Skip to comments.Burden of Proof: Why Most American Evangelicals Reject Long-Earth Evolution
Posted on 05/11/2012 10:56:54 AM PDT by ReligiousLibertyTV
[dc]O[/dc]n May 14, noted philanthropist and neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson is scheduled to give the commencement address at Emory University and receive an honorary degree. But there is a problem. In recent weeks Emory faculty and students have asked the University to disinvite Dr. Carson because he is a critic of evolutionary theory and advocate of creationism. Faculty and staff have written that Dr. Carsons great achievements in medicine allow him to be viewed as someone who understands science poses a direct threat to science that rests squarely on the shoulders of evolution.
The anti-Carson letter describes how there is overwhelming evidence of ape-human transitional fossils and how this evolution process has advanced an ability to develop animal models for disease and that even the work of Dr. Carson himself is based on scientific advances fostered by an understanding of evolution. The letter then argues that the theory of evolution is as strongly supported as the theory of gravity and the theory that infectious diseases are caused by micro-organisms.
In 2010, Gallup released a poll that found that 40% of Americans believe in strict creationism, the idea that humans were created by God in their present form within the past 10,000 years. Thirty-eight percent believe that God guided the process of human evolution from lower life forms over millions of years , and only 16% believe that humans evolved without divine intervention. Sixty percent of those who attend church weekly believe that we were created less than 10,000 years ago. Gallup notes that the numbers have remained generally stable for the past 28 years.
That the number of adherents of creationism remains so strong, even though Charles Darwins book, On the Origin of Species has been around since 1859 and has been taught in most public schools since the 1960s, is a testament to the persistent strength of American religious belief and faith over contradictory concepts.
Earlier this week, Forbes magazine staff writer Alex Knapp wrote an essay entitled, Why Some Christians Reject Evolution, arguing that many Christians reject evolutionary theory because it conflicts with the Protestant view of the doctrines of original sin and salvation.
[caption id="" align="alignright" width="347" caption="Photo credit - iStockPhoto.com"][/caption]
Perhaps the only way to explain how evolved human beings would end up with a soul is expressed in the hybrid evolution-creation concept advanced by Pope Pius XII in the encyclical Humani generis (1950). Pius XII writes, "For these reasons the Teaching Authority of the Church does not forbid that, in conformity with the present state of human sciences and sacred theology, research and discussions, on the part of men experienced in both fields, take place with regard to the doctrine of evolution, in as far as it inquires into the origin of the human body as coming from pre-existent and living matter - for the Catholic faith obliges us to hold that souls are immediately created by God.
In Catholic thought, this has been interpreted to provide room for the concept that human beings were created over millions of years through evolution, and that God ultimately provided pre-existing, pre-created souls to those He designated and that these souls reconnect to God through practicing the sacraments.
In contrast, American evangelicals tend to view Adam and Eve as actual living people, who were literally created by God as clay forms into which God breathed the breath of life. There was no death before the fall of humanity. The time frames are important because they rely on the Biblical chronologies Matthew 1 and Luke 3:23-28 to prove that Jesus was in the prophetically-designated ancestral line of David, and draw the genealogical line all the way back to Adam, the first created human being.
Many evangelicals reject the hybrid view of creation and evolution because it would necessarily require them to regard creation, as discussed in the books of Genesis and of a new earth in Revelation, as allegory and submit the pervasive teachings of the Bible referencing Creation and other supernatural activity to the realm of mythology or cultural contextualism. Acceptance of scientific views of evolution would then, by necessity, require a major reconfiguration of matters of faith and that is something that most adherents to strict creationism are unwilling to do.
Knapp, whose own religious beliefs are not indicated, notes that while some churches have found ways to incorporate the idea of change over time into their belief systems, for many Christians, evolution isnt a minor fact of science that can be resolved into the mythos of their faith. It is, rather, a fundamental attack on their faith and many things that they believe.
There have been a number of heated arguments on the campuses of a diverse array of religious universities regarding how issues of origins should be taught. Some have tried to walk the middle line of teaching intelligent design as an alternative to creationism and evolution. Critics of those teaching intelligent design point out that trying to split the issue down the middle does no favors to either side and in the end is nothing but a weakened form of creationism, and an explanation that is of no value to secular science.
Within the larger context of American Protestant Christianity the debate continues without resolution. Among Christians, creationists are often asked to consider various forms of evidence of a long-history of the earth, but those advocating for a long-earth have largely ignored discussion of the genealogies of the New Testament and the concepts of original sin and salvation. Christian evolutionists have failed to provide a verse-by-verse rebuttal to the Biblical Creation narrative or to acknowledge the extent to which acceptance of creation would impact theology.
