|Comment:||Henry Morris's opinion not withstanding, the fact that God made different prophecies about the descendants of Shem, Ham and Japheth has nothing to do with genetics or race. Gen. 25:23 says, "And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger thatn the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger". Jacob and Esau were TWINS. The point of the prophecy about Shem, Ham and Japheth is that the spiritual decisions of a person affects not only them but their descendants. The religious and cultural heritage that is passed from generation to generation has as much or more influence on how the descendents turn out as the genetic heritage. Unlike the emphasis of evolution, the emphasis of the Bible is not the genetic heritage but the cultural and spiritual heritage. Therefore, while people who bring pre-conceived notions to the Bible may come away with erroneous conclusions about race, the Bible itself is not racist.|
|Response:||The point being made by Richard Trott and Jim Lippard in Creationism Implies Racism? is not that the Bible advocates racism (as any serious student of the Bible knows), but that any large enough body of study can be twisted to imply anything the author wishes to. A number of prominent creationists have accused evolution of promoting racism, even while their own views on the Bible can be interpreted to promote racism. Their point is that accusations of racism from either the Bible or evolution are equally meritless.|
|Comment:||It seems science can explain alot about the world around us. One question still remains unanswered.If evolution does occur, why did humans become more advanced than other life forms? In terms of intelligence. This is the reason most people stray away from evolution. Evolution does not explain, why humans were givin this great gift, but the Bible does.....|
evolution of intelligence is an area of speculation- for
the simple reason that such an event leaves no tangible
evidence in the fossil record. But we can make inferences
from the artifacts and hominid skulls that are unearthed.
In considering the evolution of intelligence, one must take into account what kind of survival advantanges would be gained by it. More efficient hunting, better survival tactics against predators, better use of natural resources and environments, cultivation of grains, domestication of animals, establishment of settlements, etc.
There are reasons why smarter hominids would preferentially survive over dumber ones.
Why did hominids develop intelligence on a greater level than any other species? Consider the upright stance, which allowed hominids to more efficiently make and use tools and weapons, carry food back to a camp. And more efficient ways of hunting, gathering and storing food allows for more idle time in which to be creative. No other creature is fully bipedal. Consider with this the gradual increase in cranial capacity, which mirrors the development in toolmaking and culture.
The alternative- accepting that the first human was made directly from the dirt- requires quite a suspension of one's rational mental processes.
|Comment:||A quick question. I am at very conservative Christian college, and when defending evolutionary beliefs, a common sticking point comes up. Is there any support for abiogenesis, in either lab experiments or evidence? Is there any support to disprove this theory?|
that there's a great deal we don't know yet, both about the
conditions of the early Earth and the chemical reactions
involved. Our Interim
Abiogenesis FAQ presents an overview of the steps that
a number of scientists who work in the field think took
place to reach self-replicating nucleic acids. Some of
those steps have been demonstrated; others have not in any
great detail. Some of them may even be completely wrong. It
may be that certain steps in the process are being attacked
from the wrong direction, or that there are additional
factors to consider that we haven't thought of yet. It's
hard to say in more detail; the field is moving very
rapidly. You might try surveying journals such as Science or Nature for
overviews of the latest discoveries.
One must remember that we are dealing with a scientific field still in its infancy. At this point, the only scientific answer is to say, "We don't know yet."
explanation on the definition of evolution given by
Laurence Moran Jan 22, 1993 ignores what we know about
genetic transmission. The scientific quotes are excelent
and true but evolution of the type listed here is limited
by the genetic material in the population.
No one argues the fact that changes in populations occurr by shifting allele frequencies pure Mendelian and recombinent. By this mechanism two cats or a population of cats can produce a huge variety of cats. Another mechanism not included in any of the definitions is needed for a prokaryocyte to become a cat no matter how many generations you give it.
If the claims in basic biology textbooks that life evolved from single celled to multicelled and finally mamals as the latest arrival are not what is meant by evolution what is the name of this process.
Populations are not infinately malleable by the processes in Moran's article. All our scientific experience with animal and plant breeding proves this.
|Author of:||Punctuated Equilibria|
Above is one of the definitions quoted with favor in Dr. Moran's FAQ. It is important to distinguish between the purpose of a definition and the purpose of a theory. A definition of evolution tells us which phenomena are evolutionary, and which are not. A theory of evolution explains some set of evolutionary phenomena, and proposes mechanisms or processes by which those phenomena arise.
Mr. Hawkins confuses definitions and theories. Dr. Moran is discussing definitions in his FAQ. I cannot concur that Dr. Moran has overlooked what we know of genetic transmission. The quote given above makes the point quite well that evolutionary changes are of necessity heritable changes. The particular mode of genetic transmission or genetic modification need not be known for us to be able to determine that evolutionary change has occurred.
Dr. Moran's article made no restriction concerning the processes that can result in evolutionary change. I'm not sure how Mr. Hawkins came to the erroneous conclusion that such a restriction was made in the article.
|Comment:||One important fact you forgot to consider of why hardly anyone questioned the discovery of the piltdown man was race. The white population found it hard to swallow at the time that the whole human race came from Africa and Piltdown man gave them a perfect reason to disregard fossils found in Africa of other scientists. Racism was one of the reasons Piltdown man was so accepted even among scientists. I saw a PBS special on this which confirms what I am saying. Piltdown man is a disgrace to anthropology because it shows that science can be swayed be prejudices. To people such as Native Americans, this only makes them distrustful of scientists and anthropology itself.|
|Response:||Racism is a
factor that I consider one of the major roadblocks to the
acceptance of modern neo-darwinism. There are plenty of
people nowadays (I have spoken with some) whose major
objection to evolution, apart from biblical prejudice, is
racial prejudice-- like you say, they can't accept that
their ancestors originated in Africa and that they are
related by blood to blacks. It is a major problem
for some people- they even get violently angry at the
suggestion. See my essay
Why I Believe that the Process of Evolution is the Greatest
Discovery of the Human Species.
But to blame science for the Piltdown Man hoax is far too severe. It was, after all, scientists who uncovered the hoax. It is not that science is subject to prejudice, but people are. With all the checks and balances with the modern methods of science, I have near complete faith in the process. They can't all be racist.
|Comment:||" A list of
prominent (or once-prominent) creationists whose only
doctoral degrees are either honorary or of suspicious
This statement intrigued me. I am a publisher and Managing Director of a software development company that employs a wide range of people with various educational backgrounds. Across the board our graduates are very scathing of the university system which did little to teach them the real trade of programming, graphics, writing or otherwise. In fact we have to teach them what the universities fail to do so (Which is most of the knowledge and skills required in the real world). Indeed I have had the pleasure of employing individuals with no university training who have displayed incredible talents. I would never subscribe to the theory that a degree or doctorate implies lesser or greater intelligence. If you want to have a go at some one who contests your theories I suggest you use a little more intelligence yourself.
Personally I don't care where an individual gets his degree, doctorate or whatever educational wall paper they like to hang. What counts is what they have to say, and how well they can support it.
I'm sure some of the wall hangings given to those you critique may not be earned. Who cares. Strewth!
not care where and how your doctor got his degree if you
were laying on the operating table, awaiting heart surgery?
No disrespect intended, but there is quite a material
difference between programming, writing and graphics (much
of which would be learned in the field, I imagine),
and the scientific fields in discussion here.
When an individual goes around touting his "doctorate" degree in a scientific field which he claims to have gotten from a "University", and it turns out he spent three weeks at a Ministry College operated out of someone's house, that fact, that deception, should be uncovered to the public! Those individuals (and here we are speaking about certain creationists) are experts in nothing. They object to evolution for non-scientific reasons. Their objections are based on their faith.
|Comment:||The more I study the evolutionary minded scientific data, evidence, and arguments the more convinced I am that they are completely on the wrong track in assuming that all things living changed their own DNA accidentally. Anyone seriously studying the subject will be aware that evolution evidences contradict the laws of physics, biological boundaries, and geological realities. Geologists, Chemists, Physicists, and Biologists have contradictory timetables as to support the amount of time it would have to take for living things to evolve properly.|
that all living things change their own DNA accidentally
is, at best, a misunderstanding, and at worst, a
Straw Man Argument.
The truth is that at the conception of some living organisms, errors occur in the copying process of DNA. A small percentage of these "errors" can actually benefit the organism by making it more efficient in its survival- either in finding food, avoiding predators or finding a mate. These "errors" are then transmitted to the next generation, and those organisms head off in a different direction from the original species.
Evolution does not contradict any scientific laws- it only contradicts literal biblical dogma.
|Comment:||Today evolution is taught and accepted as FACT. That is obvious to me from the comments of educators and media and the actions of most men. I remember when evolution was a theory. The "theory of evolution" is what I was taught. Since then, I have seen this theory develop into something seen as a fact. I can't possibly summize all my reasons for disbelief in evolution in this short comment. But I guess my largest reason is that the theory has no foundation. No matter how many floors be build it into and how elaborate each room within and well decorated...the fact remains that evolution has no basis, no foundationn no begining. Whether you started it with a soupy sea, two atoms, a subatomic particle, or a gas, you have chosen a false start. For these elemnts two must have had a begining. A designer or purposer. And if you are of the modern evolutionist who say" God used evolution to create!" That is like saying the police want crime to have something to do. And if that has some truth to it, it does not dignify the position of a policeman. Insteads it stains it and robs its vitue. Evolution is liscence to control our destinies to say we have to answer to noone. But guess what, man has help his own destiny and most men answer to noone. They did not evolution for this. And in the end, they won't have evolution for this.|
objection to evolution for non-scientific reasons.
