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Feedback from December 1997
© 2005-2007 T. Wallace. All Rights Reserved.


From: Wayne Duck

One of your claims is that speciation has never been observed. I wonder how you respond to the notion that Darwin’s Finches are an example of just such speciation. You are surely aware that even what would be considered a rapid speciation event would take far longer than the average human life time (except maybe for bacteria or some other life form with a short generation time). Given this, I assume “observed” does not mean the entire event is to be witnessed by one human’s eyes. Thus the event has to be infered from scientific data. I provide you with the following -

Genetics and the origin of bird species. P. Grant and B. Grant.
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. Vol. 94, pp. 7768-7775. July 1997.

Why are Darwin’s Finches not examples of and this paper a mechanism for speciation?

Wayne Duck

“Skepticism is the highest of duties, and blind faith the one unpardonable sin.” - T.H. Huxley


Response from Timothy Wallace:

To my knowledge it has not been demonstrated unequivocally that the variations in Darwin’s finches are the result of new genetic information arising (without prior existence) from within the genetic mix of a given population(s).

If by “speciation” one means simply the apparent “emergence” of a variation of organism from an existing population, then it would seem safe to conclude Darwin’s Finches to be excellent examples of the same.

If, on the other hand, by “speciation” one means the generation of new genetic information that is known to have not previously existed, then it seems clear that speculative assumptions must be involved in attributing such “speciation” to Darwin’s Finches.

>>You are surely aware that even what would be considered a rapid speciation event would take far longer than the average human life time (except maybe for bacteria or some other life form with a short generation time).<<

Assuming you are refering to a Darwinist or Neo-Darwinist concept of “speciation event” (as opposed to a punctuated equilibria concept), we must again separate variation (based on inherent, extant—albeit at times not manifest—genetic code) from the concept of “speciation” that requires the production of new instructions, new information, towards the making of a new trait.

To allow the line between these two to be blurred is to confuse the difference between known genetic behavior (the natural potential for inherent variation through shuffling within organism populations), and the still very theoretical notion that an increase in the quantity and quality of genetic information is both possible and commonplace.

While it might be granted that actual observation of the latter is impossible due to the length of a human life span, there remains a significant burden of proof for the theoretical notion itself as a practical possibility. Thus, to assume that the notion is true despite both a lack of empirical evidence (beyond mere interpretation of otherwise equivocal data) and the absence of a viable genetic mechanism, is to step out of the realm of science and empirical data, and into a world of theory and conjecture.

>>..Thus the event has to be infered from scientific data. I provide you with the following...<<

If you would care to furnish me with a synopsis of the document you cite, specifying the details in which you consider an error on my part to be indicated, I would welcome this.

Meanwhile, the following pages, by Kenneth Cumming, may be of interest:

On the Changing Definition of the Term “Species”
http://www.icr.org/pubs/imp/imp-211.htm

Patterns of Speciation
http://www.icr.org/pubs/imp/imp-215.htm

Reticulate Evolution
http://www.icr.org/pubs/imp/imp-289.htm

Kind Regards,
TW


Response from Wayne Duck:

Not to insult anyone, but I hardly find these articles to be credible. I cannot find one reference to “Dr.” Cumming having published in the peer-reviewed literature since 1966. I cannot find any books he has written in Amazon. What exactly are his credentials?

>>If you would care to furnish me with a synopsis of the paper you cite, specifying the details in which you consider an error on my part to be indicated, I would welcome this.<<

I would not...

What exactly do you mean by “new genetic information?” Since you claim no new genetic information has been found ever, and since it has been shown by the fossil record that humanity is relatively new in relationship to other animals, your theory is that “God” put new species on the planet independent of each other over the course of 3.5 billion years at varying intervals?

Your thesis is not completely clear.


Response from Timothy Wallace:

>>Not to insult anyone, but I hardly find these articles to be credible... I cannot find one reference to “Dr.” Cumming having published in the peer-reviewed literature since 1966. I cannot find any books he has written in Amazon. What exactly are his credentials?<<

Cumming’s Credentials:
For the reader’s information, Dr. Cumming is a Biologist, holding Bachelor of Science degree from Tufts University, Medford, MA (1956), a Master of Arts Degree from Harvard University, Cambridge, MA (1959) in Biology/Genetics, and a Ph.D. in Ecology from Hartford University, Cambridge, MA (1965).  He was formerly on the faculty at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University as an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Forestry and Wildlife.  He was Chief of Program Operations in the Office of Biological Services, Washington D.C.  His research specialization has been in the fields of fish biology and marine ecology with four years experience at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Research Institute.
    —TW (w/ thanks to Mark Stewart)

Am I to understand that you’ve been taught to base credibility more on “credentials” than on content? The details of Dr. Cumming’s credentials are not known to me, however I have no reason to accept as particularly significant criteria for credibility either a book listed with Amazon or publication in the peer-reviewed journals, though both of these would certainly qualify as cause for at least some respect.

