What About Transitional Fossils and Biological Complexity?

Professor Paul Myers posted his powerpoint presentation explaining transitional fossils and biological complexity. Click down the left hand side to see the individual slides. [I wish I had a transcript of it.]

33 comments:

ringaround said...

Evolution, being a largely historical science, is faced with the same "problem of equifinality" as physical geography,
that different processes can lead to similar end-forms" and "their form may be an inadequate guide to their origin.


Therefore, to help counter this problem of equifinality, One should not be dogmatic as to the origins of ... natural phenomena and When conducting one's own ... investigations ... it is necessary to adopt the principal of multiple working hypotheses, seeking to formulate and test as many explanations as possible.

Evolution protects itself from falsification by inventing a "science vs. religion" false dichotomy and then marginalising
its opponents as "religion".

More precisely, the essential characteristics of science are: (1) It is guided by natural law; (2) It has to be explanatory by reference to natural law; (3) It is testable against the empirical world; (4) Its conclusions are tentative, i.e., are not necessarily the final word; and (5) It is falsifiable.

Evolutionists have themselves, on rare occasions, conceded that the theory of evolution does not meet their own scientific criterion of testability. For example, leading biology professors Birch and Ehrlich candidly admitted in Nature, one of the world's most prestigious scientific journals that, the "theory of evolution ...
cannot be refuted by any possible observations" since "Every conceivable observation can be fitted into it"
and "No one can think of ways in which to test it," making it "outside of empirical science" and "an evolutionary dogma accepted by most of us as part of our training"

The late Colin Patterson, a senior paleontologist in the British Museum of Natural History, observed of modern evolutionary theory, which combines both "Darwinian evolution, by natural selection" and "Non-Darwinian ... evolution" by "genetic drift", that "When these two theories are combined, as a general explanation of evolutionary change, that general theory is no longer testable," because any "failures of selection theory are explained by genetic drift" and vice-versa.

Evolution itself cannot be falsified, at least in the minds of committed evolutionists. For example, "Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection provides a framework theory for biologists" It "encourages them to interpret their observations in a certain kind of way" It "suggests particular hypotheses to test".

These "subsidiary hypotheses may
or may not be right, but their disproof is not itself evidence that the framework theory is wrong". It merely tells us that the framework theory does not produce its effects in
quite the way we supposed".

Another of the special pleading demarcation criteria that evolutionists erect to disqualify competitors to evolution as even being science, is repeatability.

For example, leading evolutionary biologist Douglas Futuyma
asserts that "An observation is accepted as a scientific `fact' only if it can be repeated by other individuals who follow the same methods".

Similarly, Stansfield, in a book titled "The Science of Evolution," stated that "to have scientific validity the [scientist's] observations must be capable of
verification by others using the same observational techniques, i.e., they must stand the test of repeatability". But as Theodosius Dobzhansky, co-founder of the Neo-Darwinian modern synthesis
(the modern theory of evolution) conceded, evolution, in the macroevolutionary sense (which is the only sense that is disputed), is unrepeatable: "These [macro]evolutionary happenings are unique, unrepeatable, and irreversible. ... Experimental evolution deals of necessity with only the simplest levels of the evolutionary process, sometimes called microevolution".

The paleontologist Kitts cites as "another difficulty" for evolution that, "The temporal ordering of
biological events beyond the local section may critically involve paleontological correlation, which
necessarily presupposes the non-repeatability of organic events in geologic history.".

So again, on their own criterion by which they seek to eliminate competitors to evolution as
even being scientific, evolutionists, if they were consistent, would also eliminate evolution (except in a trivial micro- sense) as being scientific!

Evolutionists claim that their theory is scientific because it makes testable predictions, such that evolution would be falsified if the prediction failed, the prediction is tested and evolution then passes that test.

For example, Gould, responding to the creationist charge that "evolution generates no predictions, never exposes itself to test, and therefore stands as dogma rather than disprovable science" , claimed
that, "We make and test risky predictions all the time ... every time I collect fossils in Paleozoic rocks, I predict that I will not find fossil mammals-for mammals evolved in the subsequent
Triassic period ... If I find fossil mammals ... in Paleozoic strata, our evolutionary goose is cooked".

But ReMine points out that "evolution does not predict mammals ever. ... evolutionary
theory never predicted any particular organisms. Mammals happen to be here, and evolutionists merely
accommodate that fact. ... evolutionary theory is plastic and can accommodate dramatic changes in our knowledge of the fossil sequence".

