Search This Blog

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Turning the tables and questioning Darwinists. You want evidence? I'll give you evidence!

Funny how easy it is to turn questions around on Darwinists.   For instance, I have one commenter who kept sending me this long list of questions and I finally answered them, but he then restated the same question another way twice.   Ugh.  Why don't we find Ichthyosaurs and Dolphins in the same layers of sediment?   Hey, we find whale kinds but perhaps they had not speciated to Dolphins yet back 4300 years ago.  Rapid speciation fits the Creationist model quite nicely.  Whale kinds speciated into various forms of whale, many of which can mate.  Did you know that we have seen that the majority of non-baleen whale kinds can and do mate and mix?   You have heard of the Wholphin, right?  Did you know that bears of various "species" can and do mate?   Polar Bears and Brown Bears and Grizzly Bears can and do mate from time to time.  All sorts of dogs mate with each other, but can also mate with wolves.   The Darwinist concept of what classification is and what species are is a bit off.   We need to divide the world of organisms into created kinds - bara min - and then figure out who is related to whom.  


credit

 Wholphin

A better question is how did Coelecanths disappear and reappear?  They were supposedly an ancestor of modern fish and possibly a "fishapod" of sorts that lived 380 to maybe 80 million years ago and presumably then evolved into something else.   Until 1938 when fishermen caught one off the coast of Africa near Madagascar.    Now we know they are found not only off the African Coast but that there is another version of them living in Indonesian waters.   The Wollemi Pine was extinct but now has been found.  The Gladiator Fly.  The Lazarus Rat.   Dozens of specimens that appear in the fossil record and then disappear have been found living today.   Now, if the fossil record is evidence for a world-wide flood, finding that some animals have changed, some have remained about the same and some have gone extinct is no big surprise.  After all, several "species" of animals have gone extinct within the last 100 years.  Passenger Pigeons.  Marsupial Wolves.  DoDo birds.   On the other hand, the Crocodile is pretty much the same as it was when captured in fossil form and so are dragonflies, although they do not grow as large as they once did.    How do Darwinists account for this slap in the face to evolution, when we can show that the supposedly ancient ancestors who were stepping-stones to modern animals are still around, while the transitional forms from one animal to another are not found?  Has there been even one true transitional form found, where we see systems or organs beginning to evolve, some kind of stepping-stone from one thing to another?  I do not know of one example of a creature that actually qualifies.  Commenters will probably mention a few that we know are simply a type of animal that is fully developed and stands alone.  

Just so you know, classification of organisms is descriptive rather than prescriptive.   We can observe and test and figure out things that Linnaeus never could have, because we can now read DNA and understand a great deal about reproduction he could not possibly have known.   Baraminologists will require many years to identify clearly the primary kinds and classify their offspring properly, continuing the task Linnaeus began long ago.  Creationists are not trying to destroy the work of Linnaeus, we are just continuing the work he started.

Although Blyth, a Creationist, was the first to coin the term "natural selection", a pioneer in the Darwinist world was Alfred Russell Wallace, a man who soon came to doubt the sufficiency of natural selection as a driver of evolution.  


"Contemplating butterflies was among the considerations that drove evolutionary theory’s co-discoverer, Alfred Russel Wallace, to doubt the sufficiency of natural selection to account for the most wondrous aspects of animal life. Like lepidopterist and novelist Vladimir Nabokov a half-century later, Wallace noted the astonishing, gratuitous artistry with which butterflies adorn their wings.
 
In The World of Life, Wallace wrote of how he could satisfyingly account for this only as a feature intended by design “to lead us to recognize some guiding power, some supreme mind, directing
and organizing the blind forces of nature in the production of this marvelous
development of life and loveliness"  - David Klinghoffer, page 16, The Case for Intelligent Design in a Nutshell Chrysalis



Actually, butterflies make a great case for design.  From page 14 of that same publication, discussing the new film METAMORPHOSIS: 

"In Act I, the focus is on the mind-blowing magical routine by which the caterpillar enters into the chrysalis, dissolves into a buttery blob and swiftly reconstitutes itself into a completely different insect, a butterfly.

A cute graphic sequence shows, by way of analogy, a Ford Model T driving along a desert road. It screeches to a stop and unfolds a garage around itself. Inside, the car quickly falls to pieces, divesting itself of constituent parts that spontaneously recycle themselves into an utterly new and far more splendid vehicle. A sleek modern helicopter emerges from the garage door and thumps off into the sky." 

Darwinists cannot answer so many basic questions.  One of the baseless charges made in the comments thread is that I don't depend upon evidence when making posts.  Au contraire!  The posts I make usually consist primarily of evidence and arguments about that evidence.  The commenters are the ones using derision and asking the same questions over and over as if they had not been answered.  Well, let's see you commenters step up to the plate and answer some questions as if you actually had any answers...

