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Ten Major Flaws of Evolution – A Refutation

by Steven Novella, Feb 09 2009

February 12th is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin. This year is also the 150th anniversary of the publication of Origin of the Species – arguably one of the most important scientific publications ever. In honor of Darwin’s idea and the subsequent scientific triumph of evolutionary theory, I am posting my refutation of a popular creationist internet meme. Creationists love to imagine that they have dismantled evolution or discovered it’s “major flaws,” however they only succeed in exposing the major flaws in their understanding of evolution and ability to reason.

TEN MAJOR FLAWS OF EVOLUTION – REVISED
by Randy Alcorn (with additional editing by Jim Darnall). I wrote the following article many years ago, but it needed to be thoroughly revised and updated. Thanks to Jim Darnall for adding some important new information.

1) The complexity of living systems could never evolve by chance—they had to be designed and created. A system that is irreducibly complex has precise components working together to perform the basic function of the system. (A mousetrap is a simple example.) If any part of that system were missing, the system would cease to function. Gradual additions could not account for the origin of such a system. It would have to come together fully formed and integrated. Many living systems exhibit this (vision, blood-clotting, etc.). When you look at a watch, you assume there was a watchmaker. A watch is too complex to “happen” by chance. Yet such living systems are almost infinitely more complex than a watch. They could not be random—they simply had to be designed and created.

This statement is not an argument at all, but merely an assertion. It is simply asserting what appears to be the point of this list of supposed arguments – that evolution through natural forces is impossible. But it contains many implied claims. It refers to irreducible complexity and gives the examples of vision and blood clotting. It does not address the century and a half old refutation of this argument – that biological systems could have evolved from simpler systems that were functional but served a different purpose from their current one. Further, all the examples (stated here and elsewhere) of supposed irreducibly complex systems have been shown to have simpler antecedents.

The statement also implies that evolution is “random.” This is false. Mutations are random, and variation may be random, but natural selection is decidedly not random, and therefore evolution is not random. Evolution is the non-random survival of those traits that provide an advantage to survival and reproduction in the current environment. Evolution is a designing force.

The watch analogy is not valid because a watch is an inanimate object. Biological evolution occurs within systems that are self-reproducing and contain variation and differential survival and reproduction. Life can use energy to grow, reproduce, and therefore evolve. Watches do not.

2) The high information content of DNA could only have come from intelligence. Information science teaches that in all known cases, complex information requires an intelligent message sender. This is at the core of the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI). DNA is by far the most compact information storage/retrieval system known. A pinhead of DNA has a billion times more information capacity than a 4-gigabit hard drive. Ironically, evolutionists scan the heavens using massive radio telescopes hoping for relatively simple signal patterns that might have originated in outer space, all the while ignoring the incredibly complex evidence of superior intelligence built into every human’s DNA. While we’re waiting to hear signs of intelligence behind interstellar communication, we’re ignoring those built into us.

Information science does NOT say that all complex information has an intelligent source. In fact, it has been shown that complex information can emerge spontaneously out of blind and natural processes following relatively simple rules. Creationists abuse information theory by making claims about information without ever defining the term. They then drift as needed from one definition to another in order to make false analogies – like the one here about SETI.

Here is a detailed refutation by Jeffrey Shallit of information claims by ID proponents. Here I deal with the SETI false analogy.

3) No mutation that increases genetic information has ever been discovered. Mutations which increase genetic information would be the raw material necessary for evolution. To get from “amoeba” to “man” would require a massive net increase in information. There are many examples of supposed evolution given by proponents. Variation within a species (finch beak, for example), bacteria which acquire antibiotic resistance, people born with an extra chromosome, etc. However, none of the examples demonstrate the development of new information. Instead, they demonstrate either preprogrammed variation, multiple copies of existing information, or even loss of information (natural selection and adaptation involve loss of information). The total lack of any such evidence refutes evolutionary theory.

All mutations increase genetic information (again we see the misuse without proper operational definition of the term “information”). If you start with one version of a gene and then it mutates in one offspring but not in another – now you have two versions of that gene. That represents an increase in information. Also, entire genes may be duplicated in the reproductive process. If you start with one copy of a gene and end up with two copies – that is an increase in information. This is especially pertinent to evolution, because one copy can continue to perform its original function while the redundant copy is free to mutate and evolve a new function.

The statement that such increases in the raw amount of information actually represent “preprogrammed variation” is nonsensical. This is a meaningless statement that has no bearing on information. How, exactly, are new mutations “preprogrammed.” If this statement is meant to refer to recombination – the formation of new combinations of genes without mutations – that absolutely increases information by increasing variation, which is the raw material for natural selection.

The idea that natural selection removes variation from the gene pool is true but a non sequitur. Mutations, duplication, and recombination increase information and increase variation and then natural selection causes differential survival of that variation which is better adapted to its niche.

Here is an article by me further discussing the abuse of information theory by creationists.

4) Evolution flies directly in the face of entropy, the second law of thermodynamics. This law of physics states that all systems, whether open or closed, have a tendency to disorder (or “the least energetic state”). There are some special cases where local order can increase, but this is at the expense of greater disorder elsewhere. Raw energy cannot generate the complex systems in living things, or the information required to build them. Undirected energy just speeds up destruction. Yet, evolution is a building-up process, suggesting that things tend to become more complex and advanced over time. This is directly opposed to the law of entropy.

I can see by the above paragraph that at least the author is making the attempt to account for prior criticisms of the “violates the second law of thermodynamics” argument, but in so doing he has simply included more misconceptions, factual errors, and logical fallacies. In this extremely confused statement, however, are the kernels of truth where the correct analysis lies. The author admits that “local order can increase, but at the expense of greater disorder elsewhere.” If I set aside the fact that the author is grossly oversimplifying thermodynamics and falsely equating entropy with disorder, the statement is essentially correct. What this means is that the biosphere of the Earth can experience a local increase in order because it is being more than offset by a decrease in thermodynamic order (an increase in entropy) in the sun. The sun is burning through its fuel and spewing energy at the earth. The entropy of the sun-earth system (and the universe as a whole) IS increasing, but there is nothing in thermodynamics that states that the Earth cannot use energy from the sun to create a local decrease in entropy.

The author has a glimmer of awareness of this fallacy, which is why he anticipates and tries to refute this argument by stating that “Raw energy cannot generate the complex systems in living things, or the information required to build them. Undirected energy just speeds up destruction.” This is a gross misdirection. Biological systems on the Earth are not just being cooked by “raw” (whatever that means) energy. Biological systems use solar and other energy in a very directed and purposeful way. They use energy to grow, reproduce, and evolve. Energy by itself may not be able to generate information, but a biological system that can use energy in the processes of life can.

An acorn can grow into an oak tree. According to the author, energy could only cook an acorn.

Here is a longer article by me on the second law of thermodynamics.

5) There is a total lack of undisputed examples (fossilized or living) of the millions of transitional forms (“missing links”) required for evolution to be true. Evolution does not require a single missing link but innumerable ones. We should be surrounded by a zoo of transitional forms that cannot be categorized as one particular life form. But we don’t see this—there are different kinds of dogs, but all are clearly dogs. The fossils show different sizes of horses, but all are clearly horses. None is on the verge of being some other life form. The fossil record shows complex fossilized life suddenly appearing, and there are major gaps between the fossilized “kinds.” Darwin acknowledged that if his theory were true, it would require millions of transitional forms. He believed they would be found in fossil records. They haven’t been.

The “there are no transitional forms” argument is a simple lie – and a lie that is getting more bold and desperate as more and more fossils are discovered. In reality – all species are transitional. Transitional does not mean some impossible monster or bizarre hybrid (like Kirk Cameron’s ridiculous crockoduck). Transitional just means that one species can be seen to bridge two other species (morphologically, genetically). All the transitional species can both be extant, or the transitional species can be ancestral to the other two, or three species may lie in a temporal sequence.

The notion that the categories of living things can be cleanly divided into “kinds” (without, by the way, ever defining what a “kind” is) is patently wrong. The categories of life are frustratingly fuzzy – precisely because evolution is a chaotic process. Are duck-billed platypus mammals? What about fish with lungs, are they fish or terrestrial vertebrates. The notion that dogs are dogs is nonsensical, because there is no objective demarcation line. What about wolves, coyotes, hyenas, foxes, etc.? There is no objective place to draw a line and proclaim that you have a “kind.” There is rather a branching order of relatedness.

The fossil record has served to fill in the morphological gaps between extant species, as evolutionary theory predicts. We have discovered early mammals that are part reptile and part mammal, early birds that are still half theropod dinosaur, early terrestrial vertebrates that are still part fish (Tiktalik). We have discovered walking whales (Ambulocetus) that are only half-way adapted to aquatic life. We have even discovered numerous hominid species that are a mixture of modern human and ape ancestor features. Only the willfully blind can deny the transitional nature of these fossil species.

6) Pictures of ape-to-human “missing links” are extremely subjective and based on evolutionists’ already-formed assumptions. Often they are simply contrived. The series of pictures or models that show progressive development from a little monkey to modern man are an insult to scientific research. These are often based on fragmentary remains that can be “reconstructed” a hundred different ways. The fact is, many supposed “ape-men” are very clearly apes. Evolutionists now admit that other so-called “ape-men” would be able to have children by modern humans, which makes them the same species as humans. The main species said to bridge this gap, Homo habilis, is thought by many to be a mixture of ape and human fossils. In other words, the “missing link” (in reality there would have to be millions of them) is still missing. The body hair and the blank expressions of sub-humans in these models doesn’t come from the bones, but the assumptions of the artist. Virtually nothing can be determined about hair and the look in someone’s eyes based on a few old bones.

This is a monster straw man. The evidence for the transitional status of hominid species is not dependent upon the artists’ reconstruction or interpretation of what these species may have looked like. That is a monumental bit of scientific illiteracy. Paleontologists have published countless careful and detailed anatomical analyses of the fossils. They clearly show transitional ape-human species. The species that have been clearly established are not based upon mixed ape and human fossils, but multiple specimens collected and documented in such a way as to prove they are one species.

What creationists do with any such sequence is simply take the first half and declare them members of the ancestral group (in this case apes) and the second half and declare them members of the derived group (in this case humans). They have done the same for dinosaurs and birds. But this is just misdirection through labeling. Calling a Homo erectus a human will not change the fact that it has features not seen in any modern human, and has a brain capacity for its size that is comfortably between that of modern humans and modern apes. That is the very definition of transitional.

7) The dating methods that evolutionists rely upon to assign millions and billions of years to rocks are very inconsistent and based on unproven (and questionable) assumptions. Dating methods that use radioactive decay to determine age assume that radioactive decay rates have always been constant. Yet, research has shown that decay rates can change according to the chemical environment of the material being tested. In fact, decay rates have been increased in the laboratory by a factor of a billion. All such dating methods also assume a closed system—that no isotopes were gained or lost by the rock since it formed. It’s common knowledge that hydrothermal waters, at temperatures of only a few hundred degrees Centigrade, can create an open system where chemicals move easily from one rock system to another. In fact, this process is one of the excuses used by evolutionists to reject dates that don’t fit their expectations. What’s not commonly known is that the majority of dates are not even consistent for the same rock. Furthermore, 20th century lava flows often register dates in the millions to billions of years. There are many different ways of dating the earth, and many of them point to an earth much too young for evolution to have had a chance. All age-dating methods rely on unprovable assumptions.

This is nothing more than a collection of unreferenced false assertions. The reality is that dating methods are very accurate and reliable. There are error bars, like everything in science, but multiple methods can be used on multiple samples and an average can be taken to make a very accurate estimate of the ages of various rocks, strata, and fossils. Dating methods are generally in very good agreement. Typically what creationists do is say that because one dating method yields a result of 3 billion years and another of 2.5 billion years – the two dates do not agree (again, without defining what that means - agree to what degree?) and therefore argue that the true age could be thousands of years. That there may be problems with some samples does not invalidate the dating of all samples. For example, moon rocks taken from the highlands (which geologically likely represented the oldest lunar crust) have been dated to about 4.6 billion years old, and none of the processes discussed above have been present during that time on the moon.

Also, much more than our dating methods for rocks points to an ancient Earth and universe. All of cosmology, astronomy, stellar science, physics, etc. points to the same timescale for the age of the Earth, the solar system, and the universe.

More information of dating methods.; And here.

8) Uses continue to be found for supposedly “leftover” body structures. Evolutionists point to useless and vestigial (leftover) body structures as evidence of evolution. However, it’s impossible to prove that an organ is useless, because there’s always the possibility that a use may be discovered in the future. That’s been the case for over 100 supposedly useless organs which are now known to be essential. Scientists continue to discover uses for such organs. It’s worth noting that even if an organ were no longer needed ( e.g., eyes of blind creatures in caves), it would prove devolution not evolution. The evolutionary hypothesis needs to find examples of developing organs—those that are increasing in complexity.

The existence of vestigial organs is not an essential line of evidence for the fact of evolution, but it is further evidence for evolution. It is true that conclusions about the lack of utility of an organ are always tentative and can be overturned if a use is discovered. It is probable that few organs or structures will be found to be totally useless, for such structures tend to be quickly selected against and removed.

It is funny that the author brought up the subject of blind cave species that still have vestigial and useless eyes. (Eventually such species lose their eyes entirely, but species recently adapted to the dark environment of caves still retain vestigial eyes.) In a laughable non sequitur the author admits such structures are vestigial (even though his premise was that there are no vestigial organs) but then changes criteria mid-stream to say that vestigial organs are only evidence of “devolution” not evolution. What is “devolution?” This is based on a misconception of evolution – that it must produce greater complexity. Evolution only adapts creatures to their local environment, and there is nothing that states that such evolution cannot produce a simplification or elimination of structures if that is what is advantageous.

So the author admits vestigial organs exist, and that they are evidence of evolution, but then dodges the whole issue with an ignorant misconception about the nature of evolution.

I will also point out that genetic analysis has given us another window on vestigial parts -namely vestigial genes. For example, chickens, who do not have teeth at any part of their life cycle, still retain the vestigial genes for teeth that can be reactivated. Chickens with inactivated genes for teeth – it doesn’t get more vestigial than that.

9) Evolution is said to have begun by spontaneous generation—a concept ridiculed by biology. When I was a sophomore in high school, and a brand new Christian, my biology class spent the first semester discussing how ignorant people used to believe that garbage gave rise to rats, and raw meat produced maggots. This now disproven concept was called “spontaneous generation.” Louis Pasteur proved that life only comes from life—this is the law of biogenesis. The next semester we studied evolution, where we learned that the first living cell came from a freak combination of nonliving material (where that nonliving material came from we were not told). “Chemical Evolution” is just another way of saying “spontaneous generation”—life comes from nonlife. Evolution is therefore built on a fallacy science long ago proved to be impossible.

This paragraph proves that no argument is so bad or often disputed to be discarded by creationists. Evolution is NOT about the origin of life but the subsequent change in life over time. It is not even dependent upon the naturalistic origin of life. They are completely separate scientific questions.

But that non sequitur aside, it is also ridiculous to compare the quaint notion of “spontaneous generation” with the science of life origins. It is true that we do not yet have a complete model of how life arose (lack of knowledge does not render something impossible – that’s the unknown equals unknowable logical fallacy). But we have figured out many interesting pieces to the puzzle – amino acids are readily made and are abundant, for example. The raw material of life was abundant on the early Earth, as was energy for organic chemical reactions.

The only thing that really would have had to happen spontaneously is the formation of a molecule that could make crude copies of itself. That’s it – that is enough to get a foothold in evolution. The rest is not random, but the very non-random accumulation of improvements by evolutionary processes.

10) Evolutionists admit that the chances of evolutionary progress are extremely low. Yet, they believe that given enough time, the apparently impossible becomes possible. If I flip a coin, I have a 50/50 chance of getting heads. To get five “heads” in a row is unlikely but possible. If I flipped the coin long enough, I would eventually get five in a row. If I flipped it for years nonstop, I might get 50 or even 100 in a row. But this is only because getting heads is an inherent possibility. What are the chances of me flipping a coin, and then seeing it sprout arms and legs, and go sit in a corner and read a magazine? No chance. Given billions of years, the chances would never increase. Great periods of time make the possible likely but never make the impossible possible. No matter how long it’s given, non-life will not become alive.

The author – like all prominent creationists – has proven himself to be a master of the non sequitur. The pattern should be entirely clear, now. Start with one criterion then subtly shift to another. The paragraph starts out talking about probability, and then after essentially proving the case for evolution by acknowledging that time (and multiple opportunities, I would add) does render low probability events probable, he then shifts to another point entirely. So then we discover that his real premise is that evolutionary change is inherently impossible (a point that has nothing to do with probability). But this is just asserting his premise – the point he is allegedly trying to prove. Evolution does not require coins to sprout legs.

11) The scientific method can only test existing data—it cannot draw conclusions about origins. Micro-evolution, changes within a species on a small scale, is observable. But evidence for macro-evolution, changes transcending species, is conspicuous by its absence. To prove the possibility of anything, science must be able to reproduce exact original conditions. Even when it proves something is possible, it doesn’t mean it therefore happened. Since no man was there to record or even witness the beginning, conclusions must be made only on the basis of interpreting presently available information. If I put on rose-colored glasses, I will always see red. I accept the Bible’s teaching on creation, and see the evidence as being consistently supportive of that belief. When dealing with origins, everyone who believes anything does so by faith, whether faith in God, the Bible, himself, modern science, or the dependability of his own subjective interpretations of existing data. I would rather put my faith in God’s revealed Word.
by Randy Alcorn, Eternal Perspective Ministries, 2229 E. Burnside #23, Gresham, OR 97030, 503-663-6481, http://www.epm.org

Ah – the last refuge of the truly desperate. Unable to provide a single cogent argument against evolution the author tries to do away with all historical sciences. Since no one was around millions of years ago, the lame argument goes, we can never scientifically explore the past, and so we must rely upon faith. This is the ultimate moving back of the goalpost.

But science is not limited to direct observation. We can scientifically infer what happened in the past by the traces it has left in the present. Life itself is a record of its own history. The past is recorded in our genes, in our anatomy, and our development, and in our physiology. It is recorded in the fossils that our ancestors left behind.

But to get more directly to the point – the core quality of science is that it makes testable predictions. Evolutionary theory makes many testable predictions about what we should find when we look at the world – and so far it has passed every predictive test with flying colors.

What does creationism predict? It depends on how you formulate it, but in practice, it predicts nothing because any possible observation can be interpreted as the unfathomable and unlimited will of the creator. What we can say about an alleged creator by looking at life is that, of all the possible designs and patterns for life a creator might have chosen, they appear to have chosen to create life to look exactly as if it had evolved.

So the ten (really 11) major flaws in evolution turn out to be major flaws in the understanding of evolution, the logic, and the intellectual integrity of creationists. And this is really the best they have.

Happy Darwin Day, everyone.

Recommended Reading

267 Responses to “Ten Major Flaws of Evolution – A Refutation”

  1. Middlerun says:

    “February 12th is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin. This year is also the 200th anniversary of the publication of Origin of the Species”

    People from History sure got their work done quickly. Puts those child prodigies who get PhDs when they’re 14 to shame.

  2. Frank says:

    Very cool article, thanks Steven.

    • Adam says:

      Trying to understand science through the eyes of Evolution destroy credibly.

      Regardless of the existence of GOD how is it that you people can’t just admit that Evolution is based on conjecture, supposition, and speculation?

      You put so much faith in your intellectual prowess I believe that if you proved yourself wrong you would conceal the findings on a bases that a GOD cannot exist.

      Until you answer the basic questions on the origin of our Universe and Biomass you will continue to go down the path of insurmountable unlikely assumption!

  3. ack – thanks, corrected – 150th anniversary of Origin

  4. Cambias says:

    Argument #9, about the origin of life, is actually the core of the whole issue. The Creationists use “evolution” as a shorthand for “origin of life from nonliving precursors.” The tip-off is the very term we use for them — “Creationists.” Not “anti-evolutionists” or “species stasis theorists” but “Creationists” — people who believe that life was created.

    Note that many of them are even willing to admit that something LIKE evolution occurs — they call it “variation” or “adaptation” or even “devolution.” The more sensible ones will admit that species change over time. The only absolute sticking point is the origin of life.

    I wonder if this might be a way to find common ground and/or outmaneuver them. Perhaps allow more vagueness in the origin of life (since it’s still poorly understood anyhow) and focus biology studies on the process of “adaptation.”

    • Ehsaan says:

      The real question is why don’t ID proponents accept “theistic evolutionists” into their massive non-denominational tent. Christians ignore entire chunks of the bible, especially the parts that claim Jesus was just a nice guy, not the son of God. Why cant they deny that the earth was in 6 days, or its only a thousand years old. In my opinion, evolution seems like a pretty laid back dare i say “intelligent” way of creating.

      • Tom Snyder says:

        The Bible does indeed say that Jesus is not only the Son of God, but the Second Divine Person in a unified Trinity of Three Divine Persons. Hence, personality exists and human persons can use the basic laws of logic that provide the Transcendent, Eternal, Personal foundation for all of science and for every “scientific” conclusion ever made. By the way, there are other, valid ways to interpret the six “days” or stages of Creation. For perhaps the best one, I refer you to the website http://www.godandscience.org. The arrogance, distortions and outright lies on this page are ASTOUNDING! Stop using straw men arguments and other logical fallacies and maybe you’ll begin to learn something that’s really true.

      • Wrong says:

        You’re an idiot: He refuted an article written by someone as stupid as you. He didn’t need a straw man, he had someone to refute. You should learn about logical fallacies before you attempt to accuse people of them.
        Refuting an article written by someone who believes what you refute is NOT a straw man.
        Also, any interpretation apart from literal means using what is not recorded in the bible. It means distorting your own precious piece of bronze age garbage. Once you do that, you’re no better than a Theistic Evolutionist, or a Muslim who believes most of your book is true but that Jesus was not the son of God. Your pathetic. If you can adapt your religion like that, just adapt it to atheism already so we can stop wasting time.

      • Neill says:

        You, ‘Wrong’ are proof that God exists! The passion with which you ridicule anybody who opposes your theories proves, that no matter what, you will deny the existence of God. When someone starts a reply with ‘You’re and idiot’, it is fairly obvious that they are doubting themselves. Then use of ‘comfort’, ‘pathetic’ etc. Why defend something so arrogantly when you know it is right?! Atheism is comfort-less, my friend.

  5. Chris says:

    “it doesn’t bet more vestigial than that.”

    Should “bet” be “get?”

    Excellent article Dr Novella.

    @Cambias: Even if abiogenesis was a well-understood and easily repeatable process, I’d wager that creationists still wouldn’t care for the evidence. If someone can disregard fossils such as Tiktaalik or Archaeoptrix, they’d disregard biochemical evidence for abiogenesis, no matter how well explained.

