Common Descent, Uncommon Knowledge

One of my favourite books of all time is A Devil’s Chaplain by Richard Dawkins, and over the next few weeks I hope to share some of my favourite and (in my opinion) most fascinating points from it. The book itself is a collection of Dawkins’ essays over the last few decades. Topics vary between education, science, law, evolution, memes, and religion. What I love most about reading Dawkins is that he makes his writing so engaging and understandable to the non-professional (like myself) without sacrificing the detail, or “dumbing down”.

He almost assumes that you know what he is talking, which is ok since he often explains it so well anyway. This is very satisfying to the reader, and makes your intelligence feel complimented, instead of insulted.

One of the essays in the book is called “The Information Challenge”. I wouldn’t actually put it in the top 5, but whenever I learn something new about the wonder of evolution it increases my awe that I understand it as well as I do. It also makes me feel like shaking certain people by the shoulders and saying “wake up! This is a marvellous wondrous fact about the world! Stop lying about it and hiding from it because it conflicts with your parochial beliefs!” Indeed, that me and many of my friends understand evolution better than most people says nothing about our intelligence, but rather how education and fundamentalists have let the general population down:

Almost everyone from any level of education has heard the formula e=mc2. Slightly fewer will be able to tell you what it represents, and fewer still will be able to explain it. Almost everyone on the planet knows that the earth orbits the sun (despite a few Christian fundamentalists who in the year 2007 reject a heliocentric solar system; it really makes you wonder doesn’t it?). I’d be pretty confident in saying that if you asked anyone in the street how many planets there are in the solar system, at least half of them would tell you 9. Which is fair enough; there are 8, but unless you paid much attention to science news you could be forgiven for overlooking this. But, ask an average member of the public what this expression means: “gene frequencies in a population change over time in response to environmental pressures”[1], and I will confidently bet a majority wouldn’t understand it. Perhaps I’m being cynical, but I don’t think so.

Gene frequencies in a population change over time in response to environmental pressures” is the definition of evolution; the very reason we are all here! I don’t think you have to be a scientist or even be interested in science to have a basic knowledge of evolution. But I don’t blame people for their ignorance (I myself spent 23 years of my life hating evolution[2]); I blame education and religion.

That is not to say almost everyone won’t have heard of evolution. But ask an average man (or woman) in the street to explain evolution and they might mutter something about survival of the fittest. Ask a fundamentalist to explain evolution and they might mutter something about fish turning into people.

There is probably something awesome about the natural world to everyone. I personally find a pitch black night and a clear sky, with thousands of stars, a stupefying sight. You know what I also think is just as staggering? The fact that if you look back far enough in time you will find a connection between any two living things on this planet! All species are grouped into genera, which is a subset of Family, which is a subset of Orders. Orders are all subsets of Class, and Class is subset of Phylum, and all Phyla belong to a kingdom. The three kingdoms on earth are Bacteria, Archaea, and Eukarya (of which we belong). This can literally be viewed as a Tree of Life:

tree of life

The lowest classification is species. It is easy to see that horses are more like camels than they are monkeys. It is easy to see that humans are more like chimps than we are cats. What a creature looks like is called its phenotype. The phenotype is determined by the recipe of genes in a life-form; the genotype. It is yet again easy to see therefore that (most of the time) the closer two life-forms appear, the closer they are genetically, and vice-versa. Just as American English is closer to British English than either are to Russian, and just as you and your siblings are closer to each other than either of you are to me, so animals in the same Genus and Family are more closely related than those of another Genus or Family, and certainly another Phylum!

But, most languages on earth today have a common ancestor. And although it is very unlikely I am related to you, if you back far enough it is certain you will find a connection. Similarly, many words in English are a direct derivation of French or Latin or other languages. We see leftover fragments of ancient languages in today’s languages.

You might have the same colour eyes as me; the phenotype we both share is a result of our genetic recipe for eyes being the same. You aren’t me (leaving aside personality for a moment) because your genetic recipe is different; but you just have the same genes in a different frequency. Identical twins have the exact same genotypes; they are literally clones of each other. All life on earth has the same DNA. Your DNA is no different to a mouse’s, or that of bacteria. By shuffling gene frequencies in a life-form you can produce different forms of life. Nature does this itself (although it takes far longer) by mutation. And if a mutation is favourable to the external world, those changes are selected for, and unfavourable changes are phased out.

Just as we see common words and letters in many languages on earth, from the ancient ancestral languages that bequeathed them, do we see leftover fragments of ancestral life in today’s life? We most certainly do! Humans have tailbones. Humans have atrophied feet muscles that we can’t use, but other modern apes have full dexterity of their toes with this muscle. We both have the muscle because we both share an ancestor that had it. Whales have vestigial hind legs, because their ancestors were land-dwelling mammals. Snakes can be genetically modified to grow legs, and bird beaks can be induced to grow teeth, because their respective ancestors (quadrupeds and dinosaurs respectively) had them, and those genes are still there, dormant.

Wasps are more like bees than they are houseflies. But wasps and houseflies are more closely related than either insect is to a pig. But if you go back far enough, all insects are descended from one organism. Humans are more like chimpanzees than chimpanzees are like gorillas! But we are all primates, and if you go back far enough you will find a common ancestor for humans and chimpanzees. Go further back and you will find one for all primates.

Quoting from The Information Challenge (q.v.)[3]:

“Human adult haemoglobin is a composite of four protein chains like globins…Two of them are called alpha globins, and two are beta globins.”

Even these globin genes are ultimately related! They are present in all vertebrates, which further demonstrates that all vertebrates are related to each other.

“The dozen or so different globins inside you are descended from an ancient globin gene which, in a remote ancestor who lived about half a billion years ago, duplicated, after which both copies stayed in the genome.”

After this happened, any descended animal would also have two globin types. One would become the alpha globins and one would become the beta.

Dawkins goes on to call the following a “fascinating point”, and I agree! Since this split took place so long ago (500 million years) it won’t just be human genomes that show the split between alpha and beta, it will be all related species, i.e.: all vertebrates that have evolved since then. Is this what we find? Yes! Every single life-form where we expect to find the split, we do. Proving not just that common descent is undeniable, but also extremely predictive! Can we come at it from another position; find a creature that supposedly predates our shared ancestor (for vertebrates) that doesn’t have the alpha/beta globin split? Yes! As Dawkins says this creature “would be a jawless fish like a lamprey…Sure enough, these jawless fishes are the only known vertebrates that lack the alpha/beta divide.”

Not only is simply knowing our own origins extremely satisfying and illuminating, it forces you to conclude that all life on earth is related. We are cousins with all creatures; some are more distant than others. It also makes you think why so many people are ignorant of this incredible knowledge. Worse, others actively lie about it and/or prefer a boring simplistic creation myth that explains nothing.

Not only is rejecting the fact of evolution provincial and irrational, it is foolish because it’s not as though there is anything to replace it with! A creation account cannot possibly explain nested hierarchy and common descent that we have briefly looked at here. And even if it could, it would require so many mental contortions and apologetics one should just give up and stick to the facts.

Our governments and education boards need to give evolution the time and attention it deserves, and if that upsets or offends a minority of ignoramuses, tough! To those who don’t accept evolution, I say, do yourself a favour! You are better than that! You deserve more than to have a fairy tale fed to you. You should know better than to prefer belief over facts. The history of the world is within your capacity to learn and understand. What are you waiting for?

 

[1] Ebon Musings http://ebonmusings.org/atheism/carrot&stick.html

[2] I used to be a Christian fundamentalist: http://ellis14.wordpress.com/2007/06/20/my-fall-from-grace-wed-20th-jun-07/

[3] Page 115-116

About these ads

50 Responses to “Common Descent, Uncommon Knowledge”

  1. Bad Says:

    Robert Pennock makes the same point about the “common descent” of languages in a more extended form in his “Tower of Babel: The Evidence against the New Creationism”

    Though it’s worth pointing out that languages can cross-pollinate each other in ways that gene pools cannot.