Instead theistic evolutionists operate on the supposition that Creationists will eventually bifurcate their religious beliefs from scientific understanding, because incompatibilities must be resolved in favor of science. This places faith directly in conflict with science and any resultant battle on these issues will take centuries if true academic freedom is to be granted, but can resolve faster if the voices of religious dissent are silenced and those who have openly criticized evolution are denied a seat at the academic table.
The attempt to purify academia by silencing the voices of critics such as Dr. Carson would be the first step toward a secular Dark Ages. So far, it appears that despite the controversy, Emory Universitys commencement ceremony will go forward as planned.
In response to the controversy at Emory, as of this writing nearly 2,000 people have signed a Petition to reaffirm Dr. Ben Carsons Welcome and Defend His Right to Express His Views. Click here to view the Petition.
-—The evidence is that there are two species, turkeys and eagles, and there was another species looking somewhat like both, that is now extinct. There is no evidence of “descending” of anything from anything.——
Yes. Shouldn’t the fossil record display countless intermediate forms? But it doesn’t. The evidence is unambiguous. The record is in. Millions of fossils have been discovered, and they show that creatures exit the fossil record the same way they enter. Species are static over time.
The most famous supposed “transitional form” is Archaeoptryx. Yet, since the first fossil was discovered, six more have been found, and they look just like the first. So its value in supporting the theory of gradual evolution is ambiguous, at best. IMO, Archaeoptryx is as much of a transitional form as a bat or “flying” squirrel.
... to which the evolution cultists respond by postulating that evolution exists, but works in rapid spurts. And takes a very long time. And we just haven’t been lucky enough to find one more fossil.
When Ptolemy’s theory of round planetary orbits was contradicted by observations, the theorists added secondary circles; when that did not match the observation, tertiary circles.
When genetics proved that evolution is not possible, the cult invented some obscure “descent with mutations” and shrouded the supposed mechanism in complex explanations, piling one hypothesis on top of another. Anything can be “proven” that way.
All this is an insult to scientific method.
——All this is an insult to scientific method.——
It’s dogmatic empiricism. Unfortunately, scientists untrained in “useless” sciences, like philosophy, are unaware of the irony.
When I question the theory of evolution, evolutionists immediately assume that I’m a young earth creationist, and that my arguments are based on theology. But my critique is purely scientific. There is as yet no remotely plausible naturalistic explanation for the rise of life and species.
It seems to me that is the most that we can say, scientifically, at this time. Scientists should not pretend that they know more than they do.
None so blind as those who will not see!
Evolution is fraudulent science ~ not only never proven ~ but all scientific data describes devolution.
First, I note your struggles with the definition of the word "species".
Scientifically, it's a simple concept, the key to it being a natural ability to interbreed, but it is only one term of many used to describe family relationships among animals, plants and other living things.
Indeed, there is a whole hierarchy of biological relationships, starting in the case of humans, with our individual families.
Traditionally, biological families grouped into closely related clans, which organized into larger tribes and nations, several of which might include all members of a particular human race/breed, and all of those races together constituting the sub-species homo sapiens sapiens = all human beings.
The overall species of homo-sapiens includes us, plus other subspecies which DNA and other analyses show interbred, including Neanderthals, Denisovans, Homo sapiens idaltu, and possibly even Homo floresiensis.
And that is the key scientific distinction: if they successfully interbred, then they are sub-species.
But it not, then they are separate species.
Again, we can follow the zebra example all the way up their scientific hierarchy.
Three separate species do not interbreed in the wild, even when they live together.
Yes, they can be forced-bred in captivity, but their offspring are not fully viable.
But within each species are sub-species which do successfully interbreed in the wild.
The three zebra species, plus donkeys and horses are grouped into a larger genus called equids.
And between species in that equid genus, the best that interbreeding can produce are those infertile offspring of donkeys and horses = mules.
Moving up, the equid genus belongs to the "horse family" which includes many extinct species going all the way back to eohippus about 54 million years ago.
Next up the hierarchy of groupings is the order Perissodactyla = "one toed ungulates".
These include the horse family, rhinoceroses and tapirs.
And so biological classifications go... up the ladder to eventually include all mammals, then all animals with backbones, all animals and finally all living things.
And all that is basic high-school biology, which is why I know it.
So those are the various scientific classifications, as defined by scientists.
Your problem is how to shoe-horn the biblical word "kinds" into those scientific classifications, and I would suggest to you that it simply cannot be done.
