QED

Hair-Brained Thoughts About Evolution

Evolution is one of my favourite topics. Being a practising Christian I feel eminently entitled to pontificate on evolutionary conjecture. After all, evolutionists like Richard Dawkins are not shy about talking about religion and shooting down God at every opportunity. Incidentally, I prefer the term “evolutionary conjecture” to evolutionary theory or science because, well, conjecture predominates. A number of instances interspersed below illustrate my point.

One of the things I’ve noticed about evolutionists is their desperation to prove their conjecture. Thus their eagerness in the first half of the 20th century to embrace the Piltdown Man as one of those missing in-between creatures. And, in this case, no less a find than an ape-like (cum) man-like creature. What a lark that was.

A prank given pride of place in the British Museum for forty years. The skull of a man, the jaw and teeth of an orangutan, with a bit of chimpanzee. These kinds of things only happen when scientists are prepared to put all scepticism aside for the sake of the cause. Think “climate change,” for another prime example.

Anyway, an article on the BBC website triggered my latest interest in evolution. Some research scientists reported seeing a Sumatran orangutan in Indonesia treating a wound on its face using a paste made from plants it had chewed up. Reportedly, “the wound closed up and healed in a month.” The video and commentary accompanying the article claimed that the nasty wound was deep and probably caused by a bite from a rival orangutan.

More than two years ago I fell on a treadmill and scraped my right leg rather badly on the rough outside edge of the belt. It took a very long time to heal and even now a spot of redness remains. Thus, rather than focus on the behaviour of the orangutan, the researchers in question might serve humanity enormously by revealing the secret of the orangutan’s rapid-healing balsam to the medical world. But I digress. Back to the article.

According to the researchers, “it is the first time a creature in the wild has been recorded treating an injury with a medicinal plant.” Let’s assume the story is kosher, at least up to a point — the video available at the link above is rather like a typical UFO sighting, vague and indeterminate. If it is, I am not sure how to put it in perspective or exactly what it means in the scheme of things. I suspect nothing much. Not so for the so-called scientists. To wit: “Scientists say the behaviour could come from a common ancestor shared by humans and great apes.”

Really? Did I say conjecture? Should have said wild speculation. Nonetheless, let’s take it at face value and speculate still further. What other human behaviours do orangutans – and not just the one studied – share with humans that can be traced to our common ancestor? Apart that is from eating, drinking, bodily functions, copulation, and fighting? Surely applying topical medicine is not the only takeaway. How about building things?

Beavers build dams and also lodges to live in. Here is David Attenborough presenting a video of the clever little fellas. Clearly some inexplicable relationship to a common ancestor of ours going much further back is at work here too, and one would imagine orangutans could do even better. The jungle must be strewn with as yet undiscovered chalets.

Talking of our so-called common ancestor of which, by the way, nothing at all is known, I googled and by chance came upon a quite recent article in Scientific American (August 10, 2017). The article bounced off a study in the prestigious journal Nature which reported on the discovery in Kenya in 2014, “of a 13-million-year-old infant skull, which … likely belonged to a fruit-eating, slow-climbing primate that resembled a baby gibbon.”

 “Among the living primates, humans are most closely related to the apes which include the lesser apes (gibbons) and the great apes (chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans).”

“Much remains unknown about the common ancestors of living apes and humans,” we are further told. You can say that again with knobs on.

Now hold onto your hats. Study co-author Christopher Gilbert, a paleoanthropologist at Hunter College in New York reportedly said the following.

Because they are probably close to the ancestor of all living apes, the specimen may help give us some sort of idea of what the common ancestor of all living apes and modern humans might have looked like, and because our specimen looks most similar to gibbons among living apes, it would potentially support the idea that the common ancestor of living apes and humans looked like a gibbon.

There you are. Having found the skull of a very-ancient gibbon-like creature; ipso facto, we evolved from a common ancestor which looked like a gibbon. Now gibbons are cute enough, I suppose, but Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie they are not. Below, a baby gibbon from whose likeness we supposedly evolved.

Notice how hairy it is. Herein lies another evolutionary tale.

Naturalists Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace can both claim to have independently discovered the theory of natural selection; although Darwin earned the fame. However, they disagreed when it came to human evolution.

Wallace wanted to keep man as a special category, distinct from animals; arguing that only a “superior intelligence” a “controlling intelligence” could account for man. Wallace reminded Darwin of three central assumption of natural selection. Powers expand only up until a survival advantage is attained. Nothing will be produced which disadvantages a creature. And, natural selection can’t develop an attribute or organ which is either useless or will only become useful in the future.

And one of the anomalies which follows, and which is a hard to account for, is the hairlessness of humans. All other animals have protective coats of hair to ward off the rain and cold? Hairlessness is a serious disadvantage which natural selection cannot possibly explain.

Humans didn’t lose hair knowing that they would invent clothes and warm fires. That’s not the way natural selection works. In order to explain it, Darwin had to appeal to sexual selection, rather than natural selection. In a nutshell, his argument is that early hairy Homo sapiens (and perhaps, to the point, Homines erecti) of both sexes started fancying sexual partners with relatively less hair. Consequently, sexual congress became skewed towards the less hirsute and the rest is history.

I don’t know. It seems a conjectural stretch to me. Moreover, while I’m not nearly as prepossessing as Brad Pitt, I don’t quite see my distant forbears as being originally made in the mould of a gibbon-like creature? And then, unlike gibbons themselves, eschewing hairiness? Why didn’t gibbons start fancying the less hirsute among their number, I’d like to know? Ah, unanswered questions, inside conjectures, inside speculations. Along with singer Norman Greenbaum, I reckon the Spirit in the Sky is a lot easier to believe in than in Adam and Eve looking like a pair of gibbons. But that’s just (sceptical) little old (Christian) wine drinker me.

89 thoughts on “Hair-Brained Thoughts About Evolution

  • Podargus says:

    Regardless of religious beliefs or hairiness, pontificating on where we are from is a waste of time.
    It is where we are going that demands attention.

    • Homer Sapien says:

      With due respect, this smells a bit of cursory thinking to me?

    • burlyhead says:

      Excellent point. After all the speculations of Creationism and Evolutionism we are still clueless as to the processes that have produced us or anything for that matter. God or Chance? They both keep their secrets.

  • Botswana O'Hooligan says:

    That’s tossed a spanner into the Sunday afternoon nap Mr. Smith for one will ponder about the –we are descended from apes–so how come there are still apes, and how come there aren’t any (apes) to the East of the Wallace line? On Piltdown Man, I once gave a visiting Pom Archaeologist two aboriginal stone axes on the condition one was for him to keep and the other was to be buried in a likely spot in the UK so that when found and publicised our “first Nation??????” folk would mount a huge land rights case against the Poms and thus ease the pressure on we colonials and get square with the Poms for …………….. in 1788.

  • ianl says:

    Smithy just keeps right on being silly about this. He can’t help himself, but he always and only runs straw men.

    “Darwin had to appeal to sexual selection, rather than natural selection”. In fact, sexual selection is just another sub-set of natural selection.

    Why hominins may have increasingly chosen hairlessness as sexier, or perhaps females just don’t like beards (golly, gosh), is irrelevant. Why have we maintained vestigial claws ? Or a digestive organ of no use that threatens agonizing death when infected ? Or in the case of males, a sexual organ (prostate) that squeezes off the urethra through constant growth as they age ? Or eyesight lenses that cloud over causing blindness in later years ? Or …

    If a species has blundered into generating fire (and been sharp enough of intellect to then keep that knowledge) and has learned to nurture family in caves, hairlessness is no disadvantage and may even allow the lice to be more easily controlled (!). Again, if the disadvantage is not extant, the mutation may well persist in the genotype.

    The evolutionary process is opportunistic, with immediate survival the *only game plan. Many failures always result, as do mutations that have no effect either way. Nonetheless, it is infinitely more interesting and evidenced than superstitions.

