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Some Answers (II)

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Posted by Abraham Smith/">Abraham Smith on November 2, 1999 04:17:47 UTC

Dear Mr. Wentz,

The following is a review of the email I received from you on 7/11/1999.

>Dear Abe:

>Sorry Cliff chewed on you a bit, but then he is a proponent of logical and

>sequential thinking, and to see anyone abuse the thinking process

>irritates him. If you cross the tiger in its own lair, you're bound to get

gnawed on

>a little.

I sincerely hope his evaluation of me has changed by now!

> At any rate (since most atheists think differently) perhaps you

>would find my own responses interesting too.

I wished most atheists would realize that not all Christians think the same

either. But I appreciate your attitude.

>A background question: Do you remember a series of books by a Von

>Daaniken,

>"Chariots of the Gods?" This series purported to "prove" flying saucers

>had

>an intelligent, extraterrestrial origin and that space aliens had

>influenced human history. Von D. accomplished this by: A: first assuming

>that all the above was true, and then B: bringing in all sorts of obscure

>or little-understood details of history, then asking questions like "could

>it be... Might it be... may one presume..." and so on, until the thinking

>reader finally hurled the book across the room and bellowed, "May one

>presume that this character is full of ordure?"

There is a big flaw in your example. If there were such a thing as a flying

saucer, I would believe it had an intelligent origin. I certainly would not

believe any flying machine could occur by chance. Would you? You do not

have a parallel upon which to draw an analogy. Consider: there is no

evidence of the saucer or the alien maker. There is evidence of design all

around us and the nature of that design is such that no natural explanation

is reasonable. Von D.'s assertions can easily be explained in terms of

natural explanations. There is not a credible explanation anywhere for

complex function. See the letter to Mr. Walker.

>This illustrates the difference between thinking toward the truth and

>thinking toward defending an assumption, which may or may not be truth. A

>theist thinks, "There is (God, The Cosmic Muffin, whatever) out there, and

>I intend to prove it." The scientist thinks, "There is something right

>here, and I intend to find out what it is... if possible."

Actually, I disagree with your assessment of Von D.'s errors. There is

nothing wrong with assuming that a certain thing is true and then looking for

evidence for it. I've heard an evolutionist professor say that a theory may

be put forward and then see how far you get with it so far as confirmation.

I would add that one must not dismiss negating evidence and be open and look

for ways that such theory can be disproven. This is the reason that

evolution is a bad theory, no one can prove it wrong. There is an

explanation for anything you can find. It's not falsifiable! Your statement

(that scientists intend to find out) is not realistic. Scientist do not go

collecting data then form a theory. Scientist often collects data in view of

their theories and biases.

>Anyhow, to get into your letter:

>How can we determine if anything has an intelligent source for its

>origin?

>By finding the source, and seeing it originating the something. Or

>anything similar, for that matter

Francis Crick has not found his source for the origin of life. To identify

the source is not needed if natural explanations can be ruled out by the

evidence.

>If I should tell you that the heart, lung,

>kidney, thyroid, skin, digestive system, brain, liver, and gall bladder

>are

>all essential to life, would you disagree?

>Human life, yes. Most life, no. And in fact humans are creating artificial

>or clonal equivalents to all those things (except the brain). Does that

>make man godlike? I think not.

That's interesting! Must one see this human life to conclude from the

artificial or clone equivalents that they were the result of purpose and

intelligence? Also see comments on the letter to Mr. Walker.

>Do you believe that these

>organs

>came into existence step by step or one at a time?

>"Do I believe?" sounds like the catechism. Living evidence seems to

>indicate to me that these systems differentiated out of simpler unitary

>organs... as, for instance, the human breast was modified from a sweat

>gland, and the kidneys from the salt-transporting mechanisms of simple

>marine creatures, where all life (that we know of) ultimately began.

