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Fact, Fable, and Darwin (If you haven't read this already, you should!!!)
American Enterprise Magazine ^ | 8/04 | Rodney Stark

Posted on 08/02/2004 3:58:04 PM PDT by Renfield

Fact, Fable, and Darwin By Rodney Stark

I write as neither a creationist nor a Darwinist, but as one who knows what is probably the most disreputable scientific secret of the past century: There is no plausible scientific theory of the origin of species! Darwin himself was not sure he had produced one, and for many decades every competent evolutionary biologist has known that he did not. Although the experts have kept quiet when true believers have sworn in court and before legislative bodies that Darwin's theory is proven beyond any possible doubt, that's not what reputable biologists, including committed Darwinians, have been saying to one another.

Without question, Charles Darwin would be among the most prominent biologists in history even if he hadn't written The Origin of Species in 1859. But he would not have been deified in the campaign to "enlighten" humanity. The battle over evolution is not an example of how heroic scientists have withstood the relentless persecution of religious fanatics. Rather, from the very start it primarily has been an attack on religion by militant atheists who wrap themselves in the mantle of science.

When a thoroughly ideological Darwinist like Richard Dawkins claims, "The theory is about as much in doubt as that the earth goes round the sun," he does not state a fact, but merely aims to discredit a priori anyone who dares to express reservations about evolution. Indeed, Dawkins has written, "It is absolutely safe to say that, if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid, or insane...."

That is precisely how "Darwin's Bulldog," Thomas Huxley, hoped intellectuals would react when he first adopted the tactic of claiming that the only choice is between Darwin and Bible literalism. However, just as one can doubt Max Weber's Protestant Ethic thesis without thereby declaring for Marxism, so too one may note the serious shortcomings of neo-Darwinism without opting for any rival theory. Modern physics provides a model of how science benefits from being willing to live with open questions rather than embracing obviously flawed conjectures.

What is most clear to me is that the Darwinian Crusade does not prove some basic incompatibility between religion and science. But the even more immediate reality is that Darwin's theory falls noticeably short of explaining the origin of species. Dawkins knows the many serious problems that beset a purely materialistic evolutionary theory, but asserts that no one except true believers in evolution can be allowed into the discussion, which also must be held in secret. Thus he chastises Niles Eldridge and Stephen Jay Gould, two distinguished fellow Darwinians, for giving "spurious aid and comfort to modern creationists."

Dawkins believes that, regardless of his or her good intentions, "if a reputable scholar breathes so much as a hint of criticism of some detail of Darwinian theory, that fact is seized upon and blown up out of proportion." While acknowledging that "the extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record" is a major embarrassment for Darwinism, Stephen Jay Gould confided that this has been held as a "trade secret of paleontology" and acknowledged that the evolutionary diagrams "that adorn our textbooks" are based on "inference...not the evidence of fossils."

According to Steven Stanley, another distinguished evolutionist, doubts raised by the fossil record were "suppressed" for years. Stanley noted that this too was a tactic begun by Huxley, always careful not to reveal his own serious misgivings in public. Paleontologist Niles Eldridge and his colleagues have said that the history of life demonstrates gradual transformations of species, "all the while really knowing that it does not." This is not how science is conducted; it is how ideological crusades are run.

By Darwin's day it had long been recognized that the fossil evidence showed that there had been a progression in the biological complexity of organisms over an immense period of time. In the oldest strata, only simple organisms are observed. In more recent strata, more complex organisms appear. The biological world is now classified into a set of nested categories. Within each genus (mammals, reptiles, etc.) are species (dogs, horses, elephants, etc.) and within each species are many specific varieties, or breeds (Great Dane, Poodle, Beagle, etc.).

It was well-known that selective breeding can create variations within species. But the boundaries between species are distinct and firm--one species does not simply trail off into another by degrees. As Darwin acknowledged, breeding experiments reveal clear limits to selective breeding beyond which no additional changes can be produced. For example, dogs can be bred to be only so big and no bigger, let alone be selectively bred until they are cats. Hence, the question of where species come from was the real challenge and, despite the title of his famous book and more than a century of hoopla and celebration, Darwin essentially left it unanswered.

