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Don McIntosh
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 29, 2019 5:52 pm  Why Evolutionary Theory Is Fundamentally Flawed Reply with quote

The explanatory logic of evolution, at least as it's commonly stated, fails because it assumes (wrongly) that what is true of the parts of a complex system may be validly inferred to hold for the whole as well. Thus my argument:

1. Evolution posits that the function of any complex biological system can be adequately explained as the accumulation of countless minor functional adaptations of its individual components.
2. To say that a characteristic of the whole system can be adequately explained in terms of a characteristic of its individual components is to say that a whole is equal to the sum of its parts.
3. To say that a whole is equal to the sum of its parts is to commit the fallacy of composition.
4. Evolution is a fallacy.

Note that I am not suggesting that all inferences from parts to whole fail to hold, but that the line of reasoning is fallacious on its face because in fact many such inferences do fail to hold. Given that specifiably complex biological systems are structurally heterogenous, there is no prima facie reason to think that what is true of the parts will be true of the whole. Evolution theorists therefore bear the burden of proof, namely, to explain why anyone should expect such an inference to hold in the case of specifiably complex systems.

Read the entire paper here:
https://www.academia.edu/38735629/Black_Box_Logic_Why_Evolutionary_Theory_Is_Fun...

Questions for debate: Is evolutionary theory a fallacy? If so, does that make it false?
Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 11: Wed May 01, 2019 9:46 am
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[Replying to post 7 by Don McIntosh]

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More like, "microevolution is an observable fact, macroevolution is not." And why the scare quotes? Professional scientists, including biologists, use the terms microevolution and macroevolution routinely, for good reason: there are important qualitative, not merely quantitative, differences between the two.


So called "macroevolution" is observable (eg. fish to amphibian, ape to human, and many other examples). ToE doesn't distinguish between the two though as "macroevolution" is simply enough "microevolution" over enough time to create a new species. It is an artificial delineation most often used by people who don't support ToE, so I put the terms in quotes for that reason.

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Well...right. You disagree that scientific theories interpret data?


Of course not, but it is a standard tactic for anti-evolutionists, or creationists (not suggesting that you are a creationist, but it is also true for that group) to make the claim that the differences between their view, and mainstream science, is due to different interpretations of the same data. If data is so ambiguous that it can be interpreted that differently then it is not conclusive data. For example, one participant here (a creationist) likes to discredit radiometric dating saying it is simply a specific interpretation of the data. But the half lives of the isotopes most commonly used for radiometric dating are not open to interpretation ... they can be measured precisely and are not ambiguous. So it is not a valid criticism of radiometric dating but is commonly used by people who don't like the idea that the Earth is 4.6 billion years old.

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Interesting that you sidestepped my core argument, though, that the explanatory logic of evolution is demonstrably fallacious. Here it is again:


I agree with DI and Bust Nak that your description is not an example of a fallacy of composition.

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You may recall that I then cited biologist Ken Miller, who argued: "If each of the intermediate stages can be favored by natural selection, then so can the whole pathway." Do you agree with that statement?


I would argue that the statement is not something one can agree with or not. It is observed both that intermediate steps happen, and that whole pathways happen. So there is clearly a mechanism that supports this observation. If you're asking whether I believe that mechanism to be ToE by natural selection, then I'd say yes because it is consistent with that theory.

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What I am looking for is an explanation (other than coincidence) for the emergence of specifiably complex biological systems, an explanation that is not transparently illogical. Now I'm not saying evolution is impossible, and your statement wrt the finch may well be true: "Eventually a bird body plan developed that contained the usual mix of functional parts (heart, brain, eyes, legs, wings) and a certain combination of these we call a finch."

But this "usual mix" is precisely the sort of systematic complexity that still cries for an explanation. After all, a nervous system can't do much apart from a circulatory system, respiratory system, etc., and so for the other systems with respect to the others. To simply assert that "eventually a plan developed..." is no more an explanation than "one day it all just kind of came together..." Again, the problem is that you're invoking natural selection to pick out and preserve not just the odd mutated characteristic here or there, but the entire functional system of parts working in tandem: heart, brain, eyes, legs, wings.