  2. evanescent Says:

    Hi Bad, thanks for taking the time to comment.

    You’re correct, the analogy between language and life is not complete, but things that demonstrate common descent show remarkably similar patterns.

    To me, denying common descent of life is like denying common descent of language.

  3. hzcummi Says:

    Setting Creationism & Science Straight!!

    Humanist supporters often claim that there is “overwhelming evidence”
    for the theory of evolution. That is non-sense. There is solid geologic
    evidence for escalating death of life forms on Earth since 700 Million
    BC, but that is no “evidence” for evolution. The question is “why were
    there periods of extinctions and restorations of life forms on Earth in
    the ancient past, at least six times?”.

    There are “young Earth” believers, that refuse to face the reality of a
    multi-billion year old Earth. So much so that they will redefine the
    “first day” of Moses in order to make it fit their false doctrine of a
    10,000 year old universe. Being hypocrites, they will claim to use
    “plain literal interpretation” of scripture, until you ask them “where
    did the water come from on the first day in Genesis?”. They can’t
    answer without adding acts of God (to the scripture) that the
    scriptures plainly do not describe. If God made the water “before
    the first day”, then it took Him longer than one week to create the
    universe. When you “corner them” with scripture, they run away.

    The “Day/Age” believers actually call God a liar, saying that He
    did not create the Earth & universe in six literal days (Exodus 20:11).
    The Theistic Evolutionists, and the Ruin & Restorationists use the
    ‘excuse’ that there was only a “parting away of clouds” on the Fourth
    Day, which is clearly a misrepresentation of God’s Word. They all
    deny the truth of scripture, saying that each day in Genesis chapter
    one were long periods of time.

    All of the above groups live in a delusion, not willing to accept, nor
    try to find, the truth. They only look in their own little corner, and try
    to proclaim a universal truth, without examining all available evidence.

    After all is said and done, by both believers and non-believers, the
    book “Moses Didn’t Write About Creation!”, is the only book ever
    written that is congruent with the “first day” of Moses (24 hrs), the
    “Fourth Day” of Moses (24 hrs), and the geologic record of prehistoric
    Earth, reconciling Genesis with the 600+ million year fossil record. It
    promotes the doctrine of “Biblical Reality”.
    (ISBN-13: 978-1424182206, PublishAmerica.com).

    Herman Cummings
    PO Box 1745
    Fortson GA, 31808
    Ephraim7@aol.com
    (706) 662-2893

  4. evanescent Says:

    Thanks hzcummi for wasting your time and everyone else’s with that post. I’m sure it took a lot of your valuable time to copy and paste that comment into yet another internet forum. Unfortunately with spammers like yourself, you didn’t address a single thing of interest in the article, like vestigial organs or common descent.

    Ironically, it is for people like you that I wrote the article; people who don’t know what they’re talking about.

  5. Popscience Says:

    What a lovely post… I haven’t read the Information Challenge but it’s on my list, thanks for a nice intro.

  6. evanescent Says:

    Hi pop, many thanks. When you do read it, drop me a comment and let me know what you think, or if you write about it on your blog let me know I’ll give it a read.

  7. Dídac Says:

    “Cross-pollination” in language evolution is evident. To some extent, it can be said that English is the result of “cross-pollination” between a Western German language of Anglo-Saxon extraction and a Northern Roman language of Norman origins.

    But “cross-pollination” also occurs in biological evolution. First of all, horizontal gene transfer can be important in some bacteria. So, we can find Shiga toxins (originally from Shigella bacteria) in other bacteria like E. coli. Secondly, we have the phenomenon of endosymbiosis: mitochondria (the cell organelles responsible of oxygen-respiration) are the result of the “involution” of endosymbiotic bacteria. Thirdly, cross-pollination exists in some plants: so, wheat is the result of cross-pollination of three different parental species.

    When we look to our genes, we will find genes of our “main ancestor”. But we can find also genes of mitochondrial origin, and other autonomous genic elements (transposons, endoviruses, etc., etc.). And don’t forget that our body is the environment of a huge number of microorganisms that live in our skin, our gut, etc. There are far more bacterial cells in our bodies than human cells!!!

  8. Jeff Says:

    Your argument about the common dissent does not hold a water. A single designer (human or other) also repeats himself in his work. Rather than making these “strong” arguments that deserve to be presented for just a first grader, I would challenge you to take a pen, calculator, computer, and calculate the chance of all complexity of life to be created randomly. Weel but you are too busy to make your strong arguments… then I will tell you 10 in power of 40,000. These are the same chances that are are correct – plain ZERO.

    Then only a fanatic can believe that pure nature can create human brain. If this is just natural selection, please tells me why this brain is 100 times more powerful that a human need for the survival?

  9. Jeff Says:

    If my previous challenge is not enough for you, here are few more.
    1. Why your gradual evolution in 4.5 billions period of the age of the earth, suddenly happened during the Cambrian – tiny less than 10 million years period?
    2. Why hundreds of millions of fossils still do not show a single CLEAR transition case from one type of specie to another? It should be millions of such samples, isn’t it?
    3. Show an example of good progressive genes mutation?
    4. Why with all modern science and all PC scientists on your side, you still were not able to produce any simple life from non leaving things?
    5. Please tell everybody why historical Miller’s experiments from 50th are basically a joke.

    Darwin was correct only once – when he said that if the complexity of life cannot be explained by pure evolution, then my theory is wrong

    Regards,
    -Jeff

  10. Jeff Says:

    Please tell my why in the modern nature we don’t see around us any animal or other advanced life that would be 50% of one species and 50% of another. Evolution is still continue, isn’t it?

  11. psiloiordinary Says:

    Jeff,

    You seem to be eloquent and conclusive proof that your claim that the human brain is 100 times more than is needed for survival is not apparently true for all humans.
    ;-)

  12. evanescent Says:

    Jeff, if you still think the “argument” from design carries any weight, then you haven’t read anything I’ve written properly and don’t understand anything about evolution.

    Please tell my why in the modern nature we don’t see around us any animal or other advanced life that would be 50% of one species and 50% of another.

    If you understood anything even basic about genes and phenotypes you wouldn’t ask this question.

    Jeff, don’t take my shortness as aggression, but rather, I have no time or inclination to explain basic biology or evolution to you from scrach. Even if I did, it would be pointless, since you believe an invisible man in the sky snapped his fingers and popped life into existence. You believe this on faith because that is what your irrational faith requires. Therefore, it doesn’t matter what I told you, you’d believe in “god”. Therefore, rational debate with creationists like you is pointless.

  13. Jeff Says:

    Oh please, don’t change the topic … I never mention word God of faith. In fact I was not in a Church for at least 20 years. I just don’t see any convincing proves about the evolution. Changing in species – yes, transition from one to another – no, sorry. Plus creation of life from a non-life. How you can believe in that without any rela prove?

  14. Jeff Says:

    But.. Wait. I see one example. Writer psiloiordinary with his offensive remark (see above) certainly originated directly from amino-acids.

  15. evanescent Says:

    Jeff, if you have no religious bias and faith is not your guide, then I actively encourage you to research evolution for yourself and you will discover that it is a wonderful enlightening self-evidence fact about the world around us. Evolution is a fascinating and brilliant topic.

    Judging by your comments, you have precious little knowledge about it, which is why you have no right to even attempt to criticise it. You are like the church that ridiculed Galileo for his notions of a round earth and heliocentric solar system. There are simply TOO MANY facts and so much evidence for evolution that it is simply irrational of me to spend my time explaining them to you when the internet is at your fingertips. Check out vestigial organs, hind legs in whales, junk DNA, human tail bones, nested hierachy, common DNA, etc etc. There is ABSOLUTELY no way to explain this without evolution. Nothing in biology, and I mean NOTHING, makes sense except with reference to evolution.

