Yomin Postelnik: Shame on the AP – The Truth About John Freshwater, A Deserving Teacher of the Year

July 6, 2008

A new column by Yomin Postelnik that should be of interest to creationists:

http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/3817

Shame on the AP – The Truth About John Freshwater, A Deserving Teacher of the Year

There’s a fine line between media bias and an all out smear campaign. That line was stormed by the Associated Press in one of their worst displays of cruel and malicious personal attacks. The victim of their warped campaign: One John Freshwater, two time teacher of the year, the last time being in 2007.
John Freshwater is a teacher, who is well liked and admired by his students. How often is it that we even hear of such a thing in most schools today? But that didn’t stop the Associated Press from running one of the most false and incendiary portrayals of an individual ever written.

We all know about media bias and the extent of it. What most readers don’t expect of the media is all out character assassination. But the Associated Press lowered the bar yet again, and defamation is now considered to be on equal footing with news reporting.

It is no secret that the average journalist is far to the left of even some of our most liberal politicians. As true radicals, they and their editors engage in tactics that all honest people would consider shameful. And in the eyes of these radicals John Freshwater had committed the ultimate “sin.” He told his class that there are two theories to the coming about of the universe, and encouraged them to study up on both and to think for themselves.

The AP didn’t go into the merits of either side of the creation vs. evolution debate. That would have forced them to highlight that creationists do have a scientific case, a stronger one than most people know. The AP didn’t even write one of their usual one sided pieces, with their standard uncalled for insertion of opinion into news articles. As Freshwater had committed the ultimate sin, he was set up for the ultimate in treatment; false insinuations and malicious character attacks. But in his case, the extent the AP went to was heinous beyond belief.

While the title of the Columbus Dispatch, the closest daily to Freshwater’s school, simply read “Teacher Disses Evolution” (itself a stretch), the AP saw more fit to run the insidious headline, “Report: Ohio teacher burned cross on kids’ arms”.

What really happened is that a few parents, a very small minority, complained that Freshwater had exposed their children to creationism. And while no students complained, as they never saw a reason to oppose being presented all sides of an issue, the few parental complaints resulted in an investigation, one in which Freshwater’s merits as a teacher were generally upheld.

However, the report did (as all reports do), list the individual complaints specifically. And one parent, out of an entire class of students, had complained that her child and others had been “branded with cross by Freshwater.”

What really happened is that Freshwater demonstrated to a number of students how a high frequency generator worked. What he did was normal for a science class, and the fact that no students and no other parents complained, although Freshwater had demonstrated the device on several students, should make that point clear.

The only complainant was a couple who strongly disagreed with Freshwater’s encouragement of free thought. There also seems to have been a monetary factor, as they decided to sue the school district and Freshwater personally.

The litigating couple knows full well that all students who participated in the generator demonstration did so willingly. They also know that no other parents sought to complain.

If they had been around when I was in 7th grade and one of my science teachers had us test our blood to see if we were As, Bs, or Os, we would have been forced to endure investigations into whether our teacher was a vampire, provided that she had also mentioned something to the class that didn’t meet with this couple’s approval.

But while their actions seem solely designed to smear a respectable teacher whose views they disagree with (and if they can punish him a little bit more with a lawsuit, and maybe even come out ahead if the school district settles, then so be it), they are, at the end of the day, the lone acts of one misguided couple. One would expect better of the Associated Press.

The report does document this lone couple’s complaint. All complaints ever launched against Freshwater are documented, as that was the purpose of the report in the first place. But to remove all context from the story is incendiary, as is titling it “teacher burned cross on kids’ arms” instead of the more appropriate “Lone Couple Accuses Two Time Teacher Of The Year of Burning Cross Into Students Arms,” (assuming the AP would again start capitalizing headlines).

Even the latter title should be followed with the byline, “Launch Lawsuit That No Other Parents Join In,” as is the norm when reporting on any wild accusations against an individual while the accusers remain nameless. This is especially true when no one else in the class had a problem and even the alleging couple waited for months to act, which would hardly have been the case if a teacher were actually “branding students with crosses.”

A mother who tenderly gives birth to her child can technically, if not accurately, be described as “forcibly shoving her child out, on its birthday!” Indeed, for this reason Freshwater should be glad he’s not a woman, as the AP would have most likely added this description to his list of other fictional atrocities, because as shameful as all of the above is, the AP didn’t stop there.

The journalist covering the story went after Freshwater with added zeal. It wasn’t enough to tarnish him with an inflammatory headline. No mercy would be given to those who encourage free thought in the classroom, in a supposed institution of learning.

The AP reporter, or reporters, went about interviewing Freshwater’s colleagues and supervisors. And the more they did, the greater their disappointment. Everyone seemed to believe that he was an excellent teacher.

But since when should a few small facts get in the way of the agenda driven AP? Instead of reporting these positive endorsements, they pressed their subjects harder. After all, if you press long enough, you can twist the words of almost anyone, or otherwise get them to give the type of quote you want. And this is what the AP did.
When one colleague said that Freshwater is one of the best teachers they know, the AP reporter asked “What about the cross burning?” Of course, the teacher, caught off guard and without experience dealing with goons, replied “aside from the cross burning.” And so the AP got their quote “with the exception of the cross burning…… he’s teaching the values of the parents… in the school district,” painting all of his supporters as loons, when the truth is the exact opposite, that sanity decries the gross injustice done to him.

