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The Talk.Origins Archive: Exploring the Creation/Evolution Controversy

Feedback for December 1996

Listed below are some of the letters received from readers of the Talk.Origins Archive in the month of December 1996.

Due to the sheer volume of letters the archive is receiving lately, only a fraction of them can be reproduced here. Please note, however, that just because a letter wasn't published doesn't mean that it wasn't read. All comments are greatly appreciated.

This page is what the internet is about! It is one of the finest collections of information linked by hyper text that could be imagined! Great work, especially about Lucy and her knee joint.

Tom S.

Some informational site! If I wanted a one-sided slander of creationism, I could find it in a chat room or other scum hole. You present yourselves as scientists devoted to the truth, when you're just a bunch of childish wimps willing to take any chance you can to make fun of others. Go back to grade school, and those of us who want to find a serious discussion over truth will look somewhere else.

Thank you for your well organized and thought provoking files. I have enjoyed reading them. I am interested in reading the Creationists' point of view on the topics discussed in your files. Is there a Creationist Web page? If so, please forward the address to me. I believe that an understanding of both sides of this discussion is necessary.

Dean B.

Response from the editor:

Please see the Other Links page.

Hi: I appreciated your paper very much and applaud your studies and effort. However, I felt that you damaged your own credibility when you launched into the attack against those of us who believe in God and that He created it all. I am not a "desperate" creationist - I am a fully relaxed believer and do not see a conflict between the ideas of creation vs. evolution. I have to ask - what does your personal attitude toward those who believe in creation have to do with a scientific paper such as yours????

Bonnie H.

Response from the editor:

I do not believe there are any articles in this archive that "launched into the attack" against people who believe in God. In fact, a good number of the FAQs and articles here are written by people who believe in God.

As I have seen in their published comments and rebuttals, creationists will never waiver on their views, because they are not at all even similar to the scientist. The true scientist seeks out the truth. If a theory is generally accepted by the scientist, even for many years, and is suddenly disproven, the scientist, if he is of any merit, will accept the new theory, provided he/she sees that there is enough evidence to prove it. This is true simply because the scientist does not care what the truth is, he/she just wants to understand it. The creationist, on the other hand, does not care about the truth! He/she only cares about his/her religious beliefs. Not until the creationist learns to put aside religion and search for the truth, will he/she be free enough of the biases that bind him/her.

Dennis Metzcher

How utterly disappointing. With every click, my anticipation swelled as your Talk.Origins index came closer and closer. 'Finally', I was thinking, 'I will get to see a high level debate among evolutionists and creationists in a reputable forum.' But when I got there, I found no debate. There was only a listing of Darwinist "Nya, nya, I told you so" articles, with no responses allowed to the other view. As a long time reader of your magazine, I expected more from you. It used to be that religion was exclusionary of opposing views, dogmatic, and cabalistic. Now, thanks to leadership like yours, it's science that is.

Chris W.

Response from the editor:

In order for there to be a "high level of debate among evolutionists and creationists," the creationists must first locate some evidence for their position that hasn't been thoroughly refuted by scientists. Creationism, as it is practiced by American Christian fundamentalists, is not a constructive endeavor; rather, it is a nakedly religious attempt to poke holes in a solidly established scientific theory that just happens to contradict a fundamentalist interpretation of an ancient myth.

Hmm..I read the rebuttal to the MOM of Fingerprint of the Gods. Not sure what to make of it. It wasn't easy to follow and I didn't really buy it. Ironically, Hancock stranger logic somehow makes more sense. The data presented rang some other bells in my head. I'll have to read again to figure this out. Well, whatever, the Antarctica thing DOES make sense. Imagine a glacier covering the US over the course of a thousand years, you really think that much is going to be left. In any case, NO ONE knows what's under all that ice at the south pole so to dismiss his theory off-hand is a little permature. People should be pushing to find out if there is anything there instead of just saying, oh no that doesn't fit with our normal ideas of the past. The fact is we really don't know all that much. His numbers are just as debateable as yours.

Bruce K.