    More to the point, “god” is an illogical irrational concept, the product of wishful thinking and superstitious mumbo-jumbo. So even if evolution was false, “god” still doesn’t exist.

    I have written many articles about evolution. I encourage you to filter my categories for Evolution and Creationism and read the articles. That is, if you have a genuine honest rational interest in truth. If not, we are both wasting our time.

  16. Jeff Says:

    Why are you hiding behind the common words and generic statements? Why not to clearly answers the questions I razed… it is so simple. Just scroll back a little and answer them one by one …common you can do it… don’t afraid

  17. Jeff Says:

    And, by the way, please don’t hide behind the greatest! Galileo, Newton, Einstein, they were all admiring the beauty of nature and its perfect laws. They never believed that all these just created by accidents like random deviation and (predominantly ugly) mutations

  18. Jeff Says:

    Evanescent, when and why do we recognize the signs of intelligence around as? Here is common scientific definition. When we see the combination of small probability of creation by natural cause and the patterns we can match. This is what we call information. The information can never be created by nature only by intelligence. But DNA is nothing but pure information – supper compute program or a blueprint for building protein molecules.

    So make you conclusion… and please notice that there is absolutely no religious premises in this simple analysis

  19. evanescent Says:

    Jeff, it would be more efficient to condense all your comments into ONE post.

    Also, mutations are random – I have no idea why you think that makes them “ugly”. By the way, do you think the “designed” appendix is ugly? What about your tail bone? Or atrophied foot muscles? Or the blind spot in your eye? Or your under-developed frontal lobe? Or your excessive adrenaline gland? Also, natural selection is definitely not random.

    The reason I have no intention to addressing every single question you raise is because if I did, you would raise a whole more, and then a whole more, and so on and so on. Tell me, why should I be your biology teacher? What is stopping you researching evolution yourself on the internet? Go to Wikipedia and type in human evolution. Could it be because you have no real desire for facts? What would you actually do when you learned evolution was a fact? Would it destroy your entire worldview?

    For a start, you are equivocating on your use of the word “information”. Information can mean anything. It is not a computer program, or blueprint. In fact, nothing genetic can be called a “blueprint” – this belies a misunderstanding of genetics. The genotype is actually more like a recipe. Differing combinations of genes in an organism produce different physical manifestations – this is called the phenotype. E.g.: most animals have genes for teeth. The genotype for tigers manifests itself with the phenotype of longer teeth than humans, for instance. If you could shuffle the genes in an organism, you would instantly produce another lifeform. This is how genetic modification works! In the wild, it is nature that shuffles genes. It does this by selecting genetic trends that are better suited to an environment. This is called natural selection, and it takes a bit longer. But it is an observed scientific fact, in the laboratory, and in nature.

    When intra-species changes occur, this is called micro-evolution. When genetic changes occur over time that separate two lines of lifeform into those which cannot reproduce together anymore, another species emerges. This is macro evolution. They are both caused by the same effect. You cannot deny one without the other.

    Why do you think germs can become resistant to antibiotics? Why do some humans have an enzyme to digest milk better than others? For that matter, can you explain the origin of AIDS without reference to evolution?

    The “argument” from design comes down to this: “wow, look at how pretty and complex everything in nature is! I can’t possibly explain that, therefore god did it.”

    To say that the universe shows structure and order is to say that the universe has some properties…compared to?? What?? What is your standard for structure and order? It can be none other than the universe itself! So to say that universe is based on structure and order is to say that the universe is based on the universe. But existence is identity, to exist, is to have identity and be a thing and nothing else. Hence the law of logic can be observed. This isn’t design – it is existence.

    The “argument” from design is circular reasoning. It goes likes this:

    P1: Design = Designer
    P2: The universe shows design

    Conclusion: The universe had a designer.

    But, because of P1, the argument really reads:

    P1: Design = Designer
    P2: The universe had a designer

    Conclusion: The universe had a designer.

    This is called assuming what you’re supposed to be proving, or begging the question.

    So, not only is evolution a fact (read: do some honest research on this), and not only is the Argument from Design fallacious, we can smash the creationists’ argument in one swoop. And THIS, more than anything else Jeff is the reason why the creation vs evolution debate will always be a waste of time:

    Who created god?

    Let me guess: god doesn’t need a creator. So, your argument looks like this:

    P1: Complexity requires design
    P2: Design requires a designer
    P3: The universe is complex

    Conclusion 1 (from P1 & P3): The universe was designed, (& P2: the universe had a designer)

    P4: God is at least as complex as the universe

    Conclusion 2 (from P1 & P4): God requires design, (& P2: god had a designer)

    Therefore god was designed.

    But, from C2 & P2, Conclusion 3: The designer of god requires a designer
    But, from C3 & P2, Conclusion 4: The designer of the designer of god requires a designer

    This is a reductio ad absurdum. Repeat until insane.

    QED

    One more thing to correct you one Jeff: evolution is not abiogenesis. Evolution doesn’t attempt to explain how life began, only how it changed and adapted over time. Abiogenesis is, admittedly, a grey area at the moment and something that scientists may NEVER explain. And if you think that is relevant in any way to disproving evolution or proving design, you should look up this phrase: argumentum ad ignorantiam.

  20. Jeff Says:

    Evanescent,

    Thank you for taking time from your busy schedule to talk to me.

    Now please notice that my answers to you, are very precisely follow you response, as oppose to your reply that still mostly ignore my challenges.

    Mutation is deviation from norm and these deviations in 99.999% or more are harmful. Look at mutation as a result of radiation. We don’t see after Chernobyl a single person who became better and stronger. We see them all handicapped and dying. Do you want your child to be a mutant? I don’t think so. Only when radiation is used with intelligence it can be beneficial.

    Now let’s talk about your few examples. First of all, the appendix does have some useful functions. It works like a waist basket in a computer. It’s needed when it’s needed and you know it. Then I don’t know what are trying to say with other examples. It is very week prove of evolution if any? Human body is not perfect and nobody argue about this. If one would be lying in bed for 10 year, then he would get a lot of atrophied muscles

    Then let me correct my previous post. The right way to say is that the natural selection is initiated by RANDOM fluctuation coming from the environment. I know, I know more adjusted and strongest survive. Then the evolutionist should adopt the Nazi theory that stated that only the strongest should live. But in human society we ignore this principle by supporting poor and week. So, why the humanity decided to ignores its icons – the “beautiful” principles of evolution?

    I don’t want you to be my biology teacher, and I researched the evolution myself. In fact I new 95% of what you said. Current so call proves I read about, did not convinced me at all. And please remembers that I do not have any religious biases, so I’m open for the truth.

    Nature does not shuffle the genes. DNA malfunction does happening … and predominantly it has the very negative consequences. Typically the mutants are extinct quickly. And, by the way, isn’t a recipe is also the information like a computer program, but written in a plain language? It presents to a pharmacist a set of instructions. I’m a software engineer, and I know what I’m talking about.

    Now lets take few of your next questions.
    “Why do you think germs can become resistant to antibiotics?”
    Another icon!. But putting together with normal bacteria these mutants don’t have a chance. They reproduce slower and they got extinct when competing. You have to artificially separate them from others. They are weaker in general in competing with their like.

    “Why do some humans have an enzyme to digest milk better than others? “ – So what does this prove? Does not matter how well they digest – they are all humans. There are toll and short, fat and slim, man and woman but they all human.

