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Tags biology , intelligent design

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Old 28th November 2017, 09:43 PM   #81
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Originally Posted by Peregrinus View Post
I haven't had an appendix for 66 years and can digest just fine.

Mazel tov. It's a logical fallacy to make general assumptions from a specific case. Your individual appendix is of no interest to anyone. There is scientific thought that, in general, the appendix has an actual use. 50% of Americans don't have ovaries, yet I hear they're somewhat important to reproduction for everybody.

In any case, I cited actual authority. If you have a problem with it, take it up with the scientists whose work the article references.


Quote:
Argument from ignorance.

That is not how the Argument from Ignorance fallacy works. That fallacy argues that a proposition is false because it has not yet been proven true or is true because it has not been proven false. The proposition I'm arguing against is that it makes sense to blame God for what we perceive are weaknesses. I'm not saying it makes sense because it hasn't been proven not to. I'm saying that God's will is unprovable.

Those who claim God is a bad designer because of the appendix are the ones arguing from ignorance. They don't have the knowledge of how an appendix may be useful, so they simply declare it not to be. That's just plain ignorant in light of recent research.
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Old 28th November 2017, 11:00 PM   #82
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Say, it just hit me.

Maybe all this vestigial stuff in the human body is God's way of trolling us?
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Old 29th November 2017, 02:09 AM   #83
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Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
The proposition I'm arguing against is that it makes sense to blame God for what we perceive are weaknesses. I'm not saying it makes sense because it hasn't been proven not to. I'm saying that God's will is unprovable.
But the proposition I would argue against is the one that the perfection of the human body makes it obvious that the human body is designed. Obvious imperfections or failings in the human body are a valid refutation of that line of argument; however, the argument that we cannot know the reason God implemented those particular failings is no less a refutation of the argument, because it's an attempt to explain away, and hence an admission of, the fact that its central tenet - the obviousness that a designer exists - is simply incorrect.

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Old 29th November 2017, 03:36 AM   #84
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Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
I'm saying that God's will is unprovable.
Just like the existence of God is unprovable, her will is also unprovable, because believers can always claim that there is a higher purpose that we mere mortals cannot understand.

Perhaps God has made a bad design on purpose because it helps a higher purpose, just like natural disasters and general suffering apparently is caused for the greater good.

but the point of this thread is not to argue against those who claim that we cannot know anything, but to argue against that vast majority of believers who think that we can discern a perfect designer, just like they can see all the good God is doing for the world all the time. The fact is that we can just as easily come up with bad design decisions that are no easier to brush away than the claims of good design.

If we cannot judge God by human standards, then we cannot also claim that God is perfect.
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Old 29th November 2017, 08:47 AM   #85
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Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
I'm saying that God's will is unprovable.
Is this the best place for making such a claim?
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Old 29th November 2017, 09:07 AM   #86
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Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
For the record, I think this is a stupid argument on both sides. Arguing about what God would or would not have done is like arguing what would have happened if Soap had lasted another season. It requires us to know not just God's capabilities, but also his plans. And one can always argue that he planned for us to be shambling wrecks who die of sorts of things because, well, because he has his reasons.
He might have his reasons to create a bad design but it's still a bad design. And quite frankly, given how much human features the believers assign to god, I'm quite justified in saying that if no human can think of a rational reason why god would make it this way, then one doesn't exist.
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Old 29th November 2017, 09:11 AM   #87
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Originally Posted by Dave Rogers View Post
A comment in the Intelligent Design thread has started me thinking.



It seems to me that there are many instances where the design of the human body is obviously - not to put too fine a point on it - downright wrong. There are of course different trade-offs in any design, so it's not really a valid criticism to point out that, say, humans are much slower than cheetahs, because we're optimised for a different set of parameters. However, there are obvious instances where either the design of the body is clearly not thought out, or where a superior design element exists in nature. The classic example of the latter is the difference between human and cephalopod eyes; simply routing the nerve connections round the back of the retina in the latter is not only obviously superior but also exists in reality, so one can't realistically come up with an excuse for the blind spot in humans, where the optic nerve is routed through the retina, in claiming intelligent design.