A reasonable and objective study of the history of science and the “scientific community” should clarify the reason for the absence of creationist perspectives in the peer-reviewed publications, as well as the popular media: During roughly the past century the “scientific community” (including its literature) has come to be dominated by a philosophical/religious dogma of naturalistic, materialistic, mechanistic, scientism, and an accompanying intolerance of precisely the biblical, theistic world-view that gave birth to modern science.

Regardless of Mr. Cumming’s credentials, his observations are documented, and appropriately find concurrence in the work of other (perhaps more qualified, in your opinion) individuals, often without regard to their philosophical/religious bias and accompanying presuppositions OR their alleged credentials. More important than either of these (in my opinion, and very likely in Kenneth Cumming’s) is a commitment to objectivity, accuracy and truth in evaluating the empirical evidence.

>>What exactly do you mean by “new genetic information?”<<

I mean an increase in both quantity and quality of genetic data, which I went to some length to explain to you in my earlier reply.

>>...it has been shown by the fossil record that humanity is relatively new in relationship to other animals...<<

On what empirical evidence do you base this assertion?

>>...your theory is that “God” put new species on the planet independent of each other over the course of 3.5 billion years at varying intervals?<<

No. I have yet to see such an enormous age indicated by evidence that was not based on equivocal assumptions and/or suspect methods. I have no reason to believe that the earth’s initial population of flora and fauna was not put in place over a period of 3 days. Nor do I have reason to believe that all the genetic information necessary for every variety of organism known to man was not present in that initial population.

>>I would not [care to furnish a synopsis of the paper cited, specifying the details in which [I] consider an error on [your] part to be indicated]...<<

It would not be unreasonable to conclude that your reason for refusing is that the article in question does not reveal any errors on my part.

>>Your thesis is not completely clear.<<

It sounds to me as if you are not particularly knowledgeable in matters of creation science, which is really no surprise—and no fault of your own—since your address indicates affiliation with a modern university.

If you are truly interested in understanding the history, principles and approaches of creation science, there are plenty of introductory books available, and I will be happy to furnish you with the names, URLs, and toll-free phone numbers of a few resources, and suggest a few titles, upon request.

Kind Regards,
TW


Response from Wayne Duck:

This whole exchange is fruitless. You obviously have contempt for the scientific method... (including peer review). You claim objectivity for yourself and your cited authors, yet you nor they provide a coherent theory... You claim to have evidence ... but yet none is forthcoming in the peer-reviewed, scientific literature. The theory of evolution as Darwin described it is incomplete, just as Newton’s was incomplete. However, as with Newton, Darwin is hardly as far off the mark as you would like to portray. The scientific, peer-reviewed literature provides data to support both of Darwin’s main claims - decent with modification and natural selection. If you cannot accept this fact, you can make no claim to be either scientific or objective.

>>I mean an increase in both quantity and quality of genetic data, which I went to some length to explain to you in my earlier reply.<<

Well since a bacterium has a genome of ~4 million bases and a human has agenome of ~4 billion bases, I would say quantity has increased. Or is this another FACT that the biased scientific community has lied about?...

>>On what empirical evidence do you base this assertion?<<

The dating of cyanobacteria fossils to 3.5 billion years ago. The dating of eukayotic fossils to 1.2 billion years ago. The dating of human fossils (depending on which version of human you choose) to ~ 1 million years ago.

[Due to space limitations, the extensive documentation furnished by Wayne Duck at this point will not be posted here, however relevant portions have been included in the response below. In fairness, parties interested in the full text of the documentation may wish to request it personally from Wayne Duck.]

>>No. I have yet to see such an enormous age indicated by evidence that was not based on equivocal assumptions and/or suspect methods.<<

Again you challenge the whole of geology and most of paleobiology without a theory to replace them. The assumptions made are? The suspect methods are?

>>Nor do I have reason to believe that all the genetic information necessary for every variety of organism known to man was not present in that initial population.<<

The fact that bacteria have a smaller genome and that they date to a period longbefore humans discredits this hypothesis.

>>...It sounds to me as if you are not particularly knowledgeable in matters of creation science, which is really no surprise—and no fault of your own—since your address indicates affiliation with a modern university.<<

There is NOTHING in creation science to have knowledge of. You propose notheory. You provide no scientifically valid evidence. It seems all you wish to do is discredit Darwin to promote the teaching of a book of fiction.

>>Am I to understand that you’ve been taught to base credibility more on “credentials” than on content? The details of Mr. Cumming’s credentials are not known to me, however I have no reason to accept as particularly significant criteria for credibility either a book listed with Amazon or publication in the peer-reviewed journals, though both of these would certainly qualify as cause for at least some respect.<<

I suppose you care not what your doctor’s credentials are. This is the problem.You embrace his rhetoric without knowledge of his credibility or command of the subject...

I am quite aware of the recent scientific literature on this topic. I am privy to recent data supporting evolution. I have never seen data in any form disputing evolution that has passed a peer-review. I have seen disputes about mechanisms for a particular set of data and disputes about time frames but nothing ever contrary to evolution. So when you point to someone and claim they support your position that evolution is a fallacy and that scientist are kidding themselves, I surely wish to know if this individual has knowledge of this particular area. Creationist have a history of proclaiming degrees they do not have. I am not going to accept any data off the internet unless I can find reference to it in a scientific journal. I am not going to accept the words of a man or woman that hasn’t received training in biology. Now if his claims where true and if he had the hard scientific data to back it up, it would be accepted for publication into the peer-reviewed scientific system - as yet this has not happened.