    • Kyle says:

      Archeoptrix has been dis proven already my friend.

      • Stefan says:

        I believe both of you are talking about Archaeopteryx. And how is it that one “disproves” a fossil? And who “disproved” it?
        http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/archaeopteryx/info.html seems to contain plenty of evidence supporting not only the existence of 7 Archaeopteryx fossils found (again, I’m confused how you disprove a fossils existence) but contains quite a bit of detail explaining the links between it, reptiles, dinosaurs & birds.

  6. Mark Knapp says:

    Blah, blah,blah. Why will NONE of you debate in a public forum ?

    • Wadden960 says:

      Debate has nothing to do with finding the truth it is about shooting holes in the other side while deflecting attention away from the problems with your point of view. I don’t care if a scientist can win over a crowd with their ideas I care about whether they are true or not.

      Scientists provide abundant amounts of evidence to show the origins of species and creations try to punch holes in their findings without presenting any evidence for their own ideas.

    • Wrong says:

      People do. Hitchens, Dawkins and groups like the Atheist Community of Austin REGULARLY debate Creationists. Moreover, why don’t CREATIONISTS publish in scientificially respected peer reviewed journals, where they will be scrutinized properly, rather than from the Pulpit?

  7. Knapp – what are you talking about? There have been many debates. Our own Michael Shermer took on the infamous Duane Gish. So you are just making stuff up.

    And to be clear – I will debate any creationist or ID proponent in public, as long as the format is fair and appropriate.

  8. David says:

    “We should be surrounded by a zoo of transitional forms that cannot be categorized as one particular life form.”

    However, this statement struck me as particularly funny. Your point that all forms are transitional is a good one. But, let’s take it from the creationists’ perspective. To them, the fossil record is irrelevant. Therefore, we have to rely on what we can see in the here and now. Thus, how would we know if we are “surrounded by a zoo of transitional forms?” In order to see something is transitional, we have to be able to observe a starting point, middle (transition) and end product. Given that we exist only at this time and can’t observe the ‘final product’ of the transition that will exist at some unknown poing in the future, it can’t be done. And, given that creationists won’t accept a reasonable interpretation of the fossil record, it becomes clear to them that transitional forms will never be observed.

  9. mike says:

    Mark Knapp: the only public forum that has any relevance to science are the scientific journals. I think evolution is doing just fine there. Of creationists harp on public debates, because it’s a forum where you’re not bound by truth.

  10. loltheists says:

    Pathetic, Mr. Knapp. Simply pathetic.

  11. Regarding #5: “There is a total lack of undisputed examples…of the millions of transitional forms…required for evolution to be true.”

    This one is a self fulfilling prophecy on the part of creationists, and the key is the word “undisputed”. All it takes is one creationist to say, “Nah, that’s not transitional”, and instantly your transitional fossil is disputed. And how hard is it to find a creationist who is willing to dispute any fossil’s status as transitional.

    They might as well be saying, “There is a total lack of transitional fossils that we will ever admit to be transitional.”

    Would that be Argument from Living in Denial?

    Also, Steve, you are a hero.

  12. chickenfish says:

    I suspect the many people know as much about creation as they do about evolution, nothing. I considered jumping into this fray when I realized that no one commenting here knows both sides of the equation well enough to carry an intelligent debate on the matter. This is not intended as an insult, merely a go out and make sure you know what your talking about before you start giving any facts on the matter.

    To know is unemotional for within knowing lies truth.

    To believe is emotional for its not based in truth but instead the hope that it is true.

    Im picking up a lot of emotion here.

    • Wrong says:

      You’re an idiot. You’re talking about emotional arguments instead of rational arguments, which is completely differnt to being emotional. I know the gist of creation, in fact, I know it very well, I sung about it for 7 fucking years in a church. I’ve read the start of genesis enough times to understand the basics: In the beginning there was god and the word was with god blah blah blah. It’s pretty bloody easy to comprehend. I also understand evolution, mutation+survival of the fittest=new creature more fit to it’s environment or it’s own sexual preferences. It’s not about knowing what’s true. There is enough scientific evidence and research to confirm evolution: This is valid rage as the creationists attempting to discredit evolution with their theory, the only support for which is a crappy old piece of nonsense written in the bronze age, and is wrong, evil, or even demonstratably false, in some passages. That’s it. The Bible is proof of creation. Evolution has evidence, and religion has a poorly written anthology of accounts by bronze age shepherds. Which one is logical to believe?

      • Neill says:

        Once again ‘Wrong’, what is your motivation for being so emotionally charged? Does insulting other people make you fell that your arguments are more credible! Tell me, my friend, are you scared that you’re wrong? The language in your post displays your lack of hope, happiness and peace. Is your conscience hurting you? Also tell me what land animal with a mutation of a wing have you seen? If for evolution to occur the mutation is beneficial, since when does a mutated lump on the side of an animal increase its chance of survival. Why don’t we have animals walking around with these lumps soon to be mutated into wings?!

      • Neill,

        Ignoring your emotional ad hominem and irrelevant arguments,
        to answer your question at the end.

        Evolution does not predict or require that animals have unformed lumps as an intermediary step. That is a gross misunderstanding of evolutionary theory.

        Structures evolve from other structures that were functional – and they remain functional throughout an evolutionary change.

        Vertebrate wings evolved from forelimbs – not unformed lumps. Proto feathers likely functioned as insulation. Proto wings for slowing descent, or gliding. Each step of the way the forelimb was completely functional.

        If you are going to disagree with the 99% of scientists who accept evolution, I recommend that you attempt to understand what those scientists actually say.

      • Belinda says:

        I have to agree with the gentleman who rightly notes the negative arrogant emotions of so many atheists..
        I find myself in the odd position of being smack dab in the middle here… between ‘science’ and ‘religion’
        and both sides seem to truly want to eradicate the other.. the main cause of most human wars and strife.
        Was that also a part of ‘evolution’?!?

        Seriously, folks… we do NOT know how the universe began. Or why there is anything at all. And remember everything on the earth is interdependent.. so how did THAT occur… all evolving all at once so the other species could survive? Symphonies do not write themselves and would be nothing more than cacophony without the mastermind creator of the music infusing structure to sound.

        Please.. stop the hatred and refusing to explore real Truth. I do believe in Christ’s divinity…but I do NOT take the Bible literally. It is a metaphor.. and it was written by simply minds in an ancient time trying to understand something Beyond themselves.. just as Darwin and Hawkings and Einstein have. If we could be frozen and come back 10000 years from now, I would bet these arguments back and forth would have been long resolved… Evolution is flawed.. like it o not, Mr. Atheist.. and Big Science is indeed ridiculing and trying to censor those who dare to stand in opposition and posit a different world view.
        Quantum mechanics, mysticism… therein lies one possible plane wherein science seems more like magic.
        I do think people can believe in a Divine Infinite Intelligence and ‘Creator’ and also believe that something like evolution was the mechanism… but I am sick and tired of all these high minded atheists who seem only able to respond with insults and idiocy

  13. chickenfish says:

    How many of you have read The Origin of Species? Tell the truth.

  14. TLP says:

    With or without life on Earth, the Sun will still shine.

    If life is responsible decrease of the local entropy, then the global entropy will also decrease, since life does not speed up the nuclear reactions in the sun.

    But what if life is not responsible for a decrease of the planet’s entropy? What if it actually helps increase it?

    Life could be described as nature’s way of optimising the second law of thermodynamics. I’m sure I read an article about it, I’m still searching for the link.

  15. TLP says:

    @chickenfish: who cares? People shouldn’t read Darwin if they want to be up-to-date with cutting edge science.

    Try scientific journals.

    Creationism? There is no such theory. There’s only anti-evolutionism through fallacies.

  16. fluffy says:

    Also, given the context of the “blind watchmaker” argument, someone built a genetic algorithm system which actually would breed watches (with survival being based on how well it kept time), with some interesting results.

  17. Jerry says:

    Chickenfish, If we are to learn more about the creationist’s debate, who’s creation story should we be researching? Should we be learning about how an “intelligent agent” poofed all current species into existence? Should we be learning about how God took a rib from Adam to make Eve, and which day of the week that occurred? Or should we take a page from the Scientologists and learn about Xenu and the Galactic Confederacy? (I refuse to learn the latter as the cost of research is out of my price range).

  18. Mastriani says:

    And to be clear – I will debate any creationist or ID proponent in public, as long as the format is fair and appropriate.

    Score!!! Excellent article, Dr. Novella.

    Can anyone explain why Creationists don’t understand the difference between abiogenesis and evolution? I’ve never been able to fathom their incessant error with making those two terms tantamount … ?

    These are the three biggest errors in Creationist thinking, in my experience:

    (1) There is only one possible solution to any evolutionary problem.
    (2) At any instance of time there is only one individual trying to solve it.
    (3) That those who do not solve it are not penalized.

    Do they even bother to read the plethoric and ubiquitous volumes of scientific information and data?

  19. Max says:

    Here’s how I respond to the straw-man that evolution is all “by chance”:

    The way I see it, just four ingredients are necessariy and perhaps sufficient for an evolutionary process to happen:
    1. Self-replication.
    2. Small changes that are passed to the next generation.
    3. Selective pressures.
    4. Many generations for any big changes.

    Most of the false analogies like “tornado in a junkyard” or “monkeys on typewriters” don’t meet any of these criteria.
    But genetic algorithms and “memes” do meet all four. Even “designed” products like cars and software meet some of these criteria.

  20. Lee Cooper says:

    Hey Knapp,

    This is not a debate. It is a refutation of creationists who argue from a place of ignorance, denial, or arrogant deceit.

  21. Max says:

    chickenfish, you don’t need to be an expert to refute many of the Creationist misconceptions and lies. You got Ben Stein saying stuff like “Darwinism cannot explain gravity” and “Science leads you to killing people.”

  22. badrescher says:

    Are mutations random?

    I could argue that they are not – we simply call the process “random” because it is so complex that prediction is not possible. Many argue that there are no truly random processes.

    Knapp – I really thought that was a joke. Isn’t THIS a public venue? I’ve been to several public debates. If creationists could produce VALID arguments using ACCURATE premises, it might actually get interesting. As it is, it’s simply pathetic.

    chickenfish – I have read it. Have you? I have also read the Bible. Have you?

    The way to refute the assertion, “How can THIS (reality) have occurred by chance?”:

    1 – Ask them to pick a number between 1 and 6 million.
    2 – Ask them to tell you the number they picked.
    3 – Respond to whatever their number is with, “WOW! The chances of you picking THAT number are 1 in 6 million! There is a God!”

  23. Billy says:

    Knapp is asking for strong criticism, but I have a legitimate response.

    Public debates aren’t really a part of scientific discourse. Science is done primarily through writing. When there are conflicting ideas in science, peer-reviewed publications reporting experimental or computational results are the means of resolving them. When public presentation is used, it’s in the form of presentation of such results. “Public debates” utilize:
    -quick retort and out-witting your opponent
    -skill of language and persuasion, at times to the point of subversion
    -appealing to emotion and use of charisma to make a point
    -attacks on the credibility/character of your opponent (not always, but often enough)

    NONE of these are valid in scientific inquiry. Observation and confirmed prediction are what validate claims. When a claim is made, time and thought need to be put into it and experiment is used to test or try to refute. This is best done in writing. If you watch debates between scientists and creationists, you see that they aren’t even speaking the same language. Even if the scientist is a good speaker (as are both Dawkins and Shermer, for instance), they will present evidence and data supporting their scientific claims. Creationists generally stick to emotion-invoking statements. When they do present data, they often do so erroneously and out of context. They will also use data that might sound solid in isolated presentation only because they ignore/don’t present the other data since that has refuted/invalidated it since. Since the scientist doesn’t know what data will be presented falsely, they cannot present a list of citations showing the more recent counter-proofs. This is why scientists don’t like public debates: it’s an exercise in futility.

    As has been said by others, there have been public forum debates despite all this (search on Youtube). If you watch them, you will see the pattern I described above. As a result, most scientists know it’s a waste of time.

  24. Billy says:

    Ah jeez, I wrote that in too many fragments and didn’t proof-read it carefully. I am actually intelligible most of the time. I swear…

  25. Peter says:

    …as a scientist and a Christian … well done, let us progress toward the truth!

  26. Sean G says:

    Excellent article. It’s a nice rundown of how to refute the creationists arguments if I come across them myself. Thanks for giving your readers these kinds of resources. Best Darwin Day present ever.

  27. Coleman Mulkerin says:

    I have read Origin of the Species. It is a fantastic and painstakingly thorough book. I knew before reading the book that the theory of evolution that Darwin put forth in the book was not complete and wrong in some places, but I still and in awe of what he accomplished.

    I have not yet read the Bible though I will probably get around to it when I am not in college. I did go to church when I was younger and attended Bible school. While learning Christianity I started to notice holes in inconsistencies. This worried me and I remember many a night typing furiously on forums about how this person did not understand the evolution and Christianity could work at the same time.

    In the end I realized that religion flies right in the face of reason. Science will embrace any challenge to it’s current form. Just like Darwin was challenged with his theory and his theory was eventually modified. Science; however, celebrates the very people of history who were wrong or didn’t get the whole picture because each incremental step in science is a hard fought fight for truth against agents of unreason like Religion.

  28. Coleman Mulkerin says:

    I swear those typos were not there when I hit submit. :O

  29. Tyler says:

    Great post (not that I’m being redundant or anything). Spot on about the fundamental reality of creationism–it is emotional charlatanry, meant to appeal to people by telling them what they want to hear ahead of time.

    Perfect example in the author’s appeal to what he learned in his high school biology class to refute ‘evolution’. Even setting aside his inability to differentiate between the ‘origin of species’ and the ‘origin of life’, the fundamental rule of science is that observation–that is to say reality–trumps everything else. Certainly maggots don’t come from raw meat and rats don’t grow from garbage. Which has nothing to do with the question of the origin of self-replicating molecules. But he took what he wanted to hear, manufactured it, and then distributed it.

  30. tmac57 says:

    Regarding part of #1: “A watch is too complex to “happen” by chance. Yet such living systems are almost infinitely more complex than a watch. They could not be random—they simply had to be designed and created.”
    Ok , if we were to concede this point (and we don’t), then who again was it that created the creator? He must have been very complex and couldn’t have just come into existence.He must have been designed by someone. Right? Oh, and then who created that creator? Do you see a pattern here or should I go on?

    • JOH says:

      That is an illogical statement like asking in a race who comes before first place.

      • JTK says:

        Actually the flaw is in your logic. A creator would be ‘ahead’ of us in that race, but there is no way to be sure that ‘ahead’ of us is first place or second or nineteenth. “Turtles all the way down” is an answer based on willful ignorance and denial of reason. Learn from your mistakes.

      • Wrong says:

        The point is, if Life had a creator, God (The Casuality argument), then God had a God, who created him, ad infinitum. In which case, Fuck God#1, I’m going to worship lim n->infinity God#n. And the Christian god, or any creating god, he’s the pathetic God#1. The argument raises more questions than it answers.

  31. Well, if I were a creationist, I’d go with “All living species and all evidences concerning them were created by an intelligent, omnipotent Designer, but the Designer evolved from ancestral deities in exactly the ways Science wrongly credits to evolution for all He Designed.”

    Then, while all the scientists and sane people were acratching their heads, I’d skeet right out the back door, taking their failure to respond quickly as their admission of defeat.

  32. Max says:

    “Who created the Creator” is about as persuasive as “Who created the Universe” and “What’s infinity plus one?”

  33. Mastriani says:

    If I were a Creationist, there would be only two viable options:

    1. A lovely and enticing cocktail of Haldol and Thorazine.

    2. Eat the bullet, and verify the existence of the Creator and thereby the validity of ID.

    Option 1 is definitely more valuable, better living through chemistry and all.

  34. Julian says:

    Chickenfich said
    “How many of you have read The Origin of Species? Tell the truth.”

    I haven’t but I’m reading Paley’s Natural Theology to familiarize myself with the roots of the ‘Watch-Maker’ argument. Not a bad read. Dead fucking wrong but not a bad read.

    It’s kinda like when you give your kid brother a game you just finish and watch him trying to get through all the levels. You feel for him but you can’t help but smirk (in a totally none condescending way!) when he does something that (admittedly with hindsight) you know was profoundly stupid.

  35. Paul Caggegi says:

    Chickenfich said
    “How many of you have read The Origin of Species? Tell the truth.”

    I swear upon my copy of “Harold and Kumar got to White Castle” That I have read Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species”.

    Way to go, Steve.

  36. conard says:

    Dr Novella, others:

    Darwin’s famous 1859 publication is titled On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life

    Please correct the first paragraph of your post. Thanks

  37. Max says:

    And call Darwin by his full name, Charles Robert Darwin FRS.

  38. conard – why? did you or anyone else not know precisely what book I was referring to?

  39. Mastriani says:

    conard – why? did you or anyone else not know precisely what book I was referring to?

    I, for one, am pleased that conard brought this up. I had never heard of the book before, or this evolution thingy … whoda thunk it!!!

  40. conard says:

    Steven Novella,

    Incorrect = Correct as long as somebody knows the difference? What an odd formulation.

    By all means cite the more common short name if you prefer but at least locate THE to it’s proper place. I expect this mistake from the religious crowd where mankind is the center of the universe but in this context the error is particularly prominent.

  41. Max says:

    So you’re just nit-picking.
    The full title might confuse people who’d think the “favoured races” refers to human races rather than “the several races, for instance, of the cabbage”.

  42. Dedalus1953 says:

    Has anyone ever refuted the “complexity implies design” axiom with its opposite — “simplicity implies design?” It seems to be that the watch shows design because of its simple regularity — perfect circle, synchronous action, straight lines, etc. To cite an analogy, if you take a number of objects from the base of a waterfall, wouldn’t the perfect sphere showing an umblemished color be assumed to be “designed?”

    On the other hand, with random forces acting on objects over time, complexity is a natural outgrowth. Just ask anyone who’s ever had to fix code on a program “designed by committee.”

  43. Mastriani says:

    Some individuals simply cannot grasp the concept that posing as a posterior facing, crevice sunken, orifice closure muscle for the sole purpose of being a blatant, inane and uninteresting ego validation machine: just makes you a pointless asshole.

  44. conard – I referred to the book by it’s commonly understood shorthand title. That does not make it incorrect. I did not say that “the full tile of the book is…”

    I am all for being a stickler for details when they matter, or getting things correct just for the sake of being correct. But when it comes to communication – shorthand that is completely precise and unambiguous is perfectly acceptable and is a matter only of style.

  45. Mark says:

    My favorite gambit ever, the “watch maker.” There are certainly naturally occurring things we could call clocks, which to me is a means by which you can consistently measure elapsed time (leaving aside what relativity tells us about time). Examples would be various rates of atomic decay and the rotation rates of pulsars (correct?). I am sure more learned parties than myself could add to the list.

    The reason a watch is designed is because we need a clock that is calibrated to our liking, not because there is an absence of naturally occurring means for tracking elapsed time. A wrinkle to this may be that all the natural ‘clocks’ I can think of exist independently of any evolved biological system (are there such examples?). So, even without the operations of time, variation & selection (i.e., evolution) the laws of physics result in naturally occurring clocks.

  46. Max says:

    Dedalus1953, in the SETI vs. ID debate, it’s been argued that SETI looks for a simple narrowband signal amid the cosmic noise.
    But if simple regularity, spheres, and synchronous action indicated design, then the solar system would qualify.

  47. “A wrinkle to this may be that all the natural ‘clocks’ I can think of exist independently of any evolved biological system..”

    Plus you can’t strap a pulsar to your wrist.

  48. Chris says:

    Here are a few things (I’m limiting myself to three) that some (but it sure seems like ALL) creationists do that leave me shaking my head at their willful ignorance.

    1. The claim that those that believe in the theory of evolution are too emotional or biased in their arguments. Classic re-direction whether the debate has gotten emotional or not! And biased?! Wow!!! Pot calling kettle black!!!!! (Sorry, got a little over-excited!)

    2. Attempt to use science to disprove science. Actually, they attempt to use pseudo-science which ALWAYS backfires on them. You’d think they would have learned by now. (j/k) I’m amazed at how little, if any, credible research they provide. Then again, that tracks back to the often heard “Evolution is only a theory” statement, proving that creationists trying to use the scientific tact only expose their utter disregard for even the most basic understanding of the Scientific Method.

    3. Whine that no one will debate them when…well, see comments 6, 7, & 9 above. And how telling is it that Mr. Knapp makes a brief appearance and then disappears without engaging in anything remotely substantive? I understand the creationist’s reluctance. Understanding even the fundamentals biology is difficult. I read “The Selfish Gene” by Richard Dawkins twice and it took time, patience and a willingness to seek out clarifications for concepts beyond the scope of the text. Creationism is Intelligently Designed for the lazy and unmotivated: believe that life just spontaneously erupted and you can go home for the day.

    One last detail that I tried and failed to ignore. In the quote from #2 is the following sentence: “A pinhead of DNA has a billion times more information capacity than a 4-gigabit hard drive.” I may not be a science guy but I am an IT guy and there are no gigabit hard drives. Gigabyte, yes. A tiny detail, possibly a typo, but certainly demonstrative of the inherent laziness of creationists when they can’t proof read their most important documents.

    Anyone else have any “favorite” creationist/ID propagandist tactics?

    • Adam says:

      You have written an incomplete sentence regarding your last question, are you a lazy IT guy?

    • David says:

      Of course there are gigabit hard drives, a 1 gigabyte hard drive would be an 8 gigabit hard drive. 1 byte equaling 8 bits and all. Bits and bytes are just size references. I have several 3 foot long yard sticks but I wouldn’t be so foolish to say a 36 inch long yard stick doesn’t exist.

  49. conard says:

    Steven Novella,
    I remain perplexed at your attitude toward a friendly suggestion to correct a common mistake ( incorrect 1872 title ). However, it is possible for reasonable people to disagree on the same set of facts and I will leave the matter alone and wish you the best. On 12Feb I will drink a toast to Darwin, his ideas, and those who defend and extend them. Cheers.

    Max,
    Darwin did indeed suggest that the traits of domestic cabbages would “reverse” to those of the wild population. You and Mastriani have demonstrated the point quite nicely.

  50. Mastriani says:

    Incorrect = Correct as long as somebody knows the difference? What an odd formulation.

    Brevity and/or abbreviation are only an error if obfuscation can or does become an issue. “Most” adults understand this, without unnecessary explanation. He didn’t instate a neologism.

    Your effete attempt at a disguised quip is duly noted.

  51. conard says:

    Mastriani,

    There was no disguise: Your comments have given me little cause for respect. I do not know how to make this is any easier to understand:

    1. 1859 1st edition has a long title
    2. 1872 6th edition has a much shorter title.
    3. Neither contain the words “Origin of the Species”

    As to which to which title is 150 years old is a quibble which I conceded in my second post.

