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Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Answers for Darwinists....

It will take some time, but the arguments and questions posted to this site should be addressed. I have work requirements that preclude me from continuing with the last "Box and Horse" post for now. Here we go with a few answers from the True.origin website (a counterpart to the talkorigins website so beloved by many of the commenters.)

Five Major Evolutionist Misconceptions about Evolution is an essay/rebuttal by Timothy Wallace to five of the common (bad) arguments used by Darwinists in the discussion of origins.

"A major reason why evolutionist arguments can sound so persuasive is because they often combine assertive dogma with intimidating, dismissive ridicule towards anyone who dares to disagree with them. Evolutionists wrongly believe that their views are validated by persuasive presentations invoking scientific terminology and allusions to a presumed monopoly of scientific knowledgeand understanding on their part. But they haven’t come close to demonstrating evolutionism to be more than an ever-changing theory with a highly questionable and unscientific basis. (The situation isn’t helped by poor science education generally. Even advanced college biology students often understand little more than the dogma of evolutionary theory, and few have the time [or the guts] to question its scientific validity.)"

“Evolution Has Never Been Observed”

"(Mark) Isaak oversimplifies the whole notion of evolutionary change by telling us that, “Biologists define evolution as a change in the gene pool of a population over time. One example is insects developing a resistance to pesticides over the period of a few years. Even most Creationists recognize that evolution at this level is a fact. What they don’t appreciate is that this rate of evolution is all that is required to produce the diversity of all living things from a common ancestor.”
Evolution or Variation?

Isaak here conveniently fails to mention whether by “change in a gene pool over time” he means exactly that (i.e., genetic variation, which is often called “micro-evolution”), or whether he means “macro-evolution”—which is something entirely different. The postulation of “macro-evolution” (i.e., the emergence of entirely new and more “advanced” features through innumerable, completely new genetically-defined traits) is not to be confused with genetic variation (i.e., “micro-evolution”), which is the appearance and/or disappearance of existing and/or potential genetic traits through recombination of existing genetic code. Proponents of evolutionism often fail to note the important difference between these two, simply calling them both “evolution,” and thereby deliberately blurring the distinction between them.

Genetic variation is a common phenomenon, perpetually manifesting itself as extant dominant and recessive genetic traits “appear” and “vanish” in successive generations within a population of organisms. A population’s adaptation through genetic variation is as much a fact of biological life as are genes themselves. Though some evolutionists like to call this phenomenon “micro-evolution,” the variations dictated by any gene pool are neither “new” traits, nor qualitative “changes” in the gene pool (as required for “macro-evolution”); their potential is already well-defined within the DNA of the population’s gene pool, and all possible changes (i.e., variations) within that population are limited specifically to those inherent traits.

Evolutionists have no basis for extrapolating the concept of genetic variation into Isaak’s claim that a particular “rate” of genetic variation “is all that is required to produce [(macro-)evolution] from a common ancestor.” Isaak apparently wants us to join him in simplistically believing that because a population’s gene pool will display a variety of existing genetic content, therefore over time these organisms must somehow also “evolve” into new and different kinds of organisms by producing unequivocally new and meaningful genetic content. This is wishful thinking, a leap of faith—not science, and the facts of genetic science simply don’t corroborate Isaak’s story."


Wallace continues to make points here, but on to the next portion:

“Evolution Violates the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics”


"Isaak begins this section with a typically dismissive declaration: “This shows more a misconception about thermodynamics than about evolution.” But we soon shall see who misunderstands both thermodynamics and evolution...

Defining the Law

Isaak’s definition of the second law of thermodynamics begins with: “No process is possible in which the sole result is the transfer of energy from a cooler to a hotter body.” He then tells us that “confusion arises” when the 2nd law is phrased as: “The entropy of a closed system cannot decrease.” Anyone familiar with the 2nd law will recognize that both statements are true, and that the second statement is commonly used of the two axioms in defining the 2nd law as it pertains to Classical Thermodynamics—yet for Isaak, it seems to cause some “confusion.”


To define our terms, in Classical Thermodynamics the term “entropy” is the measure of the amount of energy unavailable for work in a physical system. Left to itself over time, any such system will end with less available energy (i.e., a higher measure of, or increase in, entropy) than when it started, according to the 2nd law. In this classic form, the 2nd law applies specifically to probability of distribution with regard to heat and energy relationships of physical systems, and as such, the entropy involved may be described specifically as thermal entropy.

Similarly, the “generalized 2nd law” applies the same entropy principle to information systems in such a way that, left to itself over time, the information conveyed by an information-communicating system will end more distorted and less complete than when it began (again, a higher measure of, or increase in, entropy—in this case informational entropy), and likewise, applied to Statistics, left to itself over time, the order or regularity of a system will be less than when it began (and again, a higher measure of, or increase in, entropy—in this case statistical entropy).

The vital point to be grasped here is that the presence of a system (whether organizational or mechanical) hardly guarantees continuous enhancement, but more realistically is subject to continual degradation, if it is not kept to the pre-determined standard defined in its original design. Evolutionistic thinking often ignores this principle, despite the fact that it is a profoundly and empirically established scientific fact."


Walace goes on to include the words of evolutionists on the subject, Isaac Asimov among them:

“Another way of stating the second law then is: ‘The universe is constantly getting more disorderly!’ Viewed that way, we can see the second law all about us. We have to work hard to straighten a room, but left to itself it becomes a mess again very quickly and very easily. Even if we never enter it, it becomes dusty and musty. How difficult to maintain houses, and machinery, and our bodies in perfect working order: how easy to let them deteriorate. In fact, all we have to do is nothing, and everything deteriorates, collapses, breaks down, wears out, all by itself—and that is what the second law is all about.” [Isaac Asimov, Smithsonian Institute Journal, June 1970, p. 6]

I suppose Asimov's intellect and education were lacking, for him to say such a thing!

Speaking of the applicability of 2nd law to both “closed” (isolated) and open systems in general, Harvard scientist Dr. John Ross (not a creationist) affirms:

“...there are no known violations of the second law of thermodynamics. Ordinarily the second law is stated for isolated systems, but the second law applies equally well to open systems ... there is somehow associated with the field of far-from equilibrium phenomena the notion that the second law of thermodynamics fails for such systems. It is important to make sure that this error does not perpetuate itself.” [Dr. John Ross, Harvard scientist (evolutionist), Chemical and Engineering News, vol. 58, July 7, 1980, p. 40]

Wallace makes several points along the road of nailing this down, largely using the quotes of evolutionists in doing so. He then concludes:

"The bottom line here is that evolutionary theory does indeed violate the principle of the 2nd law of thermodynamics. Neither Isaak nor any evolutionist authority has succeeded in proving the theory a practical possibility (let alone a reality), and only a few are objective (and/or honest) enough to acknowledge the problem, which is so confounding that no one seems to have even come up with a credible subsidiary theory to deal with it, or it surely would have been well documented by now!