One reason: a biblical "kind" is not strictly defined, even in the Bible, and any efforts you make to define it are just matters of your theologically based opinions, and have nothing to do with real science.
annalex: "Microevolution -- the difficult but possible interbreeding inside several subspecies, -- does not prove the real thing."
Sorry FRiend, but as an anti-scientist, you don't get to define scientific terms -- if you wish to argue science, then you have to use the definitions scientists developed.
In the case of micro-evolution it is not what you say.
Rather, the definition (simplified) means the accumulation in every generation of DNA mutations.
As I've said before, most mutations have no effect, and of those which do cause changes most are negative, and so get weeded out by natural selection.
Over many generations -- typically hundreds of thousands or millions of years -- these minor changes eventually produce sub-species, species and genera which can no longer interbreed.
And that's what evolution is all about.
annalex: "There is no evidence of "descending" of anything from anything."
There is almost endless cogent evidence in fossil records and DNA studies showing relationships and ancestry of all living things.
Of course, people with eyes closed can't see it, but the evidence remains persuasive to anyone not committed to an anti-science theology.
I am aware of classifications. The ability of subspecies to interbreed and undergo natural selection under certain conditions says nothing about creation of new species from old ones. You are simply trying to bury a proposition that fails experientially and logically under irrelevant detail.
as an anti-scientist, you don't get to define scientific terms
I am not "anti-scientist" and I do not derive my inability to believe the evolution cult from anything written in the Bible. My first post on this thread was to explain that the Bible can be interpreted in a way compatible with your beliefs. Your beliefs are wrong precisely because they fail the scientific method of testing hypotheses with evidence, -- not because of some turn of the phrase in the Bible.
almost endless cogent evidence in fossil records and DNA studies showing relationships
They are similarities. Yes, distinct species are often similar and so their DNA are similar. That does not prove the relationship of evolution, just the similarity of the design.
Go to a junk yard and observe "fossils" of cars there. You will find "endless and cogent evidence" that car models originated from other car models by breeding with one another, won't you?
You continue to ignore a key factor here: descent with modifications -- modifications caused by genetic mutations.
These mutations and modifications have been observed and confirmed, so they are facts.
Indeed, since time immemorial, humans have used these modifications as they accumulated over many generations, to create innumerable new breeds and sub-species.
But, has human husbandry replacing natural selection created any new species?
Answer: yes, of course -- any time a new breed of plants, for example, can no longer interbreed with its wild ancestors, it is by definition, a new species.
And what human husbandry can do over a few years or decades, natural selection accomplishes in hundreds of thousands and millions of years.
We know this from both the fossil record, and analyses of different species' DNA.
annalex: "I am not "anti-scientist" and I do not derive my inability to believe the evolution cult from anything written in the Bible."
I don't believe that for a second, and the proof of it is your inability to accurately report what the science of evolution says.
annalex: "That does not prove the relationship of evolution, just the similarity of the design."
Obviously many designs are similar, the question is why?
Scientifically, there's no reason to suspect any mechanism other than evolution.
Yes, certainly "intelligent design" was required, but at what points, exactly? Well, consider that if a perfect God created a perfect natural Universe, then it would require very little in the way of further tinkering and interventions for God to accomplish His purposes.
Therefore the scientific assumption of methodological naturalism should work in nearly all cases, and the need to posit Divine Intervention should be reserved for the most unusual of circumstances.
But a dearth of examples of Divine Intervention in the natural world should not in any way suggest that God's Creation is not doing exactly what He intended it to do.
Indeed, wouldn't an abundance of such examples suggest that God's natural Universe was "out of control" and that He had done a sloppy job in creating it?
Of course, the arrival of rational humans capable of sinful behavior changed everything, and does require frequent Divine Interventions, as we have seen.
So, are there limits to what scientific naturalism can explain?
Of course, but for God's purposes those limits are irrelevant, because by definition science cannot explain God, or His purposes, or the souls of human beings.
annalex: "You will find "endless and cogent evidence" that car models originated from other car models by breeding with one another, won't you?"
There is no scientific evidence that any car ever mated with another car or produced an offspring, so your analogy is bogus.
Not between complex species.
has human husbandry replacing natural selection created any new species?
Answer: yes, of course -- any time a new breed of plants
Plants, yes. Comlpex creatures like mammals -- no. We only have breeds, not species that get selected around.
I don't believe that for a second
Your beliefs are absurd generally. You, for example, believe in evolution.
Obviously many designs are similar, the question is why?
I don't know why, but that is not "the question". The question on hand is that whatever similar fossils you observe, they only prove that similar creatures existed. They do not prove that creatures of one species produced creatures of another species. That was the meaning of the car junk yard example, -- you seem to have missed it.
annalex: "Not between complex species."
