A response to the response to the comment in part 1:
“Okay, I’ll respond, but if you noticed there were a lot of questions you failed to answer.”
I really didn’t. You repeated a lot of questions and ignored my answers though.
“Once again, I don’t have to accept anything that doesn’t have sufficient evidence as true.”
Isn’t that the definition of religion? “Blessed are those who believe without seeing” etc? And I don’t think you should accept anything without evidence – but you should be willing to seriously examine the evidence without being rude and dismissive.
“That’s where a lot of people have an issue. The fact that even in light of your interpretation (because that’s what it is) a large number of people (half the population) refuse to accept your interpretation.”
I would argue that most of them reject science for religious reasons and don’t know a great deal about the science they reject. I’ve never met someone who rejected evolution and could accurately describe it.
“Furthermore, not accepting evolution has nothing to do with empirical science, it’s completely historical.”
And historical events don’t leave behind empirical evidence? The evolution of life on earth left behind billions of fossils and billions of genomes of empirical evidence. And evolution isn’t something that used to happen, it’s something that is observably happening right now. It is no less reasonable to suggest that life evolved in the past than it is to suggest that it used to rain before we were born.
“As far as getting my facts from websites, you are absolutely right. I do get my information from multiple sources. I’m open minded, so I don’t take the scientific community directly at its word. So who is really close minded here?”
I didn’t criticize you for getting your information from websites, I criticized you for getting your information exclusively from anti-science websites and not studying the actual science you are attacking. If everything I knew about the bible came from reading hindu websites attacking the bible would it be right to consider myself well educated on the subject?
“What do you think I know about evolution? Please tell me since you know me so well. I await your answer. And if there’s any information that I haven’t garnered already from TalkOrigins or AronRa please let me know.”
I already did, at great length.
“As far as not being willing to look into evolution (which hopefully by now I’ve convinced you that I have looked into it) I’ve done plenty of research. I’ve seen the phylogenetic trees and I’ve seen the gaps.”
Common ancestry and evolution are how we know there are gaps to begin with. Your argument employs the very science you reject. And countless intermediate forms have been found, that we haven’t found a fossil of every stage of the evolution of all the millions of species alive today (and countless more extinct) is not at all unreasonable. It’s astonishing that we have so many intermediate forms, do you expect us to dig a mile under every house and farm and strip mall in the world?
“But I also have eyes and my own brain (which I think works very well) so I can see how it would take billions of mutations for a creature to suddenly make the transition from water to land, or from land to the air.”
The human genome only has a few billion base-pairs total, so no. And mutations often effect more than one base pair. The difference between humans and chimps is about 15 million base pairs. The difference between humans and whales is probably around double that. Anatomically a human and a whale are not all that different, we have the same five senses, same organs and organ systems, same types of cells, tissues, most of the same bones, etc. Living things are not as radically different as you might suspect. And what makes you think the transition would be sudden? Natural selection by definition happens over many generations which is by definition not sudden at all.
“I don’t have to go into elaborate scientific theories to refute something that I can see with my own eyes.”
Name me five body parts that you have that your dog doesn’t have some equivalent of, and visa versa, and I will concede that species are all radically different from each other.
“Knowledge is something that evolution can’t account for and a much bigger problem for evolution than scientists make it out to be.”
That doesn’t make sense. Even insects can remember and learn unconsciously. I don’t see how the origins of these mechanisms is problematic.
“Here’s my reasoning:
A man is born with two legs, two arms, two feet. A dog is born with four limbs. A dog walks on all fours. If one dog after some millions of generations developed the ability to walk upright, why would his offspring walk upright? Where does the knowledge to walk upright originate from?”
Lots of species that aren’t particularly good at walking upright can stand on their hind legs under certain situations (to frighten other animals, see farther etc). If something about walking upright then conveyed an even bigger advantage, like say freeing up the hands to carry and use tools, natural selection would favor that ability and the behavior. Natural selection isn’t limited to selecting for one thing at a time, if there’s even the slightest overlap two things can be selected for. It’s not like human trial and error where we have to try one thing at a time, nature tries everything all the time and anything that’s useful gets passed on at a higher rate.
“This is my problem with birds. A bird has wings. So what? Even you said some birds don’t fly. What made one bird decide to fly?”