Creation.com has challenged Darwinists to answer 15 important questions and I have excerpted the post below and a blow-by-blow dissection of the questions and the failed attempts to answer them.  Questions 1-8 are thoroughly covered below the first article:

Question evolution!

A grass-roots movement to challenge the anti-Christian dogma of evolution

Question evolution
Get involved in questioning evolution!

“Question evolution!” is off to a great start. The Traditional Values Coalition (TVC), which is one of the largest non-denominational, grassroots church lobbies in America and speaks on behalf of over 43,000 churches, is promoting the campaign. With so many churches involved, there is going to be a whole lot of questioning of evolution going on! Get involved yourself and get your church involved as well—let us work together to spread the truth.

The campaign involves people empowering people to stand firm together against the evolutionary indoctrination so rampant in our schools, universities and media. You can encourage your friends to ‘Question evolution’—especially if you are a student who is being force-fed evolutionary dogma.



What good questions can you ask? Our exciting ‘Question evolution’ tract, 15 Questions for Evolutionists, provides 15 critically important questions that evolutionists cannot adequately answer. Share them with your friends, family and fellow students. These attractive tracts [view / order] are very affordable, or print your own from our downloadable PDF document [plain A4-size, plain letter-size]. See a summary of the 15 Questions and here is a web page of the complete 15 Questions including links to further reading and references.

Students certainly should question Darwinism in their schools and encourage others to do it too—after all, don’t teachers urge students to “question everything”? Students have a right to question the evolutionary pseudoscience peddled to them...



… grass-roots revolt against the force-feeding of everyone with evolutionary ‘there-is-no-need-for-God’ thinking.


15 Questions summary

Note to would-be evolution defenders: please read the full brochure and linked articles before attempting to answer the questions, otherwise you will likely be wasting your time boxing at shadows.
  1. How did life with specifications for hundreds of proteins originate just by chemistry without intelligent design?
  2. How did the DNA code originate?
  3. How could copying errors (mutations) create 3 billion letters of DNA instructions to change a microbe into a microbiologist?
  4. Why is natural selection taught as ‘evolution’ as if it explains the origin of the diversity of life?
  5. How did new biochemical pathways, which involve multiple enzymes working together in sequence, originate?
  6. Living things look like they were designed, so how do evolutionists know that they were not designed?
  7. How did multi-cellular life originate?
  8. How did sex originate?
  9. Why are the (expected) countless millions of transitional fossils missing?
  10. How do ‘living fossils’ remain unchanged over supposed hundreds of millions of years?
  11. How did blind chemistry create mind/intelligence, meaning, altruism and morality?
  12. Why is evolutionary ‘just-so’ story-telling tolerated as ‘science’?
  13. Where are the scientific breakthroughs due to evolution?
  14. Why is evolution, a theory about history, taught as if it is the same as the operational science?
  15. Why is a fundamentally religious idea, a dogmatic belief system that fails to explain the evidence, taught in science classes?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Have Darwinists tried to answer these?   Let's look at the first attempts:

Responses to our 15 Questions: part 1

General objections and attempted answers to questions 1–3

Published: 7 September 2011(GMT+10)
Question evolution campaign

Since we kicked off our Question Evolution campaign, responses have been pouring in from evolutionists and skeptics attempting to answer our 15 Questions for Evolutionists (by Dr Don Batten). We’ve compiled many of the answers that we’ve received to date (paraphrased to cover as many versions of the objection we’ve received as possible), along with our refutations. Several of CMI’s staff have contributed to this response, including Jonathan Sarfati, Rob Carter, Don Batten and Lita Cosner.

Note: many of the answers published here cover far more ground than the pamphlet could, since it necessarily dealt with the topics in an abbreviated form.

General Objections: These are objections which may deal with the pamphlet in general.

The more our biological knowledge expands, the more problems evolution has.

Objection 1: These questions are only unanswerable because our science isn’t advanced enough.

Rebuttal: But if science has not yet advanced, then how could they possibly know what can be answered in the future? They tend to discount predictive prophecy, at least when it’s in the Bible. If more questions about evolution were answered by scientific advance, the skeptics may have a point. But exactly the opposite has been true in the past. The more our biological knowledge expands, the more problems evolution has. For example, Darwin thought that the cell was just a blob of goo; now we know it is a miniature city with advanced nanotechnology, including machines and factories.

Objection 2: CMI uses a misleading definition of evolution. Evolution is only the change in allele frequency in a population over time.

Rebuttal: Evolution is often used to describe anything from the slight change of a species over time (for instance, changes in finch beak size) to molecules-to-man evolution. If evolution is just changes in allele frequency, then CMI would be an evolutionary organization! Our detractors are committing the logical fallacy of equivocation, also known as bait-and-switch. What is really misleading is imputing that CMI denies that allele frequencies change—but then, under an evolutionary belief system, why shouldn’t evolutionists mislead, as one bragged about?

