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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

On the fundamental question--evolution or creation?--Americans are on the fence. According to one survey, while 61% of Americans believe we have evolved over time, 22% believe this evolution was guided by a higher power, with another 31% on the side of creationism. For some, modern science debunks many of religion's core beliefs, but for others, questions like "Why are we here?" and "How did it all come about?" can only be answered through a belief in the existence of God. Can science and religion co-exist?

  • Lawrence Krauss web

    For

    Lawrence Krauss

    Director, Origins Project and Foundation Professor, ASU

  • Michael Shermer web

    For

    Michael Shermer

    Founding Publisher of Skeptic magazine and author

  • ian-hutchinson-web

    Against

    Ian Hutchinson

    Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering, MIT

  • Dinesh-DSouza-for-web

    Against

    Dinesh D'Souza

    Author, What's So Great About Christianity


    • Moderator Image

      MODERATOR

      John Donvan

      Author & Correspondent for ABC News

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Lawrence Krauss web

For The Motion

Lawrence Krauss

Director, Origins Project and Foundation Professor, ASU

Lawrence Krauss is an internationally known theoretical physicist. He is the Director of the Origins Project and Professor of Physics at the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University. Krauss has written several bestselling books including A Universe From Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather Than Nothing (2012). Passionate about educating the public about science to ensure sound public policy, Krauss has helped lead a national effort to defend the teaching of evolution in public schools. He currently serves as Chair of the Board of Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

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Michael Shermer web

For The Motion

Michael Shermer

Founding Publisher of Skeptic magazine and author

Michael Shermer is the Founding Publisher of Skeptic magazine and Editor of Skeptic.com, a monthly columnist for Scientific American, and an Adjunct Professor at Claremont Graduate University and Chapman University. Shermer’s latest book is The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies—How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths (2011). He was a college professor for 20 years, and since his creation of Skeptic magazine, has appeared on such shows as The Colbert Report, 20/20, and Charlie Rose. Shermer was the co-host and co-producer of the 13-hour Family Channel television series Exploring the Unknown.

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ian-hutchinson-web

Against The Motion

Ian Hutchinson

Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering at MIT

Ian Hutchinson is a physicist and Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He and his research group are international leaders exploring the generation and confinement (using magnetic fields) of plasmas hotter than the sun's center. This research, carried out on a national experimental facility designed, built, and operated by Hutchinson's team, is aimed at producing practical energy for society from controlled nuclear fusion reactions, the power source of the stars. In addition to authoring 200 research articles about plasma physics, Hutchinson has written and spoken widely on the relationship between science and Christianity. His recent book Monopolizing Knowledge (2011) explores how the error of scientism arose, how it undermines reason as well as religion, and how it feeds today's culture wars and an excessive reliance on technology.

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Dinesh-DSouza-for-web

Against The Motion

Dinesh D'Souza

Author, What's So Great About Christianity

A New York Times bestselling author, Dinesh D’Souza, has had a distinguished 25-year career as a writer, scholar and intellectual. A former Policy Analyst in the Reagan White House, D’Souza also served as an Olin Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute as well as a Rishwain Scholar at the Hoover Institution at Stanford. Called one of the “top young public-policy makers in the country” by Investor’s Business Daily, he quickly became a major influence on public policy through his writings. In 2008 D’Souza released the book, What’s So Great About Christianity, the comprehensive answer to a spate of atheist books denouncing theism in general and Christianity in particular. D'Souza is also the former President of The King’s College in NYC,

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Declared Winner: For The Motion

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Voting Breakdown:
 

62% voted the same way in BOTH pre- and post-debate votes (31% voted FOR twice, 24% voted AGAINST twice, 8% voted UNDECIDED twice). 38% changed their mind (6% voted FOR then changed to AGAINST, 2% voted FOR then changed to UNDECIDED, 7% voted AGAINST then changed to FOR, 2% voted AGAINST then changed to UNDECIDED, 13% voted UNDECIDED then changed to FOR, 8% voted UNDECIDED then changed to AGAINST) | Breakdown Graphic