Using natural processes alone, there’s just no explaining how the complex, information-intense organization of even single-celled life and its uniquely inherent and complex processes could have emerged from non-life in the first place, and then could continue to fly in the face of natural law with untold increases in information, complexity and organization to yield all the flora and fauna varieties known to have existed.

Rather than face the challenge, Isaak has invoked the popular evolutionist claim that evolution is “irrelevant to” the 2nd law on the grounds of an imaginary “open system clause.” The leading authorities in evolutionary theory aren’t so simplistic in their treatment of the problem. Clearly, the “misunderstanding” of thermodynamics (and evolutionary theory itself) lies with Isaak, not with creationists, who rightly point out this serious challenge posed by nature to the evolutionary faith."


Wallace makes strong points for the other three statements:

* There are no transitional fossils.

* The theory of evolution says that life originated, and evolution proceeds, by random chance.

* Evolution is only a theory; it hasn’t been proved.


Many commenters to this site will disdain to read the whole thing. That is too bad, because Mr. Wallace manages to refute the standard talking points from Darwinists on all five of these issues. In doing so, he does not simply use quotes from creationists but in fact primarily uses the words of evolutionists to call their beliefs into question.

On these five points, I had already made my beliefs known and I continue to stand by them.

Further worthwhile reading: Darwinism and the Deterioration of the Genome
By Dr. Jerry Bergman.

"An evaluation of DNA/RNA mutations indicates that they cannot provide significant new levels of information. Instead, mutations will produce degradation of the information in the genome. This is the opposite of the predictions of the neoDarwinian origins model. Such genome degradation is counteracted by natural selection that helps maintain the status quo. Degradation results for many reasons, two of which are reviewed here. 1) there is a tendency for mutations to produce a highly disproportionate number of certain nucleotide bases such as thymine and 2) many mutations occur in only a relatively few places within the gene called “hot spots,” and rarely occur in others, known as “cold spots.” An intensive review of the literature fails to reveal a single clear example of a beneficial information-gaining mutation. Conversely, thousands of deleterious mutations exist, supporting the hypothesis that very few mutations are beneficial. These findings support the creation origins model."

Dr. Bergman argues for two points I have presented previously, that microevolution is variation within a gene pool and that mutation is not a good candidate to bring about macroevolution, but rather a loss of information within that gene pool.

See also Is Bacterial Resistance to Antibiotics an Appropriate Example of Evolutionary Change? by Dr. Kevin Anderson.

"Evolutionists frequently point to the development of antibiotic resistance by bacteria as a demonstration of evolutionary change. However, molecular analysis of the genetic events that lead to antibiotic resistance do not support this common assumption. Many bacteria become resistant by acquiring genes from plasmids or transposons via horizontal gene transfer. Horizontal transfer, though, does not account for the origin of resistance genes, only their spread among bacteria. Mutations, on the other hand, can potentially account for the origin of antibiotic resistance within the bacterial world, but involve mutational processes that are contrary to the predictions of evolution. Instead, such mutations consistently reduce or eliminate the function of transport proteins or porins, protein binding affinities, enzyme activities, the proton motive force, or regulatory control systems. While such mutations can be regarded as “beneficial,” in that they increase the survival rate of bacteria in the presence of the antibiotic, they involve mutational processes that do not provide a genetic mechanism for common “descent with modification.” Also, some “relative fitness” cost is often associated with such mutations, although reversion mutations may eventually recover most, if not all, of this cost for some bacteria. A true biological cost does occur, however, in the loss of pre-existing cellular systems or functions. Such loss of cellular activity cannot legitimately be offered as a genetic means of demonstrating evolution."

When it comes to mutation as a means by which natural selection produces macroevolution, Darwinists like to posit "just-so" stories about how things may have occurred. Some scientists do real research and when they do, mutations always fail the test. It seems as if a Designer made the genetic code both flexible enough to allow for variation within kind but resistant to mutation as an agent for change.

Designers know that flaws in operations will produce finished products that are outside of specifications. It is therefore no surprise that organisms are not designed to "reward" mutation. Mutations tend to die or not be passed on, this is what the testing shows no matter what a Darwinist flight of fancy may wish to predict.

19 comments:

Jake said...

lather, rinse, repeat.

Anonymous said...

Dan S. says . . .

"Answers for Darwinists...."

Who are these Darwinists that you speak of? Is there some strange sect who worships a mild-mannered Victorian gentleman scientist, performing eldritch* and unholy rites in his honor .. .?

* or oblong

"they often combine assertive dogma with intimidating, dismissive ridicule towards anyone who dares to disagree with them"

That's absurd! What sort of stupid half-baked . . .oh. err . . . : )

Actually, our arguments" can sound so persuasive" because, as in other cases where experts (or borrowed expertise) confront pseudo-science, our arguments are the result of greater knowledge about the field*, and match up better with observations of the real world.

* ie, real biology, etc. Certainly creationists know more creation-science than virtually all scientists. I would deplore this as a waste of time and intellect, but it does serve important social and religious functions for them, so . .

"But they haven’t come close to demonstrating evolutionism to be more than an ever-changing theory"

Ah, those scientists! They keep changing their theory to better fit observed reality, rather than the other way around! What they need is a good chunk of inflexible dogma to hang on to . . . [avuncular chuckle]. Those crazy kids . . .

"The situation isn’t helped by poor science education generally"
Hey, Timmy Wallace and I agree on something! Of course, one major cause of poor science education is non-stop creationist agitation . . . (another is a historical . . . dismissal, or neglect, of science ed by the populace ,which is odd, given the sorta can-do, roll-up-your-sleeves invent-something practical streak in our nation's character . . .)

"Even advanced college biology students often understand little more than the dogma of [AIDS research], and few have the time [or the guts] to question its scientific validity.)"
Oh wait, that would be ID founder/HIV denier Philip Johnson . . .

"Even advanced college biology students often understand little more than the dogma of [germ theory], and few have the time [or the guts] to question its scientific validity.)"
Oh wait, that one's a non-starter. Too many obvious practical applications . . .

"Even advanced college biology students often understand little more than the dogma of [heliocentrism], and few have the time [or the guts] to question its scientific validity.)"
Oh wait, the Church apologized for that . . .

Remember, folks, we're not talking about just some small, tightly-knit cabal of conspiratorial Darwinists. Young earth creationism is in conflict with an enormous chunk of modern science - genetics, biology, geology, physics, astronomy, etc.

