Skip to comments.In Six Days (A Biology PHD looks at Evolution)
Posted on 02/17/2005 3:10:32 PM PST by DannyTN
Timothy G. Standish, biology First published in In Six Days Science and origins testimony #9
Edited by John F. Ashton
Dr. Standish is associate professor of biology at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan. He holds a B.S. in zoology from Andrews University, an M.S. in biology from Andrews University, and a Ph.D. in biology and public policy from George Mason University (University of Virginia), Charlottesville, Virginia. He teaches genetics at Andrews University and is currently researching the genetics of cricket (Achita domesticus) behavior.
Reading The Blind Watchmaker by Richard Dawkins was a pivotal experience for me. I had recently started my Ph.D. program at George Mason University and eagerly signed up for a class entitled Problems in Evolutionary Theory. The Blind Watchmaker was required reading, and with growing enthusiasm I noted glowing endorsements printed on the cover. According to The Economist, this book was as readable and vigorous a defense of Darwinism as has been published since 1859. Lee Dembart, writing for the Los Angeles Times, was even more effusive: Every page rings of truth. It is one of the best science booksof the best of any booksI have ever read. A book that was Winner of the Royal Society of Literatures Heinemann Prize, and the Los Angeles Times Book Award must contain nothing but undistilled brilliance. I felt smug with confidence as I paid for the book and left the store, brimming with ebullience to start reading.
After wading through all the hyperbole, I was stunned by the ideas put forward by Dawkins in The Blind Watchmaker. Rhetoric burnished the arguments with a glittering sheen, briefly giving the impression that pebbles were gems. But once each metaphor was stripped aside, the core ideas did not support the idea that natural selection could account for the origin of life and the meaningful complexity of organisms. Most startling to me was the realization that, one of the books core theses, in fact, violated the principle of natural selection.
Dawkins wove two ideas together in supporting Darwinism. The first idea was that, given enough chances, the improbable becomes probable. For example, flipping a coin ten times in a row and getting heads each time is very unlikely; one would only expect it to happen about 1 in 1,024 tries. Most of us would not sit around flipping coins just to see it happen, but if we had a million people flipping coins, we would see it happen many times. This phenomenon is publicized in the newspapers when lottery winners are announced. Winning a million-dollar jackpot is unlikely, but with millions of people purchasing tickets, eventually someone wins.
Dawkins admits that the odds on life starting from a random collection of chemicals is very slim, but given an immense universe and the billions of years it has existed, the improbable becomes probable. In this is echoed the logic of Ernst Haeckel, who wrote in his book The Riddle of the Universe, published in 1900:
Many of the stars, the light of which has taken thousands of years to reach us, are certainly suns like our own mother-sun, and are girt about with planets and moons, just as in our solar system. We are justified in supposing that thousands of these planets are in a similar stage of development to that of our earth and that from its nitrogenous compounds, protoplasm has been evolvedthat wonderful substance which alone, as far as our knowledge goes, is the possessor of organic life.
Haeckel was optimistic about the presence of conditions that could support life on planets other than earth, and it is in this that one of the problems with Dawkins argument emerges. While the universe is immense, those places where life as we know it could survive, let alone come into being, seem to be few and far between. So far, only one place has been discovered where conditions for life are present, and we are already living on it. Thus, there is not much cause for optimism that the universe is teeming with planets bathed in a primordial soup from which life might evolve. Dawkins wrote glibly of the immensity of the universe and its age, but failed to provide one example, other than the earth, where the unlikely event of spontaneous generation of life might occur. Even if the universe were teeming with proto-earths, and the spans of time suggested by modern science were available, this is still not a great argument, as if something is impossiblein other words, the odds of it happening are zerothen it will never happen, not even in an infinite amount of time. For example, even if we had our million people flipping coins, each with ten flips in a row, the odds on any one of them flipping and getting 11 heads in ten tries is zero because the odds of getting 11 heads in ten tries with one person is zero. The bottom line is that the odds on life evolving from nonliving precursors is essentially zero. Ironically, this was the stronger of the two ideas, or arguments, presented by Dawkins.
The second argument was presented as an analogy: imagine a monkey typing on a typewriter with 27 keys, all the letters in the English alphabet and the space bar. How long would it take for the monkey to type something that made any sense? Dawkins suggests the sentence spoken by William Shakespeares Hamlet who, in describing a cloud, pronounces, Methinks it is like a weasel. It is not a long sentence and contains very little meaning, but it works for arguments sake. How many attempts at typing this sentence would it take a monkey, which would presumably be hitting keys randomly, to type the sentence?
As it turns out, the odds can be easily calculated as the probability of getting each letter or space correct raised to the power of the number of positions at which they have to be correct. In this case, the probability of the monkey typing m at the first position of the sentence is 1/27 (we wont worry about capitalization). The sentence has 28 characters in it, so the probability is (1/27)28 or 1.2 x 1040. That is about one chance in 12,000 million million million million million million! You would want a lot of monkeys typing very fast for a long time if you ever wanted to see this happen!
To overcome this problem with probability, Dawkins proposed that natural selection could help by fixing each letter in place once it was correct and thus lowering the odds massively. In other words, as a monkey types away, it is not unlikely that at least one of the characters it types will be in the correct position on the first try. If this letter was then kept and the monkey was only allowed to type in the remaining letters until it finally had the correct letter at each position, the odds fall to the point that the average diligent monkey could probably finish the task in an afternoon and still have time to gather bananas and peanuts from admiring observers. Dawkins got his computer to do it in between 40 and 70 tries.
Luckily I had taken biochemistry before reading The Blind Watchmaker. Organisms are made of cells, and those cells are composed of little protein machines that do the work of the cell. Proteins can be thought of as sentences like Methinks it is like a weasel, the difference being that proteins are made up of 20 different subunits called amino acids instead of the 27 different characters in our example. The evolution of a functional protein would presumably start out as a random series of amino acids one or two of which would be in the right position to do the function the protein is designed to do. According to Dawkins theory, those amino acids in the right location in the protein would be fixed by natural selection, while those that needed to be modified would continue to change until they were correct, and a functional protein was produced in relatively short order. Unfortunately, this ascribes an attribute to natural selection that even its most ardent proponents would question, the ability to select one nonfunctional protein from a pool of millions of other nonfunctional proteins.
Changing even one amino acid in a protein can alter its function dramatically. A famous example of this is the mutation that causes sickle cell anemia in humans. This disease causes a multitude of symptoms, ranging from liver failure to tower skull syndrome. It is caused by the replacement of an amino acid called glutamate, normally at position number six, with another amino acid called valine. This single change causes a massive difference in how the alpha globin subunit of hemoglobin works. The ultimate sad consequence of this seemingly insignificant mutation in the protein causes premature death in thousands of individuals each year. In other proteins, mutations to some, but not all, areas can result in a complete loss of function. This is particularly true if the protein is an enzyme, and the mutation is in its active site.
What Dawkins is suggesting is that a very large group of proteins, none of which is functional, can be acted on by natural selection to select out a few that, while they do not quite do the job yet, with some modification via mutation, can do the job in the future. This suggests that natural selection has some direction or goal in mind, a great heresy to those who believe evolutionary theory.
This idea of natural selection fixing amino acids as it constructs functional proteins is also unsupported by the data. Cells do not churn out large pools of random proteins on which natural selection can then act. If anything, precisely the opposite is true. Cells only produce the proteins they need to make at that time. Making other proteins, even unneeded functional ones, would be a wasteful thing for cells to do, and in many cases, could destroy the ability of the cell to function. Most cells only make about 10% of the proteins they are capable of producing. This is what makes liver cells different from those in the skin or brain. If all proteins were expressed all the time, all cells would be identical.
In reality, the problem of evolving life is much more complex than generation of a single functional protein. In fact, a single protein is just the tip of the iceberg. A living organism must have many functional proteins, all of which work together in a coordinated way. In the course of my research, I frequently physically disrupt cells by grinding them in liquid nitrogen. Sometimes I do this to obtain functional proteins, but more often to get the nucleic acids RNA or DNA. In any case, I have yet to find that the protein or nucleic acid I was working on was not functional after being removed from the cell, and yet, even though all the cell components were present and functional following disruption, I have never observed a single cell start to function again as a living organism, or even part of a living organism. For natural selection to occur, all proteins on which it is to act must be part of a living organism composed of a host of other functional protein machines. In other words, the entire system must exist prior to selection occurring, not just a single protein.
Problems in Evolutionary Theory was a class that made me realize the difficulties those who discount the possibility of a Creator have with their own theories. The problems with evolutionary theory were real, and there were no simple convincing resolutions.
Progressing in my studies, I slowly realized that evolution survives as a paradigm only as long as the evidence is picked and chosen and the great pool of data that is accumulating on life is ignored. As the depth and breadth of human knowledge increases, it washes over us a flood of evidence deep and wide, all pointing to the conclusion that life is the result of design. Only a small subset of evidence, chosen carefully, may be used to construct a story of life evolving from nonliving precursors. Science does not work on the basis of picking and choosing data to suit a treasured theory. I chose the path of science which also happens to be the path of faith in the Creator.
I believe God provides evidence of His creative power for all to experience personally in our lives. To know the Creator does not require an advanced degree in science or theology. Each one of us has the opportunity to experience His creative power in re-creating His character within us, step by step, day by day.
This chapter from the book In Six Days, published and graciously provided at no charge to Answers in Genesis by Master Books, a division of New Leaf Press (Green Forest, Arkansas).
What about scientists who might be seeking Christ and because of the literalist apostasy turn away from religion because they think it is full of ignorant loonies?
LOL! For starters I was a Navy linguist in Hebrew. I have six years of seminary under my belt and an Ulpan besides.
I have been working on understanding the real meaning of Genesis for over 15 years.
Carbon dating is only useful to a maximum of 50,000 years.
There are about 40 different methods of dating including K-Ar etc. These can date much older samples.
Synchronous dating is pretty foolproof and all doubts about old Earth should be discarded, if reason was involved in this issue.
The Navy has Hebrew linguists? What, are we spying on our Israeli allies? LOL (I was an Arabic Linguist 98 Golf 20 years too soon, but I am proud that not a single Arab terrorist harmed the vicinity of Clarkesville TN when I was in the Army in the 70s.)
And then there's Zecharia Sitchin claiming the answer to the "missing link" is in the Genesis story.
"There is no evidence for macroevolution"
I don't think you understand what the definition of macroevolution is. Many have been deceived by the charlatans at ICR or AIG.
Here is the conclusion of an article on the subject:
There is no difference between micro- and macroevolution except that genes between species usually diverge, while genes within species usually combine. The same processes that cause within-species evolution are responsible for above-species evolution, except that the processes that cause speciation include things that cannot happen to lesser groups, such as the evolution of different sexual apparatus (because, by definition, once organisms cannot interbreed, they are different species).
The idea that the origin of higher taxa, such as genera (canines versus felines, for example), requires something special is based on the misunderstanding of the way in which new phyla (lineages) arise. The two species that are the origin of canines and felines probably differed very little from their common ancestral species and each other. But once they were reproductively isolated from each other, they evolved more and more differences that they shared but the other lineages didn't. This is true of all lineages back to the first eukaryotic (nuclear) cell. Even the changes in the Cambrian explosion are of this kind, although some (eg, Gould 1989) think that the genomes (gene structures) of these early animals were not as tightly regulated as modern animals, and therefore had more freedom to change.
Here is a link to the article:
Here is another article on 29 evidences for macroevolution.
the hebrew word for day also is the same word for Period of time.
I could tell you what we were doing, but then I would have to kill you. :-) Just kidding!
Remember the spy ship Liberty? I was going to be a replacement for one of the sailors the Israelis killed.
Why can't you believe in both? I fail to see a contradiction.
OK, for only $19.95 you can get one of my aluminum hats.
My conclusion is you are closed to rational analysis of this subject, but it is just a theory.
If dinosaures and humans co-existed cave paintings made by early man would show them hunting T-Rex and Diplodicus as well as mammoth and bison.
The word dinosaur was coined in the 1800's to describe the ancient and gigantic bones that were being unearthed. Before the 1800 many great dinosaur fossils were found and destroyed by people who picked them up and didn't know what they were. Just because something didn't have a name didn't mean it did not exist. The term automobile didn't exist until they actually had to name it.
"Dwelling on the 24 hour day is the anti-creationists hobbyhorse."
The 24 hr day nonsense is just an example of the empty argument the creationists pose. They try to replace a misinterpretation of the Bible in science classes, harming our kids and our country.
It is a big scam to hide behind psuedo scientific nonsense to get their brand of religion into the schools. The fact is, their brand of religion is less well reasoned than their science, which makes their religion negative on the scale of factual information.
"The term automobile didn't exist until they actually had to name it."
Adam didn't name the auto? ;-)
microgood: So you were lying when you posted all those supposed transitional fossils.
Always, always you bludgeon with your ability to misunderstand. This doesn't make you a scientist. It simply forces people to ask themselves whether you're telling the truth about what you know. Did no one before me ever try to explain this stuff to you? You've said as much. That seems improbable, given that you've been on these threads a bit. And yet you really don't seem to know anything.
Will you be back again dumb as a stump on the next thread claiming no one ever explains evolution to you? Even if we believe that, again, how do you know it's wrong if no one has ever even explained it to you and you've never tried to Google it on your own or went to the library and checked out a non-cretinist book?
What's supposed to be a lie about the fossil evidence? How do petrified bones lie?
The fossils posted inline and/or linked are real. Those arranged in a series occur in the fossil record in the order shown. They indeed show a transformation in progress. Creationist strawman versions of evolution like yours and antihannity's say this progress should reveal a dinosaur changing into a bird or a mouse changing into a bat--one actual individual or mouse fossilized mid-transformation in one generation. And how would the fossil of one individual even show that? All a fossil can do is just lay there.
Evolution says whole populations change over time. The average genetic makeup of the average individual within the population changes. "A shift in allele frequences," is a common term. I prefer the classical Darwinian "variation and natural selection," which is still accurate anyway.
So now you're going to know this, right? Wrong! You're a back-again-dumb-as-a-stumper.
So now if I go along with gradual evolution than you have to see transitional fossils but you have just stated there aren't any so I have to buy into punctuated equilibrium, which is good for you evolutionists because then I would not see any fossils. I guess this means you are a punctuated equilibrium type like Gould.
Puctuated equilibrium is a Darwinian model. I suppose no one has ever tried to tell you about that, either. I post the following web sites so the lurkers can learn something. One thing they'll learn is that there's no excuse for you showing up on the next thread as ignorant as you are today, which you will do come Hell or high water.
Speciation by Punctuated Equilibrium, including lots of links to lots of examples.
All you need to know about Punctuated Equilibrium (almost). Nicely documents how little new there is to punk-eek.
I am not a creationist.
No, you're a lying a$$hole.
I just do not believe evolution is correct.
People generally don't twist themselves into pretzel shapes for no reason. Your behavior is absolutely classic militant Holy Warrior Syndrome. Think more about what your story is before the next thread where you show up knowing nothing nothing nothing but spewing away nevertheless.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of conservative ones.
Then you obviously didn't understand it. No, it does not.
The section on transitional species convinced me even more that there is no macroevolution
How on *earth* did it do that?
and I have read all 29 of the supposed evidences of macroevolution.
And yet you still don't get it?
But for me macroevolution goes all the way back.
Well, of course.
If it cannot show how we got from a single cell to a human being,
It can, so there you have it.
I will not believe it can go from an ape
Even though there is overwhelming evidence that it has?
or as of this week a platypus to a human.
What *are* you babbling about here?
To go from a single cell to a creature with arms and legs and a brain and even over 100 trillion years by random mutation is simply not believable.
Fortunately, reality is not limited to what you personally are able to find "believable".
And of course many evolutionists back away from that and just do the ape to human stuff,
Huh? Who exactly "backs away from that"?
but it still does not answer the basic question of why if we came from a single cell, and there are not creatures turning into different species with partially formed arms or legs (since such a complex thing cannot occur in one mutation).
Could you rephrase that into an actual sentence which makes sense?
Thus the latest inference is punctuated equilibrium and here we are.
Horse manure. Punctuated equilibrium was described by Darwin in 1859. It's a logical consequence of the dynamics of evolutionoary processes.
...which you'd know if you had actually bothered reading the talkorigins.org site for educational purposes.
and I have read all 29 of the supposed evidences of macroevolution.
The astute reader will note that microgood directly contradicts himself here. So which statement is a lie? Or are both?
I posted the picture and you think you wish it away by not understanding how it lived? The limb in question is on an early (Cretaceous) bird. Before someone brings it up, it wasn't the most "modern" (as we would now consider it) bird species in the world at the time, but I'd say that's a good answer to your attempted point. It had an adaptation. Its seeming "throwback" status (being less developed in one certain direction than some other bird) did not hurt it at the time. The wing has unfused "hand" bones which clearly show the creature's quite recent saurian descent, but the bird could fly. Maybe it still made some use of the forelimb as a grasping claw from time to time, or maybe that potential was a useless vestige by then.
Not every bird is a wonderful flyer now. Some of them can't fly at all now. There are or were in recent times flightless bird species on many of the islands of the world. It is always one species per island except in the case of swimmers like penguins and auks. That's either because each island evolved its own species that originally flew there but lost flight over time, or else The Designer never resuses designs for flightless birds unless they can swim.
Maybe I'm confused about the whole survival-of-the-fittest thing, but even if something is shown to have come about slowly, incrementally, it doesn't necessarily follow that it is the product of blind chance.
Yes, you are confused. (That's how Creation Science is done!)
Natural selection is not blind chance. Variation is more or less random, a distribution about a population average. Natural selection is a bias, a pruning.
I don't think I'm an idiot, too (although that's never a safe assumption). These are questions that should be easily answered, since they are pretty common-sense ones, really, and I'm sure have been asked many times before.
Ah, the wail of unsatisfied intellectual curiosity! I'll help you out. Here's the hurdle you're stumbling over. Most people in the middle of these debates suspect that those who really want to learn about evolution will go to the library and check out a book, or Google up a non-creationist website. Everyone is born innocently ignorant of everything. Past a certain age, they address it in school or by self-education in various ways.
The people who wander through these discussions bludgeoning evolution with their ability to play "Twist and Shout" upon it and slaughter strawman versions of it are suspected of not maybe telling the whole truth about who they are and what they are up to. Especially since none of them ever remember Jack from one thread to the next.
So that's your problem. One burning question of these threads is whether "ID," the accumulated disingenuous misunderstandings to date of seething evoluton deniers (99 percent of whom only know the kind of "science" available on sites like ICR and AiG) deserves a slice of the science curriculum in High School.
I'm curious. You concede you might be confused. Are you willing to go into a High School and present your confusion as evidence against evolution? I've been debating creationists for six years now on FR. There are no good pennies among the creation/ID arguments. I don't know of one that bears up under examination. Any and all can be torn to shreds by any of several posters that I can name. I see it done repeatedly, and it never matters. The essence of the opposition is that, so long as they are confused, they're right.
Congratulations, you fell for a creationist's lie. How proud you must be.
Here's a post I wrote about this on another thread:
Now, "antihannityguy", I'm curious to know whether you've learned anything about the reliability and honest of "creation scientists" from this experience. And I'm curious to know if you're in any way upset that they lied to you.
In laymans terms, these volcanic rocks that we know were formed in 1986less than 20 years agowere scientifically dated to between 290,000 and 3.4 million years old!
No, in layman's terms Austin the creationist is either a fool or a charlatan (perhaps both).
"In layman's terms", here's what he did wrong (I'll leave it to you to decide whether he did so out of dishonesty or incompetence):
1. He chose an analysis lab which CLEARLY STATES that its analysis equipment is not sensitive enough to correctly measure samples less than two million years old. Read that again until it sinks in.
2. Austin then took the first set of measured results, WHICH INDICATED LESS THAN TWO MILLION YEARS OLD, and rather than doing what an honest scientist would have done (which is say, "ah, these results are below the lower bounds of the testing equipment, thus they're just reporting equipment noise"), instead Austin ran around in circles and tried to ridicule K/AR dating for giving him out-of-bounds results that made perfect sense.
3. As for the 2.8 +/- 0.6 Mya sub-sample, Austin sort of "forgets" to inform the reader that almost without exception lava rock contains what are known as "inclusions", which are bits of older crystalline mineral mixed in with the fresh lava flow. A volcanic eruption is a violent and hardly "clean" event and pulverized (but unmelted) minerals are incorporated into the lava as it flows up and outward from the volcano. These inclusions will produce K/Ar dates older than the date of the lava flow because they are, indeed, *older* than the lava flow. A real scientist (unlike, say, Austin) will take a great deal of care to extract inclusions from his sample before sending it to a lab to determine the date when the lava itself flowed, and/or hand-pick a "clean" lava sample which has relatively few inclusions compared to the flow as a whole. That's because they *want* to get as valid a date as possible for the lava flow. Now, guess what Austin didn't do? Gee, now guess *why* he didn't do it? Can you say, "*trying* to get an apparently invalid date so as to have a cheap, dishonest excuse to allege that there's something 'wrong' with K/Ar dating"?
As the old saying goes, "garbage in, garbage out" and Austin (unlike the honest scientists who *want* to produce valid dates) had no interest in getting a clean result -- the more "garbage" the result, the more he could claim a creationist "success". So he *submitted* garbage as his sample (i.e., a sample with inclusions, to a lab unable to date anything younger than roughly two million years).
As Henry Barwood notes, "Bad measurements, like bad science, reflect only on the measurer (Austin), not on the measurement (the procedure)."
For more details, see: Young-Earth Creationist 'Dating' of a Mt. St. Helens Dacite: The Failure of Austin and Swenson to Recognize Obviously Ancient Minerals. More at: Skeptics Visit the "Museum of Creation and Earth History" .
Here is a link showing similar problems with the Rubidium-Strontium dating method. Where one set of rocks are dated much older than they are known to be.
Exact same issue (lava rock with inclusions) submitted by the exact same creationist "researcher" (Steven A. Austin). He appears to be a one-trick pony.
Whether such problems have been identified in all radiometric dating methods, I do not know.
"Such problems"? Yeah, if you submit "dirty" samples for testing, you get "dirty" results. So what else is new? Honest scientists clean their samples first. Creationist "scientists" don't, then try to discredit the testing methods when they get bogus results. Go figure.
But it certainly casts significant doubt on it.
The only thing it "certainly casts significant doubt on" is the honesty/competence of "creation scientists".
I'd also like to see replies from K4Harty and D Rider to those some inquiries, since they hooted approvingly at your repetition of this creationist lie...
Hint: Trying to "learn" about science from a creationist source is like trying to "learn" about conservatism from Michael Moore.
Fascinating... And about what timespan *do* you think it will "show"?
Little do you know how little you know...
I could literally *bury* you in the facts evolution is "built on", if you'd meet me in any reasonably well-stocked research library.
Where do you guys *get* these goofy beliefs?
Actually, that's an easy one to explain evolutionarily. But I'm *really* curious to hear how the "God designed us" folks try to explain it... Why'd He give us something useless like that?
Anyone who claims that evolutionary biology is about "random or by chance" quite simply doesn't understand it. But that's the common creationist cartoon-version of it. I just wish they'd bother to *learn* something about the topic before they spout off.
I can't imagine a transitional series such as evolution actually predicts which cannot be dismissed as evidence by this kind of lawyering. Clearly, you will happily do this indefinitely.
Look at me, Zippy! This is important.
Furthermore, almost as an aside, let me add that what is reasonably expected from the fossil record isn't missing. What is missing isn't reasonably expected. We have about the fossil record we would expect from what we know of evolution and geology in 2005.
Because the creationist manure-mills keep spewing mega-tons of disinformation about it.
There are no secular skeptics of evolution who think there has to be a separate mechanism for "macro" and "microevolution," or that evidence for one is not evidence for the other. You see, the "micro" lawyers are saying that there are some N original "created kinds" like the lists in Genesis and "microevolution" is the allowed variation these baramin can have.
It keeps turning out your science is YEC science.
Where is your evidence.
You mean *besides* all the evidence showing that dinosaurs died out 65 million years ago, and no humans of any kind existed before 2-3 million years ago?
If you read the Bible there are various passages about dragons and the leviathan. Dinosaur is a relatively new term invented in the 1800s I believe,
Well, since the evidence that dinosaurs died out looong before humans existed is about as ironclad as anything can be, you have two options here:
1. The Bible made a mistake.
2. The Bible is talking about creatures other than dinosaurs.
No, I wouldn't. Would you agree that creationists have, "on occasion", understated or misrepresented evolution and the evidence for it?
but the complexities that we see in biology, many of which required parallel evolution of system components that make no sense by themselves
Name your favorite example, let's see if you actually know the subject, or are parroting a misrepresentation by some creationist source.
leave leave some honest, not-too-stupid laymen suspicious about evolution as the ultimate answer.
See above -- is your "suspicion" based on actual deficits in evolutionary biology, or on creationist misrepresentation or "overstatements" about their own position?
I am not saying the world was created in six 24 hour periods.
That's a good start, anyway.
Nor am I saying that if all the apparent deficiencies in the theory were convincingly resolved in favor of evolution my faith would be crushed.
Good, because there's no need for such a conflict.
What I am saying is that I am neither convinced nor satisfied by the theory, so I don't feel like drying up and blowing away when someone with a different post-graduate degree than mine shakes the voodoo mask of Science in my direction while making spooky noises.
LOL! I like the imagery and your way with words, anyway, even while I disagree with the characterization.
Like I always tell people when I am preparing them for cross-examination. There's nothing wrong with saying "I don't know" if that's the honest answer.
You'll find that the creationists are far less likely to make such an admission than the scientists. :-)
But you remind me of one of my favorite Mark Twain quotes:
"I was gratified to be able to answer promptly, and I did. I said I didn't know."
Most people would say that they show a slow morphing of shall we say adjacently similar things into something different. You need labels so you can go Google up some dumb-dumbisms from AiG to throw out some links and make them "missing" again.
I'll fast-forward us if you don't mind. I've already seen all those web pages and can do this faster than you, member since last night, can.
Solly Zuckerman said bad stuff about Lucy (Australopithecus afarensis). Toss all the australopithecines.</Cretinism_mode>
Some "evolutionists" argue that Homo habilis should be grouped with the australopithecines, so throw that out. Ergaster and erectus are close to the same, and Gish says erectus is some kind of ape. Toss.
Neanderthals are arthritic modern men. Toss. Cro-Magnon is modern man. Toss.
All gone! So where is the evidence?
But why does the picture make the picture it does? What would an example of "missing links" look like if not exactly that?
Second Why the personal attacks you sound like a liberal just personal attacking instead of having a polite discourse.
I'm already mad because for six years now I don't get answers and I'm not getting them from you. What are you thumping your chest and demanding? We have plenty of it. Plenty, plenty, plenty. Here's a list of just the vertebrate tree of life up to about 1997.
The whole posturing you guys do is all so bogus. You're never going to allow any evidence. Never. Why pretend otherwise?
Third The way that most Darwinists today claim that species evolve is through mutations.
When you show up demanding hard evidence already there in abundance for anyone who desires, don't expect anyone to care if no one can make you see your own misunderstandings about mechanism. We have incredible amounts of evidence for common descent. I want to see you got that before I waste any time explaining that we also understand a fair amount about how that happens.
Indeed. The anti-evolutionists seem to spend a lot of energy making such excuses. Here's my favorite, from a few days ago by another FR anti-evolutionist:
LOL. Nice rant. Doesn't pass for an argument; but, did you get it off your chest. I said it before and I'll say it again. Claiming piles of evidence doesn't make it so. Claiming something is evidence for a specific thing requires more than claiming it so. When it's evidence in support of a one or more other possibilities, it is hardly specific support. I'm saying nothing that first week logic students don't know; but, y'all sure don't act like you've ever been acquainted with it. I understand why you're reticent to just admit it's your "belief"; but, that doesn't make your endless claims any less dishonest or more scientific.That was his entire post. Note how pristinely devoid of ANY specificity this is. The exact same rant could be used to hand-wave away evidence/arguments for/against *anything* without changing a single word -- global warming, monetary policy, the Holocaust *or* its denial, the war in Iraq, etc. etc.
It's so all-encompassing in its "you can't convince me of anything I don't want to believe" subborness that it's like an archetype of closed-mindedness.
I'd ask you to try to guess who the author was, but the sad thing is that it's pretty typical of so *many* of them...
I think one of these days I may use that exact passage in reply to one of them, just to see how it goes over...
Post your favorite example from there of what "Darwinists" allegedly "overlook", and I'll show you why their material is not as "very good" as you believe it to be...
Sad little know-nothing, you-can't-make-me-see science, theirs.
Apparently you are confused about the theory of radioactive decay. Each half-life, half of the remaining will decay away still leaving half. It will never totally decay away.
The common ancestors of humans and chimpanzees looked a lot more like chimps than they do humans, or than humans look like chimps. Yes, A is a modern chimp. B is an australopithecine. You are supposed to notice they look a lot alike.
Did you really not understand that? You just made a point of seemingly not understanding that. You're willing to play that dumb and then claim you have a superior science to the accumulated knowledge of the last 146 years. You'll thus excuse me if I check out another thread without giving the rest of your post the detailed going-over it doesn't deserve anyway.
NO!! This misrepresents Dawkins's evolutionary algorithm. Contrary to the author's claim, Dawkins's "weasel" example does *NOT* "lock in" any letter which happens to get "lucky". Instead, a "fitness function" merely grades each attempt on how *many* letters it happens to have right, PERIOD. It's like a game of "warmer, colder". Nonetheless, even without any direct feedback on which letters are correct in which positions, the evolutionary process *still* arrives at the target string in an incredibly short period of time. This models how evolution shapes proteins by merely "grading" (via natural selection) those organisms which are better or worse on a survival basis (imagine nature "saying", warmer, warmer, colder... as individuals vary in a population, where "warmer" means you survive and reproduce more effectively, and "colder" can mean you die early).
For a taste of just how *much* evolution can speed up things over purely random processes, here's an older post of mine:
Or are you one of those who insist that a room full of monkeys with keyboards can write the complete works of Shakespeare?
In theory? Yes they can, if you're willing to wait long enough (where "enough" is an amount of time that boggles the imagination). In practice (by simple random output)? No they can't.
But they can do it pretty quickly and easily if a replication and selection process is involved.
You wanted to see a calculation, so let's do one.
