Random Selection vs Random Mutation

Hey there, skeptics,

I have been in touch with a few creationists recently, who have trouble with the ‘random’ associated with evolution. Today I am going to be explaining the ‘random’ scientists talk about when referring to evolution.

There is a misconception among the public that evolution is a purely random process, that the evolution of species is completely random. This is completely untrue. The evolution of species are not random. There is definitely selection in the process of evolution, and this allows us to predict what type of organisms a specific species will evolve into under selected conditions. In the lab, tests have been done on small bacteria, E. Coli and others, where they have been submitted to a specific environment, say, a shortage of sugar, or an abundance of sugar, and have let the species evolve in the petri dish. Scientists can predict what sort of microbe the E. Coli will evolve into, in this way, evolution is not random.

Evolution is random on the individual DNA order, this is the random that Scientists talk about. In the normal life of any living organism, that organism will undergo the constant replication of genes inside of it. DNA is constantly being copied, but every now and then, there will be a mistake in the copying process. This is called genetic mutation. It is this process which allows for speciation, it allows for this lovely branching of evolution, it allows for these new adaptations to occur in biology. This genetic mutation is random, but rather oxymoronic, this process is not completely random.

Let me explain. In the genetic sequence, there are genes which are extremely important, like the ability to produce sex cells or heart cells or liver cells or brain cells, and there are genes which aren’t very important, like the length of one’s nose. So that the genes which create heart cells or brain cells do not get mutated away, (because they are very important) these genes are highly protected for. The organism creates many copies of those genes, so that even if one gets mutated, the information for building a heart is still there.

Look at it this way, in your body, you will find, say (the numbers aren’t correct, just a demonstration), 100 copies of the genes for making heart cells, were as you will only find a few copies of the gene for controlling how long your arms get. This is so that, in the case that one copy of the ‘make heart cells’ gene gets mutated, there are still dozens more there to back it up. Were as something like height or pigmentation, which is not important to function, but needs to be able to adapt to new circumstances, will only have a few copies of the genetic code.

This is how evolution is not completely random, there are barriers of protection, to stop the species from evolving to radically, and to ensure that the important genes don’t mutate. I will leave you all with a quote from James D. Watson, “Today, the theory of evolution is an accepted fact for everyone but a fundamentalist minority, whose objections are based not on reasoning but on doctrinaire adherence to religious principles”, James Watson, Molecular biologist, geneticist, zoologist and co-discoverer of the structure of DNA.

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New Health Problems Found for Astronauts

Hello there, skeptical Bros.,

I was logged onto the computer at school yesterday (we had a computer lesson), and because there was nothing else to be done in class, I was reading through the abc.net.au news section, and I came across a new study in Astronauts. Because my immediate reaction to anything with space or astronauts is “READ READ READ!”, I read it, and it turns out that there could be new health risks for astronauts who spend long amounts of time in micro-gravity. The title here –>http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-03-13/study-finds-eye-problems-common-for-astronauts/3886698, Reads ‘Study finds eye problems common for astronauts’ and my heart sunk.

It turns out that this latest study have found yet another thing which astronauts have to worry about. It has been known for a long time that there would be long-term health effects for people who live in micro-gravity, but these were thought to be things like hearts and muscles loosing their strength. This study has shown that the brain and eyes have been effected, because of an unexplained pressure in the head, which causes excess cerebral-spinal fluid around the optic-nerve, and a flattening of the eyeball and bulging of the optic nerve, in roughly one-fifth of astronauts who spent more than a month on space-shuttle or ISS flights. But I’m not going to talk about the physiology, that’s not my niche, read that in the link above, I’m going to talk about what it means for longer term flights to Mars.

The solution for things like weak hearts and muscles was simple, exercise the heart and muscles by jogging for a while every day. But the solution to this problem is not so apparent, we can’t exercise our optical nerve.
We can’t fight the effect of micro-gravity, so we have to fight the cause. NASA scientists need to find a way to stop this unknown pressure, and the first thing we need to do is find out what this pressure is. A bit of study on the ISS should definitely be done.

I’m really disappointed because of what this means for Mars trips in the future. This is just one more item on NASA’s list of “Things we have to figure out before we fly to Mars”, along with radiation, water, food, power, shelter etc., all major problems to humans. Space Shuttle flights went for about a month or so, ISS shifts go for about 6 months, but a trip to Mars would take in excess of two years, so the effects we see here, could be greatly magnified. But you know what, I’m confident that science will find a solution to this problem, and then we will go to Mars, but this problem should be one of the first things worried about, because humans health are of the top priority.

That’s all for today, I’ll leave you with a quote from Stephen Hawking, “Our only chance of long-term survival is not to remain lurking on planet Earth, but to spread out into space.”, Stephen Hawking, Theoretical Physicist, Cosmologist, author, lecturer and Science Popularizer of some note.

Science is the Only Way to Test Reality

Hello there skeptics,

Today I am going to be blogging about the wonderfulness of science, and how it is not some abstract way of looking at the universe (as the post-modernists will have you believe), it is actually a fundamental part of the universe, and is THE way to test reality.