  52. Mastriani says:

    LOL … respect. That’s absolutely stellar.

    Considering that your validation necessity appears to be beyond your own ability to comprehend, allow me to elucidate for you:

    1. This is the internet; respect is not an objective option. “Respect”, in this medium, is an illusion that only ego validating cretins speak about.

    2. Dr. Novella’s “allusion” to Darwin’s published work was understood by everyone; up until your arrival. (35 consecutive posts without confusion … hmmm.)

    3. This is the internet. If you can post on a blog, but are bereft of the “cerebral dexterity” to Google, lobotomy is likely the only viable option.

  53. tmac57 says:

    Max, regarding post 32, my intent was to show that it is pointless to ascribe an necessary “intelligent” creator because of complexity, since this leads to the circular reasoning of “where did the creator come from ?” I never have understood why religion can accept the “given” of a God, but is unable to accept the “given” of natural processes.

  54. Mark says:

    Ah, just finished the full article & it was very enjoyable and a great resource.

    btw – in re:the section of “transitional forms’ and the fuzzy demarcation between species — aren’t hyenas felines? Minor point in the context of the argument; dogs & wolves interbreed, after all. And I think the very fact that a hyena seems to naturally fall in with dogs rather than cats, shows that not all cats “are clearly [cats]“

  55. badrescher says:

    Chris – Yes, my favorite is the assertion that humans could not have evolved by chance (see my comment #22).

    Oh, yeah, and the banana thing is pretty funny, too.

  56. Shahar Lubin says:

    We can also approach the watchmaker from the other direction.

    I find a watch in the desert and realize it can count time. I also know that my brain which is the product of evolution can count time. There can only be one way for a time counting mechanism to arise so that has to be evolution. Ergo the watch has to be the product of evolution.

  57. UNRR says:

    This post has been linked for the HOT5 Daily 2/11/2009, at The Unreligious Right

  58. fission says:

    Conard,

    Your attempt at providing intelligent input to this discussion is laughable. You clearly don’t get out much and have little understanding of how things become the social norm. Your comments are worthless and add absolutely no value to anything at hand. If you want to waste time, please proofread your pathetic grammar before forcing us to suffer through your incoherent statements. I’ll give you a hand.

    By all means cite the more common short name if you prefer but at least locate the (Indirect quotes are not made by capitalizing words) to its (Are you kidding me?) proper place. I expect this mistake from the religious crowd, in which (A group is not a place) mankind is the center of the universe, but in this context, the error is particularly prominent. (You expect this mistake from a certain group, therefore the context of this article makes the mistake noticeable?)

    I expect these mistakes from an idiot. No one cares how many times you’ve read the title of a book. Until you can formulate a comprehensive understanding of multiple complex topics and communicate them to the laymen as well as Dr. Novella has, please refrain from the backhanded compliments and worthless contribution.

  59. The disjointed posts by Conard (canard is more apt) look like the result of hastily done cut & paste editing of his own post before submission, which brings up a rather comical image of him pounding away at the keyboard in a fury, trying to get it just right.

    I suggest we give him a pin, mention something about angels, and leave him to his accounting.

  60. conard says:

    Fission,

    Not being a willful idiot I would very much like to learn which of the three statements in #51 are so incorrect as to be ludicrous?

    I noticed a simple error, no doubt made in haste as Dr. Steven Novella’s other articles have it right, and thought it should be corrected. That this simple observation should be regarded as an invitation for insult is truly surprising. I mean no disrespect to Dr. Novella nor is it my intention to provide intelligent evidence for or against one point of view or the other; which is fortunate me being an idiot incapable of coherent thought.

    As for the grammar I do apologize for English not being my native language, though in fairness to your point of view I have been writing and speaking English for many years now and should be more proficient. I really though that “its” denoted possession and “it’s” was a contraction of “it has”. I will be sure to look that up because I am genuinely surprised at your objection to my usage.

    You will be relieved to know that I took the time to run this post through my word processor’s spelling and grammar function. Much to my relief the only thing in dispute is my previous usage of “its”. You should note the use of quotes not capitals. I credit you for this; the steps may be small but with your help I may yet have value.

  61. conard says:

    Ah, I see. I took a minute to review my previous post and I did indeed use “it’s” when is should have been “its”. Sometimes there is a disconnect between what one knows and what one does. You may assume that I have suffered an appropriate amount of embarrassment.

    Devil’s Advocate,
    canard: “damned fool” ? How lovely.

  62. fission says:

    Conard,

    It’s very obvious through your original wording that you’re trying to nitpick unimportant details and disrespect Dr. Novella by comparing his mistakes to those of creationists (in a community that clearly thinks little of creationists). To say that you were making a simple observation and friendly suggestion is a lie.

  63. Max says:

    Frankly, I suspected that conard was a creationist taking a jab at the racist-sounding title, so I’m relieved that conard is merely anal-retentive.

  64. conard says:

    Amusing as this has been, this is my last post.

    On reflection this exchange has not been all bad; especially rewarding was the post where Fission pointed out one of my mistakes. I hastily read “it’s” several times and did not see anything wrong– even after the spelling and grammar function clearly pointed it out. One hallmark of a good skeptic is the ability to account for the biases in our own thinking and experimental design. I clearly failed as each subsequent reading confirmed what I already knew. I am sure that many of my critics read the title in Dr. Novella’s article and my request for correction did not see the mistake, or focused on a minor detail to satisfy the needs of a favorite schema. (There is another group that recognize the mistake only to claim that it does not matter. I admit to being baffled by this approach to skepticism)

    There should be no shame in making, admitting, discussing, and ultimately correcting mistakes. It is no surprise that people pursue and vigorously defend mistaken ideas when faced with personal attacks like those from Max, Mastriani, Fission, and [the] Devil’s Advocate.

    I stand by my observation that the placement of “the” as in “Origin of the Species” is a simple mistake and probably made in haste. Considering the setting it stands out. There is no conflict between those observations and the assertion of respect for Dr Novella.

    Fission, et al
    Striking a personal note, I would be ashamed and sickened if I were to formulate such a hostile interpretation of a complete stranger. Of course you are free to fill your mind with whatever trash you desire.

    Until next time,
    cw

  65. “There should be no shame in making, admitting, discussing, and ultimately correcting mistakes.”

    Unbelievable this guy would lecture others on skepticism, self-examination, and self-correction, and then allude only to a misplace apostrophy in the common it’s/its error.

    The disjointed conard post I was referring to, that seemed like a bungled C & P job, which evoked the pathetic image of a nitpicker worrying over a simple blog post, included these errors. Note that I wouldn’t care were not this clown such a condescending ass-clown:

    “There was no disguise: Your comments have given me little cause for respect. I do not know how to make this is any easier to understand:”

    and

    “As to which to which title is 150 years old is a quibble which I conceded in my second post.”

    There are extraneous words, as opposed to extra letters which would indicate a simple typo. This guy is worrying and editing and C & P-ing simple 2-3 sentence blog posts – and making errors anyway. This is practically diagnosable in itself.

    Again, I woouldn’t give a rat’s patootie ordinarily, but for the same guy to take all around him to task over absolutely nothing is hilarious. Admit it, conard – you sought to impress, not understanding we all know full well the actual title of the book, and got hoisted by your own petard.

    OK, listen up. To accomodate the anally-retentive, from here on in we shall refrain from abbreviations, shorthand techniques, and anything less than exactitude in all postings. From now on we cannot type TOE. We must fully type out Theory Of Everything. I hope I don’t need to iterate internet culture shorthand, such as laughing out loud or laughing my conard off. No more ID. It’s Intelligent Design, lest someone confuse it with a driver license, workplace badge, or western American state. No ad hoc nonsense – it’s ad hoc ergo propter hoc, got it? OK, what else…. lemmesee… ah, yes. NO MORE CHEMICAL SHORTHAND. H20 must be spelled out – two atoms hydrogen, one atom oxygen. And you didn’t see a funny old MASH rerun on TV last night. It was a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital rerun. Hmmm. That can’t be everything… Well, you get the drift of the new direction, so let’s try to be careful. After all, how can we communicate when some clown with a superiority complex thinks we’re confusing each other?

  66. conard says:

    I could not resist one more attempt to restore civility after reading the following from the comment section of Dr. Novella’s previous post.

    “Excellent point. So many internet discussions and debates devolve into flame wars because of simple miscommunications, due to the limitations of the written (typed) word and our respective writing skills or lack thereof. It once took me ten posts to extricate myself from the response to one sentence, written as sarcasm but taken as agreement and support for the opposition who mistook it.”

    I will happily respond to any post free of of the “38 ways” and will respond in suit. I am equally happy to leave things where they stand.

  67. Mastriani says:

    After due consideration, I have realised that I am no longer willing to be defined as an atheist; too many of said ilk seem to be lacking in logic, and greater, devoid of rationality.

    I invoke a grand neologism: pragmatic kitapsiz.

    Damn that’s cool.

  68. “pragmatic kitapsiz”… hey, I like it, laughing out loud.

  69. Mastriani says:

    It’s especially likable when you understand the derogatory nature of the word “kitapsiz” in Turkish culture.

    ::chuckle::

  70. GregB says:

    Here’s my answer to the “tornado in the junkyard” argument:

    The creationist will tell you that evolution is similar to having a tornado blow through a junkyard and randomly assembling the junk into a Boeing 747. That of course is pure idiocy for any number of reasons.

    However, what the creation hypothesis is really saying is “No, it’s actually an intelligent and sentient tornado that blew through the junkyard to build the 747. And there weren’t even parts in the junkyard at the time. It was all just dust.”

    But overall I’m stunned by how all of the creationist arguments come down to analogies and logical fallacies. Not once is there the slightest bit of actual evidence, prediction, or falsifiable testing. They don’t do science, they just repeat dogma. It’s bad enough to be ignorant of science. But to be willfully ignorant, to actually deny easily provable, testable and repeatable facts is just beyond reason.

    It’s amazing to me that this level of willful ignorance is still so prevalent in America.

    • JOH says:

      Wheras Evolutionist say that the tornado picks up the dust for a time period, after which will result in a Boeing 747.

      • JTK says:

        Why do you feel the need to misrepresent evolution in this way? Shouldn’t that be an indication that you don’t have reality on your side?

  71. One of my favorite quotes concerning creationist argumentation:

    “I always admire the almost preternatural ability of creationists to pack so many logical fallacies into so few words.” – Steven Novella, MD

    From his highly recommended Neurologica blog:

    http://www.theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php

  72. Hmm, trying to submit a post, but it won’t ‘take’, perhaps because I placed a link in it. Try it again without the link..

    One of my favorite humorous quotes regarding creationist argumentation:

    “I always admire the almost preternatural ability of creationists to pack so many logical fallacies into so few words.” – Steven Novella, MD

    From his highly recommended blog – Neurologica

  73. skepticalhippie says:

    Loved the article. I argued with a creationist once who tryed to use the watchmaker arguement. I said that his analogy whould make sense if I took 2 watches, winded them, placed them in a box, and then 10 weeks later came back and found a dozen watches. But then there wouldn’t be a designer involved in the second generation.

  74. Fred says:

    Great job Dr Novella. This is a huge efort of your part to compile this. I get the feeling you could write a book in oh, say, a week! Actually, have you considered writing a book?

  75. Max says:

    Nature is designed like an English garden, not like a French garden :-p

  76. badrescher says:

    skepticalhippie: “Loved the article. I argued with a creationist once who tryed to use the watchmaker arguement. I said that his analogy whould make sense if I took 2 watches, winded them, placed them in a box, and then 10 weeks later came back and found a dozen watches. But then there wouldn’t be a designer involved in the second generation.”

    I had to comment on this. I’ve never heard it, and it’s the PERFECT response. I love it!

  77. conard says:

    How the folks at FoxNews remember Darwin:
    http://foxforum.blogs.foxnews.com/2009/02/12/deseno_darwin/

    No need to read the article but I thought I would share the closing paragraph– brace yourself:

    “If you get the chance to argue these points with Darwinists, Secular Humanists or Ayn Rand-styled haters of religion, challenge them on the science of creation — The Big Bang. It drives them crazy when science confirms religion”

  78. Mastriani says:

    conard,

    That’s a joke article right? Like from Onion … they couldn’t actually be seriously putting that forth in a news story?

  79. conard says:

    I laughed

  80. It isn’t a news story, it’s a editorial-type blog entry. In their news section the FOX story was highly lauditory of Darwin and clearly endorsed evolution in a news story yesterday reporting on a Gallup poll showing that only 39% of respondents believe in evolution. FOX has an online Evolution and Paleontology section, itself a subsection of its Sci Tech section, wherein many articles addressing evolution reveal their full acceptance and endorsement of evolution.

    http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/evolution/

    FOX’s blogs, like their editorial section, ran the gamut of opinions, of course, but their news section supports evolution.

  81. PS: The blog entry Conard linked was hilariously bad though, by a true creationist ‘homer’.

  82. Mastriani says:

    Ummm, holy ****.

    It would appear that I’ve been fortunate in not meeting Creationists that are this painfully … err, blind?

    DNA contains information coded in the sequence of base pairs. The information can be compared to other forms of information like Morse code. There are no known natural laws that explain how information can arise from the random interactions of matter. The origin of information cannot be explained by evolution.

    Sooo …

    This is a statement about abiogenetic transition from inorganic to organic molecular information distribution, but is being attributed to evolution. We’ll go with his/her way anyhow. How the hell does anyone think the rudiments of Morse code are comparable in any manner to the molecular intricacy of DNA? I needs mo’ educatin’!!!

    Even though fundamental physical laws were/are in play; reactions of matter in a closed system with known laws in play are inherently “random”, and this categorically prohibits the rise of new information on a biological level …

    Even though it is distinctly unscientific, I think I’ll quote Joe Rogan here, “I’m not that retarded”.

    This can’t be the world in which I exist, Baudrillard was spot on.

  83. ‘The disappearance of reality’, just so. He’s dead now, iddn’t he?

    Anyway, till yesterday I used to frequent a blog that addressed daily events, mostly political events, tongue firmly in cheek, with equal parts sarcasm and absurdism. Then comes Darwin Day and the blogger ripped off a 5 page treatise (where most of his entries are no more than a paragraph or three) going on and on about how Science needs to quit pushing the importance of accepting evolution as a scientific fact. He endorsed evolution, sort of, backassedly, but said it just isn’t important enough for anyone but scientists to bother with, that he’d certainly “never use evolution” in anything he does, nor would any other average, non-scientist person out there. To him, evolution is a nonfactor in regular folks’ lives, a mental construct, albeit well-evidenced, that scientists play with for their own entertainment. I’d been reading and enjoying this guy’s goofy takes for several weeks and then this pops up.

    It reminded me of a time long ago when I fell in love too quickly and found out during the 7-8th date with the next best only love of my life that she was a Scientologist. I entered a post asking if he’d ever eaten food or taken medicine, and he responded angrily, ‘why?’ I explained that the scientific disciplines of agriculture and pharmacology were based on evolutionary science, as was all of biology, and that without the practical applications that have emerged from evolutionary science, he wouldn’t recognize his own life, indeed, might not be alive. That’s when he revealed his deeply held religious beliefs and started twisting and squirming argumentationally, trying to justify his odd reaction to the fact of evolution and rectify it with his credo consolans so threatened by evolution’s implications. It was not pretty. I honestly felt sorry for him. You could tell he knew he was obfuscating and avoiding and trotting out every logical fallacy in the book, but could not do otherwise. I just stopped posting and won’t be going back. The poor guy just sweated cognitive dissonance and internal conflict because of the unremediable rift between what he knows due to evolution and what he believes due to religion.

    The other comments freaked me a bit too. Among is readership are a lot of people who do not have Clue 1 about evolution, and all the usual errors abounded: it’s just a theory, doesn’t explain how the universe began (or Earth, or life), it’s just a tool atheists use to batter good God fearing folk, etc. One guy said that evolution isn’t science because it’s only science if you can observe it directly and replicate it.

    I surrepticiously set their trash can on fire and got out of there while their attention was diverted. I’m slick like that.

  84. Mastriani says:

    Sadly, yes DA, he died March 2007. Quite the on task philosophical mind, and largely overlooked by the armchair wannabes who play at social commentary as if it is philosophy.

    I would like to say that your story isn’t believable, but due to certain instances in recent days; opinions and beliefs are painfully unstoppable roadblocks to scientific education.

    Is it really so uncomprehendingly necessary to have your existence be validated by the acceptance of opinions and refutable belief? Why?

    It simply defies all logic and reason …

  85. aoxsic says:

    Could someone explain irreducible complexity to me? I don’t understand. Even if an organism is irreducibly complex why would that infer the existence of a maker? How does the logic go there? All the contra-arguments of evolutionists that I’ve seen concentrate on proving that no organism is irreducibly complex, so I assume if irreducible complexity were proven that would somehow present a problem for evolution. Why??

    I confuse myself when I start thinking along these lines. Human beings are obviously not irreducibly complex, at least not as I understand the concept. You can remove a lung, a kidney, half a liver, both eyes, etc. and I will still survive and function adequately even though I was born with 2 lungs, 2 kidneys, a whole liver and functioning eyes. So??? How would the creationists argue here then? That some of the parts that make up humans are irreducibly complex but not the human as a whole? So, the parts need a maker but the sum of those parts (a human being) doesn’t? I somehow doubt that’s what they believe.

    You see my point? I just don’t get it. I don’t see what irreducible complexity has to do with anything. And consequently, I don’t understand why one needs to refute this argument by proving that a mouse trap is reducible. I also don’t understand which part of humans is supposed to be irreducibly complex.

    I would appreciate any thoughts and insights you have to offer. Thanks in advance.

  86. aoxsic says:

    Oh, I would also like to say that I don’t like the term “evolutionist”. It implies there’s a reasonable alternative. And there isn’t. Evolution is a fact. First time I met somebody who said they didn’t believe in evolution I laughed so hard. It’s like saying you don’t believe in rain. Or the moon. Or your left hand. ?? It’s right there for you to see, it’s not a question of belief.

    I can’t quite grasp why there’s a debate with creationists. Giving them the time of day justifies their views to some degree. It gives them importance. It implies there is something unclear, something to argue about. As if the truth remains to be discovered.

  87. “Is it really so uncomprehendingly necessary to have your existence be validated by the acceptance of opinions and refutable belief? Why?”

    The guy understands his religious beliefs and their importance to him, if only by the discomfort caused by even considering their alteration or abandonment due to new knowledge. But he clearly had no idea how pervasive the applications of evolutionary science were in his life, so that side of the equation had been all blank variable to him, I guess. Factor in misconceptions, false dichotomies and constructions like, “if evolution is true, then my God didn’t create the universe and everything in it, therefore my god probably doesn’t exist, therefore accepting evolution science means the total abandonment of my faith”, and the predictable result is the noted internal conflict and the pretzel logic required to begin compartmentalizing the oil and water unmixables – as he experiences them – of evolution and religious belief. Once again, even a little education on the basic tenets of evolution would have ameliorated some of this internal pressure, but you see that typical reaction of clapping one’s hands over one’s ears while loudly mouthing “MA

  88. “Is it really so uncomprehendingly necessary to have your existence be validated by the acceptance of opinions and refutable belief? Why?”

    The guy understands his religious beliefs and their importance to him, if only by the discomfort caused by even considering their alteration or abandonment due to new knowledge. But he clearly had no idea how pervasive the applications of evolutionary science were in his life, so that side of the equation had been all blank variable to him, I guess. Factor in misconceptions, false dichotomies and constructions like, “if evolution is true, then my God didn’t create the universe and everything in it, therefore my god probably doesn’t exist, therefore accepting evolution science means the total abandonment of my faith”, and the predictable result is the noted internal conflict and the pretzel logic required to begin compartmentalizing the oil and water unmixables – as he experiences them – of evolution and religious belief. Once again, even a little education on the basic tenets of evolution would have ameliorated some of this internal pressure, but you see that typical reaction of clapping one’s hands over one’s ears while loudly mouthing “MA-MA-MA-MA-MA-MA-MA” so as to block out the offending words. From his POV I guess it’s sort of like he’s being asked to jump off the roof of a burning building before the safety net is deployed.

  89. Waaaaa. Not sure what happened there.

  90. Mastriani says:

    DA,

    I think this might be an area for Dr. Novella to offer some information possibly.

    Have you ever been to church? I have, was forced to go until I was eighteen and off to college. But, the bunk never came clean in the wash, because there were always too many gaps in the presentation and science classes and history classes always made this apparent.

    So why is it some are confronted with religion and take the route of “hrrmm, yeah, I don’t know about that …” and others swallow it like a last meal … ?

    Genetic dysfunction resulting in certain neural pathways not working, maybe religion causes a break in the brain mappings that only allows for serial communication or causes a dissociative schism … ?

    One thing about any religious individual that seems to occur in conversations pertaining to fact; they won’t be moved from untenable positions and the words, “I might be wrong” are never available.

    ?

  91. “I think this might be an area for Dr. Novella to offer some information possibly.”

    Oh, he has, and good stuff too, but it tends to be spread out over a large number of sources and venues: Neuroligica blog, The NESS, ‘guest spots’ on other blogs, podcasts, etc., which is why we see increasing calls for him to publish a book (HINT, HINT)

    “Have you ever been to church? I have, was forced to go until I was eighteen and off to college. But, the bunk never came clean in the wash, because there were always too many gaps in the presentation and science classes and history classes always made this apparent.”

    I had the odd occasion of being among the five children born to immigrants to the US, my father as an 8 yr old coming with his mother in 1934 from Scotland (grandpa came 5 yrs earlier, illiterate, didn’t know about Depression), my mother as a 6 yr old with family from Ireland in 1936. My father’s family were from a long line of Scottish atheists, though quiet and nonproselytizing about it, while my mother’s family were Irish Catholics. Once met and married, apparently my father won any argument as to how to raise us kids in regards to religion. As a result, I’ve never attended a regular church service and have only been in churches for weddings, funeral services, etc. Religion was not pushed, atheism was not pushed, in fact, I don’t remember either being mentioned during my childhood.

    “So why is it some are confronted with religion and take the route of “hrrmm, yeah, I don’t know about that …” and others swallow it like a last meal … ?”

    I think the larger part of the dynamic depends on when a person is introduced to the tenets of a given religion. In the US, I’d venture a guess that 90% of those who hold sincere religious beliefs in adulthood had them inculcated as children by their parents and family church members. Familial inculcation + church indoctrination + communal reinforcement = Deeply held religious beliefs. In that these beliefs were not formed on a reasonable reaction to evidence ala ‘science’, they are not easily altered or abandoned in reaction to evidence ala science. Abandoning religious beliefs also suggests abandonment of a lot of peripheral value as well – the social aspects of church life, often with lifelong or even multigenerational friendships and inter-family relationships. This is powerful stuff. I think abandoning one’s internal consistency re: science comes far easier to most people who acquired the religious beliefs first, almost always as children.

