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The Phylogeny Challenge

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brachiosteve

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The phylogeny challenge…

is simple and like the, ‘pin the tail on the donkey’, game but without the blindfold. Given access to the phylogenetic tree of life, stick a mark wherever you think there is a, ‘kind’ barrier, where it is unrelated to anything else in another, ‘kind’ (or baramin) group. If all life is related by common descent, back to a single or several original lifeforms, then there should be evidence for this. If life was created in separate groups (kinds) that are unrelated, then there should be evidence for this. Evidence for one or the other should be powerful and exclusive to one. This is one of Aron Ra’s original hopes for this project. An irrefutable jigsaw showing either fluidity or distinct separation. Like predicting whether it is a portrait or a landscape. When you have completed so much, it becomes increasingly clear which one it is.

This is not an attack on religion or God. We remain neutral or impartial on this. We are unconcerned whether there is a God that guides evolution or not, but we are concerned with the methods and means and evidence for this mechanism, and bad or false science.

Aron Ra wrote a critical book on Creationism. It highlights some of the stereotypes and foundational falsehoods used, which in turn was based on a set of Youtube videos, called, ‘Foundational falsehoods of Creationism’ as was the book.  In fact on Amazon, it is listed alongside two books – ‘The Selfish Gene’ by Richard Dawkins and, ‘A universe from nothing’ by Lawrence Krauss. Nice. Here’s the link, and I thoroughly recommend it:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Foundational-Falsehoods-Creationism-Aron-Ra/dp/1634310780

(When I say, ‘stereotypes’, the examples used in the book are very real and they cover 99% of the arguments used. I speak with some experience from the side of Christianity and theology and creationism. I am a teacher and have a degree in theology and philosophy. I went to Bible college (and was an assistant pastor) and I also did an honours thesis on Creation/evolution and was a Creationist and speaker for over twenty years, not to mention being the creator of the Ark encounter.)

In the classic British TV comedy show, ‘Yes Prime Minister’, the health secretary is represented by a fat old, drunk, chain smoking guy. In, ‘Father Ted’, Father Dougal doesn’t believe in God or the afterlife. Dr. Kent Hovind has no legitimate doctorates and the American, Russian and British head’s of state that should be such role models to their country and the world, seem to have pretty significant shortcomings when it comes to equality/respect for others in some areas.

You wouldn’t tend to hire a History teacher who denied or hadn’t heard of the Holocaust. A geography teacher who didn’t know what a continent or where Africa was or a Nanny who hated kids.

In this video, we have a man of science - a medical doctor (a dentist by trade) who was a member of the state board of education for Texas which oversaw state school quality, arguing against evolution and yet doesn’t know what evolution is, and demonstrates blatant bias and ignorance and has stated so in writing as well as here. He is a nice, respectful and patient guy though, I’ll give him that.

I remember buying a car once. I had decided which one, but (to make a significant other happy), I said I would look at the competition. I said I’d keep an open mind, and I made all the right expressions, implied I was listening and made notes. In truth, it was a show, and I knew I would end up with the car I originally wanted. I diminished or ignored any highlights for better options, and played up the (often, very few) good points in favour of my preferred car. I mention this to consider before or during watching this video and to ask oneself if you have ever done something similar or been closed minded.

He is very good at asking, ‘so how do you explain…. It seems so unbelievable’, (a logical fallacy appeal) but doesn’t like answers that are facts, evidence based, reasoned, logical, demonstrable, true or proven. He doesn’t attempt or offer a single piece of evidence to support any of his own contentions, thus defining a god of the gaps scenario (even when the gap is filled with something rational).

This is quite a humiliating and embarrassing video for one person here, but he seems to be pretty immune to such things. He keeps asking questions, getting answers and then, despite the correct answer to the questions, ignoring and never challenging the evidence based response, and merely appealing to how it seems so designed/beautiful.