But don’t worry. The AP didn’t stop there. They are the AP after all, and they must live up to their agenda. And so they went about digging for dirt among past supervisors.

Once again, the responses they received were anything but what they wished for. The man was genuinely liked. So they asked questions like “has there ever been a complaint against Freshwater before?” (One would be hard pressed to find a public school teacher that hasn’t been the subject of parental complaints, even a twice awarded teacher of the year like Jeff Freshwater, especially given the “my child can do no wrong” attitude of some parents today.) To this, they received the answer they wanted.

The AP reporter pressed on, asking how long and frequent the complaints had been. When given the answer that they were few and far between, the AP reporter would ask when the first one happened. Had the first complaint been in the early years, when Freshwater was first hired? Had there been any complaints since? With these questions, the response to which would be “yes” if asked about 90% of long term teachers, the reporter could write that a former supervisor had “dealt with complaints” about the teacher over an extended period of time. That’s the AP’s way of saying 3 complaints in 11 years when the subject of these complaints is not to their liking.

The blatant character assassination engaged in by the Associated Press should be patently obvious to all readers. Had the teacher indeed “branded students with crosses” it should be as clear as day that no one would have waited for such behavior to turn up in an independent report, nor would this have been ignored by all students and by all parents except for one. But the AP couldn’t just run a story on a teacher in trouble for presenting creationism and for keeping a Bible in class. Not when they could smear him personally, portraying a twice awarded Teacher of the Year as one would portray an axe murderer.

The Associated Press could have simply reported that Freshwater taught that creationism has legitimacy. They could have also mentioned that he kept a Bible in class (which he did not even read from aloud or otherwise share with students). Many would have criticized him for that alone, without maliciously attacking his character. I would have personally sided with him, as creationists generally win scientific debates against evolutionists and the intent of the Founding Fathers was never to ban a teacher from keeping a Bible in a classroom, as is clear to any objective reader of US or constitutional history. However, the story would have been accurate, not an act of character slaughter.

Is this what we can expect from militant leftist journalists and editors? Well, from my own experience, the most virulent, radical and dangerous groups that I’ve come across have been militant atheists. After my recent column on the existence of the Divine, I experienced google stalking, harassing phone calls and was targeted with computer viruses and the like. When they could not successfully attack the substance of the column, or get Canada Free Press to stop running it after launching one of their typical campaigns to stifle free speech, they took to falsely attacking my character. In the end it was all small potatoes and nonsense, but it showed me just how militant some atheists can be. The results for Freshwater have been far worse.

John Freshwater is an exceptional teacher. Just last year he was recognized as the very best in his profession for the second time. This teacher will probably lose his job, not because of the outlandish, shameful and disgraceful coverage of the AP, but because of creationism, which schools have reflexively dismissed without even looking into (in part because of the tactics of militant atheists to stifle free speech and to smear any creationist), and because he kept a personal Bible in class.

I don’t know John Freshwater. But I can’t help but be touched by his story, his exceptional teaching record and the obviously baseless smears launched against him.

This is disgraceful. But the fact is that I doubt that a teacher on a fixed salary, who now faces losing his job and is the subject of a frivolous lawsuit launched by a couple that took issue with his teaching and therefore sought to smear and malign him in the most ridiculous of ways, is sitting very comfortably. I would therefore urge readers to help this man out with a donation to his legal defense fund. A collection is being raised by the Community Council for Free Expression . I will be sending a check with a copy of the this column and I would urge you to send your own donations to help this man during his trying times. I would also urge readers to write the AP and to demand a retraction and full apology for their baseless and shameful distortions of a twice awarded teacher of the year.

South Florida Columnist Yomin Postelnik Attacked by Atheist Group

June 13, 2008

A South Florida columnist who recently wrote a column “Logical Proof of the Existence of a Divine Creator, Why Atheism is Not Logically Sound,” has received over 200 emails from militant atheists and has found himself the target of numerous forum posts and harassing phone calls.  Ask if he’d do it again, Yomin Postelnik says, “it’s a shame that people react in the way they do but, yes.”

Aside from receiving phone calls at home and at work, Postelnik says he’s also found himself accused of everything under the sun “by people (he’s) never met.”  He says that while he can understand disagreements based on philosophy or beliefs, he found the level of animosity and accusations to be well past anything he’s ever experienced.

Postelnik is no stranger to the political arena, writing several columns and hosting a political blog for years.  At one point he also published a small political newspaper.  But he finds the latest accusations by hundreds of atheists, stemming from the column, to be beyond what he’s ever experienced before.

While initially dismissive of the matter, the number of calls and threats soon became out of hand.  He has said that he’d simply like to remind people,  “Thomas Jefferson said he never thought that matters of religion or political philosophy were important in human relations.  I would challenge those who’ve called, emailed and otherwise sent out some of the most crazed accusations on internet boards to act in that spirit.”

Bipartisanship and coming together have been strong themes in America’s national discussion.  We may yet see the day when such ideals are sacredly held, even when discussing highly charged matters of faith.

