DC Evolution Smackdown

The phenomenon of evolution denialism here at DC seems to serve as an analogy of evolution itself. From time to time, an evolution denialist will arrive on the scene here at DC. Various members here will proceed to apply some very stringent selective pressure against such views. They fall out of favor and disappear from the conversation, and the selective pressure abates, allowing them to eventually spring up again and start the cycle again. Recent comments from two theists here (jamie steele and john murphy) indicate that its time for the periodical Cloroxing of the idea pool.

Evolution is both a collection of facts and one of the most thoroughly supported scientific theories known to man. The world is MUCH more than 6000 years old. There was no global flood 4000 years ago. The universe was not formed as described in the Genesis story (either one of them). Wanna fight about it?

Here are the ground rules:

1.) As we are talking about science, the only valid "way of knowing" is empiricism. Sorry; deal with it.
2.) If you have an argument to make, don't just link to the Answers in Genesis site (or the talkorigins site) you lifted it from; post it here in enough detail to defend.
3.) If you wish to cite facts that are beyond what the average college undergraduate would know, you should cite the peer reviewed publications. As evolution, Big Bang, and archaeological history dating back considerably more than 6000 years IS undergraduate-level knowledge, the initiative of attack is granted to the denialists.
4.) If you wish to claim that evolution violates the Second Law of Thermodynamics, you must be able to correctly state the Second Law of Thermodynamics, and if you get it wrong I get to hand out a cyber-noogie.

My hope is to relegate all of the typical denialist claims here for debunking so other debates can continue underailed by this stuff. So jamie, john, and other closet creationists lurking here, put up or shut up.

130 comments:

Jamie Steele said...

Thanks for the challenge shygetz.

One thing I would like to mention on behalf of creationist. I don't think old age earth disproves the Bible at all.
But if God did create the earth he would have created it with age!!

Just like with Adam. A two day old Adam was not a baby but a grown man. He would have looked 20, 30 or whatever.

Same with the earth.

AS far as the universe not being formed. Where did matter and energy come from?
The Bible says God. What do you guys say.
If Science is based on fact what is the fact for that.

Thanks for allowing me to post.

Don said...

Wow, no takers. Imagine that!

Tyro said...

Jamie,

But if God did create the earth he would have created it with age!!

Wouldn't that make God a liar and deceiver?

AS far as the universe not being formed. Where did matter and energy come from?
The Bible says God. What do you guys say.


I think this is why Shygetz specified empiricism, to avoid people saying "Bible says it, I believe it." If God created matter and energy, then where's your evidence?

Let's not change the subject by dealing with other theories. After all, you don't want it to appear as if your only argument is a gap, do you?

Joe said...

Ground Rules Question:

Can we run this debate like a court of law?

If so, since that seems to be the most reasonable solution to attain a fair and honest conclusion, we should get a judge who knows science pretty well.

My vote: Albert Einstein

He was pretty good at this science stuff.

Oops... I guess he might be a bit biased.

Joe said...

Court is in session:

Shygetz stands up from his chair.

Your Honor, I wish to present to you the THEORY of EVOLUTION today.

The Judge (whomever we can agree upon) interupts Shygetz, "Try again. In my courtroom I don't convict or acquit with theory submitted as evidence. Come back when you have concrete empirical evidence to present."

A defeated Shygetz sits back down realizing that evolution is still just theory and therefore not admissible as pure evidence.

*******

Look Shygetz, I am no scholar, so you could probably run circles around me, but I am pretty sure even you understand you can't emphatically claim that the Theory of Evolution is some rock solid, fact that is impervious to errors.

If it was, it wouldn't be called the Theory of Evolution.

Evan said...

Since Einstein is dead, he seems like as good a candidate for judge as Jesus.

Can we have a combination of Einstein, Jesus, Spinoza and Heinrich Himmler with Margaret Sanger as Bailiff and King Charles II as the primary witness for the prosecution?

Wait, who is the prosecutor? What's the charge? Who is the defendant.

Balls.

Sounds like this is just a regular online debate with no judge but the reader of the text. Like some ur-postmodernist Lacanian nightmare.

Sorry.

Nanne said...

Joe: you do understand that is a play of words and not science you are trying to debate here. If what you say is true, then people that are scientists in the field of "theoretical physics", they have no certainty at all?

Maybe you want to read up on scientific vocabulary, and think about what this word "theory" means to a SCIENTISTS, and not especially stop at the disctionaries "1)" explanation. Look here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theoretical_physics

and check out "main stream theories". They're all just theories? I think that e.g. "fluid dynamics", and the theory thereof WOULD be admissible in court and while i have no jurisprudential evidence for you, i think it actually has been used in court. why not?

richdurrant said...

I like the idea here Shygetz, and I agree with your number 2. However, based on the few posts already, can we at least send people over to talk origins when they say there is no evidence for evolution? That way they could at least talk about why the evidence shown there isn't evidence. And to further things along faster look up scientific theory so it doesn't have to be explained that it isn't "just a theory". That should qualify for a cyber noogie too.

zilch said...

jamie- the idea that God created the world with the appearance of age is not new- it goes back at least to 1857, when Phillip Gosse published Omphalos. Already by this time, two years before publication of the Origin of Species, the apparent age of the Earth, and the discovery of fossils of extinct organisms, was worrying Bible literalists. Gosse's answer was that just as God would have created Adam with a navel (thus the title), despite the fact that he didn't need one, He would have created the Earth already fully formed, which meant with the appearance of age.

There are at least two problems with this hypothesis. One has been pointed out by tyro already; and many theologians made the same objection shortly after Omphalos came out: this makes God a trickster or a liar. But perhaps God did it to separate the faithful from the reality-based community: those who believe in the Rock of Ages go to Heaven, those who insist on the age of rocks get tossed into Hell- who knows?

In any case, the second problem is more serious: the hypothesis is unfalsifiable. In other words, there is no possible way of disproving it, which means that it cannot be proven either. If the world was created six thousand years ago looking exactly as it would if it were fifteen billion years old, how can we tell the difference? Of course, by the same argument, the world could have been created six hundred years ago, or even six seconds ago: there's no knowing. Thus the hypothesis is just about as convincing as my hypothesis that the entire Universe moves two feet to the left on alternate Thursdays.

jamie, you ask where matter and energy come from. I won't answer that, because I don't know, and neither does anyone else know, for sure. But just saying "goddidit" is no answer either. If I remember correctly, shygetz put it something like this in another thread here: "God is the answer to everything, and thus to nothing." In other words, saying that God is the answer to the question of the existence of the Universe explains nothing: we are no wiser than before about what happened, we can't explain phenomena we perceive any better, and we now have an unimaginably complex and powerful entity to explain.

Of course, believers have their explanations for God, but all of them amount to sweeping any questions about His creation under a rug: they simply invoke magic in one form or another. Either God comes out of the end of a syllogism as the "uncaused cause" or some such gobbledygook, or He was simply here all along. In any case, God is exempt from the normal rules of logic and causality that everyone, believers and atheists alike, expects from explanations for mundane phenomena. I could just as well tell you that you are controlled by the ghosts of angry dead aliens, and if you ask for evidence, tell you that alien ghosts are above and beyond any kind of perception. So this is not a very convincing argument for the existence of God, in my humble opinion.

joe- saying that the Theory of Evolution must not be well established, otherwise it would not be called a "theory", has got to be one of the most often debunked arguments of believers ever. Like the legendary alligators living in the sewers of New York, it refuses to die. Puleeze look up words you use if you want to discuss issues logically. Wikipedia can tell you what "theory" means in a scientific sense: an explanation of facts that works- it fits known observances, make successful predictions, and is testable. The Theory of Evolution is one such explanation- the Theory of Gravity another. Not many Christians use this "just a theory" argument with gravity, although there is a theory of Intelligent Falling.

In any case, while there are gaps in the Theory of Evolution, it is very well supported. I sometimes get the feeling that evolution-deniers just read about the gaps and uncertainties, whether real or fake, that creationists talk about, and have no idea just how much evidence there is for evolution, and what a tiny minority view evolution-denial is among the scientifically well-informed. But I'm afraid there's no shortcut to understanding- you have to check out both sides for yourselves.

oli said...

Ooooh, science debate, my favourite.

Joe, you are of course entirely right, Evolution is just a theory, not a fact. So is gravity. Will you judge say that we cannot assume that a man jumping off a building must fall? Gravity is after all, only a theory, not a fact.

This word theory it must be said confuses people. For those not of a scientific bent allow me to explain what it means in science where it is a very precise term.

A Theory is an explanation, either mathematical, logical or testable. This explanation must be either testable or falsifiable. It must be able to lend itself to predictions.

When the average Joe (no pun intended) on the street hears the woird Theory, he thinks its a guess. The scientific term for this however is hypothesis.

Evolution is a theory and so is gravity. If you reject evilution because it is only a theory, then surely you must reject gravity too. But of course, you'd look pretty stupid then.

Joe is right that we cannot claim Evolution as a rock solid fact. But by his same standards we cannot claim anything as rock solid fact. No scientist ever really means to claim something as rock solid fact. What a scientist means when he calls something a fact is that it is so well proven that, although he admits the tiny possibility of it being wrong, he is so confident in the theory that he might as well treat it as a fact.
Hence no scientist not of a suicidal bent will throw himself out of an airplane without a parachute and hope that maybe, just maybe gravity isn't real. Likewise with evolution. Its taught in schools because it is real. Certainly, scientists admit the extremely slight possibility that it might be wrong, but its so hugely unlikely that they don't need to factor that likelihood into their world view.

Gravity is actually a good example. We know that gravity stops working at the quantum level. We thus know that Einsteins theory of relativity is flawed. However, we don't currently have a unified field theory, so we have quantum and relativity theory working side by side but not together.

They will continue to do so until some bright spark works out the unified field theory.

Evolution isn't quite like that. We haven't yet discovered any area where evolution doesn't work. To be sure we find new stuff out about it everyday, tiny changes to the mechanics and the methodolgy behind it, but the theory itself remains strong.

Now, if the evolution deniers have a better theory, or they find an area where evolution cannot explain some living creature, then scientists will pounce on that and work hard to resovle it or come up with a new theory.

If a creationist came up with a really good example of something that evolution can't explain, scientists would investigate it with full vigor.

Just look at Behes work on bacteria flagellum. He claimed it was a case of irreducible complexity. Scientists rose to the challenge and have now successfully accounted for the way the flagellum works and evolved. Not much was known about flagellum before Behe pissed off the scientific community. Now we know lots. He was wrong and the theory of evolution is stronger.

Challeneges to the theory of evolution can't come from guys off the street, they have neither the knowledge nor the skills to test it. When biologists question it, they must expose their rational to scientific enquiry, other scientists will then attack it. If they can't debunk it, then it stays. However, so far there have been NO successful challenges to evolution as a theory.

If you have a theory that better accounts for life on this planet, then by all means let us know. But we've all heard the bible arguement, we've all looked at it and we have rejected it as bronze age superstition that is either untestable or has failed scientific tests.

Jamie Steele said...

"However, so far there have been NO successful challenges to evolution as a theory."


most who do challenge will not get peer review status because of a heavy bias for Evolution.

Also, are any of you guys scientist whom do research or do you guys just read books!

If you guys just read books just be honest about it.
Because you are placing faith in the written words of researchers, many of whom have a bias before research begins...

Science proves science theories wrong all the time.

In 20 years much of what is in Science books will have to change if they in fact will take some of the nonsense out.
Many things have been dis-proven by non Christian scientist but it is still in science books.

Micheal Behe's theory hasn't been proven wrong:
as a matter of fact "There has been no experimental evidence to show that natural selection can get around irreducible complexity.

-Often times people working from or under the aegis of a theory simply assume some component of it. Happens all the time.

Shygetz said...

Actually, the term "evolution" is used in scientific circles for both the observed fact that populations of organisms alter gene frequencies over time as a function of selection, drift, etc. AND the theory of how it happens. Evolution is both a scientific theory AND a collection of facts.

jamie steele said: AS far as the universe not being formed. Where did matter and energy come from?

Non-sequiter. There are many hypotheses as to where the energy came from. Some think it is eternal (although you have to alter your thinking about what the word "eternal" means once you realize the nature of time at the singularity); others say it cycles through the multiverse, and we got ours through from "somewhere else". Others think it came about from a quantum fluctuation, resulting in our universe and a similar anti-universe somewhere else. And these are just a few. It is an area of active research (mainly in math and high-energy particle physics right now).

However, unfortunately for you, this is merely a God-of-the-gaps situation. You claim that since we don't have a firm answer now, it must be God. I will point out to you the multitudes of times throughout history that this line of thinking has been used and later proven to be wrong (various diseases, mental illness, weather patterns, earthquakes, volcanoes, etc., etc., ad nauseum). You'd think by now that people would be ashamed to use this line of thinking, but no, they persist.

The science is based on the fact that we know the Big Bang happened from multiple lines of evidence (Doppler shift, cosmic microwave background radiation, etc.), and we know when it happened. We know the events with fairly good accuracy back to sub-microseconds after it happened. We are working on developing theories to get back farther than that. So, until we have facts as to where the energy came from, we say "I'm not sure." What's your excuse for claiming God?

But if God did create the earth he would have created it with age!!

He didn't just create the Earth with age; he created radiation already halfway along its way. He created stars in the middle of dying, and stars already dead. He went very much out of His way to ensure that we would decide that the universe was old, old, old. As pointed out, that makes God the greatest liar of all time.

Ground Rules Question:

Can we run this debate like a court of law?


This is not a debate or a trial, this is a presentation of scientific evidence. You must judge for yourself.

My vote: Albert Einstein

He was pretty good at this science stuff.

Oops... I guess he might be a bit biased.


He would remain silent on the issue (and contrary to popular belief, Einstein was not "good at science"; he was superb at physics and physical chemistry and completely unversed in biology, geology, etc.)

The Judge (whomever we can agree upon) interupts Shygetz, "Try again. In my courtroom I don't convict or acquit with theory submitted as evidence. Come back when you have concrete empirical evidence to present."

A defeated Shygetz sits back down realizing that evolution is still just theory and therefore not admissible as pure evidence.


Try pulling that crap on someone who has not actually seen evolution occur with his own eyes. I am impressed only by your gall at making such a stupid argument. Evolution is both a collection of facts and a theory to explain how those facts occurred. You fail.

Sounds like this is just a regular online debate with no judge but the reader of the text. Like some ur-postmodernist Lacanian nightmare.

Sorry, but that's how all science works. There is no authority to pronounce from on high that such-and-so theory is now accepted--we leave such authoritarian measures to the theists. It becomes accepted because the readers decide on an individual basis that it is sufficiently supported, and choose to use it.

Is this the best you've got? Come on, people! I was hoping to at least see some tired attacks on radioisotope dating or some imaginitive Flood apologetics. But I'm left with "Dude, what if God just wants you to THINK he's not there, like in the Matrix. Whoa." and "Evolution is NOT a fact-la-la-la-I can't hear you, Albert Einstein loves him some Jesus NOW!" If you want to attack over a century's worth of data by a plethora of scientists, you better come loaded for bear, not bird.

Shygetz said...

richdurrant said: However, based on the few posts already, can we at least send people over to talk origins when they say there is no evidence for evolution? That way they could at least talk about why the evidence shown there isn't evidence.

Rich, it would be unfair for me to allow defenders to link to talkorigins without explaining contents and providing at least one peer-reviewed reference, but forbid denialists to do the same with AiG. We must be fair. You can, of course, refer people to talkorigins for further exploration of a topic, but you should include the meat of the refutation here. Also, talkorigins usually does an excellent job of citing peer-reviewed research for its claims, and you are of course free to crib references from them. Sorry denialists, Creation ex nihilo is not a peer-reviewed journal.

Tyro said...

zilch,

jamie, you ask where matter and energy come from. I won't answer that, because I don't know, and neither does anyone else know, for sure.

Depends what you mean by "for sure". It certainly isn't a great mystery, and modern physics can easily account for what we observe. I don't want to get into it because it's a red herring. Whether we have an answer or not doesn't say anything about God unless you believe, fallaciously, that God exists and did something until we prove that it didn't. It's the difference between a positive argument for God and a negative argument attacking everything else.

I think we both know how Creationists like to argue, and I'd rather not indulge them :)


Jamie

most who do challenge will not get peer review status because of a heavy bias for Evolution.

Then you should have no problem presenting these theories.

Science proves science theories wrong all the time.

Bleeding edge theories may be rejected, but accepted theories that are supported by a broad body of evidence don't get tossed out entirely. That's why we can still use Newton's Gravity even though we have Einstein's Relativity. Newton may be "wrong", but only subtly so. We are pretty sure that Relativity is "wrong" at some scale, but we'll still be able to use it for everything except the ultra-massive and ultra-small. As we learn, the subtleties get finer and finer.

You're dreaming if you think that a theory as well supported as evolution is going to get tossed out entirely.

Micheal Behe's theory hasn't been proven wrong:
as a matter of fact "There has been no experimental evidence to show that natural selection can get around irreducible complexity.


Of course it has - scaffolding. People recognized this immediately but Behe's not honest enough to retract.

fishead said...

Sounds like some of the Creationists here need to brush up a bit on AiG's list of arguments they SHOULDN'T be using!

Evan said...

Science proves science theories wrong all the time.

You're right to some degree. But you have to understand that there are a bunch of theories that uneducated evolution deniers are denying. Not just the theory of natural selection.

First, you are denying modern physics and nuclear chemistry.

Our understanding of the age of the universe and the age of the earth is based on the very simple application of basic principles like the half-life of radioisotopes.

Now the average layman is pretty nervous if it sounds like scientists don't know what they are talking about when it comes to radioisotopes, so Creationist science-deniers don't spend nearly as much time on this, except to trot out Carbon 14 limitations (that were discovered with regular science and are now corrected for).

But Carbon 14 studies are no longer useful for ages > 100,000 years or so. The age of the earth is based on Potassium/Argon dating. It's rock solid, and multiple lines of evidence point to it. Darwin didn't even KNOW the age of the earth and his guesses about it were wrong.

Nobody takes what Darwin said about the age of the earth seriously. But the age of the earth is known with great precision, and you have to deny that to be a creationist.

The next thing you have to deny is geology. You see we have excellent data and outstanding theoretical constructs for the presence of continental drift over the course of the earth's history. Again, Darwin was UNAWARE of this and got it wrong, although his work on island biogeography was seminal in our modern understanding of how continental drift would change the distribution of organisms.

Now continental drift has a known, observable mechanism and it explains fully the data available to explain and is universally agreed upon by geologists. Yet to be a science-denying creationist you have to not believe this either.

The reason that creationists focus on Darwin, and on his TWO theories, descent with modification and evolution by natural selection is because the average person thinks that she has a level of knowledge of living organisms that allows her to respond to arguments like "I didn't have a monkey for an ancestor."

But even in Darwin was completely wrong about natural selection (the only criticism Behe makes by the way), descent with modification happened. Behe never criticizes:

1. Age of the earth
2. Continental Drift
3. Descent with modification

What on earth does Genesis have left to hang its hat on if these facts are true?

zilch said...

jamie asks:

Also, are any of you guys scientist whom do research or do you guys just read books!

If you guys just read books just be honest about it.
Because you are placing faith in the written words of researchers, many of whom have a bias before research begins...


shygetz is a scientist who does research. But you don't have to be a scientist, or an atheist, to see that the Theory of Evolution has the facts behind it. In fact, many people with a religious bias end up accepting evolution: Darwin is a good example.

And while many researchers have various biases, like all humans, the scientific worldview is equipped to eliminate bias: what works in the real world is retained, what doesn't work is rejected.

Granted, this is an ideal that is never completely attained: knowledge is never perfect, personal bias sometimes skews the directions science takes, and outright fakery does sometime persist for a while. But the trend is clear: what demonstrably accurately describes the world we live in becomes part of science, until such time as it is corrected or elaborated.

jamie, you say:

Micheal Behe's theory hasn't been proven wrong:
as a matter of fact "There has been no experimental evidence to show that natural selection can get around irreducible complexity.


The problem with Behe's hypothesis is the same as with Gosse's hypothesis: it is unfalsifiable. How can it be proved, or disproved, that God, excuse me, a Higher Intelligence Not Necessarily But Maybe the God of the Bible, did or did not tweak evolution at some point? The concept of "irreducible complexity" is just a fancy way of saying "I can't imagine how this structure could have evolved, so GOD (the Great Original Designer) must exist, and must have tweaked here". Trouble is, this is just another version of the God of the Gaps argument, and as shygetz pointed out, this has a bad track record: we now know that God doesn't throw thunderbolts, and while we're not sure exactly how flagella evolved, there are plausible explanations that don't require a helping tentacle from the GOD.

But if you're enamored of the GOG explanations, why strain at flagella? You might as well say that we need God to explain that two plus two equals four, and be done with it. But in that case, why not just say that you want there to be a God, and therefore, He exists?

cheers from windy cold Vienna, zilch

Nathan said...

most who do challenge will not get peer review status because of a heavy bias for Evolution.

Let's just get this out of the way right now. Claims that scientists ignore perfectly good evidence in order to protect the status quo are conspiracy theories on the level of Bigfoot and the faked moon landing.

Scientists do not get much recognition on a personal level, so protecting the status quo is hardly in any individual's best interest. Disproving evolution would make you the most famous scientist ever, so if there were any legitimate evidence against evolution, a scientist would be an idiot not to jump on it.

When the disproving evidence was offered for peer review, other scientists would be equally dumb to not give it a fair shake. If evolution were proven false, we would have A LOT of evidence to explain. It would create a golden age for scientists simply because there would be so much to discover. The person who originally disproved evolution wrong would be the most famous, but there would be plenty of room for several other scientists to make their contributions and immortalize their names.

This is the wonderful self-correcting process of science. It is why we can trust scientific consensus much more than we can trust, say, the 2000-year-old writings of superstitious men.

Have I personally witnessed proof of evolution at every level? No I have not. No one in this conversation, or anyone else, can make that claim. But we can be confident that what scientists tell us is true because of the self-checks that science runs on itself. If someone were lying, they would be exposed.

Individual scientists may very well be biased, but science itself is about as objective as anything can be.

John W. Loftus said...

Thanks Shygetz for this thread. I hope to link to it in the future. Get'em tiger. This is your area baby!

Spirula said...

If evolution were proven false, we would have A LOT of evidence to explain. It would create a golden age for scientists simply because there would be so much to discover

(Okay, my previous comment was eaten then others addressed what I had issues with, so I'll touch on this point.)

If there ever was a moment where the Theory of Evolution faced a serious challenge, I believe it was the discovery of the structure and function of DNA. If it could be shown that DNA was responsible for phenotype, but that it was not inherited; if it could be shown that an organisms DNA changed over time (a la Lamarckian acquired characteristics), or any of a number of other situations, then The Theory of Evolution would have toppeled.

But it did not work out that way.

Instead, molecular genetics, population genetics, and the discovery of related gene groups (take your pick Hox, Pax2, Pax6), all these actually strengthened the argument for descent with modification, and that natural selection is driving adaptive changes. In fact, it has become a much more accurate tool for determining ancestry than any other tool before.

The fact is, all lines of evidence simply continue to strengthen the Theory of Evolution. So, to those muttering on about the "certain demise" of Evolution, dream on. Your delusions are all you have.

Joe said...

Ouch! My heads hurts from all the cyber noogies! :)

Hey, at least I am man enough to admit it.

Sorry I pulled out the old "theory" argument. I am just an out dated creationist.

Lets face it, I am in Tball and the rest of you play in the major leagues. I can't compete in the scholarly arena.

Here is one observation I have however. The Theory of Gravity seems to me to have less gaps than the Theory of Evolution.


Sometimes I wonder why creationists even engage in this argument because if they are Christian's they should know that we aren't able to convince anyone on faith matters with facts. Otherwise it wouldn't be considered a "faith" now would it.