ReMine continues, "For example, Eldredge ... uses Peripatus, (a ...wormlike creature that lives in rotting logs ...) as an
intermediate between two of the major phyla ... the segmented worms and the arthropods". But "Gould ... removes Peripatus from its status as an intermediate.". "Thus evolutionists have dramatically altered their conceptions of ancestry to accommodate new evidence from fossil sequence," and "this happens often, without anyone even raising an eyebrow. ... contrary to Gould, if mammals were found in Paleozoic strata it would not falsify evolution. ... evolutionists would merely change their story".

roundabout said...

Way to go ringaround. Fight to good fight you're outasight!

Hey remember evolution? Bah Hah!

Benny said...

It's not nice to copy/paste from a source without citing it or giving it some credit, as you did from this:

Stephen E. Jones' "Problems of Evolution" outline

I notice that earlier "roundabout" pasted a butchered version of the outline, with "ringaround" congratulating him. Now "ringaround" pastes the body of the text, with "roundabout" patting his back. A fun, if transparent, ruse.

I'll come back later when I have more time to address Jones' points.

Calvinization said...

--It's not nice to copy/paste from a source without citing it or giving it some credit, as you did from this:--

You mean it is not ethical. Says who. Bah hah!


--I'll come back later when I have more time to address Jones' points.--

Hey good luck with that. Admit it you're in denial. Stop living in the past.

Anonymous said...

I wish I had the expertise to go into a alot more detail but you seem to want evolution to be proven to you.

The Theory of Evolution is a thoery in the scientific sense. This is true for Germ Teory, The Theory fo Gravity and so on. That evolution happens is fact. Our understanding of evolution mechanisms prohibits it from not being called a Theory. Very few thing are not a theory in science.

You did not give the complete quote from Gould which is really important and completely changes the context you were creating to the point of falsifying what he said.

"Our creationist detractors charge that evolution is an unproved and unprovable charade-- a secular religion masquerading as science. They claim, above all, that evolution generates no predictions, never exposes itself to test, and therefore stands as dogma rather than disprovable science. This claim is nonsense. We make and test risky predictions all the time; our success is not dogma, but a highly probable indication of evolution's basic truth." [Stephen Jay Gould, Dinosaur in a Haystack]

I did not validate every quote nor do I have the time, but it makes your whole argument look very weak when this is done.

Here is a another quote from Gould.

"Well, evolution is a theory. It is also a fact. And facts and theories are different things, not rungs in a hierarchy of increasing certainty. Facts are the world's data. Theories are structures of ideas that explain and interpret facts. Facts don't go away when scientists debate rival theories to explain them. Einstein's theory of gravitation replaced Newton's in this century, but apples didn't suspend themselves in midair, pending the outcome. And humans evolved from ape- like ancestors whether they did so by Darwin's proposed mechanism or by some other yet to be discovered." [Stephen Jay Gould, Evolution as Fact and Theory Science and Creationism, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1984), p. 118.]

While I could go on doing this I strongly recommend you do the appropriate research from people doing the field work.

You wouldn't trust a heart surgeon to do brain surgery why trust anyone but a biologist studying evolution to make statement regarding biology.

Below is a link to a list of specification events.

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-speciation.html#part5

(I hate to copy and paste arguments but there is a lot of instances)

inandout said...

Nice try bozo but you did little to refute any of our arguments. The evidence is in your post. Give it up buddy. Give it up.

Are you a biologist?

No, didn't think so buddy.

Anyway, I have to go worship God. Seeya.

Benny said...

My response to the portions of Jones' outline cited by our creationist-of-many-pseudonyms,

Evolution, being a largely historical science, is faced with the same "problem of equifinality" as physical geography, that different processes can lead to similar end-forms" and "their form may be an inadequate guide to their origin.

Therefore, to help counter this problem of equifinality, One should not be dogmatic as to the origins of ... natural phenomena and When conducting one's own ... investigations ... it is necessary to adopt the principal of multiple working hypotheses, seeking to formulate and test as many explanations as possible.


In other words, creationism should be taken seriously as a scientific theory alongside evolution. Will do, just as soon as creationism satisfies the requirements of a scientific theory. Offering testable predictions and ways to falsify itself would be good places to start.