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    215 comments

    • Comment Link Allan Hutton Tuesday, 02 April 2013 11:17 posted by Allan Hutton

      If there is a God, where did he , she, or it materialize from?. since it is observable that we all came from somewhere (our parents) who brought forth God, additionally if as it is believed God is all powerful, could he, she or it (God) make boulder so big that he, she, or it could not move it one centimeter. God it is quit plain to see was created in the deep dark recesses of primitive minds, long, long, long before the light of science could filter in and educate them. CONCLUSION: God is the awful remnants of the primitive uneducated minds long, long ago. Christianity is the most philosophically absurd, morally repugnant, and bloody of all the worlds known religions, history shows us the unrelenting pain misery and suffering is has caused

    • Comment Link Leroy S. Monday, 01 April 2013 18:29 posted by Leroy S.

      I like a statement in the post left by Dave M. because I walked away thinking the same thing. It is more like "Science refutes Christianity." It was more so to bash Christianity which in itself is a broad term. Not all Christians believe alike and we don't consider Catholics as Christians though most of the world believes so. They can't be Christians by the religion that they PRACTICE. Catholicism has no liking to Biblical Christianity.
      To continue, there is nowhere in the scriptures where God declared that the earth was flat. That was an assertion made by man. On the contrary, despite the knowledge that we have today that the earth is a globe, God speaks of the earth as having four corners! Will you dispute Him?
      Likewise when Joshua commanded the sun to stand still, I'm quite sure that they all believed at that time that the sun was cirlcing the earth, but what does it matter. Freezing everything in motion in the universe is no big deal for God.
      Knowlege is progressive. What good would nuclear science have been to Noah, but I'm quite sure that the Ark was the most technically advance thing made in his day. For this reason we should praise God the more for His wisdom that He allows knowlege to trickle down to when we are able to handle it.. On the subject of wisdom, we have plenty of information at our fingertips today. Sadly, it does not make us any wiser. Ware are not wise. A degree from any higher learning institution alone does not make one wise. I observe about 75% of drivers on the raodways trying to make 90 degree turns by turning at a 45 degree angle and cannot learn that that is impossible.
      The Eternal God would only be embarassing himself if He was going to react to the folly of man. The same folly is repreated in every age and in every generation. He saw it from the time of the building of the tower of Babel. Man will always deceive himself when he thinks that he is smarter than God. Yet, he is going to die with worm eating his body and somebody smarter is going to come along. If that was the end, it would not be all that bad, but he must be awaken on the other end of the "Lord's Day" to face Him as a judge.
      God cannot be known outside of His Word. He is the Word, and He has left us His word. I share this with people because we don't seem to know, but God has already written world history. It is in the pages of prophecy. Which scientist can alter the course of history yet to be fulfilled.
      I hoped not to created any more trouble for Israel but the nation of Israel is going to be a thorn in the side of a lot of people. When they have mocked Christianity enough and has turned the hearts of millions away from Christ and seek to celebrate, Israel will stand as a witness that God reigns.
      GOD"S WORD declares that all the nations of the world will gather together to try to annihilate Israel, then God said He will laugh. Even though it be told, who can alter it?. The hearts of men are simply being prepared today to give even more credence to God

    • Comment Link rahul Monday, 01 April 2013 03:13 posted by rahul

      if u say this universe came to existence by its own due to some sort theories u explain, there should be something which existed before it happens.if that is so ,then who created the pre-existed matter and what existed before . that is what i call as GOD.

    • Comment Link rahul Monday, 01 April 2013 03:00 posted by rahul

      well, i just have a question to every one here.
      Do you all know what existed before you people discover this constrained universe? and do you all know how this happened?

    • Comment Link Ed Sunday, 31 March 2013 06:03 posted by Ed

      From a Catholic point of view, the proposition is not only wrong, but is not even possible. We have two paths to grasp truth, like two hands, that of faith and of reason. Science is a subset of reason. Since truth is one, they can not contradict each other.