Speaking of faith, the core concept behind the Theory of Evolution strikes me as hard to believe.

1. There was nothing.
2. Then there was something.
3. Then this something continued to evolve into more complex things all the way up to complexities such as DNA.

To be honest, it is this concept I myself find hard to believe any more than a designer behind the creation. I am not convinced I could observe and test that concept any more than a universe that was designed.

Oh crap, this is probably some complexity argument that will get me yet more cyber noogies.

Nevertheless. What am I missing? What process can we observe today that demonstrates a random move from simple to complex. Hey there could be something out there I haven't seen. I am being honest. I probably just need to go read a book to find out.

Crap more cyber noogies coming...

paul01 said...

Jamie

But if God did create the earth he would have created it with age!!

Would the appearance of age be superficial, or would it be appearance in depth?

For example, if the appearance is just superficial, then the number of tree rings in a tree would just be random. But if the appearance were deep, then the tree rings counted in a Redwood tree in California would correlate with the tree rings counted in Oregon. In other words, we could rely on tree ring counting to give the appearance of a certain age. Not only that but the shaft of an arrow embedded in the tree could be dated using Carbon-14 dating, and the date could be correlated reliably with tree ring dates- if the appearance of age were deep rather than superficial. The same could be said for any other form of dating, such as radiometric dating ( in its various forms), molecular clock dating, etc. In other words, if the appearance of age were deep rather than superficial, then all the methods of dating noted above could be relied on to give an accurate representation of a certain age, or range of ages.

So if you believe that God created the universe with an appearance of age, you are committing yourself to the reliability of the dating procedures devised so far by modern science.

But if these procedures are all reliable, why not just accept them at face value?

Tyro said...

Hi Joe,

Here is one observation I have however. The Theory of Gravity seems to me to have less gaps than the Theory of Evolution.

It may seem that way, but you know how impressions can be mistaken. As it turns out, there are no known or suspected problems with evolution, though there are debates about the relative effects of different mechanisms. On the other hand, our best theory of gravity (Einstein's General Relativity) is known to break down in the realm of the very, very small.

So, despite impressions, you have the two backwards: it is gravity which has gaps, and not evolution.

Speaking of faith, the core concept behind the Theory of Evolution strikes me as hard to believe.

1. There was nothing.
2. Then there was something.
3. Then this something continued to evolve into more complex things all the way up to complexities such as DNA.


You should know that 1 and 2 have nothing to do with evolution. At best they're physics or cosmology, though even these disciplines would never deal with such wishy-washy terms as "something" and "nothing".

Even point 3 isn't directly related to evolution, since evolution really only kicks in when you have self-replication and heritability.

If these are your only problems, I think that you'd find people far more willing to engage in a constructive dialogue if you would come out and say something like "I have no problem with the modern theory evolution once DNA and replicating cells had formed, but I don't understand how that happened." Then you could find out about cosmology, biochemistry and abiogenesis. Fascinating topics in their own right, but they aren't evolution.

What am I missing? What process can we observe today that demonstrates a random move from simple to complex.

I think you mean something other than "complex". Could you mean "ordered" instead? Shuffling a deck of cards or flipping a coin will result in a complex result but I don't think you have a problem with that.

We get order naturally because the forces in the universe take us there. Gravity is what takes a collection of randomly sorted atoms and forms stars and planets, brings water and atmosphere to the surface and denser materials to the core. Chemistry takes random interactions of molecules and produces higher-order structure.

Evan said...

1. There was nothing.
2. Then there was something.
3. Then this something continued to evolve into more complex things all the way up to complexities such as DNA.


Well, that is simply a complete and utter failure to grasp the concept.

Evolution is the theory that the species we see today on earth arose by descent with modification by means of natural selection.

Evolution is NOT a theory of abiogenesis. Abiogenesis is its own field of research and (listen closely here) the majority of CHRISTIAN biologists do not dispute the theory of evolution.

In addition, when you say that the theory of gravity has fewer gaps in it you are revealing only your own lack of knowledge. In fact, the theory of gravity has a gigantic gap.

NOBODY KNOWS WHY IT WORKS.

The postulated particle, the graviton remains unobserved. We have FAR MORE detailed knowledge of the exact mechanisms of natural selection than we have for gravity, without mentioning the failure of Newtonian mechanics at relativistic speeds or with extremely large masses.

One could even argue that Newton's theory of gravity is essentially disproven and has been replaced. Yet because it is useful on our earth and at our speeds with the masses we use, it is still used as the best approximation for our purposes.

Joe said...

Huh. Gotta be honest. Didn't even cross my mind. A valuable and good distinction I can see now that you pointed that out.

I remember one gap I read about at one point is the gaps in the fossil record. Is this still a gap in the evolutionary theory. Again, sorry I am not up to date. I just remember something about transitional forms not being present.

I suppose I should go get a current book on the theory.

Tyro said...

Joe,

I remember one gap I read about at one point is the gaps in the fossil record. Is this still a gap in the evolutionary theory.

Whenever a new fossil species is discovered which appears in a gap, the same old joke goes around: instead of filling the gap, it just created two new gaps :)

Facts are that fossilization is rare, a very small minority of organisms get fossilized, not all species get fossilized equally well, and not all fossils get discovered. There are bound to be gaps but through good fortune and the fact that evolution and geology let us predict where the best places to look to find fossils, we have filled a dizzying number of gaps.

For instance, you may have heard of Tiktaalik which is one of many recently discovered fossils which fill the gaps between early tetrapods and amphibians.

Tyro said...

Joe

As an addendum - evolution doesn't predict that animals will be fossilized, it's just a bonus for us. Certainly fossils help and they answer a lot of questions, but there is ample evidence supporting evolution even if we didn't have any fossils at all.

So no, gaps in the fossil record are not gaps in the theory of evolution.

Evan said...

Joe, there are transitional forms present in the fossil record for HUGE numbers of species progressions.

The common creationist argument is that each transitional fossil then creates TWO MORE GAPS.

Essentially this argument could be used forever unless every organism that ever existed was fossilized and recorded which is lunacy.

As for human evolution, we have the most intricately documented sequence of transitional fossils you can imagine with at least one specimen for each subtype for every 200,000 years going back over 4.4 million years.

So yes, you should read up on that.

Spirula said...

I remember one gap I read about at one point is the gaps in the fossil record.

Yes, "gaps" that keep getting smaller as time goes on. Not the other way around.

Frankly, why does anyone honestly think there would be a "complete" fossil record? Are people that unaware of how and when fossilization is most likely to occur? Or how often fossil strata are both exposed and accessible?

Regardless, the fossil record is very clear. Species have changed over time. And, as you move from older to younger layers, lineages of related organisms can be found. As expected, in layers between related forms, intemediates have been found.

Some stories are more complete than others. The evolution of whales is a good example of how one story unfolds.

Enjoy.

Spirula said...

By the way, here is a nice little summary (by Jeremy Mohn) dealing with one genetic issue revolving around human evolution that supports my earlier comment about DNA and evolution.

John Murphy said...

Of course evolution is true, the only question is, "is it sufficient to explain the origin of the universe?" Answer: No. It is sufficient to explain change within a specie, but nothing better than that. Read "The Edge of Evolution" and get back to me. Mathematically, macro-evolution is not possible.

Oh...and to limit the discussion to "empirical evidence only" demonstrates the limits of your presuppositions. Just because you don't think you can know anything beyond what your senses can tell you, does not mean your assumption is true. It just means that you refuse to allow any possibility of truth beyond the senses. Interesting limitation. Good luck with it.

goprairie said...

gaps: actually, as scientists get better at understanding evolution and the steps between species, when they want to find a transitional species, they can often predict what time frame that would have heppened in and where in the world it probably happened, and they can find geological formations of sediments from that time frame and now with some pretty fair accuracy find the fossils of the transitional species they were looking for. that scientists are now using the range of fossils found so far to predict where others in the range can be found is a pretty good point on the side of proof.

Evan said...

Of course evolution is true, the only question is, "is it sufficient to explain the origin of the universe?" Answer: No. It is sufficient to explain change within a specie, but nothing better than that. Read "The Edge of Evolution" and get back to me. Mathematically, macro-evolution is not possible.

What an unbelievable statement. First, let's break it down into its constituent parts.

Of course evolution is true

Righty-o. Of course you then proceed to claim it's not.

the only question is, "is it sufficient to explain the origin of the universe?" Answer: No.

This is what you get when you don't read the thread before posting. Evolution is a theory of how organisms descend with modification. It does not postulate anything regarding the origin of the universe, and therefore cannot be sufficient to explain that.

It's like asking why string theory can't explain the Hardy-Weinberg law. It's like asking why the theory of gravity can't explain cholesterol.

It is sufficient to explain change within a specie, but nothing better than that.

And here we see that you don't really think evolution is true. You wish to say that artificial selection can make wolves into mexican hairless dogs, but that natural selection can't turn one kind of orchid into another. Of course, the evidence you send us to is even more laughable.

Read "The Edge of Evolution" and get back to me. Mathematically, macro-evolution is not possible.

Dr. Behe has a nasty habit of being proven wrong. Somehow that never seems to make a difference to science deniers.

Please -- read the decision in the Kitzmiller case and get the judge's opinion of Dr. Behe.

Again, if evolution is mathematically impossible -- how can a wolf turn into a chihuahua? It's like proving mathematically that a bee can't fly. Yet there's that flying bee!

As opposed to referring us to Dr. Behe, how about you show us the math as you understand it. I'll be happy to point out your fallacies.

goprairie said...

macro-evolution: when a theory becomes mature enough to be considered predictive, you can be pretty sure it is on the right track. evolution theory has predicted the order in which species evolved from common ancestors and gene theory bears that out. As each new gene is sequenced, we find predictable similarities between species, with some genetic material shared with a frog, even more with mammals, even more with primates, until we find that soemthing like 98% is the same between humans and chimpanzees.

Jim Holman said...

spirula writes: The fact is, all lines of evidence simply continue to strengthen the Theory of Evolution.

Yes, exactly, and it's not just biological and genetic evidence.

The fact is that all major areas of science converge on the same conclusion -- that the earth is vastly older than 6,000 years.

To accept the idea of a young earth is basically to reject all fields of science that have any bearing on the issue.

Jamie Steele brings up an interesting point: But if God did create the earth he would have created it with age!!

The problem is that "age" is not simple characteristic. It's not like selecting a car with a certain color of paint.

God would have had to create not only earth with the "age" option, but also an entire universe with the "age" option, including background radiation, meteor strikes, movement of galaxies, stars in various stages of development, and so on.

More importantly, most of the characteristics of the "age" option are things that could only be detected the last couple hundred years, some detectable only in the last couple of decades.

So throughout most of human history the "age" option is not something that anyone would even have been able to detect. For example, 2,000 years ago there was no reason why anyone wouldn't think that the earth was only a few thousand years old, because no one had the instruments or research that could have told them otherwise.

So the vast, overwhelming amount of effort that God expended in the creation of the universe would have been with the sole purpose of deceiving people the last couple hundred years or so.

One could only conclude that the thing that God hates most, the thing that he hates more than sin and evil, is scientific instruments and research.

That is certainly an interesting view of God, and it is a view that has absolutely no support in the writings of the early Christians or in the Bible itself.

Thus the idea of God "creating the earth with age" is not only totally unscientific, but also, I would think for most Christians, bad theology as well.

Jamie Steele said...

"Dr. Behe has a nasty habit of being proven wrong. "

where is the evidence for this.

I hope you are not talking about Ken Miller's faulty biased presentation.

Jamie Steele said...

Thus the idea of God "creating the earth with age" is not only totally unscientific, but also, I would think for most Christians, bad theology as well.

Please explain this. And please use the Bible.
I would love to read your response.

GordonBlood said...

Of course the Earth is not something that simply "happened" as such. It is and was a dynamic system, brought about through considerable developments both on its surface and through interaction with our own solar system. Reading even a brief treatment on planetar development is, at least for me, quite astounding.

Joe said...

Debunkers:

I need help.

I found this argument somewhat logical. What is the evolutionists response? Or are there current findings that would ease Darwin's fears, or "cold shudders" as the paper states he said once of the complexity of the eye.

In his landmark publication, The Origin of Species, Darwin avowed, “To suppose that the eye, with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural
selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree possible.”8 He called this dilemma the problem of “organs of extreme perfection and complication.”

What's the deal with blind chance? How does evolution explain the process of going from simple organisms to complexities such as the eye?

I saw a post from Zilch addressing "irreducible complexity" but all he did was knock the straw man down. He didn't insert an explanation from Evolution to explain complexity.

Tyro offers this:

"We get order naturally because the forces in the universe take us there. Gravity is what takes a collection of randomly sorted atoms and forms stars and planets, brings water and atmosphere to the surface and denser materials to the core. Chemistry takes random interactions of molecules and produces higher-order structure."

This however seems to me to be using an ordered system or law to create your order from. How is this the same as blind chance driving adaptations in a species.

OK do I walking through Evolution 101 on Berkeley website as I write this.... I see mutations, genetic drift, natural selection, migration... all these contribute to the evolutionary process.

So I have a new question:

So needy I know.

Why are there still chimps? Why would evolution leave less "evolved" groups of species "behind". What am I missing?

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Now, as I’ve read these comments, I ask this…If God created an aged Earth how would that make him a liar or deceiver? Where did that come from and explain your reasoning. I’ll go further than Jamie Steele here…don’t use the bible…use anything you can…I wanna see this…

Was Henry Ford a Liar because he didn’t create a Truck originally? Or better yet when Ford did roll out their first Truck were the cars somehow liars, unnecessary or unauthentic? I’d just like to know why do you impose a restriction on a limitless God in such way?

Zilch- since you seem to be the most worded here besides Shygetz, which was first, the universe or God? Then what is the cause?

Further isn’t there a Law that teaches that complicated things don’t merely arise by chance or from nothing? Well…maybe the universe isn’t that complicated huh?

Finally as it pertains to the “Theory” business you said “theory of Gravity” last I knew, Gravity was a LAW such as the LAW of let’s say THERMODYNAMICS.

You know as well as I theories are not settled scientifically due to the fact of either material flaws or gaps that keep it from being fully coherent. Laws are fluid, settled, established. Evolution is in NO WAY close to being even scientifically settled no matter how much consensus is behind it. Here’s more than a good book on the subject…

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0849942721/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

Follow the REAL evidence.

Thanks.

Joe said...

OK, I got some of my answer...

Advantageous intermediates and Co-opting as some possible solutions to complex systems evolving over time.

hmmmmm.....

Still quite a few "ifs" and "could be" in those theories. What good is a half an eye on the way to becoming a complete eye. I guess they offered up some possibilities, but they seem to be a stretch still.

So a flatworm develops with half an eye and that is advantageous to it. How does the development of that eye in whatever creature developed it first spread to all species.

Or does Evolution have a similar storyline as all man coming from Adam. I am not making a statement here.... just asking if all species came from one source. So that all species developed from the 1st species to evolve an eye. Does that make sense?

Evan said...

In sequence:

Jamie, you say "where is the evidence for this."

For a few samples of where Dr. Behe has been proven wrong, I skimmed a few news sites, here's what I found.

Behe asserted, as an example, that “scientific literature has no answers to the question of the origin of the immune system.”

Under cross-examination, the professor — whose science faculty colleagues at Lehigh University have issued a statement supporting evolutionary theory as established science — was surrounded by stacks of biology and medical texts and peer-reviewed journals piled there by plaintiffs’ attorney Rothschild, who pointed out that all the writings discussed the evolution of the immune system. But in his three days of testimony, Behe did not budge.


That's from the SF Chronicle, Nov. 6, 2005.

But enough sophomoric humor. The scientist who fared worst on the witness stand was Michael J. Behe, a biochemist from Lehigh University and author of the best-selling book, “Darwin’s Black Box.” Surrounded by stacks of books and journal articles dealing with the evolution of the human immune system, a mystery for which, his book argued, “scientific literature has no answer,” Behe was reduced to rhetorically dismissing works he obviously knew nothing about.

Even journalists are expected to read books before reviewing them. Attorneys for the complaining parents also appear to have had a grand time taking Behe systematically through “Of Pandas and People,” repudiating one creationist nostrum after another. Indeed, his version of ID seems to boil down to the idea that God created the first living cell several billion years ago, placed it on the primordial earth, fixed himself a bowl of popcorn and sat back to enjoy the show. Maybe he did. Asked what “mechanism” the designer used, Behe offered none. In short, ID not only fails to qualify as a scientific theorem, it’s not even a hypothesis. It’s the equivalent of a 3 a. m. dormitory bull session about The Meaning of Life. The good news is that whatever Americans may tell pollsters about evolution when it’s falsely equated with atheism, when circumstances force them to think seriously, the majority reaches the right conclusion.


This is from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette November 23, 2005.

For a final one, this is from the Chicago Tribune, February 13, 2006:

Perhaps the strongest rebuke to ID in the Dover case concerned the claim by Behe and others that it would be impossible for evolution to produce the immune system. Miller testified that since Behe wrote his 1996 book, evolutionary biologists have built a rich account of the immune system–a point Judge Jones highlighted in his ruling.

“[Behe] was presented with fifty-eight peer-reviewed publications, nine books, and several immunology textbook chapters about the evolution of the immune system,” Jones wrote, “however, he simply insisted … that it was not `good enough.’”

Behe still staunchly defends ID, saying Miller and other biologists have yet to show how evolution originally produced any complex biochemistry.

“They’re saying part of the flagellum looks like some other part of the cell,” Behe said. “None of that says what the first step would be in trying to construct the flagellum.”

Proponents of intelligent design clearly are refusing to play by the normal rules of scientific evidence, Miller responds.

Behe’s dismissal of the immune system research “tells you right away, ain’t nothing gonna convince this guy,” he said.


If you really care to find out how wrong Dr. Behe is, you just need to read the judge's decision, something I am sure you have not done. If you did, you'd stop asserting he has anything valuable to add to your case.

Remember Dr. Behe believes the earth is 4.5 billion years old. Dr. Behe believes that life descended with modification from common ancestors. Dr. Behe only differs from standard scientific thinking in that he thinks that natural selection can not have been the mechanism of the descent with modification.

DSHB, you say Further isn’t there a Law that teaches that complicated things don’t merely arise by chance or from nothing? Well…maybe the universe isn’t that complicated huh?

No, there isn't such a law. But even if there was, it would be immediately disproved by the precipitation of salt crystals out of water.

However it is a false canard that evolution by descent with modification using natural selection is random. It's not. The environment selects organism in a non-random fashion.

Imagine forty birds. Now imagine they all have to eat the lice off goats to survive. Now imagine that one bird secretes a chemical that frightens goats when they smell it while it eats.

Which one would you predict would not survive to pass its genes on to the next generation. If you can figure that one out, you can then see how descent with modification by means of natural selection is NON-random.

So we've done away with complex things not arising, and we've done away with randomness. Now you say, Finally as it pertains to the “Theory” business you said “theory of Gravity” last I knew, Gravity was a LAW such as the LAW of let’s say THERMODYNAMICS.

I'm just gonna quote wikipedia here and let you sort it out in your head.

In 1687, English mathematician Sir Isaac Newton published Principia, which hypothesizes the inverse-square law of universal gravitation. In his own words, “I deduced that the forces which keep the planets in their orbs must be reciprocally as the squares of their distances from the centers about which they revolve; and thereby compared the force requisite to keep the Moon in her orb with the force of gravity at the surface of the Earth; and found them answer pretty nearly.”

Newton's theory enjoyed its greatest success when it was used to predict the existence of Neptune based on motions of Uranus that could not be accounted by the actions of the other planets. Calculations by John Couch Adams and Urbain Le Verrier both predicted the general position of the planet, and Le Verrier's calculations are what led Johann Gottfried Galle to the discovery of Neptune.

Ironically, it was another discrepancy in a planet's orbit that helped to point out flaws in Newton's theory. By the end of the 19th century, it was known that the orbit of Mercury could not be accounted for entirely under Newton's theory, but all searches for another perturbing body (such as a planet orbiting the Sun even closer than Mercury) had been fruitless. The issue was resolved in 1915 by Albert Einstein's new General Theory of Relativity, which accounted for the discrepancy in Mercury's orbit.

Although Newton's theory has been superseded, most modern non-relativistic gravitational calculations are still made using Newton's theory because it is a much simpler theory to work with than General Relativity, and gives sufficiently accurate results for most applications.


Got that? It's a theory. Beyond that, it's wrong -- we know the ways in which it's wrong and we use it only because it is practical.

Finally Joe you quote the standard science denying quote from Darwin that begins a paragraph but doesn't show the end of it.

Here's the full Darwin quote:

To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree. When it was first said that the sun stood still and the world turned round, the common sense of mankind declared the doctrine false; but the old saying of Vox populi, vox Dei, as every philosopher knows, cannot be trusted in science. Reason tells me, that if numerous gradations from a simple and imperfect eye to one complex and perfect can be shown to exist, each grade being useful to its possessor, as is certainly the case; if further, the eye ever varies and the variations be inherited, as is likewise certainly the case and if such variations should be useful to any animal under changing conditions of life, then the difficulty of believing that a perfect and complex eye could be formed by natural selection, though insuperable by our imagination, should not be considered as subversive of the theory. How a nerve comes to be sensitive to light, hardly concerns us more than how life itself originated; but I may remark that, as some of the lowest organisms, in which nerves cannot be detected, are capable of perceiving light, it does not seem impossible that certain sensitive elements in their sarcode should become aggregated and developed into nerves, endowed with this special sensibility.

The fact is the eye has evolved and the way it did so can be easily shown.

zilch said...

evan- you beat me to the punch. That quote of Darwin's about the evolution of the eye, taken out of context, must be another one of the most often debunked fundamentalist canards: that Darwin didn't believe the eye could evolve. I'll just add that it was typical of Darwin, as it is of all great scientists, to bend over backwards to fairly examine any possible weaknesses or objections to his theory. How many theologians do that?

And thanks for the well-deserved fisking of Behe. How anyone can take him seriously, after he admitted that by his definition, astrology was a science too, is beyond me.

A bit more about the eye: joe asks, what good is half an eye? If by that you mean an eyeball cut in half, not much. But that's not how evolution works. Many organic molecules react to light (shygetz can certainly explain this in much more detail), and it's not hard to imagine that organisms could evolve to utilize this photosensitivity in a very primitive way: to sense whether light is getting stronger or weaker. If I remember correctly, maggots do this, so they can crawl away from the light.

A simple further step is to evolve a backing for the photocells that stops light from one side. Thus equipped, organisms can tell which direction light is coming from, in a very general way.

If the dark backing evolves into a cup shape, the precision of sensing which direction light comes from improves. If the cup becomes deep enough, you have a pinhole camera, which can form images. If the cup fills with a transparent substance with a different refractive index from the surrounding medium (water), then you get a lens with better image-forming capabilities.

Now, this is of course oversimplified, and leaves out compound eyes of various kinds. But there is a smooth gradient between each of these steps, with small but useful improvements all along, that make the evolution of the eye not so impossible to imagine after all. Not one of these steps involves any kind of evolutionary leap: they are baby steps, easily taken within known rates of mutation. The wiki article evan linked to has more info- check it out, it's fascinating.

Joe asks:

So a flatworm develops with half an eye and that is advantageous to it. How does the development of that eye in whatever creature developed it first spread to all species.

Or does Evolution have a similar storyline as all man coming from Adam. I am not making a statement here.... just asking if all species came from one source. So that all species developed from the 1st species to evolve an eye. Does that make sense?