Response from the editor:

The problem with Graham Hancock's extraordinary claim that civilization once existed on what is present-day Antarctica is that it is completely unsupported by the evidence. It's not simply a question of numbers; it's a question of whether there is any reason at all to believe that Antarctica was populated by humans. And the answer to that question is no; there are no remnants of people or civilizations on the continent. Furthermore, based on what geologists now know about plate tectonics, the notion that Antarctica could have been on a plate that was freely and rapidly sliding around on the planet's surface is simply ludicrous. As a wise scientist once said, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

I am generally impressed by the quality of the FAQs at the website, but I've noticed an annoying shortcoming in some of these files which I think should be addressed in any future revisions. Some files seem to focus on one subject and one field, and do not consider correlative evidence from other fields. This is very noticeable in the FAQs on radiometric dating techniques. These are well-researched and well-written, but everything in them focuses only on radiometric techniques. Nothing is said about cross-checking radiometric dates using other methods. For example, data derived from plate tectonics can be used to check radiometric dates. So can deep-sea sediment cores. It may also be worth noting that geologists got fairly close to the start and end dates of many geologic time periods using strictly 19th-century methods, long before radiometric dating came into use.

Could you FAQ be a little more slanted?

Have you ever considered that Noah was smart enough to use the baby dinosaurs on the ark? Also I believe that the others were tall enough to survive the flood. By the way, just because someone calls themselves Christian, does not make them one. So, if they say they believe in evolution it may not be true they really are. Also, a note to the world. DON'T TEACH EVOLUTION IN THE SCHOOLS AS FACT. IT IS NOT PROVEN. IT IS ONLY A THEORY!! WE HAD DR. KEN HOVIND AT OUR CHURCH. HE IS OUT OF PENSACOLA BIBLE COLLEGE. YOU SHOULD DEBATE HIM. HE WILL CONVINCE YOU.

Just found your wonderful site while doing research for a college paper. wanted to thank you for providing such good examples of the bad science and manipulation inherent in creation-science.

Jim L.

This website has been a wonderful way to spend this afternoon. I am currently taking a course in evolutionary biology at a small private Christian college. It has been interesting to find that there are people out there that are intelligently discussing this paradigm. This is a wonderful source of information. Thank you for taking the time to make it available.

Gregory J.

I just read Keith Robison's FAQ on Behe's Darwin's Black Box. Good, as far as it went. All of his points were valid, but there was one obvious, glaring hole. He talked alot about the evolution of cascades, the TCA cycle, etc., but never mentioned anything about Behe's #1 example, the flagellum. For a web page that has been dependably throrough to the point of painfulness, this seems like a HUGE thing to ignore in a review of Behe's book. By not mentioning it, it seems like Robison hopes that people will just forget about it. All of the metaphorical arguments about mousetraps and comparison to the evolution of other complex systems is just great, but the best retort to Behe's book would be to supply a mechanism by which the flagellum could evolve. The worst thing to do is ignore it.

Your honest answer to the question of how the flagellum evolved may well be "We haven't the foggiest idea". This is fine...hopefully, it might provoke some brilliant scientist to work on it. At the very least, perhaps you could assemble some of the information that would be required to begin to look at this question. Ideas:

1) compare flagellum across the eukaryotes (I know prokaryotes have a radically different system; although study of this to see how it works/could have evolved would be useful, too). My introductory biochemistry text says that almost all eukaryotes have the same 9+2 microtubule pattern, but gives no more information. If there are organisms that are different, how different are they? (If this problem is similar to that of other complex systems, there should be some organisms with simpler flagella) Do their flagella still work?? (this, alone, would be a powerful rejoinder to Behe.

2) compare the process of the functioning of the flagellum motor to that of other "motors" in the cell. In particular, many of the components used in positioning chromosomes and splitting them during cellular division seem to be similar to components of the flagellum (e.g., microtubules and ATP- powered proteins that "walk" up and down them)---is it possible that the first protoflagellum was just an extra long microtubule protruding from the cell that got wiggled when proteins were moving elements of the cytoskeleton??

3) I know some genetic mutations destroy the ability of flagellum and cilia to operate (leading to infertility, lung problems). Are there any mutations that allow for partial functioning of the flagellum (this, too, would disprove Behe).

I am sure there are other things to look at, but I am just an undergrad biochem student. Surely, someone at could talk to some expert among the thousands of scientists out there who might be able to shed light on some of these questions, even if the complete evolution of the flagellum remains beyond us. In conclusion, the best argument against Behe would be evidence, not analogy. So get some evidence out there!!

Nick M.

In 1859 Charles Darwin published a work entittled "On the origin of species" What happened to the "On"? When did the work become entittled "Origin of the species". Do the two tittles not represent profoundly different positions? Should this error not be corrected on your webb page (even in quotations) as it is not only misleading, but also a misrepresentation.


