15
Jul
09

Evolution vs. Creationism again

So, my post of the other day got a response from the creationist. I have included both his response and my response to his response. If he comes back again, I will post that as well.

My responses inline below. Again, this will go on my blog unless you write an objection.

Robert Congelliere wrote:
> *(1) Your understanding of what a transitional form is, actually
> represents ignorance. Your examples of transitional forms (flattened
> fins, arms with flaps) are not transitional forms since they are fully
> functional. A true transitional form would have non-functioning parts.
> Your comment that we haven’t dug up the entire planet is really
> stretching things. If evolutionists haven’t found any transitional
> forms in 150 years, what are the odds that they will find thousands of
> such forms in the future? You may be unwilling to admit that no
> transitional forms have been found, but your fellow evolutionists are
> not so reluctant.*
> **
> *Colin Patterson, Senior Paleontologist at the British Museum of Natural
> History, wrote a textbook on paleontology and when someone wrote him
> asking why there were no pictures of transitional forms in his book,
> Patterson wrote, “I fully agree with your comments on the lack of direct
> illustration of evolutionary transitions in my book. If I knew of any,
> fossil or living, I would certainly have included them.”
> Paleontologist Dr. David Kitts wrote, “Evolution requires intermediate
> forms between species and paleontology does not provide them.” Dr.
> Scott Hughes wrote, “We now come to perhaps the most serious of defects
> in the evolutinary theory – the complete absence of transitional
> forms.” What a HUGE embarrassment to evolutionists! With no
> transitional forms, an unbiased person would have to say that evolution
> has never occurred!*
> **

A transitional form is not what you think it is. The idea of a transitional form as you have posited it is impossible, and not part of evolutionary theory. Frankly, I am astounded that you believe this is what a transitional form is. Perhaps that is a large part of the misunderstanding. A transitional form is a form that has elements of two different forms… but since evolution is gradual every stage will have transitional forms with microscopic differences. That is the crux of the theory of evolution, and what you have written is a mischaracterization of it. You are making a straw man argument with this. Go back and read Origins of Species again.

> *(2) The science of paleontology therefore supports creationism.*
> **

Creationism and evolution are not the only options, and the discrediting of evolution does not prove creationism. This is another logical fallacy. Go read an entry level logic textbook for more information on this.

> *(3, 4, 5) I included these questions because virtually all
> evolutionists are atheists, as you undoubtedly are. How convenient for
> you to only answer the questions relating to biological evolution. That
> way, you won’t have to admit you don’t know the origin of life, the
> origin of matter, and the origin of energy. *
> **

The Catholic Church and the Church of England are made up of atheists? Weird, do they know that? As an aside, if you want to debate origins we can do that, but I was content to leave it where most of the worlds religions do, with the idea that evolution could have been the tool god used, but you don’t want to leave it there, then bring it.

> *(6) Why didn’t you just write that evolutionists do not know how life
> started? that would have been an honest answer. Your comments I would
> describe as obfuscation.*
> **

No, I presented you with the name of the theory that is currently given the most credence in this field. See, this is why science and religion mix poorly. Science is about the best available answer given the evidence. At this point abiogenesis is on track to being as accepted a theory as evolution, but it hasn’t stood the test of years the way evolution has, therefore anyone with a scientific background talks about it in less certain terms.

> *(7) Dawkins certainly does not describe where emotions _came from_
> (which is my question). *
> **

Sorry, it’s a stupid question. Emotions are biochemical reactions. They evolved. Dawkins answers how we arrived at them, restating the question to exclude them having evolved is a cop out.

> *(8) Of course evolution is a random process. I question your
> understanding of how evolution occurs.*
> **

Actually, evolution is a rules based system that arises from random mutation. It is a system, and one that creates creatures well suited to their environment. Saying it is random because one piece of it is random is another misunderstanding.

> *(9) You admit that there were times it didn’t happen, therefore the
> odds could not be 100%. *
> **

This shows a lack of understanding of odds. If something has happened, then the odds of it happening are 100%. Seriously, this is not basic math but not far from it. Now, I admit that if I had left this statement there it would have been a cop out, but I also pointed out that in cases where this didn’t happen, there was no species created. You seem to have an issue with scale… this is actually quite common among humans. You don’t understand that for every time it did happen there were literally millions of mutation that didn’t work out.