Are you suggesting that we throw out the science of evolutionary biology because, in your opinion, it amounts to a "license to control our destinies"?
That evolution is "just a theory" has got to be the most common fallacy I have ever heard. This incorrect statement usually arises from a confusion between the scientific words "theory" and "hypothesis". No one seems to call Atomic Theory "just a theory"... it gave us the atom bomb; no one calls Einstein's General and Special Theories of Relativity "just theories". Evolution is as well-established a concept as any in science, with a massive amount of physical evidence for support. It is not a guess.
This is the statement from the National Academy of Science:
To say all possible origins of life must have a designer or purposer says more about you than it does about nature. If your largest reason for not accepting the truth of evolution is that you think it has no foundation, then you should read more about it. If the Talk.Origins Archive is too complex, might I suggest my site: The Evolution Education Resource Center.
|Comment:||Why do creation scientists like Walter Brown feel the need to have complicated scientific models to explain how a large mass of water on the earth could have been stored? When according to Genesis god has the ability to will matter into existence. Surely, when god wanted to flood the planet he could have just willed the water into existence.|
|Response:||Yes, it's a nice conundrum, isn't it? They argue that science cannot be naturalistic and exclude the supernatural and then come up with all sorts of naturalistic shoehorns for the narrative of Genesis.|
|Comment:||I had a question concerning the statement that evolution had been observed. There is no question that different traits are displayed in the same species, say hair color or eye color on a human. But it is my understanding that changing the genetic structure too severly, no matter how helpful, causes sterility. I could be wrong, but does not breeding a horse and a donkey produce a mule, a sterile animal. Assuming that evolution is acchieved by mutations, there is also the problem of a trait containing more than one mutation to cause a change that would do something. Let me clarify this. One could take the supposed development of a fish with legs. If i understand correctly, not only the bone must change, but the muscle must also. If this is taken into account, then would not the development of the bones neccesary for this change to take place have to coincide with the devolopment of the muscle, new nueral patterns for the proper use of the limbs, and lungs for the ability to be useful. All the while I would assume that the creature would have to succesfully be able to survive it's current environment, be able to mate, and essentially reteach the organisms own instinct not to travel on land. These are just a few basic problems I see in "macro-evolution". Please instruct me if you feel I have made false assumptions anywhere.|
offered a question that contains a common misconception
concerning evolution at the species level. To use your
example, the different traits that allow a fish to leave
the water and colonize the land do not have to occur
concurrently all in one generation. Bones, muscles, neural
patterns, lungs, instincts, etc., would not all suddenly
appear in a single organism through mutations. These
genetic changes occur over hundreds of thousands, even
millions, of years. Any of these physical changes does not
have to occur fully functional and complete in order to be
useful-- any slight advantage that a partial trait can
bestow is beneficial to the propagation of the species, and
could be passed on to the next generation.
A transition from "a" to "z" would be, to use your words, too severe. But a transition from "A" to "B", would not be too severe, nor would a transition from "B" to "C". In this way, you can have a gradual transition from "A" to "Z".
I'll use the Mudskipper as an example. Here is a fish that leaves its pond and pulls itself along with bony fins to feed on the muddy shore- yet it has no lungs. It keeps water in its mouth and extract oxygen from it, as well as absorbing oxygen through its moist skin. The Coelacanth also has muscular rigid fins- but no lungs. The Lungfish, on the other hand, does have primitive lungs, which it uses to survive for months out of water, but it does not have bony fins. When the pond in which it lives becomes oxygen-poor, the lungfish swims to the surface and takes a gulp of air. You can see the definate survival advantage of this trait.
All of the physical traits you mentioned evolved seperately and independently within the species in question, over millions of years. Remember that macroevolution is the cumulative effect of many such changes, one after another. One other important point is that mutation is only one mechanism of evolution. The mechanisms of evolution are mutation, natural selection, genetic drift, recombination and gene flow. I suggest you read the Introduction to Evolutionary Biology FAQ.
Harding, a response to your response:
your points in order.
|Author of:||Punctuated Equilibria|
A couple of comments on the issues.
Adult flounders have both eyes on one side of the head. Juveniles start out with the usual arrangement, but during ontogeny one eye migrates to the other side of the head. This causes some curious distortions of the morphology, which can be seen readily in some smaller flounder, like the "hogchoker" of the Gulf of Mexico.
The real answer is that the original assertion is mistaken. We do see mutations occur in extant species. But mutation does not mean "anything goes". Bits and pieces going any which way is not a general expectation. Bilateral symmetry is an anciently established morphology that is shared by descent. But we do have evidence of a "change" from bilateral symmetry in the Phylum Echinodermata. These organisms share the attribute of bilateral symmetry from their ancestry, but they have derived a radial symmetry in their body plan. Pick up a starfish and try to figure out which arm is apical. It is possible to do, but soemtimes can take a bit of observation.
|Response:||Ditto- what they said.|
|Comment:||For the last few years, I have been researching the topic of Creation and Evolution. My major is in Biological Science and I am currently teaching high school in Georgia. It seems to me that many scientists who believe in evolution try to make people feel stupid who do not agree with their "religion" (evolution and creation are religions). They use the statements "you would be a fool not to believe" or "any logically minded person would know" to persuade people to jump on the evolution bandwagon. There are many questions that evolutionists can't answer and do not want to answer. There are more scientists today than ever before that are leaning twards creationism instead of evolutionism. There is much evidence that points twards creationism and I feel that this threatens many evolutionists.|
I would suggest that you learn about evolution from a source other than the creationists- the information they supply is incorrect.
Scientists do not "believe" in evolution so much as accept it as the inevitable and inescapable conclusion which is drawn from the evidence. Evolution is not a religion. Religion, as admitted by its adherents, does not change- it is an unchanging and inerrant guide. Evolution makes no such claim. It is certainly not unchanging (no scientific subject is immune to change) and makes no claims to being inerrant (as our methods and technology improve, so our theories more closely represent reality). Evolution remains to be the inference of the available evidence, whether you choose to accept it or not. Evolution is in no danger of being "overturned" by creationism.
To the claim that there are questions that evolutionists can't or wont answer, this is a falsehood that is perpetuated by creationists. I myself (a nonscientist) have answered their questions. See my answers to the Center for Scientific Creationism and my answers to Kent Hovind.
Creationists have their literal biblical interpretation to protect, and are willing to say anything to do so. When Henry Morris (former president of the Intitute for Creation Research) says "There is no observational fact imaginable which cannot, one way or another, be made to fit the creation model." how can anyone trust the "science" of creationism?
regard to Wesley Elsberry's essay on punctuated equilibria.
I have read both the original paper by Eldredge and Gould and Simpson's 1948 book "Tempo and Mode in Evolution". Other than renaming what Simpson called "Quantum Evolution", there is nothing new in the Eldredge and Gould paper. Whereas Gould is mentioned 24 times in this essay George Gaylord Simpson's name is not mentioned once. Why is Simpson ignored?
|Author of:||Evolution and Philosophy|
people might think it was to maximise the apparent
originality of their paper, but in fact there is quite some
difference between Simpson's and Eldredge and Gould's
approach. For a start, Simpson developed a typology of
evolutionary processes (bradytelic - slow, tachytelic -
quick and horotelic - ordinary) that seemed to imply that
there were "normal" rates of evolution that were sometimes
diverged from in particular cases. Eldredge and Gould
however emphasised that evolution is usually conservative
and occasionally explosive.
Secondly, Eldredge and Gould's views were founded on two mechanisms - migration into the habitat that had been fossilised, accounting for a lack of in situ intermediates, and Mayr's "founder principle", the notion that small populations (with a low probability of fossiliation) do the most evolving, which Simpson's 1944 work did not have.
However, there are also probably some social reasons for Simpson's absence. In Time Frames, Eldredge makes up that lack, as I recall.
|Author of:||Punctuated Equilibria|
I don't address the history of the concepts in the essay, other than as history relates to other topics, like discussion of phyletic fgradualism. The fact of the matter is that "punctuated equilibria" is a neologism due to Eldredge and Gould, and there is an expectation that the persons referenced most often will be those who introduced the term, if not the concept. I may add a section on precursors to PE in a revision of the FAQ, but the purpose of the FAQ is more to summarize the concept of PE and related issues of interest to those examining the origins debate than it is to develop a history of the idea.
Eldredge and Gold also took a different approach from Simpson, stating that paleontology cannot provide the insights needed for interpretation of the evidence. Instead, neontology - the study of living organisms - should inform our theories of paleontology. Thus, Mayr's theory of allopatric speciation of peripheral isolates is the basis of PE according to Eldredge and Gould.
