About Rationally Speaking

Rationally Speaking is a blog maintained by Prof. Massimo Pigliucci, a philosopher at the City University of New York. The blog reflects the Enlightenment figure Marquis de Condorcet's idea of what a public intellectual (yes, we know, that's such a bad word) ought to be: someone who devotes himself to "the tracking down of prejudices in the hiding places where priests, the schools, the government, and all long-established institutions had gathered and protected them." You're welcome. Please notice that the contents of this blog can be reprinted under the standard Creative Commons license.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Massimo's Picks

* My book, Nonsense on Stilts, slammed in the Chronicle! Except that the reviewer is a supporter of Intelligent Design, not to mention that he obviously hasn't read the book very carefully...
* Here is a response to the Chronicle's review, over at Gotham Skeptic.
* And you know you've made it when you are criticized by the National Review!
* My other new book (co-edited with Gerd Muller), on the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis, is out!
* Chris Edwards on why Robert Pirsig (he of "Zen and motorcycles" fame) is still wrong, after all these years.
* Fear of death is not a unique human attribute.
* Religions are not "all about the same basic truths," contrary to popular lore.
* Surely you didn't miss this: the Skepchicks on boobs myths!
* Who knew? Good genes are not enough. To be smart you need good teachers too!
* McCain, of all people, introduces a bill that would allow indefinite detention of American citizens at the whim of the President. WTF??
* The latest young conservative woman with a reality-challenged brain and a cavalier attitude toward facts: S.E. Cupp.
* How and why we should teach philosophy to young kids.
* The Anthony Flew debacle: the guy really ought to have known better.


  1. You wrote a book with Muller! A follow up with Beckenbauer maybe?

  2. Well at least you have something from Jablonka and Lamb in the new one.

  3. An excellent reason to encourage homeschooling: homeschooling generally centers more on reading than does traditional schooling, which involves irrelevant busy work and droll lectures. My reading and writing ability grew leaps and bounds during my homeschooling years.

  4. Massimo, from your introduction to the Chronicle article, I expected a work of raving religious fundamentalism. How can you claim (on the basis of that article alone) that Carlin Romano is a supporter of Intelligent Design? Has he said so elsewhere?

    I understand that Romano is (to put it diplomatically) not a well-regarded figure by many in the philosophy community; and I don't mean to defend his review as a whole; but there's nothing in that review to suggest that he supports intelligent design. That's a mischaracterization of the review. He simply observes that ID is not a monolithic edifice but a loose collection of ideas of variable credibility.

    And while I happen to think that none of those ideas hold water, I agree with Romano that it's important to distinguish between them, if only to weed out intentional or otherwise self-serving acts of deception from good-faith efforts to construct a plausible argument.

  5. Massimo, for all that your reviewer is a little feisty, I suppose you are, and are proud to be, a "Science Warrior", according to your espousal of "Marquis de Condorcet's idea of what a public intellectual [...] ought to be". It looks as if there's a fight on, you piled in, and in came Romano.

    The NRO piece's characterization of the common man's take on science is subtly coarse, applying nothing more robust than a Kuhnian-type post-positivist doubt to Science. It seems happy to grant that "Noting the obvious truth that our understanding of the world is ever-changing does not negate the significance of science.", and finishes with "To be sure, there are some scientific truths so well established that we no longer even think about them — they are just assumed elements of life. But on the margins, where the vast bulk of the controversies lie, the truths are not quite so settled, and there is more than enough room for debate." Except for calling Romano's piece "interesting", and giving an extended enough quote to give it credence, I'd say that the NRO piece doesn't exactly pile in, although of course this kind of modest reasoning, and the gentle derision of "Scientific truths" and the subversive plurality of "truths", can easily be twisted to support things like ID, so it should be resisted, perhaps even attacked.

    The NRO piece's thrust is more impressive for being more subtle than one generally sees from Science Warriors. Pens and swords come to mind.

  6. Scott,

    it seems to me that *no* form of ID has any intellectual credibility whatsoever, which is why I count Romano among ID supporters.

    I might add that Romano willfully misquotes me. For instance, he chastises me for labeling ID arguments "inane" when in fact I was quoting verbatim from Judge Jones' decision in the Dover trial.

  7. Massimo, does it seem to you then that living formations have had in no way any varieties of intelligence that have contributed in any significant ways to designing themselves by any methods that have contributed to their own adaptive functions or forms in the least?

