Re: How To Destroy The Theory Of Evolution.

Someone I won’t bother naming did an anti-evolution blog with the above title and I guess I’m bored enough to refute it so here goes.

“Arguments that destroy the Theory of Evolution are found in the areas of simple reason, science and mathematics.”

Emphasis on simple.

“1. Evolution doesn’t make sense.  Why would Mother Nature evolve a creature who has the power to destroy Mother Nature herself?”

Setting aside that the theory of evolution by natural selection has nothing to do with personifying or attributing conscious intelligence to nature, mankind doesn’t remotely have the power to destroy mother nature.  Mother nature would be the universe which we can’t even begin to dream of blowing up, and even if we ignore everything but our tiny planet we no more have the capacity to destroy it even with our combined nuclear arsenals than a child has the capacity to blow up a sidewalk with fire crackers.  There have been meteor impacts on earth that have released more energy in a single blast than all our nukes combined.

“I mean how sane could Mother Nature be to evolve the only creature who doesn’t have a niche, or if that creature disappeared it would have no significant impact on any other niche on the planet.”

Our species disappearing would effect many if not every species, directly or indirectly, especially domesticated species, bacteria which exist only in our digestive tracts, parasites that exclusively feed on us etc.  Sudden disappearance of humans would also effect the average global temperature and in turn weather systems etc.  Just because you don’t know of the impacts it would have doesn’t give you license to pretend there wouldn’t be any.

“In short, why would Mother Nature evolve a creature that’s unnatural?”

Meaningless term, circular reasoning.  We didn’t evolve therefore we’re unnatural therefore we didn’t evolve.

“2. Science has not proven evolution as a model for all life on Earth.  Yes, evolution works for microscopic bugs but that’s about all.”

No it’s been demonstrated that mutations and natural (and artificial) selection work in animals as well.  Any why on earth wouldn’t they?  All the same mechanisms are present in both, we both are based on DNA which mutates causing variations which are then inhereted at different frequencies due to their impact on our rate of survival and/or reproduction.  The process is just easier to observe in species that reproduce quickly because then it is easier to observe multiple generations, but we’ve been using similar principles to modify plants and animals for thousands of years and we know they are just as malleable.  These are both adults of the same species:

That life doesn’t vary and that natural selection wouldn’t function for an animal are both nonsense.  I don’t even have to get into ERV’s and ring species and all the examples of human evolution etc.

“It is completely unscientific to generalize the Theory of Evolution for all of life when it has only been shown to work on viruses and bacteria.”

The theory was developed to explain why turtles and finches had the characteristics they have.  And subsequent studies actually tracked the evolution of those finches in real time.  Whatever.

“3.  When scientists do the math, the math says that random evolution is impossible. There simply isn’t enough time in the universe for life or anything else to have evolved randomly.”

I’ve never found anti-evolution “math” that reflected how evolution actually works, usually it relies on the assumption that every slight incremental change requires 99.9% of the population to be wiped out and repopulated, which is only true of certain types of microbes and ignores the fact that sexual reproduction or any kind of gene transfer (as countless single-celled organisms have too) completely changes this and allows natural selection to function gradually over time in a population selecting for not just one variation at a time but countless ones within the same population without the population needing to even decline.

“If you’d like an example just ask.”

No thanks, I’ve heard of haldane’s dilemma before.

“Why is it that people are called trolls and other nasty names for destroying such pet hoaxes as global warming, renewable energy, and evolution?”

Because it’s the internet, people are called nasty names for throwing their hat into any discussion.  But especially if they’ve trolled xanga for years like some people.

Advertisements

About agnophilo

Nerd.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

90 Responses to Re: How To Destroy The Theory Of Evolution.

  1. moss_icon says:

    Why did I get the feeling this was written by @whycan’ttheyfuckoffanyway? That first question was moronic enough. Attributing human-like conscious to nature, the universe, everything that we are a product of, not vice-versa, is mind-numbingly idiotic. It’s a fallacy rooted in a species-centric arrogance that our cerebrums, from which our actions come from, most be the only possible actor in existence. Here’s one? Why do women get morning sickness? It’s because the body senses an alien presence and tries to expel it via vomit. That presence is a baby and pregnancy is a natural, even instinctually-encouraged, part of life. So why would a conscious force create such a biological contradiction? Because there is no conscious rationale!I saw this US chat-show once. It featured a guy who was utterly tone-deaf, a horrible, horrible, out-of-tune, off-key singer. But he proclaimed he was The Shit, that it was only because people “didn’t know music” that they thought him a bad singer. He continued to tout his self-deluded belief that he had great talent and responded to every critic of his with “you just don’t know music” with the same smug, deluded conceit. Dunno why I just thought of that…….

  2. how dare you use science?!I refuse to believe animals existed that no longer do and that animals exist that didn’t before. unless they were killed by a magic flood because they didn’t get to the world’s biggest boat in time.:3

  3. Aloysius_son says:

    I am disappointed that you even bothered.

  4. Pcygniime says:

    The problem I’ve always had with the original creation mythos is the timeframe…. As I see it, everything, even creation takes time…. So what’s wrong with evolution in the frame of creation?? 7 days is the oft quoted number required for the creation of the world and man and all…. How long are the days of an ‘eternal being’? ‘thousand years? ‘million years?? Perhaps several million years…. The men who wrote the bible had a very limited scope of the realities of years, months even days…. something to think on…. Peace

  5. ” ignores the fact that sexual reproduction or any kind of gene transfer (as countless single-celled organisms have too) completely changes this and allows natural selection to function gradually over time in a population selecting for not just one variation at a time but countless ones within the same population without the population needing to even decline.”Show me some papers that support your notion that the modern synthesis can do the heavy lifting that you claim it can do.  By that I mean studies that are based on the observation of major changes in a vertebrate population that weren’t preexisting, though only in fractional amounts.  By this I means something along the lines of flying pigs.The notion that evolutionary biologists, especially the younger ones, accept the Modern Synthesis isn’t true.  They don’t think that it can do the heavy lifting, although they say that both natural selection and mutation play a role.  A few years ago Allen MacNeill had listed fifty-odd factors that contribute to phenotypes and evolution.  The big question is how the various factors contribute and how much.  The mechanism is therefore a major question.  The mechanism of evolution may change, but the one thing that is constant is a lot of faith in the “fact” of evolution.