It makes sense, and that's what happened: evolution is a storyline like the story of all people descending from Adam and Eve, except that it's true: all living things share the same genetic code, DNA (or the related RNA in most viruses), so all life on Earth almost certainly came from one source, the so-called last universal common ancestor (LUCA). All species with eyes (and some without- eyes can be lost, for instance in cave-dwelling animals) descended from earlier animals with eyes, back to where eyes first evolved. The story is actually a bit more complicated than that, because eyes have evolved separately an estimated forty to sixty times in the history of life, but the genetic underpinnings for eyes were already (probably) present in all these separate developments, having evolved very early on. And joe- good for you for looking at what science has to offer. If you want to know more about evolution, please check out TalkOrigins too.

Dshb asks:

Was Henry Ford a Liar because he didn’t create a Truck originally? Or better yet when Ford did roll out their first Truck were the cars somehow liars, unnecessary or unauthentic? I’d just like to know why do you impose a restriction on a limitless God in such way?

Henry Ford was not a liar, but your analogy needs to be more accurate to be fair. Ford did not dictate a Book which claimed, among other things, that he did not manufacture cars by making their parts and assembling them, but simply created them ex nihilo in his factory. That is a more fitting analogy.

Zilch- since you seem to be the most worded here besides Shygetz, which was first, the universe or God? Then what is the cause?

As I said, however the Universe came to be, positing a God doesn't answer the question, but begs it: if the Universe needs a "cause", whatever that might mean, then so does God, in spades. If God doesn't need a cause, neither does the Universe, and it's a great deal simpler to suppose that there is no God.

Further isn’t there a Law that teaches that complicated things don’t merely arise by chance or from nothing? Well…maybe the universe isn’t that complicated huh?

Orderly things, such as crystals and sand dunes, can arise from the simple interaction of physical law with matter and energy, as tyro already pointed out. The only way we know for the most complicated things in the Universe, living organisms, to develop, is through evolution: the gradual increase of order through a combination of mutation and natural selection. So as far as we know, anything as complicated as God must be can only have evolved- He can't have simply been here all the time, or created Himself, or something.

The question now is, where did God evolve, if He created our Universe? In a super Universe? If so, Who created the super Universe? You can see the problem here...

Theologians often try to get around this problem by exempting God from normal rules of causality and logic. But this is tantamount to simply throwing up one's hands and saying "I can't explain this, so magic must be involved". I find it more parsimonious to simply say "I don't know what happened before the first few microseconds of the Universe's existence (and most of what happened thereafter, I must hasten to add)". As I have said, positing a God doesn't have any predictive power, doesn't help explain features of the Universe that science hasn't been able to explain, and is suspect because people demonstrably make up supernatural beings all the time, partly as a catch-all rug that all questions can be swept under, partly as an imaginary dispenser of carrots and sticks, and partly as wish fulfillment for an imagined afterlife.

As Hazlitt said, "The long habit of living indisposeth us to dying". I would add, the long habit of culture and knowledge of our coming death, disposeth us to inventing ways of avoiding it.

cheers from chilly Vienna, zilch

zilch said...

Oh, and P.S.- I should also point out that as much as I and many others admire Darwin, evolutionary science has moved on in the last hundred and fifty years since the Origin was published. Darwin was a great scientist, but he didn't have as much evidence as we do, and was wrong about lots of stuff- he never figured out genetics, for instance, and still hadn't completely defenestrated some Lamarkian ideas about the inheritance of acquired characteristics. And of course, by our standards he was a racist and a sexist (although not as much as many of his contemporaries)- but who can escape being a product of their time completely? Darwin was what he was, genius and warts and all.

I find it amusing, and revealing, that many Christians seem to have elevated Darwin to atheist sainthood in the way they regard his work: they seem to believe that if they can catch him out in a falsehood, or a moment of doubt, then they have shown evolution to be a false religion.

Need I point out that science doesn't work that way? But religion does, of course: what counts in religion is authority, not correspondence with reality. Who says something makes it true, not what is said: if God says that snakes can talk (presumably they speak Parseltongue), or that it's good to stone uppity children, then it is so. In science it's just the opposite, or should be. Of course authority counts in science too, but the final word is always reality: what works is what stays in the canon, not what the most famousest scientist says. Ideally.

oli said...

Joe, it seems other shave beat me to the punch on the Darwins eye quote. But i can still point you in the right direction.

Richard Dawkins, one of the worlds top Evolutionary Biologists did a series of lectures for kids for the Royal Institute christmas lectures. Its called "Growing up in the Universe". My girlfriend is a Dawkins fan so i got it for her on DVD. He elegantly and simply explains the evolution of the eye and how it would have been of use to organisms all the way through its evolution. In fact the whole series, despite being aimed at children is excellent and well worth watching, even if you are well informed in science. Dawkins lays out the different topics so clearly and simply that they make instant sense.

It seems one of the biggest stumbling blocks for most in doubt of evolution is their source material. Access to real science books, rather than church (or discovery institute) produced materials seems to be a hurdle that not many evolution doubters cross. It then results in confusion as to
a) what exactly the theory of evolution is and what it explains. i.e. it isn't the creation of life or the universe.
b) The ratio of scientists that doubt evolution (in doubters minds, there is a fierce debate, in reality there is no debate in science as to whether it is true or not, because no one has yet advanced a convincing arguement against it).
c)the "gaps in evolution". Doubters reference the fossil record, irreducible complexity and such like whereas in reality we would EXPECT to find gaps in the fossil record, and the bits of the record that aren't gaps match what evolution predicts, and we as of yet have no example of anything that is irreducibly complex.
d) confusion over scientific terms. Such as the meaning behind the words Hypothesis, Theory, Fact, Evolution, Abiogenesis, etc.

The best solution is to educate doubters usig mainstream science materials or to at least point them in the right direction

Jamie Steele said...

Evan,
Thanks for all the cutting and pasting you did. But I read the Dover transcript and i will say this about the Judge.

OJ Simpson was declared not guilty!!

I don't put my faith in court cases.

Tyro said...

Joe,

This however seems to me to be using an ordered system or law to create your order from. How is this the same as blind chance driving adaptations in a species.

Simple: evolution is not "blind chance". The exact mutations may be random, but the genius of Darwin was to recognize that the effect of each mutation confers a non random change in the probability that the individual will survive and reproduce.

Many mutations will be harmful, but because the organism is harmed, these changes tend to not spread. Beneficial changes increase the likelihood of reproduction and so they tend to accumulate and spread.


Why are there still chimps? Why would evolution leave less "evolved" groups of species "behind". What am I missing?

All organisms alive today are equally evolved. Chimps, humans, rats, bread mould and jellyfish are all equally evolved. They've successfully outcompeted their rivals in whatever niche they occupy and they come from an unbroken line of individuals stretching back hundreds of millions of years that have likewise outcompeted their rivals.

Chimps are alive because they have found a niche where they are successful. Simple as that.


There are a lot of cutesy ways of explaining this ("If Protestants split off from Catholics, why are there still Catholics") but none really appealed to me.

zilch said...

jamie- perhaps the verdict for OJ would have been different if Judge Jones had been presiding, because he seems to have some understanding of science, and would have insisted on paying proper attention to the DNA fingerprinting, which has a lot to do with evolutionary science. But who knows?

Of course you shouldn't put faith in court cases. But if you read the entire transcript of the Dover trial, then you know that Behe admitted the religious basis of ID:

Moreover, in turning to Defendants’ lead expert, Professor Behe, his testimony at trial indicated that ID is only a scientific, as opposed to a religious, project for him; however, considerable evidence was introduced to refute this claim. Consider, to illustrate, that Professor Behe remarkably and unmistakably claims that the plausibility of the argument for ID depends upon the extent to which one believes in the existence of God. (P-718 at 705) (emphasis added). As no evidence in the record indicates that any other scientific proposition’s validity rests on belief in God, nor is the Court aware of any such scientific propositions, Professor Behe’s assertion constitutes substantial evidence that in his view, as is commensurate with other prominent ID leaders, ID is a religious and not a scientific proposition.

(from the Dover transcript)

While it may be argued that Judge Jones (a Reagan appointee, by the way) is not qualified to testify to the truth or falsity of evolution, he was well equipped to see the attempt at foisting religion off on students as science. And if we don't take Behe's word that ID is religion, and that astrology is science (by his definition), whom are we to believe? Please keep in mind that that's what the trial was about: not God vs. evolution, but whether or not ID qualifies as science.

In any case, I urge you to follow oli's advice, and check out what the scientists say about evolution. The PR apparatus of the Discovery Institute and other pseudoscientific organizations would have you believe that evolutionary science is shaking in its boots. Not so: as oli said, there is no debate about the general principles of neodarwinism amongst scientists (although there is of course plenty of debate about particulars). Unfortunately, given enough money and support, it is possible to present a distorted picture of what is really going on, following the motto fortiter calumniari, aliquia adhaerebit, that is, "sling mud, some of it will stick". If one just reads well-funded creationist sites, one might believe that neodarwinism is in trouble. 'Tain't so.

tyro- what about "if most Americans are descended from Europeans, Asians, and Africans, why are there still Europeans, Asians, and Africans?" It's exactly the same argument.

Tyro said...

District Supt. Harvey Burnett

Now, as I’ve read these comments, I ask this…If God created an aged Earth how would that make him a liar or deceiver?

Because the earth was created with a specific age which we can determine through observation, yet this specific age is wrong. By looking at the earth, everything from the land from, the composition, the landscapes, the continents, the atmosphere composition, all speak to the same ancient age, and all are wrong. There's no reason for this except to deceive us.

I hate analogies, but this seems like making a painting but making sure the paints, canvas, brush style, and colours are all not just in the style of historical paintings, but would carbon-date in the same way as old paintings.

This doesn't do it justice, though. many of the dating techniques that we use on the earth are only just being discovered. When we went to the moon, we took samples back and even these show that the formation of the solar system is consistent with an old age!

We can look at organisms and look at the molecular clocks in our evolution and again see that life on this planet stretches back six orders of magnitude farther than the bible account. This is something we only learned within our lifetime.


If you think that a god would go to these extreme lengths to create a false impression with the creation of the planets, sun and all life, then by what right can we trust him to not do the same elsewhere? It's much easier to mislead with a book than with creation itself.


Further isn’t there a Law that teaches that complicated things don’t merely arise by chance or from nothing? Well…maybe the universe isn’t that complicated huh?

No, and there have been a few answers on how complexity and order arise naturally.

Finally as it pertains to the “Theory” business you said “theory of Gravity” last I knew, Gravity was a LAW such as the LAW of let’s say THERMODYNAMICS.

Then you don't understand what these words mean. Even the AiG page on arguments to NOT use makes this point.

This was answered earlier and that you dig it out makes me mistrust your intentions and ability to deal honestly.

Evolution is in NO WAY close to being even scientifically settled no matter how much consensus is behind it.

As was said in the original blog post, if you have read and understand this book then present the material yourself.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Zilch~ I respect both you and Evan but c'mon- Crystals and sand dunes???

"Orderly things, such as crystals and sand dunes, can arise from the simple interaction of physical law with matter and energy, as tyro already pointed out."

No! NO! NO!...I'm talking about ORDERLY COMPLICATED, LIVING THINGS...Not metaphysical or inanimate objects or things. That's not the complexity I'm specifying. Please offer me a better PROOF of Biological complexity arising from the primordial "whatever" I know doesn't sound too sciuentific but I think you get what I'm asking...

Anyway, if evolution is true, we should see this occuring regularly or at least have some place that we can pinpoint among LIVING things. We should at least be able to hypothesize when that occurs.

You also said this: " As I have said, positing a God doesn't have any predictive power, doesn't help explain features of the Universe that science hasn't been able to explain, and is suspect because people demonstrably make up supernatural beings all the time, partly as a catch-all rug that all questions can be swept under, partly as an imaginary dispenser of carrots and sticks, and partly as wish fulfillment for an imagined afterlife."

If we are just material beings as your view holds, where did the ability , desire or whatever you would name it come from for spiritual things? Do ANY other creatures on this Earth offer a sense of, worship, afterlife or supernatural reason or will in ANY WAY?

If biology or "natural selection" accounts for that, why do we not see the animal kindom involved in such endeavors at any level?

So far as the Ford analogy...The point was not to talk about X-nihilo creationism or the material of creation. The point was to ask about maturity.

If as we know that the original idea of a car has since "evolved" into trucks, motorcycles and all that we see on our streets, because those things were recent inventions, was a car WRONG or materially inferior when that was all that was made? In other words, because we have more mature inventions at our disposal, was the original invention somehow at fault or deceitful?

Come out of dogmas for a minute and answer the question?

I'll deal with your misunderstood concepts about God and logic in a minute but please address those concerns for me. If you offer something new or a new perspective, I'm certainly up for learning. So please.

Thanks.

fishead said...

A few of the Creationists made reference to the probability of evolution. This is a common tactic of creationists, and one Behe has made in "The Edge of Evolution". However, as this critique states, Behe's math is way off. The critique is somewhat technical, so sorry about that.

In this video, we see another technique which briefly is this: the creationist takes some item and calculates the probability of that exact state, and thus declares it could not have occurred by chance. Rightly so of course, but it is a misleading tactic that the author of this video easily dismantles. By the way, the author of these videos, has quite a few excellent videos in a series called "Why do people laugh at Creationists". It's a little antagonistic as the title suggests but they are very well done, targeted as they are to the layperson.

I think the reason that creationism continues to have a foothold can actually be blamed on science. Science has failed to appeal to the layman. Science needs to dumb it down so to speak, when it explains science. Creationists seem to thrive in the ignorance of the general population. If science broke this ignorance down, Christians would be less likely to buy the bullshit fed to them by money-making Creationists.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Zilch~ You said this: "Because the earth was created with a specific age which we can determine through observation, yet this specific age is wrong. By looking at the earth, everything from the land from, the composition, the landscapes, the continents, the atmosphere composition, all speak to the same ancient age, and all are wrong. There's no reason for this except to deceive."

Why is that deceptive if your observation told you that it was aged? Who told you it wasn't? Mature creation signifies age? The only deception would be if there was a disclaimer attached that said one thing and it was really another. That may be deceptive to YOU, so obviously your standards are HIGHER than Gods.

Secondly, since I seem to like cars today, I bought a new 2007 last year in January. It was built in June 2006. Was it NOT a new 2007 when I bought it?

Was I deceived? Was the dealer a LIAR or was GM somehow a DECEIVER?

Sssssplain that to me please?

Thanks.

Evan said...

DSHB:

No! NO! NO!...I'm talking about ORDERLY COMPLICATED, LIVING THINGS...Not metaphysical or inanimate objects or things. That's not the complexity I'm specifying. Please offer me a better PROOF of Biological complexity arising from the primordial "whatever" I know doesn't sound too sciuentific but I think you get what I'm asking...

Anyway, if evolution is true, we should see this occuring regularly or at least have some place that we can pinpoint among LIVING things. We should at least be able to hypothesize when that occurs.


Here's a perfect example of evolution happening -- within your lifetime.

Vpu in HIV.

Briefly, there was a protein that was present in Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV) which was active in a specific way in chimps. When the virus evolved into HIV, Vpu developed entirely new structures and abilities to deal with the internal environment of humans, the discovery of which has led to a new understanding of the human immune system and the development of novel treatment strategies in humans.

I'm sure that would meet any objective test you might have. It happened in a living thing (Human cells infected with HIV) and it happened over observable time within your lifetime.

goprairie said...

let me get this straight: Pastor Steele and DSHB would have us beleive that there are fossils because God created a false past for the life he created suddenly and in one instant. Yet we are also supposed to then beleive that Jesus was the result of a virgin birth? Why didn't God need a history for the sperm that lead to the baby Jesus? If Jesus could begin spermless, why wouldn't God awe us with a clear date for when he began the earth by letting there be an obvious beginning?

Tyro said...

DSHB:

No! NO! NO!...I'm talking about ORDERLY COMPLICATED, LIVING THINGS...Not metaphysical or inanimate objects or things. That's not the complexity I'm specifying. Please offer me a better PROOF of Biological complexity arising from the primordial "whatever" I know doesn't sound too sciuentific but I think you get what I'm asking...

Joe started off by talking about "complexity" and I suggested it was "ordered complexity" and not merely complexity which was the issue. All of this was dealt with. Now it looks like you're shifting the goalposts again to say that what you're really talking about is life.

Okay, it's fine to ask how life arose, but you can do so without shouting or acting like we haven't been trying to accommodate you and answer your questions.

The origin of life is a very large subject, it would help if you tell us exactly what the problem is. It sounds like you have no problem with complex, ordered things arising naturally so why don't you tell us what, exactly, you do have a problem with?

Why don't you familiarize yourself with some of the basics of the theories of abiogenesis so that you can point to something specific.

Anyway, if evolution is true, we should see this occuring regularly or at least have some place that we can pinpoint among LIVING things.

No. There are organisms alive now which will consume any of the early stage, so because of this competition, no new forms of life have the opportunity to form.

If as we know that the original idea of a car has since "evolved" into trucks, motorcycles and all that we see on our streets, because those things were recent inventions, was a car WRONG or materially inferior when that was all that was made? In other words, because we have more mature inventions at our disposal, was the original invention somehow at fault or deceitful?

I really have no clue what you're shooting for with your continued reference of cars and trucks. Can someone explain this to me?

Cars and trucks don't appear older than they are, they were designed and didn't evolve (except in the colloquial sense with "evolve" as a synonym for "progress"). Are trucks supposed to shoot down evolution or the idea that the earth is old and how are they supposed to do it?

Secondly, since I seem to like cars today, I bought a new 2007 last year in January. It was built in June 2006. Was it NOT a new 2007 when I bought it?

Was I deceived? Was the dealer a LIAR or was GM somehow a DECEIVER?


I don't think you grasp the magnitude of the differences we're talking about. It isn't a matter of months and we're not looking at some bumper sticker. The difference is five or six orders of magnitude. Like being told you lived 50 metres away from your office and then learning it was 5,000 km away (more than the distance between NY and LA). This isn't a slight misunderstanding.

I just can't imagine where you think you're going with these car analogies. It doesn't look like something subtle that you're missing, but something fundamental.

Shygetz said...

Wow, it looks like I need to quit my job and hire a full-time nanny to keep up with you people! I'd like to say that the commenters here have been doing an admirable job, and I have just a few things I'd like to add now.

jamie steele said: most who do challenge will not get peer review status because of a heavy bias for Evolution.

Here is a list of people who would disagree with you. Successfully challenging existing paradigms is how you get famous in this field. But, you have to have the data to back it up. Creationists just don't, and usually they know it. This is just another tin-foil hat conspiracy theory.

Also, are any of you guys scientist whom do research or do you guys just read books!

If you guys just read books just be honest about it.
Because you are placing faith in the written words of researchers, many of whom have a bias before research begins...


I'm a scientist, and I use evolution fairly regularly for my work. I've seen evolution happen with my own eyes, and I've used it to make advances in my field. But, in order for your words to be meaningful, it would not be sufficient for the scientist to have a bias. The peer reviewers, editors, and readers who accept it would all have to have the SAME bias, and this bias would have to be motivated by something other than evidence. Sorry; there is no grand conspiracy of scientists to shut down valid lines of evidence, and if there is I never got my check.

Science proves science theories wrong all the time.

Actually, science proves theories wrong fairly rarely. Science proves various hypotheses wrong quite regularly, but theories are another beast. In the last one hundred years of biology, I can probably count on my fingers and toes the number of actual scientific theories that have been disproven.

Micheal Behe's theory hasn't been proven wrong:
as a matter of fact "There has been no experimental evidence to show that natural selection can get around irreducible complexity.


First of all, Irreducible Complexity is not a theory. It makes no testable predictions, it does not explain current data well, and it has not been accepted by even a significant minority of the community. It is an assertion, nothing more. And it has been refuted multiple times.

Lenski RE, Ofria C, Pennock RT, Adami C (2003). "The evolutionary origin of complex features". Nature 423 (6936): 139-44. PMID 12736677.

M. Brazeau and P. Ahlberg (January 19, 2006). "Tetrapod-like middle ear architecture in a Devonian fish". Nature 439 (7074): 318-321. doi:10.1038/nature04196.

Almost the entire CV of Dr. Barry Hall, who determined how new enzyme functions evolved from other genes.

And various others. Dr. Behe's response to these is usually not to read them but to proclaim that they couldn't possibly be sufficient evidence to refute his claim (see the Dover trial). Other denialists simply say "Okay, maybe system X wasn't irreducibly complex after all, but system Y is!" thus shifting the goalposts until the next set of publications come out. Irreducible complexity is not a theory, it's an assertion without evidence. Dr. Behe must either provide positive evidence that IC is true, or drop it. He chooses instead to cease all scholarly work and publish propaganda books for profit.

-Often times people working from or under the aegis of a theory simply assume some component of it. Happens all the time.

Nope, it sure doesn't. How can I say this with such certainty? Because in order to be a theory, an explanitory framework must be supported by multiple solid lines of evidence and make many successful predictions. If it manages to do this (like evolution has), then it is no longer assumption to view it as true. It is reason.

john murphy said: Oh...and to limit the discussion to "empirical evidence only" demonstrates the limits of your presuppositions. Just because you don't think you can know anything beyond what your senses can tell you, does not mean your assumption is true. It just means that you refuse to allow any possibility of truth beyond the senses. Interesting limitation. Good luck with it.

It's done pretty well for us thus far. Eschew all evidence-based medicine for homeopathy and related woo for ten years, and then come and talk to me (assuming you're still alive). Until your revealed knowledge predicts the future with an accuracy that cannot be accounted for by chance, why should I believe it is knowledge? I'll make a deal with you. Cure cancer, Alzheimer's, or any other incurable disease with your revealed knowledge, and then I'll accept it. Until then, I (and science in general) will require evidence. Empiricism doesn't refute truth beyond our senses; it refutes the possibility of accurately and reliably knowing truth beyond our senses. And I will stand by that claim.

Zilch- since you seem to be the most worded here besides Shygetz, which was first, the universe or God? Then what is the cause?

For all of you so concerned here about first causes, I want to let you in on a (not-so) secret. Causality as a fundamental principle of the universe is on life support now (if not already dead). Only one interpretation of quantum mechanics retains causality within a single universe (Bohmian mechanics), and there is debate as to whether it actually does remain within a single universe, much less if it is valid (to say it is controversial would be an understatement). So asking for first causes is putting the cart before the horse; we have strong reason to believe that, at least at scales such as existed at the singularity, a cause is not necessary for an effect. You also have to grasp the nature of spacetime, and the effect of the singularity on the passage of time, and the effect of inertial frames of reference to the passage of time.

Did I blow your mind? I did, didn't I?

joe said: Or does Evolution have a similar storyline as all man coming from Adam. I am not making a statement here.... just asking if all species came from one source. So that all species developed from the 1st species to evolve an eye. Does that make sense?

First of all, joe, I appreciate your willingness to look at the data. People like you are the reason I even bother to do this.

As zilch said before, we can split the eye into multiple branches of evolution, but they all had a common ancestor. However, many lines diverged DURING the evolution of the eye, and so as they continued to evolve they took their own paths to similar goals (the random factor in evolution).

The eye started with a photoactive protein. When photons of certain wavelenghts struck the protein, it changed the protein's structure, which caused stuff to happen (say, for example, caused the cell to start the DNA repair machinery to fix UV-induced damage, or start up a light-harvesting apparatus, etc.) Some of the proteins would evolve to detect different wavelengths of light, so you would actually have color differentiation--some wavelengths produce one effect, while other wavelengths produce another.

Now, this would evolve to a light-sensing spot, which would enable an organism to not only detect light, but tell which direction it is coming from so it can move towards or away. As the organism evolves better image-processing mental capacity, this light-sensitive spot allows the creature to interpret light and shadow, so it could also detect predators, competition, etc.

This light-sensitive spot is now depressed into a surface pit within the organism via evolution, making the "vision" gradually sharper, gradually becoming like a pinhole camera. Eventually, you gradually add other features like muscles to adjust the size of the pinhole for different lighting conditions, a lens for protection and focusing, etc. until you have the human eye.