An example of the former, it seems to me, may be the urinary tract. There are two completely separate excretory systems in mammals; the alimentary canal extracts nutrition and water from food and drink, and the kidneys take up some of the water ingested to remove waste products from the blood. The urinary system wastes water; not a problem for an organism living in water, but quite an inconvenience for one living on land, because we're reliant on sufficient water to keep hydrated and to maintain kidney function. If the urinary tract were routed into the alimentary canal, which is already set up to separate waste from water, wouldn't it be a more efficient design, and quite a realisable one?

A couple of questions, then:

From someone whose knowledge of biology is better than mine (I'm a physicist so I admit I don't value understand biologists biology ), does that sound like a reasonable criticism?

And:

What other good examples are there of obviously poor design (rather than questionable trade-off choices) in biology?

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As a chronic asthmatic with COPD, spinal scoliosis, and a personality disorder I'd have to say my creator was a bit weak in the head. Stupid.
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Old 29th November 2017, 01:54 PM   #88
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A sobering thought.

When confronted with the compelling evidence about the age and size of the universe, and the somewhat lesser age and diminutive size of planet Earth, (thus illustrating a complete lack of proportion), I have heard theists suggesting God may have been busy creating elsewhere in the universe before us.

If the above is the case, and we assume God learns from his mistakes, we must conclude what we see here is a refinement on what has been done elsewhere.
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Old 29th November 2017, 02:58 PM   #89
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nemmine

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Old 29th November 2017, 03:00 PM   #90
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
A sobering thought.

When confronted with the compelling evidence about the age and size of the universe, and the somewhat lesser age and diminutive size of planet Earth, (thus illustrating a complete lack of proportion), I have heard theists suggesting God may have been busy creating elsewhere in the universe before us.

If the above is the case, and we assume God learns from his mistakes, we must conclude what we see here is a refinement on what has been done elsewhere.
Isn't this just a convoluted case of infinite regress? I, for one*, am certainly aware of no evidence from any source that would support such speculation. (*Yes, the danger of speaking from a set of one.)

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Old 29th November 2017, 03:08 PM   #91
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Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
You have unknowingly helped make my point. There are theories now that say that the appendix is not vestigial. It serves an important purpose as a safe haven for symbiotic bacteria that aid in digestion.

Anyone from twenty years ago that argued the appendix was unequivocally vestigial would have seemed right back then. But now that we have more information, we see they may have been wrong.

It's the same with a creator. Whatever seems to us to be some sign of benevolence or malevolence may, to a being with better understanding, be completely incorrect. That's why I don't think arguing what God "would" do makes any sense. God has ostensibly superior information. He may be aware of good, logical reasons to do something or other that we simply don't understand.

As soon as you admit even the existence of God, you lose every argument.
Actually, I have been aware about discussion about possible minor benefits of the appendix for a long time - I thought in the 1990s. However as below:

Originally Posted by Peregrinus View Post
I haven't had an appendix for 66 years and can digest just fine.

Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
Mazel tov. It's a logical fallacy to make general assumptions from a specific case. Your individual appendix is of no interest to anyone. There is scientific thought that, in general, the appendix has an actual use. 50% of Americans don't have ovaries, yet I hear they're somewhat important to reproduction for everybody.

In any case, I cited actual authority. If you have a problem with it, take it up with the scientists whose work the article references.





That is not how the Argument from Ignorance fallacy works. That fallacy argues that a proposition is false because it has not yet been proven true or is true because it has not been proven false. The proposition I'm arguing against is that it makes sense to blame God for what we perceive are weaknesses. I'm not saying it makes sense because it hasn't been proven not to. I'm saying that God's will is unprovable.

Those who claim God is a bad designer because of the appendix are the ones arguing from ignorance. They don't have the knowledge of how an appendix may be useful, so they simply declare it not to be. That's just plain ignorant in light of recent research.
In the case of the appendix, all we need to know from the hypothesis of view of a benign and competent designer is whether on balance it improves or impairs the quality of life for people.

We know that any beneficial effect has to be minor, as hundreds of thousands of people have been saved by appendectomies, whilst before that surgical procedure was developed, hundreds of thousands of people died in pain due to appendicitis

There would be ways of designing something with the hypothetical function of the appendix, without the risks, should one be a hypothetical intelligent, benign, designer.