    Lastly:

    “What other human behaviours do orangutans – and not just the one studied – share with humans that can be traced to our common ancestor?” [Smithy special, inverting cause and effect]

    Correction:

    What other primate behaviours do humans share with orungutans (and chimps) that can be traced to common ancestors ? That is a far more interesting question – since the primates are split out now into truly different species but all maintain some common behavioural characteristics, those traits must have been presen

    • Peter Smith says:

      Just a few comments on your comment ianl.
      “In fact, sexual selection is just another sub-set of natural selection,” you say.
      No, it isn’t, Darwin specifically distinguished between the two.
      “If a species has blundered into generating fire…and has learned to nurture family in caves, hairlessness is no disadvantage and may even allow the lice to be more easily controlled.”
      Hairlessness having no disadvantage cannot explain the loss of hair. Lice possibly could, if lice led to other things which foreshortened life or the ability to have children. But is this sheer unsupported guessing? I don’t believe Darwin suggested it. Have other biologists? It sounds like developing and fitting a theory around the facts. Par for the course among the evolutionists brigade, but it just ain’t science.
      “The evolutionary process is…infinitely more interesting and evidenced than superstitions.”
      I assume that belief in a God is regarded as a superstition. Still the same, this does not excuse slipshod science.
      As to me inverting cause and effect when it comes to the behaviour of humans and orangutans, I could not understand the point being made. After all, the researchers in question used human behaviour as the benchmark to reach conclusions about the behaviour of their orangutan.
      Final comment. I think evolution plays a critical role in God’s plan. And its study well worthwhile. I would just like scientists to be scientific and come up with testable and falsifiable theories, and not going charging off into baseless (idiotic) speculations.

  • Ian MacDougall says:

    Life is full of surprises, and for once I find myself in agreement with ianl, or whatever his real name is.
    Well Peter, you say: “And one of the anomalies which follows, and which is a hard to account for, is the hairlessness of humans. All other animals have protective coats of hair to ward off the rain and cold? Hairlessness is a serious disadvantage which natural selection cannot possibly explain.”
    You are partly right there.
    There are at least three theories about human origins: 1. The standard Biblical account; Earth created in seven days, with the first man and first woman on the sixth day; 2. The mainstream-science ‘savannah theory’ which says that humans evolved as ground-dwelling, essentially hairless primates on the African plains. (Best not to try avoiding becoming a meal for a leopard by climbing a tree; leopards are far better tree-climbers than any of us are, including Tarzan and Jane.) 3. The Aquatic Ape Theory, (AAT) first proposed by the zoologist Professor Alistair Hardy, later popularised by Elaine Morgan and David Attenborough, but still largely rejected by mainstream science.
    However, being myself a bit of a philosophical maverick, AAT strikes me as fitting the facts far better than the other two theories.
    Hairlessness is a common feature of aquatic mammals (eg whales and dolphins) but not those who have to survive in Arctic environments, (eg otters, seals.) Our African ancestors appeared to have been spared that problem. Witness also the Australian Aborigines, who only went climbing and foraging in mountains in summer.
    So, with Aquatic Ape Theory IMHO best fitting the facts, here I stand.

  • David Isaac says:

    12th May 3:12pm eastern time.
    Given primitive hominids were likely organised similarly to baboon troops with a coalition of dominant males monopolising females, it may have been the male preference for soft, smooth female skin which caused those women and their offspring to be favoured with more resources from the tribe, allowing such traits to increase in frequency. Certainly among Europeans and Indians hirsute men are still quite common and fare well enough with the opposite sex. There may also have been a co-inherited advantage which accompanied hairlessness. It’s not falsfiable but the hand of God can’t really be excluded.

  • lbloveday says:

    When Paul Davies was at the University of Adelaide he was a weekly opinion columnist for the Adelaide Advertiser for two years and his articles on “Intelligent Design” made more sense to me than evolution.
    .
    He wrote that he did not know any Natural Physicist who did not believe in a God, I don’t know any so can’t comment on their beliefs, but Davies must have known many.

    • Alistair says:

      For me, the existence of the Universe is prima facie evidence of the existence of some agency that can create universes, and, with the lack of alternative nomenclature, I’m prepared to call that agency – “god”. Having got that far – I see absolutely zero evidence that that “god” agency has had the slightest involvement in the universe since then. Podargus (above) is correct. We are on our own. Our future demands our attention.

  • Alistair says:

    Always interesting to read this sort of stuff – tests the mind, logic, and the memory.
    Firstly, for the old folk … remember all the stuff on the “aquatic ape hypothesis”? 1970s? It died a death, but it sure was interesting while it lasted. Maybe it died too soon?
    Secondly, to my mind humans evolved from apes, I think DNA pretty much solved that. So humans don’t have hair is separate issue. I dont think its scientifically safe to say that because you dont know how we lost our hair we dont believe we evolved from apes until some one can satisfactorily explain it. There appears to me to be enough scientific doubts over the Adam and Eve story to pretty much put that one to bed. To me, to believe that intelligence can only come from God is just as big an ask as humans dont have hair because lack of hair can only come from God?
    Thirdly, It would appear that Homo sapiens lost their hair before they left Africa since none of us are particularly hairy (perhaps the Ainu excepted?) – especially the ones that never left Africa. ( Isnt it strange that the ones that left Africa and headed to Europe have more body hair than those who stayed behind – did we evolve more hair in the cold, or simply interbred with hairy Neanderthals who had been trying to keep warm in Europe throughout the Ice Age?) Perhaps evolving in the hot tropics or savanna of central Africa, hair wasn’t such an advantage, and we invented clothes to deal with the desire to up sticks and move to cooler climes. Or maybe we moved to cooler climes during periods of global warming and then got stranded there when the weather turned nasty again? Maybe there was an advantage cuddling up to a hairy Neanderthal in some dank European cave? As a somewhat hirsute male – I kinda like to identify with my Neanderthal ancestry, and like to speculate on what other genetic advantages I might have picked up from them? And then there’s Gibbons? Why not?
    One could go further … but its not my essay.

  • Paul.Harrison says:

    99% of the endlessly boring arguments about ‘origin of species’ neither float my boat nor yank my chain. It’s creation or evolution, there is nothing else to discuss, so I will put forward my words without embellishment or criticism. I hope that the 1% argument, which appears to be missing, is where the truth shows up and it’s quite simple. WE DO NOT KNOW.

    1. Humankind has always been afraid of the dark. I do not mean the dark of night. To be afraid of a ‘dark thing’, without the courage to admit it, we tend to invent something about that ‘thing’ in an attempt to make it understandable. We give it names……Zeus/Thor/Odin/ and so on, and of course God. That’s it folks, that’s all she wrote. We are afraid of the unknown so we call it a God, which is merely the present method of attempting to banish the dark ‘thing’. How many of you would admit to still worshiping Zeus, or Odin, or any one/all of the ancient imaginariums, which surely leads to a conclusion which agrees quite well with the creationist theory, you know, make it up as you go along. Creationists are quite correct, and I agree with their creed, as they very efficiently and whenever needed, create the ‘thing’ in whatever flavour they choose. These are, of course, the ‘things’ which we surround ourselves with and call a God. They created their God out of nothing.

    What I’m attempting to point out is that we all agree that there is something we know nothing about, and that it requires astonishing arrogance to claim knowledge of that ‘thing’, knowledge which is unattainable in any manner whatsoever for the eternalness of the future. With that arrogance, they then set out to convert, or in the case of the Inquisition/s, to slaughter the unbelievers, and we are still doing it.

    No, I denounce completely the invention of a greater ‘thing’ to calm me in my distress, to rely on to make it all better. It is childish in the extreme, and quite stupid. There is nothing after life, nothing at all, because the best part of being in the race, the human race, is while we exist, so make the most of it and set about dispensing with the rituals, the stupid chanting, the dress-ups, the fancy vaticans, the invented mythology, the slaughter, and so on. I will finish with this: Most of us are at least familiar with the word Inquisition, as used to describe one of the three historic inquisitions, that of the Spanish Inquisition. That foul bastardry was visited on humanity by the unholy roman church, because they were afraid of the people drawing their own conclusions and rebelling against the imagination of the clergy, thus threatening the savage behaviour of every clergy from the pope down. Youi should know this, but if you don’t please don’t be surprised: The Office of the Holy Inquisition persisted until about 1911, when it underwent a name change. It is now known as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, meaning the purity of the church, it exists within the Vatican, and our late Cardinal Pell was slotted to head up that very office before he died.