Now, we have examples of these intermediates in modern animals. Why do they still exist when we now have better eyes? Because different animals need different things. Does a bacteria need three-dimensional vision? No. Does a nematode? Nope. You always have to keep in mind the cost-benefit analysis of selection. Complex organs like eyes are expensive to maintain, so animals that only need to detect light aren't going to evolve them because their higher energy requirements would not make up for whatever tiny-to-nonexistant advantage the better eyesight would give them.

We can make estimates of how long the modern eye would take to evolve that, oddly enough, match pretty well with the time of actual evolution as determined by molecular biology.

Nilsson, D.-E. and S. Pelger, 1994. A pessimistic estimate of the time required for an eye to evolve. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Biological Sciences, 256: 53-58.

Why are there still chimps? Why would evolution leave less "evolved" groups of species "behind". What am I missing?

Chimps are no less evolved than we are. Neither are bacteria, for that matter. There is no great chain of being with humans on top. We have more complex brains than chimps, but chimps are better climbers. We value brains over tree-climbing because of the environment we are in, but if I put you down in the jungle naked and alone, you might change your assessment pretty quickly on which is more important.

Chimps still exist because chimps are successful within their environment. As their environment changes to the point where chimps are no longer successful, chimps will cease to exist. Just like humans.

Also, to clear up a common misconception: humans did not evolve from chimps. Humans and chimps share a common ancestor. The most recent common ancestor fossil we have is Nakalipithecus nakayamai, which connects us, chimps, and gorillas. Fossils from later on are hard to find, as rain forests are not conducive to the fossilization process.

john murphy said: It is sufficient to explain change within a specie, but nothing better than that. Read "The Edge of Evolution" and get back to me. Mathematically, macro-evolution is not possible.

"Edge of Evolution" is not peer-reviewed; it is a for-profit propaganda book. However, you outlined your argument, so I will reserve the cyber-noogie.

You say that evolution cannot go beyond change within a species. I will start with just a sampling the empirical refutation:

Plants:
de Vries, H. 1905. Species and varieties, their origin by mutation.
Gottleib, L. D. 1973. Genetic differentiation, sympatric speciation, and the origin of a diploid species of Stephanomeira. American Journal of Botany. 60: 545-553.
Frandsen, K. J. 1947. The experimental formation of Brassica napus L. var. oleifera DC and Brassica carinata Braun. Dansk. Bot. Arkiv., No. 7, 12:1-16.
Macnair, M. R., 1989. A new species of Mimulus endemic to copper mines in California. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 100: 1-14.

Animals:
Dobzhansky, T. and O. Pavlovsky. 1971. Experimentally created incipient species of Drosophila. Nature. 230:289-292.
Weinberg, J. R., V. R. Starczak and P. Jora. 1992. Evidence for rapid speciation following a founder event in the laboratory. Evolution. 46:1214-1220.
Byrne, K. and R. A. Nichols, 1999. Culex pipiens in London Underground tunnels: differentiation between surface and subterranean populations. Heredity 82: 7-15.

And there's more in both categories where that came from. I left out all of the microbes, as people tend not to be as impressed by them.

Furthermore, if you wish to insist that speciation cannot occur beyond some cladistic boundary, you must have a mechanism for limiting evolution to this point. Statistical arguments are worthless unless you have empirical data to back up the statistical constants you use (since I'll bet you don't know I'll tell you--Behe doesn't have any evidence for his constants, he pulls his constants out of his ass according to what feels right to him at the moment).

harvey said: Finally as it pertains to the “Theory” business you said “theory of Gravity” last I knew, Gravity was a LAW such as the LAW of let’s say THERMODYNAMICS.

Newton's Law of Universal Gravitation is a part of his Theory of Gravity. See, "law" in science doesn't mean a theory that has been proven. "Law" is a simple analytic statement; a "theory" is a set of ideas that explains existing data and successfully predicts future results. The Law of Universal Gravitation is F=G(m1*m2)/r^2. Newton's Theory of Gravity stated that all masses exert a fundamental force on all other masses, and the strength of that force was a function of the masses and the square of the distance, and that this is what keeps the planets and moons in their orbits.

The theory of evolution contains laws as well--for example, the Hardy–Weinberg law on genetic equilibrium in populations. It is a simple analytic statement about gene frequencies in an undisturbed population, and is an essential part of evolution.

You know as well as I theories are not settled scientifically due to the fact of either material flaws or gaps that keep it from being fully coherent. Laws are fluid, settled, established. Evolution is in NO WAY close to being even scientifically settled no matter how much consensus is behind it.

Wrong again, harvey. There is not a graduation of theory to law; there is a graduation of explanatory hypothesis to theory. Once you're a theory, there's nowhere to go but down. Evolution is very much settled science, and your denialism does nothing to change that. There are no material flaws or gaps in the theory; the only changes that occur are in weighting how much influence the various factors have in the rate of evolution, not in the nature of the theory itself.

Here’s more than a good book on the subject…

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0849942721/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

Follow the REAL evidence.


You linked to a non-peer reviewed piece of for-profit propoganda instead of making an argument, in violation of the ground rules of science and this thread. Cyber-noogie for you.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Zilch~ I appreciate it, but that's not exactly what I'm looking for. I'm not talking about previously unobserved immuno-response or mutations of currently existing biology. We know that happens...

I'm talking about biological complexity arising from either a lack of biology as would had to have happened in evolution. I'm looking for complete systems like nerves, respiratory or circulation etc arising out of nonmaterial or incomplexity.

I'll try to think of a better way to ask what I wanna know from the evolutionist. I gotta try to get some WORK done today.

Thanks though.

Shygetz said...

Yeesh, I quit. By the time I got my post finished and up, the thread has passed me by. Good work guys!

Shygetz said...

Shorter Harvey: Reproduce billions of years of abiogenesis in the lab. And I want it NOW!

C'mon Harvey. Answer your own question. Why can we not replicate a multi-billion year process from a sterile, anoxic environment in a modern world with abundant life to compete with the budding replicators for resources, and a high partial pressure of oxygen to react with and destroy the budding replicating chemicals? Anyone smart enough to work a computer can figure that one out on their own.

What we can do is determine that the modern building blocks of life can form and polymerize under conditions of primordial Earth. For example:

Orgel, L. E. 1998. Polymerization on the rocks: theoretical introduction. Origins of Life and Evolution of the Biosphere 28: 227-34.
Ferris, J. P., A. R. Hill Jr., R. Liu and L. E. Orgel. 1996. Synthesis of long prebiotic oligomers on mineral surfaces. Nature 381: 59-61.

And evolution occurs at all times, among all living things harvey. It is a fundamental property of all systems that self-replicate with errors and are subject to selection.

Shygetz said...

I think the reason that creationism continues to have a foothold can actually be blamed on science. Science has failed to appeal to the layman. Science needs to dumb it down so to speak, when it explains science. Creationists seem to thrive in the ignorance of the general population. If science broke this ignorance down, Christians would be less likely to buy the bullshit fed to them by money-making Creationists.

I disagree in part. Dumbed down science is what people are SUPPOSED to be getting in grade school and high school. That is the job of the teachers--take what scientists know for almost absolutely certain (as well as things that are known to be strictly false but very useful and close enough) and teach it in dumbed-down form to students. For practicing scientists, it would be irresponsible to pass off new ideas in dumbed down form, because inevitably caveats and weaknesses in the new observation are cut out, misrepresenting the state of science. You see it all the time in press releases from biomedical research--if you believed that crap, then we have cured cancer hundreds of times. But if you listen to the scientist rather than the PR agent, usually you see the complicated caveats, exceptions, and warnings. The same is true with cutting-edge evolution research. And seriously, going to an evolution researcher to learn the basics is hunting flies with a shotgun.

Evan said...

I appreciate it, but that's not exactly what I'm looking for. I'm not talking about previously unobserved immuno-response or mutations of currently existing biology. We know that happens...

I'm talking about biological complexity arising from either a lack of biology as would had to have happened in evolution. I'm looking for complete systems like nerves, respiratory or circulation etc arising out of nonmaterial or incomplexity.

I'll try to think of a better way to ask what I wanna know from the evolutionist. I gotta try to get some WORK done today.


To tweak this a little, imagine if DSHB said this,

I appreciate it, but that's not exactly what I'm looking for. I'm not talking about previously unobserved resurrections or explained magic tricks like spoon-bending or dowzing. We know that happens...

I'm talking about the dead being raised to life in the twinkling of an eye as would had to have happened in the Bible. I'm looking for complete resurrection of a putrefying body with nerves, respiratory and circulation coming back to life after having been dead for days.

I'll try to think of a better way to ask what I wanna know from the Christianist. I gotta try to get some WORK done today.


Interesting what levels of evidence are required for a given belief within the core matrix of historical/ethical/social consciousness as reified in a single individual.

Shygetz said...

harvey said: No! NO! NO!...I'm talking about ORDERLY COMPLICATED, LIVING THINGS...Not metaphysical or inanimate objects or things. That's not the complexity I'm specifying. Please offer me a better PROOF of Biological complexity arising from the primordial "whatever" I know doesn't sound too sciuentific but I think you get what I'm asking...

Harvey, please define "life" and/or "living" and/or "biological". What properties would something have to have in order for you to consider it "biological"?

zilch said...

Dshb says:

Please offer me a better PROOF of Biological complexity arising from the primordial "whatever" I know doesn't sound too sciuentific but I think you get what I'm asking...

What you're asking for is an abiogenesis scenario: how life came to be from non-life. While it is not yet known, and perhaps never will be, there are lots of ideas. But I will simply say this: we don't know how life evolved from nonlife, yet. We also don't know if it has only happened once in this Universe, on Earth, or if it is common or even widespread elsewhere. But if you believe life cannot evolve from nonlife, is God alive? Where did He come from? If you invoke magic, then I can too, and will say that the Flying Spaghetti Monster created the world six seconds ago, complete with preformed memories of this debate, and ask you to disprove it.

You ask:

If we are just material beings as your view holds, where did the ability , desire or whatever you would name it come from for spiritual things? Do ANY other creatures on this Earth offer a sense of, worship, afterlife or supernatural reason or will in ANY WAY?

This is a good question, and a hotly debated one. Some people (Dawkins among them) think that a tendency to believe in a higher power might be at least partly genetic, because it confers fitness on its possessors: belief in God, in this theory, leads to more successful societies, with believers more likely than unbelievers to sacrifice their energy (or indeed their lives, for instance in war) to their groups. This theory is supported by studies of identical twins raised apart, for instance the groundbreaking work of Thomas Bouchard:

When Bouchard and his team compared the answers to these and other personality questions, they found strong statistical evidence that identical and non-identical twins tended to answer differently. If one identical twin showed evidence of religious thinking or behaviour, it was much more likely that his or her twin would answer similarly.

So it would seem that there are predisposing genetic factors, whatever they might be, for degree of religious feeling. I would guess, though, that cultural evolution is just as, or perhaps more important than, genetic factors: we are religious because we learn to be religious, and we learn to be religious because religions, like other forms of encouraging conformity to norms, help build societies, along with the other stuff that I said about wishful thinking. But it is a complex question, and I don't pretend to know the whole answer.

As far as non-human animals being spiritual, I'm pretty sure my guinea pigs regard me as a god, or at least a minor deity. They certainly pay a lot of attention to me at mealtimes. Seriously- I suspect that there's a threshold of intelligence necessary to conceive of the kind of abstractions necessary to have religion, that non-human animals don't have.

At least nowadays: Neanderthals, which have recently been shown to not be among our ancestors, put flowers in graves. Perhaps they worshiped too? In any case, just because people

In any case, even if we have a natural tendency to believe in gods, given the right circumstances, that doesn't prove anything. We also have a natural tendency to become addicted to opiates, to be miserable judges of probabilities, and to see the Moon at the horizon as being much larger than when it's overhead. There are good evolutionary explanations for all of these tendencies, but that doesn't mean that they say anything about the way the world really is.
They are simply ways of perceiving that helped us survive, or byproducts, whether good or bad, of the way we evolved, one way or another.

Dshb- I must confess, I don't understand your explanation of your Ford analogy at all. I fail to see what's wrong with my analogy: if God created the world six thousand years ago, as described in Genesis, then it was ex nihilo, even though it looks as though it evolved for billions of years. As I and others here have said, if God created the world six thousand years ago, but gave it the appearance of great age, that makes Him a trickster. Why? Because God, being omniscient, would surely know that people who examined the Book of Nature (that He made) with the tools of logic and reason would come to the conclusion that the Holy Bible was wrong about the age of the world, and might begin to suspect that it was not the Word of God. Thus, God was setting a trap for those who used the scientific method (that is, most of us, when we are thinking clearly), and is thus a trickster.

At least, that's how I look at it. To believe in the God of the Bible, at least in His more conservative literalist incarnation, I have to say that the Book of Nature lies. Sorry- I've spent too much time studying the world to do that.

P.S. I see while previewing that the thread has passed me by again. Thanks shygetz, and you can pick up your check from the vast conspiracy of evilutionists at the usual place: codeword "Satan".

Shygetz said...

If we are just material beings as your view holds, where did the ability , desire or whatever you would name it come from for spiritual things? Do ANY other creatures on this Earth offer a sense of, worship, afterlife or supernatural reason or will in ANY WAY?

I give you the chimpanzee rain dance.

You assume that this desire would have to be biological in origin, rather than cultural (and yes, chimps have culture). Such an assumption is unwarrented and unevidenced. There are numerous tenable hypotheses as to how spirituality came about. I find Dennett's the most intriguing; he suggests that it is advantageous as it works as a method for harnessing the placebo effect for medicinal purposes. I think the most likely one is the emergent properties hypothesis; when you take combine a strong pattern-finding urge, sufficiently powerful integrative cognitive system, and partial data about the world, you end up with a creature that fills in the blanks with supernatural deities in order to complete the apparent pattern of understanding.

zilch said...

shygetz- that chimp rain dance is certainly food for thought. I suspect you're right, and there's probably no line that can be drawn between the perception of patterns based on incomplete data and the invention of supernatural deities to "explain" those patterns. Perhaps my guinea pigs do "worship" me.

fishead said...

shygetz, good rebuttal to my post on the failings of science. I guess what I should have said is that science teachers have failed to address the foolishness of creationism? It's been a good 10 years since my biology undergrad, so maybe things have changed. But I remember only once in a biology class did a professor mention tactics for countering creationists. Maybe we should be teaching Creation/ID in the class... teaching the failings of it as science?

Shygetz said...

Evan,
Thanks for all the cutting and pasting you did. But I read the Dover transcript and i will say this about the Judge.

OJ Simpson was declared not guilty!!

I don't put my faith in court cases.


Then put your faith in scientists (and given the fact that you are communicating by computer rather than ESP, you obviously do whether you admit it or not). We have collectively found Behe's ideas to be poorly formulated, often designed to be untestable, and wrong when they can be tested. I have more first-author peer reviewed publications in 2006 than Behe has had total in the last decade, and he's a full professor! He's coasting on tenure and raking in the money from the rubes who buy his crap as validation that science confirms their worldview, routinely ignoring the fact that Behe considers astrology to be science!

Moreover, his one peer-reviewed science article on irreducible complexity this decade was roundly criticized and disproven as shoddy work using a thoroughly unrealistic model, and that article even conceded that evolutionary pathways were sufficient for the systems in question in realistic population sizes. Behe's own department at Lehigh have even written a disclaimer distancing their department from his views. It reads in part:
"While we respect Prof. Behe's right to express his views, they are his alone and are in no way endorsed by the department. It is our collective position that intelligent design has no basis in science, has not been tested experimentally, and should not be regarded as scientific."

Couldn't have said it better myself.

enigma said...

1.) As we are talking about science, the only valid "way of knowing" is empiricism. Sorry; deal with it.

As far as I know, no one has ever observed the introduction of a new species even though experiments have been done to try and induce such a thing. If there has, please let me know.

If you cannot cite an observed case of evolution, then by your own standard, evolution is not science.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

You skeptics and agnostics are something else~

"Here we face another curious consequence of Darwin's way of looking at life: despite the power of molecular genetics to reveal the hereditary essences of organisms, the large-scale aspects of evolution remain unexplained, including the origin of the species. There is 'no clear evidence...for the gradual emergence of any evolutionary novelty,' says Ernst Mayr, one of the most eminent of contemporary evolutionary biologists. New types of organisms simply appear upon the evolutionary scene, persist for various periods of time, and then become extinct. So Darwin's assumption that the tree of life is a consequence of gradual accumulation of small hereditary differences appears to be without significant support. Some other process is responsible for the emergent properties of life, those distinctive features that separate one group of organisms from other-fishes and amphibians, worms and insects, horsetails and grasses. Clearly something is missing from biology. It appears that Darwin's theory works for the small-scale aspects of evolution: it can explain the variations and the adaptations within species that produce fine-tuning of varieties to different habitats. The large-scale differences of form between types of organism that are the foundation of biological classification systems seem to require another principle than natural selection operating on small variations, some process that gives rise to distinctly different forms of organism."~How the Leopard Changed His Spots: The Evolution of Complexity. Brian Goodwin. Scribner:1994

"In short, thermodynamics' second law strongly inhibits ordered structures in isolated systems. Consequently, the apparent contradiction between the observed universal order and the theoretical physical laws cannot be easily resolved in terms of the usual methods of equilibrium thermodynamics or even equilibrium statistical mechanics...we need to appeal to non-equilibrium systems"Cosmic Evolution: The Rise of Complexity in Nature. Eric Chaisson. Harvard:2001.(51)

"As a further example, imagine an utterly frozen crystal at absolute zero temperature. Ignoring quantum fluctuations, such a system can have only one possible configuration for its many molecular parts; thus, its entropy is zero, its [spatial/morphological] order high. On the other hand, a gas at ordinary (room) temperature displays much randomness in the distribution of its atoms and molecules; it is said to be disorderly, to have high entropy" [The preceding definition of complexity would make the crystal state 'ordered' but not 'complex'"Cosmic Evolution: The Rise of Complexity in Nature. Eric Chaisson. Harvard:2001.(25)

"Nor can an open system near equilibrium evolve spontaneously to new and interesting structures. But should those fluctuations become too great for the open system to damp, the system will then depart far from equilibrium and be forced to reorganize. Such reorganization generates a kind of 'dynamic steady state,' provided the amplified fluctuations are continuously driven and stabilized by the flow of energy from the surroundings, namely, provided the energy flow rate exceeds the thermal relaxation rate." Cosmic Evolution: The Rise of Complexity in Nature. Eric Chaisson. Harvard:2001.(51)

So what of any of this so far as complexity is concerned? Let's start there, I got plenty more for ya. I guess I'll make plenty of sense in a while, but I need to find out some things first.

Thanks.

Tyro said...

enigma,

If you cannot cite an observed case of evolution, then by your own standard, evolution is not science.

Oh come on! You must know how wrong this is since I know you don't believe it, so why are you bringing it up?


Setting aside the fact that we have observed speciation, it is easy to shift the goalposts so let's deal with the bigger issue. Evolution is a process which has been ongoing for hundreds of millions of years so of course we can't be around to watch all of it. If you think this means it isn't science, then what could you possibly think about cosmology, physics or geology?

For that matter, what could you think about forensic criminology? Lets say you come home and find that the doors have been smashed and your stuff stolen. There are muddy footprints everywhere and you follow them to your neighbours house. You knock on the door and see muddy boots which match the prints in your house, you see a crowbar leaning against the wall and what looks like your tv in his living room. His five year old daughter is wearing what looks like your wife's jewellery and he is wearing what looks like your favourite college sweatshirt.

When you ask if he took your stuff, he just says that if no one observed him take your stuff, then you can't prove he did and maybe he just happened to have stuff that looks just like yours.


That's what we've got with evolution (and every other forensic science). By making observations of the present, we can infer what happened in the past. This is basic, basic stuff. How could you really think that this one elementary observation should overthrow a whole scientific discipline?


DSHB

So what of any of this so far as complexity is concerned? Let's start there, I got plenty more for ya. I guess I'll make plenty of sense in a while, but I need to find out some things first.

So you can find quotes. Good. Do you understand them? What relevance, if any, do you think they have to evolution? Remember the framework of the discussion: you present your own ideas.

enigma said...

Tyro,

I didn't set the standard, shygetz did. You state that we have seen speciation, but you give no specifics.

We hear all the time that intelligent design is not science because it can not be observed. Why should evolution, or cosmology be held to a different standard?

I have no problem with physics and geology, at least in as far as their results can be verified. For that matter, I have no problem with cosmology in as much as we can observe.

What I do have a problem with is using assumptions which are based on little more than guesses to "prove" a theory and then claiming that the proof is beyond question.

My challenge still stands. If the measure of science is empiricism, then where are the observations of new species which evolution has produced?

UnnamedUser said...

AS far as the universe not being formed. Where did matter and energy come from?

The Bible says God. What do you guys say.

If Science is based on fact what is the fact for that.



This seems to be a fundamental (no pun intended) and common characteristic of the religious folks: the inability to accept the notion that science does not purport to have all the answers, just some of the questions. The religious folks seem to need an explanation for everything, whether its a correct explanation or not. Ambiguity, unknowns, imponderables are just not OK. Cognitive dissonance is better.

At the same time, an explanation that stretches credulity is perfectly OK. Even people trained in science, albeit very few of them, prefer religious explanations. For most people trained in science, however, religion falls by the wayside somewhere along the path to rational thought. That there are some who in the face of rigourous science hold onto their delusional beliefs lends credence to the concept that a belief in religion is mental illness.

It is the thought process, the brain structure itself along with the genetic predisposition that leads the religious folks to psychotic delusions. Just like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia are mental illnesses, so is the manifestation of religious beliefs mental illness. That nothing seems to disuade the religious folks of the great bearded father who is his own son as creator of all things is a psychotic delusion. Some believe, but vaguely. They accept the bible as alegorical tales but truly trust in science. Like bipolar disorder, religious belief comes in degrees. The zealots, however, in the complete absence of evidence and in the face of irrefutable proof continue arguing for their delusions. This is the very definition of mental illness. It needs to be treated as such.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Tyro~ I'm asking YOU Mr. Expert that's confident of evolution as SOUND science.

Enigma is tryin' to school ya, but you won't listen.

I'm asking you the question. If the process is over millions of years as you claim, what is prohibiting the process from taking place in THIS DAY and time NOW?

In my world view God is active and present. I've seen and experienced medically defying and science altering miracles. Things that science calls "spontaneous life" but I've NEVER seen or heard of a Chimpanzee run out of the jungle and say, "I'm a Man Now!"

Althopugh I'm not imposing my worldview at this point from what you're saying in your worldview Evolution only occurs every what? MILLION YEARS? According to you, this should be a million years from a million years ago...I ought to be able to see evolution a little more plainly and easily shouldn't I?

Skip it, go back to the First question I asked because you're not doing anything at all with the later questions and inquiries, and I'll get back to them.

What is deceitful about God creating an aged Earth? I'd like to hear your best argument.

Tyro~ By the way, I understand the quotes I placed...My question is DO YOU? If so please explain them to me in light of your faith in evolution.

enigma said...

unnameduser,

Do you see the complete irrationality of what you have said? You have basically said that faith in "science" no matter how unfounded is fine, but faith in God no matter how well thought out is insanity.

The two can actually co-exist and have for centuries. Newton was a believer and somewhat of a theologian. I myself believe in God and I am a believer in science. So am I insane or not?

I think it much more likely that believing that anyone who disagrees with you is mentally ill is a mental illness. or at least the kind of narrow-mindedness that does not serve a scientist well.

Tyro said...

DSHB

If the process is over millions of years as you claim, what is prohibiting the process from taking place in THIS DAY and time NOW?