    My situation was reversed – I came by scientific awareness/knowledge before first being exposed to religion, as an adult, with my reaction: “He did what? With the jawbone of an ass? Hmmm. Go over that burning bush thing again. Yeah, right, look, I’ll get back you on converting…”

    “Genetic dysfunction resulting in certain neural pathways not working, maybe religion causes a break in the brain mappings that only allows for serial communication or causes a dissociative schism … ?”

    Perhaps, but I think there are sufficient socio-cultural explanations. I remembering hearing something about a “God gene” in the last couple years, but details have flown my mind.

    “One thing about any religious individual that seems to occur in conversations pertaining to fact; they won’t be moved from untenable positions and the words, “I might be wrong” are never available.”

    Yup, given that usually a particular religion’s biggest selling points are being right, infallible, unquestionable, and worthy of blind faith. There is a certain attraction to not having to think, to simply believing on faith, sans evidence, and even despite evidences. This is precisely how I came to be so handsome and so brilliant.

  92. Max says:

    aoxsic,

    An irreducibly complex system’s precursors are all nonfunctional. A true example of this would imply that the system did not come about by an iterative evolutionary process.

    If you look at all the diseases and things that can go wrong in the body, you’ll get a better appreciation of how the different parts have to work together.

    If genuine irreducible complexity exists, I would expect it to be very specific for a task and contain a minimal number of components without redundancies.

  93. aoxsic says:

    Thank you, Max. I understand.

  94. mls says:

    This refutation is just a series of insults. The foundation of the scientific method is the ability to consistently replicate the results. Evolutionists say it takes millions of years to evolve from monkeys to humans. Thus, the theory of evolution cannot possibly be scientific, even theoretically. By the way, you dont have to be a creationist to see the flaws in Darwinism. Why do you have to subscribe to either? Is that the law?

  95. Max says:

    mls,

    Scientists only have to replicate the results of other scientists. Thankfully, they don’t have to replicate the thing they’re researching. You wouldn’t want seismologists to trigger earthquakes, astrophysicists to open black holes, or epidemiologists to start epidemics.

    I hope my answer wasn’t too insulting.

  96. mls,

    Evolution does not say that man evolved from monkeys. It says man and apes had a common ancestor. This is a very, very basic point of evolution, and your unawareness of it suggests your feelings about evolution may be tainted by ignorance over what evolution theory actually says.

    I could care less if my answer was insulting.

  97. Mastriani says:

    Come on DA, be fair. Readinfs arnt fundiementals fer ebrywon.

  98. That’s the sort of ignurnce I ran into in that blog comment section I mentioned in the other thread: “Ah gots no ideer whut evolution is about, but ah knows it’s WRONG.”

  99. I was referring to “the God gene” rather than the God particle, a hypothesis that humans carry a set of genes that predisposes them to belief in a suoer entity most call ‘God’. From a book by geneticist Dean Hamer. As I recall, I don’t think the idea stood scrutiny.

    RE: Ph.D.s, my experience (anecdotal) is that while a certain level of intelligence is required to pass the undergrad and post grad work to obtain a Ph.D., the more common attribute in my field (psychology) was perseverance, that is, the ability to keep going forward with the effort in terms of paying for it, getting the work done when most candidates had to work full time, and simply slogging through it all while dealing with all other aspects of life. In my experience -again, this is anecdotal – when Ph.D. candidates dropped out it was more often due to finances and/or real life complicators than to insufficient smarts to get through the process.

    As Forrest Gump reminded us, “stupid is as stupid does”, but the obverse is “smart is as smart does”. One can apply smarts incorrectly or blindly and the result is all sorts of Ph.D.s and other high degrees – MDs, JDs, etc. – applying themselves to all manner of nonsense, endorsing it all the way.

    In my field, clinical psychology, I am frequently embarrassed at what emits from Ph.D.-level colleagues, such as a friend who heard an RN’s testimonial praising Therapeutic Touch and took it up without investigation, just bought it as pitched, and tried to formally incorporate it into the outpatient mental illness / substance abuse treatment modality of the County mental health center where she served as Clinical Director of Outpatient Services. It was eventually shot down as the pseudoscience it is after multiple complaints from clinical staff and public concern after a local newspaper story on TT reviewed the story of 9 yr old Emily Rosa, whose science fair project thoroughly debunked Therapeutic Touch with a simple single-blind protocol. This very smart Ph.D. Clinical director nonethless continued to try to defend TT until abruptly dropping it, probably due to a little sit-down with higher ups in the MH division.

    The field of mental illness treatment is rife with pseudoscientific nonsense and a Ph.D. has proved no prophylactic against it, in fact, much of it is introduced and defended by Ph.D.s, as well as MDs (psychiatrists) and other clinical disciplines. A great many of those promoting pseudoscience, paranormal claptrap, and ufological horse hockey hold advanced degrees, though some of them are of the mail order variety to lend credence. The most egregious example might have been Dr. John Mack, psychiatrist and Harvard professor, who was the leading purveyor of the ‘alien abduction’ mishegoss prior to his death in 2004.

    Any list of Ph.D.s and MDs promulgating woo and pseudoscience despite their degrees and innate intelligence would be a long one indeed: Roger Leir (alien implants), Michael Swords (UFOs/aliens), Harold Puthoff (ESP), Robert Jahn (psychokinesis), Jeff Meldrum (bigfoot), J. Allen Hynek (UFOs/aliens), Dean Radin (ESP), Gary Schwartz (ESP), and so many, many others. Many of the above were/are department heads at otherwise reputable universities. Where academic freedom meets the strictures of tenured professorships, woo may thrive.

    [Sidenote on J. Allen Hynek - The next time any of us encounters that sneering sort of UFO believer who says something like "oh sure, Mr. Skeptic, I guess you're going to explain this one with 'swamp gas' too! Hahahahahaha!", remind them that only once has anyone attempted to explain a UFO sighting as swamp gas, and that was none other than the grandfather of modern day ufology, Dr. J. Allen Hynek, while nvestigating a 1966 Michigan UFO flap. If said UFO believer points out Hynek was then working for USAF Project Blue Book, point out Hynek's reversal from UFO debunker-for-hire to UFO believer was an open secret even five years earlier.]

    Time to go – I’m late for a mandatory inservice on “Angels: Channeling The Divine To Heal Depression”.

  100. kevinkar says:

    Can we just use a non-reaction and non revoluiton view of point to look at the darkwin theory?

  101. Rick DeLano says:

    Since a theory, to be scientific, must be falsifiable, I would like to ask what would constitute an experimental falsification of evolution (descent from common ancestor)?

  102. Rick DeLano says:

    Thanks for the link. One of the examples given is: “(w)e won’t find horses in the Cambrian fossil layer (something that would falsify evolution without proving ID)”.

    I take this to mean that we would falsify evolution if we found conclusive evidence of a fossil found only in one layer in a widely divergent, anachronistic layer.

    Would you accept such a falsification, if it were to occur?

  103. Sheugnet says:

    I’m a housewife and I like to read about different things to keep the brain functional, but all I got out of this article is that people like to impress others with how much (or little) they know by using scientific words that cannot be understood by 80% of the general population – much like politicians. The moment a guy can’t make himself understood in normal language I start to think he’s a liar and that he’s got something to hide.

    No thanks. I prefer to believe that my origins lie with an almighty and allknowing God who gave his only Son for me to be saved from the coming wrath. The name of Jesus be praised!

    • JTK says:

      So if you don’t understand the words, that means someone is lying. Yeah, that will get you really far in life.

    • Seth Manapio says:

      Have you considered simply asking what the words mean, or possibly asking for a simpler explanation of some of the concepts? Not knowing words doesn’t mean that you are stupid, and it’s perfectly fine to ask people to explain themselves using different words.

  104. ... says:

    You should rename this blog into “belief blog”…

  105. Walter Gremillion says:

    I’d like to point out a flaw in both sides.

    1)It is obvious that evolution is suspect, creationists haven’t evolved.

    2) The creationists position dictates that god adhere to their beliefs, in which case, he isn’t god.

  106. ttownbeast says:

    Our understanding of any philosophical concept even with what we are capable of observing scientifically follows an asymptotic line nearing ever closer but never touching what is the truth our limit becomes finer and finer but approaches the infinite. Perhaps we will never know everything

  107. TheAlchemistKitten says:

    So, I’m not sure if anyone has pointed this out yet, but the Second Law of Thermodynamics (as Mr. Alcorn interprets it at least) actually supports evolution.

    If Alcorn is saying that all states gravitate towards increasing entropy and entropy is the measure of disorder, doesn’t that mean that evolution actually increases entropy, thusly following the SLoT?

    Think about it. Evolution can take one species and through genetic mutation and natural selection, split the species into multiple species. That increases the disorder of the Earth.

  108. Kyle Johnathon says:

    Have any of you folks heard of the matter of opinion? I find it so imature how Evolutionists and New Earth Creationists, go on and on calling eachother wrong, and will willingly take each battle to the death. I am indeed among the creationist’s, and I do enjoy debating – but a good man once told me that with us feuding over such a faithless thing, we are no better then the one’s antaganising the war in the middle east.

    For your information my friendly neighbors, like alot of things, Creationists can be split into two main catagories – Old Earth Creationists, and New Earth Creationists. The Old Earth’s believe that Evolution happened, but was guided by the hand of God, and the New Earth’s believe that many parts of Evolution are false, and that God created the universe acording to the Bible’s account.

    By the way, be mindless of my spelling. :)

  109. Dale Parsons says:

    Kyle, you are wrong. It is not a matter of opinion. Creationism in any form does not explain evolution, nor does it explain increase in complexity, or emergence, i.e. observed and attested facts of life. It is a religious position, and therefore outside the scope of science. My opinion is that religion is nothing but a superstition and magical thinking, but that is not science either. Science is based on facts, not opinions. You can’t call a magical explanation a scientific one.

  110. Kyle Johnathon says:

    I am not wrong. I do agree, both sides do have their flaws. Creationism cannot explain how objects such as black holes and quasars come into being, especially after the aparent turn around of when Adam and Eve ate the fruit – this seems odd to even me. Creationism does conflict with it’s self in places – but part of being a New Earth Creationist requires that you have belief and faith in a god.
    If you would you like to talk about magical thinking, explain to me how this “Big Bang” happened, or the ridiculous odds that stand against the Evolution of life.

    • Max says:

      Are you homeschooled by any chance?
      Did you learn everything about evolution from Creationists?
      Did you even read Steven Novella’s blog post? Be honest.

      Young Earth Creationism, or New Earth as you call it, conflicts with just about every natural science.
      If “faith” is your reason to reject science, then why don’t you have faith that Zeus casts lightning bolts from the sky?

      Magical thinking means making untestable and unnecessary assumptions. The Big Bang is evident from the expansion of the universe, but claiming that God made it happen would be magical thinking.

  111. Yamin says:

    Interesting article.

    Regarding point 2…are you suggesting that the information/language/code contained in the DNA emerged spontaneously out of blind and natural processes?

    “following relatively simple rules”

    What simple rules? An algorithm?

    Regarding point 9… in the author’s defence; he is talking about chemical and biological evolution. Chemical evolution is also known as “abiogenesis”. The title of the original article is “Ten Major Flaws of Evolution”.
    “That’s it – that is enough to get a foothold in evolution”
    I find your comments quite amusing. Solving the abiogenesis problem is akin to “what came first, the chicken or the egg?”

  112. bostonbruins says:

    Well, here’s how she goes in my mind:
    One day, when we die we’ll see who’s right, won’t we?
    And, if the Creationists are right, then we’re happy in heaven, and if we’re wrong then who gives a crap anyways, right?
    But, if the Evolutionists are wrong then it matters a whole lot… because you’ll be in hell. So I’m thinking it’s a far better bet to believe in Creation.

    And, to whoever said that individuals who believe in Creation are ignorant… Creationists are definitely NOT ignorant. Neither creation or evolution can be proven. Don’t even bother trying to tell me that they can be, because you’re just straight up retarded if you try to say that. Both are theories, because science means you can create it over and over again. You CANNOT create evolution again. Neither can you create Creation. ‘Cause we’re not God. So it’s a matter of what you want to believe in.

    If you belive in God, then you belive he is all-poweful, which means He can do whatever the heck he wants to do. That explains everything that seems unexplainable: humans, black holes, and whatever other crap there is that Evolution cannot explain.

    So, next time you see a dust particle turning into a universe or figure out a way to change species, and make some bacteria into a human, you come and show me. How about that, eh?

  113. Zin says:

    Is it safe to assume that anyone who appears to have not read the article is in fact trolling?

    I’m an atheist/complete believer in evolution. The two do seem to go together. In any case, I believe that studying and learning about things, even things that don’t make sense personally, is a good idea personally even if science isn’t involved.

    For most people, they don’t see the evidence that evolution is correct. As far as they are able to perceive, it really is just a matter of opinion. Their preacher has a lot of information on the subject of how life came about (accuracy is another question), states that what he is saying is fact, and is a willing representative of his viewpoint.

    Scientists appear to be the same thing. I think until there’s some sort of social stigma for spreading information that due diligence would reveal to be incorrect, nothing will change. Being wrong has to hurt.

  114. dukesvids says:

    As for the watch argument, I always saw it this way:

    One can argue that you find a watch while searching for it and assume someone made it. That would be like saying that you find a three legged frog with seven red spots, a green tongue, 20/20 vision in one eye, and 15/20 vision in the other, AND can sing opera, and when you find it, you can attribute it to a creator. It’s way to specific. If one were to challenge the idea of finding something that could effectively tell time, they would have to be less focused on exact details such as 2 ticking arms, gears and a battery/spring. For example, a rock formation that casts a shadow to certain areas at a certain time, or how certain flowers close up at night both tell rough estimates of time and are examples of “watches” that the creationist argument should request. You can attribute the rock formation to a creator, but you could also attribute it to finding a rock formation by chance that effectively tells time.

  115. Tsad Jatko says:

    Hard for me to read past the first “refutation”! If that is the type of “reasoning” the author uses to refute arguments it would be a colossal waste of my time…eg. what are examples of simpler systems as in vision, blood-clotting? The author provides none, no evidence that as he puts it “biological systems could have evolved from simpler systems that were functional but served a different purpose from their current one” because there is no such evidence…only pipe dreams from characters like him….talk about “mere assertions”! I have to wonder if Mr. Novella hangs with the researchers at the University of East Anglia in England where 160 megabytes of e-mails from the Climate Research Unit, which have now been confirmed as real, involved many researchers across the globe with ideologically similar advocates around the world brazenly discussing the destruction and hiding of data that did not support global warming claims. That would make sense.

  116. Tsad – perhaps you are new to the internet. The highlighted text is what is called a “hyperlink” to another web page. That is often how claims on blogs are referenced- by linking directly to them.

    The page I linked to on Talk Origins give very detailed examples of simpler clotting systems, simpler but functional eyes, etc. This is all old news.

    It would serve you well to not only read my article, but follow the links to the evidence I cite – if you can tolerate the cognitive dissonance.

  117. Tsad Jatko says:

    Are you kidding? That link has absolutely nothing to do with scientifically showing that these two biological systems, specifically vision or blood clotting could have evolved from simpler systems that were functional but served a different purpose from their current one. It is no different than your approach – simply declare that the argument is flawed without specific scientific proof to the contrary but broad statements of the sort …”that is wrong and this is how it works,” without any proof. That is exactly how anti-creationists operatives work. Make a statement and site a link which is gibberish but gives the impression you are siting actual scientific support. Where I was taught if you are refuting a specific allegation, which you are so quick to site specific examples of then YOU provide the evidence that refutes the specific examples you are targeting, at least…and you can’t, or you would have…instead of just inserting a link to more gibberish….and then when pointed out by me you still can’t specificaaly address the items brought up…pretty pathetic argument if you ask me …sorry but I was not born yesterday.

  118. Tsad Jatko says:

    Let’s make it simple, since you obviously feel I am too simple a person to understand the internet (another example of your faulty reasoning abilities)…provide for me one example, one illustration of simpler antecedents that have been shown to have evolved into the living systems of vision or blood clotting. That is all I am asking, and do it in your own words without siting a propaganda link. Surely that can’t be such a difficult task for Mr. Skeptic… I mean, since according to you, this evolutionary mechanism has been observed in nature to occur, splain it for me …why don’t you?

    • Tsad – seriously – are you claiming that there are no examples in nature of simpler yet functional eyes? This information is out there and readily available, if you had the slightest interest in actually knowing the facts.

      But here – I did some of the legwork for you:

      Eye spot – patch of tissue or cells that are photosensitive. Organism can move toward light, or synchronize circadium rythm, but not see shapes.
      Examples: Euglena (http://www.biologycorner.com/worksheets/euglenacolor.htm)

      Eye cup – depressed eye patch. Able to tell direction of light better than eye patch – the more cupped the eye, the finer the angle of discrimination.
      Examples: Planarian http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planarian

      Pinhole eye – cup closes except for pinhole, allows for “pinhole camera” effect to distinguish direction and shapes. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nautilus

      Primitive lenses could increase the light sensitivity of the eye by bringing in more light, without the ability to focus the image on the retina.
      Examples: Box Jellyfish – have primitive lenses that do not focus, adapted for low light environments. Jellys in brighter environments have simpler eyes without lenses. http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Built+for+blurs:+jellyfish+have+great+eyes+that+can%27t+focus-a0133108537

      And then vertebrates and other lineages evolved eyes with developed lenses that could focus sharp images on the retina.

      Some fossil evidence for the evolution of eye muscles in vertibrates: http://www.theness.com/neurologicablog/?p=106

      So what’s your next logical fallacy/false assertion?

      • Tsad Jatko says:

        You are very funny, answering a question I did not ask – do you really believe anyone (who isn’t brainwashed) is buying your reasoning that because a so called “simpler” form of something exists in another species of animal it was a for runner of a more complex system in a totally different species. My question to you, which you seem to think you can answer with smoke and mirrors was and I quote “provide for me one example, one illustration of simpler antecedents that have been shown to have evolved into the living systems of vision or blood clotting.” You and I both know you can’t answer that question because such a transition has never been shown to occur, which demonstrates I was wrong, your reasoning isn’t at fault, you intentionally seek to deceive people into believing a lie. Readers can discern for themselves and I thank you for demonstrating to them where you are coming from.

      • I wrote a more thorough reply on my other blog here: http://www.theness.com/neurologicablog/?p=1736

        In which I completely anticipated the misdirection you just did. I was refuting the claim of irreducible complexity – which states that the eye could not function if it were any simpler. You wrote in response:

        “Hard for me to read past the first “refutation”! If that is the type of “reasoning” the author uses to refute arguments it would be a colossal waste of my time…eg. what are examples of simpler systems as in vision, blood-clotting?”

        and then:

        “Are you kidding? That link has absolutely nothing to do with scientifically showing that these two biological systems, specifically vision or blood clotting could have evolved from simpler systems that were functional but served a different purpose from their current one.”

        I have now provided examples of simpler eyes that are functional. This disproves the premise of irreducible complexity, which is what I originally set out to do.

        You have now moved the goalpost to something which I did not originally claim – showing an actual evolutionary sequence, not a plausible sequence and not just simpler forms.

        Of course, the only way to do this is with fossil evidence, and soft parts don’t generally fossilize.

        But of course you ignore the genetic evidence and what fossil evidence there is.

        Yes – the readers here will have no difficulty seeing who is engaging in misdirection and logical fallacies.

      • Tsad Jatko says:

        I am good with letting the readers decide – you are full of excuses aren’t you? and clairvoyant too, obvoiously at the pinnacle of “human evolution” and by the way I did read a little further in your article but stopped at this “The statement also implies that evolution is “random.” This is false. Mutations are random, and variation may be random, but natural selection is decidedly not random, and therefore evolution is not random. Evolution is the non-random survival of those traits that provide an advantage to survival and reproduction in the current environment. Evolution is a designing force.”

        I like the way you actually have shown that it is even more difficult for evolution to occur because of natural selection. If 10 random genetic mutations occur that could lead to the development of new species, natural selection then could pick one and eliminate the others. Since it has never been demonstrated that any mutation can actually lead to a new species, oh and I know you will come up with bogus examples of this, the whole discussion is fantasy anyway – this is what urkes me about people like you – you don’t care if there is actually scientific evidence that proves or refutes any theory related to different types of evolution, just the fact that it sports the word evolution is enough for you to promote it.

      • And, as I noted previously, what fossil evidence we have is consistent with evolution:

        http://www.springerlink.com/content/l876685v14p452k2/

        And now that I have gotten you to move the goalposts (so predictable) and now you are further claiming there is no evidence for the evolution of the vertebrate eye from simpler antecedents, here is an article laying out the evolution of the vertebrate eye and giving examples of the simpler stages that persist in extant species. This is as close as we can get to an evolutionary sequence in living species:
        http://www.nature.com/nrn/journal/v8/n12/full/nrn2283.html

        Now what do you want – a time machine?

      • Tsad Jatko says:

        A time machine would be nice – then you would really be able to witness what happens instead of believing in one sided interpretations of fossils – none of that is actual proof of anything and is subject to various interpretation. You would only be true to your readers if you pointed that out…I’m sorry but to believe in your explanations
        requires a lot of faith, (and I know you’ll jump on that because you have faith and science mixed up) but I’m heartened to see that you are a man of faith, although misdirected.

      • Watcher says:

        @Tsad

        Could you provide an alternate view of the interpretation of fossil evidence that supports your claims? You could even use the data in the Nature article.

      • And there we go – further moving of the goalpost.

        Science is not about absolute “proof” it is about evidence and testing hypotheses. Evolution makes many scientific predictions, many of which have been spectacularly confirmed. I have just provided one slice of that evidence.

        There is no faith involved – science is a set of methods, not beliefs.

        You have also squandered and pretense of credibility by not acknowledging the legitimate points I made in response to your specific challenges:

        1 – there is evidence of simpler functional systems, and therefore the premise of IC is falsified (at least in this case)

        2 – there is evidence of an actual sequence of evolutionary steps in the vertebrate eye

        3 – there are other lines of evidence, all compatible with evolution of the eye – genetics, homology, suboptimal design, fossil evidence, etc.

        You have managed to get everything wrong, and are yet still unshakable in your conviction that you are right. Interesting.