You don’t understand the basics of the theory – species don’t decide to evolve or change, they naturally vary and those variations are inherited at different rates based on how they impact the rate of survival and reproduction. Here’s a description I just gave someone who was asking how species “know” to evolve eyes:
“The defining characteristic of all life is that it reproduces, it copies itself. None of the copies are exactly perfect, so all individuals of all species vary slightly from one another. The variations that are useful tend to get passed on more often and become more common, the variations that are harmful (like birth defects) tend to get passed on less often, and so life is gradually modified. This is similar to how we can make dogs bigger, smaller, modify their behavior, color, hair type, speed, body shape etc, etc by selectively breeding them – all we’re doing is selecting the fastest or tallest or whatever ones and passing those genes on at a higher rate. In nature traits are selected by the environment – some animals will be more or less hairy (like people are), if the weather gets colder in an area (an ice age) then the hairier ones will freeze to death less and the next generation will be hairier. The fastest zebras get away, the slowest ones get eaten, etc. Not all genes get passed on at the same rate. Natural selection can modify every aspect of a species and observably does in nature. As for step by step how the eye evolved, here is an excellent video explaining it and demonstrating how each step would work (link).”
“Did it build a nest? Because a lot of birds build nest. And why build it in a tree?”
Because the ones that built them on the ground had offspring that didn’t last long. And I imagine many of the genes that allow for the musculature and motor skills of birds (that allow them to manipulate objects with their beaks) evolved long before nest building, and before birds for that matter. A beak is a modified jaw, and jaws originated in prehistoric fish, hundreds of millions of years before the first amphibians, reptiles, dinosaurs or birds. Birds did not evolve these abilities, they were just tweaked a bit to suit their needs. Just as the musculature and bone structure of fore-limbs that eventually was modified into wings did not originate with birds either. And the genes that produce the keratin of their feathers and hair are modified from the ones that produce keratin in scales. Everything in every form of life is tweaked and modified from what came before. But you have to learn a lot about animal physiology to see this.
“Do you really believe humans PHOTOSYNTHESIZE vitamin D? No. Absorption is not photosynthesis. That’s ridiculous.”
No our skin actually converts sunlight and chemicals into vitamin D. We really photosynthesize it. Look up the wikipedia page for vitamin D it says so in the first paragraph.
“And vitamin D certainly isn’t food.Once again, common sense. “
Nutrients and food are the same thing. As I said there’s no reason we should rely on photosynthesis any more than we should have roots and leaves.
“That’s not a cop-out, evolution explains very specific phenomenon (copping out) and is logically independent of abiogenesis (so how did it start?). The two ideas are based on entirely different avenues of evidence (once again, how did it start?). Life evolved and is evolving whether it was created (I agree with this point), occurred by abiogenesis (i disagree here), or flew out of vishnu’s rear end. The two theories are independent and attacking abiogenesis and pretending it disproves evolution is dishonest or ignorant. (that doesn’t tell me how evolution started) It’s like attacking the big bang theory (which is a theory for the origin of the universe) and claiming this debunks someone’s theory of what caused the US civil war. Just because one logically would’ve come before the other doesn’t mean they have anything to do with each other (but evolution has to start somewhere, so where does it start?). They are two ideas of different scopes that deal with different types of evidence.”
This paragraph of your response is what made me not even want to continue talking to you. You ask the same question obnoxiously over and over again and ignore everything I have to say. That’s really shitty behavior and if it’s repeated in your response I’m not coming back. These are complex subjects that take years to understand even for the experts, an obnoxious, OCD-like, dismissive attitude is not what is called for. I’m taking the time to answer your questions and doing so respectfully. If you don’t want to hear the answers please in the future don’t ask the questions.
[“Who is dodging the question? The answer is
“we don’t know exactly”. ]
So why should I believe anything you have to say about the theory if you can’t even offer a convincing explanation as to how it started?”
I already answered that question very thoroughly. I said that not knowing what the first word spoken in the first language was doesn’t invalidate what we do know about the history of language, and neither does not understanding the origin of life invalidate what we know about it’s history after it began. Assume life was created if you like for the purposes of this discussion, it doesn’t change what we know about evolution.
“That is why biogenesis is a law and evolution is a theory.”