I'll say it again: you obviously don't understand basic facts & ideas of evolution.
All species (whether simple or complex) reproduce, and every reproduction can involve some modifications due to mutations in genes.
In Evolution Theory this is called, unsurprisingly, "descent with modifications".
If, rarely, a mutation improves an individual's chances to survive and reproduce, then it will become part of that species' gene pool, and will contribute toward its evolution.
This is due to the action of "natural selection", which is the second major factor in Evolution Theory.
Both descent with modifications and natural selection have been observed and confirmed innumerable times, in every species (whether simple or complex).
Since, by definition, a confirmed observation is a fact, that makes the basic elements of evolution facts.
Evolution Theory says that genetic mutations, accumulating every generation, can eventually lead to offspring which no longer interbreed with their original species -- whether that species is simple or complex.
We see innumerable examples in nature, and I've sited one -- the horse family, where sub-species readily interbreed, but different species do not produce viable offspring.
And in every case (whether simple or complex), fossil records and DNA analyses confirm Evolution's Theory of common ancestors in the distant past.
annalex: "Plants, yes.
Comlpex creatures like mammals -- no.
We only have breeds, not species that get selected around. "
Genetically speaking, plants are not less "complex" than mammals.
Indeed, many plants have much larger genomes than humans do.
So "complexity" has nothing to do with evolution.
Yes, plants do more readily interbreed and hybridize, and that's why there can be new human-created species of plants.
In animals, change is slower and takes longer, but the process is the same -- descent with modifications and natural selection.
And as with plants, evidence for animal evolution is found in fossils and DNA.
So I ask: why scientifically would a process (evolution) that you acknowledge has over time produced new species of plants, not also produce new species of animals?
annalex: "Your beliefs are absurd generally.
You, for example, believe in evolution."
The real issue here is the philosophy behind science, "methodological naturalism".
If you reject that, then you reject all of science and you are in fact, anti-science -- whatever claims you make to the contrary.
Evolution is a theory of science, based on methodological naturalism.
No other such theory of "creationism" or "intelligent design" is fully grounded in scientific naturalism.
annalex: "The question on hand is that whatever similar fossils you observe, they only prove that similar creatures existed.
They do not prove that creatures of one species produced creatures of another species. "
But there is no scientific alternative to the naturalistic assumptions that every fossil came from closely related ancestors, and those older fossils can often be found by looking in older geological strata.
But your contrary assertion -- that God created each and every species individually, and that no two species are related to each other by ancestry -- is first of all by definition unscientific, and second without any physical evidence -- zero, zip, nada -- to support it.
annalex: "That was the meaning of the car junk yard example, -- you seem to have missed it."
I totally understood your junk-yard analogy, and the flaws which make it bogus: unlike all of life, no car ever mated and reproduced itself.
"Evolution" among cars is a function of their factory-manufacturing processes.
By contrast, in every living thing, evolution is a function of individuals' reproduction.
Of course you can well say, as most religious people believe, that God's Hand is involved in every act of reproduction, but such belief simply confirms that Evolution is God's chosen method for creating life as we know it.
That is precisely the fantasy not supported by fact. The rest is natural or artificial selection and is supported by facts. There is no need to explain it to me, it is a well-known thing. When you so easily bring over ideas of selection into origination of species, it is you who doesn't understand "basic facts & ideas of evolution".
why scientifically would a process (evolution) that you acknowledge has over time produced new species of plants, not also produce new species of animals?
I don't know why (I obviously meant "complex" in the sense that animal behavior is more complex: they hunt, chase pray, choose a mate, etc., -- not the genome). A scientist should perhaps look into this and ask himself: why is it so that viruses, plants and insects evolve between species and mammals don't? That would be a worthy use of effort, - unlike trying to beat a square peg into a round hole and call that "science".
No other such theory of "creationism" or "intelligent design" is fully grounded in scientific naturalism.
That is true. Science simply cannot explain the origin of species, any more than it can explain what will I have in a minute for breakfast. Both are matters of a reasoning individual's choice.
there is no scientific alternative to the naturalistic assumptions that every fossil came from closely related ancestors
Right. So evolution is something you first assume and then you see the world through the prism of that assumption. This is where it stops being science.
your contrary assertion -- that God created each and every species individually, and that no two species are related to each other by ancestry -- is first of all by definition unscientific, and second without any physical evidence
How can anything be "by definition" unscientific? It is not atheistic, but atheism is nowhere in the definition of science. Observation supports the separate creation theory: the fossils do not form a contiguous trace form species to species, but rather they appear in groups that show a stable species each time.
unlike all of life, no car ever mated and reproduced itself.
