Monday, October 07, 2013

Response to JaclynGlenn's Response to Ray Comfort

JaclynGlenn attempts to respond to Ray Comfort (link - caution, profanity and blasphemy). Once you weed through the profanity, blasphemy, and assorted name-calling and insults, there is actually very little to JaclynGlenn's comments, aside from an unsubstantiated assertion that Mr. Comfort is somehow opposed to logic.

Let's address her points:

1) Alleged Evidence of Speciation

JaclynGlenn complains that birds and salamanders changing into other kinds of birds and salamanders is an example of speciation and consequently it should be accepted as evidence of Darwinian evolution. What JaclynGlenn seems to be missing is that if this is the best evidence for speciation, we're not very impressed. Part of that is because "species" lines tend to be drawn pretty fluidly, and these variations could easily be seen as variation within species, rather than generation of new species.

2) "Nothing Made Everything"

JaclynGlenn says she does not "believe" this, and she would change her mind if scientists told her something else. It's not really clear whether JaclynGlenn just doesn't understand that she's placing her trust in scientists, or whether she only uses "believe" pejoratively.

3) "Long Term Changes Not Observable"

JaclynGlenn's point is well taken - but it cuts the opposite of the way she thinks. It doesn't provide an excuse for scientists - it simply underscores the fact that Darwinian evolution is not scientific.

4) "Tiny Differences Between Humans and Chimps"

JaclynGlenn thinks Ray Comfort should have said "tens of millions of bases" instead of "hundreds of millions of bases" of differences. JaclynGlenn responds that this is still only a 1.5% (rounding up) difference. JaclynGlenn seems to think this is significant, suggesting that the genetic difference between humans and chimps is 10 times less than between a rat and a mouse.

Again, I'm not sure JaclynGlenn realizes the problem. The problem is not simply the magnitude of the differences as a percentage of the whole, but the magnitude of the differences in absolute terms.

Keep in mind also that genetics is still a young field. One frequently cited number says that about 98% of the human genome is "non-coding" or "junk" DNA. While the 1% number was previously used, other studies suggest 4% (see here). Moreover, it is sometimes unclear whether the 1% is as fraction of the whole genome or only of the coding part (i.e. the part thought to be functional). Finally, newer studies are casting doubt on the idea that the "non-coding" DNA is not functional.

5) "Fossil in the Wrong Geological/Geographical? Location"

JaclynGlenn refers to the possibility of evolution being proven wrong by a fossil being found in the wrong "geographical position" (I assume she means the wrong geological position in the rock layers). She claims this hasn't happened yet.

Apparently, JaclynGlenn is unaware of the coelacanths, which were thought to have been extinct for 65 million years based on the fossils, but were discovered to be still living today. Of course, for philosophical naturalists, this didn't blow evolution out of the water - and it won't for JaclynGlenn when she reads this, because she's committed to trying to explain everything without reference to the Creator.

Response to Jason Reed's Apostasy Story

Jason Reed recently joined Rome's communion. Because he's served as a seminary professor at Southern Evangelical Seminary, his apostasy to Rome's communion has made waves in certain circles. Mike Schulte was kind enough to post a 56 minute video that includes a recent talk given by Jason, in which he explains his move.

No summary of Reed's story will be fully fair to all its nuances, but it appears Reed never could explain why Roman Catholicism is contrary to Scripture and enjoyed Thomas Aquinas' Summa Theologica when introduced to it as seminary student. Thus, when he was surrounded by Roman Catholic professors, intellectual Roman Catholic peers in grad school, and Roman Catholic family, he found justifications for making a move to Rome.

In more detail (all time stamps are approximate):