CMI’s definition of evolution for the purposes of this pamphlet is the ‘General Theory of Evolution’ (GTE).

The evolutionist Gerald Kerkut defined this as ‘the theory that all the living forms in the world have arisen from a single source which itself came from an inorganic form.’1 This is a perfectly justifiable definition, and one that secular scientists would agree with—and this is what the dispute is about!

Objection 3: Even if science cannot explain the origin of life, to say that God must have done it is an argument from ignorance.

Rebuttal: We do not argue from what we don’t know, but from what we do know about the nature of the information encoded in the DNA, the complexity of life, etc. Our argument is, to quote from a previous response:
In objects of known origin, there are certain features—specified complex information—that occur only in those made by an intelligent designer (or an intelligently designed program). So by the normal analogical reasoning we use in science, when we see these features in an object where the origin is unknown, we can likewise conclude that this object had an intelligent designer.
“These features are those that an archaeologist would use to determine whether an object was designed by an intelligent designer, or that a SETI devotee would use to argue that a signal from space came from an intelligent alien, or whether a ballot or card game was fixed, or whether a sequence of letters was the result of intelligence or monkeys on a keyboard.
“In the first two cases above, it would be perverse to complain that the archaeologist didn’t discuss whether the object’s designer itself had a designer, or that the SETI researcher didn’t tell us who designed the alien. It would be even sillier to argue from this that we should simply drop the idea of design, and conclude that the object or hypothetical space signal had no designer.”
Saying, “We don’t know, but evolution did it somehow,” on the other hand, is an argument from ignorance aka ‘evolution of the gaps’.

Objection 4: Many of these questions involve things that are very improbable. But we know that improbable events happen all the time.

Rebuttal: In the analogies that evolutionists use, such as the lottery, a series of coin flips, etc., there will be an outcome. Someone will win the lottery, the coin flips must be some arrangement of heads or tails, etc. These evolutionists are cheating with chance. But when it comes to the origin of first life, the probability is against any outcome—see Answering another uninformed atheist: Galileo, Miller—Urey, probability.

Objection 5: CMI uses quote mining, citing scientists as part of their argument against evolution even though these scientists are evolutionists. CMI quotes scientists out-of-context.

Rebuttal: Any quote that is less than the entire work of which it is a part could be smeared as ‘out of context’. We take care not to take any quote in a manner that is other than what would be intended in the context. It is acceptable to use ‘hostile witness’ quotes to show how even people who believe evolution admit its difficulties.

An example of a genuinely out-of-context quote would be Darwin’s on the eye, where Darwin was talking about its seeming absurdity but then said that after all it was quite easy to imagine that the eye could be built step-by-step (in his opinion, with which we obviously disagree). This is why it’s on our Don’t Use page, one of the most read on our site (and even praised by Richard Dawkins himself).

But it is not ‘out of context’, say, to quote an evolutionary bird expert against the dino-to-bird theory specifically, or to cite evolutionist Ernst Haeckel to show that he believed that the Bible opposed racism and that the Bible was wrong to do so, or to cite an evolutionist who makes a controversial admission in public or in print, even if he tries to paper over that statement later.

Some of our opponents seem to think that quoting an evolutionist who has conceded a problem with evolution (even if he actually made such a concession) is ‘quoting out of context’ simply because the evolutionist would not agree with our position in toto. But this is a quite bizarre understanding of misquoting.

1. How did life originate?

Answer 1: Abiogenesis is not relevant to the discussion of evolution—it is a separate topic (this has been a very common claim).

Rebuttal: No one claimed that abiogenesis was irrelevant to the evolution debate until evolutionists realized they were losing the debate on it. Indeed, abiogenesis is also often called ‘chemical evolution’ (see Natural selection cannot explain the origin of life and here just one example of a paper by evolutionists proving the point, titled, “On the applicability of Darwinian principles to chemical evolution that led to life”, International Journal of Astrobiology 3:45-53, 2004). It doesn’t matter how well one can or can’t explain how the first life could evolve, if you can’t explain how it got there in the first place, the theory is literally dead in the water (or the (non-existent) primordial soup, as the case may be). Notice also that, as we stated clearly above, creationists believe in changing allele frequencies over time. Therefore, since both sides claim this as part of their model, the debate must lie outside this area. Hence, the origin of life is fair game for discussions on whether or not evolution is true.

See our Origin of Life Q&A for more information.

Answer 2: Life/non-life isn’t a dichotomy. Rather, there are many examples of ‘proto-life’ such as viruses, prions, etc.

Rebuttal: These intriguing sub-life entities have nothing to help evolutionists explain the origin of genuine life, because they can’t reproduce without the presence of genuinely living creatures. But see Did God make pathogenic viruses? And Even a tiny virus has a powerful mini-motor.

