I admit abiogenesis remains hazy and will remain that way until we synthesize life in a lab environment, which might never happen. However, you're venturing into the realm of opinion with your claim that evolution itself isn't well supported by the facts. The overwhelming majority of the scientific community accept the evolutionary hypothesis as the best explanation we currently have regarding how speciation occurs. That's not to say evolutionary theory is flawless -- it isn't. But the kinks will be hammered out in time.
The majority of music critics in the West believe that Lady Gaga ought be an object of praise. I don't agree with them - based on the same evidence (her music), I conclude that she's crap. It's all well and good to point out that your theory perfectly accomodates the "evidence" we currently have (though evolutionary theory is such that absolutely any fossil record would "support" it [i.e. the theory can be fitted to any selection of evidence]).
Did you read that critique I linked in one of my posts? I'm not sure if it's in there, but somewhere I read a creationist response to the notion of abiogenesis, which they called out as being statistically unlikely given its own premises and the theory of evolution as a whole. If life appeared from non-life over a long period of favourable conditions in a perfectly apt environment, it need not have been this kind of life. Furthermore, there need not necessarily have been only one kind of life - indeed, abiogenesis, as it is now, would suggest that multiple lifeforms would arise out of those conditions, leading to multiple evolutionary paths. This is not the case - all organisms are similar to each other in their fundamental structure, being constructed from variations of a standard cell. That there is only a single source of life better supports creationism than evolutionary theory, until evolutionary theory is fitted to the fact of the singular branch of life on this planet!
I think you're cherry picking your sources and thus getting a warped perspective on the matter. I challenge you to find an irreligious scientist who supports creationism. Most of this "creation science" is obviously biased by the beliefs of its purveyors and arises not from the selfless pursuit of Truth, but from ego driven desire for self-validation.
You won't have an irreligious scientist who supports creationism because creationism posits the existence of God. It's difficult to posit God when you don't believe in Him!
Surely evolutionists are guilty of exactly the same - the theory was generated on shaky ground, but was accepted as semi-plausible in the face of the waning popularity of Christian myth as a source of explanation of the world. Now, it's become dogma. It is impossible to question the validity of evolutionary theory without subtly questioning the validity of one of the prime tenets of "scientism", as it's called - that things progress continually from disorder to perfection (never mind how drastically this departs from thermodynamics and entropy). That any challenge to the theoy is met with severe aggression should stand as testament to its makeshift foundations - it is precarious, and it is known to be such, and yet we still want to stick with it.
On a related note, I'm calling bullshit on your idea of 'limited variance'. No where have you supported these claims with evidence, and when Bill gave you proof of speciation you simply tweaked your definition. Also, you claim that reaching the extremes of variance causes disease and weakening, which is nowhere to be found in Ensatina eschscholtzii.
I've provided a link which has, towards its end, details of the only experiments which have gone into "macro-evolution", which have all failed, though evolutionists claim cases of infertility born of over-specialisation as being cases of "new species" arising, even though these things are clearly still e. coli/fruit flies, regardless of their reproductive ability (which is known to be ruined by over-specialisation, anyway). I honestly didn't think it'd be necessary to provide any further sources, because it's such a widely known fact. That people here don't know it simply proves the common assertion that the users of this board are, in some ways at least, ignorant of the wider world. Here's Google on the matter.
You can make your own judgment from these kinds of searches, as I do. Currently, research seems to be supporting "my idea", also supported by thousands of years of human experience of breeding/selection of lesser species (and humans!).
In my ability to quickly revise my theory so as to fit incoming information, I am doing exactly what evolutionists do - fitting theory to facts. I understand that a theory ought have some kind of predictive power, if it is to be accepted as a scientific theory, and yet both creationism and evolutionism focus on things which cannot be predicted (namely, historical events). Evolutionism at least predicts that macro-evolution might be observable at some point down the line, but, so far, there are no cases of it, and a great deal of data to suggest that it would largely be impossible, given the limitations of genetic variance within any one species.
Like I said earlier, I think you're cherry picking. Here's a challenge: take a biology class next semester. Grill the shit out of your professor. Ask him/her for reading material on evolution. Or maybe try this: pretend you believe in evolution and you're trying to prove a creationist wrong. Do some research from the opposite perspective to test your own beliefs.
I did pretend that I believed in evolution, and I was trying to prove creationists wrong. I read evolutionist arguments, which first seemed plausible, and then creationist arguments and evolutionist responses. The creationist arguments generally showed that what was claimed as "evidence" for evolution was not only not "evidence" for evolution, but it could easily be interpreted as "evidence" for creationism - ultimately, evolutionary theory is as supported and as explanatory as creationism, if not less so, as I mentioned about. The responses to those arguments were inadequate in missing the point that it was the nature of this "evidence" which was being questioned (it was a shock to find no adequate response to this criticism).
I have also attempted to allow others to provide what they believe to be sufficient evidence in support of macro-evolution, and I am currently dissapointed in the lack of actual evidence, though the theory can be fitted to the fossil record and current biology/genetics etc. As things stand, it's not a particular concern of mine, whether evolution or creation are more accurate assumptions as to how life arose/became varied. Life arose; it became varied; we will never be able to prove a mechanism.
As it is, I have a friend who is a biologist, who might know some evolutionary biologists - I'll ask him if he can collect anyone with a thorough idea of the ground upon which the theory stands, since for now all I've been offered has been bupkiss.
Have you experienced the Forms? How do you know they're real and not just an abstraction for understanding reality? I'm not arguing for or against the existence of Forms, I merely want to know more about them. I was under the impression that the World of Forms is inaccessible to experience; we only know of the forms through our observation of patterns.