  6. zoetherat says:

    @sometimestheycomebackanyway – “Mother Nature is the force that drives evolution. But according to the Theory of Evolution that force is simple randomness.”First, no one says that “randomness” drives evolution. Evolution is driven by selection pressures. The mutations that selection acts upon occur randomly, but the pressures are not random. This is evolution 101. If you don’t understand it, then you don’t know enough about what evolution is to have an informed opinion on it. On the other hand, if you do understand it and you’re saying this type of thing anyway, then you’re just being a troll. Second, by saying “mother nature is the force that drives evolution” you’re just doing again what i criticized you for earlier. What does that statement even mean? Don’t tell me what the term you’re using vaguely and awkwardly does, because that doesn’t clear anything up. Instead, rephrase your statement in a way that uses precise terminology. If you did that, i think we’d find that you don’t have good arguments behind the terminology you’re using. In fact, i suspect that’s why you’re using it. “If you have no concept of the natural world or what is natural then you are not equipped for this discussion.”Something’s natural if it’s a product of natural processes. However, that doesn’t seem to be the way you were using the word “natural”. If it was, then your statement, “why would Mother Earth evolve a creature that’s unnatural” really meant, “why would Mother Earth create a creature that Mother Earth didn’t create”. That can’t be what you meant, so you must have been using the word “natural” in some other way. The problem isn’t that i don’t understand what these words and phrases mean. I do. The problem is that you’re using them in ways that are vague, abstract, and confusing in place of actual arguments. That’s all the time i’m going to waste on you. 

  7. @sometimestheycomebackanyway – I disagree. There is no UNnatural behaviour involved. Man as a species is in it’s infancy and the behaviour is just juvenile, just like any two year old throwing it’s toys around. Mother Nature is just coming to whup his arse.

  8. @zoetherat – What are “selection pressures”?  Sounds like you just chose different words to express my term “Mother Nature”.Your explanation fails to explain the vast diversity of life and the fact that it is mathematically impossible for such diversity to have evolved randomly, let alone life itself, let alone man, himself.The fact that all life has design and purpose destroys any possibility that life evolved randomly.Design and purpose are oxymorons of randomness.

  9. @FrenzElectric – The internal combustion engine is unnatural. Laundry detergents and fertilizers and all the millions of synthesized chemicals used in industry are all unnatural.Electric power is unnatural and so is a concrete building and an car made out of fiber glass.Almost everything man does outside of defecate, eat and sex is unnatural.  That’s because man is above nature and is learning to command it.In that respect man is in his infancy.  In time man will gain greater and greater mastery over nature.And that is a proof that Evolution is a sham.  Nature evolves natural creatures, things and phenomena. Man is learning to create his own creatures, things and phenomena.

  10. agnophilo says:

    @sometimestheycomebackanyway – This unnatural/mother nature argument has been dismantled in detail by several people very patiently and you just mindlessly repeat it.  I’m only responding to you as a courtesy because it’s your blog I refuted above, after this I will go back to ignoring you as you do everyone else.@TheSutraDude – Fair enough.@sometimestheycomebackanyway – How has evolution been proven not to be gradual?  And posting someone else’s writing and saying it’s someone else’s isn’t plagiarism.@sometimestheycomebackanyway – As explained above, your blog used circular reasoning.  You accuse other people of using it and ignore the fact that you do.  Look in the mirror.@PPhilip – Yes diversity is good, but again I don’t think it’s going to lead to catastrophy any time soon.

  11. @agnophilo – No it hasn’t. You can’t simply dismantle an argument by claiming to do so. I’ve successfully rebutted every one of your claims.You on the other hand have not even addressed on of my arguments except to argue semantics which is the refuge of people who have no argument.

  12. @sometimestheycomebackanyway – I totally disagree with your final statement.

  13. @FrenzElectric – How is it possible to disagree with facts that are totally obvious?

  14. @sometimestheycomebackanyway – Like this – I totally disagree with your final statement.

  15. agnophilo says:

    @moss_icon – Pretty much sums it up, and yes it was loborn/curtis.@Dungeonbrownies – : )@Aloysius_son – Sorry to disappoint.@Pcygniime – True dat.@soccerdadforlife – “Show me some papers that support your notion that the modern synthesis can do the heavy lifting that you claim it can do.  By that I mean studies that are based on the observation of major changes in a vertebrate population that weren’t preexisting, though only in fractional amounts.  By this I means something along the lines of flying pigs.”It took several hundred million years for birds to develop flight, seeing as how their wings are modified arms which are modified fins.  So no, pigs will not suddenly sprout wings out of thin air tomorrow.”The notion that evolutionary biologists, especially the younger ones, accept the Modern Synthesis isn’t true.”  Please support the claim that there is any demographic of actual earth and life scientists that reject evolution in all but marginal amounts.  I would be astonished if you could show that 1 percent of biologists, geneticists or paleontologists reject the modern synthesis.  The difference between christian scientists that favor creationism and atheist scientists is around 1/10th of 1 percent.”They don’t think that it can do the heavy lifting, although they say that both natural selection and mutation play a role.  A few years ago Allen MacNeill had listed fifty-odd factors that contribute to phenotypes and evolution.  The big question is how the various factors contribute and how much.  The mechanism is therefore a major question.  The mechanism of evolution may change, but the one thing that is constant is a lot of faith in the “fact” of evolution.”If I have a child and that child grows into an adult, that they grew into an adult is a fact regardless of whether I fully understand how they did.  I don’t doubt that there are things we don’t fully understand about how life evolves (nor do most scientists), but that life evolves and has been evolving for a very long time are in the everyday sense, facts.  Theories attempt to explain facts, not the other way around.  The modern synthesis is the best explanation we currently have for the fact that life observably evolves and the fact that there is a record of this process which goes back to a time when all that existed on earth is microscopic life.@sometimestheycomebackanyway – “What are ‘selection pressures’?”Wow.  Seriously, wow.  How about you open a book before you open your mouth next time.

