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Thursday, March 12, 2009

God is just a theory

This weeks eSkeptic concentrates on '27 ways to honor Charles Darwin' and comprises a list of 27 terrific resources for people wanting to learn more about and be able to defend evolution.

Check it out and order yourself some swag. Their store is just brimming with awesome merchandise. Also, make sure you get a chance to browse around the main site. There's a lot of really good resources there.

This edition of eSkeptic also contains a link to Shermer's "God is Just a theory" editorial, which suggests a mandatory insertion at the beginning of all church services, explaining that the material contained within the service cannot be validated and must be viewed as 'theoretical'

Here's the original:

God is Only a Theory

July 2007

I have given much thought to the creationists’ demand that evolution be stricken from public school science classes, or that it be taught side-by-side with creationism because “evolution is only a theory” and since “no one was there to witness the creation” we cannot say for sure what really happened.

I have come to the conclusion that what’s fair is fair, and that the creationists have a good point. After all, isn’t education all about hearing both sides of an issue? And they are correct, no one was there to witness the creation, so any ideas about who or what caused the creation can only be speculative theories and therefore never provable.

Therefore, I am certain that Ministers, Priests, Rabbis, and religious leaders of all sects will be pleased to read the following disclaimer to their respective congregations every Sunday morning, or before any sermon delivered:

Good morning ladies and gentlemen, God bless and welcome to [fill in the name of your church, temple, mosque, or center of worship here].
This morning we are going to talk about the creation of the universe and the origins of life on Earth. According to the Bible, Genesis 1:1–3: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.”

Now, it is important for us to understand that no one was actually present at the creation so we don’t really know what happened. Genesis 1:1–3 is only a theory, and as such cannot be treated as fact. And it is only fair that I share with you that there are other theories of the creation.

For example, some Sumerians and Babylonians, Gilbert Islanders, Koreans, and Greeks believed that the world was created from the parts of a slain monster; some Zuni Indians, Cook Islanders, and Tahitians have a theory that the world was created by the interaction of primordial parents; and some Japanese, Samoan, Persian, Chinese, and Hindu have a theory that the world was generated from an egg.” And, of course, there is that dogma being foisted upon us by the liberal media and intelligentsia, the theory of evolution.

As for the origins of human life, that is spelled out in Genesis 1:27: “God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” Of course, not only was no one present to witness this act — except for Adam and Eve after they were created — I should point out that this theory has a counter theory in Genesis 2:7, where “the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” In this theory Adam is all alone without a mate, so in Genesis 2:21–22 “the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept; and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.”

Since everyone here was blessed by the almighty with a brain that thinks, I will allow you to decide which theory is the correct theory of the creation of humans, Genesis 1 or Genesis 2. Weigh the evidence and decide for yourselves. You be the judge.

Oh, there is one other minor detail. Adam and Eve begat Cain and Abel, and as you all know Cain — as firstborns are wont to do to their laterborn siblings who compete for the limited parental resources — slew him. That left Adam, Eve, and Cain as the only humans on the entire Earth. But in Genesis 4:17 we read that “Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch.” Now, I don’t mean to burden you with more of the liberal media’s fascination with smut and porn, but I think as created beings endowed with intelligence and critical thinking skills blessed to us by the good Lord, it might be reasonable to ask just who it was that Cain “knew.” Unless Adam was himself blessed with both types of reproductive organs, or Cain was capable of parthenogenesis, then we are left with the theory that Cain “knew” his mother. But that’s just a theory, and as we all know, theories are just wild guesses and should not be taken seriously.

67 comments:

  1. Very amusing! Not sure how we move from public education into church/religious services? Or perhaps the same 'disclaimer' is going to be read at Atheist meetings about evolution? As I said, very amusing!

    By the way, how many kids did Adam and Eve have?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Dave,
    You are a Creationist?? Evolution is disprovable and it is science, where Creationism/ID is not disprovable and it is not science. A lot of Christians accept the evidence of evolution or common descent. You could try to read Ken Miller for example. Note that we know more about evolution than gravity and people usually believe creationism because of a (false) dogma. Why don't you accept the facts about evolution?

    To answer your question about Adam and Eve, they did not have any real children (not 3 boys and other sons and daughters; Genesis 5:4). Science has shown that there was not a single pair of "original" humans and humanity did not start in western Turkey. We do know that the biblical creation story(ies) was copied and modified from older mesopotamian creation stories and even Christians know mesopotamian stories were just stories.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have shown my creationist colours on this blog before, and I do not plan to do so again at the moment. All I was suggesting was the need for some consistency in the logic of the post. As it said, education is all about hearing both sides of the story. The post then took the issue into churches etc. I just did not follow the jump.

    So what has science proven about the number of original humans?

    The Biblical account was dramatically different to any other creation accounts (I am not saying it does not share similarities).

    ReplyDelete
  4. Regarding creationism, there is no "both sides" of the science story. There are many religious and maybe political sides of the story. I think the post wanted to point out the inconsistency of the creationists. I have also noticed that creationists demand "to teach both sides" where the other side is their interpretation of the Genesis, not the creation story of the Scandinavian pagans. Creations don't seem to want to give evolution or non-biblical creation stories equal time in the church ;-)

    Regarding human evolution I hope you have studied the chromosome 2 fusion, Endogenous retroviruses, Pseudogenes (for example the ability to synthesize vitamin C), gene order preservation and comparison in different species and human Mitochondrial DNA and Y-chromosomal DNA haplogroup distributions. Those will show how we are related to other species and that both female and male lines can be tracked back to the single individual, but they did not live at the same time.

    The Biblical account is not dramatically different to Babylonian stories stories are remarkably similar. Both Genesis and Babylonian stories start by explanation how heavens and earth were created from primeval chaos waters which was split half and the word used to describe this has the same root. In the Babylonian story Sea Goddess Tiamat was cut have to create the earth and the sky. In the Bible story deep waters, Tehowm, was divided to create the earth and the sky. the word Tehowm (Gen 1:2) seem to have same root as Tiamat. According to the Bible Abraham came from the Babylonia area, so did parts of the code of Hammurabi. Not to mention Babylonians had flood story including a tree of life, the Tower of Babel story etc before the OT.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks for the info Peter. You said ”Creations don't seem to want to give evolution or non-biblical creation stories equal time in the church.” This has not been my experience. I grew up in the Church and was told evolution was true. I studied for 4 years at Bible College to be told by more lecturers that evolution was proven than not. The, to top this off I have been told on this blog several times that this is not even a religious issue, so why the post? As well as this, my original point was simply that the article claimed to want to be fair to “both sides by giving both sides of the issue” (not my words but the words of the post) but it was not. It was wanting evolution and anti-creationism/ID to be taught in churches (which it already is), but does not mention having creationism/ID taught at Atheist meetings, let alone anti-evolution. I do not want to get involved in a debate on evolution at this point, I was simply pointing out where the post was not though it claimed (tongue in cheek) that it was!

    Peter, you said, ”Those will show how we are related to other species and that both female and male lines can be tracked back to the single individual, but they did not live at the same time.”

    I am not sure what this does to prove evolution and discount the Biblical account. I would expect, from the Genesis account that we come from one common person, that being Adam. After all, Eve was of the exact same genetic make up of Adam, having been bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh. As for being related to other species, it would be difficult to say the evidence is conclusive, especially when if we consider (and I do) the same God made all the species.

    I said the different creation accounts had similarities, so thanks for pointing out some of the similarities! I do not know why it is assumed that because the Biblical account was not recorded until Moses wrote it down that its origin is later than other accounts. I assume that there was an oral tradition that went back to...Adam and Eve. It is also safe to assume that other competing oral and written traditions sprang up from the time of Adam and Eve through to when Moses recorded the Biblical account and that they had lots of similarities. But even then, as I said there are dramatic differences. Even the way that it is written is different. And then it has other details in relation to the nature of God, why he created, and the nature of man.

    You could rightly accuse me of making a lot of assumptions, but for me these other accounts do not prove that the Biblical account is wrong, flawed or ‘made up’. I guess if you look for something to give you reason to doubt, you will find it. I am not looking for reasons to doubt. You might consider me foolish...but there it is!
    Dave

    ReplyDelete
  6. Dave,
    Thanks for clearing your position. I think evolution shows that Adam and Eve were a myth and the Genesis stories are "wrong, flawed or ‘made up’". It is also clear that if you read the first five books of the OT you'll realise that Moses did not write those.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I confess, it was hard for Moses to write about his own funeral!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Peter,
    You wrote "Evolution is disprovable..."
    As far as I'm aware, evolution has never even been proven.
    I'd appreciate if someone can enlighten me in his/her own words how evolution could have been proven to be true?

    Thanks,

    ReplyDelete
  9. I might add that I am not sure why evolution is more of a science than inteligent design. I would be interested in any answers people might have.

    ReplyDelete
  10. This is turning into a troll thread.

    Anonymous: your ignorance of biological science is not the same thing as "evolution being unproven." While it is true we cannot replay earth's history in a lab, there is overwhelming evidence for biological evolution and not a scrap for creationism or intelligent design.

    Dave: If you can even make that statement, you're just not getting it. Science is the ongoing quest for more answers. Intelligent Design is stopping that quest and saying "enough; god did it". can you say "antithesis of science?"