This is what I tried to illustrate with the ganglia to brain sequence, and the finch comment. None of the items that work in tandem (heart, brain, eyes, etc.) came about in their final forms in any one creature. The fact that they all exist in most modern animals and work in tandem is the result of starting with an organism that had none of them, and each organ developing over very long periods of time. You seem to be starting with a modern animal which has all of these parts, working in tandem (the result of hundreds of millions of years of evolution), and suggesting that they developed willy-nilly by chance in some grand plan to develop, for example, a finch.

That is not how ToE works. If a population of single-celled organisms all lived in a small pond that was only half illuminated with sunlight during the day, and that energy was useful for their survival and reproduction, then it would obviously be beneficial to be able to get into the sunlight. But with no means of locomotion their only chance would be to drift or be blown by the wind into the sunlit area. If some mutation happened that created a light-sensitive molecule in a small group of these organisms, that could signal that they were in the sunlight, and possibly which direction it was in. Maybe another mutation led to a simple propulsion mechanism (eg. a flagellum) that allowed them to maneuver and stay within the sunlit area because the energy from being there was detectable. These kinds of very slow developments of new functions can eventually develop into more complex functions and features (eg. light sensitive molecules, to light patches, to cupped light patches giving directional information, then eventually modern eyes). Nerves can bundle together to make more complex nervous systems, ganglia develop into more complicated structures and eventually brains, etc. When blood vessels get sufficiently numerous and long some kind of pump is necessary to move blood through them and a simple contraction and relaxation of muscles developed into a more advanced pump (a heart), etc.

The point is that all of these organs working in tandem in a modern animal did not start that way. Each one of them evolved from a far simpler version with minimal functionality, and over very long periods of time and many thousands of generations and differentiations, the complex organizations we see today arose. So I would argue that "the sort of systematic complexity that still cries for an explanation" has that explanation ... slow development over time starting with extremely simple precursors, with natural selection causing the beneficial items to persist and become more complex and specialized along the way.

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How then can I get past that stumbling block?


Read Dawkin's "The Ancestor's Tale", then follow an example there forward rather than backwards as he did. You will see that the various complex organs working in tandem started as far simpler versions of themselves and over time developed into the mix of common organs that all tetrapods (for example) have today. This group of animals all have the same basic set of body parts (brain, heart, eyes, skeleton, nerve and blood systems, etc.). They are arranged very differently to create the various modern animals, but the fact that these core organs and systems are present across a large chunk of the animal kingdom is just further support for ToE.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 12: Wed May 01, 2019 11:23 am
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Bust Nak wrote:

Don McIntosh wrote:

3. To say that a whole is equal to the sum of its parts is to commit the fallacy of composition.

That's an odd way of describing the fallacy of composition, the fallacy is assuming a feature of one member applies to all members of a set. Does that amount to saying the whole is the sum of the parts?

Mine may not be the most common way to describe the fallacy of composition, but it's not unheard of. I phrased it that way to stress the fallacy with respect to a whole system, specifically a functionally complex biological system. I explained that in my paper already, but will address it further.

Logicians like Irving Copi have maintained that there are two distinct versions of the fallacy of composition: "A whole like a machine, a house, or a wall has its parts organized in certain definite ways. And since organized wholes and mere collections are distinct, so are the two versions of the composition fallacy, one proceeding invalidly to wholes from their parts, the other proceeding invalidly to collections from their members or elements."

That's from an old textbook on my shelf (Copi's 1979 edition of Introduction to Logic), but here's at least one relevant source accessible online:

https://scholar.uwindsor.ca/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=&httpsredir=1&ar...

Gough & Daniel appear to agree with Copi on the distinction mentioned above: "When considering aggregates it is important to recognise that there are different kinds of aggregates. A distinction between a 'mere collection' and an 'organised whole' helps to make this point. A collection of drops of water constitutes a pool or puddle of water whereas not every collection of notes is a melody."