The Scientific Case for Creation

June 12, 2008

by Dr. Phil Fernandes
A chapter from his doctoral dissertation

Today, many people believe that evolution is a biological fact. However, this is not the case. Science, by definition, deals with probabilities, not certainties. The next two chapters will explore the creation-evolution debate. This chapter will draw heavily upon the information found in the book Origin Science by Norman L. Geisler and J. Kirby Anderson.1

Read more at http://www.biblicaldefense.org/Writings/scientific_case_for_creation.htm

Five Major Evolutionist Misconceptions about Evolution

June 12, 2008

A major reason why evolutionist arguments can sound so persuasive is because they often combine assertive dogma with intimidating, dismissive ridicule towards anyone who dares to disagree with them.  Evolutionists wrongly believe that their views are validated by persuasive presentations invoking scientific terminology and allusions to a presumed monopoly of scientific knowledge and understanding on their part.  But they haven’t come close to demonstrating evolutionism to be more than an ever-changing theory with a highly questionable and unscientific basis.  (The situation isn’t helped by poor science education generally.  Even advanced college biology students often understand little more than the dogma of evolutionary theory, and few have the time [or the guts] to question its scientific validity.)

Read more at http://www.trueorigin.org/isakrbtl.asp

 

Helium Evidence for A Young World Remains Crystal-Clear

June 12, 2008

D. Russell Humphreys, Ph.D

 

Recently an anti-creationist geochemist, a part-time instructor at the University of Kentucky named Kevin Henke[1], posted on the Internet a 25,000-word rejection[2] of scientific evidence that the world is only about 6,000 years old, the helium-leak age of zircons (radioactive crystals) from deep underground.  In politics, his procedure would be called “mud-slinging,” which in this case tries to bury truth under a mountain of minutiae.  I normally don’t reply to Internet posts from skeptics because I want them to try to publish their criticisms in peer-reviewed scientific journals, the proper place to carry out scientific debates

Read More at

http://www.trueorigin.org/helium01.asp

Yomin Postelnik – Clear Cut Logic

June 11, 2008

This man’s articles use clear cut logic that gets atheists in a tizzy. They’ve devoted numerous blog posts to trashing his columns, but are never able to touch upon the central issue. Here’s the latest one that’s got them all upset.

http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/3426

Religion and Science

Logical Proof of the Existence of a Divine Creator, Why Atheism is Not Logically Sound

By Yomin Postelnik Monday, June 9, 2008
One of the beautiful aspects of self evident truths is that they can be proven on both the simplest and the most complex of levels. By contrast, to make an argument for what is in fact an illogical fallacy, one must use plenty of skill, sophistry and remain beholden to a dogmatic protection of what is really an illogical position.

Yet even after a detailed case is made for the illogical side of the argument, it can instantly be deflated like a balloon with the simplest poke of clear logic. It can also be attacked piece by piece with even greater skill and logic, stemming from a steadfast pursuit of the truth.

Read more at the above link.

Yomin Postelnik – Debate With Atheists

June 11, 2008

Postelnik was kind enough to give us a transcript of this debate. Here it is in full. We have yet to secure permission to publish the names of his fellow debaters. We ask them to send us an email and we’ll add their names.

TEXT OF DEBATE

Yomin,

Thanks for the link to Gateway Pundit. And thanks for clarifying your debate offer.

So, let’s talk about an “intelligent creator.” I’ll abbreviate it “IC” to make typing easier. Do you base your belief in an IC on the complexity of life?

I accept the evolutionist explanation for biological diversity, i.e., speciation, however, evolution has nothing to say about the origin of life on this planet. So I need to know whether you are limiting the discussion to the origin of all life on earth, or whether you wish to include the diversity of species which we observe in our discussion.

I accept the evolutionist explanation for several reasons. One is the fossil record. Two is the distribution of genes in animal DNA. (BTW, did you see the recent articles about the sequencing of the platypus genome? It looks to me like the platypus is a living “transitional” species.)

pb

Comment by Paul B*** — May 28, 2008 @ 10:27 am

Great!

Paul,

We can talk about evolution as well. But the main point is the existence of an intelligent Creator. Specification is just one aspect, but it’s a leading one. If we say that order formed out of a primordial pool, without intelligent guidance, we’re saying that randomness begot intricate specificity, to the tune of billions upon billions of species, the existence of many being are interdependent. The difference between sudden random creation and evolved devolpment, in essence, would be whether a full set of Encyclopedia Britannicas was formed suddenly with the accidental spill of one massive ink blot or whether spilled ink first started out as dots, then gradually formed as letters and then words, paragraphs, etc. all without intelligent guidance. The latter possibility is even more illogical than the first. And it would be far, far easier for such an encyclopedia set to come about than a universe in which numerous stars and planets must be aligned enough so as not to collide, in which species need food, water, air, sunshine and other elements to survive and just happen to have all of them (if life adapts to the conditions that are prevalent it would have never been able to get off the ground, and many in cold parts could survive on merely snow, etc. – more on that later if you want), and in which each species has the exact organs and cavities that are necessary for life, with even one missing, added or in the wrong place making life unsustainable.