    ReplyDelete
  11. Sorry, that anonymous was me - REV.
    People always repeat there is overwhelming evidence for evolution, over and over again.

    Mate, I'm sure evolution has not occurred today. It didn't happen yesterday. I don't think it will happen tomorrow either.

    I would believe evolution if I see it. It is about material life, material science. But I can't see a material proof, other than hearing repeated assertions from exasperated evolutionists.

    I agree science is the ongoing quest for more answers. I'd appreciate if someone will explain a single OVERWHELMING evidence for evolution.

    Thanks, REV

    ReplyDelete
  12. Rev, one simple example of observation of evolution:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19041751

    You can see Naontiotami's excellent explanation of this paper here:

    http://criticalmasspodcast.blogspot.com/2009/02/misconceptions-of-evolution.html?showComment=1235021760000#c1494206093652077466

    You can replicate this experiment yourself if you have the time and equipment. Then you can *watch* new traits evolve. Go on, off you go. When you've done that, come back and we'll give you another

    See? Observable.

    It happens, get over it. Oh, and you dont live long enough to see evolution in slow-breeding species, so you're just going to have to go with historical evidence, the best of which we currently have are historical genetic studies.

    And your side has what, a bronze age *book*? Yeah, good work. Nork.

    One last thing. Nice pithy one liner on the today/yesyerday/tomorrow thing. You know as well as I do, though, that we're dealing with geological timescales. Evolution does not happen overnight, but nice try.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Dave,
    Moses did not write any of the five books of the OT. This can be seen from the duplicate stories which have variations, Moses is described as the humblest person ever which is hardly written by the humblest person ever, a writer is described being on the west side of Jordan where Moses never was. Most of the first five books (P-text) was probably written between 722-587 BC long after Moses...

    Dave asked:
    "I am not sure why evolution is more of a science than inteligent design"
    Evolution is disprovable and it is science, where Creationism/ID is not disprovable and it is not science. How can you disprove Creationism/ID?


    Anonymous/REV,
    Scientific theory is never "proven", but it can be disproved. Only math has proofs.

    There are plenty of example of speciations during the last 100 years. We have examples of mammal speciations during last 500 years. This shows how evolution works on a large scale. On a small scale a single mutation can be seen as evolutionary process in work. Small mutations can make huge difference (i.e. modern banana or human ability to drink animal milk as an adult.)

    The evidence is overwhelming because multiple lines (see my previous comment for example about humans) and multiple scientific disciplines (biology, cosmology, geology, historical linguistics, paleoclimatologist..) support these conclusions. All these can be disproven of course.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Jason/Peter,

    I wasn't aware there have been robust discussions about evolution on another thread. I shall avoid repeating points raised by Dave unnecessarily.

    From my thinkings, it is wrong to claim that yeast cells deleted of MYO1 have provided proof of evolution. That's not even an evidence.

    I address NaonTiotami's points as follow:

    (1). "...the genes can be evolved again...".

    This statement is false. Evolutionists habitually slip in the word "evolved" and hope to get away with it. Actually no new genes had evolved at all. What happened was, yeast developed alternative ways to restore growth and cytokinesis. Such an ability to 'survive' is pre-existing characteristic of yeasts. Scientists merely discovered this capability. Such an ability to 'survive' certainly did not EVOLVE during the laboratory test.

    If you can tell me it was proven that yeasts were not able to do something in the past, and they subsequently developed a new capability then it'd be very significant finding towards evolution, otherwise no.

    (2). "...What can evolve in the lab can evolve in the wild...."

    I agree. Except that it was not evolution process that the yeasts had gone through.
    Yeasts would do what they had been 'pre-programmed' to do, both in laboratories and in the wild, in order to 'survive'. This is not evolution at all.

    (3). "....condition for the evolution, something that could easily happen naturally..."

    If evolution is true, I do expect to observe material evolution on a daily basis and in natural conditions.
    The yeast experiment has not provided an evidence of evolution. But we now know more about what they can do.

    Peter, I think human ability to drink animal milk as an adult should be discounted as that has been discussed before.


    Thanks,
    REV

    ReplyDelete
  15. All aboard the rationalisation express! Departing this station for looneyville via nutbaggerytown and creation village

    Get real Rev. You're trying too hard now.

    > If evolution is true, I do
    > expect to observe material
    > evolution on a daily basis and
    > in natural conditions

    Oh FFS. Unless you're not actually human, you *do not live long enough* to observe evolution at an "everyday level", by which I assume you mean something trivially observable without intensive, large-scale microbiological study. We have not had these tools long enough to clearly see this going on. remember what I said earlier about geological timescales? Or did you have your fingers in your ears already?

    Look, we can keep giving you studies and you can keep sticking your fingers in your ears and singing "la la la", and ducking and diving, and picking at arcane detail until the cows come home.

    What we can't do is keep that up until the cows evolve, because we'll all be dead by then.

    Nevertheless, they will evolve.

    Your denialism does not alter reality.

    Fuck it, I'm out. This is pointless.

    ReplyDelete
  16. How long did yeast cells, (that were stripped off MYO1) took to 'evolve' new pathways to survive in the lab? Not long, did it?
    It took place during our lifetime. It was observable and many did believed that was a proof of evolution.

    Seriously, why shouldn't I expect to observe evolution in nature right now? Why has no scientist able to accelerate an evolutionary process by exciting a cell or something, like they did to those yeast cells?

    Evolutionists have led us to think we will never live long enough to observe evolution.
    That is true, for this one reason - Evolution is but a theory.

    Not meaning to be insulting :-)

    Cheers,
    REV

    ReplyDelete
  17. Peter asked, "Evolution is disprovable and it is science, where Creationism/ID is not disprovable and it is not science. How can you disprove Creationism/ID?"

    I guess the same way you disprove evolution.

    But hey I do not want to debate evolution...it is so yesterday.

    Good to read you again Rev.

    ReplyDelete
  18. You will not observe rapid evolution in such species as yeast, bacteria and viruses, because, for one thing, You are not a microbiologist. You really need to be doing microbiology to observe subtle effects in microorganisms. These reproduce raidly enough to spot trends over time which would, in slower breeding models, be too slow to practically observe. You can't observe trends in larger, more easily analysed species because they generate too slowly. Luckily for us, we can follow the work of microbiologists who are doing this stuff. Aren't we lucky?

    So that refines my point on timescales and observation, which you so predictably latched onto. Now, onto field vs. lab:

    WE have trouble observing evolution in the field because evolutionary changes are subtle, and take many generations to become established, if they get established at all. To see a clear direction out in the hugely information-rich natural world would take many, many more generations than a simple lab test, simply because of the sheer number of different factors adding noise to the signal. I mean, seriously, have you looked at an ecosystem lately? They're ridiculously complex places.

    To spot the signal in amongst all of that compexity is a massive task, and we're not quite there, which is to be expected. We'll be there shortly though, as computing power ramps up and genetic analysis techniques become cheaper and easier to use, microbiologists will get out of the lab and will observe rapid evolutionary development in real-world scenarios. We'll see things like populations of soil bacteria being analyzed before and after, say, industrial development, and we'll see clearly how those bacteria adapt to changes in their environments in the real world. This is an exciting prospect, for sure, but it's beside the point. The mechanisms that we'd be observing in such a situation are already well established science.

    So on to your "acceleration" point

    The artificial conditions of the yeast experiment served to concentrate pressures which, in a natural environment, may not otherwise be maintained, or may fluctuate and blur effects (see complexity, above). In effect, the lab conditions removed natural chaos in order to highlight the specific effect. I would absolutely say that this is case of scientists directly accelerating an evolutionary process. In fact, it's a very nice way to describe it.

    The phrase "exciting a cell" is a cute one, by the way. Conjures up pictures of an evolutionary corollary to Adam Smith's invisible hand, gently nudging molecules this way and that. Shame the invisible hand is just a metaphor.

    To cram a metaphor, yes, these yeast cells were absolutely "excited" by the concentrated, higher "signal-to-noise" conditions of the lab test

    But finally, and more importantly, you will not observe evolution, because you're not looking for it. You're looking for a strawman of evolution which you've conjured up with the help of Answers In Genesis and their ilk. You will never observe it because you have your hands over your eyes and wax in your ears. You duck, you dive, you doge and you obfuscate, but all the time keeping to the central theme of "Evolution? That's unpossible!".

    I don't expect to get anything positive out of you, and you're nudging the bar where I just switch off and take the piss. However for the benefit of other readers, I feel compelled to highlight and clarify the specific points I've made.

    I'm pretty sure you're already aware of the information I've outlined above, but you're also aware of denialist talking points you can spout back in response. This is why talking to you is entirely unproductive. I fully expect you to return shortly in denial mode. At that point I will stop trying to address your points and just start with the name calling. Just so you're prepared.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Wow... Jason is all set to abuse me with name calling.
    So much for critical thinking in this blog :-)

    To me, part of critical thinking is to solicit all possibilities by thinking outside the square.

    Jason says I will not observe rapid evolution because I am not a microbiologist. True, but there are other possibilities, such as:
    (a). No microbiologist is able to observe evolution due to inadequate knowledge/equipment
    (b). Rapid evolution is not occurring, only slow evolution
    (c). Evolution does not happen
    (d). etc...