Evolution protects itself from falsification by inventing a "science vs. religion" false dichotomy and then marginalising its opponents as "religion".

The theory of evolution invented the science vs. religion dichotomy? That's gotta be news to a lot of people :) How did this protect evolution from falsification?

More precisely, the essential characteristics of science are: (1) It is guided by natural law; (2) It has to be explanatory by reference to natural law; (3) It is testable against the empirical world; (4) Its conclusions are tentative, i.e., are not necessarily the final word; and (5) It is falsifiable.

Good start, but I think the link I gave above gives a better list.

Evolutionists have themselves, on rare occasions, conceded that the theory of evolution does not meet their own scientific criterion of testability.

Evolution itself cannot be falsified, at least in the minds of committed evolutionists.

Actually, evolution makes numerous testable and falsifiable predictions.

Another of the special pleading demarcation criteria that evolutionists erect to disqualify competitors to evolution as even being science, is repeatability.

For example, leading evolutionary biologist Douglas Futuyma asserts that "An observation is accepted as a scientific `fact' only if it can be repeated by other individuals who follow the same methods".

Yes, and the observations that the theory of evolution is based on are quite replicable.

Evolutionists claim that their theory is scientific because it makes testable predictions, such that evolution would be falsified if the prediction failed, the prediction is tested and evolution then passes that test.

And this claim is backed up by practice, as demonstrated by the list of numerous predictions I linked above.

Creationist-of-many-pseudonyms, I think it's time for you to huddle up with yourself and come up with some better arguments. Better still, educate yourself about evolution and creationism. See for yourself why evolution is held up as a scientific theory, while creationism is derided as pseudo-science.

Bill said...

ringaround,

Your concerns about evolution as a science is unmerited. I am a graduate student in atmospheric science. We pretty much know what controls phase changes in water, how clouds form, how storms form, etc. We know that CO2 absorbs and reradiates infrared electromagnetic radiation. We know enough about the atmosphere and wave mechanics to predict with relatively good success the weather 5 days out. But, if you told me to reconstruct how many hurricanes struck the east coast of the U.S. 35,000 years ago. Get out of here, it's impossible. You can't predict much in nature beyond very simple processes deterministically, it is all stochastic (statistical) in nature.

My guess (not being a biologist) is that genetic drift is similar to what an atmospherice scientist might call brownian motion. Molecular motions of gases or cloud droplets are pretty much randomn. But, a few droplets will grow faster than others, and they will take off to form the large drops that are able to fall from the sky.

In a similar sense random mutations of DNA should be useful in both drifting without true selective forcing, simply due to an uneven distribution of likewise healthy mutations. Also, such random drift in individuals and certain segments of the population may result in a broadening of genetic diversity. Now, I think stochastic nonlinear models can be tested, and if reality (the fossil record, etc) falls within the range of error of an ensemble of models, then there is reason to believe that evolution is responsible for what we see. The big problem though is after a short period of time (million years or so) such a nonlinear model would develop a spread that is useless to compare to reality.

So in essence, I don't there is any true way to verify the entire history of earth. But, that is not what a scientific theory is about. It can be shown to be a good model of how speciation occurs, and potential even major divisions, but like any historical reconstruction in any science you can't just remodel it perfectly. Like I don't think if you remodelled the universe out from the Big Bang would you see Earth form at all. It's extremely unlikely to predict a specific planet, but that doesn't invalidate the theory of gravity, and the theories of nuclear science important to understanding solar evolution. So nothing in science is very testable in a historic sense.

Within, margin certain events history can be understood wrong by evolutionary biologists and still be the product of evolution. But if you start seeing recent mammals dated to the time period of the first bacteria. Then, something is wrong. And evolution would be pretty much shown false. So, while evolution isn't falsifiable in an experimental sense from a deterministic historical perspective. It certainly can be falsified, if things were out of order from what evolution tells us. I know on the talk origin site, there are several ways discussed which the theory can be shown false, but there is no indication that such things will ever be shown.

Bill said...

I apologize for the horrendous typos and grammatical errors. Hopefully I got my point across

zilch said...

Most of the points here have already been well addressed by others, but I just want to comment on this one thing ringaround said:

"Evolution protects itself from falsification by inventing a "science vs. religion" false dichotomy and then marginalising its opponents as "religion"."

