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
  • #246
sganesh88 said:
A related doubt. Suppose an organism develops a trait- say a random mutation in one of its cells that enabled it to turn itself into a photoreceptor-. Now how does Nature 'know' that it will help the organism in its survival and hence make it carry on to the future generations through inheritance? Whats the mechanism of this natural selection?
Sorry if its a stupid question. This question is bugging me these days.

Think of it this way, give a man a fish, he will eat a fish that day, teach a man to fish and he will eat fish for life.

Same goes for evolution, with the exception that the teaching part is mostly a lonnnnng process of natural selection over the years.

If you have cell a that develops a method to be aware of daylight or not vs cell b of a similar composition with no ability to sense daylight, cell a could essentially conserve its energy by feeding during prime food times by using its sensor in conjunction with the abundance of food to have a more resourceful uptime vs cell b who is actively trying to eat all the time. Over the millions of years cell b is simply overrun by a and natural selection prevails.

Its not really that the cell "a" would even know what to do with the mutation initially but the mutation over time allows it to infer conditions that species "b" can't.

hopefully i didn't butch that up for you too much. just a simple way to describe what may happen.
 
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  • #247
sylas said:
If a change does help survival, then the next generation will have more descendants of this individual than otherwise. Furthermore, the descendents tend to inherit traits from their parents.
In this way, each generation tends to naturally have more individuals with traits that help survival and reproduction. No knowledge is involved.

That helped. Didn't think it would be this simple. Thanks. :)
 
  • #248
Not to change the direction here, but I am wondering if Superdeterminism is in sync with the intelligent design theory? Yay or nay?
 
  • #249
Descartz2000 said:
Not to change the direction here, but I am wondering if Superdeterminism is in sync with the intelligent design theory? Yay or nay?
You don't have to change the direction -- you could just ask your question in another thread and let this one proceed on its current course.
 
  • #250
I do remember watching a video/program about this exact topic, I only recall the name of a guy Abdal Hakim Murad who is a lecturer of theology at Cambridge university
 
  • #251
sylas said:
Actually, there's no theoretical problem with the evolution of a system that is composed of a number of interworking parts, all of which are required for the system to work at all, and none of which are useful apart from their role in the system.

All you need to remember is that in evolution, the parts themselves are as subject to modification as anything else. Evolution only rarely works by adding or subtracting parts. The most common form of evolutionary change is the modification of parts, and this is completely ignored in the ID defense of the idea that IC presents any kind of difficulty for evolution.

Consider a system which involves a number of interacting parts, so that the removal of any part only degrades the performance of the system, without removing the function entirely. This is not IC, by the definition proposed.

Now let this system be subject to evolution. Each of the parts may be subject to small changes in how it works and interacts with other parts. Furthermore, the context in which selection is applied is one where all the parts are in place. There's no selection for a part to operate independently of the others, and there can be strong selection for a small change to a part so that it works a bit better, but in such a way that its operation relies crucially on the presence of other parts. Indeed, this kind of change is precisely what one should expect. The result of such changes is to introduce new dependencies between the parts that are all ready present, so that after a time the system DOES become IC, all by perfectly normal evolutionary processes.

The earliest plain description of "irreducible complexity" was actually called "interlocking dependency", but the meaning is exactly the same... all parts are required for the operation of the system. This description was given in 1918 by Herman Muller, who went on to win the Nobel prize in 1946 for his work on mutations.

The major difference with later and much less competent analysis is that Muller presents irreducible complexity as an expected consequence of conventional evolutionary processes; not as a problem. It is only seen as a problem with a stunted strawman of the processes of evolutionary change, as "adding and removing parts". With the more common evolutionary step of modifying parts, IC falls out very naturally as an expected consequence.

Reference:
  • Muller, H. J. (1918) http://www.genetics.org/content/vol3/issue5/index.shtml , in Genetics, Vol 3, No 5, Sept 1918, pp 422-499.