I certainly am not averse to saying that others utilized concepts with a substantial overlap with PE prior to Eldredge and Gould's 1972 chapter on the topic. But Eldredge and Gould do deserve credit for putting it all together, and by dint of both persistence and not a little apparent arrogance they have managed to move paleontology off dead center.
|Comment:||Just for argument's sake, let us assume that evolutionary theory is correct. According to this theory, the earth is at least 4.5 billion years old. It took about one billion more years to "evolve" the first cell out of the primal soup. Thus the first simple, rudimentary cell is 3.5 billion years old. Yet, a human today is comprised of 50 billion cells in a "dizzingly vast array." (RANDOM HOUSE ENCY., 3rd ed., 1990) That means that one simple cell "evolved" into 50 billion complex cells in 3.5 billion years or 14.3 cells "evolved" per year. That is an average of one new cell "evolving" every 25.5 days. So evolutionists are trying to tell us that while the first cell "evolved" tortuously in one billion years, the second took only 25.5 days? And this is supposed to be a mind-numbing lengthy period? Talk about intellectual drivel!|
|Author of:||Evolution and Philosophy|
The earth was molten for the majority of that first 1 billion years. Life probably evolved in the first 100 million years or less of the earth being cool enough.
There are not 50 billion types of cells in the human body, there are around 320 or so. Most of these are closely related subtypes, such as the haemopoietic cycle where some 35 partly or fully differentiated cell types develop from a single pluripotent stem cell. These cells develop over a relatively short time - nine months or so.
Once a complex cell has evolved, it can differentiate pretty quickly, I think you must agree...
I believe in creation. Sorry guys... Does that mean I
believe conventional science is wrong? No... I believe in
scientific method.... But... I don't believe some
Evolutionists are truly using scientific method. They have
adopted Evolution as a religion. To say "Evolution is a
FACT!" is horribly irresponsible. Do you think I would ever
tell anyone that creation is a fact SCIENTIFICALLY. NO!..
Its only a fact to me personally.
This is how I believe scientific method should progress.
1. Identify the problem or question. 2. Formulate a Hypothesis. 3. Gather data and perform experiments to prove and DISPROVE the Hypothesis. 4. Only when it does not fail any test, does it then become SCIENTIFIC theory.
Has Evolution or Creation met all of these requirements? NO! Both should still be considered HYPOTHESIS!
Throughout my education I always asked questions. Why? How? I wanted explanations, not lectures. I watched my peers sit and absorb hypothesis as FACT. Only when I asked the questions did they even think to dispute what the instructor was teaching. Teaching a possible explanation as fact is WRONG!
I try to read all the information concerning the origin of man, life and the universe with an open mind. It is very difficult to remain objective sometimes. Its human nature to cling to personal beliefs even in the light of undeniable proof. We must all make the extra effort to put the truth first.
If you have a chance, check the Creation Science site... With an open mind... Center for Scientific Creation
I'm not saying they have all the answers, but the information raises a lot of questions concerning the age of the earth and the universe.
I will continue to review the sites concerning Evolution and Creation. It can be difficult to remain objective when almost every site supporting Evolution continues to question my intelligence. I have to admit that this site was better than most in professionalism and presenting facts. Most Web Sites are less than constructive. I just want scientific factual data, not opinions on my intelligence.
By the way.... Creationism isn't bad science... Just some of the people supporting Creationism practice bad science. And many evolutionists practice bad science as well.
How many times have I heard the peppered moth as an example of evolution? It isn't. Its an example of Natural Selection only. The moth didn't evolve a new trait. The trait already existed in the species. Environmental changes merely selected one trait over another. Does the original trait still exist? Honestly... I do not know... But if it does... What could that mean? Again... its irresponsible to say this is evolution in action. Its only one very small step in a scientific explanation.
Thank you for your patience... I know I can be quite longwinded at times.
Paul Williams (email@example.com)
I am continually amazed at the use of the word religion
when applied to evolutionary science. (I'm also amazed at
the derogatory implications of the word "religion" when
used by religionists in reference to evolution). To say
that evolution is a fact is not irresponsible in any sense.
To paraphrase Daniel Dennett in Darwin's Dangerous
Idea, the hope that evolution will someday be refuted
by some shattering breakthrough is about as reasonable as
the hope that we will return to an earth centered universe
and abandon Copernicus.
You wouldn't say that creation is a fact "scientifically"... that's the point. Creation Science is not science. But it claims to be. If it is a fact only to you personally, that is a personal belief. Certainly it does not deserve 'equal time', as proponents of Creationism would like to see in our public schools.
Your four points of what constitutes a theory are very well thought out. But to hold the belief that evolution has not passed muster to be considered a proper scientific theory is to be unaware of the evidence. There is much information yet to digest. Check out the Observed Instances of Speciation FAQ.
|Comment:||Nice site .
. . Lots of info here. I'm not much interested in the
"controversy", but the site's been a good jump-off point
for initiating further study.
I have a question. I remember being taught that the land bridge where the Bering Strait is now located became submerged between 10Kya and 20Kya (depending upon the particular author). For the sake of definiteness, adopt 10Kya. Assume that man crossed the land bridge just prior to its disappearance. That means that there was a western hemisphere human population which was presumably isolated for 10ky.
The question is why speciation did not occur in man. Is 10Ky too short of a timespan for this (in men)? There have been speciation events requiring shorter timespans (as documented on your site). Is there postulated some genetic exchange between the Americas and Eurasia during this time period, i.e. pre-pre-Columbian oceanic voyages? Can you sort this all out or point me in the general direction of a reasonable answer?
|Response:||I can only
answer this question generally, not knowing much about the
details of the pre-Columbian Americas, but keep in mind
that 10,000 years is only 500 or so human generations.
That's enough time for some genetic differentiation between
different human populations, as we do see, but is evidently
not enough for speciation. Most of the speciation events
that we have documented have taken place in populations
with a much faster reproductive rate than we humans.
Speciation is a complex blend of reproductive factors, environmental pressures, genetic mutability, and population size. I suggest the reader consult both Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel and Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza's The Great Human Diasporas: The History of Diversity and Evolution, excellent books discussing the spread of human genetic and societal diversity. Both also have references for further study.
be nothing of note to reprint about my comment.
Having read the book published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society entitled Life – How Did It Get Here? By Evolution or Creation?, I find Mr. Feuerbacher's comments odd at best. The book is rife with specifics, yet it does not propose to be a scientific treatise. It would be dry and tasteless if it were.
What it is, however, is truthful. I would challenge Mr. Feuerbacher to compose a truthful document, answering some of the many challenges that are raised, very specifically, in the book. One example of a glaring hole is the lack of plausible explanation for all of the transitional gaps left by the theory of evolution. If you want to discuss vague generalities . . . when you sift through the scientific mis-speak, all that is left is an unpalatable explanation that makes otherwise intelligent men look narrow-minded.
– How Did It Get Here? By Evolution or Creation?
may not purport to be a scientific treatise, but it does
represent itself as a "thoroughly researched examination"
of the theory of evolution. Yet it is rife with
misquotations and factual inaccuracies, one of which Mr.
Feuerbacher analyzes in detail. Specifics are no good if
those specifics aren't correct.
Has the reader determined Life to be truthful because it accurately reflects reality in detail, or because it agrees with the reader's own particular viewpoint? Likewise, does the reader find scientific explanations to be "mis-speak" and "narrow-minded" because they fail to accurately reflect reality in detail, or because they disagree with the reader's own particular viewpoint? Before he answers that question for himself, I would urge the reader to consider the thousands of journals in any good university library that provide, at times, excruciatingly detailed observations of the world around us.
If the reader wishes to see a more comprehensive critique of Life, he need only examine the off-site article on the book by Jan Haugland.
Finally, I wonder if the reader really knows what he means by "transitional gaps." If he just means that some fossil sequences are incomplete or spotty, that is true, but it says less about evolution than about the process of fossilization. If, however, he is stating that there are no transitional fossil sequences, he would be incorrect, as the Transitional Vertebrate Fossil FAQ, among other FAQs on this site, makes clear.
|Comment:||I am a born-again Christian with a literal 6 day biblical creation viewpoint. I would be interested in hearing an evolutionist viewpoint on a question I have. A main tenet of evolution is the idea that things develop by a series of small changes, caused my mutations, which are "selected" for, keeping the "better" changes over a very long period of time. How could the ability to reproduce evolve, without the ability to reproduce? Can you even imagine a theoretical scenario which would allow this to happen? And why would evolution produce two sexes, many times over? Asexual reproduction would seem more likely and efficient! I would also like to comment on the stereo-typical view of creation scientists presented in this web page. We are not merely deluded old men sitting on a school board. We are actively involved in our scientific community, we are indeed, well educated individuals with truely scientific views and theories.|
|Author of:||Punctuated Equilibria|
Biological evolution is dependent upon self-replicating systems. The development of self-replicating systems is the subject of abiogenesis. There are various theories concerning abiogenesis, which indicates that, yes, people can conceive of ways that might lead naturally from a system of non-self-replicating chemistry to self-replicators.