Laws are not superior to theories, nor do theories ever become laws. Laws describe constants and theories unify and explain facts and laws. “Theory” is the highest form of proof in all fields of science outside of mathematics. In science hypotheses graduate into theories and go no further. This is where you get expressions like “true in fact and theory”. Atoms are a fact of science, we can see them with electron microscopes. But the class is still called atomic theory because the word “theory” in the scientific sense does not suggest that an idea is questionable or unsupported. Creationists who say “if evolution were valid it would be a law” are either ignorant of the meaning of these terms or they’re taking advantage of the ignorance of others. Like gravity, there is a law of gravitation (description of the constant), and several theories that attempt to explain it. They are two different things.
“Dragons, dinosaurs, unicorns. You already know my answers, so I don’t have to elaborate on them. Chinese people devote an entire month to the dragon. Dragons permeate the history of all cultures, even overseas. Furthermore, unicorns have never been referred to as myth in history (look it up). It’s absolutely verfiable if you accept the eyewitness testimony and artwork of cultures separated by oceans as evidence.”
So where are the fossils? Are you saying there is no such thing as a mythological creature?
[“the idea that life was created can’t be tested as it has no parameters.]
“But it does. All one has to do is disprove the Bible.”
That would discredit the bible, it wouldn’t prove life wasn’t created.
“And people have had plenty of opportunities to do this, but they can’t. In fact, archaeology continues to prove the Bible’s accuracy.”
Only if you ignore the ones that are discredited. The tower of babel story is discredited by the existence of diverse languages dating far before the tower was built, the noah’s ark story is discredited by the fact that at no time in recorded history did every culture but one suddenly die out, a literal interpretation of the creation account is discredited by so many things – stars of different ages, the amount of biodiversity in life, basically everything that’s generally accepted about biology, geology and ancient history. Yes there are books of the bible that refer to real events and peoples and cultures, but this is true of every book, including most works of fiction and most religious texts. I’m sure the koran probably refers to real people, nations, cultures etc too.
“1. The theory keeps changing.
“The theory of evolution has been UPDATED(that means it’s been changed) to include new information in fields like genetics that weren’t as advanced in darwin’s day (are you saying that scientists were wrong?)”
Scientists have been wrong about things, yes, but the changes to evolution theory are mostly due to discovering new things and expanding our understanding. For instance in darwin’s day they knew that species varied and inherited those varied traits. Now we understand that those variations are a result of things like mutations, genetic recombination and the switching on and off of genes. This doesn’t contradict evolution in the least, but it gives us more information and allows us to expand the research into these areas.
“but the theory never suggested that we descended from chimps or any other modern primates. (what about “LUCY” and Piltdown man? Didn’t they turn out to be apes? Scientists certainly believed we descended from them. What exactly do you mean by ancestor anyways if not descended from?)”
It helps if you read the entire sentence, I said the theory never suggested that we descended from chimps or any modern primates. And the term “ape” doesn’t refer to any species, it is a class of species that includes humans. Ape is synonymous with primate. Humans and other primates are apes right now, the same way humans and dogs are both mammals right now. So yeah, we descended from apes. Our parents were/are apes after all. But we did not descend from any modern species of ape that is alive today.
“No I don’t misunderstand the concept. It’s quite clear. Humans evolved from an ape-like creature. So what was that ape-like creature? A human or an ape?”
Okay here’s how taxonomy works – take every animal in nature that has the same characteristics and classify them as a “kind”. So animals with scales are one “kind”, we’ll call them reptiles. Animals with feathers are another “kind”, we’ll call them birds. Animals with hair are another “kind”, we’ll call them mammals. What scientists discovered when they began classifying different forms of life like this is that every “kind” is part of a super-group and a sub-group. For instance canines like wolves, foxes, coyotes etc are closer to each other than they are to felines like lions, tigers, leopards etc. And reptiles, mammals, amphibians, dinosaurs and fish are all more similar to each other than they are to plants or bacteria. So the system they devised for classifying all living things is that you have three main groups all living things fit into, which branch off into sub-groups signifying their levels of similarity, how many traits they have in common (link). Bear in mind it was christian creationist scientists who devised this system of classification. Every branch on that chart has lots of branches and sub-groups branching off of it (here are a few – link – each of these branches also has many sub-branches). The evolutionary explanation for this is that it’s simply one big family tree, and that the sub-groups indicate branching lineages. This is how we know there are gaps in the fossil record and what should go in them before the fossils are discovered. Every time we make a prediction like that it’s a test of the theory.
