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
  • #71
byronm said:
What can be scientifically tested about design?
Not tested, but observed:

There are lots of definitions for design. Two from dictionary.com that are relevant:

2. to plan and fashion artistically or skillfully.
17. adaptation of means to a preconceived end.

I think it can be agreed that the 17th definition is found in nature. Adaptations animals have serve a purpose and help ensure survival. Seeing this doesn't necessarily suggest a creator.

Intelligent design is using the word with the 2nd definition rather than the 17th. The difference is striking.
BoomBoom said:
Well, obviously the aliens must have been created by God, right? :wink:

1962 Nobel Laureate Francis Crick was saying something to the effect of an alien petri dish, but he suggested that the aliens came from an older planet where the aliens had had the time and circumstance to evolve by chance. (He didn't think the Earth was old enough to have evolved the diversity of life we have today.)

wofsy said:
Natural selection takes the pure randomness out of evolution. The randomness really only occurs in point mutations. It is not just like shaking a box. The example of shaking bicycle parts while true in itself is not an apt analogy for evolution.

Another source of randomness is events. Catastrophes that wipe out some of the population and produce a bottleneck effect. Or earthquakes creating barriers that animals can't cross and allopatric speciation occurs.
 
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  • #72
Hel said:
Not tested, but observed:

Another source of randomness is events. Catastrophes that wipe out some of the population and produce a bottleneck effect. Or earthquakes creating barriers that animals can't cross and allopatric speciation occurs.

Right but my point was that natural selection removes randomess and is not like shaking a box or waiting for all of the atoms in a gas to collect in one corner of the box.
 
  • #73
Hel said:
17. adaptation of means to a preconceived end.

I think it can be agreed that the 17th definition is found in nature.
Evolution does not have a preconceived end. Look at our eyes, versus those of a squid. Our eyes are just plain goofy.
 
  • #74
wofsy said:
I agree with you. But I am trying to define design not as a creator but as a distinct process that can be detected through experiment.

I understand that. I didn't mean to not be clear. It's a very interesting exercise.

wofsy said:
You objection on environmental constraints I can see but maybe if you knew that the dogs had no natural predators or that the environment did not exhibit a selective pressure for a shaggy coat and a few other things like this you might suspect that natural selection was not following its usual course.

The predator thing is arbitrary in the sense that from the perspective of natural selection, it doesn't matter if the organism falls of a cliff or gets hit by a meteor or gets eaten my a lion: it didn't reproduce. My point will be more evident with the shaggy coat.

If only dogs with shaggy coats get to breed, then the environment is exhibiting a selective pressure for shaggy coats. Does that make sense?

Natural selection, sexual selection and artificial selection are all (useful!) misnomers. There are only selection pressures. Think of the set of all possible events that could prevent an organism from reproducing, weight each one with the probability of that organism encountering it and sum. That is "natural selection". There is a selection pressure for surviving a direct impact from a meteor for example. It's just negligible.
 
  • #75
wofsy said:
Natural selection takes the pure randomness out of evolution. The randomness really only occurs in point mutations. It is not just like shaking a box. The example of shaking bicycle parts while true in itself is not an apt analogy for evolution.

Your right...I was just making an argument against the common strawmen arguments that creationists make. They like to compare evolution to some random assemply of some complex machine, and then show that it is extremely improbable. However, my argument is that even if that strawman is accepted, evolutionary theory is still a better explanation than creationism...If evolution is improbable based on that argument, then creationism must be an impossibility since matter and energy cannot be created out of no where, which is what is required by creationism: god made humans come into existence out of no where. a direct violation of the 1st law of thermodynamics.

which would you be your money on? an improbable explanation or an impossible one?...
 
  • #76
wofsy said:
Right but my point was that natural selection removes randomess and is not like shaking a box or waiting for all of the atoms in a gas to collect in one corner of the box.
I owe you an apology for misunderstanding your point.

