Is Evolutionary Theory Undermined by Creationist Claims?

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In summary, your friend sent you an article from the website drdino.com, claiming that it disproves the theory of evolution. However, after researching and reading responses from other biologists, you discovered that the claims made in the article have been refuted by evolutionists. You also found that the article confuses the theory of evolution with the origin of life, which are two separate concepts. Furthermore, you explained that Louis Pasteur's experiments did not test the origin of life, but rather showed that microorganisms in the air can contaminate sterile solutions. The validity of the theory of evolution is not dependent on man's ability to create living cells, and the Miller-Urey experiment has also been refuted. In addition, you
  • #1
Daneel_Olivaw
I have a friend who is a creationist. Lately, she has been trying to convince me that the theory of evolution is full of inconsistencies. She sent me this link to an article: http://www.drdino.com/read-article.php?id=8&c=27"

She thinks that that article really proves that the theory of evolution can’t be correct. I didn’t believe that, but I agreed to read it. Now, after reading that article, I did some google search (I am no biologist, so I had to find other biologists’ responses to such claims as were made in the article.) and found out that almost all of the claims made in that article have been refuted by evolutionists. So I read some more and found out some more. Now what I would request from you guys is that you read that article (it’s a small article; you’ll probably need 2-3 minutes to read it) from the link I provided earlier; and then check out if the counter arguments I found out are correct or not. And I would also be much obliged if you could suggest something more.

This is what I’m going to write to her in response to that article:

Firstly, a common misconception among the creationists is that the theory of evolution is the same as abiogenesis. But the origin of life is not a part of the evolutionary theory and hence, not relevant to it. Evolution deals with how life has developed. It begins with the premise that life already exists. The theory doesn’t make any claims about how life started. So yes, life could have developed through abiogenesis or by aliens or God or the Flying Spaghetti Monster. However you think life began, evolutionary theory and its explanations apply once life appears and begins to reproduce. Evolution is about how life evolves, not how life began.

Secondly, I think I need to describe what Pasteur actually did (and what he didn’t) in his experiments. The following two paragraphs are (taken from this page: http://www.brighthub.com/science/medical/articles/21169.aspx") describes what he DID:

“Pasteur showed that microorganisms exist in the air and can contaminate sterile solutions, but he emphasized that air itself does not produce microbes. He filled a number of short-necked flasks with beef broth and then boiled their contents. He immediately sealed the mouths of some of the flasks while he left the others open and allowed to cool. After few days, the contents of the unsealed flasks were found to be contaminated with microorganisms. No evidences of growing microorganisms were found on the sealed flasks. Pasteur concluded that the microorganisms in the air were responsible in contaminating non-living matter like the broths in John Needham’s flask.

Pasteur performed another experiment but this time he put beef broth in open-ended long-necked flasks. He bent the necks of the flasks into S-shaped curves and boiled the contents of the flasks. Amazingly, the contents of the flasks were not contaminated even after several months. The unique S-shaped design of Pasteur’s flasks allowed air to pass but trap microorganisms that may contaminate the broths.”
What Pasteur’s experiment DID NOT do was to test whether simple pre-cellular life could have emerged from a huge amount of organic chemicals over a billion years. Thirdly, the validity of the theory of evolution doesn’t depend on man’s ability to create living cells. So I think man’s inability to do so is irrelevant as far as the theory is concerned.

The claims about the Miller-Urey experiment have also been refuted. Since the first experiment by Stanley Miller, Miller himself, and others have experimented with different atmospheric compositions. It has been seen that organic molecules formed under different conditions. And the claim that early Earth had significant amount of oxygen has been refuted as well. The amount of oxygen we find in the atmosphere today is the result of photosynthesis; and the source of oxygen is photosynthetic plants. Before such plants emerged, the atmosphere contained little oxygen. Moreover, it is considered possible that life emerged away from the atmosphere around what are known as hydrothermal vents in deep sea. If that is true, then how much oxygen the atmosphere of early Earth had is irrelevant anyway. Finally, I really need help from you guys because I couldn’t find anything to counter the following (at least nothing that a non-biologist would understand easily). Can you guys suggest anything?

In addition to this, the same gases which can react to form amino acids undergo known reactions in the presence of sunlight which remove them from the atmosphere. The required gases would not have been around long enough for life to have developed! In addition, a cold trap was used to keep the reaction products from being destroyed as fast as they formed.

The biggest problem is that the amino acids formed in this experiment are always a 50/50 mixture of stereotypes (L and D forms). Stereotypes are like a drawer full of right-hand and left-hand gloves, identical in every way except a mirror image of each other. Life contains only L stereotypes of these randomly produced amino acids. Yet equal proportions of both types are always produced. How could the first cell have selected only L stereotypes from a random, equally reactive mixture? No answer to this has ever been found.
There's something else I found out: The site my friend mentioned – dr. dino – made me curious and I googled to see who this Dr. Dino guy (whose website it is) actually is. His real name is Kent Hovind. I have found out some interesting stuff about him. Currently he is serving a ten year sentence in prison. He has been found guilty of 58 federal counts, which include 12 tax offenses. I have also read that he believes mathematics to be a religion (exact quote: “Hey, everything in the world is religious, ultimately. Mathematics is a religion.”). His academic credentials are dubious at best. Even some creationists have criticized his views on creationism.

