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Feedback archiveFeedback 2009

Evolutionary Spore game supporters attack CMI article and Christianity

Published: 20 June 2009(GMT+10)

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Bible

Our article Spore: new game allows players to evolve creatures; should creationists be concerned? has evidently been discovered by a few atheopaths who are spreading it around in anger. At least this seems to be behind the influx of recent attacks, quite some time after it appeared on our front page. The author, Lita Cosner, responds first to an antitheist from Denmark, then to a critic from the Netherlands, and finally to a one-liner from someone not willing to reveal a name (their emails are in dark red, the point-by-point responses are in black).

The first is from M.B. of Denmark:

MB: This is exactly why I can’t stand religious people who are ignorant to everything else than their own small dome. Your stupid Bible has been rewritten and changed so many times, …

LC: If you had provided a specific instance where you think the Bible was changed, I would have addressed it. You can allege that the Bible was originally a copy of “100 Delicious Locust Recipes” if you want, but the burden of proof is on you. That is, to claim that the Bible was altered, you must produce an allegedly uncorrupted original for comparison.

To claim that the Bible was altered, you must produce an allegedly uncorrupted original for comparison.

On the side of textual reliability, we have thousands of manuscripts that show an amazing uniformity, apart from the small scribal errors that would be expected for a text that was mainly copied by amateurs (in the case of the NT). Yet the earliest copies, which date back to the 2nd century, show not the slightest evidence of teaching anything but orthodox Christian doctrine. See also my article Gospel Dates and Reliability.

For the Old Testament, the Qumran scrolls show that there was remarkably little change between the Hebrew Bible at around 200 BC and the Masoretic Text of the Hebrew Bible of AD 1,000. From that, we can assume that similar care was taken in the copying of texts from the autographs to the copies we have from Qumran.

… and many of the things standing inside it doesn’t make any sense and are completely wrong.

Your own ignorance of the Bible is not an argument against Christianity.

You see, I got a one of these fairy tale books when I was born. In the very start of it, it says that Adam and Eva were the first human on Earth, created by a “god”.

Divine creation is only impossible if you don’t believe in the miraculous. At least my creation story has a Creator. You’re the one who believes everything exploded from nothing. It takes a lot less faith to believe the Bible than it does some atheistic teachings, it seems to me.

They got two sons, Kain and Abel, and one of them killed the other, and then these three human should be the start of humanity. Try to THINK instead of being ignorant, and see how this isn’t possible.

Of course, genuine thinking should take account of the data not pontificate in a vacuum. Who said they had only two sons? Genesis 5:4 says they had “other sons and daughters”. So in future, read what you rail against so you don’t look so uninformed. See also Who was Cain’s wife?

But enough about that. Now I have something to say about your article.
First of all, you CLEARLY don’t even know anything about Spore.

As my article and this response shows, I clearly know much more about Spore than you do about the Bible!

The first stage, the cell stage, starts with a meteor crashing into a planet. YES! But if you took a look at some of the Spore sites, you should be able to find out that they has been planning to make a stage before the cell stage, called the MOLECULAR stage, where the first life was going to be created…!

And how is that relevant to my article, which covers the version of the game which existed last October?

Second, you say that bacteria or small organisms/cells wouldn’t be able to survive on a meteor. That can be true, but they could also be inside the meteor, which may not turn very hot upon entering the atmosphere. By the way, it could also be possible that the molecules ON the meteor were only needed to create life, but it first happened ON the planet.

Your hypothesis would be great if it had any basis in reality or evidence to support it. However, if you had read the article I linked to, you would have known that 2 centimetres (0.8 inch) of rock is insufficient to protect organisms from being burnt up when they enter the atmosphere, and most rocks would not have gaps deeper than that to protect microbes.

Even if we allow that for the sake of argument, it just begs the question of how those organisms originated on their home world; i.e. it only pushes the problem back a level where it cannot be tested.

It’s always a good idea to THINK before you WRITE.

You might take your own advice once in a while. Reading some of the relevant articles from the frequently asked questions page would also be helpful.

You also claim that the game does not replicate evolution, by saying that you just put on parts like a tail instead of evolving them. In the game you get DNA-points by destroying other species or by socializing with them, and these can be spent on new parts.