  8. Massimo,

    Well, I may be reading the review more generously than you did, which is, perhaps, understandable! Still, I guess my understanding of his point was that while some such arguments deserve only scorn, others deserve attention and careful refutation.

  9. Hello,

    I listened yesterday to your recent interview on the Infidel Guy show. Loved it. The only part that troubles me was when you talked about parapsychology. I'm skeptical of parapsychological claims (well of course they are anomalous experiences, but I think those can be explained by non paranormal processes), and I'm a big fan of Richard Wiseman, Sue Blackmore and Ray Hyman.

    That being said, I tought that the way you portrayed parapsychology in this interview was misleading. You putted it at the same level of astrology at some point (???). But above that, you stated several time that ALL studies about telepathy showed negative results. I mean, that's just factually not true! We all know that they can be many reasons for a parapsychology study to get positive results (fraud, bad methodology, bad statistics, experimenter effect, non paranormal variable, and so on).

    If you read "The Elusive Quarry" by Ray Hyman, I don't think he would never make such a bold statements.

    I understand that you cover a very wide range of subjects (from Intelligent Design to global warming and son on), but I would love if you had the time to go more in-depth about parapsychology. I'm sure you are very very very busy, but Caroline Watt as a new on-line course about parapsychology at Edinburgh University that I did and I think it's a very good course:


    Keep up the good work,

    With skepticality,

  10. Jean-Michel,

    thanks for the comments, but I stand by what I said about parapsychology: it is a pseudoscience like astrology. They both make empirically testable claims, they have been tested, and they have been falsified.

    As for telepathy, as you say, the positive results have been explained by fraud, statistical flukes, etc. Which means that there are no positive results in the sense of anything confirming the existence of telepathy.

  11. "How and why we should teach philosophy to young kids."

    This is something you get Massimo, and someone like PZ Myers, and Dawkins seem to fail to realize.

    In the atheism vs. religion zeitgeist, science is too often set up as a competing narrative, and this is simply foolish.

    The sooner we are able to teach philosophical principles to kids, the sooner unsupportable metaphysical claims will be rejected as reasons to believe x, y, or z.

    Can I get an amen?

  12. If you can answer the easy question about the pseudo aspects of parapsychology, can you not give at least a simple yes, no, or maybe to the following?

    "Massimo, does it seem to you then that living formations have had in no way any varieties of intelligence that have contributed in any significant ways to designing themselves by any methods that have contributed to their own adaptive functions or forms in the least?"

  13. parapsychology: it is a pseudoscience like astrology. They both make empirically testable claims, they have been tested, and they have been falsified.

    That is... interesting. In what relation does that stand to your repeatedly stated position that a scientist cannot say anything about the "supernatural" (gods etc.)? Tested -> falsified, hm?

  14. Massimo,

    Scott is dead-on. The only way that an idea could never possibly be defended is if it is logically impossible that it is true. Then, and only then, is it legitimate to equate support for studying the idea with actual support for the idea's truth.

    No-one, not even you on rational reflection, could possibly believe that it is logically impossible that an intelligent creator is responsible for life on earth.

    It is ironic that your reaction (to leap to a false characterization of Romano as a "supporter of Intelligent Design") is precisely what a "science warrior" would do. A science warrior does not see shades of grey in the world of ideas, he sees them (creationists, psychics, and associated crazies) and he sees us (scientists).

    Can you defend yourself in a manner which refutes, rather than confirms, Romano's observations?

  15. Massimo, It seems that to get you to respond to a question, it must be prefaced by, "I loved your latest article, book, podcast, or whatever, but I just have this one teeny weeny question that I most humbly beg to have addressed, the answer to which I'm sure I'll find as penetrating as anyone of my unremarkable stature should be entitled to expect."

  16. Thanks for the article about Flew becoming a Deist. However, the author frame his objection against ID wrongly.

    “The logic proffered fails as an argument because it requires us to accept the lack of knowledge as knowledge, and the lack of evidence as evidence. This is Argumentum ad Ignorantiam, or, appeal to ignorance. It is also the Burden of Proof Fallacy, which states that if we cannot prove X to be false, then X is true; the inability to disprove X becomes the proof of X. The argument is of course invalid.”

    The same argument can be used against naturalism. There is not an iota of evidence that the laws of physics are natural and unintelligent. While it is also true that there is no observable evidence that the laws are intelligent and supernatural, there are many considerations that demonstrate the superiority of the supernatural paradigm.