>>A reasonable and objective study of the history of science and the “scientific community” should clarify the reason for the absence of Creation perspectives in the peer-reviewed publications, as well as the popular media...<<

A reasonable and objective review of the history of science leads me to the conclusion that science and the “scientific community” have advanced human knowledge and the condition of human daily life immeasurably. I cannot find one example of your creation science contributing to either.

>>Regardless of Dr. Cumming’s credentials, his observations are documented, and appropriately find concurrence in the work of other (perhaps more qualified, in your opinion) individuals, often without regard to their philosophical/religious bias and accompanying presuppositions OR their alleged credentials...<<

Please provide these “more qualified” citations.


Response from Timothy Wallace:

>>...You obviously have contempt for the scientific method in all its wonder (including peer review).<<

That’s a powerful accusation to level, particularly without offering any details as to how you have have become so convinced of such a “contempt” on the part of the accused. It so happens that I have great respect for the scientific method—which has nothing to do with today’s “peer-review” editorial process, nor the dogmatic naturalism that drives it.

>>You claim objectivity for yourself and your cited authors, yet you nor they provide a coherent theory to replace the one we have.<<

I beg you to explain to me what exactly is not coherent about the creation science model. And I would remind you that most of the authors I have cited are (peer-reviewed) evolutionists(!).

>>You claim to have evidence to support this anti-theory but yet none is forthcoming in the peer-reviewed, scientific literature.<<

How very convenient for the perpetuation your cherished bias, and the limited knowledge base upon which it is founded.

>>...Darwin is hardly as far off the mark as you would like to portray...<<

Considering the facts that Darwin held “pangenes” to be the “mechanism” of evolution; that the concept of natural selection was already published—by a creationist, no less—long before Darwin ever published; that classic Darwinism was long ago replaced with Neo-Darwinsim, which itself has been under much debate in light of the empirical data now available; and that there remains to this day (150+ years later) no credible “mechanism” for evolution, I should like to hear from you exactly how Darwin has been shown to be “on the mark” as you seem so confident.

>>The scientific, peer-reviewed literature provides data to support both of Darwin’s main claims - decent with modification and natural selection. If you cannot accept this fact, you can make no claim to be either scientific or objective.<<

“Descent with modification” (other than as an accurate description of the history of evolutionism) is only backed up by a biased interpretation of the data—not by hard empirical facts which cannot be interpreted any other way. It has not been—and cannot be—tested and either falsified or verified by scientific method... The mere existence of “peer-reviewed” interpretations of the data for the purpose of supporting this concept does not ipso facto prove or disprove the theory. If the truth is of as little importance to you as it seems to be to those “peers” who will publish only material consistent with their interpretation of choice, then you really have no business judging the objectivity of another.

Natural selection, on the other hand, is a phenomenon of nature beyond dispute. It is observable and observed, measurable and measured, repeatable and repeated—in short, it has been verified by scientific method. And its verification does nothing to support the notion of “descent with modification.”

I should remind you that creationists have no problem with natural selection: It was known and accepted as a natural phenomenon before Darwin published, and it remains so. However, even most honest evolutionists (the objective ones) agree that natural selection accomplishes nothing except the preservation of existing genetic information. Look again—I quote several of them in my essay, and there’s more material where that came from.

It would seem to me that if your beliefs were so well substantiated by the facts of science, you would be spending less time insisting that creationists aren’t credible because anti-creationist editors reject their submissions out-of-hand...

>>Well since a bacterium has a genome of ~4 million bases and a human has agenome of ~4 billion bases, I would say quantity [of genetic information] has increased. Or is this another FACT that the biased scientific community has lied about?...<<

Yes indeed, there is certainly a big difference between ~4 million and ~4 billion. To say there has been an increase over time, however, one must assume that the organism possessing the ~4 billion-base genome evolved from the organism possessing the ~4 million-base genome. The assumption that this is has happened (that it is a “FACT” as you assert)—and whether it is even a scientifically plausible possibility—is exactly what is at issue here.

To insist that such an assertion or belief is a “FACT” while deliberately ignoring evidence to the contrary (as well as the equivocal nature of the evidence in its favor) could very well be construed as “lying” (as you suggest), though I prefer to give the benefit of the doubt to most believers in evolution, knowing that few of them (e.g., yourself) have been exposed to anything but evolutionist indoctrination.

>>The dating of cyanobacteria fossils to 3.5 billion years ago. The dating of eukayotic fossils to 1.2 billion years ago. The dating of human fossils (depending on which version of human you choose) to ~ 1 million years ago.<<

The “dating” to which you refer is based upon highly imprecise and questionable techniques, which themselves involve unverifiable assumptions [see below].