Answer 3: Some experiments show that the early earth’s atmosphere was optimal for life.

Rebuttal: And which studies would those be? The Miller-Urey experiment which used the wrong sort of atmosphere and produced more sludge than amino acids? Or the studies which show that the early atmosphere was oxygen-rich—not friendly for the origin of life. Or the ones that show that water would impede the formation of the hypothetical earliest cell, because it would favour hydrolysis over polymerization. Or the ones that show that information is a crucial component for life—the ‘software’ is just as important as the ‘hardware’, in other words—which gives the evolutionists the burden of showing how something so mind-bogglingly complex (such that we only are beginning to unravel some of the code) came about by random chance?

2. How did the DNA code originate?

Answer 1: This is not an evolution question, because evolution starts with an already-reproducing organism.

Rebuttal: But this is something evolution must assume. Leading philosopher Antony Flew lost his atheistic faith by considering (among other things):
“It seems to me that Richard Dawkins constantly overlooks the fact that Darwin himself, in the fourteenth chapter of The Origin of Species, pointed out that his whole argument began with a being which already possessed reproductive powers. This is the creature the evolution of which a truly comprehensive theory of evolution must give some account.
“Darwin himself was well aware that he had not produced such an account. It now seems to me that the findings of more than fifty years of DNA research have provided materials for a new and enormously powerful argument to design.”2
If there’s no way for the DNA code to come about via natural processes, evolution is impossible.

If there’s no way for the DNA code to come about via natural processes, evolution is impossible. A huge problem is this: the DNA information requires complex decoding machines, including the ribosome, so it can be decoded into the specifications to build the proteins required for life, including enzymes. But the information required to build ribosomes is itself encoded on the DNA. So DNA information can’t be decoded without products of its translation, forming a ‘vicious circle’. And decoding machinery requires energy from ATP, built by ATP-synthase motors, built from instructions in the DNA decoded by ribosomes … ‘vicious circles’ for any materialistic origin theory.

Answer 2: Originally, life used RNA instead of DNA to encode information.

Rebuttal: First, where is the evidence for this, such as fossilized ancestral RNA life? Second, the RNA world hypothesis is fraught with difficulties. RNA is even less stable than DNA, and that is saying something—about a million DNA ‘letters’ are damaged in a typical cell on a good day, which then requires repair mechanisms to be in place (another problem for origin-of-life scenarios). And it is extremely unlikely that the building blocks for RNA would come about by undirected chemical interactions, and even if this happened, it would be even more improbable that the building blocks would self-assemble into any RNA molecule, let alone an informational one. And this is only the tip of the iceberg. See this article for more details, which discusses the objections of a major origin-of-life researcher to the ‘RNA world’ hypothesis.

Answer 3: It is disingenuous to argue from the current DNA code, because the original code would have been much simpler.

Rebuttal: This is most disingenuous. So many evolutionists have appealed to the common DNA code to “prove” common ancestry. But now they are claiming that the first life had a different code not possessed by any living creature! But how could we go from the hypothetical simpler coding system to the current one? It would be like switching keys on a computer keyboard—the messages would become scrambled (as anyone who is accustomed to a QWERTY keyboard who has tried to use a non-QWERTY Latin keyboard would know only too well).

Actually, it has long been known that there are exceptions to the code, as we have pointed out (see The Unity of Life) and that is a problem for evolutionists. Richard Dawkins was recently stumped when “ life-creator Craig” Venter pointed out that there were different codes—Dawkins has long taught that evolution was supported by a single code and used this to argue for the single (evolutionary, of course) origin of all life.

There is a certain minimum amount of information which would have to be encoded for any living thing to survive. Currently, the self-replicating organism with the least amount of genetic information is the Mycoplasma genitalium with 580,000 ‘letters’ coding for 482 proteins. But this can only survive as a parasite, so non-parasitical life would have to encode even more information. See How simple can life be?

Answer 4: The question of how the modern code emerged from these early predecessors is evolution itself. Random deviations in the nucleic acid structure would change the by-product produced, if the by-product was more efficient at replicating, it would overwhelm less efficient codes. This gradual change in the complexity of the underlying code is useful in explaining many aspects of biological theory. Such as why RNA is used as an intermediate between DNA and protein synthesis.

Rebuttal: Random deviations would randomly change the “by-product produced”, so they would disrupt all the proteins encoded. RNA is used as an intermediate because it is more labile; it’s optimal for the short time frames needed for cell communications. It is a hopeless candidate for hypothetical eons in a primordial soup.

Answer 5: The words ‘code’ and ‘language’ are only metaphors when applied to the DNA code, and they have no reality outside our own mental constructs. In reality, the whole thing is dependent on chemical properties.