    Much of Atheism is actually quite acceptable to me: anti-superstition; believe in scientific reasonings, critical thinking and separation of religion from state.

    But one major problem with Atheism is that it throws the baby out with the bathe water by lumping Christianity in with other religions. In fact Christianity often seems to cope the most attacks, quite possibly because it's a much softer target, (than say, Islam).

    There are many Christians that are intellectual critical thinkers. There must come a time when an Atheist realises he/she has misunderstood Christianity all along, and finds that Christians are friends. I certainly think Atheists are generally likeable funny people, just a bit sad because I think they are definitely wrong on a few counts, (not least of which is a whole-hearted belief in Evolution theory).

    Dave, It's my pleasure. Good to see you here !

    Cheers,
    REV

    ReplyDelete
  20. > So much for critical thinking in this blog

    Non-sequiteur. It does not follow that just because I am now goign to call you a cock, that this blog lacks critical thinking.

    And there you have illustrated your entire thesis. Cock.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Jason said, "It does not follow that just because I am now goign to call you a cock, that this blog lacks critical thinking."

    Perhaps not, but it does suggest that it lacks reason! Don't get me wrong, I think it is great you did not call him an idiot...and so far you have not called me anything which is a big relief. I am glad the Rev is here to take the heat away...but at risk of being called names, Jason said...

    "Dave: If you can even make that statement, you're just not getting it. Science is the ongoing quest for more answers. Intelligent Design is stopping that quest and saying "enough; god did it". can you say "antithesis of science?""

    My statement was , "I am not sure why evolution is more of a science than inteligent design."

    But, why does intelligent design as a theory suggest a preconcieved outcome, where a theory called evolution does not? Does not evolution say, "enough, evolution did it"? They can both be science and they can both fail to be science if those who are using them want to ASSUME either is correct.

    I am still trying to say antithesisis of science, but it is taking some work. Jason you use such big words, like cock...it is hard for me to keep up!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Like I mentioned, I think you Atheists are funny people, when conjuring up images of flogging a dead horse, (such as your saying: "...until the cows evolve...we'll all be dead by then. Nevertheless, they will evolve.")

    Any suggestion what cows will evolve into?

    BTW, whilst we're on about critical thinking... I have not by any chance hinted that I am not a female, have I?
    Phew...lucky you. You could very well have inadvertently called a sexy feminine bombshell a big COCK.
    How embarrasssing would that be?

    Cheers,
    REV (who does possesses a natural non-evolved cock)

    ReplyDelete
  23. Dave,
    Evolution could be show false for example by finding "fossil rabbits in the Precambrian rock samples" or finding a prime number based starmap in our junk DNA section or many other ways. How could you falsify Creation/ID theory? So only Creation/ID fails to be science as scientific assumptions can be falsified.


    Anonymous/REV,
    you did not really address any of my points, but seem to want to talk to NaonTiotami's issues. And of course evolution happens every day. You have been shown examples but you choose to deny it. For example what is you theory about how endogenous retrovirus got to our and great apes' DNA? Or how come we have a chromosome 2 fusion? You said that "There are many Christians that are intellectual critical thinkers" so you should give us at least your opinion about those.

    Anonymous/REV said:
    "There must come a time when an Atheist realises he/she has misunderstood Christianity all along"
    To my experience Christians generally do not know much about Christianity nor believe in the same things the first century Christians taught, but just pick and choose the Bible beliefs. Further more Christians seem to know very little about other religions but commit the fallacy of special pleading by claiming "one major problem with Atheism is that it throws the baby out with the bathe water by lumping Christianity in with other religions". All religions/superstitions are similar; a member has to do something to have access to supernatural help/events. In your case Yahweh is the divine exchange partner for goods and services. If you claim Christianity is so special, what is so unique about it?

    BTW when you state "Evolution is but a theory" either you don't know what the scientific theory means, you are committing a fallacy of equivocation or you have misunderstood the evolution.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Hi Peter,

    You make a good point when you say, "Evolution could be show false for example by finding "fossil rabbits in the Precambrian rock samples" or finding a prime number based starmap in our junk DNA section or many other ways"

    Two problems I have with this is that fossils are dated by the rocks thay are found in, and the rocks are dated by the fossils that are found in them, so I guess we will never find the rabbit fossils in the wrong place. The other problem is that I am constantly told on this blog that there is overwhelming evidence that proves evolution. Do you really think people will consider it proven false because a rabbit landed in the wrong place? I know it is cool to think Christians and religious people are th eonly ones that suffer from denial, but Atheists and Evolutionists can too!

    I am going to keep thinking about how you might prove intelligent design false. I am tempted to say 'By proving evolution to be true', but I will hold off on that for the moment!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Peter,

    The reason I didn't address your points is I really don't know what they were.
    Would you kindly explain in *your own words* how (1) "endogenous retrovirus & great apes", and (2) "chromosome 2 fusion", actually prove the case of evolution? (Hope this is not too much to ask).

    I think you're right about many Christians that don't know much, pick and choose the Bible beliefs. I probably do the same and so I'm not complaining. It is important to judge the ideology behind a faith. Afterall faith/ideology is the driving force. Being judgemental towards human believers is something else.

    I can think of quite a few aspects that make Christianity special. Perhaps two most significant to me are: (1) the Bible addresses the beginning (creation) and the end; (2) Jesus's claim to be God; to be 'Alpha' and 'Omega'; the way and the truth.
    I think Dave the pastor would be better placed than me to elaborate on such subjects.

    Actually "The Theory of Evolution" is incorrect use of terminology. That should more correctly be "The Hypothesis of Evolution".
    Who decided to elevate Evolution to status of a "Theory"? I would object to it and prove my case.

    Cheers,
    REV

    ReplyDelete
  26. Although I am sure a Rev trumps a Pastor, I would have said the aspect that makes Christianity special (other than the two outlined by the Rev already) is that it is about God's love for us and his desire to have a relationship with us...no matter what we have done. Other religions focus on trying to work our way into acceptance by God. Even Atheism seems to be becoming very 'works' orientated now that they feel they need to prove they can be 'good without gods'. This sadly reflects the misunderstanding many have towards Christianity, but then again, it is the way the world operates. Everything is performance based - even natural selection! Christianity is unique because it works the opposite way to the world (including man made religions).

    ReplyDelete
  27. Dave,
    Please be informed I'm not a Reverend, not even remotely qualified.

    In fact I'm very secular in many ways.

    Cheers,
    REV

    ReplyDelete
  28. Dave said...
    "Two problems I have with this is that fossils are dated by the rocks thay are found in, and the rocks are dated by the fossils that are found in them, so I guess we will never find the rabbit fossils in the wrong place."
    I realise you are joking of course as you must realise geologist have actually very advance dating methods of finging out how old the rocks are (just google it) and they don't go for fossil hunting to figure out the age of the rocks. Just don't tell geologists that their science is a circular reasoning...

    Dave said...
    "Do you really think people will consider it proven false because a rabbit landed in the wrong place?"
    If you find a 500M year old mammal it would completely change our understanding how we came about and prove that current model is incorrect. If you can show this the Nobel prize is yours.

    Dave said...
    "I know it is cool to think Christians and religious people are the only ones that suffer from denial, but Atheists and Evolutionists can too"
    I agree, some atheists have weird views and we all believe things that we can not prove.

    REV,
    retrovirus show how closely related different species are enabling us to map the tree of life and our closest ape cousins. more: www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/section4.html#retroviruses
    How do you explain those?

    Human chromosome 2 is a fusion of two great apes' chromosomes including two ape centromeres and telomeres, showing that they are our cousins (or the God wanted it to look like it)
    more: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chimpanzee_Genome_Project#Genes_of_the_Chromosome_2_fusion_site
    How do you explain it?

    REV said...
    "I can think of quite a few aspects that make Christianity special. Perhaps two most significant to me are: (1) the Bible addresses the beginning (creation) and the end; (2) Jesus's claim to be God; to be 'Alpha' and 'Omega'; the way and the truth."

    (1) Most religions like Zoroastrians and Incas address the beginning and the end. Bible story is similar to an older Babylonian story and the ending like Zoroastrians pictured it. Nothing unique in this Christian claim.

    (2) Truck load of people claimed to be God; "the Alpha and the Omega" was used before Christianity in Levant/Babylon using the Semitic Aleph and Tau[rus], (the fist and the last letter of their alphabets) meaning the twin bulls of Babylon's astrology meeting at spring equinox cosmic event; Zoroaster and many others were the way and the truth. Nothing unique in Christianity here.

    Dave added...
    "the aspect that makes Christianity special...is that it is about God's love for us and his desire to have a relationship with us...no matter what we have done. Other religions focus on trying to work our way into acceptance by God."
    Many religions/beliefs are about God's love. Yahweh followers used to required sacrifices, then they were required to do good works but no sacrifice, now their minority claims no works or sacrifice are need. Most modern Yahweh followers still believe that the works are required. Would you say Isis followers' like many Mother-Earth-like faiths were about love and relationship, just like Protestant type of Christian doctrine? And I don't think Seita spirit(s) believers in Northern Scandinavia try to work their way into acceptance by God either. I just don't see Christianity or your relative modern version of the Christianity being unique in that sense.