“Because so far science has yet to prove human evolution let alone a common ancestor.”
Do all black people have a common ancestor? How do you know? Because they all inherited many of the same genes and characteristics. Do black people and white people (and everyone else) have a common ancestor? How do you know? Because they also inherited many of the same genes and the same characteristics. Humans and chimpanzees share 95% of their DNA. Common ancestry isn’t any more of a leap there than it is between any two people. It’s just harder to wrap our heads around.
Plus we have the fossils.
“In fact, I guarantee that in the next 10 years human evolution will be a totally different field apart from evolution.”
[“As far as being descended originally from non-primate creatures, that is not a change in the theory – that is like saying “I don’t accept family trees because they keep changing – you just said I’m descended from my dad and now you tell me I’m descended from my great great grandfather, which is it?!”]
“Read your last sentence. Don’t you see the issue there? You’re saying that my dad gave birth to me, but now you’re telling me that my great great grandfather (who is a hundred) gave birth to me? Of course I wouldn’t accept that family tree.”
You are a descendant of both your father and your great grandfather, and everyone else who came before you in your lineage. I didn’t say they both gave birth to you (obviously neither of them did, your mothers did that).
“I would accept a logical family tree that shows that my dad descended from his father and so on, but scientists keep moving creatures across phylums and taxa.”
They usually change the classification of a species when they find out that species was actually a diverse group. This isn’t evidence contrary to the theory it’s like adding a new name to your family tree when you discover a new relative.
“Just tell me where a platypus evolved from, that’s all I want to know. What was its ancestor? Was it a reptile? Was it a mammal? What was it and what mutated?”
The platypus is descended from an intermediate form between prehistoric reptiles and mammals, this is why it has characteristics diagnostic of both groups. It could not have been descended from true mammals because it’s mammalian characteristics are not fully devloped (for instance it produces milk but expresses it through patches of skin rather than having actual nipples). It lays eggs but it’s eggs are soft and leathery, an apparent intermediate between a shelled egg and a placenta. Think of it as a cousin to early mammals whose descendants survived to the present day.
“Sexual reproduction has no evolutionary explanation, that’s why you can’t go into detail.”
Actually as I said there are degrees of “sex” in nature, and many asexual organisms exchange DNA in various ways. I see no problem with it. I think you may be confusing sex (the exchange of DNA between lineages) with genders. They aren’t the same thing.
“I understand the world through my own eyes, and I can clearly see that sexual functions could NEVER have evolved.”
And you are all-knowing? Not having an obvious explanation for something doesn’t mean there isn’t one. We start out life totally ignorant and have to continuously learn to understand the world. Sitting around acting high and mighty and decreeing that this is true and that is false is just going to stop you from ever learning anything. Be humble. Nobody knows everything.
“Question. Which sex evolved first, the male or the female? Did the first organism have someone to mate with?”
As I said, sex came before genders. Genders are controlled by hormones and whatnot, it’s not too uncommon for species to specialize as they develop based on external stimuli.
“And you can cite exaptation and convergence all you want, they still can’t explain sexual reproduction. So why should I believe anything evolved if you can’t even tell me how one of the main mechanisms for mutation evolved?”
We know for a fact life does evolve, not understanding how a particular thing evolved doesn’t change that. We know bacteria adapt to antibiotics, insects adapt to pesticides, cancer cells adapt to chemo and radiation etc. We know bacteria acquire the ability to digest new food sources and so on and so forth. That life evolves can’t be seriously disputed.
“3. How many fossils would prove evolution?A billion fossils. You claim the world is a billion years old? I expect at least half a fossil per year that life has existed (and I’m being really generous. Surely there have been many floods over billions of years. Look at all the flooding that’s happening today and those fossils are forming RAPIDLY.”