Asexual reproduction is the mode of reproduction for life on this planet. Living organisms on earth are overwhelmingly classed as prokaryotes. Most reproduction is asexual reproduction.
The demographics of SciCre are overwhelmingly male and not very young, at least gauged by online participation. I have known precisely two active female participants who took a YEC stance in online discussion in over thirteen years of reading online exchanges.
SciCre proponents are perfectly capable of doing science, but one will find that the scientific work published in the literature by SciCre-ists is conducted in the mode of methodological naturalism. In other words, their SciCre stance is completely unrelated to the science they publish. The scientific views held by SciCre-ists turn out to be the ones that everybody else has. On the other hand, SciCre doctrine is inherently anti-scientific. See my essay on naturalism for more information.
A corollary of this is that there is no scientific theory of creation. Not even the "Intelligent Design" proponents claim to have a scientific theory yet, just the basis for a scientific theory.
If you are interested in pursuing discussion of these issues, please consider posting to the talk.origins newsgroup. I've been asking people to give their scientific theory of creation or a reference to one for over a decade now, and all I've ever gotten in response are creeds or unsupported assertions.
recommending the page in the URL below, (It isn't
scientifically sound-- to me,at least.) but I'd like for
someone in your organization to check it out: Creation Evolution
It is Pro-Creationist, and I believe it to have many invalid statements concerning scientifically backing Creation and a young-life universe.
Please tell me what your opinion of the page is.
|Author of:||Punctuated Equilibria|
Pretentious, presumptious, ill-informed. The same-old stuff.
Some commentary on mutation and natural selection aptly demonstrates this.
all the work you do to provide this website. It is the
first place I have found that provides both sides of the
debate. I have two questions.
1. If the earth is 4.5 billion years old, why is it not solid. I would think that even in a few million years, the molten core or mantle would cool and become solid.
2. I have seen on a science TV show, that our solar system is a second generation system. Billions of years ago our genisis star exploded (super nova?) and the material that became our solar system drifted to our location. This idea seemed necessary to explain our larger elements, needing the temperature and pressure internal to a large star to form. My question, if this is a mainstream idea, is do we date radiogenicly from the elements birth in the genisis star or from when the dust clumped together to for our solar system, or some hybrid of the two?
|Author of:||The Age of the Earth|
|Response:||1. The outer
core is not solid because heat is still being released into
it, by processes such as decay of radioactive isotopes and
growth of the solid inner core. (Young-Earth creationist
Douglas Cox ironically argues that the mantle and core
should be even hotter than they are if the Earth is very
old -- under the dubious assumption that they would be
expected to contain concentrations radioactive isotopes
identical to that in the crust.)
2. Exactly what is dated depends on the methodology. In the examples discussed in the Age of the Earth FAQ, a methodology is chosen to yield the span of time since things in the solar system ceased isotopic exchange with each other (i.e., when they formed from a common pool of material). Different methods have been applied to estimate the age of that material itself (or, rather, the "youngest" contribution to it by a supernova). If you want references to the latter, contact me offline.
|Comment:||The book Of
Pandas and People: The Central Question of Origins by
Percival Davis and Dean Kenyon is a high-school level text
book designed to supplement traditional biology texts. The
authors repeatedly refer to neodarwinian evolution as an
alternative theory to intelligent design (Davis &
Kenyon 1993, pp. 25, 26, 41, 78, 85). Because the adoption
of this book is being considered in some public schools, it
is worth asking about the status of this theory: Is
evolution theory actually used by scientists? The question
is a fundamental one because scientific theories are not
just ideas or hypotheses outlined in a textbook, but are
the basic research tools of professional scientists. A
theory represents a collection of explanations, hypotheses,
tests, and applications, including anomalies and failures
(Kuhn 1962). Not all aspects of any theory are directly
testable. For example, any theory explaining organismal
diversity cannot be directly tested, since the plants,
animals, and microbes that make up the living world are the
result of a historical process not readily replicated in
the laboratory. However, intelligent design theory (and,
presumably, evolutionary theory) contains corollaries that
make non-obvious predictions about patterns within the
existing biota that can be tested. If evolution theory is a
viable alternative to intelligent design theory, then
scientists must be using it to devise tests and to
interpret patterns in the data they collect. What sense
would there be in presenting an idea as a scientific theory
if the idea was not actually used by working scientists?
The importance of a scientific theory is not related to its
popularity among the general public, but to its utility in
directing research and explaining observations within a
particular field of study (Kuhn 1962). For example,
millions of people read their horoscopes each day, but
astrology plays no role in directing research by
astronomers or psychologists. Astrology, therefore, is not
discussed in science textbooks except in a historical
context. Because professional scientists must publish their
work to retain their jobs and to obtain funding, the
relative status of evolutionary theory and intelligent
design theory can be assessed by comparing their frequency
of usage in the professional scientific literature. To
compare the scientific literature on intelligent design and
evolutionary theory, I used five different computerized
databases that catalog scientific periodicals, books, and
reports. I searched each database for the keywords
"evolution" and "intelligent design". BIOSIS (1997,
Biological Abstracts, Inc.) is the online version of
Biological Abstracts and covers approximately 6000 journals
in the life sciences. The Expanded Academic Index (1997
Information Access Co.) indexes and abstracts 1500
scholarly and general interest periodicals, covering all
major fields of study in the humanities, social sciences,
and science and technology. The Life Sciences Collection
(1997, Cambridge Scientific Abstracts) indexes 200 journals
in all fields of biology. Medline (1997, National Library
of Medicine) indexes over 3700 journals in the health and
life sciences. Finally, the Science Citation Index (1996,
Institute for Scientific Information) covers over 5000
journals in all fields of science. The Expanded Academic
Index covers a broader range of subjects and lists more
general publications; the other four indices list primarily
professional science publications and feature more
technical journals. The results of the searches are shown
in Table 1. Table 1. Summary of literature search results
for the terms "evolution" and "intelligent AND design" in
five computerized indices. Index Years Evolution
Intelligent Design BIOSIS 1991-97 1 68 832 Expanded
Academic Index 1989-97 30 14 298 Life Sciences Collection
1982-97 1 45 963 Medline 1990-97 1 29 228 Science Citation
Index 1992-95 4 10 333 Although Davis and Kenyon may claim
that neodarwinian evolution represents a viable alternative
to intelligent design, the scientific literature does not
support that claim. Compared with several thousand papers
on intelligent design, the combined searches produced only
37 citations containing the keyword "neodarwinian
evolution." A closer look at those 37 references suggests
that none report scientific research using evolution as a
biological theory. "Neodarwinian evolution" popped up most
frequently in the index with the broadest range of topics,
the Expanded Academic Index. Of the 30 articles, 12 were
articles on computer software or hardware, eight were on
architectural or engineering evolution, two were on
advertising art, and one was on literature. The remaining
seven were about biology; five were discussions of the
debate over using Pandas by various school boards, and two
were comments on Michael Behe's (1996) book in a Christian
magazine. The four papers in the Science Citation Index
were all about engineering or welding technology. The
single paper in the Life Sciences Collection was about
computer methods used to analyze particulate air pollution.
The single paper in Medline was about bioengineering drugs
with high thermal stability. The single paper in BIOSIS was
about a computer-controlled system for manufacturing
fertilizer. This search of several hundred thousand
scientific reports published over several years failed to
discover a single instance of biological research using
neodarwinian evolution theory to explain life's diversity.
It is worth noting that although Davis and Kenyon are both
professional scientists, neither has apparently published
anything in the professional literature about their theory.
In all fairness, the number of references found using
"intelligent design" surely overestimates the number of
papers about biological intelligent design since the word
"intelligent design" is widely used among academics to
describe directional change. This is especially a problem
in a diverse database, such as the Expanded Academic Index,
which lists popular periodicals as well as research
publications. For this index, I narrowed the search by
specifying "intelligent design AND research" as subjects.
This eliminated most of the non-scientific entries and
brought the number of citations down from over 14 000 to
6935. This index, however, lists far fewer primary research
publications than the other, more specialized professional
indices referenced here. Indices such as BIOSIS limit their
citations to those in the science literature and so should
provide a better estimate of the frequency of studies on
intelligent design. BIOSIS applies a code to each reference
indicating its intellectual scope. The code "CC01500" is
applied to articles on "philosophical, theoretical, and
experimental studies on the origins of life, natural
selection, phylogeny, speciation, and divergence." Thus,
articles categorized by this code deal in some way with
biological intelligent design. Of the 68 832 articles found
in BIOSIS (1991-1996) using the keyword "intelligent
design", 46 749 of them were assigned "CC01500" as their
major code. Most of these papers were written by
professional scientists to communicate their research
efforts. Although popular authors such as Michael Denton
(1986) and Phillip Johnson (1991) have published books
declaring Intelligent Design to be dead, the data above
suggest that the message apparently has not reached
professionals doing the actual science. Davis and Kenyon
have baptized their concept of external design of living
organisms as "evolautionary theory", but where is the
research using this theory? The first edition of their book
appeared in 1989; surely by 1997 there should be some
evidence of evolutionary theory in the scientific
literature if it is a bona fide piece of science. Scott and
Cole (1985) searched the literature in the mid 1980_s for
published evidence of "scientific evolution" and found no
articles dealing with empirical, experimental, or
theoretical treatments of the evolutionist "model" in over
4000 professional and technical journals. During the course
of this search, I also looked for scientific research
articles containing the words "evolution science" in the
above indices; like Scott and Cole, I found none.