    No, I never have, do not now and never will be a believer in an invented ‘thing’, and this comes from a 72 years old man, schooled by the roman catholics, groomed to be a priest and with 3 aunts who gave their entire lives to the church as nuns, so as to allow their parents to gain stature in the parish so that their rising up to heaven was guaranteed. Even before my coming of age I realised that they were all quite stupid, not to be believed and not to be trusted.

    EVOLUTION WINS OUT FOR ME.

    • favfern says:

      Paul Harrison, your thoughts mirror mine! I am 78 years old and gave up believing the nonsense that I was taught by the Christian Brothers when I was 16 years old. I am incredulous that people who are obviously as intelligent at Peter Smith (and Greg Sheridan) cannot discern that this whole religion thing is just man-made tosh!

      Still, if it makes them feel superior, good for them — as long as they don’t expect me to believe in Adam/Eve and a talking snake rather than evolution!

  • padraic says:

    You can take your pick on this one. I am of the view that we are part of the simian family, but can’t prove it scientifically but just through observation and obviously we are at the top of the simian tree with our intelligence and lifestyle. I once met a person who grew up in Africa and who told me when they were kids they used to throw stones at the baboons and the baboons used to throw the stones back at them – quite accurately. Humans can do gymnastics on a par with apes and most other of their antics. Showing teeth is all the rage on TV and in ads these days – another sign, perhaps. I have seen men covered in hair and remember in a hernia stint in hospital years ago the person in the next bed had hair from his neck down to the ankles and was less than impressed at the extent of his pre-op shave. One of our teachers at school who used to give us swimming lessons had his back covered in hair. I rather doubt we are descended from aquatic animals, despite our ability in the water, but looking at some people who have an almost whale dimension these days when seated in an aircraft, it could be possible.

  • Citizen Kane says:

    Hmmm, so it would seem then that the critique here is that due some small gaps in ‘hard’ evolutionary scientific evidence then ipso facto its god (who or whatever that is) that is the default explanatory model – and the hard evidence for that is…?
    On the first day god created light, but was that photons or the hydrogen that converts to helium as a result of nuclear fusion that god created?
    On the second day god created the sky, given there is no such thing as a ‘sky’ per se was it the nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide and myriad other trace atmospheric gases that god greated, in a gaseous form to create an atmosphere?
    On the third day god created the earth, seas and vegetation, but was that the silicea, iron, carbon and all other elements of the period table god created? And given the Earths atmosphere (sky) requires a planet along with plants to emit oxygen did god get his days confused?
    On the fourth day god created the sun and the moon – now this is confounding as I’ not sure where the photons on day one came from if not a sun. Did god create hydrogen atoms first or did god just imagine a sun?
    On day five god created animals of the land and sea, now this seems somewhat consistent with evolution, especially the sea bit but did god create DNA first? and if so did god create Nucleotides first? which of course in turn would have required Nitrogen, Phospahte and Carbon so did god piece these togethor variously like lego to form the different nucleotides?
    On day six god created all the terrestrial animals and humans, but did god decide that primates such as chimpanzees and humans should share 98.8 percent of their DNA and god made them to just be a variation on the theme? Did god play with different DNA combinations before god was satisfied with the end result? Or did god just create humans in his own image and somehow from that miraculously flowed DNA, Nucleotides, proteins, sugars, lipids, Nitrogen, phosphate, carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, photons so on and so forth
    On day seven god rested and it would seem that Peter’s skepticism could now be turned on its head for all the unsolved and unanswered questions pertaining to god, remarkably devoid of any evidence whatsoever, until of course the Enlightenment came along and slowly but surely began to piece it all together.

    • Katzenjammer says:

      This is an example of reading bible tales just like a fundamentalist believer. Where one takes it as a factual description, the other agrees it’s meant as a factual description but disputes it. Both have equally missed the point.

  • robtmann7 says:

    My article with fellow Christian Neil Broom ‘Creationism v. Evolution but not Creation v. Evolution’
    https://www.kuratrading.com/HTMLArticles/writings.htm>
    is more to the point and should assist clearer thought than this heated author has produced.
    BTW natural selection is only 1 of a half-dozen mechanisms postulated for evolution.
    Evolution is seen from the enormous body of evidence to have been the process whereby millions of species have come into the biosphere (>90% now extinct). It is scarcely relevant to how life began. And it offers no contradiction to creation or the Creator.

    • Citizen Kane says:

      Only if you like to paper over massive cracks, build foundations on shifting sands and assign all pesky questions to the ‘too hard basket’ as a matter of convenience.

  • Blair says:

    Why did humans retain pubic hair?

    • burlyhead says:

      To prevent chafing perhaps?

    • NarelleG says:

      For modesty?

      • Dalone says:

        “For modesty?”
        Very unlikely as many primitive people in the world, including our own Aboriginal groups, were totally naked until clothed White people arrived and settled in areas where they lived.

        Pubic hair however does keep blowflies off the pubic area and may provide a small cushioning effect during intercourse.

        Hair does retain odour though and could act as a stimulant, albeit perhaps more likely in earlier times than now.

        • Lewis P Buckingham says:

          The conundrum is false.
          There are plenty of hirsute people of homo sapiens, they just vary a lot.
          For the ladies they just grow their hair longer from the places it grows from.
          Think Lady Godiva.
          Some of the adaptations for man are the ability to sweat, collect,store and carry water and build shelter.
          The common small domestic animals cannot sweat and are furred extensively.
          They seek shade and can build shelter but rely on naturally occurring water or develop other physiology to conserve water.
          Horses sweat.
          If some apes sweat and some don’t so what?

          Humans can cool just by drinking water and sweating.
          There is a fascinating book on the subject of our origins.
          Fossil Men
          The Quest for the Oldest Skeleton and the Origins of Humankind.
          Kermit Pattison.
          We had a common ancestor with the apes.
          The split came about 6 million years ago.
          Who knows if early Man had hair?
          Its unlikely that the first four books of the Bible were written as science.
          What it underlines is that there is a God who created what we see about us and who saw it was good.
          That’s when the dance started.
          The Boson, the ‘standard theory’ particles,whatever directs entanglement at a distance for sub atomic particles.
          The supernova , as stated above, created the carbon atom with its valency of 4.
          But for the combining power of carbon we could not exist.
          Randomness was the mechanism whereby underlying order, already in existence, can emerge.
          Some called this natural selection.
          But for the underlying order, randomness on its own would lead to the equivalency of white noise.
          As for Christ you have to accept that a personal God would go to all that trouble to care about anything like us.. Being self sufficient like a modern self actualised homo sapiens would not cut it.
          A reading of Matthew is the likely insight.
          Otherwise, as the late Pell said, keep searching.
          Relying on what various Catholic orders taught about biblical exegesis before 1972 would seem a work yet to be radically revised..

    • pmprociv says:

      To provide a home for crab lice.

  • RB says:

    Uncle was only bare on the palms of his hands and the soles of his feet, covered from head to toe in what Auntie described as a hair suit.
    Does that make him more or less human I wonder?
    We didn’t descend from apes we are a branch of the same clade, we share common ancestors.
    Given the choice between an elusive tyrant whose desires are translated by men in frocks or a theory that is yet to be debunked providing we refrain from strawmaning it to death, I reckon evolution is considerably more probable and frankly a lot easier to live with.
    No evolutionary pressures have waved a finger at me in 62 years.
    It doesn’t want me to give over a % of my income or hide kiddy fiddlers.
    It neither breaks bones nor steals wallets.
    If it’s a delusion then it is a harmless one, regrettably the same cannot be said about religion.

    • David Isaac says:

      Never mind evolution, the state religion is an atheistic heresy of Christian liberalism which demands beliefs far more counter to fact than any traditional religions It is currently endeavouring to extirpate Christianity, its progenitor. The “hardline” Catholicism of pre Vatican II had sixteen hundred years worth of success to recommend it. The new faith has taken sixty years to bring us to the cliff edge.

  • Mike says:

    Creation.com

    Prove them wrong.