Response from the editor:

Darwin's work is variously referred to with and without the preceding "on" in the title. The full published title of the 1859 first edition was "On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life," but we frequently shorten the title and call it "The Origin of Species" for the sake of convenience. I can't see what is misleading about omitting the word "on".

I found your page very interesting. I am not a scientist, nor have I heard many of the arguments of the SCICRE scientists. I have heard a couple that you did not address - which I'm sure you'll eventually get to. But what I found interesting is that you don't point out any points about evolution that you cannot explain. Is evolution so solidly established that those scientists who speak against it are idiots? Have they no good points? It gives the appearance of tremendous bias (which is something science lovers should remove themselves from) to simply state the theories you feel comfortable in debating as opposed to showing we readers a more honest evaluation of the arguments. Is there any points that you and SCICREists agree on? Agreeing on a few points would establish some credibility to your case. Until you can prove evolution by experimental fact(real evolution - macro not micro), I'll remain a skeptic. In the interest of discussion...why not tackle the arguments against evolution presented by Mr. Johnson in "Darwin on Trial" I think such a discussion would be far more interesting than this one sided beating down of the straw men you so fragily and contemptously erected.

Lastly, evolution has tremendous social implications that are staggering. On the basis of evolution, I should go out and get as many women pregnant as possible so that my genes live on...what are the consequences to morality and natural law if evolution is true? I think I'd almost rather believe a scientific error and have a world worth living in...that is unless you care to take up a defense of morality based on humanism ;)...which is something I don't think you'd be interested in.

Erik Elvgren

Response from , author of the Lucy's Knee Joint FAQ:

The archive is a compendium of FAQs produced by a fairly large number of people. While it attempts to be fairly comprehensive, there are of course points that are not touched upon at all. The individuals who created each FAQ did so on the basis of their own interests and knowledge. I would recommend bringing up unrefuted arguments or weak t.o responses in the newsgroup--a FAQ or a revision to a FAQ may result.

Creationists do sometimes serve the positive role of pointing out weaknesses in evolutionary theory or areas where evidence is scanty, though in most cases these weak points have already been pointed out be evolutionary scientists in scientific journals. Typically, however, creationists draw unfounded conclusions from these weaknesses, such as that evolution has been refuted and young-earth creationism vindicated.

I disagree with your claim that the archive is responding to straw men. On the contrary, the claims the archive responds to are put forth in the publications of the Institute for Creation Research, Creation Research Society, Creation Science Foundation, and numerous other creationist organizations. There is a tendency for old-earth creationism to get short shrift, but this is because the young-earthers are by far the most vocal.

There is a FAQ addressing some of Johnson's arguments in Darwin on Trial, and Johnson himself was at one time active on He did not do a very good job of defending his views, and quickly abandoned the forum.

You claim that evolution has tremendous social implications, but the only one you offer is a non sequitur. Why do you think that evolution has the implication that you should impregnate as many women as possible? Why do you think that evolution has the implication that your genes should be propagated widely? I do not see any such implication and am curious to know how you derive such a conclusion from evolutionary theory.

I read about evolution in biology books and hear it from my profesors, but what I do not understand is, why is there such a compatition for so many biolgists to disprove stories of creation. Why can not these oral and written documents be left to the mysteries of life. Why does evolution have to be right and creation wrong? If Darwin respected different species why can not some biologists respect other beliefs and feelings.


Response from the editor:

Most scientists would probably be willing to ignore creationism if creationists would stop trying to legislate their religious beliefs into public school science classrooms. When creationists attempt to water down the theory of evolution in public school textbooks, or when they try to get unscientific creationism mentioned in the science classroom, scientists respond defensively, and rightly so.

Your list of questions regarding Noah's Flood are very well thought out and I found it difficult to answer them. I am a grade 12 high school student, and have always been interested in the highly controversial creation vs. evolution debate. When I look at your list of questions that creationists would rather not answer, I see the same question at the heart of each question: "As a creationist, how can you possibly believe in the flood?" Good question! However, as a creationist, I believe in a creator. That would mean that I believe in a creator that has the power to create something. (Have I lost you yet?) If I believe that the flood is something that was brought on by the creator, shouldn't it make sense that I would believe that the creator would perform other miracles?