When the evidence seemed to "indicate" to you, did you "believe" it or did

you "know" it? I have already pointed out that the "evidence" shows that no

organ is the sole result of individual genes. Thus genes that are changed

are destructive to other parts of the system. It is not rational to believe

that any organ on its way to becoming a kidney would be as functional or as

compatible as kidneys are today. But experience tells us that kidneys that

are in any way less functional or compatible render sudden death. Question,

How do we "know" all life began in the sea? If evolution is false, could you

infer that life began in the sea?

The reason why atheist "believe" that there is a lot of evidence in favor of

evolution is because they view the evidence with the eye of faith in

evolution. They have an a priori bias. If an honest, open minded, rational

person were stripped of this bias, all evidence "for" evolution would

evaporate!

>If I should tell you

>that

>these organs are generated by different sets of gene combinations, would

>you

>disagree? If I should tell you that the DNA of life contain more

>information

>than a 1000 volume of encyclopedias, would you disagree? What other

>choices

>may an individual rationally believe other than that essential components

>to

>the function of a system must all be available at the start of a system?

>Depends on what you mean by the start. If you showed me an adult man and

>told he had just sprung into existence fully created in all his complexity,

>I would respond "Whoa, bummer, I've been so wrong, Allah ahkbar, praise

>God, Hare Krishna..." (not missing any bets, you see), and sprinkling holy

>water and incinerating incense and sacrificing goats and genuflecting like

>a windmill. However, if you showed me the same man and told me he was the

>end result of a long and painful process, the heir of uncounted

>generations

>of more primitive creatures that found themselves more or less well adapted

>to the place they were born, and all had been so incredibly fortunate as to

>live long enough to reproduce before suffering messy and painful deaths in

>being incorporated into the organisms of other creatures... and finally

>reaching the human estate, had endured through plague, famine, animal

>attack and endless religious wars until they finally produced this end

>result... a registered Republican and notable doofus... I would respond:

>"Yeh. So what?"

If you told me all of this, I'd ask you how you knew that the man "was the

end result of a long and painful process." I'd ask what were the

intermediate steps between a heart and no lung, kidney but no liver, etc.

>If all essential components of living organisms must be present in order for

>life to exist, does this not imply or prove that the genes responsible for

>such organs must be all present as well?

>Yep. So what? We can see where they came from (above), and it ain't a

>pretty sight...

You did not prove the above and there is every reason that the "above" did

not take place. See my enclosed article. Evolution is not rational!

If I should tell you that all

>organic material (in essence genes, proteins, etc) are very fragile and

>unstable outside the confines of a

>cell and are easily destroyed, would you disagree?

>That's how living cells probably evolved from quasi-organic compounds in

>the first place. Essentially, if a chemical compound is fortuitously

>enclosed by a tougher compound long enough for them to absorb enough

>outside energy to replicate itself (it's been done in the lab years ago)...

First, if you refer to Stanley Miller's experiment, that is a failure for the

idea you advance. Phillip Johnson's comment from "Darwin on Trial" addresses

this issue. "Geochemists now report that the atmosphere of the early earth

probably was not of the strongly reducing nature required for the Miller-Urey

appparatus to give the desired results. Even under ideal and probably

unrealistic conditions, the experiments failed to produce some of the

necessary chemical components of life. Perhaps the most discouraging

criticism has come from chemists, who have spoiled the prebiotic soup by

showing that organic compounds produced on the early earth would be subject

to chemical reactions making them unsuitable for constructing life. In all

probability, the prebiotic soup could never have existed, and without it

there is no reason to believe that the production of small amounts of some

amino acids by electrical charge in a reducing atmosphere had anything to do

with the origin of life.

"Although these objections to the significance of the Miller-Urey results are

important, for present purposes I prefer to disregard them as a distraction

from the main point. Let us grant that, one way or another, all the required

chemical components were present on the early earth. That still leaves us at

a dead end, because there is no reason to believe that life has a tendency to

emerge when the right chemicals are sloshing about in a soup. Although some

components of living systems can be duplicated with very advanced techniques,

scientists employing the full power of their intelligence cannot manufacture

living organisms from amino acids, sugars, and the like. How then was the

trick done before scientific intelligence was in existence?