D H said:
Evolution does not have a preconceived end. Look at our eyes, versus those of a squid. Our eyes are just plain goofy.
Sorry I didn't make myself clear. I didn't say evolution had a preconceived end. My point was that adaptations have a practical end result. Pandas having a bit of bone sticking out of their hand is an adaptation that has a purpose--to help in the feeding process. It's just a trivial point that there's design in nature.
 
  • #77
aPhilosopher said:
I understand that. I didn't mean to not be clear. It's a very interesting exercise.



The predator thing is arbitrary in the sense that from the perspective of natural selection, it doesn't matter if the organism falls of a cliff or gets hit by a meteor or gets eaten my a lion: it didn't reproduce. My point will be more evident with the shaggy coat.

If only dogs with shaggy coats get to breed, then the environment is exhibiting a selective pressure for shaggy coats. Does that make sense?

Natural selection, sexual selection and artificial selection are all (useful!) misnomers. There are only selection pressures. Think of the set of all possible events that could prevent an organism from reproducing, weight each one with the probability of that organism encountering it and sum. That is "natural selection". There is a selection pressure for surviving a direct impact from a meteor for example. It's just negligible.

Fair enough. Maybe environmental considerations will never suggest anything. Still I am not ready to conclude this. Your point is interesting.
 
  • #78
I read online an article from a creationist conspiracy theorist that argued that Atlantis has been discovered, and is being covered up by the elite in order carry out the Anti-Christ's war against the bible. The idea was that Atlantis was the Earth pre biblical flood(pangea).

His reasoning was so retarded that I won't even discuss it, but it got me thinking. Maybe there is something to the cover up part.

Accounts of Atlantis give the city a date which is pre genesis. If Atlantis did exist as the story goes, then the Bible is wrong, and the Earth was not created 6000 years ago. Any evidence of a pre 6000 year old society would found by the church/churches would have been destroyed.

If you think about it, creationists can choose to ignore dating methods, they can say that Satan planted fossils to confuse us, but if we found historical written records of pre 6000 year old civilization? It would be hard to lie your way around that.
 
  • #79
jreelawg said:
I read online an article from a creationist conspiracy theorist that argued that Atlantis has been discovered, and is being covered up by the elite in order carry out the Anti-Christ's war against the bible. The idea was that Atlantis was the Earth pre biblical flood(pangea).

His reasoning was so retarded that I won't even discuss it, but it got me thinking. Maybe there is something to the cover up part.

Accounts of Atlantis give the city a date which is pre genesis. If Atlantis did exist as the story goes, then the Bible is wrong, and the Earth was not created 6000 years ago. Any evidence of a pre 6000 year old society would found by the church/churches would have been destroyed.

If you think about it, creationists can choose to ignore dating methods, they can say that Satan planted fossils to confuse us, but if we found historical written records of pre 6000 year old civilization? It would be hard to lie your way around that.

Again, think of Earth as a petri dish and time is meaningless to the discussion.
 
  • #80
The ACLU's Challenge to Intelligent Design, Decision comes down: ACLU wins!, December 20, 2005
ACLU wrote:
Victory in the Challenge to Intelligent Design

"Intelligent Design" is a religious view, not a scientific theory, according to U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III in his historic decision in Kitzmiller v. Dover.

The decision is a victory not only for the ACLU, who led the legal challenge, but for all who believe it is inappropriate, and unconstitutional, to advance a particular religious belief at the expense of our children's education.


The lawsuit was brought by the parents who objected to the decision by the school board in Dover, Pennsylvania to promote the teaching of intelligent design in their children's public school science classes.

Intelligent design, which cannot be tested by any scientific method, is a belief that asserts that a supernatural entity designed some complex organisms. Witnesses have demonstrated that such an assertion is inherently a religious argument that falls outside the realm of science.