Something my mother has told me for a long time since I came out of the closet about being a skeptic and an atheist, is “Science is not the only way of knowing things, there are plenty of other ways.” I’ve never asked her what these other ways might be, but should could be talking about either of two lists of ‘ways of finding out things’ :-
1. The ignorant list – she could be talking about things like logic, philosophy etc., in which she is just being ignorant and does not know that both logic and philosophy stem from science.
2. The post-modernist list – She really means what she says, and thinks the other ways of knowing are things like belief, spiritualism, mysticism etc., in which she is also being ignorant, because these things are either testable by science or not real.

I will start with a distinction, the fact that science is able to test anything is not just some blatant statement, its true. Anything which is real (reality), is testable by science. Now you may say, “Supernatural things are not testable by science”, this is a common misconception, supernatural things like ghosts and spirits are testable by science, but once they are testable by science they are not supernatural. A common misunderstanding is that there are things that science can test, there are supernatural things which cannot be tested, but are real, and there are things which don’t exist. This is wrong. Things are either real, (have some sort of measurable effect on the universe) or they are not real. Ghosts, for example, they could be real, and in which case, they are testable by science, or they could not be real, in which they are not testable by science. If something can be measured, (demon possessions, spirit hauntings, homeopathy, acupuncture etc.) then it is part of the real world and can be tested by science. There is no possibility of something having an effect on the universe around us (curing a patients cancer, making a possessed person’s head spin 360°, create the universe etc.), and not be testable by science.

That is because science is just measuring the world around us, in the purest and simplest form, and this is amazing to me, because it is the only discipline where you know that the same thing will be found over and over again. Think of the greatest three scientists of the last two centuries, Darwin, Tesla, Einstein. If these people were never to have existed, then somebody else would have made their discoveries instead. Somebody else, probably Wallace, would have published the theory of evolution, somebody else would have invented the Tesla coil (albeit with a different name) and AC electricity, and somebody else would have theorized special and general relativity. This is true because the outcomes of science are based on reality.

Science by definition, is the measuring and describing of the world around us, and it is the one and only way to find out things about the reality of the world we live in. I will eave you with a quote from

Penalty Shoot-Out, By the Numbers

Ahoy-hoy,

I recently was engaged in a debate with a friend of mine, over which position is more important in a game of soccer, the goal-keeper, or the on-field players. This argument worked through things like the fact that the goalkeeper walked on to the field followed only by the captain at the start of the game, the fact that the goalkeeper is the last player left in a drop-out over-time situation, and that goalkeepers have been the only position to be unchanged for almost 150 years in the sport which is association football. Eventually, it got to the penalty shoot-out, the most pure goalkeeper vs striker situation. Obviously, my pro-striker debater did have the fact that most penalty shoot-outs end up with scores of at least 3 goals to each team. 85%, over four-fifths of penalty shots go in, so you must ask, “What makes the odds so stacked in the favor of the striker?” I’ll attempt to answer this question, and how to combat it if you are a goalkeeper, in this post.

The area of a goal is about 192 ft², and the area of a goalkeeper, if you give dimensions of 1 foot wide by 6 foot tall, that’s 6 ft². about 1/32 of the size of the goal… so actually, this initial number of 85% almost seems impressive. But obviously, the goalkeeper does not just stand in the goal at a random spot, and expect the striker to also kick to a random spot in the goal. Lets figure out how fast the reactions have to be for a goalkeeper.

An average penalty shot goes at about 100 kph (60 mph), so if you do the maths, that works out to about 0.4 seconds, or 400 milliseconds from kick to goal line. The speedy end of the reaction time for humans (which you would expect a goalkeeper to have) is 100 milliseconds. You can’t get the direction of the ball from the first 100 – 150 milliseconds of flight, so this gives about 150 – 200 milliseconds to get to where ever the ball has been kicked. This is extremely hard, so we have to be able to find a better way of saving penalty shots, but first, a bit of interesting findings on penalty shots which may help make things easier for the goalkeeper or the striker.

It has been found that goalkeepers will dive to the right more when their team is behind on the scoreboard, and strikers will kick more at the goalkeeper when their team is behind on the scoreboard. This could give the goalkeeper or striker an advantage if they were to know about the habits of their opposition, but any good soccer player will be studied up on things like these, so it becomes an infinite regression of:-
I know that he will kick to the right, but maybe he knows that I know that he will kick to the right, but now I know that he knows that I know that he will kick to the right etc.
So it is best to just rule out picking a side based on psychology, and look for some biometric ways to predict the direction of a kick.

A study has been done in Canada, looking at this problem. The looked at the following variables :- the penalty taker’s starting position, angle of approach to the ball, lean of the penalty taker, the placement of the non-kicking foot, or the contact of the kicking foot on the ball. They found that the cue which had the sweetest combination of both accuracy and reaction time was the angle of the non-kicking foot. This gave the goalkeeper an extra 200 milliseconds of time before the kick, allowing for almost half a second (which feels like a million years when the trophy is on the line, I swear) to move towards the direction if the ball. The placement of the foot gave an 80% accuracy at predicting the kick.

