Skip to comments.Are there any other "agnostic" types here who look at evolution as an extremely dubious theory?
Posted on 08/05/2008 4:13:42 PM PDT by big black dog
Look, I apologize, this is a self serving vanity post. I want this to be short -- I am not driven by any religious viewpoint. Yes, I was raised that way and can still point out the arguments they make.
I don't want to do that right now. I want to hear from people who discount evolution from a strictly non-dogmatic point of view.
How do you discount a theory other than with data and alternative hypotheses?
The problem isn’t that we’re not providing data and alternative hypotheses; the problem is that the scientific community has become an atheists club and has been shutting out any data that might suggest the existance of God from the peer-review process.
It’s a theory, not fact.
Creation vs. Evolution (to me) boils down to this: I can’t figure it out in 10 seconds or less so I don’t particularly care.
Whatever is true (unknowable IMO) won’t get me paid more, make me happier or sadder, make my Wife love me more or less or make an ounce of difference in any quantifiable way.
For the skimmers and other comprehension challenged I repeat: I don’t particularly care. Don’t try to convince me either way.
Charles Darwin would have been happy for the scientists that went after him to find the exceptions and further explainations that his book did not forsee.
You need to define “evolution” here. Are you talking about the claim that absolutely nothing but spontaneous evolution accounts for the existence of the various life forms on earth? If so, sure, I discount that claim without subscribing to any religious dogma.
Put simply, the second law of thermodynamics is demonstrably false as a universal law asserted to have applied through all time and space. If it had always been in effect everywhere, there would be nothing but entropy. Evolutionary theory all falls under the second law of thermodynamics, but alas, requires a starting point which falsifies the second law of thermodynamics. Therefore, evolution as an all-encompassing theory to explain life on earth is hopelessly flawed.
I feel no need to judge evolution right now. Evolution, if true, was working for millions of years, but we look for its signs only in last 200 years. I’d give the scientists another 100,000 years to experimentally prove or disprove evolution. For the moment I personally have other issues to worry about.
The argument is settled the Earth revolves around the Sun and Evolution is a fact:
“Through comparison with the human genome, we have generated a largely complete catalogue of the genetic differences that have accumulated since the human and chimpanzee species diverged from our common ancestor, constituting approximately thirty-five million single-nucleotide changes, five million insertion/deletion events, and various chromosomal rearrangements. We use this catalogue to explore the magnitude and regional variation of mutational forces shaping these two genomes, and the strength of positive and negative selection acting on their genes. In particular, we find that the patterns of evolution in human and chimpanzee protein-coding genes are highly correlated and dominated by the fixation of neutral and slightly deleterious alleles. We also use the chimpanzee genome as an outgroup to investigate human population genetics and identify signatures of selective sweeps in recent human evolution.”
In a more specific answer to your question, albeit in a very indirect way, consider the dichotomy between good and evil, selfish and unselfish, charitable and uncharitable, etc. These opposing characteristics have existed in humanity for as long as we can tell from recorded history. Which is the more adaptive/beneficial trait? Why hasn't that trait selectively eradicated the converse trait? Life is complicated and from where I sit beyond any simple theories.
Here's an idea you might be interested in. I certainly find it interesting...
"If, as claimed by standard Neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory, mutations always occur randomly in relation to the direction of evolutionary change, then the same rate of mutation would be expected to be observed in both sets of cells. However, Cairns discovered that after a prolonged period of starvation, mutations that allowed the E. coli to utilise lactose increased in frequency. It appeared that the presence of lactose specifically enhanced mutations that allowed the cells to eat the lactose. The E. coli cell appeared to be able to *direct* its own mutations."[*emphasis* added]
Quantum Evolution: The New Science of Life
by Johnjoe McFadden
Quantum Evolution tackles the hairiest heresy of evolutionary biology, the one most likely to get scientists figuratively burned at the stake: the notion that any force more selective than blind chance could drive mutation. Such "directed evolution" smacks too much of a retreat into creationism for most science-minded readers to be comfortable with, but there's no prior reason to reject the idea. Molecular biologist Johnjoe McFadden risks the Inquisition by suggesting just such a possibility in Quantum Evolution: The New Science of Life. Directed at a general but somewhat sophisticated readership, it covers the basics of both standard evolutionary theory and quantum-level physics, then synthesizes them in an interesting theory of made-to-order mutation that explains enough to warrant attention and is, importantly, testable.