      • Tsad Jatko says:

        Oh I glanced at your blog and it was just what I expected – your bloggers misstate my words distorting my words so they sound silly with no correction from you, who stated I am a creationist, which I am not and never claimed to be – I never promoted any creationist viewpoint but simply pointed out the truth about the deceit you use in your first refutation targeting your reasoning – I am not surprised you carried the discussion into an arena where you and your cabal of believers feel comfortable distorting the truth..

      • Michael M says:

        Tsad,

        It’s easy to look at science and point out the evidence that we don’t have, or the questions that we don’t have answers to, but it’s a big jump to say that because we don’t have the best kind of evidence that you can think of, the science is completely invalid. It’s an even bigger jump to say that looking at the available evidence and forming an opinion that is consistent with the opinions of the majority of experts in the field is sheer faith. If you want to say that science hasn’t provided the best kind of evidence that we would hope for, that’s perfectly valid. To say, however that this somehow means you’re right about something (Whatever that may be) that has far less evidence is ridiculous and a blatant double-standard. Would you provide us with what you can show to fit the available evidence and does not involve evolution or faith?

  119. RT says:

    Ah, the new religion of Evolution.
    You have to admit dear evolutionists, some degree of FAITH is needed for your theory(it is still a theory isn’t it?)
    Just as faith is a key component in Christianity, I am seeing a trend in non-creationists/atheists to put their faith in evolution as a sort of “fill the gap” belief system.
    Most common folk (i have met)have not the intellect nor the interest in this area of “science” to really get in and study the proposed ‘evidence’ to make much of an educated judgment at all. They simply go with the most popular and currently in-vogue theory put forward by the so-called intellectuals of today.
    This is human nature, we don’t generally like to make waves, as life is tricky enough without sticking your head up to get bitten off by the mob of majority.
    And the mob is right, until proven wrong.
    Once Christianity held the majority favor, now its evolution. All the ‘new evidence’ points towards it, the intellectuals say, well, until some new evidence is found however, 100 years from now. Just conjecture, but history seems to show this pattern.
    Evolutionists cannot (and it is a big ask) prove how or what happened on this planet to start life off. What made the first cell, It’s not their concern they say. Fair enough, just hypothesis and conjecture. We observe what is observable they say. While the man who believes in GOD observes what is not always visible to the human eye. (What the?!)
    The person who claims to have had a real experience with the supernatural, like witnessing a nonsensical and medically impossible healing of some kind will naturally have some doubts in the evolutionists all encompassing view on life’s explanation!
    I once put the question to a staunch intellectual evolutionist, “what would you do if you witnessed an event like this, something that smacked in the face of all known science”? He replied, “I’d call the men in white coats to come and take me away”.
    So there we have it, when what is witnessed does not support the core beliefs of a person, they have only two options:

    1. Reject it.
    2. Accept that there is something that is unknown to them.

    All of us have some sort of core belief system. Whether religious or scientific based, or some own made-up system, we as humans seem to have to have some sort of base ground foundation in order to be comfortable existing in this thing called life. That’s the ‘curse’ you could say of being a ‘self-aware’ creature.
    Our core belief system is in flux too. It can change. The ‘Born again experience’ of the Christian. The intellectual who collates so much supporting data on a topic so as to be thoroughly convinced of it.
    The Christian has an advantage I believe over the evolutionist/atheist, with regards to ‘The point of life’.
    The Christian comes to understand a big picture view on life, and where they fit into it. They view life as a journey, that carries on in the afterlife. Their life here on this planet as a human has a meaning that transcends merely the physical. They have a relationship with an(usually)unseen(by the naked eye)Creator. That relationship is two-way and it’s real to the person who is experiencing it. Can it be put in a test-tube and proven? Maybe. Do scientists try to prove GOD exists? Probably not.
    The atheist on the other hand has one crack at life, and if they aren’t happy with the way things work out, then stiff shit, it doesn’t really matter, no-one cares really in the grand scale of things.
    I mean c’mon, you’re only alive for a micro-second on an evolutionary timescale, you don’t really matter, or have any point, other then passing your DNA onto the next generation. Dead’s dead, and you’re quickly forgotten. Hopefully you’ll add some new bits of DNA to the human gene pool somehow that have a positive (or interestingly negative) effect for humanity in the centuries to come.

    For the atheist/evolutionist(the two seem to go together), life is a simple pointless happening.

    So if the point of life is simply to live, then lets all max out on as much as our evolved senses can take in. Why not? Who has the right to tell you that you can’t? It’s your life, your right as an animal this far along the evolutionary time line to experience it all before you turn back into dirt.

    There seems to me to be an aspect to life that is not able to be quantified in a test tube. And most people ‘feel’ it too. This creepy feeling that we are more than just bags of higher organic mush.
    The Christian has a grasp on this concept, the atheist will not investigate because of pride and fear. The two basic barriers to the truth. He relies upon the intellectual capacities of his brain, or of others. ‘In intelligence we trust’, they say.
    UFO’s, Aliens, Ghosts, Angels, ? Where do these things that millions of people claimed to have experienced come from? Are they ALL derived from the human brain having some sort of malfunction?
    Lets hope evolution fixes these early model glitches eh? Don’t worry, in another 50 million years, Human model 15.002 will be out then. and we’ll be right. Hopefully emotions will have been binned by then too, causes far to much hassle!

    Man’s creations, his inventions like writing and information storage, have put man into an interesting position. We know things.
    We think we know that the planet is heating up too much for human life to be comfortable.
    What can we do? Not much it seems to rectify it. Tough luck then.
    Millions of years of evolution and natural selection/survival of the fittest on this planet, just to get to here. A right mess. By our own hand, apparently, fancy that, the irony!

    So, the highest evolved primate on earth has literally shat in his own bed, to the extent that his bed might well just turf him off into oblivion. I doubt whether even the evolutionists say man has enough time up his sleeve to ‘evolve’ quickly enough to adapt to his new environment that he has created for himself. Will his technology that he creates help him? Maybe. Although his technology so far hasn’t really advanced the species any, just made them fatter and more selfish and petty. And more effective at killing.

    We’re standing in the way of natural selection with our medicine. The sick are no longer dying like they used to. Bad genes are being passed on at an alarming rate! Just look at all the kids these days with allergies.

    So, to conclude my babble,
    Evolutionists should be concerned with the alarming self degradation of the human species. The thick and sick are multiplying faster than is healthy for species continuation.

    The human body is an amazing machine, seemingly able to confront a multitude of different problems thrown at it. By time or by design?

    We, as humans, design, invent and create things for a multitude of reasons. usually the inventions we make that have a lasting useful effect for humankind tend to endure, the useless kind tend to fade into obscurity. Weapons can be classed as useful. Art also.
    Our machines get more complex and function better, more suited to the task as time goes by. Maybe one day mankind will create artificial life. But HE will have created it.

    It stand to reason, that what is true in a microcosm, is usually true in a macrocosm. If we, as the highest form of intellectual evolution on this planet have evolved to point were by we can now create machines that have function and purpose, then the idea that us as organic machines could have been created by a superior intellect for a function and purpose does not seem that far fetched. Or have we gotten so arrogant so as to assume that we are the only creators in this universe.

    Thankyou.
    RT.

  120. NK says:

    If the ability to create things with function and purpose begets design, then your creator surely has been designed as well, and so on and so on and so on.

    There are so many logical fallacies in your screed (mostly straw men) I’m frieghtened to even begin to disect it, it just may spontaneously combust and destroy the internets.

    Superfluity vitiates.

  121. Richard Eis says:

    So there we have it, when what is witnessed does not support the core beliefs of a person, they have only two options:
    1. Reject it.
    2. Accept that there is something that is unknown to them.

    3. Decide that it must, just must have been Jesus. Because. Yknow, its obvious. After all you didn’t get Jesus rammed down your throat all your life for no reason. This is as good an excuse as any why you still believe.

    It stand to reason, that what is true in a microcosm, is usually true in a macrocosm.

    Nope. Why should it. It doesn’t ‘stand to reason’ when your total time reasoning was a few seconds. Reason is a little more work than that.

    A right mess. By our own hand, apparently, fancy that, the irony!

    Oh a creationist who understands irony. Well, theres a first. Is it also irony that it is the creationists that talk of abusing the earth to its fullest because its yours (go forth and multiply by command!!) while we are more than aware of its ramifications. Shame you will stop us from doing anything about it. It might ruin your Sunday SUV drive.

  122. scribe999 says:

    Lots of strawmen here. Let’s just ignore most of the (correctly named) “babble” about how evolution degrades humanity (unlike the Abrahamic faiths that say we were born from dust, are fallen sinners and constantly deserving of God’s punishment). Your personal preference doesn’t have any bearing on reality. I’m sorry if that makes you sad.

    “then the idea that us as organic machines could have been created by a superior intellect for a function and purpose does not seem that far fetched. Or have we gotten so arrogant so as to assume that we are the only creators in this universe.”

    Ummm…then who created the creator? If something as complex as a human body NEEDS to have been designed, then surely something even more complex such as a “superior intellect” would have to be designed as well. And something complex enough to design the creator would also have to be designed going by this argument. It’s the logical fallacy of infinite regression. And if you say the creator doesn’t need to be created, then that’s special pleading undermining the previous attempt at syllogism in order to shovel in your own special case for magic.

    “It stand to reason, that what is true in a microcosm, is usually true in a macrocosm”.

    In that case it should be evident that evolution being observed in small increments both in laboratories and in the field today, should be true for the macroscale of time. Thanks for acknowledging it.

  123. Tsad Jatko says:

    To Michael M :

    What is a big jump, Michael is to say, that when the evidence is inconclusive it is fact – “consistent with the opinions of the majority of experts in the field” is not fact or science, but OPINION. Like the “consensus” on manmade globnal warming we’ve heard about for twenty years? – there was no consensus, and if there was, gee, it was all based on lies. My whole point is not creationism or evolution but pointing out Novella for making the big jump, from theories of which there are many, to fact…and that is what evolution proponents want to do – make you believe the science is settled (to borrow some “wisdom” from Al Gore)and it is not!!!
    Yes, you are right when you say what I want to say is, “science hasn’t provided the best kind of evidence that we would hope for, that’s perfectly valid.” and what I have said is just that…What I am right about is that to refute an assertion you have to provide proof or it is not a refutation – just an opinion, but Novella believes that although the science for his point of view is not the best kind, let’s say is not fact, it is good enough anyway to refute another scientific fact. What I’m right about is that he was not reasoning wrong but purposely trying to deceive readers to believe a theory is fact. I thought I made that very clear (whatever that means to you) I’m not promoting any theory as fact – all I did was point out the author has shown no evidence (evidence is fact, not theory) that number 1) of the major flaws of evolution presented in this article is untrue…perhaps it is untrue but I can’t determine that from anything the author has presented and we can let the readers decide that for themselves…can’t we, or would you rather argue somemore.

    • Michael M says:

      I have made no assumptions on what you are trying to argue for here. You’ve made it clear what your point is; that Dr. Novella does not have any evidence to back up his refutations. From the brevity of his article it’s fairly clear that he is providing an overview only and is not going in depth with each of these topics. The links he provides though offer a much grander selection of arguments and evidence though. The evidence he provided in the links as well as the links he provided in the comment section is certainly not nothing and you provide no refutation of your own that even comes close to providing the level of information that you seem to require from Dr. Novella. All you seem willing to do is to claim that his evidence isn’t good enough, and assert that this is all simply a matter of opinion. Certainly if it was simply an uninformed opinion, your point of view would be valid as well, but since there is a significant amount of evidence available to examine and study, the onus is on you to show why the evidence does not support Dr. Novella’s claims and what it does in fact support. If you cannot do that, then what are you even fighting for?

      Besides all that, when you state, “What is a big jump, Michael is to say, that when the evidence is inconclusive it is fact – “consistent with the opinions of the majority of experts in the field” is not fact or science, but OPINION,” you miss the fact that in the quote you used, I didn’t say “fact” I said “opinion.” So I miss where your argument is relevant. Scientific knowledge is ultimately opinion, but that does not make it deficient, it makes it honest. We can never know what evidence we don’t have, what hasn’t been discovered. We can only deal with the information we have, so all we can say is that all the evidence thus far, points to evolution. This is the scientific consensus currently, so you need to show why the evidence is so misleading and what else you have to explain it.

      • Tsad Jatko says:

        Well Mike, that is one I missed when I was getting my degree, “Scientific knowledge is ultimately opinion” . That is one for the record books – do you care to show me where you found that definition cause it is not in any dictionary, encyclopedia or science book I have ever read…and if you really believe that, it explains a whole lot about what you and I guess Novella believe is science. I’m sorry but that statement voids any further basis for discussion, but thanks for your honest opinion.

      • Michael M says:

        Tsad,

        It’s my opinion that I am sitting here in front of my computer typing this response to you. I say “opinion” because I do not know everything, and cannot anticipate everything that I do not know. If my computer screen goes black and then tells me that the Matrix has me and predicts when people knock on my door, then I might start to question that opinion. The use of the word “opinion” is simply to denote a point of view that is changeable given enough reason and/or evidence. The fact that in every one of your posts you have failed to respond to a single point that has been made just goes to show that you can’t even stop and consider an alternate point of view. I’m not asking for the world here. You made a refutation of an assertion, just like Dr. Novella did. Have the balls to hold yourself to the same standard that you are holding him to.

      • Michael M says:

        Tsad,

        I’ve been reading through your comments again and I think I may have overlooked the real point you were trying to make. It’s not simply that Dr. Novella has no evidence, it’s that he is knowingly interpreting the evidence based on faith and intentionally misleading his readers so as to misstate the actual level of evidence and pretend that evolution has far more backing it up than it really does. It sounds to me like your view of the origin of species, whatever it ultimately is, is based on faith and your point is to call Dr. Novella out on basing his beliefs on faith as well, while asserting that he has the ultimate truth here. Please correct me if I am wrong, but that is how I’m reading your position.

        First, your assertion that Dr. Novella is taking this all on faith aside, you have no basis for claiming that he is knowingly trying to deceive his readers. You said yourself that you did not read this whole blog, did not read the other blog all the way through, and have seemed to ignore large portions of his replies to you. You also do not seem to have read much of his other work as well, though I may be wrong on that point. Given that level of experience with the man, it seems unlikely that you know him well enough personally, or are familiar enough with his work to claim any active deception on his part and not provide any supporting evidence to that point. So once again, you are asserting a claim and not providing any evidence to back it up. I’ll refer you to a quote of yours from your second comment:

        “…I was taught if you are refuting a specific allegation, which you are so quick to site specific examples of then YOU provide the evidence that refutes the specific examples you are targeting, at least…”

        As I’ve stated repeatedly, you have not stuck to your own standards here, and have not even come close to the level of evidence that you are requiring of Dr. Novella in this matter.

        Second, as Dr. Novella aptly pointed out, you have changed the evidence you are requiring from him each time he presents what you are asking for and claiming that the evidence you previously asked for is not enough. All this leads me to believe that you are under the assumption that science is meant to provide concrete, 100% correct facts, and that if you cannot do that then what you assert is not science and is in fact, faith. I’d like to share with you an excerpt from a letter I wrote to someone about the difference between trust and faith:

        “Trust says that I have sat in many chairs over my lifetime and I believe that this chair will hold my weight so I feel no need to test it. If I am wrong, then I may not be so willing to trust any other chairs in the future. Faith says that even though I am seeing nothing in the space below me, I may believe that there is a chair there and it will support my weight. If I am wrong, then my faith will not necessarily be shaken. It is simple to see where the trust comes from, but the first question any person would ask about the faith example is, “Why do they believe that there is a chair there?” If billions of people told you that they also believed in the invisible chair, would it make a difference to reality?”

        The point I make is that trust is earned and faith is not. One can trust in the scientific consensus opinion about a particular field or question as well as the theory that surrounds it without employing faith. Faith is unshakable despite what the available evidence shows and trust is wholly dependent on what the available evidence shows. If you want to talk about evidence being subject to multiple interpretations, I doubt that anyone will disagree with you, but you need to be ready to present an alternate interpretation to continue the conversation in a meaningful way. Certainly saying that someone could interpret evidence in a different way does nothing to dismiss the interpretation that is being presented. So again, I’ll ask you to lay out why the evidence provided by Dr. Novella is insufficient and what other interpretation fits the evidence that is available.

        If you dispute my interpretation of your position, please clarify. I readily admit that I may be reading you wrong here as I don’t know where you are coming from. If you dispute my assessment of faith vs trust, or my views on science, please do me the honor of explaining what I am getting wrong and why. Above all, though other commenters may not feel the same way, I want you to know that I mean you no disrespect, nor think that I know everything. I am trying to honestly seek the truth whatever it may be, and so far it has led me to agree with what Dr. Novella has asserted. If I am wrong, I want to know about it, but I need good reason and evidence to sway me.

  124. Paul Smith says:

    Dear creationists,

    Evolution is an emergent property. If you have certain base conditions in place, evolution will follow as an inevitable by-product whether you agree with it, believe in it, actively try to refute it or not.
    Once you have (genetic) diversity (a provable fact), variable repoduction because of that diversity (another provable fact), because of competition for resources (food, mates, habitat) and avoidance of death (all provable and observable facts) you get evolution (the inevitable by-product).
    It’s really that simple.
    You can talk about specifics all you want (eyes and all that) but it always comes back to that very straight-forward equation.
    Successful animals leave more offspring that unsuccessful ones.
    What genetic differences accounted for that success will remain and accumulate in the gene pool over time.
    Leave that running long enough and you get speciation.
    Fight over the details all you want that simple truth will always remian.

  125. lazarus says:

    Logical argument and debate will never change the mind of a man of faith, rather, it provides him with a legitimacy both undeserved and better reserved for those who’s lives were dedicated to dragging the human race out of darkness and superstition and into the light of science and reason.

    Oh yeah, and, I’m right your wrong nananananana.

  126. Richard Eis says:

    Michael, when you are dealing with creationists it is best to use small words and uncomplicated concepts.

    He cannot tell miracles from random chance or that “Jesus is not the default position”, so he is hardly going to be ready to understand that science accepts the unknown and that evolution is not a religion set in stone.

    • Michael M says:

      I appreciate the backing Richard, but in Tsad’s defense he really hasn’t stated his views at all and in fact has said that he’s not a creationist. That’s the problem though; he’s providing no insight into why he rejects these claims. He’s just calling Dr. Novella a liar and leaving it at that. He offers no counter-points, no alternate interpretation of the evidence, only baseless assertions that we are all wrong. Whatever he believes, he’s obviously not interested in debating the facts, only proclaiming his lack of belief.

  127. vuvu says:

    Tsad, you seem to be dodging or simply ignoring alot of the questions asked, and to me they seem like pretty honest questions. I really do want to know why you think Dr Novella is wrong and offer some evidence for why?

  128. RT says:

    I’ve found your rebuttals quite amusing and wholly typical.
    What I’ve noted about you so called ‘skeptics’-or whatever you call yourselves, is that you’re more interested in pulling the validity of the author in question down by way of childish put-downs, rather than actually attempting to tackle the questions or opinions raised by said author. Simply avoiding having to answer the questions.
    It’s almost as if you’ve got you heads so far up your own backsides that all you can see and smell is your own magnificence! -how do you like it?
    It’s quite saddening really. If hope in the future for our species rests on your shoulders, then when the world collapses around you, you’ll all be still squabbling and trying to gain the upper hand over each other in some kind of nerdy verbal pugilism.
    But I digress…
    None of you have yet riddled me the riddle as to what we are going to do with ourselves as a species?
    I mean surely we can’t let this backwards-evolution trend go on for much longer?
    If the local meat-head football jock is procreating with far greater success than you nerds, then all those brains aren’t really helping.
    The strong survive.
    Now we have technology so the weak can survive just as well. Remove the technology? The weak perish and the strong survive again.
    If we as a species have come this far on the backs of our strong forefathers, then what the hell are we doing allowing the weak now to flourish and spread their pathetic genes! Seems hypocritical of all you evolutionists to even support this travesty of natural order. None of the other species that inhabit this earth get by on technology, so what gives us the right to do so? We’re wreaking the planet as a consequence.
    In the wild, an albino tiger is targeted and attacked by other tigers to the point of death. All animals instinctively know to target and attack mutated or sick variants of their own species. Its critical for their survival.
    You evolutionists see man as just a higher evolved animal, but an animal none the least, so why don’t you adhere to the natural order of things eh?
    If you’re not a strong healthy buck human example, then do the species a favor and please don’t procreate, our continuation depends upon it.

    Who created the creator? Chicken or egg? Endless loop in the logical. But not in the supernatural. You guys reject that train of thought outright in a flurry of snorts and indignant facial expressions! I wait for another barrage of insults and criticism about incorrect syntax etc.

    You know what though? 90% of people out there don’t give a hoot about all this sort of stuff though. You know why? Because the theory of evolution is not everyday life changing. You read it, you go, hmmm, that’s interesting, “Mildred, you know apparently we come from apes”, “oh OK dear, that’s nice, can you pass me the salt?”
    It doesn’t change a damn thing to the way we live! Now you might have convinced yourselves that it has, but I challenge you, does believing that you’ve evolved from an amoeba really affect your day to day life? Does it make you want to be a better person, more neighborly, less selfish, happier, more content?
    It’s just interesting.
    Doesn’t solve crime, doesn’t end wars, etc.
    What does it do?
    It makes money.
    (so does Christianity you say sneering…)
    And yes, today’s humanized and manipulated version of Christianity does make money for some, but true grassroots Christianity is about the furthermost from material gain as anything could be.
    Was mother Teresa a highly evolved human, or a damn good woman? And who decides what is Good anyway? Who has the absolute right to determine that? You?

    So go ahead and take your cheap shots, nerds, I’m waiting.

    RT

    • Michael M says:

      “What I’ve noted about you so called ’skeptics’-or whatever you call yourselves, is that you’re more interested in pulling the validity of the author in question down by way of childish put-downs, rather than actually attempting to tackle the questions or opinions raised by said author. Simply avoiding having to answer the questions.”

      RT,

      I’m not really interested in getting into a debate on the validity of scientific reasoning versus religious faith as I simply don’t have the time to address such a complicated topic. I will say though that at least none of my comments to Tsadhave had any ad hominems in them or attack him as a person. You claim that all us skeptics (which I wear as a badge not a label btw) have not attempted to tackle the questions or opinions raised by Tsad and simply resorted to name calling. I ask you, which comments are you reading? Dr. Novella responded with plenty of specific content and even wrote another blog post about it. I and others have pointed out what we perceive to be the gaps in his reasoning and have asked him to respond to them. He has not. The only thing that Tsad has said against Dr. Novella and the others who have commented against him is that the evidence/reasoning we have provided is not good enough and that we are liars or otherwise brainwashed. He has made no substantive claim or assertion and has not countered any of the facts presented with an alternative interpretation.

    • Seth Manapio says:

      “Does it make you want to be a better person, more neighborly, less selfish, happier, more content?”