That’s great, but as a goalkeeper, I want to squeeze as much as I can out of the research, and luckily, research in England has found just that. They attached eye-tracking goggles to strikers and followed the eye-movement before and leading up to the kick. They found that strikers who stared down the goalkeeper kicked a lot more of their shots straight towards the goalkeeper than those who looked at the ground or to either side of the goalkeeper, so this suggests that a goalkeeper who finds their eyes locked with a striker should expect a kick coming closer to them than those strikers who didn’t engage eye-contact with the goalkeeper.

So what we can find these studies is that just guessing or reacting after the kick is just not going to cut it, and the best way to predict the direction of a kick is to look at the planting foot, and the direction which it is pointed at. I’ll leave it at that, and give you a customary quote from Max Planck, “A scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.” Max Planck, a German Physicist of some note.

The Myth of the Evolutionary Ladder

Hello there free-thinkers,

Today I am going to be blogging about the so-called evolutionary ladder, and the myths which surround it. The evolutionary ladder is an image which appears in most high-school textbooks, supposedly showing how biological life evolves into the top of the line humans which are around today, and that all other animals are below us. It often looks something like this:-

Early biology often surrounded this concept of humans as the peak of the animal kingdom

It starts with the lowest-of-the-low, the plants, because they are dumb and don’t have a brain. Then the jellyfish, because they are the combination of a lot of smaller animals, and they have a sense of being alive. Next comes the insects, because they are small and aren’t smart. Onto fish, they are bigger than insects, so they take a higher position. Reptiles next, because at least they live on land, that makes them better than all the other animals so far. Birds come next, because they are war-blooded, just like humans. Mammals come next, because they are the last step before becoming the best organism ever, the human.

This is a very arrogant way to think about the world around you, and it is also factually false, for a few reasons.

This ladder does not show a path of evolutionary change, the world did not start out with only plants, and then evolve up the ladder, it is best to describe evolution as a tree, with all of these animals, the ones around us at the moment, as the leaves of this tree.

It is also untrue that humans are the best when it comes to evolution. All of these animals are around today because they are good at evolution. If this ladder were true, we would expect to see a lot less trees than we do humans, but we don’t, there are a whole lot more trees and plants on this planet than there are humans. All of the organisms alive today are the best at what they do, that’s why they thrive.

It is very arrogant to assume that humans are the best evolutionary creatures on this planet, and it is probably true that humans are actually very bad from an evolution standpoint. It was Charles Darwin himself who once stated, “In the struggle for survival, the fittest win out at the expense of their rivals because they succeed in adapting themselves best to their environment.”, and this quote is true. The fittest organism is not the strongest or the fastest animal, it is the animal which is best able to adapt to its environment. If this is true, then bacteria should take the top of the ladder, and humans right down the bottom. Humans are very slow in their evolution because we have a very slow reproduction rate, meaning that they cannot adapt very quickly, meaning that they are not fit. However, most bacteria can reproduce at a rate of knots, meaning that they are very fit. Humans are not really very good from an evolution viewpoint, which is why the evolutionary ladder should be either turned upside down, or morph into a branching tree, with each of today’s organism perched at the top of the tree.

That’s all for today, I’ll leave you with a quote from Steven Novella, “Evolution is a messy branching bush, and we’re just finding more and more twigs all over the place”, Steven Novella, A neurologist and skeptic of some note.

Poll about last post

Please express your opinions right here, I’m allowing one vote per hour.

A Recent Debate with a Creationist – Give Me Your Opinion

Hello there, skeptical fellows,

About a week ago, I became engaged in a debate with a Christian Creationist, about his so-called proof of god, today’s post will be our published discussion, as he requested, I will also ask all of you to leave your opinions at the bottom of the page in the comments section, and on the poll I will put up on this post. I will be leaving my comments on the discussion in bold, and brackets.

The discussion starts with Karl Dimario throwing down the gauntlet with some ad hominem, argument against authoritarian false logic.

Karl Dimario: Dawkins is a fraud ,he refuses to debate any well known Christian philosophers.William Lane Craig has endlessly challenged him time and time again without success.What is he afraid of if he is so correct in his assumptions. The skeptical teenager could learn a great deal by purchasing the book Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith by Douglas Groothuis ,study it and then if you have answers that can back Dawkins up I mean real answers then you can start sprouting off about your opinions on a public site.At this moment your just another ignorant laymen with no real knowledge about the subject your discussing.
(he ad hominem attacks me and Dawkins, calling Dawkins a fraud, and me an ignorant layman)

Me:  You know what, If I am a so called layman, I’m sure you would be rather eager to debate me, I would be glad to have you tell me your arguments and then me destroy them. Give me your best piece of evidence for god or creation, and I will be happy to hear it.
I would love to debate you on some topics.
Richard Dawkins has never considered himself a debater, that has always been the job of Christopher Hitchens and Kenneth Miller.
(I happily accept his offer to debate him, despite this, he later on makes the claim that atheists, and me, never debate Creationists)

Karl Dimario: okay fine ,The first step towards the proof that God exists is to determine whether you actually believe that laws of logic exist. Logical proof would be irrelevant to someone who denies that laws of logic exist. An example of a law of logic is the law of non-contradiction. This law states, for instance, that it cannot both be true that my car is in the parking lot and that it is not in the parking lot at the same time, and in the same way.What do you believe?Do laws of logic exist or not?
(he wastes a lot of time asking me questions he could find the answer to by actually reading my blog)

Me: Yes, they exist, except in the quantum mechanics world, where things can exist and not exist at the same time, but that’s beside the point. I do believe in laws of logic and evidence, I also believe that one should not use logical fallacies in their arguments.