    • RB says:

      I big call for an intellectually bereft Agnostic to correct a cadre of buggers high on Jesus juice who pontificate on subjects they have not a single idea about or purposefully misrepresent the counterarguments, otherwise known as science.
      Lying for Jesus seems pretty gross to me but religious types come in all colours just like everyone else.
      As I am not the one making a positive claim I have nothing to prove, that is the job of the religious who believe they can gainsay 100-plus years of scientific endeavor.
      I have yet to be presented with verifiable empirical evidence for any religious belief system’s main player, the big man himself, and neither have you.
      As to the “quantity of hair argument” of Peters, we have seen the same thing before, argument from complexity = designer. Eyes were the favorite from the past, but that canard was roughly shoved up the tailpipe of Ray Comfort and other liars for Jesus years ago. So the same argument is raised but changing the subject, Prince and repeat around and around we go.
      I am not religious and care not a jot if you are or otherwise, it would be lovely if we were afforded the same consideration from the religious types, but no.

  • pgang says:

    Peter, be kind to the atheists. When you poke fun at the veneer of evolutionary intellectualism they risk losing the one thing which pacifies their dummy spit against God. It brings them dangerously close to reality, and that’s discomforting.
    It doesn’t matter that it’s merely superstition masquerading as science, as long as they have a straw man they can hold up to God and say, ‘See? You don’t exist after all’.
    The spirit gods of nature that mysteriously created themselves might get angry too (they’ve never heard of thermodynamics). We must pacify the gods with more windmills in case they turn up the heat on us. You never know – it’s better to be safe than sorry. And don’t forget to wear your mask.
    After all, there is no cause, only chance and chaos which result in events that appear to be ordered. Not even a person’s gender is real. (Did I say person? There’s no such thing). So be wary of nature, because anything can happen at any time, and hope that there will always be a volcano nearby to accept a virgin sacrifice, or better yet a windmill to accept the sacrifice your entire economy.

    • Citizen Kane says:

      At least Evolutionary intellectualism is a cogent concept whereas theological intellectualism is a contradiction in terms. To think people here who consider themselves religious would critic the Aboriginal Rainbow Serpent myth!
      As the Taioists would point out; he who thinks he is closest to god, is indeed furthest away.

  • Michael Mundy says:

    At least evolutionists have the courage to call the idea a theory unlike religious absolutists that claim the existence of a God/s based on childish fear and faith.

  • Peter Marriott says:

    Good piece Peter put in an entertaining way, and I agree with you.

    • Peter Smith says:

      Thanks Peter. This topic always brings out the rabid atheists even on QoL. Whereas us Christians are for the most part happy to hear from evolutionists. How God did things is matter for us to try to discover. Francis Collins in the “Language of God” manages to bring the two perspectives together, as do many scientists. My quarrel is with unscientific speculation and I noticed none of my critics actually tangled with the examples I gave. How could they? Nonsense is hard to defend.

      • Citizen Kane says:

        Your quarrel can’t possibly be with ‘unscientific speculation’ or otherwise you wouldn’t indulge in the god delusion. I note you provide no scientific evidence for your god. Blind faith is simply that – blind faith.

        • Peter Smith says:

          Science, Citizen Kane, turns on the development of theories and hypotheses which can be tested against evidence and data and which potentially can be falsified by such evidence and data. Belief in God is not a science. You don’t judge each of them using the same citeria. Oh, well, God isn’t capable of being proved or disproved, doesn’t let science off the hook.

          • Citizen Kane says:

            Why not? Why should the theory of god and creationism etc not be subject to scientific evidence? Creationism after all is an epistemological claim with manifest implications that is meant to have material impact on the material world. You believe it is more valid than natural biological processes- if you make that claim in contradiction to, the best available scientific evidence, you are going to have to back it up, you don’t get to hide behind faith. Or if you so choose to, then your theory of creationism can be readily dismissed.
            Nor does the unqualified retreat to faith let ‘god’ off the hook. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. By all means throw stones from behind the barricades of your unquestioning faith, but it’s a bit rich to then use your version of the Rainbow Serpent Myth (also a creationist myth) as if its beyond scientific reproach or commonsense critique.

      • en passant says:

        Peter,
        Which god is the true one?
        I bought a book years ago while passing through Adelaide, called “Religions of the World” that I read in bits while on my throne. It just convinced me that evolution had passed its peak (or mankind had not come very far from the primitive).
        30-years ago in a discussion on the proof that a god, any god, exists I argued that the secretiveness of every god to hide behind a curtain (as in the Wizard of Oz) was surely proof of non-existence. I offered to buy god a coffee at a time and place of his choosing: I still have the $10 in my wallet.
        In Oz we are rapidly reverting to the Rainbow Serpent god, and that Ayre’s Rock is an egg. So, do try to keep up …

  • Bernie Masters says:

    Strange! You write “One of the things I’ve noticed about evolutionists is their desperation to prove their conjecture.” but, as a scientist of some 50+ years’ experience, I’ve never met an evolutionist who is desperate to prove their point. They simply state their beliefs and move on, and instead it is the creationists who are desperate to argue against the well-proven science of evolution.

  • bomber49 says:

    Sorry to bugger up the narrative, but a quite sensible hypothesis as to why humans are relatively hairless is that we replaced hair follicles with sweat glands. As our brains became larger we needed a mechanism to cool the blood more effectively and sweating is one way to do this. Becoming hairless had nothing to do with sexual attractiveness other than a hairless partner might look cuter and the resulting offspring would also be hairless and have more sweat glands to cool the blood.

    • Gordon Cheyne says:

      But we ARE hairy!
      We humans have just as many hair follicles as apes. But most of our hair is very fine and downy.
      Not easy to see? Just grab a magnifying glass and have a look at your arms.

  • William says:

    Well, Mr Smith, you seem to have let loose a hornet’s nest here! We have the angry anti-Catholic Catholic who has no trouble in demeaning his aunts for the crime of devoting their lives to God (& probably educating other peoples’ children) and who has no problem in resurrecting 400 year old historical battles by Spanish Royalty in a battle to reclaim their land from Islamic domination and attributing it to the evils of the Catholic Church (just shows how evil religion is and proves evolution).
    Then we have the offended one who, because the hallowed ‘theory’ of evolution is challenged sulkily demands that ‘religious types’ afford respect because, after all, we ‘religious types’ have not shown evidence for a God.
    To paraphrase Christ (ie., God), methinks that if God was produced before them, they would choose not to believe. But, if science is demanded, perhaps those seeking scientific evidence might look at the Shroud of Turin- but, don’t tell me, they would prefer not to and simply dismiss it as a medieval fake.
    The issue of evolution has managed to survive its two hundred years of failing to produce any evidence mainly because the term itself is undefined and completely oleaginous- able to apply to whatever subjective picture is expedient. Thus, the breeding and variations within species (micro evolution) is presented as some kind of proof when many speak of evolution. However, if this was all evolution was, then farmer Joe would have become famous many thousands of years ago. The atheist value of evolution (still, after 200 years, a ‘theory’), is its claim that species derived from other species and ultimately derived from a single cell, which supposedly came from nothing. Absent all the fancy jargon, that is the reality of the ‘theory’.
    If this was the case, first, we would not be scrabbling for evidence and leaping at whales with flippers that look like feet to grasp at a semblance of support. On the contrary, we would be completely swamped with evidence, not just of the successes, but, as the theory claims ‘random development’ by the many millions of fails (the bird whose wings were the wrong shape/feathers too small etc.) – or is the claim that these random changes all occurred simultaneously and were identical (& magically randomly mutated into exactly what was needed).
    Is there any possibility of calculating the odds against this confluence of every species, plant, air, water, earth, planets, developing randomly and exactly effectively at the exact right time and continuing from second to second for Millenia? The odds are far greater, to my mind, than the odds of the existence of God (even the straw man God described by the correspondents herein).

    • Citizen Kane says:

      If that is all you have got then case closed in favour of Evolution.