True, but you derive the hypothesis that one species became another through observation of similar fossils, -- like on your picture, -- and I point out that that is all you observe: similarity. Between fossilized cars there is the same similarity, but, thanks for noticing, cars don't even reproduce themselves, let alone evolve.
But you have already confessed, in post #127, that evolution is "supported by fact" in the case of plants.
Now you wish to draw an unnatural distinction between evolution in plants which you admit can happen, versus evolution in mammals, which you pretend cannot.
The truth of the matter (not a "fantasy") is that descent with modifications and natural selection occur in both plants and animals, and that these leave records we can observe in fossils and in their DNA's.
For an example of evolution "caught in the act," consider these sub-species Grant's Zebras, which can interbreed with these closely related sub-species of Burchell's Zebras:
But neither interbreeds successfully with these different species Grevy's Zebra.
To anyone with a scientific mind, that is evolution "caught in the act" of happening.
annalex: "There is no need to explain it to me, it is a well-known thing.
When you so easily bring over ideas of selection into origination of species, it is you who doesn't understand "basic facts & ideas of evolution." "
You have repeatedly admitted one of the two key factors in evolution theory: "natural selection", but you have not yet confessed the truth of the other key factor, "descent with modifications."
As with "natural selection", "descent with modifications" has been observed and confirmed innumerable times.
So both are facts, but you won't admit them, will you?
annalex: "A scientist should perhaps look into this and ask himself: why is it so that viruses, plants and insects evolve between species and mammals don't? "
You again use a very odd, indeed meaningless, form of expression: "evolve between species".
I suspect it may be your devotion to the concept of biblically fixed "kinds" which causes you to employ such a strange locution.
Regardless, it is not scientific.
In reality, evolution happens from each generation to the next, and the definition of a new "species" is simply a matter of scientific convention.
By convention, we say that a new "species" has evolved whenever separated new populations can no longer successfully interbreed with their originals, as in the cases of different zebra species.
annalex: "Science simply cannot explain the origin of species..."
Of course it can.
By definition, scientists say that a "new species" has evolved whenever off-spring can no longer successfully interbreed with other off-spring of their common ancestors.
And the basic biological mechanisms are 1) descent with modifications and 2) natural selection.
Why should that be so difficult to understand?
annalex: "So evolution is something you first assume and then you see the world through the prism of that assumption.
This is where it stops being science. "
No, science itself by definition, is the assumption of "methodological naturalism".
If a theory such as evolution meets the requirements of methodological naturalism then however correct or incorrect it may be, it is still a scientific theory.
But if another theory, such as "Creationism" or "Intelligent Design", does not meet those requirements, then by definition, it is not scientific.
In other words, even if (somehow) pure "Creationism" turned out to be correct, and "Evolution" to be wrong, Evolution would still be a scientific theory, and Creationism would not.
And the reason is that Evolution is based on the scientific assumption of methodological naturalism, while Creationism is not.
Of course, if Creationism were somehow confirmable through methodologically natural methods, then it would become a scientific theory.
But today no possibility of a natural confirmation exists.
annalex: "How can anything be "by definition" unscientific?"
Obviously, you don't understand the basic concepts here.
The scientific enterprise is based on methodological naturalism and anything which does not meet that criteria is, by definition not scientific.
annalex: "Observation supports the separate creation theory: the fossils do not form a contiguous trace form species to species, but rather they appear in groups that show a stable species each time."
The existence of any fossil for any species is very rare, and no doubt that many separate species, much less sub-species, have come and gone without ever leaving even one fossil.
But no species receive more intense study than pre-humans, and there dozens of transitional forms -- of breeds, sub-species, species, genera and biological families -- are identified, for examples:
Figure 1.4.4. Fossil hominid skulls.
Some of the figures have been modified for ease of comparison (only left-right mirroring or removal of a jawbone). (Images © 2000 Smithsonian Institution.)
(A) Pan troglodytes, chimpanzee, modern
(B) Australopithecus africanus, STS 5, 2.6 My
(C) Australopithecus africanus, STS 71, 2.5 My
(D) Homo habilis, KNM-ER 1813, 1.9 My
(E) Homo habilis, OH24, 1.8 My
(F) Homo rudolfensis, KNM-ER 1470, 1.8 My
(G) Homo erectus, Dmanisi cranium D2700, 1.75 My
(H) Homo ergaster (early H. erectus), KNM-ER 3733, 1.75 My
(I) Homo heidelbergensis, "Rhodesia man," 300,000 - 125,000 y
(J) Homo sapiens neanderthalensis, La Ferrassie 1, 70,000 y
(K) Homo sapiens neanderthalensis, La Chappelle-aux-Saints, 60,000 y
(L) Homo sapiens neanderthalensis, Le Moustier, 45,000 y
(M) Homo sapiens sapiens, Cro-Magnon I, 30,000 y
(N) Homo sapiens sapiens, modern
annalex: "Between fossilized cars there is the same similarity, but, thanks for noticing, cars don't even reproduce themselves, let alone evolve."