You know what constitutes a chair, right? You can walk into a room full of chairs and tea mugs and pick out the chairs from the tea mugs? The ability to do this shows that you understand the fundamental difference between the two kinds, and the similarity between the objects within each kind. This displays knowledge of Forms, though we might describe it in any number of ways - the Theory of Forms is a single, metaphorical account of a real phenomenon, namely our ability to develop an understanding of the groupings of objects in the physical world around us, i.e. "what and in what way are things similar/dissimilar to each other", leading to "what are the necessary characteristics for each kind of item" - these are not worded questions we ask ourselves, but descriptions of an internal process which occurs as we intuitively recognise universal patterns.
We know the Forms to be real independently of their instances because the Form can exist without any one of its instances. Before there was a chair, "chairness" had to have existed - how else could a chair have come into being in this universe? Of course, the physicalist response is to beg the question and reduce everything to brain states etc. (which is an assertion only falsifiable by direct experience, which physicalists necessarily close themselves off to, given their personal devotion to their assumption).
Evolution fits the idea to the facts, Creationism fits the facts to the idea -- that's what I meant by 'accommodating'.
Unfortunately, this is not so. If one is guilty of either, then both are. I have to say, fitting the idea to the facts is hardly an example of a "good theory"; it simply yields a temporarily convincing storyline to explain what is known for the moment, containing within itself the possibility of being amended (even totally reversed?) should newly emerging facts require. As I have said above, a good scientific theory has predictive power; while the origin of species is something we might predict, the theory which predicts such and such a mechanism can only be shown to be true once observation of such a mechanism at work has occurred.
The emerging fossil record forces evolutionary theory to be altered far more frequently than it has required creationism to be altered (which is never). The solidity of the creationist stance is its strength, not a weakness - the facts, as they are uncovered, easily fit with the theory, until you assume evolution as the source of speciation. As aberrant as it might sound, evolutionary theory is no more supported by the "facts" you refer to than creationism - it is much more a fitting of theory to fact than it is a conclusion of theory from fact.
Then point me towards the truth. How does one identify a Form? If we can't identify a Form, then how do we know they exist?
We internalise the Forms through experiencing numerous instances of them. As we come to understand what it is for a chair to be a chair - what constitutes "chairness" - we come closer into contact with the Form of the Chair, until we understand it so perfectly that we might always be sure of what is a chair and what is not.
I am apologetic to the idea that the mind may be immaterial; I just fail to see how it precludes the idea of evolution.
Well, for one, if mentality is immaterial, then it lacks the spatiotemporal properties of space - being undistinguished and timeless, it must have existed before and must exist after matter, which is created and destroyed in its turn. All this would suggest is that consciousness is not an emergent property of matter, but a fundament upon which the physical rests (as in Tradition).
By this logic, then why not say the form of Reptile existed before its physical manifestation evolved from Amphibians?
Yes, I'm still not quite comfortable with the idea of throwing evolution totally out because it might go against notions of Archetypes - it seems reasonable to me that Archetypes might allow "evolution" from a primordial lifeform into its more complex arrangements in larger organisms, effortlessly filling the gaps in nature that are generated in Creation. However, apparently it's not acceptable, so I'm going to test the idea until it either seems unfalsifiable from what Tradition contains, or until it is falsified.
Evolution could well be the physical mechanism by which variation between species occurs. This is just as likely as "God did it", and presents a prettier picture, ultimately (makes the physical universe seem much better constructed, being thus more self-constrained). I'd be impressed with the Creator that could set the universe up so perfectly that Its creations would manifest themselves entirely naturally/naturalistically
If they exist outside space and time, then how do they influence the physical world? (Apologies if you've already went over this with Bill)
Where is the physical world, but within that which is outside itself? Is a house not affected by the storm around it? Is a body not affected by exterior factors? The metaphysic (including Forms) acts as a "support" for the existence of physicality. It is what holds the experiential universe together.
Are the teachings of Siddhartha canon in Traditionalism? How do you reconcile an impermanent and ever-changing universe with something supposedly constant like a Form?
Yes, Buddhism is a great tradition. Buddha speaks of the physical universe when he talks of anicca - it is physicality ("relativity") which is constant change, while Buddhism speaks of an unchanging void/stillness/emptiness/potential which must exist, underlaying all things, in order for there to be this change in the first place. While nothing like "Forms" are posited, as far as I've studied, the metaphysical realm is accepted as being "real" while the physical is "illusory", as in Hinduism.
Better yet, start a new thread about Forms so others can chime in. Or PM me if you prefer. Doesn't matter to me.
I might well do this at some point in the future. Cheers for the suggestion ; )
Kinda sounds like a cop out
Not at all - anyone who says that their words can be taken at face value is a liar. We instantly interpret words, and our interpretation of those words might differ from that of the speaker. As such, words are imperfect vehicles for the communication of truth. I'd sooner sit with you in silence for half an hour than have a debate about any one thing - it is likely, depending on who you are, that we would learn much more from that silence than from any speech.
Personally, I live a simple life and do not let such matters trouble me. However, I will say this this: If thoughts about the nature and origin of Life and the Cosmos had not given man many a sleepless night, then we wouldn't have half as much knowledge as we do today.
Again, this I will firmly accept. Still, Man must know his limitations - we are not all seers, capable of looking back through time in order to pick truth out of an assortment of theories.
Would you not say, given the impermanence attested to by Buddha, that origin is constant? That this universe is eternally arising, has never arisen, and will never have arisen, in that it is always a new state which is coming into being as an old is ceasing? As such, the origin of Man - indeed, of anything - must be found now, not in the past. Metaphysics would teach us that eternal origin, just as readily as science would teach us our bodies' earthly/temporal origin, if it had the tools with which to discover such a thing.