      Single cells don’t come from nothing – they are constituted from all the organic compound biochemical building blocks of life such as Ribose sugars and amino acids in a liquid (water) substrate – it’s really quite straightforward, which in turn are constituted from Carbon and Nitrogen etc, which in turn is found all throughout the universe – bacteria, algae and moulds are a ubiquitous examples of such single cells and they can be observed to be evolving all the time. There were Prokaryotic cells followed by the evolution of Eukaryotic cells (more complex bacteria) followed by the evolution of multicellular organisms. The inclusion of mitochondria (itself originally a prokaryotic bacteria) into Eukaryotic cells allowed for more complex cellular respiration and metabolism, which in turn allowed for more complex organisms to evolve. Evolution happens not just by natural selection but by through multifactorial drivers such as the inclusion of viral RNA (yes its ubiquitous) into cellular DNA, Epigenetics (which genes are turned on or off by environmental or hereditary factors), Hormesis (dose response relationships and adaptions to environmental stressors). All of this plays out over vast geological time scales unless you honestly believe that the Earth is only a few thousand years old as proffered by your ‘bible’.

  • Sindri says:

    Not a theologian or a scientist, but natural selection as a mechanism for evolution seems an entirely plausible theory to me (and of course it’s a theory, just like atomic theory or quantum theory, and will remain a theory). It’s not in the least inconsistent with orthodox religious belief.
    As to the penetrating and well thought-out views of atheists here: “It is childish in the extreme, and quite stupid”, “all quite stupid, not to be believed and not to be trusted”, “elusive tyrant whose desires are translated by men in frocks”, I think it’s a shame that Newton, Galileo (who, like Copernicus, believed in God despite their run-ins with the Church), Boyle, Pasteur, Maxwell, Plank and Heisenberg, by no means an exhaustive list, not to mention morons like JS Bach, Mozart and Beethoven, are not here today to have the riot act read to them by a couple of the posters above.

  • Watchman Williams says:

    Evolutionary Theory is misnamed. Karl Popper wrote, “I have come to the conclusion that Darwinism is not a testable theory. It is a metaphysical programme – a possible framework for testable theories”.
    Geneticist Theodosius Dobzansky wrote, “Evolution is a contemporary creation myth. In evolution, the names of the gods are shrouded in the scientific jargon of this age and culture”.
    Nobel Prize winning biophysicist Francis Crick was one of many scientists and philosophers who believed that life came to earth in an interstellar Noah’s Ark sent out by a highly developed but doomed civilisation elsewhere in the galaxy. (Evidently, someone forgot to bring the matches).
    Astronomer Royal Sir Fred Hoyle was another who held this view, writing that evolutionary theory was “nonsense of a high order.”
    Although evolutionary theory is taught as fact in our Universities and schools, it cannot be even tested, let alone proved. Like the interstellar colonisation model, it is clouded by the rejection of any answer to the question of the origin of life on earth that embraces the concept of a divine creator.

    • Citizen Kane says:

      How is it not a testable theory? We have just witnessed the Covid virus evolve numerous times in a handful of years. Bacteria adaption and evolution to the challenge of antibiotics is almost a ubiquitous. phenomenon. Humans on average have become taller and live longer due to improved nutrition in just 200 years. When someone of Asian ancestry procreates with someone of Anglo ancestry their offspring have characteristics that are altered and evolved from the pure racial characteristics of either parent. This is amplified in the next generation born to those offspring especially if they further racially intermingle. The thing about people who live by blind faith is that they are blind to all the obvious realities that challenge their faith that surround them..No wonder the churches are empty.

    • Sindri says:

      Of course it’s testable, and from my non-expert perspective it holds up pretty well.
      Not quite sure how you ever “prove” a theory, but you can show a theory to be accurate to describe particular phenomena.

    • Sindri says:

      PS I don’t think Fred Hoyle ever said that evolution was “nonsense of a high order”. He used that phrase about abiogenesis, ie that idea that the first life forms evolved spontaneously on earth from the primordial soup. He likened that possibility to a tornado sweeping through a junk-yard and spontaneously assembling a 747. He likened the chance of a protein forming spontaneously from amino acids to a solar system of blind men solving Rubik’s Cubes at the same time!

    • Peter Smith says:

      Meant to say Watchman Williams, very good comment. I will follow up on the thoughts of Popper et al. Thanks.

  • colin_jory says:

    ENLIGHTENED WILLIE’S PRAYER
    (A “sequel” to Robbie Burns’ “Holy Willie’s Prayer”)
    Colin Jory

    O Evolution, thou procreant non-thing,
    That into being whatever lives did bring
    Through random atoms intermingling
    And purgative attrition;
    I bless thy fertile non-intentioning
    That I am its fruition.

    I thank thee nightly on bended knee
    That the Big Bang’s spew of dead debris
    Congealed as sun, earth, air, moon, sea,
    Then stirred as life hereditable,
    And oozed, crawled, slouched—towards Humanity!
    ‘Twas truly creditable!

    All praise, that cells did synchronize
    In blind embrace to give Life eyes,
    As lenses, muscles and neural ties
    Evolved discretely
    In lidded sockets by chance right-sized
    To nest all neatly!

    What triumph of thy matchless might
    When Man at last breathed whole, despite
    The lack of plan or oversight
    In his formation;
    And found at hand all requisites
    To thrive! O Jubilation!

    How oft, ere this, did limbs and feet
    Bud forth his trunk at points unmeet,
    While stumpy proto-man hobbled to compete
    ‘Gainst tooth and claw?
    And after two legs made him fleet,
    How apt to sprout not more!

    What was I, or my generation,
    To be thus favoured by chance mutation,
    When every thwarted configuration
    Of matter and function
    Craved to frustrate integration
    And wreak disjunction!

    O Evolution, that finds perfection
    Without volition or direction,
    By vagrant change and natural selection,
    How great thou art!
    No force, material or ethereal,
    Can ape thy part!

    And last, my thanks that I’m enlightened;
    Unlike those who, by truth’s glare frightened,
    And by theistic fancies blighted
    Imagine cosmic plan.
    May thy disciples see them righted!
    Amen, amen.

    [P>S>: I accept evolution — but evolution by “intelligent design” (salutations to Michael Behe!), not evolution by chance mutation and competitive attrition (“natural selection”).

  • Rebekah Meredith says:

    13 May 2024
    Who needs Labour, the Greens, and the ABC to attack Christianity when we have Quadrant commenters who are so ready to do so? Let a Christian, on the Lord’s day, attack the religion of evolution at his peril!
    Evolution can never explain how matter and energy came from nothing.
    Evolution can never explain how life came from no life.
    The origin of the universe and life were observed by none of us. We can either believe by faith the account of the One Who WAS “in the beginning,” or we can believe by faith the hypotheses (yes, evolution is not a theory) of men who were not. But please do not call the former religious belief “superstition” and the latter “science.”

    • Citizen Kane says:

      Last time I looked QoL was not a Christian only ‘club’ – thats what the empty churches are for.

      ‘Evolution can never explain how matter and energy came from nothing.’ – Evolution does not seek to explain matter and energy – that is for physicists

      Evolution can never explain how life came from no life. – As soon as there were the chemistry preconditions for life, then life somewhere, somehow in the vastness of the universe with its infinite planets was ultimately inevitable. Life is a coalescence of particular organic compounds, at first simple and then evolving into more complex forms over vast geological time frames. As a Christian you subversively recognise this every day as you claim only Humans have a spirit and a soul, although you may believe that each of the untold millions of different life forms on earth was individually creatively designed by god in its final form, which of course begs the question did god have another go at it after the extinction of the dinosaurs?

      Nobel prize winning scientists Urey & Miller demonstrated as early as 1953 the prebiotic formation of amino acids and ribose sugars in a suitable atmosphere with the addition of lightening (electrical current) to catalyse certain chemical bonding reactions.

      In your own lifetime you have experienced an evolution of sorts from a single cell sperm and ovum to a gamete, through foetal development where you looked like a tadpole, then a fish like, then almost reptile like before resembling a small unhatched bird before going on to be born and become a fully formed and evolved adult human. All of you comes from single cells and organic chemistry, and when you die all of you will return to that organic chemistry and indeed be recycled by new emergent life forms, mostly single cell bacteria to begin with. And just like before you were born there was no ego consciousness so it will be after you die.

      Its quite simple really, nothing to be afraid of unless one has an ego that thinks it deserves immortality – (a tedious idea if you stop and think about it for a moment – never ending is a long time to be aware of yourself!) But I guess certain ego’s revel at that idea.

