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Thanks for commenting on my post. I thought I would return the favour (at the risk of whining and grousing).

To use one example you use above, let's look at this quote: “'The probability of this happening by chance (given a random mixture of proteins and RNA) seems astronomically low,' says Dr Carol Cleland, [who adds] 'most researchers seem to assume that if they can make sense of the independent production of proteins and RNA under natural primordial conditions, the coordination will somehow take care of itself,'” with all efforts to explain that coordination being not “very satisfying.”

Dr Cleland is on record saying thus: "My work has been used before by these people and it really angers me because they are using it to defend views that I reject..... it is deeply dishonest for theists to deliberately distort the words of scholars for their own purposes; as I recall , this is a sin"

In the quote Watchtower selected, Dr Cleland was responding to the fact that only Creationists claim that the first cells arose by random chance, in an attempt to make it sound absurd. And they're right, it is absurd, and it is precisely the the opposite of what science actually claims. The laws of chemistry are not random and cell formation would have proceeded down pathways consonant with natural laws. Many such hypotheses exist if you're willing to allow a little codnitive dissonance in.

Interestingly, why don't you quote what Darwin actually said after the paragraph about the eye? It provides a good background for what is argument is actually about. It doesn't look good when you try to explain the Watchtower texts aren't quote mining by quote mining yourself.


Ten Impossibilities of Evolution

tom sheepandgoats

Fred: Actually, I thought I did quote what Darwin said after the paragraph about the eye. At least, that's how it read in my copy of the book.

Dr Cleland is angry? She rejects creation views? Didn't I say as much? She's not a creationalist. She's a "hostile witness." Should it be shocking if a hostile witness actually is hostile?

Are you sure I'm the only one guilty of "quote mining" without having read material thoroughly?

I maintain a good analogy is that of cross-examining a hostile witness. Such a witness sometimes says things most damaging to their cause. The opposing attorney uses such statements to build a picture quite unlike that which the witness would have us all believe, and the jury may come to accept the attorney's view. It’s not dishonest. Or, if it is, then the entire human judicial system is, by design, dishonest.


Evolutionists have been going to great lengths recently to understand the origin of life. Take the immensely expensive experiment being conducted undergound somewhere in northern Europe.

Dubbed the 'particle colider', my understanding is that they were seeking to prove that life could come about by means of a great collision of particles travelling toward each other at astronomical speed. What did the experiment conclude?

I haven't heard of any new life being created... But even if that were the case. Let's just say it did produce life, what would it prove? That life comes about by chance? Hardly.
How much time, effort and intelligence did they invest in creating the environment where life might be produced? All it would prove is that life came about by means of intelligence and design, which is what Christians believed in the first place.


Actually, Dave, the particle accelerator in Europe is a tool used to (1) attempt to find the smallest particles of matter, (2) attempt to recreate snapshots of what happened in the first nanoseconds after the Big Bang (or, if you will, the beginning of the universe). It actually has nothing to do with finding the origins of life in the universe. It is a tool to understand the manner in which the laws of physics developed, and how it affected to development of the universe.

As for proper use of quotations and references, my response was too long to list here and so it is a post on my blog (http://www.screech1976.typepad.com)


Sorry, problem with my blog link: Here is the correct one...



Heh, I thought the same thing when I read all those footnotes. This is nothing new. Dr. Julius Mantey's almost 60-year old angry letter is still used by Trinitarians to show that the Watchtower 'misled' readers by quoting his work in support of the NWT's rendering of John 1:1. Huff and puff he did, yet...his work still did indirectly support the NWT on that point, though clearly(!) he didn't accept that rendering for other reasons.

But that's what makes such evidence so compelling, it's an admittance on a point from a source that you don't expect it from. Darwin does admit that his theory can sound absurd. Yes, he still believes it's true, obviously, but that doesn't change the fact that he admitted that it sounds absurd. In any case, I'm happy with the footnotes, because there's a lot of atheists out there (certainly not all) that will. never. let. it. go.

tom sheepandgoats

No. HA! They. may. never. indeed. Thanks.


My apology - you did quote Darwin's second paragraph. Funny cos I remember reading it too!

