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« Justified in Not Believing? | Main | Sci Fi & Stem Cells »

July 07, 2009

Comments

Too bad they don't ask you to read something from an evolutionist arguing for evolution. I'd suggest Prothero or Coyne. That's the stuff that would really allow you to arrive in an informed state.

ASK THEM ABOUT THE ERV's!

Jon,
Have you read all of the books in that picture (or at least a good number of them)? If not, how are you able to say that you have arrived at "an informed state"?

what does the theory of relativity have to do with ID????

ToNy,

I've noticed many apologists using their misunderstandings of modern physics to say that science is compatible with God. If I had to guess, I'd say that the DI intends to present a superficial summary of modern physics, and then twist it to match their theology.

Although I appreciate our blogger's attempts to educate himself, I do not think he will come to a proper qualitative understanding of modern physics by taking reading assignments from the DI.

I agree, at least replace one of the string theory books with Ken Miller's "Finding Darwin's God" or "The Case for Evolution" or Dawkin's excellent "The Ancestor's Tale." At the very least you think they would include THE original source, "The Origin of Species"

I recommend Geoffrey Miller The Mating Mind.

This book changed my life.

Not only will you learn about evolution, but you can improve your odds of getting girls on a Friday night too.

Oh the evolution wars...they never get old, do they? Really, why should the Christian care at all about whether micro evolution or macro evolution is true? What of such monumental importance hangs on Adam being specially created instead of developing according to a model evolutionary biology favors?

--Henry

Why should the christian care whether micro or macro evolution is true?

Simple. God's fiat creation is a direct contradiction to any "chance" evolving. Nothing ever occurs by chance in a world where God is sovereign. Micro evolution is obviously true...macro is not.

If God has truly created all of reality...then none of it has ever been caused by pure random chance.

...and like wise if macro evolution is true...then there is no God, period.

Some seem to think that macroevolution requires that the development of humans occurred in the absence of any and all forms of guidance (even of the most minimal sort!). Perhaps some scientists speak this way; but if they do, they are overplaying their metaphysical hands (as they usually do). The fact of the matter is that it is perfectly consistent to believe both that God created and ordained all of history and that the development of humanity unfurls according to laws or quasi-laws of evolutionary development. The problem simply does not concern an inconsistency between theism and macroevolution. Of course, both apologists and Darwinians love to say that macroevolution teaches that evolution unfurls in the complete absence of every kind of providential oversight. But that is just not true. After all, how could the scientist show that God has not ordained laws of nature in such a way that history unfurls naturally (respecting those laws of nature) the vast majority of the time? She cannot show this. How, then, can the scientist show that God has not ordained such a process for the development of humanity? Again, she cannot show this. She may show that we developed according to the model of evolutionary biology; but it does not follow from this that God does not exist or that he did not providentially ordain the process. God does ordain many processes that scientists study under the rubric of natural phenomena. Why think the issue of human development is any different? There isn’t a good reason. My hunch is that what is really driving the evolution wars is a certain view of the Bible and a reading of Genesis. Theism itself simply is insufficient to motivate such a fuss about evolution.

--Henry

Frank,

Are you not making a false dichotomy between so-called "macroevolution" and the existance of God? I mean at least a few prominant scientists can make the leap, Ken Miller, and Francis Collins and many more I do not know.

Why is making the distiction between evolution and God so important?

francis collins book is at least a good read:

The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief
by Francis Collins.

And his credentials are pretty good.

I personally can't believe people believe don't got a problem with believing in evolution AND the book of genesis.

but i dunno

whatev...

I think we have a basic failure to understand what both evolution and Christianity profess.

First... Evolution's most basic tenet...is randomness...not just unpredictiability...but pure unguided progression from the very formation of basic life to man.

The cause of evolution can ONLY be purposeless "chance". God could not use evolution because...nothing in a Created world...HAS EVER happened "BY" ...chance. Now you might be thinking possibly of the "clockmaker" god of Deism who supposedly could have "wound up" the universe originally...and then sat back to see how long it would take an ameoba to evolve to destroy itself all life by nuking the whole thing. But of course that "god" has nothing to do with Christianity at all.

As for being impressed by the big names in science...i gave that up a long time ago when i discovered that even very brilliant men can articulate very stupid ideas. When I heard Sagan (The blue Marble..remember?) explain where he thought the universe came from...he said ...that was easy. He said that Space + Time + Chance = The universe.....and I still chuckle about that today.

At any rate....Christians who think that God had any room for any evolving...need to return to Christianity 101. He SAID...the animals were made after their own kind...no mention of any evolving from one to another....ever.

Frank said,

"Nothing ever occurs by chance in a world where God is sovereign. Micro evolution is obviously true...macro is not."