Karl Dimario:  Okay good .The laws of mathmatics now.The basic operations of arithmetic are addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Laws of mathematics then, are basically descriptions of what happens within these operations (and more complex ones as well) . For example, with the law of addition we know that if you take 4 things and add them to 3 things, you end up with 7 things.

What do you believe? Laws of mathmatics,do they exist or not?
(He continues to waste time on questions)

Me: Yes, I do believe that the laws of mathematics exist.

Karl Dimario: Great.Laws of science now.Laws of science are basically descriptions of what matter does based on repeated observations, and are usually expressed in mathematical equations. An example of a law of science is the law of gravity. Using the law of gravity, we can predict how fast a heavier than air object will fall to the ground given all the factors for the equation.Do the laws of science exist ?
(More boring questions)

Me:  Well, actually, gravity is just a theory, but yes, I agree with the laws of physics and biology and chemistry, quantum mechanics, astrology etc.

The laws of science also need NATURAL explanations, not supernatural explanations.
Could you please just get to your point, its getting tiring.
(I hint that he cannot prove god with science)

Karl Dimario:  The next question is whether you believe they are universal or up to the individual. Does 2 + 2 = 4 only where you are, and only because you say it does, or is this a universal law?IF You have acknowledged that laws of logic, mathematics, science, , that they are not made of matter, and that they are universal. The next question is whether you believe they are changing or unchanging.Tiring you write on a number of subjects that are tiring ,answer my questions first before I make my point.
(I see where he is getting at, I’ve answered his line of argument before, this should be easy, I think to myself. He also makes another ad hominem, calling my blog discussions boring)

Me: Yes, I believe that the laws of physics are constant, and that maths and logic is an intrinsic part of the universe, because of the stability of the laws of physics. I don’t think it is changing.

If you find some of my blog topics tiring, you don’t have to read them, but I have to hear you out on these questions.

Karl Dimario:  you have acknowledged that laws of logic, mathematics, science,. Next we will examine what you believe about these laws. Are these laws material, or are they immaterial? In other words, are they made of matter, or are they ‘abstract’ entities? – are they physical or non-physical things?(He creates a false dicotomy, by saying that the laws of science and logic must be either material or abstract, and not a allowing what they actually are, a representation of the fundamentals of our universe.)By the way you pushed me for the discussion,so have here me out. (He blames me for the discussion, despite him actually confronting me first)

In your matter only world then how can the immaterial be in existense?you had to acknowledge that immaterial, universal, unchanging laws of logic, mathematics, science,. Universal, immaterial, unchanging laws are necessary for rational thinking to be possible. Universal, immaterial, unchanging laws cannot be accounted for if the universe was random or only material in nature. (He makes an assumption about what my answer will be, without hearing my answer, and his reasoning is false.) 

The Bible teaches us that there are 2 types of people in this world, those who profess the truth of God’s existence and those who suppress the truth of God’s existence. The options of ‘seeking’ God, or not believing in God are unavailable. The Bible never attempts to prove the existence of God as it declares that the existence of God is so obvious that we are without excuse for not believing in Him. (He uses the bible to prove god, what a logical masterpiece! He makes yet another false dicotomy, which he assumes from the Bible? Yet another ‘Checkmate Atheists!)

Romans 1 vs. 18 – 21 says:

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. (A bible quote that proves the bible, seems legit!)

The God of Christianity is the necessary starting point to make sense of universal, abstract, invariant laws by the impossibility of the contrary. These laws are necessary to prove ANYTHING. Therefore…God exists
(He says that god is the only way that logic and maths and science could exist, without recognizing other possible explanations, like all of my posts, and other posts.)

Me: The laws of physics and math are abstract representations of physical things, what they represent are real things, like the law of conservation of mass, that’s just the rules.

When you give me an argumnet from the bible, it sounds like somebody arguing for the existence of ogres from Shrek.

On your point that god is neccassary to explain the laws of physics, I will direct you to my blog bost https://theskepticalteenager.wordpress.com/2012/04/07/my-superturtle/, in which I disect this argument and say how it is an illogical and non-occams razor following argument.
I will also ask you to continue our discussion by email, at the above address, if you wish to continue this argument.

(At this point, Karl finally listened to something I said, and emailed me his response, I will continue from there.)