Also, please realize that it may take 24 hrs, sometimes 48 between responses. Those are the constraints of a kid and business, and are worth it.

By the way, the platypus genome is similar similar to other so-called “transitional” fossil, the Archaeopteryx. That one had fully developed feathers and nothing transitional in nature. A transitional fossil would have half scales and half feathers, etc. What we have instead is a species that’s not uniquely mammal or amphibian, but it’s not transitional.

By the way, feel free to email me for the global warming links. The 1998 study got a lot of coverage on the BBC in 2006 and wasn’t mentioned again in the media for another year, but there are many links to it. That’s just the tip of the iceberg (lousy pun intended).

Comment by Yomin Postelnik — May 28, 2008 @ 11:12 am

Yomin,

I think your idea of an IC is based on reasoning (correct me if I’m wrong): life is so fantastically complex, an IC is the only thing we know of that could have caused it. That’s a reason, but I don’t accept it as fact.

I do not think that life was caused by an intelligent creator. I have seen no evidence to support that idea so I have no good reason to believe it. I haven’t seen good evidence for other explanations either. I think the origin of life is a mystery, which may be solved in the future. In the meantime, I am content to let it remain a mystery.

You’ve probably heard this before but I’ll repeat it anyway. If life on earth was created by some being, what caused the creator? If that is a mystery, then a creator being is unnecessary. You are just moving the mystery “back” one level. If you think the creator always existed, I have to ask: how do you come by this knowledge? As far as I can tell, there is no way to know the nature of such a creator.

pb

Comment by Paul B*** — May 28, 2008 @ 12:04 pm

Hi Paul,

I agree with you that the Creator can’t be physical and to my knowledge no religion believes in a physical Creator, rather, one that is higher than physicality. All I’m saying is that physicality itself points to the fact that there is an Intelligent Creator, above the physical realm. What that Creator is remains a partial mystery, in as much as we only understand the physical and have an idea of the spiritual and the Creator needs to be higher than both (as physicality cannot emanate from spirituality – more on that later). But one thing is clear. The only way that an orderly universe with some many complex creatures, inter-reliant on each other, can exist is through the act of a conscious Creator. A plane can’t build itself, and if it did so piece by piece that would be even more fantastic, much less a whole universe. To look for the answers as to more about this Creator, we need to analyze which texts have a logical source and tradition, and make sense. That’s a different subject, but one we should discuss. But that can only be looked at after analyzing the Universe and recognizing that such a vast physicality mandates a conscious Creator.

Comment by Yomin Postelnik — May 28, 2008 @ 5:33 pm

Hi Yomin,

I think that it’s a bit premature to talk about the whole universe. The only life we have knowledge about is based on earth, so I will address that.

Yes, life is unimaginably complex. However, I think that scientists, such as biologists and paleontologists, have provided us with reasonable answers to the complexity of life on earth with the the law of evolution. That law also provides good reasons for the facts that lifeforms on earth are highly adapted to their environments and are interdependent with each other. Because those reasons are based on verifiable evidence, I prefer them to those based on an Intelligent Creator.

As to how life originated on earth, it’s possible that it’s the result of intelligent creation, but IC does not exhaust the possibilities. So, I need a good reason to prefer the IC solution to any of the others. If I said that life came about accidentally, by a fortuitous combination of natural events, you would rightly want me to give you a reason that made sense to you.

Furthermore, if the complexity of life requires an explanation for its origin, I think that an IC would also require an explanation for its origin. The IC you refer to must be complex because you said that it transcends both the physical AND the spiritual.

Paul

Comment by Paul B*** — May 28, 2008 @ 10:29 pm

Hi Paul,

I agree that we have to look from the bottom up, so to speak. We live and understand this physical world and know much of the physical universe. But by looking at the numerous interactions needed to form physical existence as we know it, we can come to certain logical conclusions.

Evolution is a poor answer to creation. Even if we were to take it for granted as fact, it would only further show proof of a creator as orderly progress, down to the most minute detail, would need to be intelligently orchestrated. Going back to the analogy of an Encyclopedia Britannica being formed from an ink blot, if it commenced formation as a dot and then expanded in perfect order to form a complete set of thoughts, that would be greater proof of its intelligent design than even a sudden formation of the entire set. And that’s only an encyclopedia, a collection of thoughts. Actual creation is far more complex, down to the last being. The life of one small mammal takes more simultaneous reactions and interdependent happenings than it takes to form an entire bookshelf of words. Looking at this physicality necessitates an intelligent Creator.

So in short, by considering just physical existence, no matter how it was formed, we see a need for a conscious Creator, just as a set of encyclopedias doesn’t write itself, even in steps.

But evolution’s not a fact. It’s a theory. And it’s one that mandates that life started from non-life, which is unattainable. The lack of transitional fossils also needs to be looked at, but even the scarcity of fossils that are considered evolutionary (though admittedly non-transitional as they aren’t a combination/transition between two species) points to a huge problem. There’s an overabundance of fossils of species known to us, dating throughout all timelines. By contrast, those cited as possible evolutionary fossils are scarce, decayed and inconclusive. If evolution showed the development of numerous species such fossils would be plentiful and many would be conclusive. The problem gets worse when examining hominids, as of the 12 known types, 9 have only monkey/ape characteristics and 3 have solely human ones. None contain features known to be uniquely human as well as uniquely ape in conjunction, as would be the case were evolution to play a role.