  16. agnophilo says:

    @sometimestheycomebackanyway – I can discern no logic in this argument that is even coherent enough to debunk.

  17. @agnophilo – How about reading and comprehending my comment? I explained it there.This whole post shows how freakish you people are.First you use my post without giving me credit. And that we all know is an intentional insult.Then you people start calling me names when I challenge and decimate the tenets of your religion.Thankfully, due to people like you, millions and millions of people like me no longer accept the total horse crap that you all try to pass off as science.Whether it’s the global warming hoax or the alternate energy scam your arguments are nonsense and the only thing left to you is bullying, name calling and ranting and raving.

  18. @agnophilo – You wouldn’t know reasoning if it crawled up your ass and bit down on one of your hemorrhoids.People who understand reason don’t have the same religious beliefs that you do.  You share that same kind of thinking with fundamentalist Christians.And they give me the same kind of abuse that you and your friends do.

  19. agnophilo says:

    @sometimestheycomebackanyway – Okay, going back to ignoring you now.  Have a nice life.

  20. @agnophilo – Look at this way, Dirt Bag:You’re sitting at a table creaming the crap out of a bunch of morons in a discussion. They start to panic because they are outclassed and can’t keep up.Their solution?  Someone screams, “You’re the Pied Piper!”And all the other morons join in, “Yeah! You’re the Pied Piper! You’re a real meanie!! Look what you did to all those innocent children!!”It’s at this point you realize they are ready for the rubber room.  What sane person thinks that shouting and ranting and raving about some fable relieves them of their obligation to deal with reality?

  21. zoetherat says:

    @sometimestheycomebackanyway – “What are “selection pressures”?  Sounds like you just chose different words to express my term “Mother Nature”.”Selection pressures are things about an environment that make some organisms more likely to survive and reproduce than other organisms. And it can’t be what you refer to as Mother Nature because, according to you, mother nature is something that makes conscious decisions and can be destroyed by humans.  

  22. Very cool.  I considered making a similar response to the asinine blog post, but I wasn’t sure I would be properly equipped to do so.  Nice job.  Though the troll is fed for the day 😉

  23. galadrial says:

    Sadly, the only way you can dismiss evolution is with bad math, and worse science. Before she wandered off the Campaign trail, Michelle Bachmann suggested we should dump all the theories on the table, and let the “kids” choose what worked for them.DANG.I would not want to drive across a bridge designed by an engineer who got his education like that…nor would I want a surgeon working on me, or anyone I loved, who was allowed to pick and choose the science he “liked”. Weak math, and fiction based “science” makes for a inferior minds.

  24. @agnophilo – So, basically, you are saying, the science text says it, I believe it, and that settles it.  That is, no scrutiny required.Oh wait, evolutionary biologists no longer believe the science text when it says how it happened.Doh!Sounds like you have a whole lotta nuthin for evidence to support your assertions.

  25. agnophilo says:

    @DrummingMediocrity – Thanks : )@galadrial – I agree.  I hate evil or dishonest movements that appeal to virtues to gain acceptance.  The creationism movement is sleazier and plays more fast and loose with the truth than most politicians, and plays on peoples’ sense of fairness to subvert real science.@soccerdadforlife – One, that bears no resemblance whatsoever to anything I said.  And two, you are repeating your assertion that there is a significant number of scientists that reject the modern synthesis which I explicitly asked you to support.   Instead you just ignore the request.  You are being a baby and refusing to put your money where your mouth is and pretending bluster gives your empty words weight.  It doesn’t.

  26. is soccerdad Curtis, do you think?

  27. agnophilo says:

    @DrummingMediocrity – Could be, though all trolls blend together somewhat.

  28. TheSutraDude says:

    @galadrial – Rick Perry told a young boy it was okay for him to choose creationism over evolution as if he was telling him it’s okay to choose his favorite color M&M. of course the country saw the intellect of Rick Perry once he stepped outside Texas and onto the national platform. 

  29. @agnophilo – No, you simply fail to understand some basic concepts:1. There is no such thing as “real science” in any sort of philosophically-rigorous sense.  (I published a paper about this a few years ago.)2. I have provided references in the past to writings by evolutionary biologists which dismiss the modern synthesis (e.g., Allen MacNeill), which you ignore.3. If there is no such thing as “real science,” then your appeal to some significant number of scientists (whoever they are) is absurd.  I  suppose that you think that the opinions of physicists who study non-linear optics and chemists who study organic chemistry about the modern synthesis are somehow relevant.You accuse me of being a baby, but you are the one who is thinking like a child.