After many years spent searching for an adequate explanation of the origin of species, in the end Darwin fell back on natural selection, claiming that it could create new creatures too, if given im-mense periods of time. That is, organisms respond to their environmental circumstances by slowly changing (evolving) in the direction of traits beneficial to survival until, eventually, they are sufficiently changed to constitute a new species. Hence, new species originate very slowly, one tiny change after another, and eventually this can result in lemurs changing to humans via many intervening species.

Darwin fully recognized that a major weakness of this account of the origin of species involved what he and others referred to as the principle of "gradualism in nature." The fossil record was utterly inconsistent with gradualism. As Darwin acknowledged: "...why, if species have descended from other species by fine gradations, do we not everywhere see innumerable transitional forms? Why is not all nature in confusion instead of the species being, as we see them, well defined?"

Darwin offered two solutions. Transitional types are quickly replaced and hence would mainly only be observable in the fossil record. As for the lack of transitional types among the fossils, that was, Darwin admitted, "the most obvious and serious objection which can be urged against the theory."

Darwin dealt with this problem by blaming "the extreme imperfection of the geological record." "Only a small portion of the surface of the earth has been geologically explored, and no part with sufficient care." But, just wait, Darwin promised, the missing transitions will be found in the expected proportion when more research has been done. Thus began an intensive search for what the popular press soon called the "missing links."

Today, the fossil record is enormous compared to what it was in Darwin's day, but the facts are unchanged. The links are still missing; species appear suddenly and then remain relatively unchanged. As Steven Stanley reported: "The known fossil record...offers no evidence that the gradualistic model can be valid."

Indeed, the evidence has grown even more contrary since Darwin's day. "Many of the discontinuities [in the fossil record] tend to be more and more emphasized with increased collecting," noted the former curator of historical geology at the American Museum of Natural History. The history of most fossil species includes two features particularly inconsistent with gradualism, Stephen Jay Gould has acknowledged. The first problem is stasis. Most species exhibit no directional change during their tenure on earth. They appear in the fossil record looking much the same as when they disappear. The second problem is sudden appearance. Species do not arise gradually by the steady transformation of ancestors, they appear "fully formed."

These are precisely the objections raised by many biologists and geologists in Darwin's time--it was not merely that Darwin's claim that species arise through eons of natural selection was offered without supporting evidence, but that the available evidence was overwhelmingly contrary. Unfortunately, rather than concluding that a theory of the origin of species was yet to be accomplished, many scientists urged that Darwin's claims must be embraced, no matter what.

In keeping with Darwin's views, evolutionists have often explained new species as the result of the accumulation of tiny, favorable random mutations over an immense span of time. But this answer is inconsistent with the fossil record wherein creatures appear "full-blown and raring to go." Consequently, for most of the past century, biologists and geneticists have tried to discover how a huge number of favorable mutations can occur at one time so that a new species would appear without intermediate types.

However, as the eminent and committed Darwinist Ernst Mayr explained,The occurrence of genetic monstrosities by well substantiated, but they are such evident freaks that these monsters can only be designated as 'hopeless.' They are so utterly unbalanced that they would not have the slightest chance of escaping elimination through selection. Giving a thrush the wings of a falcon does not make it a better flyer....To believe that such a drastic mutation would produce a viable new type, capable of occupying a new adaptive zone, is equivalent to believing in miracles.

The word miracle crops up again and again in mathematical assessments of the possibility that even very simple biochemical chains, let alone living organisms, can mutate into being by a process of random trial and error. For generations, Darwinians have regaled their students with the story of the monkey and the typewriter, noting that given an infinite period of time, the monkey sooner or later is bound to produce Macbeth purely by chance, the moral being that infinite time can perform miracles.

However, the monkey of random evolution does not have infinite time. The progression from simple to complex life forms on earth took place within a quite limited time. Moreover, when competent mathematicians considered the matter, they quickly calculated that even if the monkey's task were reduced to coming up with only a few lines of Macbeth, let alone Shakespeare's entire play, the probability is far, far beyond mathematical possibility. The odds of creating even the simplest organism at random are even more remote--Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe, celebrated cosmologists, calculated the odds as one in ten to the 40,000th power. (Consider that all atoms in the known universe are estimated to number no more than ten to the 80th power.) In this sense, then, Darwinian theory does rest on truly miraculous assumptions.