Now I can't really use that as an argument against the article, because the article itself is not written by Hovind. But the fact that it was published in his website makes it a little less credible I think.

Anyway, thanks in advance. I'd be really grateful if you guys can help me out here.
 
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  • #2
As you said, this article addresses abiogenesis and not evolution.
 
  • #3
First a word of warning: Arguing with a creationist is almost always fruitless. They are immune to logic and evidence. Look at it from their point of view:
  • Consequences of rejecting evolution: I can't get a job as an evolutionary biologist.
  • Consequences of accepting evolution: I will be eternally damned.

That said, let's deconstruct this article. Quotes from the article are in blue.

Yet most scientists accept the belief that life arose from non-life (in spite of the evidence clearly indicating that it did not and could not happen). This incredible belief is as absurd as finding a complex chemical manufacturing facility on Mars and assuming that it built itself.

Non sequitur plus appeal to ignorance plus straw man / appeal to ridicule. Nice.

There is NO evidence "clearly indicating that it did not and could not happen". To the contrary, there is plenty of evidence that it did happen. Just because we don't know how it happened does not mean it did not happen.One classic experiment which is used to support the belief that life "built itself" is an experiment by Stanley Miller in 1953.

That was over half a century ago. One question: why are they dredging up a fifty year old study? One answer: Because more recent work is even stronger.The experiment succeeded in producing only a few of the 20 amino acids required by itself.
  1. So what? The experiment was the first of its kind. That any amino acids were generated is the key point to take home.
  2. Bzzzt, wrong. From http://www.newscientist.com/article...d-life-on-earth.html?feedId=online-news_rss20,
    In the classic Miller-Urey experiment, a mixture of gases and water that Miller thought were present on early Earth was heated and zapped with electricity to mimic lightning. This created five identifiable amino acids.

    Yet Miller tested three versions of his spark flask. One of the two lesser-know setups - the volcanic apparatus - created 22 amino acids that could be positively identified.​
Back to the article at hand.
Furthermore, the dozens of major problems with this experiment as an explanation for the formation of life are seldom reported.

Bzzzt, wrong again. Who do you think pointed out problems with the experiment, scientists or creationists?For instance, our early atmosphere was assumed to have no oxygen because this would stop amino acid formation. However, with no oxygen, there would be no ozone shield.

That is one of the problems with the experiment, and that is why paleobiologists have been searching for / experimenting with life beginning in the oceans or in the Earth itself rather than the atmosphere.With no ozone shield, life would also be impossible.

Wrong. Water is quite opaque to ultraviolet radiation. So is rock.


Furthermore, oxidized rocks throughout the geologic record indicate that oxygen has always been present.
  1. Non sequitur. Nobody is saying oxygen was not present before life. Saying so would be utter nonsense. Life did not create oxygen; it converted an atmosphere with a lot of CO2 into an atmosphere with a lot of O2. The oxygen was already there, it just happened to be bound up with carbon.
  2. This argument completely ignores the banded iron formations.
  3. This argument is completely false. From http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/summary/298/5602/2341
    New evidence indicates that before 2400 million years ago, Earth's atmosphere contained no more than trace amounts of oxygen.​
And that is way to much time spent on deconstructing this piece of -- well, stuff.
 
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  • #4
D H said:
First a word of warning: Arguing with a creationist is almost always fruitless. They are immune to logic and evidence.
That's what it seems like so far. :)
D H said:
That said, let's deconstruct this article.
Thanks a lot for taking the trouble to write a long post. I was looking for something like what you've wrote.

If anybody else has anything more to add, please feel free to do so.
 
  • #5
True scientists maintain an open-minded inquisitiveness about nature and form their ideas based off the evidence available. It may be that your friend is only reflecting the way they grew up, rather than investigating the subjects themselves, but unless you investigate the biological concepts on your own, you will merely be reflecting what people tell you here, and are therefore no better off than they, even if you are right from a scientific perspective.
Decide what you believe and understand it thoroughly. Then compare ideas, because they aren't going to change their minds anyways, and it's fascinating to understand what opposing opinions are. If you see things inconsistent with established biological concepts--you'd be surprised at how ignorant people are about biology--then calmly point out those flaws.

People are much more open and comfortable with calm, composed, curious people than people bent on breaking down all their own ideas.
 
  • #6
my biology teacher always used to tell us that if you put loose parts of bicycle in a box, and shake it however long you want, you will never get a true, working bicycle.
while most of it is true, i do believe that there's a small chance for it.

evolution took a veery long time, so the universe had a really long time to shake that box.
while you can't prove that there is or isn't a God, i tend to believe life came from non-life. but this evolutionist-creationist bs is quite confusing. all i know is that everything happened and happens for a reason.
 
  • #7
Daneel_Olivaw said:
If anybody else has anything more to add, please feel free to do so.

Daneel_Olivaw, the article given to you is from a website owned by Evangelist Kent Hovind who is known as Doctor Dino. You can go to Talk Origins, which is a highly-respected website that has already debunked Kent Hovind's "Young-Earth Creation Science Evangelism." I can't see any reason to debate with the girl just mail her the Talk Origins website. Kent Hovind is a crackpot.
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/hovind/
 
  • #8
fawk3s said:
my biology teacher always used to tell us that if you put loose parts of bicycle in a box, and shake it however long you want, you will never get a true, working bicycle.
while most of it is true, i do believe that there's a small chance for it.

evolution took a veery long time, so the universe had a really long time to shake that box.
while you can't prove that there is or isn't a God, i tend to believe life came from non-life. but this evolutionist-creationist bs is quite confusing. all i know is that everything happened and happens for a reason.