      Yes.

    • Lucian says:

      “Doesn’t solve crime, doesn’t end wars, etc.”

      RT,

      Evolution may not end wars, but it sure as hell hasn’t directly started any, unlike Christianity. Good point though. And I love how you argue that all of us Skeptics use “childish putdowns,” and then you go and end your comment by calling us nerds, you doodoo head. hahaha.

  129. lazarus says:

    And so the intellectual circle jerk continues unabated and my simple warning goes un-posted. Ce la vie. Let the blind see and the deaf hear – Ours is not a struggle against powers and principalities but against flesh and blood. If possible, an explanation as to the short comings of my previous submission would be gratefully received so that I may better understand how to curtail myself as to be able to join the dialogue. Merci bien.

  130. Fred says:

    Steve – another award winning post. I find your writing on evolution to be articulate and enlightening. There’s got to be a book in your work somewhere?

  131. RT says:

    I was referring to NK’s reply
    “There are so many logical fallacies in your screed (mostly straw men) I’m frieghtened to even begin to disect it, it just may spontaneously combust and destroy the internets.”

    And scribe99,
    “Your personal preference doesn’t have any bearing on reality. I’m sorry if that makes you sad.”

    And Richard eis,
    “After all you didn’t get Jesus rammed down your throat all your life for no reason. This is as good an excuse as any why you still believe.”

    If these aren’t personal swipes, then what are?

    • Seth Manapio says:

      The second one is definitely not a personal swipe, nor is the first one. The first is an evaluation of your argument. It’s not a nice evaluation of your argument, but it is not an evaluation of you personally. The second is a statement of fact: your personal preferences have nothing to do with reality. Whether or not you like the theory of evolution or find it inspiring, it’s still true.

  132. RT says:

    That’s a pretty arrogant statement to make Seth, – “Whether or not you like the theory of evolution or find it inspiring, it’s still true.”

    Well there’s no need for anymore discussion then. Thanks for clearing that up for me. I’m merely an ape. That explains my hairy bum.

    • Seth Manapio says:

      Merely? Why should an ape be ‘mere’? I don’t understand why you want to be separate from the rest of the biosphere, as if being a natural creature is somehow demeaning.

      I’m not sure why you think that it’s arrogant of me to think that the real world doesn’t care about my opinion. The earth orbits the sun regardless of me and without my opinion being important to that. How is that arrogant?

      Also, you shouod be aware that there is a ‘reply’ link at the bottom of posts. If you click on it, you will be replying on the ‘thread’ that represents the conversation on this specific point, rather than the general comment. If available, it is considered polite to use this function.

  133. Maybrick says:

    RT says
    “That’s a pretty arrogant statement to make Seth, – “Whether or not you like the theory of evolution or find it inspiring, it’s still true.”

    We could say the same about the Theory of Gravity. Thats not arrogance.

    The only difference is that one theory doesn’t upset you, and one clearly does.

    “Well there’s no need for anymore discussion then. Thanks for clearing that up for me. I’m merely an ape. That explains my hairy bum.”

    There clearly is more need for discussion. Creationists certainly seem to need help we can give them on the issues at hand.

    As to the hairy bum…well, yes. Your hairy arse is explained by the science, and your descent from hairyer homininds.

  134. RT says:

    Oh, if you want an absolute truth Seth, all life comes from life. You give me one example of any energy or matter spontaneously metamorphosing into an organic life form. Just give me one example that’s been recorded. Because if you can’t then you’re merely speculating. The funny thing is, is that you call your speculating, “the truth”
    How utterly absurd. Basic logic and reason fellas, all life on this planet comes from life. It takes an enormous leap of faith to believe otherwise.
    And in the future, if man manages to create an artificial life form, then that only proves my first point, that an intelligent designer was the creator.
    You can combine all forms of energy and all forms of matter in every way possible for a billion years, and you still will not get an organic life from capable of reproducing itself. You all know it, but choose to reject it. Well God did imbue you with free will.

    • Seth Manapio says:

      RT, this is a common point of confusion for people. Evolution by Natural Selection is the theory of how life changes over time. It is very well supported by a lot of evidence. But it does not cover the origin of life itself or the origin of the universe.

      Abiogenesis is the theory that life developed from non-life. This is a separate area of biology, and whether it is true or not does not affect whether evolution by natural selection is true or not.

  135. RT says:

    One more thing,
    It’s a bit of a bummer that they’ve never found the bones of ‘the common ancestor’ of both man and ape eh? I mean your theory does kinda hinge on this idea.
    And I predict they never will.
    You read it here.

    RT out.

    • Seth Manapio says:

      RT, I don’t understand this comment. There are plenty of fossils at every point in the development between fish and man. So the theory is extremely well supported by the fossil evidence. Why do you think that the theory (it certainly isn’t mine, since it predates my birth by over a century) hinges on one specific fossil?

  136. RT says:

    The fossil that is supposed to be the common ancestor of both man and the ape has never been found. This is big, as you say there have been plenty of fossils found that show every step between fish and man. I say show me the common ancestor of ape and man, but lo and behold, you can’t. No one can, it hasn’t been found. So there is a hole in your facts dear Seth.
    You expect me to look at various fossils, and say that this one turned into that one. To acknowledge this, there would have to be an equal number of fossils found today that clearly show every small incremental bodily change between one fossil to the next.
    Where are those fossils? Heaps of fossils are found of complete species, but fossils with the beginnings of an eye?
    You however, show me one creature, and then another, and conclude that because of certain bodily similarities between the creatures, that one evolved into the other.
    Isn’t it possible that all organic life forms that have DNA can have similar bodily parts? I mean think about it. A car, an airplane, and a skateboard are three very different machines that look different etc. But they share common similarities as they are designed to operate, in part, in similar environments.
    For example they all have wheels and bearings, they each have a method for steering, a place for a human to operate it etc. Now some one digging these things up in a million years (presuming they’re preserved) is going to see the common elements, but recognize that they were used for very different purposes.
    They are different machines, not related, but share similar mechanisms.
    A man has eyes on the front of his head. And so do numerous other animals, like lions. The genetic instructions for the formation of eyes like these will be similar for both species. This to me clearly points towards a ‘designer’ who (like us with machines) uses one type of genetic instructions to form forward facing eyes. Just like a computer programmer can copy or re-use existing code from one program into another to accomplish a similar outcome. The two end resulting programs can have very different purposes, but may both share commonality such as keyboard input.
    One program didn’t ‘evolve’ into the other, but similar code (for the sake of rewriting it)may be incorporated between the two.

    • Seth Manapio says:

      RT, the ‘Reply’ link is there for a reason. You should try to use it so that a specific line of questioning can be in a specific area. This is common blog posting etiquette.

      No one expects you to look at a fossil and say that one fossil changed into another. This is not how the fossil record works. However, there are fossils that are prior to and common to the entire primate lineage but you are asking for one specific fossil that shows the divergence of a very specific sub-group of primate species, not just apes and monkeys. I believe that the best current example of a primate fossil near to that division is here:

      http://talkorigins.org/faqs/homs/toumai.html

      Of course, there are some people who, regardless of what fossil they see or what the record contains, simply will not be satisfied because they have already decided that evolution is impossible. But if you had an honest question, there’s your honest answer.

      I think that if you have serious questions about why evolution is considered a fact, while variation with natural selection is a theory, you could do worse than to start by reading “On The Origin of Species” by Charles Darwin. A lot of his information about the fossil record is out of date (by about 150 years), and the theory has progressed considerably since Darwin’s time, but the predictions made by his theory about the fossil record have been good. That is, we have consistently found the fossils that are predicted by the theory, but have never found the fossils that would falsify it.

      It would be impossible to encapsulate that book and the subsequent 150 years of research into a blog comment. You can read all of Darwin’s work, free, online here: http://darwin-online.org.uk/.

      Another good book that I would recommend to you would be “Why Evolution is True” by Jerry Coyne. The authors blog site is here: http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/.

      • RT says:

        Seth, all I see is an ape skull.

        Thanks for pointing out the ‘Reply’ link.

        As for the other information on all the other hominid fossils found;
        I am not convinced that from mere fragments of skull and teeth, we can possibly say for certain what type of creature they were. Most likely types of ape that are now extinct, or even types of man that the Bible talks about in Genesis, born from union of Angel and man, the heroes of old, perhaps even they are the remains of the Nephilim. Goliath was a descendant from Nephilim.
        If you compare the skull of the Australian Aborigine, to the skull of a European descendant, you might conclude that they are different hominids. Shown here:

        http://images.google.co.nz/imgres?imgurl=http://jehovahs-witnesses-headlines.net/images/aboriginal.vs.slav.skull.jpg&imgrefurl=http://jehovahs-witnesses-headlines.net/humanevolutionquestionsanswers.aspx&usg=__syGS9bdm7jQvlNo1bFgw7ddtUiE=&h=240&w=288&sz=40&hl=en&start=1&itbs=1&tbnid=I_lTiO8o0blP4M:&tbnh=96&tbnw=115&prev=/images%3Fq%3Daborigines%2Bskull%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG%26gbv%3D2%26tbs%3Disch:1

        Massively long link? crazy, oh and I’m not a JW by the way.

      • Seth Manapio says:

        Well, I guess that the main issue here is expertise. I haven’t studied ape anatomy to the degree that I can casually glance at a single picture of a skull and determine that it is an ape skull.

        What seems most odd to me about your link is how the author accepts that the scientific community has revised their understanding of human evolution, and calls this a triumph… and yet the nature of that revision actually makes human evolution much more like the evolution of other species, and less of a special case. He takes the headline as true but rejects the story.

        It seems inconsistent to me: either science is a valid way of gaining knowledge about the world or it isn’t.

        I agree that the fossils in the record are from extinct species of ape and different species of hominid. I’m not sure why you think that this viewpoint is different than the scientific view that hominid and proto-ape fossils are from extinct species of apes and hominids.

      • Seth Manapio says:

        What species of ape do you believe that the skull came from, by the way? A living ape or an extinct one? If the ape is extinct, why do reject the authors finding that this skull is a strong candidate for a common ancestor between chimpanzee and hominids, which would be by definition some kind of ape?

      • RT says:

        Well, to me, as a non-expert on anatomy, I would say a distant grandfather to one of the apes we have today. Not a different species however, but an ape that is at home in his current (then) environment. The earths climate changes, vegetation changes, etc and through natural selection(involving loss of information), the ape fossil/s shown in your link, look now like the ones we have now.
        Their DNA allows a million variations of the same animal, but stays within parameters set by the type of species. E.g. bone and hair variations, muscle and teeth.
        I accept that modern man has changed since our forefathers in the way of smaller teeth for example due to our much to easier to consume diet. Our muscle strength is less, as modern man has his beasts of burden, our tools and machines now to do the heavy work for him. This of course has led to the freeing up of available time for man, and he has used that time to expand his understanding and knowledge on all things.
        Probably our brains are being stimulated in areas that were not in our forefathers who had not the luxury to think and experiment for long periods of time as we can now.
        I do believe however, that they would have had the inherent ability to grow in areas of the cerebral. We have the chance to, say did not.
        Likewise, we have the ability to bulk up in muscle, and I’m sure that if we all took to eating very hard nuts or something, then given a long enough time, our teeth will through inherent programming, become stronger and larger.
        BUT, this is all within the multitudes of variation allowed within the DNA of each species. It’s as if GOD in his wisdom programmed in a whole mass of ‘IF’ commands in our DNA. I.E, IF said human is subjected to cold weather, then activate long hair code.
        BUT, there are limitations I believe, E.G, IF said human tries to fall of high cliff and flap arms, then said human dies!
        So, absolutely variation within a species, IE all types of horse,(zebra, pony), BUT not evolution into a new type of species by way of new information being added to the old species DNA.
        Mutations involve loss of good information. Case in point is the modern man. Put a Neanderthal and a modern man in a fighting arena and you know who’ll win. Heck, the Neanderthal could simply gnaw the modern man to death!
        Modern man by physical standards is pretty frail compared to his ancestors. But, by way of having extra time on our hands, we have thought how to make life easier for ourselves by way of tools and technology. We’re extremely competitive too, and tend to kill off anything that could be a threat to our existence.

      • Seth Manapio says:

        “I accept that modern man has changed since our forefathers in the way of smaller teeth for example due to our much to easier to consume diet. ”

        How do you think that this works? Does this shrinking of teeth happen over generations, or all in one generation? What about the changes in skull shape, jaw shape, and other major skeletal changes?

      • Robo Sapien says:

        “Mutations involve loss of good information.”

        That is 100% incorrect. Every change in biology through mutation is recorded in the genes, including features that regressed from lack of use. Modern whales descended from creatures that walked, and still have the code for legs written into their genetics, in case they ever need them again.

        So far the only claim you’ve presented any evidence for is that you aren’t an expert in anatomy.

    • Seth Manapio says:

      To get a better general idea of the current picture of hominid evolution, you might look here:
      http://talkorigins.org/faqs/homs/species.html

      The entire talk.origins site is actually well worth visiting. It certainly helped me to overcome many of my misconceptions about what evolution was all about and what the evidence for the theory actually was.

      • RT says:

        Well that ones easy, ever bred dogs Seth? Biology 101.

        Here’s a question, if in a million years you dug up a fossil of a tadpole, in the stage when while it was alive of developing legs, but still had it’s tail, you might conclude (if you were not familiar with the species) that it was a link between fish and a land creature would you not? Quite easy to make that assumption.
        So this begs the question, is the Salamander still evolving? Or has it always had legs? And do those legs serve it a useful purpose that does not encourage it to evolve any further. I mean, is there any advantage for it to become a full fledged land creature?

      • Seth Manapio says:

        “Well that ones easy, ever bred dogs Seth? Biology 101.”

        Okay, so you agree that gradual changes over time, selected by fitness to a specific environment, are happening and are represented by the fossil record? If this is true, where do you find a difference between your point of view and the theory of evolution by natural selection?

  137. R.T says:

    Well, I am convinced there is a marked difference between natural selection and evolution. What I mean by this, is that for me, its a fact that all creatures can adapt to a certain degree to their environment. I believe that programmed into the DNA of a species is a number of variables that may enable the species to overcome mild environment changes.
    E.g. Ice-age comes, hairy people fare better then smoothed skinned people, they breed with other hairy people, and boom – Hairy men of the north!
    Conversely I believe that a species can also breed itself OUT of existence given the right conditions. An example of this would be if a species is forced/chooses to inbreed for what ever reason. The resulting messed up genes would be severely detrimental to the species, even to the point of self extinction. If not directly then indirectly by weakening itself and being easy prey for another creature, or by simply falling to congenital diseases.
    Or, dwarfism is considered highly attractive, so everyone breeds with them!
    Put simply, I agree with micro-evolution, that is, changes that occur within a species but do not ultimately change the species into a completely new type of animal, that would be macro-evolution, which I do not believe in.
    Because,
    to say that a species can ADD to it’s DNA pool and change to a NEW species via mutations/environment, is to me, absurd. Even given the ga-zillions of years that evolutionist throw around.
    What we have witnessed on this planet is the opposite. Information is lost, rather then added. The universe tends to follow some law about always heading this way. Does your house stay clean? Does a car never rust or degrade? Everything in the organic is getting more diverse, but as a consequence, everything is actually getting weaker biologically.

    Natural selection can turn an animal into a VARIANT of its base self. BUT stays within the prescribed boundaries of it’s species.
    I live in New Zealand where the Maori people are indigenous. They have a look that is individual to them. But you can trace their ancestors back to Asian descent. Do they look like Asians now? No. They are though, a variant of an Asian.
    Like wise a Zebra is a variant of a horse etc. You can see the commonalities clearly.
    The flying fox? Was it mutated arms that gave him the ability to glide between trees? Or is he simply a variant of the squirrel? Will the flying fox be soaring the clouds in a million years? Or is he quite fine where he is thank you. Why couldn’t it simply be that the ancestor to the flying and non-flying squirrel had indeed arm flaps, and that through a biological stuff up, a squirrel was born with mal-formed winglets. This squirrel couldn’t glide. He has a litter that inherits this malformation and so on till we have two variants of the squirrel. The flightless squirrel toughened up and found he could live without the winglets, but didn’t have quite as much fun however!

    You see I’m talking about ‘Backwards Evolution’ in a sense. You start with Strong and healthy specimens of species, and you end up through time with the animals we have today. The modern ape species are weaker strains of the original ape for example.
    Start with ADAM and EVE who lived for hundreds of years (proving their fantastically strong genes), move through hundreds(thousands?) of generations, and you have poor old us who are really quite frail when compared to them.
    Makes sense to me!

    • alastair says:

      hey

      Ive been following this discussion for some time and find it interesting.

      You agree that species can vary within their own kind however you dont agree on the idea of long term shifts. Consider such compounding shifts adding up over a long time, thats where evolution can manifest larger shifts. You can see a small variation occuring, such as a species spreads into a cooler environment which proposes new challenges to them. some die because their feet werent durable enough for a new rocky environment, some freeze while others with thicker coats survive. The traits of those which survive are stored (more like the animal grows from the information in the genetic sequence) in their genetics and when they breed with the others which are surviving the new conditions the traits which provided them sucess continue in the next generation. However there is still random mutations and variations which offer new traits that are tested by the environment, and this means that subtle differences are tested in the battle for survival. Over time these changes add up, such that after many generations, aspects of a species can change to be optimally suited to its environmental niche.

      You also seem to believe in a type of de-evolution, such changes which we may consider as de-evolution are still environmental induced changes over time that is also evolution.

      You seem to actually already understand evolution and i am finding it hard to see why you choose to disagree with it.

      regards
      Al

  138. Seth Manapio says:

    “Information is lost, rather then added.”

    Why do you think that, given two strands of DNA of equal length but different content, that one has “less information” than the other? Don’t they have the same information?

    Also, if modern ape species are weaker strains of the original ape, wouldn’t that ape be ill suited to a variety of environments? Do you believe that gibbons and gorillas are different species, descended from one species? If so, why do you put a limit on how much change can happen? Why a gorilla, a gibbon, and a chimpanzee but not a human?

    • R.T says:

      Oh right, sorry I haven’t made myself clear. When I say “information is lost” I am meaning the consistency of the animal’s current DNA. So, No, you’re right, there isn’t an actual loss of DNA leaving blank gaps in the strands, but rather errors have replaced bits of the original DNA strand. Much like if you were to copy the contents of a floppy disk over and over again, you are very likely to encounter copying errors that are then transferred again etc. Say the contents of the floppy disk was a computer game, then the game would most likely still run with these initial errors in the code, but produce small anomalies such as graphical glitches. Likewise an animal with a copying error from its parents would perhaps materialize as a malformed claw for example, but not necessarily be massively detrimental to the animal. A child born with a cleft lip is still going to survive, albeit with a slight handicap.
      Of course some copying errors, or mutations can have a beneficial outcome. Take for example a flying beetle that lives on a small island. Due to environmental changes, there is now a very strong prevailing wind that sweeps across the island and threatens to wipe out the species as they are now all getting blown out to sea when they are flying. Along comes an offspring that is born with little to no wings, and thus cannot fly. That little beetle now just may have a better chance of survival due to the fact that it won’t be blown out to sea. And yes, it will have to adapt for survival to life as a non-flying beetle.

      “if modern ape species are weaker strains of the original ape, wouldn’t that ape be ill suited to a variety of environments? ”
      Yes, quite possibly.
      Interestingly, just suppose that the legendary “Yeti” does, or did exist. It certainly hasn’t been proven that it is a hoax. So, what type of animal could it be? One hypothesis is that it is a prehistoric man of some sort that has somehow managed to survive extinction, evade modern man, and lives in very inhospitable cold environments. This has some credibility to it, as an earlier form of man would have purer more ‘robust’ DNA that could enable it to live where modern humans can not without insulating shelter and adequate clothing etc.

      I believe that all ape varieties (gibbons, chimpanzees, gorillas, etc) all belong to one ‘type’ of animal, and that they all share a common ancestor that lived thousands of years ago , not millions.

      It’s funny in a way, as a common argument against Christianity is that we can use GOD as a ‘Get of of Jail free’ card to defend aspects of creation, a sort of convenient explain-all.
      However, evolutionists you’ll notice have there own, its called ‘Time’. It’s like their own explain-all. Q. “So how was the first amoeba made?” A. “Well given enough time, anything’s possible”.
      “In TIME we trust”.

      I don’t believe I am putting much of a limiting factor on change at all. All I’m asserting is that science has shown us the universal tendency for all things to wind down, lose energy, degrade, decay, and mutate downwards from the original information contained in the earliest species.
      So, there is change happening, but if you change your perspective from the evolutionist vantage to the creationists perspective, then the whole picture of origins does indeed ‘fit’ just as well if not better than their arguments.

      You see, evolutionists have this tendency to avoid the topic of how the first organic cells came into existence on earth.
      They usually say that, that topic is a whole other field of science that has little to no bearing on current evolution theory. I say ‘current’ because the theory of evolution has had major revisions in it’s short history, and today’s followers would agree that earlier in the last century, they were wrong on a lot of there model assumptions. What will another century produce? Quite conceivably the theory will have ‘moved on’ from where it is now.
      However, I think that the WHOLE case rests on explaining our absolute origin. If you cannot explain how life came into existence from non-living matter(something that NO scientist can even begin to replicate in the laboratory), then the whole case for the supposed subsequent ‘adding of information’ that resulted in all the earths inhabitants, is null and void.
      Because to have evolution, FIRST you have to get the ball rolling with spontaneous life. What possibly in the known universe can make organic life from non-organic compounds. It takes more then water for life to appear. All scientists have observed, is life coming from life. But somehow evolutionists are willing to bridge that huge void of knowledge with their ‘faith’ as I call it, that one day it will be explained, given I presume enough ‘time’!!

      The Bible has a coherent explanation for our existence. If you want answers to the “but what about..” questions that atheists ask, then have a gander at the Answers in Genesis web site: http://www.answersingenesis.org
      And may I suggest, as a true scientist, have an open mind to all possibilities. I know it’s hard these days, as most of us have been indoctrinated through our schooling that evolution is not merely a theory, but is indeed concrete ‘fact’. How ironic, as the mere thought of exposing our children to creationism (which used to be the norm)is now met with absolute disdain, and we call ourselves an ‘open-minded’, non-prejudiced society.
      What on earth are people scared of? Afraid their children might want to model their lives on a motto of “treat others how you would like to be treated”? How terrifying and ultimately backwards for all humanity!!!

      • Seth Manapio says:

        “I believe that all ape varieties (gibbons, chimpanzees, gorillas, etc) all belong to one ‘type’ of animal, and that they all share a common ancestor that lived thousands of years ago , not millions.”