Perhaps the most amazing aspect of the current situation is that while Darwin is treated as a secular saint in the popular media and the theory of evolution is regarded as the invincible challenge to all religious claims, it is taken for granted among the leading biological scientists that the origin of species has yet to be explained. Writing in Nature in 1999, Eörs Szathmay summarizes that, "The origin of species has long fascinated biologists. Although Darwin's major work bears it as a title, it does not provide a solution to the problem." When Julian Huxley claimed that "Darwin's theory longer a theory but a fact," he surely knew better. But, just like his grandfather, Thomas Huxley, he knew that his lie served the greater good of "enlightenment."

When The Origin of Species was published it aroused immense interest, but initially it did not provoke antagonism on religious grounds. Although many criticized Darwin's lack of evidence, none raised religious objections. Instead, the initial response from theologians was favorable. The distinguished Harvard botanist Asa Gray hailed Darwin for having solved the most difficult problem confronting the Design argument--the many imperfections and failures revealed in the fossil record. Acknowledging that Darwin himself "rejects the idea of design," Gray congratulated him for "bringing out the neatest illustrations of it." Gray interpreted Darwin's work as showing that God has created a few original forms and then let evolution proceed within the framework of divine laws.

When religious antagonism finally came it was in response to aggressive claims, like Huxley's, that Newton and Darwin together had evicted God from the cosmos. For the heirs of the Enlightenment, evolution seemed finally to supply the weapon needed to destroy religion. As Richard Dawkins confided, "Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist."

Atheism was central to the agenda of the Darwinians. Darwin himself once wrote that he could not understand how anyone could even wish that Christianity were true, noting that the doctrine of damnation was itself damnable. Huxley expressed his hostility toward religion often and clearly, writing in 1859: "My screed was meant as a protest against Theology & Parsondom...both of which are in my mind the natural & irreconcilable enemies of Science. Few see it but I believe we are on the Eve of a new Reformation and if I have a wish to live 30 years, it is to see the foot of Science on the necks of her Enemies." According to Oxford historian J. R. Lucas, Huxley was "remarkably resistant to the idea that there were clergymen who accepted evolution, even when actually faced with them." Quite simply, there could be no compromises with faith.

Writing at the same time as Huxley, the leading Darwinian in Germany, Ernst Haeckel, drew this picture:

On one side spiritual freedom and truth, reason and culture, evolution and progress stand under the bright banner of science; on the other side, under the black flag of hierarchy, stand spiritual slavery and falsehood, irrationality and barbarism, superstition and retrogression.... Evolution is the heavy artillery in the struggle for truth. Whole ranks of...sophistries fall together under the chain shot of this...artillery, and the proud and mighty structure of the Roman hierarchy, that powerful stronghold of infallible dogmatism, falls like a house of cards.

These were not the natterings of radical circles and peripheral publications. The author of the huge review of The Origin in the Times of London was none other than Thomas Huxley. He built his lectures on evolution into a popular touring stage show wherein he challenged various potential religious opponents by name. Is it surprising that religious people, scientists as well as clerics, began to respond in the face of unrelenting challenges like these issued in the name of evolution? It was not as if they merely were asked to accept that life had evolved--many theologians had long taken that for granted. What the Darwinians demanded was that religionists agree to the untrue and unscientific claim that Darwin had proved that God played no role in the process.

Among those drawn to respond was the Bishop of Oxford, Samuel Wilberforce, who is widely said to have made an ass of himself in a debate with Huxley during the 1860 meeting of the British Association at Oxford. The relevant account of this confrontation reported: "I was happy enough to be present on the memorable occasion at Oxford when Mr. Huxley bearded Bishop Wilberforce. The bishop arose and in a light scoffing tone, florid and fluent, he assured us that there was nothing in the idea of evolution. Then turning to his antagonist with a smiling insolence, he begged to know, was it through his grandfather or his grandmother that he claimed descent from a monkey? On this Mr. Huxley...arose...and spoke these tremendous words. He was not ashamed to have a monkey for an ancestor; but he would be ashamed to be connected with a man who used his great gifts to obscure the truth. No one doubted his meaning and the effect was tremendous."

