First of all, the theory of evolution is *not* evolution: it is the best explanation we have so far devised to describe the process of evolution. While the theory describes our observations about the apparent progression and diversity of biological life over time, it really doesn't explain how life began. We only have hypotheses for that.
That said, those who "doubt" the theory of evolution (ToE)give no indication that they actually have a science-based alternative to the accepted explanation of the evidence. It is clear that the only alternate explanation they have, whether they overtly use the word "creator" or "intelligent designer", or avoid the use of such words altogether, *is* the creation story of Genesis. The totality of young earth creationist (YEC) objections to the ToE consist solely of misinterpretations or misrepresentations of the science involved; no one has ever scientifically established that evolution does not happen.
Put it this way, had the Genesis story of creation been devised to explain observations, there would be similar stories from all over the world. But there are not. Creation stories seem as diverse as the cultures that produced them.
Now, if I observe the human body and its numerous intricate working parts more complex than anything I have ever seen designed, how is that not a consideration of previous knowledge?
Those who believe in an intelligent creator then, based on this previous knowledge hypothesize that if a natural object was designed, it will contain high levels of COMPLEX SPECIFIED INFORMATION (CSI).
The whole problem with this example is that it takes a preconceived belief and interprets evidence to fit the belief. That isn't science.
This whole concept of "complex specified information", which I gather from your text is another way of saying "irreducible complexity", is not a scientific concept.
As for your example of reverse-engineering biological systems to see if they "require all their parts to function", I'll just say that there are at least two ways to falsify the idea of "irreducible complexity". One, is through observation of various organisms: the deduced process of evolution is well-represented among living organisms, so that you can find examples of nervous systems, for examples, at any stage of complexity. Some primitive animals have a few nerves which respond to stimuli (for instance, clams can open and close their shells), but no brain. As you examine more and more complex animals, you see more and more complex nervous systems, until you reach mammals, some of which have highly complex, organized systems. Another is the observation that a featureless single cell can, over the period of just a few weeks, develop all of the organs and structures characteristic of fully formed humans. If a system is not too complex to develop from a single cell, it is not "irreducibly complex".
Now, I will concede that some 6 day creationists would insist that this is the creator God of the Bible. But hey, Ive spoken to others who are not Christians who leave the identity of this creator (or even creator(s)) open.
The problem with trying to leave open the identity of a creator, or of trying to present a scientific version that leaves out mention of a creator altogether, is that the literal creation story of Genesis becomes utterly ridiculous when divorced from the religious component. Everything just popped into being 6,000 years ago? Who thinks that is a legitimate scientific theory? Clearly, that is a thinly disguised religious story that does not belong in schools which are supposed to remain religion-neutral.
Even the atheist zoologist Richard Dawkins says that intuitively, Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.
It is a characteristic of human beings to anthropomorphize just about anything. I used to grow mammalian cells, and I describe them as if they had real personalities. One cell line, for example, doesn't like physical contact, and the more cells there are on the plate, the more each cell tries to avoid touching other cells by pulling itself into the smallest space possible. Another type of cell doesn't like being alone, and when they are sparse on a plate, they reach out very long tendrils to try to find other cells; when they find each other, they crawl together to form little clumps. Although my descriptions imbue very human traits to those cells (and the cells *were* human cells), the fact is that they have none of those traits; they only respond to chemical signals and are incapable of thought or feeling.
I'm not going to say much more on the science of evolution, except to point out that the ToE is wonderfully coherent and consistent, and has proven to be a valuable tool for me and countless of my colleagues. Consistency is important, because the truth is always consistent. The number of scientists whose work directly deals with aspects of evolution (which would be mainly the life scientists and geologists) who do not accept the validity of the ToE is so small as to be statistically insignificant (~0.15%). It is also impossible to refute every single YEC pseudoscientific claim--it's a game of whack-a-mole, where, as soon as one pseudofact is shot down, another pops up to take its place.
You have to be careful with creationist websites or publications. They have no interest in science; they're trying to tear down science for their own reasons. Because of that, they present very little valid science, and a lot of pseudoscience. I suggest looking at other sources; Wikipedia is usually pretty accurate when describing scientific topics or any website maintained by a major research university would be fairly accurate. As a starting point, I suggest looking at this article and its links; it is not written by a scientist, but the author does have a good grasp of the issues.