Regarding knowledge of the Creator, as we do live on this physical plane, we can only know a certain amount, perceiving a little bit about the Creator through the Creator’s own acts. Even our understanding of spirituality is limited to how it connects with physical beings. Knowledge of purely spiritual existence is beyond us. We only see that it exists because it’s the animating force of physicality. That’s with regard to spirituality. The Creator is necessarily above being spiritual, as spirituality cannot create physicality. Therefore we’re talking about a being that’s higher than both, and that creates both physicality and spirituality and is able to combine the two. Obviously, such a being is out of the realm of understanding. However, there are ways we can understand something about its essence, that being through its acts. As the intelligent and purposeful creator of life (as existence demands an intelligent designer), we see its immense kindness. Through the way the world works, we see measured severity, needed for continuous harmonious existence and delving further we can see other attributes as well. This allows us, after much contemplation, to understand something about the nature of the Creator. But the fact that there is a Creator seems pretty open and shut from the immensity of physical existence as well as by considering the completeness of the entire creation, down to the smallest detail needed for life to exist.

Comment by Yomin Postelnik — May 29, 2008 @ 8:41 am

Yomin,

But evolution’s not a fact. It’s a theory.

In the scientific community evolution has the same status as the theory of gravity. There is no controversy. It’s a law.

it’s one that mandates that life started from non-life

The law of evolution says nothing about life starting from non-life.

The lack of transitional fossils . . . a combination/transition between two species

Consider the following physical features of the platypus.

Bird-like: duck bill, webbed feet, egg laying, toothless, one orifice for excretion / sex / egg laying.

Reptile-like: leathery eggshells, venom, multiple sex chromosomes, testes kept internally.

Mammal-like: milk producing (but no nipples), fur, beaver tail, 4-chambered heart, mammalian jaw hinge, middle-ear bones separated from lower jaw, digs ground burrows and has sensitive hearing although it spends most of its time in the water where these features are nearly useless.

This improbable combination of physical characteristics is now joined by an equally improbable combination of genes. The newly sequenced platypus genome includes some genes which are found only in birds, some found only in reptiles, and some found only in mammals.

The platypus is a living transitional form.

But the fact that there is a Creator seems pretty open and shut from the immensity of physical existence as well as by considering the completeness of the entire creation, down to the smallest detail needed for life to exist.

If life’s DNA code were designed intelligently, it would be different than it is. It is easy to see ways to improve it.

Consider:

There are 64 possible 3-letter words using the 4-letter alphabet of the DNA genetic code. Each word represents an amino acid from which proteins are constructed within the body. Because the proteins of life are made from only 20 amino acids, only 22 words are needed (taking into account one word for “start” and another for “stop.”

In fact, DNA uses all 64 combinations, including 43 for synonyms. This 64-word vocabulary of DNA appears to be haphazard rather than orderly. For example, some amino acids have four or six synonyms whereas others have none or one. Moreover, the word ATG, depending on context, represents either the amino acid methionine, or “start,” and there are no synonyms for either one.

It would be better if methionine and start each had its own word, rather than relying on context for meaning. There are many redundant words that could have been used for that purpose. The reality is what you would expect from a code that evolved by trial and error over millions of years.

It’s hard to believe that a creator capable of making a universe would also create a hodge-podge such as our DNA code. It is much less problematical to think that it was not designed at all.

Paul

Comment by Paul B*** — May 29, 2008 @ 10:07 am

Hi Paul,

I’ll write more later, but briefly – the complexity of the DNA code also attributes also helps different humans respond differently to certain diets, acclamations, etc. It seems purposeful. In any case, it doesn’t negate the need for an active Creator to have formed something so massive and interdependent. It’s a question as to why it was done in a certain way, but something so complex doesn’t come into existence by itself.

Comment by Yomin Postelnik — May 29, 2008 @ 3:52 pm

Paul,

There are many prominent creationist scientists. Granted, they don’t get much media attention (what else is new), but their findings are challenging and profound.

Evolution does necessitate that life started from non-life, as the first step is lower than algae and more advanced swap life, which according to the evolutionist originated from a mix of chemicals, forming molecules etc. At its root, the first step is non-life and its supposed transition to life poses a greater problem than the missing link.

The platypus has features of different species types, but none are transitional (i.e. half formed feathers, half formed scales). Furthermore, they’ve been around exactly as they are, without transitioning, as long as any other species. Why they were designed in such a way is another question, but they’re no different than the multitudes of species. The same question can be asked of any interesting species, although few are as diverse as the platypus. We don’t see the platypus as a link in any evolutionary chain, just as a unique creature. The fact that all these characteristics are fully developed makes it even less likely to be part of an evolutionary chain and seems to point to it being a unique species in and of itself.

I was running into a meeting in my last post and didn’t read it properly, thinking you were talking of the possible unnecessary complexity of human dna.

