Last Update: 11 Mar 00
Return to "Evolution vs. Creationism" essay
REPLY #58 TO
"EVOLUTION VS. CREATIONISM"
This is not a problem which falls into the realm of evolution.
(R) Not "evolution" itself, since micro evolution and Darwinianist forms of "macro" are observable. Rather the problem of the first common ancestor is for Darwinianists, and pre-Cambrian assumptions.
(MB) Do you even know what "evolution" is? "Evolution" is nothing more than genetic variation between generations. If you are not absolutely identical to your parents or siblings, then you are proof that evolution happens. How do the things you mention present any problems for acknowledging evolution?
Evolution is not a theory of origins.
(R) Ever heard of Darwin or Wallace? We are talking about Darwinian theory as an *origin* of species, and specifically species we have today via common ancestry. This IS about origins, and you can not evade the starting points of what would make the "theory" a viable one.
(MB) Mangling the definition of "origins" is not going to help your case. Species don't "originate" in the same way that the first life form did. If you want to argue about speciation or natural selection, that's fine. But, evolution still happens even if you don't believe that it leads to speciation or that natural selection is real. And, none of this has anything to say about how Life, the Universe, and Everything first got started.
It is not a theory which describes how life on Earth first developed.
(R) Ignorance of pre-Cambrian Darwinianist theory is not a valid reason for accepting the theory that speciation can occur beyond the limits of congener or beyond the limits of genre or specifically species in a related Family of genera. THIS is not observable. Nor is it Falsifiable. Therefore it is not science. If you believe it IS 'science' then you must demonstrate that areas in DISPUTE are somehow falsifiable.
(MB) Once again, you are mangling different and unrelated arguments. Darwin didn't have any "pre-Cambrian theory" since Darwin didn't even know there was such a thing as the Cambrian era. Since life existed for over two billion years prior to the onset of the Cambrian era, it is clear that this era was not any sort of starting point for life.
If you're asking me to dispute something that just isn't there, you're barking up the wrong tree. Indeed, since all available evidence supports the scientific models, it is incumbent upon you to show where they are wrong. Show why there are any limits to speciation. Show why any such limits can't occur past certain taxonomic levels. The reason why the things you claim aren't falsifiable is because they don't exist. You're using one of the standard tactics of Duane Gish -- make a bogus claim for evolution and then "prove" that evolution is "wrong" by attacking the same claim. You're going to have to deal with the realities of the subject.
Evolutionary theories only are concerned with the divergence and development of life *after* it first appeared.
(R) Evolution and common ancestry at the genus level are not in dispute. Evolution at this level is therefore not in dispute.
(MB) Then, evolution *as a whole* is not in dispute. Variation in offspring only takes place at the species level. It is only when sufficient divergence through variation has accumulated over time that the divergent lines are classified as new genera, families, classes, orders, phyla, or kingdoms. This traces the line of common ancestry back to the source. Creationists simply work in the wrong direction.
(R) However, Darwinian theory as an explanation for the origin of all species IS in dispute. This would include pre-Cambrian precursors or common ancestors which are necessary for Darwinism to be viable.
(MB) How does that work? If your view is correct, there should be no evidence whatsoever for any common ancestry above the level of genus and this is simply not the case. Also, if your previously-stated view is correct, you should agree that humans and chimpanzees share a common ancestry at the genus level.
(R) Dodging the very "first" common ancestor is also argumentum ad ignoratium. You also did not address the issue of scientific materialism and how you can explain such a common ancestor within the scope of your assumptions.
(MB) I'm not dodging anything. I'm trying to get you to understand that evolution is not a theory which describes how the "first common ancestor", as you put it, came to be. Evolution describes the process by which life has descended and diverged *after* it first appeared. Any claim which relies upon forcing things into evolution that simply aren't there is not a claim which stands any chance of successfully refuting evolution. What's so difficult to understand about that?
As to the non-issue of "scientific materialism", I will need two things from you before I can address it. First, you will need to define that term so I'll know what you're talking about. Second, I'll need to know how it is any factor in whether or not evolution is right or wrong.
Any questions of origins that are raised as objections to evolution only demonstrate a lack of knowledge about what evolution is all about.
(R) Evolution is observable.
(MB) Yes, it is.
(R) It is part of creationism as equally as it is a part of Darwinian theory.
(MB) How? Creationism specifically *denies* evolution! In fact, that's its whole reason for being. Or, is your version of Creationism somehow different? Does your version accept that Man is a product of the same evolutionary processes which have produced every other species of living thing on this planet?
(R) Evolution within this context is nothing more than speciation and the observation that new species mutate that can not interbreed.
(MB) Within *what* context? Creationists deny speciation, in toto. They *have* to deny this. Otherwise, their Biblical arguments lose all of the little force they might already have.