I was just looking for a statement on the second law of thermodynamics and I found your pages, they look very nice. I found a paragraph which read:

"A favorite argument of creationists is that the laws of thermodynamics would not allow a junkyard to spontaneously become an airplane. Nevertheless, there is nothing in thermodynamics that would prohibit the formation of said airplane by an array of incredibly sophisticated robotic machines that would require nothing more than the spontaneous flow of electrical energy. There is also nothing in thermodynamics that would prohibit the manufacture of said robotic machines from the energy of other machines. All that is really essential, as far as thermodynamics is concerned, is a source of sufficient energy."

But surely the sophisticated robot machines which made the aeroplane would have to be created, by something else. Following the line back you would end up with something intelligent which created the first machine which created the next.

Response from the editor:

Reread the last sentence of the paragraph you quoted.

How about including some of the following books for analysis/review:"Evolution: A Theory in Crisis" by Dr Michael Denton; "The Biotic Message" by Walter James ReMine, "Darwin on Trial" by Phillip E. Johnson, "Darwin's Black Box" by Phillip E. Johnson, "Darwin's Creation Myth" by Alexander Mebane. Or, perhaps these anti-evolution, anti-Darwinian books are too tough for you to handle????

James P. Hughes

Response from the editor:

The archive currently contains a review of Michael Denton's book as well as a critique of some of lawyer Phillip Johnson's writings.

Good news! The creationist group Answers in Genesis was denied a permit to build a creationist museum in Northern Kentucky, near Big Bone Lick State Park, a site named for the numerous prehistoric mammal bones found there. Answers in Genesis is a group which believes the earth is only a few thousand years old, and that there were dinosaurs on Noah's Ark! I think of them as the "Fred Flintstone" crowd.

Stuart C.

I found that the postings replying to the FAQs were unnecessarily venomous. There is a difference between showing someone that they are wrong and why they are wrong and insulting them. I am an enormous fan of this newsgroup and have come to expect better. While some of the comments were helpful, most were not. To show contempt for someone rather than attack their ideas in a scientific endevour betrays subjectivity and just hacks people off.

James K.

I am reading a creationist book called 'Evidence for Truth' by Dr E.K. Victor Pierce. Dr Pierce is an anthropologist. A large proportion of the book is devoted to posturing and name calling in the usual creationist style but when Dr Pierce concentrates on his area of expertise he makes some apparently good points which I havn't seen before. He makes a convincing case that agriculture started on the border between Iran and Turkey. He then states that this is the site of the biblical garden of Eden. He also presents evidence that there was a marked cultural hiatus of some duration in Mesopotamia and Europe between the copper stone age and the bronze age. Dr Pierce states that this was caused by the universal deluge narrated in the bible. Can anyone confirm his 'evidence' of the simultaneous global destruction of copper stone age culture or is this another creationist distortion of the evidence? E-mails will be welcomed on this subject.

I picked up this Web Site address at the Chicago Field Museum in their Life over Time Exhibit. In this exhibit was a bulletin board for the comments of museum-goers with respect to the issue of creationism vs. evolution. It certainly is a heated topic.

I am greatly frustrated by what I perceive to be narrow mindedness on the part of the creationists. They rely upon blind faith to dispute the realities put forth by years of exploration, experimentation and data-gathering. Any beliefs based upon faith alone can and will not stand the test of time. Take a look at Zeus, Mars, Baal, Selket. I could go on...

Robin C.

A friend of mine who has a creationist "leaning" mentioned that he had read that a "scientist??" claims that the speed of light has slowed, thereby what appears to have originated billions of years ago based on the current light speed, in actual fact is more recent. This sounds rather strange as no mention of it occures in any of my readings, including Steven Hawking's writing. Would appreciate any comments. Thanks.

Craig W.

Response from the editor:

Your friend was probably relying on the claims of Australian creationist Barry Setterfield. This archive has an article called The Decay of c-decay, which debunks the notion that the speed of light has decayed appreciably in the history of the universe.

I would like to congratulate you on the great site you've created. I'm impressed with amount and quality of material you present. Let's hope it will help to stop memes of creationism.


First, I find it interesting that the Washington Post choose not to interview a creationist about the implications of finding the two humanoid and human fossils together and the early dating of homo erectus. Second, rather than surprising, I think science has now found the "missing link," or more to the point, that there is no missing link. Science needs to come to terms with the idea of exploring the possiblity that home erectus was a distinct species of it's own that became extinct much as the dinosaurs did. This new finding really points to the theroy that homo sapiens did not evolve from another form.

Susan S.