"Isaak here conveniently fails to mention whether by “change in a gene pool over time” he means exactly that (i.e., genetic variation, which is often called “micro-evolution”), or whether he means “macro-evolution”—which is something entirely different"

No he doesn't, and no it is't. Micro- and macro- evolution are the same thing - change in a gene pool over time, due to natural selection, genetic drift, mutations, etc. Or rather, they're different in the sense that my kitchen,, when I'm baking bread, is different from the bakery down the street - a matter of scale. Yes, bad analogy.

Again - they insist on playing monopoly, but they won't follow the rules.

“macro-evolution” (i.e., the emergence of entirely new and more “advanced” features through innumerable, completely new genetically-defined traits)"
No, actually, that is not a valid definition of macroevolution. Someone with more patience and time, please expand on this.

"Proponents of evolutionism often fail to note the important difference between these two, simply calling them both “evolution,” and thereby deliberately blurring the distinction between them"
Because they're both evolution. With a greater understanding of genetics and development, the reason for this will become clearer. Bought "Endless Forms Most Beautiful" yet?

"Though some evolutionists like to call this phenomenon “micro-evolution,” the variations dictated by any gene pool are neither “new” traits, nor qualitative “changes” in the gene pool (as required for “macro-evolution”); their potential is already well-defined within the DNA of the population’s gene pool, and all possible changes (i.e., variations) within that population are limited specifically to those inherent traits."

And of course, no matter however well we might demonstrate that a certain trait wasn't present in some population of bacteria before the experiment, they will always insist that it was there all along, just hiding . . .

"nor qualitative “changes” in the gene pool"
Notice 'qualitive changes'. And below, the use of a poular science writer's (vivid) description of entrophy, instead of the actual math. Now, I am in full sympathy with math-avoidance, and one has to write for one's audience (in this case, a broad and popular one with no guarantee of advanced math knowledge, rather than a specialized academic bunch). Nevertheless, it tells you something.

(On the other hand, filling the pages with complicated-looking equations doesn't necessarily mean much either, especially when the people who came up with the method you're using say you're [cough] Dembski [cough] full of poop.

" Isaak apparently wants us to join him in simplistically believing that because a population’s gene pool will display a variety of existing genetic content, therefore over time these organisms must somehow also “evolve” into new and different kinds of organisms by producing unequivocally new and meaningful genetic content."

Organisms show inherited variation. Since resources are limited, those organisms better suited to the environment they're in will do better, and have more offspring. This have been observed; indeed, it's the basis for any agricultural civilization. We know of sources for new inherited variation (mutation, etc.), and this has been observed, on a necessarily small scale, in the lab. Using genetics - following the same principles and ideas that are behind courtroom DNA evidence, paternity testing, those new 'find your ancestors!' kits, and etc. - it becomes clear that all organisms we've studied appear to have a common ancestor. Looking at the fossil record, we see many examples of organisms appearing who look a great deal like somewhat earlier organisms, and also a great deal like somewhat later organisms. The obvious interpretation of all this is that life has evolved. You can come to other conclusions, but they involve adding unwarrented complexity and discarding large chunks of modern science. That doesn't mean we're definitely entirely (or even partially) right, but in a best-guess, best-bet so far sense - which is all that science can do (you wanted more? Oh, I'm sorry, wrong house - you're looking for the temple/church/mosque/coven two doors down) - it's lookin' pretty good.

“Evolution Violates the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics”
I'm tellin' you - get the number for your state's state college, call them up, get the physics department, and run all this by them.

They need a good laugh, I'm sure . .

" There are no transitional fossils."

I have work to do, but from an (admitedly very cursory) glance at this, it looks like the same old same old - scientists argue among themselves and gasp, have disagreed over exact details (even when those disagreements are old and settled - citing fifty year old sources in this context is just pointless), transitional fossils rarely show up entirely complete and with pre-pasted little labels identifying them, science is more like CSI or Law and Order than Medium (ie, a process of making inferences from incomplete clues, as opposed to revelation - though Medium still has a big inferential aspect, to be fair - yes, bad example), science is often poorly represented by both popular media and sometimes scientists, so when folks actually look into the lab and realize it's not all instant certainty, it's a bit of a shock, especially if tempermentally that's hard to deal with. I suspect a great deal of quote mining

(example: "because a population’s gene pool will display a variety of existing genetic content, therefore over time these organisms must somehow also “evolve” into new and different kinds of organisms by producing unequivocally new and meaningful genetic content." (Timothy Wallace [Creationist]) - look, creationists admit that evolution is entirely plausible!!)

but I don't have the time to check right now.

There's also an interesting statement . . .
"Curiously, Hunt doesn’t mention that this creature, weighing an estimated 650 lbs., in addition to possessing the above-mentioned land mammal physiology, also features teeth remarkably like mesonychid ungulates, considered to be large wolf-like carnivorous land mammals, adding further to its questionability as an ancestor of modern whales."

This is what wikipedia has to say:
"Before the recent discoveries in Pakistan, one popular theory of cetacean evolution was that whales were related to the mesonychids, an extinct order of carnivorous ungulates (hoofed animals), which looked rather like wolves with hooves. These animals possessed unusual triangular teeth that are similar to those of whales. For this reason, scientists had long believed that whales evolved from a form of mesonychid.

However, DNA analysis generated an alternative hypothesis. Whale DNA is more similar to that of thehippopotamids than to any other living animal. Therefore, a debate arose as to whether hippopotami (hippos) or mesonychids were the closest relatives of the whales.

The recent discovery of Pakicetus, the earliest proto-whale (see below) has helped to settle the debate. The skeletons of Pakicetus demonstrate that whales did not derive directly from mesonychids. Instead, they are a form of artiodactyl (another type of ungulate) that began to take to the water after the artiodactyl family split from the mesonychids. In other words, the proto-whales were early artiodactyls that retained aspects of their mesonychid ancestry (such as the triangular teeth) which modern artiodactyls have since lost."

Again, a good book on this - although I don't know if any more recent discoveries have changed the picture - is Carl Zimmer's t the Water's Edge : Fish with Fingers, Whales with Legs, and How Life Came Ashore but Then Went Back to Sea - he also has a nifty blog, The Loom, which right now has a cool This Week In Human Evolution roundup (interestingly, it mentions research that suggests that very minor changes in pre-existing genes may have played a major role in human evolution. Now, if you can find me a creationist who will argue that the Hominidae (or Hominoidae, perhaps) is all one "kind" . . .

But anyway, the book, more than many, does a good job of portraying what science is really like - a big guessing game.