Originally Posted by steenkh View Post
Just like the existence of God is unprovable, her will is also unprovable, because believers can always claim that there is a higher purpose that we mere mortals cannot understand.

Perhaps God has made a bad design on purpose because it helps a higher purpose, just like natural disasters and general suffering apparently is caused for the greater good.

but the point of this thread is not to argue against those who claim that we cannot know anything, but to argue against that vast majority of believers who think that we can discern a perfect designer, just like they can see all the good God is doing for the world all the time. The fact is that we can just as easily come up with bad design decisions that are no easier to brush away than the claims of good design.

If we cannot judge God by human standards, then we cannot also claim that God is perfect.
I would put it more strongly than your last paragraph. Why shouldn't we judge any hypothetical creator by our moral compass?

God moves in mysterious ways is a cop-out. Inflicting suffering on innocents (cancers in children, for example - another bad design) can't be justified by a claimed higher good.

Maybe on balance it is good because the spectacle of suffering provides much needed amusement for bored immortals, just as one* might put a magnifying glass over an ant hill on a sunny day.


*if one is a psychopath.
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Old 29th November 2017, 03:40 PM   #92
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Of course much of the theological argument depends on the presumption that God is good and that he loves us. We presume he's at least marginally competent, or he wouldn't be a god, but is it equally necessary that he be serious? I've always thought that if there were a god, the best explanation for the world, if not the whole universe, would be that he's the equivalent of a bored child. The world is a glorified electric train set, complete with drama, trauma, alarms and excursions. Why should something as grand as a god care who suffers in his stories?
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Old 29th November 2017, 03:59 PM   #93
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Even God himself decided that at least one part of the design must have been unintelligent and needed to be corrected. But somehow that part was the foreskin.
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Old 29th November 2017, 05:50 PM   #94
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Originally Posted by Delvo View Post
Even God himself decided that at least one part of the design must have been unintelligent and needed to be corrected. But somehow that part was the foreskin.
Yes. And does God still have his?
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Old 29th November 2017, 07:16 PM   #95
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Originally Posted by Delvo:
"Even God himself decided that at least one part of the design must have been unintelligent and needed to be corrected. But somehow that part was the foreskin."

Gerdbonk:
"Yes. And does God still have his?"

At one point there were no fewer than 14 foreskins of Jesus to be venerated across Europe. Just why any of the True Relics Amalgamated™ would a) think a foreskin would have been preserved after the brit milah and b) why anyone would want to venerate it is certainly beyond my ability to imagine.

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Old 30th November 2017, 12:08 AM   #96
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Old 30th November 2017, 02:37 AM   #97
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Lots of useful organs are paired up: lungs, kidneys, and the reproductive come to mind. But only one heart? If it stops you're a goner.
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Old 30th November 2017, 04:39 AM   #98
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Originally Posted by Blue Mountain View Post
Lots of useful organs are paired up: lungs, kidneys, and the reproductive come to mind. But only one heart? If it stops you're a goner.
Two hearts but fused together?

Salty water as the means for conducting electrical impulses around the body always seems up for improvement.
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Old 30th November 2017, 08:49 AM   #99
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Originally Posted by Cainkane1 View Post
As a chronic asthmatic with COPD, spinal scoliosis, and a personality disorder I'd have to say my creator was a bit weak in the head. Stupid.
The fundamentalcases that I've met would call your health problems the result of sin.
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Old 30th November 2017, 11:58 AM   #100
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Originally Posted by Ozzie View Post
The fundamentalcases that I've met would call your health problems the result of sin.
Don't forget there was neither disease nor death before The Fall™.

/snark/ because there are some who . ..

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Old 1st December 2017, 02:57 PM   #101
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Originally Posted by gerdbonk View Post
Yes. And does God still have his?

A good point.

If you are a Muslim you may think he does not. The most perfect man, Muhammad, according to some traditions, was born without a foreskin. If he was the most perfect perhaps he resembled God most.

