Thursday, December 21, 2006

Human Evolution: Before it was Impossible, Now it is Even More Impossible

From "The Creation of Adam" by Michelangelo
**********************************************

I know something can't be "even more impossible", but I am astounded at the amount of faith Naturalists have in the theory of evolution as an explanation for all biotic diversity obsevered on Earth, including people. Yet more research came out today that shows the old cannard of "we share 98.5% of our genes with chimps" is innaccurate. It turns out that was only a measure of the similarity of genes that we shared. The real similarity is now closer to 94% because "it is estimated that humans have acquired 689 new gene duplicates and lost 86 since diverging from our common ancestor with chimps six million years ago". Similarly, they reckoned that chimps have lost 729 gene copies that humans still have.

The researchers still kept their heads firmly inside the box that says "evolution" produced all these differences from the chimps, but this is what the results mean to an objective observor: The standard evolutionary scenario, where humans and chimps diverged from a common ancestor around six million years ago, is so improbable that the use of the word "impossible" to describe this belief is far more rational than holding it.

Secularists often speak of a "War between God and Science". There is no such conflict. There is only a conflict between Theism and Naturalism posing as science. When your Theology differs from your real science, it just means that either your Theology is bad or your science is bad. Right now ours is bad because it has been hijacked by Naturalism, which rules out any willingness to even think about "supernatural" causes for natural events regardless of the evidence.

Secularists have imposed a monopoly of Naturalism posing as science on our public school science cirricula that is holding us back from discoving the true nature of the world around us. The sooner they were dethroned the better.

As per last time we had a dust up on evolution, I am willing to defend my statements in the second paragraph in debate with members of the media who are on the opposite side of this issue. I'll debate them or any champion they name in any fair format. Last time, this challenge went unanswered, nor can it be successfully answered this time. I'd cut them or their champion to ribbons. I would do this not because I am smarter than they are, but because truth and fact are against them. The next time you read a member of the media painting ID or creationists as moronic knuckle-draggers remember that they are unwilling to defend the position they have so much FAITH in.

16 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course they have to hold faith in evolution because it is the limb they cling to in order to deny God.

The sad thing for them is even if they could prove evolution, doing so does not disprove God.

You can answer the question, "Why is the sky blue?" by saying "Because God made it that way" or by saying "Rayleigh scattering of light causes blue to be more dominate."

The nature as substitute deity people conclude the second statement disproves the first. Yet it does no such thing.

If God creates, he creates all, including the rules of the game (ie. the laws of physics, nature, etc). To discover the "how" of how God does something does not unearth secret knowledge disproving him. For those of faith such knowledge merely increases admiration for the creation and wonder and amazement at totality of the Creator.

My faith does not hinge on measuring the existence of this created world in the framework of six thousand nor six billion years.

Those who worship the created and pose that worship as science still cannot answer the simplest question, "Where did the bang ingredients come from". Believers with children can and MUST frame what is being taught as science within what it is, man's attempt to explain what God has done within the framework what can be observed with explanations created out of man's understanding of those observations without the benefit of faith in God. It is nothing more despite their hope that it is.

1:18 PM, December 21, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm curious. How old do you believe the world is? Do you believe in a literal account of the book of Genesis? Do you discount the theory of natural selection altogether? Do you believe that species of animals have changed (evolved!) over time at all? How do you account for hominid species that clearly once existed (Neanderthals) and now do not? How do you account for other prehistoric species that once existed and now do not?

I think creationists tend to ask the wrong questions, for two reasons. First, scientifically, the important question to me isn't the moment "what happened the moment in the distant past that the universe came into existence." The question is, why are we the way we are? Evolutionary biologists have well-reasoned answers -- natural selection. Their answers are backed up by empirical evidence.

The second problem I have with creationists is religious in nature. I am a Christian, and I believe in evolution as fact. (There are plenty of us out here -- in fact, most college-educated Christians believe in evolution.) Creationism isn't Christianity. It no more explains to me what is important about faith than Greek mythology or the Koran do. If supernatural forces created the world -- so what? That doesn't prove that Jesus died for my sins, that God loves us, that Christ preached a message of love, hope and redemption. For that, you need faith. You won't find faith in science, now or ever. You won't be able to empirically prove that Jesus loves us, which is much more important than creationism. So quit trying; when you do you look silly and discredit the rest of us.