Comment by Yomin Postelnik — May 29, 2008 @ 6:29 pm

Yomin,

the complexity of the DNA code also attributes also helps different humans respond differently to certain diets, acclamations, etc. It seems purposeful. In any case, it doesn’t negate the need for an active Creator to have formed something so massive and interdependent. It’s a question as to why it was done in a certain way, but something so complex doesn’t come into existence by itself.

You look at the complexity of life and the universe and think that implies a creator. My point is this: When I look at some of the parts of this supposed creation, I see sloppiness that could have been avoided. To me, that argues against a creator.

It seems to me that a creator with the power to create an entire universe such as the one we observe, and the extremely complex life on earth, which we also observe, would have been able to create things in a way that would be more efficient, orderly, uniform, and especially, conducive to the health and welfare of the life forms.

But what I observe is sloppiness, haphazardness, and inefficiency — functional but with many problems that could have been avoided.

I am only a human, and not a biologist or other specialist. Yet I can see many ways that human bodies could have been improved, body parts that are less optimal than the same parts in other animals.

For example:

1) In the human eye, the optic nerve goes through the retina, creating a blind spot. The eyes of octopuses are wired the “right” way, so that they have no blind spot.

2) Humans can choke on their food while eating. Chimpanzees (with whom we share 98% of our genome) have a better shaped throat, such that they cannot choke while eating.

3) Certain Africans have a mutation which confers immunity to malaria. However, this beneficial effect is offset by its also making the person susceptible to sickle cell anemia.

There are many such examples, as well as the suboptimal business of the DNA code that I mentioned previously.

So, when I consider these things, I say that a being powerful enough to create the universe easily could have avoided these problems when creating human beings. Especially since better “designs” are to be found in other animals.

To scientists and non-theists, like me, our observations of life are entirely consistent with the law of evolution. On the other hand, those observations seem inconsistent with the work of an all-powerful creator as described by the people who believe in such a being.

In light of the above, I conclude that life evolved and was not created by a supernatural being. I think that is a reasonable conclusion to make.

Comment by Paul B*** — May 29, 2008 @ 6:29 pm

Btw The platypus doesn’t have any transitionary features (half, half). Its webbed feet aren’t unique among mammals. In many ways, it’s perfectly fit to its environment. It seems to be much more of a unique type of species than a mistake, especially given the fact that it uses each of its unique abilities to survive in an uncommon terrain.

Comment by Yomin Postelnik — May 29, 2008 @ 6:54 pm

“There are many prominent creationist scientists.”

Do they really do science?

Where are the predictions they have made, the experiments they have run?

What have they published in peer-reviewed science journals?

Comment by Paul B*** — May 29, 2008 @ 7:02 pm

Paul,

They present logically sound solutions. Their books are very indepth. You need to examine all sides. The so-called “global warming consensus” is challenged by hundreds of prominent climatologists, especially those studying primarily historic (as opposed to modern) patterns. Likewise with creationist science. It is compelling and is without the political attacks that are the hallmark of most evolutionary responses (though not yours, and I give you credit for that).

Comment by Yomin Postelnik — May 29, 2008 @ 7:28 pm

Yomin,

The platypus has features of different species types, but none are transitional (i.e. half formed feathers, half formed scales.

How did you decide what kinds of features a transitional species should have?

Paul

Comment by Paul B*** — May 29, 2008 @ 10:33 pm

Paul,

Good morning. A transitional form is something that shows transition, i.e. scales developing into skin or feathers. As such, the scales would be partial and the feathers partial. Neither would be fully formed as the scales would be turning into skin or feathers. The platypus has nothing transitional, i.e. changing from reptilian to mammal. It has characteristics of both, which works very well in its fairly unique environment, but a)it has nothing transitional along the lines described above (which would be needed to show change and gradual development; evolution) and b) it’s the same as fossils of other platypus. No change is evident over time (and, because of reason a, it doesn’t fit into any “evolutionary” form or chain).

Comment by Yomin Postelnik — May 30, 2008 @ 8:06 am

To Yomin

A transitional form? Sure look at your hands. They are part way between Homo Erectus and whatever species replaces us. See? Humans are a transitional form- every species is. Except the species that is the last on its branch before it goes it extinct.

As for your actual article… lets see-

-The reason they focus on Republican scandals is there are more of them. There have been 12 compared to 1 with a Dem.

-Dems aren’t liberals.

-Talking points? Like what? The media openly supported Bush for Iraq- I didn’t see them helping out the dems or issuing their talking points.

-You make a long rant, but give no examples- or even evidence.

- The religious right is conservatives who are evangelicals. We CAN do blanket statements about them because the term covers people with a specific ideology.

-Bin Laden isn’t the president… nor did he steal an election. Unlike you I happen to want to see Laden hang. I hate bush for failing to give us that opportunity.

-Analyze scientific data? We do that all the time.

-Conservativism has faults.

-It is called self justification, not bigotry. Take psych 101.

-A bigot is a person who stereotypes a whole group of people falsely. Please use a dictionary.

-Could it possibly be the reason they do this is… they are right? Conservatives do bad things, and some of the things liberals do are justified?

-Judging people by ideology is perfectly acceptable. It is similar to judging by action.