The description from this paper of interlocking complexity (irreducible complexity) is as follows (with emphasis as in Muller's original!):
... Most present day animals are the result of a long process of evolution, in which at least thousands of mutations must have taken place. Each new mutant in turn must have derived its survival value from the effect which it produced upon the "reaction system" that had been brought into being by the many previously formed factors in cooperation; thus a complicated machine was gradually built up whose effective working was dependent upon the interlocking action of very numerous elementary parts or factors, and many of the characters and factors which, when new, where originally merely an asset finally become necessary because other necessary characters and factors had subsequently become changed so as to be dependent on the former. It must result, in consequence, that a dropping out of, or even a slight change in anyone of these parts is very likely to disturb fatally the whole machinery; ...

Note carefully how this arises. It occurs because of the changing of parts so that they now depend on other parts.

Cheers -- sylas

What I meant to say was a system where all of the possible precursors would have had no survival value- that'll teach me to talk about this stuff at 4am... :blushing:
 
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  • #252
muppet said:
What I meant to say was a system where all of the possible precursors would have had no survival value- that'll teach me to talk about this stuff at 4am... :blushing:
Yes. In other words, what is very often ignored is that working parts to no evolve to suit a given purpose, they evolve to suit some other purpose, and when the environment changes, those parts find themselves suiting a new purpose.

Feathers are a common example. They did not start off helping flight.
 
  • #253
muppet said:
What I meant to say was a system where all of the possible precursors would have had no survival value- that'll teach me to talk about this stuff at 4am... :blushing:

No problem. This is often presented as an alternative definition of "IC"; but it is a definition with no useful meaning. It effectively assumes the conclusion of the argument, there is no possible way to tell if a system is "IC" according to this new definition; and it no longer has anything to do with complexity at all.

The argument by Behe was a fallacy from the start. The notion of irreducible complexity he proposed then at least had some credible content. The inference that such systems could not evolve was clearly wrong, for a number of different reasons as well as the reason I explained.

In responding to refutations of the original argument, the ID movement has ended up with what amounts to a statement of faith again. They have absolutely no reason to think that there are any functional biological systems extent that don't have "useful" precursors, and they provide no way to identify such alleged systems.

Cheers -- sylas
 
  • #254
D H said:
That is intelligent design, and there is no way to disprove this notion. There is no way to prove it, either. That is why it isn't science. Its a belief. Now science of course is going to say if that something that is not necessary and that cannot be tested does not exist -- at least insofar as science is concerned. Get rid of the non-essential stuff, break things down to the bare minimum. That's a basic assumption of science. A belief, if you will.


Interpretation of science is as much a belief as anything else. In the lack of information concerning fundamental issues, people are filling the 'voids' with beliefs(that goes in full swing for atheists too). Science does not belong neither to atheists nor to theists, though you can twist it to mean anything - from biblical god that implanted fake evidence to test our faith, through computer simulation arguments to everything being an accident(fluke).



That is the god of the gaps argument. Note well: That is not a phrase invented by a bunch of atheists. It is a phrase invented by a 19th century evangelist. Using this idea was a bad idea 100+ years ago, well before science really got on a steamroller. It is not just a bad idea now. It is downright silly. The gaps are very, very small and are getting smaller and smaller.


The gap is as BIG as it can ever be. You don't even know what 'understanding' is, how electrical signals become 'information', thoughts. Yet that is your whole world, the universe and everything that will ever be. How would you understand 'understanding'? What is information? What is going on in your head that you see a world only through this 'information'?
What is the universe? How does it work? Is spacetime fundamental? Are there infinite universes splitting at 10^-43sec? What is the meaning of the dynamical spacetime in GR? Is the universe deterministic or does quantum randomness affect the macro scale? Is the universe an entangled wholeness? Etc., etc.

Again you can torture science to mean anything(in the abscence of information), so on a more neutral stance, i'd say we need another thousand years before we can say:

"The gaps are very, very small and are getting smaller and smaller"
 
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  • #255
WaveJumper said:
Interpretation of science is as much a belief as anything else. In the lack of information concerning fundamental issues, people are filling the 'voids' with beliefs(that goes in full swing for atheists too). Science does not belong neither to atheists nor to theists, though you can twist it to mean anything - from biblical god that implanted fake evidence to test our faith, through computer simulation arguments to everything being an accident(fluke).

I beg to differ, to me there is a huge difference between inferring the facts and "believing" them. Sure, there is always a sense of "belief" that you're working towards the right end but that belief isn't a preconceived prejudice of the test but the notion your experience and logic and heading you down the right path.