McFadden's writing is clear and sharp, and shows a high regard for the reader's intelligence and patience for complex ideas. This is no airplane book--except for those already well-versed in the latest in both evolutionary theory and subatomic physics. The rewards of reading are great, and the author bows just enough to established theory that he might meet the fate of his intellectual predecessors. The ideas underlying Quantum Evolution may be right or wrong, but they challenge received wisdom without plunging into dogmatism--and that's good science. --Rob Lightner
How did life start? How did something capable of replicating itself emerge from the primordial soup? How did it defy the odds? And how did it carry on seeking out the very mutations that enable survival? Living organisms are controlled by a single molecule - DNA. Yet the study of physics tells us that the behaviour of single molecules is also controlled by the laws of quantum mechanics. The implications of this for biology have not been fully thought through. Until now. In this debut, Johnjoe McFadden puts forward a theory of quantum evolution. He shows how living organisms have the ability to will themselves into action. Indeed, such an ability may be life's most fundamental attribute. This has radical implications. Evolution may not be random at all, as recent evolutionary theories have taught: rather, cells may, in certain circumstances, be able to choose to mutate particular genes that provide an advantage in the environment in which the cell finds itself.
"The form and dynamics of every living organism on this planet is controlled by a single molecule of DNA. Recent experiments suggest that size alone is not a bar to quantum behaviour. A group based in Vienna have recently fired fullerene molecules through the double slit experiment and demonstrated that these particles have no problem in sailing through both slits simultaneously. And fullerene is big - 60 carbon atoms in a cage-like structure, the famous 'buckyball' molecule - with a diameter similar to that of the DNA double helix. If fullerene can enter the quantum multiverse then the microscopic constituents of our own cells, including DNA, are in there as well." --Johnjoe McFadden
Some excerpts from Quantum Evolution: The New Science of Life...
The New Science of Life
Chapter 1 What is Life?
Chapter 2 The limits of Life
Chapter 3 Lifes biggest action
Chapter 4 How did we get here?
Chapter 5 Lifes actions
Chapter 6 What makes bodies move?
Chapter 7 What is quantum mechanics?
Chapter 8 Measurement and reality
Chapter 9 What does it all mean?
Chapter 10 The beginning
Chapter 11 The quantum cell
Chapter 12 Quantum evolution
Chapter 13 Mind and matter
Who said there was a problem?
It is ok to be uncertain and to not know. Insisting on iron clad absolute certainty is a mind killer.
Approach the problem, the academic science, from the scientific method. Become a scientist.
Find a small slice of bioscience to study. Say wild flowers or birds or butterflys. Make yourself a semi expert on some small slice. Go into the field as often as possible and observe your area. Take notes on your observations then read a little on exactly what you saw. If possible, get a buddy to go with you.
Once you begin to really see what's out there as opposed to reading what others tell you or hide from you or just plain lie about there may come revelation born of your own eyes and mind and study. You will see for your self the individual differences that produce species and genera and families.
A Peterson guide, some binoculars or a magnifying glass and a good hard bound notebook are very cheap. A frequent stroll in the outdoors be it a city park or some wilder area is great recreation and best of all, it is cheap.
See my profile for some of my studies. It's easy to be an expert, just find something you like and apply your mind and talent. You have a lifetime so there is no need to hurry.
But you're not. You are espousing a religious belief without scientific evidence.
...the problem is that the scientific community has become an atheists club and has been shutting out any data that might suggest the existance of God from the peer-review process.
Do you have evidence to support your claims? The problem we generally see with creationists is that they make all sorts of claims, which they want scientists to take seriously, but they are unable to support those claims with any scientific evidence.
To date, they have presented no scientific evidence documenting the supernatural. Why should this lack of evidence be treated as evidence? Why should your unsupported claims be accorded any weight in peer-review?