      • KemperWA says:

        I have been to several very full communion mass funerals and marriages of late. We do so because our rites and rituals bring comfort and show that we care, we are not necessarily debating the creation of the world during these commemorations. a church I happened past now has extra services in Hindi and another language I cannot recall. I mean, I suppose sport fields and stadiums are often empty which is fine as not everyone wants to play sport. Let us not tear ourselves apart. I would rather worship my faith if just to grant me some quiet and solace. Better that than the gods of tiktok, uber eats and victimhood which the new generations worship. That life is making them physically and mentally sick.
        You are free to critique. You will get a bit of disappointment and ‘oh well’ from me and I will not think any lesser of myself and my faith, but imagine if it was a critique of Islam, one might be hunted down and hurt!
        We shouldn’t divide ourselves when the real frightening happenings in Australia are the increasingly radical Islam and Aboriginalism. Heck I’d prefer your three aunties over the 15 gesticulating Islamic men metres from my bedroom window any day of the week

      • David Isaac says:

        If you’re part of a living race and culture then even if you have no children or grandchildren you may be assured of, perhaps not immortality but continued life. The Jews are the example par excellence of this as they have managed to keep their ancient customs and asssiduously record their history through the millennia and in all corners of the world but there are surely a few Englishmen, nearly as far flung, who can harken back to the days of King Alfred twelve centuries ago, and more who remember the glory of their Greek and Roman cousins twice as long ago. However when you allow your home to be invaded and your history to be written against you by your enemies, you are damned.

  • William says:

    Citizen Kane – this is an example of the oleaginous application of the ‘theory’ – when someone speaks of evolution, it means different things to different people. The mutation/development of the Covid virus, the intermingling of racial types, the attainment of height etc, are what I would have given Farmer Joe the Nobel Prize for discovery in 5,000 BC. Those developments within species are known to every human being through life experience- that would not/or should not, have made Darwin famous. I simply term those changes ‘variations’ or perhaps a ‘micro evolution,’
    If the ‘theory of evolution’ is something that says anything it has to address the creation of life from nothing and the formation of species from other species. We await the evidence for those steps (200 years later), – all of which, as they are claimed to have occurred by random chance, must be swamping us (as even someone of my mathematical ability must agree).

    • Citizen Kane says:

      And if you were truly abreast of Evolutionary theory you would recognise that these ‘micro evolutions’ coalesce and compound over vast time frames to arrive at species which are different enough to be distinguished from one another i.e. a grey Kangaroo and a red kangaroo. A chimpanzee has 99% the same genes as you and has indeed also flown into outer space. Evolution is an ‘oak tree’ with many variations at the small branches all funneling back to a common trunk of life (lets call it bacteria to keep it simple for you) stemming over vast geological time frames. Your version of the ‘rainbow serpent myth’ is at least 5000 years old and that’s where it has stayed in terms of intellectual advancement.

      • Peter Smith says:

        Sorry doesn’t fly Citizen Kane. Lots of in-between creatures would result; bones aplenty to find. None about apparently. That why Piltdown Man was such a find. Evolutionary theory as it stands has much progess to make. I reckon it will look quite different in a couple of centuries and they will look back indulgently at the naiveties of today’s so-called evolutionary science. Christianity on the other hand will be the same. An unchanging truth.

  • Ken McNamara says:

    Being a practising Christian, this article is embarrassing.

    One of our highest values is truth and this article shows anything but a commitment to it.

    For starters, Evolution is a theory, just like Complex Function Theory – a body of thought that provides an explanation of phenomena and makes predictions.

    It is sophistry to use the common usage of “theory” as a synonym of “hypothesis” to dismiss the body of evolutionary theory as “opinion”.

    And as to the frequency of bones and other fossils!

    Fossilization is very rare.

    Go dig in an old graveyard and you won’t find one fossilised human or even one on the way to being fossilised.

    So there are breaks in the fossil record.

    I’m not sure what Piltdown man has to with anything.

    It was a debunked prank of the early 20th century.

    It’s like claiming that the “Shroud of Turin” fraud disproves Christianity.

    Evolutionary theory will keep changing, just like all human knowledge.

    Christian knowledge is human knowledge too. It has changed in the past and will continue to change in the future.

    Just look at biblical scholarship over the last century – who would have thought that a large part of the book of proverbs was a straight out copy from a much more ancient Egyptian text.

    This article was the sad gasp of a dying idea.

    • Sindri says:

      “who would have thought that a large part of the book of proverbs was a straight out copy from a much more ancient Egyptian text”
      Hmmm. Just a little searching on a few sites shows that this is much too widely stated. Most of the correspondences between Proverbs and “The Instruction of Amenemope” are confined to chapters 22 and 23 of Proverbs, and they aren’t “straight out copies”. There is vastly more in Proverbs that doesn’t derive from Amenemope. The controversy over the priority isn’t even settled, according to the Wikipedia entry.

    • pmprociv says:

      Well stated, Ken. Everything evolves, our planet, living organisms, human cultures, languages, fashions, technology, scientific knowledge, even religious beliefs and practices. Hell, even the Bible evolves, as anyone familiar with its history should well know. Where did its countless variants of today come from? Nobody knows, for there’s no definitive copy of the original — probably never was. Right from the start, various, scattered documents (mainly scrolls) were cobbled together by self-appointed committees, aiming to select a “canon”, which was then translated and re-translated through the ages, with a Latin version being finally adopted by the Roman Catholic church, despite the fact that none of the original was in that language. Once Latin became the language of God, mere mortals weren’t allowed to veer from it, as poor William Tyndale discovered when he was sadistically executed for translating it into English, in the vain hope that the “common” people could access its messages directly. Clearly, this was all about power, as religion has always been: a tool to control the masses. Ironically, Tyndale’s version was then used as the basis for King James definitive model, written by yet another committee in Shakespeare’s time, and hence using his language — God had evolved to speak English.

      Getting back to evolutionary theory. I resist entering into arguments with Creationists, for they always end the same way (just look at many of the above comments). Having spent my life immersed in medicine and science, I find overwhelming evidence of evolution all around me, starting with “simple” phenomena like the endless, daily changes seen in viruses (e.g. bacteriophages, influenza, COVID etc.), the way bacteria develop antibiotic resistance, to more complex matters such as host-parasite relationships (which includes the changing manifestations of diseases in populations), biochemistry, genetics, anatomy, physiology etc.. It’s plain as day to me, but impossible to explain to people without the education or experience — who become suckers for slick purveyors of creationism, picking on apparent examples of “it couldn’t have evolved” because “there’s no fossil evidence” — while garbaging the idea of fossils! Yeah, The Grand Canyon was formed in Noah’s flood.

      Peter Smith, with whom I agree on many other matters, falls into that category, by demonstrating his ignorance of the simple fact that humans actually are almost totally covered by hair — only very short and tiny in most places (with individual exceptions, as time spent on any popular beach will quickly reveal). I wonder how religious beliefs will evolve should life be discovered elsewhere in our solar system, or universe?

  • Citizen Kane says:

    ‘Christianity on the other hand will be the same. An unchanging truth.’

    Except of course that you have stated above that you accept evolution into the fold of Christianty, which by definition means that it cannot be an unchanging Truth because you have just changed the biblical creation myth (on day 6 god created ALL the terrestrial animals and Humans) to suit the bleeding obvious observations of modern science. Peter, you seem not to understand the concept of both internal and external validity in your pontifications.

  • Sindri says:

    Someone will have to explain to me why the theories of natural selection (and evolution) should be inconsistent with Christian belief.
    (PS: with the greatest respect, I’m not inviting the response “because it contradicts the creation account in Genesis”).

    • Citizen Kane says:

      So is the suggestion here that god created the first single cells and what arose from there was the evolutionary dance that actually transpired, resulting in humans amongst other species? Or is it that god created all animals, then they just altered over time – if so how do we explain for instance whole Geological epochs where there were no mammals and only reptiles, insects and fishes etc

      I would die in the trenches supporting A Christians right to be a Christian and I hold the Christian moral and social traditions in high esteem and accept it has played a significant foundational role in western civilisation as we know it (although it’s been a bumpy road with much that was regrettable along the way)..