      It would be odd if God created the world and didn't intervene in the world. On the other hand, creation is good and God respects the world he has created, so he intervenes only when necessary.

      But the proponents of this idea want scientific evidence. St. Paul in Romans tells us that the world reveals to us the creator (Letter to the Romans 1:19-21).

      Specifically, Jesus' disciples began to believe in Him, it says in St. John's Gospel, when he turned water into wine. And later Jesus says to his enemies 'If you will not believe in me, believe in the works I do...', refering to the miracles or signs.

      Science does the task of telling us what is according to the laws of nature, and what is a miracle.

      But to current miracles. All we need to do is point to one instance of a miracle, and we're done, but we'll point to many. Let's start with the resurrection of Jesus, which we celebrate today.

      At each Mass bread and wine are changed into the Body and Blood of Christ. In 1970 Pope Paul allowed a speck to be analyzed by scientists under an electron microscope, and the bread had the structure of human heart cells, the blood had the structure of human blood cells. And this miracle happens at every Mass,all over the world.

      There is the shroud of Turin and the tilma of Our Lady of Guadalupe - scientists have examined them over the decades and- and concluded that there is no natural explanation for the images.

      There are the documented miracles at Lourdes.

      St. Bernadette, to whom Our Lady spoke at Lourdes, became a nun and was buried. Fifty years later her cause was opened and she was declared blessed, her body was exhumed and placed in the chapel. Her body, buried in an ordinary grave. when exhumed, was found to be intact. It is now in the convent of her order in France, and can be seen there, stilll intact. There are 50 or so documented incorruptibles, mostly saints but not always.

      So science helps us understand the Scriptures, and the creation of God, and helps us identify situations where God has suspended the laws of nature.

    • Comment Link hamid Sunday, 31 March 2013 01:23 posted by hamid

      there's no wave function for a living creature.

      futilitarianism: if life is without purpose then why are the shootings or genocide or war such bad things ? if mr krauss believes life is without purpose, then why doesn't he make a list of people that need killing, then go out and kill them. certainly the world would be a better place with certain people gone. i believe dinesh wrote a book about this topic.

      science is designed to make predictions based on observation. science can't refute God because it is outside the scope of science to do so. science can't say that something doesn't exist because we can't predict it. science says that we can predict thing we know about. we don't know about God.

      i liked dinesh's example of good and bad being outside the scope of science; especially the analogy with the dog and cat.

      isn't it a wonder that so many civilizations realized God independently ?

    • Comment Link Brainman Saturday, 30 March 2013 17:33 posted by Brainman

      God’s Metabolism
      Atheists are created in atheist’s image but are blinded and disabled by their own afflicted human nature. Maybe God and spirituality are not dead, just metabolically different as atheists pursue their confirmation bias about religious institutions when their only tool is a hammer called science and every moral nature, including the belief in miracles, a nail. Scientific truth and faith in God are not mutually exclusive. An atheist has faith in scientific truth to exclude themselves from a life with God the creator and live naturally, maybe even morally and ethically. God may not exist for atheists but for a majority of humanity a belief in God, spirituality and the virtues of faith hope and charity are alive and well.
      Link to the following excerpt: http://www.cheniere.org/books/gravitobiology/p45464748.htm
      … “To state it in more theological terms, man is truly made in the image of his creator. And the image of the creator is the quantum potential of the vacuum. Further, Man—as is every other living thing created by the Creator—is always and forever in direct but hidden communication with the image of his Creator. It is that image mechanism and its adaptive intervention that is the cause of all evolution. The Creator indeed made man—and everything else—out of the dust of the earth. And indeed he activated his creation with the "breath of life." The new physics does not dispose of God; to the contrary, it marvelously and nondogmatically—and scientifically—reveals his ubiquitous presence and his ubiquitous hidden intervention. [Emphasis added-MIRACLES]
      In so doing, the new physics also does away with the present scientific nonsense of dogmatic scientific materialism. We are not robots and machines; we are living souls. Our minds and our beings are not captured in the puny electrical discharges of our brains and nervous system, but in marvelous structures pervading the entire universe, everywhere, everywhen, in the internal Whittaker structure of every point in spacetime. Each has a spirit (that which motivates matter), and that spirit is a form in the Whittaker-structures of all the potentials of the universe. Further, the spirit is eternal. Destruction of the physical body does not alter the fact that the individual spiritual form and its every deed, thought, feeling, and experience exists for all eternity, in every part of the universe, directly in the form and image-potential of God. We indeed are eternal, and our true self is nonmaterial and immortal. The shabby treatment of our present scientific orthodoxy in attempting to deny us our spiritual heritage is refuted, and this refutation is scientifically testable. We challenge the present dogmatism to practice scientific method and put it to legitimate experimental test Spend some money and some time, and do it right. The necessary instruments can be developed. The necessary tests can be performed. The necessary results can be shown. And, given those results, the present materialism must be cast aside as an infantile derangement. It is long past the time when science should put away such juvenile things, and get on with a more mature, adult world. If it does this, then science can contribute to the salvation of Man. If it does not do it, it will continue to contribute to the destruction of Man. (Bearden)”