In short, I think creationists are fighting the wrong battle. Leave science alone. It will take care of itself. Teach faith, hope and love.

1:35 PM, December 21, 2006  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

1:18

"frame what is being taught as science within what it is, man's attempt to explain what God has done within the framework what can be observed with explanations created out of man's understanding of those observations without the benefit of faith in God"

What you are describing is NOT pure science, which should follow the evidence WHERE EVER IT LEADS, including explanations that would be considered "supernatural" based on our current understanding of the natural world.

Instead, what you describe is NATURALISM, which is a philosophy that rules out any supernatural causes and believes that the physcial universe is "all there is".

The pity is that naturalists have so hijacked science that even Christians think the idea of science precludes the testing of a supernatural hypothesis concerning historical events. Or that the most improbable naturalistic explanation is somehow more "scientific" than the most probable "supernatural" one.

1:50 PM, December 21, 2006  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

1:35

I agree that Christians are fighting the wrong battle if they insist that a single interpretation of Genesis Chapter one is essential for salvation or holy living. There are several possible interpretations, all of them "literal" in the way the original Hebrew allows.

Still, what makes it important and worth fighting for is that the Bible is Divinely inspired. If they can get you thinking that the first chapter is a myth this year, next year they will proceed to the idea that the Jesus of the Gospels was a myth. Which means that the Christian faith would not be based on truth.

All of that is so hurtful, unnecessary and untrue. You wrote, "The question is, why are we the way we are? Evolutionary biologists have well-reasoned answers -- natural selection. Their answers are backed up by empirical evidence."

What I am telling you is that their answers are NOT well-reasoned. The empirical evidence, when interpreted objectively, reveals that the story they are telling about human origins is false. It is the myth, not Genesis one.

But perhaps somewhere in this state there is a liberal media personality that would take issue with that statement. Fine. Let them take up my debate challenge on their program. They can pick any guy they want to defend their side. They won't do it. They can't defend their position.

You can believe that humans and chimps evolved from a common ancestor six million years ago if you like. You can even be saved and hold that view. But you would be wrong. The real science does not support that view. The evidence in the link to Scientific American refutes that view, even though the scientists writing the article couldn't see it because they were interpreting all the evidence through a lens of naturalism. But the evidence is screaming that human evolution is false.

If any of them are crazy enough to debate me on a broadcast medium over that statement I'll rip their heads off. It won't even be close.

2:03 PM, December 21, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great points.

I would never call Genesis 1 & 2, myth. Maybe it is allegory maybe it is red letter literal. My faith can accept either.

When the archaeologists and anthropologists tell me that hominids first developed culture and moved from mere animal to awareness in the area now in Iraq, I, the believer, find it interesting to see science telling the story of Adam and Eve and their fall after indulging and gaining the knowledge of good and evil and using the same setting as the Bible.

20 odd years ago in college another student believed he found the item to shake my foundation in faith. He pointed to the finds of the bones of those purported to be the earliest humans in Africa and asked how I could believe the Bible's story of man starting in the Garden when the evidence said man began in Africa as well as the other creation inconsistencies. I pointed him to Genesis 2:8 and noted that man was created outside of the Garden and then placed or moved there. We worked through the "science" and the Bible regarding the creation and he begrudgingly admitted that if a day for God was more than 24 hours, there was no inconsistency.

About 10 years ago ran into him at homecoming and he introduced me to his wife saying I was the person who had rescued his faith.

2:23 PM, December 21, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I doubt you'd rip their heads off. I'm not qualified to debate evolution, but I have read extensively about it from evolutionary biologists such as Jared Diamond and Richard Dawkins. While I frequently find some of their more extreme conclusions downright silly (that natural selection creates artistic impulses in people) and their atheism off-putting, their basic points -- that species evolved over million of years because of natural selection, is convincing and hard to refute. I think Richard Dawkins is offensive in a lot of ways, but I suspect he clean your clock in a debate on evolutionary biology.