The authors go on to cite philosopher Trudy Govier, who argues that the fallacy of composition occurs when "the reasoning ignores structural distinctions between parts and wholes. A whole is often something over and above the sum of its parts, because it is characterised by elements in particular relationships.” So again I wasn't too far out in left field to maintain that a structural whole is "more than," or as Govier says, "over and above," the sum of its parts. The authors go on to argue (as I have argued in my paper), that the composition fallacy occurs when the structure in question is demonstrably heterogenous: "Although homogenous wholes are not always different in character from their parts, with heterogenous aggregates, the sum may be greater than the parts." In the case of certain biological systems, a structurally dependent function (like vision) clearly gives it away that the sum is indeed greater than the parts.


Quote:
Either way, the meat of your argument doesn't hold because scientific theories aren't presented as a deductive proof in the first place. Uniformitarianism is what that article is really attacking, of whether we can apply what we observe here and now, to another time or elsewhere. The thing is, uniformitarianism is taken for granted as the metaphysical principles underpinning all science.

In other words, "it assumes (wrongly) that what is true of the parts of a complex system may be validly inferred to hold for the whole as well..." applies to all of science. Are you ready to discard all of science by rejecting its very premise?

Interesting. I wrote the article, and uniformitarianism was the furthest thing from my mind. No, what I was attacking was a form of explanatory logic that is clearly fallacious.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 13: Wed May 01, 2019 12:00 pm
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Divine Insight wrote:

Don McIntosh wrote:

1. Evolution posits that the function of any complex biological system can be adequately explained as the accumulation of countless minor functional adaptations of its individual components.
2. To say that a characteristic of the whole system can be adequately explained in terms of a characteristic of its individual components is to say that a whole is equal to the sum of its parts.
3. To say that a whole is equal to the sum of its parts is to commit the fallacy of composition.
4. Evolution is a fallacy.


Your claim #3 is false. This is not the fallacy of composition.

According to Wiki the fallacy of composition is the following:

Quote:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallacy_of_composition
The fallacy of composition arises when one infers that something is true of the whole from the fact that it is true of some part of the whole (or even of every proper part). For example: "This tire is made of rubber, therefore the vehicle to which it is a part is also made of rubber." This is fallacious, because vehicles are made with a variety of parts, many of which may not be made of rubber.

Please take the time to carefully read my reply to Bust Nak on this.


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Evolution has absolutely nothing at all to do with the fallacy of composition. In fact, evolution actually says quite the opposite. Evolution shows that more complex behaviors and properties can arise that were not previously possible with just the parts alone. So evolution is saying just the opposite of the fallacy of composition.

What a terrible argument. When you say that on evolution various things "can arise that were not previously possible with just the parts alone," you merely confirm that whole systems are often more than the sum of their parts, which is just what I have been saying. But you fail to supply any sort of valid evolutionary explanation for the construction of specifiably complex systems, while my argument is that the evolutionary explanation for those systems is fallacious. Evidently there is more to those systems than the simple accumulation of so many selectively advantageous mutations.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 14: Thu May 02, 2019 3:31 am
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Don McIntosh wrote:

... So again I wasn't too far out in left field to maintain that a structural whole is "more than," or as Govier says, "over and above," the sum of its parts... In the case of certain biological systems, a structurally dependent function (like vision) clearly gives it away that the sum is indeed greater than the parts.

Is it though? If one can explain each component of the vision system via evolution, have one not explained the whole visual system?

Quote:
Interesting. I wrote the article, and uniformitarianism was the furthest thing from my mind. No, what I was attacking was a form of explanatory logic that is clearly fallacious.

Okay, I got the wrong end of the stick here. I thought you meant if one has explained a whole bunch of animal via evolution, then we still cannot conclude that all organisms can be explained by evolution.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 15: Thu May 02, 2019 12:30 pm
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Don McIntosh wrote:

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Evolution has absolutely nothing at all to do with the fallacy of composition. In fact, evolution actually says quite the opposite. Evolution shows that more complex behaviors and properties can arise that were not previously possible with just the parts alone. So evolution is saying just the opposite of the fallacy of composition.