But "microevolution" is every bit as much a product of "chance" processes as macroevolution. If microevolution occurs, then things do indeed occur "by chance".

Also, please define "kind".

>>He SAID...the animals were made after their own kind...

I suppose if we're going to trade in completely myopic readings of Scripture we'll also say that God made light before the stars and that in a period of 24 hours Adam was created, named all of the animals, got lonely, and was put to sleep for the purpose of making Eve only then to subsequently be relieved from his loneliness.

--Henry

>> God made light before the stars

so
god can do that

>> Adam was created, named all of the animals...

we don't know if god uses the linnean taxonomy.

so its impossible to know how many species there are (then and now)

Joe says things do indeed happen by "chance">

I think we need to flesh this out.

I think you are wrong. I maintain that nothing has ever happened by chance.

What do you mean when you say that something occurs "BY" chance? How can chance have any effect on any event that ever happens?? Are you saying that it happens with a cause? I hope not.

Further...have you actually stopped to consider that in order for one thing to CAUSE an effect...that first thing must..."be"...and chance is not a thing. It has no being...so it can't really do anything. Chance is....nothing.

Remember this please....Chance is nothing but our ignorance of real causes. Even the unbeliever Hume understood that.

An example to illustrate comes again from Dr. Sproul in his book "Not a chance".....

What part does
chance play in the outcome of a coin toss? Answer..absolutely none. The CAUSE of the coin toss outcome is NEVER chance. The cause of the outcome is a myriad of secondary causes...(wt of coin, density of the air, arc of trajectory etc)...and just because we do not take the time to do all the calculations each time we toss the coin...we ...CALL it chance...but in reality chance had not one thing to do with the outcome. Do you see that?

Frank,

>> chance play in the outcome of a coin toss? Answer..absolutely none.

hard determinism is pretty much dead

thats probably why theres a quantum mechanics book up there in the books picture.

Frank,

Please define "kind".

With respect to "chance", I think that your response went off on a tangent, perhaps because I did not make myself clear. Let me try to be clearer.

I was responding to your use of the word "chance" in the following...

"Nothing ever occurs by chance in a world where God is sovereign. Micro evolution is obviously true...macro is not."

How does microevolution occur? What is the mechanism that produces variation within kind? What is the role of unpredictable, random genetic change (i.e. "chance") in microevolution? Does God direct the unpredictable, random genetic changes? If random, unpredictable or "chance" genetic changes can produce microevolutionary changes, what prevents this mechanism from leading to macroevolutionary changes?

Perhaps Dr. Sproul is unfamiliar with the field of quantum mechanics.

Joe suggests Dr. Sproul may be lacking in his understanding of quantum mechanics.

If you care to check out the book i mentioned "Not a Chance" by Dr Sproul you will see that he understands it quite well.. Question is...do you?

If you think that quantum mechanics has shown that something really can happen without a cause...then you have misread what has been shown by the theory. The phenomenon of the "quantum leap" certainly is a mystery. Of that there is no doubt. However there is no warrant whatsoever to say we know that there is no cause to the event. We simply do not know what that cause is right now. Science is like that. We have a conundrum that certainly SEEMS to act one way...but until all the parameters are known...only the arrogant will assume that we KNOW that "nothing" can cause an event.

Atheists often parade QM as thier example of "something coming from nothing" (and therfore proving God is not necessary)...but of course to know that it came from "nothing" would assume that we had all knowledge. That is why it is nothing but arrogance to suggest such a thing.

Joe asks...How does microevolution occur?

Joe...microevolution is not really evolution at all but the term is used so often that I wont belabor the point right now.

What is meant by "microevolution" is...natural selection. Natural selection is real and is nothing more than variation WITHIN kind. Just as all kinds of dogs can be bred by "selecting" desired traits...the natural world can also "select" various traits. The "selection" is due to natural parameters such as climate changer, temperature, predatory pressure as well as over population pressure etc.

The main thing to remember in natural selection is that no...NEW traits are ever produced. The selection that occurs..."selects" from the gene pool already present. You have to remember that many many different traits are contained in the orginal genes. That is...these traits have ALWAYS existed in the organisms DNA...and which trait (Brown eyes vs Blue etc) is expressed depends upon the natural pressures mentioned. This is NOT evolution in any form.

"These guys don't mess around! I have to read about topics like genetics, quantum theory, string theory, relativity, philosophy of cosmology, protein sequences, and much more all before I arrive this Friday."

Actually, it rather looks like these guys are messing around. Far better to know one thing well and truly than to "mess around" with six huge topics, only to leave with the false belief that you're conversant on these things. Sadly, we see the result of this kind of "education" in politics and in the church.

>> ASK THEM ABOUT THE ERV's!