What many people don't realize is that the public debate about evolution vs. ID, whether it's cast as "science vs. religion" or not, has very little to do with science, and everything to do with PR and politics.

Working scientists, religious or not, do research, publish papers, discuss and argue with collegues, and thus little by little add bricks to the edifice of our knowledge of the world. The whole debate about ID (Creationism in a cheap tuxedo) and evolution takes place outside of this world, in the public forae of popular books, blogs, editorials, etc.

There is no serious debate in the scientific world about the fact of evolution. Sure, there are lots of disagreements about stuff we don't understand, for instance the amount of and role played by junk DNA. IDer's jump on uncertainties like this as though they were disproofs of the entire theory. They do this because they themselves have nothing positive to add: no peer-reviewed papers, no research, no data. All they can do is publish hundreds of pages of sciency unfalsifiable jargon (Behe's recent book comes to mind) and thus snow the public into believing that they are doing science. Unfortunately, lots of people swallow this.

And btw- I'm not a scientist, but I did a minor in Paleontology at UC Berkeley, and have tried to keep up in the field. Anyone who puts a little time and effort into learning about evolution will see that it presents a necessarily incomplete, but still overwhelmingly convincing, picture of how life developed. It is an amazing story, far more complex and wonderful to me than "goddidit". Not that there aren't many Christians who also accept evolution.

insideout said...

Swill Bill said..
"Your concerns about evolution as a science is unmerited. I am a graduate student in atmospheric science. We pretty much know what controls phase changes in water, how clouds form, how storms form, etc. We know that CO2 absorbs and re radiates infrared electromagnetic radiation. We know enough about the atmosphere and wave mechanics to predict with relatively good success the weather 5 days out. But, if you told me to reconstruct how many hurricanes struck the east coast of the U.S. 35,000 years ago. Get out of here, it's impossible. You can't predict much in nature beyond very simple processes deterministically, it is all stochastic (statistical) in nature."

Your science is actually a way of measuring things that can be measured and testing things that can be tested. Your science is a tool and it in no way disproves the existence of the God.

However, evolution is not a science. It's biggest claims are actually guesses that become conceptual schemes of which evolutionists try and fit the outcomes of their experiments and research to. Evolution can not be tested, predicted nor repeated. In atmospheric science you can do these things. Also sciences usually produce results and information or facts and findings that can be useful. For instance your science has most likely produced results that can be applied to meteorology and predicting storms and weather.

Evolution has done no such thing. It is a historical science if it is a science at all.

zilch said...
"There is no serious debate in the scientific world about the fact of evolution."

Who are you kidding son?

There are serious debates happening in all areas of the scientific world. Your not a reasonable scientist if you don't question anything. Evolution is trying to become a science and has yet to become one because there is not enough evidence. Nothing that can be tested, predicted, and repeated. It is a historical science, another explanation that seems to cover more ground than the creation story.

Today scientist by investigating the CLAIMS of evolution are actually concluding that the theories of evolution are in adequate because they only bring us so far. Evolution as it is is not perfect. You admitted this but you will not accept the possibility that there was some other worldly interference. In that respect you he a narrow mind.

outsidein said...

My dear benny...

Penny for your thoughts...

You're still in denial.

I looked at your links and macro evolution has already been discussed. Also your links confirmed what I said about conceptual schemes. Give it up.
I thought you'd have something better. Find a new web site to link to or something because the one you keep using is tired and out dated.

Bert said...

Not only Genesis but the whole Bible credits everything to the living God, creating, making, acting, moving, and speaking. There is no room for evolution without a flat denial of divine revelation. One must be true, the other false.

People start from nothing. They begin in helplessness, ignorance and inexperience. All of their work, therefore, proceed on the principle of evolution. This principle is seen only in human affairs: from the hut to the palace; from the canoe to the ocean liner; from the spade and ploughshare to machines for drilling, reaping, and binding,&c. But the birds build their nests today as at the beginning. The moment we pass the boundary line, and enter the Divine sphere, no trace or vestige of evolution is seen. There is growth and development within, but no passing, change or evolution out from one into another. On the one hand, all God's works are perfect.

To insideout or outsidein whoever you may be or wherever you are in some state of whateverness ...

Evolution is only one of several theories invented to explain the phenomenon of created things. It is admitted by all scientists that no one of these theories covers all the ground; and the greatest claim made for evolution, or Darwinism, is that "it covers more ground than any of the others."