Evolution doesn't work like that. You don't start with a set of totally disjointed pieces, give one shake, and end up with a bicycle. That would be ridiculous.

It's more like you have the pieces of a bike, you put them together randomly, then start switching things around making it more bike-like until you end up with something extremely bike-like.

That analogy isn't very good either, because it involves a preset target. Also, the bike is being constructed by you instead of reproducing. Natural evolution doesn't have a preset target or you to guide it. Nature just prefers things which make more of themselves.
 
  • #9
I suppose you could apply that to abiogenesis however? I'm not very familiar with that though, so I might be wrong.
 
  • #10
The "stereotypes" referred to in the article are called chirality, or less formally, handedness. It's true that almost all amino acids in life are L-form even though the R-form has very similar properties, and the reason for that is still under debate: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homochirality.

However, as that article notes, convincing explanations have been put forward. Polarized sunlight breaks the symmetry; so do autocatalytic reactions, which tend to amplify assymetries in chirality proportions. Homochirality implies these:

(1) we need to understand why it happens
(2) all life on Earth has a common origin; if they didn't, homochirality wouldn't be expected

but not this:

(1) life was designed by a giant man in the sky
(2) all of evolution/abiogenesis is wrong
 
  • #11
Something else interesting, since I'm kind of a space nut: amino acids have been found in meteorites as well as in interstellar gas. In the Murchison meteorite (which also serves as evidence that polarization of sunlight can cause chirality assymetry, BTW) over a hundred have been identified, including common ones like glutamic acid. Simple amino acids have been detected using the spectra of intestellar gas clouds. Granted, that's a far cry from the complex proteins that govern life, but intestellar space is just about the worst environment imaginable for chemical reactions. For one thing it's only a few degrees above absolute zero, and chemical reactions proceed way faster at higher temperatures. For another, gas clouds have extremely low density and potential reactant molecules rarely encounter each other. Of course, there are also no oceans or bodies of other universal solvents for the reactions to take place in, no diverse chemical environments to offer opportunities for amino acid formation, no rivers to transport substances from place to place, and no oscillations in temperature, precipitation, illumination, pH, chemical concentrations, etc. that make interesting reactions happen. The one resource the gas clouds have in abundance is time, but planets (planets in general, not just Earth) have had the same amount of time to develop life.

I typed all of that because I think it might be interesting to the OP and to other readers. I don't have any delusions about the likelihood of creationists accepting evolution.
 
  • #12
I am a Christian as well, but I am also a logical thinker. I am open-minded and search for truth before making my mind up about anything. I believe that creationism and evolution coexist within a logical realm. Evolution does exist within a species. What I mean is that people didn't evolve from monkies or pond scum or anything like that, but many creatures consistently evolve to adapt to their surroundings when necessary (such as the tree kangaroo). Evolution is apparent in the ever-changing world around us. However, it would not be possible without an Intelligent Designer behind everything. Everything in the universe is set exactly right so that life is possible. Everything is made to coexist peacefully and functionally. Trees give us the oxygen we breathe, and in turn we give trees their carbon dioxide. The universe is set so precisely that even the slightest alteration even to a small degree would deem life an impossibility.

I applaud you for having an open mind. Many people on both sides of the argument have their beliefs and are completely closed off to the other side's point of view...but only in opening our minds to the infinite possibilities and truly exploring the facts can we come to find the truth. Creationism tells how everything came to be, while evolution explains what happened next. The only problems lying in evolution are with the extreme Darwinists who take the theory too far and claim that we evolved from monkies and pond scum. Yes, we have similarities, but all creatures have some sort of similarity; yet you wouldn't say that we evolved from every other creature on the planet. Our similarities are due to the fact that God, in a sense, recycles. Everything is created with all that it needs to function properly and live off the land we are given. When our world changes, we have to change along with it. God has created us with that ability. Nothing is wasted, and everything is created from the same basic elements. You couldn't have a masterpiece without the artist. That same artist uses the same materials to create many different masterpieces. They all have similarities, yet they are vastly different. In this same way, you could not have this complicated, intricate universe or any of the multitudes of others without some sort of intelligence behind it. It simply couldn't work the way it does by mere chance. Therefore, creationism is a logical, viable conclusion. Also, evolution is just as viable because you could not have species progress and adapt to such a growing, developing, changing world without evolution. It simply wouldn't work. They would have all died out. Just as the caterpillar evolves into a butterfly, the kangaroo in a certain part of the world has evolved to live in trees. Both instances are evolution, remaining within the species.

I hope I could clear up some things and help you and your friend find some common ground. The constant arguing and competition between the creationists and the evolutionists is redundant and meaningless...it's time that they realize that it is possible for both sides to be correct without contradicting one another.
 
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  • #13
Strilanc said:
Evolution doesn't work like that. You don't start with a set of totally disjointed pieces, give one shake, and end up with a bicycle. That would be ridiculous.

It's more like you have the pieces of a bike, you put them together randomly, then start switching things around making it more bike-like until you end up with something extremely bike-like.