However there is some disagreement about this, as others maintain his grandfather Abd-al-Muttalib circumcised him when he was seven days old.
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Old 1st December 2017, 04:18 PM   #102
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Oh silly humans . . . there's no mystery as to why we were designed with flaws. Obviously, the flaws exist 1)in order to give God a multitude of ways to punish us for our transgressions, 2)so that we experience suffering, the overcoming of which allows us to spiritually grow and 3)to provide seeds for conversations like this where God can separate the faithful from the faithless.
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Old 1st December 2017, 06:22 PM   #103
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Originally Posted by Peregrinus View Post
Don't forget there was neither disease nor death before The Fall™.
Yes, but there was plenty of unrecognized nudity. After the fruit incident, god's little humans looked at each other and said "eek! nakedness!" and jerry-rigged some quick loin coverings. Adam even hid from god because he was ashamed of his nakedness.

If your body was created in god's image, why are you embarrassed to show it off?
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Old 1st December 2017, 06:45 PM   #104
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Better question:

Why would a god design you nude and also design you so you are ashamed or embarrassed by your nudity -- after first not having you embarrassed of it?

There's a certain inconsistency here, isn't there? Also, why do all the other gods allow nudity? Aren't their creations ashamed?
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Old 2nd December 2017, 03:39 AM   #105
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Originally Posted by gerdbonk View Post
...

If your body was created in god's image, why are you embarrassed to show it off?
God's was bigger than Adam's?
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Old 3rd December 2017, 05:53 PM   #106
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Originally Posted by xterra View Post
Better question:

Why would a god design you nude and also design you so you are ashamed or embarrassed by your nudity -- after first not having you embarrassed of it?

There's a certain inconsistency here, isn't there? Also, why do all the other gods allow nudity? Aren't their creations ashamed?
Their gods are fakes. The real god is a meddlesome control freak. I mean, if you were a god wouldn't you be? Any god worth his salt will be a jealous prick and probably a butt-groper too. I mean what's the point otherwise?
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Old 3rd December 2017, 06:36 PM   #107
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Originally Posted by Delvo View Post
Even God himself decided that at least one part of the design must have been unintelligent and needed to be corrected. But somehow that part was the foreskin.
Huh? Needed correction? I've... never heard that before. The removal of the foreskin was supposed to be done to demonstrate that you're one of the followers of god; to set you off from all the rest. Nothing to do with correcting anything.
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Old 3rd December 2017, 07:31 PM   #108
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Originally Posted by The Norseman View Post
Huh? Needed correction? I've... never heard that before. The removal of the foreskin was supposed to be done to demonstrate that you're one of the followers of god; to set you off from all the rest. Nothing to do with correcting anything.
The earliest documentation of circumcision was in Egypt circa 2400 BCE; it was for hygienic rather than theological reasons.
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Old 3rd December 2017, 08:53 PM   #109
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Originally Posted by The Norseman View Post
Huh? Needed correction? I've... never heard that before. The removal of the foreskin was supposed to be done to demonstrate that you're one of the followers of god; to set you off from all the rest. Nothing to do with correcting anything.

How can you be set off from all the rest if the part of the body you've modified can't be shown to anyone else due the shamefulness of nudity?
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Old 3rd December 2017, 09:03 PM   #110
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Originally Posted by Peregrinus View Post
The earliest documentation of circumcision was in Egypt circa 2400 BCE; it was for hygienic rather than theological reasons.
Huh. Did not know that. I stand corrected, thanks!



Originally Posted by gerdbonk View Post
How can you be set off from all the rest if the part of the body you've modified can't be shown to anyone else due the shamefulness of nudity?
Good point. I myself try to lead by example and strut around nude. Most especially when attending church services.
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Old 4th December 2017, 04:20 AM   #111
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Have someone mentioned caries?

In the light human beings are badly designed to eat tons of simple carbohydrates in soft food and keep our teeth healthy, I always wondered why the "creator" was so short-sighted about how our diet would evolve and the lack* of religious dietary prescriptions regarding those, that is, "sugar is no kosher" or "going to bed without brushing your teeth is taboo".

* I'm sure there are some isolated rules in different religions, but I'd like to know their historical origin and how efficient they are to avoid caries. Besides those which come just from some kind of cultural p-hacking.
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Old 4th December 2017, 04:53 AM   #112
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But aleC, isn't that a bit unfair? Eating carbohydrates is a choice, subject to free will. We eat it despite knowing it's bad for teeth. That's like a well designed tractor that tolerates a wide range of oils and diesels as fuels and even runs if you mix in some sugar, but we insist on feeding it pure molasses.