Karl Dimario: 

TO the skeptic

Unlike the laws of physics, the laws of mathematics are abstract; they are not “attached” to any specific part of the universe. It is possible to imagine a universe where the laws of physics are different, but it is difficult to imagine a (consistent) universe where the laws of mathematics are different. (He makes this claim despite me rebutting it last post)
The laws of mathematics are an example of a “transcendent truth.” They must be true regardless of what kind of universe God created. This may be because God’s nature is logical and mathematical; thus, any universe He chose to create would necessarily be mathematical in nature. The secular naturalist cannot account for the laws of mathematics. Certainly he would believe in mathematics and would use mathematics, but he is unable to account for the existence of mathematics within a naturalistic framework since mathematics is not a part of the physical universe. (That’s just false, I have provided, and will soon provide, a reason why maths must exist) However, the Christian understands that there is a God beyond the universe and that mathematics reflects the thoughts of the Lord. Understanding math is, in a sense, “thinking God’s thoughts after Him”(though in a limited, finite way, of course).
We have seen that the laws of nature depend on other laws of nature, which ultimately depend on God’s will. (You might see that, I just see a blithering idiot pretending to think logically) Thus, God created the laws of physics in just the right way so that the laws of chemistry would be correct, so that life can exist. It is doubtful that any human would have been able to solve such a complex puzzle. Yet, the Lord has done so. The atheist cannot account for these laws of nature (even though he agrees that they must exist), for such laws are inconsistent with naturalism. Yet, they are perfectly consistent with the Bible. We expect the universe to be organized in a logical, orderly fashion and to obey uniform laws because the universe was created by the power of God. (Atheism has accounted for the laws of nature, and shown that they must exist, time and time again)

Christians account for universal, immaterial, unchanging laws as they reflect the very nature of God.
The Bible accounts for immaterial entities as in John 4 vs. 24 it states: “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” (More bible quotes)
In Malachi 3 vs. 6 God says “I the Lord do not change.” accounting for His unchanging nature. (More bible quotes)
Psalm 90 vs. 2 states: “Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting, you are God.” (bible quote) and Psalm 139 vs. 7 – 10 states: “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast,” accounting for God’s universality. (Yet another bible quote)
The laws of logic, mathematics, science, and morality, reflect the thinking and character of God and what He has created in order to accomplish His purposes.
In Jeremiah 33 vs. 25 God speaks of how He has ‘fixed the laws of heaven and earth.’ These universal, immaterial, unchanging laws are the basis for all knowledge and are rooted in God’s word. The apostle Paul said in his letter to the Colossians: My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Chapter 2 vs. 2 – 3) (More bible quotes) 
Of course everyone uses universal, immaterial, unchanging laws, but many do so denying their only possible source. Christianity proclaims the source which can be summarized with Christ’s
declaration: “apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15 vs. 5) (More bible quotes) 
God Bless Karl 

declaration: “apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15 vs. 5) (bible quote)

Me: Ok. The laws of mathematics, again, are not abstract really. They are numerical representations of our universe. All of mathematics flows from 1 + 1 = 2. This is a mathematical representation of 1 atom + 1 atom = 2 atoms. Mathematics must exist because a universe without maths could not exist, maths, and the physical laws that use math, are necessary in a working, life bearing universe.

I must again ask you a question, did you actually read the blog post I linked you too, because I answered your next question in that. If my one little inch long equation Theory of Everything (TOE) needs an explanation, then your omnibenelovent, omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent (omnipotent and omniscient are logically impossible, as I blog about in https://theskepticalteenager.wordpress.com/2012/03/10/can-god-be-all-powerful-and-all-knowing/), needs a lot more explaining than my simple laws.

Obviously, we all need to draw the line somewhere, because otherwise the whole ‘infinite regression’ thing comes into play with gods god, and gods gods god, and gods gods gods god, so-on and so-on. In the post I linked to, I showed that it is clearly more logical to say that just one, inch long mathematical sum, the theory of everything, which physics is trying to achieve, is a much better place to draw your line in the sand than such an amazingly powerful, knowledgeable god.

I propose that before the start of the universe, there was one TOE which from there, everything flows.
You propose that an amazing god who knows everything, sees everything,and can change anything, was there at the start of the universe.
We have scientific evidence of the laws of physics, we have no scientific evidence of god.
Case Closed.
(Served!)

Karl Dimario: Your toe does not promise eternal life ,my God does ,and with 100percent certainty no questions asked the REAL born again Christian will inherit this. (There we go, Pascals wager, one of my specialities, I think to myself “Oh goodie, he brought that up!”) 

Good luck with the toe.
God bless Karl

Corinthians 2:14?

‘Now the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him; and he cannot know them, because they are spiritually judged’ (2:14).” (Another bible quote) 

Me: So you are saying to me that it is better to believe in a god so you get eternal life. This is a very bad argument for a few reasons. This argument does not say anything about whether god exists or not. Just because something promises something good, does not make it real, unicorns supposedly can give you eternal life, but that doesn’t make unicorns real. I will also direct you to another post of mine, in which I deal with your ‘argument’. https://theskepticalteenager.wordpress.com/2012/02/25/agnostic-atheist-wager/
(I will also link here to a post in which I tackle the afterlife itself, and how heaven might not be that great, Why is heaven not that appealing to me?)