That analogy isn't very good either, because it involves a preset target. Also, the bike is being constructed by you instead of reproducing. Natural evolution doesn't have a preset target or you to guide it. Nature just prefers things which make more of themselves.

help me God..
did i say that evolution works like that? it was just an example of how small the chance of that complex organism creation was.

plus, who said one shake would construct the bike?

alot of ppl trying to make themselves so smart, yet still failing in the end..
 
  • #14
I would like to bring to light information about Evolution.:smile:

Is Evolution a Theory or a Fact?
It is both. But that answer requires looking more deeply at the meanings of the words "theory" and "fact."

In everyday usage, "theory" often refers to a hunch or a speculation. When people say, "I have a theory about why that happened," they are often drawing a conclusion based on fragmentary or inconclusive evidence.

The formal scientific definition of theory is quite different from the everyday meaning of the word. It refers to a comprehensive explanation of some aspect of nature that is supported by a vast body of evidence.

Many scientific theories are so well-established that no new evidence is likely to alter them substantially. For example, no new evidence will demonstrate that the Earth does not orbit around the sun (heliocentric theory), or that living things are not made of cells (cell theory), that matter is not composed of atoms, or that the surface of the Earth is not divided into solid plates that have moved over geological timescales (the theory of plate tectonics). Like these other foundational scientific theories, the theory of evolution is supported by so many observations and confirming experiments that scientists are confident that the basic components of the theory will not be overturned by new evidence. However, like all scientific theories, the theory of evolution is subject to continuing refinement as new areas of science emerge or as new technologies enable observations and experiments that were not possible previously.

One of the most useful properties of scientific theories is that they can be used to make predictions about natural events or phenomena that have not yet been observed. For example, the theory of gravitation predicted the behavior of objects on the moon and other planets long before the activities of spacecraft and astronauts confirmed them. The evolutionary biologists who discovered Tiktaalik predicted that they would find fossils intermediate between fish and limbed terrestrial animals in sediments that were about 375 million years old. Their discovery confirmed the prediction made on the basis of evolutionary theory. In turn, confirmation of a prediction increases confidence in that theory.

In science, a "fact" typically refers to an observation, measurement, or other form of evidence that can be expected to occur the same way under similar circumstances. However, scientists also use the term "fact" to refer to a scientific explanation that has been tested and confirmed so many times that there is no longer a compelling reason to keep testing it or looking for additional examples. In that respect, the past and continuing occurrence of evolution is a scientific fact. Because the evidence supporting it is so strong, scientists no longer question whether biological evolution has occurred and is continuing to occur. Instead, they investigate the mechanisms of evolution, how rapidly evolution can take place, and related questions.
http://www.nationalacademies.org/evolution/TheoryOrFact.html
I'm an evolutionist! Hopefully, I'll add more to this topic later. I have a luncheon engagement. It's always nice when the other person is paying for a business meeting.
 
  • #15
Sassa said:
Evolution does exist within a species. What I mean is that people didn't evolve from monkies or pond scum or anything like that, but many creatures consistently evolve to adapt to their surroundings when necessary (such as the tree kangaroo).
We share a common ancestor with Chimpanzees. This is a fact. The theory of common descent has plenty of evidence from many different branches of science.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evidence_of_common_descent

Sassa said:
Creationism tells how everything came to be, while evolution explains what happened next. The only problems lying in evolution are with the extreme Darwinists who take the theory too far and claim that we evolved from monkies and pond scum. Yes, we have similarities, but all creatures have some sort of similarity; yet you wouldn't say that we evolved from every other creature on the planet. Our similarities are due to the fact that God, in a sense, recycles. Everything is created with all that it needs to function properly and live off the land we are given. When our world changes, we have to change along with it. God has created us with that ability. Nothing is wasted, and everything is created from the same basic elements. ...

Creationism explains nothing. There is no evidence for it whatsoever. It can't be falsified. It is not science. This entire paragraph you wrote is nothing but speculation.

Sassa said:
I hope I could clear up some things and help you and your friend find some common ground. The constant arguing and competition between the creationists and the evolutionists is redundant and meaningless...it's time that they realize that it is possible for both sides to be correct without contradicting one another.

No, both sides cannot be correct because they do contradict each other. The arguing and competition is not meaningless or redundant. It's a battle between reason and superstition.
 
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  • #16
Before bothering to debate such things with your friends, it might help to establish whether there is any common ground for communication on this matter. Alot of this comes down to how people form their conceptions of what's true.
Most people have never really thought about this, and don't have a consistent method for establishing what they believe to be true or probable.
Being a creationist, and hence one can assume, a christian, the means by which this person comes to truth is likely faith.
If you talk to reasonably intelligent christians, they will admit that their belief by its nature cannot be objectively confirmed, and is dependent on an a priori sense of the truth of their religion. They believe that everyone has this a priori sense of the truth of their religion and are deceiving themselves through reliance on other kinds of evidence.

It's kind of like consciousness. I may know that i am conscious, but I couldn't prove it to you. This is the way they feel about their religion. They just know it( or more accurately have a certain feeling about it). No amount of logic or reason will be sufficient to convince them otherwise. They are more likely to accept Descarte's deceiving demon (sometimes quite literally!) then question what they KNOW to be true. Religion is a very successful meme obviously, it contains its own tautological structure that is very resistant, like a shielded virus.

Point being, you are speaking a different language when you try to argue fine points of evidence.
 