(R) Darwinian theory, however, IS the subject of *objections* which are *raised.*
(MB) The problem here is not that objections are raised. There are those who raise objections about the fact that the Earth is not flat and unmoving. There are even those who deny that gravity exists. Just because an objection is raised is not any indication that a theory is in trouble or that the objections to it must be taken seriously.
(R) A failure to deal with these assumptions of "the origin of species" via common ancestry, and macroevolution is a true demonstration of a lack of knowledge regarding what the dispute is actually about. Natural selection is a Law. It is observable, and it is falsifiable. It is equally a part of creationist theory as it is Darwinism.
(MB) So far, I've read a lot of poorly-defined bluster without much to support it. Now, it seems as though you have even fewer objections to evolution. I must admit that I'm at a bit of a loss to figure out exactly what you are taking issue with. You can't both accept evolution, speciation and natural selection while still putting limits on them. You can't claim to understand Darwinism while still taking it to task for any imagined failure to address the very beginning of life. You've said both that evolution is and is not observable and falsifiable. Maybe you need to start over and clearly define what you wish to discuss and what your objections are. While you're doing that, you'll also need to define the version of Creationism that you support, since the most commonly proselytized ones disagree with what you have said.
None of these are questions about evolution.
(R) Evolution is observable for creationists and is not in dispute. Darwinian theory IS in dispute.
(MB) Darwin knew nothing about RNA or prokaryotes. Why do you expect his work to explain them? Perhaps you also need to explain what you believe "Darwinian theory" is and how it differs from what you do not dispute. Understand that scientists do not uphold every chapter and verse of "Origin of Species" in the same way that Creationists uphold their Bibles. Darwin himself even stated that he did not have all of the answers and understood that his theories may be expanded, improved or even overturned by later study. Are you one of those folks who demands that every word of Darwin's must be true or else evolution will crumble? That's equivalent to brushing aside Newton because his theory of gravity doesn't hold up under relativistic conditions that he had no way of knowing.
(R) These have all been attempted to be explained by Darwinianists who understand the need for the consistency of scientific theory. Even the understanding that mitochondria are defined by Darwinianists as prokaryotes and "believed" to have evolved from bacteria (which is not observable but only inducted from presumptions that Darwinism is true) demonstrates the need to explain precursors in a "scientific" theory which is based on them.
(MB) Scientists are perfectly happy with an honest "we don't know" response to any given question. That is much preferred to inventing Creationist-style fairy tales as explanations. You also need to check your biology textbooks a bit deeper before you start trying to claim what science is saying. First, you might read a bit more to understand that prokaryotes did "evolve from bacteria". Bacteria *are* prokaryotes. Second, you need to understand that "belief" in scientific terms is not the same thing as "belief" in religious terms. A scientific "belief" (more commonly known as a "theory") is not something that is embraced either without evidence or in spite of the evidence. This means that such a "belief" can't simply be brushed aside as a "presumption". Those who dispute the theory will have to present evidence to the contrary.
You are addressing issues of biology and biochemistry. If you want to discuss them, that's fine, but they are not arguments against evolution.
(R) Evolution is not in dispute. Darwinian theory via common ancestry and macroevolution of all species IS in dispute.
(MB) Again, I must ask -- in dispute by who? Not by science in general and not by any currently-available evidence. As with the Flat-Earthers, uninformed dispute is no indication of a theory that is in trouble.
As far as evolution is concerned, these things could have natural origins or could have been created by some supernatural entity. Once again, evolution is only concerned with how things progressed *after* life first began.
(R) Argumentum ad ignoratium.
(MB) How does the proper definition of evolution's scope qualify as "ignorance"?
(R) The first sentence is an appeal to special creation, BTW.
(MB) How? Certainly, you're not going to try to claim that natural origins infer supernatural intervention?
RE: Where did sugar come from? Or any glucose with covalent bonds which can be broken for energy? Enzymes? RNA? The first protoplasm?
See above. None of this falls into the realm of evolution, either.
(R) The understanding that Darwinian theory is based on precursors is sine qua non to a viable scientific explanation of common ancestry.
(MB) Wrong. Darwinian theory only explains what happened *after* a defined starting point. That starting point was the appearance of the first living thing on this planet -- by whatever method that may have happened. To try to force the theory to go back beyond its starting point and then to claim that it is "wrong" because it doesn't address issues it is not concerned with is silly.
You are going to have to dispute the entire science of biology in order to make your point. Darwin's theories are only one small part of that larger science. They don't explain how the first life form appeared any more than they describe how chlorophyll works.
(R) Evolution as micro speciation is not in dispute. Darwinian theory as an explanation for the origin of species IS what is disputed.
(MB) I think your cut-and-paste button is stuck.
Where are the false inductions?