> *(10) Evasive.

No, truth. You stated that two sexes was part of a design (with no evidence to support your statement by the way) and I pointed out that it is not true across the board, but since most of the larger animals have two sexes we assume it to be the case across the board. This is an anthropocentric error. This is a basic error.

(11) It is NOT the parent that has a mutation, but the
> offspring. Again, basic ignorance on your part. *
> **

In this case you appear to have misread what I wrote. What I was trying to explain is that you don’t need to have two sexes for evolution, merely a parent and an offspring. In most early cases that offspring would not have been the result of sexual reproduction.

> *(12) Boy were you evasive on this one! How did the first animal
> survive with part of a lung, part of a heart, part of a llver, part of a
> stomach. You have NO idea. Tell me how the blood entered the veins of
> the first animal . It could not enter before the veins were complete, or
> it would spill out. Here’s where the whole evolutionary theory goes out
> the window, because it never could have gotten started!*
> **

That doesn’t make sense as a question and shows total ignorance. I don’t mean to be insulting, but you haven’t demonstrated even a high school level of understanding of evolution. A system of fluids would exist in the body, then a mutation would occur that made some of those fluids follow a channel of some sort, that meant more energy got to the extremities. Those channels would increase in complexity over time. Eventually you would have a circulatory system. Now, there would never have been a point where there were a bunch of open veins. In fact, if that existed it would prove the theory of evolution to be incorrect. This is the case of many of these arguments, they are actually the exact opposite of what evolution predicts, and yet you say if they aren’t true then evolution can’t be true.

> *(13) Advanced texts do NOT explain how the first animal survived while
> its organs were developing. That was a dishonest answer and you know it. *
> **

Actually, yes they do. You have misunderstood how evolution claims organs would form. Because of that misunderstanding you keep harping about something meaningless. If what you posit were true, then amoeba’s could not exist.

> *(14) The male has 50%* *X-chromosomes and 50% Y-chromosomes. So God
> had a perfect design for mankind. Too bad you can’t see that.*
> **

Humans are not born 50% male and 50% female. That was the part that didn’t make sense. Oh yeah, a number of species are unbalanced that way.
As to the chromosomes, that is not a perfect design, or even a great one. It is what we are made up of, but most engineers could do a better job on humans than what was done, given infinite power. If God exists he is a fairly inadequate engineer.

> *(15) Atheists cannot dismiss this question as you tried to. It is an
> incisive question and you are stupid if you do not see it as such.*
> **

We are going to have to disagree on that. Gravity is a property of matter, period. They are not two separate things, any more than matter and mass are separate things. That is why it is a stupid question. Now, as I stated at the beginning, I was not addressing the origins of the universe because you were asking “evolutionists” (by which I assume you mean people who accept the evidence for evolution as compelling, since no-one I know of views evolution as the answer to all life’s mysteries, merely as the answer to one single question – if on the other hand you mean people who study evolutionary biology as a professions… well, you aren’t qualified to debate them really. I’m an educated layman and I’m arguing well above your level on this subject) and not cosmologists. If you want to talk astrophysics and cosmology, well, I am not as educated on those fields as I am on evolutionary biology, so while I can look up information (the joy of science… all the research is published so you can look it up for yourself) I can’t riff on it to the same degree. Hence, I don’t choose to debate you on those subjects and leave it to those more educated than I.