Rebuttal: Secular scientists refer to the nucleobases of DNA as ‘letters’, so it’s hardly original to us. And we would agree that the workings of the code are due to chemical properties—we are not vitalists (see also Naturalism, Origins and Operational Science. But this doesn’t explain the origin of the code. Similarly, we believe that the workings of computer decoders can be explained totally by the laws of semi-conductor electron levels and other electrical properties, but these laws didn’t make the computer. Should we say then that there is no difference between a 500 GB hard drive and an old 2 MB one, because it has no reality outside our mind? Also, this is a rather petty thing to dispute, since it does not address any of the arguments from the pamphlet. One wonders why we received several objections of this nature.

Answer 6: It is easy to create amino acids and the building blocks for RNA by running an electrical charge through mineral-rich water.

Rebuttal: If you could actually get all the amino acids needed for life, and the sugars for RNA, from those conditions (which you can’t, since the conditions are incompatible, so this is a baseless assertion), that would be only the very first step. You then have to polymerize the amino acids in the right sequences into proteins (don’t forget about folding the proteins into precisely the right shape with chaperonins, because even one wrongly-folded protein can wreak havoc), and assemble all those proteins into micro-compartments to prevent the wrong things from reacting, then combine these compartments together to make the first cell. That is why such experiments never go beyond these simple “building blocks”; they are too dilute, contaminated, cross-reactive, and racemic (instead of being ‘one-handed’), to build anything. See Origin of life: instability of building blocks and Origin of life: the chirality problem. We have already covered the problems for the RNA world.

3. How could mutations—accidental copying mistakes—create the huge volumes of information in the DNA of living things?

Answer 1: If only eight mutations per year were passed on for three billion years, that gives 3 gigabytes of information.

It is becoming the consensus even among evolutionist geneticists that mutations are like spelling mistakes in an instruction manual, which overwhelmingly degrade information.

Rebuttal: This assumes that those information-gaining mutations occur—which hasn’t been shown. Second, as a population grows larger, it is harder to fix new mutations in the population, because the cost of substitution is greater (this is Haldane’s Dilemma).3 Third, it assumes that the mutations that will be fixed are the sort that create new structures, such as lungs, feathers and wings. But it is becoming the consensus even among evolutionist geneticists that mutations are like spelling mistakes in an instruction manual, which overwhelmingly degrade information. These changes can be adaptive (helpful to survival or ‘beneficial’) in certain circumstances, but they are still heading in the wrong direction to make evolution tenable. This includes antibiotic resistance, wingless beetles on windswept islands, blind fish in caves, and chloroquine resistance in malarial parasites. A recent paper shows that even the “beneficial” mutations work against each other—it’s called antagonistic epistasis.

Answer 2: Computer models have shown how mutations can lead to large-scale change.

Rebuttal: Every computer simulation of information-gaining mutations known to us stacks the deck in favour of evolution and in no way simulates what actually happens in real life. You might as well argue from the computer game Spore (although some do). See the articles on genetic algorithms and Dawkins’s Weasel program at our Natural Selection Q&A, as well as the more sophisticated Mendel’s Accountant, which does simulate (model) the real world genetics of living organisms. We know that mutations break things—and it’s far easier to break something than to make it.

Note also, that the issue is not the size of the change: dogs and cabbages both exhibit enormous variety, but they are still dogs (wolves, coyotes, German shepherds, etc.) and cabbages (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, etc.). These changes can occur within an animal or plant type (kind/baramin). Evolutionists need to find a mechanism for ‘nature’ to invent new genetic instructions for complex new features such as feathers for reptiles, if evolution did really change a reptile into a bird, for example.

Answer 3: Using words such as ‘accidental’ and ‘mistakes’ is misleading and misses the point entirely.

Rebuttal: Again, this sort of language is used by secular scientists, so take it up with them. But an assertion is not an argument—our opponents didn’t even defend this assertion. Carl Sagan, an ardent evolutionist, admitted: “ … mutations occur at random and are almost uniformly harmful—it is rare that a precision machine is improved by a random change in the instructions for making it.”4 How can random changes be anything but ‘accidental’ and ‘mistakes’?

Well so far our evolution defenders have not delivered the goods. Keep tuned for the next installment of attempts to answer the 15 questions.

Related articles

Further reading


Responses to our 15 Questions: part 2

Questions 4–8

Published: 14 September 2011(GMT+10)
Responses to our 15 Questions: part 2

Responses to our 15 Questions: part 1


Here we continue our appraisal of various attempts to answer our 15 Questions for Evolutionists. We’ve compiled many of the answers that we’ve received to date (paraphrased to cover as many versions of the answer we’ve received as possible), along with our refutations.

4. Why is natural selection, a principle recognized by creationists, taught as ‘evolution’, as if it explains the origin of the diversity of life?