This is not an argument from Occams razor, because the notion of an after life is not a scientific question, except for the fact that you are the meat in your heads, meaning that there is no soul to exist in the afterlife.

Karl Dimario: When God finds you and instills his holy spirit,then it is not a question of belief ,it`s a certainty of his existence.The choice is not your`s it`s his. (He tells me that he has seen god, and to that I say, “gooooooood for you.” or “Yeah, Right!” or “You had a seizure”) For the question of existence thru proof that`s for the non believer not the believer .(He says that the burden of proof is on the Atheists? Learn the basics of science, please.) I would love to see you purchase the book by Douglas Groothuis (Eugh, Douglas Groothuis, he has nothing) (Christian Apologetic s ,A comprehensive case for biblical faith)or listen to some of his podcast there free.When you have done this get back to me and we can nut out some of the arguments by email then .

Thanks Karl

Me: I’ve read his book, its ridiculous.

If you are going to say that your only proof for belief in a god is that he told you to, I have to leave you alone, because there is going to be nothing I can do to convince you, and I will also say that a religious experience is nothing new to science, its called a seizure. (Another serve) 

You have fallen into a trap of circular reasoning. (As do all closed minded Christians) 

I am going to tell you that when I came into this discussion with you, I was expecting some at least descent arguments put forward from you, but it sounds like you have been reduced to “I experienced god, (probably a seizure) so god exists. I am disappointed, to say the least.

Thank you for giving up your time to allow me to sharpen my atheist and skeptical tools, and sure my faith that the IS NO PROOF that any sort of god exists.

Karl Dimario: Sounds like to me that the young Atheists should put you forward to debate Lane Craig on your own recommendation(Seeing you are SO SURE OF YOURSELF),because not one of them can put up a significant argument against him.I`m afraid for what I have read of your work, you to would also be blown away.

Regards Karl
(Nobody has put forward a significant argument against William Lane Craig? HA! Lane Craig could be nutted out by a 6 year old with handy logic skills.) 

Me: I do not wish to engage in a debate with lane craig, his arguments are often very personal, an ad hominem, (Karl decides to take after Lane Craig in his next few posts, with ad hominem attacks) and are not worth the time, I have read his major arguments, and none of them are worth the effort of debating. He is not a philosopher, he is a christian apologetic, I am not interested in contacting Craig on this matter.

If somebody from my side of the argument recommends me to argue him, I might consider, but seeing that no self-respecting logical person thinks highly enough of craig to even consider some of his arguments.
However, I would be happy enough if you were to present some of his arguments to me, so I can hear your spin on them…

Karl Dimario: What have you done with our discussion ??

Me:  Well, I’ll tell you whats happened. You have shown no scientific evidence for a god, nor any logical evidence. I have explained how people can have religious experiences, and I have shown that the creationist standpoint is very weak.

Your arguments have been so bad and cliche, that you haven’t even inspired me to write a blog post about it.
I never said HE was really evil, but some of the people he lets into heaven would make it a rather evil place to live. (Referring to my post about the terribleness of heaven) 

Karl Dimario: I will tell you what happened ,you where shown up for the fraud you are (Were the hell did this occur?) ,this is why Dawkins only debates certain people and rejects others,so he can look good as yourself .Have some balls and repost the comments including the one `s by email. (Ok, just did) Let the auidence of so few see the incompetent self confessed genius you are not. (Ad hominem attack, throwing a punch at my small viewer size) 
It seems to me all you have is the critique of an individuals position.Give me your scientific explantion of creation . (If you read my blog, you wouldn’t be asking that question) Let me critque your position on a public site like this one .And don`t remove the posts when I expose you Thanks (I won’t do that, because I am an honest skeptic, and I’m not worried about you exposing me) 

Me: I don’t see one word to suggest that I was shown to be a fraud? I have never passed up the opportunity to debate somebody. Dawkins is not a fraud, the only reason Dawkins has not engaged in a debate with Lane Craig is because “It would look very good on his resume, and very bad on my resume, even if I beat him hands down.” (That’s why all Atheists refuse to debate Lane Craig) 

Craig is not worth the argument.

I will put our discussion into a post, and I will have a poll on it, and, if I have taught my viewers correctly, they will all see that you are making logical fallacies left and right, and my logic sails.

You calling me and Richard Dawkins frauds is a huge ad hominem, and untrue at that. It is logically unsound.

Also, it should be remembered that I haven’t made a dime from my skeptical work, so I can’t be a fraud, by definition. (Taking a stab at my own success) 
Roy Williams position is taken up by quite a lot of people I know, and others I have seen on the internet.

I must say that asking for a ‘scientific explanation of creation’ shows your ignorance of the subject, science and creationism are incompatible, because creation invokes a supernatural creator, and science requires natural occurrances. .