>>Again you challenge the whole of geology and most of paleobiology without a theory to replace them. The assumptions made are? The suspect methods are? <<

In the first place, I do not “challenge the whole of” geology nor paleobiology. They are scientific disciplines—not theories—and as such cannot be “replaced” with a theory. What I “challenge” is the narrow and equivocal interpretation of the geological and paleobiological data—which is not by any stretch of the imagination subject only to the evolutionist interpretation, and in fact fits better into the creationist model—a matter which you have no business disputing until you have personally studied the creationist model itself.

The assumptions include: 1) the uniformitarian assumption of constant rate of decay, 2) the assumption that no loss or gain of parent or daughter element has taken place, and 3) the assumption that the amount of daughter element originally present is unequivocally knowable and (therefore) known.

The suspect methods (therefore) are ALL radioisotope dating methods (e.g., C-12/C-14, K/Ar, Rb/Sr, Pb/Pb).

>>The fact that bacteria have a smaller genome and that they date to a period long before humans discredits this hypothesis.<<

A hypothesis cannot be said to be effectively discredited by the combination of two assumptions ([1] that evolution is “fact” and [2] that certain dating methods are accurate) together with a one fact (i.e., different genome sizes—of two contemporary organisms at that!).

>>There is NOTHING in creation science to have knowledge of. You propose no theory. You provide no scientifically valid evidence. It seems all you wish to do is discredit Darwin to promote the teaching of a book of fiction.<<

With all due respect, it is a superlative demonstration of both ignorance and arrogance to declare that there is “NOTHING” to know in a body of publications of which one refuses to conduct any semblance of an objective, personal examination. The apparent fact that you haven’t personally given a fair hearing to any of the work of that admitted minority of scientists who do not subscribe to your views is no reasonable platform from which to launch such a dogmatic and indefensible claim.

>>I suppose you care not what your doctor’s credentials are. This is the problem. You embrace his rhetoric without knowledge of his credibility or command of the subject.<<

My question was whether you place credentials above content, and you’ve replied with a smokescreen of accusations. I’ll take that as a “yes.”

>>I have seen disputes about mechanisms for a particular set of data and disputes about time frames but nothing ever contrary to evolution...<<

Yet you remain confident that this notion of evolution is beyond dispute, in spite of the incessant, lingering uncertainties, sweeping readjustments, and outright disputes concerning time frames and mechanisms—the two most critical (and still unstable) base elements of the hypothesis. Your faith is remarkable.

>>So when you point to someone and claim they support your position that evolution is a fallacy and that scientist are kidding themselves, I surely wish to know if this individual has knowledge of this particular area.<<

One doesn’t need exhaustive knowledge of the data in a discipline in order to recognize an assumption or a logical fallacy. No amount of knowledge or training makes anyone immune to critical and logical analysis—not in science or anywhere else.

>>Creationist have a history of proclaiming degrees they do not have.<<

Kindly substantiate this claim by documenting at least one recorded case in point.

>>I am not going to accept any data off the internet unless I can find reference to it in a scientific journal. I am not going to accept the words of a man or woman that hasn’t received training in biology.<<

Well, then we’re finished, aren’t we? You shouldn’t have even read my essay in the first place.

>>A reasonable and objective review of the history of science leads me to the conclusion that science and the “scientific community” have advanced human knowledge and the condition of human daily life immeasurably...<<

I would very much like to know which authors you have read during the course of the “reasonable and objective” review of yours. Of no less interest would be how evolutionist “science” (specifically) has advanced true knowledge and the conditon of human life in any way.

>>...I cannot find one example of your creation science contributing to either.<<

And naturally, according to what appears to be your brand of logic, the only possible conclusion from this premise is that no examples exist?

>>Please provide these “more qualified” citations.<<

I’m not normally willing to do the clerical work of others, but in your case I’ll make this one exception:

G. Bush, “What Do We Really Know About Speciation?” in R. Milkman, Perspectives on Evolution (Sunderland, Massachusetts, Sinauer, 1989), pp. 119-128 [particularly pp. 119, 120].

J. Cracraff, Speciation and its Ontology. “The Empirical Consequences of Alternative Species Concepts for Understanding Patterns and Processes of Differentiation”, in D. Otte and J.A. Endler, Speciation and its Consequences (Sunderland, Massachusetts, Sinauer, 1989), pp. 28-59.

C. Darwin, The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life (New York, Avenel Books, 1970), p. 108.

C. Darwin, The Voyage of the Beagle (New York, Penguin Books, USA, Inc., 1988), p.326, pp. 327-328.

M. Denton, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis (London, England, Burnett Books, 1985), pp. 17-367 [particularly p. 19].

J. A. Endler, “Conceptual and Other Problems in Speciation” in D. Otle and J. A. Endler, Speciation and Its Consequences, (Sunderland, Massachusetts, Sinauer, 1989), pp. 625-648.

H. Goerke, Linnaeus (New York, Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1973), p. 90.

P. Grant and B. Grant, Hybridization of Bird Species, Science 256 (1992): 197

W. Hennig, Phylogenetic Systematics, in T. Duncan and T.F. Stuessy, Cladistic Theory and Methodology (New York, Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, 1985), p. 14.