Response from the editor:

Science long ago came to terms with the fact that Homo erectus and Homo sapiens are different species. That's why they're named differently; their very names indicate that they are different species. And yes, it has long been recognized that erectus is no longer with us. What has not been refuted by the creationists or the scientific evidence, however, is the notion that erectus was ancestral to sapiens. This notion remains strongly supported. See The Fossil Hominids FAQ for more detailed information.

For the most part, I like your definition of evolution. It sounds pretty modest (change with respect to time). I'm troubled by the way in which this definition has been re-cast into an apologetic for atheism (by Richard Dawkins and others) and spread across society. Perhaps similar modesty can be brought to the term "creationist". At the risk of being immodest, I suggest the following: A creationist is one who believes the universe and life exhibit considerable evidence for the existence of a designer. With these definitions, creation and evolution are not mutually exclusive. In this case, the philosophical debate over whether or not it is appropriate to look for evidence of supernatural design in the natural world could stand apart from the scientific debates over the age of the universe, the limits of natural selection and other discussions regarding what the natural record actually shows.

Meanwhile, creationism won't go away. It will get better. Young-earth creationism is already fading. Old-earth creationists pose no "threat" to science, since they are actually interested in physical evidence. They are a grewater threat to those who smuggle atheism into society under the guise of science. That may be bad for atheism, but it isn't bad for science.

Mark A.

Since I have taken several other courses in cell and molecular biology and biochemistry, I found it incomprehensible that given today's technology, anyone could manage to still think that evolution was "just a theory", or "some lie directly contravening god's will". To be honest, I just don't get it. These people cite twisted interpretations of scientific principles, or condemn them out of hand. Just last night I ended up in a discussion with a fun- damentalist who announced that she was "sick of what all those scientists say", but couldn't point to a single specific inci- dent, much less even a scientist. I suppose it's because it's much easier to just accept what your minister tells you, than spend hours, days, even years reading and understanding something. Pity.

Lisa M.

Deep down the real reason people try to disprove god and prove evolution is because of sin. they think to themselves, if i can prove evolution true then sin does not exist. i am free to do what ever i want.(no guilt) they think that mankinds intellect and evolution will save the earth and cure all of humankinds ills and problems.

Hello, Everone? But excuse me. I'm only 15, and I realize that just my age is enough to limit my credibility. But, frankly, I think you anti-creationilists have spent so much time trying to make excuses and explain why God could not have done what he did, that you have hidden the Truth from yourselves. You all have so many little loopholes that I could just tear you to pieces,but ally wants to read 5 pages of arguments???-which is alot less than many of you have written. I realize that you do have good points, and are very intelligent people, but don't let all of the mathmatical garble hide reality. Their is Someone up there watching you whether you believe it or not.

You try very hardly to disprove Creationism. Why? If you believe the arguements to be so silly and incredible, why bother? You never addressed real, foundational Creationism beliefs. How, tracing history all the way back, can something come from nothing? Why is there not 12 feet of dust on the moon? Why don't you want to believe the universal flood to be an explanation for a majority of the fossils in the rock layers? Why is it impossible to believe Creation? Does it take less faith to believe that something just exploded out of nothing than to believe that there is a God and that He hung the stars, then gathered the light already existing into those stars? What did He do to offend you that you want to deny His very existence?

Frank Steiger would have people believe that the creationist position would quote: "..discard the entire mathematical frame work of thermodynamics and would provide no basis for the engineering design of turbines,refrigeration units,..etc." (read Thermodynamics, Evolution,and Probability FAQ) This is just an ongoing example of the inaccurate and dishonest rhetoric put on by evolutionists to cover up the crisis that the second law poses for their belief by attacking the integrity and competencey of creation scientists.

I would suggest anyone and especialy Frank Steiger to check out the work done by C.B Thaxton,W.L Bradly,R.L Olsen "The Mystery of Life's Origin." In their thermodynamic treatment of water crystallization they make quite clear that the entropy change of the system is negative. They also show the net increase in entropy as pridicted by the second law. Now let me quote Frank Steiger. He says, "Creationist assume that a change characterized by a decrease in entropy cannot occur under any circumstances." He's wrong! There are many other examples that would in addition completely falsify that statement.

As for snow flakes, refrigeraters, ram pumps, charged batteries, and presently growing organisms, what have they got ot do with the origin of the universe? Nothing! These spurious examples used by evolutionist are light years from a model that gives some hint of self-organization that might have led to the origin of life. The fact of it is, there are no ecxeptions to what the second Law lays out. The net result is always in the direction from order to disorder. This is what the observable evidence tells us and there are no known exceptions. The FAQ file does not list one exception. If someone could it would no longer be a universal Law.