What a terrible argument. When you say that on evolution various things "can arise that were not previously possible with just the parts alone," you merely confirm that whole systems are often more than the sum of their parts, which is just what I have been saying.


They are not more than the sum of their parts. They simply have properties that none of their parts alone could possess alone. This is a well-know fact of the nature of all the elements.

Don McIntosh wrote:

But you fail to supply any sort of valid evolutionary explanation for the construction of specifiably complex systems, while my argument is that the evolutionary explanation for those systems is fallacious. Evidently there is more to those systems than the simple accumulation of so many selectively advantageous mutations.


Your argument is simple wrong. It's clearly based on an ignorance of what the theory of evolution actually has to say.

Also the Theory of Evolution (which is just an explanation for how evolution actually occurs) never suggests that it was a predetermined goal of evolution to create an specific complex system. To the contrary, it simple states that complex systems that do arise and contribute to their own survival will survive. Period.

So there is no fallacy in the Theory of Evolution as you have mistakenly claimed.

Your entire argument is based on the premise that you have discovered a fallacy in the theory of evolution, which you most certainly have not done.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 16: Thu May 02, 2019 12:46 pm
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[Replying to post 5 by DrNoGods]

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Then a "god did it" alternative is offered. The biggest problem with the "god did it" explanation as an alternative (along with DI's points in his post) is that no god being has ever been shown to exist. Not one of the thousands of god beings that humans have invented over the millennia has been seen, heard or observed to exist in any form at any point in history. So although a being with the properties given to most god concepts could certainly do "anything", including creating all the biological creatures on Earth, there is no reason to believe that such beings exist to actually do the creating. It is a convenient explanation for virtually anything.


If you want to go here we can go here.

1st. There is only one theory that gives a universe in which everyone reading this is a real, individual, conscious person is one in which God created everything.

2nd Jesus claimed to be God and was raised from the dead. If this is not true then we can know nothing about the past. Because the evidence that we have of this is better than any other evidence anything that have happen in the ancient past.

3. People like, Paul and the pharisee would never have followed Jesus unless He rose from the Dead.

4. People did not deny Jesus' miracles but how he did them.

Since Jesus was raised from the dead, that means Jesus is God and that creation actually happen.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 17: Thu May 02, 2019 12:57 pm
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[Replying to post 4 by Divine Insight]

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No it's not. In fact, evolution theory (which is just an explanation of how evolution has occurred), is backed up by overwhelming physical evidence that cannot be denied, and hasn't been credibly denied by proponents of "Intelligent Design Speculation"


Why then was Punctuated equilibrium developed? I believe it was because no transitional forms were found.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 18: Thu May 02, 2019 1:24 pm
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EarthScienceguy wrote:

[Replying to post 4 by Divine Insight]

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No it's not. In fact, evolution theory (which is just an explanation of how evolution has occurred), is backed up by overwhelming physical evidence that cannot be denied, and hasn't been credibly denied by proponents of "Intelligent Design Speculation"


Why then was Punctuated equilibrium developed? I believe it was because no transitional forms were found.


So what? Punctuated equilibrium is not being held out to be a proven scientific fact. It's simply a plausible and quite reasonable explanation for why an extremely detailed record would not likely be found in fossilized form.

By the way, there are plenty of transitional fossils so to claim that no transitional forms were found is a false claim.

EarthScienceguy wrote:

1st. There is only one theory that gives a universe in which everyone reading this is a real, individual, conscious person is one in which God created everything.


This is false. There is no credible theory that any God exists or that any God created anything.

EarthScienceguy wrote:

2nd Jesus claimed to be God and was raised from the dead. If this is not true then we can know nothing about the past. Because the evidence that we have of this is better than any other evidence anything that have happen in the ancient past.


This is also false. There is no credible evidence that any of the tales told about Jesus are anything more than hearsay gossip and superstition.

EarthScienceguy wrote:

3. People like, Paul and the pharisee would never have followed Jesus unless He rose from the Dead.


A ridiculous claim. There are religious fanatics today who are just as fanatical about their beliefs yet they cannot know anything for certain. So this is just normal human behavior by radical fanatics.