Start with nothing. Really NOTHING. No time, no space, no energy, no matter, and no order. You have complete entropy. Either the law has exceptions — BIG exceptions — or there would still be no time, no space, no energy, no matter, and no order. The sort of local negative entropy changes you’re talking about require that there be order somewhere else that can move toward disorder, so that the net change is always in the direction of more entropy. In the beginning, there was no order, so the only possible change had to be in the direction of LESS entropy.
Why should I believe this world is 50 million years old? All it is is an educated guess, and a weak one at that. I’m supposed to take seriously a scientist’s GUESS at how old the world is? Where’s YOUR scientific proof? This argument between science and creation theory works both ways.
No, sorry. That is not the case.
There is scientific evidence for an old earth; there is no scientific evidence for a young earth.
This is not a case of both arguments being equal; science has multiple lines of confirming evidence. The young earth argument has only a minority interpretation of scripture, and scripture was shown to be horribly wrong concerning the idea of a global flood ca. 4350 years ago.
To overturn the prevailing evidence of science you will have to study multiple fields, and come up with evidence contradicting that obtained by tens of thousands of scientists. So far your colleagues have failed to even dent the mountains of evidence.
By the way, in science the term "theory" does not mean guess. That is the way non-scientists use the term, but they are completely wrong in applying that usage to science.
Do you discount the history of life on earth as it is taught? That is, do you discount the succession of the dominant flora and fauna in the great ages of earth history?
There is no getting around the "privileged planet".
Perhaps you can answer this question then.
What is the mechanism that prevents all of those micro-evolutionary mutations from adding up to macro-evolution?
How does an organism know when to stop micro-ing in order to prevent a macro? What is the specific mechanism to account for that?
So, which came first, the chicken or the egg? I also asked for your proof and you said lots of stuff, but you didn’t answer my question. We will get nowhere fast this way. It’s just as easy for me to believe that God created everything as it is for you to believe that there was a big explosion, actually easier for me because I don’t have to have a scientist prove anything to me. How can you create order from chaos? Because, to a simpleton, like myself, an explosion is chaos. If everything happened by chance then how does an oak tree reproduce an oak tree? I don’t need proof that God exists because everytime I go outside and observe nature I am humbled and awed at His creation. Call me a fool, whatever. You believe what you like but please let me believe what I like, ok?
Science relies on evidence, while belief is irrelevant in science.
When you make claims contrary to established fact and common sense on an open discussion thread why should I not point out that there is a mountain of scientific evidence contradicting, but no evidence supporting, your position?
Put simply, please take a good University-level class in Thermodynamics before repeating these claims.
If it had always been in effect everywhere, there would be nothing but entropy.
Can you *define* entropy? Can you tell me the difference between closed and open systems? Can you tell me the *rate* at which entropy increases? And what is a Carnot cycle?
Evolutionary theory all falls under the second law of thermodynamics, but alas, requires a starting point which falsifies the second law of thermodynamics.
This simply does not make sense. Perhaps if you included more details, people would be able to comment on it in a meaningful fashion.
Therefore, evolution as an all-encompassing theory to explain life on earth is hopelessly flawed.
Here you are on a little bit better ground -- half the time evolutionists claim that evolution is not about abiogenesis, however it happened, but merely about observed changes in allele frequencies within populations; other times great detail is given to explain how one must accept evolution because Creation is 'unscientific'. [But if evolution is not about how life began, then, as far as that goes, Creationism is a non-sequitur -- you have to get into corollaries and predictions to distinguish the two.)
Again, you didn’t answer my question. What does science say about that chicken and that egg? Simple question deserves a simple answer. Our points of view are derived from different sources. Is it not an established fact that an oak tree is going to produce an oak tree? But where did that oak tree come from and how does it know how to reproduce itself and stay an oak tree? Please bear with me, I am not a scientist obviously.
The existence of any closed system in the universe requires that there have been a net increase in entropy. It is an ordering.
Also, "an ordering" is rather vague -- entropy is defined in thermodynamics as dS = dqrev/T, but it only applies to systems in equilibrium (hence the requirement of 'reversibility' or rev, which is an idealization).
If you want to go all stat mech, then S = kB ln (omega) where omega is the number internal states of the system.