-Actaully the reason liberals do that is half a century of education at conservative hands. ID and the wedge document anyone? Liberals think conservatives are a cabal of plotting nuts because REPEATEDLY they have been shown to do that. Karl Rove anyone?

-Strawman liberal. I don’t fight against old- I fight against wrong.

-The Greeks weren’t hedonists.

-Gay rights? Class issues? Democracy? These aren’t issues of societal change.

-If that is true why do all the racists wind up in the GOP?

-No, liberalism exposes a “it is the responsibility of the strong to aid the weak” philosophy

-He is on to us! We supported the abolition of the slave trade because we KNEW it would lead to the right of blacks and white to marry each other! Kidding aside you still haven’t provided and actual example.

-Who cares what he thinks? He is a facist/commie… hmm. There ARE people we don’t give a damn about what they think… because their beliefs are insane. And before you ask “what Nazi”, the guy at Atheism Analyzed is close. “The atho-pagan conspiracy is working to destroy traditional values!” Or maybe Vox Day’s “Killing when God tells you to is mandatory”.

Don’t take it personally. I hope you can see your error if I show you how, exactly you are wrong. Why do you refuse to accept facts and logic though? It is frustrating to have to deal with a bigot such as yourself.

Honestly the list at the end IS that offensive. Why? Because it assumes your opponents DON’T use facts and logic. In short it assumes your opponents are nuts.

I don’t assume such things- I can see it clearly from your article.

Comment by Samuel **** — May 30, 2008 @ 4:37 pm

I do agree with the poster above who speaks about promoting discussion.

Sam,

Like I said earlier in the thread, though I wish I could, I don’t have time to debate all issues. I do deal with some of those issues in other articles. I think media bias has been the other way around, but don’t expect them to question too much before it becomes a talking point. Unfortunately for both sides, they’re followers, not leaders.

Re transitional forms – We’re talking about the unavailability of half/halfs, true transitional forms that document transitions. Hands would only be transitional if you take for granted, as a leap of faith, so to speak, that they evolved from the palms of apes. There are no transitional skeletons/fossils that show half human hand, half ape palm, not even the inconclusive hominids usually cited. It’s this that we’re talking about with regard to transitional forms, actual documented transition (which is unavailable).

Paul,

Have a good weekend if I can’t get online before Mon.

Comment by Yomin Postelnik — May 30, 2008 @ 5:02 pm

You don’t get what I’m saying- ALL living things are transitional forms. Saying something is a transitional form and another isn’t is presuming evolution has a goal.

It doesn’t.

What you are talking about is simply links between species people haven’t found yet. However, this has NOTHING to do with the truth value of evolution. Why? Because we haven’t excavated the entire planet AND fossils are rare.

Heck, if punctuated equilibrium is accurate we WON’T find transitional forms. (PE is stasis and bursts of rapid change)

Comment by Samuel **** — May 30, 2008 @ 9:04 pm

Samuel,

What I’m saying is that if you want to make a valid case for evolution, you need to find some forms that document it. These are what’s referred to as transitional forms. They’d show real gradual transition from amphibian to mammal or something of that nature. This is the premise that evolution is based on and such fossils have yet to be found (a platypus has fully formed reptile features and fully formed mammal ones, nothing that shows gradual transition).

More compelling: There’s an overabundance of fossils of multiple forms of species that exist today. A real overabundance. But out of all of these found, we have yet to find any with truly transitional forms (not fully developed mammal parts nor fully reptilian, etc.).

In essence, you’re asking me to accept evolution as a leap of faith, in spite of serious questions about its premise and key parts to the theory behind it. I’m just asking for a sound basis for such faith.

Comment by Yomin Postelnik — May 31, 2008 @ 11:35 pm

Why? Although fossils are evidence for evolution, they aren’t required.

Since we can see evolution occuring now we know it happens. Fossils are simply confirmations it occured in the past.

I’m not asking for faith. I don’t know any “serious questions” against it- most turn out to be a lack of knowledge about what evolution is.

By truely transitional you are making an error.

Trait A reptile

Trait B mammal.

Why not trait AB- reptile/mammal? Maybe because the species went from trait A to trait B.

You are assuming there must be an intermediate form for certain traits. That is simply not true the majority of the time. Not to mention the overwhelming majority of stuff doesn’t fossilive (skin anyone?).

I’d go on, but hopefully you will get the idea.

Comment by Samuel **** — June 1, 2008 @ 6:26 pm

Samuel,

I understand that you believe that evolution can be proven from A becoming B without an intermediary. My point is that:

a) That is a huge leap of faith – you’re assuming that a became b without any proof of transition.

b) Evolution is based on the premise of gradual transition. The absence of such fossils goes against this theory.

c) Charles Darwin agreed with as much and said that such transitional fossils would appear over time. Given the enormity of fossils excavated in the last hundred years, none of which show true transition (which is again, documented transition, i.e. half/half or gradual), it’s quite possible that Darwin would now reject or amend his own theory as he recognized the need for transitional forms to prove it, the existence of which is strongly questioned by the enormity of other fossils and the absence of truly transitional. The absence of such fossils actually makes a strong against evolution.