  30. <>Dang, you are so thick.  The question which you continually beg is whether mution and selection have the power to do what you claim they can do.  You instead argue that they have some power (which is uncontroversial), therefore they have sufficient power, BUT YOU NEVER PROVIDE ANY EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT YOUR CLAIM!!!Mutation and natural selection work powerfully in modifying bacteria in all kinds of ways, but there is no evidence that they work powerfully in anything else.Richard Lewontin is famous in his anti-selectionism, as one of his graduate student blogged:”Now I have great affection for Lewontin (as all of his students say, “I love that man”), but I would like to see him make an explicit statement about what aspects of nature he imputes to natural selection. We’re not just talking about rape, male domination, and music here, but coat colors, physiology, feathers, gills, flowers, toxins, and the like. Like Jason, I think the anti-selectionists have gone way, way overboard, and have thrown out the baby with the bathwater. (These people also include the “structuralists,” and those who attribute adaptations to the self-organizing properties of biological matter.)” [emphasis added]http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2009/05/12/more-on-dick-lewontin-natural-selection-and-weit/Note the emphasis that I put on “anti-selectionists.”  These are people who are on the leading edge of evolutionary biology.I think that both Coyne and Rosenhouse fail to understand Lewontin’s ideas about how adaptional-thinking influences the thinking of many biologists because he is much more philosophically-informed than they are.  I understand Lewontin on this subject, and so do some creationists, but most biologists are limited because they simply lack the philosophical training to understand Lewontin’s point.They see the evidence and only see one possible way to organize it or else they commit to one way to organize it even if they realize that there may be other ways to organize it.

  31. agnophilo says:

    @soccerdadforlife – “No, you simply fail to understand some basic concepts:1. There is no such thing as “real science” in any sort of philosophically-rigorous sense.  (I published a paper about this a few years ago.)”This is gibberish, science is what it is.  I don’t know what you expect it to be.  And I don’t see how I could “fail to understand” something you haven’t claimed or brought up to this point.  This is generic debate tactics, start a sentence with “no, what I mean is” or “what you fail to understand is” etc to give the appearance that you’re standing your ground and then change the subject entirely and completely run away from your previous arguments to avoid admitting defeat.”2. I have provided references in the past to writings by evolutionary biologists which dismiss the modern synthesis (e.g., Allen MacNeill), which you ignore.”I’m sure some biologists do reject it, there is always a minority opinion.  It is child’s play to find a modern geologist who believed the earth is flat or a real astronaut who claims to be in on an alien conspiracy.  And the second example is out of not hundreds of thousands of people, but just 24 people who have been to the moon.”3. If there is no such thing as “real science,” This is just rhetoric, unless you elaborate it means nothing.  But it’s a red herring anyway.”then your appeal to some significant number of scientists (whoever they are) is absurd.”Um, no – your appeal to a significant number of scientists is absurd.  YOU made the claim asshole and I asked you repeatedly to support it.”I  suppose that you think that the opinions of physicists who study non-linear optics and chemists who study organic chemistry about the modern synthesis are somehow relevant.”I asked for evidence of any significant rejection of the modern synthesis among any earth or life scientists, nowhere did I reject chemists or physicists of any kind.  But please, keep wasting my time and running away from your own claim.”You accuse me of being a baby, but you are the one who is thinking like a child.”Not really.  All you’ve really done is put childish ideas into my mouth.

  32. agnophilo says:

    @soccerdadforlife – “Dang, you are so thick.  The question which you continually beg is whether mution and selection have the power to do what you claim they can do.  You instead argue that they have some power (which is uncontroversial), therefore they have sufficient power, BUT YOU NEVER PROVIDE ANY EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT YOUR CLAIM!!!”I never made the claim, you put that claim into my mouth and then attacked me for making it.  As I have already explained, science doesn’t work that way.  Science doesn’t ever claim to have the total and complete understanding of anything, which is why the highest status of any explanation is “theory”.  Ironically creationists bash science for that too.  Science is not dogmatic like religion, you can project onto it as much as you like but it’s always open to revision or expansion, which is why we even have the “modern synthesis”, it’s the most current, up-to-date version of the theory, and no biologist expects it to be the last.  As I said before, if a child is born and grows to adulthood, that is a fact whether or not I understand the mechanisms of how it happened.  So in that instance I might, if I were a biologist, try to develop a theoretical series of explanations for the phenomenon.  But the theory would unite and explain facts.”Mutation and natural selection work powerfully in modifying bacteria in all kinds of ways, but there is no evidence that they work powerfully in anything else.”Again, natural selection was developed to explain phenomenon in animals and was only later experimentally applied to microscopic life.  To suggest that it’s the other way around is simply revisionist history.  And natural selection has been observed in nature many many times in plants and animals, both above and below the species level.  Peppered moths are one famous example and as I already said and you ignored you tool, subsequent studies have documented darwin’s finches adapting to changes in weather in real time.”Richard Lewontin is famous in his anti-selectionism, as one of his graduate student blogged: “Now I have great affection for Lewontin (as all of his students say, “I love that man”), but I would like to see him make an explicit statement about what aspects of nature he imputes to natural selection. We’re not just talking about rape, male domination, and music here, but coat colors, physiology, feathers, gills, flowers, toxins, and the like. Like Jason, I think the anti-selectionists have gone way, way overboard, and have thrown out the baby with the bathwater. (These people also include the “structuralists,” and those who attribute adaptations to the self-organizing properties of biological matter.)” [emphasis added]http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2009/05/12/more-on-dick-lewontin-natural-selection-and-weit/Note the emphasis that I put on “anti-selectionists.”  Again, a minority opinion is always present.  Please support your claim that it is “the” opinion of evolutionary biologists and that it is untrue that there is near universal support for evolutionary principles.”These are people who are on the leading edge of evolutionary biology.”Another unsupported claim that you will ignore, dodge, project onto me and ultimately pretend is self-evidently proven.”I think that both Coyne and Rosenhouse fail to understand Lewontin’s ideas about how adaptional-thinking influences the thinking of many biologists because he is much more philosophically-informed than they are.  I understand Lewontin on this subject, and so do some creationists, but most biologists are limited because they simply lack the philosophical training to understand Lewontin’s point. They see the evidence and only see one possible way to organize it or else they commit to one way to organize it even if they realize that there may be other ways to organize it.”Scientific understanding of evolution is, I am sure, not 100% correct or complete.  But that life evolved and that natural selection and genetic mutations, genetic drift etc play a significant part is beyond dispute.