It would seem to almost insult the readers’ intelligence to point out that gaining “DNA-points by destroying species and socializing with them” to spend on new parts which the player can choose is about as unrepresentative of evolutionary theory as one can get without simply having a Creator creating everything in 6 days!

The way you get new parts is based on your current parts, so if you start giving the creature a special kind of feet, it’s much more likely that the skeleton bones you find in the game will be some feet looking like the old feet you had, but just better, rather than you get something like a bird-claw if you had a raptor-claw.

That still raises the question: how did the old feet get there (“evolve”) in the first place? And what mechanism in real life is available to provide new genetic information (DNA-points, to stay with your terminology) for the sort of changes you’re claiming?

So I can only say that that part was wrong as well. No game would today be able to simulate evolution by evolving parts on the creature just based on the environments anyways! That would be a simulation alone taking all the power of the computer, and therefore not be a game.

The origin of first living cell, and the transition to multicellular life are huge problems for evolution from goo to you via the zoo.

I can think of ways that a game might model natural selection more accurately and still be a game. But it might be asking a bit much for a game to accurately model evolution from a single cell, since no evolutionist can agree on precisely what happened! The origin of first living cell, and the transition to multicellular life are huge problems for evolution from goo to you via the zoo.

After that you claim that the creature is first an amoeba and then say it’s a fully developed creature in the next stage. Well, if you had looked at the amoeba for just a second in any of the games, you would know that it started out with eyes. A one-celled organism can’t have eyes, since eyes are made of cells as well!

Well, what is the scientifically-accurate term for a cartoonish blob with eyes? ;)

In the next stage it’s not a fully developed creature in the start, but that’s what the stage is about! Again, Spore is a game and not a simulator, and common modern computers don’t have the power and space required to make a very advanced game with 20 stages showing how the amoeba turned 3% darker over the first 100 years. Every aspect of real life cannot be added into a game.

Some of the deficiencies in the game may stem from insufficient technology, or are inherent to making the evolutionary process into a game, but that does not make them immune to criticism. Some of the unrealistic aspects are not necessary, though, such as the protection against the population going extinct.

You also forget that the evolution is not going on in a week, but for billions of years.

On the contrary; I said in the article: “One of the more curious components of the game from an evolutionary standpoint is how quickly the creature advances.” That is, compared to the billions of years evolutionists say that it takes for a creature to develop similar structures.

DNA is carrying the information from the cells to the next, and mutations can in rare situations (which is possible over billions of years) also help. Natural selection will also automatically cause the creatures to change, because the strongest of them will be able to survive, while the weaker of them will not. The stronger of them are then, through their DNA, carrying the information to the next creature.

But these stronger creatures will not develop new genetic information. On the contrary, natural selection is the result of specialization, which almost always involves a loss of genetic information. This includes beneficial mutations, such as eyeless fish in caves and wingless beetles on windswept islands.

Also, the game is not intended to view an anti-christian view of the world. It’s intended to show how it happened. And it happened by evolution, and not by an old gnome jumping around on some clouds creating things and resting on sundays [sic]. It’s against all other religions as well as your Christianity.

You have basically said “This game isn’t against Christianity; it’s simply modelling a view of origins that is directly opposed to it!”

But sadly we’re no longer in the 14th century where you could just kill everyone who didn’t agree in your meanings. As our technology has developed, our knowledge has become greater, weakening your stupid religions.

Any atrocities committed in the name of Christ were contradicting His teachings, while atrocities are not at all contradictory to atheism.

If you’re referring to the Spanish Inquisition, then we need to set a few historical facts straight. First, it started in the 15th century, not the 14th . Second, the Inquisition did not kill “everyone who didn’t agree”—it only had authority over those who professed to be Christians. In fact, fewer than three people were killed per year — far fewer than the secular courts of the day condemned to death, and fewer than the state of Texas today. If you’re referring to the Crusades, the last one was in the 13th century, and they were simply reactions to centuries of Islamic aggression in the area which had already subjugated huge once-Christian areas. Isn’t it interesting that you have to go back 500–1000 years to find some horrible things that people professing to be Christians did; but in grim contrast atheists killed far more people in the 20th century alone than all the atrocities ascribed to Christians in all of history put together (see Darwin’s impact the bloodstained legacy of evolution)? Also, any atrocities committed in the name of Christ were contradicting His teachings, while atrocities are not at all contradictory to atheism.