"The simplest organism capable of independent life, the prokaryote bacterial

cell, is a masterpiece of miniaturized complexity which makes a spaceship

seem rather low-tech. Even if one assumes that something much simpler than a

bacterial cell might suffice to start Darwinist evolution on its way---a DNA

or RNA macromolecule, for example--the possibility that such a complex entity

could assemble itself by chance is still fantastically unlikely, even if

billions of years had been available.

"I won't quote figures because exponential numbers are unreal to people who

are not used to them, but a metaphor by Fred Hoyle has become famous because

it vividly conveys the magnitude of the problem: that a living organism

emerged by chance from a prebiotic soup is about as likely as that 'a tornado

sweeping through a junkyard might assemble a Boeing 747 from the materials

therein.' Chance assembly is just a naturalistic way of saying 'miracle.'"

If you are not refering to Stanley Miller's experiment, then please give the

experiment , when done, where, and source?

Otherwise, the basic problem with your explanation is the same with other

atheists. You are attempting to explain how to go from Los Angeles to New

York and your explanation begans in Kansas. If any organic product is

fragile, why would or could it last until it was absorbed? Why wouldn't the

radiation kill it? Such a simplistic explanation totally over looks the

complexity in even the simplest cells.

>in short, if a proto-cell can defend its guts long enough to reproduce...

>you're on the road to your Republican.

Concerning proto cells, tell me if you agree with Michael Denton when he

quotes and comments upon Carl Woese. If you disagree, tell me where Denton

went wrong.

"To explain the origin of the cell in evolutionary terms it is necessary to

postulate a series of far simpler cell systems, leading gradually from a

solution of organic compounds through more complex aggregates of matter to

the typical cell system today. The only possible precursor to the existing

cell system with its wonderfully efficient translational apparatus would be

one that was less perfect. This is conceded in nearly every discussion of

the origin of the cell. Discussing the evolution of the translational

mechanism and the tremendous complexity of the system in all present-day

cells(,) Carl Woese argues: 'It is self evident that such a hierarchy is the

product of a complex evolutionary process which in turn makes it essentially

certain that at some stage sufficiently early in evolution the translation

mechanism was a far more rudimentary thing than at present in particular far

more prone to make translation errors.' (emphasis added)

"Obviously, a proto-cell system would be bound to have been far more prone to

making translational errors when synthesizing proteins. As Woese

acknowledges, 'the probability of translating any gene entirely correctly was

essentially zero.' The hypothetical proteins produced by such an imperfect

translational system have been termed 'statistical proteins' by him, 'very

crudely made proteins' by Francis Crick. The trouble with 'crudely made

proteins' is that everything we have learned about protein structure and

function over the past thirty years implies that the function of a protein

depends on it being very accurately manufactured and possessing exact highly

specific configurations. We seem forced to have to contradict one of the

basic axioms of modern biochemistry in envisaging the origin of the cell."

Isn't that amazing! In order for us to accept this pseudo science, we must

give up real science. That is a shame!!!

Michael Denton also said, "Just how the translational system could ever

function utilizing 'crudely made proteins' is virtually impossible to

envisage, indeed it is exceedingly difficult to understand how translation in

any meaningful sense could occur.

"The protein synthetic system of all modern cells requires the integrated

activities of nearly one hundred different proteins, all carrying out

different, very specific steps in the assembly of a new protein molecule. If

only a small proportion of these were 'crudely made' or 'statistical' it is

practically impossible to accept that any protein would ever be manufactured,

let alone one with a specific molecular configuration capable of performing a

specific function in the cell.

"It is precisely because the translation system is critically dependent on

accurately made proteins that an imperfect protein synthetic system is so

difficult to envisage.......