    Is there anything really unique about Christianity? Maybe Christianty was so successful because it is not unique. BTW I think Alan might be Reverend and outrank us all...

    ReplyDelete
  29. Peter, I think that you know too much! Seriously though, I am not an expert on Seita spirit(s) believers in Northern Scandinavia I assume that none of the Spirits died for the believers so that they could have a relationship with them. I fear that you might actually be able to tell me of a religion where the deity dies for it's creation, but what the heck, do you know of one, and if so was it so that the deity could have a loving relationship with the creation?

    With regards to the dating thing, I googled dating rocks and got this..."Dating Rocks!: The 21 Smartest Moves Women Make for Love."

    I also got stuff about carbon dating etc. My understanding was that on the whole these methods were not seen as being as accurate (c.f. http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080220062546AAjWnyy) as dating rocks from the fossils found in them...like this other result that came up suggests...http://www.abc.net.au/science/ozfossil/ageofreptiles/fauna/dating.htm

    I guess Google did not enlighten me but rather confirmed my thoughts...though what does Google prove, I do not believe everything I read on the internet!

    ReplyDelete
  30. Not to be wrongly mistaken as a Reverend, I shall change my moniker from REV to "PC/VER". Calling me either PC or VER is quite okay.

    I shall follow up your comments on 'retrovirus' and 'Human chromosome 2' with some readings before responding to those.

    Let me first address your points regarding uniqueness of Christianity.

    Open-mindedness, to me implies taking into account ALL points of view, theoretically speaking. That means (i) any religion addresses the beginning and end; and (ii) anyone claiming to be God, will get my attention, right? I do believe in such an attitude and never intentionally ignore an opinion.

    When viewed in isolation, so it seems different aspects of Christianity is no different from other religions.

    But can you name another faith that (1) addresses the beginning and the end; PLUS (2) claims to have Jesus-like character who walked the talk with many witness accounts; PLUS (3) demonstrates true meaning of love, as per Dave's paragraph?

    If you still don't believe Christianity is uniquely special then it'd be worth your while finding out more from someone who really know about Jesus. (I suggest avoiding a Christian who also believes in evolution).


    Cheers,
    PC/VER

    ReplyDelete
  31. PC/VER said..
    "But can you name another faith that (1) addresses the beginning and the end; PLUS (2) claims to have Jesus-like character who walked the talk with many witness accounts; PLUS (3) demonstrates true meaning of love, as per Dave's paragraph?

    How about Apollonius of Tyana who was a philosopher and teachers of ethics (~true meaning of love?) and a vegetarian. He was a Jesus like miracle working character with deciples and followers (=with many witness accounts). Any ancient philosopher probably "addresses the beginning and the end". Apolloninus was somewhat more popular than Jesus around 250AD. So I think he could roughly fit the bill. From the Jewish background wandering miracle workers Honi the circle-drawer and Hanina ben Dosa seem also fit this description. As Jews they had the beginning, he end and love from the OT and they had followers and eye witnesses. I would also say that cosmic Jesus of Marcion is pretty much 100 percent fit to your requirements (Marcionites were not Yahweh followers).

    PC/VER said..
    If you still don't believe Christianity is uniquely special then it'd be worth your while finding out more from someone who really know about Jesus. (I suggest avoiding a Christian who also believes in evolution).
    So you believe in Jesus but can not name anything unique about him?? Why do believe in someone who seem to be to you as copy of something else? Christians often suggest that I should research more when they don't know something. I just don't get their logic at all.


    Dave,
    Thanks for the compliment. It always puzzles me when Christians say "I assume that none of the Spirits died for the believers so that they could have a relationship with them" as Jesus did not really die he is still alive so you can have relationship with him. Jesus can come back any time as many times he wants so he is not really dead, so he did not really sacrifice or give up anything. Ancent Levant had plenty of Gods who died, came back to life and now rule/judge/guide/teach/don't care about humans. Maybe Tammuz and Inanna worship would qualify with "personal relationship (Ezekiel 8.14-16) and Inanna was resurrected from the dead after three days well before Jesus.

    Re dating rock. Carbon dating is only reliable for 50000 year old carbon stuff. Lot's of fossils are older that that. As your first like showed samples can be contaminated. Your second link mentioned the Potassium-Argon dating which is good to know. The first Google link I got was
    amonline.net.au/geoscience/earth/dating.htm
    Which shows nine different dating methods and when those are applicaple. Note that all those have a independent "clocks" so a sample can be dated with more that one method.
    More: earthsci.org/fossils/geotime/radate/radate.html
    No fossils are required to date the rocks.
    Organic material in the rocks can sometimes help. By studing ancient Rugose corals we can even calculate that 400M years ago a day had 22 hours and one year had over 400 days!

    ReplyDelete
  32. Peter,
    So you do have a comprehensive list of belief systems. But out of those, you only ventured to proposition Marcion as close to 100 percent fit to my requirements.
    Does this article refer to the same Marcion? http://www.gnosis.org/library/ter_marc4.htm
    Due to lack of time, I merely grossed over it. Obviously there would be significant objections to your points that Marcion is an equal to Jesus.

    What's more, better than I could, you actually described Jesus to be uniquely special when claiming Jesus is still alive, (so we can have relationship with him), and that Jesus can come back any time he wants.
    So did Marcion physically died and then arose from the dead? Why not include virgin-birth in our discussion? Had Marcion's birth and his death been prophesied?

    Did the vegetarian Apollonius of Tyana promised salvation as well?
    Did any ancient philosopher that addressed the beginning and the end also claimed to be God?
    If Marcion barely match 100% of Jesus before counting virgin-birth and resurrection factors, what percentage do you ascribe to Honi the circle-drawer and Hanina ben Dosa?
    Does an Ancient Levant Gods address my requirements better than Jesus?
    Did Tammuz and Inanna calmed to be the Truth?

    Also, you didn't mention Mohammed, (as Muslims regarded him as superior to Jesus).

    I think so far you're way short in disputing my claim that Jesus/Christianity is uniquely special.

    Cheers,
    PC/VER

    p/s. I'm still not ready to comment on 'retrovirus' and 'Human chromosome 2' as I'm quite busy with work. I will definitely get to those as soon as I can.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Hi Peter! When I studied mystery religions (some of which I think are included in what we are talking about) no evidence could be found for their extistence before the second century. I was wondering if you had evidence of this? Also, if you were to just go with me for a sec on a hypothetical journey...if Christianity were true, and it provided the answers for life, would we not expect to see other man made religions, that were trying to provide the answers for life to spring up? In certain ways they might share similarities with Christianity. I guess the uniqueness in Christianity for me is how Jesus makes sense of everything. I know you probably do not believe Jesus does make sense of life...but anyway, just rambling now!

    By the way, I believe Jesus really did die, and he really did come back to life, and I think death on a Roman cross in itself is giving something up. 5 minutes on a Roman cross would be!

    Re dating rock! Another hypothetical...what if the Bible is correct and the earth is only about 6000 years old. Would that mean that all the carbon dating is wrong? Which means we would have to come back to fossils for dating...though we would have to account for all the fossils in a shorter time period. That would mean we would need a world wide event like a flood...which the Bible mentions. So when it comes to dating...the Biblical account could be correct?

    The coral thing is fascinating!

    ReplyDelete
  34. Hi again Peter. Regarding the rock and fossil dating this link might interest you. Yes it is a Christian site, but it is quoting secular and scientific material to make a point.

    http://www.genesispark.com/genpark/dating/dating.htm

    ReplyDelete
  35. PC/VER,
    your article is about Marcion, but I think you might have not understood the Marcionism. They were followers of Jesus but not Yahwew. Marcion was a Paul like person. That's why it is a 100% match with your requirements.
    more: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcionism
    If you want to add virgin/immaculate birth to discussion that's fine. Again, truck load of ancient Levant (demi)Gods had this kind of special birth from an union between an earthly woman and heavenly being. It was very common in Greek stories and NT was written in Greek environment.

    Apollonius of Tyana taught the path to eternity. I would guess all ancient philosopher including wandering cynics and sophists addressed the end time issue, at least the ones from Jewish and Babylonian background. A lot of them were actually preaching the coming end of time just like Jesus [my opinion, disputed by many]. The nature of all religion is that they claim the truth, most of them claim an exclusive thruth like Christianity. Tammuz provided the truth to the yearly vegetation cycle like Jesus [my opinion, disputed by many], Inanna probably to eternal life, but the Bible tells us that Tammuz followers did not thing he provided an exclusive truth.

    I did not mention Mohammed because he was not divine, just a prophet. So he is not a Jesus like character. That's why Islam actually might make more sense that Christianity ;-)

    May I recommend that your register with blogger to give you a permanent handle. You can keep you profile hidden so nobody can find you if you don't want.


    Dave,
    mystery religions existed well before the second century. Orphism and Eleusinian Mysteries for example are ancient. Even Western style Mithraism was present 1st century BC in the Roman empire. We have written evidence and archological evidence of all of those three BC.