But all creatures, great and small, do reproduce themselves, and therefore do evolve due to the scientifically observed and confirmed operations of descent with modifications and natural selection.
No other scientific theory fully accounts for these confirmed facts.
Of course, the science of evolution in no way excludes the Hand of God for those of Faith, as the old song says:
"He gave us eyes to see them,
And lips that we might tell,
How great is God Almighty,
Who has made all things well."
Science suggests the Hand of God works naturally through evolution.
This is getting repetitive and, as it typical for your cult, attempts to drown the opponent in irrelevant detail, verbosity, and silly illustrations.
I responded to your zebras about a week ago. This is selection, not “evolution caught in the act”. “Descent with modifications” is a fantasy not observed among birds or mammals.
If there is anything you introduced in your last post that I did not react to, kindly point that out.
So now you claim that neither birds nor mammals experience genetic mutations from one generation to the next?
And your scientifically recognized source for this choice bit of misinformation is what, exactly?
Here's the truth of the matter:
Evolution consists of two key factors: descent with modifications and natural selection.
Since you have already admitted the fact of natural selection, I won't spend more time on it.
Descent with modifications begins with genetic mutations during reproduction.
These have been observed and confirmed innumerable times -- so they are facts.
How many mutations for each generation?
First, remember that the human genome -- the genetic code, those biological instructions by which DNA makes us -- that code has about 3 billion individual "base pair" instructions.
Not all perform useful work, a good many are sometimes called "Junk DNA", and mutations to "junk base pairs" have zero effect.
We all mutate, says study coauthor Philip Awadalla, a population geneticist at the University of Montreal.
And the mutation rate can be extraordinarily variable from individual to individual.
"Combined with the results of three similar recent studies, the rate indicates that, on average, about one DNA chemical letter in every 85 million gets mutated per generation through copying mistakes made during sperm and egg production.
"The new rate means each child inherits somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 to 50 new mutations."
The previous estimate was about 100 mutations per generation, but this new study reported high variability in the small sample, and one can imagine mutation rates increasing during times of high physical stress caused by new environmental factors.
In other words, individuals highly stressed by a changing environment might generate more mutations than others living in more species-friendly locations.
Regardless, "descent with modifications" is a scientifically confirmed fact.
So what exactly is your problem with it?
annalex: "I responded to your zebras about a week ago."
You have seriously responded to nothing, whether zebras or humans or anyone else, FRiend.
Again, you don’t understand. Thank you, however, for the brevity and the pointed character of your last post.
There is no dispute that random mutations occur in every species. They are called birth defects.
The dispute is that those of them that conform with the environment and even provide an environmental advantage, and occur so that the two species with it (or one if the mutation is not only advantageous but dominant) successfully mate, occur statistically insufficiently for the new species to be produced over generations of such lucky streak.
Let us not forget that for a random mutation to be advantageous something equivalent of improving a poem through letting a monkey retype it needs to happen. It is a probabilistic non-zero and that is about it. Not observed in organisms that reproduce like mammals or birds do: few and vulnerable offspring per mate.
Further, there is no fossil evidence of a gradual movement from one species to the next, but there is plenty of fossil evidence of stable, not mutating species.
Regarding zebras and dogs and cats — understand that selection of breeds is not the same mechanism, — no mutations of the genome are needed. This is why that breeding occurs does not speak to the issue of origin of species.
I understand completely. It is you who refuses to confess the obvious truth of the matter, FRiend.
annalex: "There is no dispute that random mutations occur in every species.
They are called birth defects."
Mutations are only "defects" if they harm the individual's chances to survive and reproduce.
Most mutations have no effect, but if occasionally a mutation improves an individual's survival, then that is called, yes, "evolution".
annalex: "The dispute is that those of them that conform with the environment and even provide an environmental advantage, and occur so that the two species with it (or one if the mutation is not only advantageous but dominant) successfully mate, occur statistically insufficiently for the new species to be produced over generations of such lucky streak."
There's no dispute if you consider the example of woolly mammoths and African elephants.
Their genomes are about 99% identical, but even that 1% difference means roughly 30 million genetic mutations to "base pairs" -- mutations necessary for mammoths' adaptations to cold and elephants to African climates.