Hell, look at dogs. Beagles, pit bulls, dachshunds, -- none of those existed 1,000 years ago. These animals exist because of a "forced" natural selection by people -- we bred wolves and foxes to our own needs (fighting dogs, burrowing through holes, retrievers, etc.) Wolves don't have floppy ears, splotched skin, short legs, loose skin -- dogs do because of domestication, because we took the pups that had features we needed, bred them again and again, didn't let the others reproduce, and got a product that fit our needs. Why is so hard to believe the same thing could have happened in nature, over millions of years, and that animals could have likewise developed wings, gills, fins, thumbs, that way? And why is any of that incompatible with believing in Jesus Christ?

Creationists tend to follow a theory of gaps -- trying to find places where science can't yet provide an explanation. The theory of gaps has a number of logical flaws, including antecedent probability (before I roll a six-sided die, there's a 16.66% chance I'll roll a 3. But after I roll a 3, there's a 100% chance I rolled it. That's the problem with saying "there's almost no chance something occurred.") You have no look at hard evidence, not after-the-fact probabilities. It's not enough to say "that's so unlikely it never could have happened."

Another problem you have is that almost every biologist in the world disagrees with you. What's your response? "They're all wrong?" That's what you said about all that polling in the governor's race back in October . . . .

2:23 PM, December 21, 2006  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

I was wrong about the polls because I believed the wrong polls, not because all the polls were saying the same thing. The Zogby had Asa UP a week before the election.

"Another problem you have is that almost every biologist in the world disagrees with you. What's your response? "

10 years ago nearly 100% of biologists disagreed with me, but the trend is that the monopoly is breaking down as we learn more. I expect the percentage that disagrees with me will go to 90% then maybe 80% in my lifetime. At that point, 4 out of 5 will still disagree with me, but the trend would be moving my direction.

My other response is let one of them come debate me then, on any broadcast program that is willing.

Now you seem like an honest person who wants a good civil discussion, and that is what I want, so let me address the issue you raised concerning domestic breeding.

Breeders will tell you that there is only so far you can go with breeding, and that there is a tendency toward "reversion to type" if one is not careful. When dog breeds go feral and breed together, the result looks a lot like either a coyote or a dingo (there are some wild dogs in the Carolinas like this).

There are limits within boundaries where traits that are deep in the genome can be brought out to the exclusion of others. But they are all still dogs and not one breed ever developed a complex new structure that was lacking in all other breeds. No one ever bred coon dogs with cat-like retractable claws so that they could climb up after the treed coons, as desirable as that might be.

With all these examples of evolution you are dealing with a SUBTRACTION of information from the genome. In order for evolution to explain the increasing complexity of life they need to show examples of new information being ADDED to a creatures genome. I mean in a way that increases functionality, that adds complex new structures, and was not something latent in the genes all along.

While you can prove that a little bit of change is possible over a short period of time, that does not prove that a vast amount of change is possible even over a vast amount of time. That is called an "unsound extrapolation of data", and it is bad science.

Some examples. Conoco-Phillips stock lost 43 cents today. Using that change, we can calculate that I can purchase all Conoco-Phillips stock and assets with $1 sometime this Summer. But of course that is silly. I can't take a short term trend like that and extrapolate it out. The value of the stock varies around a given range.

Today the temperature increased 20 degrees between 8AM and noon. Using that data, I can predict that surface temperature will reach boiling in two weeks. Once again, there is change built into the system, but also physical processes that mean the change only goes so far in any given month.

IN biology, if I start jogging to get myself in shape I may drop my mile time from 7 minutes to six minutes to five minutes, but that does not mean that my time will keep dropping. I am never going to get that four minute mile because that is a world-class time and I am a 220 pound middle aged man.

I realize that these analogies can be carried too far and broken, but my point is that science must show that LARGE changes can happen that ADD information to support the claim that evolution can explain all biotic diversity. Showing that a small amount of change can occur over a small amount of time does not prove their case, only that some variablity is built into living systems.