This marvelous anecdote has appeared in every distinguished biography of Darwin and of Huxley, as well as in every popular history of the theory of evolution. In his celebrated Apes, Angels and Victorians, William Irvine used this tale to disparage the bishop's snobbery. In his prize-winning study, James Brix went much farther, describing Wilberforce as "naive and pompous," a man whose "faulty opinions" were those of a "fundamentalist creationist" and who provided Huxley with the opportunity to give evolution "its first major victory over dogmatism and duplicity." Every writer tells how the audience gave Huxley an ovation.

Trouble is, it never happened. The quotation above was the only such report of this story and it appeared in an article titled "A Grandmother's Tales" written by a non-scholar in a popular magazine 38 years after the alleged encounter. No other account of these meetings, and there were many written at the time, made any mention of remarks concerning Huxley's monkey ancestors, or claimed that he made a fool of the bishop. To the contrary, many thought the bishop had the better of it, and even many of the committed Darwinians thought it at most a draw.

Moreover, as all of the scholars present at Oxford knew, prior to the meeting, Bishop Wilberforce had penned a review of The Origin in which he fully acknowledged the principle of natural selection as the source of variations within species. He rejected Darwin's claims concerning the origin of species, however, and some of these criticisms were sufficiently compelling that Darwin immediately wrote his friend the botanist J. D. Hooker that the article "is uncommonly clever; it picks out with skill all the most conjectural parts, and brings forward well all the difficulties. It quizzes me quite splendidly." In a subsequent letter to geologist Charles Lyell, Darwin acknowledges that "the bishop makes a very telling case against me." Indeed, several of Wilberforce's comments caused Darwin to make modifications in a later revision of the book.

The tale of the foolish and narrow-minded bishop seems to have thrived as a revealing "truth" about the incompatibility of religion and science simply because many of its tellers wanted to believe that a bishop is wrong by nature. J. R. Lucas, who debunked the bishop myth, has suggested that the "most important reason why the legend grew" is, first, because academics generally "know nothing outside their own special subject" and therefore easily believe that outsiders are necessarily ignorant, and, second, because Huxley encouraged that conclusion. "The quarrel between religion and science was what Huxley wanted; and as Darwin's theory gained supporters, they took over his view of the incident."

Since then the Darwinian Crusade has tried to focus all attention on the most unqualified and most vulnerable opponents, and when no easy targets present themselves it has invented them. Huxley "made straw men of the 'creationists,'" as his biographer Desmond admitted. Even today it is a rare textbook or any popular treatment of evolution and religion that does not reduce "creationism" to the simplest caricatures.

This tradition remains so potent that whenever it is asked that evolution be presented as "only a theory," the requester is ridiculed as a buffoon. Even when the great philosopher of science Karl Popper suggested that the standard version of evolution even falls short of being a scientific theory, being instead an untestable tautology, he was subjected to public condemnations and much personal abuse.

Popper's tribulations illustrate an important basis for the victory of Darwinism: A successful appeal for a united front on the part of scientists to oppose religious opposition has had the consequence of silencing dissent within the scientific community. The eminent observer Everett Olson notes that there is "a generally silent group" of biological scientists "who tend to disagree with much of the current thought" about evolution, but who remain silent for fear of censure.

I believe that one day there will be a plausible theory of the origin of species. But, if and when that occurs, there will be nothing in any such theory that makes it impossible to propose that the principles involved were not part of God's great design any more than such a theory will demonstrate the existence of God. But, while we wait, why not lift the requirement that high school texts enshrine Darwin's failed attempt as an eternal truth?

Rodney Stark was professor of sociology at the University of Washington for many years and is now university professor of the social sciences at Baylor University. He is author of For the Glory of God (Princeton University Press) and other acclaimed books on science and religion.