    Dave said..
    "if Christianity were true, and it provided the answers for life, would we not expect to see other man made religions, that were trying to provide the answers for life to spring up? In certain ways they might share similarities with Christianity. I guess the uniqueness in Christianity for me is how Jesus makes sense of everything."
    Yes, I agree with you. About life: I think other religions/philosopher give better answers/instructions to life. About after life: I guess this is anyones guess, but I don't like the ideas that one eternal punishment fits every crime including one that you did not commit.

    I can not reconsiliate that Jesus was also 100% divine but somehow died on a cross. I know Christians have speculated what happened to his consciousness during those three days... My argument is that he did not sacrifice anything he actually gained a human experience if he humanly died.

    Re dating rocks: If the Bible is correct and the earth is only about 6000 years old all laws of physics (for example speed of light) are just illusion and carbon dating would no be right or reliable. In that case you would not be able
    to rely on fossil dating either. If the shroud of Turin would show 2000 year old carbon dating result I guarantee that Christians would trust the carbon dating....
    World wide flood would not help the situation either as if you would still be able to rely on laws of physics water would not have changed the decay rate of atoms. Flood would actually introduce a lot of other problems like with no continents obstructing the tidal changes no boat of Noah would survive it. Or how do you account different species of animals and plant in different continents not mixed up. I guess you have to believe in answersingenesis model rather that CreationontheWeb model. To me it seems so improbably that law of physics have some how changed in last couple of thousand years or God created the world to look old.

    I have to say your link to genesispark.com show the dishonesty of the composer of that page. Let's look at the first couple of sentences.

    "Even many evolutionists ruefully admit that this charge is undeniable with regard to the circularity invoked in dating rock layers."
    This is wrong because observable laws of physics (atomic dacay rates) show the age of a rock. The conclusion does not relate (or prove) to the premises. Rock dating is not circular.

    "Paleontology (the study of fossils) is important in the study of geology. The age of rocks may be determined by the fossils found in them."
    and
    "Scientists determine when fossils were formed by finding out the age of the rocks in which they lie."
    Scientist can independently date fossils as well as rocks. Neither process is circular, but adds reliability to both. Presenting these sentences together makes it look like circular reasoning and to that out-of-context coupling of two sentences is lying and unexceptably by Jesus' and scientific standards. This kind of mispresentation of science makes me even more convinced that these people don't have the truth on their side. And you can find more misinformation in every paragraph.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Peter,
    It seems to me, both Marcion and Paul are receivers of gospel from Jesus. Actually I've always regarded Paul as a common Christian who preached, not much more than that. From my reading, Marcionism is two-God belief system - Jesus and Yahweh. That was Marcion's idea and intepretation. Sounds like God-Father and Son-Jesus to me. I have no reason to dispute Marcion's opinion. But I don't agree with Marcion's idea that Old Testament be rejected. Isn't Genesis part of OT? So Marcionism is not for me.

    Just briefly on what I have learned about Endogenous RetroViruses (ERV's). Two possible explanations:
    1. Human had descended from chimpanzees, carrying similar ERV's as a result.
    2. Human have always had ERV's from day one, like chimpanzees.

    Point (1) is not a proof of evolution. It merely suggests it, which is an unknown, untested process.
    Point (2) suggests ERV's were never viral infusion at all. ERV's are part and parcel of human DNA. Primates require ERV's to survive, so do human as I have learned that ERV's are actually essential to human life.

    The article uses a subtle "sleight-of-hand" tactic to improve acceptance of evolution theory by linking low probability to universal common descent. Like saying something is so unlikely to happen that if it happens at all then it must be due to common descent. This is false logic. A bit like saying a US woman who happened to look identical to an Australian woman must be borned of the same mother.

    Therefore presence of Endogenous RetroViruses in human does not prove evolution at all.

    I do not yet have time to read about 'Human chromosome 2'.

    Cheers,
    PC VER

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  37. Hi Peter!

    Inanna does not fit the bill. For starters, and I assume this will knock a few off your list, she does not claim to be the one true god! Also Inanna did not rise from the dead after three days, but was revived, and the stories relating to this hardly relate to Christianity in any way shape or form. Honi the circle drawer did not claim to be divine, but a prophet, like Mohammad. Marcion was a Christian who was declared a heretic. I am having trouble finding evidence that Tammuz fits the bill. Zoroastrians are interesting but I cannot find evidence of what they believed until well after the nation of Israel existed (though evidence of the religion is very old). It would appear that depending on what ‘branch’ you followed some believed in more than one god, in fact all of them might have from what I can determine.

    I am seeing Christianity as being more and more unique.

    Regarding the genesispark link you said, ”This kind of misrepresentation of science makes me even more convinced that these people don't have the truth on their side. And you can find more misinformation in every paragraph.”

    Even though some of the references are secular, scientific and admit to circular reasoning? oh well, worth a shot! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  38. PC VER,

    I understand you reject Marcionism, but as it is a different religion it fits the criteria you set before 100%.
    Your criteria were:
    "But can you name another faith that (1) addresses the beginning and the end; PLUS (2) claims to have Jesus-like character who walked the talk with many witness accounts; PLUS (3) demonstrates true meaning of love, as per Dave's paragraph?"
    So I think my argument still stands that you have not shown that your Christianity is unique.

    Re ERVs: Your two possibilities are not correct. What ERVs show is that chimpanzees and humans have almost all ERVs in exact same locations. Gorillas and humans also have almost all (but slightly less than chimpanzees) ERVs in the same locations. Orangutans and humans also have almost all (but slightly less than gorillas) ERVs in the same locations.
    So this shows that we have not descended from chimpanzees but all this argues for common ancestor for all great apes. How do you reconsiliate that?

    PC VER said..
    Point (2) suggests ERV's were never viral infusion at all.
    This is clearly not the case as scientists have been able to bring back to life some of the ERV viruses.

    PC VER said..
    Primates require ERV's to survive
    Could you please explain how many of these non-functioning gene sets are required to survive?

    PC VER said..
    The article uses a subtle "sleight-of-hand" tactic to improve acceptance of evolution theory by linking low probability to universal common descent. Like saying something is so unlikely to happen that if it happens at all then it must be due to common descent. This is false logic. A bit like saying a US woman who happened to look identical to an Australian woman must be borned of the same mother.

    You are using a false analogy here. Note that numerious ERV sequences are identical (~30 Million ERV base pairs identical!) and are in an identical locations. Those are "identical" not "happened to look identical". The correct analogy would be "A bit like saying a US woman who happened to be an identical twin to an Australian woman must be borned of the same mother." I would have to say you use "sleight-of-hand" by inserting "to look" in your sentence to misrepresent the issue.

    Note that article used words "indicates common ancestry" not "must be due to common descent" like you claimed. You might be overstating their claim here which could be also seen as "sleight-of-hand". If you claim the article is using "sleight-of-hand" you should present a more likely explanation to their ERV claim.

    I must say that your two possible premises are wrong, and your analysis of EVR is not sound, so you might want to revisit the issue before making conclusions.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Dave,
    I feel like you are moving the goal post. I was responding to PC VERs claim:
    "But can you name another faith that (1) addresses the beginning and the end; PLUS (2) claims to have Jesus-like character who walked the talk with many witness accounts; PLUS (3) demonstrates true meaning of love, as per Dave's paragraph?"
    So I didn't claim Inanna claimed to be one true God or Honi the circle drawer claimed to be divine. For Honi that would have been blasphemy. I don't think Tammuz will satisfy you either. I tried to point out that it is hard to find any single issue in Christianity which did not occure before making it a syncretic religion. Of course if you combine enough characteristics you can claim uniqueness. Re Zoroastrianism and one true god: I don't think Jews were monotheistic 2500 years ago either; that was a later development (that discussion could be long so perhaps better to leave it later)

    I'm surprised that you don't see parallels with Inanna and Jesus. In the critical part of both stories both were hung on upright pole (Stauros in Greek), was raised from Hell (early Christian belief) after three days by the higher divine being (Yahweh knows more that Jesus). hmmm...

    Regarding the genesispark: Could you please copy and paste here one of the secular magazine quotes that indicates circular reasoning and let's have a look at it? I think it worth checking out.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Hi Peter, perhaps I moved the goal posts, but not by all that much!

    Regarding genesispark... "It cannot be denied that from a strictly philosophical standpoint geologists are here arguing in a circle. The succession of organisms has been determined by a study of their remains embedded in the rocks, and the relative ages of the rocks are determined by the remains of organisms that they contain." (Rastall, R. H., "Geology," Encyclopedia Britannica, 1949, p. 168.)"

    As I am not very bright and something else has caught my interest on this blog, I am not sure how much I will keep going with this. You know what they say, too much of a good thing...

    Dave

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  41. Peter,

    Firstly, although barely 3 criteria were provided, Marcionism fail to be a 100% fit. Far from it. My impression is Marcionism rejects OT, hence it would reject Genesis which addressed the creation. As you mentioned earlier, Marcion was Paul-like. Paul was a receiver of gospel, not the source of gospel. Therefore Paul/Marcion could not remotely be Jesus-like. Following Marcionism would be like having faith in Jesus in terms of Marcion's opinion. Why not have faith in Jesus the way you see fit and cut out the middle men?