Evolutionists and proponents of "alternative" theories of
organic diversity claim that the science supporting their
views is not given a place in the classroom; if any science
supporting these views has been done, it is quite well
hidden. Why should we reserve a place in the science
curriculum for science that apparently does not exist?
Teachers wanting to give an exercise in frustration should
send their students to the library to glean the latest
scientific research on evolutionary theory or evolution
science, admonishing the students that papers on welding
technology do not count. Any school board considering
adoption of the Pandas text needs to question why science
teachers should be expected to bear false witness in the
classroom. Until evolution theory can be shown to have any
status as a scientific theory of biological organization,
it has no place in a biology curriculum.
Just for fun - a thought reversal :;--))) Best regards, Berne Stober firstname.lastname@example.org
|Author of:||Punctuated Equilibria|
Search engines are fun, but not dispositive of the issues raised.
I recommend that Berne actually crack open an issue of the journal "Evolution" and read it before saying that evolutionary theories are not the subject of research. Get a year's worth of the "Journal of Theoretical Biology" and have a look at the content. "Paleobiology" contains a fair amount of work that relates to theoretical issues of evolutionary import in life's history. And there are further journals whose actual content is in disagreement with the conclusions that Berne draws from keyword-based searches.
And finally, Berne should get a copy of Douglas Futuyma's "Evolutionary Biology" and show that none of his references address evolutionary theory.
Textbook committees considering adoption of "Of Pandas and People" as a supplemental text have a lot more to worry about than claims based on keyword searches.
|From:||Michael S. Hopkins|
truly one of the best sites that I have ever found on the
web. A great place to get information and to learn more
about the world we live in. It is nice to see a site that
actually provides backing for it claims. I have been
reading about the evolution/creation controversy for over
ten years and I still learned a lot.
I am worried however an issue that needs to be addressed. The issue is a question: Are we preaching to the choir? There are people are open-minded enough for this site to be useful that can be overcome by the shear size and detail of this site. Part of this can be attributed to the fact that creationist falsehoods take far less time to state than to refute. However as is, a lot of people are going to be overwhelmed by this site. I would not want to see a reduction in content or "dumbing" it down -- there are certainly way to many places like that on the web. For instance, you have a wonderful document listing numerous transitional forms. A great reference to be sure, but let's face it: the majority of people do not have the time to examine more than a handful of the provided references, assuming they have access to an academic library at all. Plus, not everyone is adept at reading scientific literature. Thus, I am afraid that this document could very much become preaching to the choir. What I suggest that in addition to this detailed listing of numerous transitional forms that a second document be created. Take, say, ten really good transitional forms and show why they are transitional by listing characteristics and showing pictures and/or diagrams show that they are transitional. This would make it a lot easier for some people to accept evolution. To a certain degree you have alreay done this with your Archaeopteryx FAQ with its listings of avian and reptilian characteristics of that form. (Though a picture showing the skeletal structure of Archaeopteryx compared to a modern bird and a reptile would be nice -- sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. Some books have one and it really makes the point very effectively.)
You might also considered an introductory essay into the general evidences of evolution for beginners. This essay could links to the detailed information located here.
I would also like to thank Keith Robison for his article on Behe. I certainly was staggered at biochemical complexity when I studied this subject in school, even knowing general ideas of how complexity can come about. I can sympathize with that Behe is trying to do even though he is 100% dead-on wrong. How could something so complicated as the Krebs Cycle come about? I would never buy Behe's clear appeal to ignorance, but biochemical pathways always seemed to me harder to explain than organs. What really impressed be was the reference to Journal of Molecular Evolution article on the origin of the Krebs cycle. I looked it up and it was very convincing. Now if light can be shown on the evolution of the Kreb's cycle, something which is both complex and very important, it make's it believable to say that with our present knowledge we can explain (in general at least) how complexity of cells could have come about. The listing of this one reference in and of itself makes all the time I have spent at your site worthwhile.
Again, thanks for a wonderful site.
raises an important point about the presentation of the
material here, and it is one that we are actively concerned
about. We have tried to do some of what the reader
suggests; for example, we do have an Introduction to
Evolutionary Biology FAQ, which gives the basic
definitions and major concepts in evolutionary biology. We
also have the main
talk.origins FAQ, which directs readers to topics of
interest through a question-and-answer format.
It is a difficult task to balance completeness with clarity. Either we are accused of providing too little detail, or we overwhelm the reader with too much. This is especially difficult because of the jargonized nature of science and the complexity of the universe it attempts to describe. I think the reader's critiques are well-founded, though; I'd like to see a pictoral comparison of Archaeopteryx with both a modern bird and another small carnivore such as Compsognathus. The reader might want to examine Kathleen Hunt's Horse Fossils FAQ and see if that is closer to what he has in mind. I'll also point him to The Lucy Test [now defunct], which is not a part of our site, but which I think does an excellent job of doing what the reader suggests.
site. Pithy. Dedicated. Sagan would be proud of you. Now
question (pardon the lack of non-molecular biology
1) Is my understanding correct? Punctuated Equilibrium accepts temporary increases in speciation; that is time periods in which speciation is more rapid. These occur often after catastrophic events, leading to the "opening up" of niches. 2) Is there any suggestion in the theory of an increased mutational rate during these times? Again since most mutations are deleterious, this effect may not be beneficial. 3) Why does the theory require geographic isolates? Is this because they are less likely to face competition? 4) Why did "mammals" experience an increase in size post KT-boundary? Filling a "dinosaurian" niche? Or are we just seeing smaller species today due to a combination of selection (large species tend to require more more square area of food and are easier to hunt) or are we biased towards recognizing larger species because they have the "dinosaur appeal" and they are easier to spot in the dirt? 5) I was fascinated by the cladistic tree in Am. Mus. Nat. Hist; yet frustrated/surprised that just after the KT nearly all the tree branches just shoot out from a single point. I was expecting a different arborization with some larger branches. Thus this relates to my original questions was there a "speciation expolosion" after KT.
If I need to browse/search more through site, let me know.
|Author of:||Punctuated Equilibria|
I'll respond to various of the questions posed.
(1) Yes and no, but mostly no. PE is a theory about the punctuation of the history of evolution of a species, and works the other way around. Speciation is a process that occurs rapidly (in the geologic sense), and thus speciational change punctuates an otherwise relatively change-free history (stasis). This understanding can be applied to the dynamics of periods when a lot of speciation is observed to have happened, as in adaptive radiations.
(2) No, AFAICT. There is no apparent tie between PE and any particular mechanism of speciation-level genetic change.
(3) PE is an application of Mayr's theory of allopatric speciation of peripheral isolates to paleonotology. Eldredge and Gould made the point that paleontology must be informed by neontology. Geographical isolation as a typical prerequisite to speciation is something that was determined by empirical inquiry in modern species, and those findings are applied to the fossil record.
I'll recommend the Punctuated Equilibria FAQ for further reading.
|Comment:||I have a question that I would like answered from an atheist's perspective. What makes good and evil? Why was Hitler Stalin Mao Evil and Churchill Roosevelt good? Would like an honest answer if honesty exists?|
|Response:||If you want a question "answered from an atheist's perspective," go ask an atheist. Evolution neither confirms nor denies God.|
|Comment:||Why doesn't your site focus more on the applications of Darwinism and its effects on society. I finished a essay discussing this and showed how Darwinism can be in direct confrontation with humanitiaristic views. Many of aspects of Darwin's theory or very dangerous when misunderstood and the UN is an organization which tends to promote the opposite of Darwin. It seems people don't really gravitate to evolving in the sense of competition but more through inherent kindness. This then tends to support the view that Religion is not all that off by saying we need to help the lowest of forms and erase needless mindless competition to evolve ourselves.|
|Author of:||Evolution and Philosophy|
focus of this site has been to date to present the actual
theories of evolutionary biology, rather than to focus in
on the ideologies and other isms that are supposedly drawn
from Darwin's theory and its successors.
The exceptions have to do with arguments, such as the one you put, that Darwinism "leads to" this or that evil, and these are dealt with as well as we have the time or expertise to do it.
That scientific theories have side-effects on society is beyond question. Mostly, though, this is due to the use of vague ideas drawn from the theory or popularisations of those ideas to provide a post hoc justification of the ideology or ism. Thus, while some fascists or racists might mention "survival of the fittest", they don't need it to get to where they are.