  33. @agnophilo – Sorry, your use of the word “scientists” threw me off and I had no idea what you were talking about.  You meant evolutionary biologists, which I figured out when I went back to the thread.”I’m sure some biologists do reject it, there is always a minority opinion.”First, the group to consider is not biologists generally, but evolutionary biologists specifically.  (aside: The leading edge of any field is always a minority opinion.)  Allen MacNeill is an authority of the state of evolutionary biology, although he might not be on the details of its arguments.http://evolutionlist.blogspot.com/2009/11/modern-synthesis-is-dead-long-live.htmlEugene Koonin published another survey paper:”ABSTRACT: Comparative genomics and systems biology offer unprecedented opportunities for testing central tenets of evolutionary biology formulated by Darwin in the Origin of Species in 1859 and expanded in the Modern Synthesis 100 years later. Evolutionary-genomic studies show that natural selection is only one of the forces that shape genome evolution and is not quantitatively dominant, whereas non-adaptive processes are much more prominent than previously suspected. Major contributions of horizontal gene transfer and diverse selfish genetic elements to genome evolution undermine the Tree of Life concept. An adequate depiction of evolution requires the more complex concept of a network or ‘forest’ of life. There is no consistent tendency of evolution towards increased genomic complexity, and when complexity increases, this appears to be a nonadaptive consequence of evolution under weak purifying selection rather than an adaptation. Several universals of genome evolution were discovered including the invariant distributions of evolutionary rates among orthologous genes from diverse genomes and of paralogous gene family sizes, and the negative correlation between gene expression level and sequence evolution rate. Simple, non-adaptive models of evolution explain some of these universals, suggesting that a new synthesis of evolutionary biology might become feasible in a not so remote future.”The “non-adaptationists” are the ones who question the Modern Synthesis.Larry Moran notes: “For adaptationists, natural selection is the only game in town and no other sorts of explanation are possible.”http://sandwalk.blogspot.com/2009/09/naked-adaptationism.htmlHe also wrote: “Buzz says,Why not the opposite? After all natural selection is more dominant than random drift.No, it isn’t. Not by a long shot.”Random drift isn’t a major component of the modern synthesis.If the modern synthesis is to be saved in any form, it must be extended. However, the explanatory power of the modern synthesis derives from its elegance and the extended synthesis lacks the elegance and explanatory power of the modern synthesis. Basically, mechanisms for each trait’s emergence must be found and the whole business becomes very complex even when very few traits are examined.Even questions like “What is the degree of importance of natural selection in evolution?” may end up being meaningless to evolutionary biologists.  For example, they may approach the question with so much detail that they find that hairlessness in humans compared with apes is an accident rather than being beneficial.  Even if some facet of natural selection is important for some traits, they may not be able to abstract the importance of natural selection in any kind of general fashion.”Scientific understanding of evolution is, I am sure, not 100% correct or complete. But that life evolved and that natural selection and genetic mutations, genetic drift etc play a significant part is beyond dispute.”Moran is much more aware than you are of the limitations of the explanations of evolutionary biologists.  You vastly underestimate the difficulties.We know that life exists, fossils are found in rocks, mutations occur, individuals die, and other things, but evolutionary biologists don’t know that they can generalize about much of anything.Evolutionary biologists, more than those outside the field, are questioning the dicta of the past, including the notion that nature drives towards maximum fitness or maximum reproductivity.  That’s an adaptive way of thinking.I’m waiting for them to start to reexamine geological data and metadata, which really underlies the main theory and has remained essentially unquestioned for about 200 years.

  34. agnophilo says:

    @soccerdadforlife – I’m completely open to the notion that natural selection may play a relatively minor role in evolution – but do we agree that life does evolve and that it has been doing so for a long time?

  35. @agnophilo – We know that mutations happen and traits change in frequency in a population, but it seems to me that evidence is lacking for the Theory of Common Descent.  I don’t find the word “evolution” to be very meaningful.I also don’t think that the world is all that old or that the fossils were laid down over millions of years.  Fossilization of insects and vertebrates nowadays is exceedingly rare. Dig in the wilderness for the skeletons of any vertebrate–I doubt you’ll find one.Otoh, we find locations where there are a great number of fossils located in one place.  I think that fossils were formed in the past for the most part as a result of rapid deposition of sediment and by rapid mudflows.

  36. agnophilo says:

    @soccerdadforlife – “We know that mutations happen and traits change in frequency in a population, but it seems to me that evidence is lacking for the Theory of Common Descent.  I don’t find the word “evolution” to be very meaningful.”There is a great deal of evidence for common descent, like the ability to predict based on it what traits will be found in extinct species (like darwin predicting that prehistoric birds would have separate digits before any such species were ever discovered), predictions like these and many more in genetics like ERV’s or endogenous retroviruses which reproduce by injecting their genome into ours so our cells will copy the virus by mistake – they occasionally get passed on in inactive or damaged forms when they are injected into a sperm or egg cell or a stem cell that makes a sperm or egg cell, so we have accumulated thousands of them in our genome.  This allowed geneticists to make an evolutionary prediction that we would have ERV’s in common with other primates and that they would have been injected into identical places in our genome down to the base pair (the odds of which happening separately are beyond astronomical given the number of base pairs we have and the relative rarity of viruses crossing between species).  If we were separately created there would simply be no reason for this to be the case but it should be common if we have a common ancestry.  Last I checked geneticists had identified not just one, but dozens of them.  The notion of common ancestry is both highly testable and thoroughly tested.  And as you will find if you research the matter, it is pretty much universally accepted even among christian biologists, geneticists etc.”I also don’t think that the world is all that old or that the fossils were laid down over millions of years.”  How old do you think the earth is?  Originally young earthers thought it was around 4 thousand years old, but written history goes back further than that.  Then they said 6,000 which at the time seemed to be the age of civilization, but there are living trees older than that, so they say ten thousand and reject the physics and geological principles which contradict it.  Btw how old do you think the universe is?”Fossilization of insects and vertebrates nowadays is exceedingly rare. Dig in the wilderness for the skeletons of any vertebrate–I doubt you’ll find one.”Fossilization of insects and vertebrates has always been very rare.”Otoh, we find locations where there are a great number of fossils located in one place.”  Usually where the conditions for fossilization (such as rapid burial) are common, like around volcanoes, in river deltas, marshes, lakebeds etc.  “I think that fossils were formed in the past for the most part as a result of rapid deposition of sediment and by rapid mudflows.”Some undoubtedly were.  But you know there are all kinds of fossils and they occur different ways in different conditions, right?  And be honest, you’re arguing for a literal genesis flood and genesis creation, you’re not just objectively following the evidence wherever it leads.There is lots of evidence which in my opinion makes a one-time flood an impossibility.  Not that the entire world or much of it couldn’t have been flooded at one point (it’s certainly possible), but there is no point in human history when an event like that could’ve taken place without wiping out peoples we know didn’t get wiped out.  The history of every civilization didn’t end abruptly 4400 years ago only to be replaced by one flowering civilization that swept the globe.  While ancient jews thought themselves and their neighbors the only inhabitants of the planet there were civilizations just as old in asia and the americas whose history going back further than any flood (global or local) was distinct from theirs.

  37. “There is a great deal of evidence for common descent, like the ability to predict based on it what traits will be found in extinct species (like darwin predicting that prehistoric birds would have separate digits before any such species were ever discovered)”Otoh, I was predicting that junk DNA would be found to have use way back in the 80’s.  Evolutionists were denying that back then.Creationists were predicting that canyons could be carved out rapidly long before Mt. St. Helens and they even predicted the mechanism of how it would happen.  Evolutionists were holding to the notion that canyon formation took eons before Mt. St. Helens.Creationists were predicting that newly-formed volcanic rocks would have the appearance of age long before that was known.The cosmic red-shift is expected as a result of God stretching out the heavens.  It’s considered a successful prediction of the biblical model.ERV evidence is quite weak.  That result would be expected no matter whether common descent (CD) were active or not.  Certain genetic loci are hot spots to which ERV’s are prone to attach.  Since humans and primates are prone to attack by similar viruses, none of this is surprising or a successful unexpected prediction.  If I remember the anti-CD argument correctly, ERV’s can be used to make a successful attack against common descent.  Some of them are present in humans and orangs but not chimps or gorillas, some in humans and chimps but not orangs, some in chimps and orangs but not humans, etc.  Some of them are present in some groups of humans, but not in others.  The genome is actually quite dynamic.  ERV’s can be added and removed later.When you look at predictions, you have to look at the whole package, not merely one or two successful predictions.  Darwin didn’t do so well on a number of predictions, including vestigial organs being useless, the simplicity of the cell, and his overreliance on natural selection.The complexity of living systems has been a major obstacle to those who hold to common descent.  When biology knew little about the complexity of the cell, their acceptance of common descent (CD) might be excused.  Now, with our greatly magnified understanding of cell biology and the biology of living systems (which may still be quite immature), that excuse no longer remains.  The CD’ers still have no serious model of how things got up and running in a fairly short amount of time.I found the following claim on the AIG site:”Supposedly, inherited genes control inherited characters. Thus it would be reasonable to assume that homologous characters are controlled by homologous genes. These would be genes that control similar characters, but which have slowly evolved, changing with time, so that the inherited characters are also changed. Thus the front appendages of reptiles, mammals, birds, and humans are said to be homologous. Therefore, they must be controlled by homologous genes. The fact is, however, that it has been proved in many cases that homologous structures are not produced by homologous genes!”http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/cm/v14/n2/homologyDo you know of any site that attacks this successfully?This, of course, illustrates a problem for common descent from embryology””In his 1971 monograph, Homology, An Unsolved Problem (reference Oxford Biology Reader), Sir Gavin de Beer, one of the truly great embryologists of this century, posed the question for evolutionary theory which still is unanswered:‘But if it is true that through the genetic code, genes code for enzymes that synthesize proteins which are responsible (in a manner still unknown in embryology) for the differentiation of the various parts in their normal manner, what mechanism can it be that results in the production of homologous organs, the same “patterns”, in spite of their not being controlled by the same genes? I asked this question in 1938, and it has not been answered.’It’s from the same AIG site.Regarding creationists and the age of the earth–most still hold to around 6000 years, like the original Ussher calculation.  A few may allow for 10,000 years.  I think that the universe is around 6000 years.I don’t know of any creationist who rejects the principles of physics, but the interpretation of those principles.  Otoh, common descent requires rejecting the principles of biology–especially the complexity of living systems.”Usually where the conditions for fossilization (such as rapid burial) are common, like around volcanoes, in river deltas, marshes, lakebeds etc.”Go try digging for recent depositions in those places–I seriously doubt that you’ll find any–especially in the aquatic environments.  That sounds like another adaptationist Just-So story.  It’s easily testable.  I haven’t found any reports in geological journals supporting the story.”Some undoubtedly were. But you know there are all kinds of fossils and they occur different ways in different conditions, right? And be honest, you’re arguing for a literal genesis flood and genesis creation, you’re not just objectively following the evidence wherever it leads.”We have to limit the scope of our discussion, of course.  There are many, many different ways of preserving fossils, of course.  Surely you’re not rejecting historical evidence out of hand?  And why should you be applying non-historical methods to a question of history, which is typically handled by referring to historical texts from someone who was present near the period in question?Your notion that there were civilizations older than the global flood has a problem–all civilizations have a history that mankind was virtually wiped out by a global flood.  Hence, none predates the global flood.Your argument from trees is unpersuasive, but I don’t have time to go into it.