    Supposing you were a great God of creation. Would you have created gibbon, gorilla, chimp and human, all from the ground up, each time starting from scratch? Or you would first used the same 'mold' for all the primates, and then apply changes to each one, to make them different? Just my wild guess but I say God would be very silly to create all living things from scratch. Perhaps we do observe such a methodology which has led evolutionists to claim descendency.

    I gather many ERVs that were thought to be dead and non-functioning in the early days have been found to be functioning afterall and are essential for human life. I do not have the view that each and everything in our body must be useful to exist in us. I suppose viral infusion might have led to us possessing some useless ERVs. But why shouldn't ERVs that are essential to body functions be part of creation, not introduced at a later stage via infusion?
    Also, why wouldn't some ERVs be located in exactly same location? Perhaps they need to be located in the same location to function, whether in apes or in human. Do ERVs function if they are shifted from those locations?

    I agree I shouldn't have claimed the article to have employed "sleight-of-hand" tactic as it does provides reasonable falsication somewhere. Perhaps more of a circular reasoning, I'd say.

    Cheers,
    PC

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  42. Dave,
    You are right. I agree that Rastall's comment in Encyclopedia Britannica 1949 indicates circular reasoning. Note that the article is from the 40s and Robert Rastall died before the mass spectrometer began to be used in radiometric dating. The science has moved on from the 40s so should creationists. We shall move on to the next post as you suggested...

    ReplyDelete
  43. PC,
    Sorry if I have not been clear. I was comparing cosmic Jesus of Marcion with the Jesus of the New Testament.

    Most of the ERV are just non-functional remnants of virus that infected our ancestors. God had no need to put those in us. He had even less reason to put those exact sequenced in Humans and Apes in exactly in same places. He had even less reason to make it look like we are share the same ERVs. Note: EVRs are not needed for survival nor needed to be in same locations. ERVs would not work if shifted to different locations. In a lab people have realize the mutation in particulr ERV sequence which had made it non-functional and they have corrected it and created a functioning virus.

    I have not heard a resonable hypothesis from creationist why ERV are like they are...

    Cheers
    Peter

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  44. Peter, I have not found much about "cosmic Jesus of Marcion". Marcion is just Marcion, the same Marcion that led to Marcionism, I thought. By "cosmic Jesus of Marcion" do you actually mean "Marcion's version of Jesus"? Are you saying the NT Jesus is different from the Jesus that Marcion preached?

    Your points about ERVs are food for thought. I read somewhere some ERVs are vital to mammal's survival and some ERVs may be functional, just that we have not discovered their functions yet. Still, I accept it is possible some ERVs are useless junks.

    Does that mean God created useless junks? Perhaps not. Perhaps that is part and parcel of lifeform at a micro-level and is unavoidable. Human bodies excrete waste. Whilst human waste is useless to our body, they are useful as nutrient to lower animals/plants. Those lower animals/plants in turn generate waste that are recycled somehow, somewhere by even lower creatures. But what about a virus? What waste does a virus excrete? Perhaps at such a micro-level, there is an element of randomness that makes it impossible to constraint something to only does good and not bad. Such as, a virus good for something is bound to be bad for something else. A good virus may mutate and turn bad anyhow. I like the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle as it applies to Physics. Perhaps there is a parallel in micro-biology.

    How would you connect ERVs to evolutionary process?

    It is useful to note that retrovirus became extinct. It seems no new species were ever created due to evolution. For evolution to be true, we should be able to observe new species popping up from time to time. It seems the trend is always towards reduction of species, not an increase. What do you think?

    Cheers,
    PC

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  45. PC,
    Marcion had his own version of the Gospel. His Jesus dropped out of Heaven and started to preach in Capernaum. I think he must have been too cosmic for Roman Church.

    Wikipedia article lists thing where some ERV can be good or bad for us, some of ERVs seem to be just useless junk. God did not need to make it look like apes and us have a common ancestor and millions of identical basepairs ERVs clearly indicates that it is the case. EVRs also tells us how far apart two species are in the evolutionary tree. Common ancestory of course point to a process like evolution or God making it unnecessarily look like evolution. God could have given us 20, 40, 60 or any other number of chromosomes, but we got the same set as chimp (bar the fusion of 2).

    Did you have a change to look at the human chromosome 2?

    PC said...
    For evolution to be true, we should be able to observe new species popping up from time to time.
    But we do see new species popping up all the time. We also see new information in the DNA. People who deny this seem to have a religious agenda or their salvation in line for not accepting the observable facts.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Peter said..."God could have given us 20, 40, 60 or any other number of chromosomes, but we got the same set as chimp (bar the fusion of 2)"
    Peter, I disagree with this sentiment. The fact that humans are different from chimps is proof that there is no reason for human to have any more chromosomes.

    Peter said..."But we do see new species popping up all the time."
    Really? Please tell me more.

    Cheers,
    PC

    ps. I have not looked at human chromosome 2 yet but I will in due course, as I have found ERVs to be an interesting read.

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  47. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  48. PC said...
    "Peter, I disagree with this sentiment. The fact that humans are different from chimps is proof that there is no reason for human to have any more chromosomes."
    I don't quote understand this. Our genome is very close to chimp and our chromosomes are pretty much the same for no good divine reason. It makes sense in the evolutionary frame work or if God(s) is tricking us to believe in evolution.

    Definition: Speciation is the evolutionary process by which new biological species arise. Species are the smallest groups that are consistently and persistently distinct and distinguishable by ordinary means.

    Examples: London Underground mosquito, Lenski's e coli bacteria, Nylon eating bacteria
    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-speciation.html#part5
    has number of examples

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  49. Peter,
    If God had bothered to avoid tricking us to believe in evolution, then perhaps God ought not have created Apes in the first place.
    Let's be clear, it is unavoidable that Apes and humans must essentially be very close genetically, because we share very similar features. Although unfortunately such closeness implies evolution, it also lends support to my earlier suggestion that God might have used the same 'mold' where necessary.

    I'm quite clear ERVs do not support evolution at all. We should not look at the Phylogenetic Tree diagram and proclaim..."Aha! The diagram suggests common ancestry and evolution". This is wrong because the Phylogenetic Tree was purpose-drawn by evolutionists to give precisely that false impression in the first place. A totally non-misleading presentation would probably consists of a table of rows and columns, rather than a tree diagram. So I am tempted to again accuse evolution scientists of using "sleight of hand" in their presentations, especially after I have done some readings on "Human Chromosome 2".

    I've came across this statement: "The evidence that human chromosome 2 is a fusion of two of the common ancestor's chromosomes is overwhelming.
    Surrounding this statement are the usual massive amount of 'scientific' arguments. I quickly scanned through the text and figured the writers couldn't see the wood for the trees. There were clearly no proof, not evidence, just speculative stuff, and I'm rather frustrated. Evolution scientists are clearly not game enough to claim ERVs and/or Human Chromosome 2 prove evolution to be true. They always seem to fallback on terms like "descendency", "common ancestry".

    So I shall dispute "descendency" and "common ancestry" that evolutionists so desperately cling onto...
    First, let's assume human had descended from a chimp as a result of a chromosome fusion. How can this possibly happens? I think it is fair to make two basic (but essential) assumptions:
    (1) chromosome fusion is spontaneous and 100% complete;
    (2) the fusion takes place in a germ-line cell, (either an egg or a sperm?)

    Assumption (1) is logical because if fusion is not 100% complete and accurate then the result is likely to be a dead non-chimp/non-human. Also (2) is logical because it is not reasonable to assume chromosome fusion to gradually take place in a fully-formed chimp to turn it into a human.

    Now the scene is set for a TRUE descendency. Whooolaa...The moment evolution scientists have been eagerly waiting for...(drum roll, please) -- A chimp just gave birth to a true human baby !

    Now, will any scientist try speculating how that real human baby can survive, let alone reproduce more human babies in chimp territory?


    Cheers,
    PC

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  50. PC VER said...
    Let's be clear, it is unavoidable that Apes and humans must essentially be very close genetically

    Sorry no. Like I wrote before we did not need to have same cromosomes, same order of genes and identical needles ERV. Eye has evolved several times so no need for the same genes either.

    It thought that you will not accept what the leading theory of ERVs, so that is why I asked you what your theory is about how endogenous retrovirus got to our and great apes' DNA. Can you tell us your view please?


    PC VER said...
    This is wrong because the Phylogenetic Tree was purpose-drawn by evolutionists to give precisely that false impression in the first place. A totally non-misleading presentation would probably consists of a table of rows and columns, rather than a tree diagram.

    Are you suggesting that there is a biologist conspiracy to give false impression? I hope that it is not your theory about evolution. Could you show us and example how you would classify species to rows and columns?

    PC VER said...
    Surrounding [human chromosome 2 fusion] are the usual massive amount of 'scientific' arguments. I quickly scanned through the text and figured the writers couldn't see the wood for the trees. There were clearly no proof, not evidence, just speculative stuff

    So how do you account for extra centromeres and telomeres in the chromosome 2 and the same order of genes between humans and apes?


    PC VER said...
    A chimp just gave birth to a true human baby ! Now, will any scientist try speculating how that real human baby can survive, let alone reproduce more human babies in chimp territory?

    Now you are just creating strawmen. No scientist claim this. You might not understand the evolution you are dismissing.