  17. Manns Word, did it ever occur to you that the laws of nature, which were instrumental in fashioning our own intelligent functions, could be both natural and, in the use of their own functional stratagems, also have a form of intelligence?
    Probably not, as it hasn't occurred to Massimo and his brethren either.

  18. MannsWord: there are many considerations that demonstrate the superiority of the supernatural paradigm.

    Such as incoherence, over complication, lack of testable hypothesis etc? :-)

  19. Artie,

    I appreciate the (completely unnecessary) sarcasm, but once more I have to remind you that this isn't my full time job. Unless you guys want to start paying a subscription to the blog so that I can turn it into a full time gig (ah!), you'll just have to wait until and if I have the time to respond to (some of the) comments. I have both a real job and a life, you know.

    That said, you asked:

    > does it seem to you then that living formations have had in no way any varieties of intelligence that have contributed in any significant ways to designing themselves by any methods that have contributed to their own adaptive functions or forms in the least? <

    I have *no* idea of what this means. "Living formations"? "Varieties of intelligence"? "Designing themselves?" Uh?


    I really don't see the contradiction: paranormal phenomena and astrology do not imply supernatural agency, the idea is simply that they are unknown yet natural occurrences, hence under the potential epistemic domain of science.


    I appreciate the point about logical impossibility, but frankly this is splitting epistemological hairs. Anyone who seriously thinks that there is anything of intellectual value to ID is not engaging in constructive intellectual discourse (and shouldn't really be a "critic at large" for a prestigious publication like the Chronicle). You know, strictly speaking I can't prove that there is no Santa Clause either, but...

  20. Ah, Massimo, you snuck in a "no" answer to the question while professing not to understanding it. Clever of you, but clever by half as a fully intelligent response.
    Although all in all, I'll take that as a maybe.

  21. Okay, so I'll add another thing considered to be supernatural by many other people to your definition of "not supernatural" while still not understanding how you get a workable definition of supernatural and how you would deal with issues such as god rewarding you with precipitation every time you sacrifice a bull (P < 0.0001) vs. "Bigfoot does yes so exist, only you eggheads have never looked in the right place". How can the first fulfill your definition of supernatural, whatever it is, and the second not?

  22. How about that S.E. Cupp article huh? An insidious effort by some to overthrow Christian America as we know it. Wonder if she is going places or what? Palin with brains. I felt sorry for her trudging the streets of NY looking for KY-like solace in a place where little was to be found. Places where conservative warmth could be found. That was her story after graduating college. I could have told her that the warmth can be found on any given block in NY, but power runs to the liberal elite here in NY metro, and I suspect that was the problem. Plenty of conservatives, just not holding the reins.

  23. Artie/ Havok,
    Here are some reasons why I think that the supernatural (ID) paradigm is far superior:
    1. God’s ID (supernaturalism) is the only adequate cause to explain the disparate phenomena of consciousness, freewill, intelligibility, fine-tuning, the origins of life, DNA, the cell, absolute moral principles, physical laws, energy, matter... Naturalism has nothing viable to offer in explanation of the above. For instance, regarding the origin of life, naturalism offers Panspermia (seeded from extra-terrestrial life). However, this is no explanation at all. It just forces the explanation abroad. There seems to be no other “natural” contender. The naturalist tries to explain consciousness in terms of matter and often simply denies the existence of freewill. One then can therefore even talk about a “naturalism of the gaps.”

    2. There is no scientific evidence that anything happens naturalistically. Instead of evolution, we observe de-evolution (a reality endemic to the 2nd law of thermodynamics), contrary to Darwinist expectations.
    3. Occam’s Razor (the law of parsimony) requires the simpler explanation over the more complex. Naturalism has to postulate many disparate explanations for the above realities, while supernaturalism only requires one Being.

    4. It makes more sense that the laws of physics have a common ID origin than each existing immutably, independently and un-intelligently:

    a. God’s ID can better account for their immutability than a naturalistic world having nothing more than molecules-in-motion.
    b. The laws operate uniformly throughout the universe – not like a wave that looses it strength over time and distance – suggesting that they transcend the physical world.
    c. They act in harmony – they don’t self-destruct – also suggesting ID.

    5. Irreducible complexity is ubiquitous. The simplest life form depends on millions of bits of info coming together at one time. Even the building blocks – proteins – are only produced by living cells.

    6. We have no experience with things coming out of nothing as naturalism suggests. Instead, they require a supernatural Creator.

    7. Logic and reason also require an adequate and unchanging cause or explanation. Only supernaturalism can provide it. There must be transcendent (supernatural) causation. Our observations of this world only reveal molecules-in-motion.