EarthScienceguy wrote:

4. People did not deny Jesus' miracles but how he did them.


Not true. In fact, there is clearly historical evidence that many of the miracles claimed to have been performed by Jesus were in fact, never performed by anyone.

EarthScienceguy wrote:

Since Jesus was raised from the dead, that means Jesus is God and that creation actually happen.


You don't know that Jesus was raised from the dead. All you have to go by are rumors that not only contradict each other, but in many cases they even contain self-contradictory claims.

In fact, if there any credible evidence for the existence of Jesus and all the rumors that surround him theists wouldn't need to be desperately trying to disprove evolution. Instead, they could just produce their crystal clear evidence of their claims about Jesus.

We know they can't do that because they can't even agree among themselves. It's not like there is one unified "Christianity" that has a single clear story about Jesus. Even the Christians themselves are in grave disagreements concerning these ancient fables.

So there's nothing here. This most certainly does not represent a credible theory of creation. All it does is stand in grave denial of reality.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 19: Thu May 02, 2019 1:27 pm
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EarthScienceguy wrote:

[Replying to post 4 by Divine Insight]

Quote:
No it's not. In fact, evolution theory (which is just an explanation of how evolution has occurred), is backed up by overwhelming physical evidence that cannot be denied, and hasn't been credibly denied by proponents of "Intelligent Design Speculation"


Why then was Punctuated equilibrium developed? I believe it was because no transitional forms were found.


That's wrong. It's not because no transitional forms were found, but rather because every possible transitional form has not been found. Neither should we expect to find every possible transitional form.

If that's your argument against evolution, then you have no credible argument.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 20: Thu May 02, 2019 3:09 pm
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[Replying to post 18 by Divine Insight]

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So what? Punctuated equilibrium is not being held out to be a proven scientific fact. It's simply a plausible and quite reasonable explanation for why an extremely detailed record would not likely be found in fossilized form.

By the way, there are plenty of transitional fossils so to claim that no transitional forms were found is a false claim.


Do you mean all of those transitional forms before the Cambrian explosion that we find? Do you mean all of those transitional forms?

You could not possible find any papers saying that there were transitional forms leading into the cambrian explosion.


EarthScienceguy wrote:

Quote:
1st. There is only one theory that gives a universe in which everyone reading this is a real, individual, conscious person is one in which God created everything.


This is false. There is no credible theory that any God exists or that any God created anything.


Did you even read my 1st?

There is not a THEORY except for creation that leads to a universe as we perceive it.




Quote:
2nd Jesus claimed to be God and was raised from the dead. If this is not true then we can know nothing about the past. Because the evidence that we have of this is better than any other evidence anything that have happen in the ancient past.


This is also false. There is no credible evidence that any of the tales told about Jesus are anything more than hearsay gossip and superstition.


Why did Paul become a believer then?
Why did pharisees become Christians?

Quote:
(Gary Habermas) In the summer of 2012, Gary wrote in the Southeastern Theological Review, "by beginning with a 'lowest common denominator' version of the facts. If I am correct in holding that this basis is still enough to settle the most pressing historical issues, then it is indeed a crucial contribution to the discussions. We will return below to some ramifications here. Regarding my references to the 'vast majority' or 'virtually all' scholars who agree, is it possible to identify these phrases in more precise terms? In some contexts, I have identified these expressions more specifically. At least when referencing the most important historical occurrences, I frequently think in terms of a ninety-something percentile head-count. No doubt, this is one of the reasons why the concept has gained some attention.

"My bibliography is presently at about 3400 sources and counting, published originally in French, German, or English. Initially I read and catalogued the majority of these publications, charting the representative authors, positions, topics, and so on, concentrating on both well-known and obscure writers alike, across the entire skeptical to liberal to conservative spectrum. As the number of sources grew, I moved more broadly into this research, trying to keep up with the current state of resurrection research. He said this again at William Lane Craig's "On Guard" conference, "1 Corinthians is one of six to eight books all accredited critical scholars accept. You can count the exception on two hands, probably one hand. I have 3400 sources in a bibliography from 1975 to the present (2012). When I say you can count the guys on one hand who disagree with this it is not very many. They believe Paul is the best source, and 1 Corinthians is one of the most dependable sources. They allow 1 Corinthians and Galatians. Both are on the accepted list. Bart Ehrman says they are the authentic Pauline epistle. So does most everybody else. Whatever you write, these two books are allowed [indicating Paul's genuine belief]. Paul is writing a mere [no more than] 25 years later. That is incredible. We have no other founder of a major world religion who has miracles reported of him within a generation."