    ReplyDelete
  51. Peter's said (A): "...we did not need to have same cromosomes, same order of genes and identical needles ERV"
    This is not the same as (me) saying (B): "Due to vast redundancy and near infinite combinations, human chromosomes/genes/ERVs ought to have been significantly different from apes", is it?
    I thought you might had a sound basis for statement (A), until you also said: "Eye has evolved several times so no need for the same genes either."
    Well, I seriously don't believe our eyes is a result of evolution at all.
    I think (A) lends support to both evolution and creationism alike and without further concrete evidence, no conclusion can be drawn one way or the other. Do you agree?
    There is no reason either why creation must led to very significant differentiation between apes and human described by (B). This is not logical to my mind.
    It is a known fact that Apes and humans are very close genetically. To suggest that Apes and human need not be genetically close, (although this may be true) is not fact-based, is it?

    I do not have a view on how endogenous retrovirus got to great apes' DNA. Any material I can read on the web?

    Peter said: "Are you suggesting that there is a biologist conspiracy to give false impression?"
    Yes and no. 'No' because Phylogenetic Tree is what biologists sincerely believe to be true. But 'Yes' because Phylogenetic Tree is what evolutionists falsely believe.

    It is possible to list ERVs along the columns of a table, and species down the rows. Species that have ERVs get a tick in the corresponding table cells. Within the table cells comments and references may be included. I am sure tables are used by biologists to classify species as well, but they would make very boring presentation.

    Peter said: "So how do you account for extra centromeres and telomeres in the chromosome 2 and the same order of genes between humans and apes?"
    Sorry, I didn't notice that earlier. What is the significance though?

    Peter said: "Now you are just creating strawmen. No scientist claim this. You might not understand the evolution you are dismissing."
    Correct, no scientist has claimed this. But I didn't create a strawmen per se. Evolution scientists skirt around the term "descendency" and not able to describe how evolution can actually happen through descendency. A chimp giving birth to a true human baby is unambiguously evolution by descendency. And I believe for evolution to be true, this is what must happen - cumulative results of random chances.
    I believe evolution by Speciation is impossible and the theory is false in that sense. Evolution if ever possible, can only be due to random chances. If I were to be an evolutionist, I would regard chimps giving birth to true human babies quite plausible. (No punt intended here).

    Here is the funny part - Even if one day scientists managed to genetically manipulate a fertilsed chimp egg to turn it into a human egg, the 'human' baby borned of the chimp would not be a functioning human, but more likely to be a zombie human. I believe to be a human, there is more to it than genes and chromosomes.

    ReplyDelete
  52. PC VER,
    I tried to point out the God could have given us the genes to create eyes like squids, which has the nerve wirings other way around. Our genes did not need to be like chimps, God could have created those in many different forms.

    PC VER said...
    "I think (A) lends support to both evolution and creationism alike and without further concrete evidence, no conclusion can be drawn one way or the other. Do you agree?"
    I disagree (Occam's razor). We have valid natural explanation. There is not need to invoke one type of supernatural explanation out of many supernatural event options. Just like gravity could be natural or supernatural force.

    PC VER said...
    I do not have a view on how endogenous retrovirus got to great apes' DNA. Any material I can read on the web?
    Same way as in to humans. Wikipedia article is a good starting point. I appreciate that you are studing the issue.

    PC VER said...
    It is possible to list ERVs along the columns of a table, and species down the rows. Species that have ERVs get a tick in the corresponding table cells.
    This is actually a good excercise to do, please try it. Actually biologist have done this and they quickly realised the distribution of ERV in species form branches. Example:
    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/section4.html#retroviruses
    But don't take my or biologists word for it try to put those in a meaningful presentation and see the shape of it.

    PC VER said...
    What is the significance [for extra centromeres and telomeres in the chromosome 2]?
    It shows that our chromosome was fused from ape chromosome.
    Further reading (search telomere in this page):
    http://www.thetech.org/genetics/ask.php?id=264

    PC VER said...
    Evolution scientists skirt around the term "descendency" and not able to describe how evolution can actually happen through descendency.
    A chimp giving birth to a true human baby is unambiguously evolution by descendency.
    for evolution to be true, this is what must happen - cumulative results of random chances.
    Evolution if ever possible, can only be due to random chances.
    I would regard chimps giving birth to true human babies quite plausible."


    You have clearly been reading strawmen arguments from the creations sources. Biologist don't agree with those/claim those. If you want to refute evolutions please understand it first and refute the actual argument evolutionary biologist make.

    If you are worried about how and ape with 23 chromosomes can survive with apes with 24 chromosomes you might want to take a look of the house mice populations in Madeira.

    You did not comment my speciation comments...

    So what is your explanation why ERVs are so similar with us and apes?

    ReplyDelete
  53. Peter said: "You have clearly been reading strawmen arguments from the creations sources..."
    Actually I'm not a fan of creations sources. I often have my own ideas. "chimp giving birth to a human baby" was purely my very own fabrication, to give an example how to be specific about evolutionary descendency. I doubt you'd find that on any creationist web site.

    Peter said: "If you want to refute evolutions please understand it first and refute the actual argument evolutionary biologist make."
    Have all evolutionary biologists come to an agreement on what are the actual arguments on evolution? If so, can you be specific on how apes might have evolved into human?
    I think evolution arguments are all over the place and I can hardly refute non-specific arguments.

    I have not violated Occam's razor principle. At present, creation (using the same 'mold') is my one and only high-level view on how apes and human have come to be genetically similar.

    Peter said: "God could have given us the genes to create eyes like squids...Our genes did not need to be like chimps"
    Hmmm...I suppose if you were the God of creation you might had done that. Not sure why you suggest human can have squid's eyes though. May be evolutionists believe human with eyes like squids in the past might evolved to human with eyes that we have today. Then all eyes problems solved, right?

    I have not addressed a few issues such as speciation, partly due to lack of time and the speed you raised them (eg. house mice in Madeira). But somehow I sense those are mere red herrings. I would prefer to target precisely where our doubts lie, rather than going in all tangents.
    This is because I notice you're quite hung up on (i) similarity between apes and human. (ii) how apes got their ERVs in the first place. You have not provided a view yet have you? I would appreciate if you can tell me what's the consensus view of most evolutionary biologists on those.
    BTW, I am not terribly bothered about those issues. Just so you know, I believe in a short human history. However it's a different story with anything else.

    ReplyDelete
  54. PC VER said...
    I think evolution arguments are all over the place and I can hardly refute non-specific arguments.
    That is why I offered only two arguments ERVs and Human Chromosome 2. You have so far dismissed ERVs and that does not mean you have refuted it. The point here is not to refute the arguments, but to give a better explanation of what the evidence tell us. I did not want to go on all different directions so let stay on those two issues.

    My view: I am aware of the overwheling facts of evolution. Chimps, Neandertals and humans have a common ancestor. I'm happy to change my mind if someone comes up with a better explanation or a better falsifiable theory. I would guess
    over 99.9 percent of the biologists "believe" in evolution. I have seen even higher number quoted, but I not sure.

    PC VER said...
    I have not violated Occam's razor principle [re evolution and creationism].
    Well then equally valid argument is the Elohim created Yahweh and Yahweh created everything. Occam's razor just shaves all Gods when we have a valid natural theory. (creation -> theistic evolution -> evolution)

    I refered to the squid eye and Madeira mice because they are well known examples in the evolution/creation arguments. Biologists say that squid and human eyes evolved separately; squid eye has more logical design which enables higher performing eyes. If you really think I offer red herrings just ignore those. And trust me creationists use "chimp giving birth to a human baby" arguments all the time.

    ReplyDelete
  55. All 99.99% of biologists believing in evolution is not necessary positive. In logic terms, there is no reason why 100% of a population cannot all be wrong. I certainly trust mathematicians, physicists and chemists much more than any biologist.

    I'm happy for us to narrow down our discussions to ERVs and Human Chromosome 2 to establish a viewpoint on those.

    This is really about evolution, not creation. Evolution theory is material science and that demands material proof of claims. It's just not good enough claiming human and apes share main ancestry. What does descendency mean? What would constitute an evidence and a proof?
    How about you start by stating the minimum requirement for a non-anecdotal evidence?

    Or, how about I start by asking for fossil evidence that some apes started to walk a lot more than climbing trees? (Please ignore this if it sounds silly).

    ReplyDelete
  56. PC VER,
    I agree that headcount does not prove anything, but we must consider the arguments. So let's let's stick with ERVs and Human Chromosome 2 until we go the possible fossil evidences. I mentioned before that Scientific theory is never "proven", but it can be disproved. To establish the theory of evolution understanding that human and apes had a common ancestor species around 6M years ago is a good start. Or disproving it would go a long way to show our understanding of evolution is wrong.

    PC VER said...
    How about you start by stating the minimum requirement for a non-anecdotal evidence
    Indipendently repeatable or observable test is not always conclusive but a good start. (known problem: Science based and evidence based medicine)
    There could also be borderline cases [my opinion, disputable] like can mobile phones interfere with airplane electronics. There is plenty of anecdotial evidence and I think there is a scientic base and possible method to assume it. Some skeptics like Myth Buster or Skeptoid disagree...
    I often use wikipedia to check the meaning of the words and it defines "Anecdotal evidence" better that I can. I accept your definition if it is from a dictionary or a similar source. Sorry to be vague.