A.G. Kluge, “Species as Historical Individuals,” Biology and Philosophy 5 (1990): 417-431.

D. Kohn, “Theories to Work By: Rejected Theories, Reproduction, and Darwin’s Path to Natural Selection” in W. Coleman and C. Limoges, Studies in History of Biology (Baltimore, Maryland, The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1980), p. 69.

C. Lyell, Principles of Geology (New York, D. Appleton and Co., 1853 Ninth Ed.), pp. 578-590 [particularly p. 579].

F.L. March, Fundamental Biology (Lincoln, Nebraska, Marsh Publication, 1941), p. 100.

E. Mayr, Animal Species and Evolution (Cambridge, Massachusetts, The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1979), p. 9, p. 120, pp. 428, 488, 513.

E. Mayr, The Growth of Biological Thought (Cambridge, Massachusetts, The Belknap Press, 1982), p. 38.

E. Mayr, “The Nature of the Darwinian Revolution,” Science, 166 (1972): pp. 981-989.

E. Mayr, Systemabcs and the Origin of Species (New York, Columbia University Press, 1944), p. 102.

H. Morris, Ed., Scientific Creationism (El Cajon, California, Master Books, 1984, Eleventh Ed.), pp. 51-54.

G. Nelson, Species and Taxa: Systematics and Evolution in D. Otte and J.A. Endler, Speciation and Its Consequences (Sunderland, Massachusetts, Sinauer, 1989), pp.60, 73, 74.

J. Phillips, Life on the Earth (New York, Arno Press, 1980), pp. 191, 194 [Originally prepared in 1860].

W.J. ReMine, “Discontinuity Systematics: A New Methodology of Biosystematics Relevant to the Creation Model” Ms. presented at The Second International Conference on Creationism, 1990, held at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on July 29-August 4, 1990.

A.R. Templeton, “The Meaning of Species and Speciation A Genetic Perspective”, in D. Otte and J.A. Endler, Speciation and its Consequences (Sunderland, Massachusetts, Sinauer, 1989), p. 25.

J. Weiner, The Beak of the Finch (New York, Alfred A Knopf, Inc., 1994), pp.19, 43-47, 124, 125, 200, 201.

Happy reading!

Kind Regards,
TW
 


Response from Wayne Duck:

>> How very convenient for the perpetuation your cherished bias, and the limited knowledge base upon which it is founded.<<

Yet, you still present no scientific peer-reviewed data to discredit evolution. Accusations that my knowledge base is limited hardly answers the question.

>>I beg you to explain to me what exactly is not coherent about the creation science model...<<

First, you define creationism as: creationism, biblical the recognition that the Creator of the universe brought everything into being and into order from nothing, as indicated in a straightforward reading of the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures (the Bible).

Where is your scientific evidence for this creator? Surely if yours is “creation science” you have some scientific evidence for this creator or his creation of order from nothing. Where is it?

Now to the “straightforward reading of the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures”...

[Wayne Duck at this point launched into a generous list of alleged discrepancies quoted from the Bible, ostensibly oblivious to the fact that he was substituting “biblical creationism” for “scientific creationism” as his target of attack—perhaps unwittingly dodging the author’s request for evidence of incoherency in the creation science model.]

>>...even most honest evolutionists (the objective ones) agree that natural selection accomplishes nothing except the preservation of existing genetic information. Look again—I quote several of them in my essay, and there’s more material where that came from... And I would remind you that most of the authors I have cited are (peer-reviewed) evolutionists(!).<<

Quoting people out of context is hardly scientific evidence.

>>As for “descent with modification,” the mere existence of “peer-reviewed” interpretations of the data for the purpose of supporting this concept does not ipso facto prove or disprove the theory. If the truth is of as little importance to you as it seems to be to those “peers” who will publish only material consistent with their interpretation of choice, then you really have no business judging the objectivity of another.<<

You still have no peer-reviewed scientific evidence - do you? This is your out. You can always claim censorship. I cannot present you with any data that will support my position. You will simply ignore it (as you have done) or claim it is biased.

>>It would seem to me that if your beliefs were so well substantiated by the facts of science, you would be spending less time insisting that creationists aren’t credible because anti-creationist editors reject their submissions out-of-hand...<<

I would like to see evidence of a manuscript sent to a scientific journal wherethe “anti-creationist editor reject[ed] their submissions out-of-hand.” Please send the letter from the editor and a copy of the manuscript. If this were true would not the creationist have this material enshrined somewhere?

Do you have any peer-reviewed, scientific evidence to support your claims. From Science, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, Nature, Journal of Biological Chemistry, Evolution, etc. etc. Is there none? If your claims are so valid, why is there silence?


Response from Timothy Wallace:

>>Yet, you still present no scientific peer-reviewed data to discredit evolution. Accusations that my knowledge base is limited hardly answers the question.<<

You seem to be missing (or avoiding?) my points completely. Again, in the plainest English I can muster: 1) most creationist submissions are rejected out-of-hand by the editors of the evolutionist-dominated peer-reviewed publications, so you cannot expect to find their work there, and 2) if your knowledge base amounts to those very same publications, then it is indeed limited to the evolutionistic bias that pervades those publications.