    • Comment Link Muhammad Tufail shad Saturday, 30 March 2013 08:02 posted by Muhammad Tufail shad

      Keeping in view of the whole discussion ,most of the debaters had taken the reference of the Bible while matching or mismatching of the Scientific developments .
      I think if all had kept the last Testament /The Quran as reference;they might had observed that Science has covered long distance in various fields mentioned in this book like Astronomy,Birth of child, Universal forces and many others. The left over and the most important for the mankind is the Divine economic system which has not been touched and implemented in the society/world.

    • Comment Link Dave M. Saturday, 30 March 2013 05:10 posted by Dave M.

      I think the debate topic is the real problem. Does science refute God. Since God can't be quantified in any sense for lab purposes then yes I would have to say that science probably does refute God.

      The debate seemed to run amok and turned into science versus Christianity.

      I think a better topic might have been Can science refute God. Once again God is not amenable to study in the lab and it would seem the thought process would lead down the same road but there are differences because of the question.

      When a massive star goes nova and the core collapses to a black hole, science is fine right up to the event horizon. Beyond that boundary we have given a name, the singularity. What is a singularity? Basically the term singularity is science's way of saying we don't know. We can no more see what is happening inside the event horizon than we can peer beyond the cosmic microwave background.

      Science is looking at the possibility of a multiverse where for every time I made a right turn, in some other universe I made a left. Very quickly we arrive at an infinite number of alternate realities.

      As to creation, the Big Bang. Once again that nasty term singularity shows up. Since we cannot understand singularities we can only look at those we know to exist for some hint of their nature. Non-feeding black holes slowly evaporate. The singularity of the Big Bang did not. It burst giving rise to all that is. The question is how? Was it a random quantum fluctuation or a divine push? If the multiverse idea is correct then each happened giving rise to and infinite number of quantum anomaly created universes and an infinite number of divinely created universes. In which do we live?

    • Comment Link gene Friday, 29 March 2013 22:46 posted by gene

      god created evolution to help everything created to evolve and create.

    • Comment Link gene Friday, 29 March 2013 22:07 posted by gene

      Refute god? Maybe refute of existence of god? Or maybe refute which religions interpretations of god? Poor choice of words I think. Since you can only refute the words of people who are claiming god said this or that. Can science refute religion? Definitely. Every religion is so full of sins and other moral crimes, from killing to enslavement, from greed to vanity, and the brainwashed effect that every religious person no longer believes god exists they know for a fact that god exists that religion itself has become ungodly. God's existence is part of a belief system, belief means trust, faith, confidence, opinion, conviction, etc. none of which is proof, fact, or established as truth. So how can science refute god when we didn't actually hear god say anything, if god did say something......now that would be proof.