    “For that matter, can you explain the origin of AIDS without reference to evolution? “ – What a bad example? This so call evolution makes most of the AID people extinct. They do no have a chance of survival in nature without intellect (medicine). Again, please understand my main point. The mutations do happens, but almost all of them are negative. Percentage of the positive mutation is negligible

    Now, your analytical excise at the end is accepted. But you admitted that origin of life is unknown. Good, this is already half way towards my position.

    What concern to evolution and progress from one specie to another, it is only your imagination and wishful thinking… at list as of now. Besides the numerous samples of micro-evolution when specie still remains the same specie (and by the way frequenly change back to the previous state), there is not a single proven case of “macro-evolution”. In fact in almost all cases the principle of “Irreducible complexity” prohibit such radical transformation.

    Kind Regards,
    Jeff

  21. evanescent Says:

    Mutation is deviation from norm and these deviations in 99.999% or more are harmful. Look at mutation as a result of radiation. We don’t see after Chernobyl a single person who became better and stronger. We see them all handicapped and dying. Do you want your child to be a mutant? I don’t think so. Only when radiation is used with intelligence it can be beneficial.

    Jeff, you are totally wrong. Mutation happens quite often and most of the time it is neutral, that is, it has no effect on the organism. From Wikipedia:

    “Neutral mutations are defined as mutations whose effects do not influence the fitness of either the species or the individuals who make up the species. These can accumulate over time due to genetic drift. The overwhelming majority of mutations have no significant effect, since DNA repair is able to mend most changes before they become permanent mutations, and many organisms have mechanisms for eliminating otherwise permanently mutated somatic cells.”

    So it seems you have your facts wrong right from the starting block.

    Now let’s talk about your few examples. First of all, the appendix does have some useful functions. It works like a waist basket in a computer. It’s needed when it’s needed and you know it.

    And when exactly is it needed? If it’s needed, why can it be safely removed with no ill-effects? Why would anybody create a being with useless organs?

    Then I don’t know what are trying to say with other examples. It is very week prove of evolution if any? Human body is not perfect and nobody argue about this. If one would be lying in bed for 10 year, then he would get a lot of atrophied muscles

    Hang on, why isn’t the human body perfect? If I was an almighty all-knowing super-being that could create anything, I wouldn’t create humans with ANY flaws, any junk DNA, any useless organs, or inefficient structures.

    Now, about atrophied feet muscles, humans have a muscle in their feet that is more pronounced in other primates and allows them full dexterity of their feet the way we use our hands. Because we evolved from earlier primates we also have this muscle, but because of our divergent evolution we don’t use it, hence it has atrophied. The same is true of the human tail bone. There is NO WAY to explain this except by reference to evolution. “Design” simply makes no sense.

    Then let me correct my previous post. The right way to say is that the natural selection is initiated by RANDOM fluctuation coming from the environment. I know, I know more adjusted and strongest survive. Then the evolutionist should adopt the Nazi theory that stated that only the strongest should live. But in human society we ignore this principle by supporting poor and week. So, why the humanity decided to ignores its icons – the “beautiful” principles of evolution?

    No, natural selection is not random. And nor is the environment. It is not luck that the arctic is cold, and it is not mere chance that the Sahara is hot.

    When environmental change occurs, it is usually very slow, and allows for very slight advantages in a species to become more prominent. These advantages are selected for by competition for reproduction.

    As for your Nazi Germany reference to “survival of the fittest”, you will lose all respect from anyone who knows the slightest thing about evolution with this line of reasoning. I will give you the benefit of the doubt here and assume this is just gross ignorance on your part. Not just ignorance, absolute nonsense. How does the process of life changing and adapting over time prescribe how humans should live together? Or on the day that you finally accept evolution as a fact, will you go out and start killing the weak and the helpless?? No? Why not? Could it be because evolution has NOTHING to do with morality? There’s your answer.

    I don’t want you to be my biology teacher, and I researched the evolution myself. In fact I new 95% of what you said. Current so call proves I read about, did not convinced me at all. And please remembers that I do not have any religious biases, so I’m open for the truth.

    You have no religious bias? Ok – so if life was designed, what name would YOU give for that designer?

    If you knew 95% of what I’ve said, then why did you need me to explain it to you to correct your ignorance?

    Nature does not shuffle the genes. DNA malfunction does happening … and predominantly it has the very negative consequences. Typically the mutants are extinct quickly. And, by the way, isn’t a recipe is also the information like a computer program, but written in a plain language? It presents to a pharmacist a set of instructions. I’m a software engineer, and I know what I’m talking about.

    No, you don’t. You don’t know what you’re talking about. Since you have no religious bias, I encourage you to read The Blind Watchmaker or The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins. After that, if you still can’t understand evolution, perhaps you could challenge Dawkins to a debate to point out to him where he’s been going wrong?

    Now lets take few of your next questions.
    “Why do you think germs can become resistant to antibiotics?”
    Another icon!. But putting together with normal bacteria these mutants don’t have a chance. They reproduce slower and they got extinct when competing. You have to artificially separate them from others. They are weaker in general in competing with their like.

    Wrong. I’ll give you the answer: the genetic traits in some bacteria allow for resistance to certain antibiotics. As bacteria breed, those with these traits survive and the others die out. Eventually, the entire community is resistant. In fact, this community might change to the point where it is classified as a NEW species now. Here, speciation has occurred, just as it happens in nature.

    “Why do some humans have an enzyme to digest milk better than others? “ – So what does this prove? Does not matter how well they digest – they are all humans. There are toll and short, fat and slim, man and woman but they all human.

    You missed the point: it proves that evolution occurs. It proves that mutation can be beneficial, and that natural selection can favour mutation within species. The principle of macro-evolution is precisely the same. When natural selection favours mutation over a large period of time to the point where the divergent line can no longer mate with the original line, a new species has developed.

    Now, your analytical excise at the end is accepted. But you admitted that origin of life is unknown. Good, this is already half way towards my position.

    No, it isn’t! That is EXACTLY what I cautioned you about saying after my logical annihilation of any possible “designer” – it is an argument from ignorance: “you can’t explain it, therefore I win”. Now, I admit that no one fully understands how life got started, but that doesn’t mean we will never know.

    Not so long ago, mystics like you who deny evolution also denied a spherical earth – what happened to them?

    Since you seem to have overlooked it, I’ll repeat exactly what I said about abiogenesis: “Abiogenesis is, admittedly, a grey area at the moment and something that scientists may NEVER explain. And if you think that is relevant in any way to disproving evolution or proving design, you should look up this phrase: argumentum ad ignorantiam.”

    What concern to evolution and progress from one specie to another, it is only your imagination and wishful thinking… at list as of now.

    For a software engineer Jeff, your spelling is atrocious. Are you even making the effort?

    Besides the numerous samples of micro-evolution when specie still remains the same specie (and by the way frequenly change back to the previous state), there is not a single proven case of “macro-evolution”. In fact in almost all cases the principle of “Irreducible complexity” prohibit such radical transformation.

    Not a single proven case of macro-evolution. Hmmm.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macro_evolution – guess how long that took me to look up? 2 seconds.

    Also, here is a list of transitional fossils: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_transitional_fossils. That took me about 2 seconds as well.

    As for irreducible complexity – this horrible little lie has been blown out of the water many times by the likes of Gould and Dawkins. No structure in nature is irreducibly complex, and if you disagree Jeff, find one, and win a Nobel prize, and go down in history as the man who disproved evolution. Until then, you should get back to your “software engineering” and not make outlandish ridiculous claims about subjects you have no knowledge of.

    I’ll give you one more chance to form an cogent reply, and when you do, can you explain to me as a software engineer what this very basic code does:


    Dim i as Integer

    For i = 1 to 10
    Print “Number ” & i
    Number = Number +1
    Next i

  22. Jeff Says:

    Dear Evanescent,

    Sorry for miss-spelling.