As for a "theory of the gaps", I find that both Naturalists and Theists play that game equally well. The naturalists say "evolution did it" without being able to demonstrate how or observe it happening on a scale consistent with their claims, and Theists say "God did it". Which is a faith claim? THey both are equally.

But as we learn more and more about how nature operates, and yet are still mystified as to what the Naturalistic explanation is, the scale slowly becomes tilted until the "Naturalism of the Gaps" requires more faith. We know enough about how Nature works that we OUGHT to see how Nature did it, but we don't.

At some point, the supernatural explanation makes as much if not more sense than naturalistic hypothesis do, unless our brains are pre-conditioned to rule them out in advance regardless of evidence.

As for whether I'd rip their heads off or not, I don't like the bragging, but I am trying to provoke them- because 1) I WOULD tear them up and 2) I hope there is a Dawkins wanna-be out there and a secular TV or radio host willing to boost ratings with a gruesome head-ripping. THERE IS ONE WAY TO FIND OUT, right?

In the meantime, they are just as arrogant about assuming their opponents are all ignorant Bible thumpers and I just want to let them know there is an offer on the table if they can back up THEIR prejudicies.

3:33 PM, December 21, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

2:23 said:
These animals exist because of a "forced" natural selection by people -- we bred wolves and foxes to our own needs (fighting dogs, burrowing through holes, retrievers, etc.) Wolves don't have floppy ears, splotched skin, short legs, loose skin -- dogs do because of domestication, because we took the pups that had features we needed, bred them again and again, didn't let the others reproduce, and got a product that fit our needs. Why is so hard to believe the same thing could have happened in nature, over millions of years, and that animals could have likewise developed wings, gills, fins, thumbs, that way?

Consider what you are saying. An intelligent designer "forced" canine attributes "designed" to fit his needs. Follow me here... every physical process in nature follows the same entropic process toward disorder (a lower energy state), without exception. "Life" in biological organisms do not, even though they are only compound manifestations of a multitude of physical processes. Why is life reverse entropic? The most "logical" explaination based upon all the evidence that we currently have is that they move toward higher states of order is because an intelligent designer is "forcing" them in that direction.

Additionally, think about human free agency. Under the athiestic worldview, why are we not robots bound to deterministic processes? What makes us "vital"? What is that something "extra" that we have and how does it happen in a purely naturalistic system? And if you think that we are determined by purely naturalistic processes, then how can I believe any thing other way than what those processes have dictated? And if you think that I can believe other than what purely naturalistic processes have dictated, then you are being inconsistent by attributing some mystical "essence" to the human mind. How do you know what you believe is "true" and not just a random chaotic coincidence of biochemical accidents within the neurons of you mind?

5:38 PM, December 21, 2006  
Anonymous Ford Prefect said...

"it is estimated that humans have acquired 689 new gene duplicates and lost 86 since diverging from our common ancestor with chimps six million years ago"

How many have chimps gained and lost? How many did the 'common ancestor' have? (your base amount?)

These are important numbers, especially the 'common ancestor'.

"Why is so hard to believe the same thing could have happened in nature, over millions of years, and that animals could have likewise developed wings, gills, fins, thumbs, that way?"

Mainly because dogs are still dogs, no matter how you breed them, anything else will not be the 'fittest' AND what 'survives'. No amount of scientific observation as recorded the evolution of a dog to a non-dog. It's pretty hard to believe chance and time (Fortuna and Chronos?) could breed wings and gills on a dog and also expect it to not only survive, but also thrive.

6:53 PM, December 21, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Again, I am not an evolutionary biologist, but from what I have read from Stephen Jay Gould, E.O. Wilson, Richard Dawkins, and others, a genome most certainly can add information over long periods of time, though (according to Gould) it may be random won't always happen on some smooth steady course.

As I alluded before, here's my problem with supernatural explanation -- it's not scientific explanation. Science in the last 300 years has been based on empirical study and observable natural phenomena. Simply saying "we can't explain, so it must be magic" seems to me to be a reversion to earlier type and even dangerous. If you can't explain it, keep digging. Saying that "we can't explain, so God did it with a snap of his fingers" seems to be to be giving up and not using our God-given talents. Certainly scientists can't get it wrong -- hell, they disagree with each other a lot. (E.O. Wilson and Stephen Jay Gould, for instance, hated each other. Many of them hate Dawkins.) Don't quit, though.