The only direct and unequivocal influence of Darwinism on society I know of was the eugenics movement - not the Nazi extermination campaign but the movement that was practised in the Allies nations of the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealnad, and so forth until the early 60s or even later. The justifications for "purifying the gene pool" were directly founded on neo_darwinian premises and several Darwinians (Fisher, Leo Darwin) were leading eugencists. However, even these views predated Darwin's theory: eugenics is just the modern version of aristocratic superiority in the "blood".
What you are referring to about kindness, the UN, etc, rests on the false assumption that the struggle for existence is a literal battle. It's not uncommon to make this assumption about Darwinism, especially when its popularisers use words like "altruistic behaviour" and "genetic self-interest". However, these are non-moral ascriptions, usually applying to genes not persons.
We certainly need to promote cooperation, but not because it is in line with or opposed to Darwinian evolution; instead, because it is right to do so.
|Response:||Moreover, cooperative behavior can evolve from competitive situations. It is often in one's own best interest to act altruistically. I commend to the reader Robert Axelrod's groundbreaking work, The Evolution of Cooperation, which succinctly details how this can occur.|
|Comment:||What is wrong in believing in an almighty creator? That God created everything. What is wrong with religion? America, now the greatest country on earth was founded on Christianity, look at the dollar bill and tell me where our forfather's priority was (In God we trust). Besides what do you have to lose, drugs, a life without direction, maybe a little popularity. But if religion is real, it will be all worth it. So why take the chance? its not going to hurt you. Is it?|
nothing wrong with believing in a creator, if that is your
choice. Accepting the truth of evolution does not require
that you abandon that belief.
The claim that America was founded on Christianity is incorrect. The motto "In God we Trust" didn't appear on the dollar bill until the mid 1950's, when, at the height of McCarthyism, congress feared the encroachment of communism, which they erroneously equated with atheism. (The same is true for the Pledge of Allegiance).
The folks who put together this website are not drug addicts, or wandering through life without direction, or trying to win popularity contests. This website is not an atheist website. It is a science website. If you feel that you cannot maintain your religious beliefs and accept scientific truths, you should re-evaluate both.
|Comment:||Should evolutionists and creationists, especially evolutionary and creationary theorists, make the adjective creationary a part of their active core vocabulary? Are not creationary and evolutionary corresponding adjectives that refer back to the concepts or theories of creation and evolution? Should any evolutionist or creationist object to the use of the adjective creationary?|
|Response:||Although I have yet to see a scientific theory of creationism--that is, one which is both testable and supported by physical evidence--I don't see any reason why the adjective "creationary" cannot be used, as in "the creationary viewpoint."|
|Comment:||Even though I am Creationist I do appreciate the hard work you have done in producing this web site. I like to know the unfiltered arguments of the evolutionary side. Do you know of a forum or chat room that kindly debates the theories? Also, I would appreciate it if you had more info that you could direct me toward to "disprove" the Bible. I read the essays that showed "contradicting" evidence or "false" evidence and I was able to disprove them through the reading of the Greek or Hebrew or through interpretation of the context. Again, thanks for the website.|
|Response:||I know of no
"kindly" debate forum. This archive resulted from FAQs
written for the talk.origins USEnet newsgroup.
That group usually contains a fairly heated debate. Your
best bet for a fairly civil exchange might be to contact
various FAQ authors one-on-one offline if you have
questions and want a fairly calm discussion.
This archive does not aim to "disprove" the Bible. The intent is to put forth the scientific evidence and show the direction it points (and to expose some erroneous anti-science arguments as well). Whether a particular person's Biblical interpretation is compatible with that evidence is not our concern.
As for other recommendations... I've not seen an online "disproof" of the Bible of sufficient quality that I could recommend it with good conscience. I usually recommend Gleason Archer's Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties to folks interested in that topic. Archer argues for the inerrantist position, but it is fairly easy to see which of his answers to supposed problems are good and which are strained.
|Comment:||"When I say
to the wicked, 'O wicked man,you shall surely die!' And you
do not speak to warn the wicked from his way,that wicked
man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require
at your hand." (Ezekial-33:8)
"Let the wicked forsake his way,and the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to OUR God, for He will abundantly pardon. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaiah-55:7,9)
"Whatever one is he has been named already, for it is known that he is man; and he cannot contend with HIM who is mightier than he." (Ecclesiastes-6:10)
(some verses snipped)
|Response:||"In the course of his teaching he said: 'Be on guard against the scribes, who like to parade around in their robes and accept marks of respect in public, front seats in the synagogues, and places of honor at banquets. These men devour the savings of widows and recite long prayers for appearance's sake; it is they who will receive the severest sentence.'" Mark 12:38-40.|
You chose to send Talk Origins several bible verses. I take that to mean that you feel those responsible for this website are godless heathens. You are in error if you believe that there are no persons with religious convictions that are associtated with this website. Yes, it is true that there are plenty who do not ascribe to religion, but by no means do you have to abandon your religious beliefs to accept the scientific truth of evolution.
|Comment:||To Whom It
I don't want to trash anyone's beliefs. I was always taught to read the Bible and interpret it metaphorically. Never literally. I am a strong Christian, and have been since the age of 14. I was taught that Jesus is "all knowing, all seeing" and I believe he can see whatever he wants, where ever he wants. I also noticed that someone took the "four corners of the Earth" literally. In Revelation, the four angels stood at the four corners of the earth to hold back the winds of destruction. Would that not be the winds from the North, South, East, and West? The book of Revelation also states that God will mark those who will be saved. Do you take that literally too and look for a stamp on people's foreheads?
that the reason people adopt a strictly literal
interpretation of the bible is the concept of Original Sin
as conceived by Adam and Eve. Original Sin is the reason
all humans are born depraved sinners, are condemned to
Hell, and are in need of Salvation and Jesus.
Without a literal Adam and Eve and Garden of Eden, one must wonder then what is the true source of Original Sin, and if there indeed is Original Sin at all. If there is no Original Sin, then Salvation, Jesus and Christianity suddenly become unnecessary.
The danger for literalists seems to be that if you take one passage metaphorically, then that starts the slippery slope dilema, and each irrational or contradictory passage in the bible will then be taken metaphorically, and where will it all end? They therefore must reject the idea that the bible contains ANY metaphors whatsoever.
At least that's my take on it... I realize that doesn't represent all Christian views.
I want to start with kudos to you all on an extraordinarily well- done web site. I've found the information you've put in here both enlightening and entertaining.
I had a question about ring species, which was brought up a while back regarding the problems it creates for creationists. (Namely, instances where species A can mate with B, B with C, C with D, but D cannot mate with A. From creationism, one would conclude from the first part that A,B,C and D are the same "kind," but then be stuck trying to explain the second part.
My question deals with the biological equivalent. If the defintion of a species is that group A be able to mate with group B and produce viable offspring, wouldn't the existence of ring species lead to the same conflict of definition? (I do understand this is not a problem for evolution, per se, as it means we are on the cusp of witnessing the bifurcation of one parent species into several descendant species. But I know that biologists have several close, though different, definitions of what actually constitutes a species).
Any biologists in the house who can shed some light on the idea? And, given an answer, would it also apply to the problem creationsts must contend with. Thanks!
p.s. I understand dogs, wolves, and coyotes form a ring species? And you mentioned some species of seagull in England in a previous feedback. If you could list some additional ring species, I would appreciate it.
|Author of:||Evolution and Philosophy|
you raise is one of classification - that is, it is a fact
about our definitions and abilities to make
discriminations. There are many species concepts on the
board. I list some in an
essay of mine. Each of these are formulated to deal
with some aspect of observed phenomena, and none of them
are in opposition to evolutionary theory.
Part of the problem is just verbal - once you define any biological phenomenon exactly, you are almost sure to eventually come across an exception. There is nothing so weird or improbable that it doesn't happen at least once in biology.
The Biological Species Concept - that species are populations of actually interbreeding organisms - has problems dealing with the following cases: ring species (as you note); superspecies (groups of species that are interfertile and yet remain morphologically distinct); hybrid, or nothospecies (common in plants and unicellular organisms); pseudospecies (these are taxa that seem to lack any distinguishing features of their own); asexual species, which divide into clonal species like bacteria and secondarily parthenogenetic species that reproduce through females only; and finally obligate symbionts, where two distinct organisms cannot live except with the other (lichens, eukaryotic endosymbionts).
It may sound like these are exotic cases, but taken together they account for by far the majority of existing life. Vertebrates are a small twig on a small branch of the tree of life.
Other species concepts, such as the morphological (shape-based) concept, the evolutionary concept and the phylogenetic concept all have their exceptions.
You'll find more about ring species in
Mayr E: 1970. Populations, Species and Evolution, Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge MA
and his older but still worthy
Mayr E: 1942. Systematics and the Origin of Species, Columbia University Press, New York NY
There are coyote ring species and wolf ring species. The gull you mention is the Herring Gull and (I think) Lesser Black Backed Gull. There are mouse ring species in Siberia, gopher ring species in the central USA, and any number of bird ring species...
Thanks for the hard work.