As a longtime defender of religious liberty, the ACLU is leading the legal challenge against the activists and political lobbyists who are attempting to insert their personal religious beliefs into science education, as if it were science.
http://www.aclu.org/religion/intelligentdesign/index.html
 
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  • #81
jreelawg said:
I read online an article from a creationist conspiracy theorist that argued that Atlantis has been discovered, and is being covered up by the elite in order carry out the Anti-Christ's war against the bible. The idea was that Atlantis was the Earth pre biblical flood(pangea).

His reasoning was so retarded that I won't even discuss it, but it got me thinking. Maybe there is something to the cover up part.

Accounts of Atlantis give the city a date which is pre genesis. If Atlantis did exist as the story goes, then the Bible is wrong, and the Earth was not created 6000 years ago. Any evidence of a pre 6000 year old society would found by the church/churches would have been destroyed.

If you think about it, creationists can choose to ignore dating methods, they can say that Satan planted fossils to confuse us, but if we found historical written records of pre 6000 year old civilization? It would be hard to lie your way around that.

Don't mean to burst any bubbles, but there's already insurmountable evidence indicating the the universe is more than 6,000 years old. We have records of civilizations that existed before 4000 BC. The young Earth creationists are able to dismiss even this evidence. I doubt they'll change their minds over one more civilization that appears to be more than 6,000 years of age.

I don't mean to bash creationists here, but rather to suggest an approach that doesn't involve vitriol. Perhaps the best way to approach this problem is to have rational and respectful discourse with these guys. Creationists reject science because they think that scientists are all a bunch of atheists who hate God. And to be fair, to some extent they are correct. I think that if we were to present the available evidence against a 6,000 year old Earth in a logical way, many young Earth creationists would find it difficult to deny the available data. Or at worst, they would be forced to conclude that the universe is created with the appearance of age. This in itself is a tacit admission of defeat, because it is an acknowledgment that no possible observation can discern the true age of the universe, save for adopting the YEC's dubious interpretation of the Bible.

I think we really need to separate our attempts to convince people of scientific truth from people's personal ideological goals. Many scientists fail to get through to creationists because they waste time peddling atheism and talking about how Christianity is the worst thing that happened to the world. When talking to creationists, it's best to stick to the facts and keep your pet ideologies out of it.
 
  • #82
wofsy said:
"You can't have only half a mouse trap."

Half a mouse trap can work as an effective tie clip (though not an attractive one).

jreelawg said:
but if we found historical written records of pre 6000 year old civilization? It would be hard to lie your way around that.

Earliest writing is from c. 6600 BC, while the earliest cave paintings are from c. 32 000 BC. Of course, young Earth creationists will dispute the dating methods used to come up with these numbers.
 
  • #83
oops
 
  • #84
Hel said:
Not tested, but observed:

There are lots of definitions for design. Two from dictionary.com that are relevant:

2. to plan and fashion artistically or skillfully.
17. adaptation of means to a preconceived end.

I think it can be agreed that the 17th definition is found in nature. Adaptations animals have serve a purpose and help ensure survival. Seeing this doesn't necessarily suggest a creator.

Intelligent design is using the word with the 2nd definition rather than the 17th. The difference is striking.

There is absolutely no difference to #2 and #17 and in fact #17 supports the wackiness or creationism even more since "preconceived end" doesn't mean with purpose as you describe but based on personal prejudices excluding experience and available information.


Prejudices don't belong in science :)
 
  • #85
TheStatutoryApe said:
Wofsy is right. The idea of 'Intelligent Design' has been around for a long time. Creationists may have stolen the idea and tried to make it their own but that does not mean that ID is nothing but creationism.

Also I have seen (and unfortunately can no longer find) actual scientific papers promoting an ID interpretation of the evolution of certain organisms. They weren't very good, but it goes to show that there are people who actually take ID seriously and attempt to show it scientifically.

Lastly, ID does not require nor infer a creator. ID, at its base, believes that there is an orderly fashion and seeming impetus behind evolution that does not seem to be adequately explained by natural selection. I have in fact seen versions of ID that suggest an intelligence inherent in the system, something like an organic neural net process which actively seeks to adapt and improve itself. Some people see horizontal gene swapping as possible evidence of this, or at least that there are possibly other factors which have been involved in evolution other than just natural selection. Unfortunately, from what I have read, such ideas are sometimes poorly received due to knee jerk reactions to anything suggesting natural selection is not the be all and end all of evolution.