        Okay. So if you believe that in a few thousand years, a single type of ape that could not live in the mountains where Gorillas live (or possibly not in the places where Gibbons live, either way) became two very separate types of well adapted apes that can live in either environment. This implies that you believe in a very fast rate of beneficial mutations, because Gibbons and Gorillas have completely different wrist joints and are not–as far as I can discover–genetically compatible.

        Given this incredible rate of beneficial mutation, why do you put a limit on how far it can go? If some common ancestor could evolve into Gibbons and Gorillas, why not monkeys and apes?

        Evolution, by the way, does not ‘avoid’ the topic of biogenesis–biogenesis isn’t relevant to the subsequent environment. Evolution also doesn’t ‘avoid’ the issue of the Higgs Boson or the causes of thunder… those issues just aren’t relevant.

        Or to put it another way: whether God created the first cell, or the first cell occurred naturally, everything after that is easily explained by variation and natural selection.

      • R.T says:

        Right, you are correct, so considering that Gibbons and Gorillas aren’t genetically compatible then my conclusion should have read:
        “I believe that all ape varieties (gibbons, chimpanzees, gorillas, etc) descend from a few common ancestral types that lived thousands of years ago , not millions.”
        And yes I do believe in fast rates of variation, take dog varieties as an example of what can be achieved by selective breeding in a relatively short time.
        I am human, and I do admit to my mistakes!

        Your qoute:
        “Or to put it another way: whether God created the first cell, or the first cell occurred naturally, everything after that is easily explained by variation and natural selection.”

        – If you leave open the possibility that GOD started off evolution by creating the first organism that can reproduce, then that opens a whole can of worms for you, as then you a duty bound as a objective scientist to be open to what is written in the Bible about this ‘GOD’
        Therefore, if maybe GOD started evolution, then what resource do you have on GOD. -The BIBLE. Can’t except the claims made in the Bible? Then Throw out the notion that GOD kicked the whole thing off. You can’t take a pinch of GOD to make your hypothesis more feasible!
        Stick to your black and white notion that life ‘just came about’. Have you done the math on that chance?
        And if you talk about aliens, then that just shifts the whole debate off world. -Where did the aliens come from etc.

      • Seth Manapio says:

        Stick to your black and white notion that life ‘just came about’. Have you done the math on that chance?
        ——-

        No, but I’ve seen the math on that chance. It’s somewhere around unity. There’s an interesting article about that on TalkOrigins.

        I’m curious as to why you insist that this is a “black and white” notion, while on the other hand you think that if I allow any doubt to that notion, I must therefore accept the bible as a true and factual document. It seems to me that the black-and-white position is yours: either life just “came about” or the Bible is 100% accurate. I tend to see the world in more shades than that. I honestly don’t know how life started, because there is not a lot of data to work from. But I don’t see how my lack of knowledge implies that you have perfect knowledge in your possession. These seem, to me, to be different claims entirely.

        In any case, if I understand you, you think that only genetically compatible species are descended from a common ancestor, and therefore do not believe is high rates of favorable mutation?

        You kind of have to choose one or the other, because regardless of what we’ve done with how dogs look, we haven’t done very much to dogs in terms of their basic genetics and anatomy. If you look at it anatomically and genetically, Chihuahas and Wolves are much closer than Gorillas, Gibbons, Orangutans, and Chimpanzees. For example, the Gibbon has a specialized wrist joint that is missing in other Apes. No such structure differentiates Wolves and Dogs.

  139. I notice that there’s not a single argument here that I haven’t seen. Either I’ve learned all the arguments, or they are getting worse at coming up with new ones.

    • R.T says:

      Well the Christian stance won’t change much sorry! Give the proponents of evolution some more time, and I’m sure there will be some new discoveries.

  140. R.T says:

    Seth,
    “In any case, if I understand you, you think that only genetically compatible species are descended from a common ancestor, and therefore do not believe is high rates of favorable mutation?”

    – You’re absolutely correct, that is what I believe. As most mutations do not directly benefit the host.

    I’m sorry if I have been putting you in box Seth, I understand now that you do not have a fixed view with regards to our ultimate origins.

    An interesting thing about dog breeding, is that we have managed to breed the Bull dog. These dogs cannot copulate together without human help, and their young are birthed only via cesarean, as their heads are to big for the birth canal!

    “the Gibbon has a specialized wrist joint that is missing in other Apes”

    -perhaps evidence that Gibbons came before chimpanzees and the wrist joint information was lost via mutation?

    But most likely that Gibbons and Chimpanzees do not share the same ancestor. It’s more than likely that GOD created a few ape species, but since the flood and the Ark(my belief), there have been variations of each ape type and thus explaining the variety of apes present now.
    Conversely, all known ape varieties might have been saved from extinction via the Ape, I’m not altogether sure how different their genes are from one another.
    But there was obviously only the need for maybe a couple of dog types, as we know most dog varieties are genetically compatible. Likewise with us humans.

    “if I allow any doubt to that notion, I must therefore accept the bible as a true and factual document. ”

    – Well you at least have to consider the possibility?

    • Seth Manapio says:

      Okay. So now that I know what you believe, young earth, no evolution (dogs and wolves have the same number of teeth, bone structures, brains, etc).

      What would it take for you to change your mind? What would convince you that the earth was older than, say, 10,000 years?

      • R.T says:

        “What would it take for you to change your mind? What would convince you that the earth was older than, say, 10,000 years?”

        For one, a reliable accurate dating mechanism. Carbon dating is flawed. Case in point is the dinosaur skeleton that was discovered in USA 1990:

        http://www.christiananswers.net/q-aig/aig-c026.html

        Carbon dated at millions of years but with red blood cells present. A paradox for conventional evolutionists.

        In light of these paradoxical findings that keep annoyingly cropping up, the evolutionist has to constantly ‘adjust’ his theory to suit the evidence. That’s like adjusting a crime scene’s evidence to incriminate someone.

        The Bible still stands(for me)as the most accurate historical text that we have.

      • Seth Manapio says:

        RT, the age of the earth is not established by carbon dating alone, but by a number of independent methods.

        http://talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-age-of-earth.html

        You analogy seems skewed to me. Why would adjusting your theory based on current evidence be like adjusting evidence? It seems to me that this is the exact opposite of adjusting evidence.

        Not that I agree with your characterization of the science, the T-Rex bone you point to did have ‘soft tissue’, but the tissue was polymerized–in other words, it was fossil tissue.

        http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dinosaur/flesh.html

      • R.T says:

        Well, I’ve read your link’s web pages.
        One particular quote on the T-Rex fossil:

        “It does not matter what the bones look like, or what is in them. If Wieland and his deluded followers want to dispute the age of this fossil, or the Earth, or the Universe, they cannot use the presence or absence of organic tissues among their “evidences.”

        Don’t you think that’s a pretty arrogant statement to say? -“It does not matter what the bones look like, or what is in them”
        That’s like saying, “Well there’s a whole new bit of material here that doesn’t fit within our current models, so disregard it and stick to the fact that the surrounding rock is old”
        Assuming that the dating on the rock is correct.

        Look, I think we’re just going around in circles here Seth. I have placed my foundational belief in the Bible and I wholeheartedly believe in the historical accuracy of Genesis.
        Modern Science is, and will continue to, prove the account written in the Bible.
        But you have to understand, that the Bible paints a BIG picture of events. All the little details are coming to light with modern science etc, but they won’t undermine the text. This I strongly believe.

        You quote your website/s for proof against, and I quote you mine in proof of.
        I have read a lot of scientific material dis-reputing Creationism, and I of course have read scientific material validating it, and I presume by your comments that you to have conducted a high degree of research.
        Who’s right, and who’s wrong? That’s the question.
        Now look at the facts. Christianity and along with it Creationism has been by and large rejected from all public schooling across the globe. I know it has been in my country. We (New Zealand) have declared ourselves a secular nation.
        So my question is, what have you evolutionists to fear?
        Because you’re indoctrinating our children with the “FACT” of evolution, then you’re effectively undermining anything that the Bible states. For it must ALL be true(the Bible), not just in part, for consistency, credibility, and reliability’s sake.
        The child who believes in GOD but is taught evolution, is going to have to choose one or the other. The two are incompatible.
        The theory of evolution is NOT concrete fact, you’ll admit that. A lot of it relies on educated guesses and assumption. Like most theories.
        So, my point is, is it a wholly brilliant and wise thing to teach as FACT this theory?
        Think about it. The inevitable outcome of this doctrine will manifest itself in our children who grow up believing that:

        A. There are no moral absolutes. For who has the authority and right to ultimately determine them? Everything is relative.
        B. You are an animal. No “better” than any other animal on this planet. Just luckier with regards to the random chances that have occurred in evolution.
        C. You had better “succeed” with your life. Nothing is coming after it.
        D. To kill another so that your survival and therefore your genes can be passed on is wholly in keeping with what’s been occurring for billions of years. WHO has the right to tell you otherwise and mess with that process?
        E. Homosexuality, Pornography, Promiscuity, Selfishness, etc etc. These are all natural tendencies of mankind. So encourage your children to experiment with them to see what works for them.

        You see where I’m going here Seth.
        This is ultimately what we’re teaching our children and our adults when we tell them that we are highly evolved amoebas.
        And, we’re seeing the results of that decision already. How many murders do young adults commit over there in America? It’s a fact that all across the modern world, our young are behaving more and more in violent, aggressive, selfish ways. Don’t but the blame on parents, who’s teaching them that they’re just animals? Survival of the fittest, you’ve got one life, no-one is gonna say I can’t have what I want!

        And the great hope for evolution of the consciousness? You need faith the size of a Mack truck to believe that that’s happening.

        It’s all predicted in The Bible. All Biblical prophesy has come 100% true thus far. Check it out.

        So, where to now? More contesting, or be wholly satisfied with the validity of your belief system and debate no more.
        Over to you.

      • Seth Manapio says:

        I’m sorry, but I don’t see what much of that had to do with this conversation. I asked you what would change your mind that the earth was several thousand years old. You gave a response. I provided you with additional data showing that the age of the earth is not determined by one single method, but by agreement among methods.

        That’s all.

        You called me “arrogant” because I did NOT think that I was the center of the universe. And now you’re calling these scientists arrogant because they point out that the age of a rock formation is not deduced from a single piece of data, but from many. What’s arrogant about that?

        We’re not arguing in circles. We’re not even arguing. I asked you what you believe, and what it would take to change your mind. Then I’ve shown you the things you’ve asked for and you’ve rejected the evidence.

        Evolution is as concrete a fact as any fact I’m aware of. The earth is old, and the creatures on it evolved over time. Precisely how, by what specific mechanisms, these are theories. But evolution itself is a fact.

  141. R.T says:

    “Evolution is as concrete a fact as any fact I’m aware of”

    Ok, you’ve made your stand, I respect that. Jesus said that it was better to be cold or hot then lukewarm.

    But just remember, once they thought the earth was flat, and not that long ago, evolutionists published a diagram showing Blacks/Negros closer to apes with regards to evolution then Caucasians. This was considered fact.
    My “fact” will never change, it hasn’t in two thousand years. Your ‘facts’ that you base your belief system on will, If history has shown us anything, definitely change. Your facts are in constant flux, like your belief system. I can’t imagine living like this.

    “Then I’ve shown you the things you’ve asked for and you’ve rejected the evidence”

    Well, what I’ve seen hasn’t convinced me. And ditto for you I gather.

    How about debating the points I have brought up on the social outcomes of evolution? Or is that not relevant in this blog site

    • R.T says:

      Cro-Magnon Man had a brain capacity that was on average 400cc’s larger than ours, Neanderthal Man had a brain capacity that was on average 200cc’s larger than ours. -What logical conclusion to you make of that? C’mon,what do YOU think?
      That fact proves beyond any doubt that we are getting physically less, as time goes on. And lo-and behold, it lines up perfectly with everything else in the universe. The downward trend is everywhere, look around you. You start out with pure genetic material, and as time goes on, mutations and copying errors reduce the purity of the material. Stars burn through their fuel, energy is dissipated, matter degrades.
      It all makes perfect sense.

      Name one organically alive creature in all written history that has benefited(that is to have a beneficial increase in it’s genetic makeup) from a random mutation. And I mean something that has been witnessed by man and written down. Richard Dawkins can’t. I’ve seen that question being put to him in an interview. There was silence. Then like a politician he changed the topic.

      Did you know that after Darwinism was accepted by Stalin and others as the State belief system, War was considered healthy, because it’s Survival of the Fittest, which is good for mankind as a species.
      Tell me, what segment of the population fights and dies in wars? – Our strongest and fittest usually.

      An interesting fact – Every people group in all the world, in all history, and even the comparatively newer ones that were discovered(such as Pygmy’s, Bushmen etc)- All have a spiritual belief system. Why is that? Why have every people group, no matter how separated or isolated they’ve been, always had a knowledge and a understanding of things spiritual? Why didn’t a people group simply get on with life, in a logical, atheist manner? If you so absolutely scoff at the idea of things spiritual, then why have the many people groups that make up the worlds population never been(originally)atheist? The chances of that are rather astonishing. And please don’t tell me that our ancestors were primitive and used spiritual mumbo-jumbo to explain things they didn’t know. You don’t know what’s inside a black hole, but I bet you aren’t considering a spiritual hypothesis.

      Evolution is the religion for the atheist.
      The atheist doesn’t want to die, therefore he’s trying to get to know all things, so that he can control and manipulate his environment and his body.
      The atheist is trying to find a way of living forever. He doesn’t want a bar of this Bible crap, but wants the prize that the Christian is given.
      The atheist desires to be master of his own destiny, create his own utopia.
      Man has followed the same trend since the very beginning. Read the Bible, it explains not just history, but man’s reasoning and motives as well.
      Nothing’s changed. Except that we have smaller brains now! Which is why we needed to create computers and storage devices, as our shrinking brains cannot hope to contain all the junk that we’re trying to squeeze into them! -Such as THE THEORY of evolution.

      • Seth Manapio says:

        “Name one organically alive creature in all written history that has benefited(that is to have a beneficial increase in it’s genetic makeup) from a random mutation. ”

        Okay. E. Coli.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E._coli_long-term_evolution_experiment

        By the way, you’re factually wrong about Stalin. He did not accept Darwinian evolution at all. He totally rejected it in favor of Lamarkism, and the result was widespread famine.

        The reason I’m not addressing your points about the social consequences of Darwin partly because they aren’t relevant to the question of whether evolution by natural selection is a reasonable model. It either makes good predictions (which it does) or it does not. The social consequences are relevant to society, but they don’t affect whether it is accurate.

        Second… I just don’t see the point. It’s not like I could possibly change your mind: your mind is already made up. Your going to go to answers in genesis or something and find one guy who claims that the E. Coli didn’t really evolve, and you’re going to buy their explanation without doing any other research or really analyzing what they are saying, and that will be the end of it. So why spend hours addressing all your other misconceptions? What would be the point?

        I guess there really isn’t one, not even to addressing the questions you’ve already put forward. If you have a takeaway from this, I guess what I want you to realize is that the questions that you think are stumpers aren’t. You’ve asked for evidence, and I’ve provided it. You’ve then had to explain that evidence away. You’ve been shown several times that the sites that provide you with information are flat out misleading you. Just ponder that, that’s all I ask.

    • Seth Manapio says:

      Your ‘facts’ that you base your belief system on will, If history has shown us anything, definitely change. Your facts are in constant flux, like your belief system. I can’t imagine living like this.

      ——

      My belief system–if you want to call it that–won’t change when new facts are discovered, and is actually older than Christianity. The followers of my belief system discovered that the earth was spherical, and they were even able to estimate it’s diameter to within about 10% over two centuries before the Common Era began.

      My belief system is not based on the current model of the universe. Rather, it is based on a method of inquiry. It is not a requirement of my belief system that evolution with natural selection be true. Rather, evolution with natural selection is the result of the application of the belief system to observed phenomena.

      Evolution itself, the change in life over time and the scale of that time, is an observed phenomena. Like the greek astronomers and mathmaticians who observed the sun and calculated the basic shape of the earth, many scientists in many disciplines have observed and calculated the basic age of the earth and the rough history of life. Like the ancient greeks, modern scientists are only approximating the actual age of the earth, and our history of life is a rough outline. We can improve our understanding, and that will always be the case.

      So I don’t place my faith in dogma, or cling to the current view of things. Instead, I look forward to learning something new tomorrow. And living like that is not hard at all.

      • R.T says:

        You may be surprised to learn that the Bible revealed that the earth is round. Job 26:10, Prov 8:27, Isaiah 40:22, Amos 9:6. Today, we chuckle at the people of the fifteenth century who feared sailing because they thought they would fall over the edge of the flat earth. Yet the Bible revealed the truth in 1000 B.C. 2500 years before man discovered it for himself!

      • Seth Manapio says:

        Do you even read my posts, RT? No one thought that the world was flat in 1500. Sailors of that time did not fear falling off the edge of the world. And the Ancient greeks knew how large the planet was, to within 10%. That’s not revealed ANYWHERE in the Bible, no matter how much you want to stretch the interpretation.

      • Seth Manapio says:

        I’d drop Amos 9:6 off that list, RT. It doesn’t even have the word “circle” in it.

        What I find interesting is that if the Earth were a disk rather than a sphere, all of those passages could be exactly the same… especially if the water went to a wall of some kind.

      • R.T says:

        “It is he that sitteth upon the GLOBE (Hebrew chugh) of the earth, [...].” [Caps mine]; Some bibles say “Circle” or “SPHERE”¤.

        According to Strongs, the word appears 3 other times in the bible Job 26:10, Prov 8:27, Job 22:14 translated compassed (compass) or circuit respectively in the KJV.

        It should be noted however that the Hebrews had no separate word for a three-dimensional circle ie a “sphere”** thus the word covered a circle both in its two AND three dimensional sense. Translators therefore have not taken any liberties translating Isaiah 40 as “sphere” or “globe”.

        ** An alternative word “duwr” is not exclusively a word for sphere: Is. 29:3 reads “And I will camp against thee [b]round about [duwr], and will lay siege against thee with a mount, and I will raise forts against thee.” Obviously in this case “duwr” = a circle (to encircle) not a ball. Thus the writers choice in Isaiah 40 NOT to use “duwr” cannot be presented as proof positive that he Isaiah meant (flat) circle and not a sphere.

        ¤ Only a spherical object appears as a circle from every angle

      • Seth Manapio says:

        In other words, every single time you’ve chosen the translation “globe”, it would be exactly as accurate to choose the word “circle”, as the vast majority of translators do.

      • R.T says:

        “Evolution itself, the change in life over time and the scale of that time, is an observed phenomena”

        Wow, you must be able to time travel!
        Theories and assumptions about fossil remains do not become concrete facts in my mind. Or do you think mankind knows it all now?

      • Seth Manapio says:

        No, I do not think that mankind knows it all. What I do think is that we have improved our model of the universe. I do not think that this model will ever be perfect, no matter how long the project of improving it continues. However, some things, like the approximate age of the earth, are extremely well established.

        I’m curious, do you think you have gained anything through this conversation? Do you now know that skepticism is older than Christianity? Do you have a better understanding of why changes in the model of reality provided through science do not change the belief system that produces that model?

      • R.T says:

        “Do you now know that skepticism is older than Christianity?”

        -You make it sound like a religion! And I’m sure prostitution predates skepticism. Doesn’t make it any ‘better’.

        “Do you have a better understanding of why changes in the model of reality provided through science do not change the belief system that produces that model?”

        -Science doesn’t change the model of reality. Whatever you perceive to be your reality, is, your reality. A psychopath’s reality is every bit as real to him as your reality is to you, albeit completely different.
        My reality is based on knowing and having a relationship with God Almighty. This God is ‘real’ to me because I have encountered and perceived him, and continue to do so.
        You perceive the truth of this physical dimension through your ever expanding database of reported scientific discoveries. I’m guessing that you are ‘skeptical’ about all things pertaining to spirituality.
        My question is, does your ‘skepticism’ serve you always as a tool for finding the truth, or does it tend to work more as a filter. E.G. – Information presents itself to you that conflicts with you current understanding of reality, now does your skeptical mindset limit your ability to analyze without prejudice, or can you allow this new conflicting data to breach the impending rejection?

        I wonder if skeptics (sounds like one of those evil creatures from The Dark Crystal!) have a handicap. And that is that you are totally dependent on science to find your truth/reality for you. It’s as if you can’t perceive for yourself.
        I wasn’t always a Christian by the way. I used to belong to your camp. And yes, I battled with Bible-bashers using the same ammunition that you are now. Then I had a supernatural encounter that couldn’t be replicated in the lab. I had the opportunity to reject this encounter and turn back to my own reason and logic. I took a step into the unknown. Not very scientific of me, but it’s yielded amazing discoveries! Life altering actually.

        Time is your God,
        Science Journals are your Bible,
        Skepticism is the name of your religion,
        Your fellow supporting colleagues are your church, and
        Richard Dawkins is your Jesus? Haha! Pity he’s Brittish!

        Hey Seth, this is all interesting, and some good has come from it all, I’m typing a bit quicker now!

      • Seth Manapio says:

        RT, I’m just not going to engage with you anymore. You’ve trotted out that whole “time is your god, blah blah blah” bullshit one too many times.

        I’m patient. I’m trying not to rise to your insulting and dismissive language. But frankly, I’ve had enough of trying to have a conversation with you. You seem to lack the basic humility needed to exchange information, and for that, I pity you.

  142. Michael M says:

    RT,

    I’ve seen that Dawkins youtube video as well and without giving you my opinion on what actually happened I thought I’d provide you with a link to his response to that video so that you can at least view both sides of the story:

    http://www.skeptics.com.au/publications/articles/the-information-challenge/

    • R.T says:

      All, interesting stuff, but still doesn’t answer the question in my mind.
      Dawkins admits that the gene pool via natural selection is ‘narrowing’, but doesn’t answer how new beneficial information is linked into the DNA to make a new type of creature. Remember if you condense your time scale, from bacteria to human requires some pretty amazing additions!

  143. R.T says:

    Righto Seth, your call.
    In time remember our discussions when Christians are being persecuted and led off to the guillotines for being arrogant enough to stand against the face of science and worldly reason. Christians of old were burnt as human torches for believing in Jesus, and still around the world today, men and women are being killed for their belief. The world does not tolerate fundamentalist Christianity. You skeptics may practice what you preach, but we are labeled as dangerous if we do.
    Humility is merely having a correct assessment of one’s self.
    I know who I am, do you?

    out.

    • Seth Manapio says:

      RT, there is no where in the world where Christians are being persecuted for standing against the face of worldly reason. The only place where Christians are persecuted at all is in countries where another religion–Islam–is persecuting them.

