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Hello Craig
“I meant “big” as in relevance. “If there is no God” vs “if there is a God” has profound consequences on how we view the world and live, and so how the course of human history goes.”

I can see how this is relevant to many people. However the question as put isn’t relevant to the scientific investigation of reality. The theory of evolution doesn’t require consideration of the question of god. Neither does the theory of gravity or any of the thousands of other scientific theories. Belief in the supernatural has been the subject of investigation but the actual existence of the supernatural, having no credible supporting evidence, is often said to be beyond science. As such I find it amusing that believers often suggest scientists are negligent in not considering god in their research.

“When and how did we collectively decide that God is unnecessary, irrelevant and of no explanatory value? My point, which your comments seem to back up, is that this is assumed as an axiom.”

I didn’t say that we collectively agreed to the relevance of the god question. The statement is my view and my generalised understanding of the view of the scientific community. However I do not speak for anyone but myself. I do not see it as an axiom, merely as an irrelevance as it adds nothing to the explanatory power of any scientific theory, so we obviously disagree on that point.

“Creationists say these mechanisms themselves had to be created, and couldn’t arise naturally without God.”

Which god? How did this god come into existence? Again I get back to the question of it adding nothing of use to the understanding of the situation.

“Sure, the Bible isn’t intended as a science textbook, but we can still make some testable predictions. Here are a few:
These biological systems, even given huge amounts of time, can’t produce a net increase in complexity.”

Increasing complexity is observed all the time in biological systems and other systems. This assertion, often cited by believers, is due to ignorance of basic biological mechanisms. The observation is so commonplace it would be considered superfluous be the subject of an investigation.

“The fossil record will never reveal the significant intermediates predicted by evolution, because there aren’t any. I’m talking about the big changes like reptiles to birds, whales to/from whatever, critters that transition from cellular blobs to the “cambrian explosion”.”

Again this assertion is often cited by believers and similarly has no foundation. Intermediate or transitory fossils are abundant. All fossils are in some way “intermediate”. Though the fossil record isn’t complete, the fact is that it is entirely unnecessary. Fossil evidence is very interesting but has been overtaken by evolutionary genetics as the field delivering the best understanding of the evolution of life.

“Dog breeders, given huge amounts of time and the full range of dogs as a starting point, will be unable to produce a cat (never mind a bird from a lizard).”

Production of a cat from a dog or a bird from a lizard is not an evidential requirement of evolution by natural selection. I hope you are not going to raise the “crocoduck”. Evolution is happening as we speak. Our lifespan is unfortunately too short to appreciate the process in animals but it is readily observable in less complex organisms.

“While I don’t think the earth is 6,000 years old, I do think the Bible says human beings originated with a single human couple (Adam and Eve) about 6,000 years ago. Genetic analysis should be consistent with this. .g. “mitochondrial Eve” and “Y-chromosomal Adam”. (Actually Y-chromosomal Adam should date from the global flood.) These analyses have already been done, and I realise the ages given clash with this prediction.”

Genetic evidence unquestionably blow these predictions out of the water.

“Bible’s purpose is not a science textbook, but a text on God and the spiritual purpose of life, so to complain that it doesn’t make useful contributions to science is like complaining that a chemistry textbook doesn’t make useful contributions to morality.”

A valid point.

"But in the scope of the question of origins, certainly the creationist view makes testable predictions."

How so? An example please.

"When I try to seriously consider the evidence, I see problems with the theory: e.g. when I consider the fossil record, and ask “does it match the evolutionary theory?” the lack of transitional fossils stands out as a problem."

The transitory fossil argument is a strawman.

"Secondly, evolutionary explanations make a huge philosophical leap from demonstrating genetic variation on a small scale, to claiming that the same mechanisms on a large time scale can create life as we know it from goop."

Evolutionary explanations do no such thing. The theory completely explains the observable genetic variation, and more importantly the observable genetic similarity of all life on earth. It does so on a time scale consistent with evidence obtained from other scientific fields.

"In the science domain, much of the evidence is “evidence against evolution”, and we would agree that negative evidence has certain limitations."

Please give examples of the evidence against evolution.

Regards Allan

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