(R) False inductions of DNA data and ontogeny are one good place to start. False inductions that rule out the possibility that speciation has limitations that are observable.
(MB) You're going to have to go into some more detail here. What false inductions about DNA and ontogeny are you talking about? What specifically do you want to say about the idea of speciation limitations?
Also, isn't the idea that "God did it all" an induction in its own right?
(R) I'm glad you asked that question. Deductions based on general observation on Laws such as the Law of Biogenesis are absolute and falsifiable in a laboratory. Intelligent design is also based on such deduction NOT on induction which applies specifics of a system to another system.
(MB) Actually, you've got that backwords. Induction is the process of arriving at a general conclusion from the observation of specific facts. Deduction is the process of reasoning from stated premises (which are not necessarily factual) through to a logically-valid conclusion. Without facts, there can be no inductive reasoning. "God did it all" starts with the facts as we see them around us and concludes that God is responsible for them. Therefore, it is an induction -- albeit a shaky one, since the conclusion can never be tested by any method and is, therefore, not falsifiable.
(R) Darwinian theory is based upon tens of thousands of weak appeals to induction.
(MB) Again, you should be referring to it as a "deduction" if you want to make such an argument. You can't make "weak appeals" to facts. You can only draw poor conclusions from them. You can, however, make weak appeals to shaky premises.
(R) The idea of special creation is based scientific observation that is falsifiable.
(MB) How? Is not "special creation" the notion that God is responsible for the way things are? How can God ever be tested or falsified?
(R) One to start with would be the Law of Biogenesis.
(MB) OK, I'll bite. Explain to me how one can start with the "Law of Biogenesis" and arrive at God as a conclusion.
Not to mention that it is an unreasonable induction without evidence that God exists or that "God did it" in lieu of some other deity.
(R) This would be an induction, however, I would argue the point about whether it is reasonable. The general observations of intelligent design and the Law of Biogenesis however require a general deduction.
(MB) In other words, they are not conclusions which are based upon reasoning from facts. They are conclusions which can only be deduced by reasoning from initial presuppositions. If I am wrong, please show me how and where.
(R) It does not tell us specifically that it was the God of Abraham or Moses....but that IS another subject for debate which I enjoy talking about as well.
(MB) I have a forum for those discussions, as well. You are more than welcome to bring your best arguments along for the ride!
What Creationist assumptions have been misrepresented?
(R) The deduction of creation is not based on the Torah, or in a literal interpretation of Genesis. I'll review your web page and give you more specifics on which creationists points were misrepresented as being either ontological or held by consensus of all creationists.
(MB) I'm quite sure that the Institute for Creation Research and the vast majority of others who promote Creationism and Intelligent Design would not agree with you about Genesis. Without Genesis, however, one has to wonder where any basis for ID is to be found?
Isn't "God did it" their one and only claim?
(R) Much more to the aphorism that "God or a Creator had to have done it" based on scientific observation.
(MB) First, there's no real difference in those two statements. You'll have a hard time finding any ID advocate who doesn't believe that it wasn't Yahweh who is responsible for everything. Second, what sort of "scientific observation" leads to ID? The whole idea is nothing more than one huge argument from ignorance. "You can't convince me that it could have been done any other way. Therefore, God did it." Isn't that basically how it goes?
Which observations corroborate this claim?
(R) 1. The Law of Biogenesis
(MB) Which means what, exactly? Remember that this so-called "law" is better known as Louis Pasteur's disproof of spontaneous generation. How does the understanding that rotting meat does not magically produce maggots lead to Intelligent Design?
(R) 2. Intelligent Design (as discussed by theistic evolutionists such as Michael Behe)
(MB) Behe is a Creationist and is more of a proponent of "irreducible complexity" than he is of ID. His arguments are used by ID proponents since they sound good to the scientifically illiterate audience to whom ID is preached, but don't constitute the bulk of the idea.
(R) 3. Entropy (as properly discussed based on observation and the "assumptions" BEHIND mathematical equations, not mathematic equations themselves)
(MB) Oh, boy! The old, crusty "evolution violates the Second Law of Thermodynamics" stuff again, right? OK, I'll bite. Tell me how we should "properly discuss" entropy and just exactly what "assumptions" are lurking "behind" the math?
(R) We can start with these 3 before we move to the next ones....
(MB) If these are the best you have, the next ones should be real winners. But, that's what this forum is all about. Trot 'em all out. None have ever survived in the past and I doubt that's about to change now.
I didn't ask you what "Darwinian evolutionists" do or don't question about evolution. I asked you what *you* question about your religion and its ideas. May I assume by your non-answer that you question nothing at all about what you believe?
(R) (NOTE: The respondent did not answer this question)
(MB) I guess that non-answer speaks loudly and clearly. Why should we take seriously any call to question science when those who demand such things are unwilling to question their own views?
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