The Miracle of Creation

Freeman Dyson, professor emeritus at Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study, is a preeminent mathematical physicist, and one of the most wide-ranging thinkers and writers in modern science. These observations are drawn from interviews with Monte Davis and Stewart Brand.

QUESTION: How do we understand the universe at all? Do you agree with Carl Sagan that humans find the mathematics of gravitation so simple and elegant because natural selection eliminated the apes who couldn’t understand?

DYSON: Not at all. For apes to come out of the trees, and change in the direction of being able to write down Maxwell’s equations, I don’t think you can explain that by natural selection at all. It’s just a miracle.

QUESTION: You have written that “as we look out into the universe and identify the many accidents of physics and astronomy that have worked together to our benefit, it almost seems as if the universe must in some sense have known that we were coming.” Is that a playful suggestion?

DYSON: It’s not playful at all.

QUESTION: Then we seem to be talking about sentiments that most people would consider religious. Are they religious for you?

DYSON: Oh yes.

QUESTION: The dominant tendency in modern science has been to assert that we occupy no privileged place, that the universe does not care, that science and religion don’t mix. Where do you fit into those ideas?

DYSON: The tendency you’re talking about is a modern one, not old. I think it became almost a dogma only with the fight for acceptance of Darwinism, Huxley versus Bishop Wilberforce, and so on. Before the nineteenth century, scientists were not ashamed of being religious, but since Darwin, it’s been taboo.

The biologists are still fighting Wilberforce. If you look now, the view that everything is due to chance and to little bits of molecular clockwork is mostly propounded by biologists, particularly people like Jacques Monod—whereas the physicists have become far more skeptical about that. If you actually look at the way modern physics is going, it’s very far from that. Yes, it’s the biologists who’ve made it so hard to talk about these things.

I was reading recently a magnificent book by Thomas Wright, written about 1750, when these inhibitions didn’t exist at all. Wright was the discoverer of galaxies, you know, and he writes:

“I can never look upon the stars without wondering that the whole world does not become astronomers; and that men, endowed with sense and reason, should neglect a science that must convince them of their immortality.”

QUESTION: There’s a provocative sentence in your book Imagined Worlds: “The laws of nature are constructed in such a way as to make the universe as interesting as possible.” What do you mean by that?

DYSON: It’s the numerical accidents that make life possible. I define an interesting universe as one that is friendly to life, and especially one that produces lots of variety.

QUESTION: What accidental numbers make that possible?

DYSON: If you look at just the physical building blocks, there’s a famous problem with producing carbon in stars. All the carbon necessary for life has to be produced in stars, and it’s difficult to do. To make carbon, you’ve got to have three helium atoms collide in a triple collision. Helium has an atomic weight of 4, and carbon is 12. Beryllium, at 8, is unstable, therefore you can’t go from helium to beryllium to carbon; you have to make helium into carbon in one jump. This means three atoms colliding together.

QUESTION: Which statistically is not so often.

DYSON: No. But Fred Hoyle, who discovered this process, came up with one of the most brilliant ideas in the whole of science. He said that in order to make carbon abundant as it should be, there must be an accidental, coincidental resonance. This means that there’s a nuclear state in the carbon nucleus at precisely the right energy level for these three atoms to combine smoothly. The chance of having that resonance in the right place is maybe 1 in 1,000. Hoyle believed it must be there in order to produce the carbon. Of course, the nuclear physicists then looked for this resonance, and found it!

There are other famous cases: The fact that the nuclear force is just strong enough to bind a proton and a neutron to make the heavy isotope hydrogen, but not strong enough to bind two protons to make helium with an atomic weight of 2. Just two protons stuck together is a rather narrow range of strength. So the nuclear force is fine-tuned so that hydrogen doesn’t burn to helium right away. If the two hydrogen nuclei did bind, all the hydrogen would burn to helium in the first five minutes. The universe would then be pure helium and a rather boring place. Whereas, if the force were a little bit weaker, so that the neutron and the proton didn’t bind, you wouldn’t get any heavy elements at all. You’d have nothing but hydrogen. Again, this would make for a boring universe.

Published in One America September 2004

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: crevolist; darwin; evolution; huxley; wilberforce
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To: Havoc
I've stated that I'm simply not only unconvinced by the traditional argument; but, thoroughly reject it as nonsense. And I've stated why.