The word of God claims to cover all the ground (ha ha) and the only way in which this claim is met, is by a denial of the inspiration of the Scriptures, in order to weaken it. This is a special work undertaken by so-called "Higher Criticism', which bases its conclusions on human assumptions and reasoning, instead of on documentary evidence of manuscripts as Textual Criticism does.

Adrian Miu said...

LOL, what a moronic statement. If evolution is a false theory it doesn't follow that we are the creation of Yehova. There is no connection outside the Bible that tells you Yehova did it. But according to the Quran Allah did it. And according to other hundreds myth other gods did it. Even if all the scientist will be proven as lyers about the evolution you are still left with the question: "Which God did it?". Or did the reptilians created us (www.truthism.com)?
And since this shows from your part a lack of intelectual honesty by jumping from "evolution is wrong" to "Yehova did it" than your arguments don't merit any attention. Too bad you didn't mentioned it from the start. I wouldn't have wasted my time reading your first post.

Anonymous said...

Of course I believe in the bible. I'm a Christian.

Your whole life is a waste of time.

Benny said...

Adrian, I think you were too harsh on Bert. But I do agree, the evolution/Christian creationism dichotomy is a false one. There's many other possible explanations for how life came about, both religious and secular. And I agree with Stomper's stance from the other thread: evolution and God are not mutually exclusive, they are orthogonal. Proving or disproving one has no bearing on the truthfulness of the other. Unless you're a fundamentalist clinging to a literal interpretation of the Bible, with all the problems that entails.

Connie said...

"Scientific creationism" is hardly identical with biblical creationism. The creation texts represent a very different type of literature and concern from modern scientific discourse. To rush biblical statements into this arena, as though they were of the same order as Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species or Stephen Jay Gould’s The Panda’s Thumb, or as though scientific conclusions could be drawn from them, is to be very confused about what it is the Genesis materials are teaching. One also plays directly into the hands of those who would dismiss them as quasi-scientific explanations of things for which we now have more sophisticated explanations.

Neither those who would set aside Genesis as primitive science nor those who would try to defend it as the true science of origins seem to grasp the differences between modern scientific and ancient cosmological literatures. What is more critical is that neither side seems to comprehend the relationship between biblical and other ancient cosmologies. The biblical teaching, after all, was not aimed at one or another of the various theories developed in the history of modern science but at the cosmological understandings of origins found among surrounding peoples. The question, then, is: In what senses was the Bible critiquing and rejecting these pagan cosmologies with which it had so immediately to do?

Ancient cosmologies were developed on the basis of phenomenal observations of the world -- that is, things as they appeared to everyday observation.


In the biblical texts the concern was to affirm the radical difference between a polytheistic and a monotheistic cosmology. All the surrounding cosmologies identified the major regions of the cosmos with their various gods and goddesses. Genesis, over against this viewpoint, affirms (1) that there is only one God; (2) that this God is not identified with or contained by any region of nature; (3) that the pagan gods and goddesses are not divinities at all but creatures, creations of the one true God; and (4) that the worship of any of these false divinities is idolatry. This is what is being taught and celebrated by the creation texts, not any particular cosmological picture that may then be placed in contention with existing or subsequent physical pictures of the cosmos.

What is often ignored in all this, however, is that the temporal as well as the spatial aspects of ancient cosmology were employed in the Bible: the physical progression from chaos to cosmos. This progression and its sequence were not a point of contention either. Most of the cosmologies in the ancient world began with a cosmic ocean, darkness and a generalized formlessness -- just as Genesis does: "And the earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep’’ (1:2). Elements are introduced which give shape to the shapeless: light into darkness; a domed sky (firmament) dividing waters above from waters below; the earth with its vegetation separated from the waters; the sun, moon and stars to regulate the days, months and seasons. The specific order may vary, depending on which chaotic problem is resolved first, but the general pattern and progression is the same. It is a perfectly logical way of proceeding, though it is hardly identical with what we have come to call science or natural history. Its logic is cosmological, not geological or biological or astronomical.