This is what the famous “missing link” that’s always alluded to is about, just on a more complex level of discussion

Comment by Yomin Postelnik — June 2, 2008 @ 3:20 pm

Paul B*** says:

Yomin,

I think we better understand each other’s views now but we are not making progress to finding common ground for productive discussion. As with so many other discussions of this type, I think the basic obstacle is evidence. You don’t accept mine and I don’t accept yours. Too bad. I gave it my best shot and now I want to conclude this discussion. Good luck to you.

Paul

June 3, 2008 at 9:53 pm

Samuel **** says:

No- I’m saying that evolution goes from form a to form b to form c and… whops- died out. How about this line? Them too… damn- what are the odds?

Evolution is not based on gradual transition. It can go in leaps- in fact it has to. DNA does work in degrees you know- well, not all the commands.

Transitional fossils have been found repeatedly. Read an anthropolgy text book.

The problem you have is you see a range of fossils. Than you put one half on one side and the other on the other side.

Then you ask where the middle is. It is a bit like upon being told the average height for several people, asking why none of them are that height.

Or, to put it simpler, all your arguments are based off of ignorance. You need to actually prove your case. Attacking alternatives doesn’t work (except in ethics and social organization- but those aren’t about truth, but effectiveness) You can’t.

Not a single one of your arguments gives evidence- only an attack on the opposing view.

The basic problem is that you can’t give a natural explanation for supernatural stuff. The problem is there is no reason to believe in the supernatural. You justify it with a circular argument.

design-> evolution flawed and supernatural

supernatural-> because of design

See the problem?

June 4, 2008 at 1:39 am

Yomin Postelnik says:

Paul,

Thanks for giving the opportunity to debate. I would encourage you to examine all sides of the issue. That’s what led me to these views. I do respect your forthrightness and willingness to have examined some of these. Who cares if we don’t see eye to eye?

Yomin Postelnik says:

Samuel,

The late Steven J. Gould, who obviously had a very different take than I did on the issue of evolution, nevertheless said “the extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology.” He, as did Darwin, understood transitional fossils in the way that I laid out. Their best argument used to be that fossils were still being uncovered. They understood evolution to be gradual. In fact, if it’s not, you have no reason to believe in evolution at all because one could equally attribute similar fossils, with little directly in common, to the fact that they’re two different species as opposed to the primitive and evolved forms of the same kind of species.

The DNA argument alone is extremely weak (and that’s being mild). All physical life has very similar DNA. Look at us and mice, yet no credible scientist says we evolved from mice.

These are huge problems with evolution.

Now, more importantly (because this is what the whole debate here was supposed to be about), is that our physical universe necessitates a Creator. If you see a building, you know someone consciously designed and built it. If the universe was designed in such a way that everything was there to necessitate life except for the perfect combination of gases in the air, we wouldn’t exist. If everything was perfect but the planets collided, as do meteors, we wouldn’t exist. If the human being had one out of thousands of small things wrong with it, it could not survive. To argue that there’s no conscious Creator is to argue that billions of buildings came into existence in and of themselves, either all at once, or, if you want to chalk it up to evolution, molecule by molecule perfectly forming bricks without any instruction and then brick by brick forming billions of buildings all by themselves, each without a builder. Now sure, we can argue that in theory such a thing might happen if a number of things happen, but in reality such a position is absurd, no matter how well argued. The only difference is that it takes thousands of more simultaneous happenings to give life to a person than it does for a whole slew of buildings to rise up.

You can’t discount an entire field of logical thought without studying it at all, simply saying “it can’t be known,” without trying to discern it or without at least looking at thousands of years of logical arguments necessitating a creator, dating back as far as Plato.

Logical proofs of the existence of a conscious Creator range from the anthropic (that the world is too complex to create itself), to the cosmological (that finite matter cannot come to form a universe that is clearly larger than its original size) to the teleological (citing the inherent cooperation involved in all parts of the universe, showing that each works as a piece of a larger and well structured machine). Some of these arguments do date back to Plato and possibly before. But in the end, all are unnecessary. Proof of a Creator can be seen by just considering the enormity of the universe and how if one out of billions of things were off, life would never have taken root, or by looking at the small, detailed, individual factors on their own (perfect air balance, perfect nutritional balance, etc). In fact, off hand, I’d say that the small little details, that each small necessary ingredient to life is available, show a proof that’s even more thorough than that seen by considering the larger picture (that being the enormity of the universe, as outlined above).

At this point a bystander challenged that man did indeed evolve from shrew, 250 million years ago. Postelnik reminded him that the main proponent of this argument was not from a credible scientific finding but rather the hypothesis of one scientist on CNN, talking about the mouse genome in 2002. Nothing was ever found to support this (not even the most far fetched examples of transition) and most credible proponents of evolution have not in fact support the claim that all mammals stemmed from mice (Although we will grant that since this hypothesis took hold in 2002, Gould had already passed on. Still, other leading proponents of evolution have resisted making any such claims. In fact, many clearly state that mice and humans are not part of a same evolutionary tree. At least far more than those who say otherwise). He further pointed out that aside from the fact that the statement lacks any basis, much has been done in the way of study of other genomes (unlike in 2002 when the mouse was the only such mammalian genome to have been studied) and the conclusions point much more readily to common characteristics of all physical life, not that any genetic relation.


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