The first sentence in this statement is true, the second sentence is not.

I stand by the no beneficial mutations statement.

So, the A-1 Milano gene and the increased strength mutation shown earlier in the thread does not qualify as a benefical mutation. O-kay.

What about sickle-cell anemia? Carriers of one sickle-cell allele are better-adapted to survive in environments where malaria is present. That doesn't qualify, either?

You show us a three legged man who can procreate and get a three legged baby, and we'll talk.

Why would you think that three legs is a beneficial mutation?

But I have no expectation that you would do other than lie as an act of desperation as all your arguments so far have been shot full of holes.

By this point, I'm really just laughing at you.

441 posted on 08/04/2004 11:52:15 AM PDT by Modernman ("I have nothing to declare except my genius." -Oscar Wilde)
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To: whattajoke
Unfortunately, even after 400+ posts, I've come to realize he's not kidding. To him, a world driven by evolution should be a menagerie of freakish beasts, with morphologies so out of whack with necessity that it boggles the rational, adult mind.

Clash Of The Titans was on the other night. That's pretty much what he's looking for.

Either that, or he has taken X-Men WAY too seriously.

442 posted on 08/04/2004 11:53:59 AM PDT by Modernman ("I have nothing to declare except my genius." -Oscar Wilde)
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To: Shryke

Dogma as I said, is a matter of belief. Show me where I mis-defined it. Truth can be dogma but dogma isn't necessarily truth. I therefore drew the distinction to note that scripture is true whether I believe it or not. So it isn't a matter of personal, corporate or congregational dogma. I view scripture as utter truth. And it matters not a whit what I believe with regard to it - it will still be truth.

And no, I didn't "mistake" the record. I chose my words carefully. You stand on a pier and believe the ocean in front of you doesn't exist. If you run off the end of the pier, you're gonna get wet. If you can't swim, you may drown. Your dogma was that the ocean didn't exist. But the truth of the ocean may have killed you in this example because it's truth trumped your dogma. Need any more examples of the difference. Or do you consider yourself aptly corrected?

443 posted on 08/04/2004 12:02:28 PM PDT by Havoc (.)
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To: Havoc
No the latter is not dogma. Christian scripture arrives as a revelation from Prophets through whom God has spoken to man. So to say it is merely Dogma is to mistate the record.

From Webster:

Dogma: An authoritative principle, belief, or statement of ideas or opinion, especially one considered to be absolutely true.

The point, Havoc, is that creationists don't use and are not open to the "scientific method". You see scientists start with observations, then they see a pattern and form an hypothesis and then they further test it and if it withstands those tests it becomes a theory, WHICH CAN STILL BE CHANGED OR TOTALLY DISCARDED.

Creationists start with an immutable belief (a dogma - in this case Genesis) and then they try to find facts that support it. But, regardless of whether or not they find any, their belief is NOT SUBJECT TO CHANGE.

I would only ask you to think about this - you don't have to answer me - simply ponder this within yourself. Is there anything, any evidence that could be presented to you that would make you change your beliefs? Are you even open to that?

444 posted on 08/04/2004 12:30:04 PM PDT by aquila48
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To: VadeRetro
Darwin got the science right. It doesn't matter what Huxley or even Darwin thought of "Rome." That should be obvious by now. One has to studiously ignore or be genuinely ignorant of a whole lot of science to pretend otherwise.

Arghhh, VR! "Youse guys" don't "argue," you assert. Notice the above four sentences. We have three bland assertions, and the last sentence can be interpreted either as suggesting that one's opponent is ("genuinely") ignorant or has an ax to grind (the "studiously ignore" part) or is just "pretending" not to know what is so obvious to you (the opponent is operating in bad faith).

Instead of following this futile procedure, why don't you just tell me what you think Darwin got right?

445 posted on 08/04/2004 12:30:45 PM PDT by betty boop
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To: tm22721
When science lacks proof it is called 'theory'.