The reason I mentioned the Carnot cycle is that a Carnot cycle transfers heat from a higher-temperature region to a lower-temperature region, which would seem to violate thermodynamics: but it does so via the input of external energy. So it demonstrates that entropy of a particular subsystem can decrease, given the right conditions, but without violating the laws of thermodynamics.
One just has to be careful of he defintions.
Incidentally, speaking of definitions, what is the difference between a closed and an open system?
There is simply ZERO evidence that a one celled creature could ever evolve into a multi-celled creature.
Your questions have no meaning.
The topic was a young earth and the scientific evidence that showed that that idea was incorrect.
I want to hear from people who discount evolution from a strictly non-dogmatic point of view.
Yes that is the best way to look at it. Look at the evidence, each piece, & the story of the man behind it, and common themes emerge.
Nice trick. You can't explain a "mechanism" that doesn't exist in the first place.
There is no example of any one kind of thing changing into another kind of thing. Period. The Coelacanth was said to be an example of a fish with "vestigial limbs" - and they thought it was extinct for 30+ million years, as I recall. And then...WOOPS!...they find them still living off the waters of Madigascar. (Yes, I know that evolutionists argue that evolution of one thing into another thing doesn't necessarily mean the original thing disappears.) Then they haul out the so-called "Darwin Fish" as transitional between land and water...yet I can show you "walking fish" and mudskippers that are alive today. But they haven't turned into anything else.
Irreducible complexity broke it, for me. And I should qualify that I am not at all of the belief that evolution discounts faith or vice-versa. I simply use my intellect to sift the evidence and decide what best fits - what seems most compelling. Something like the eye does not work without all the components involved. "Light sensing" cells of some kind on the surface of some early water-dwelling life form need a connection to the brain. There is no benefit to such a mutation in any early stage without all the follow-on - the neural connection to the brain, etc. It's crap theory, and there's crap evidence, though I have read some scientific papers about it that wreaked of desperation, to the point of inducing belly-laughs.
Sorry, I just don't buy it. And I don't need to be expert in all the sciences involved to form an opinion based on a survey of the literature that I've read anymore than a person watching football needs to be a player or a coach to know when some a@@hat ref makes a bad call.
"Who Moved The Stone?", "The Case for Christ", and a number of other deeper, more scholarly tracts led me to re-examine the Christian faith. On the flip side, sifting the evidence for "macroevolution" and arguments that sometimes fall under what is now called "intelligent design", led me to the conclusion that there is little to no evidence supporting the idea that one thing changes into another thing no matter how many iterations it goes through. The things evolutionists point to can be found living today. That would tend to belie the evolutionist argument.
Oh, and I'm not a "Young Earth Creationist" who thinks the planet is six thousand years old, either, nor do I believe that Noah's Flood literally covered the entire earth up to and above Mt. Everest. I don't discount science, I just want everyone to play fair and be honest.
Nice trick. You can't explain a "mechanism" that doesn't exist in the first place.
You are correct, there is no mechanism to halt the micro-evolutionary mutations before they reach the level of macroevolution. You have supported my original contention.
But the rest of your post is incorrect. There is evidence of macroevolution (speciation), both in nature and the laboratory.
The simplest example is ring species. While simple, this one example by itself is enough to document macroevolution. And, as an additional benefit, all of the transitional populations are intact for study as well.
Here is some information on ring species:
Ring species provide unusual and valuable situations in which we can observe two species and the intermediate forms connecting them. In a ring species:
- A ring of populations encircles an area of unsuitable habitat.
- At one location in the ring of populations, two distinct forms coexist without interbreeding, and hence are different species.
- Around the rest of the ring, the traits of one of these species change gradually, through intermediate populations, into the traits of the second species.
A ring species, therefore, is a ring of populations in which there is only one place where two distinct species meet. Ernst Mayr called ring species "the perfect demonstration of speciation" because they show a range of intermediate forms between two species. They allow us to use variation in space to infer how changes occurred over time. This approach is especially powerful when we can reconstruct the biogeographical history of a ring species, as has been done in two cases. Source
My question has no meaning because you can’t answer it? How very evasive of you. Radiometric dating (or whatever they call it) is flawed, so you have no concrete evidence to substantiate your position about the big bang, or the single cell amoeba, or by accident. If radio dating is flawed it could well be the earth is younger than you think. People will swallow a camel and strain at a gnat.