    You gave the evolutionists’ definition of mutation (the very positive one) and are hiding behind it. In fact, if you would ask an ordinary person whether a mutant is a positive thing, the answer is overwhelmingly no! Go ahead and randomly mutate your computer or TV set.

    And to finish misunderstanding of word Random I will say that the changes in environment follow random natural forces (random became we can’t predict them),
    a mutation in DNA is random, but the micro-evolution is not.

    Why human is not perfect? Yes why is it? The evolution should eliminate all unnecessary organs, after a million year of transition to human, right?

    Yes a mutation in genes does happen, but I’m talking about a mutation that changes the functionality. It’s like a precision in numbers. You got only up to certain meaningful decimals; the rest is irrelevant to the result. Also… sure there are a lot of unnecessary organs. Many people live a happy live without arms and leg, being blind or deaf

    What I’m saying is that if deviation / mutations are big enough you are most likely got wrong or bad result. And for your logic to work you have to have a huge pool of samples (humanoids) grown from the mutations. They have to be separated from others, most likely dominant species that are not humanoids yet

    I will carefully review the referenced list of transitional fossils, but I already noticed that there is no a single opinion on many of the listed conclusions. And without explanation of the origin of DNA, Cambrian explosion, etc.. all pyramid is in question any way.

    In your Visual basic code snippet you forgot to define Number.

    Thank you for your generosity giving me the last chance.

    Kind regards,
    -Jeff

  23. evanescent Says:

    You gave the evolutionists’ definition of mutation (the very positive one) and are hiding behind it. In fact, if you would ask an ordinary person whether a mutant is a positive thing, the answer is overwhelmingly no! Go ahead and randomly mutate your computer or TV set.

    Is this supposed to be an argument? Is this the argument from lay-opinion? Or the argument from X-Men?

    Of course I gave the evolutionists’ definition of mutation – what other definition would I give?! We aren’t talking about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, we’re talking about REAL LIFE science here! Real life biology.

    Frankly, what the “ordinary” person thinks of the term “mutant” is absolutely irrelevant. All this demonstrates is that many people are scientifically illiterate – a point you are further demonstrating here.

    Yes a mutation in genes does happen, but I’m talking about a mutation that changes the functionality. It’s like a precision in numbers. You got only up to certain meaningful decimals; the rest is irrelevant to the result. Also… sure there are a lot of unnecessary organs. Many people live a happy live without arms and leg, being blind or deaf

    What is this supposed to mean? Mutations occur that do affect genes – and genes affect functionality. You further demonstrate a profound ignorance of biology. That isn’t a bad thing in and of itself; it becomes a bad thing when you start making claims about a topic you have no knowledge of.

    What I’m saying is that if deviation / mutations are big enough you are most likely got wrong or bad result. And for your logic to work you have to have a huge pool of samples (humanoids) grown from the mutations. They have to be separated from others, most likely dominant species that are not humanoids yet

    Jeff, which branch of science was your degree in? Which university did you learn this from? What empirical study did you perform to come to this conclusion? And why are you contradicting the experts in this field? What knowledge about mutations do you have that Richard Dawkins missed? Whereas 99.9% of the scientific community accepts evolution as a scientific fact, you are contradicting them on what grounds?

    You will forgive my sarcasm, but when a lay person with no knowledge or understanding of basic biology or evolutionary theory comes along and makes a claim akin to “the scientists have got it wrong!”, don’t expect anything other than a few raised eyebrows and a couple of happy pills, as they drag you to the padded room.

    Sarcasm aside, you can win this debate hands down by doing the following: tell me what books on evolution you’ve read; explain your detailed understanding of evolutionary theory; tell me which parts you specifically disagree with; tell me WHY you disagree with them, and how science’s 100 years+ of empirical evidence is wrong; write a paper explaining all this and publish it in a respected scientific journal.

    If you want to know why I’m being so short with you, ask yourself this: what would you do if someone came along to your blog and declared that the earth was flat?

    And thanks for correcting my Visual Basic!

  24. Bad Says:

    The evolution should eliminate all unnecessary organs, after a million year of transition to human, right?

    Nope. Evolution is hemmed in by its own nature in what it can do. I cannot revisit large, long-term structural choices that prove to be unwieldy down the road, because there is often no viable path from one state to another. The basic ape skeleton we have is less than ideal for walking upright (hence all the back problems), but it cannot be redesigned from scratch by evolution, only modified. If the modifications between our current skeleton and to a different better balanced one are all sub-optimal, then it is highly unlikely that evolution can or will follow this particular path.

    Yes a mutation in genes does happen, but I’m talking about a mutation that changes the functionality.

    This is trivial to document in biology. In fact, there are recent examples in which major functional innovations can come about through the change of a single gene, such as the development of skin flaps in rodents that give them gliding capability. It’s also so common that we see mutations in bacteria that give them new functionality that it barely warrants publication interest on its own anymore.

  25. Jeff Says:

    Evanescent,
    To summaries our discussion
    1. I promises to read “The Blind Watchmaker or The Selfish Gene” by Richard Dawkins, and to review the fossil records.

    2. Since you don’t know that, I give you another more conventional definition of mutation, for instance form here http://www.brooklyn.cuny.edu/bc/ahp/BioInfo/MUT/Mut.Definition.html

    “Mutation occurs when a DNA gene is damaged or changed in such a way as to alter the genetic message carried by that gene”.

    3. You don’t know were the DNA program or recipe came from and how to explan Cambrian explosion.

    4. You don’t want to mutate you computer, your TV set, your cat or dog to make them work better, and be stronger. You don’t want your child to be born as mutant. This is because you are confident that such mutation will be negative. (no offence)

    Regards,
    -Jeff

  26. evanescent Says:

    1. Ok

    2. Jeff, I prefer to go with the accepted scientific definition of mutation.

    3. DNA program? Actually, DNA came from RNA, which probably came from something like it but not quite, which also came from something rather like it, but not quite. Slow, successful modifications over time. As for the Cambrian explosion, whether I can explain whatever you want me to explain or not is irrelevant – that doesn’t say anything about the fact of evolution. See here for further info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cambrian_explosion

    4. Computers and TV sets don’t mutate. Cats and dogs don’t mutate overnight. Most mutations are neutral. Negative mutations are usually met with death. Positive mutations are only selected for (and noticed) over long periods of time where they provide successful adaptation to the environment. Evolution doesn’t happen to individuals, it happens to species.

  27. Jeff Says:

    Evanescent,
    Thank you for extending your generosity to a few more exchanges.

    2. My definition of mutation is much more scientific. Your reference is more like a speech about the mutation rather than definition.

    3. I’m not talking about the chemical compassion of DNA. Where it gets the program that governs the protein molecules build up, forming them, deploying them to the right spots? Oh… yes … natural selection as a result of random mutation is the key… isn’t it?

    4. I know. I know – slow gradual mutation. But at certain point it got to be explosive, right? An individual either have lungs and can breathe or he hasn’t and can’t breathe. If this is in correct please give me an example from the currently leaving species that can be as long under water as they can be in the ear. Based on your slow, gradual, bla-bla-bla… we have to have trillions of transitional spices right now around us… where is they – the transitional.

    Btw, I’m not along – see http://www.discovery.org/articleFiles/PDFs/100ScientistsAd.pdf

    Regards,
    -Jeff

  28. Jeff Says:

    sorry… its not ear but air.

  29. evanescent Says:

    Jeff, the Discovery Institute is a pseudoscientific tool for creationist propaganda – specifically to further a particular religious myth, that of the Christian “god”. Notice how the few remaining religiously-motivated scientists who deny evolution constantly attack it, but what do they present as EVIDENCE for design? Nothing, nada, zilch, zero. Because there is no such evidence. And they are unable to convince the scientific community that there is ANY credibility to their claims. Why? Because there is one reason that people deny evolution: it clashes with their irrational religious mystical beliefs, and has nothing to do with science.