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  • #17
fawk3s said:
help me God..
did i say that evolution works like that? it was just an example of how small the chance of that complex organism creation was.

plus, who said one shake would construct the bike?

alot of ppl trying to make themselves so smart, yet still failing in the end..

You didn't say it, you implied it. Why else would you bring up a known bad analogy and not mention that it's a known bad analogy?

I was referring to the final shake.
 
  • #18
you still don't get me. when i brought out the bike example, i wasnt talking about the steps of evolution AT ALL. i was referring to the fact that the chance of biological life creation was really small.
remember!: i was not referring to that all the components were there and all they needed to do was meet to create life. i was only referring to the small small chance of life creation!

/10 !
 
  • #19
Sassa said:
I What I mean is that people didn't evolve from monkies or pond scum or anything like that

This statement is perfect evidence of the christian arrogance. "monkies or pond scum"... How dare you say we are anything less than divine! Well, did you know that we share 97% of our DNA with "monkies" (by the way, its Monkeys*) or chimpanzees? Apparently, our divinity lies in the 3% of DNA not shared?

It's time for me to applaud your open-mindedness. I can appreciate that you have opened your mind to the possibility that Evolution is obvious and evident. Now its time to go a bit further and try to see that its possible that everything that you read in a heavily edited and re-produced work of fiction may not be all there is to the story. Even, if somehow, someway there is a creator or a creative force, i think its fairly obvious that it isn't the one described in the bible. Earth's only been here for 6,000 years? You can take a short walk through the Grand Canyon and disprove that one.

My main disappointment in any argument like this is that it is so one sided. Science never asks you to just believe something without anything to point to as evidence. Christians main tenant is that you must except fundamental things on faith and thereby bypass logic and reason. Christians have it written into their belief system the ability to deny logic and reason and without that there is no real debate.

Everyday science points to NEW evidence that reinforce and sometimes out and out prove their theories...

Christians, I implore you... POINT TO ONE THING... ANYTHING.
 
  • #20
i would actually really like to point out one thing. especially for Christians. (no harm intended!)
when everything is related to everything and so on, and let's say there really is a "God", would you really believe that God went through all this trouble by making physics and science explainable, and then randomly, suddenly create life without giving it a reason, explanation? the thing is, its hard to figure out how life formed, but it certainly didnt "spawn" on Earth.
its really some food for your thought mr. believers.
 
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  • #21
A lot of anti-evolutionists argue from the idea of intelligent design - an idea that has been revived I think from pre-Darwinian beliefs. What do you think of the arguments from intelligent design?

My brother, a molecular biologist, told me an early evolutionist's sarcastic argument against intelligent design. When JBS Haldane was asked what he thought of God's role in creation he responded, "I think he had an inordinate preoccupation with beetles."

His point being that if you believe that God created all biological species then he for some reason created in excess of 400,000 species of beetles. To him no attempt to explain the elaboration of Nature through theological assumptions can explain this unexpected diversity. He argued basically that theological theories could not work, evolution or not.

What do you think of this as an argument again intelligent design?
 
  • #22
wofsy said:
My brother, a molecular biologist, told me an early evolutionist's sarcastic argument against intelligent design. When JBS Haldane was asked what he thought of God's role in creation he responded, "I think he had an inordinate preoccupation with beetles."

LOL.

A joker too: Mixing the waste and reproductive organs. Wiring the eyes upside down. Arranging our organs as if we were designed to walk on all fours. Giving babies a death grip reflex.
 
  • #23
DavidSnider said:
LOL.

A joker too: Mixing the waste and reproductive organs. Wiring the eyes upside down. Arranging our organs as if we were designed to walk on all fours. Giving babies a death grip reflex.
LOL! Making us deuterostomes.


wofsy said:
His point being that if you believe that God created all biological species then he for some reason created in excess of 400,000 species of beetles. To him no attempt to explain the elaboration of Nature through theological assumptions can explain this unexpected diversity. He argued basically that theological theories could not work, evolution or not.

What do you think of this as an argument again intelligent design?

It shows a lack of understanding of the concept of intelligent design. Intelligent design does not say that God would have created every single species.
In fact, even conservative creationists with a strong science background will know that speciation occurs--I mean, we've seen it happen. Thus it's not really a good argument against educated creationists either.

Intelligent design is flexible, allowing for anything from a literal six-day creation to somebody leaving behind a prokaryotic cell and letting it run its course. OR, some form of intelligent life could have come along and placed appropriate organic compounds on Earth and in effect, caused abiogenesis and then left. Or stayed. It's very flexible. It's only requirement is that something with intelligence came to Earth and left something behind.

Moving on...

Our observed record of evolution does not reach into the depths of antiquity, which is when our common ancestors would have lived. We've observed speciation and plenty of adaptations. For common ancestors, however, we have to do some extrapolation.
What we have from archeology is a bit sketchy and requires some imagination... er... I mean... vision...
I personally have a problem with Campbell putting an artist's drawing of something that looks a bit like a joint and saying that it's Orrorin tugenensis, and it's one of are distant ancestors. How 'bout some explanation? A simple "genetic research done by person XX places this fossil here on our phylogenetic tree" will suffice. Instead it says, "Some of these species are controversial, blah blah blah..." Why thank you Campbell! If you won't explain it here, can you at least give me a reference so I can do my own reading on it?