    • Comment Link pat Friday, 29 March 2013 10:58 posted by pat

      I enjoyed the show but don't understand the voting. Couldn't the "victory" be rigged simply by many people claiming to be undecided in the initial vote, when in fact they are not?

    • Comment Link Jake Friday, 29 March 2013 08:02 posted by Jake

      This was a great debate. I felt like the Con side came into a hostile audience though.

      I personally liked the point that was something to the nature of "You cannot disprove God anymore than you can prove a thought."

    • Comment Link Dan Tuesday, 26 March 2013 09:07 posted by Dan

      I have a few comments.

      This was the most emotionally charged debate I've ever come across on iq2. Both sides have emotional reasons to push their side.

      I would also like to put forth that I have personally seen a tangible, real & verifiable miracle. (young man cured of aids with no real treatment, he was born HIV positive & now tests flat 0)

      Best argument from each side (in my view):

      Theists
      Science has no power to say anything about God because God is not bound by it's rules & he operates in realms that cannot be consistently observed.

      A-theists:
      When one does scientific experiments one must not expect the likelihood of miracles in order for scientific findings to have any reliability.

    • Comment Link Alex Saturday, 23 March 2013 21:52 posted by Alex

      @John Stark while I do believe in G-d, I have to comment that your argument is based on the assumption that G-d does actually exist, and is therefore moot.

    • Comment Link Alex Saturday, 23 March 2013 21:49 posted by Alex

      I would like to say that I was very disappointed during the debate when the question regarding out of body experiences was not answered.

      One can find the most compelling experiences from patients who were pronounced dead but miraculously came back to life. The question is, what does it mean to be pronounced dead? If thoughts and consciousness are related with brain, nerve, and electric signal, then how could a legally dead person, that is to say that their brain and therefore conciousness has shut down, experience anything at all?

      I believe in G-d; however, I do not think that everyone has to. I only think things that are wrong should be corrected and things that cannot possibly be answered correctly can not possibly have a correct answer.

    • Comment Link Kai Jones Saturday, 23 March 2013 20:07 posted by Kai Jones

      I agree with the believers of God or theologians. When something is concrete and truth it stays the same forever. God and the story of us remains the same and does not change based on trends and opinions of the times and zeitgeist.

      Not only can science provide no proof of anything, it cannot seem to make it's mind up.

      One minute it is this idea, belief, and theory, and then next, it is another idea belief and theory, and all presented as if it is fact, but it isn't because fact is concrete and remains the same for all to see and know.

      Science is blind people in darkness and are like the ignorant and blind witch hunters that had no proof of people being witches, but insisted that they were and contradictingly did things to people in the name of God that God says not to do.

      They do not see that the old testament along with the whole bible from begining to end is the story of how sin came to be, God making aware to mankind the existence of his sin by laws that were given to show humans their inability to love and follow basic principles and instructions, and the happiness that they should now have having their sin erased through the sacrifice of a sinless body taking the place of sinful ones that were bound for destruction because God is love, and perfect love and harmony, and evil is contrary to who he is and what he created life to be, and will be destroyed as rotten fruit is discarded and good fruit is kept and eaten.

      The creator God created man and all life perfect and to live forever. Evil is what a life form became and so disconnection from the perfect condition of health with no disease for eternity, man died physically and became susceptible to disease and illness that was inherited with his sin.

      The creator of the inherited perfection of love good and eternal life and perfect health which is who and what God is, creates life that way and can give it to a person that has lost it because it is who he is, how he creates when he creates things in his image, and is a giver of life and is good and never a deliverer of death or evil, hence the creator performing what science calls a miracle which is God doing what he does, giving life and perfect health.

      It is not feasible to a person who has accepted their notion of what life is, to believe that, and neither is it feasible for a person who 'believes', that what we see, is all that there is, and their conclusions, are the only ones that make sense to them as if they are detectives of logic, yet however, are ignoring the revelation of God and creation and sadly and foolishly, believe that if anything is done, it can only come from nature, and from the mind, discovery, and hands of a man alone, without any pre and former revelations from God, or any instructions from him.