Response from the editor:

I agree. There are no exceptions to the second law of thermodynamics. When the reader can actually show how evolution violates the second law, he should write the archive another letter.

Concerning Michael Behe's mouse trap, I don't think the response captured the essence of the example, that the mouse trap functions as a unit. Yes, a table top could be the base for instance, but the unit as a whole had to know what it was supposed to be and that if evolutionary then it did so according to a blueprint, which would be very unlikely merely by chance.

Ken G.

Response from the editor:

Michael Behe used the mousetrap as an example of an irreducibly complex device; if you remove one part, it isn't supposed to work. The point of Keith Robison's argument was to show that the mousetrap is not, in fact, irreducibly complex; parts of the moustrap can be removed and you'll still have a functioning mousetrap -- maybe not a very good one, but it's better than no mousetrap.

This looks like an evolutionary crisis site. The creationists must be having quite an effect on evolution(ism). Did not see any convincing evidence in the fact files for evolution. You guys just don't seem to get it. Your interpretations of the observable evidence is determined by your assumptions (beliefs) of your religiouse position. The reality of it is, that both creation and evolution are outside emperical science. They are both unobserved and un-reproducable. Even the many so-called experiments verifing evolution are realy false and don't give one bit of validity to the evolutionary fairy tail. When the Laws of probibility are examined wether life could arise from non-living material, from a biological and thermodynamic view, we find it incredibly unlikely. What does this sites's own files tell us? They quote (Lord) Steven J. Gould who says, "In science 'fact' can only mean confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional consent'. With the knowledge we now have in biology and the Laws of thermodymacs and the well documented, near "zero" probibilty of evolution, it looks quite perverse to treat evolution as a fact. I could quote many admissions from your fellow evolutionists who admit the body of evidence realy isn't there. But yet, it must of happened! Thats called faith.

The recent developments in the search for Grand Unification Theory have led to a general acceptance that nothing before the big bang can be proven, or even guessed at with any real accuracy. Therefore, it seems natural to suggest that the authors on T.O make some suggestions as to what might have been there. After all what is more important Evolution or the Universe? I have made a few tenuous steps in this direction on T.O, and hope to post a FAQ as soon as my research is complete. I hope that people will devote as much time to this (more profitable) discussion as they did to the Flood Threads.

I would like to give you a quote from someone I met years ago. Dr. Pollard was one of the atomic pioneers at Oak Ridge (I can't remember his first name). He was also an Episcopal Priest. I was in High School when I knew him, and had occasion to ask about apparent conflicts between the Biblical accounts of Creation and the Scientific accounts. His reply, in part, was this:

"Science and religion have never been mutually exclusive. Make no mistake: God created the Universe. Science is Man's attempt to determine just how and when God did it. There is no reason at all for scientists and Christians to be at odds over the subject of our origins, in spite of the narrow-minded individuals who want them to be." He went on to describe the history of the Biblical account of creation in Genesis, saying it was a mix of probably 3 different accounts handed down verbally from generation to generation. The final version is actually fairly recent.

Ted Long

In the reply from one of MOM's ["The Mysterious Origins of Man"] producers, there's a comment about centrifugal force moving ice from the north toward the equator. If that was true, then marbles would roll toward the equator too. But marbles don't. The fact that the water doesn't also rush equatorward should be a warning that there's something flaky in this reasoning. The producer's stated physical reasoning is inadequate as an explanation, whether 6-year olds believe it or not.

This is one of the most introspective summaries on evolution that I have read.I very much appreciate the work you have put in it.

Don Lockwood

Regarding Behe's book, Darwin's Black Box, I recommend this book to any serious student of the creationist/evolutionist controversy. He approaches this dilemma with a very factual and fair presentation of the evidence. I believe one cannot find a more complete, academic, factual account of the evidence available to us. I am extremely delighted that I discovered this book and am proud to have it in my library. I recommend this opus very highly!

Dr. Wuebbenhorst

Response from the editor:

While the reader may be impressed by Behe's book, there are good reasons why he/she should be suspicious of its conclusions. See the archive's review of Darwin's Black Box for more details.