Demonstrating some example of natural selection is not demonstrating ‘evolution in action’ because no new genetic specifications are being created by natural selection.

Answer 1: It is disingenuous for creationists to claim to accept natural selection and not ‘macroevolution’, since the cumulative effect of the former leads to the latter.

Rebuttal: Actually, there is not one undisputed example of one structure arising gradually through natural selection. But if natural selection was the engine for evolution, we should have many examples of this happening. Rather, every example of natural selection that we have shows that it is a conservative force which specializes creatures to be better adapted for their environment. This involves a loss of information; for example, a population of bears in a cold climate losing information for short and medium-length fur (see How information is lost when creatures adapt to their environment).

The major issue here is that natural selection does not create any genetic information, so ‘natural selection’ is not the same as evolution. Demonstrating some example of natural selection is not demonstrating ‘evolution in action’ because no new genetic specifications are being created by natural selection. So there is nothing disingenuous about creationists accepting natural selection but not molecules-to-molecular-biologists evolution. However, it is disingenuous of evolutionists to continually equate natural selection with evolution.


However, high-profile evolutionists themselves have long recognized that ‘macroevolution’ is not just a matter of more ‘microevolution’; it is qualitatively different (so CMI advises against using these terms, which tend to create confusion). In November 1980 a conference of some of the world’s leading evolutionary biologists, billed as ‘historic’, was held at the Chicago Field Museum of Natural History on the topic of ‘macroevolution’. Reporting on the conference in the journal Science (Vol. 210(4472):883–887, 1980.), Roger Lewin wrote:
“The central question of the Chicago conference was whether the mechanisms underlying microevolution can be extrapolated to explain the phenomena of macroevolution. At the risk of doing violence to the positions of some of the people at the meeting, the answer can be given as a clear, No.”
Francisco Ayala (Associate Professor of Genetics, University of California), was quoted in the same article as saying:
“… but I am now convinced from what the paleontologists say that small changes do not accumulate.”
Answer 2: There are over 100 new mutations for every child born. It is inevitable that evolution would happen with this rate of mutation. Those with the best mutations survive and reproduce.


Rebuttal: We’ve noted the mutation rate—and that it’s a huge problem for evolution. 100 mutations is actually the lowest (unrealistically low) possible number of new mutations per person, and that’s already extremely problematic for evolution. You see, in the evolutionary view, there have been 100 new mutations for every child for millions and millions of years. That’s billions of mutations.1 This also collapses a common argument for human-ape similarity: why should there be any similarity at all in the alleged five or six million years since their alleged common ancestor (but see also Evolutionists abandon the idea of 99% DNA similarity between humans and chimps).

When a person reproduces, his genes as a whole (half of them) are passed on, with both beneficial and non-beneficial mutations. It’s not as if a certain gene gets selected—it’s the group of genes that the person has. Most mutations are nearly neutral, emphasis on nearly. We don’t need to worry about the really catastrophic mutations being passed on most of the time; they often result in the death of the individual or otherwise prevent reproduction (natural selection operates here to remove the lethal ones, thus acting as a conserving force).

But most mutations aren’t like that—the person can survive. The deleterious effect may be so small that it’s imperceptible by itself. But add up thousands, hundreds of thousands, of those mutations, and you have a substantially ‘less fit’ individual than someone from the first generation. This person isn’t an example of evolution—he’s an example of devolution. He’s more likely to have problems like allergies and immune system disorders, he’s more likely to have trouble reproducing, and he’s probably got a shorter lifespan (without modern medical help), just for starters. And it gets worse for his descendants, because eventually all these mutations build up to an unsustainable level, and we get a situation that Dr John Sanford, geneticist, describes in Genetic Entropy and the Mystery of the Genome (see our review):

“When selection is unable to counter the loss of information due to mutations, a situation arises called ‘error catastrophe’. If not rapidly corrected, this situation leads to the eventual death of the species—extinction! In its final stages, genomic degeneration leads to declining fertility, which curtails further selection (selection always requires a surplus population, some of which can then be eliminated each generation). Inbreeding and genetic drift then take over entirely, rapidly finishing off the population. The process is an irreversible downward spiral. This advanced stage of genomic degeneration is called ‘mutational meltdown’. Mutational meltdown is recognized as an immediate threat to all of today’s endangered species. The same process appears to potentially be a theoretical threat for mankind” (p. 41).

5. How did new biochemical pathways, which involve multiple enzymes working together in sequence, originate?

Answer 1: There’s no reason to think that the first life was as complex as today’s—the simplest forms would be extinct by now, out-competed by the more complex modern forms. A self-replicator can be as simple as a strand of six DNA nucleotides. These self-replicators set the stage for evolution to begin whether or not you call these molecules ‘life’.

Rebuttal: Documentation? Evidence? Hard science indicates that the simplest life is incredibly complex (we have already cited How simple can life be?). So your imaginary scenario is just that; far removed from what we know of life on Earth. For more on claims of self-replicating molecules, peptides and enzymes, see Self-replicating enzymes? A critique of some current evolutionary origin-of-life models.

Answer 2: Furthermore, looking at the biochemical processes in detail at a moment in time does not indicate the evolutionary history of an organism. Scaffolding is a means to develop a process. Furthermore, evolution is established on the macroscopic level through morphology as well as on the molecular level with genetics. As the understanding of biochemistry proceeds (as it is a much younger science), a better understanding will develop. Furthermore, as Michael Behe learned at the Dover trial, there is a lot known about the evolution of proteins, such as with the immune system.

Rebuttal: Lots of assertions here with little to back them up. Taking each sentence in turn:

In one sense, it is good to see that some evolutionists have finally abandoned the discredited “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny”argument applied to biochemistry. But this also exposes the inconsistency of a major evolutionary argument: supposedly the many biochemical similarities prove evolution from a common ancestor with these features. But then it turns out that the ancestor didn’t have these features at all! E.g., all life uses DNA because of common ancestry, but then this common ancestor didn’t use DNA. Or, there is a common pentadactyl (five-digit) limb pattern in all tetrapods, because they all came from a common ancestor that walked up on the land from the sea. But the usual candidates for this common ancestor don’t have five digits—Acanthostega had eight, while Ichthyostega had seven, although all of these, including the much hyped Tiktaalik, have been trumped by more recent fossil evidence.

Scaffolding is really the “spandrel” argument by Lewontin and Gould.2 Yet there is no further evidence presented.

The morphological evidence is dealt with elsewhere, and is a change of subject.

There is yet another quasi-prophetic appeal to what we will understand in the future, but this is of course a tacit admission that evolutionists don’t have an answer now.

Lots of rubbish has been talked about the Dover Trial, where a previously unknown judge became the darling of the liberal media and evolution-pushing organizations by parroting the ACLU submission in his verdict. See our analysis.

Answer 3: It’s not a lucky accident!

Rebuttal: And if the question was, “Was the origination of new biochemical pathways, which involve multiple enzymes working together in a sequence, a lucky accident?”, that would be an answer to our question, although still only an unsupported assertion. Either it’s a lucky accident or it’s designed. Selection can’t work before these already exist in a functional form—it’s pure chance. But the question was how did they come about, and this didn’t even attempt to answer that one.

6. Living things look like they were designed, so how do evolutionists know that they were not designed?

Answer 1: They don’t, but to say they are is a mere argument from ignorance.

Rebuttal: If evolutionists admit they don’t know, isn’t that by definition an admission that they’re arguing from ignorance? Also, as stated in part 1, the argument from design is based on what we do know.

Answer 2: If there were a designer, we should see designs tending toward simplicity, not complexity. Yet that is the opposite of what we see.

Rebuttal: So life is too complex for it to be designed? This is a new one! In any case, this is only a form of argument from bad design, refuted in a number of articles under What about claims of ‘bad design’?

Actually, the critic also forgets the Fall, so we should see degeneration, as pointed out in our book By Design. We have previously noted that many parasites are genetically depleted compared to free-living equivalents—see articles under How does biblical Christianity explain the origin of poisons, and pathogenic bacteria and viruses. Thus it should be called devolution not evolution (a downhill change is consistent with the biblical Creation-Fall model). This was backed up by an interview with famous evolutionist Lynn Margulis in Discover April 2011:
“Both the treponema that cause syphilis and the borrelia that cause Lyme disease contain only a fifth of the genes they need to live on their own. Related spirochetes that can live outside by themselves need 5,000 genes, whereas the spirochetes of those two diseases have only 1,000 genes in their bodies. The 4,000 missing gene products needed for bacterial growth can be supplied by wet, warm human tissue. This is why both the Lyme disease borrelia and syphilis treponema are symbionts—they require another body to survive.”
Answer 3: Vestigial organs provide evidence of evolution: these are structures which once had a purpose but no longer do.

Rebuttal: 100 years ago, there were dozens of organs and systems were thought to be vestigial. Today, we know of uses for every organ on those lists. In some cases, an organ serves no essential or known function in the adult, but in the developing stages it serves a critical role. See a few examples under Performing surgery upon evolutionary thinking (interview with pediatric surgeon Dr Ross Pettigrew).

Just because we don’t know of a function for a certain organ or system doesn’t mean there is none.

Furthermore, it’s ironic that this critic accused us of using an “argument from ignorance”, then did just that! Just because we don’t know of a function for a certain organ or system doesn’t mean there is none. One important and recently discovered function of the appendix—a safe house for beneficial bacteria—should have been a lesson. At least, that should have been the argument 100 years ago. Today, we know better. See also Do any vestigial organs exist in humans?.

Answer 4: There are structures that would be horrendously designed, but they’re easy to explain if they evolved. The laryngeal nerve is one example of this.

Rebuttal: See our article on the laryngeal nerve.

Answer 5: It’s very lucky that everything works out just so it looks like it were designed, but if it weren’t, we wouldn’t be around to notice it.

Rebuttal: It’s a simple explanation—except it’s not an explanation. The analogy that we have borrowed to show the inadequacy of the explanation is if I were surrounded by an execution squad comprising expert marksmen, each person with a rifle, and they all fired, but I was still alive afterwards, it’s equally true that if it hadn’t happened that way I wouldn’t be around to observe it, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be surprised by it. So that we exist doesn’t make it any less surprising that we do.

7. How did multi-cellular life originate?

Answer 1: It was beneficial for cells to work together.

Rebuttal: That may be true, but while that may tell us why such a fully developed system is advantageous, it says nothing about how such a system originated, and what benefits the incomplete stages would have.

Answer 2: Colonies of cells that cooperated were the first step.

Rebuttal: There is a huge difference between a colony of single-celled organisms and a true multi-celled organism, and no known mechanism would enable an organism to make that leap. For example, there is a big jump between selection for single cell reproductive success and that for integrity of a multicellular organism. In complex creatures, great reproductive success of a single cell type is usually called cancer. See Evolution of muticellularity: what is required?

8. How did sex originate?

Answer 1: Sexual reproduction allows for evolution at a much faster pace than asexual reproduction. Organisms that exchanged DNA were thus able to evolve out of situations that might have killed their asexual counterparts.

Rebuttal: Another answer which tells why but not how. Creationists can explain the origin of fully functioning sexual reproduction, from the start, in an optimal and genetically diverse population, at the hand of an intelligent Creator. Once the mechanisms are already in place, they have these advantages. But simply having advantages doesn’t remotely explain how they could be built from scratch. The hypothetical transitional forms would be highly disadvantageous, so natural selection would work against them. Sexual reproduction involves fine tuning on both the molecular level (so DNA from two individuals can combine into a new one) and the macroscopic level: in many cases, the male and female genitalia are precisely tuned so one could fit the other, meaning that they could not have evolved independently.

It’s also only partially right: yes, because of recombination, sexual reproduction allows much variability. But it also allows a successful organism to pass on only half the genes to any given offspring (and in a stable population by definition, there is only one offspring per parent). This acts as a conservative force. This is a good thing, because most mutations are harmful, and it’s a good thing they are not passed on. But for evolution, it’s a problem since any putatively beneficial mutation has a 50% chance of not being passed on. Also, sexual reproduction allows these harmful genes, if recessive, to be shielded by a backup copy.

Answer 2: Sex depends on both the male and the female. Any incompatibilities would cause sterility and would be selected against.

Rebuttal: Sex is indeed dependent on the actions of the male and the female, but unless you’re some kind of neo-Lamarckian, that isn’t going to lead to complementary structures. The fact that natural selection will weed out sterile individuals doesn’t explain how functioning sexual reproduction came to be, since there’s a lot more ways to make something that doesn’t work than something that does. Incidentally, many responses to this question show more confidence about the origin of sex than Dawkins had. See Evolution of Sex (Refuting Evolution 2 chapter 11).

Reader’s comment:

Mark J., Australia, 13 September 2011
Great article. Its only a pity that these kinds of questions don't make the public arena. But the answer to that is obvious: the evolutionary logic, or lack of, is so deficient that no evolutionist wants it exposed to the light of day, or light of truth. Keep up the great work.

Related articles

Further reading

References

  1. According to theory, the fixation rate of neutral mutations is roughly proportional to the mutation rate. Therefore, 1,000,000 years / 20 years/generations = 50,000 generations. 50,000 generations x 100 mutations/generation = 5 billion mutations, more or less, in 1 million years. This is a complete overturning of the genome! Why is there any similarity between chimpanzees and man left after a supposed 6 million years of separation? Return to text.
  2. See Gould, S.J. and Lewontin, R.C., The spandrels of San Marco and the Panglossian Paradigm: a critique of the adaptationist programme, Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B, 205(1161):581–598, 1979. Return to text.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Actually, Creationists have got answers Darwinists have not begun to find and we can explain the Universe pretty much soup-to-nuts while Darwinists still grope around trying to find an explanation for why anything exists at all.  We actually have people who call themselves Astrobiologists, but if we did find life on another planet that would just be one more place where secular scientists couldn't explain how it came to be.  Later on this fall I will share with readers the almost pathetically lame argument supposed mega-brain Stephen Hawking uses to explain how the Universe came to be.   For now, let's see if any commenters have any comprehensible answers at all to the questions.   I am thinking probably NOT!!!!