    We can keep going back and forth Jeff, but you’ve already conceded my logical argument above that disproves a designer. Since “god” is impossible, and the universe had no designer, what is the point of this discussion? What did you have to say about vestigial organs, and “design” flaws? Nothing. What do you have to say about nested hierachy? What about this article above? What parts of it specifically do you reject – give me scientific reasons based on evidence, not the latest rubbish spouted by the dishonest mystics over at the Discovery Institute. Like most creationists I have debated with, you have a litany of arguments / counter-arguments / evolution-stumpers, and when each one has been destroyed, instead of dealing with it, you raise another one. What exactly are you trying to convince yourself of?

  30. Jeff Says:

    Evanescent,

    You are right, currently there is no direct proves of intelligent design. But improbability even of a simplest cell to be create in the ocean of the pre-historical organic soap, is the best indirect prove. It’s like getting a signal from the universe. If this signal would meet certain criteria, we would assume that there is intelligence out there. Don’t you think that the existence of this cell is a better prove, then radio signal?

    If by the article above you mean the Cambrian explosion, then it contains a few hypnotizes that trying to say why this periods is better suits for the evolution than others. But less than 10 million years period is not a significant time in evolution. And it indicates the explosive and not your gradual transition. Why just this period, why there are no more? The Earth went through quite a few drastic events.

    What concern to the universe than the question remains – where did it come from? What is the singularity – it is nothing? How come that the matter, space, and time came from nothing?

    Yes, the evolution theory has more support and at least is trying to base on something that you can see and feel. But to say that evolution is a fact is way premature.

    I didn’t answer some of your questions became I didn’t feel strong enough in some area.
    But let be honest. You weren’t able to answer a few questions yourself.

    Nevertheless, I’m truly honored with this discussion. I will cut and paste the entire dialog
    trying to get deeper in your references and arguments.

    Thank you very much!
    -Jeff

  31. evanescent Says:

    You are right, currently there is no direct proves of intelligent design. But improbability even of a simplest cell to be create in the ocean of the pre-historical organic soap, is the best indirect prove.

    No, it’s not. Your perception of improbability is not an argument against abiogenesis. In the Selfish Gene, Dawkins speculates about the very first replicators; how they might have came about, and how they evolved through the same process of mutation and natural selection, into RNA and DNA. Whether he is totally right remains to to seen, the point is that it is most certainly not impossible. And in a universe of billions of galaxies, with trillions upon trillions of stars, with quadrillions of planets – the odds of this happening at least once on an earth-like planet are not only acceptable, they are expectable!

    It’s like getting a signal from the universe. If this signal would meet certain criteria, we would assume that there is intelligence out there. Don’t you think that the existence of this cell is a better prove, then radio signal?

    No. A radio signal on its own, EM radiation, would prove nothing. If the radio signal tapped out the first 1000 prime numbers or something, that would be proof. The problem with your analogy here is that it begs the question. You have to assume the cell is designed in order to point to a designer. But like we proved above, a designer is impossible, therefore no matter how complex a cell APPEARS – the design is an ILLUSION, made up of ever increasing complexity over a VERY LONG time.

    If by the article above you mean the Cambrian explosion, then it contains a few hypnotizes that trying to say why this periods is better suits for the evolution than others. But less than 10 million years period is not a significant time in evolution. And it indicates the explosive and not your gradual transition. Why just this period, why there are no more? The Earth went through quite a few drastic events.

    First of all, on what grounds do you claim that 10 million years is not significant time for evolution? Every single species of dog you see in the world today came from ONE canine ancestor in the last few thousand years. Every species of horse, donkey, zebra, camel etc came from one ancestor if you look back far enough. Sometimes evolution occurs very rapidly, depending on the rate of favorable mutations being selected for, which can occur when environment change or species-migration (same effect) happens.

    Since we have established that design is false, if you have genuine questions about evolution, I sincerely encourage you to read about it. The experts in the field will explain in detail better than I can.

    What concern to the universe than the question remains – where did it come from? What is the singularity – it is nothing? How come that the matter, space, and time came from nothing?

    Again, the start of life and the start of the universe are irrelevant to evolution.

    As for the universe – existence exists. Existence has always existed. Whatever physical and cosmological makeup of this universe is (in terms of stars, planets etc) might have started at a singularity, and so existence takes THIS physical form. Perhaps there will be a big crunch, or the universe will expand forever – probably the latter. But existence is neither created nor destroyed. I recommend Stephen Hawking’s work for a better explanation of this.

    But let be honest. You weren’t able to answer a few questions yourself.

    LOL, I can answer almost every question you raised Jeff. The reason I didn’t answer some is because it will require me to explain biology in depth, something I wasn’t prepared to do. If you’re going to talk about evolution, I assume a certain level of pre-existing knowledge.

    Nevertheless, I’m truly honored with this discussion. I will cut and paste the entire dialog trying to get deeper in your references and arguments.

    The truth is Jeff, it’s been a few months since I debated science, evolution, and religion, so I actually enjoyed this discussion too – it was like a refresher for me. It certainly made a change from arguing with cultist socialists and collectivists!

    All the best.

  32. Jeff Says:

    Evanescent,

    Interesting, how easy you dismissed the opinion of “reactionary” 700 PhDs, some of them a world known scalars.

    Now this. I disagree with you and Dawkins (how dare I am) evaluation. The chances that 20 amino-acids each with the right structure where created by nature, assembled together in a right way of A, G, C, T chemicals constructs in the DNA/RNA molecule are meaningless, even if you bring the entire Universe. The probability of that is less than a probability of picking up a specific atom from the entire known Universe. What are the chances for you typing randomly and producing a manfully response to me? For instance, if your response contains the 1000 letters, than the chances are (1/24) in a power of 1000. Sorry, the Universe is too small for that.

    And if the above is not enough for you then consider another filtering factors. In the Milky Way, for instance, there is a very little inhabitable area in the middle when the solar system as ours can form. The core is too violent, the peripheral part is not formed, the spirals, are too violent also. In addition there is only a limited inhabitable area within the solar system. Then there are about 20 additional factors on a planet to be met for the organic life to emerge. Just those factors along (without my first paragraph) makes a life externally rare even on the Galactic scale. Current astronomical research demonstrates that among known about 100 planetary systems, none is suitable for life. I understand it is very small sample, but the covered area is close to the solar system, which considered as a privileged area in our Galaxy

    Now, when I talked about radio signal I talked about THE signal. Let say your first 1000 prime numbers. You assume this will be the sign of unintelligence. But the chances for the first 1000 prime numbers to be assembled randomly are much higher then to assemble a cell on a suitable planet, as I stated above.

    For the Cambrian period I’m saying that all formed living things suddenly appeared fully formed. Where is the transition? You cannot compare that with you horse species and relatively little mutation.

    You said: “Again, the start of life and the start of the universe are irrelevant to evolution.”

    For this I‘m sorry you missed my point with computer, TV set, cat, dog or a child. What I was trying to say is that if one would make a random change (and nature can do only random change) which affects the functionality of a well formed mechanism, the odds that this change will have the negative consequences is overwhelming. This is precisely why the native evolution (without intelligence) is unlikely event.

    Yes, you can give all the answers (as I probably can do either) but the chances that some of your answers are correct are as low as (1/24) ** 1000.

    Btw, how did you paste and box the references into your response? I would be more precise in my answers, if I would do the same.

    Regards
    -Jeff

  33. evanescent Says:

    Jeff, you’re going over old ground. I have already proven that design is an illusion and a designer is IMPOSSIBLE, so all you’re doing is protesting your ignorance of probability. The argument from probability is fallacious on its own anyway, because the odds of any combination of events is extremely unlikely when analysed retrospectively – as a perfect example of this, consider the odds of YOUR birth. The odds of you being the person you are, being alive now, etc etc are trillions to one. Does this cause you to deny your own existence?