      You could perhaps point to a handful of cases where Christians have been fired for refusing to teach science in a science classroom, and instead preaching from the Bible. I’m sorry, but if your definition of “persecution” includes not being given free reign to preach rather than teach in publicly funded schools, what you actually mean is that you are not allowed to utterly dominate every facet of society using the force of law. That is not persecution. But it is the definition that the Christian lobbies use for persecution.

      Fundamentalist Christianity is incredibly powerful, with multiple dedicated broadcast channels in my area, church services on every station on sunday mornings, several dedicated members of congress, and powerful interest groups lobbying for them every single day.

      You belong to the privileged majority, not the oppressed minority. Your worst fear is not that your churches will be closed, or that you will not be able to observe your holy days, or that you will not be able to find employment because of your beliefs. Your worst fear is that your religions domination of our culture might be in jeopardy, that other people will not be fired because they are not Christian, that a person who does not swear fealty to your God may gain political office, that some other way of looking at the world may be taken seriously.

      To equate your worry that your complete domination of this nation is in jeopardy with the martyrdom of early Christians is an obscenity.

      • R.T says:

        I live in a part of the world (New Zealand) that is statistically only 5% Christian. 95% Atheist/Agnostic. I do not have a fear that our ‘domination’ as you put it, is in jeopardy, as we have no such domination.
        While I cannot vouch for America, over here, if you publicly voice your concerns/opinions from a Christian perspective, you are negatively labeled as a ‘fundamentalist’ which is more like being called a ‘fanatic’ for all intent.
        I think you guys sometimes forget that America does not wholly represent the world at large.
        I do sense however a feeling of bitterness and resentment towards your fellow Christian citizens from you. I do not live in America, so I don’t understand this emotion from you. Maybe it’s justified.
        The modern church is not without it’s faults.

        Interestingly our Government is distinctly lacking in Christian makeup. We as a nation have voted into parliament homosexuals, cross-dressers, green-peace members, currency traders, and Christian hating bigots, to name a few.
        They probably all share your views on evolution!
        In fact, New Zealand seems like an ideal location for all you skeptics to live and be happily in the majority!!

        The great persecution I speak of towards Christians is a future event foretold in the Bible that is fast approaching. It’s happening in this country, and with comments like what you have written, I see that the tide of fear, hate and intolerance is not that far off in America.
        Your Science leaves no room for Christ.
        I believe that science and Christianity can live side by side, each supporting each other. I think that you skeptics think that Christians shun Science in favor of deity worship as it requires less intelligence/logic/reasoning etc. However, the many, many layers of understanding and wisdom that are contained in the Bible and Christianity is truly staggering. I cannot hope to grasp it all in one lifetime.
        Perhaps you should turn your intellectual prowess to matters of Biblical study, as I’m sure you’ll find personal reward and satisfaction from this endeavor.

        One other thought:
        We Christians are YOU. We’re your fellow humans. We just happen to have had a supernatural encounter with the living God that no science book ever told us about! I can’t convince you of it in methods that you’ll accept as legit, but there it is.
        So show me all the bones and test tubes you like, I can’t ignore what I know in my innermost core to be true.

        The truth will set you free, and I’m free indeed.

      • Robo Sapien says:

        Free my ass. You are chained by fundamentalism my friend. You can’t convince anyone with legit methods because it is all in your head. We’re all just machines of chemistry, always seeking that particular emotion which triggers release of whatever chemical we happen to be addicted to.

        The adrenaline junkie has thrill seeking, the depressed have the childhood comfort of chocolate, and Christians have their faith. Through repetition of suggestion, your mind has formed a strong link between faith and the incredible surge of chemically induced elation that comes with it.

        Churches are the equivalent of crack houses for euphoria addicts. All the togetherness and singing, combined with an overwhelming feeling of being in the presence of the almighty divine, makes for one powerful endorphin cocktail.

        So you go ahead and keep lying to yourself, that you are some free bird who knows the “real truth” and keep rationalizing away all the legit and proven knowledge that directly contradicts the bible.

      • R.T says:

        You seem interesting in inciting me.
        I’m not interested.

      • Seth Manapio says:

        RT, science can in fact live side by side with Christianity. However, in order to do that, Christians must be honest. New Zealand is, according to the 2006 census, 55% Christian. You are not persecuted there, in your majority, anymore than you are in the United States. What you fear in New Zealand is the same thing that Christians fear in America–the loss of your majority and privilege.

        It remains obscene for you to compare yourself to Christians who were tortured and killed for sport in Ancient Rome.

      • R.T says:

        I don’t know where you have got your stats from, but I assure you New Zealand is definitely NOT 55% Christian! Our Prime Minister has declared that NZ is proudly a non-Christian nation.
        Now whether people put down on their census sheets that they’re Christian has no bearing on the FACT that only 5% of our population (Church statistics) actively practices the faith. I should know, I live here! Or do you want to be the authority on my country as well? We have no privilege, come here and see for your self, stop reading statistics.

        So, on the contrary what we have seen is uninformed statements from you. You speak of dishonesty from Christians, how far from the truth. Put down your filter of hate and lets talk.

        Again, I speak of FUTURE events. After talking recently to some Christian Myanmar refugees, I think they would question your dis-belief of torture of Christians for practicing their faith! How little you know, or don’t want to know.

      • Seth Manapio says:

        RT, you are confusing your perceptions with facts. Your perception of your neighbors as being agnostics or atheists is not relevant: they say that they believe in God. New Zealand is a majority Christian nation.

        Your words about the Prime Minister are telling: what concerns you is not persecution. What concerns you is that your government might become “religiously neutral” (which is what the PM actually said). That is, you are frightened of losing your privileged place in society, not frightened of persecution. You are not concerned with your freedom of worship (since that is not even vaguely threatened, nor is it likely to be in the future) but with power and control.

      • Seth Manapio says:

        You’re right, RT. I did not include Buddhism when I mentioned that Christians are persecuted exclusively by other religions, not by standing against worldly reason.

      • Seth Manapio says:

        “I do sense however a feeling of bitterness and resentment towards your fellow Christian citizens from you. ”

        No, you don’t. You take the fact that I think you yourself are incapable of debate or learning, dishonest, and filled with pride to be a reflection of my opinion of Christians in general. It is not. I genuinely tried to have an actual conversation with you because I do not have a general opinion of all people who profess to be Christian. So don’t worry, I’m not going to hold your religion accountable for your bad behavior.

      • R.T says:

        Clearly though, your overwhelming confidence in your own intellectual superiority is coloring your comments.
        You say I am filled with pride? I know my failings, and admit them. That’s called humility.

        I’m not asking you to side with my beliefs, obviously that would take a miracle, but I am asking you to humbly meditate on some of the things I have said. It seems like you merely dismiss out of hand everything from the Christian perspective. Your proud country is foundered on Christianity, you haven’t done so bad?

      • Seth Manapio says:

        No, RT, I do not dismiss out of hand everything from a Christian perspective. I have not dismissed you out of hand. I only dismissed you when it became clear that your hubris was completely preventing you from learning anything from our conversation.

  144. Robo Sapien says:

    Scientists don’t execute non-believers. And I’d really like to know which part of the world you live in where they do not tolerate fundie Christians. In most of the developed world, the fundies are calling the shots.

  145. R.T says:

    “New Zealand is a majority Christian nation.” ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

    Well hallelujah!! We’re doing better then we thought!!

    I’m not going to get sucked into this kind of degenerate dialogue that you guys seem to want to maneuver me into however. It’s not very wise or productive.
    So good bye, and God bless.

    P.S. I leave you to get the last word in and write the final belittling comment. ;)

    • Michael M says:

      I’ll just put my two cents in on humility, since you asked for parting shots. Firstly, I find it pretty funny that your stated position is that you’re more humble than everyone here. If you really were that humble, you wouldn’t be lording it over us. Secondly, I don’t believe that “Humility is merely having a correct assessment of one’s self” as it’s completely subjective what the “correct assessment” is. Thirdly, I think the most humble statement a person can make about knowledge is “I don’t know,” something that religions are not known for putting forth as a virtue except in special pleading arguments as to why “god” just did something illogical or incomprehensible. All of your arguments for creationism have started from the position of knowing who did it and trying to find out the specifics of how and when it was done. Evolution, contrary to what you seem to believe, does not start from the position of “well, we know god didn’t do it, so what did?” it starts from the position of “I don’t know” and, searching for no pre-supposed answers, it lets the evidence lead the investigation. The scientific method is designed to remove bias not lend more credence to it. How can you get much more humble than “none of us know anything, and we are all inclined to mess up if left to our own devices?”

      • Bob says:

        “I don’t believe that “Humility is merely having a correct assessment of one’s self” as it’s completely subjective what the “correct assessment” is.”

        -what a crock!

        Scito te ipsum – know thyself.

  146. Ankur Varshney says:

    Mr Steven
    I appreciate your enthusiasm to share this with all. I also appreciate that you have done so much analysis.
    In all the arguments you have given your comments, i read them.
    Creation / Design Argument – you have said something.
    As far as watch – it is non living. So is the evolutionists idea of life comes from nonliving. SO WATCH ANALOGY IS CERTAINLY VALID. Just like a watch requires a designer, IT TAKES A CREATOR OR DESIGNER TO BREETHE OR DESIGN LIFE IN NON-LIVING! You probably failed to notice this simple logic.
    There are so many flaws in all what you said that I am afraid it will take away my lot of time to point them all.
    One more i would like to point though.
    You said that gene mutation INCREASES information!!! Gene is there and YOU (AN INTELLIGENT SYSTEM) mutates it which leads to variation, no addition, it may lead to loss of info no addition :). It is really silly that such a thing comes from you. More so even if i take your case, the information has been added by intelligent system not automatically!!!
    Have great day and please before posting such things calm down and think for a while the reasoning.
    Thank you

    • Ankur,

      The watch analogy is not apt. Evolutionary theory does not deal with the origin of life, only the later evolution of life.

      But with regard to life origins, you are making a false dichotomy between living and non-living. The line is not so bright. There are proposed systems of chemical evolution that could have preceded living systems.

      Your argument regarding information is incoherent. If you start with one gene, which then duplicates to be two genes, which subsequently mutate into different genes – now you have more information then when you had only one gene. We are simply talking about the amount of information – which increases with such duplications.

  147. Mike C. says:

    The 1929 collection of essays about James Joyce’s then work in progress (the future Finnegans Wake), “Our Exagmination Round His Factification for Incamination of Work in Progress” makes more sense than this creationist drivel, and has a far cooler title besides.

    Come to think of it, Finnegans Wake itself makes infinitely more sense than this creationist drivel.

  148. Matt says:

    Regarding your first response to the argument that natural selection is not random. You are not thinking deeply enough. Everything is by chance in a world explained solely and completely by material evolution. You say: “Evolution is the non-random survival of those traits that provide an advantage to survival and reproduction in the current environment.” But you fail to appreciate that the very traits that provide an advantage do so only by chance, i.e., because that particular chain of inanimate events set up a particular random environment which made that chance trait succeed over others. Taken to its logical end, material evolutionists must reject the idea that certain traits are somehow intrinsically advantageous.

  149. Matt – you are correct, but that point is a non sequitur. Natural selection is still a non-random event, and that fact contradicts the criticism of creationist that random events can result in order.

    Further, you are introducing the concept of “intrinsically advantageous” which is not part of evolutionary theory. Evolution adapts populations to local environments – regardless of how those local environments came about. Evolution does not necessarily result in any intrinsic or objective advance, only local adaptation. Gould convincingly argued that any notion of “progress” is evolution is an epiphenomenon.

  150. is it important says:

    Mr. Novella,

    It should be stated that a scientists first order of thinking is to maintain their objectivity with regard to research. It is imperative to give balanced consideration…Oh wait, this is skepticblog…that explains everything.

    Cheers,

    • Bill Minuke says:

      Science is not balanced. We don’t need to have flat earthers discussing their point of view to balance out a discussion of astronomy. It’s not a false dichotomy to say, there’s what mountains of evidence demonstrates and everything else.

      Maybe I’m wasting my time, you just wanted to take a cheap shot at skepticblog?

  151. Giving another side says:

    i read this and found it funny. It supposedly gives a scientific refutation, but it is full of more bias than fox news, and a lot of emotion as well.

    here’s a scientific case by an actual scientists, you know, one with a ph. D, and he uses statements by some of your favorite evolutionary scientists to insist evolution doesn’t exist.

    i challenge you to write a refutation on this one.

    http://www.icr.org/home/resources/resources_tracts_scientificcaseagainstevolution/

    • Bill Minuke says:

      Dear “Giving another side”

      The best your “actual scientists” can do is spout their ignorance and be dishonest. A real scientist listens to objections and criticisms of his point of view and responds by demonstrating how the objections fail or changes his/her point of view.

      When I hear a Creationist refute evolution, I understand also that it’s a refutation of much of science. They have to dispute radiometric dating. They have to refute astronomy. One way or another many scientific disciplines are bunched together as wrong and discarded by these people who have no understanding of these fields.
      There are at least 2 problems with this.
      First I don’t see these people avoiding the very technologies that are only possible because of these sciences.
      Second the argument is always negative; Science is wrong, scientists are biased, etc. Why isn’t the argument affirmative? Here is the strong evidence for Creation. Here are the arguments that aren’t logical fallacies that demonstrate our theory of creation, or Intelligent Design? It’s because these ideas are not scientific. These ideas come first and then the proponents must prove them regardless of the evidence.

  152. Droplet says:

    So… much… arguing!

  153. Gary says:

    Digressing slightly – Having looked and listened, albeit simplistically to both sides of the argument, the Bible does not dwell in depth on the question of how God formed the earth. Even so, to the simple man “who has ears” it is enough to inform him that this was the case. To the scientific scrutiny it still holds up in it’s simple truth.
    However is not the purpose of the Bible far more reaching than just how we came to be here? It’s purpose is to help us come to a better knowledge of God, that he may preserve us through the last days when:

    ” Men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, self assuming, haughty, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, disloyal, having no natural affection, not open to any agreement …………

    2 Timothy 3:1

    However, does the Bible claim knowledge of the subjects spoken of therein?

    “All Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting matters straight, for disciplining in righteousness………………….

    2 Timothy 3:16

  154. epgomez says:

    Life cannot come from non life. Its impossible. The rules of life or design didn’t come from chance. Its impossible. Its just adaptability not evolution.

  155. The truth says:

    Okay. Just somthing i usually adress with evolutionists. Two things actually. Evolution is a theory. Not a proven fact. And it is impossible to create a 1 protien cell no matter the circumstances. And add the fact that you cannot create organic matter out of non organic matter and boom. Evolution is disproven. Now i wont lie evolution is a good idea. But its not a good fact. Now on to some other problems. somthing people fail to really understand is that you cannot create somthing from nothing. So how did everything we see touch smell and feel today come to be? Everything has a beginning. The only believable option is creationism. Im neutral. So why call me bias when this is good honest information given to me or found by me over the years. Evolutionists need to stop forcing a theory and faiths need to stop feeding the flame.

    • The truth – everything you assert above is wrong.

      Evolution contains both theories and facts. It is a scientifically proven fact that life arose through common descent and organic evolution. There are multiple theories about how, exactly, this occurs.

      No one believes there was a 1 protein cell, so that’s a straw man. This is a common creationist fallacy, that you can simplistically reverse-extrapolate from the complex to the simple. So 200 years ago people must have been dragging half cars around behind horses.

      The complex biochemistry of life was likely pretty far along before being wrapped in lipid bilayers.

      You then conflate the origin of the universe with evolutionary theory – two different things. But in any case, cosmologists do not propose that something came from nothing. If you are interested, you should read more about it.

  156. Wôkwses says:

    Loved the original post by our distinguished author who writes a good “brief” in support of the proposition that there is evolution; and evolution continues somewhat thwarted by human tinkering with medicines and such. The somewhat less impressive posts are from those who apparently believe in a rather powerless god, i.e. that they advance a bricklayer god, a tinkering god, a puzzle putting together god, who needs to have decided one day 39 years ago what my wife’s and my children would look like.

    I too believe God created all that is, seen and unseen (to borrow a phrase), but I do not believe God is so hampered in God’s abilities that God cannot create the whole of everything and all of its characteristics (among which is ‘evolution’) as a single act at a single moment eons ago. Why can’t folks accept the notion that to an everlasting God ‘evolution’ is a momentary process that accomplishes God’s ends just fine, that God knew would result in the today situation; and for God that’s more efficiently done than designing each of us critters as a discrete act one by one.

  157. Patrick says:

    I liked the article. These were interesting points. And despite your Nah-Sayers, these points are valid. And if (as someone up there pointed out) you’re coming away with a borderline understanding of things in from high school science, well then that’s a failure on the science teacher in question.

    Sorry to see the reply area has become a massive deviation from the central point. Why is it that all Evolutionists tout themselves on being so “open-minded” yet automatically shoot down everything that dares to present something that conflicts even slightly with their peer reviewed journals? The scientific community has, in effect, become hypocritical trying to stamp out something it supposedly doesn’t even believe in…..funny how that works.

    Christians, of course, need to be less afraid of change as well. But I don’t see the point on stating the obvious.

    Bottom line: This is just another thing people use to divide each-other and posture against each-other. There will always be flaws to every school of thought. Science included. Science can explain the how but not the why, Religion can explain the why but not the how….. And when in the hands of the likes of most it just turns into something else to throw back at each-other.

  158. dale says:

    Evolution theory is fine for now, but there are lots more variables needing taking into consideration before a complete understanding can be made. Eventually the science & religious aspects will merge into one understanding, as long as people can remain open to truth.

    My issue with the theory is that its based on the idea of ‘random’ mutation. For me that is where the flaw is. I have seen good evidence recently suggesting there is more to it than that… mutations getting a helping hand of some kind. It seems there is an intelligence or pattern at work subtly behind the scenes. There also seem to be noteable ‘jumps’ in the evolution of species…an idea also indicated by fossil records. I am not religious but i am not closed minded enough to ignore these findings either. We dont have the full picture yet, must keep investigating with open minds… What is, is.

    • Markx says:

      @dale January 7, 2012 at 8:20 am

      I’m sorry, but to me “intelligent design” explains nothing. It (to me) is just a whimsy, plucked out of thin air.

      Not a whiff of explanation of process, no mechanism or reason. And then the question is; who or what (and how was it done?) created the intelligent designer? Was evolution (intelligently controlled of course) involved there too?

    • Markx says:

      Thinking about how the process may have started: Should a ‘mad scientist’ wish to ‘create life’ he’d follow the movie cues: put a lot of liquids and stray chemicals in a 1 litre jar, slosh it around, alternately heat and cool it, zap it with electricity, and with a variety of ‘atomic rays’, occasionally adding a few extra chemicals and trying again.

      But that is just a really chancy way to do it. So how can he increase the odds? MORE 1 litre flasks, more agitation, more remixing, and more time!

      Think of that primitive earth, with its much closer moon and its one thousand foot tides, massive lighting storms and bombardments of cosmic rays, mixing and remixing those (based on today’s figures) 1,386,000,000,000,000 1 litre flasks, and then doing so continuously for somewhere close to 1 billion years.

      That a self replicating organic molecule popped up does not seem so surprising then. Molecules which branched off in a ‘non-self-replicating’ direction did not survive….. etc…

      And if that is not a long enough experiment, you can also consider the possibility that just such and experiment was earlier conducted on another world somewhere, and the result was then delivered to the ‘primitive earth lab’ by an icy comet, so continuing the process.

      • Markx says:

        ….and having looked through the posts a little I realize I should never have trodden on this sleeping dog!

        I’m signing off this one here and now. Mark

  159. Charity says:

    Hi. I’m 15 years old.Im not trying to criticize or refute anyone. I’m not saying you are lying about anything or that you are unreasonable. In fact, evolution sounds very reasonable, but I refuse to believe it. Not because I think it doesn’t make sense, but because I simply believe that the Bible is God’s word revealed to man. You can’t debate evolution and abiogenesis and the big bang theory between evolutionists and creationists because they are looking at it from two different points.
    In the Bible, you have the genealogy from Adam to Christ. If you add about 2044 years to that, it DEFINTELY does not equal millions and billions of years. That is why I believe evolution cannot happen. I believe that natural selection exists and adaption, but I do not believe that all life descended from a common ancestor. For one, how are you going to have part of a respiratory system and survive? Or part of a respiratory system for a fish with gills and then start having the need to change your respiratory system to one that breathes air?
    And for whoever says that God would need to have a creator, why would he? For God to be there He would have to be eternal, just as the universe and mass energy would have to be eternal for us to be here. It’s not like something can come from absolutely nothing. Isn’t it more rational to have an eternal divine creator as opposed to having absolutely everything come from absolutely nothing? Besides, life coming from unliving matter cannot be proved, as you cannot test it and if it did happen, it has never been repeated and there is no evidence whatsoever for it.
    For whoever said that having faith is all in your head and is only because it is suggested repeatedly, don’t you have to have faith in the research you have done on evolution? It is still a theory. You can’t say to a creationist that you have evidence, because both sides can look at the same exact thing and say it is evidence for their theory. You are looking at it from two different viewpoints.
    Also, (I’m almost done I promise) faith is the substance of things unseen and unbelieved. If you had to have concrete evidence for everything little thing that happened in the Bible, nobody would ever believe anything. Just the same, you have to have “faith” in evolution and your research to believe evolution. Personally, I’d rather have faith in a God who holds my life in the palm of his hand and is not restrained by time or any natural laws than in any man that supposedly evolved from a unicellular organism. Just sayin.

    In Him,
    Charity

  160. Carlos Costa says:

    I’ve been reading all ye creationists and I have one question: What is a virus? living or non-living? Second question: where do plants get their living tissue? from organic matter? how? I guess these are the questions you ought to ask if you were serious about questioning living matter coming from non-living matter and defining the origin of life.

  161. Ron says:

    How can, from amoeba to human intelligence? you see it only took a hundred years from the time human beings invented the car to todays technology flying to space. Or let’s have smaller timespan, from wired telephones to smartphones which we can say 55 years ago….. MY CONCLUSION, WE HUMANS ADVANCE IN A SHORT SPAN OF TIME, JUST FEW THOUSANDS OF YEARS, MEANING THAT WE ARE CREATED AND ARE NOT EVOLVED FROM LOWER ORGANISMS,. EVOLUTIONISTS SAY THAT IT WILL TAKE MILLIONS OF YEARS FOR AN AMOEBA TO TURN TO HUMAN, THERE SHOULD BE A STEP OF INTELLIGENCE FROM INSECTS TO HUMAN RIGHT NOW, BUT THERE ISN’T. EVEN THE MOST INTELLIGENT ANIMALS, LIKE THE DOLPHINS ARE NOT EVEN CLOSE TO A BABY’S IQ.

  162. Bobby Bob Bobson says:

    You only really had an attack at the author, and the examples and lack of examples didn’t make your refuting reasonable.