Based on mitochondrial DNA and fossils, the estimate is that woolly mammoths and African elephants shared common ancestors around 6 million years ago.
So, can you follow the math here? -- 30 million mutations over 6 million years works out to about 50 mutations per 10 year generation.
And that is roughly the same rate observed / confirmed by scientists referenced in my post #133 above.
So, genetic mutations in every generation are facts, not "fantasy", and these mutations accumulate at a more-or-less steady rate over many generations, allowing for simple adaptations, in this example, of mammoths in the arctic versus elephants in Africa.
annalex: "Let us not forget that for a random mutation to be advantageous something equivalent of improving a poem through letting a monkey retype it needs to happen."
But in the case of elephants migrating from southern to arctic climates, any mutation which helps it survive the cold (i.e., longer hair, more fat under skin, shorter ears, etc.) will by natural selection get passed on to future generations.
So there's no big mystery here -- the process, evolution, is obvious and undeniable.
And since most denominations teach that this process is always directed by God, there's nothing anti-Christian about it.
annalex: "Further, there is no fossil evidence of a gradual movement from one species to the next, but there is plenty of fossil evidence of stable, not mutating species."
I've answered this now many times, but you still don't "get it", do you?
The word "species" as used by scientists has a fairly precise definition: a group which can interbreed naturally.
Among Zebras, for example, some sub-species do interbreed, but separate Zebra species cannot.
So, merely referring to fossils of those Zebras would not, by itself, tell you which ones are sub-species and which are separate species.
Point is: you don't really know by just looking at fossils whether or not one could interbreed with similar looking fossils from a different location.
And chances are that if any serious length of time separates one fossil from another, then regardless of how similar they appear, they could not interbreed and so would be classified as separate species.
And the basic rule is simple: fossils don't change much as long as their environments don't change.
Major evolution only really happens when a sub-group gets separated from its species in a changing environment which forces the sub-group to either evolve or die out.
annalex: "Regarding zebras and dogs and cats understand that selection of breeds is not the same mechanism, no mutations of the genome are needed.
This is why that breeding occurs does not speak to the issue of origin of species."
But mutations do happen in every generation, and over many generations these mutations will prevent separated sub-species from interbreeding with each other, and then scientists will label them new species.
We can see this (for example) in Zebra sub-species and species, we see it in human modifications of plant species, and over many generations amongst domesticated animals.
Indeed, I would question today whether every breed of, say, milk cows could successfully interbreed with their Auroch ancestors:
You keep turning everything into breeding inside the species and selection afterwards. Somehow, it becomes very important to you that breeding at the margin produces cases where further mating between breeds is difficult and only occurs when no other choice exists. This has nothing to do with the evolutionary hypothesis. We’ve seen dogs, and zebras and mammoths/elephants and they all are good examples of a species stretching into breeds that look very much different. Yet none of this provides a kind of evidence you really need: one species evolving into a separate one.
I understand that a mutation can be, by chance, beneficial. In principle, that could be a mechanism for the origin of species. But I think all that you have shown with zebras and now cows, is routine natural selection of breeds that would have happened without any mutations whatsoever. For example, if a breeder wants a dog that, say, is good with children and pees once a day he will not depend on the appropriate mutation to happen, — he will simply breed suitable for his goals specimens of dogs. The result will also be a dog, only with different features. Natural selection works similarly, only slower.
You also try to obfuscate the concept of species. But evolution between species can ONLY happen through beneficial mutations: specimens with incompatible genomes cannot produce offspring (Darwin and his finches did not know that, so they mixed up selection with evolution, — you in 21 c. should know better). That is the mechanism the evolution cult postulates but for birds and mammals cannot prove.
I don't understand your confusion, it's not that complicated:
And again, the obvious examples are those two sub-species of Zebras, and one separate species -- none of whom you can tell apart by their fossils, except we know the separate Zebra species does not successfully interbreed with the other two sub-species.
These two Zebra sub-species can interbreed.
But neither interbreeds with this separate species of Zebra:
annalex: "Somehow, it becomes very important to you that breeding at the margin produces cases where further mating between breeds is difficult and only occurs when no other choice exists.
This has nothing to do with the evolutionary hypothesis."
No, that is the confirmed theory of evolution -- separated populations adapt separately to their different environments until they can no longer interbreed, at which point scientists classify them as different species.
That's the theory of evolution, in a nut-shell.
annalex: "Yet none of this provides a kind of evidence you really need: one species evolving into a separate one."
