Last Update: 15 May 00
Return to "Evolution vs. Creationism" essay
REPLY #69 TO
"EVOLUTION VS. CREATIONISM"
Untrue. Evolution is not a theory of origins. Evolution only describes what happens *after* life has already begun. As far as the theory is concerned, the origin of life is irrelevant.
(R) This statement is patently untrue. Do you want me to go through the lists of sites referring to life's origin in an evolutionary context, just linked to Talk Origins alone? Are you differentiating yourself from these evolutionists? Are you differentiating yourself from mainstream evolutionists in general? Aren't you playing games here?
(MB) Not at all. Since evolution is a subset of biology and since biology also seeks to describe the origins of life, it is natural to link evolution with life's origins. Many science texts merge discussions of the two in order to try to present a more complete picture of the history of life on Earth. You are interpreting them backwards by making the biology of origins dependent upon evolution when evolution is actually a side-effect of that same biology. Similar misinterpretations lead to bogus Creationist claims that the origin of the universe is somehow also contained within evolution.
Since evolution (i.e., descent with modification) obviously can't happen unless there is already a living organism present which produces offspring, the initial origin of that organism is outside the scope of evolution. This is why evolution says nothing about whether or not life arose naturally, extraterrestrially or from some sort of divine intervention. Evolution describes what happens only *after* living things first got their start. Evolution is a part of biology and not the other way around. If you think you have any sources which state that the first life on Earth arose through Darwinian evolution, please let me know. I'm always looking for a good laugh. (And, don't just say "look at Talk.Origins" or "read so-and-so's book". I want a specific URL or citation that I can check.)
Actually, Creationists can't seem to decide what they want the early atmosphere to be, but they're certain that it couldn't have been amenable to the origin of life whether it was reducing, neutral, or oxygenated.
(R) Are you answering my question, or debating with someone else?
(MB) I'm answering your question. You are the only one asking it at the moment. Was there something wrong with my statement?
Needless to say, the question is not one which concerns evolution. Nor are questions about how the Earth formed, how the solar system formed, how the universe formed, etc. They are all legitimate debates, but they fall into other areas of science. To bring them into a debate on evolution is to do nothing more than obfuscate the issue.
(R) No it doesn't. These are foundational issues. They set the groundwork for evolution.
(MB) "Setting the groundwork" for evolution and being dependent on evolution are two mirror-image and mutually-exclusive situations. The end result of any given series of events can't be said to have started the series in motion, but that's what you're trying to do by arguing that questions of origins fall into the realm of evolution.
(R) But I congratulate you on an excellent method of not answering the question.
(MB) What was not answered? I pointed out a fatal flaw in a basic argument and effectively quashed any arguments based on that flaw. Is there any reason why I must answer questions about origins and how evolution fails to answer them when those answers aren't contained within the realm of evolution in the first place?
Have you actually read the sources you referenced, or did you obtain the references from another source?
(R) By the way, I have read these sources. Have you read yours?
(MB) Of course. I ask because it is common practice (as evidenced by many earlier replies in this section) for Creationists to argue exclusively by the cut-and-paste method of lifting material from places like "Answers in Genesis".
(R) Since origins is now out of bounds, we'll finish this quickly. You know that glcine is the only amino acid out of 20 used in life not to have handedness. Therefore, just as with your comment that any problem not being "all encompassing", is an interesting take. 100% is all encompassing, 95% is not.
(MB) Quite true. But, the fact that glycine is not chiral is often overlooked when the chirality argument is made. Trivial, to be sure, but still a fact.
(R) Chirality is a problem, because life's amino acids are all left handed, it sugars are all right handed and it's nucleic acids are all left handed. Yet chemical reactions producing precursors produce 50-50 mixes of right handed and left handed versions of all these molecules. Current explanations can all be stated as deficient based on the lack of extrasolar cometary and metoric activity, the lack of sugars and nucleic acids in an extraterrestial context, a 50-50 amino acid split in all but one (strangely published long after it's discovery by the way) meterorite piece known, and finally due to the lack of empirical support for the suppositions made.
(MB) This is certainly a question where the evidence is not yet all in. As in all such cases, hypotheses abound and fall by the wayside upon further study. The complexities of carbon compounds are such that we'll likely never identify all the possibilities.
In your opinion, will science be unable to find the solution to this question? What evidence suggests that the answer might actually be found in something other than science?
(R) but of course, all of that is out of bounds, so we won't bring it up again.
(MB) A wise course of action unless it can be shown what relevance this issue has to whether or not evolution is a real process. How life began and what mysteries it still contains don't matter to any discussion of evolution. It is taken as a given that life arose by some method -- known or unknown, scientific or supernatural. Then, and only then, could evolution kick in. It is no more necessary for evolution to describe the biological process of life's origins than for an artist to describe the chemical processes by which his paints were made.
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