If you see a pianist playing something amazing or an amazing painting or new concept car, you can still be amazed (maybe even more), by learning how it came about. Hard daily training/practise for years or a great imagination, built on prior engineering. You can still be amazed, BUT you can’t NOW deny how it occurred, because it has been shown. But this guy can and does, constantly. He is clearly just saying, I hear the answer you gave, I don’t challenge it (and he is being offered the chance to be convinced), but then says, but I don’t accept it. This not an open minded person or a person who accepts the logic or superiority of scientific evidence when provided. The agenda and limit to which he will not listen beyond, is made very clear. It is a model stereotypical ostrich response.

Prior boundaries could have been set, e.g. as to what constitutes acceptably reasonable evidence. I imagine that he would accept the theories or laws regarding electricity and many other things we take for granted, BUT only because they don’t conflict with any pre-conceptual belief or book. Identically powerful evidence that does conflict, but that is not accepted, is clear evidence that such a person is not being reasonable or consistent. If you are not willing to change your position if convinced or shown otherwise, you will not be successful in changing the person’s mind. You can lead a horse to water…

Aron overcame even this, by challenging him that he could prove to/convince him, to his own satisfaction, that evolution is true. The reply. ‘Someday’. Aron – ‘’soon’. He is clearly not interested, and the answers to the questions he was asking are readily available, had he tried looking.

This was one guy, offering to answer all of his opponents questions on a free, wide ranging agenda within and well beyond evolution, with science/evidence and not speculation, guesswork, ambiguity or generalisations.

To be able or willing to be challenged or questioned, live, (without notes) on creation/evolution is a very brave thing to do. Your subject knowledge needs to be very good and very wide ranging. Something that most scientists do not have. An expert on the breeding habits of rabbits would expect to present a very strong case, defence or explanation on this narrow topic. He may know little on other aspects of rabbit origins, or other mammals or little to nothing on phylogeny or invertebrates or plants or the Creationist or ID arguments or what they might say or how they may respond. It is hard to overestimate how much knowledge is required to tackle such a wide open topic, let alone come out successfully or deal with the innumerable excuses, responses, old arguments, gallups or get-outs.

Aron Ra is able to do what he does (explain evolution or debate the issue of evolution/creation) better than any other person I have ever seen, and he does this because of a range of factors, and I’d love to hear of anyone that anyone feels does a similarly good job on this topic of Creation/evolution. He reads, digests and remembers a lot. He has stood up to anti-science a lot. He engages with people a lot. He keeps up to date. He loves the topic and cause. He has a huge, natural, engaging Texan voice and personality. He is able to quickly digest and filter questions and understands any underhanded meanings or shortcomings and addresses them head-on. He does not let opponents get away with anything. He has a great way with words and explaining things, and can pull everything together so well and succinctly, where most others would miss the key flaws or point or go on too long or make it boring. He is able to get any additional or useful points across, anticipating the questions that arise from it. He has rarely, if ever been stuck or got caught out by questions, even though it is perfectly reasonable to state that you are not well versed on that particular topic or some new information you would prefer to examine first or refer to someone who has knowledge or read it. What he does, would otherwise take a large group of experts or specialists, or someone who has spent a very long, active time learning, understanding and interacting, communicating and writing widely. And that’s not accounting for the natural skill sets mentioned above.

Dr McLeroy was good at asking for specifics, but was not so keen on going off with Aron to have them shown to him. This is showing your limits, true colours, motive, allegiance, bias and state of immovability to a view. When a view is of higher authority than the evidence or your capacity to be convinced or willingness to change, it is time to reconsider your views.  

And the question you may be asking yourself: If you cut Aron’s hair, will he lose this knowledge or ability to do what he does?

You can support the work of Aron Ra in all he does (except the Phylogeny Explorer Project) here:

PATREON https://www.patreon.com/aronra

PAYPAL https://www.paypal.me/AronRa

If you are wanting to support the Phylogeny Explorer Project, please do so here:

https://phylogenyexplorerproject.org/ (scroll down a bit, it’s on the right.)

or here:

https://phylogenyexplorerproject.org/clients/donations/

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