RE: The whole problem with this example is that it takes a preconceived belief and The whole problem with this example is that it takes a preconceived belief and interprets evidence to fit the belief. That isn’t science.That isn’t science.
Well, what is the ToE if not a set of preconceived beliefs to fit the belief?
By definition, evolution offers an explanation for how things got to be the way they are without any intelligence (I’m referring to what’s known as the “general theory of evolution”).
This is why it made such a splash. Do you think that if God could be worked into the evolutionary picture, then evolution would have taken off the way it did? Of course not.
Richard Dawkins, author of The Blind Watchmaker and one of the world’s preeminent evolutionists, was right when he said that Darwin made the world safe for atheism. But if Darwinism can be easily baptized with theism, how can it be that Darwin made the world safe for atheism? It’s precisely because evolution seemed to explain things that used to require the existence of God to explain them that Darwinism became so popular and accepted within ten to fifteen years after Origin of Species was published in 1859. It’s precisely because God is out of the picture that evolution is so appealing.
When you listen to evolutionists like Harvard paleontologist Stephen J. Gould, he’s very willing to admit you can believe in God and also be an evolutionist. No problem. But that doesn’t mean Gould approves of theistic evolution. Gould means that plenty of his friends believe in God, but their belief in God is a religious thing they do in their closets, inside their homes and behind the closed doors of the churches. They don’t mix religion and science, God and evolution, fantasy with fact.
RE: Clearly, that is a thinly disguised religious story that does not belong in schools which are supposed to remain religion-neutral.
If you read the creation science literature, you will see that they clearly state that they want public schools to teach all the scientific data, censoring none, but do not want any religious doctrine to be brought into science classrooms.
They are not even going to FORCE teachers who do not want to teach anything other than evolution to teach the creation model. However they OBJECT to CENSORING teachers who want to.
This includes the scientific evidence for a sudden creation of complex and diversified kinds of life, with systematic gaps persisting between different kinds and with genetic variation occurring within each kind since that time. The scientific model of evolution, in summary, includes the scientific evidence for a gradual emergence of present life kinds over aeons of time, with emergence of complex and diversified kinds of life from simpler kinds and ultimately from nonliving matter. The creation model questions vertical evolution, which is the emergence of complex from simple and change between kinds, but it does not challenge what is often called horizontal evolution or microevolution, which creationists call genetic variation or species or subspecies formation within created kinds.
RE: The coherence of ToE
An explanation can be coherent and consistent within its model and yet, be found wanting.
In my view, the genetic differences between organisms are mathematical show-stoppers for evolution. A simplistic comparison of human and chimpanzee DNA shows that the genetic divergence is at least 4%. (The difference is certainly much larger than this number which was derived from a technique not as precise as lining up sequences as in our example above. This 4% difference does not take into account the different number of chromosomes in the two genomes, the different arrangement of genes among the chromosomes, and a lot of non-coding, but regulatory DNA that show significant variations.)
But lets assume the measly 4% often quoted. How big is 4% in the DNA? It doesnt sound big, does it? But the human genome has the information content of one thousand 500-page books. A 4% change would be about 40 large books, equivalent to about 12,000,000 words. We are expected to believe that random mutation plus natural selection (somehow driven by the right combinations of zillions of environmental changes) can generate 12 million words in a precisely meaningful sequence just to get the little divergence between chimps and people.
Evolutionist always says that given enough time millions and millions of years, such miracles can happen. But evolutionists claim that human evolution would have taken place over the last 10 million years, with creatures like humans and apes sharing a common ancestor. Is that long enough? Note that a human generation is about 20 years. You have to hope very optimistically for rapid mutation and natural selection. In fact, detailed population genetics calculations have shown that only about 1700 mutations could arise in a population over a 10 million year period. Thats only a page or two out of the required 40 large books.
Evolution to qualify as a science must provide evidence that these events have actually occurred! Not only is the evidence lacking, but any mathematical analysis shows that these transformations of species are impossible!
This is analogous to a district attorney hoping to convict someone, not only with no evidence, but with overwhelming data that proves that the suspect could not possibly be responsible.
You don’t have to tell me to be careful with creationists websites, I believe I am discerning enough to determine which argument is sound and which ones are not ( and this would include websites promoting darwinian evolution ).