The future of archaeology is greatly overshadowed by the future of genetics. There are so many questions that genetics holds the answer to that hasn't been defined. I can't even find something clear on how much (if any) Homo neanderthalensis contributed to the gene pool today. (maybe I'm just bad at finding things.)

In Life itself, Its Origin and Nature, Francis Crick observed that today, there is so much complexity and diversity of life that the 4.5 billion years is too short a time for life to have evolved gradually.
My understanding of population genetics leads me to agree with him on that point. The only way for new DNA to be introduced is by mutation. Then there's the fact that most mutations are not very beneficial to survival. (When I did a basic Drosophila lab, the only mutations that didn't make the flies BLIND were sepia eyes and vestigial wings.) The huge amount of positive mutations that would be required to bring us the diversity we have today would have taken longer than 4.5 billion years.

Of course, then Crick goes on to conclude that life on Earth was set up by "directed panspermia", coming from a distant galaxy on a planet far, far away. This hypothetical planet apparently would have been old enough to gradually evolve life to the point where it could send it here.
Unfortunately, that hypothesis is a form of intelligent design, at least for life on Earth, and raises even more questions. I have to ask, "Why, if we were put here by extraterrestrial beings, have we not heard from them?" And "Why, if they were able to achieve intergalactic travel, did we only develop relatively rudimentary space travel within the last hundred years?"

A lot of creationists use arguments for irreducible complexity, but I'm no cell biologist. Not even going to try to go there.

However... if all cells came from one cell, then Eukaryotes must have come from Prokaryotes, right? But the two are so different! Why haven't we seen anything in between?
ARgh I hate cell biology. It's a pity there's an entire CLASS on it and so many cool things (like protein synthesis!) happen in cells. (I jest)

Some creationists who like Mathematics use probability to argue against evolution. There are some issues with that similar to the issues with the bicycle model described previously.

Then some creationists say that according to the second law of Thermodynamics and the impending heat death of the universe, the universe must have a beginning, suggesting that at some point in time, there was NOTHING! *falls over*
Which is a good point, but then, if at some point there was nothing, how did God come to be?

The best argument I've heard for creationism is where does our sense of beauty come from?
Why do we look at the colors produced at sunset by the selective absorption of light by particles in the atmosphere and call it "beautiful"?
Why do we bother setting up museums if we don't think art has beauty?
Why does music exist? Why do most people think at least some music is beautiful? These things defy natural selection in the fact that beauty doesn't really contribute to survival (except in flowers, I suppose). A pretty red bug on a black rock will be more likely spotted than an ugly brown or black bug.
Why then, do we value things of beauty?
 
  • #24
Hel said:
The best argument I've heard for creationism is where does our sense of beauty come from?
Why do we look at the colors produced at sunset by the selective absorption of light by particles in the atmosphere and call it "beautiful"?
Why do we bother setting up museums if we don't think art has beauty?
Why does music exist? Why do most people think at least some music is beautiful? These things defy natural selection in the fact that beauty doesn't really contribute to survival (except in flowers, I suppose). A pretty red bug on a black rock will be more likely spotted than an ugly brown or black bug.
Why then, do we value things of beauty?

How is this an argument for creationism? What you are basically saying is "I don't see the utility value of aesthetics, therefore the supernatural was involved in my creation". It does not follow.
 
  • #25
Sassa said:
...but only in opening our minds to the infinite possibilities and truly exploring the facts can we come to find the truth.

Excellent! When is it that you plan to start "exploring the facts"?
 
  • #26
Some say that it doesn't make sense that we would place value in beauty if we evolved.
Creationists argue that beauty is something we appreciate because a creator instilled it in us.
 
  • #27
Hel said:
Some say that it doesn't make sense that we would place value in beauty if we evolved.
Creationists argue that beauty is something we appreciate because a creator instilled it in us.

Why couldn't a sense of beauty have evolved? Maybe it's a side effect of pattern recognition. Who knows. In any case saying "God did it" is not a better explanation.
 
  • #28
Hel said:
LOL! Making us deuterostomes.




It shows a lack of understanding of the concept of intelligent design. Intelligent design does not say that God would have created every single species.
In fact, even conservative creationists with a strong science background will know that speciation occurs--I mean, we've seen it happen. Thus it's not really a good argument against educated creationists either.

Intelligent design is flexible, allowing for anything from a literal six-day creation to somebody leaving behind a prokaryotic cell and letting it run its course. OR, some form of intelligent life could have come along and placed appropriate organic compounds on Earth and in effect, caused abiogenesis and then left. Or stayed. It's very flexible. It's only requirement is that something with intelligence came to Earth and left something behind.

Moving on...

Our observed record of evolution does not reach into the depths of antiquity, which is when our common ancestors would have lived. We've observed speciation and plenty of adaptations. For common ancestors, however, we have to do some extrapolation.
What we have from archeology is a bit sketchy and requires some imagination... er... I mean... vision...
I personally have a problem with Campbell putting an artist's drawing of something that looks a bit like a joint and saying that it's Orrorin tugenensis, and it's one of are distant ancestors. How 'bout some explanation? A simple "genetic research done by person XX places this fossil here on our phylogenetic tree" will suffice. Instead it says, "Some of these species are controversial, blah blah blah..." Why thank you Campbell! If you won't explain it here, can you at least give me a reference so I can do my own reading on it?