  38. agnophilo says:

    “We have to limit the scope of our discussion, of course.  There are many, many different ways of preserving fossils, of course.  Surely you’re not rejecting historical evidence out of hand?  And why should you be applying non-historical methods to a question of history, which is typically handled by referring to historical texts from someone who was present near the period in question?””Creationists were predicting that canyons could be carved out rapidly long before Mt. St. Helens and they even predicted the mechanism of how it would happen.  Evolutionists were holding to the notion that canyon formation took eons before Mt. St. Helens.”One, there is no philosophy or science of “evolutionism” that maintains that canyons can’t form rapidly, and two, river canyons generally form over eons, the canyon you are talking about is not a typical river canyon, though a river may flow through it now.  The geology of the grand canyon and the geology of the area around a massive volcano are entirely different, here is a very good essay I found on a religious site written by an evangelical christian geologist which explains why (link).”Creationists were predicting that newly-formed volcanic rocks would have the appearance of age long before that was known.”What “appearance of age”  And who made this prediction?”The cosmic red-shift is expected as a result of God stretching out the heavens.  It’s considered a successful prediction of the biblical model.”Please point to me the person who said before the red shift was observed or postulated “if the bible is true the light given off by galaxies will be shifted toward the red end of the spectrum”.  Interpreting something as being consistent with your views after it’s discovered is not science, it’s philosophy.  And even if someone had made that prediction it wouldn’t be scientific anyway because the prediction doesn’t have the potential to falsify their hypothesis and they could just as easily interpret any other phenomenon as god “stretching out the heavens” (which is not exactly a precise or unambiguous statement).”ERV evidence is quite weak.  That result would be expected no matter whether common descent (CD) were active or not.  Certain genetic loci are hot spots to which ERV’s are prone to attach.”  I googled this and apparently types of ERV’s are prone to be injected into particular types of DNA, not to any particular base pair.  An analogy would be if we injected a sentence randomly into a text with 3 billion letters, but that the sentence was certain to be injected after a period.  The odds would still be something like 1 in 40 million that they would be injected after a particular period (calculated based on average sentence length).  These odds are probably generous since the segments of DNA they are prone to attach to are not a single base pair long.  But either way viruses change frequently, even if two viruses did somehow attach to the exact same spot separately by the time they jump species they wouldn’t be the same virus, wouldn’t be fragmented in the same places etc, not to mention that the odds decrease exponentially the more ERV’s there are.  When you consider all the factors that can be analyzed the odds are still going to be extremely remote.”Since humans and primates are prone to attack by similar viruses, none of this is surprising or a successful unexpected prediction.  If I remember the anti-CD argument correctly, ERV’s can be used to make a successful attack against common descent.”  This is spin, not science.  You already show below that you read creationist articles written almost exclusively by laymen with an agenda, not scientific sources.”Some of them are present in humans and orangs but not chimps or gorillas, some in humans and chimps but not orangs, some in chimps and orangs but not humans, etc.  Some of them are present in some groups of humans, but not in others.  The genome is actually quite dynamic.  ERV’s can be added and removed later.”This is to be expected since, as you say, they are modified by subsequent mutations.  All genetic markers are this way and you can find genes that are found in whites and blacks, blacks but not whites, whites but not blacks etc.  Is that a “successful attack” against the idea that we all descended from adam and eve?  Your exact logic can be used to debunk the bible.”When you look at predictions, you have to look at the whole package, not merely one or two successful predictions.  Darwin didn’t do so well on a number of predictions, including vestigial organs being useless, the simplicity of the cell, and his overreliance on natural selection.”Speculation and experimental predictions are not the same thing.  Evolution is not dependent on any of the things you listed being true, but if prehistoric birds didn’t have separate digits (or countless other examples) that would actually disprove common ancestry.”The complexity of living systems has been a major obstacle to those who hold to common descent.”  How has it been an obstacle? “When biology knew little about the complexity of the cell, their acceptance of common descent (CD) might be excused.  Now, with our greatly magnified understanding of cell biology and the biology of living systems (which may still be quite immature), that excuse no longer remains.  The CD’ers still have no serious model of how things got up and running in a fairly short amount of time.”On what planet is a few billion years “a fairly short time”?  There was nothing on earth but single celled organisms for more than double the time it took for multicellular life to evolve into modern forms.  It was a mystery for a long time why evolution seemed so slow (because of the belief that cells were simple), and it actually made more sense once their complexity was discovered.”I found the following claim on the AIG site:”Oh great, the most dishonest website on the internet.  If you think AIG is accurate and honest, research this quote from one of their articles:”Controversy has raged over the authenticity of the Ica Stones (above) since their discovery in South America. Skeptics have claimed, though without proof, that they are modern forgeries, based on the premise that it is impossible for humans to have seen a living dinosaur. The stones remain a mystery, and reinforce the intriguing possibility that the ancient Amerindians knew of such creatures.”Google “ica stones” and “forgery” and see how long it takes you to find proof that they are forgeries.You’re talking about the website that promoted this diagram as fact for a decade after  skeletons like this were discovered and refused to take it down.[“Supposedly, inherited genes control inherited characters. Thus it would be reasonable to assume that homologous characters are controlled by homologous genes. These would be genes that control similar characters, but which have slowly evolved, changing with time, so that the inherited characters are also changed. Thus the front appendages of reptiles, mammals, birds, and humans are said to be homologous. Therefore, they must be controlled by homologous genes. The fact is, however, that it has been proved in many cases that homologous structures are not produced by homologous genes!”]”Do you know of any site that attacks this successfully?”The claim that our bodies are homologous to other species but our genes aren’t?  