Evolution is happening this day, now. The chemical processes that are involved in abiogenesis are still occurring since chemistry hasn't changed but the intermediate results are being consumed by organisms so there's no opportunity for the long-term, progressive development that's necessary.

Things that science calls "spontaneous life" but I've NEVER seen or heard of a Chimpanzee run out of the jungle and say, "I'm a Man Now!"

I should think not! If that were to happen, it would violate evolution and be an example of spontaneous creation. If God were active creating species instead of evolution, we should expect to see variations of your example happening.

What is deceitful about God creating an aged Earth? I'd like to hear your best argument.

I gave a long answer already. If you have any questions, please quote me where you don't understand something.

By the way, I understand the quotes I placed...My question is DO YOU? If so please explain them to me in light of your faith in evolution.

What's there to explain? You're talking about cosmology and thermodynamics which have nothing to do with evolution. Even the titles of the books should make that clear if the quotes themselves do not. They're non sequiturs.

What needs explaining is why you think these should be relevant.


enigma

You state that we have seen speciation, but you give no specifics.

No, I didn't. I can, but as I said, I think this is a red herring.

We hear all the time that intelligent design is not science because it can not be observed.

Then you heard wrong. There are many problems with Intelligent Design, but this isn't one of them (not that I'm aware of).

If the measure of science is empiricism, then where are the observations of new species which evolution has produced?

If you want to ask about what the evidence for evolution is, you have a very strange way of doing it.

Off the top of my head, the evidence would include:

- genetic (e.g.: ERVs)
- phylogenetic and cladistic twin nested hierarchy
- fossil hierarchies
- bioregionalism
- vestigial structures
- hybridization

All of these arise from direct predictions of evolution, and many involve subjects that no one in Darwin's time knew existed. I'm sure there are more, but evolution isn't a speciality of mine so have to deal with my limited memory.

Each one of these is a big topic. Sure there is observed speciation but then we'd get into a tiff about what a species is which would just get tedious - I'd rather leave that to someone else.

enigma said...

Tyro,

So what you're saying is that you don't have any real proof, but you beleive that maybe someone else does. So your faith is in what you think someone else knows?

Tyro said...

Enigma,

Was it the list of six different lines of evidence which made you think that I have seen no evidence? Please tell me, I'm very interested to know how you get that from what I said.


I've told you why I don't want to go down the speciation path, but I'm sure others will. If you assure me that this is the only thing which will convince you, then as a gesture of good intent, why don't you start things by telling me exactly what observations you would make to tell that two organisms are from different species.

I've been down this path before and I've seriously injured my neck watching the goalposts go whooshing past, so lets get things hammered down first.

Evan said...

Shygetz has tried to explain some observed speciation events but nobody is looking up his cites. So here you go on observed speciation. This list is NOT exhaustive.

Event 1: An evening primrose species became reproductively isolated due to chromosome duplication in 1905. The new species is known as Oenothera gigas

Event 2: Primula kewensis speciated in 1912. It was formed by hybridization of two prior species with reproductively isolated but viable interbreeding offspring of the original hybridization.

Event 3: A new species of fruit fly was created in laboratory specimens, Drosophila paulistorum

That of course will be followed with the science-denier list of "those don't count" reasons but that's what this thread is for :)

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Evan~ What the heck is that? I'm NOT talking about micro-evolution or nonbiological evolution at all...I'm talking about MACRO-EVOLUTION?

Where is one biological species changing to become another at any time during history and especially now? Where is ANY biological crossover? We should be witnessing some now. This has nothing to do with spontaneous creation.

Tyro~I read what you said and I fail to see the answer. If there is no answer that's OK. It's open to any of you.

As I asked for anyone: What is deceitful about God creating an aged Earth? I'd like to hear your best argument.

Thanks.

enigma said...

Evan,

Yes, I've read the articles on these. I have not read the creationist rebuttals, so let's see how close I get.

These are not new species, but sub-species with such severly damaged DNA that they can only reproduce with their own sub-species. If anything they are devolved not evolved.

Believe it or not (and I'm sure you won't), I got this from reading the papers which touted these things as proof of evolution.

Joe said...

Hey John,

Don't forget the little guy when you cut this baby up into chapters and sell the thread as a book on Amazon.


unameduser said:

"The zealots, however, in the complete absence of evidence and in the face of irrefutable proof continue arguing for their delusions. This is the very definition of mental illness. It needs to be treated as such."

"irrefutable proof"...???

I could be wrong, but I get the sense that many of the very smart contributors here on this thread wouldn't go so far as to say that the whole of evolutionary theory is "irrefutable proof.".

As I brushed up on Evolution 101 over at the Berkeley website, they even admitted there are still some facts to work out and which need further discovery. I gather that Evolutionists would hold to an opinion that Evo is the best explanation available but not 100% complete.

They will correct me if I have incorrectly stated their view.


I do have a thought / question for the thread. Shygetz... go ahead and cyber noogie me if I have broken the rules of this thread...

I will admit that the theory of Evolution has some very strong arguments and many brilliant men and women have no doubt spent lifetimes in the pursuit of solidifying the theory even more.

However, if you read this whole thread you will see that I was blasted for bringing up Origin which I have since learned is not part of the Evolutionary theory.

My Poll Question for the Evolution supporters:

If the Theory of Evolution is xx% complete, (if you have an opinion) how far along are the theories supporting a random origin of the universe? Big Bang or whatever theories are out there.

What I am getting at is... for atheists, isn't Evolution just a part of the BIG QUESTION here. What if Evolution is the best answer to explaining how complex life forms originated from simple life forms.... BUT how did this whole thing start....???

I am curious if the common belief is that Origins still has a lot farther to go than evolution. Or does the scientific community feel that the different theories of Origins are equally well supported and mature as Evolution?



I do have another question that I didn't see addressed long ago in this thread.

Why does evolution "leave behind" some species locked away in their less evolved state. Example: why don't all chimps walk and talk and pay taxes?

This could be a completely ridiculous analogy...and I will be told if so... but is seems to me that evolution is like a river of water. When water runs down hill, it always looks for the easiest route or best route. This seems to be natural selection of sorts. However some of the water doesn't pool up hill, it all takes the "better way" and runs down hill.

Joe said...

And please, no God of Gaps rebuttal.

I think it is a valid question to know why evolution "leaves some behind". Who knows. There could be some completely rationale answer I have never heard.

Modusoperandi said...

District Supt. Harvey Burnett "What is deceitful about God creating an aged Earth? I'd like to hear your best argument."
God makes a universe that appears to be 14.6 billion years old, then helps write an inspired and inerrant book that (thanks to things like a six "yom" creation and the "begets") says it is actually not much over 6,000. How is actively creating two fundamentally incompatible histories not deceitful? Which are we expected to believe, the age of rocks or the Rock of Ages? They can't both be right (and if they can be, then the only thing we learn from that is that we really can't know anything at all). If He, in His infinite wisdom, decided that the permanent place of residence for your immortal soul requires, in part, that you believe that the first man disobeyed Him in the garden of Eden in 4004BC (see the Ussher math) bringing sin and death in to the world, but He also made the facts on the ground directly conflict with that (for example, by the time of the biblical first man, Mesopotamians were starting cities, man had been farming for some 6,000+ years, not to mention things like real people living in Australia for some 36,000 years before the He created the universe), is He not deceitful?

Now, I understand that lots of people don't take the biblical chronology literally (I don't see why, as it is presented in a literal, detail oriented, and for the most part profoundly boring manner), that others don't take the "no death before Adam disobeyed" literally (as the facts on, and under, the ground show that death has been around for far longer than man. That death, for them, has moved from literal to spiritual), and that some don't even take Adam and Eve as literal people (which makes the Last Adam's sacrifice for the First Adam kind of dopey if the First Adam was a metaphor)...but why would an all-loving, all-knowing, personal God (who wants to be found) set up such a terrible dichotomy (where the literal Words of God on His creation contradict the literal creation of that same deity), where the facts of the real world are in conflict with the big "t" Truth of the Bible? Why would a God who wants to be found pay so little attention to the history and the story of the history that He couldn't make them match up? Gen1 is just as correct at it's always been; it's only in the last few hundred years that we've learned enough to realize that its Truth isn't even vaguely so.

To sum up: the universe = approx 14,600,000,000 years old (age subject to change as new data is discovered). The (literal) biblical view of the universe = approx 6,000 years old (age not subject to change no matter what). Gen1 says that God made things in this order. The real world tells us that He didn't (if a yom isn't a yom the order of creation is wrong, if a yom is a yom, then both the order and the timescale are wrong). Homo sapiens sapiens = 130,000-200,000 years ago, biblical homo sapiens sapiens = 6,000 years ago.

Which is right, the universe or the book that purports to be the inerrant overview of the history of same? Both are apparently His handiwork. He is apparently perfect and unchanging. If He made a 6,000 year old universe look like it was 2.43 million times older than it was He is messing with your head (which would be a pretty funny, if dry, joke if belief in one or the other didn't potentially result in the difference between spending eternity singing arias about Him to Him while gathered around Him or spending it in a fire that burns but does not consume).

Modusoperandi said...

Joe "I gather that Evolutionists would hold to an opinion that Evo is the best explanation available but not 100% complete."
True. We don't (and will never) have all the facts, but, as it currently stands it's the most reasonable explanation that fits the data we have.

"...how far along are the theories supporting a random origin of the universe? Big Bang or whatever theories are out there."
Not very, IMO. We're only starting on the quantum scale, and to get from theorizing to hard data takes big tools like CERN.
Of course, I could be wrong. I have yet to see an interview with a quantum theorist who doesn't look a little unhinged (something about going from a causal universe to a probabilistic one, I think).

"I am curious if the common belief is that Origins still has a lot farther to go than evolution."
Whether you mean Big Bang or abiogenesis, again, not very (again, IMO). Abiogenesis has too many "ifs" to really be much of anything (still IMO). That being said, scientific theory and empirical experimentation will (and has) take us farther than "God did it" ever will (or has). While science can't find truth (just a close approximation of such based on what we've learned so far), it is remarkably adept at falsification. So far, either God's working in distinctly naturalistic ways, or He's not working at all (or, He's doing what we don't know His way, then when we learn how it works, He changes it to make it appear that He didn't do it at all).
Personally, I think that if God exists, He's a deist. Also, He spends a disproportionate amount of His valuable infinite time wondering how He got here.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Harvey,
I remember seeing an article where
scientists have taken the dna of one one organism and replaced the dna of another with it. Granted it was not like a lizard or anything but it does show that fundamental building blocks are similar enough and the mechanism exists to artificially create a new species this way. If it can be done in the lab, more than likely it can be done to a far smaller degree by trial and error in nature.

Modusoperandi said...

Joe "Why does evolution "leave behind" some species locked away in their less evolved state."
Because they work well enough in their niche that there's insufficient selective pressure to breed out some characteristics and breed in others (or wipe them out entirely).
Alligators and crocodiles, for instance, haven't changed all that much since back when they were lounging on the beach and wondering what those new-fangled dinosaurs were up to, with their odd upright (rather than out-splayed) legs. They have, however changed with changes in their environment. They're smaller, mostly (even the Nile croc isn't all that big compared to some of the monsters from way back in deep time).
If the environment (whether weather or competition or food sources) changes, and a species doesn't adapt, it dies out.
Natural selection will "choose" which characteristics stay and which go. A croc in a river now and one in a river way back then are under similar environmental pressures. As such, they don't "need" to change much, their adaptations are mostly limited by their location, the type of water there, and the size of their food.
(and, yes, I've mixed together alligators and crocs. Frankly, I'm unrepentant about it, too.)

Remember also, that everything on Earth right now is equally evolved. Some species simply have higher standards, that's all. Take that, millions of microbes living in my gut! You're not so high and mighty about helping me turn food in to poo now, are you?!

zilch said...

Dshb- Let's have a look at your quotes. With all due respect, I must say, along with tyro, that I don't believe you, or whoever posted these quotes for you to cut and paste, really understood them, or did any further reading of their contexts. First off, you quote Brian Goodwin, who quotes Ernst Mayr saying:

"[There is] no clear evidence...for the gradual emergence of any evolutionary novelty"

Now, aside from the fact that I was unable to find where Mayr said this- the quote only shows up on Christian sites and is unattributed- I will point out three things.

One, we don't know the context of this quote. Mayr may simply have been saying that we don't have a perfect, gapless sequence of fossils showing tiny increments of change. However, as we do have some pretty amazing sequences- for instance, the transition from reptiles to mammals, which I believe qualifies as "macroevolution", and seeing as Mayr certainly knew this, I frankly don't know what he was thinking.

[An aside about "microevolution" versus "macroevolution". Many if not most fundamentalists make a distinction here, granting microevolution (say, within a species or genus) but claiming that macroevolution has never been observed. Firstly- it should not be surprising that large evolutionary steps, like that between reptiles and mammals, have not been observed happening within our lifetimes: change is slow, and our lives are short. Secondly- there is no real boundary between "microevolution" and "macroevolution": macro is simply micro writ large. Big changes happen as a series of small changes. There is no known wall, or mechanism, or structure, that limits evolutionary change, except in the minds of Bible literalists: it just takes time.]

To continue about the Mayr quote-

Point two: as eminent and respected as Mayr was, not the least for publishing into his late nineties and living to the ripe old age of 105, he understandably does not necessarily represent the majority position in evolutionary science any more. So if this quote is real, and means what creationists think it means, it's simply wrong. Mit Verlaub: entschuldigung, Ernst.

Point three: Brian Goodwin is also defending what is decidedly a minority position, the idea that evolution is largely directed not by genetic change, but by "morphogenetic fields" which influence the whole organism. Aside from the fact that such "fields" have not been observed, Goodwin's position does not support creation whatsoever: he is a firm believer in evolution (as is Behe, by the way). Here's a quote, from an interview with Goodwin:

Now what I and my colleagues are trying to do is to, in a sense, make a map between the pathways of morphogenesis that are available to species organized in a particular way, like algae or plants or amphibians, and to map that onto taxonomy (classification of species). In other words, it's trying to make sense of what we see in evolution by having a theory of morphogenesis (development of shape and form), and making a map between morphogenesis and taxonomy. So it's turning biology into a rational science rather than a historical science. There is no conflict.

And I'm afraid the quotes from Eric Chaisson have nothing whatsoever to do with the unlikelihood of the development of complexity- quite the contrary. Chaisson, like all physicists, recognizes that the Second Law of Thermodynamics is not incommensurate with the evolution of order in open systems (from a review of Cosmic Evolution):

In presenting the history of complexity in Cosmic Evolution, Eric Chaisson appears to have two main goals. The first is to show that the increases in complexity are consistent with the second law of thermodynamics. The second law, in its statistical-mechanical interpretation, requires that disorder increase in closed systems, which means that complexity—understood, say, as the opposite of disorder—must decrease. However, a complex structure such as a galaxy, a star or an organism is an open system, able to generate and sustain complexity by exporting enough disorder to its surrounding environment to more than make up for its internal gains. In effect, the second law is satisfied because disorder increases in a larger system, one consisting of the complex structure plus its local, external environment.

[...]Chaisson's second goal is to show that the physical principle producing complexity in these disparate transitions is the same in each case. I understand this principle well enough to explain it only very roughly. Where strong energy gradients are present, conditions are sometimes right for the spontaneous emergence of structures that tend to dissipate the gradient.


Fascinating stuff, and fits right in with the evolution of life. I can't imagine why someone would quote this in support of the Bible.

Joe- you ask:

Why does evolution "leave behind" some species locked away in their less evolved state. Example: why don't all chimps walk and talk and pay taxes?

Modus and others have answered this well. I'll just add something my father always said to me: "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". Evolution has no goals, no momentum, no plans. What works, works, and gets passed on. Some designs simply work very well in their particular niches, so there seems to be little room for improvement. Another example: the shark has been around pretty much unchanged since even before alligators- it works.

Cheers from sunny Vienna, zilch

enigma said...

About my last post refuting your "new species". Don't you hate it when someone just dismisses your great and wonderful thinking just because they don't agree. So do I.

Now about some of the other information I've read here about species developing various attributes and continuous evolution except for crocodiles who don't need to.

So let me get this straight. All species are continuously evolving unless they decide that they are happy where they are and then they stop. Evolution is a choice. If I want an eye or an opposing thumb I just evolve one, but if I'm happy to stay the same for fifty million years, I can. This isn't exactly how I learned evolution, but I like it, and it's much more politically correct.

Of course this is stupid, but it is precisely what I have read in posts from Joe and Shytgez. Yes, their words were much more eloquent than that, but I have a gift for seeing through the words and getting right to the meaning.

What I really love about this talk of developing the eye is that it sounds like an engineering project. I have worked with some very intelligent engineers over the years as we designed some fantastic systems, none of which comes close to a living cell.

It would seem that what you guys are talking about here is directed or theistic evolution. I personally don't believe in that, but many theists do. That is a puzzzling subject for a site whose purpose is to debunk Christianinty.

goprairie said...

macroevolution: humans have perfomed macroevolution using the principles of microevolution to create new species. corn in no way resembles the species from which it was domesticated and can no longer cross-breed with it and so counts as a new species. But people did not decide on what they wanted corn to be like and design it - they selected what they liked best among the natural variation in a population and planted that aand over years and years, got from an ancestral plant that has husks around each individual kernal on a stalk with a few dozen kernal to the naked kernals in a single husk on a cob of giant proportions. The mechanism that made it possible was usual everyday variation in an open pollinated population and the mechanism that caused it was gradual selection, or choosing, of the most advantageous of those variations for the environement at hand, in this case the farmer's field. A natural polulation in a changing climate or of seed blown or carried by an animal into a new niche of the natural world would be similarly selected for in the the variations best suited would be more likely to have their seed grow and itself reproduce. humans use the processes of microevolution to cause macroevolution all the time and call it domestication. Dogs no longer are wolves, wheat is no longer a wild grass, apples don't resemble crabapples, and most have been 'evolved' to the point that they could not survive outside their new environment, the cultivation of humans, and would perish if left to any natural ecosystem. evolution is not 'improvement' in some one-way directed manner, as a thing evolved to a particular niche may no longer survive in its original environment, where its old form, perfect for that set of cinditions, continues to thrive. later 'more evlved' is not 'better', it is just better for the niche, and if the niche changes or seed or offspring ends up back in an environment like the parent species, the evolution might head back in that direction. a few seeds of corn might survive and eventually, after many generations of a few seeds surviving, evolve back to resembling ancestral wild corn.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Modusoperandi~

NOW THAT'S the type of answer I'm looking for. The problem, as you see it, and the conflicts involved.

I got ya. I'll get back with a brief but poignant answer but I appreciate you taking the time.

Thank you.

Evan said...

Enigma:

So let me get this straight. All species are continuously evolving unless they decide that they are happy where they are and then they stop.

Dead wrong. Fails to grasp the concept. Species are composed of individuals who have specific genotypes. The only certain thing passed from one individual to its offspring is its genotype. An individual CANNOT evolve. A species changes over time as the genotype of the individuals within it change.

Any change brought about is due to the environment acting as a filter and removing certain genetic types, ignoring others, and favoring others. Even a very slight favoring of a gene will rapidly (on a geological scale) cause such a gene to replace all other copies in the population. When this gene has replaced all other copies, the species has evolved a new genotype.

There is no direction to this.

Think about a market. There are many products constantly being brought to market. Most fail. Many succeed and many become longterm stable brand names that stay on the market for a very long period of time.

Nobody directs this. Nobody's in charge of the market (although many of us wish there were so we could get rich). Yet it happens just perfectly with no central direction.

Evolution is a choice. If I want an eye or an opposing thumb I just evolve one, but if I'm happy to stay the same for fifty million years, I can.

You live a hell of a lot longer than any organism that has ever lived. But unfortunately again here, you are just dead wrong and don't understand the concept. An organism doesn't want to evolve. A species doesn't want to evolve. An organism wants to survive. That's it. If it reproduces more successfully than other organisms, it adds its genes at a greater frequency. If it reproduces not at all, any unique genes it carries are culled from the species and any genes it carries become less frequent within the species.

This isn't hard to understand and the fact that you caricature it in the way you do again shows how disingenuous and dishonest you continue to be.

This isn't exactly how I learned evolution, but I like it, and it's much more politically correct.

The reason you didn't learn this is because nobody ever taught it to you and nobody here has said anything like it. You dishonestly put words in people's mouths just to make a perfectly reasonable position look silly. You are a discredit to your ethical system.

Of course this is stupid, but it is precisely what I have read in posts from Joe and Shytgez.

You assert this with not a shred of evidence. It's a flat lie that you can't back up. You just can't stop, can you enigma?

Yes, their words were much more eloquent than that, but I have a gift for seeing through the words and getting right to the meaning.

You have a gift for pulling things out of your own posterior and claiming someone else said them.

Joe:

Why does evolution "leave behind" some species locked away in their less evolved state. Example: why don't all chimps walk and talk and pay taxes?

Again. Evolution has no goal, just like the free market has no goal. There is historical evidence that over time organisms have tended to become more complex but there is no inherent reason for this to take place, it simply speaks to the historical record.

Markets go from very complex to very simple and back again, all without any designer -- unless you believe God also runs the free market, which I guess you might.

Tyro said...

enigma

These are not new species, but sub-species with such severly damaged DNA that they can only reproduce with their own sub-species. If anything they are devolved not evolved.

Two populations which have separated from one another sufficiently that the two can no longer interbreed is the definition of speciation. You can denigrate it if you wish, but you should at least understand it first.

Why, what did you think it meant for a new species to form?



If a mutation does not result in a positive (or at least neutral) trait, then the offspring with this mutation are less likely to survive and reproduce, so this trait will not be spread. If the mutation is neutral or positive, then the offspring are more likely to reproduce and so the trait will be passed along to new generations and will increase in frequency. If two populations are separated (esp if subjected to different selective pressures) and many generations pass, different traits will emerge in the different populations as a result of the different random mutations combined with different selective pressures.

As time increases, these differences accumulate making the two populations more and more different, making it harder and harder to interbreed. Both populations are healthy, neither have "damaged" DNA, but they are adapted to different environments.

This is why "species" is a fluid concept. As genetic separation grows, the populations will go from being able to interbreed seamlessly, to interbreeding with difficultly, to possibly only producing sterile offspring (e.g.: mules, ligers, tigrons), to not being able to reproduce at all.

All organisms alive today are the end result of hundreds of millions of years of evolution, and so all of the differences we see are the result of a long accumulation of mutations.

Is the DNA of a grizzly bear "damaged" just because grizzlies have separated from brown bears? Which is more damaged, a polar bear or a grizzly and how can you tell?


DSHB

I read what you said and I fail to see the answer. If there is no answer that's OK.

de·ceit
–noun
1. the act or practice of deceiving; concealment or distortion of the truth for the purpose of misleading; duplicity;


If the Earth is 10,000 years old but God build it to appear 10,000,000 times older, that is hiding and distorting the truth, it is deceitful, it is misleading, it is duplicitous. It is as fraudulent as someone creating a new painting but crafting the paint, canvas, techniques and signature to appear ancient.

If you have a question or problem with any of this, please be direct instead of acting like no one has answered it because several people have.

UnnamedUser said...

@enigma

I profoundly disagree with some positions of both Democrats and Republicans, but I don't call them delusional psychotics.

You assert that I have a "faith" in science. If you are saying that a belief in the scientific method is a "religious belief", you further confirm my assertion that religious belief is mental illness by virtue of believing a delusion.

The scientific method is based on principles that are testable, and effectively provable. They correlate hypothesis to reality by verifyable experiment. That hardly qualifies as "belief"; that is the very definition of science. If you do not "believe" in the scientific method, you do not believe in science. That delusion makes this conversation moot. You need some serious psychaitric counsel. I'm not qualified to help you.

enigma said...

Evan,

You're just no fun anymore. It seems that only evolutionists are allowed to have a little fun with the other side.