The future of archaeology is greatly overshadowed by the future of genetics. There are so many questions that genetics holds the answer to that hasn't been defined. I can't even find something clear on how much (if any) Homo neanderthalensis contributed to the gene pool today. (maybe I'm just bad at finding things.)

In Life itself, Its Origin and Nature, Francis Crick observed that today, there is so much complexity and diversity of life that the 4.5 billion years is too short a time for life to have evolved gradually.
My understanding of population genetics leads me to agree with him on that point. The only way for new DNA to be introduced is by mutation. Then there's the fact that most mutations are not very beneficial to survival. (When I did a basic Drosophila lab, the only mutations that didn't make the flies BLIND were sepia eyes and vestigial wings.) The huge amount of positive mutations that would be required to bring us the diversity we have today would have taken longer than 4.5 billion years.

Of course, then Crick goes on to conclude that life on Earth was set up by "directed panspermia", coming from a distant galaxy on a planet far, far away. This hypothetical planet apparently would have been old enough to gradually evolve life to the point where it could send it here.
Unfortunately, that hypothesis is a form of intelligent design, at least for life on Earth, and raises even more questions. I have to ask, "Why, if we were put here by extraterrestrial beings, have we not heard from them?" And "Why, if they were able to achieve intergalactic travel, did we only develop relatively rudimentary space travel within the last hundred years?"

A lot of creationists use arguments for irreducible complexity, but I'm no cell biologist. Not even going to try to go there.

However... if all cells came from one cell, then Eukaryotes must have come from Prokaryotes, right? But the two are so different! Why haven't we seen anything in between?
ARgh I hate cell biology. It's a pity there's an entire CLASS on it and so many cool things (like protein synthesis!) happen in cells. (I jest)

Some creationists who like Mathematics use probability to argue against evolution. There are some issues with that similar to the issues with the bicycle model described previously.

Then some creationists say that according to the second law of Thermodynamics and the impending heat death of the universe, the universe must have a beginning, suggesting that at some point in time, there was NOTHING! *falls over*
Which is a good point, but then, if at some point there was nothing, how did God come to be?

The best argument I've heard for creationism is where does our sense of beauty come from?
Why do we look at the colors produced at sunset by the selective absorption of light by particles in the atmosphere and call it "beautiful"?
Why do we bother setting up museums if we don't think art has beauty?
Why does music exist? Why do most people think at least some music is beautiful? These things defy natural selection in the fact that beauty doesn't really contribute to survival (except in flowers, I suppose). A pretty red bug on a black rock will be more likely spotted than an ugly brown or black bug.
Why then, do we value things of beauty?

I think your problem with Haldane is interesting but it certainly puts intelligent design back to a primordial beginning and actually allows for evolution to occur. I suppose you could say that intelligent design is intermittent in evolution - God periodically intervenes to guide certain species or environments down a path of his own selection. These ideas befuddle me a little since I would wonder why God wouldn't like Jerry Rubin "just do it!" It seems that this really argues against intelligent design - it leaves diversity to evolution and explains nothing.

there must be compelling evidence that intelligent design is actually necessary to explain natural diversity. If you just say oh well God could have created life in the first place and then let evolution take over doesn't seem to do that, at least on the surface.

This is where the argument about irreducible complexity comes in. This is an argument which says that there is no possible way through the theory of natural selection to explain the perfection of complex biological structures such as the eye. This is actually an old argument that predates the theory of evolution. "You can't have only half a mouse trap."

I used to think that this argument had some merit and argued it with biologists. I never thought they had a good rebuttal (mostly because they could care less about Creationism) but finally in an Evolution course that I took at the AMNH I got one interesting rebuttal. the argument is that just because the parts do no make the whole does not mean that they could not have evolved independently and for different uses. At some point a reorganization of them to create a new structure would then give you the completed mouse trap. The parts were already there but had different functions. Through selection they reorganize into the mouse trap. this process of reorganization and reuse for new purposes is well documented.
 
  • #29
Hel said:
Intelligent design is flexible, allowing for anything from a literal six-day creation to somebody leaving behind a prokaryotic cell and letting it run its course. OR, some form of intelligent life could have come along and placed appropriate organic compounds on Earth and in effect, caused abiogenesis and then left. Or stayed.
In short, it isn't science.

Our observed record of evolution does not reach into the depths of antiquity, which is when our common ancestors would have lived.
If by that you mean that we have not yet found fossils of the first form of life, you are correct. If, on the other hand, you mean the direct ancestors of humanity, you are very wrong.

A lot of creationists use arguments for irreducible complexity, but I'm no cell biologist.
Yeah. Like in the Dover trial. It didn't work, and that was with a conservative judge.

Some creationists who like Mathematics use probability to argue against evolution.
Yep. Cdesign Proponentsists are now quite adept at using all three forms of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.

There are some issues with that similar to the issues with the bicycle model described previously.
The bicycle model is a terrible model of evolution. That model demands a design (a finished bicycle). Evolution has no design, no goal. That analogy is a straw man.
 
  • #30
wofsy said:
This is where the argument about irreducible complexity comes in. This is an argument which says that there is no possible way through the theory of natural selection to explain the perfection of complex biological structures such as the eye. This is actually an old argument that predates the theory of evolution. "You can't have only half a mouse trap."