Another unsupported statement. You still haven't supported your original statement, but now you're making another one. It is hard to keep up!
I happen to do a lot of radiocarbon dating, one of several methods of radiometric dating.
I have visited most of the major creationist websites, and read what they say about radiocarbon dating. It consists largely of fabrications, misrepresentations, silly mistakes, and little that can be regarded as accurate science. I would not be to eager to accept what they say as accurate.
Sorry to have to break this to you, but radiocarbon dating disproves the notion of a young earth all by itself.
Here are some good links. Let me know if you have any questions:
ReligiousTolerance.org Carbon-14 Dating (C-14): Beliefs of New-Earth Creationists
This site, BiblicalChronologist.org has a series of good articles on radiocarbon dating.
Are tree-ring chronologies reliable? (The Biblical Chronologist, Vol. 5, No. 1)Tree Ring and C14 Dating
How does the radiocarbon dating method work? (The Biblical Chronologist, Vol. 5, No. 1)
Radiocarbon WEB-info Radiocarbon Laboratory, University of Waikato, New Zealand.
I didn’t say I didn’t know anything about science, I said I was no scientist. If you read everything as well as you read my post I can see why you believe in evolution. And your chicken and egg debate unscrambled is pure speculation with no scientific proof. If I said I was the president of the USA and believed it with my whole heart and told others I was, still doesn’t make it so unless I have irrefutable proof. You are right though, I’m not as smart as alot of other people on these threads, but it doesn’t make me stupid either. Evolution is a belief system just the same as religion, and if you deny it, you are lying to yourself. What is it that makes people so scared of someone who believes that a supreme being created everything? Because then you would have to admit that there is another life after this one? And you might be left behind? Go ahead and believe we came from apes, I DON’T CARE. But don’t presume to look down your noses at those of us who do believe that God created everthing. Isn’t it democrats who try to make you feel inferior because you don’t agree with them all the time?
The theory of evolution is based on evidence, not belief. Religions are based on belief, not evidence.
Go ahead and believe we came from apes, I DONT CARE.
That is what the evidence shows. The genetics confirmed what the fossil evidence had suggested. By comparing the different primates, you can see when specific mutations occurred. A good example is the loss of the ability to synthesize vitamin C. There are a lot of fascinating stories, such as that one. You should take a look some time.
I have another question about the chicken and the egg. Where did the zygote come from? Where did the gametes come from? Why can’t we just admit that no one knows which came first?
If we evolved from primates, why are there still primates? I still fail to see what evidence you have.
And don’t those mutations occur inside that species? At least that’s the gist of what I understood from what I’ve read.
Your theory of evolution is still just a theory, and scientists don’t have any evidence beyond a reasonable doubt.
“Build a car and you would violate the creationist second law”
not really a good argument since a car requires a builder.
“Things go from simple to complex all of the time locally in time and space”
where is the evidence that an organism mutation has occurred by gaining info, rather than losing info?
In the real world, even a "designer" can't violate the genuine second law of thermodynamics. You would be laughed off of a science forum for that statement.
where is the evidence that an organism mutation has occurred by gaining info, rather than losing info?
"Through comparison with the human genome, we have generated a largely complete catalogue of the genetic differences that have accumulated since the human and chimpanzee species diverged from our common ancestor, constituting approximately thirty-five million single-nucleotide changes, five million insertion/deletion events, and various chromosomal rearrangements."
The argument is over. We know the answers.
If we evolved from primates, why are there still primates?
This is a question so trite, and exhibiting such lack of understanding, that even creationist websites often suggest that it not be used. They write:
...the main point against this statement is that many evolutionists believe that a small group of creatures split off from the main group and became reproductively isolated from the main large population, and that most change happened in the small group which can lead to allopatric speciation (a geographically isolated population forming a new species). So theres nothing in evolutionary theory that requires the main group to become extinct. Source
I still fail to see what evidence you have.
I suggest this is because you have been unwilling to examine that evidence, taking rather the strawman arguments made by most creationists as accurate. Perhaps if you actually examined the real evidence you would have a different understanding of the subject.