      Mankind see's himself as great but it is based on selective views and not on the views that prove that he is not great and in fact, is a orchestrator of chaos, and all his ideas are based on his own reasoning, and not truth and fact.

      That is why we have a world of 'divided' opinions and ideas. If there was one truth to mankinds greatness would not man have the same mind all over the world to create harmony love, peace, and oneness of mind cooperation?

      Science is ideas and assumption that are thoughts and views that change like fashion and trends.

      In fact science is based on trend and not concrete fact that last forever and can never be disputed.

      Ideas, hypothoses, and theories are eventually considered outdated, and deemed primitive, and obsolete, by predecessors all the time, and that is what science is, and all that it is.

      A belief and views that caters to human 'vanity' based on his admiration of himself because of abilities that come from God that lead him to believe that he can live without God and sustain and rule and lead himself without any guidance, and input from God.

      The technology, and creations of his hands during a 'particular' point in time becomes the popular and accepted idea of that day, and time, and what he uses to further his impressed with, and vain view of himself, but it is soon seen as outdated and obsolete later by people who think in their vanity that they are more advanced that the previous generation and generations.

      Never coming to one point of knowledge, but claiming instead to have better ideas than the last bundle of ideas.

      Scientist do not agree and Science cannot make it's mind up! One minute researchers say and studies show and say that something is good for us, and the next minute they say that it is bad, and recant former claims, that they insisted on, and present as facts using the term 'studies show'.

      Ideas, beliefs and assumptions based on 'no' knowldege is what science in itself is.

      If we has facts and concrete knowledge of all things then science would not exist and need to exist. Science exists because mankind is 'searching' for answers (because he is blind and does not know, because he has rejected God's truth) and so the 'existence' of science itself can and is defined my the definition and phrase 'not knowing' and so are searching'.

      So by that very definition science cannot claim, or refute, 'anything' because it is full of theories and 'momentary reasonings' that are later replaced by other theories, and reasonings due and based on a blind and or, 'science' mind and view, and it exists because man has formulated his own 'belief and defintion' of what is, and why it is there, and it exists, and is on a search because he doesn't know, but he doesn't 'know' because he has rejected what God has already shown and told him, and us'.

      It reminds me of the expression: "no matter how much things change they remain the same."

      'Progress' and 'evolution' is a delusion brought on by the disbelief of God.

      Mankind is sadly blinded by (the devil Revelation 12:9) his own sin and technology and sees 'advancement'.... yet human nature, and war, and greed and corruption and barbaric acts and crimes are committed toward one another daily, since the begining of what God has shown us from the begining, ... that explains sin, and why it exists.

      Cain and Able, the Roman and Egyptian Empires, and all other Empires that people foolishly think that we don't 'resemble' because of what they believe is a time 'difference', not realizing that on a scale of eternity the begging and the Roman empire was just yesterday!

      A mankind, and all generations, plunging head first into destruction, because they foolishly believe that yesterday is not linked to today on the scale of time and eternity.

      As things get worse, 'technology' and the vanity of each new generation that believes that it was better and is more 'advanced' than the previous, ignores the reality and signs that it in fact 'isnt' and is blinded by the admiration of the work of their hands, and the vanity that comes with it, while they make the same mistakes of the past, and worse, but due to vanity and technology they don't see it.

      Science wants to have it both ways. They want to tell you that their ideas, hypotheses, and theories are fact, but when they are proven wrong, they immediately use the escape Clause= 'it is "science" and so it was always just a 'theory' to begin with, because that is what science is, a searching for knowledge'.

      And yet by doing so, are admitting that they never really had any facts, while they were claiming their theories to be fact, and even teaching them as such!