Karl Dimario:  These famous scientists of the past have had faith in God,Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo,, Newton, Mendel and many others .(That doesn’t make god true) Where they all deluded?How you can even justify using logic is beyond me ,In your matter only world how can the immaterial of the laws of logic exist. (I spent a long time explaining to you how they are material and must exist, and you have the nerve to ask me the smae question again?) You have not answered the question at all in any of your blogs.I will contact Mr Groothius and refer him to your blog and how you think his book is load of nonsense. (Haven’t had any contact with him yet) 

The joke Mr Pell was anembarrasment to all real Christians everywhere, how about you start critiquing some Christians with a bit of knowledge like Craig or Groothius instead of going for easy targets like Pell. (Pell was on national television, that’s why I discussed him) 

Free will does not mean mankind can do anything he wants.(YOU KNOW THIS)Our choices are limted to what is in keeping with our nature.An example is a man may choose to walk across a bridgeor not walk across it,what he may not choose is to fly over the bridge ,his nature prevents him from flying.Free will is limted by his nature.This limitation does not mitigate us our accountabilty .We have the ability to choose wisely or un wisely .It`s only through the grace of God and power of God that free will truly becomes free in the sense of being able to choose salvation. (What?)
Professor Richard Lewontin, a geneticist (and self-proclaimed Marxist), is a renowned champion of neo-Darwinism, and certainly one of the world’s leaders in promoting evolutionary biology. He recently wrote this very revealing comment . It illustrates the implicit philosophical bias against Genesis creation regardless of whether or not the facts support it:

We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfil many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. (This comment is probably forged, but even if this is his opinion, it is not the scientific opinion, or the way in which science works. Science does not rule out supernatural causes by rule, they measure reality, which is nature. If it is part of reality, then it is natural, so if god created the universe, and the proof points against god, then god must by either outside of reality, meaning he doesn’t exist, or god didn’t create the universe, meaning that he isn’t god.) 

Science is not so concrete as you think it is(and you know it) (He has no right to tell me what I am thinking) 

Me: “In a material world, how can the immaterial laws of logic exist?” The laws of logic are an abstract representation of the world around us which all flows from 1 + 1 = 2. We know that 1 + 1 = 2 because 1 atom + 1 atom = 2 atoms. We live in a material world, which means that the laws of logic, which describe the material world, must exist. Logic must exist in a material world.

I was blogging about Pell for a few reasons, 1. He was on national television, so he already had the countries attention, 2. he had enough sway with some of the audience, 3. His views of the world are held by quite a lot of people, so it was worth tackling his arguments.

You did not understand any of my blog post if you are able to say something like that.

In my blog post I wrote that we have NO CHOICE. Lets take your bridge metaphor.
One can choose to go over the bridge or not, but this is gods decision, not yours OR you choose to not listen to god, but then you are choosing eternal hell,that is an interference with infinite coercion, which is free will.
In Christianity, you do it gods way or you don’t, and your decision is influenced by the coercion of eternal suffering or eternal life, and infinite coercion = free will.
God does not allow us free will, you have completely missed that point of my post.
Did you even read it?

I would like to see a reference to that quote, because it does sound a bit, made up, but I’ll continue anyway.

If science cannot explain it, it is outside the realm of reality. If it happens, that science can test it, science does not explicitly not allow supernatural explanations, it only PREFERS natural explanations over supernatural ones. So science, you could say, works like this:-
We have two hypotheses, 1. god created the world, 2. the world came about through natural causes.
Now, we have almost unbounded proof of natural things like genetics, geology, astronomy, physics, quantum mechanics.
We have no proof of a supernatural, all-loving, all-powerful, all-knowing, deity.

We will choose to go with the natural explanation, because we have PROOF of that, and it makes more logical sense.

Science is the only way by which we can justifiably test reality.

At this point the conversation ended, and a week later, here I am, putting this up for the world to see, without any fear that I will be shown to be wrong, so I release it to the world. I will follow up now with a post with a poll attached, I will allow you to decide who put up the most logical argument, and you can express that opinion on the poll and in the comments bellow.

Karl Dimario, if you are wanting to reply to me, please do not do so on the comment thread, do so on e-mail, and I will keep this page updated with our discussion.

Roy Williams – Chaos Theory – Doesn’t Mix

Hello there skeptics, freethinkers, critical thinkers and atheists,

Today I am going to be blogging about another claim which Roy Williams has made, which contradicts science and reason, and happens to also support his claim.

Roy Williams, in his book god, actually, makes the claim that the universe is not deterministic, and that this allows for things like free will, conscience and god to exist. He tries to show some natural examples of our non-deterministic world, and he chooses the weather. He makes the claim that Chaos theory shows that the world is deterministic, and this applies to other systems, like our brain. This claim is factually false.

Chaos theory is actually a case example of how deterministic our universe is, that it is deterministic to such a detailed scale. Chaos theory is really, and explanation of how a deterministic universe works. Lets take the weather, which Williams uses. Chaos theory, when pertaining to the weather, shows that a small change in conditions, like the classic example, a butterfly flapping its wings in Britain can cause a cyclone to develop in the USA, because the small effect can be multiplied out by larger forces, and a large force, like a huge line of industrial fans on the South American coast-line, can be neutralized by a small force, like a butterfly flapping its wings somewhere in the world.