    ReplyDelete
  57. What can possibly cause genetic changes to occur in apes, to cause them to be more human-like?
    Am I right there are only two possibilities in evolutionary biology, (1) speciation; (2) random chances?

    I would imagine (1) is definitely testable. Do you agree?
    I quickly scanned through http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-speciation.html#part5
    Simplistically speaking, there have been many experiments mixing different plants to produce tangible hybrids. Though not mentioned, I thought plum, apricot, peach have all been hybridized, interbred. What about seedless grapes? Where does this take us in terms of speciation? Probably not much, other demonstrating we can play mix and match with many plants, possibly 'create' something new out of something old if we are smart. (Notice the word 'create').
    I guess plant lives by nature are slow and their genetic materials are more pliable and can be manipulated more easily.
    Then the article moves to animals. But it's all simpler life-forms such as houseflies; fruit flies; flour beetles; and mostly interbreeding related. Is there any one example that stands out?

    Rather, I found something quite interesting on Three-spined stickleback:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three-spined_stickleback
    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/05/080520-fish-evolution_2.html

    You may take note of the article comment: "Having a lot of genetic variation in the population means that if the environment changes, there may be some gene variant that does better in that new environment, and so nature selects for it,"
    So far it's all about species that are compatibles can be intermixed, plus natural selection. The description about Three-spined stickleback makes for an interesting read but still the special ability of the fish is just what it already possesses genetically. Any comments?

    Trying to move discussion towards speciation in apes, of course....

    ReplyDelete
  58. Let me summarise my high-level understanding about Three-spined sticklebacks fish.
    There are at least eight species of sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus). They lifespan is approx 3 years. They are very genetically diversified and very important to evolutionary studies on speciation because when brought from salt water to freshwater environment, the fish population is able to rapidly, (in less than 20 years) diverge into many sub-species. Some sub-species tend not to interbreed. Though there is no intrinsic barriers to interbreeding, the rate of interbreeding can be very low. If interbreeding occurs, the offspring is found to be less effective foragers than either parental form, unable to efficiently exploit limnetic or benthic resources.

    ReplyDelete
  59. I spent a bit of time finding out about squid's eyes.
    Squid's eyes are very similar to human's eyes. But unlike human eyes, visual nerves are behind retina in a squid's eye. The advantage is better vision and no blind spot.
    Why won't God have created humans with eyes like a squid?
    My curent thinking is squid's eyes do not last as long as human's eyes. In human eyes, although the visual nerves cause a blind spot to exist, the nerves also form a layer of protection for the retina. (Just my guess because at present I cannot find an article that claims this).
    The lifespan of a giant squid may be up to 5 years. But human's eyes need to last a lot longer than that.

    ReplyDelete
  60. PC VER,
    The evolutionary change has four basic mechanisms: Mutation, Migration/Gene flow, Genetic drift and natural selection.

    sticklebacks fish is interesting but I also like the ring species; Larus gulls:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ring_species
    The greenish warbler:
    http://www.zoology.ubc.ca/~irwin/GreenishWarblers.html
    or geographically sepatated species like spotted Owl:
    http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/evo101/VC1fEvidenceSpeciation.shtml

    PC VER said...
    My curent thinking is squid's eyes do not last as long as human's eyes... the nerves also form a layer of protection for the retina.. (Just my guess because at present I cannot find an article that claims this). The lifespan of a giant squid may be up to 5 years. But human's eyes need to last a lot longer than that.

    Human The optical nerves can not go over the photoreceptor cells, so they can not protect the retina. Nerves just take valuable space there. I don't think the eye is the limiting factor of squid's life and God could have anyways created a long lasting squid eyes if needed. You might be better of studing a subject first and then making up your mind. I get the feeling that you make a guess and try to find article based on that. Anyways good to see that you are reading a lot.

    ReplyDelete
  61. I have quickly visited the links you provided. Altogether with sticklebacks fish; ring species; Larus gulls;...spotted owls; (and so on), I see a consistent misleading argument that cause evolutionists into thinking that speciation; gene flow; genetic drift; natural selection, are all evidence of evolution.

    One key assumption/definition is that two distinct species do not interbreed.

    Let's think about West Siberian greenish warblers (viridanus) and East Siberian greenish warblers (plumbeitarsus), that are regarded as two different species of warblers because (i) they are highly distinct genetically; (ii) they do not interbreed.

    Does this prove some evolutionary mechanisms have created two species of warblers? Is this an evidence of evolution?

    Not at all !

    Firstly, both viridanus and plumbeitarsus are just greenish warblers, each 'species' is a genetic sub-set of the 'original' warblers. There is not a gene created that is new to the 'original' warblers. Do you agree?

    I bet viridanus and plumbeitarsus are 'bio-compatible'. Even if they refuse to mate, efforts to artificially cross-inseminate them will be successful and the hybrid offsprings will just be warblers birds that possess genes from both parent birds. Do you agree?

    My point is, due to genetic drift/flow, (whatever you call it) viridanus and plumbeitarsus are genetically 'programmed' to 'dislike' each other. But this does not mean they are 'bio-incompatible' with each other. They simply do not know how to overcome some sort of *prejudices*, like humans are capable of doing. (I think if whites and blacks never ever inter-marry & have sex, there would be a ground for labelling them as two distinct human species also).

    My point is, whether different greenish warblers interbreed is not even a valid criterion for labelling them as different species. The same applies to two-spined sticklebacks fish and all ring 'species'.

    Speciation; gene flow; genetic drift and natural selection result in different species as evidence of evolution? I don't think so. Perhaps more correctly, the word 'variants' should be used, instead of 'species'.

    Am I telling biologists that they are wrong? Yes, I probably am. Am I qualified? They wouldn't think so, would they?

    BTW, I did not say squid's eyes is the limiting factor of squid's life. It is kind of other way around - Squids do not require eyes that last more than their maximum life span.

    ReplyDelete
  62. PC VER said...
    I see a consistent misleading argument that cause evolutionists into thinking that speciation; gene flow; genetic drift; natural selection, are all evidence of evolution.

    What is the misleading information? What would then prove evolution to you?

    PC VER said...
    Even if [warblers] refuse to mate, efforts to artificially cross-inseminate them will be successful and the hybrid offsprings will just be warblers birds that possess genes from both parent birds. Do you agree?

    Sure, those are just becoming/have become new species. Wait a while you will have different resulst; horse - donkey -> mostly infertile mule; camel - llama -> cama; Madeira house mice. We see this everywhere in the nature.

    How do you define speciation?

    ReplyDelete
  63. I accept a simple definition: Speciation = The process of biological species formation.

    It seems to me by design/default, different species only breed with their own kinds. This does not mean they cannot interbreed - we can force them to interbreed (to satisfy our selfish curiosity, if nothing else). But firstly, successful hybridization does not prove evolution. It is more like creation than evolution. Yes, *creation*.

    To claim that different species have been evolved through speciation is even worst.

    Strictly speaking, all species and sub-species of two-spined sticklebacks fish are actually variants of one species. The same goes for all ring species. Frankly, I believe speciation, by its simplest definition, has never happened because no true new species have ever been created, only variants of the same species are created. It so happened some variants do not like each other and so they do not interbreed.

    If biologists define 'species' in such a way that allow them to claim evolution to be proven then that's "sleight of hand", not science.

    Still I believe most biologists do not intentionally mislead us. They are sincere, but sincerely wrong on speciation and evolution.

    ReplyDelete
  64. You use a lot of creationist words considering your are not a fan of creations sources. What is a "kind"? Are human and chimps the same "kind" like camels and llamas?

    What do you think we should do with biologists who use "sleight of hand", are not "sincere", don't do science and mislead us? Should government fire all biologists and/or evolutionists they employ? Surely we do not what to pay people who mislead us...

    So what is your explanation why ERVs are so similar with us and apes?
    So how do you account for extra centromeres and telomeres in the chromosome 2 and the same order of genes between humans and apes?

    ReplyDelete
  65. It seems biology can be subjective among the crowd of evolutionist biologists and studies of biology staddle between science and art somewhat. I think biologists need to re-think the definition of 'species' as the word applies to ring species. Whether two 'species' interbreed may not even be relevant.

    Well, in a secular country, evolutionist biologists have the upper hand over creationists. This is just the way things are. I imagine in many fundamentalist religious countries, scientists that do not tow a religious line are not allowed to exist. We don't want that here, I'm sure.
    But the disdain and false impression most people have towards creationists & Christianity is a concern and need addressing.

    I will think about your questions on ERVs and chromosome 2 a bit more later.

    ReplyDelete
  66. In case my procrastination is seen as quitting...

    I have gone out to seek some wisdom from where it is fast, furious and possibly very scary.

    http://www.evcforum.net/cgi-bin/dm.cgi?action=msg&f=9&t=79&m=61

    I should post my finding when I'm satisfied with one.

    Don't be surprised that I may repeat over there much of what I have written in this blog.

    ReplyDelete
  67. PC VER,
    Good to see that you are studing it and it is always good to get second (and third) opinion..

    ReplyDelete

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