If you’ve read anything about biology or evolution you already know this is false because you already know that humans share 95% of our genes with chimpanzees, so you know there is a great deal of genetic homology.  Once two species split apart however there is no mechanism to keep their genes consistent and so yes the individual genes that control various things will begin to vary and change.  I’m sure the genes that control a chimpanzee’s eye development are not identical to ours any more than they’re identical in every human.  Focusing on the variations and ignoring the similarities however is simply dishonest.  And by the way the author of that article has no expertise in genetics whatsoever – like most articles on AIG and other christian anti-science websites, his Ph.D. is mentioned to give the article credibility but they don’t tell you he is a chemist, not a geneticist or an embryologist.  A chemist lecturing on genetics or embryology and passing themselves off as an expert is like a physicist using his Ph.D. to practice medicine.”This, of course, illustrates a problem for common descent from embryology.  In his 1971 monograph, Homology, An Unsolved Problem (reference Oxford Biology Reader), Sir Gavin de Beer, one of the truly great embryologists of this century, posed the question for evolutionary theory which still is unanswered:”‘But if it is true that through the genetic code, genes code for enzymes that synthesize proteins which are responsible (in a manner still unknown in embryology) for the differentiation of the various parts in their normal manner, what mechanism can it be that results in the production of homologous organs, the same “patterns”, in spite of their not being controlled by the same genes? I asked this question in 1938, and it has not been answered.’Here is a preview of that section of the quote from google books which shows a bit more of the context and makes very clear that he is not suggesting that this in any way contradicts evolution.  He is merely talking about how genes are modified but still perform the same or a similar function.  It makes perfect darwinian sense that this might happen since a mutation which changes the gene but does not change it’s function would be selectively neutral, and it makes sense that for practical reasons as the DNA of a structure like an eye changed through genetic processes certain aspects would remain un-modified.  By analogy how houses are built has changed a lot over the years, but there will never come a time when the front door is on the top floor or windows are in the basement and look out on dirt under ground.  They simply wouldn’t be functional and no one would buy that house, nor would a predator with a closed iris be particularly survivable.  It’s also worth noting that this “mystery” is from over 40 years ago and genetics has advanced light-years since then.  We now know about things like epigenetics which shed much light on how genes function and why.”Regarding creationists and the age of the earth–most still hold to around 6000 years, like the original Ussher calculation.  A few may allow for 10,000 years.  I think that the universe is around 6000 years.”Why then in your view are there things like remnants of dead stars which indicate immense age?  If god “made the light on the way” and “made stars look old” and made them look like supernova remnants and black holes and made some galaxies look like unstable young quasars and others look like ancient galaxies with stabilized galactic cores and made events like galaxy collisions which take much longer than 6,000 years seem to be in the middle of an extremely long event etc, etc then isn’t god basically a liar?  Why would a creator go so unbelievably far out of it’s way to fake an old looking universe?  To suggest the universe is 6,000 years old to me is just as absurd as suggesting a moldy liquified tomato in your fridge has only been there a day.  Or walking into a house and seeing a baseball on the floor surrounded by broken glass next to a broken window and concluding the house must just have been built that way.I think fundamentalists have just been interpreting the bible a certain way so long they’ve built up such a complex theology that they don’t want to go back and re-examine the foundations on which it’s built for any flaws for fear that the whole thing will come crashing down.  “I don’t know of any creationist who rejects the principles of physics, but the interpretation of those principles.  Otoh, common descent requires rejecting the principles of biology–especially the complexity of living systems.”I don’t see how.  That is no different than saying that black people and white people couldn’t be distant cousins because they’re so complicated.  What does that have to do with anything?  I think you’re using common descent as a shorthand for large scale change.  If you want to say we don’t fully understand how life evolved and maybe god was behind it somehow then fine, but it’s not science unless you can test it.”Usually where the conditions for fossilization (such as rapid burial) are common, like around volcanoes, in river deltas, marshes, lakebeds etc.”Go try digging for recent depositions in those places–I seriously doubt that you’ll find any–especially in the aquatic environments.  That sounds like another adaptationist Just-So story.  It’s easily testable.  I haven’t found any reports in geological journals supporting the story.” And what geology journals do you regularly read?  Are you saying that fossilization doesn’t happen except from a flood?  To quote your favorite site AIG:”Fossils can form under all kinds of conditions all over the world. While water and dissolved minerals are usually needed to form the three types of fossils above, many processes—coalification, compression, freezing, desiccation (drying out), to name a few—do not require either.”The conditions for fossilization are rare and nearly all remains are decomposed before fossilizing.  But over long geological periods that tiny percent that fossilize adds up.  If you don’t buy that, take a look at the fossils that we find.  They’re in a linear evolutionary order, not jumbled up as they would be from a flood.”Your notion that there were civilizations older than the global flood has a problem–all civilizations have a history that mankind was virtually wiped out by a global flood.  Hence, none predates the global flood.”One, all civilizations do not have a “history” that mankind was virtually wiped out by a flood, let alone the same flood.  Many cultures have flood myths just as many have end of the world myths – that they are common means little in both cases for the same reason – the details vary tremendously from story to story.  I am pointing to historical facts, you are pointing to conflicting legends.  If the world flooded and all civilizations were united 4400 years ago, where did the native americans come from?  Answer me that.”Your argument from trees is unpersuasive, but I don’t have time to go into it.”Okay.”Otoh, I was predicting that junk DNA would be found to have use way back in the 80’s.  Evolutionists were denying that back then.”I doubt scientists were categorically denying that no apparently non-functioning DNA would ever be found to have a function.  And there is such a thing as junk DNA which has been shown by knock-out experiments.

Speak yer mind.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s