The fundamental difference between the Genesis progression from chaos to cosmos and that of pagan cosmologies lies along the physical plane not in its chronological order but rather in its theological order. Here too the issue is religious: a radical contrast is made between a monotheistic creation and a polytheistic cosmogony ("birth of the cosmos"). The pagan myths commonly depicted the origins of natural phenomena in terms of the marriages and births of various gods and goddesses. In Babylonian myth the saltwater goddess (Tiamat) mated with the freshwater god (Apsu) and begat the gods and goddesses of silt and the horizon, which in turn begat heaven (Anu), who begat the earth (Enki). Genesis, on the other hand, portrays the One God who has created all that which surrounding people worship as the divinities of nature. The theological order, therefore, is a genealogy not of the gods (theogony) but of creator and creature: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." The true opposite of creation, thus, cannot be any scientific model of origins, evolutionary or otherwise, but is this procreation model of polytheistic myth.

The creation accounts were not attempting to present a more cosmologically, let alone scientifically, correct way of representing physical relationships in space or time. Genesis is not offering or supporting a "creation model" that can be placed in competition with other physical models, any more than it is offering a "flat earth model" in competition with geological models or a "geocentric model" in competition with astronomical models. To put Genesis on the level of a physical discussion of the natural order is to secularize it -- while complaining loudly about secularism in modern culture!

The creationists think of themselves as staunch conservatives, engaged in a loyal defense of biblical teaching. To some extent they are, inasmuch as they are seeking to preserve a doctrine of creation vis-à-vis secularism and scientism. In other respects, however, they are themselves very influenced by secularism and scientism. They confuse what is being taught theologically with the cosmological garb in which the teaching is being presented. They are conserving the right things in the wrong ways. In so doing most of the attention gets focused on the physical issues of modern science -- which were not issues at all in the Bible. Endless forays must be made on all scientific fronts -- geology, biology, paleontology, astronomy, chemistry, physics, meteorology, genetics, sedimentology, radiometry and the like -- either to try to discredit evolution or to defend creation.

The terminology favored by the movement is itself indicative of the degree to which modern scientific questions and secular modes of thought dominate the discussion of creation: Bible science, creation science, scientific creationism, creation research, origins research. These terms not only dramatize the confusion between biblical theology and matters of physical cosmology, but their use becomes a species of secularism and modernism in itself. Many of the leaders of the movement are scientists and engineers, not theologians and biblical scholars. It seems almost unthinkable, apparently, to such people that these ancient Hebrew texts could have been written without a passionate interest in the physical relationships of space and time.

It also seems unthinkable that divine revelation would not be concerned with the kinds of issues that preoccupy modern minds. Surely God would not stoop to employ the lowly earthbound categories of ancient cosmologies or descend to the language of common appearances!

Benny said...

outsidein/creationist-of-many-pseudonyms,

At the end of my last comment to you, I suggested either finding better creationist arguments against evolution or taking the time to learn more about both evolution and creationism. I see you've decided to take a 3rd option, closing your eyes, waving your hands, and hoping that the boogey-man (in this case, the arguments against you) goes away! How droll.

You said you looked at my links. I somehow doubt that you have. If you did, then you wouldn't be saying that they confirm your charge that evolution makes no predictions but only conceptual schemes. Please go through the list of macroevolution predictions that I linked for you, and explain how each of them is not actually a prediction but rather a "conceptual scheme". Go ahead, give it your best shot.

Here's the link again, for your convenience: LINK

zilch said...

insideout- you say:
"Evolution as it is is not perfect. You admitted this but you will not accept the possibility that there was some other worldly interference. In that respect you he a narrow mind."

No, I'm perfectly willing to accept the possibility that my ideas about evolution are wrong- for instance, that there is indeed a Designer who twiddled the hard bits and helped out around the sharp corners, say in putting together the motor for the bacterial flagellum. I can't prove that there isn't such a Designer, so it behooves me to be open-minded.

But as they say, it doesn't help to be so open-minded that your brains fall out. So far, I've seen no evidence for a Designer, no necessity to invoke one, and lots of evidence that people make up stories all the time and then believe in them despite all evidence to the contrary. The Bible, the Koran, Dianetics, and Cargo Cults are all such stories. And while I admire many things about the Bible, we've learned a thing or two about the world in the meantime. For my science I'll trust the stories the rocks tell, not the lovely but hopelessly muddled superstitions of our great-times-100 grandparents.

So until ID gets off its collective butt and actually does some real science, instead of just nattering on about gaps in our knowledge (which no scientists deny), I'll go along with Neodarwinism as the best explanation so far of how life evolves.

nick said...

insideout said:

Evolution can not be tested, predicted nor repeated.