These were my words, now please write back so I can shoot down the rest of your horribly weak arguments after I’ve burned some of your smelling holy books!

You have yet to shoot down one. You’re welcome to write back, but please try actually reading what the site has to say about the subject before showcasing your ignorance.

And I do respect religious people, I know religious people, both IRL and on the Spore forums. But I do NOT respect religious people like YOU who write such crazy things about a game that shows more truth in one second of its gameplay than your rotten religion has done since before the first part of it was told by a poor old man who just didn’t have science to explain how everything really happened!

So you respect religious people, just not the ones who actually believe what their religion teaches? But if our religion is so rotten, then why respect its holders? Of course, Christianity has done an immense amount of good for the world, such as founding modern science, ending slavery, building orphanages and hospitals. Conversely, as for where your own evolutionary faith was most consistently applied, your fellow atheist Sir Arthur Keith said:

‘To see evolutionary measures and tribal morality being applied rigorously to the affairs of a great modern nation, we must turn again to Germany of 1942. We see Hitler devoutly convinced that evolution provides the only real basis for a national policy. … The German Führer, as I have consistently maintained, is an evolutionist; he has consciously sought to make the practice of Germany conform to the theory of evolution.’

See also The Darwin Hitler connection and What good is Christianity?


The next email is from Jelle P, of the Netherlands. While his tone is considerably more civil than M.B.’s, there are still several misunderstandings about the article.

JP: After reading the article, which was clearly written by a biased person, …

LC: Of course I was biased. Any rational person with an IQ above that of a toaster is biased. You’re biased too, just in the opposite direction. The issue with bias is not whether one is biased, but whether that bias is correct or not.

I must first ask you this: Why should you be concerned? Will Wright himself has commented on Spore and the ideas behind his inspiration to design this game on numerous occasions and as far as I am aware has never considered Spore to be an accurate model for evolution, …

But, as I said in the article, many people do think it is an accurate representation of evolution, and Wright does see parts of the game as “very Darwinian”. So why do you care enough to launch a tirade against this article and Christianity? Seems like we hit a nerve, which proves my point!

… but this raises a question in my mind: since it is obvious you (the author) do not support evolution, then why do you even care if those who do support it get misinformed by games such as Spore (which is indeed by no means a good way of “promoting” the evolution theory)?

Because the people who will be misinformed by games like Spore are not informed evolutionists, but impressionable kids. While the game does not give an accurate representation of evolution, it could serve to condition kids to accept evolution.

Surely, misinformation would only weaken the grounds and arguments we would have for our conviction?
Also, I would like to ask you why you seem to think it is a bad thing for evolutionists to profess their ideas. What gives creationists more rights to spread their views then evolutionists?

I don’t think it is a bad thing for evolutionists to put their ideas out there. In fact, CMI’s position is that it would be beneficial for people to learn more about evolution, not less (i.e. warts and all). But what I have a problem with is that evolutionists often present their ideas in a way that is quite frankly deceptive (sometimes intentionally so), especially when these flawed presentations are aimed at children who may not be able to discern whether the presentation is accurate or not.

You will notice that I never said, “Creationists should not play Spore, or purchase it for their kids.” Rather, I advocate being informed about what influences may be sneaked into media that people consume, including computer games.

Lastly I would like to quote a sentence in the article: “It is tempting to think of it as ‘simply a game’, but evolutionists are not above using what they know to be faulty evidence to try to persuade students that evolution is true.”
While this may be true, I must point out that creationists have made themselves guilty of this as well, on numerous occasions in history, and in many occasions have absolutely no scientific evidence to support their claims, while many evolutionists actually do.

If you had an actual instance (as I did) of deception, I would address that. As it is, there is nothing for me to answer because you haven’t made an actual argument. CMI, of course, does not excuse using faulty arguments in support of creation; hence the page on arguments creationists should NOT use.

Maybe I reason too much (because part of faith is not to be rationally convinced something is true, but “feel” or “trust” in the existence of, say, a higher being) …

Not so. Rather, faith is trust and/or faithfulness (the Greek word πίστις (pistis) is used either way) based on God’s own faithfulness to us. There is even an aspect of forensic proof to the word; there is nothing blind or irrational about biblical faith; it need not even be emotional. Of course, if you had bothered with the most rudimentary search of this site, you would have found this, e.g. in the article Loving God with all your mind: logic and creation.