Nothing can be designed for every use and abuse. Design is always making choices of what to design for. Thus every design has an envelop inside of which it should perform well. That implies you can take any design outside of its envelop. If you do, don't blame the design.

God created man for a state of paradise, where no agriculturally grown and industrially processed food was a design criterion. Presumably, our teeth are well designed to such stone-age diet. It was a choice (or long chain of choices, starting with eating that damned forbidden fruit) that took our teeth outside their design envelop.
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Old 4th December 2017, 05:08 AM   #113
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Fair enough.

Yet some religions will throw baptism at you to protect you against the consequences of loosing the state of paradise. Then, why don't they add some rules about not eating sugar cane by-products? Prescriptions against gluttony came later, and they are not simple-carbohydrate specific.

Besides I have a hard time believing sugar cane wasn't a feature in paradise. Ergo "unintelligent designer".
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Old 4th December 2017, 07:12 AM   #114
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Unsowed, uncared, unbred, unprocessed sugar cane is sufficiently rare and low on sugars to not pull the overall paradise diet outside of the envelop.

It's sugar beets in my corner of the world - and some dentists recommend chewing fresh beet chips when a toothbrush is unavailable: the plaque- and dirt-removing qualities of the fibers apparently outweigh the modest sugar content, most of which you dissolve and swallow with your saliva.

Not sure if Eden, somewhere in or near Mesopotamia, would have had more cane or more beets.
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Old 4th December 2017, 07:13 AM   #115
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Originally Posted by Oystein View Post
That's like a well designed tractor that tolerates a wide range of oils and diesels as fuels and even runs if you mix in some sugar, but we insist on feeding it pure molasses.
Bad analogy. Sugar will not dissolve in either gasoline or diesel fuel. In sufficient quantity it might clog the fuel filter, but would not harm the engine itself.
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Old 4th December 2017, 07:16 AM   #116
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Originally Posted by Peregrinus View Post
Bad analogy. Sugar will not dissolve in either gasoline or diesel fuel. In sufficient quantity it might clog the fuel filter, but would not harm the engine itself.
What?!? You have not seen and lauded my honey-mustard salad dressings where the honey's sugar mixes (I did not say dissolve) beautifully with olive oil
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Old 4th December 2017, 08:20 AM   #117
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Originally Posted by Oystein View Post

Not sure if Eden, somewhere in or near Mesopotamia, would have had more cane or more beets.
Sugar beet is a much modern mutation, and sugar cane only appeared in Asian Mesopotamia when the Arabs took it there from India.

All the tales of the "peoples of the Book" predate the cultivation and elaboration of sugar sources. Even in modern times sugar is considered to be kosher even when animal bones and other animal parts are used to refine it.

So, clearly "the creator" hasn't inspired any of them to correct any design mistake made in "its created creature".
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Old 4th December 2017, 12:10 PM   #118
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Originally Posted by aleCcowaN View Post
Sugar beet is a much modern mutation, and sugar cane only appeared in Asian Mesopotamia when the Arabs took it there from India.

All the tales of the "peoples of the Book" predate the cultivation and elaboration of sugar sources. Even in modern times sugar is considered to be kosher even when animal bones and other animal parts are used to refine it.

So, clearly "the creator" hasn't inspired any of them to correct any design mistake made in "its created creature".
Yes, but you can't expect God to foresee everything.

Er... hang on a moment...

Dave
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Old 4th December 2017, 12:22 PM   #119
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Dental Caries does seem a bit niche compared to autoimmune diseases, for example.

Admittedly, it does show a distinct lack of foresight on the part of a supposedly omniscient being.
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Old 4th December 2017, 01:18 PM   #120
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The eustachian tubeWP, that balances pressure between the middle ear and the atmosphere.

Clearly god, in her vast and omniscient wisdom, anticipated aircraft and deep diving, where this facility is really handy to stop your head hurting. Otherwise, why? Monkey climbs a few meters up tree ... climbs down.

(The science in this post might be a tad flakey, but it wasn't hurt in its production)
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