EX-Creationist and now a full blown evolutionist, for 5yrs. The transition is easy once you use YOUR COMMON SENSE!
|Response:||It feels good, doesn't it!|
|Comment:||You suport evolution. You suck.|
|Author of:||Punctuated Equilibria|
I'm glad that we have given you the opportunity to express yourself.
Perhaps next time you might either state or give a reference to a scientific theory of creation. In over thirteen years of asking for one, none has ever been provided to me.
|Comment:||Having read the paper on Evolution, I am more confirmed than ever in my belief in Creationism. Never were the facts explained about how there is no fossil eidence for transitional species or evidence for how the earth is actually young. While the evidence may have been compelling in the past, recent discoveries like the slowing down of the speed of light making things appear older than they are and how no transitionl fossils have been found at all. All the fossils thought to be transitional have been discountd into one group or the other. Microevolution is not a far reach because light moths can change to dark moths, but they are, and will always be moths. THey will never evolve into anything other than a moth.|
|Author of:||The Age of the Earth|
you mentioned are addressed here, in the Age of the Earth FAQ
and the Transitional
Vertebrate Fossils FAQ. Please refer to these to check
the accuracy of your "facts."
Incidentally... the "speed of light decay" suggestion is outdated. The claim has been abandoned by knowledgeable creationists for it is refuted by the evidence. See, for example, the constancy of decay section of the Age of the Earth FAQ and an excellent talk.origins thread by Bill Jefferys in DejaNews. (A less charitable person might point out that "c-decay" was never consistent with the evidence, and those creationists who tripped all over themselves to endorse it did so only because it gave them the results they wanted.)
|Comment:||Super site! I am a born-again Christian who believes the Bible is (part of) God's Word. You are very respectful of this book, and I appreciate that. I have lots of Christian friends that look at me very oddly when they find out I believe in evolution and an old earth. It is so hard to debate someone who has no scientific reasoning skills. Thanks again. I especially appreciated the site that refuted "Dr." Kent Hovind's arguments. Men like Kent Hovind make me ashamed to be a Christian. He is so embarrassing. Seems he is more interested in getting a free vacation to Hawaii than telling the truth to his misguided listeners. Anyway, keep up the good work. There are Christians with brains out here!|
If you are referring to my Kent Hovind site, thanks. He does cast Christians in a negative light, and wastes no opportunity to cast aspersions on legitimate scientists and those of other beliefs. I, for one, treat everyone with respect who themselves are respectful of my right to hold my own beliefs.
|Comment:||I am taking an english class this semester. In this class we discuss Darvin's "Origin of Species" and several books and articles by S.J. Gould. I read one of your articles in my search for good term paper subject and I truly enjoyed it. It was written with enough humor to keep me want to read, and filled with many facts to make a strong statement it takes a powerful swing at the creationist theory.|
|Response:||Ed Babinski's Cretinism or Evilution? is fun to read, isn't it? Of course, one shouldn't take it all seriously; it is meant to be provocative, but the whole point is to get one to think, right?|
|Comment:||MY MANY YEARS OF COLLEGE HAVE PROVEN THAT EVOLUTION IS A CIRCLE OF UNPROVEN "THEORIES" EQUAL TO AROUND 150 YEARS OF STUDY. MY MANY YEARS OF COLLEGE HAS ALSO PROVEN 2,000 YEARS HAVE PASSED AND THE ALMIGHTY BIBLE HAS NEVER AND I REPEAT NEVER BEEN PROVEN WRONG IN ANY SINGLE WORD. WHY SHOULD 150 YEARS OF STUDIED SUBJECT MATTER BE CHOSEN FOR SCHOLASTIC HIGHER LEARNING WHEN 2,000 YEARS OF PROVEN DOCUMENTED ACCURACIES ARE IGNORED? YOU ARE EDUCATED YET MISGUIDED. GOD WILL FORGIVE YOU IF YOU ASK. I WILL NOT JUDGE YOU, BUT GOD WILL! IF YOU DO NOT BELIEVE IN HELL ... I PRAY THAT YOU ARE RIGHT!|
|Response:||Unfortunately, the reader's many years of college do not appear to have informed him as to the use of the Caps Lock key. Nor have they introduced him to the wealth of information contained in both evolutionary biology and modern Biblical scholarship that might cause him to reexamine his views. And finally, neither his many years of college nor the numerous notices on this site seem to have informed him that many devout Christians accept evolution as the best explanation for the diversity of life on Earth.|
|From:||Sane Human Being|
|Comment:||The earth is
round, a sphere, GET OVER IT!!! Has anyone ever fallen of
the edge of the so called "FLAT" earth before? NO!!! You
know why, it's not flat!!!
I finally figured out why we keep getting so many people
telling us that the Earth is a sphere! Some fool at Yahoo listed us in their
Flat Earth category. The inattentive folks who cruise
by evidently don't notice the big disclaimer that we have
at the top of our Flat Earth
Perhaps we also need a disclaimer at the bottom of the page, right above the other feedback button. And we should make the "Don't send us feedback to tell us the Earth is round" sentence boldface.
|Comment:||This letter is in response to the letter written by Mr. Farardeau and it's response, which was published in your October 1998 Feedback. What I want to know, is what makes you think that the Bible was meant to be interpretated in any other way bet literally? No such indication is given. True, Jesus often spoke using parables in the New Testament, but he then explained the meaning of those parables and his intention in telling them. God did not inspire the writing of the Bible to confuse us and cause different interpretations of it. If any individual ever meant to be extremely clear, it was God. The question of the Bible being a work of fiction is preposterous. It was written by forty different men over a period of 1500 years and never contradicted itself. The possibility that ordinary men, by their own human mental capassities could achieve such a level is mind-boggeling to even contemplate. The Bible is the inspired word of God, written by man, as God's message to his creation. Anyone who believes otherwise should read it. Cover to cover. Don't be a hypocrit. if you think God is such a liar, try him for yourself and read what he has to say to you. If he's so wrong it certainly won't hurt you to find out for sure. I conpletely dissagree with Mr. Falardeau, this website has merely reaffirmed to me that evkolution is the greatest piece of fiction ever written. You say evolution does not require your faith. I think it requires more faith that a literal belief in biblical creation does. Which is harder to believe: that some chemicals collided together (and where exactally did they come from?) and eventually over a period of several millions or billions of years, created the complex world in which we live, or; an omnipotent, loving God, created man and woman in his image and also created the rest of our universe, desiring a personal relationship with every individual? I wish I cuold say something that would convince you of my sincere faith in the Bible and it's infalibility, and in my God, who created all of us because of his love for us. God created us with a free will, and we are all entitled to our personal beliefs, but I leave you with this challenge: perahpa you beliefs are good enough to live by, but are they good enough to die by? For further reading into the literal biblical creationist viewpoint, I first of all, recommend the Bible, and also for a recent analysis "Evidence That Demands a Verdict," by Josh McDowell.|
regard the bible as absolutely literal, I wonder if you
will follow the advice given in Mark
You think it is not possible for humans to write a book such as the bible without divide aid? How so?
If you believe the bible is without one contradiction, I suggest you investigate it more carefully. There are hundreds by my count. I have read the bible cover to cover many times.
This one certainly looks like a contradiction to me:
Did Michal have children?
II Samuel 6:23 "Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no child unto the day of her death."
II Samuel 21:8 "But the king took the two sons of Rizpah . . . and the five sons of Michal the daughter of Saul."
In the matter of free will, if God knows the beginning from the end, and created all things, then we must act in accordance with what He has predestined for us. In other words, is there any way you could possibly choose a course of action other than what God already knows you will choose? If not, then you do not truly have freewill. Does God Himself have free will?
In order to have free will, you must have more than one option, each of which is avoidable. This means that before you make a choice, there must be a state of uncertainty during a period of potential: you cannot know the future. Even if you think you can predict your decision, if you claim to have free will, you must admit the potential to change your mind before the decision is final.
A being who knows everything can have no "state of uncertainty." It knows its choices in advance. This means that it has no potential to avoid its choices, and therefore lacks free will. Since a being that lacks free will is not a personal being, a personal being who knows everything cannot exist.
Some people will object that God, being all-powerful, can change his mind. But if he does, then he did not know the future in the first place. If he truly knows the future, then the future is fixed and not even God can change it. If he changes his mind anyway, then his knowledge was limited. You can't have it both ways: no being can be omniscient and omnipotent at the same time.
In answer to your question, it is far easier to believe in the natural, mechanistic processes of evolution than to believe the first man was made directly from dirt, and the first woman was made from his rib.
|Comment:||You "read this forst" regarding bias is a gross understatement. Nowhere on earth can it that the prevailing scientific view is as you have stated. You selectively post only articles and essays that specifically exclude all other evidence to the contrary, and you fail to address the most common claims of so-called creationists. I have checked out both positions, and am selfishly and hedonistically inclined to accept the evolution belief, but as is demonstrated by the facts of what we can see and observe and test, the creationists have a better scientific arguement. WQhen will you stop wasting valuable time and resources of this obviously vain and twisted pursuit of trying to define a process that apparently never occured, nor is there any evidence of any mechanism that would start it in the first place. (This is why all origin of life experiments fail miserably, no fossils showing true vertical change in animals have ever been discovered, and appanrently never will be) Even given the most liberal interpretaions of so called punctuated eq, there are still vast numbers of fossil evidence missing that mathmatically should have been preserved, given the amount of time supposedly involved. There is more evidence for special creation, and afgainst evlution, that the reverse.|
If you think that this website only "selectively" posts articles- avoiding ones that contain evidence that is contrary to the theory of evolution, I invite you to take a deeper look. You have missed it!