Do you believe that a scientific 'theory' can ever be proven? If so, what would it be called after that?
446 posted on 08/04/2004 12:34:31 PM PDT by Dimensio (Join the Monthly Internet Flash Mob:
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To: whattajoke
Such as how a 3 legged bi-pedal beast is somehow an advantage?

Whether it is an advantage or not, it wouldn't make it to a second generation. You deal with what you want to and attempt to avoid the point being made.

Such as bats' evolutionary ancestors, which were wingless, were somehow still "bats?"

Oh, I see, so the problem here is in the name - not the substance of the issue. Again avoidance in order to distract.

Such as "snakes never show any evidence of hip or leg bones because I say so?"

Restating the argument. It has nothing to do with whether I say so or not. I pointedly argued for proof that this was a leg and hip bone rather than allowing you to argue over appearances. Again, avoidance of the substance but this time using incredulity that nobody just up and believed it because it was stated as matter of fact.

Such as how certain Antarctic birds swim with "fins?"

You label them wings, I'm sure. I label them fins because that's the actual purpose they serve. Penguins don't fly - not through the air at any rate. So, yes, they have fins. Again, incredulity and avoidance.

Such as the condition humans experience when they surface too quickly from deep ocean dives is called, "the benze?"

Ah, yes, this one is just me not using the spell button. It's always proof that someone else is right because the other side mispelled a word trying to answer in haste. Avoidance again.

Such as "there are no transitionals except for the transitionals which are fully formed?"

Mistating the case. Avoiding the point made.

Yes, dear Havoc, we have a lot to learn from you.

No, I think you have a lot to learn in general. Like if you need a name for a fictitious unwinged bat, ask for a name instead of using such a non-issue as a poor excuse to avoid the argument at hand and pretend you've been wronged. Like how to stick to the subject when an arbitrary example is given instead of wandering off on a different issue and protesting something that wasn't part of the discussion to begin with... get the point. What you complain about when you pile the stuff up to whine professionally and pick fun as if to say "look, debate tactic in use, we're winning because I'm accusing this guy of a bunch of stuff.." Is as telling as your non-arguments in the actual discussion.

447 posted on 08/04/2004 12:34:49 PM PDT by Havoc (.)
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To: Doctor Stochastic
The genetic mutation in feline leukemia virus that allowed this virus to infect dogs is an example of a beneficial mutation.

< Creationist >

How is that a beneficial mutation?! It causes dogs to die, so clearly it's not beneficial!

< /Creationist >
448 posted on 08/04/2004 12:38:22 PM PDT by Dimensio (Join the Monthly Internet Flash Mob:
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To: Havoc
Or do you consider yourself aptly corrected?

No. You've made one error in your argument - you cannot prove scripture is true (" And it matters not a whit what I believe with regard to it - it will still be truth."). Your ocean analogy (it being wet) is false.

449 posted on 08/04/2004 12:43:12 PM PDT by Shryke (Never retreat. Never explain. Get it done and let them howl.)
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To: Modernman
The first sentence in this statement is true, the second sentence is not.

Both statements are true. I stated why and didn't elaborate to great detail.

So, the A-1 Milano gene and the increased strength mutation shown earlier in the thread does not qualify as a benefical mutation. O-kay.

Is it genetically passed on. I do believe I qualified my remarks so as to avoid this dodge.

What about sickle-cell anemia? Carriers of one sickle-cell allele are better-adapted to survive in environments where malaria is present. That doesn't qualify, either?

No, I don't believe that qualifies as much of anything. I would cite the list of everchanging 'what causes cancer' foods as a basis for my disbelief on this. I don't believe that the trait itself is anymore responsible for malaria immunity than eating coconut pulp might be. But simply because I'm used to seeing these sorts of things constantly overturned.

Why would you think that three legs is a beneficial mutation?

Who said it's about the three legs. You're avoiding the core issue. I'm sure you are laughing because when you can't answer you haven't much anywhere else to go - do you. This proves the point as much as anything. Here we are after all this time and you guys are stuck in the unseemly position of having to squirrel your way out of issues you can't address (because they show your empty hand) or in mistating the opponent, for the same reason, or any number of other things. You have support for something here, I'm sure - just not evolution.