The fact is that several people in discussing evolution have used words like developed and even design. You yourself just used the word favored. These are all words indicating intelligence. I know that's not what you mean, but even you must see the irony in that.

As for misrepresenting what anyone said, that is not my purpose and what they said is available here and we've all read it. I just made some observations. You obviously don't agree. I didn't expect you to.

You seem offended, and I apologize for offending you. If you are not offended, keep the apology anyway, I feel I owe it to you.

I do have one question for you, and I ask it in all sincerity. I really would like to understand this.

What is it about people not believing in evolution that drives you to prove it to us?

You see, I am driven by a concern for your eternal well being to convince you of the existence of God. That is why my intention is not to offend, I was just trying to inject a little humor and at the same time get you to think. I obviously failed.

But I am serious that I would like to know where your passion for this comes from.

Trou said...

“You assert this with not a shred of evidence. It's a flat lie that you can't back up. You just can't stop, can you enigma?”

Evan,

I appreciate the time and effort you, zilch, Modusoperandi, Tyro and especially Shygetz are putting into trying to lay out the evidence for evolution. This effort is made more difficult and unpleasant by the likes of enigma and DSHB who refuse to read and understand. It’s frustrating to me to see answers to questions ignored and then have the claim made that the questions were ignored. So, once again, thanks for your time and for sharing your knowledge on the subject.

I have experience in dealing with ignorance in my family. I can no longer talk with my father because, like enigma, he pulls stuff out of his butt all the time. Facts and evidence are of no value to him. The important thing is that he be right. If proven wrong he will simply start from the beginning all over again and restate his original false claim. As an example, if he claims that no proto humans have ever been found I will tell him of Australopithecus afarensis and africanus, or Homo erectus or habilus. When the subject comes up again he will make the same false claim as before.
What’s interesting to me is how this is possible? How can the obvious be so thoroughly ignored? Why would the willfully ignorant come to a site like this with no knowledge of science and act as if they had the answers? If I was content to be ignorant I wouldn’t want to expose myself to dichotomous ways of thinking.

I don’t respect my father and even despise him for his willful ignorance and hypocrisy. Maybe I should thank him for making me want to know the truth after being exposed to the opposite for so many years.

For those of you who are not lost causes I suggest a very good, short and entertaining read about evolution called “Your Inner Fish”. The author is Neil Shubin, a notable biologist/paleontologist/anatomist/geneticist who approaches the subject of evolution from these disciplines. He discovered Tiktaalik - the “missing link” between fish and tetrapods. In reading this, you will become aware of the vast array or cross-disciplinary evidence for evolution. It is evident everywhere you look.

zilch said...

enigma- I know this was addressed to evan, but I hope both of you will forgive me for putting in my €0.02 worth as well- that's almost three cents for you statesiders! You say:

The fact is that several people in discussing evolution have used words like developed and even design. You yourself just used the word favored. These are all words indicating intelligence. I know that's not what you mean, but even you must see the irony in that.

It is tempting to think the amazing designs of living things imply a designer, but the amazing thing is, you can have design (in the sense of a complex structure that "does things", such as a mouse or a computer program) that had no designer, other than natural selection. What you need is things that reproduce, with inheritance of most characteristics of their predecessors, but with random change thrown in that alters the offspring slightly, and some sort of selection for traits that increase the chances of reproduction, which can be very different things in different environments, of course.

For instance, a tree might be more likely to reproduce if it is taller than its neighbors, and thus gets more sunlight- in this case, any mutations which produced taller trees are likely to become more common in the next generation.

Or a computer program can be reproduced with random changes, and those programs which do best at solving some particular problem are allowed to reproduce for the next round of competition. In this way, programs have been developed that are as good or better than human-designed programs, and all through evolution, not design. This is a fascinating and promising field; for instance for evolving patentable inventions.

It might seem impossible to create order through chance, but not if there is selection for small improvements which are passed on. For instance, if a monkey, or a computer, types out a line, over and over, at random, it will have to type for a very long time to get, say, "to be, or not to be". But if the monkey (or computer) types one line at random, and then changes one letter at random, and whichever version is closer to "to be, or not to be" is kept and again altered by just one letter, you will get "to be, or not to be" in a reasonable amount of time.

Of course, this analogy is oversimplified, and a bit misleading: evolution has no preset goals, no "to be, or not to be" in mind. It might be better to say, that any set of letters that is closer to, say, any meaningful sentence, gets saved. Here, a meaningful sentence stands for a structure that manages to solve problems: for living organisms, these might include how to eat, not be eaten, find a mate, and so forth. For a computer program, it might mean how to play checkers well.

It may be hard to believe, but given reproduction with inheritance, mutation, and selection, and lots of time, structures of fantastic complexity can and do evolve. If evolution didn't work, you wouldn't be reading this.

enigma, you say:

What is it about people not believing in evolution that drives you to prove it to us?

I can't speak for evan, but I have a couple of reasons. One is simply because evolution is fascinating and I am enthusiastic about getting people excited about it. Another reason is that evolution has a lot to do with our nature as human beings, and not only does understanding it help in medicine, for instance, but it can help us understand why we do what we do. But perhaps my main motivation is to convince people that evolution, not religion, should be taught in public school science classes.

cheers from starry Vienna, zilch

enigma said...

Trou,

I do not refuse to read and understand. I have read everything I could find on evolution, both in support of and in opposition to. I understand very well what the issues are and the science involved. I just do not agree with your conclusions. You see, I am not a scientist, I am an engineer. For 20 years I worked in research for IBM and it was my job to take the work of their brilliant scientists (I do not say that with sarcasm, they are brilliant)and make it work. Too often I would go to them when something would not work only to find out that they couldn't make it work either, but they knew it would. This is where I learned that scientists are not always right, no matter how intelligent. I have learned to decide for myself. Your father may be willfully ignorant, I am not. You obviously think that my conclusions are all wrong; That is your right.

By the way, go ahead and despise me, but you should show your father some respect.

Zilch,

Thanks for the input. I appreciate the civility you show in all your posts, and your obvious zeal for the subject. I don't agree, but hey, that's why we're here.

Evan said...

enigma,

I'll piggyback a bit on what trou and zilch have to say but I have my own strong reason for doing what I do.

I think you would be the first to admit that if there were someone who believes in God, someone who believes God specially created people, someone who believes that God has a heaven for saved people and that unsaved people are punished for eternity for their lack of salvation, that someone would behave differently than someone who does not believe those things.

If you don't believe the above proposition is true -- your behavior makes no sense either.

Now -- here is our situation. We are alive as individuals and as a species. Those of us fortunate enough to be alive have a limited time that we can accomplish anything.

The Bible explains this clearly in Ecclesiastes 9:5, something I agree with wholeheartedly, when Qohelet says "For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten."

Now if you believe there is a divine, invisible being who is looking over your every action, who watches when you sleep, when you go to the bathroom, when you drive in your car and sing along to Huey Lewis, when you are making love, when you fry food, when you hit your thumb with a hammer, or when you get sick and die -- I think you also believe that that divine, invisible being is going to make sure that the human species is going to stick around, having created it and all.

Now imagine you don't believe that. Instead you believe Qohelet. We can all die, and nobody will care when we are dead.

The human species is a young species, most species don't survive, and we are on a small dot in the universe. Nobody cares about us except us. We are all we have.

Do you think that changes your behavior too? You may or may not think that behavior change is for the better, but I do. Beyond that, it has the added value of being true to everything the species has discovered about itself up to this point.

Don't you think you would care MUCH more about each person you interact with, since neither they nor you have a chance at a do-over in the life to come, and this could be the last time you ever meet -- forever?

Don't you think you would care MUCH more about the planet we live on, the cities we live in, the air we breathe, the water we drink, since there is no invisible being who will make sure everything turns out for the good?

Doesn't this make MUCH more sense of sickness, death, hunger, famine, poverty, betrayal and the other slings and arrows of outrageous fortune?

And doesn't it make people MORE responsible for the whole corpus of a life, since again, they would have no chance to fix it once it's over?

You may not believe as I do and I don't expect to change your mind. But you can't believe that what you believe doesn't change your behavior. And if you think what you believe changes your behavior, how can you imagine that what other people believe doesn't do the same to them?

Modusoperandi said...

evan "What is it about people not believing in evolution that drives you to prove it to us?"
Creationism in science class, for one. ID, another. Museums that say the world is 6k old, yet another. Passing off myth as fact. The slippery slope from empirical to faith-based, from evidence-based science to faith-based woo. Faith-based sex-ed doesn't work: faith-based science-ed won't work, either. On the plus side, it must be admitted, faith-based science-ed won't result in your kid getting knocked up.

"But I am serious that I would like to know where your passion for this comes from."
Personally, my passion with it comes from it being true. Imperfect and not 100% true, granted, but science doesn't work like that (facts can be 100%, but theories have only two ways they can go; they can remain theories as long as new data supports them, or they can be falsified). My passion comes from willful ignorance like Creation Museums, gross distortions of what we do know like creation science (which tosses most of the facts away and crams what little remains into Genesis), and ID arguments from incredulity and ignorance (which states, essentially "Boy, it sure is inconceivable that this thing that we've just started looking at came about naturally. I, for one, don't know how it happened. Ergo: the unnamed and totally anonymous intelligent designer did it").
Yes, the theory of evolution is not perfect, but an imperfect reality is better than the most iron-clad fantasy.

Modusoperandi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
enigma said...

Evan,

Well put. I agree that what a person believes affects their actions. You have shown that you understand my purpose if not my position. I will have to study your side a bit more, but you have given me food for thought. Thank you for your honest and open answer.

Modusoperandi,

I really enjoyed reading your explaination too, espesially the part about me being an engineer explaining it. Thanks for understanding.

By the way, the intelligent designer is not anonymous; His friends call Him God. All designers put their name on their work in one way or another. God is no exception.

Modusoperandi said...

...replace "evan" with "enigma"...

Tyro said...

enigma

All designers put their name on their work in one way or another. God is no exception.

That's a very interesting comment. Could you elaborate on it?

What sort of things do you think are God's Hallmark? How do you know?

Are you familiar with the claims made by the Intelligent Design crowd such as Behe and Dembski, in particular their emphasis on the bacterial flagellum instead of any features found in, say, humans?

Modusoperandi said...

Enigma: there's something about seeing design that's unique to engineers. Granted, it's anecdotal, but I've seen "I'm an engineer, and..." preface enough paragraphs about not getting evolution that it sticks out.

(odd that my initial bad version, with evan instead of enigma, is deleted, but my corrected copy hasn't appeared)

Jamie Steele said...

One scientist had this to say about Darwin' problem of Complexity.

Tell me what you think

"Darwin knew well enough that evolution would seem absurd and that he would have to supply a good reason for the hope he had in natural forces. Of course there is no scientific argument for how the most complex thing we know of arose on its own.

It is simple intuition that good things just don't happen on their own. The ground does not produce a useful harvest without painful toil. A dining room does not organize and clean itself after a feast. And nothing, from clothing to cars, self assembles.

How could Darwin convince the world that evolution could create complexity? He had no strong scientific explanation, so he shifted the burden of proof. Rather than requiring evidence showing that evolution could create complexity, Darwin suggested that there was no counterevidence He allowed that if the skeptic could find a complex organ that evolution could not produce, then the theory would be disproven. But it would be impossible for a skeptic to prove that evolution could never create complexity, for that would be tantamount to proving a universal negative.

Darwin made things easy by inverting the question. Rather than asking the question "How much positive evidence is there that complexity can arise on its own?" he asked "Is there negative evidence to disprove the idea.

Darwin's argument was not in the scientific spirit , for one does not purpose and unlikely and unproven theory and justify it because it cannot be disproven. It was the best argument available to Darwin and he used it skillfully.

After Darwin, evolutionists rarely needed to defend the theory against the problem of complexity.

The fields of mathematics and logic can provide objective proofs for their results, but science is ultimately subjective." end quote

I would like to know what you guys think of this statement.

Hope you post it.

paul01 said...

Jamie

Darwin did try to support his argument with regard to organs of extreme perfection with facts.

Here is part of one paragraph from his analysis:

The simplest organ which can be called an eye consists of an optic nerve, surrounded by pigment-cells and covered by translucent skin, but without any lens or other refractive body. We may, however, according to M. Jourdain, descend even a step lower and find aggregates of pigment-cells, apparently serving as organs of vision, without any nerves, and resting merely on sarcodic tissue. Eyes of the above simple nature are not capable of distinct vision, and serve only to distinguish light from darkness. In certain star-fishes, small depressions in the layer of pigment which surrounds the nerve are filled, as described by the author just quoted, with transparent gelatinous matter, projecting with a convex surface, like the cornea in the higher animals. He suggests that this serves not to form an image, but only to concentrate the luminous rays and render their perception more easy. In this concentration of the rays we gain the first and by the most important step towards the formation of a true, picture-forming eye; for we have only to place the naked extremity of the optic nerve, which in some of the lower animals lies deeply buried in the body, and in some near the surface, at the right distance from the concentrating apparatus, and an image will be formed on it.

He was not merely shifting the burden of proof by fiat- as if he could!- he was attempting to show that organs of extreme perfection may well have developed gradually, and only then did he propose that if one could show the impossibility of such an instance, then his theory would fall to the ground. But he did his homework first!

The burden of proof thing really sticks in the craw of creationists because that was Darwin's historical achievement- to shift that burden, perhaps permanently, in the direction of the creationist. It is the Holy Grail of ID/Creationism to shift it back, to be able to say "If it looks designed, it must be designed, you must prove otherwise." Unfortunately the inroads already made by evolutionists make that very improbable.

It is ironic that now IDers are demanding that they not be asked to prove the impossibility of structures arising through selection, they want to make it easier on themselves by showing merely that the structures are somewhat improbable, i.e, they want to be relieved of the necessity of proving a universal negative. Now who do they remind me of in that reagard? Oh yeah, atheists!- like Percy Shelley and Richard Dawkins.

It is somewhat of an insult to Darwin to accuse him of logical shuffles that would circumvent the need for empirical demonstration, when his entire body of work testifies to his sturdy empiricism. Playing burden of proof games is more in the ID purview.

By the way, you forgot to tell us who the scientist was that you were quoting ha ha.

Evan said...

First before I begin, let me say that Darwin is not evolution and evolution is not Darwin. Evolution, if it were falsified, would require a complete re-evaluation of all of biology. Darwin got some things wrong that nobody believes anymore. What he got right is descent with modification by the means of natural selection. This is really critical since science deniers love to personalize this. But Einstein had some things wrong, Darwin got some things wrong and science does not deify its great people. We acknowledge what they did well, correct the mistakes they made, and move on with the corpus of knowledge as we have it.

Personalizing is what makes good sermons, but it makes terrible science.

"Darwin knew well enough that evolution would seem absurd and that he would have to supply a good reason for the hope he had in natural forces. Of course there is no scientific argument for how the most complex thing we know of arose on its own.

There is a perfectly good scientific argument and the outlines of it are present in the above thread. There is an even better outline of it in The Origin of Species.

It is simple intuition that good things just don't happen on their own. The ground does not produce a useful harvest without painful toil. A dining room does not organize and clean itself after a feast. And nothing, from clothing to cars, self assembles.

Crystals self assemble. Hunter gatherers lived off the land without planting a thing -- yet they had useful harvests. And simple intuition shows us that the sun goes around the earth, that heavy objects drop faster than light objects and that germs don't exist.

Simple intuition is USELESS in science. Simple intuition is simply the weakest argument anyone can come up with against anything.

How could Darwin convince the world that evolution could create complexity? He had no strong scientific explanation, so he shifted the burden of proof. Rather than requiring evidence showing that evolution could create complexity, Darwin suggested that there was no counterevidence

Hold it right there. He had a VERY strong scientific explanation that has since been heavily challenged by many scientists and is to this day believed to be correct. It is hard to imagine a theory that has been challenged more than descent with modification by natural selection.

Yet it is still taught as a basic fact in all introductory biology courses. INCLUDING the one at the creationist school that I attended. There was no argument that Darwin was wrong, simply that the Bible was more right than Darwin was wrong. My classes taught the Hardy-Weinberg law, species distribution throughout an ecotone, and island biogeography just like Darwin did. If there was weak science there, I sure never heard it.

He allowed that if the skeptic could find a complex organ that evolution could not produce, then the theory would be disproven. But it would be impossible for a skeptic to prove that evolution could never create complexity, for that would be tantamount to proving a universal negative.

False. All too false. Darwin did indeed lay down the challenges to his theory that would disprove. Many people have tried to show that he was wrong. Every time they do, the mechanism for the development of the structure is elucidated and it matches his theory perfectly. It's believers in God who demand the proof of a universal negative.

Darwin made things easy by inverting the question. Rather than asking the question "How much positive evidence is there that complexity can arise on its own?" he asked "Is there negative evidence to disprove the idea.

More lies. Darwin's book begins with a LONG sequence on artificial selection in which he talks about the diversity present in organisms bred by artificial selection. Read him. His argument is compelling to this very day.

Darwin's argument was not in the scientific spirit , for one does not purpose and unlikely and unproven theory and justify it because it cannot be disproven. It was the best argument available to Darwin and he used it skillfully. (Sic)

This is simply ungrammatical and I cannot discern what the author is trying to say here.

After Darwin, evolutionists rarely needed to defend the theory against the problem of complexity.

The fields of mathematics and logic can provide objective proofs for their results, but science is ultimately subjective.


First, there are no "evolutionists" who "believe" in evolution the way that "creationists" believe in Creation. There is no famous evolutionary biology who is well known for saying "I believe because it is absurd" as there is for Christianity.

Secondly, this is simply assertion without evidence.

I don't know what preacher wrote your little sermon Jamie, but she was fundamentally ignorant of biology and every detail of this quote shows it.

Jamie Steele said...

Evan,
this is not a sermon bro....
But I will take His opinion of this topic over yours he sounds more educated and believable.

Trou said...

enigma said, "I do not refuse to read and understand. I have read everything I could find on evolution, both in support of and in opposition to. I understand very well what the issues are and the science involved."

I find this hard to believe due to the following quotes from you. You had been better off to have admitted to being ignorant and only reading creationist chick tracks than to claim to have read "everything you could get your hands on". I call bullcrap.

enigma said,
"the only valid "way of knowing" is empiricism. Sorry; deal with it.
As far as I know, no one has ever observed the introduction of a new species even though experiments have been done to try and induce such a thing. If you cannot cite an observed case of evolution, then by your own standard, evolution is not science."

As was pointed out to you geology can not be directly observed in most cases. It's hard to observe millions of years of sedimentation or continental drift. Yet you have no problem with that. Furthermore, it's disingenuous of you to define science to your own liking then exploit your biased definition to your own ends. Either you are ignorant of science and how it operates because of your reading comprehension skills or you haven't read "everything you could get your hands on" and are therefore a liar.

enigma said,
"We hear all the time that intelligent design is not science because it can not be observed. Why should evolution or cosmology be held to a different standard?"

Intelligent design is not a science because it is a statement of belief that can't be tested, which means that it can't be falsified either. Science doesn't pull stuff out of their butts and try to make it so with an ad campaign or a promotional tour. The neat thing about science is that there is always a focus on trying to disprove or falsify a hypothesis. If the theory or hypothesis stands up to testing then it lives to be challenged again. It can never be entirely proven but it can be falsified.

Evan said, "Shygetz has tried to explain some observed speciation events but nobody is looking up his cites. So here you go on observed speciation. This list is NOT exhaustive."

An example of you not reading.

enigma said,
"Evan,
Yes, I've read the articles on these. I have not read the creationist rebuttals, so let's see how close I get."

So you admit here to having to go to the creationist websites to see what your official response should be to any given information. So here is an example of you not wanting to understand until you are able to be told what you should think on the subject.

When given requested examples of speciation you say,

"These are not new species, but sub-species with such severely damaged DNA that they can only reproduce with their own sub-species. If anything they are devolved not evolved."

What a load of crap. Once again you invent new meaning to words so you can twist things to your liking. Sub-species? Severely damaged DNA? Devolved? Yet you say that you read and understood "everything you could get your hands on". Bullcrap.

Here is the last of your disingenuous, mocking excuse for a civil discussion on evolution.

"So let me get this straight. All species are continuously evolving unless they decide that they are happy where they are and then they stop. Evolution is a choice. If I want an eye or an opposing thumb I just evolve one, but if I'm happy to stay the same for fifty million years, I can. This isn't exactly how I learned evolution, but I like it, and it's much more politically correct."

Choose either ignorant (which can be corrected by information), liar or stupid. You have to be one of these to have written this. I think, to be gracious, that you have not read and have not understood. Yet, that makes you a liar because you have claimed to do both.

"Of course this is stupid, but it is precisely what I have read in posts from Joe and Shytgez. Yes, their words were much more eloquent than that, but I have a gift for seeing through the words and getting right to the meaning."

One mans gift is another mans curse. You have purposely twisted what was said and in violation of shygetz' request for a civil discussion.

I don't despise you, just your willful ignorance and in much the same way as you might hate the sin but love the sinner. As I said, ignorance can be cured with knowledge. It's the willful part of it that you may need to address.

Tell you what, you work on correcting your willful ignorance and if successful I will make an attempt to find something about my father to respect. You go first.

Evan said...

But I will take His opinion of this topic over yours he sounds more educated and believable.

I suppose if your idea of the educated and believable is Paul saying "For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe."

Jamie you don't make arguments. I don't know if its because you can't or you won't. But at least try to act like you actually read what people are trying to tell you.

zilch said...

trou- you're most welcome. I'd also like to thank shygetz for starting this thread, and for his careful explanations.

enigma- if we can agree to disagree peaceably, that means a lot. I'm glad that you and joe are willing to look further into this fascinating subject.

jamie- I haven't given up hope that you will also check out more of what the reality-based community has to offer. If your faith is strong, you won't be endangered.

I'd also like to extend an invitation to all of you to come visit me in Vienna, or in SF this summer, to chat over a beer (or other beverage of your choice). Drop me a line if you're in town- my email address is in my profile.

cheers from overcast Vienna, zilch

Jamie Steele said...

zilch,
you are the man

Shygetz said...

joe said: I think it is a valid question to know why evolution "leaves some behind". Who knows. There could be some completely rationale answer I have never heard.

Then let me provide one. If you have a population that meets the following criteria:

1.) A sufficiently large randomly interbreeding population size to prevent random elements (e.g. genetic drift) from playing a large role
2.) An environment that remains relatively stable for VERY long periods of time (even if it requires the population to migrate to maintain its stable environment)
3.) A species that has reached genetic equilibrium within its environment--that is, under the conditions present in the environment, there is not sufficient selective pressure to favor any evolvable characteristic over the present population

Then you will see that the species in question will remain at genetic equilibrium, and no change in genetic frequency (and therefore, no evolution) will occur; see the Hardy-Weinberg Law. Some organisms reached conditions similar to this, but never exactly like this for any prolonged period of time. Crocodiles HAVE evolved, just not on the order of gross physical changes.

See, enigma, no desire on the part of the organism to "stop evolving" required. So kindly stop misrepresenting me--it makes you look bad, and you don't need any more help on that account.

For example, after my extensive but incomplete list of speciation events, enigma said: As far as I know, no one has ever observed the introduction of a new species even though experiments have been done to try and induce such a thing. If there has, please let me know. Sweet irony.

Then after it was pointed out by myself and evan, said: Yes, I've read the articles on these. I have not read the creationist rebuttals, so let's see how close I get.

Ha, ha, ha. From "It's never happened!" to "Oh, let's see what my Friends in Jesus say about it." to:
These are not new species, but sub-species with such severly damaged DNA that they can only reproduce with their own sub-species. If anything they are devolved not evolved.

Without realizing that there is no such thing as "devolved" in biology, and that the new organisms were just as fit as their predecessors if not moreso precluding the idea of major DNA damage or "devolution".