  24. Artie,

    I think you may be overestimating my intelligence. That wasn't a clever way to answer no, I really have *no* idea what you are talking about.


    I made that distinction several times before: the problem with the supernatural is that *of course* specific claims can be tested (are you suggesting I don't think science can reject the claim that the earth is 6000 years old?), but that does not amount to falsification of "the god hypothesis" because gods aren't hypotheses in any meaningful sense of the word. Bigfoot *is* a hypothesis (there are other self-aware primates on the planet, hithertho undiscovered), and if people refuse to accept the (lack of) scientific evidence, that's their problem. There are people who still question the Copernican revolution, you know.

  25. Whether the reviewer from the Chronicle is an ID supporter (capitals or otherwise) is irrelevant when it comes to the accuracy of his review. Bill Dembski could write a review of your book—and it would have to be evaluated on the basis of its merits. Think about a writer complaining "big surprise he doesn't like my book he's {black, gay, Jewish, Muslim,…} and maybe you'll grasp the concept.

    In the short time I've been reading you I've seen you make dogmatic statements of the type the reviewer refers to—little "of course A is true, anyone with a brain knows that" patterns. For example in a recent post on the Anthropic Principle you wrote:

    "Contrary to what is often stated, no version of the AP makes any testable prediction (which means that, whatever APs are, they're not science). The two alleged examples often brought up are Steven Weinberg’s prediction of the value of the cosmological constant and Fred Hoyle’s prediction of a particular resonance of Carbon 12, the element on which (terrestrial) life is based. The problem is that both predictions were actually based on standard science, with no need to consider the AP at all."

    Which is an incorrect statement masquerading as an established fact. First of all you cannot demonstrate that neither Hoyle nor Weinberg used a WAP argument. But even if you could, it is irrelevant. It is a red herring. And surprising since you claim (though I have seen scant evidence) that you understand science. Because any scientist would acknowledge that the WAP, even if it didn't predict a Carbon resonance in a certain range could have, and even if it didn't predict a tiny but non-zero cosmological constant it could have. The line of thinking: well, we are here, so there must be a process X that allows for the formation of metals or a value Y that doesn't preclude the formation of galaxies is plausible. It is not that the WAP cannot make predictions that makes it unsatisfying, it is that there is no accompanying explanation for its predictions. That's what makes us dislike it.

    If you are going to be condescending, you had better be correct or you will be a proper target for mocking. I think the reviewer nailed you.

  26. David,

    well, you are certainly entitled to your opinion. Do I at least get credit for posting negative reviews and sarcastic commentaries?

  27. Yes. Oodles. In that regard you are the anti-Coyne. And I do mean that as a sincere compliment.

  28. Massimo, even though I'm a tiny bit cross that you didn't respond to my comment (because it didn't seem interesting to you, fair enough, and because you have a life and a job), yes, you do get credit. I suspect it's the daily grind of being a Science Warrior.

    It's always a matter of curiosity to me how much I or you can learn from this kind of sequence of very different ideas of what the evidence we see about us tells us. I guess observing the people behind blog comments is a little like observing the stars, insofar as we don't have much effect on them, they are light-years away, and the Hertsprung-Russell diagram is a rather crude story about character.

  29. Peter,

    actually, I didn't reply to your comment because I thought you made a reasonable point that I can hardly (strongly) disagree with...

  30. "Bill Dembski could write a review of your book—and it would have to be evaluated on the basis of its merits. Think about a writer complaining "big surprise he doesn't like my book he's {black, gay, Jewish, Muslim,…} and maybe you'll grasp the concept."

    What a crock... Equating the criticism of a persons beliefs to the person themselves is foolish enough, never-mind trying to equate believing in intelligent design and being black.

    Though, if you're the same David who peruses Russel Balckford's blog, it doesn't surprise me that you struggle in comprehending these things.

    But thats a brilliant argument to make; perhaps the people who still believe the earth is flat should cry not that their arguments are wrong, but that they're being discriminated against!

  31. That does not convince me at all, but it makes no sense to go in circles again. Let me just repeat that I think you misrepresent many of those you criticize, and you do that partly by conflating an unfalsifiable god "hypothesis" with the perfectly falsifiable god hypotheses. Just like

    "Bigfoot lives in this forest, and if that is true, we should be able to find feces and hairs"

    is not the same hypothesis as

    "Bigfoot exists somewhere, you are just never looking in the right place"

    The latter is no hypothesis in any meaningful sense of the world, and by your logic (although you take pains not to see that), because somebody somewhere can make that claim, a scientist has no business rejecting the existence of "the" Bigfoot hypothesis.