Yep, you heard me right! That fact that most of us in the industrialized world, if we're not poor, don't die in childhood, that a bad scratch isn't almost certainly a death sentence, that we've walked on the moon and taken fly-by pictures of Jupiter (jeez, we're such tourists!) - it's all based on guesswork! -albeit extremely formalized and specialized guesswork, but at the very bottom the same as say, how someone might figure out how to fix a leak.) Scientists aren't onmipotent, they're not supergeniuses (well, some are, but that's different), they don't have a Big Scientist In A White Coat leaning down from the Great Lab in the Sky to whisper into their ears . . .

Instead, they're all taking little puzzle pieces of the world and working as hard as they can to see how they fit together. Sometimes it turns out that they got a bit of it wrong, and they have to figure out a way to make it fit with the rest of the puzzle - but the alternative is just sitting there sifting a pile of pretty pieces of cardboard through your fingers, never, ever seeing the big picture. Some folks don't the picture they think they see emerging, and maybe they're right, maybe they're wrong, but that's fine. They don't have to help, they don't have to hang up a copy in their house, they don't even have to look at it. The problem is that when people try to show students this puzzle - how far we think we've got, what bits might be missing, how to put together puzzles - a lot of these other folks want the puzzle covered up, or for kids to see them kick the puzzle apart or sit there laughing, guffawing, braying at it . . .

Yes, yes, it's a bad analogy - especially since I have the puzzle standing in both for science as a whole and evolutionary biology (and geology, and etc. After all, like the disgraced former NASA politcal appointee barely out of college PR guy pointed out, the Big Bang is "just a theory," and children need both sides of the story. It is a theory, of course, but when the "other side of the story" is a scientifically unsupported religious account (funny, I always thought creationists liked the Big Bang!), well, then Houston, we have a problem . . .

Oh man, I don't have time for this! Gotta run, ta -ta!

-Dan S, puzzled.

Anonymous said...

Dan S. dashed back to say . .

Jake said: "lather, rinse, repeat"

With Herbal Essences shampoo? You know, that's quite an example of false advertising! : )

-Dan S., really going now . . .

creeper said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
creeper said...

"It will take some time, but the arguments and questions posted to this site should be addressed."

No problem; it would be great if in the meantime you didn't keep reposting rebutted arguments though - at least not without addressing the rebuttals. It would be much better if you'd spend your time reading "both sides of the controversy"...

I don't have time to go through your entire post with the customary detail right now (just remembered that I, too, have a "job"), so I'll just make a couple of quick notes:

"I suppose Asimov's intellect and education were lacking, for him to say such a thing!"

I don't think Asimov's intellect and education were lacking, but given his example, he was hardly suggesting that no order is ever created in the universe. Otherwise how could he have ever found his desk?

Also, from a quick reading of Wallace's bit about the 2nd law, he's hardly on board with your interpretation of it. You still need to explain how it is possible for you to exist if the 2nd law functions as you see it.

"When it comes to mutation as a means by which natural selection produces macroevolution, Darwinists like to posit "just-so" stories about how things may have occurred. Some scientists do real research and when they do, mutations always fail the test."

Gosh, were they scientists or were they Darwinists? Or both? Seriously, are you trying to imply that "Darwinists" don't do "real research"?

Anyway... okay, what is this research you're hinting at, and what did it show? A link sure would be helpful. Something this vague really doesn't do the trick... even less so after you've posted vague claims like these before and didn't react when other people showed them as being debunked. (What is your position on that Equus/Eohippus thingy anyway?)

"It seems as if a Designer made the genetic code both flexible enough to allow for variation within kind but resistant to mutation as an agent for change."

And if this is not the case, then what was the designer thinking?

1. Most mutations are neutral. Nachman and Crowell estimate around 3 deleterious mutations out of 175 per generation in humans (2000). Of those that have significant effect, most are harmful, but a significant fraction are beneficial. The harmful mutations do not survive long, and the beneficial mutations survive much longer, so when you consider only surviving mutations, most are beneficial.

2. Beneficial mutations are commonly observed. They are common enough to be problems in the cases of antibiotic resistance in disease-causing organisms and pesticide resistance in agricultural pests (e.g., Newcomb et al. 1997; these are not merely selection of pre-existing variation.) They can be repeatedly observed in laboratory populations (Wichman et al. 1999). Other examples include the following:
* Mutations have given bacteria the ability to degrade nylon (Prijambada et al. 1995).
* Plant breeders have used mutation breeding to induce mutations and select the beneficial ones (FAO/IAEA 1977).
* Certain mutations in humans confer resistance to AIDS (Dean et al. 1996; Sullivan et al. 2001) or to heart disease (Long 1994; Weisgraber et al. 1983).
* A mutation in humans makes bones strong (Boyden et al. 2002).
* Transposons are common, especially in plants, and help to provide beneficial diversity (Moffat 2000).
* In vitro mutation and selection can be used to evolve substantially improved function of RNA molecules, such as a ribozyme (Wright and Joyce 1997).

3. Whether a mutation is beneficial or not depends on environment. A mutation that helps the organism in one circumstance could harm it in another. When the environment changes, variations that once were counteradaptive suddenly become favored. Since environments are constantly changing, variation helps populations survive, even if some of those variations do not do as well as others. When beneficial mutations occur in a changed environment, they generally sweep through the population rapidly (Elena et al. 1996).

4. High mutation rates are advantageous in some environments. Hypermutable strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa are found more commonly in the lungs of cystic fibrosis patients, where antibiotics and other stresses increase selection pressure and variability, than in patients without cystic fibrosis (Oliver et al. 2000).

5. Note that the existence of any beneficial mutations is a falsification of the young-earth creationism model (Morris 1985, 13).



BTW, I will go through those evolutionist misconceptions and other articles you linked to. I quickly read through the first half and spotted some fallacies already.

I'm not automatically impressed by the citing of quotes by evolutionists, as creationist sites have a poor record of honesty when it comes to quotes taken out of context. I'll suspend my judgement until or unless I see the quotes in context.

Dan has already addressed some of the nonsense regarding this:

"Isaak here conveniently fails to mention whether by “change in a gene pool over time” he means exactly that (i.e., genetic variation, which is often called “micro-evolution”), or whether he means “macro-evolution”—which is something entirely different."

There is an occasional attempt by creationists to label the theory of evolution the theory of macro-evolution (or macro-evolutionary theory), which causes all kinds of confusion, present company of creationists very much included. This re-labeling or focusing on macro-evolution stems from the fact that even young earth creationists have to concede that evolution works to some degree, for their own notions and especially that vexin' Noah's Ark bottleneck to work. So they concede it up to a point, which they have chosen to cordon off as "micro-evolution". Natural selection is allowed to work on that level, but not on others.

