To: All Dec0993 02:44PM Subject: Re: Quitting the Evolution Debate In article 2e0ef0$2bp@s

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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: (Patricia Shanahan) Message-ID: <> Newsgroups: In article <2e0ef0$>, (Dan Day) writes: |> In article <> |> (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 |> >from. |> |> 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 coursework assignments: 1) Creation 101: Create a universe. Extra credit for the simplicity of the underlying rules and for the most interesting and complicated results. 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 assignments. 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 barriers. 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 universe?". -- Patricia Shanahan phone: (619) 625-3708


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