Chaos theory shows that, even when the universe seems chaotic, uncontrollable and non-deterministic, there is reason behind everything happening. Lets us use the example of the Mandelbrot set. If an uneducated person where to look at something like the Mandelbrot image below, they would make the assumption, as I did when I first saw the image, that this was a completely random, non-deterministic picture. But as most of us know, this image is actually defined by a single, inch long maths equation, zn+1 = zn2 + c, and I found this amazing when I found it out, that this complex structure, with all its intricacies, was just created from a maths equation.

This, my friend, is a Mandelbrot set.

This is what Mandelbrot, and all the other mathematicians of the time, set out to do, find simple mathematical laws which describe the seemingly random branching of trees and fingerprints on hands, and they found that they are deterministic, but very sensitive, and could be influenced by just the tiniest change in conditions. The only reason why we haven’t yet found a mathematical sum to predict the weather, is because it is very, very, very complex.

Chaos theory shows how seemingly random things can be described with mathematical sums, and that they are really deterministic, this can be extrapolated to the brain. Once you know how the weather, Mandelbrot sets, tree branches and fingerprints can be explained, you can start to see how one day, we will be able to find out a mathematical sum to describe our brain function, of course, this equation will not be one inch long, it will be many inches long, but we will have described the brain.

Roy Williams, by mentioning Chaos theory, has stepped into a spiraling vortex of facts, knowledge and maths. That’s all for today, I will leave you with a quote from Benoit Mandelbrot, “Science would be ruined if (like sports) it were to put competition above everything else, and if it were to clarify the rules of competition by withdrawing entirely into narrowly defined specialties. The rare scholars who are nomads-by-choice are essential to the intellectual welfare of the settled disciplines.” Benoit Mandelbrot, a French/American Mathematician of some note.

The perks of skepticism

Hello there, skeptics of the galaxy,

I have been writing quite a lot of serious posts recently, and I thought today I would mix it up a little with a light-hearted post. Today, I am going to be listing some of the great things about skepticism.
Things that never happen to skeptics:
We never get abducted by aliens.
We never get scared of ghosts.
We never move into haunted houses.
We never get possessed by evil spirits.
No skeptic has ever gotten Autism from a vaccine.
No skeptic have ever caught Morgellons disease.
Skeptics never get taken by big-foots.
No skeptics have ever died in any raptures.
No skeptics have ever committed suicide for a religious cult.
No skeptic will die in the apocalyptic 2012 event.
No skeptic has ever been duped by a psychic or astrologist.
No skeptic has ever fallen of the edge of the earth.
No skeptic has ever died because of the Bermuda triangle.
We never go crazy because of the full moon.
Skeptics never buy things because the brand was imprinted onto the mind’s eye by subliminal advertising.
Skeptics never have impaired flow of their Innate Intelligence.
Skeptics never get lower back pains when exposed to electromagnetism.
We never get duped by perpetual motion machines.
Skeptics always get the best in medicine treatments.
Skeptics never waste their time and money on religion, homeopathy, psychics, tarot-card readers, astrologers, chiropractor, acupuncture, preparing for the 2012 Apocalypse, phrenology, scam weight-loss diets, cosmetics that take ten years of your life or spend eternity in hell.

That’s all for my list so far, I will probably be adding to it over time, that only took me half an hour of thinking, I’ll leave you with a quote from Albert Einstein, ” The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious…the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science.”, Albert Einstein, probably the most famous person to fail a few Reading and Writing

The Cambrian Explosion

Hello there, skeptical fellows,

Today I am going to be blogging about the Cambrian explosion, and the arguments used by old earth creationists that surround the Cambrian explosion.

The Cambrian explosion is a period in the geological timescale, about 530 million years ago, where there is a sudden rapid explosion of fossilized creatures. This is thought to be the time when hard bodied creatures first appeared, and also about the time when multi-cellular life first started to appear.

One of the most common objections to evolution is the Cambrian explosion, because the sudden increase in fossilized creatures could suggest a creation, but this is not true, I am going to address some of the reasons why the Cambrian explosion does not point towards some sort of creation.

First of all, when a geologist uses the term ‘sudden’, or ‘explosion’, or ‘rapid’, they are really talking about something which took millions of years. It is not just an instant where all of the fossils appear, it happened over several million years. This misunderstanding leads a lot of people toward the opinion that the Cambrian explosion was a creation of some sort.

The second objection is that the Cambrian explosion is not when life first appears on earth, single-celled, soft-bodied animals have been dwelling on the earth for about 3 billion years before the Cambrian explosion. There have been fossils of organisms found before the Cambrian explosion. Just recently, there was a fossil found in South Australia, which is the oldest ever skeleton, which was found about 10 million years before the Cambrian explosion. This fossil also shows that there were hard bodied organisms before the Cambrian explosion, but there weren’t very many.

There is no doubt that the Cambrian explosion was definitely not the first appearance of living organisms, nor was it all that ‘rapid’, in today’s sense of the word, but it is extremely rapid in geological scales.

It is interesting to consider what caused the Cambrian explosion, such an increase in fossils in the geological timescale. Th