    • Comment Link Anju Tuesday, 12 March 2013 20:23 posted by Anju

      Neftali: if you think that all of the scientists, activists, corporate leaders and politicians who have publicly recognized, acknowledged and shown the significant, real threat that global warming represents to the earth are part of an international, liberal conspiracy theory. In order for such a conspiracy theory to exist, there would have to be some substantial motive for such a plethora of people to come together and create such a hoax. Why would so many people across so many spectra of expertise come together to further such a conspiracy theory? What would they possible have to gain?As for your citation to the disagreement between the EPA-Department of Energy, there is bound to be some disagreement and measurement discrepancies with a new area of science. Their disagreement does not prove global warming untrue and your implicit conclusion otherwise shows your lack of logic to all readers of your post. I also find it humorous that you appear to bash liberals in the first paragraph of your response, but then cite to two government agencies that are socially perceived as liberal (especially under a democratic administration) in the third paragraph of your response to bolster your argument (or lack thereof). Talk about having one's cake and eating it too I could simply dismiss your entire post as part of some conservative conspiracy theory to post Internet comments, articles and blogs in an attempt to create a counter-discourse that attempts to refute the veracity of global warming (please note my sarcasm), but instead I will urge you to get your head out of the sand and wake-up. Read a book that's not written by Bill O'Reilly or Michael Savage for a change. Vapid nay-sayors with hollow arguments like yourselves will only be to blame when our human-wide response to global warming comes too slowly to counteract the damage being done to the earth that future generations will inherit.-Jack

    • Comment Link Ashley Tuesday, 12 March 2013 20:08 posted by Ashley

      Everyone:I will try and break this down at a very simple level.(1) I hope we can all agree that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. That means that as carbon dioxide increases in the atmosphere, the atmosphere gets hotter because carbon dioxide traps heat radiated from the sun. (Like a greenhouse in the sun, or a car with the windows rolled up on a hot day carbon dioxide acts like the rolled-up windows, trapping the heat).(2) I hope we can all agree that petroleum (oil and gas) and coal are made up of carbon.(3) I hope we can all agree that burning coal, oil and gas creates carbon dioxide as a byproduct (it comes out of the smokestacks of power plants and out of the mufflers on vehicles, etc.)Now it might get a bit tougher for the doubters to follow (4) The petroleum and coal that we have been harvesting and using for energy took tens of millions of years to form. Over a period so long that it is hard to comprehend, plants sucked carbon dioxide and, through photosynthesis, created oxygen and carbon, which it stored in the form of wood and plant matter. As those plants died and collapsed, they were covered up by other plants, or oceans, or rock over millions of years and put under tremendous pressure, which squeezed the dead plants and animals (carbon) into coal and petroleum (depending on the environment of formation, sometimes coal and sometimes petroleum).(5) The earth, over a period of roughly 5 billion years, has slowly and gradually evolved into a very balanced, delicate system where everything has a niche and everything is roughly in proportion to create a sustainable, dynamic, complex system. When species don't fit in, they become extinct and another species evolves (or perhaps two or three species) to take that one's place.(6) In the 150-200 years since the industrial revolution, humans have used carbon-based fuels that took roughly 300 million years to create. That's 200 vs. 300 million. Using these fuels releases carbon dioxide (locked into the coal and petroleum over millions of years) back into the atmosphere. Humans' rapid release of 300 million years worth of carbon (which was slowly, gradually stored by the earth) has created rapid changes to the earth's atmosphere and eco-systems. The earth simply was not designed to respond to such quick changes.As the planet's most intelligent species (and the species causing this dramatic climate change), we have a responsibility to work cohesively and intelligently to try and slow (it's already too late to reverse) this process as much as possible.For more information, read Fieldnotes from a Catastrophe or Beyond the Limits.

    • Comment Link Ricardo Tuesday, 12 March 2013 19:48 posted by Ricardo

      It depends on the level we are talking about. People like Stephen Hawking even think Einstein's Theory of Relativity can be improved upon because it is an approximation and does not meet the observations exactly. There are still questions about the differences between quantum physics and relativity. There are still things in the quantum world that remains mysterious such as entanglement. There are new species being discovered all the time which open a new light into the time period of evolutionary occurrences. And so on. I wouldn't label any of these total failures. More of a narrowing down to the truth.

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