450 posted on 08/04/2004 12:47:54 PM PDT by Havoc (.)
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To: Modernman

I'd hardly call sickle cell a beneficial mutation. It is a loss of genetic information.

451 posted on 08/04/2004 12:48:06 PM PDT by RUCKUS INC. ("Wow, what a crapweasel." - Frank_Discussion)
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I'd hardly call sickle cell a beneficial mutation. It is a loss of genetic information.

No its not a loss. It is a different form of the hemoglobin gene. It packs together differently than the normal type and makes red blood cells resistant to malaria infection. (Too much of it causes disease).

452 posted on 08/04/2004 1:03:19 PM PDT by RightWingNilla
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To: AndrewC
Ah, nice to see someone take responsibility for what he posts.

Your point about the egg, though, is a good one. And your evidence RNA based organisms didn't have an eggshell is...?

453 posted on 08/04/2004 1:17:29 PM PDT by Right Wing Professor (Raffiniert ist der Herrgott, aber boshaft ist Er nicht.)
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I'd hardly call sickle cell a beneficial mutation. It is a loss of genetic information.

How is a replacement of one base with another base a loss of information?

454 posted on 08/04/2004 1:19:01 PM PDT by Right Wing Professor (Raffiniert ist der Herrgott, aber boshaft ist Er nicht.)
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To: Right Wing Professor

Maybe it's a loss of hydraulic information?

455 posted on 08/04/2004 1:24:34 PM PDT by Doctor Stochastic (Vegetabilisch = chaotisch is der Charakter der Modernen. - Friedrich Schlegel)
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To: Havoc
Is it genetically passed on. I do believe I qualified my remarks so as to avoid this dodge.

Both are genetically passed on, yes.

No, I don't believe that qualifies as much of anything. I would cite the list of everchanging 'what causes cancer' foods as a basis for my disbelief on this. I don't believe that the trait itself is anymore responsible for malaria immunity than eating coconut pulp might be.

Strange. So, the fact that some foods don't cause cancer leads you to conclude that the well-documented proof that being a carrier of one sickle-cell allele grants resistance to malaria is wrong? ROFLMAO

Who said it's about the three legs. You're avoiding the core issue.

If you would tell us what the core issue is, it would make things so much easier.

456 posted on 08/04/2004 1:29:49 PM PDT by Modernman ("I have nothing to declare except my genius." -Oscar Wilde)
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"How does life happen in a closed system?"
I've no idea at all..............

457 posted on 08/04/2004 1:34:42 PM PDT by razoroccam (read Germs of War to know the real Armageddon)
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To: Right Wing Professor

OK... Evolution is the creation of new genetic material. Sickle Cell Anemia is not the creation of new genetic material, it is a loss of genetic information if anything.

458 posted on 08/04/2004 1:42:16 PM PDT by RUCKUS INC. ("Wow, what a crapweasel." - Frank_Discussion)
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To: Right Wing Professor
And your evidence RNA based organisms didn't have an eggshell is...?

That RNA based organisms are hypothetical(viruses don't count, they cannot self-replicate and they have a protein shell--something evidently precluded by this "Thomas Cech earned the Nobel Prize in 1989 for discovering that this isn't always true.").

And while you are at it also complain to MIT.

Because of the extra hydroxyl group on the sugar, RNA is too bulky to form a a stable double helix. RNA exists as a single-stranded molecule. However, regions of double helix can form where there is some base pair complementation (U and A , G and C), resulting in hairpin loops. The RNA molecule with its hairpin loops is said to have a secondary structure.

The point of this discussion, is that it is almost a consensus that RNA is too unstable a molecule to be the origin of life. But you can believe otherwise, eggshells included.

459 posted on 08/04/2004 1:43:22 PM PDT by AndrewC (I am a Bertrand Russell agnostic, even an atheist.</sarcasm>)
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1st Law of Thermodynamics... Energy (matter) can neither be created nor destroyed

A better statement of the 1st law would be "the total energy of a closed system is constant".

How does life happen in a closed system?

Local energy flow.

460 posted on 08/04/2004 1:45:00 PM PDT by balrog666 (A public service post.)
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