Believe it or not (and I'm sure you won't), I got this from reading the papers which touted these things as proof of evolution.

Cite or fail. Such assertions are definitely NOT in the original articles I cited, and I would bet money you have not read them. Hell, the plant examples were just cases of polyploidy, which happens all the time in plants (the apples you eat are both diploid and triploid; which are "heavily damaged"?) So which papers were they? Gentleman's bet says that they were creationist screeds, passing on their propaganda of how best to deny the evidence of the obvious, or you pulled it out of your nether regions.

We hear all the time that intelligent design is not science because it can not be observed. Why should evolution, or cosmology be held to a different standard?

No, you hear that intelligent design is not science because it it makes no testable predictions, not because it can not be observed. Neutrons cannot be observed; evolution can and has been observed. Also, evolution has made testable predictions that HAVE come true, and continues to do so today.

What is it about people not believing in evolution that drives you to prove it to us?

It is infuriating to see people accepting medicines and treatments founded on evolutionary understanding, eating food engineered by evolutionary understanding, and deny evolution. It's like an airline passenger denying aeronautics, or a mechanical engineer denying Newton's Laws of Motion, simply because his God doesn't like them--the cognitive dissonance required is enough to drive me nuts. Poop or get off the pot; if evolution is such crap, you shouldn't be trusting your life to drugs that were generated using artificial selection schemes, molecular homology modeling and docking, or any other biomedical research technique predicated on the idea that evolution is true.

Then add to it the fact that you want to teach pseudoscience and/or just plain myth in place of one of the most heavily supported scientific theories because evolution contradicts your favorite creation myth, and it really starts to piss me off. I have to deal with the students that are churned out by these rural Southern and Midwestern high schools. They come in not knowing what evolution means, much less how it works. That means I have to waste my time and the taxpayers' money teaching them what they should have learned in high school if their teacher hadn't been too afraid of the local God Squad (made up of well-meaning people like yourself who just want to save their immortal souls from the boogie man) to teach evolution.

If your God didn't want us to believe in evolution, He shouldn't have made it so bleeding obvious.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Modusoperandi~ As I said I appreciate you getting back with me and giving me the reasons why you feel that if creation is true God would be a liar. I’ll begin by saying that it’s obvious that there are other issues you have in your personal experience that you indicated in your response and my intents are not to minimize those experiences in any way, but with that said I will strongly disagree with all of your assertions and explain why.

First of all other than because God CANNOT lie (Num. 23:19, Heb. 6:18) and as sccording to scripture that does not change so far as his nature or essence is concerned, I would offer this: The genealogical record as outlined in Genesis does not seek to offer a comprehensive or exhaustive list of genealogical record especially among the more ancient records and genealogies preceding Genesis 11. There are certain points there are gaps and every “begat” doesn’t necessarily mean there was a paternal or father-son relationship between the characters listed. Some were grand-parent-grandchild relationships. Once such example is in Luke 3: 36 where Cainan is mentioned as son of Araphaxad whereas Shelah (Salah) is mentioned to the exclusion of Cainan in Gen. 11: 13-14. The point of the genealogies, was not to make a comprehensive listing, but rather a succession of generations.

With that said, I don’t believe that the record covers millions of years of generations either. Neither do I believe in day-age creationism or gap creationism, or for that matter theistic-evolution which I believe may have more problems than most sorts of creationism. As you may see where this is going, I believe in the Biblical record above science and above what things “appear” to be.

Why? The age old story (Gen. 3) of satan appearing through the serpent to Eve and suggesting , that God was withholding a secret knowledge from her and therefore appealing to her senses of sight, desire, and carnal wisdom, is the same tactic dressed up in different clothes. In this case the clothes of EVOLUTION, that has been repackaged and sold in this age of “enlightenment”.

Secondly, God DID NOT put an age tag on any of his creation and he left neither you or I a memo dating ANY of what we see. We can ONLY hypothesize and therefore cannot be sure of certain aspects of creation because of a lack of evidence. And because the evidence certainly SIGNIFICANTLY conflicts, unless you have that memo, you are in no position to call God a liar.

Further who made man the highest moral order in the cosmos? To call God a liar for something that HE DID NOT tell neither you I, or any of his creation, is the ultimate self-exaltation. Man in his arrogance and little, limited knowledge extends himself as a higher moral being than God but yet daily makes decisions that cause more and more immorality to proliferate. This is inconsistent but is yet the plight of man when trying to extend his concept of morality throughout the universe and world.

So this is nothing new. It really goes back to my original analogy of the car. Buying a 2007 in 2007 that was BUILT and assembled in 2006 with parts that were created as early as 2005 in no way makes the car company a liar. A rational person doesn’t even hold a secular organization to the same standard as we hold God. Why ? Because we are arrogant and love to hate God.

My next post will deal with specific reasons why I reject evolution as nothing more than a man created fantasy, but I did want to deal with your commentary since you took the time to answer at least answer my primary question. As I said, thank you for a clear and cogent answer and I submit this response to you and others with all due respect.

Thank you.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Unless there is new evidence to show why these arguments are wrong, the following are the non-Biblical reasons why I will NEVER believe in the biological evolution of mankind:

1- Organic Evolution Has Never Been Observed

2- The Law of Biogenesis
Spontaneous generation (the emergence of life from nonliving matter) has never been observed. All observations have shown that life comes only from life. This has been observed so consistently it is called the law of biogenesis. The theory of evolution conflicts with this scientific law when claiming that life came from nonliving matter through natural processes. Evolutionary scientists reluctantly accept the law of biogenesis. From my research I have seen the following in effort to explain this: 1- some say that future studies may show how life could come from lifeless matter, despite the virtually impossible odds. 2- Others say that their theory of evolution doesn’t begin until the first life somehow arose. 3- Still others say the first life was created, then evolution occurred.
All evolutionists recognize that, based on scientific observations, life comes only from life.

3- Acquired Characteristics
Acquired characteristics—characteristics gained after birth—cannot be inherited. My research has shown that almost all evolutionists agree that acquired characteristics cannot be inherited, but yet, many unconsciously slip into this false belief. I acknowledge that stressful environments for some animals and plants cause their offspring to express various defenses. New genetic traits however, are not created; instead, the environment can switch on genetic machinery already present. The marvel is that optimal genetic machinery already exists to handle some contingencies, not that time, the environment, or “a need” can produce the machinery as stated by most evolutionists including those on this site.

4- Mendel’s Laws
Mendel’s laws of genetics and their modern-day refinements explain almost all physical variations observed in living things. Mendel discovered that genes (units of heredity) are merely reshuffled from one generation to another. Different combinations are formed, not different genes. The different combinations produce many variations within each kind of life, as in the dog family. A logical consequence of Mendel’s laws is that there are limits to such variation. Breeding experiments and common observations also confirm these boundaries.

5- Natural Selection
Natural selection cannot produce new genes; it selects only among preexisting characteristics. As the word “selection” implies, variations are reduced, not increased.
Many mistakenly believe that insect or bacterial resistances evolved in response to pesticides and antibiotics. Instead,a previously lost capability was reestablished, making it appear that something evolved, a mutation reduced the binding ability, regulatory function, or transport capacity of certain proteins,a damaging bacterial mutation or variation reduced the antibiotic’s effectiveness even more, or a few resistant insects and bacteria were already present when the pesticides and antibiotics were first applied. When the vulnerable insects and bacteria were killed, resistant varieties had less competition and, therefore, proliferated.

While natural selection occurred, nothing evolved and, in fact, some biological diversity was lost. The variations Darwin observed among finches on different Galapagos islands is another example of natural selection producing micro- (not macro-) evolution. While natural selection sometimes explains the survival of the fittest, it does not explain the origin of the fittest. Today, some people think that because natural selection occurs, evolution must be correct. Actually, natural selection prevents major evolutionary changes

In the words of the Nobel prize-winning evolutionist Jacques Monod: “[Natural] selection is the blindest, and most cruel way of evolving new species….The struggle for life and elimination of the weakest is a horrible process, against which our whole modern ethic revolts. Obviously there is great conflict among evolutionists in explaining the boundaries of natural selection.

Next 5 in a new post. Thanks.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

To pick up from where I left off. He’s numbers 6-10. I could offer up to 50 of these but you get the point.

6- Fossil Gaps
If evolution happened, the fossil record should show continuous and gradual changes from the bottom to the top layers. Actually, many gaps or discontinuities appear throughout the fossil record. At the most fundamental level, a big gap exists between forms of life whose cells have nuclei (eukaryotes, such as plants, animals, and fungi) and those that don’t (prokaryotes such as bacteria and blue-green algae). Fossil links are also missing between numerous plants, between single-celled forms of life and invertebrates (animals without backbones), among insects, between invertebrates and vertebrates (animals with backbones), between fish and amphibians, between amphibians and reptiles, between reptiles and mammals, between reptiles and birds, between primates and other mammals, and between apes and other primates. In fact, chains are missing, not links. The fossil record has been studied so thoroughly that it is safe to conclude that these gaps are real; they will never be filled

7- Altruism
Humans and many animals will endanger or even sacrifice their lives to save another—sometimes the life of another species. Natural selection, which evolutionists say selects individual characteristics, should rapidly eliminate altruistic (self-sacrificing) “individuals.” How could such risky, costly behavior ever be inherited, because its possession tends to prevent the altruistic “individual” from passing on its genes for altruism? If evolution were correct, selfish behavior should have completely eliminated unselfish behavior. Furthermore, cheating and aggression should have “weeded out” cooperation. Altruism contradicts evolution

8- Fruit Flies
A century of fruit fly experiments, involving 3,000 consecutive generations, gives absolutely no basis for believing that any natural or artificial process can cause an increase in complexity and viability. No clear genetic improvement has ever been observed in any form of life, despite the many unnatural efforts to increase mutation rates.

9- Language
Children as young as seven months can understand and learn grammatical rules. Furthermore, studies of 36 documented cases of children raised without human contact (feral children) show that language is learned only from other humans; humans do not automatically speak. So, the first humans must have been endowed with a language ability. There is no evidence language evolved. Nonhumans communicate, but not with language. True language requires both vocabulary and grammar. With great effort, human trainers have taught some chimpanzees and gorillas to recognize a few hundred spoken words, to point to up to 200 symbols, and to make limited hand signs. These impressive feats are sometimes exaggerated by editing the animals’ successes on film. (Some early demonstrations were flawed by the trainer’s hidden promptings.)
If language evolved, the earliest languages should be the simplest. But language studies show that the more ancient the language (for example: Latin, 200 B.C.; Greek, 800 B.C.; Linear B, 1200 B.C., and Vedic Sanskrit, 1500 B.C.), the more complex it is with respect to syntax, case, gender, mood, voice, tense, verb form, and inflection. The best evidence indicates that languages devolve; that is, they become simpler instead of more complex. Most linguists reject the idea that simple languages evolve into complex languages.

10- Speech
Speech is uniquely human. Humans have both a “prewired” brain capable of learning and conveying abstract ideas, and the physical anatomy (mouth, throat, tongue, larynx, etc.) to produce a wide range of sounds. Only a few animals can approximate some human sounds. Because the human larynx is low in the neck, a long air column lies above the vocal cords. This helps make vowel sounds. Apes cannot make clear vowel sounds, because they lack this long air column. The back of the human tongue, extending deep into the neck, modulates the air flow to produce consonant sounds. Apes have flat, horizontal tongues, incapable of making consonant sounds. Even if an ape could evolve all the physical equipment for speech, that equipment would be useless without a “prewired” brain for learning language skills, especially grammar and vocabulary.

And I’ll add one for good measure…

11- Embryology
Evolutionists have taught for over a century that as an embryo develops, it repeats an evolutionary sequence. In other words, in a few days an unborn human repeats stages that supposedly took millions of years for mankind. Another well-known example of this ridiculous teaching is that embryos of mammals have “gill slits,” because mammals supposedly evolved from fish. (Yes, that’s faulty logic.) Embryonic tissues that resemble “gill slits” have nothing to do with breathing; they are neither gills nor slits. Instead, that embryonic tissue develops into parts of the face, bones of the middle ear, and endocrine glands. Most Embryologists no longer consider the superficial similarities between a few embryos and the adult forms of simpler animals as evidence for evolution.
Ernst Haeckel, by deliberately falsifying his drawings, originated and popularized this incorrect but widespread belief. Many modern textbooks continue to spread this false idea as evidence for evolution.

Evolution is in no doubt complex, but just doesn’t fly in the face of what we know for sure. That’s why it’s a THEORY as I stated from the beginning. There are MANY contingencies which DO NOT match or cannot be reconciled. Too many for me to base my life on mere materialism.

Thank god this is America. You do you…I’ll certainly do me. Peace.

Thanks.

Tyro said...

DSHB,

Secondly, God DID NOT put an age tag on any of his creation and he left neither you or I a memo dating ANY of what we see.

That's not true. There are many, many, many tags indicating age and in the rest of your life I'd bet you could list dozens of them.

Can you tell the difference between a brand new house and one that was build in 1900? 1400? 2,000 BC? You may not be able to date them specifically but you aren't so stupid as to think that there are no signs of age. Don't treat us as if we are.

We know you don't believe this in any other part of your life, so why should anyone possibly accept this when it comes to the age of the Earth?

It really goes back to my original analogy of the car. Buying a 2007 in 2007 that was BUILT and assembled in 2006 with parts that were created as early as 2005 in no way makes the car company a liar.

Your analogy is ridiculous. You seem to have no idea of the magnitude of the differences in time scales between the biblical account and reality, and you seem to have no awareness of how things can be dated.

The only thing even close to accurate is the fact that people who just read a date are the ones who are being misinformed. It seems that people who just read the sticker (or their bible) get a date that's at variance with reality.

Come back when you have an analogy where the label says 1 year old but the object looks 100,000 years old.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Tyro~ DON'T ADDRESS ME AGAIN UNTIL YOU'VE EVOLVED INTO A MAN OR WHATEVER YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO BE.

NATURALLY SELECT YOUR BUTT OUTA GROWN FOLKS CONVERSATIONS.

YOU'VE PROVEN YOURSELF TO BE STUPID, AND UNKNOWLEDGEABLE ON ALL BUT TOO MANY SUBJECTS AND HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT...I SEE THAT 4- SHURE!

Thank you very much!

Modusoperandi said...

District Supt. Harvey Burnett "I believe in the Biblical record above science and above what things “appear” to be."
Uh-huh. Good luck with that.

"Secondly, God DID NOT put an age tag on any of his creation and he left neither you or I a memo dating ANY of what we see."
Actually, most things have age tags. From the geologic column, to half-lives, to the "gene clock", to a bunch of other things that I can't remember because I just woke up, He (if He's involved) left a bunch of notes on when things happened.

"And because the evidence certainly SIGNIFICANTLY conflicts, unless you have that memo, you are in no position to call God a liar."
I don't think He's a liar. I don't think He exists at all. We atheists are like that. In fact, it's one of only two things that we have in common (the other? We look best while wearing nothing at all. I've said too much). Suffice it to say, the time between the first beings that could be called and now, and the time between the biblical Adam and now, are way, way different. No matter how you calculate the biblemath, whether 6k or 12k or 24 thousand years, it's still a far cry from the actual first men (and that's a minor quibble compared to the "when" in the biblical beginning and the "when" in the actual one). I'm not being arrogant when I point out that the two beginnings (biblical and reality-based) don't match. They aren't even close. This, ordinarily, wouldn't be a problem, as Gen1 is poetry, man, but some people take it literally. That's where you run in to problems (those problems inevitably run in to school boards, which run in to science class, which run in to your children. Won't somebody think about the children?).

"Man in his arrogance and little, limited knowledge extends himself as a higher moral being than God but yet daily makes decisions that cause more and more immorality to proliferate."
Well, cut it out! I knew that it was all your fault, man! Jeez! I turn my back for one friggin' minute, and your suddenly making decisions that cause more and more immorality to proliferate!

"Because we are arrogant and love to hate God."
Really? I love popping popcorn, campfires, and long walks off of short piers. Is hating God listed anywhere in there?

"My next post will deal with specific reasons why I reject evolution as nothing more than a man created fantasy...As I said, thank you for a clear and cogent answer and I submit this response to you and others with all due respect."
This could get interesting. Don't be surprised if we get a little pissy. A casual glance at your next post leads me to posit that we will. Kudos, sir! Answersingenesis has served you well! I like the mention of Haekel (you did, however, miss Piltdown man).

Modusoperandi said...

District Supt. Harvey Burnett: Ooo. Quotes from creationscience.com. AIG has competition, I see. Who can prove a literal, worldwide flood first? On your marks...

Modusoperandi said...

District Supt. Harvey Burnett "1- Organic Evolution Has Never Been Observed"
Actually it has. If you're expecting a parrot giving birth to a rat, that's not how it works. Evolution is small changes spreading through populations over many generations. While biologists do argue about the minutae of evolution, they are in agreement that it happens. There is no controversy. The Discovery Institute lies. Bald-faced, naked lies. I kid you not. The compartmentalization that's required to keep the facts on the ground, and what you (whether "you" is creationist or ID) want them to be is worthy of nineteen eighty-four.
Evolution is messy. The TOE is incomplete (and always will be). There are gaps. We did come from earlier animals. We are animals. Evolution happens. Get used to it.

"2- The Law of Biogenesis"
Way to misuse a "law" that came about when scientists figured out that maggots don't "spontaneously generate" from rotting meat.
That out of the way...abiogenesis is easily the weakest theory in modern science, IMO. The problem with figuring out how life came from the primordial goo is that we have virtually no evidence. Single-celled organisms simply don't fossilize all that well (if ever). Their precursors are even worse; they're simpler, smaller and older (4.4-2.7 billion years ago). Worse, it can never happen again (as existing living things would eat any new life, no matter how simple). Even working backwards from now to then means working through billions of years of incomplete history. There are simply too many "ifs" for it to be a comfortable theory (which has the scientifically cool side-effect of it potentially changing radically with every new piece of data). The current models are neat and I have no hesitation in saying that they, in the end, will prove to be almost completely wrong. That's the beauty of science; it's self-correcting.
That that out of the way, abiogenesis is better than "God did it". Goddidit leads nowhere. It provides no new information and, worse, it puts a full stop on looking for new information (once you know He did it, you don't have to look anymore). Worser (for creationists), it's a God o' the Gaps argument (and an argument from ignorance and an argument from incredulity). When has a GotG argument ever turned out in God's favour?

"3- Acquired Characteristics"
Wow. That's a remarkable set of half-truths (a sin of omission is still a sin). If an environmental pressure selects for a given adaptation, that adaptation will be bred in to the species, over time (simply through examples that are the "best" for a given environment outbreeding those in the same species that are not). This parasite, for instance, didn't start out making the ant's rump bright red. It would've started with a minor change. Birds chose to eat the slightly redder ants...the cycle continues...voila!...bright red rumps. For that matter, the nematode's ancestors didn't start out in the ant at all (nor the bird). Go back far enough, and the ant wasn't an ant, and the bird wasn't a bird, either. History is freaky.

"4- Mendel's Laws"
Mendelian inheritance is classical genetics. The science has moved on. For one thing, we can see DNA now (rather than just the outcome of dominant/recessive genes). Modern genetics has concepts that Mendel couldn't even theorize. He simply didn't have enough data.
By way of a (terrible) analogy, Mendel was trying to figure out how the sun works without being able to look at it. All he had was its light reflecting off the moon from which to work his theory.
Creation science (and its critique of actual science) hasn't moved on since the Dover trial. It still brings up things that show its profound, willful ignorance of what we've learned since its practitioners decided to stop learning, and when it does grab on to new data, it inevitably distorts it to fit Genesis. Genesis is just as right as it's always been. It's only in the last couple of centuries that we've noticed how wrong its right turned out to be.

"5- Natural Selection" & "Natural selection cannot produce new genes; it selects only among preexisting characteristics."
Well, it's a good thing that evolution isn't just natural selection! That paragraph isn't even internally consistent; first it talks about preexisting, then it mentions mutation (and then, only the "bad" mutations). Natural selection selects from whatever it has to select from (whether existing, mixed or mutant). In the short term, its mostly the former (the "best" of Protungulatum), but over tens of thousands of generations, the "positive" mutations build up, one species slowly becomes another, then another, then another (with branches with specific pressures in different environments). See whale evolution, as an example (although the wikipedia article is probably out of date. Recent fossil finds have filled in a bunch of formerly head scratching gaps).
That quote from Jacques Monod is dead on (although its veracity/accuracy is doubtful, as a quick google search shows it only appearing on creationist sites, which have a history of misquotes and manglings. That ellipsis is worrying. I'm scared. Hold me). Is it the cruelty that creationists loath? "Cruel" is a misnomer and a gross misuse of the word. Natural selection is not cruel; it is literally heartless. No goal, no direction, no plan, no emotion whatsoever. Humans have a habit of anthropomorphizing things. It gets us in to trouble, sometimes. This is one of them. Calling evolution cruel is like calling gravity cruel after you fall down the stairs. It's moot. Neither cares what you think. For that matter, neither thinks.
Creationism and theistic evolution on the other hand are cruel, as there's an accountable moral agent in charge of the whole mess. That the former has no change and the latter only has change when He chooses doesn't help, as it's still red in tooth and claw. Each living thing only lives because something else died to make the fuel that it runs on. You may have come from your mother and father, but you're only here now because that cow and that melon aren't. Damn you, food chain!
...and, no, animals weren't all herbivores before "the fall" (as amusing as images of a tyrannosaur feasting on a field of wheat or a female mosquito sucking the juice out of a lemon may be). There was no literal fall bringing sin and death in to the universe. Things have been eating things ever since there were things to eat and be eaten. Stars "died" long before anything resembling homo sapiens sapiens walked the Earth. Side note: we're only here because those stars died. Isn't that cool?

"6- Fossil Gaps"
Yes, the fossil record is incomplete. Most things that die don't get fossilized. Most of the ones that do will never be found. There is (and has been for quite a while) enough data in the geologic column to show that evolution has occured.
"The fossil record has been studied so thoroughly that it is safe to conclude that these gaps are real; they will never be filled"
That's the kind of answer you'd get from someone who isn't looking (and ignores the stuff that others find). The gaps are gaps. Some will never be filled. Some lead to new branches, new dead ends, new gaps and even reorganizations of the Tree of Life (the ancestors of birds, for one. I can't wait to see how it turns out). The data stream is incomplete. That does not mean that evolution is false. What we do have shows evolution. We may not have E, but we do have C, D and F. Each epoch in deep time shows things becoming other things (in snapshot form). Evolution happens. Also, it's a theory that leads to predictions (and, with finds like Tiktaalik, one that matches the predictions. TOE held that there should be a half step between sea and land in the Devonian period. An expedition was sent to an area where the right section of the geologic column was exposed. They dug. And dug. And dug. A mere four years later they found a fossil...and hey!...it fit the prediction). It can't predict the future, unfortunately (remember, there's no "goal" for evolution), but it makes testable predictions about the gaps in the past.
And while I'm here, all fossils are transitional fossils.While species may remain stable for long periods of time, everything is changing (even if the changes are minor, or environmental pressures "breed out" deviations from the current "standard", or "best").