Can you show me one paper where ID doesn't not require nor infer a creator? There are people who do take ID seriously however ID *IS* Only a re-imagination of Creationism. That is the truth.

I would really like to see some proof here and someone step out and define "design" without re-writing the definition of design itself. For "Intelligence" of any sorts INFERS A GREATER BEING.

Honestly.. if it isn't a "god" then the onus of ID supporters is to show me the high intelligence that created everything and prove that god doesn't/didn't exist and this new intelligence does and then show me how that new intelligence created everything without it in and of itself evolving from something. In other words, if ID isn't God, its still a catch-22 because even something had to create the intelligence that supposedly created us.
 
  • #86
Hel said:
I owe you an apology for misunderstanding your point.


Sorry I didn't make myself clear. I didn't say evolution had a preconceived end. My point was that adaptations have a practical end result. Pandas having a bit of bone sticking out of their hand is an adaptation that has a purpose--to help in the feeding process. It's just a trivial point that there's design in nature.

Again, that's not by design.. Through natural selection that trait was the dominant trait that survived and flourished.

Just like male birds that look amazing.. they use that for mating.. ugly birds have died off and over the years the birds get more amazing and amazing.

some aspects of life and living organisms have many different purposes.. some directly help with survival and others indirectly help with survival. Natural selection has determined that survivability and natural selection is part of the evolution of species.
 
  • #87
i somewhere saw a reply to my post but I am too lazy to search the pages.
just to make myself clear: the example wasnt about evolution, it was about how small the chance of biological life formation was. try shaking a box full of bike parts and see if you can get a real, working bike. the chance is basically nothing.

if you still don't understand, then i don't know what more to say..
 
  • #88
fawk3s said:
... how small the chance of biological life formation was. try shaking a box full of bike parts and see if you can get a real, working bike. the chance is basically nothing.
This is a silly analogy. It is borne of either ignorance or a deliberate attempt to mislead.

It skips about a half billion years of chemical processes.

Try starting with amino acids, which are a naturally-forming substance. Amino acids are a precursor to replicating molecules. Then look at lipids, also a naturally-forming substance. Lipids are the precursors to an enclosing cell-wall which contain and pass chemicals.
 
  • #89
fawk3s said:
i somewhere saw a reply to my post but I am too lazy to search the pages.
just to make myself clear: the example wasnt about evolution, it was about how small the chance of biological life formation was. try shaking a box full of bike parts and see if you can get a real, working bike. the chance is basically nothing.

if you still don't understand, then i don't know what more to say..

Oh no we understand, that it's a stupid analogy that is.

People must and need to research these topics to the fullest extent before they make any type of claims. Go onto youtube and look up the ID videos. I know when I do they just SCREAM ignorance. Just like fawks post (Not saying I know if fawks supports either side but the fact that he believes in his analogy shows his ignorance to the actually theories)

EDIT: I see dave replied same time as me along same lines... Look up I believe they are called micelles. For a good starting point (I believe... assuming of course you already have knowledge of say high school biochemistry..)
 
  • #90
ok.. let's say the universe was to be created again. would we get the same outcome? would there surely be biological life?
 
  • #91
fawk3s said:
ok.. let's say the universe was to be created again. would we get the same outcome? would there surely be biological life?
Well, that's the question of the day, isn't it? Rephrasing it doesn't shed any light on it. Clearly, abiogenesists believe there would, and others do not.
 
  • #92
fawk3s said:
ok.. let's say the universe was to be created again. would we get the same outcome? would there surely be biological life?

Yes.

Since were still limited to our knowledge on this single planet and within our solar system we don't even know what other forms of life there are.

Do you honestly preclude life from anywhere else in the cosmos when there is an infiinite probability for life to exist?