I think what you misunderstand about quoting sources is the effect that is created in the mind of a reader when a quote it is taken from one context and placed in another. It isn't a far-fetched observation to point out that many creationists sources intentionally do this and "The Origin of Life" relies heavily on this rhetoric technique. I don't doubt that it is an effective strategy - the question I ask is: If such materials need to employ such devices then what are the authors so insecure about? A source claiming to be truth wouldn't need to quote experts out of context. Engaging in such tactics Pointing out the scientist accepts evolution does not amount to being completely honest when engaging in quote mining is scant consolation.

I think "whining" as you put it is justified in these cases because many people will receive these materials and not have the skills to adequately critique them. Allowing falsehoods to remain unchallenge is a far bigger crime than not speaking up/grousing/whining about them.

tom sheepandgoats

Well.....why publish one's views at all? Rather, hunt up someone who's views differ from yours and publish his instead.

Look, on the one hand, maybe I can empathize where you're coming from. The internet abounds with misinformed or slanted material about us, and you want to correct it all, but whenever you try, you just have insults hurled at you.

It's simply a fact that people are going to take the same raw data you have and draw different conclusions from it. It happens in every field, and not just science. When pointing to chaos within the ranks, to discord regarding points that we, the layman, were long instructed were firmly established, it is more than enough to point out that so-and-so has not jumped ship, as might infer from his/her remarks, and are still committed to their side. (more to come, as time permits)


That's right Tom, there is so much misinformation out there. I guess my only goal in writing is to at least make people reason a little. That's all. Emotionally satisfying beliefs are great but all I ask is a bit of reason. This is admittedly hard to get many people to understand and it appears to be a waste of time in most cases. Such is the human reasoning/belief defence mechanism. Ideas matter, so let the battle between competing ideas be one on the strength of their evidence and logic. That's my rant. Thanks for providing the forum. It is good to see people can disagree yet still have a civil debate.

tom sheepandgoats

“I guess my only goal in writing is to at least make people reason a little. That's all. Emotionally satisfying beliefs are great but all I ask is a bit of reason.”

Okay. And here's our pitch:

Living forever in paradise on earth sounds a fairy tail. Pie in the sky. Absurd (like Darwin's eye). But it also sounds very good. Good enough to check it out. But, absurd as it sounds, not good enough to check out if the price is high or the time commitment is great. Hence, the offer of a free home Bible study which is the trademark of Jehovah's Witnesses. Free, convenient, and of short duration:


Yes, let us reason, but humans the world over tend to assume they hold a monopoly on it. As a species, we suck at reasoning. It's not merely weighing the facts, but it's also what facts (and often in what order).

Most church doctrines are not found in the Bible. It's the attempt to read them in that causes people to throw up their hands and say the book is incomprehensible. But study it without such preconcieved notions, and it assembles together without much fuss, and one gets the satisfaction one might get upon seeing a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle come together.

If you've ever had that experience with an actual jigsaw puzzle, that is a “fact” which goes some distance in countering those who suggest the whole endeavor is nonsense. A neighbor, whose puzzle lies unassembled in the box, is more easily swayed by such suggestions.

We have facts on our side, too. That's all I'm saying (for now).


I think it's absurd for academics to insist their published findings are only used to support the views they personally hold. If findings can be used to draw different conclusions what exactly is the problem as long as they haven't been misquoted. Of course there is the intellectual dishonesty of mangling quotations to present information that is clearly not the intent of the writer, but as long as the conclusion or beliefs of the author are not misrepresented (ie Mr Dawkins, Creationist and believer says.... ) then its a storm in a teacup.

I'm no expert but most articles I read on evolution contain information I think "hmmm, but that supports Creation..." pointing this out is neither a crime nor herasy.

I think its funny when Scientist get all in a huff because someone points out the *obvious*

tom sheepandgoats


Sigh.....tell it to Fred.

But I won't say anything bad about Fred (nor are you, I realize). I like his style. It takes courage to go on a site in which you are the (so far) sole dissenter. Of course, it doesn't take courage if you just want to hurl insults, but if you sincerely are attempting to persuade the "opposition".....that's not easy. Fred presents his viewpoint persuasively and respectfully (though I disagree). I appreciate that.

I like what I've seen of his blog, and may visit there again to post a comment or two.

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