      This acceptance of the historical role of Christianity does not mean that it’s foundational myths should be accepted unquestioningly in light of enlightenment scrutiny. This is what has occurred to all mythology – Greek, Aboriginal, Islamic, Buddhist etc.While Greek mythology is long debunked as reality it’s philosophical and moral foundations lived on. All of these traditions mythologies fail the test of reasoned and rational scrutiny..They rest solely in faith alone, a blind faith I do not share.

      • Sindri says:

        The short answer to your first question, CK, is “no”, that is not my suggestion. However, and respectfully, while I understand your view, your post doesn’t answer my question.

        • Citizen Kane says:

          Sindri, the response to your question depends somewhat on what you mean by ‘Christian Beliefs’. That is a broad net you cast and can incorporate everything from a fundamentalist interpretation of Genesis to a Hybrid model of some Creationism and some evolution (as appears to have been proposed by some here) to a view that creationism is simply allegory not to be imbibed literally.

          All I can add by way of my perspective is that enlightenment empiricism and the allied elevation of logical reasoning (including evolution – which is more than just ‘Natural Selection’) is largely inconsistent with the Christian Mythos but in no way inconsistent with the Christian Ethos. Indeed, the two have worked alongside each other with some success in recent centuries however this required that the church step back from matters of the State to allow for a liberal democratic secularism and free scientific enquiry to emerge. There is no doubt that brings its own challenges but the alternative is a medieval type theocracy as we see in the Middle East where, as I was reading recently in Quillette online, the statistics demonstrate that these societies have contributed next to nothing in notable scientific publication and endeavours in many decades if not centuries. These nations rely on Western scientific innovations and a largely ‘parasitic’ in accessing them. This is because many Middle Eastern Muslim nations still allow Islamic Mythology to dictate over liberal democratic secularism and free scientific enquiry.

          • Sindri says:

            Thanks for those comments CK.

          • David Isaac says:

            Technology is always adopted for warfare and domination. Efforts between two parties like the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaties may or may not be successful in hobbling technological advances in the short term but hardly ever in the long term. The rest of the world has always had to ignore taunts of parasitism and adopt such technologies by whatever means feasible or face annihilation.
            .
            In 1990 the West appeared to be unopposed and yet has managed to destroy its own nations with immivasion, off-shoring and dysfunctional economic and social policies. Kissinger’s relationship to China was surely pivotal to this insanity ( from the point of view of European civilization). The Islamic world is teeming and is poised to conquer Europe by stealth. Mediaeval theocracy seems like the winning system at this point. Perhaps we need to parasitically revert to our own mediaeval doctrines and give battle both physical and spiritual. The problem is we are far less capable than we were thirty-five years ago and China and Russia are ready to back the Islamic world to the hilt. Wheels within wheels.

      • pgang says:

        Do you see what you’ve done there CK? You’ve taken a fairy tale and made it truth, then accused the truth of being a fairy tale.
        You do share a blind faith, as with all superstition, that chance is possessed of creative ability, and that the natural world’s existence preceded any meaning or reason that could be imparted to it to make it function, or even be. Christianity is diametrically opposed to such superstition and has always been the enemy of naturalism, just as Judaism was before it (and I hope still is). Genesis explicitly negates superstitious concepts of universal origins. It is atheism that is superstition, not Christianity.
        Adaptation is not evolution. Evolution is a fairy tale that is smothering good science.

        • Citizen Kane says:

          I can see logic is not your strong point pgang. Because a man with long hair and a beard who lives forever in the sky is ‘good science’. And the creation myth of light on day 1 before photons hydrogen and the sun on day 4 is rock solid science. Somehow even plants that require photosynthesis made it in on day 3 before the sun. When you have an actual scientific based refutation of science message me, otherwise….
          Heads up – flying unicorn!

          • pgang says:

            CK your understanding of history is not very well considered I’m afraid. To make one suggestion, the founders of the enlightenment were all bathed in Christianity, and it was only over time that this philosophical period degraded into worthless and irrational humanism. As for the rest, it is not worth taking issue with.
            It requires a logical and consistent theology and associated philosophy to make rational conclusions on matters regarding first causes (if any), and Christianity has well and truly proved itself in that regard. We can then interpret nature if we want to make sense of it, ‘science’ being a subset of philosophy.
            Logic systems require supernatural input to remain consistent, as Goedell’s Incompleteness Theorum insinuates. By that lowest of bars it is impossible for a materialist or existentialist worldview to be self-explanatory, as they inherently claim to be. Therefore when people come at me with theories of evolution to explain life, I know a-priori that they are on very unstable logical and philosophical ground, because evolution is very much a materialist concept. Afterwards, a brief look at the observations and mechanics of evolution quickly dispel any doubt that it is just a story made for convenience’s sake.
            Logic and reason both require a supernatural a-priori. For reasons I won’t go into, that supernatural source must also be Trinitarian by nature if philosophy is to be logically consistent (the lack of which is the main cause of the failure of modernist secular humanism today).
            As for beards and long hair and living forever in the sky, you seem to be confusing Christianity with deism, a fairly common logical error.

    • pgang says:

      ‘Natural’ selection is real; evolution isn’t. If living things couldn’t genetically adapt to various environments then life wouldn’t be possible.
      On the other hand, to take the Darwinian leap of blind faith and use this simple reality to explain all diversity amongst living things, including their origins from simpler information sources, is irrationality of the highest order (and until recently was recognised as such). But humanism demanded a scientific theory, and Darwin provided one.
      Evolution is opposed to God’s creative plan for the world in every way. It is completely incompatible with Christian theology and philosophy, and it shouldn’t take much reasoning to understand this. Richard Dawkins understands it very well even though, like CK and many other secular conservatives who are beginning to wake up, he laments that civilisation is only possible within a Christian worldview (go figure!).
      Christians who try to shove existentialism into Scripture are, to be blunt, playing the role of the useful idiots of atheism.

      • Sindri says:

        I certainly agree with you about Richard Dawkins. He is an example of that curious phenomenon of the scientist who thinks, by virtue of being a scientist, that he is also an expert in history, theology and metaphysics, with a masterful understanding of human nature. Dawkins basically thinks that bread and milk are things that come from the corner store, and wickedness is catty talk at the high table. He is, as you say,/ being mugged by reality late in life.

      • Citizen Kane says:

        But pretending there is a pre-existing omnipotent human figure hovering in the sky is the height of reason and logic. There is a reason that there is a strong historical correlation between the dominant era of Christendom and the dark ages. Both Greek and Roman cultures experienced their height of decline t and innovation before Christianity arrived – then the lights went out across Europe for about 1000years before the Renaissance and Enlightenment.

        • Citizen Kane says:

          ….height of development and innovation….

        • Rebekah Meredith says:

          16 May 2024
          The “Christianity” of the Middle Ages was Catholicism, the doctrines of which are opposed to the Bible in a multitude of ways (the perpetual virginity of Mary, praying to saints, winning salvation by one’s good works, enforced celibacy for the clergy, etc.). Some of what the Catholic Church claimed as accepted science was directly opposed to the Bible, such as the teaching that the Earth is flat; Isaiah 40:22 speaks of “the circle of the earth.”
          There were also true Christians in the Dark Ages, who did believe and follow the Bible; hundreds of thousands of them were martyred by “official” Christianity. Many, if not most, of the early great scientists, such as Copernicus and Newton, were men who believed in God and the Bible.
          It is generally acknowledged on this site that Christianity is an integral part of our Western heritage, and that leftists are trying to destroy that heritage. Why help them? And making snide remarks about God, poking fun at Christianity, and mocking the core teachings of the Bible IS undermining that heritage. “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3).

    • pmprociv says:

      Good question, Sindri, but as CK has elaborated, depends on your definitions. Christian beliefs have been evolving ever since they were first created, so we end up with a huge diversity of beliefs now, some even triggering bloodshed and warfare along the way. However, if you accept that the Bible represent the literal word of God, then it can’t be argued with (although confusing and contradictory in many places). If it’s only the inspired word of God, then inspirations have sure varied over the centuries (as indicated in my response to Ken MacNamara, a little way up).

      I fully understand why people hold religious beliefs. Which religion they choose is governed mainly by their culture (tribal background). Once religious belief becomes institutionalised, i.e. entrenched in a community, it inevitably becomes a powerful tool of control, fully exploited by parasitic classes and demagogues.