There are easily a billion fossils in the world (probably more like trillions). Nearly all rocks in the world contain fossils – if not large ones then at least microscopic fossils. Fossils are so common they’re practically worthless. You can buy a rock with lots of fossils in it on ebay for a few dollars. The only ones that are expensive are big ones and that’s because small animals and insects get buried or covered in water easily so they fossilize often, but big dinosaurs like a t-rex are very rarely buried before the elements destroy their body.
“4. Flight. Flying. Mammals flying. Birds flying. Evolution has no good explanation or proof that it could happen.”
Again, an argument based on ignorance. (Calling my argument a fallacy doesn’t offer an explanation for flight)Flight can be explained through intermediates by the simple observation that wings in nature serve many purposes, not just flight (as evidenced by the myriad of flightless bird species).
So flightless birds somehow prove flight evolution? Please go on.”
This is the kind of childish behavior I was talking about. You mock and dismiss what I’m saying before even reading it.
“And tell me why these birds decided to stay on the ground (or swim in the case of penguins) instead of leaping in the air like the other birds. Or maybe you can explain how insects chose to fly while you’re at it.”
As I explained earlier species don’t “choose” to evolve, they are modified by natural selection. And no two species are going to evolve the exact same way because there is simply no mechanism to allow this in biology. Natural selection is like a colander (thing you strain noodles with). It removes the bad and keeps the good, but it doesn’t control what is poured into it. So it simply allows whatever useful variations occur to accumulate in the gene pool and has no mechanism that allows it to wait around for the ideal variations. So if a genetic variation like those that allowed for the beginning of flight does occur in another lineage it will often be down an evolutionary path which would make that variation not useful in the same way.
“They can be used as camouflage (the way ducks use them to cover their beaks when they sleep), they can be used as insulation, or to keep an animal’s offspring warm, or as fins or to scare off prey or any of a hundred other things. (doesn’t explain how flight evolved.)”
Yeah if you would stop asking the same question and just read my response you’d get to the part that answered that particular question – in this case the very next sentence.
“Wings that let an animal run away faster are useful, ones that let it get off the ground a little are more useful, ones that let it get off the ground even longer are even more useful and so on.
So here’s my question. I believe you’re very intelligent, like myself. So how convincing are the “trees down” and “running dinosaur” explanations for flight? You do realize that evolution’s answer to flight is that dinosaurs decided to jump from branches and suddenly flew, or dinosaurs ran downhill really really fast and suddenly took flight. Like an airplane.”
Both are possible, and which one happened is debatable. Unfortunately there is only so much we can tell from fossils. But if there are plausible explanations you can’t say there aren’t any explanations.
“The first airplane didn’t exactly stay in the air for ten hours. If we can build planes through gradual modifications of crude structures why couldn’t natural selection build wings the same way?”
Airplanes are built by people. That’s creationism.”
It’s an analogy. The point is that something doesn’t have to perform to modern standards to be useful – the first plane didn’t have to travel at supersonic speeds to be competitive in it’s day and the first predator didn’t have to run like a cheetah to be competitive in it’s day either, much for the same reasons. And the first bird didn’t have to soar like an eagle for it’s wings to help it survive.
“And natural selection doesn’t “build” anything.”
Sure it does, just not the way we do.
“But this whole argument fails because airplanes don’t evolve from cars. Do you think that a car could evolve into an airplane over billions of years?”
No, but if cars had babies that inherited traits which varied and these were weeded out by selective pressures allowing the fastest, best cars to pass on their car genes, then yeah anything would be possible.
“5. Whales. Once again. There’s no way that whales could have evolved from land dwelling mammals. Look at the charts yourself. You’ve basically got a wolf transforming into a whale. Come on now. Seriously.”
Wolves and whales even today are not that different from each other. Anatomically and genetically they’re maybe 90% the same (minor genetic differences can significantly change things like height and body size). Once someone accepts that life does in fact change I don’t see why there is a limit to how much it can. And if you look at supposedly radically different species like whales and wolves (both of whom are mammals by the way) with an understanding of anatomy you realize the differences are mostly skin deep. I mean look at how diverse dogs are and they’re the same species (link). These are just some of the weird dog breeds out there – and this is just us selecting off the menu of what nature provides in terms of variation, this isn’t from direct genetic tampering. Bear in mind some of those are from hair styling but not nearly all. Many of them don’t even look like dogs.