And dont those mutations occur inside that species? At least thats the gist of what I understood from what Ive read.
Mutations occur in individuals and, if not too harmful, can spread throughout a population over time. The most favorable mutations will spread the quickest. The most harmful mutations will kill the individuals in which they occur. Through this mechanism, change between two populations can occur if they become reproductively isolated. That is what happened with the forest apes: one branch was forced first to the edges of the forest, then into the adjacent grasslands. Mutations helped them adapt to their new conditions, while there was no selection pressure forcing the apes who remained in the forest to change much. Those in the grasslands had a lot of selective pressure, and changed a lot. That line eventually led to us.
Your theory of evolution is still just a theory, and scientists dont have any evidence beyond a reasonable doubt.
In science a theory is the highest form of explanation; there is no higher level to attain. Therefore, calling the theory of evolution "just a theory" is meaningless.
A theory is the current best explanation for a set of facts. It must explain all of those facts, and none of those facts can seriously contradict that theory. To become a theory, a hypothesis must have undergone testing and criticism, and have passed those tests. A powerful theory must also successfully make predictions. The theory of evolution has been tested for 150 years, and has survived those tests. It also successfully makes predictions. It, in fact, is a more robust theory in its field than the theory of gravitation is in its field. In other words, we know a great deal more about how evolution occurs than about how gravity occurs.
I hope these answers help you to understand these matters better. You have been fed some very simplistic, and incorrect, information.
Ignorance of evidence is not absence of evidence.
First off let me thank you for enlightening me on how stupid I’ve been. “...the main point against this statement is that many evolutionists BELIEVE (your word, not mine)....”. Again, nothing conclusive. Telling me my questions are meaningless and trite doesn’t help your cause either. Sometimes common sense prevails and you fail to convert others to your way of thinking. Again, if you want to believe this THEORY go ahead. The fact that you must denigrate me for believing the way I do reinforces my argument that there’s no valid evidence to substaniate your position. You have faith and so do I, we just happen to have faith in different things. I lack understanding about your point of view and you lack understanding about mine. I have been willing to read things about evolution from a scientific perspective. Are you willing to read the Bible so you can gain some insight into my undertanding? I kind of doubt it. Let’s just agree to disagree.
Fine. But when you make arguments against the theory of evolution, you should at least have some understanding of the issues. You have been repeating oft-refuted propaganda. That does your case no good.
I have examined much of the material on creationist websites, so I have a good understanding of the issues. Perhaps you should do the same.
Is there any real evidence to support what you’re saying? Radiometric or radiocarbon dating is not an exact science, which leaves room for doubt. How many findings of these scientists were thrown out until they got the results they were looking for?
Yes, there is a lot of evidence. In my field (archaeology) I do a lot of radiocarbon dating--nearly 600 so far. And I don't throw out a lot of results at all!
What we do when we data a site is look for stratigraphy (natural soil layers), and cultural components. We then date each of these based on cultural items (bead or point styles, for example), superposition (deeper layers are older), and radiocarbon dating. And we don't do just one date--on my last major excavation I obtained 32 dates. In one case I got a date 1500 years older than all the rest; I did several more dates in that stratum until I understood what was going on. That older date was indeed supported by other dates, as well as cultural differences.
As far as radiocarbon dating not being an exact science and there being room for doubt: which would you prefer to bet on, the 99% or the 1%? Radiocarbon and other forms of radiometric dating have been well tested and shown to be reliable. The different radiometric dating methods agree with each other and correlate well with other methods of dating. This is the type of thing that if you were making a bet, you would bet the rent money on the techniques being largely accurate rather than inaccurate.
I provided some good links upthread. The first one is written from a Christian perspective and hosted on a Christian website. Take a look at least that one.
According to Einstein the Earth, Moon, and Sun travel in straight lines. Their mass bends space such that it appears to us they orbit each other.
No, the Earth, Moon and Sun travel in elipses relative to one another due to the localized curvature of space. The Earth does in fact orbit the Sun and the Moon does orbit the Earth. You are confused. Each one describes a strait line path within their own curved space, but they are not alone in the universe.
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