We're made of "star stuff" and there are billions and billions and billions and billions of stars out there making the elements of life the cosmos over.
 
  • #93
Like I said, Creationists have no evidence for their "theory" so they try to poke holes in evolution. The idea being is if they can disprove evolution (although they can't because evolution is supported with evidence unlike creationism or ID) then the only other "theory" is ID. Creationism and ID are based not on science but religion. Religion should have nothing to do with science. You can't just say that there was some "intelligent designer" that put us on this Earth without evidence and call that science. I have just as much evidence to say that the "intelligent designer" was the flying spaghetti monster. Without evidence all your doing is stating an opinion and opinions mean absolutely nothing in science without evidence.
 
  • #94
ideasrule said:
I typed all of that because I think it might be interesting to the OP and to other readers.
Yes, it was interesting to read your post. Thanks!


Galteeth said:
No amount of logic or reason will be sufficient to convince them otherwise...

Point being, you are speaking a different language when you try to argue fine points of evidence.
That's what it feels like.


fawk3s said:
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?
Just because we haven't fount the explanation yet doesn't really mean that there's no explanation.


Evo said:
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.
In my original post, my intention was to get some scientific information from the members here. I'm sorry if it turned into a religious discussion.


byronm said:
if you love science, don't waste your passion on creationism :)
Actually I'm just trying to learn more science to refute creationism.
 
  • #95
here is a question. humans design things all the time as do other species and in some cases we might agree that these designs are intelligent. So the existence of intelligent design in the universe - and on Earth - is proved.

How then would we characterize its structural properties so that we could design experiments to test for it?
 
  • #96
Daneel_Olivaw said:
Just because we haven't fount the explanation yet doesn't really mean that there's no explanation.

im about to cry. srsly.
in my post, i said the idea was meant for creationists. (I AM NOT A CREATIONIST!)

i guess when reading my post it could get abit complicated to get the idea. what i actually meant was that life has an explanation. EXACTLY what you said.

a lot of creationists believe that god just "spawned" life.
i said, that if everything is explainable, then also life is.

so basically, i told creationists to stop nitpicking on evolution theories, because there is an explanation.
 
  • #97
wofsy said:
here is a question. humans design things all the time as do other species and in some cases we might agree that these designs are intelligent. So the existence of intelligent design in the universe - and on Earth - is proved.

How then would we characterize its structural properties so that we could design experiments to test for it?

Design implies that the pattern was created with a purpose. In order to design things with a purpose you must have an awareness of cause and effect. Determining if something is "aware" is largely a philosophical question.
 
  • #98
aPhilosopher said:
That depends on how we define science though! I think it is nonsense. No self respecting scientist would believe in it but it is still falsifiable. I was just tossing it out there as it's a funny excuse to use when debating creationists on there home ground. I am keen on my definition of science though.

Haha, sorry...but it's not up to you to assign completely new definitions to words in common usage just because you don't like the actual definition. "Scientific" is not a synonym for "falsifiable" any more than "science" is a synonym for "false."

It's especially funny that you just started using this definition on your own without specifying it and expected everyone to agree with you. Like walking up to someone and saying "You suck, idiot!" and holding out your hand in friendship, as if they knew that in your secret little language you had decided that "you suck = hello" and "idiot = friend".
 
  • #99
fawk3s said:
im about to cry. srsly.
in my post, i said the idea was meant for creationists. (I AM NOT A CREATIONIST!)
I am terribly sorry to have misunderstood you. :(
 
  • #100
junglebeast said:
Haha, sorry...but it's not up to you to assign completely new definitions to words in common usage just because you don't like the actual definition. "Scientific" is not a synonym for "falsifiable" any more than "science" is a synonym for "false."

It's especially funny that you just started using this definition on your own without specifying it and expected everyone to agree with you. Like walking up to someone and saying "You suck, idiot!" and holding out your hand in friendship, as if they knew that in your secret little language you had decided that "you suck = hello" and "idiot = friend".