(I'm not sure if that stuff you said about macro-evolution not being subject to natural selection was a blunder of your own creation, or if it's part of general creationist lore, but I would love to see it explained why natural selection magically doesn't apply in some cases.)

So once micro-evolution via natural selection is conceded, they construct a hypothetical barrier, based on nothing whatsoever, that would stop micro-evolution after X number of changes, or X amount of change. Presumably the eye would have stopped evolving when it was just a cluster of light-sensitive cells, as it ran into this impenetrable obstacle. Couldn't make that jump from micro-evolution to macro-evolution, you see. Pity, but nothing could be done about it.

This barrier is never explained - why it should be so, where it should come from, or anything. You've got micro-evolution over here, and macro-evolution over there, and they can never have anything to do with each other. A whole lot of micro can never become a macro. So the creationist dogma goes.

"Now, if you can find me a creationist who will argue that the Hominidae (or Hominoidae, perhaps) is all one "kind" . . ."

That brings up an interesting point, actually: were there any apes on Noah's Ark? Given the proposed speed of creationist super-evolution, it should be possible to evolve, via variation within kind, all the hominids from Noah and his family, right?

radar said...

Based on these comments I suppose you guys either didn't read the linked articles or are impervious to reasoning that does not agree with yours. In some cases it is expected.

True origins was intended to some extent to take the content of talk origins and rebut them. So far it appears that true is out-rebutting talk.

The article I posted is using the statements of respected non-creation scientists in the process of rebutting the major talking points of Darwinists. You guys can say "Is not!" if you like but in the face of such evidence it carries little weight.

In particular, the re-labeling argument is a myth. I will say this categorically: Every attempt to show macroevolution in which one kind of organism becomes another kind has been shown to be false. No one coming to this site has shown me one, just examples that have already been shot down on other sites. That includes nylon-eating bacteria...

Anonymous said...

Dan S. says

Based on your comments I suppose you either didn't read the linked articles or are impervious to reasoning that does not agree with yours.

Hey, this is fun! We can go back and forth like this forever.

"The article I posted is using the statements of respected non-creation scientists in the process of rebutting the major talking points of Darwinists."

Hi-ho, hi-ho, to mine some quotes I go . . .

This is actually a part of the problem, of your misunderstanding - the reference to 'Darwinist' (who are they?) talking points, as if science was politics by another name.

Another is that the quotes being dug up, torn from any relevent context, and plastered across the screen are part of various debates about the exact ways evolution works. They don't actually show what it is being claimed they show, anymore than this blogger name of radar really thinks Bush is "as a feral monster . . . more crazed than Vlad the Impaler, more evil than Hitler and more ruthless than Machievelli."

"You guys can say "Is not!" if you like but in the face of such evidence it carries little weight."
Except it isn't evidence- not any more than the above bit about Bush is, anyway.

" Every attempt to show macroevolution in which one kind of organism becomes another kind has been shown to be false."
Look, if you refuse to read (or comprehend) anything that actual scientists say about evolution and how they think it works, if you refuse to at least understand how the definitions are being used, then I'm going to be forced to storm off in a huff.

"No one coming to this site has shown me one, just examples that have already been shot down on other sites. That includes nylon-eating bacteria..."
Geez, not even the nylon-eating bacteria can can show you an example of macroevolution? Man . . .

You know what's interesting? When you look at people working within the framework of the modern scientific consensus for earth's history, including life ( all several billion years of it) you have all sorts of people - atheists, Christians, Jews. Hindus, Muslims . . . all figuring out a little bit more about the amazing geology and biology of our planet. When you look at young earth creation-scientists, well, first you check their degrees, because that's been a major problem, creationists falsely claiming degrees and credentials of which no record exists, but after that you notice that they all belong to one specific religious sub-sect, which has as doctrine the results they claim to find. They're the only people who ever see any trace of, for example, a biblical world-wide flood - every other geologist. and that's I don't know how many for each YECologist, thinks of this much as astronomers think of geocentrism.

You still haven't replied to any of the specific points I made. So let's pick one: Eohippus and Equus, sittin in some strata?

"Every attempt to show macroevolution in which one kind of organism becomes another kind has been shown to be false."
One of the problems with wasting my time going over to the university library and printing out study after study - besides that you'll refuse to understand what is being shown, and in what intellectual context - is that, due to time and space constraints, they're usually with bacteria, who are a) boring and b) don't fit into our metazoan-centric world view. I don't know what you think counts as a rebuttal to the nylon-eating bacteria, but the fact is, in animal terms, this would be like people suddenly started eating rock.

-Dan S.

Anonymous said...

Dan S. says

creeper:" Given the proposed speed of creationist super-evolution, it should be possible to evolve, via variation within kind, all the hominids from Noah and his family, right?"

creeper, that's hilarious.

"So once micro-evolution via natural selection is conceded, they construct a hypothetical barrier, based on nothing whatsoever"

To be far, radar's model of creation does 'explain' this, in that ^microevolution (I'm using the ^ to designate creationist definitions) is only ^natural selection working on pre-existing variation that God installed into the orginal ancestors of the various ^kinds. New variation is (almost) nonexistant, mutation, etc. cannot act as a creative force. The one role it can play is, essentially , destructive - it can break things, and in some circumstances a broken thing might be more useful, as laid out in that quote from a Mr. Anderson.

Which starts an interesting chain of thought chugging along. I've always seen primitive creationism (as opposed to the more derived kinds, ie, ID) as driven by 1) a need to insist on the literal truth of Genesis at all costs, and 2) a lack of knowledge about actual science. This suggests the possibility of a more theological reading, to wit: all creative energy lies soley with the Creator. Crude matter cannot be creative in any sense - even through a process set in motion by the Creator; that is, creativity can not be transfered or passed down. Matter can only ape creation, through a process that, appropriately for this fallen world, is really destruction. Mutation is the devil's plaything!

Sounds a bit like one of those early Christian sects, the kind that were branded as heretics . . .

"Designers know that flaws in operations will produce finished products that are outside of specifications."
Of course, as F pointed out earlier, human designers have been increasingly using simulated evolution (with a specifically random component) to produce finished products. But in a religious sense, it's striking how life (in all senses) is seen as so constrained - not independent creations that have freedom as a part of God's plan, but clockwork automatons clicking and droning through their motions. (This is mostly Ken Miller's point.

radar sez:
" Every attempt to show macroevolution in which one kind of organism becomes another kind has been shown to be false."
But ^kind, of course, is not a concept within modern biological science. It's as if you started talking to an astronomer about epicycles, or a physicist about phlogiston. ^Kind only gets a teeny handful of mentions in the Bible. It's not an important point - ritual impurity gets a lot more page space. And the YEC theory of kind microevolution is, of course, not mentioned at all, short of the most heinous sort of semantic torture, since it's a unnatural, uncomfortable hybrid of Genesis and modern biology. There is no non-creationist biology research being done with the kind concept, while 'baraminology' comes across as part parody of science, part biological version of that show "1900s House" (or similar reenactments).