    There is no difference to the god questions, seriously!

  32. Mintman,

    seriously, there is a fundamental epistemic difference, and either you don't get it or, more likely, I simply cannot explain it clearly enough. Oh well.

  33. "Sippy" Cupp had a book signing and discussion at the Huntington Book Revue recently but I wasn't able to go.

    If she's an atheist (personally, I think she just pretends to be one), then she's the atheist equivalent to the Fox News Democrat who seems more concerned with bashing their own rather than offering anything meaningful.

  34. Paul,

    yeah I saw PZ's post, and thanked him publicly for it. As for being friends, let's not push it... ;-)

  35. Massimo, I take it then that in your world view there can be no such thing as a living formation. Living as in being alive, and formation as in a structure or arrangement of something.
    But then in such a world there could only be one variety of intelligence, if even that. And of course not a variety that could assist with the design of anything, especially without a form that came with it.

    Try reading the following and then tell us you have "no" idea of what that's about either. Unless by "no" idea you mean "no" understanding?

    The End of Bad Science and Beginning
    Again with Life

  36. Artie,

    defined that way, "living formation" seems synonymous with any living organism. Ok, no surprise there.

    As for the link you sent me to:

    > neo-Darwinism is wrong and dangerous. It is promoting and misguiding a runaway technology that has the potential to destroy all life on earth. It reinforces a worldview that undermines every single moral value that makes us human. <

    Talk about nonsense on stilts...

  37. Flew bit it? Rats. There is nobody more honest than one who changes their convictions. You don't know where they stand but they do.

  38. Except that one should change one's convictions when there is a good reason to do so, which is not the case for Flew.

  39. No living organism has then had the intelligence to assist with its own adaptation? Or intelligence is not necessary in a living organism? Or - ?

    And Massimo, picking what I can agree was the dumbest part of an essay is like choosing the reddest herring on the plate for its ideological value. You did get an idea what she was talking about, but apparently not one of her better ones. The ones she shares with Shapiro for example.

  40. Further, as to Manns Word's defense of the supernatural, he's stuck in the rut between the "God's purpose or no purpose" dichotomous dividers. Unheeding of the purposes Occam had in mind for his razor.

    You'd think our professional philosophers here would offer him a way to climb out, but purpose doesn't seem to be a part of most of their vocabularies.

  41. Mann's Word, nice use of scientific ignorance and "God of the Gaps" arguing to try to buttress your faith. Unfortunately for you, it takes more than misunderstanding and misrepresenting knowledge (scientific or otherwise) to make a valid case.
    Bringing up the 2nd law of thermodynamics as evidence against evolution was cute, and conflating our descriptions of reality (the "laws of physics") with reality was nicely done, but I thought the icing on the cake was #7 which amounted to "logic therefore (the Christian) God". It's a classic move, and one which never fails to raise a giggle.
    I'm not sure why you're confident in your conclusions (as you seem to be) while displaying such poor reasoning :-)

  42. Artie/Havok,

    Evidently, you weren't very satisfied by my reasoning in favor of the supernatural paradigm. If you'd like to examine it from another perspective, I use similar argumentation in regards to the moral argument:

  43. Oddly enough, some of the comments on Friendly Atheist are not so kind to an excerpt from Nonsense on Stilts on scientism.

  44. That's not odd at all, as a good number of atheists have an inclination toward scientism...

  45. I suppose, though one thing they did object to was this bit: "every single scientific theory proposed in the past has been shown to be wrong." I can see a sense in which said statement is about right, but I can see why others might not agree.

    (Also, judging from what I could see of the book on Amazon, the excerpt is actually multiple excerpts glued together, but without ellipses to show this is the case.)

  46. Arguably all exploratory mechanisms in life and quite likely in the universe operate by some form of progressive trial and error.
    Some would call it purposive trial and error, with the universe acquiring and fine tuning its purposive nature without a conceivable end or conceivable first trier and retuner. But then most here wouldn't.
    However it's hard to deny that for problem solving and prediction making, anything other than trial and error would work as effectively. And that while everything will always to some extent be subject to future error, not everything in the present can said to be, by that measure, wrong, if the method in use is the rightest one available.

  47. The first sentence of that last paragraph has an error that begs for a retrial, but then what the hell, you either get the point or you don't.