"In Woese's words: 'The primitive cell was faced with the seeming paradox

that in order to develop a more accurate translational apparatus it had first

to translate more accurately.'

"If translation is inaccurate, this leads in turn to a more inaccurate

translational apparatus which leads inevitably to further inaccuracies, and

so forth. Each imperfect cycle introduces further errors. To improve

itself, such a system would have to overcome its fundamental tendency to

accumulate errors in exponential fashion. The very cyclical nature of

cellular replication guarantees that imperfections inexorably lead to

autodestruction. It is difficult enough to see how an imperfect

translational system could ever have existed and achieved the synthesis of

one single protein let alone the many necessary for the life of the cell.

That such a cell might undergo further evolution, improving itself by

'selecting' advantageous changes which would be inevitably lost in the next

cycle of replication, seems contradictory in the extreme."

What has this situation led us to? It leads to this:

"..Nobel Prize winner, biochemist Francis Crick, in his recent book, Life

Itself, concedes: 'An honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to

us now, could only state that in some sense, the origin of life appears at

the moment to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions which would

have had to have been satisfied to get it going.'"

Are those atheist who contend that the origin of life is explicable dishonest

or not "armed with all the knowledge available to us now?"

"The origin of life is actually far more difficult to envisage than the above

discussion implies. There is much more to the cell than the 'mere' origin of

the protein synthetic apparatus. In fact, the protein synthetic mechanism

cannot function in isolation but only in conjunction with other complex

subsystems of the cell."

To sum up Mr. Denton's argumentation, I quote, "The difficulty that is met in

envisaging how the cell system could have originated gradually is essentially

the same as that which is met in attempting to provide gradual evolutionary

explanations of all the other complex adaptations in nature. It is perfectly

obvious, in the case of the feather, that function as an aerofoil is

impossible unless the hooks fit the barbules, that is unless the components

are exquisitely coadapted to function together. It is the same in the case

of the avian lung or in the case of the wing of a bat, and it is the same in

the case of human artifacts such as a watch which can only function when all

the cogwheels fit together, and it is the same in the case of sentences. The

problem of the origin of life is not unique - it only represents the most

dramatic example of the universal principle that complex systems cannot be

approached gradually through functional intermediates because of the

necessity of perfect coadaptation of their components as a pre-condition of

function." (I have underlined this section.)

>If you answered "no,"

>would you agree that it would be irrational to believe that all this

>organic

>material could survive very long apart from a living system?

>Would it be irrational to agree that a dismembered kidney's life

>expectancy

>is measured in minutes? Yet if you clone its cells, that kidney is

>potentially immortal. Hail, Kidney! What the heck is this question

>supposed

>to prove? Although a human kidney cannot survive by itself, a great many

>single-celled creatures certinly can, and through the most hostile

>conditions. You meet them every flu season.

Such a kidney could not live by itself either. That's the point! It needs

other essential components that can not occur one at a time thus all the

genetic material had to be in place at one time in order to keep kidneys from

dying. That can only be by intelligent design. Further, the nature of

genes, interconnected in affecting function, is such that it is not plausible

at all to believe it was converted from some other system.

If you were sent to a distant

>planet and found a computer there, would this be enough to convince you

>that

>intelligent life had been present?

>Whoa. If I found a computer on a distant planet, I would know that HUMAN

>BEINGS had been there. If some alien intelligence had left a computer, I

>would probably not recognize it as a computer. It might be microscopic, or

>consist of the entire planet. It might, even, be quasi-organic. It might be

>completely organic, deliberately gene-manipulated... waitaminnit, that's

>getting back to Von Daaniken, isn't it? (Hey Von! I'm sorry I said all

>those mean things about you!}

Not really. A computer built by an alien might take the form of any of your

examples. But if a rational scientist investigated and observed "the entire

planet" to do what computers do on earth having many specialized complex

parts working toward a goal greater than an individual part, she/he would

conclude it to be intelligently originated. What about SETI's standard?