BTW, what is the point of comparing differing views of religion with the basis of science? i Want to know the logic behind such reasoning is. Its like saying because there is junk religion and junk science therefore science is like religion.

The gap is as BIG as it can ever be. You don't even know what 'understanding' is, how electrical signals become 'information', thoughts. Yet that is your whole world, the universe and everything that will ever be. How would you understand 'understanding'? What is information? What is going on in your head that you see a world only through this 'information'?

What is the point of this argument? Hasn't pointing out holes of once concept already been shown it proves nothing but further research is needed? Just because the brain appears to be complex doesn't prove or disprove anything, in fact you're merely taking a prejudiced measurement. The brain may not be all that complex in the end at all! Just half a century ago the theory of relativity seemed insanely complex however people have devices in their car that calculate it dozens of times per second to show them geo location of where they are in the world within 3 meters of precision (and that's mostly the artificial buffer to lower precision of consumer devices as to not be used for military purposes!)

What is the universe? How does it work? Is spacetime fundamental? Are there infinite universes splitting at 10^-43sec? What is the meaning of the dynamical spacetime in GR? Is the universe deterministic or does quantum randomness affect the macro scale? Is the universe an entangled wholeness? Etc., etc.

great questions that may never be answered however for many a scientists the beauty is they don't have to be answered through the prejudices of religion. There have been many unsuccessful theories of the universe as well and its fantastic that scientists have matured onto more reasonable ones based upon an ever increasing understanding of the mechanics of our universe and the findings and breakthroughs that have happened. I think that supports the scientific method more than anything else ;)

Again you can torture science to mean anything(in the abscence of information), so on a more neutral stance, i'd say we need another thousand years before we can say:

"The gaps are very, very small and are getting smaller and smaller"

You're choosing to embellish those gaps because of your own prejudices. Darwin created a theory whose gaps were inconceivable only 150 years ago that genetics recently (and continues) to support, are you willfully choosing to ignore that advancement of humanity and say it "has to be another 10,000 years" just because you can't presently see it?
 
  • #256
byronm said:
I beg to differ, to me there is a huge difference between inferring the facts and "believing" them. Sure, there is always a sense of "belief" that you're working towards the right end but that belief isn't a preconceived prejudice of the test but the notion your experience and logic and heading you down the right path.

BTW, what is the point of comparing differing views of religion with the basis of science? i Want to know the logic behind such reasoning is. Its like saying because there is junk religion and junk science therefore science is like religion.



What is the point of this argument? Hasn't pointing out holes of once concept already been shown it proves nothing but further research is needed? Just because the brain appears to be complex doesn't prove or disprove anything, in fact you're merely taking a prejudiced measurement. The brain may not be all that complex in the end at all! Just half a century ago the theory of relativity seemed insanely complex however people have devices in their car that calculate it dozens of times per second to show them geo location of where they are in the world within 3 meters of precision (and that's mostly the artificial buffer to lower precision of consumer devices as to not be used for military purposes!)



great questions that may never be answered however for many a scientists the beauty is they don't have to be answered through the prejudices of religion. There have been many unsuccessful theories of the universe as well and its fantastic that scientists have matured onto more reasonable ones based upon an ever increasing understanding of the mechanics of our universe and the findings and breakthroughs that have happened. I think that supports the scientific method more than anything else ;)



You're choosing to embellish those gaps because of your own prejudices. Darwin created a theory whose gaps were inconceivable only 150 years ago that genetics recently (and continues) to support, are you willfully choosing to ignore that advancement of humanity and say it "has to be another 10,000 years" just because you can't presently see it?



I an not religious and do not espouse any religion. However, since you can faults in the bible does not guarantee that the universe wasn't created. The bible isn't the end all be all(though it's the easiest for atheists to shoot down and so is the favourite target).



You're choosing to embellish those gaps because of your own prejudices. Darwin created a theory whose gaps were inconceivable only 150 years ago that genetics recently (and continues) to support, are you willfully choosing to ignore that advancement of humanity and say it "has to be another 10,000 years" just because you can't presently see it?


