Nonetheless, JS decides that the Jewish religion is credible and worhwhile, and decides to accept the truth of the flood story (as opposed to other ancient but different flood myths), despite noone having any collective tradition of such an event, and despite that such an event would have left overwhelming evidence and witnesses, of which there are none.

But JS is not alone. This type of acceptance happened billions of times in the history of man.

So there you have it. An example of people being convinced of the truth of some miraculous event that happaned to their ancestors, even though they have no memory of it. They DO accept such stories.

jewish philosopher said...

Judaism is based on the history of the Jewish people, faithfully and unanimouslytransmitted in writing and orally, something you choose to deny because it means you would have to close the porn sites and open a Talmud.

Evolution is based on a bitter old man, angry with God about the death of his daughter, who sat in his living room imagining that he was descended from a monkey.

DrJ said...

I choose to avoid personal insults, JP. I used your story as an illustration, not to disrespect you. It could be any Baal Tshuva. Anyway, I actually opened a gemara a few days ago to help my son prepare for his matriculation (bagrut) exam. And I stopped believing before there even existed porn sites..

But in any case thank you for clearly exposing your thought process especially in the last comment-- ad hominem attacks...

jewish philosopher said...

DrJ, all other religions are based on the teachings of one or a few people (for example the four authors of the Gospels). Judaism is uniquely based on a tradition beginning with at least many thousands of people, which could not plausibly be falsified as I have pointed out.


To dismiss it as "just a myth" is close minded, biased and dishonest and I think the motives are obvious. How do you feel about people who dismiss the Holocaust as "just a hoax"?

DrJ said...

My motives are irrelevant. I could ask if Darwin deniers are sincere, but it doesn't help the argument. I could be whacking off 24 hours a day to pictures of mating dogs, but it wouldn't take away from anything logical in my argument.

Unlike you or I, The holocaust denier means harm. He uses his arguments in order to incite hatred and/or violence against other people. So his motives are relevant, but I would still have to rebut his arguments.

jewish philosopher said...

"The holocaust denier means harm."

I think that Mr.Ahmadinejad would beg to differ with you on that.


It's Zionists who are the aggressors, and creators of "myths", not him. He is just a peaceful, honest man. Please don't get all ad hominem, DrJ.

DrJ said...

Are you ready for a new debate on that?

Your proved my point.

Saying that Muslims can have dozens of their own republics, including the Islamic Republic of Iran, but the Jews, if they have their own Jewish State, are racist murderers, and must all go back to Poland-- that is anti-semitism, even if he doesn't admit it. And using holocaust denial to support his position only proves his motives. And his claims that Zionists control the world is classic anti-semitism.

Anti-semites don't have to be like Hitler. But if they have a hyprocritical double standard that rejects any peaceful solution to the Israel-Arab problem, then they are hateful, resentful, and malignant anti-semites.

jewish philosopher said...

Muslims are greedy and violent. Atheists are debauched and selfish. Both are completely delusional.

bitbutter said...

@JP "Random genetic mutations and natural selection could no more create new limbs and organs any more than random printing errors and customer selection could create new books."

There is no barrier to evolution forming novel body parts, and mountains of evidence that show beyond all reasonable doubt that this has happened many times since life on earth got its start.

I recommend that you check this article about the recent emergence of a novel feature in the digestive tracts of lizards over a small number of generations:


bitbutter said...

"Muslims are greedy and violent. Atheists are debauched and selfish"

And Jewish Philosopher is a bigot, apparently.

jewish philosopher said...

Frankly, I think Darwin was a crackpot.

jewish philosopher said...

I think "bigot" implies some sort of irrational prejudice.

Anonymous said...

Like it was said above, the changes in the lizards might have been epigenetic, or a phisiological resposne by the organism to changing conditions. One of the scientist studyingthem suggested these possibilities. Tje article does say that they were identical genetically to their ancesors. That would indicate that the changes were epigenetic or phisiological.

Actually, if you study the fossilrecord, you will find that all new body parts, organs, from eyes, to feathers, to insects wing show up fully formed in the fossil record. There is no evidence that they developed via evolution.

And there most cerainly is a barrier to random processes creating highly complex structures and systems, eg every single thing inside a cell. It's called probability.

onionsoupmix said...

Before writing a post attempting to prove that Darwinism promotes racism, how about looking at your own religion? Read the Moreh Nevuchim much? Know what the rambam had to say about kushim? Know what many mainstream texts say about gentiles? It's not that we are all brothers. Would it surprise you to hear that orthodox rabbis have, in the past, endorsed the racist views that you ascribe solely to evolutionists?

It's not just that your arguments against evolution and atheism are weak. It's that you are ignorant and don't know enough about your own religion to critique it in the same way as you do with other belief systems.

jewish philosopher said...

In Biblical Hebrew there is no word for "race" and Jewish law makes no distinction between races. In fact, race seems to be basically a 19th century European cultural concept which has no basis in science or Torah.

This post may be relevant


Anonymous said...

If a "Kushite" goes through the Halachic process of geiruss, then he is just as Jewish as anyone born Jewish. Where's the racism in that?