> *(16) Evasive. You have NO idea where all the energy came from.
> Atheists cannot dismiss this question as unimportant.*
> **

Why is saying a creator did it more reasonable than saying I don’t know? I am completely confused by this. I don’t have an issue with not knowing everything, and I believe that is the purpose of science, to find answers to questions we haven’t already answered. I still haven’t seen a single shred of evidence for a creator and until I see one, I will not believe in a creator. Funny how believing in something with no evidence is called insanity unless it is an organized religion and then it is called faith…

> *(17) I noted that you did not comment on Watson’s admission that the
> real reason evolutionists believe in evolution is because the only
> alternative is creationism, and that they totally reject.*
> **

Because it isn’t accurate or relevant, and it really doesn’t matter that it comes from Watson (appeal to authority, another logical fallacy). I will believe in creationism when it is supported by evidence, until then I won’t. It really isn’t that complicated. What you have done is argued against evolution (using a number of logical fallacies as I have pointed out) and then said that because you “discredited” evolution, god must have done it. Once upon a time we didn’t know how lightning was generated. At that time, we believed it was gods. It was a very long time of us believing it was gods before we learned the real reason. What you are doing is saying that anything we don’t know the answer to has to be God. This is another logical fallacy in the long list.

> *(18) Total cop-out! This again is another incisive question, and you
> have NO answer.*
> **

You state in the question that the 3 main basis of the theory of evolution is the origin of matter, the origin of energy, and the origin of life. Since none of those are addressed in the theory of evolution in any way it makes no sense to try and answer the question. It is a straw man fallacy. In fact the origin of matter and energy are part of the big bang theory and the origin of life is addressed by abiogenesis. The big bang theory actually has slightly less support than evolution, but we do know the state of the universe up to a few seconds after the big bang, which makes it pretty likely. As I said before, abiogenesis is looking like it will have the same kind of acceptance as evolution in the very near future (due to some recent test results from a forty year old experiment). None of these are the theory of evolution. There are people who accept evolution who accept the supernatural, just not when it contradicts the evidence. They tend to believe (as you do) that the origin of matter and energy (and even the first spark of life) were the product of a god, but that the method that life used to acquire its current shape is evolution.

> *(19) No the question is not stupid, but your response is kind of stupid.*
> **

Yes, the question is stupid. Evolution does not posit an explanation for the origin of the universe. That is why the question is stupid. How exactly could evolution provide for something that is entirely outside of its purview (which is purely and entirely within the realm of genetic diversity). You are looking for the scientific equivalent of a creation myth, but that isn’t how science works. You ask how the universe began, and the answer is “Probably the big bang – almost certainly but there is a small chance it could be something else”. If you ask how life began the answer is “Abiogenesis looks like the most likely explanation and fits all of the observed facts. At this point the experimental evidence is quite strong”. See, each question has a different answer, and never with 100% certainty. That having been said, the theory of evolution is better established than the theory of gravity (which fits the category of wrong but useful by the way)

> *(20) Evolution has never been observed, so it is 100% speculation!
> Speculation is NOT science! For you to say that evolution is well
> established is absurd! You are blinded by your rejection of the
> supernatural. Evolution is so absurd, so preposterous, I am astonished
> that anyone can believe in it. Despite your insulting remarks about my
> understanding of evolution, I thoroughly understand evolution. What do
> YOU know about the Bible and creationism?*
>

You don’t even have a basic understanding of the scientific method, let alone the theory of evolution. I am a bit insulting because you spout tautologies with no originality that challenge nothing and you believe you have destroyed evolution. As to evolution not having been observed… did you know that there are antibiotic resistant bacteria now? That is evolution in action. There are thousands of additional cases of evolution being observed, even to the point where generations of fruit flies were bred apart from each other and eventually reached the point (due to differing environmental conditions) that they no longer interbred. That is the scientific definition of speciation. Now, they were both still species of fly, but evolution takes a hell of a lot longer than the lifespan of a single human (longer than the lifespan of any civilisation humans have ever come up with in fact) in most cases, so those results are both compelling and damned near irrefutable proof of the basic tenets of the theory. Now… if you keep going down this road answer me one simple question: What are the basic tenets of the theory of evolution? If you get that wrong, you have lost all grounds for argument because you are arguing against something you don’t know anything at all about.

As to what I know about the bible: I have read it, the entire thing (King James version) and have looked up a great deal of details in other translations. I have also read The Way of Zen, part of the Koran, part of the book of Mormon and a huge amount of Greek, Egyptian and Norse myths. The bible really wasn’t any more compelling to me than the Egyptian myths (the Greeks though, they knew how to tell a creation myth! lots of compelling characters, action, adventure, lust, romance. A much better read).

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