  48. "hell, you either get the point or you don't."

    Nope. No clue what you're talking about. Could also put a 'you have' in front of that last sentence.

  49. Part II

    "It makes more sense that the laws of physics have a common ID origin" Lets be real here. Mann's argument is largely based christianity's theocentric view on reality. For the God of the bible to be omnipotent, there is no room for sciences like physics. Mann has cited a specific situation in the bible where the door to the temple would not stay closed, and the candle would not stay lit. He cited these as evidence of miracles. But if God is the origin of laws physics, and physics is in fact still aplicable in his theocentric reality, then these miracles can be simply explained by wood warping due to weathering, and a lack of oxygen in the temple apprioate enough to keep the candle lit. No oxygen, no candle, simple physics.
    Mann obviously has no appreciation for quantum physics, stating that "a naturalistic world having nothing more than molecules-in-motion", when in fact, there is so much more going on beyond what our strongest microscopes can see, that we have barely begun to scratch the surface of the atom. Maybe Mann's subscription of Popular Science got lost in the mail. Laws in our universe are not immutable. In some cases, laws can be bent, if not broken. Outside our universe, other universe laws may in fact be completely different than our own. Maybe Mann's been getting his scientific education from the 700 club.
    "We have no experience with things coming out of nothing" Mann attempts to discredit Naturalism by charging that it somehow breaks the laws of thermodynamics. He insists that for Thermodynamics to be true, there must be a creator. Of course, anyone with the discovery channel knows that to be solely based on his distorted misinformation. Naturalism doesn't charge that things came from nothing. Naturalism is about the perfect "Rube Goldberg Machine". A machine with no creator. If the wind blows a glass off a table, we don't blame God for the cut on our skin. Gravity pulls, radiation deteriorates, solar particles can push, winds blow, atmospheres distort, singularities destroy, wormholes warp the fabric of space and time, debry, dust, heat, water, microscopic organisms clinging to the smallest thread of life. Our universe, perhaps one born from another, is violent, remarkable, freak of nature. One that we yet to understand. If Mann intends to have a scientific conversation, there is no place for his theocentric misinformed scientific myths because the rational know that it rains because of the water cycle, not because God is crying. That is natural. The rational know that lightning is superheated energy traveling at speeds near the speed of light, and not a sign that God is angry. That is natural. If there is truly no proof that anything happens naturally, then all science must be omitted from his arguments completely. His reality cannot have room for scientific reason, just theocentric reasoning. You cannot be theocentric and scientific. To be truly theocentric, nothing must be outside of Gods control. Thats why ancient hebrew exercised the possessed, and why we realize that they could be having seizures. You cant be scientifically theocentric. Thats an oxymoron.

  50. I've probably had this exact conversation with Mann's Word more times than I can count. The cold reality is that because of his devotion to his faith, he is psychologically predisposed to supernatural explanations for the simplest of problems. I rather enjoy, stamping out his distorted reasoning, that is partly why his blog is filled with many debates between the two of us. Each of Mann's arguments can actually be defeated with the simplest of reasoning.

    "God’s ID (supernaturalism) is the only adequate cause to explain" "There is no scientific evidence that anything happens naturalistically."In this specific argument, Mann attempts to reason that because something is complex, it cannot be the result of naturally occurring phenomenon, and that it must be supernatural. In light of the evidence of Earths violent past, ie craters from meteor strikes, I am not at all surprised that Mann wouldn't except Panspermia as a viable theory as to how life found itself on this planet. The reality is no matter how much evidence there is to support a reasonable explanation, Mann will always favor the supernatural explanation because his entire view on reality is firmly grounded in the the illusion of Theocentric reality. One question I know he would have difficulty answering is "If God created all existence, where was he when he created it?" I hate to use the bible against his whole argument of creationism, but the even the bible says that in the beginning, the Earth was formless and void. That doesn't mean the ingredients to create it werent there; it just means they had no form. The bible says God created the Heavens and the Earth. I can take lump of clay and make a bowl, but I didn't "create" the bowl, I formed it. The bible says that God created man from the Earth. Oddly enough, thats not much different than what science tells us about primordial ooze and life starting out from bacteria living in those mud like pools. It is my opinion, that Genesis isn't an actual depiction of how life started on this earth, but a metaphorical depiction of something so far beyond the minds of the ancient hebrews, in terms of science, that it was imperative that it be written in such a way that the readers would be more inclined to understand and except it. Perhaps genesis was written by a great scientific mind.


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