    The universe with life is here – the odds of it existing are 100%. It is therefore foolish to examine the odds retrospectively and dismiss that it couldn’t have happened, since clearly, it did.

    Also, the Argument from probability is a strawman, as are your thought experiments (typical of the rubbish the Discovery institute comes out with). This is the same false attack that goes like: “how can an amoeba just sprout an eye one day?!” The odds of a particular feature in an organism undergoing a very slight change which is selected for by being beneficial, is not just acceptable, it is to be expected! Slow, slight, successful modifications, each of which is very likely on its own. What you are doing is pointing at the start of the chain and pointing at the end, trying to compare the two. No wonder you are scratching your head. But you’re not attacking evolution. No evolutionist in the world claims spontaneous appearance of life or any aspect of life.

    The chances that 20 amino-acids each with the right structure where created by nature, assembled together in a right way of A, G, C, T chemicals constructs in the DNA/RNA molecule are meaningless, even if you bring the entire Universe.

    This is just an example of the fallacious reasoning I’ve described above. It is an Argument from personal incredulity. You seem incapable of grasping the idea of very simple basic replicators and slow slight modifications. The only thing that will dispel this mindset of yours is rationality, honesty, and research.

    In the Milky Way, for instance, there is a very little inhabitable area in the middle when the solar system as ours can form. The core is too violent, the peripheral part is not formed, the spirals, are too violent also. In addition there is only a limited inhabitable area within the solar system. Then there are about 20 additional factors on a planet to be met for the organic life to emerge. Just those factors along (without my first paragraph) makes a life externally rare even on the Galactic scale. Current astronomical research demonstrates that among known about 100 planetary systems, none is suitable for life. I understand it is very small sample, but the covered area is close to the solar system, which considered as a privileged area in our Galaxy

    Actually, all of this is an argument AGAINST design. About 85% of this planet is uninhabitable for humans. And even the 15% remaining is the only region in the KNOWN UNIVERSE that can support life. And even on that 15%, humans have to adapt the environment to suit them, whilst struggling with imperfect bodies, junk DNA, vestigial organs, etc etc. And yet people believe this universe was created FOR HUMANS?! Nonsense.

    Now, when I talked about radio signal I talked about THE signal. Let say your first 1000 prime numbers. You assume this will be the sign of unintelligence. But the chances for the first 1000 prime numbers to be assembled randomly are much higher then to assemble a cell on a suitable planet, as I stated above.

    Even if that is true – so what? There are trillions of planets in the universe. Life did not pop into existence – you are attacking a strawman because you don’t understand the principle of abiogenesis and evolution. Every form of life in existent was preceded by a VERY VERY SIMILAR form that changed slightly. And that form was preceded by another form that was VERY VERY SIMILAR but not quite the same, that was preceded by… etc etc. This is proven not just by the fossil record, but by the nested hierarchy of all life, and the similarity of DNA in all living things. It is a scientific fact, as certain as gravity.

    What I was trying to say is that if one would make a random change (and nature can do only random change) which affects the functionality of a well formed mechanism, the odds that this change will have the negative consequences is overwhelming.

    You keep saying this, but you are wrong. As I have explained, most mutations are neutral and have no effect on an organism. Natural selection selects against deleterious mutations, and those that escape are killed off by nature very quickly. This means that those creatures THAT DO SURVIVE, by a fact of mathematical certainty, WILL be advantageous to the species – ergo evolution.

    This is precisely why the native evolution (without intelligence) is unlikely event.

    This is patently false – since a “designer” is self-evidently IMPOSSIBLE, there could not have been any intelligent. The very same reasoning you are basing your “improbability” argument on is self-contradictory. If life is too improbable, a “god” is EVEN MORE improbable!

    Btw, how did you paste and box the references into your response? I would be more precise in my answers, if I would do the same.

    See here: http://ellis14.files.wordpress.com/2008/03/blockquote-sample.jpg

  34. Jeff Says:

    Now I will open you my secret. The main purpose I started all this exchange is to understand from almost first hands the best arguments for the evolution theory.
    I understand mnow a simple framework you employ:
    1. You are trying to prove that intelligent design is impossible. The main arguments are along the line:
    – imperfect bodies, junk DNA, vestigial organs, etc
    – who created the designer?
    2. If there is no designer that it got to be evolution, because there is no other mechanism. At this point all improbabilities do no matter, because we see the result – the life if here.

    Basically you are approaching this dispute on the offensive note, trying to destroy the opponents theory and then introduce your as the only remaining choice. Then of course, all arguments about the improbable course are out of the windows… just waist of time. I don’t think it is really clean approach.

    Ideally you would have to demonstrate the bio-chemical process and the mathematical probability of life a) to be emerged from a non-living things and b) mathematical probability of evolution.
    I’m sure it can be done. I’m also confident that the amazingly low probability that will come out of this exercise, would definitely raze a lot of eyebrows and raze a lot of doubt.

    Regards,
    -jeff

  35. evanescent Says:

    Jeff, Evolution is a fact because of the scientific evidence that supports it and no other alternative. Evolution stands on its own merit without reference to any other superstitious notion, such as creationism. Even if evolution were proved absolutely totally wrong, “design” would still be impossible.

    As I keep saying, evolution is a fact and the evidence is just as strong as that for gravity and a round earth. I really don’t think you appreciate how certain a fact evolution is.

    As for the arguments against design, I am highlighting the self-contradictions in your position. It is not necessary for me to highlight the arguments against design in order to prove evolution. However, it is more efficient for me to do so.

    It is more efficient, because you clearly have limited knowledge of evolution and don’t show any signs of studying it. Since I don’t want to explain every single part of it in detail to you, it is simply more rational for me to point out that design is impossible, and leave the details for you to research in your own time.

    If you accept that design is an illusion, and ANY argument from complexity or improbability is self-contradictory, then you don’t really need me to explain anything else. No more than the person who gives up belief in Santa Claus still needs to postulate him to explain how the presents get under the christmas tree in the morning – there is an explanation, but we can be certain it ain’t Santa! Similarly, we know that the universe wasn’t designed. So the question becomes: how did life arise on its own and achieve such staggering complexity without purpose or design? We need a theory that explains all of this, can be tested in real life and in the lab, stands up to every single piece of evidence, is not contradicted by ANY evidence, and which, if true, allows us to make powerful definite predictions about its effects. We have such a theory: evolution. This is for you to study yourself.

  36. Jeff Says:

    At the end I would like to clarify for psiloiordinary my following earlier submitted remark in response to his offense against me:

    But.. Wait. I see one example. Writer psiloiordinary with his offensive remark certainly originated directly from amino-acids.

    What I mean is that “psiloiordinary” as a living organ was originated directly from amino-acids without any guidance from DNA instructions.

  37. evanescent Says:

    What I mean is that “psiloiordinary” as a living organ was originated directly from amino-acids without any guidance from DNA instructions.

    Directly?? You missed out about 4 billions years of intermediate evolution here, Jeff.

  38. Jeff Says:

    Yes, since the evolution is possible but very unlikely event, I increased his chances for origin, by assumption that he was directly originated from raw material.

    regards,
    -Jeff

  39. evanescent Says:

    Evolution is about as unlikely as all the trillions of factors that would have to coincide in order for you to born!

  40. Jeff Says:

    Evolutionary theory does not have self-contradictory

    What about the human brain? Why evolution would create something that will be utilized only by 4% with another 95% wasted? Evolutionary process cannot look ahead assuming that another 96% will be needed later.