Consider the Shakespeare phrase, "If you can look into the seeds of time, and say which grain will grow and which will not, speak then unto me." That's 109 characters (including spaces and punctuation). Upper and lower case letters, plus digits and puntuaction, make up a pool of about 70 different characters. This means that the odds of producing the Shakespeare phrase in one random trial is 1 out of 70109, or 1 in 1,305,227,939,201,292,014, 528,313,176,276,968,928,001, 249,110,077,400,839,115,038, 451,821,150,802,274,449,576, 205,527,736,070,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000.
Needless to say, that's a big number. It's so huge that if every atom in the universe (about 1080 of them) were a computer capable of making a billion (1,000,000,000) random trials per second, the expected time required to produce the above line from Shakespeare would be 2,585,011,097,170,911,314,802,759,827,024,569,612,393, 783,728,161,759,843,736,212,615,624,189,581,658,716,078, 309,043,891,309 times the expected lifespan of the universe. That's close enough to "never" in my book.
But that's for *purely* random production process. How much do you think an evolutionary process could cut down that figure? Knock a few zeros off the end, maybe?
Well let's try it. Using an evolutionary process, which couples random variation with replication and selection and *nothing* else, the above Shakespeare phrase can be produced on a *single* computer (mine), using a breeding population of 1024 character strings in a whopping... 15 seconds (using this applet):Generation: 0Hmm, 15 seconds is a hell of a lot faster than zillions of times the lifespan of the universe, isn't it? Evolution sped things up (compared to a purely random process) by a factor of more than 10195 -- that's a "1" followed by a hundred and ninety-five zeros, or: 1, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000.
Tries <= 1024
Best Critter: "xSeOSEpc3Lm6rnRWnpFYL?QEDY7a67XlfRoJ0e8Len'X'1u'BhdrNqSNaXr7kVjondNozkf2CH9d96SaI?'f43M.CUGJ5XHbqfeR.UJP'tgNP"
Score (0 is best) 101
Tries <= 26624
Best Critter: "vf,ioV c3RKlooioifBFQXh, PeHTskof!oJ0e,Lrn'X'1u BhkchESNaXr kVjo dNozpanSI div1Qwi8h taQ,jswMkk,us1S'ugYtmm7."
Score (0 is best) 72
Tries <= 286464
Best Critter: "If you can look into the seeds of time, and say which grain will grow and which will not, speak then unto me."
Score (0 is best) 0
Checked 286464 critters in 15 seconds == 19097 tries/sec.
Lesson: Even simple evolutionary processes are *incredibly* more efficient and effective than simple randomness alone. Evolution can *easily* accomplish things which would be *impossibly* improbable by purely random means.
It's represented as transitionals.
Putting up fossils that are known not to be ancestral to man, in hopes of showing a larger transitional list is intellectually dishonest.
Putting up fossils that are somewhat similar doesn't prove common descent. The same could be expected from common design.
I'll grant you that primate skeletons look a like. But that proves nothing. Show us the transitionals. Pull out the fossils from your slide that are known even by evolutionists not to be ancestral to man and lets see what you have left.
"Well let's try it. Using an evolutionary process, which couples random variation with replication and selection and *nothing* else, the above Shakespeare phrase can be produced on a *single* computer (mine), using a breeding population of 1024 character strings in a whopping... 15 seconds (using this applet): "
I LIKE THIS VERY MUCH. Can I download this so I can play with it?
Question: As far as evolution is concerned what natural mechanism would account for keeping the "Scorer" Happy?
I like the math example, thank you, but I wonder in the case of DNA, has a function been found that acts like the feedback in this numerical example? I mean if a correct enzyme needs 20-30 base pairs correct, what mechanism causes a replicating cell to proceed in the direction that eventually will synthesize the enzyme? that its mutation program is on the right track?
We know there's no DNA in 99.999 percent of fossils. We thus know we can never prove conclusively from fossil evidence alone that thing B is absolutely positively the perfectly direct descendant of thing A. No one has ever pretended to you any differently and this is explained to you anew on every thread.
The above doesn't mean it means nothing when you find a series of things morphing like perfectly designed movie frames from thing A to thing B and on through thing Z. Obviously, it's a clue to the overall direction of that branch of the tree of life. You have to be an idiot not to understand it, or a liar to claim you don't.
What is dishonest is to call for evidence, claiming it to be missing, when you're never going to accept any such thing and you've already thrown out a mountain of such in a pile behind you. You're lying about your intentions and what you're willing to see.
The quotes are accurate
What makes you so sure they're accurate? You cribbed them verbatim from this web page, along with the commentary. The only part of your post which originated from you was the last three words.
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