Also as a Christian, I find creationism equally dissatisfying, both because it's too easy and lets me waste my God-given talents, and also because it tries to support faith with science, which in my opinion ultimately just won't work. Creationism tells me absolutely nothing that is important, in my opinion, to Christian faith or values. I could be worshipper of some graven idol, and creationism would be just as satisfying to my false religion.

I watched an old clip the other day of Ted Haggard saying "the Bible is 100% consistent, and it was written over thousands of years, so it must be factual." I laughed out loud. Can he not read? The first two chapters of Genesis aren't even factually consistent! And why is that even important to my Christian faith? When we were discussing Genesis one time, a wise Methodist minister told me: in matters of faith, don't always confuse truth with fact. The ancient Israelites didn't -- why should we. Jesus' parables were true, though he probably made up the facts in them (probably no actual prodigal son, good Samirtan, widow and her lost coin, etc). Why is it so hard to treat Genesis the same way?

I agree that arrogance is disturbing and unnecessary. Scientists, especially Dawkins, can be among the worst. (So can preachers, as we all know.) That doesn't mean they aren't right. Some of the world's greatest political leaders have been despicable people. Some of our greatest artists have been insane and alcoholic. And unfortunately, some great scientists are assholes.

For a great scientific writer who is not arrogant and is even self-effacing, whose prose is beautiful and generous, whose sensibilities are ethical if not faith-ful, and whose ideas on both biology and history are compelling, take a look at Jared Diamond. His book Guns Germs & Steel, which won the 1997 Pulitzer Prize, is one of the best books I've read.

7:02 AM, December 22, 2006  
Anonymous ford prefect said...

"As I alluded before, here's my problem with supernatural explanation -- it's not scientific explanation. Science in the last 300 years has been based on empirical study and observable natural phenomena."

The theory of evolution as the 'origin of species' is not based on observable facts, so what part of it is science? What part of 'millions and millions of years of random chances' + 'common ancestors we haven't ever found' + 'life spontaneously appearing from rocks' + 'nothing exploded into the whole massive universe' is more scientific than saying some intelligence created everything?

"Creationism tells me absolutely nothing that is important, in my opinion, to Christian faith or values"

What does Creationism mean to Christianity if it's a parable?

9:09 AM, December 22, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know of any significant school of thought that deems Genesis 1 & 2 parable, but there is a significant school of thought that believes it is an allegorical story about how God created the universe. Telling the story in a honest manner just condensing the story to a week.

What is a week to an eternal God unbound by time?

The progression of Genesis 1 closely tracks the scientific version differing mainly in time elapsed and the influence of a Creator.

12:07 PM, December 22, 2006  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

"from what I have read from Stephen Jay Gould, E.O. Wilson, Richard Dawkins, and others, a genome most certainly can add information over long periods of time"

Of course you have heard that, because that had to have happened in order for macroevolution (large scale evolution) to be true. And they view it as a given that macroevolution is true so therefore whatever changes in the genome we see must have been caused by macroevolution.

But don't you see that they haven't SHOWN that new information can be added at the rate needed to explain things? They haven't SHOWN that, they just assert it, because that is what MUST have happened "in order for evolution to be true". And that is taken as an article of faith just as much as the doctrine of any creationist.

They DON'T show that new information can be added, much less on the scale necessary. They merely take the small amount of change that occurs within normal cycles and extrapolate it to absurd levels. The beaks of Darwin's various finches for example, have already moved back toward the mean as food sources have become available to birds of any beak size.

"Simply saying "we can't explain, so it must be magic" seems to me to be a reversion to earlier type and even dangerous. If you can't explain it, keep digging. Saying that "we can't explain, so God did it with a snap of his fingers" seems to be to be giving up and not using our God-given talents.

If you will broaden your view just a bit you will see that secular scientists are doing the exact same thing. They say "evolution produced these changes" just as a creationist would say "God produced these kinds". They simply ascribe god-like powers to "evolution" that they cannot demonstrate or observe.

