13
Jul
09

Evolution vs. creationism

I recently ran into a post on a creationist site asking a bunch of questions of evolutionists. As usual, these questions were moronic – so I answered them. Many of them, the answer was “that has no connection to evolution”. I e-mailed my answers to the author, with the note that I would be reproducing them here. I just sent them a couple of minutes ago, so I have no answer as of yet. I just posted the questions, most of which have pre-amble, so I am linking the site as well: original post

(1) Where are the trillions of fossils of such true transitional forms?

A: Your definition of transitional form actually represents ignorance. A creature with half an arm is unlikely, a creature with a limb that function as a rudimentary leg and as a fin is likely, and such have existed. Now, the fossil record is woefully incomplete for a number of reasons (we have not dug up the entire planet just for starters) but there are many creatures that have shown up that have flattened fins for gliding, or arms with flaps of skin for the same purpose. These transitional forms are so common as to not be worth commenting on.

(2) Is this scientific evidence for creationism, or isn’t it?

A: If your first supposition was true, this still would not be evidence of creationism. It would be evidence against evolution, but since it is wrong this is nothing.

(3)Where did all the 90-plus elements come from (iron, barium, calcium, silver, nickel, neon, chlorine, etc)?

(4) How do you explain the precision in the design of the elements, with increasing numbers of electrons in orbit around the nucleus?

(5) Where did the thousands of compounds we find in the world come from: carbon dioxide, sodium chloride, calcium hydroxide, hydrochloric acid, oxalic acid, chlorophyll, sucrose, hydrogen sulfide, benzene, aluminum silicate, mercaptans, propane, silicon dioxide, boric acid, etc.?

A: Because the theory of evolution is completely unrelated to the formation of the universe. Seriously, the two are completely unconnected. I was trying to come up with a metaphor for this, and the best one I can come up with is that you might as well ask why the theory of quantum entanglement doesn’t explain why we tend to buy frothy espresso based beverages. Actually those two might be more related. The theory of evolution specifically explains the proliferation of different forms of life. It explains why there are so many forms of life and what they are like, nothing else.

(6) How did life develop from non-life?

A: Nothing to do with evolution, but there is a theory called abiogenesis that explains this. Recently scientists tried to replicate the conditions that abiogenesis posits. They developed self replicating RNA from base chemicals in a remarkably short time. Now, no scientist worth the name would claim this proves abiogenesis but it does increase the likelihood of it being true by a huge margin.

(7) Where did the human emotions, such as love, hate, and jealousy come from?

A: Read “The Selfish Gene” by Richard Dawkins. He actually does a great job explaining this, but the upshot of it is that it useful to the survival of the species.

(8) What are the odds that the evolutionary process, proceeding by random changes, would produce human beings, plus millions of species of animals, birds, fish, and insects, all with symmetrical features, i.e., one side being a mirror image of the other? We take symmetry in all these creatures for granted, but is that a reasonable outcome for a random process?

A: Evolution is not a random process, although random mutation is a piece of it. It is a rules based system that creates certain outcomes most frequently. Most of the non-symmetrical species didn’t survive to reproduce.

(9) What are the odds that of the millions of species of animals, birds, fish, and insects, a male of each species developed at the same time and in the same place as a female of the same species, so that the species could propagate?

A: 100%. Every time it didn’t happen, there was no species. Now, it happened a whole lot of times, but those creatures didn’t have descendants.

(10) Why are there 2 sexes anyhow? This is not foreordained in the evolutionary framework. Is there some sort of plan here?

A: Because that is a very efficient method of DNA transfer. However, asexual reproduction is more common on earth than sexual reproduction.

(11) If the first generation of mating species didn’t have parents, how did the mating pair get to that point anyhow? Isn’t evolution supposed to progress when an offspring of a mating pair has a beneficial mutation?

A: No, that is not the case and represents basic ignorance. Evolution occurs when a descendant of a parent (this can be through simply cell division as in the amoeba) has a mutation. When that mutation is better adapted to the environment it is likely (although not certain) to continue to future generations, who will have a survival advantage. One such mutation was the ability to have offspring who have half of the DNA from one creature, and half from another. The mechanism for this was not sexual reproduction as you understand it, but simple combination and division.

(12) How did the heart, lungs, brain, stomach, veins, blood, kidneys, etc. develop in the first animal by slow, minute steps and the animal survive while these changes were occurring?