Over the past month I have read many arguements, research, hypothesis quantities of opinion and plenty of bashing. What I have been able to extrapolate from it all is that in ACTUAL fact either side is lacking in cold, hard, proof of anything that could decide what is true. Obviously there are studies which lead people to believe these two basic ideas on the beginning of life on this planet. The conviction that both sides pursue without knowing any basic truths that would back up their respective claims is insanity.

Paul M.

I just wanted to say that you can be a creationist and still believe in evolution as I do. The method of creation is unimportant.

Interesting information. However, I do not agree, based on the summary of the Pilmer/Gish debate, that Mr. Pilmer defeated Mr. Gish. But I do agree he certainly was sarcastic. His end comment, in refutation of Mr. Gish's rebuttal, was misdirected. His debate was not with the ICR, which may have been selling out dated material, but with Mr. Gish, who adequately explained his corrections in his more recent publications. What people standing in the hallway did or said had nothing to do with the actual debate. I hope you are honest enough to note this.

Joseph D.

Response from the editor:

The reader seems to have totally missed the point of the article, A Creationist Exposed. The Institute for Creation Research, which Duane Gish represents, was selling and disseminating outdated and incorrect information that Gish knew was incorrect.

Evolution is, to put it simply, crazy. When man doesn't know something, it seems to just make up a story that makes some sense and uses it to give an answer to their question. The people of one thousand years ago didn't know why exactly the sun rose and set, so they made up stories. Now we come, a thousand years later, and find out the answer and call all of their beliefs myths. Evolution is the same thing. It has only been believed for around one hundred years while the idea that creationists have has been around since the beginning of time, about eight thousand years ago. Creationists know what they are saying. God Himself told someone what to write and they copied it exactly. Creationists are wise and believe the word of God instead of the word of the imperfect man. I am only twelve years old and am sticking to my faith. Someday, the Judgement Day if you must know, you will find out how wrong you were and will wish you had turned to the teachings of God. Come on Christians! Scientists' voices are calling out louder than ours. Will we ever speak up and turn the world to the real truth?

I congratulate all of you for the effort to educate people on evalution. The site is well organize and the arguments well thought. What I was not able to find was the genetic relationship between species. In particular, when I search "Lucy" I found nothing on the studies dealing with the mitochondrial DNA which links this fossil to present human beings. I believe that expanding more this topic will provide strong support to the theory of evolution. If I missed this topic in your WWW site, please disregard my comments.


Response from the editor:

Please see one of the newest additions to the archive: Plagiarized Errors and Molecular Genetics by Edward Max. While this essay does not cover all the topics you mention, it deals generally with the topic of genetic similarities between organisms.

In an October feedback one writer discussed the endosymbiont hypothesis:

"The speciation aspect of evolution may rightfully be called a well tested hypothesis which may he considered a theory, but the supports upon which the quote 'theory' as a whole rests are not falsifiable. And those on which some experimentation has been attempted such as the endosymbiotic hypothesis have had not have positive results."

I'm not sure what is meant by experimentation in this regard. I'm also not sure which endosymbiotic events the writer had in mind. Researchers studying mitochondrial and chloroplast genetic sequences have reached the general consensus that these two organelles are derived from bacteria that were closely related to alpha-proteobacteria and cyanobacteria, respectively. For readers insterested in the subject, I can recommend two relatively recent reviews by Michael W. Gray [Origin and evolution of organelle genomes. In Current Opinion in Genetics and Development, Dec '93. 3(6) pp. 884-90 and The endosymbiont hypothesis revisited. In International Review of Cytology, 1992, v141 pp.233-357]. Basically, sequence comparisons of many genes firmly place mitochondrial and chloroplasts sequences outside of eukaryotic lineages and within the bacterial groups mentioned.

Now others, and Lynn Margulis in particular, have suggested that additional structures within eukaroytic cells may also have come from endosymbiotic events (eg. cilia -- the undulating "strings" used for swimming by some eukarotes). Unlike the cases for mitochondria and chloroplasts, evidence for these additional endosymbiotic events is not at all convincing. So some cases of endosymbiosis are well supported and others aren't. As one can see, there are multiple hypotheses about endosymbioses. Each particular instance is evaluated separately.

Personally, I don't think that the endosymbiotic origins of the mitochondria and chloroplasts should come as a great surprise (an interesting discovery, sure, but not a wild surprise). There are numerous bacteria that are known to be capable of living entirely within eukaryotic cells in associations that range from parasitism to symbiosis. We should expect more examples as we examine more of the world's organisms.