  • lbloveday says:

    How differently animals have evolved/been created, or as I prefer, intelligently designed (designated in Wikipedia as “a pseudoscientific argument for the existence of God”),
    .
    Gorillas can lift 10 times their body weight (human record just over 4).
    The cheetah is far faster than us (100m in about 6sec)
    The dung beetle can move objects over 1,000 times its body weight
    Hippos have skin up to 2 inches thick
    .
    The last sentence in this article, “The computing power is believed to be comparable to that of the human brain” gives an indication of how superior to other animals are our brains generally,
    **************
    The world’s fastest supercomputer remains Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Frontier system in Tennessee, ranking No. 1 in the semiannual list of the 500 most powerful systems. However, it is no longer the only exascale machine on the list, with the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility’s Aurora system in Illinois taking the No. 2 spot and becoming the second-ever to break the computing barrier.
    .
    Both the Frontier and Aurora supercomputers are supported by the Department of Energy and can measure over a quintillion calculations per second, reaching the threshold for exascale computing (see 101). Among other applications, the massive computing power of both Frontier and Aurora are expected to help uncover insights into complex systems, including climate, artificial intelligence, and molecular-level medicine. The computing power is believed to be comparable to that of the human brain.
    ***********
    My wife regularly cautions me to beware of the ferocious Rottweiler nearby. I reply I’m bigger, smarter and have 2 hands and 2 feet as weapons while the dog is faster but has only its mouth as a weapon, so back me. Not so sure about a tiger though)

  • lbloveday says:

    Einstein (so famous for his genius that I don’t need to use his first name) said “I am not an atheist. I do not know if I can define myself as a Pantheist. The problem involved is too vast for our limited minds”.
    .
    If it was too much for Einstein’s brain, it’s far too much for the brains of me and 99.99+% of others, so I think anyone who denies the possibility of God (generally by proclaiming him/herself an atheist, and so often by ridiculing those who profess a belief) does not know the meaning of “atheist”, or, and, is deluded as to their knowledge and analytical ability.
    .
    Even the self-promoting “famous atheist”, Richard Dawkins, in his book “The God Delusion” has a chapter “Why there is almost certainly no God”, thus leaving open the possibility of there being a God, and in his computation of the probability of God’s existence, assigned it a probability of 14%. Horses win at 7.0 every day and, in my opinion, Dawkins outed himself as an agnostic.
    .
    There are an estimated (by some) 200,000,000,000 galaxies in the Universe, one of which is the Milky Way.
    There are an estimated (ditto) 100,000,000,000 stars in the Milky way, one of which is the Sun, around which the Earth orbits.
    That’s 20,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars if each galaxy has the same number of stars as the Milky Way.
    There are an estimated (ditto) 20,000,000,000,000 living creatures on Earth, of which an estimated 130,000,000,000 are mammals of which 8 billion are humans.
    Yet some of those insignificant humans categorically state there is no God anywhere in the Universe; the presumptuousness, even arrogance, astonishes me.
    .
    I’m with Einstein.

  • whitelaughter says:

    The source of our hairlessness becomes obvious if you go to the beach – we swim. The less hair, the better we swim.
    Mocking the likes of Dawkins is fun, but you’re no better.

  • vicjurskis says:

    Interesting article thanks Peter. Wallace and Darwin didn’t “discover” the idea of survival of the fittest. They arrived there by the scientific method of observing, thinking, testing and modifying.
    I don’t know anything about Darwin’s ideas on hairiness. But your proposal to separate sexual selection from natural selection is strange. Sex is natural and there are countless examples of animals that gain advantage in attracting sexual partners by their appearance and/or behaviour.
    I think your comments about intelligence are very important. Wallace wanted to separate animals from man. So do you, I think.
    I know from personal experience that a dog can be just as intelligent and more loving than a man. How does that fit with theism?

  • pmprociv says:

    Peter, Darwin didn’t “discover the theory of natural selection”, but came up with a plausible explanation for the incredible and inexplicable diversity of life that he’d encountered on his “Beagle” voyage. He’d been a failed medical student and was destined for a career as a country church minister, when the opportunity for that trip came up. He was also deeply religious, and agonised for years about publishing his ideas, for he knew just how much they would shake the foundations of Christian belief — it was only that letter from Wallace that stirred him into action. He based his conclusions on observing just how much variation people could induce in domestic animals and plants, by selecting desirable traits that arose randomly in succeeding generations, and breeding them up (he had no idea of the underlying mechanisms). It was only logical to extend this observation to nature, hence variation by natural, rather than human, selection. He also experienced firsthand the uplift of the land during earthquakes, and concluded that, were this to be repeated over aeons, it could account for the finding of marine fossils at high altitudes (plate tectonic weren’t to be confirmed for over a hundred years). He also came up with an explanation of coral atolls, one that hasn’t been improved upon since. By being able to think so originally outside the box, and against the prevailing dogma, he was a true genius — some say still the best we’ve ever had in the biological sciences. To think he knew nothing of biochemistry or even genetics — genes had not yet been discovered in his time. If only he could see what we’ve discovered since! And, despite the vehement criticism and ridicule from church leaders, he remained a devout Christian.

    If God didn’t want species to change, why did he give them genes, and DNA, which never stop mutating? Why aren’t we all clones of Adam and Eve? Or does God judiciously tweak genetic mutations, to drive evolution in His desired direction, “Evolution through Divine Selection”? Which would certainly mean our ancestors were not quite like us . . .

  • Elizabeth Beare says:

    Well, I am late to this party and couldn’t possibly address all of the erudition here in one small go.

    However, on hairlessness and other things, an ethologist called Desmond Morris in 1967 wrote about this in a book he called The Naked Ape, which explores common features of our pongid ancestry. It said mostly sensible things, although a later book called The Territorial Imperative by Robert Ardrey was slightly off-beam on our attachments to place, calling humans territorial animals (though hunter-gathering Aust Abs might agree with Ardrey). When Ardrey’s views are extended to producing warfare, the air gets thick with speculation of the sort Peter’s article decries.
    ——
    Fortunately, evolutionary biology has moved on a lot since then, once DNA appeared in science to help out. We are apes, no doubt there. What sort of ape is more at issue. One interesting theory about our hairlessness can be added, perhaps foundationally, to the other ingenious suggestions above concerning its utility. That theory concerns an embryological process called neotony. Humans may be hairless because of the limited capacity of the upright human female’s pelvis to accommodate a larger and larger brain. Evolution offered one solution, which was overlapping ‘sutures’ in the foetal brain that could be ‘squeezed’ into a difficult space without too much harm – so human infants’ heads are often a little differently shaped, which correct to the mean as the infant grows. But even that was insufficient to accommodate this smart human’s big growth spurt over millennia.
    —-
    Neotony relates to the fact that human babies are born virtually underdeveloped, i.e. in an earlier embryological state than other pongids’ babies. Thus our selective pressures were for extra-uterine maturation of an under-developed ape-like foetus in a state of hairlessness. We are born both hairless and totally helpless, with only sound to express our needs. Babies yell horribly until they get attention.
    This helplessness, being born at an almost foetal stage of development, may be tantamount to a kangaroo, a which delivers an embryo that climbs up a spit-slick the female makes to her pouch, a sort of external womb where baby finishes development. As mammals rather than marsupials this simple solution was not open to human pressures for brain survival when living and evolving out on the dangerous savannahs. So our selection pressures were for babies born before full brain development, that could be nurtured externally, by human mothers and their group. Our long maturation period suggests we were given survival advantage by birth while basically embryological but only if this worked in tandem with socio-biological developments in motherhood and group relationships too.

  • lbloveday says:

    From Andrew Bolt:
    .
    Palestinian Advocate on Creation/Design showing how pathetic he is..
    .
    Take Nasser Mashni, head of the Australia Palestine Advocacy Network, who last week ranted: “Israel and Australia share two things in common, aside from being a s–thole, racist, settler colony … They also have the highest incidence of skin cancer.”
    .
    Untrue. Israel is 23rd on that list, but Mashni used his fake statistic to delegitimise white Australians here and supposedly white Jews in Israel: ****“Their skin is designed for northern Europe … but our skin is designed for this land, it’s designed for the Middle East.” ****

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