Would you disagree with me if I said

>that

>the human brain could do in a second what it would take the best computer

>100

>years to do the same?

>Yep, I sure would. Computers can run circles around the brain in many

>respects. But the brain can originate, elaborate, hypothecate and create

>new religions, which a computer can't do--yet. This is because the brain

>is

>supremely adaptable. A Macintosh IIfx never had to defend itself against a

>cave bear.

See my comment to Mr. Walker.

Would you disagree with me if I said that all

>nature

>has a natural tendency to go from order to disorder?

>Yep. As long as you've got energy and materials going in... as in our

>solar system... you've got increasing complexity.

If what you say is true (outside energy leads to complexity) how did

scientist establish the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics? Every example of the

thousands of experiments confirming the 2nd Law have been done or observed

where there was outside "energy and materials coming in." So how does

outside energy stop order from going to disorder? Even our bodies receive

outside energy and we are still getting old. A bunch of rocks left in the

sun will become dust and no more. (More on this in my response to

Mr.Lonsdale).

If you agree with

>this,

(I don't)

in view of

>atheism, please explain how did we get the order that is in the universe

>to

>start with? Is outside energy to a system enough to produce complexity?

Yep.

>Must that energy be regulated by something else that is also complex?

>Why? The universe is a big place. Likely many planets are so fried by the

>intense radiation of their stars that life as we see it can never arise.

>Likely other planets have had advanced biological systems that declined

>and

>died along with their stars. and thus it is likely that a tiny minority of

>planets are chugging along with their own load of living creatures... some

>of them perhaps smarter than we are... maybe some of them are looking over

>our shoulder right now... hehhehhehheh.

Why? The only way any complexity is achieved is through other complex

apparatus. There must be some kind of apparatus to convert energy to a

useful form. The radiation from the sun is destructive. Evolutionist only

alledge that other systems are a violation of the 2nd Law. They do not

observe these systems arising from disorder. This they assume. The rest of

your comments are wishful thinking.

>If

>energy must be regulated thus controlled by an additional complex system,

>how can we explain how this additional system developed its complexity if

the>natural tendency of matter is to go toward disorder?

>It doesn't. Unless disrupted by greedy industrialists busily poisoning the

>environment in order to make more veeblefetzers and thus make more money,

>the system staggers along toward increasing complexity quite well, thank

>you.

Systems involving industrialists are intelligently controled and operated.

Not a good example for you. See my comments to Mr. Lonsdale

Doesn't this imply

>that

>an intelligent source is needed? Aren't intelligent sources responsible

>for

>all

>machinery with several essential parts?

>If you're talking about can-openers, yes. If you're talking about leeches,

>the typhoid bacilli and Republicans, no.

A can-opener is far less complex than typhoid bacilli.

>Is atheism rational? Please take

>the time to answer (not evade) these questions!

>Atheism is rational, in that it is a characteristic of people who do not

>accept fantastic and unprovable assertions from others upon which to base

>their opinion of the universe, but who instead insist upon beginning with

>the tangible and provable and working patiently along, step by step,

>toward

>what may be true. It is not irrational in that it does not depend upon the

>cosmology of a bunch of ragged goat-herding fanatics wandering around in

>the Sinai Desert 4,000 years ago, and it does not frantically defend that

>primitive and outmoded cosmology against all the progress of human

>thought,

>politics, civilization, science, and even simple human decency.

>Walt Wentz

The issue is what constitutes proof. Evidence of intelligent design is

accepted in all areas except for ultimate origins. This inconsistency is

done on the philosophical grounds of naturalism, the idea that nature is all

there is. This pitiful philosophy is not a tool of man kind. But a weight

and a dark cloud thart blinds men's eyes from seeing what ought to be so

clear: that all of life with its immense complexity was designed. That

Intelligent Source is our Creator. To ignore your Creator, is to ignore the

most important part of reality. To ignore reality, is to lead an irrational

life.

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