Furthermore, it must be understood that publication in a peer-reviewed journal is neither a substitute for empirical data nor proof that the author’s point of view is correct or unbiased any more than non-publication in a peer-reviewed journal either negates any cited empirical data or renders the author’s point of view incorrect or biased.

>>First, you define creationism as: creationism, biblical...<<

All your collection of alleged discrepencies of the Bible notwithstanding, I asked you specifically to explain to me what exactly is not coherent about the creation science model, not to hastily transcribe your favorite attacks on the Bible. Attacking the Bible no more qualifies as a fair criticism of creation science than an attack on the humanist manifestos would qualify as fair criticism of evolutionism.

>>Where is your scientific evidence for this creator? Surely if yours is “creation science” you have some scientific evidence for this creator or his creation of order from nothing. Where is it?<<

You are trying to steer a dialogue about creation science and evolutionism towards a debate concerning evidence for or against God—in effect putting the cart before the horse. I am not interested in following wherever your impulses lead. To engage in a debate concerning evidence for God’s existence or your untaught treatment of selected biblical passages, it seems, would serve mainly as a source of entertainment for you and an utter waste of time for me.

(Of course, to emulate your ludicrous rationale, just for fun I could stipulate here that “I am not going to accept any data off the internet unless I can find reference to it in a Christian devotional. I am not going to accept the words of a man or woman that hasn’t received seminary training.” :->)

I am ordinarily happy to discuss the biblical and philosophical questions of a sincerely inquiring mind, but it makes no sense to so broaden the focus of our dialogue without a spirit of mutual objectivity and reasonable analysis. And since your arbitrary and narrow limitations as to what qualifies as “credible” pretty much guarantee anything but a fair hearing, I see no point in continuing at all.

>>Quoting people out of context is hardly scientific evidence.<<

I will gladly retract any of my quotes with apologies upon your demonstration that they have been taken “out of context.” Until and unless you produce such evidence, your accusation is unwarranted.

>>You still have no peer-reviewed scientific evidence - do you? This is your out. You can always claim censorship.<<

I do not need an “out” and I do not claim “censorship.” You, on the other hand, award yourself the right to arbitrarily judge the validity of any man’s work based on your sheltered “peer-reviewed” perspective, using this as an excuse for ignoring that to which you don’t wish to respond. That’s more willful ignorance than censorship.

>>I cannot present you with any data that will support my position. You will simply ignore it (as you have done) or claim it is biased.<<

If you look at my essay again, as well as the feedback (and my responses), you will find that I ignore none of the data that is presented to me. I have made it a point to ignore nothing in the form of empirical data, nor—for that matter—any of the conclusions or questions that are directed at me. Your prediction (that I “will simply ignore” your data) is baseless.

>>Do you have any peer-reviewed, scientific evidence to support your claims...? If your claims are so valid, why is there silence?<<

The fact that I have addressed this question more than once already seems to have escaped your notice. (Are these “college-level” listening skills?) See above, and see Jerry Bergman, Ph.D., “The Criterion,” Richfield, Minnesota, Onesimus, 1984. ISBN 0-932903-01-0.

>>I am quite aware of the recent scientific literature on this topic.I am privy to recent data supporting evolution. I have never seen data in any form disputing evolution that has passed a peer-review.<<

Surely what you mean by “data” is “interpretation of the data.” The literature articles present analysis of the data, and every analysis is based on the author’s presuppositions. That this seems to have escaped your notice is fair evidence of a very strong prejudice on your part.

>>I would like to see evidence of a manuscript sent to a scientific journal wherethe “anti-creationist editor reject[ed] their submissions out-of-hand.” Please send the letter from the editor and a copy of the manuscript.<<

I am not in personal possession of any such manuscript or rejection letter. Do you interpret this to mean that therefore anti-creationist editors do not reject creationists’ submissions out-of-hand? Expecting me to personally produce for you the documentation of another is unreasonable (and if you didn’t know this, you would have provided a mailing address).

[Below are Tim Wallace’s comments to Wayne Duck regarding the contemporary peer-reviewed “documentation” he furnished as “scientific evidence” in defense of evolutionist point of view]

>>Molecular evidence:

>>Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA Vol. 94, pp. 13028-13033, November 1997
>>Determining divergence times with a protein clock: Update and reevaluation
>>Da-Fei Feng, Glen Cho, and Russell F. Doolittle*

>>...The simplest resolution of the problem is to postulate that many of these sequences were carried into eukaryotes by early eubacterial endosymbionts about 2 billion years ago ... these two groups may have diverged between 3 and 4 billion years ago.<<

The article doesn’t say how the authors know these ages, and since they weren’t present “between 3 and 4 billion years ago,” their speculations seem most certainly be based on a biased interpretation.