“Scientists can present all the “evidence” they want to. There is no way that a whale evolved from a wolf/pakicetus/whatever.”
“Sure evolution happens to species, but those species are a certain kind of animal. That’s why people say animals evolve from each other.”
If you remember my explanation of taxonomy, all species are the same “kind” of species, just to different degrees. You and I are both human, humans are all primates, all primates are mammals etc, etc. Genesis says god created life “after it’s kind” (very vague). Creationists interpret this as meaning that dogs come from dogs. But why can’t mammals come from mammals and animals come from animals and eukaryotes come from eukaryotes? We are objectively the same “kind” as many other species.
“I’m perfectly clear on how evolution works,”
You really, really, really aren’t. Seriously. The next paragraph shows you have no clue how evolution works. I’m not saying this to be mean, it’s just honestly true. You don’t even understand the basic concepts.
“but when you break it down into layman’s terms it just doesn’t hold up. At some point in time, according to evolution, a fish turned into a lizard. This newly formed lizard somehow reproduced (because lizards and fish always reproduce). Furthermore, this creature decided to no longer reproduce with the fish it came from. Then further down the line, and after more millions of years(how long does evolution take anyways? Try looking up Haldane’s Dilemma) a lizard lost its scales and started growing hair. It then decided to reproduce somehow (did it lay eggs or was it placental?) and not only that, it decided that it no longer wanted to have cold blood, but warm blood. Then on the other side of the world a dinosaur gave birth to a dinosaur with feathers (because this is coded in its DNA. And we haven’t even’t got into how DNA evolved.) This is just me using common sense. Somewhere down the line, according to evolution, this happened. Then it decided to fly. Having never seen another organism fly or being encoded with the skeletal structure to fly. And in the midst of all this, bacteria remained bacteria, some animals remained the same, and plants continued to photosynthesize. Oh, and trilobites just decided they weren’t going to evolve from anything and just remain the same.
A few things – 1) as I explained earlier species don’t “decide” to evolve, evolution is a consequence of the environment acting on the gene pool of a species. 2) Major anatomical changes do not take place in one generation. A fish doesn’t give birth to a lizard any more than a pitbull gives birth to a german shepherd. Small, gradual genetic variations build up over many generations which make two populations more and more distinct, producing something like a pitbull and a german shepherd. As to your particular examples, fish branched off into early amphibians which branched off into early reptiles. You skipped over not a species, but an entire taxonomical group. And if you compare the anatomy of a fish, an amphibian and a reptile you will see that the major differences are that an amphibian is just like a fish except that it can leave the water, and major difference between an amphibian and a reptile is that it can stay out of the water for long periods of time. There are also in fact amphibious fish to this day, some have quasi-lungs and gulp surface air to breathe, some absorb oxygen through their skin and some are simply really good at holding their breath and can leave the water for days at a time when their pond dries up, mirroring what the evolutionary ancestors of the first amphibious species likely did. You can also see incremental stages in the development of their organs like their hearts and brain structures, mammals have brain structures that reptiles lack, reptiles have brain structures that amphibians lack etc. And fish and amphibians have a two-chambered heart, reptiles have three chambers and mammals have four, etc. 3) There are degrees of cold and warm bloodedness in many species it’s not one thing. 4) evolution happens to populations of organisms, not individuals. At every stage of the process there were thousands or millions of creatures making up the gene pool, most often with whole groups of related species evolving alongside them. Individuals do not evolve, species do. A lizard didn’t give birth to a mammal, a million lizards gradually accumulated mammal like traits in their gene pool over many generations because those that possessed those variations survived things like colder climates better than than those that did not. Occasionally divergent selective pressures or genetic isolation due to distance or geographical barriers caused these species to split into multiple species, and one of these offshoots that had some mammal traits and some reptile traits survived to the present day – that’s what a platypus is.
“As far as God’s existence goes, that’s a fact. Just because you don’t believe me it doesn’t change anything (reverse evolution argument). I’ve verified it for myself and I’m not the only one.”
“This argument is moot though because you reject God so it doesn’t matter what I say from here on. But that’s my side sorry if I came off like an angry person, but it’s really a ridiculous theory and people overseas really need to do some investigation.”
You need to do some investigation into the actual science, not the fundamentalist parodies of it.