… but just claiming that there is a God, based purely on a two thousand year old collection of texts …

We believe the Bible is inerrant and authoritative, yes. But there is enough proof of God’s work in creation to convict even the person who does not have the witness of Scripture (Romans 1:18–32). The Intelligent Design folks deduce the necessity of a Creator simply from the complexity of life on earth and the conditions which had to exist for it to be possible.

… (which have been re-interpreted and translated on unbelievably numerous occasions, making them prone to forgery and misinterpretation) …

How could you possibly know that an interpretation of the Bible was bad unless there was a good interpretation for comparison?

I don’t understand your argument here. Of course there have been bad interpretations of Scripture; CMI combats many of them on this site, and there are others dedicated to matters outside CMI’s purview which handle matters of interpretation of equal skill. The fact that some people interpret the Bible wrongly does not mean that it is impossible to interpret it rightly. Indeed, how could you possibly know that an interpretation of the Bible was bad unless there was a good interpretation for comparison?

While it is advantageous to study the original languages, it is by no means necessary to gain a good understanding of the message. This is because while we believe the actual words of the original languages were inspired, we believe that the message is able to come through in any translation, such that any faithful translation is as much the Word of God as the text in the original language. Note that inerrancy extends only to the autographs, as we have explained before, and why this is no problem for Christians (Does the Bible teach error?).

… rather than actual tangible evidence, is of course very BAD evidence in itself.

On the contrary, I would regard the existence of an internally consistent collection of texts, written over thousands of years, by people in vastly different social positions who lived in different societies, to be excellent evidence for divine inspiration of those texts, and therefore evidence of the existence of a divine Being who inspired them.

And before you bring up one of the boring old lists of ‘contradictions,’ try reading what apologists and Bible scholars have to say about them before expecting us to reinvent the wheel (start with the articles under Bible contradictions and errors : What Biblical errors do skeptics claim to have found? How can these claims be answered?).

On a closing note, I would like to add that I am no Atheist, as much as I am an Agnostic.

In practice, there seems to be very little difference between the two.

I do not disrespect your faith in your god by saying he/she/it does not exist, …

The Christian God is referred to with the male pronoun because that is how He has revealed Himself.

I simply cannot know, because as humans, we cannot (yet) understand all aspects of the world and universe we inhabit.

As humans, we will never understand everything, because only God has omniscience. But it is fallacious to claim that you cannot know that God exists if you do not know everything. God has revealed Himself in Scripture and through the Incarnation of His Son, Jesus Christ. But, logically, one would have to be omniscient to conclusively prove that God does not exist, which would be proving a negative.

But based on the evidence that evolutionists have, compared to that of creationists, I tend to want to consider myself on the side of Atheism and evolutionists.

When I fairly compared the evidence of the evolutionists to that of the creationists years ago, I came to exactly the opposite conclusion.


The third email, very brief, came from a respondent in the United Kingdom who identified themselves only as “You’re stupid”:

Creationists make me laugh…..none of what you have said makes any sense.

LC: Is such elementary name-calling supposed to make me change my position? Just as the above atheist’s ignorance of the Bible is not an argument against Christianity, your inability to comprehend my article is not an argument against it. With rhetoric of this level, it is no surprise that evolution is not gaining a foothold in public opinion. And this is despite having huge amounts of money coerced from taxpayers to indoctrinate students, fund the National Academy of Sciences evolutionary agitprop and public broadcasters.

Comment on this feedback response

J.M. from Australia writes:

I just read Lita Cosner’s response to the pathetic arguments from Spore supporters, and just wanted to say how fantastic her rebuttal was. I was laughing the whole way through at some of the vitriol that these people come up with! Seriously, arguing with uninformed evolutionists/atheist/agnostics or whatever they want to call themselves is like arguing with teenagers with attitude — they don’t listen to what you’re saying, but persist with illogical, misinformed, childish arguments which have no basis in reality, and continually think they are so smart and creationists are so dumb. I’ve given up debating these people on forums because they really have no idea what they are talking about. Actually reading the Bible and what creationists believe would help. I would probably get a more reasonable response by arguing with a brick wall. Anyway, I just wanted to congratulate Lita on her response, I thought it was very concise and logical. Keep up the good work despite the garbage you have to put up with from some people who are too old to be playing computer games anyway.

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