That is incorrect, there is an entire field of experimental evolution.

From the Wikipedia article on experimental evolution:

"Because of the large number of generations required for adaptation to occur, evolution experiments are typically carried out with microorganisms such as bacteria or viruses. However, laboratory studies with rodents have shown that notable adaptations can occur within as few as 10-20 generations (see below) and experiments with wild guppies have observed adaptations within comparable numbers of generations."

Anonymous said...

Admitting that there are gaps in science is a far stretch from making claims that for a certainty there is no God.

Benny said...

Atheism does not claim 100% certainty that there is no God, it's the absence of belief in God.

Bill said...

insideout said,
Your science is actually a way of measuring things that can be measured and testing things that can be tested. Your science is a tool and it in no way disproves the existence of the God.

However, evolution is not a science. It's biggest claims are actually guesses that become conceptual schemes of which evolutionists try and fit the outcomes of their experiments and research to. Evolution can not be tested, predicted nor repeated. In atmospheric science you can do these things. Also sciences usually produce results and information or facts and findings that can be useful. For instance your science has most likely produced results that can be applied to meteorology and predicting storms and weather.

Evolution has done no such thing. It is a historical science if it is a science at all.


Please follow Benny's link for a great compilation of how evolution is approached as a science. In any case, I think evolution can be a beneficial science. I mean we can test the functions of other related animals to us to understand how to perform medical procedures and treat diseases. Also, heriditary diseases can be explored through an evolutionary standpoint as well.

As far as outright proving the evolution of species on Earth. It is still analogous to almost any science when put in a historical sense. You can only know the processes that govern change, but any dynamical system; be it the cosmos, the Earth's climate, or life on Earth cannot be successfully predicted. And macroevolution cannot be shown over a lifetime, but all the necessary processes do occur (mutation, selection, isolation). I'm pretty sure they even showed how a single celled organism developed into a mult-celled organism.

But atmospheric science isn't much different. We have ways of looking in the geologic record and recognizing what the character of the climate was at a certain time. But it would be exceptionally difficult to reproduce it in a model. We know the basic processes are sound principles. There is hardly anything different in the evolution of biology compared to that of climatology. In fact biology has a significant impact on how climate changes (and I'm not referring to human global warming). So you can scoff that something isn't a science because it isn't reproducable, but alot of things are not reproducable but are based of more basic reproducable phenomenon.



Mollie,
I tend to agree with you that atleast the originators of the creation stories used them not to necessarily explain the physical order of things, but truely the order of things in relation to their theological understanding. That being said I think the same preservationist mindset has been in place throughout all history once an idea is written in stone, so that challenges to biblical creation were likely rebuked very early.

That being said the philosophical idea of naturalism. Truely is a new way to see how the works compared to traditional understanding. People like Newton and other individuals who fostered modern scientific thinking, did see the world in a novel way. That is a world that operated according to a synthesized set of laws. In no way was this incompatible with a god, but it did come to clash with the traditional understand of God. And it paved the way for metaphysical naturalism. That is the natural order of things encompasses the entirety of the world. That anything can be explained through natural law and nothing supernatural need be invoked. So, in fairness the beginning of scientific thinking was a definite shift in the theologic viewpoint of society.

upandover said...

My point was to show that evolution does not disprove the existence of God, that evolution is incapable of proving anything because the theories of evolution in their entirety, the biggest claims of evolution can not be proven so to use evolution to disprove the existence of God is absurd.

The benefits that bill mentions are not because of evolution they are because of biology. We know that mammals have similar biological systems not because evolution led us to that proof but because we have dissected them and made comparisons.

I have looked at you tired link benny, the conceptual shcemes and expectations are still there. If you deny this then you are the one closing your eyes and plugging your ears to the truth.

Science is always changing and as of now the change in science is begging to include a creator. People who believe in a creator are not seen as irrational anymore. Look at all of the work being done in physics and astronomy.

I'm sorry, but all of you are living in the past. You got stuck on some bogus information and it really excited you and then you got invloved in an anti_god crusade, and got to deep into it that when the very proofs you used against God began to be proofs for God well you ignored them and fell back to your out dated dogma and conceptual schemes. How can society or science ever progress with people like you how deny the evidence and refuse to change?

It's over. You guys just don't get it.