I admire you guys, though. You denied 'microevolution' as long as humanly possibly. Even when the first few creationists recognized it out of actual open-mindedness or pure necessity, the rest of the bunch did a good job slamming them as evolutionists . . .

Let's play dictionary! (Note: the following are very rough and inexact definitions, with important bits left out.)
Microevolution (n): in modern evolutionary theory, small scale evolutionary change, evolutionary change within a species (being phenotypically-visible results of changes in allele frequency)
^Microevolution (n): in creationism, a process by which God-given variety within a kind leads to different species of varieties due to natural selection and related processes (including information-destroying mutations)

Macroevolution (n): in modern evolutionary theory, large scale evolutionary change, evolutionary change at (speciation) or above the level of species (being phenotypically-visible results of changes in allele frequency)
^Macroevolution (n): in creationism, (1) a mistake, (2) an evil lie spread by the VDC (Vast Darwinist Conspiracy), (3) a dog giving birth to kittens (imposible change between inviolate, God-created kinds).

Does that sound right to everybody?

But is it right, that change can only happen between kinds, and mutation can "not provide a genetic mechanism for common “descent with modification"?

Well, let's look at that study I was talking about:

Most human-chimp differences due to gene regulation, the press release claims. Researchers from Yale, the University of Chicago, and the Hall Institute (Australia) used novel gene-array technology to compare the level of expression of more than 1,000 genes between humans, chimps, orangutans and rhesus macaques. And they found . . .

Well, first, they found that about 60% of the genes measured "had fairly consistent expression levels across all four species. Many of these genes are involved in basic cellular processes. The authors suggest that altering the regulation of these fundamental and ancient genes may be harmful. In fact, five of the 100 most stable genes have altered expression levels in liver cancer."

So far this is not inconsistant with the creationist model. But what else did they find? Well, it turns out there's another group of genes - 19, to be exact - that had "significantly greater or lesser expression levels" in humans specifically. The 14 genes with significantly greater expression were disproportionally likely to be transcription factors, genes which control the the expression of other genes. "This is a very efficient way to make big changes with very little effort, according to [U of C assistant prof. of human genetics] Gilad. By altering transcription factors, the entire regulatory network can change with very few mutations, increasing the impact and minimizing the risk." (Fascinating post on a related bit here

What can creationism make of this? Well, it can say that all these guys are one kind, and these range in gene expression was contained with the original post-Deluge survivors of this kind (which would have kind extend past family and and towards suborder, but most importantly, would mean that we and the other apes have a common ancestor (you can throw the old world monkeys in as a freebie).

It would have to try to come to terms with how little changes might have big effects, and how mutations might play an important positive role in generating diversity, instead of being imprisoned behind barriers of personal incredulity and statistics.

Alternately, it can say that the genetic evidence both for common ancestry and the evolution of differences, despite working fine when it comes to looking at human relationships, and presumably within a kind, simply tells us nothing here. These similarities are the mark of God's creations, like the characteristic brush strokes that allows us to identify the paintings of a master. On a metaphorical level, this doesn't work. We're talking, DNA, not brushstrokes. This isn't a question of resemblance indicating a certain divine style, but of these resemblances being produced the same way. Sure a divine Creator would have had various ways to make similar body plans, etc., rather than using the same sets of instructions?

But more importantly - yes, creationism can explain this and similar findings. Apparent similarities aren't a record of common descent and the production of variation, but represent the Creator's designs. Creationism could also explain the opposite finding, if genetics didn't show evidence for common descent, but instead enormous differences on the most fundamental levels between groups. It can explain anything! Of course, an idea that could explain anything ultimately explains nothing.

Note that the idea that the evidence for common descent is misleading does not come from scientific observation, or from anything in the natural world, but solely from a literal reading of a religious text.

Interestingly, the subgroup of creationists who are sincerely trying to do good (if wildy atypical) science, to the extent they're academically honest, keep sorta recapitulating real science, in a oddball way:
"More recently Cavanaugh, et al. (2003) have applied newly-developed biosystematic (baraminological) and statistical (ANOPA) methods to argue that the FES [Fossil Equid Sequence] is a valid stratomorphic series, representing rapid post-Flood intra-baraminic diversification."

and running into trouble that they have to wiggle out of, as in the following abstract (abstract and pdf of the article here:

"Evidence for the great similarity between chimpanzees and humans was recently reinforced with the publication of a rough draft of the chimpanzee genome. The sequence is in >361,000 pieces with a median length of 15,700 nucleotides. The sequence differs from the human genome by 35 million nucleotide mismatches (1.23%) and 10 million alignment gaps (~3-4%). Rather than attempting to explain this similarity, I here propose principles that can guide creationist research in this area. I find that creationist genomics requires three important theories that still need to be developed before fruitful research can commence. The first need is a theory of biological similarity. The level of similarity observed between the human and chimpanzee genomes cannot be adequately explained simply by the will of the Creator, unless a theory can be developed to explain why the Creator would will such similarity. The most promising candidate for explaining biological similarity is a modified form of ReMine's message theory. The second greatest need for interpreting genomes is a theory of the genome, particularly its importance and biological function. The third need is a better understanding of baraminology and historical development of organisms." (Other 'baraminologists' simply deny any consideration that humans and chimps are part of a "holobaramin", and you can even see what they're having to do:
"In order to determine baraminic distances among types of organisms it is important to utilize the most significant data. For instance, molecular studies with mitochondrial DNA and RNA were useful with some turtles, but the author questioned the baraminic utility of ecologic criterions (Robinson, 1997). In a baraminic study of human with non-human primates, the morphological (form) features such as teeth and bones as well as ecological characters including feeding and habitats were more valuable than chromosomal or molecular (hemoglobin and RNA) information").

In other words, well, those methods that give us results that we know are wrong, well, they're not working in this case. And, as the same author explains - #1 in his list of guidelines is
" Scripture claims . . . This has priority over all other considerations. For example humans are a separate holobaramin because they separately were created (Genesis 1 and 2)."*

(From a sociology/philosophy of science perspective, this stuff is fascinating. It's a natural experiement that gets at some of the major issues as to how science works . . . )

* extra points if you find out how I manipulated this quote to make it better support my argument (although I frankly don't buy the alternate claim).

-Dan S, wondering what these folks would make of Austin Powers - a baramini-me?

creeper said...