And either way we would "keep digging". A creationist wants to understand "how God did it". Science itself is a product of a Christian worldview, which viewed the universe as orderly and subject to a single law. That is why scientific progress flowed from nations with a Christian tradition. It didn't just "happen" to be that way. Honest Christianity encourages a search for the physical causes behind God's creation.

You should read "Evidence that Demands a Verdict" by Josh McDowell if you question the veracity of the Bible. God deals in both truth and fact. If you think the first two chapters are contradictory perhaps the defect is in your understanding of them and not in the text itself. Is that a possiblility?

"Creationism tells me absolutely nothing that is important, in my opinion, to Christian faith or values.

I think you are missing something. I have learned a lot about God through the awe-inspiring study of His creation. Romans even says that the glory of God is evident through what He has made.

Look, I am wearing myself out on this keyboard. Perhaps I will make an audio file where I go over the results of this human-chimp genome comparison and why it disproves human evolution from a common chip ancestor. I wanted to hold out for a debate but 1) the other side is too arrogant to condescended to even debate it ironically melded with a fear that creationism will seem credible and 2) the case is so strong that even if they know what I am going to say, there is still no good way to refute it. It is like a football team so overpowering that even if you KNOW they are going off-tackle they are still going to make yards.

12:29 PM, December 22, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mark,
I realize that you are using this issue in some feeble attempt at gaining media time for your ego. Maybe the call went unanswered because you're really not that important. I can get on here and argue points from books written by Christians arguing against evolution, but what good would it do? My lack of grounding would show through (as yours does) and nobody would take me seriously. It's great that you believe what you read by Christian "scientists," but in a real debate you would certainly not rip the head off of any informed scientist. But in response to this post, as in all of your others, you will simply say that I am uninformed, don't have the facts, believe the wrong facts, aren't as enlightened about the world as you are because I disagree with you, challenge me or others to a debate that people are too busy for (because they don't post new posts every ten minutes), and say that I love queers and kill babies. Evolve already Mark. You're becoming obsolete.

12:32 PM, December 25, 2006  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

So that was your Christmas post hmmm?

Now THAT is what I am used to when I try to engage evolutionists in rational debate. I give facts and reason, and they respond with hateful personal attacks.

It is not just me that would rip the head off of a scientist defending human evolution, a lot of us would. It is not that they are dumb, they just can't support their position with enough facts to justitfy the monopoly they demand.

7:42 PM, December 26, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well typically creationists have no explaination for any of the evidence that exists, esspecially for evidence that seems to discredit creation. For instance shared ERVs, the best I have heard is "well some of them actually play a role in our physiology." So? I mean that doesn't change the fact that they exist. Of course observed and documented instances of speciation don't sway creationists either, typically they say "well the new mouse species was just another mouse" or "the new fruit fly is just another fruit fly" well yeah, but they are a different species. In terms of genetic information being added to a genome, it happens all the time. Again retroviruses can add genetic material, and such retroviral genes play a role in our physiology. Of course they don't add a whole new structure to our body...but that takes generations. For examples of mutations that lead to structural changes to organisms just look at amphibians, frogs are currently popping up with extra working eyes, extra working limbs and so on. In just a few generations major physiological changes aren't going to occur, so we aren't going to see them exept in odd cases like those mutatant frogs. More minor physiological changes would be predicted to be more prevelant according to evolution...and guess what we see? Huge numbers of minor physiological changes, changes in bone stucture in different human populations, radiation resistance in ukrainian mice, increased prevalance of autoimmune diseases (mainly because organisms with auto-immune issues don't get cancer and because we can now treat some auto-immune diseases). Other additions to the genome of organisms are even more common situations such as point mutations, instead of an A being transcribed once it is transcribed twice. So instead of ATG we have AATG or as seen in even more extreme cases AAAAATG. This would potentially cause considerable alterations to a protien in this organism.

In the end the main reason that evolution is what should be in schools while religions creation stories shouldn't be is because evolution an observed process and a well substantiated testable theory, while creationism and ID are nothing more than assertions that can't be tested.

9:56 PM, January 10, 2007  

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