>>Science. Volume 274, Number 5287 Issue of 25 October 1996, pp. 568 - 573
>>Molecular Evidence for Deep Precambrian Divergences Among Metazoan Phyla
>>Gregory A. Wray, * Jeffrey S. Levinton, Leo H. Shapiro

>>...Seven independent data sets suggest that invertebrates diverged from chordates about a billion years ago...<<

The fact that data may be interpreted to “suggest” divergence based on one bias does not ipso facto make such a divergence a scientific fact, nor disprove another bias—and again, the author gives a date for which he offers no data. More subjective speculation.

>>Fossil Evidence:

>>Schopf, J. W. (1993) Science 260, 640-646. Doolittle says of this
>>reference: “..microfossils have been undisputedly dated to 3.45 billion
>>years ago...”
>>Knoll, A. H. (1992) Science 256, 622-627. Oldest Eukaryotes known.

Well, Doolittle has certainly settled it for all of us now, hasn’t he?

>>Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of
>>America. 91(15):6735-42, 1994 Jul 19.
>>Schopf JW .
>>Disparate rates, differing fates: tempo and mode of evolution changed
>>from the Precambrian to the Phanerozoic. [Review] [74

Morphological similarities between assumed species and taxa is not exactly evidence of evolution. It first must be interpreted through an evolutionist bias and then endorsed exclusively among evolutionist “peers” before it can ever attain to such a contrived status as “evidence.”

>>Science. 257(5067):232-5, 1992 Jul 10.
>>Han TM. Runnegar B .
>>Megascopic eukaryotic algae from the 2.1-billion-year-old negaunee
>>iron-formation, Michigan.

>>...have been found in the 2.1-billion-year-old Negaunee Iron-Formation... This occurrence of Grypania is 700 million to 1000 million years older than fossils from previously known sites ... this discovery places the origin of organelle-bearing eukaryotic cells prior to 2.1 billion years ago.<<

Again, more subjective speculation. Obviously, among evolutionists there is no desire or reason to question these dates, but—skepticism being the “highest of duties”—I have no reason to simply swallow them without unequivocal substantiation (especially considering the frequencies and volumes at which they change).

>>Humans:

>>Molecular evidence:

>>Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA Vol. 94, pp. 4811-4815, April 1997
>>Evolution of the primate lineage leading to modern humans: Phylogenetic
>>and demographic inferences from DNA sequences
>>Naoyuki Takahata and Yoko Satta

>>To date major divergences that occurred in the primate lineage leading to modern humans...<<

Again, the “divergence” is assumed to have taken place, not known, before an attempt to assign a “date” to it. Innumerable similarities in organ, structure, and function do not prove divergent evolution any more or less than they prove creation.

>>A statistical test is carried out to support the assumption...<<

This speaks for itself (“....to support the assumption...”)

>>... silent substitutions have accumulated in a clock-like fashion ... It is shown that the human ancestral lineage became distinct from the NWM 57.5 million years (Myr) ago, the OWM 31 Myr ago, the gorilla 8.0 Myr ago, and the chimpanzee 4.5 Myr ago...<<

What you are providing me with are, I’m sure, very convincing for you, because you are ready to believe these dates and the relevency of these experiments, for in your book, the fact that this material appears in a peer-reviewed journal makes it ipso facto “all true (after all, there it is in back & white).” (Some “skeptic” you turned out to be!)

Are you aware that there is not unanimous agreement among even evolutionists as to the supposed “point of divergence” at which man became distinct—and from which ancestor?

>>Fossil evidence:

>>Latest Homo erectus of Java: Potential Contemporaneity with Homo sapiens
>>in Southeast Asia
>>C. C. Swisher III, W. J. Rink, S. C. Antón, H. P. Schwarcz, G. H.
>>Curtis, A. Suprijo, Widiasmoro

>>Hominid fossils from Ngandong and Sambungmacan, Central Java, are considered the most morphologically advanced representatives of Homo erectus...<<

The term “advanced” reflects the assumption of progressive development, yet the fossil gaps remain ... gaping.

>>...dating of fossil bovid teeth collected from the hominid-bearing levels at these sites gave mean ages of 27 ± 2 to 53.3 ± 4 thousand years ago...<<

Now these dating methods—exactly how do they produce unequivocal data?

>>...the range in ages reflects uncertainties in uranium migration histories. These ages are 20,000 to 400,000 years younger than previous age estimates for these hominids...<<

Errors in judgement involving tens of hundreds of millenia (and more) are abundant in evolutionist speculations. Blind faith seems to be the only source of motivation to persist in adjusting and readjusting the dates and theories (anything but admit there may be something wrong with the foundational hypothesis!).

>>The new ages raise the possibility that H. erectus overlapped in time with anatomically modern humans...<<

This trashes previous models, the conclusions of which the former authors were surely no less confident. And even here, the conclusions remain subject to further speculation and revision, as new data contradict these newest claims. (Watch and see!) The theory is subject to unending modification because the data never agree with it.

Kind Regards,
TW

[Wayne Duck declined to further defend his position, offering no solid empirical basis for his narrowly and dogmatically held belief that the evolutionary model is exclusive in its ability to explain the data. Still unable to demonstrate the objectivity to examine the alternative (creationary) paradigm, Mr. Duck apparently found it more satisfying to publish a critique of Tim Wallace’s “Five Misconceptions” essay, relying—again—more on inaccurate, contrived, and false accusations than with anything involving empirical science.]

