From: Patricia Shanahan
To: All Dec-09-93 02:44PM
Subject: Re: Quitting the Evolution Debate
Organization: Cray Research Superservers Inc., San Diego CA, USA
From: email@example.com (Patricia Shanahan)
In article <firstname.lastname@example.org>, email@example.com
(Dan Day) writes:
|> In article <1993Dec6.firstname.lastname@example.org>
|> email@example.com (Rob) writes:
|> >>Au contraire, my friend. The evidence exists *today*, and it's called
|> >>_The Fossil Record_.
|> >There are a lot of possible interpretations of the fossil record. I've
|> >heard at least 5 of them, all of which sound equally credible, and as a
|> >result, I believe we can discredit the entire debate about where we came
|> Could you list them, please? I'll send you a box of cookies if
|> you can come up with even one substantially different from evolution
|> which can't be immediately (and severely) contradicted by at
|> least a dozen pieces of existing evidence. If you take me up
|> on this, you may find yourself revising your comment about how they
|> "sound equally credible", as I haven't seen *any* evidence which
|> contradicts evolutionary theory (feel free to present any you
|> think you may have).
As a young godling, the Great God Howzat was/is/will be given some
1) Creation 101: Create a universe. Extra credit for the simplicity of
the underlying rules and for the most interesting and complicated
2) Theology-for-Godlings 101: Develop a large number of different,
mutually inconsistent, religions.
3) Mathematics 201: Discuss, with examples, the axiom of choice.
Now Howzat is both a very creative god, and a very lazy one, so he
decided to do a single project that he could turn in for all three
To avoid having to actually construct his theologies, he decided to
create a universe in which intelligent life would develop and do the
job for him. To get a lot of theories, he needed to have many different
groups of beings working independently. With that in view, he limited
his universe-creation project to universes in which there is an
absolute speed limit, and parts of the universe would be moving apart
faster than the limit, preventing any risk of communication between
them. At the same time, he wanted groups of beings to interact after
developing separate religions, to construct even more religions by
combination. For this reason he wanted worlds with oceans and mountain
ranges so that some people would be separated by surmountable
First he constructed a subtle set of not-quite-deterministic rules for
driving his creation, and then he sat down to think about initial
conditions. He could have really started it in a simple state, and let
it develop, but that might not have led to exactly the distribution of
matter and energy that he wanted, so he would have had to guide it
through many states to get the complexity of results and the number of
theologies he needed. That would be a lot of work. I did mention that
Howzat is a lazy god, didn't I?
Moreover, that would not have helped with his mathematics coursework.
Instead, he contemplated the infinite range of states his creation
could reach, given its operating rules, and picked one to actually
create. In the state he picked, the day of the week in one language
on one world happened to be called "Tuesday".
Being a lazy godling, Howzat did not bother to clear away his universe
after he had written his reports. He just left it running.
This is a major advance over standard Last Tuesdayism and the heretical
and false variations that specify other days of the week. It explains
several things, such as why the fossil record looks exactly as though
it had developed under the operation of a relatively simple set of
rules. It makes useful predictions, such as that the universe really is
governed by a set of simple rules, and so a combination of observation
and occam's razor will continue to give good results. It explains why
the universe was created in a complicated state in which it appears to
have been operating for a long time, why it should have a speed limit,
and why there are so many different religions.
Incidentally, Howzat got 100% in Creation, 25% in Theology-for-Godlings
because his religions were just too complicated and confused, and 1% in
Mathematics. His harder working fellow students considered EVERY set,
and presented an element from each set as their coursework examples. He
only selected an element from one infinite set. The Ultimate Question
of Life, the Universe, and Everything is "What was Howzat's average
score on the coursework assignments for which he created the
phone: (619) 625-3708