"7- Altruism", "Natural selection, which evolutionists say selects individual characteristics, should rapidly eliminate altruistic (self-sacrificing) "individuals.""
Um, no, not if altruism is beneficial to the species. Reciprocal altruism is beneficial to man, because one man vs. lion = lion eats man. Many men working together + lion = nice fur coat for the missus. Man's success is partly due to helping each other and partly to helping ourselves. I help you now (for no benefit), in the hope that you do the same for me later on. If you don't, you are tarnished as selfish, and I am less likely to help you in the future. Think of altruism as enlightened self interest. If our predecessors only practiced greed, we wouldn't be here, as no man is an island.
Remember, too, that until fairly recently man lived in small, mobile extended family units (where virtually everyone is loosely related). Helping others, in this context, helps yourself (your genes live on, even if you sacrifice yourself for the tribe). This face to face altruism is "built in", reinforced over many generations, as it worked so well. The happy defect of altruism is that you will put your life in danger to protect virtually anyone that you can touch (as long as your inner altruist sees "them" as members of the tribe). That's why you'll give the shirt of your back to your brother, while a starving baby next door tears you up inside and you go out of your way to help (hopefully), but if the same kid is in Africa on the TV, while it does engender some response, it doesn't do so with nearly the same intensity.
It's not perfect (evolution isn't really the "best". It's what works just "best" enough to beat the competition over generations). Cheaters do prosper. Sociopaths, apparently, do well in big business, as they don't have a conscience to get in the way of their actions and, as such, don't mind screwing you over to make what's yours theirs. That is a deviant psychology, thankfully, as it doesn't work on the large scale.

"8- Fruit Flies"
That we can't force a small batch of critters to change much over a mere 3,000 generations doesn't mean a lot. Evolution/natural selection/mutation/adaptation isn't a hundred flies over 3,000 generations, it's every fly of a given species in the Amazon basin over 10,000 generations or more. The chance of a single beneficial mutation is tiny, but the number of possible individuals within a species is mind boggling. There are more insects in and on one square mile of land than there are people on the entire Earth (and there are a lot of people). That most of them will be eaten and most colonies will eventually fail pales in comparison to how successful the "big picture" is (350,000 species of beetles alone). The human mind didn't evolve with the capacity to easily picture the flabbergasting scale of the whole thing (that one square mile statistic alone makes me woozy). This, in a way, leads all the way back to abiogenesis. The chance of life at all is practically nothing, but it improves remarkably once you take into account both the time scale (between one and two billion years from the start of the Earth to the theoretical beginning of life, with any number of failures in that time), and the volume (potentially everywhere there was water). We simply aren't made to comprehend stuff like that (whether time or scale. The age and size of the universe continues to baffle even the most baffle-resistant people).
Given a long enough period time, on a big enough scale, life happens. After it happens, given a long enough period of time, on a big enough scale, it becomes something else.

"9- Language"
Language did evolve. Birds tweet, octopi change colours, whales sing, chimps throw poo. We're just the present pinnacle of language. I'm no linguist, unfortunately. I'll have to leave this one to someone who knows more. I barely evin learned English real good. If you're thinking that the Babel story fits in here, it doesn't. At 2,240BC on the biblical timeline, it's way too late as an origin for the multiplicity of languages (try from 40,000 to 2,000,000 years ago for the earliest tongues, with dialects and languages changing in to other languages over time and as homo sapiens sapiens, or potentially his ancestors, spread). As a tale that Hebrews made up after they encountered many different people with many different languages and dialects Babel, Tower of, is an interesting attempt at an explanation for the multiple foreign tongues that they would've encountered while away. It's wrong for the same reason Gen1 is wrong: they didn't know any better.

"10- Speech"
This feeds in to #9. Speech evolved as our ancestors did. The gear to talk evolved with language portion of the brain.
"Even if an ape could evolve all the physical equipment for speech, that equipment would be useless without a "prewired" brain for learning language skills, especially grammar and vocabulary."
Exactly. The two evolves together, much like our bigger brain's ability to invent and improve tools and our thumbs (an ability and a digit we share with our nearest cousins, though they don't improve tools. Take that, chimpanzees!).

"11- Embryology"
Ah. Haeckel. We meet at last, again, for the first time, once more. Oh noes! A scientist got something wrong! And people repeated the error! And modern biology texts still have his infamous drawings! That last one is my favourite. Most biology texts that have a Haeckel drawing have a note and a paragraph or two on the failure of his recapitulation theory. It's not that the texts are continuing to pass it off as true; it's a cautionary tale (and if you find on that still shows it as fact, tell the school board. Shitty textbooks don't belong in school). Scientists are wrong, sometimes. Even when they're right, it's only temporary (Newton was wrong on classical mechanics. Luckily, he was close enough that it still works, until the very big scale and the very small).
I'll let you in on a secret: Darwin was wrong more than he was right. In some cases, dead wrong. That doesn't make evolution false. A scientific theory doesn't rest on the shoulders of its prophets. It rests on its data, and even then, only as long as new data continues to fit. When contradictory data comes in, the theory is revised or abandoned. There is no inerrant and unchanging canon of science. It's just canon for now.

...
Others can probably explain all the above much better than I did. The information is out there (from people who look in the microscopes or dig up the fossils), you just have to go look for it. National Geographic is a good start. Nature and Nova on PBS are good, too. A good natural history museum is will give a nice overview on the big picture. The library is better (it's full of books on stuff like this). The internet is a mix of good, bad and blah.

Did I avoid getting pissy?

Spirula said...

"The fossil record has been studied so thoroughly that it is safe to conclude that these gaps are real; they will never be filled"

Tell that to Neil Shubin.

Really, that is one of the most mind numbingly stupid asserstions I've read in some time. You may want to at least pick up some scientific journals or books sometime.

Of course, creation "sciences" contribution to the evidence still remains nil. All they are doing is sitting around playing some pathetic version of arm-chair quaterback, while the real scientist...you know...do the science.

paul01 said...

There can't be gaps without a sequence.

Beware of arguing there is no sequence because of gaps!

Shygetz said...

Harvey, you have no right to demand that someone not address you. Tyro's responses have been within the bounds of decorum that, by tradition, have been accepted here. Sorry if you don't like them, but your tantrum was ill-advised.

modusoperandi took care of Harvey's list, but I can't resist having my go at it. There will be some overlap between the two.

1- Organic Evolution Has Never Been Observed

False, as previously pointed out and cited. Many events of speciation have been observed. Many, many events of microevolution have been observed. Events of chemical replicators sufficient for evolution have also been observed (e.g. Tjivikua, T.; Ballester, P.; Rebek, J., Jr. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 1990, 112, 1249-1250.) These data are not new, but may be new to you, as I imagine the creationist circles you get your info from would not tout them.

2- The Law of Biogenesis

This is misleading. The Law of Biogenesis simply says that modern organisms do not spring from decaying organic matter. It says nothing, positive or negative, about the possibility of generating life from non-life in general. Indeed, we have constructed fully viable and evolvable viruses from non-living matter, proving that your version of the Law of Biogenesis is false.
Cello, J., Paul, A. V. & Wimmer, E. Science 297, 1016−1018 (2002).

However, I will readily concede that abiogenesis is currently a hypothesis. That says nothing about evolution.

3- Acquired Characteristics

You just argued against Lamarkianism, not evolution. We don't say that organisms under duress produce more offspring with favorable characteristics. We say that organisms that ALREADY HAVE favorable characteristics for the environment will produce more children which due to genetic heritability will be more likely to also have those favorable characteristics, while organisms with unfavorable characteristics will produce fewer children which due to genetic heritability will be more likely to also have those unfavorable characteristics. You clearly do not understand evolution whatsoever to think that this is an objection.

4- Mendel’s Laws
You just claimed that mutation does not happen, and new genes are never formed. This is entirely false. We have oberved new genes forming. Example--MRSA-resistant Staph bacteria is due to the evolution of an entirely new gene, mecA, which happens to be on a piece of DNA known to move around (SCCmec). HIV evolution is due to the emergence of entirely new genes. I could (literally) go on all week. Mendelian assortment accounts for some variation, but not all, and does not account for ANY variation in asexual organisms (what, did you forget about those?)

5- Natural Selection

I'm sorry, did you assert here that antibiotic resistance previously existed, was lost from the genome, and then somehow re-emerged as a new gene in organisms that previously did not have it? You seem to neglect the fact that we KNOW what mutations occurred in these genes, we KNOW where they came from, so we KNOW that your version is crap. There is no non-functional MRSA-protogene in bacteria waiting to be reactivated. If there was, we would see it when we sequenced non-MRSA S. aureus. We don't.

6- Fossil Gaps

Allow me to use an analogy that you might relate to. There are no accepted records of how Jesus spent his adolescence. Therefore, due to this gap in our knowledge, Jesus could not have grown up from the baby Jesus at the beginning to the adult Jesus of the crucifixion. They must have been two separate Jesuses, each created wholly in its own form.

Do you see how dumb this argument is yet? Now add to the fact that every time we find a fossil, you proclaim that there are now two gaps and you will see why this argument impresses no one. We have amazingly good fossil records for those species with bodies that fossilize well and that lived in areas that promote fossilization. For others, the record is much more spotty. This is missing data, not refuting data. Find me a rabbit that dates to the pre-Cambrian era, and you'll have refuting data.

7- Altruism

Now this is a hot area of reasearch. First of all, natural selection works on replicating functional units, which in this case are genes. It is entirely expected that a person will sacrifice himself for a relative under certain conditions, as that relative carries much of the same genes. Second, the phenomenon of group selection is known to be valid; however, there is fierce debate as to how important it is. Third, you ignore the emergence of cultural phenomena (memes), which enable people to act counter to their genetic predisposition. Fourth, you neglect game theory advances, which show that under certain conditions apparent altruism is beneficial to self-gratification. Fifth, you neglect the emergence of empathy as a stabilizing force in social animals, a side effect of which would be apparently altruistic acts to satisfy the empathic drive. So, while this is the best point you raised (in that it is actually an area of active research and debate), it is not anti-evolution as you make it seem. There are various explanations, each of which explains some altruistic acts, and current research being done to learn more.

8- Fruit Flies

You neglect to mention that these fruit flies are almost always maintained without selective pressure. They are well-fed, have an abundance of mates, and a lack of predators. And yet we have still seen speciation, as previously noted and cited. Fruit flies have helped prove evolution, you silly man.

9- Language
No non-human languages, huh?
Bee dance (which we can now interpret)
Bird songs (some parrots can actually learn human language and use it to answer questions)
Whale songs
Prairie dog alarm calls, which identify size, color, species, and speed of predators
Squid coloration language
And the chimp sign languages that you pointed out
And that's just a few of the more popular ones. Animals can and do use language, just not as well as us.

Language itself would not evolve, as language is not a replicating organism. Our capacity for language would evolve, and evidence based on fossilized remains suggests it almost certainly did, as brain capacities and structure changed over time. Language is a cultural phenomenon, and as such would have to be taught. This actually supports evolution.

10- Speech

Speech is not uniquely human; human speech is uniquely human. And why shouldn't it be? Evolution would predict that, as our brain capacities for language increased to the point where more and more complex abstractions can be handled, we would require a larger variety of vocalizations in order to best utilize our increased capacity for language. Animals with less capacity for language would not require as extensive a range of vocalizations.

11- Embryology

This is a lie. Find me a single modern embryology textbook that holds to strong recapitulation theory. None of them do; modern embryology (done by scientists, not creationists) refuted Haeckel. Mammals did not supposedly evolve from fish; mammals and fish have a common ancestor. The proper name for gill slits in mammals are pharyngeal arches; gill slit is just a common moniker. And gill slits is not as misleading as you let on; humans and fish (and other organisms) both have the same slits; in fish they develop into gills, in humans they develop into other things. And it is another bald-faced dirty lie that most embryologists don't consider developmental similarity to be a hallmark of evolution; I point you to the entire field of evolutionary developmental biology (evo-devo) as refutation.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Shygetz~ DON'T Try to council me on behavior you Godless humanist!

I told Tyro not to address me because he wasn't addressing ISSUES he addressed me and my beliefs, and he wasn't answering my questions without second guessing my me...So FORGET BOTH OF YOU so far as that's concerned.

To your points...you try to make one believe this: "However, I will readily concede that abiogenesis is currently a hypothesis. That says nothing about evolution"

That's the whole argument...If there is NO ABIOGENESIS then there is NO EVOLUTION...but yet you LIE and say they're not connected...Has ANY biological, matter ever come out of material, non living matter??? That's the question fro evolution to answer and PROVE...YOU CAN'T!

So far as your lie about mutations and specifically using cancer as an example...Those cells are BORN with us. They turn on in certain circumstances and under certain stresses...They are not evolved mutations. As I said there remains no new sequences created ONLY combination changes. Your answer is deceitful.

So far as the theories of evolutionary psychology and ethics as it pertains to altruism...all of you are NUTS if you believe that mess. That's why it's debated because none of it in EVOLUTIONARY thought makes sense. I'll deal with it in another post but in short evolution fails to account for motive and intent which are essential in understanding and deceiphering conduct...All evolution does is observe behavior (like the Chimps and animals that you continue to offer for some reason) but cannot discern motive or intent...then let's just assume that it can and that morality is biological or hereditary...your argument then defeats itself because then ALL behavior is preprogrammed and DO NOT qualify for moral behavior, because ONLY free moral agents can do and experience that.

Now you're trying to make the link but don't give me speculation...give me PROOF.

Like I said I will only scratch the surface here but just based on those 2 concepts alone any reasonable person would reject evolution...even Robert Wright in 'The Moral Animal' even goes so far as to say that under the evolutionary system, what we think of as higher truth is only a "Shameless Ploy" (p.212) ie; what we call morality is only CONDUCT and as such there would be no right or wrong to it...

Tell that to the victim of the rapist or family of the one who has been murdered. Tell that GARBAGE to the family member who just got their car stolen or child killed by a psychopath...

Evolution is a FARCE at ALL levels!

Tyro said...

DSHB,

That's the whole argument...If there is NO ABIOGENESIS then there is NO EVOLUTION...but yet you LIE and say they're not connected...

I don't understand what you think this argument is supposed to show. Are you saying that you're willing to concede that once there was a breeding population of single-celled organisms, you accept evolution as the explanation for the diversity and structure of life we see today?

If yes, then you accept evolution, congratulations. If no, then you do see there is a distinction between the origin of the first forms of life and its present day manifestation. Evolution is the explanation for the diversity of life and something else must deal with ultimate origins. We can quarrel over both, but that doesn't mean they are the same.

Has ANY biological, matter ever come out of material, non living matter??? That's the question fro evolution to answer and PROVE...YOU CAN'T!

Yes, every second of every day. Bacteria may consume non-living material and, much clearer, all plants turn non-living matter into living matter. Once you come to learn about the way individual cells function, you'll see that they do not operate on other living material, they consume chemicals - it is like this with all organisms, even animal cells.

So far as the theories of evolutionary psychology and ethics as it pertains to altruism...all of you are NUTS if you believe that mess.

There is rather good evidence for this, coming from game theory for example. It makes many predictions about reputation and repeat interactions which have further confirmed the theory.

I should warn you that if you don't raise any specific objections and instead just call you opponents names, you look like you are ignorant of the theories you claim to be discussing. It also doesn't engender further respectful dialogue.

your argument then defeats itself because then ALL behavior is preprogrammed and DO NOT qualify for moral behavior, because ONLY free moral agents can do and experience that

The problem that we seek to explain is behaviour which is why we observe behaviour. That's hardly self-defeating.

You can shout about Free Will and other items of faith if you wish, but it doesn't affect evolution.

ie; what we call morality is only CONDUCT and as such there would be no right or wrong to it...

Come on. Fallacy of Appeal to Consequence, really? This has no bearing on the validity of evolution, even if your argument made sense.

You just splattered the thread with a huge list of so-called objections and then never bothered to address any of the when people take the time to explain why they're wrong. That's disrespectful, and again creates a bad impression that you don't care about the facts. I'm not trying to accuse you of anything, just letting you know so that you can take steps to salvage things.

Modusoperandi said...

District Supt. Harvey Burnett "That's the whole argument...If there is NO ABIOGENESIS then there is NO EVOLUTION..."
Uh, no? If abiogenesis is a dead end, and it turns out that the origin of life on Earth is supernatural, that's creationism ("In the beginning...", though probably not the one you're expecting), plus evolution. That your god got so much of His "in the beginning" wrong (in that it conflicts with what we do know about the history of the universe) disqualifies Him from contention in the big Creation giveaway, I think, leaving an infinite number of possible creators, both known and unknown, as He still seems to insist that He did it differently than whoever did it did. Inerrant is all fine and dandy, but in this case, inerrancy is only true if its meaning is changed to be "literally and flagrantly wrong, but just close enough to keep some people happy, except for the parts that fail to conflict with what we don't know, primarily because we haven't discovered those conflicts yet. Also, it comes with a wicked argument from authority. Argument from tradition, too".

"but yet you LIE and say they're not connected..."
They are connected. One comes right after the other. They are not, however, the same. The many, generally incompatible, hypotheses for abiogenesis could be entirely wrong, and it would still have no effect on the TOE.

"Has ANY biological, matter ever come out of material, non living matter???"
Pending further evidence, at least once. "God did it" is not an answer. It's "I don't know", dressed up in pious guise. The world will be a better place when people start using the latter instead of the former. Personally, I use it all the time. Who stole my sandwich? I don't know.

"That's the question fro evolution to answer and PROVE."
No. No, it's not. Abiogenesis is from nothing to A. Evolution is from A to B, B to C, etc.

"YOU CAN'T!"
In those two words, at least, we're in the same boat. The difference between abiogenesis and creationism is that the former has a working, if radically incomplete hypothesis (too incomplete to really be a theory, IMO), while the latter is based entirely on what we don't know. Evolution vs creationism, meanwhile, favours evolution as evolution has much evidence for, while creationism only has evidence against (against itself, I mean). Creationism's buffer is doing what you've done, demanding a perfect proof of its competitor, which ain't gonna happen (this isn't mathematics), denying that evolution's evidence is really evidence then when that fails, printing in ALL CAPS to show how emotional you are about the conflict.

"Your answer is deceitful."
No, our answer is incomplete, imperfect, and for some people, uncomfortable. If you're looking for deceitful, that's these guys.

"So far as the theories of evolutionary psychology and ethics as it pertains to altruism...all of you are NUTS if you believe that mess. That's why it's debated because none of it in EVOLUTIONARY thought makes sense."
No, it's debated because evolutionary psychology, like a lot of the fairly recent sciences, is a fairly recent science, as sciences go, recently, and we're still figuring out why we (and also our evolutionary cousins, and beasties in general) do the voodoo that we do.

"I'll deal with it in another post but in short evolution fails to account for motive and intent which are essential in understanding and deceiphering conduct..."
I can't wait. Your perfect evidence for your view should be interesting. Yes, I'm getting pissy. You bring it out of me. People who demand a perfect answer while not questioning the paucity of the their own position do that to me. Still, I won't turn down a hug, if you offer it.

"(like the Chimps and animals that you continue to offer for some reason)"
Chimps are our nearest living relatives. Hence, what they do and why they do it will be similar to what and why our own ancestors did and dood (not perfectly, by any means. Behavioral science never is. Heck, even the "hard" sciences aren't). Observing them, we can see more primitive versions of us. We have an advanced mind; them, a primitive one. We both have reciprocal altruism. We're both social animals. We both have emotions, concepts of justice, the critical concept of "I" (go back far enough down the evolutionary tree and they all fade and disappear, for the most part. Gibbons and macaques, for example, are pretty dang primitive) and we both fling poo when angry or frightened. Well, I'm not supposed to do that last one anymore.

"...then let's just assume that it can and that morality is biological or hereditary...your argument then defeats itself because then ALL behavior is preprogrammed and DO NOT qualify for moral behavior, because ONLY free moral agents can do and experience that."
No, the basics of behavior, through millions of years of evolution, are programmed. Behavior, in general, can be effected by any number of influences, from chemical balance to the adorably adorable "nurture".
Incidentally, I've heard that the concept of free will is on its way out. I'm going to hang around the backstage door and get its autograph.

"Now you're trying to make the link but don't give me speculation...give me PROOF."
Rock solid, absolute, inerrant proof? We don't have that. Science doesn't work like that. We have many different lines of related evidence. The ToE links those many bits of data into a narrative that works. You're thinking of religion, which is like that, except that its proof is wanting. "As Paul says in Romans..." isn't evidence, it's anecdotal.

"...even Robert Wright in 'The Moral Animal' even goes so far as to say that under the evolutionary system, what we think of as higher truth is only a "Shameless Ploy" (p.212) ie; what we call morality is only CONDUCT and as such there would be no right or wrong to it..."
Are you trying to use a book on evolutionary psychology to prove that morality didn't evolve? (/me adds book to next shipment from Amazon)

"Tell that to the victim of the rapist or family of the one who has been murdered."
Tell them that the rapist and the murderer converted to Christianity in jail, and as an honest conversion they will rejoin the victims in heaven. Better, point out that they converted and are in heaven, but since the victims weren't Christians (or weren't the right sect, or weren't True Christians) that the rapist and murderer will go to heaven, while their victims a boiling away for eternity in a fire that burns but does not consume "Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched."
On second thought, you're probably best off to offer your condolences and a shoulder to lean on. That's what we do.

"Tell that GARBAGE to the family member who just got their car stolen or child killed by a psychopath..."
Or, better yet, tell them that they're unrepentant sinners who must accept the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (our Lord and Saviour), lest they taste His most divine, holy, and just wrath. Remember, it's a well known fact that it's easiest to convert someone who is at their lowest.

"Evolution is a FARCE at ALL levels!"
No. Fawlty Towers is a farce at all levels. Especially Manuel. You'd be surprised how often people get the two mixed up. To help, one is "change in the gene pool of a population from generation to generation by such processes as mutation, natural selection, and genetic drift.", while the other is "John Cleese runs a small hotel and deals poorly with the stress that results from said job".

Evan said...

Two things.

First: Modus I have finished cleaning off my screen from my spit take on the Fawlty Towers reference but you are the cat's pajamas. /bow

Second: DSHB you repeat this canard:

Has ANY biological, matter ever come out of material, non living matter??? That's the question fro evolution to answer and PROVE...YOU CAN'T!

Yet it seems like you didn't read Shygetz' post at all.

He informs you that non-live chemicals have been used to make a viable virus. He gave you the reference, but you probably didn't want to look it up.

Here's the abstract:

Full-length poliovirus complementary DNA (cDNA) was synthesized by assembling oligonucleotides of plus and minus strand polarity. The synthetic poliovirus cDNA was transcribed by RNA polymerase into viral RNA, which translated and replicated in a cell-free extract, resulting in the de novo synthesis of infectious poliovirus. Experiments in tissue culture using neutralizing antibodies and CD155 receptor-specific antibodies and neurovirulence tests in CD155 transgenic mice confirmed that the synthetic virus had biochemical and pathogenic characteristics of poliovirus. Our results show that it is possible to synthesize an infectious agent by in vitro chemical-biochemical means solely by following instructions from a written sequence.

I know that the Discovery Institute is probably eagerly trying to replicate this experiment but I haven't seen them publish anywhere.

Face it DSHB, your argument about life coming from non-life needs to go out with the trash, just like your fossil gap argument and ... well pretty much all your arguments with the possible exception of abiogenesis.

If you wanna hang all your hopes on abiogenesis be my guest. It's a pretty weak thread to believe in Genesis from though. Remember Harvey, an overwhelming majority of Christian biologists accept the age of the earth as 4.5 billion years BP and the fact of organic evolution by means of descent with modification and natural selection.

Modusoperandi said...

Shygetz "Squid coloration language" & "Animals can and do use language, just not as well as us."
I don't know how much research has been done on squidspeak, but we do know that they're smart, they remember, and their communication of shifting patterns of both colour and texture (how cool is that?) is remarkably complex, even among the dopey cuttlefish (all they can say is "Ooo! I can hover!"). The main problem with squid, as I see it, is that they don't have much to talk about ("It sure is a hot one, today.", "Yup, but it's a moist heat.", "...So, are you gonna finish that clam?" "I reckon I will." "You still livin' in that crevice under the rock?" "Naw, I moved out to the crevice under the other rock").

Evan: I try to make up for both my vastly incomplete knowledge and general inability to adequately explain things, stuff, and whatnot by being at least vaguely entertaining. Plus, I'm adorable!.

Robert said...

The Grand Canyon is really old.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080410140455.htm