    If you claim that it is the fact, then please demonstrate me mathematically how it was evolved. Employ statistical analysis, show how come the true random changes can bring such a remarkable result. Typically random changes bring nothing but chaos. The second law of thermodynamics definitely points to this direction.

    regards
    -Jeff

  41. evanescent Says:

    What about the human brain? Why evolution would create something that will be utilized only by 4% with another 95% wasted? Evolutionary process cannot look ahead assuming that another 96% will be needed later.

    I’ve a better question: why would an all-knowing perfect designer create a human being which only used 4% of its potential?? Now that is terrible design!

    However, the idea that we only use a small percentage of our brain is a myth. We use ALL our brain. This little gem of a lie has been doing the rounds for decades, especially amongst the mystics who think we can tap into some kind of paranormal or supernatural ability. It is commonly promoted by those who have little scientific knowledge. See here: http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/tenper.html

    If you claim that it is the fact, then please demonstrate me mathematically how it was evolved. Employ statistical analysis, show how come the true random changes can bring such a remarkable result. Typically random changes bring nothing but chaos. The second law of thermodynamics definitely points to this direction.

    Tell you what, since you promised to read The Blind Watchmaker and The Selfish Gene, why don’t you come back when you’ve finished them both and tell me what you think?

    Also, the second law of thermodynamics in NO WAY precludes evolution. This is yet another lie told by irrational creationists who misunderstand science, misunderstood evolution, and don’t seem to care that a lie told on behalf of “god” is still a lie.

    To repeat: design is impossible, so all this hand-waving is irrelevant. It is the written form of you clutching at straws. There is no designer.

    Jeff, this is probably your first time debating with an somebody even half-versed in evolution, but this is one of several dozen debates for me, and I see the same arguments time and time, the same flawed reasoning, the same circular logic, and if I had a pound for every time somebody mentioned the 2nd law of thermodynamics… Do you know what you all have in common? No knowledge of evolution, yet the “snap your hand off” zeal to counter every claim it makes on ZERO grounds; the ignorance that every single argument ever postulated in favour of design has been destroyed, and every argument levied against evolution has failed; a religious belief in a designer; and the inability to recognise your self-contradictions. Most importantly of all, you share this: no real interest in evolution at all, only a religiously-motivated desire to WISH it wasn’t so.

    I don’t think there is much else to be said.

  42. Jeff Says:

    I’ve a better question: why would an all-knowing perfect designer create a human being which only used 4% of its potential?? Now that is terrible design!

    This is easy. You design for today but you plan for tomorrow. In fact it is very smart design. This is the way intelligently design roads, bridges, cities, etc…

    Tell you what, since you promised to read The Blind Watchmaker and The Selfish Gene

    ,
    I have already ordered “The Selfish Gene” from Amazon

    Also, the second law of thermodynamics in NO WAY precludes evolution

    Yes, it is not precluded, but rather implies that it is very unlikely.

    Most importantly of all, you share this: no real interest in evolution at all, only a religiously-motivated desire to WISH it wasn’t so

    .
    This is very deep comment. When I’m thinking about my personal motivation, I can tell you that I’m in no way motivated by religion… I just do not comfortable with the evolution starting with “Origin of Species” and up to the most recent DNA discoveries. That’s it, but will do further research.

    I officially allow you to publish our discussion in your next article (after fixing my typos) 
    (just kidding) … Sorry for making you angry

    regards,
    -Jeff

  43. evanescent Says:

    Jeff, you haven’t made me angry.

    Your answer to the “poor design” I pointed out is called ad hoc reasoning; it is rationalising something after the fact to fit your preconceived idea. By this thinking, nothing could ever disprove design: you could always call it part of some grand mysterious master plan. That is exactly what theologians do with the Problem of Evil.

    I’m pleased that you have ordered The Selfish Gene. The Blind Watchmaker is also an excellent book.

    As for the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, this doesn’t disprove evolution, because the notion of “order” and “structure” is a human bias. The truth is, matter can change shape, and lifeforms can adapt to an environment; This is accomplished through natural selection; life is still a collection of matter and energy in a particular form. Since nature isn’t a closed system, using the 2nd law is a fallacious argument. And the use of the terms ‘entropy’ and ‘order’ beg the question.

    This is very deep comment. When I’m thinking about my personal motivation, I can tell you that I’m in no way motivated by religion… I just do not comfortable with the evolution starting with “Origin of Species” and up to the most recent DNA discoveries. That’s it, but will do further research.

    Jeff, since I have addressed your misunderstandings of probability, and briefly explained mutation and natural selection, and dispelled the illusion of design, could you tell me what remains that makes you doubt evolution?

    All the best.

  44. evanescent Says:

    For those who have been following this discussion, I should add that Jeff has made subsequent replies but I have blocked them. This is not a slight on Jeff, who has been very polite and dignified throughout this discussion. Rather, I blocked him because the discussion was going around in circles, and I don’t believe Jeff’s purpose for debating was an honest solution to the evolution/creation argument.

  45. psiloiordinary Says:

    That’s a shame.

    Just because you have the power to block folks . . .

    By all means keep things polite and clean – but that is not what you have done.

    At a time when many folks are criticising (quite correctly in my view) the creationists for censorship/expulsion of PZ Myers from the Expelled movie in which they claim censorship (with no justification whatsoever in my view) from the scientific world you are living up to their claims.

    Shame on you.

    Let him back in.

    Take the mickey out of him if you like (it’s important to have any subject accepted as a target for humour in a healthy society in my view), disagree with him if you like, tell him you have finished and won’t reply any more if you like, ask others to reply to him if they wish but don’t simply censor him.

    You banned me before for raising the topic of Objectivism and cults. You seem to be making a habit of this now.

  46. evanescent Says:

    Just because you have the power to block folks . . .

    It’s MY blog – does the “power” to block people surprise you??

    At a time when many folks are criticising (quite correctly in my view) the creationists for censorship/expulsion of PZ Myers from the Expelled movie in which they claim censorship (with no justification whatsoever in my view) from the scientific world you are living up to their claims.

    Psi, censorship can only be performed by government. My NOT allowing somebody to talk about their scientific illiteracy on MY blog is not censorship. Jeff can go and write his own blog if he wants, but writing on my blog is a privilege, and after repeating myself time and time again, it was clear that Jeff was not interested in an honest discussion.

    Shame on you.

    Let him back in.

    Why? So I can explain evolution to him from scratch, or so he can use my blog as a mouthpiece to proclaim his ignorance of it? If he wants to learn about evolution, he can go and read like he promised to. Since I already proved that creation is impossible what else is there to say?

    Take the mickey out of him if you like (it’s important to have any subject accepted as a target for humour in a healthy society in my view),

    Yes, well, you would say that. But since you’re a subjectivist, your view is irrelevant.

    disagree with him if you like, tell him you have finished and won’t reply any more if you like

    Already have done. However, my blog isn’t a speaking ground for creationists. It’s here for HONEST debate, something you’re not interested in either.

    ask others to reply to him if they wish but don’t simply censor him.

    You don’t know what you’re talking about, Psi.

    You banned me before for raising the topic of Objectivism and cults. You seem to be making a habit of this now.

    No, I banned you because of your constant emotional subjective irrational nonsense that was a waste of my time, space, and lowered the quality of debate on my blog, because your knowledge of the subjects you attempt to debate is very low. Why should I give you free reign to chatter on til your heart’s content on my blog when you don’t know what you’re talking about? Blank out.

    It takes an awful lot to get banned from my blog.

    This is the very last comment of yours I’ll allow Psi to don’t bother making another one.

  47. Alexwebmaster Says:

    Hello webmaster
    I would like to share with you a link to your site
    write me here preonrelt@mail.ru

  48. Kelli Garner Says:

    I enjoy this site, it is worth me coming back

  49. Couple Problems Says:

    Couple Problems…

    […]Common Descent, Uncommon Knowledge « e v a n e s c e n t[…]…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 68 other followers

%d bloggers like this: