Skip to comments.Evolution debate persists because it's not science
Posted on 02/22/2009 10:58:04 PM PST by GodGunsGuts
Monday, Feb. 23, 2009
Evolution debate persists because it's not science
By Raymond H. Kocot
But did you ever wonder why Darwinism's general theory of evolution, sometimes called macroevolution, has been debated for over 150 years without resolution? The surprising answer is Darwin's macroevolution theory is not a legitimate science. The National Academy of Sciences clearly defined science in its 1998 guidebook for science teachers. The definition begins with [stating that] science is a particular way of knowing about the world, and ends with, "Anything that can be observed or measured is amenable to scientific investigation. Explanations that cannot be based on empirical evidence are not part of science." In other words, a legitimate scientific theory (a hypothesis or idea) must be observable in real time and must be testable, yielding reproducible results. That is the core of the scientific method that has brought man out of the Dark Ages.
Because confirmable observations and generating experimental data are impossible for unique events like life's origin and macroevolution theory, world-famous evolutionary biologist Ernst Mayr prompts evolutionists to construct historical narratives to try to explain evolutionary events or processes. In other words, stories are all evolutionists can muster to support macroevolution theory. If macroevolution theory, which must rest on faith in a story and is considered to be scientific, why not the creation story. With that in mind, it is no wonder the molecules-to-man debate has persisted for 150 years...
(Excerpt) Read more at myrtlebeachonline.com ...
We don't wonder. We know you are paid for your 'passion'.
Why then, are you wasting your time arguing with such folks? Why arent you out there dealing with the real threats posed by actual Socialists?
(Where do you go to do that?)
Just in case you neglected to actually read the article here it is
[Spontaneous generation of living organisms is impossible]
One has only to contemplate the magnitude of this task to concede that the spontaneous generation of a living organism is impossible. Yet here we are -- as a result, I believe, of spontaneous generation. - George Wald, Harvard University biochemist and Nobel Laureate, 1954
Representative quote miners: Mars Hill Ministry: The Origin of Life --The "Hardware"; The Journey: Spontaneous Generation; and True News: The Origin of Life - Evolutions Dilemma.
It should first be noted that, while Wald uses the term "spontaneous generation" throughout the article, he is not really concerned with the historic notion "that life arises regularly from the nonliving: worms from mud, maggots from decaying meat, mice from refuse of various kinds" that was shown to be untenable by Francesco Redi, Lazzaro Spallanzani and Louis Pasteur. Although he gives an account of Redi's, Spallanzani's and Pasteur's work, his real concern is "how organisms may have arisen spontaneously under different conditions [than exist in the present] in some former period, granted that they do so no longer." In short, he is speaking about what we would now call "abiogenesis."
The source of the above quote is an article Wald wrote, entitled "The Origin of Life," that appeared in the August 1954 issue of Scientific American (vol. 191), on pages 44-53. This is the same article that was ultimately the source of Quote Mine #57.
As was the case with Quote Mine # 57, the creationists have frequently mangled the citation in passing around the quote. The "Journey" site above gives the source as "George Wald, 'The Origin of Life,' Scientific American, 191:48, May 1954" as does The Triunity Report: The Origin of Life and The Suppression of Truth. Another site, Adventist Review: The Simple Cell?, gives it as "Scientific American, May 1954." The latter site goes on to merge this quote mine with a variation on Quote Mine #57, which itself was a paraphrase of what Wald said that bore little resemblance to his actual point, thus creating a true paragon of misinformation.
Unlike Quote Mine #57, however, the actual words attributed to Wald do appear in his article, on page 46. Immediately following on the two sentences above is a third that, together, form a complete paragraph that reads: One has only to contemplate the magnitude of this task to concede that the spontaneous generation of a living organism is impossible. Yet here we are -- as a result, I believe, of spontaneous generation. It will help to digress for a moment to ask what one means by "impossible." [Emphasis added.]
Wald then goes on to discuss probability, beginning with the simple-to-calculate cases of coin tosses and dice, where the possible number of outcomes are known. He continues:
When one has no means of estimating the probability beforehand, it must be determined by counting the fraction of successes in a large number of trials.
Our everyday concept of what is impossible, possible or certain derives from our experience: the number of trials that may be encompassed within the space of a human lifetime, or at most within recorded human history. In this colloquial, practical sense I concede the spontaneous origin of life to be "impossible." It is impossible as we judge events in the scale of human experience.
We shall see that this is not a very meaningful concession; For one thing, the time with which our problem is concerned is geological time, and the whole extent of human history is trivial in the balance.
Wald then discusses the fact that highly improbable things can happen but that, as a result of the skeptical attitude of persons of good judgment, "events which are merely very extraordinary acquire the reputation of never having occurred at all." But Wald calls scientists the "[l]east skeptical" of all "judicious persons" because "cautious as they are, [they] know very well what strange things are possible." Wald's example for this, the possibility that a table will spontaneously rise into the air if "the molecules of which the table is composed, ordinarily in random motion in all directions, should happen by chance to move in the same direction," neatly anticipates Fred Hoyle's "Tornado in a Junkyard" argument. Therefore, according to Wald, "it does not mean much to say that a very improbable event has never been observed."
More importantly, though:
When we consider the spontaneous origin of a living organism, this is not an event that need happen again and again. It is perhaps enough for it to happen once. The probability with which we: are concerned is of a special kind; it is the probability that an event occur at least once. To this type of probability a fundamentally important thing happens as one increases the number of trials. However improbable the event in a single trial, it becomes increasingly probable as the trials are multiplied. Eventually the event becomes virtually inevitable.
Wald gives the following example:
Consider a reasonably improbable event, the chance of which is 1/1,000. The chance that this will not occur in one trial is 999/1,000. The chance that it won't occur in 1,000 trials is 999/1,000 multiplied together 1,000 times. This fraction comes out to be 37/100. The chance that it will happen at least once in 1,000 trials is therefore one minus this number -- 63/100 -- a little better than three chances out of five. One thousand trials have transformed this from a highly improbable to a highly probable event. In 10,000 trials the chance that this event will occur at least once comes out to be 19,999/20,000. It is now almost inevitable.
Time is in fact the hero of the plot. The time with which we have to deal is of the order of two billion years. What we regard as impossible on the basis of human experience is meaningless here. Given so much time, the "impossible" becomes possible, the possible probable, and the probable virtually certain. One has only to wait: time itself performs the miracles.
It is now clear why the quote miners omitted the sentence following the snippet they appropriated. Including it might have tipped off the people the quote is intended to impress that they are being mislead. And if they went and actually looked at the article, they would find that Wald was not saying that a naturalistic origin of life is impossible but was, instead, engaged in a bit of rhetorical flourish, leading up to his conclusion that:
The important point is that since the origin of life belongs in the category of at-least-once phenomena, time is on its side. However improbable we regard this event, or any of the steps which it involves, given enough time it will almost certainly happen at least once. And for life as we know it, with its capacity for growth and reproduction, once may be enough.
In short, Wald's conclusion in the article is diametrically opposed to the spin the creationists want to put on it. Wald is not, as the creationists would have you believe, arguing for a naturalistic view despite the "evidence" of the supposed great improbability of life arising naturally, he is arguing that there is no such "evidence." Wald's point is, first of all, that the probability of abiogenesis happening is impossible to calculate. But beyond that, the very nature of the problem suggests the likelihood that abiogenesis did happen, here on Earth or somewhere in the universe.
Creationists are free to dispute Wald's arguments or his conclusions, of course. In fact, he accepts, based on the evidence available in 1954, that there was some 2 billion years between the point that conditions on Earth made life possible and its first appearance. Evidence discovered in the 50 years that have passed since Wald's article suggests that liquid water first appeared on the Earth about 4.4 billion years ago, while the earliest fossils found are dated at 3.5 billion years ago and the earliest (though disputed) signs of life date to 3.8 billion years ago. It is not immediately obvious that 700 million years or so is insufficient for Wald's argument to be valid.
Ultimately, the question of whether the arguments Wald advanced were right is not the point here. The quote miners could have set out Wald's arguments and tried to make a case against them and no one could have complained. They chose, instead, to misrepresent his arguments in an attempt to hijack Wald's reputation. They succeeded only in ruining their own.
- John (catshark) Pieret
 There were a number of letters about Wald's article published in the October 1954 issue of Scientific American. One of them makes a crude attempt to argue that the term "trial" implies a conscious "trier," which Wald, in a response to the letters, disposes of by pointing out that he "meant only an event to whose outcome one might attach a probability."
More interestingly, a professor R. L. Probst refers to Human Destiny, a book by Lecomte du Noüy, that, in turn, claims that calculations made by Professor Charles-Eugène Guye about the formation of proteins showed that:
. . . the time needed to form, on an average, one such molecule in a material volume equal to that of our terrestrial globe is about 10243 billion years. But we must not forget that life appeared about one billion years ago.... We are faced with an interval which is more than 10243 times too short.
Probst sums up his point:
I will admit that the scientist should try to explain events by natural causes, without bringing in the intervention of God, as long as it is possible and reasonable to do so. But science demands that a theory have some solid evidence supporting it.: Therefore, to hold that life has developed spontaneously by chance is not a scientific' statement; it is a sheer act of faith, perhaps based on a prejudice against admitting the action of an agent outside of the material universe.
Wald replies that he has "no strong personal prejudice against invoking God's intervention in the origin of life." In fact, he notes:
The Jesuit priest, John Turberville Needham, a great champion of spontaneous generation, believed that God created matter initially with the potentiality of spontaneously generating life. Indeed, as pointed out in my article, this belief is consonant with the relevant passages in the Book of Genesis [that God bade the earth and waters to bring forth plants and animals]. If Professor Probst is dissatisfied with this view, where does he believe that God intervened? Was it to create the first protein? Or the first living cell? Or a man?
As to the supposed calculations, Wald reiterates that:
. . . no adequate basis exists for such a calculation. We are concerned here with the probabilities associated with a series of stepwise reactions and aggregations, none of which perhaps exceeds the bounds of what may happen in a two-body collision.
I wonder how one might have assessed the probability that a mixture of water vapor, methane, hydrogen and ammonia, passed for a week over an electric spark, could form a variety of amino acids in relatively high yield. Yet in 1953 Miller showed that this happens, and our entire conception of its intrinsic probability is revised accordingly.
By the way, Guye was a physicist who died in 1942 and was calculating the odds of atoms lining up by accident to form a protein if a vessel the size of the Earth with the constituent atoms was mechanically shaken at the speed of light. In other words, like Hoyle, he was someone outside his area of expertise, calculating "odds" based on utterly unrealistic premises that have nothing to do with biochemistry as we know it, much less any realistic hypotheses about abiogenesis.
Bets of luck with your problems.
See my ***Tagline***
That is just utterly wrong.
How can such know-nothings hold things up? Especially when you claim there are so few of them? Why do you pay any attention to people who you hold in so low regard?
No, they don't fail. All of the methods of dating the universe and the earth are in excellent agreement with one another. And experiments have proven the theory of relativity regarding time. Might some fine adjustments be needed? Certainly. But the big measurements have proven the theory essentially correct.
Time dilation, predicted by the theory of relativity, has been proven. I don't know what you mean by "time expansion." If you're going to try to talk science, you need to use scientific terminology.
There has to be a point from which all things originated, and expanded, and at that point the true age is quite small.
Earth is that point. (whether you like it or not)
Really? How do you know this? Does it say this in the Bible? Can you point me to chapter and verse?
And what do you mean by the true age being quite small at the point where the Big Bang originated? What do you have to support your statement?
