An exchange of emails has resulted from my initial letter. You can interpret the discussion for yourself. I have left out the forwarded email due to space and its non-specific nature (you can see it here if you like.
On Tue, Jun 10, 2008 at 10:39 PM, Yomin Postelnik wrote:
Dear Mr. Hamilton
I will be sending a detailed response momentarily. However, I must say, I find your attempt to censure voices that disagree with you to be very disturbing. You may want to open your mind with regard to such issues. Your denunciation of the piece also failed to take into account its central point. Is there a reason that you seem so intent on quashing debate?
From: “Derek Hamilton”
Date: Tue, 10 Jun 2008 23:28:48
Subject: Re: Re
You are free to say whatever it is you want to say, but the issue I raised was the integrity of the site on which the article was posted, as it blatantly demonstrated severe lack of scientific knowledge while criticising science itself at the same time.
Additionally on the issue of censorship, I can simply quote myself, “I would not have a problem with a sound, tactful argument against the position of atheism.” If I were, for example, to say that Hitler was a Catholic, therefor Catholocism is false, that would be an absurd argument worthy of ridicule. It would not be censorship to suggest that it is absurd, or the one making such a claim is in danger of losing credibility.
As for your central point, it seemed as though your point was “The universe is perfect; it wasn’t random; God did it.” Perhaps you can clarify.
If you can provide evidence of a god or gods, then by all means, do so. You’d be the first, and I’d gladly be a part of history.
email@example.com to Derek
show details 11:41 PM (2 hours ago)
I find your efforts to censor to be repulsive in the extreme and they are not indicative of someone who espouses logic or who has an open mind on the issue
Your first question is being answered directly in a piece going out momentarily on which you will be bcced. If you have not received it soon feel free to email me back and I”ll send it to you separately
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile
Derek Hamilton to ypostelnik
show details 1:57 AM (5 minutes ago)
You appear to be avoiding the issue of the support of your claims. I will repeat again, say what you will, I will gladly hear it if you can provide evidence of a god or gods. Telling you that you are wrong is no different than the very thesis of your original article that you are factual correct and atheists are wrong. I’ve made an effort to remain civil despite your continued cries of censorship when presented with the evidence of your argument many flaws.
I have read your forwarded form letter, and it seems to merely include a lengthy argument that details your misunderstanding and mischaracterization of the theory of evolution. Your central point, which you stated as, “physicality itself points to the fact that there is an Intelligent Creator” I did in fact address prior (this is still the first cause argument – http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CI/CI200.html); however, I will address it once more in further detail.
The obvious question here is why does that point to an “Intelligent Creator”? It appears from your writing that your justification is that the universe could not have “poofed” into existence. Ironically, creationism is the only one asserting such a thing — there is no scientific theory (theory: a hypothesis significantly supported by evidence) that states as such. While the origin of matter is unknown to science, assuming that it requires a start is assuming too much as it is.
It is also worth noting that despite the difficulty you have understanding it, organic material emerging from inorganic matter has been observed in a laboratory setting on multiple occasions based on the Miller-Urey experiment (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miller_experiment). Arguing its impossibility while not even understanding the very basics of, for example, evolution, is unreasonable. If you would like an explanation of how amino acids can develop into organic material subject to evolutionary principles, this video should be a good introduction on how such a thing could arise (though be aware that the process of the very first life on Earth developed is as yet unclear — the point is a method with a scientific basis that is entirely within the realm of reasonable possibility that you have outright dismissed) – http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=U6QYDdgP9eg
If you are assuming all things require a beginning, but a god does not, that is called special pleading (http://www.fallacyfiles.org/specplea.html). You replace the word “existence” with “physicality” to exempt your notion of god as “spiritual”. Physicality is merely the opposing forces between masses, arguing semantics of the word “physical” is meaningless. Aside from that, you add the word “Intelligent” to the beginning. All you’ve suggested is that the universe must have been spurred into existence from a spiritual plane. That does not offer any suggestion of intelligence, that is only your own assumption. It could, given you stated and quote, “Knowledge of purely spiritual existence is beyond us.” Therefor, we cannot make assumptions as to the spiritual realm, if it exists. It could be absolutely anything, then, that spurred the universe. It could have been an e-mail that disrupted the spirit realm and brought forth the singularity. As you said, it’s beyond us.
On a side note, you requested evidence of evolution. This is a perfectly valid request that should be asked (though I would definitely suggest researching on your own, given the wealth of information available). I will do my best to expand, despite not having a background in biology (so naturally I will provide sources).
First, a general definition of the theory of evolution.
The theory of evolution is the change in the frequency of alleles over time. It suggests that mutations in the genes of the offspring of an organism are positive, negative or neutral as dictated by the environment (natural selection). These mutations are passed down to future off-spring. The positive traits aid survival and thus are more likely to be passed down.
The basic evidence we hear argued about is the fossil record. The fossil record of the modern whale dating back to terrestrial mammals is very detailed (http://www.talkorigins.org/features/whales/). It includes slow dissipation of the legs and the shifting of facial features from terrestrial benefits to those aiding in the aquatic environment.
The evidence is much more than simply, the fossils themselves, though. The location of the fossils in the strata correlate the time of transition so accurately to the point that it can be determined how deep bones of a specific fossil in a region should be before even digging (http://evolution-facts.org/Ev-V2/2evlch17a.htm). This is the source of the common statement that convincing evidence against evolution would be the fossil of a bunny in the pre-cambrian.
Biologists, however, typically contend that the strongest evidence for evolution is in DNA. One such piece of evidence from the DNA come from Endogenous Retrovirii. ERVs incorporate themselves directly into the genes of the host and are always passed down, so that once it is contracted, all subsequent offspring will carry it in a specific location among millions of placements in the genomes. All verifications correlate to evolutionary predictions (http://wiki.cotch.net/wiki.phtml?title=Endogenous_retroviruses).
Another aspect of the DNA that supports evolution are vestiges. These are attributes in the DNA of an organism that are no longer active due to a mutation. Such an example are teeth in fowl, such as the chicken. This is due to the evolution of avians from reptiles. Another vestige can be found in the aforementioned whales, which have the DNA for feet despite being aquatic (this vestige also appears in fossils) (http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/section2.html#atavisms_ex1).
If you’d rather get this information from a more knowledgeable source, and in video form no less, here are some videos:
And by all means, investigate these things yourself. The more sources the better.