Tim Ikeda

This is a gret sight for a great debate. What I see in these responses to the biggest question of all time is hatred and persecution of Christians once again. Atheists, Evolutionists, Agnostics and the such are so angry at us! Jesus Christ said this would happen. Why are they so angry? Is it possible that we have something to live for and their worldly views just lead them more meaningless questions. Faith is the answer to all questions. Yet anti-christians are so stuck on themselves and denying God that they have nothing but bitterness and questions. We are mere mortals. What right do we have to question God's purpose for any of this? I say none!!! Thank You and God Bless us all

Michael C.

Response from the editor:

That's a lot of bluster to expend on a web site that takes no position on the existence of God or the validity of Christianity.

Comments/Questions concerning the fossil hominids FAQ:

  1. What is missing is a discussion of the splitting between apes and hominids. Fossils like the "Proconsul" or "Ramapithecus", their evidence and their importance could be considered. But nothing is stated! Why?
  2. Several fossils are described in the first part of the FAQ, But I could not find a definition of the different species. Example: Homo Habilis. It is not clear, what the difference between Australopithecus africanus and Homo Habilis is. It is stated that: "The face is still primitive, but it projects less than in A. africanus" But this is something that can happen in an A. africanus population too. The main difference between this two species is: "The average brain size, at 650 cc, is considerably larger than in australopithecines." But : "Brain size varies between 500 and 800 cc, overlapping the australopithecines at the low end and H. erectus at the high end." Reading the Talk-Origins definition of species: "... a reproductive community of populations (reproductively isolated from others) that occupies a specific niche in nature." the question remains, how you define the species Homo Habilis. How do you assign a skull to the species Homo Habilis? What are your criteria to distinguish Homo Habilis from A. africanus or Homo Erectus?
  3. ER 1470: It is stated concerning this Homo Habilis: "1470's face is very robust, and as large as that of a modern Cro-Magnon skull, despite a much smaller brain size, and the cranium has a markedly different shape. There is also other evidence that it was an adult." But the evidence that this human being was an adult is not given!
  4. Lubemov is criticized, because he criticizes Klein (1989). Several fossils are discussed, which are not discussed in the general fossil chapter: "These are a few fragmentary teeth attributed to Homo, found at Omo in Ethiopia, and dated to 2.3-2.4 million years (Howell et al.1987). They are relatively unimportant, and it is not surprising that Klein would not give them any further discussion." But now in this discussion this fragmentary teeth are suddenly important! Could the author please give a more comprehensive discussion of this fossils?

Response from Jim Foley, author of the Fossil Hominids FAQ:

  1. They fall outside of my scope because they're not hominids. Ramapithecus gets a brief mention only because it was mistakenly thought to be a hominid during the 60's and 70's.

  2. I don't see any contradiction between saying that H.habilis' average brain size is 650 cc, and that it ranges from 500 to 800 cc.

    Obviously the above definition of species cannot be applied to extinct animals. Scientists try to allocate fossils into different species by comparing them with the ranges of variation in and between living species, but it is a difficult task. Going into the detailed anatomical differences between the different hominid species would require going into far more detail than I wish to do in the FAQ. Check the Further reading page for textbook recommendations.

  3. Generally the state of the skull sutures and dental characteristics give at least an approximate age for skulls. Space forbids providing documentation for every single statement in the FAQ, but I will add a reference for ER 1470 being adult when I next see one.

  4. For the purposes of my argument, it suffices to know their age and the fact that they are attributed to Homo. I can't think of any other information about the teeth that is worth putting in the faq, but the Howell et al. reference is provided for anyone wanting to know more.

I would like to introduce you to another perspective which has has its foundation in the Qur'an. Qur'an is meant to be the holy/reference book of "people who think" and "the final testament" to intelligent life-forms from their Creator. According to the Qur'an older testaments i.e Psalms, Torah and some Gospels are originally from God but altered by human beings in order to gain power. I think evolution/creation discussion has its roots in altered old testament/bible verses. According to the Qur'an there is evolution, this is God's Style of creation. So you are right but Christians are also right because there is a Creator. Unfortunately the part in the scriptures that talks about creation didn't reached us perfectly preserved or translated. Objection to evolution by Christians is probably the result of misinterpretation of the scriptures. Thus, it is not a counter-argument of the existence of God.

Gurkan C.

Enjoyable, and stimulating reading. There are many false statements and ideas about evolution and our origins that are floating around, and it's good to find the facts presented.

November 1996
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