 

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From: Raj Ahuja

My commendation to you for a thorough job in refuting the “facts” of evolution that we are constantly being bombarded with. I must admit that until 6 months ago, I too denounced anyone who dared question the absolute validity of our “origin-from-nothingness” theory. Thankfully, I have recently come to the Lord and can honestly say that since then, my studies of evolution/creation, origins, etc have been as they should have been—balanced, fair, and (as much as possible) objective. I think it’s fair to say that my quest for truly valid and unbiased scientific research has actually increased. As a Christian I now want to be able to proclaim boldly that it is not by faith alone that God is real, but because His existence is in accordance with what I see and study. At no point will it ever by my intention to tell someone that I believe JUST because I believe. Unfortunately this is the image that most evolutionists seem to conjure when thinking about Christians (I too thought this way, but my views were largely influenced not by personal experience but rather by what I “heard”).

In reading your views it is apparent that you subscribe to the young-earth point of view. On this point I differ, as I believe that God used some of the very processes of evolution (non-biological, that is) to make for us the entire universe. As I recently saw on a television documentary, physicists have determined that there was a point at the very beginning of creation where our current laws of physics simply could not have existed. While they are diligently working to invent some meaningful “theory of everything” that will explain this problem, I believe that it was God who set it all into motion. I don’t think that God then sat back and watched it all unfold, of course, but rather He intervened at His will according to His plan. I also believe that life was placed on the earth as relayed by Genises, over long periods of time. Eventually, He placed humans on the earth (sort of revealing to us the magnificent “gift” He gave us) to have a relationship with.

My understanding is that in areas of physics, geology, astonomy, etc we can quite accurately date our findings of early fossils (many millions of years), early rocks and formations (several billions of years), and distant galaxies (many more billions of years). Given such “evidences”, I have no problem believing that the God of the Bible allowed great amounts of time to pass before creating us (after all, what is time to God?).

If you choose to respond to the above, I would be eager to learn of your opinion (and support of it). Anyway, keep trucking along that path to truth.

God Bless,
Raj Ahuja


Response from Timothy Wallace:

There are two main reasons why I hold to a young earth position. The first is the Bible, and the second is science:

The Biblical Reason(s)

Any Hebrew scholar will tell us (and many [including non-Christians] have) that the writer of Genesis 1 could have meant only that the “days” of the creation week were days in the context in which we know them (i.e., a 24-hour cycle). A day is so clearly defined for us (the cycle of time between alternating periods of darkness and light; morning and evening) that one must immediately contradict the straightforward meaning of the text in order to impose the presupposition of millions or billions of years onto the creation week as it is decribed for us in Scripture.

Elsewhere, the huge timeframe required for the old-earth scenario continues to contort the plain, straightforward meaning of the Scriptures, placing pain, bloodshed and death (effects of the Curse) BEFORE the alleged “appearance” of Adam on the scene. Our Lord Jesus died a physical death to abolish death—an enemy—and redeem us for lives of obedient service and fellowship with our Creator and Father.

There was a time when I prefered to “ignore” these discrepencies between old-earth “theology” and the key Christian doctrines which they seemed to weaken or practically negate. I have since chosen to believe that, being quite capable of doing exactly what He describes in Genesis 1, this is indeed what He did do. As a consequence, my perspective requires much less “reinterpretation” of Scripture, and my trust in His Word has gained some unexpected blessing in my personal walk with our Creator.

There is much more that could be said about this, and I will be glad to direct you to a few URLs that may help to fill-in the biblical aspect of this issue for you, if you are interested.

The Scientific Reason(s)

It is not uncommon to believe today that “in areas of physics, geology, astonomy, etc we can quite accurately date” geological materials, artifacts, and celestial bodies. However, it is much less commonly known (or publicized) that the methods used to acquire these “accurate” dates are by no means foolproof. Rather, they are ALL based on assumptions which are not known or (for that matter) knowable.

The fact that many of these “dates” are subject to change, depending on newer “discoveries,” and are often contested even by non-Christian colleagues, is a good indication as to just whether these speculations really qualify as “knowledge.” Nevertheless, they are touted by the “scientific community” and the media as fact, and the public at large accepts them as such.

Again, there has been much written concerning this issue as well, and I would be happy to suggest URLs and/or print-media publications to more fully explain the details behind both the biblical and scientific arguments for a young earth.

The bottom line, as I see it, is whether God’s Word is reliable and internally consistent (as it surely ought to be), and whether it is subject to disproof (or at least doubt) by so-called “facts” of science. I remain steadfastly convinced that there is (and will ever be) no true knowledge (i.e. science) that will ever contradict the Scriptures, and there is neither need nor advantage in accomodating the speculations of men by reinterpreting the Bible’s plain doctrines.

I hope this will serve as at least a beginning point for your understanding of my views. If I can be of any help in your study of this topic, please let me know. I have limited time for dialogue, but will do whatever I can to help.

TW
 


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