EarthScienceguy wrote:

Quote:
3. People like, Paul and the pharisee would never have followed Jesus unless He rose from the Dead.

A ridiculous claim. There are religious fanatics today who are just as fanatical about their beliefs yet they cannot know anything for certain. So this is just normal human behavior by radical fanatics.


Gary said in a 2009 Ankerberg video, "If we start with the cross approximately 30 AD and call that ground zero, 1 Corinthians 15 checks in at about 55 AD whatever the writer, conservative or not conservative, we have 25 years. In ancient historiography this is incredible in a time when the best known biography of Alexander the Great is that of Plutarch almost 400 years after Plutarch. When we learn about the early Caesars from Tacitus to Suetonius a 'good gap' is 100 years; 25 is incredible [for Jesus]. Paul says, 'I am passing onto you as first importance that which I also received' (1 Cor. 15.3)." Paul said, "I make known to you brethren the gospel which I preached to you" (1 Cor. 15.1). Gary says, "This earlier preaching may have taken place 51 AD about 21 years after the cross." But point of fact, Jesus died not in 30 AD, but 33 AD on April 1st (Gregorian), April Fool's Day, Nisan 14, Friday which is no later than 18 years after the cross.

Gary said, "Almost all contemporary scholarship believes Paul received this material (Gal. 1.18) when he went to Jerusalem about 5 years after the cross. Some put it as early as 3 and as late as 8, but he was converted about 2 years after the cross before he went away for 3 years. Paul spent 15 days with Peter. It is safe to say they talked about more than just the weather. Paul said he preached nothing but Christ crucified." Gary said about James D.G. Dunn, "In his recent book Remembering Jesus that this passage (1 Cor. 15.3ff) wasn't just taught. It was already stratified. It was already put in this creedal form within months of the crucifixion."

Gary said (see video), "I did a count recently of people who have written from about 1990 to-date [2009]. 75% of scholars today say that resurrection or 'something like it occurred.' Of that 75%, three to one say it is a bodily appearance. Ted Peters had a book that was published by Eerdmans a few years ago, and 20 out of 20 scholars in his book that he edited said 'bodily resurrection.' Higher critical scholars who are in the minority will still usually concede the appearance involved sight and was embodied."


EarthScienceguy wrote:

Quote:
4. People did not deny Jesus' miracles but how he did them.


Not true. In fact, there is clearly historical evidence that many of the miracles claimed to have been performed by Jesus were in fact, never performed by anyone.


You did not sight any historical evidence. And it is very obvious that the resurrection of Jesus is actually has more historical evidence than anything in antiquity. So a little more than "That's not true will be needed."

Quote:
EarthScienceguy wrote:

Since Jesus was raised from the dead, that means Jesus is God and that creation actually happen.


Quote:
You don't know that Jesus was raised from the dead. All you have to go by are rumors that not only contradict each other, but in many cases they even contain self-contradictory claims.

In fact, if there any credible evidence for the existence of Jesus and all the rumors that surround him theists wouldn't need to be desperately trying to disprove evolution. Instead, they could just produce their crystal clear evidence of their claims about Jesus.

We know they can't do that because they can't even agree among themselves. It's not like there is one unified "Christianity" that has a single clear story about Jesus. Even the Christians themselves are in grave disagreements concerning these ancient fables.

So there's nothing here. This most certainly does not represent a credible theory of creation. All it does is stand in grave denial of reality.


Their are over 3400 scholars that would disagree with you. Liberal and conservative both. But I am sure they do not know what they are talking about. I am sure you know the truth about things.

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