AND ALSO ABOUT THE NATURE OF THE STATISTICS USED!

>Natural selection is real.

Yes it is, but it is not synonymous with evolution, nor is it "variation within kind". Natural selection is one of the mechanisms driving evolution, but it's not evolution itself, either micro- or macro-evolution.

>The selection that occurs..."selects" from the gene pool already present.

Ah, I think I see the problem. The above statement is inaccurate. Natural slection selects from a gene pool that includes genetics sequences that have been produced by new, random ("chance") changes in the DNA. The DNA available for selection is constantly changing and new sequences that have been created over time. It's not just "original genes", whatever that means. These genetic changes do indeed produce "new traits" that may be favored and preserved by natural selection.

Definition of "kind"?

>> But "microevolution" is every bit as much a product of "chance" processes as macroevolution. If microevolution occurs, then things do indeed occur "by chance".

In that Creation possesses properties independent of its Creator -- that is, after the creation event -- its locations and reactions among itself is not typically guided by the Creator's will. In this sense, things do happen by chance.

And, were the potential for change not restricted by DNA -- which may, or may not, be the case as far as science is concerned (it is presumed, but has yet to be proven) -- then macroevolution would at least be possible.

As an aside, I have yet to see attention given to the notion that perhaps, within the Evolutionary worldview, it is possible that common ancestry never happened.

CT,
I sympathize with your statement, but it is possible that he would like to familiarize himself with a broad spectrum of things -- in addition to knowing something really well.


Joe says that natural selection is not "variation within kind...which reveals his lack of understanding. Variation WITHIN KIND is exactly what natural selection is.

Natural selction can not "drive" anything much less cause any evolving. Nature "selects" from traits already in the organisms gene pool. It cannot "select" what is not there.

Joe, you are skipping over just how any changes to the DNA could possibly happen. Just saying it "changes" doesn't solve anything. There has to be a mechanism to cause ...not just an "alteration" of the DNA...but an...ADDITION to the original gene pool. An organism is born with a gene compliment and within that compliment are various possiblities for what will actually can be expressed (the genotype).

Mutations are the only way DNA can be altered...and by "altering" I do NOT mean adding information. Usually all a muation does is deactivate a particular enzyme sequence that allows the organism to "survive"...as in antibiotic resistence in bacteria.

Mutations do NOT improve the gene pool...they lower its overall viability which makes it LESS fit overall....that is why so many diseases are named after the mutation that causes them. Diseases NEVER make an organism more fit.

The phrase "variation within kind" describes an observable trait of a population. It is not a mechanism. Natural selection is mechanism that favors the survival and reproduction of some individuals over other. Observable traits and mechanisms are two different things.

>Nature "selects" from traits already in the organisms gene pool. It cannot "select" what is not there.

True, but as I said those "traits" can include DNA sequences that were not present in the "original" gene pool. Those traits can include new sequences produced by mutation in later generations of a given "gene pool".

It's an observable fact that mutations can create new, advantageous traits, and not just by "deactivating enzymes sequences", whatever that means. I think that your understand of muation is incomplete.

Any chance that you'll define "kind" for me?

...It's an observable fact that mutations can create new, advantageous traits, and not just by "deactivating enzymes sequences", whatever that means...

Just out of curiosity, shoot me an example of this. Thanks

I have examples in mind, but first, I think that we need to define some terms. I know what I would consider "new", but how would you define the term? What would you accept as "new information"? What is the difference, if any, between "altered information" and "new information"? I just want to establish the rules before I search for examples.

Hate to get catty here, Joe. Your questions really are legitmate and worthwhile...but we really do need to talk.

You say "Natural selection" is NOT a mechanism...and then in the next sentence you say it IS. Not sure where you plan on ending up with this...but...I digress.

You say mutations can cause advantageous traits? Can you give us 3 or 4 mutations that make any organism more viable and fit for survival?? Sickle cell anemia is one mutation that has one benefit...(sort of). When sickle cell anemia is contracted...along with the disease itself the person is less likely to get full blown malaria. So I guess...yoiu can take your pick as to which you'd rather have.

As i mentioned it is true that bacteria may well survive an antibiotic when a mutation causes a "deactivation" of a particular enzyme sequence....but no NEW information is added. The organism had to LOSE genetic information to achieve the resistance. This is NOT progress in the evolutionary sense. Deactivating the orginal enzymes is no way to "improve" the species.

You have given no mechanism for how any IMPROVEMENT (new added information) could ever arrive in the gene pool. Just saying it does so will do no good. No scientist knows either...so don't feel bad.

Joe...

"New" information would be actual physical nuclear material that was NOT originally in the DNA. It would have come from somewhere. It would have to be coded for. Now ...THAT is a tall order. No one knows how any such addition could be coded for without a "coder", so to speak. New DNA just doesn't pop into being out of nothing.