A: By developing rudimentary forms of the final objects slowly over time. A little bit of processing of toxins is better than none, and confers a survival advantage. Same with a little bit of though, a little bit of extra energy to the extremities, etc.

(13) Why do books on evolution, including biology textbooks, always start with a fully developed animal when attempting to explain how one species developed into another species? Why don’t evolutionists first explain how the first animal developed? (An animal with a heart, lungs, brain, stomach, etc.)

A: Advanced texts don’t. You have probably only read (very) introductory texts on the subject if you think this is the case. If you ever get into more advanced books they talk at great length about how single celled life developed into multi-celled life, and all the way to mammals.

(14) What are the odds that the evolutionary process, proceeding by random changes, would produce a system in human reproduction whereby exactly 50% of offspring are male and 50% are female (based on 50% X-chromosomes and 50% Y-chromosomes)? Again is there some sort of a plan here?

A: 0%. The human race is slightly biased towards females. Having said that, environmental conditions can change the bias towards males. Other species tend other ways. Now, if the numbers weren’t reasonably close, then the human race would not exist. You are confusing cause and effect (again I might add)

(15) Where did the law of gravity come from? Did it have a beginning? Isn’t it reasonable to assume that when matter was created, the law of gravity was established at the same time to regulate matter?

A: This has nothing to do with evolution, also, it is stupid. Gravity is a property of matter. When you have matter, you have gravity.

(16) Where did this energy come from? Isn’t the only reasonable answer that it was the result of a creative act by an almighty designer/creator?

A: There is no evidence to support this, literally none. Not only is this the not the only reasonable answer, it is not a reasonable answer. That doesn’t mean it isn’t the case, but there is no reason to support this answer over any other, and it is worse than saying “I don’t know” (which is actually what science does until something better comes along)

(17) Why do evolutionists summarily dismiss the evidence from design without any serious consideration?

A: What evidence? There has never been any evidence of design submitted for consideration so it can’t be dismissed. Perhaps you need to rethink what you mean by evidence.

(18) Other than rejection of the supernatural, how else can one explain the steadfast adherence of evolutionists to this theory even though they do not know the origin of the 3 main bases of evolution: the origin of matter, the origin of energy, and the origin of life?

A: The origin of matter, the origin of energy, and the origin of life are not part of the theory of evolution and never have been. Evolution is not a panacea like religion is. It is the answer to a very, very specific question.

(19) Can you give us just one coercive proof of evolution, i.e., a proof that absolutely eliminates any other possible explanation for the origin of the universe, the material world, and human life?

No, I can’t. That is not what the theory of evolution is concerned with and anyone who did come up with such a proof would be an idiot. Also, this question is kind of stupid.

(20) Isn’t it true that rather than proofs of evolution, all that evolutionists can come up with are evidences for evolution to someone who already believes in evolution?

Science works by taking a look at the evidence, trying to figure out what could have caused it, and then testing it. If the hypothesis fails the test you modify it to match the evidence you have now gained or you abandon it (if it can’t fit the evidence). Evolution has changed somewhat over the years, as new facts have become available, and it will probably change more over time. However, the basic tenets of it have survived hundreds of years of challenge. No-one has come up with a test that destroys the basic tenets. If you think you have come up with such a test, by all means publish it. If you are right (and it is a valid test, not a piece of sophistry) then you will probably with the Nobel prize (it comes with a million dollars, so a lot of people have tried)

In conclusion, you haven’t really presented a single thing that challenges evolutionary theory, you have simply proven that you don’t have even a high school level of understanding of evolutionary theory. I suggest you do some reading before trying to challenge this incredibly well established theory. Start with “The Origins of Species” by Darwin. Move on to the works of Dawkins, as most of his early stuff was evolutionary theory designed to be understood by laymen. Howard Bloom has some interesting counter theories in “Global Brain” (to give you some idea of how science is actually a competition between ideas, with the best ones usually winning over the long term). Steven Jay Gould is another good resource, as is Christopher Hitchins (although I find him arrogant and a bit grating in interviews). No, these people don’t agree on all the fine points, but they do agree on the large points. Scientists are actually able to build entire careers off of refuting or altering the small points, and they would be much better know and rewarded if they disproved the large ones, so the argument of bias simply fails.

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