The theory of eveolution has nothing to do with whether existence is natural or supernatural. It's only a description of how organsims evolved(it takes a huge leap of faith- a tortue of science interpretation, to conclue, based solely on the theory of evolution, that there is no god). I am not against faith, i am against faith being presented as fact and for me the TOE does not give me enough information to conclude - "hey everybody see - God does not exist!".
 
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  • #257
WaveJumper said:
I an not religious and do not espouse any religion. However, since you can faults in the bible does not mean at all that the universe wasn't created. The bible isn't the end all be all(though it's the easiest for atheists to shoot down and so is the favourite target).

I don't see faults in the bible at all, i look at it as a book of fictional stories. What is there to find fault in any of that? The irony is saying your not religious and don't espouse any religion however you hold the bible as having some truths - which appears to me as a very religious sentiment :)

I could be wrong, but that's how i interpret such a response hehe




The theory of eveolution has nothing to do with whether existence is natural or supernatural. It's only a description of how organsims evolved(it takes a huge leap of faith- a tortue of science interpretation, to conclue, based solely on the theory of evolution, that there is no god). I am not against faith, i am against faith being presented as fact and for me the TOE does not give me enough information to conclude - "hey everybody see - God does not exist!".

Thats not entirely true and not what I'm saying. I've never once associated evolution with the supernatural and as long as we're talking science, I never will

However with that said, Evolution does encompass origins as a concept since in the end evolution may provide us the methodology in which chemistry, biology, cosmology and many other sciences come together to describe how life began. I think its less of a matter of "if" but more of "when". We're already at technology showing us the "god particle" and "god cells" and "god genes" its only a matter of time before we understand how and i think the discussions should always focus on the how because that in and of itself is the process that is science

Creation may or may not be god but that's not an answer science postulates at this point in time. In fact, if humans hadn't had the preconceived notion of god and developed science before the bible, would we even be having this discussion? :)

By the very logic you suggest seems to imperialize (probably not a word.. just thinkin aloud) life regardless of science. When i look at the cosmos and the ever expanding universe and the sheer scale of it, logic implores me to believe otherwise in the notion of abundance of life :) just my 2 cents.
 
  • #258
byronm said:
I don't see faults in the bible at all, i look at it as a book of fictional stories. What is there to find fault in any of that?
The plot is a bit unbelievable, the characterization is poor. Admittedly the special effects are good.

They completely lost it in the sequel - it went all touchy-feely.
 
  • #259
mgb_phys said:
the plot is a bit unbelievable, the characterization is poor. Admittedly the special effects are good.

They completely lost it in the sequel - it went all touchy-feely.

lol!
 
  • #260
mgb_phys said:
The plot is a bit unbelievable, the characterization is poor. Admittedly the special effects are good.

They completely lost it in the sequel - it went all touchy-feely.

hahahaha you got me there!

Thats the second time today I've gotten a good chuckle. Thanks ;)
 
  • #261
mgb_phys said:
The plot is a bit unbelievable, the characterization is poor. Admittedly the special effects are good.

They completely lost it in the sequel - it went all touchy-feely.
:biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin:
 
  • #262
mgb_phys said:
The plot is a bit unbelievable, the characterization is poor. Admittedly the special effects are good.

They completely lost it in the sequel - it went all touchy-feely.

Read the Book of Mormon and complete the trilogy =)
 
  • #263
mgb_phys said:
The plot is a bit unbelievable, the characterization is poor. Admittedly the special effects are good.

They completely lost it in the sequel - it went all touchy-feely.

I just wish the authors could have been a bit more coherent and a bit better at not contradicting each other. The book's also very slow-moving and confusing at times. Other than that, it's a pretty good action thriller.
 
  • #264
mgb_phys said:
The plot is a bit unbelievable, the characterization is poor. Admittedly the special effects are good.

They completely lost it in the sequel - it went all touchy-feely.

LMFAO MGB.

That's EASILY the funniest thing I've heard all YEAR man wow holy crap I'm dying here.
 
  • #265
mgb_phys said:
The plot is a bit unbelievable, the characterization is poor. Admittedly the special effects are good.

And many people say that the book is better than the movie.
 
  • #266
All I know is you guys better hope you're right...just saying.o:)
 
  • #267
Ok, the thread has reached the end, time to pull the plug.
 

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