The Big Bang has no center. No matter where you are in space, it appears that you are at the center. Think of it like the horizon. No matter where you stand on earth, you see a horizon and it appears that you are at the center. The horizon is different at every point on earth. The universe is homogenous and isotropic.
Space is expanding everywhere, except where it is overpowered by gravity or by chemical bonds. Except for nearby galaxies, all galaxies are spreading apart. Space itself is expanding between the galaxies.
If we were to move the Hubble Telescope 1 billion light years away from it's present position, it would be able to see distant objects in its radius of view that we cannot see from earth. Similarly, it would not be able to see some objects that we can see from earth.
Since the expansion of space is accelerating, there will be a time about 20 billion years from now (absent a direct intervention by God) when gravity and chemical bonds will no longer be able to hold mass together.
Please provide logical, scientific, or Biblical evidence for your claims.
If you were a Bible student rather than a Bible attacker, you would probably know that God declared that certain people would be removed from Israel's history for their idolatry, and constant disobediance.
If you had read my post, you would see that I wrote "I know several possible ways of reconciling the contradiction." What you said is one of the ways -- I have said that explicitly in a previous thread. We do not disagree on that, and I sincerely compliement you on your understanding. Another possibility is that the Bible might sometimes use clans, rather than individuals. That's quite common in historical records, too.
People like editor-surveyor just make stuff up or extract argument from asinine Young-Earth Creationist articles. They don’t really understand what they’re saying. Yet those who do understand what they’re talking about are accused of being atheists and “worshippers at the Cult of the Temple of Darwin.”
He's nothing but a spammer.
Scientific progress goes on apace despite the mewling of the professionally ignorant.
You missed one.
What is your obsession with perverse practices that you keep referring to them in your posts? Surely, you can think of a more appropriate analogy to post on a public forum that can be easily accessed by minors- can’t you?
From the owner....
“Please enjoy our forum, but also please remember to use common courtesy when posting and refrain from posting personal attacks, profanity, vulgarity, threats, racial or religious bigotry, or any other materials offensive or otherwise inappropriate for a conservative family audience.”
It's not nonsense to oppose the push for atheism that is going on in the public schools today. The NEA and ACLU have the weapon of choice in the ToE and in the name of science are using it to remove any trace of Christianity that public school kids may be exposed to and it's being done with the full backing of the evos on this forum.
Almost without exception, they applaud any efforts to keep anything but evolution out of the public schools and support the reasoning behind it, establishment clause and all.
If scientists don't like the opposition to the ToE, then they need to demand that it not be used as a tool with which to advance atheism and justify government control of the education system.
Opposing that is fighting socialism.
Scientists and evos also ought to remember that atheistic regimes like the ones in the 20th century, were no friends to scientific advancement. Supporting the ACLU's anti-Christian agenda will come back and bite them some day. Ask those who lived under Stalin and Pol Pot.
Don’t forget that ardent evolutionist, Hitler.
Nazi stood for National Socialist Party.
Sigh,.... Have you been taking lessons from cm?
There are far more pressing issues for the GOP to take a stand on than adopting the YEC position as part of it's platform. Whatever makes you think that that is in the works anyway that you should get so worked up about it?
For all the issues that faced us in this last election, the ONLY area I heard any controversy about that from was the evos in their hysterical, sky-is-falling paranoia.
Who knew that “avenging my saviors blood upon the Cross” (quote by Hitler) was an evolutionist goal?
Yeah, but then there’ll be a flurry of posts trying to convince us that Hitler was a Christian, something that can never be pinned on Stalin or Pol Pot.
They're a hoot aren't they?
Creationists. They ignore science they don’t like, so who would be surprised that they also ignore history they don’t like.
Hilter was both a socialist and an evolutionist.
I really don't know why you'd attempt to draw Christianity into that equation, unless you're stipulating that socialists and evolutionists are, by definition, anti-Christian.