I had a longer post in the making, but an unfortunate computer mishap laid that one to waste - I will reconstruct it though. And the more I look at those 5 evolutionist yada-yada that Radar pointed at, the more whoppers I find. I sure hope Radar's spending as much time examining the stuff we've pointed out to him as we are on his.

Dan,

glad you liked that observation about hominid evolution. There was a semi-serious point underneath it all, but if you look at YEC "creation science" [actually deserving of a lot more quote marks than that], it leads to so many hilarious (no doubt unintended) consequences, that it's hard to resist taking some of them to their natural conclusion.

On a more serious note: evolutionary theory and "creation science" would both predict certain things to be found in the human chromosome, n'est-ce pas? What I don't get is, why is it that "creation science" always apes what one would expect to find according to evolutionary theory anyway? Especially when you look at stuff like the human chromosome being so close to that of the chimp, for example.

I mean, if the designer is really so clever that he re-uses parts (in exactly the same level of similarity as evolutionary theory predicts), why doesn't he ever do something that a designer would do that the evolutionary process could not have done?

Weird.

I guess the IDers are taking a stab at this with irreducible complexity, but they can't dig up any such cases, at least none that pass scrutiny by other scientists - and even IDers (claim to) take on board the old earth and such.

None of them would dare defend all races evolving on their respective continents in a handful of generations. At least none that I'm aware of. Surely ICR or one of those places must be delving into this topic with utmost enthusiasm.

Creationism would dictate the creationist orchard, wouldn't it? We should be able to see all variety of life around us as consisting of only so many "kinds", and the research into chromosomes should reflect this without question.

Compared to what evolutionary biologists are up against, "creation scientists" are facing a walk in the park. Trace all life on earth only back to 16,000 measly "kinds"? All you'd have to do would be to list all life, take a rough guess as to what kind they belong to, then check the chromosomes and see how they converge - obviously, they'll all converge to something around 4,400 years ago. If Radar wants to get much weaslier, heck, even 5,000 years ago. And if creationist super-evolution holds true, perhaps God allowed Noah to have quite a spacious Ark for himself:

1. Hominids
2. Other fauna
3. Flora
4. Food

This could actually amount to:

1. Hominids:
Noah and his family

2. Other fauna:
Two birds
Two bees
Two chickens
Two bears
Two dogs
Two cats
Two elephants
Two mules
Two mice
Two sheep
Two bug-like creatures
... surely the rest can evolve within kinds from all that. Maybe add a few more, but really, can it fill much more than a few train cars or so?

Seriously. They've got super-evolution, dangit! All the variation's included!

3. Other flora:
A turnip in a pot.

4. Food:
Truckloads.

Seriously, they'd've had room to play badminton. No joke.

Then, after the Flood, everybody reproduce once or twice, then all run to the different continents as quick as you can, and for Heaven's sake: evolve! Pronto!

I hope the "creation science" labs are on this!

Okay, it may read like I'm joking here, but something not too terribly far from that is what lies between what YEC's insist is true and the world we see around us. And the lack of any kind of serious research into "kinds" is a pity, given how seriously creationists take themselves in the political arena.



Meanwhile, Radar has yet to acknowledge that an ancient civilization living right through the global flood falsifies the notion of Genesis being an infallible witness. He mumbled something about Genesis being true just because it is (even though it's as flexible as an accordeon, as Radar confessed at another point), but even Genesis starts with Egypt already in existence and being a prosperous nation.

Oh yeah, and that Equus/Eohippus thing, studiously ignored.

creeper said...

[...]but even Genesis starts with Egypt already in existence and being a prosperous nation"

Just to make sure this isn't misinterpreted: the first time Egypt is mentioned in Genesis, it is already in existence and a prosperous nation. This is after the Flood. There is no record in the Bible of when Egypt was founded/created/came into being. Genesis doesn't start with Egypt. It starts with the Word, and something kinda like the Big Bang.

As such, the Bible does not contradict the timeline of Ancient Egypt, with the rather hefty exception, of course, of the Flood, of which there is no sign in Ancient Egypt's history.

Ancient Egypt flourished as a civilization from the third millennium onwards, and according to Biblical chronology, about 50 people were alive in the whole world when the pyramids of Gizeh were built. Not only that, but whoever was alive at the time took over very quickly from the Ancient Egyptians, all of whom allegedly drowned because they were wicked, and took over their civilization wholesale. Thus Noah's descendants worked at amazing speed to become better Egyptians.

The Bible offers no statement of when the pyramids were built, and at any rate may be over 1500 years off in its chronology and as such can sadly not be considered reliable in any case.

creeper said...

Pigs! I forgot pigs.

Pigs belong on the Ark, no doubt about it.

Or whatever's most convenient that's of the same kind.

Come to think of it: It has been said that the human digestive system is remarkably similar to that of the pig, so maybe we can get pigs out of people, given an extra decade or two.

Anyway: now I really must get back to work. But this Noah's Ark is fascinating stuff!

Anonymous said...

Dan S. says

"3. Other flora:
A turnip in a pot."

That's the part where I started out-and-out laughing. Beautiful!

That's the bizarre thing - that there are creationists researching this . . .

" why doesn't he ever do something that a designer would do that the evolutionary process could not have done?"

Two things, bouncing a little off what you said.

In the end, as we've seen from various quotes, Genesis is the final authority for creation research. We've seen this idea before - after Western science (or proto-science) was eclipsed by the Dark Ages. For centuries there was a similar pattern of never thinking of subjecting accounts to empirical verification. So, for example, we had bestiaries - bizarre compendiums of superstitions and moral stories, with very rare tidbits of actual natural history scattered among them . . .

creeper: "if the designer is really so clever that he re-uses parts (in exactly the same level of similarity as evolutionary theory predicts), why doesn't he ever do something that a designer would do that the evolutionary process could not have done?"

Yep, that's an odd thing. As an interesting review of Remine's book "The Biotic Message. Evolution versus Message Theory" points out, the way DNA works, it would have been theoretically possible for a creator to make his various kinds look alike - showing a characteristic style - while having completely different DNA sequences: "What needs to be changed are the sequence of bases in the genes. For example, the genes for hemoglobin would be different in all species, but still code for the same hemoglobin. For their functioning it simply doesn't matter how proteins are encoded. The range of proteins that could be produced is exactly the same."

That's the other weird thing - the creationist who thinks "a modified form of Remine's message theory" is the key to explaining why God would have made chimps and people so similar. Message theory, as far as I understand it, holds that life was specifically designed to send the message that evolution didn't happen, that life was designed. The completely unnecessary similarities between creatures - including chimps 'n' us - would seem to send the message that life evolved (and if a divine creator wants us to think that life evolved from a common ancestor, I'm not sure why radar should disagree!).