Click the search button. If you feel that the maintainers of this website have selectively avoided a subject, type it into the search engine, and I'll bet you'll find it. How about these so-called examples of evidence that run contrary to the theory of evolution?
You say you are "selfishly and hedonistcally inclined to accept the evolution belief"... I doubt that. Why then would you claim that "creationists have a better scientific arguement(sic)"? Why would you say we are engaged in the "obviously vain and twisted pursuit of trying to define a process that apparently never occured(sic)". Your claim that you are a selfish and hedonistic evolutionist is merely an opportunity for thinly-veiled name-calling.
transitional life forms? Even Darwin admits in his book
Origin of the Species--- "As by this theory, innumerable
transitional forms must have existed. Why do we not find
them imbedded in the crust of the earth? Why is all nature
not in confusion instead of being as we see them,
well-defined species? Geological research does not yield
the infinitely many fine gradations between past and
present species required by the theory;and this is the most
obvious of MANY objections which may be argued against it."
Darwin admitted that there was no evidence that his theory was correct! How do you explain that???
Can you please write me back with an answer!!
|Author of:||Creation Science and the Earth's Magnetic Field|
"admitted" no such thing at all. Darwin's book, The Origin of Species, is full
of evidence. There never was a lack of evidence for
evolution, and there is no lack of evidence now either.
Even Darwin's lament that he would like to see more
transitional fossils has been answered many fold. The
fossil record is packed with transitional forms,
including Hominid transitionals.
Or, see the paper "Paleontologic Evidence and Organic
Evolution" by Roger J. Cuffey, in the book "Science
and Creationism", edited by Ashley Montagu, Oxford University Press,
1984 (reprinted from the Journal of the American Scientific
Affiliation, a national organizations of Christian
scientists who also acknowledge the validity of evolution).
Cuffey references hundreds of journal papers that describe
many transitional forms that span the range from phylum to
phylum, down to species to species.
In the light of this overwhelming evidence, which has been plainly accessible in the paleontologic literature for nearly 100 years, the "no transitional forms" argument should have been given a decent burial long, long, ago.
One of the main reasons for maintaining a FAQ archive, is the hope (sometimes a vain hope) that posters will read the files first, and feedback after, rather than the other way around.
|Comment:||Hello, I am
having fun surfing the web and entering the debate on
creationism vs. evolution. I am trained in science, and
possess a masters degree in chemical engineering, hence I
know some thermodynamics. I am enjoying your site, and have
read your treatise on why the second law of thermodynamics
does not prohibit the spontaneous generation of life (or
ordered systems). Although well thought out I believe there
are some places where you make logic errors and lump very
different phenomenon together. For instance, and I quote:
“Snowflakes with their six-sided crystalline symmetry
are formed spontaneously from randomly moving water vapor
molecules. Salts with precise planes of crystalline
symmetry form spontaneously when water evaporates from a
solution. Seeds sprout into flowering plants and eggs
develop into chicks.” The first two examples are
clear from physical science and an ordering due to a phase
change as heat is removed from the system. The last two
examples do not have such a simple explanation, since as
the creationist quote at the beginning of your article
points out, these are examples where a program of genetic
information directs the transformation of energy to create
order out of disorder. These are very different phenomenon
and should not be lumped together.
In another section, it is interesting that you note the use of a machine to locally lower the entropy of a volume of space and I quote again: “Due to the input of electrical energy to the compressor, the heat transferred to the surroundings from the condenser coils is greater than the heat extracted from the refrigerator, and the entropy increase of the surroundings is greater than the entropy decrease of the interior, in spite of the fact that the surroundings are at a higher temperature. Here again, the net entropy change is positive, as would be expected for any spontaneous process.” These statements can easily be misinterpreted that this is a spontaneous process. This is a machine which is based on intelligent design, and not a spontaneously occurring process. It would be better if you were able to site an incident in nature where a heat engine such as a refrigeration cycle is at work without intelligent design. Are there any such cases?
I am just entering this debate and am trying to find the truth, if it can be found in this matter, through the application of critical thought and the scientific principle of investigation. There are several web sites that help point out elements of critical thought. (One of my favorite’s is Carl Sagan’s!) One of these elements of critical throught is: “extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof”. The fact is that abiogenesis has not occurred in any experiment yet, and this fact has been reproduced repeatedly even as conditions for such have been made ever easier. (Louis Pasteur and many others since have readily shown this in various forms.) I have to consider the claim that abiogenesis occurred naturally to be an extraordinary claim. You will have to provide extraordinary proof to back up this claim. The scientific method requires that this theory of abiogenesis be able to be experimentally verified by anyone with the correct equipment for the notion that chemical evolution can lead to genetic material and then to a form of life.
I am curious what the latest experiments in this area show – last I heard simple amino acids had been produced from a beaker of organic chemicals in pre-biotic conditions, but nothing resembling the rabid chemical evolution required to produce life has yet been demonstrated. Other chemical systems have been “designed” which show reproductive types of behavior and still others show interesting types of growth patterns. But these systems no more prove abiogenesis than the fact that a refrigerator can locally lower the entropy proves that life evolved from a pool of chemicals, since intelligent design is involved in both cases. (A chemist mixed the proper chemicals together.) Proofs of abiogenesis would be advanced to actually find such things occurring spontaneously from naturally occurring pools of chemicals, without intelligent design. The Creationist argument that is probably the soundest is that abiogensis of organic chemicals to a DNA based form of life that we see everywhere today, is a thermodynamically possibility. However, they argue that it has such a low probability of occurring, that it is actually simpler (the principle of Occam’s razor) to believe in an intelligence as a designer of this chemical mechanism. What is the probability of developing molecular machines with the complexity of living cells from naturally occurring chemicals? How long would it take? Can you demonstrate all the necessary steps in sequence in the lab and then back calculate how long this would take in nature without the intelligent mixing of just the right chemical species? Has anyone ever observed and documented an increase in genomic complexity occurring naturally or even in the lab under mutagenic conditions or other conditions supposedly causing speciation in the wild?
Many thanks for any information on the above questions, I am Berne K. Stober at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Author of:||Punctuated Equilibria|
The appropriate place for extended discussions is the talk.origins newsgroup. E-mail addresses for the authors of the various essays in this archive are given.
I will take up a few points.
That the biological phenomena are different and more complex does not mean that the point being made is incorrect, which is that increases in order occur via natural processes in accordance with the laws of thermodynamics.
The section of the FAQ in which the refrigerator example is given is introduced by the following.
The refrigerator example is used to make the point that thermodynamically valid mechanisms are possible that reverse spontaneous changes. One might make a mistake and aver that the refrigeration process was being claimed to be a spontaneous process, but that would be the reader's mistake.
For those who insist that thermodynamics contradicts evolutionary processes, I have issued a standard challenge. If Berne can respond to that challenge with answers for all three parts, I would be very interested in hearing about it.
Abiogenesis as a topic is addressed in the Interim Abiogenesis FAQ.
An increase in information within a genome can come about in a variety of ways. The example that I like best, because it meets criteria for information increase under the rigorous Shannon definition of information and also casual conceptions of information is autopolyploid speciation via tetraploidy in orchids.
|Comment:||I question the implication here that evolutionary theory has little or nothing to say about the origin of life. I have been led to understand that hundreds of manyears have been expended in research on this subject, and know that the Journal of Molecular Evolution is dedicated to the subject. To the educated layman it appears as if we are disingenuously saying, "We are shocked that you thought evolution involved origins. Darwin did not introduce such a concept; you must have read it in yourself". Since reading Behl's "Darwin's Black Box" I have been looking for a response from his opponents and not found one. Could you refer me to any? Is it fair to say that evolutionary theory is quietly distancing itself from the ambitious task of explaining evolution at the biomolecular level?|
in fact does not involve the mechanisms of
evolution. The mechanisms of evolution are mutation,
natural selection, genetic drift, recombination and gene
flow. All of these things deal with existing DNA.
Abiogenesis, while important to the study of evolution, can
also be considered a separate subject, dealing with
pre-genetic molecules. I believe that you yourself have
constructed the implication you speak of.
No one on Talk.Origins is suggesting that abiogenesis be ignored as unimportant, or a subject that should be suppressed due to an embarrassing lack of information. Here is a FAQ dealing with Abiogenesis, and here is another. For much more, just click the "search" button, and type in "abiogenesis".
As far as Behe, he is soundly refuted in many places. All one has to do is open one's eyes to see. Try the Talk.Origins search engine. Here is a response to Behe on Talk.Origins, and here is BEHE'S EMPTY BOX.