Well to be honest, I didn't think that the definition that I was advancing was really original to me with the possible exception of explicitly noting that the vulgar definition of science comes out of it as an emergent phenomenon but even that is implied in the works of Popper. I guess what I am saying is, I thought that that was essentially the purest definition of science. Maybe I'm just ignorant.

We of course have to take into account the Quine-Duhem thesis, so that we can never explicitly falsify a given isolated statement but that is not a huge impediment.Science has worked well so far!
 
  • #101
DavidSnider said:
Design implies that the pattern was created with a purpose. In order to design things with a purpose you must have an awareness of cause and effect. Determining if something is "aware" is largely a philosophical question.

so you think there is no way to do this.
 
  • #102
wofsy said:
here is a question. humans design things all the time as do other species and in some cases we might agree that these designs are intelligent. So the existence of intelligent design in the universe - and on Earth - is proved.

How then would we characterize its structural properties so that we could design experiments
to test for it?

1. Yes, there are intelligent species.
2. No, intelligence in and of itself doesn't prove anything - especially intelligent design
3. There is nothing to test.

Your statement sounds like the flat Earth argument. Just because a limited test could convince you the Earth appears flat doesn't mean the Earth is flat. I could measure your intelligence but what does that prove to anyone or any theory?
 
  • #103
byronm said:
1. Yes, there are intelligent species.
2. No, intelligence in and of itself doesn't prove anything - especially intelligent design
3. There is nothing to test.

Your statement sounds like the flat Earth argument. Just because a limited test could convince you the Earth appears flat doesn't mean the Earth is flat. I could measure your intelligence but what does that prove to anyone or any theory?

I think your flat Earth analogy misses my point. I would think that by your reasoning any explanation of anything would just be an delusion, an appearance - useless.
I am not the first person who has tried to come up with criteria for detecting intelligence in empirical data.

how do you know there is nothing to test?please tell me.
How do you know there are intelligent species? From introspection or have you done an empirical test or is it a profession of faith?
 
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  • #104
byronm said:
1. Yes, there are intelligent species.
2. No, intelligence in and of itself doesn't prove anything - especially intelligent design
3. There is nothing to test.

Your statement sounds like the flat Earth argument. Just because a limited test could convince you the Earth appears flat doesn't mean the Earth is flat. I could measure your intelligence but what does that prove to anyone or any theory?

I think that wofsy is barking up the wrong tree here too but comparing it to a flat Earth argument is more than a little too harsh. Strictly speaking, my computer is intelligently designed so the statement that intelligent design exists in the universe is 100% correct.

@wofsy, It might help you to watch http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcnCJqDa1us" videos. It's Richard Dawkins and Randolph Nesse discussing all sorts of aspects of biology that discredit the notion of intelligent design. It might either convince you that it's a dead end or at least give you some examples of what we would expect from a designer.
 
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  • #105
wofsy said:
I think your flat Earth analogy misses my point. I would think that by your reasoning any explanation of anything would just be an delusion, an appearance - useless.

No, you're putting words in my mouth. Your observation was simply conjecture. A theory with no sound science, observation or truth. Just like flat Earth believers were conjecture - just because it appears one way - doesn't mean it is.

And yes, i think creationists are delusional. Science is about proving your theory, not about supporting conjecture by looking for holes in the standard theory/model. Show me proof of creationism, show me experimentation of creationism, show my the science of creationism. THERE IS *NONE*.


I am not the first person who has tried to come up with criteria for detecting intelligence in empirical data.

How and what are you measuring? If you don't know what your experiment is, how may i ask did you come up with empirical data? Thats a huge jump to conclusions - just as flat Earth believers jumped to conclusions.

how do you know there is nothing to test?wow! please tell me.
How do you know there are intelligent species? From introspection or have you done an empirical test or is it a profession of faith?

Why are you putting the burden of proof on me? The burden of proof is on you to tell me WHAT you're testing. What does intelligent species have anything to do with ID and what are you measuring to relate those 2?
 

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