So how could 'modified message theory' explain why chimps and people not only look a lot alike, but on a fundamental level are a lot alike? I can only imagine one possibility, that the creator would have done this to send a message, a moral message, about human nature, with apes as examplars mainly for various human failings and sins. And so we are back to this.

Creationism - the bold new science of the 12th Century!

Poor little Hyracotherium (=Eohippus) is sobbing away in the corner, convinced that radar, having used her, has now discarded her like a cheap early Eocene tissue. How like a man! For shame, for shame . .

By the way, here's Talkorigin's Quote Mine Project, which provides context for a number of the out-of-context quotes in that trueorigin piece, including

No examples of phyletic evolution found in fossil record - Stanley

Every paleontologist knows taxa appear suddenly -- Simpson

Fossils do not prove that evolution occurs -- Kitts

Smooth intermediates are impossible to construct . . . - Gould and Eldredge

The extreme rarity of transitional forms persist as the trade secret of paleontology - Gould

Haven't found the West quote anywhere, but this
Evolutionary interpretation is a circular argument -- Kemp is pretty much the same thing. This also goes for the Leach quote and Links missing where we most want them [and probably will stay that way] -- Jepsen, Mayr, and Simpson

-Dan S.

Anonymous said...

Dan S. says

creeper:" according to Biblical chronology, about 50 people were alive in the whole world when the pyramids of Gizeh were built . . whoever was alive at the time took over very quickly from the Ancient Egyptians . . . Thus Noah's descendants worked at amazing speed to become better Egyptians."

Kids these days . . . they just don't make them like they used to . . . all they do is sit around watching TV and playing video games . . . : )

Quick quiz question, all: What is a homeobox?
Hint: If you think it's something gay people keep stuff in, you need to do more reading . . .

(And for paper-reading, Chance in the House of Fate: A Natural History of Heredity is awesome on this - hey, hey, bargain book, only $5.98 for a new hardcover . . .)

-Dan S.

Anonymous said...

"Darwinists like to posit "just-so" stories about how things may have occurred"

Jeez, talk about the pot calling the kettle black!! Creationists are the ones basing their 'science' on a literal reading of a middle eastern creation myth!*

* Some people will find this offensive, probably, I'm sorry. The Genesis account is a creation myth, sharing both many formal characteristics (and even details) with other creation myths both from the region and around the world. That something is a myth doesn't mean it isn't also true, at least in a sense; indeed, many folks will argue that mythic truth is as least as important (or more important) then the boring empirical science-y kind. That Genesis is a myth doesn't really have anything to do with whether or not God exists. Etc.

-Dan S.

Anonymous said...

Argh! Closed the window and lost my comment. Short version: The article "Five Major Evolutionist Misconceptions About Evolution" quotes one "Arthur Koestler (evolutionist) as writing: “In the meantime, the educated public continues to believe that Darwin has provided all the relevant answers by the magic formula of random mutation plus natural selection—quite unaware of the fact that random mutations turned out to be irrelevant and natural selection a tautology.”
Now this quote is from '78, several lifetimes ago in terms of science and technology. More importantly, who was Arthur Koestler?. Well, he was a prolific and fascinating guy who worked as a journalist and writer ("Darkness at Noon"). The Wikipedia entry mentioned that he "studied science and psychology at the University of Vienna," but doesn't give further details. He certainly was not a working scientist, although he did spend his last decades writing about the history and sort-of-philosophy of science, in a pop, very, very 60s fashion (lots of Big Ideas about Mankind's Future and Civilization, rather fuzzy science. He also apparently became fascinated with the paranormal, including "a quantum theory of coincidence or synchronicity," leviation and telepathy.

What's my point? It's not that only biologists with PhDs should get to talk about evolution ('cause then what am I doing? It's about the essay's reference to his as an "evolutionist." What does this mean? That he accepted evolution as a scientific explanation? (In fact, I don't think he did?). Anyway, to my mind, this description implies professsional training, credentials, and activities, which is not the case here. If I you hear someone described as a developmental psychologist, or an economist, or a physicist, you expect certain things.

There's another kind of -ist description. For example, Wikipedia mentions that Koestler was a Communist (in the '30s, anyway) and a Zionist. In both cases, this refers to a set of beliefs/philosophy that a person has. As with many other creationists, the writer seems to be using 'evolutionist in this (not really appropriate, or at least meaningful) sense, whether or not they intended the confusion caused by this description. One way or another, he is misrepresenting reality.

And that's just not nice.

-Dan S.

Anonymous said...

" It's about the essay's reference to his as an "evolutionist." "
obviously I mean "him"
-Dan S.

creeper said...

Radar, now that the intellectual dishonesty via quote mining has been demonstrated, do you still stand by the quotes?

Dan, are you suggesting there was a built-in homeobox for Egyptian culture etc. that just needed to be toggled? I guess that would explain it. Some "creation scientist" should get on this!

"That's the bizarre thing - that there are creationists researching this . . ."

If only. Creationism's claims are as abandoned by creationists as your poor little eohippus that's bawling its eyes out. Now it's all just about taking potshots at 'Darwinism', by whatever means necessary, intellectual dishonesty is no obstacle.

Dan, excellent posts - very informative as well as entertaining!

BTW, do any creationists disagree with my assessment that, via creationist super-evolution, all flora could evolve from a turnip with amazing rapidity? If so, could anyone do some research into how many plants it would take to be alive 4,500 years ago to result in the variety of life we see today?

IAMB said...

The plant thing would depend entirely on what level you decided to split them in their taxonomy. You could probably just say two: non-flowering and flowering (probably should use a dandelion for the flowering one, since they tend to adapt quicker than many others).

From those two, we simply have to add the magic "poof" and 4500 years later we have all 287,655(and growing) species. Maybe we should split it into smaller subgroups... then Noah might have been able to get away with, say, about fifteen. He must have been one hell of a gardener.

Oh, and Radar: about the bacteria thing... "they're still bacteria" is about as good an argument as me saying that you and your dog are the same "kind" because you're both eukaryotes. Seriously. There's more genetic difference between e-coli and a strain of cyanobacteria than there is between you and your family dog. That must make you and the dog the same "kind", right?

Oh, and if you'd like an example of a "beneficial mutation", I'd suggest you look into the HbC mutation in human hemoglobin. All of the benefits of HbS without the nasty side effects.

Anonymous said...

Hey - the answer to all those irritating reality-based questions about how Noah fit everybody on the ark! No need to posit lighting-fast evolution within centuries! :)

Of course, in a few months when creationist sites start claiming something like this, I am going to have to beat myself . . .

-Dan S.