The evidence is everywhere for anyone to see, who doesn't deliberately blind themselves to truth.
annalex: "But I think all that you have shown with zebras and now cows, is routine natural selection of breeds that would have happened without any mutations whatsoever."
Do you not understand that DNA analysis maps out our entire genetic codes, and counts up the precise number of mutations separating any two individuals or species?
In the case of Zebras, those sub-species have relatively few mutation differences in their DNA, but the separate species of Zebra has many more.
Yes, on the outside, they look more-or-less the same, but their DNAs have so many differences they don't naturally interbreed.
In the case of a modern dairy cow versus its ancient Auroch ancestor, could they still interbreed?
Answer: likely, though it's impossible to say for certain, and every new generation of human-engineered cows grows more and more genetically separate from their wild ancestors.
annalex: "You also try to obfuscate the concept of species."
No, not "obfuscate" -- I've reported the definition of the word "species" -- populations which interbreed naturally.
annalex: "But evolution between species can ONLY happen through beneficial mutations: specimens with incompatible genomes cannot produce offspring..."
Precisely. Who said that annalex has a problem with reading comprehension?
When the genomes of separated sub-species mutate to become so incompatible they can no longer interbreed, then scientist say they are two different species.
annalex: "That is the mechanism the evolution cult postulates but for birds and mammals cannot prove."
First of all, "evolution" is not a "cult", it's an important part of science, and so your attacks on evolution are really attacks on all of science -- you are not just anti-evolution, you are also anti-science.
And that's fine, you're free to believe whatsoever you wish, but you can't have it both ways -- you can't be anti-science and also claim to represent "true science".
What you really represent is a theological commitment to Creationism, or some more recent mutation thereof.
Second, the proof of evolution is everywhere for anyone with eyes to see it.
So it takes a willful act of ignorance, or an unbreakable commitment to your theological views, to avoid the truth of evolution, FRiend.
they don't naturally interbreed
Observe: "naturally". They could but they won't. There is a large swath of humanity I, too, wouldn't have interbred in my bachelor days. But put me on a deserted island with one, chances are great that I would. These "different species zebras" are all zebras. Mutations accumulating inside the zebra genome is a process that occurs alongside natural selection, but it is not a mechanism that would produce a new viable genome. If you call these a "different species zebra" that is your shaman's incantation.
I covered that particular line of pseudo-scientific salesmanship before.
You obviously know more about cults than I do, and that may explain your eagerness to accuse "science" of something familiar to you: cults.
Evolution is one branch of science, and follows the same rules as all others, indeed, evolution draws much of its confirming data from virtually every other branch of science.
That's why I say an attack on evolution theory is an attack on all of science itself.
As for just who, exactly, researches, reports, proposes, "explains", teaches, clarifies, instructs or "sells" an idea, those are words you can define however you wish.
In the proper context, there's nothing wrong with any of them.
By definition, science is the opposite of a "cult".
First and foremost, science is a-religious -- not anti-religious, simply dedicated to the enterprise known as "methodological naturalism", which means: natural explanations for natural events.
Second, the essence of scientific activity is to question everything, even its own basic assumptions.
But every possible question is not necessarily scientific.
A question only becomes scientific when put in a format which can be answered using scientific methods.
And this rules out most of "Creationism" or "Intelligent Design" ideas.
annalex: "A cultist just repeats the original story till it sticks or the questioner goes away."
Sorry FRiend, but if you ask any scientist a question such as, "what is two plus two", he or she will repeat the same answer "till it sticks or the questioner goes away."
That's because much of the nature of truth doesn't change, no matter how you explain it.
annalex: "Observe: "naturally".
They could but they won't....
These "different species zebras" are all zebras.
Mutations accumulating inside the zebra genome is a process that occurs alongside natural selection, but it is not a mechanism that would produce a new viable genome.
If you call these a "different species zebra" that is your shaman's incantation."
The important concept for you to grasp here is that as any sub-species accumulates more and more mutations, becoming more and more different from other sub-species, it also becomes more and more difficult to interbreed, and when the point arrives that natural interbreeding is not successful, then scientists (not me, and certainly no "shaman") define them as different species.
The Zebra example is perfect in this regard, because the separate species of Zebra cannot successfully interbreed with those other sub-species.
Even when forced by humans, their offspring are more often not viable.
In that sense, it's similar to breeding horses and donkeys -- yes, you get a mule, but it's infertile, and so not naturally viable.
And by scientific definition (having zero to do with "shamans"), this is the precise dividing line between species and sub-species.
annalex: "I covered that particular line of pseudo-scientific salesmanship before."
You've covered nothing of any significance.
But I note how you are shifting from discussion (however weak) to insults (growing stronger), FRiend.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.