I used to think that this argument had some merit and argued it with biologists. I never thought they had a good rebuttal (mostly because they could care less about Creationism) but finally in an Evolution course that I took at the AMNH I got one interesting rebuttal. the argument is that just because the parts do no make the whole does not mean that they could not have evolved independently and for different uses. At some point a reorganization of them to create a new structure would then give you the completed mouse trap. The parts were already there but had different functions. Through selection they reorganize into the mouse trap. this process of reorganization and reuse for new purposes is well documented.

The evolutionary models of eye development that start from patches of photosensitive cells and progress forward make perfect sense. The eye is nowhere near irreducibly complex. I have no idea why this argument ever gained traction.
 
  • #31
Due to the lack of science, this is moved to GD. Remember, Intelligent Design/Creationism is religion, so don't present it as a scientific explanation, it is faith based. Please read the rules on religious discussion to make sure this doesn't end up locked for that reason.

Guidelines
Religious Discussion Guidelines:
Discussions that assert the a priori truth or falsity of religious dogmas and belief systems, or value judgments stemming from such religious belief systems, will not be tolerated. As a rule of thumb, some topics pertaining to religion might be permissible if they are discussed in such a way so as to remain neutral on the truth of, or value judgments stemming from, religious belief systems. However, it is essential to use good judgment whenever discussing religious matters to ensure that the discussion does not degenerate into a messy dispute. If in doubt, err on the side of caution.
 
  • #32
wofsy said:
explain the perfection of complex biological structures such as the eye. This is actually an old argument that predates the theory of evolution. "You can't have only half a mouse trap."
The eye isn't perfect it's crap.

It has a very limited wavelength range, can't change focal length (zoom) doesn't measure polarization, has high resolution only over a small area, has a blind spot bigger than this area, can't handle low/high light levels...

Compared to the eye we might evolve in another few million ears - it's only half an eye.
 
  • #33
There is a great video on youtube... I'll go look for it.

Firstly though that article is attackin ABIOGENESIS not evolution. Most creationists that I know accept evolution but not speciation...

Anyways back to that video I read one post about a bike in a box and shake it all around.

First things first the bike is non-living and non-replicating. The video I'm going to look for is about a watch in a box. But the watches are able to reproduce. They were given the parts of the watch (which were quiet a few) and allowed to randomly join together. Evolutionary perssure was put to tell time more accurately. Every time that the simulation ran the thing that were formed were amazing. The gears would get together with a stick and create a pendulum... then they had hands... then more hands... and more... It was pretty amazing to see actually. :P


Here it is:
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #34
DavidSnider said:
Why couldn't a sense of beauty have evolved? Maybe it's a side effect of pattern recognition. Who knows. In any case saying "God did it" is not a better explanation.

It's something that doesn't have a definitive answer and therefore people use it as an argument. People are curious and want to know why. So far no research has been done about this--it's rather abstract to begin with. Science says to make observations and form a hypothesis... to investigate when you ask "why". It irritates me the way a lot of people don't bother with investigating and just point to a the bible.


wofsy said:
I think your problem with Haldane is interesting but it certainly puts intelligent design back to a primordial beginning and actually allows for evolution to occur. I suppose you could say that intelligent design is intermittent in evolution - God periodically intervenes to guide certain species or environments down a path of his own selection. These ideas befuddle me a little since I would wonder why God wouldn't like Jerry Rubin "just do it!" It seems that this really argues against intelligent design - it leaves diversity to evolution and explains nothing.

Intelligent design is interesting, and complies with religions other than Christianity (e.g. scientology.) but as I pointed out with Crick's idea, it only moves the issues elsewhere. How did that intelligent designer come to be? Not even the Bible has an answer to that. I don't see intelligent design so much as a theory, but rather a classification that encompasses a lot of different theories. And while it works for people who have religious beliefs and can reconcile themselves with the idea that something intelligent has always existed, it doesn't work for people who want to know about the origin of everything.

D H said:
In short, it isn't science.
Never said it was. It's a classification. Apologies if it seemed as though I was presenting it as science. Was just explaining the premise.

Sorry! said:
Firstly though that article is attackin ABIOGENESIS not evolution. Most creationists that I know accept evolution but not speciation...
Really? Most creationists who know what they're talking about that I know accept speciation. It's something we've observed in things like squirrels. Creationists who don't accept speciation have a hard time explaining how all the animals fit on the ark.

The eye? I dunno... I get more overwhelmed with the complexity of a cell than the eye. If you told me to draw a diagram of the eye and label all the components and their functions, I could do it easily. If you told me to do the same for a eukaryotic cell, I'd just look at you in horror.

In any case, I don't see the question of "Where did we come from?" as all that big of a question, since it doesn't really matter, nor will it affect my life in any huge way. My priorities are much more simplistic: what will I eat for lunch? What will I do to get an A in O. Chem when I don't like Chemistry that much? When do I have to wake up tomorrow? (Or, alternately, I'm a control freak and have taught myself not to care about things I can't control.)
Mostly I discuss like this because I'm curious about what different people think.

So if I say something, it's probably not something I feel strongly about. Feel free to point out all the inconsistencies and falsehoods.
 
  • #35
Hel said:
Some say that it doesn't make sense that we would place value in beauty if we evolved.
Creationists argue that beauty is something we appreciate because a creator instilled it in us.
This is both off topic and religious. Not allowed, don't let it happen again.

I may be pruning some posts from this thread later to bring it line, so if your posts disappear, you know why.
 

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