You do not beleive in God becasue there is no evidence for God. Well there is no evidence for anything along that way of reasoning. Give me evidence for the eviedence of the evidence that prooves there is a lack of evidnce. A LACK of evidence. What a cop out. According to your reasoning which back fires on you, we can know nothing and so everything we know we can't know only believe. Everything is about belief.
I believe.

Bill said...

We take what we know to form our beliefs about the world. I think that is only appropriate. In saying we can't disprove God you're right. But, I have no experience that says there was an ultimate creator to the world, so it is difficult for me to come to that conclusion. I think relying on things fairly well shown false, like a 6000 year old world and a global flood to form beliefs is far more damaging than taking what we do know to form our beliefs. I'll grant to you that it is belief, but I think it's how we come to our beliefs that their validity rests on.

zilch said...

To whatever your name is: I would agree that evolution does not disprove the existence of God. It also does not disprove the existence of leprechauns. But evolutionary science does show that the Genesis account of the Creation doesn't jibe with the facts, unless it is massaged into a pulp and reassembled (which is of course an art form in itself, pursued by apologists in many different flavors: old Earth, young Earth, no evolution above the species/genus/family level, birds are bats, etc.) The discovery that the Good Book is not infallible might lead, and has led, some believers to doubt the existence of God at all, or (like Michael Behe) to allocate Him the position of helping evolution around just those corners that are not yet understood. Btw- Behe believes in common descent. But as I said, many Christians have no problem with evolution. They have simply accepted evolution and let go of a literal interpretation of Genesis.

You mentioned astronomy and physics. It might interest you to know that Dr. David Heddle, devout Christian nuclear physicist who believes that "fine tuning" is evidence for a Designer, rejects ID. Check it out- I guarantee it's not old and tired.

People have many different ideas about what constitutes "proof". I would say that "proof" only makes sense in circumscribed systems of formal logic, such as mathematics, where something is absolutely true or not. There are no absolute proofs in science: only descriptions and laws with degrees of confidence and accuracy.

So while I can say with a fair degree of confidence that life evolved, and there is no God, and the Sun will rise tomorrow morning, I can prove none of these things. That's all right- I can and do live with the uncertainty.

Benny said...

Bravo, Bill, zilch. I had a reply to our resident creationist in the works, but your responses are much better. No need for me to waste page space.

aboveandbeyond said...

If God is God, then couldn't he create a 4.5 billion year old planet in six days? I'll do it in six seconds. #=Geo-what, status: planet, age: 4.5 billion years old.
Time it took to create: six seconds.

Of course I can not realize my planet the way God can.

Forget what you think you know.

Hey and no more of those conceptual schemes. I won't address any of the "proofs" or "evidences" you provide that are founded on them.

Yes we all have beliefs. Yet you say that my belief is false, well no you might say that my belief is more false than yours. Whatever, hey, that's fine, its your opinion. We have not had the same lives, the same experiences &c. Or maybe we have, well...

John W. Loftus said...

If God is God, then couldn't he create a 4.5 billion year old planet in six days? I'll do it in six seconds. #=Geo-what, status: planet, age: 4.5 billion years old.
Time it took to create: six seconds.


Yes aboveandbeyond, and if God wants us to believe in him then he could make his creation so haphazard that we couldn't even begin to explain the origin of the species. They could be so far apart and distinct from each other that there would be no fitting the pieces together like scientists have done. In fact, the law of predeation among all creatures on earth is absolutely horrible way to create us. Something has to die for another animal to eat. With the existence of several species of vegetarians and the fact that human beings themselves could be vegetarians, I see no reason for creating meat eaters at all. In fact, I see no reason why God created animals at all, since they have no eternal purpose and their are no moral lessons that animals must learn.

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richdurrant said...

I have a question John,
Why does creation have to be something we can't understand or learn how it was done?

John W. Loftus said...

rich, if scientists couldn't figure it out then they would have to say God is behind it all. The more scientists can figure it out the less they need to punt to God as an explanation.

richdurrant said...

I realize that, and I'm not even saying that we have to punt to God to explain something we don't understand. We are intelligent people and can figure out many things but that in and of itself doesn't remove God as being behind creation. It has never been said that we aren't able to understand the creative process, nor that it has to be this grand mysterious thing that no one can possibly figure out.
I have said this before, just because I believe God created the universe doesn't mean I don't want to know how.
I just think that saying we understand how a star is formed doesn't remove God from being the creator.