For sure...mutations seem to have been thought of as a possiblity for causing one species to change into another...but without a "mechanism" for the addition of genetic material instead of mere "altering" of the orginal material...it is a dead end. For one species to "evolve" into another...say for an algae to evolve into a human...new information would have to be added steadily billions and billions of time. Science has yet to show that it has occurred even once. Altering of the orginal DNA...yes...adding to the orginal...never.

Hate to get catty here, Frank, but where did I say that natural selection was not a mechanism?

Frank,

You're not defining your terms very clearly. What is the difference between "altering" and "adding".

>No one knows how any such addition could be coded for without a "coder", so to speak. New DNA just doesn't pop into being out of nothing.

Ever heard of transposons? Gene duplication? Polyploidy? Science has.

>As i mentioned it is true that bacteria may well survive an antibiotic when a mutation causes a "deactivation" of a particular enzyme sequence....but no NEW information is added.

Ever heard of the nylonase gene?

Gene duplication? Is that not the duplication of an already existing Gene?

Read some of William Dembski's or Don Batten's writings on the nylonase gene. The whole concept seems a little sketchy in my opinion. I definitley don't think it proves or explains anything with any importance other than a homework assignment for students in a Science class...

>Gene duplication? Is that not the duplication of an already existing Gene?

And if the copy of the gene is subsequently modified by mutation such that we get a new trait...? That's called....?

See why we need to define our terms ahead of time?

>Read some of William Dembski's or Don Batten's writings on the nylonase gene.

I have. I think they missed the point or signficance of the gene. Do you have a specific point in mind?

Yes, something can't come from nothing...

I have to repeat Joe's question, What is a kind? Answers in Genesis claims that dogs and foxes are of the same kind? do you agree? Are all beetles of the same kind? All flies? All birds?

>Yes, something can't come from nothing...

But that, of course, is not the point of the nylonase gene.

Instead, the gene is cited as an answer to the question of how the "new information" needed to take us from single celled orgins to humans could come into existence. It is an answer to the claim that "new information can not come into existence by mutation".

But as I expected, by saying "something can't come from nothing", you've moved the goalposts and changed the question to be addressed.

...To clarify the original position of the goalposts, Frank has said,

"You have given no mechanism for how any IMPROVEMENT (new added information) could ever arrive in the gene pool. Just saying it does so will do no good. No scientist knows either...so don't feel bad."

"For one species to "evolve" into another...say for an algae to evolve into a human...new information would have to be added steadily billions and billions of time. Science has yet to show that it has occurred even once. Altering of the orginal DNA...yes...adding to the orginal...never."

The nylonase gene (and other examples I could use), demonstrates that these specific claims are not accurate. These are the goalposts that I'm aiming at.

By the way, no thinks that "algae" are ancestral to animals.

Still looking for defintions for "kind", "information", "altered information", "new information", etc. Definitions help to keep the goalposts anchored.

>Yes, something can't come from nothing... You've gotten my point, atta boy.

Now as far as your point goes... What is your "goalpost" you're aiming for???

I believe that I describe the goalposts I was aiming at.

"Something can't come from nothing."

And what, exactly, does this have to do with evolution?

topher,

I think you need to read over the article again. Finish reading it and stop picking out what you want to post... I've read that article and you're a little off my friend. give it another shot.

Joe says no one believes alage is the ancestor of animals.

Then we aren't talking evolution afterall. That is the whole baseline premise of Darwinian evolution. If life began as a single cell...then there is no other alternative. Since all life has to have "evolved" from the simple to the complex... ALL simpler forms of life have to be our ancestor. Is this new to you?

Ok.."Kind" means species.

"Information" means the directing program which is aperiodic, specified and complex for construction of the genetic code. (in other words not just any random coding will do)

"New information" would mean different coding that what was contained in the orignial.It would result an actual physical
increase in genetic material over what was originally there.

"Altered information" would not be NEW coding nor new genetic material...It would be the result of a mutation reducing the quantity of the original coding so that the offspring to this organism would be LESS viable than its parent.

Consider the goalpopst anchored.

Yes you can go ahead and explain how any new gentic material can come about on its own. References would be appreciated.

I think it has a lot to do with Evolution. Maybe not the sense you and Frank were trying to sort out but as far as any type of evolution goes, you have to have a starting point for anything to evolve.

You can't start discussing the Evolution of a species until you figure out where it came from first.

Very well defined Frank. I can't help but wonder why Joe and topher couldn't proceed to comment before knowing what you meant by "kind"... But now they have been informed I assume.

Prince says..."you can't discuss evolution until you figure out where it came" from first"

Thats correct...but you wont find evolutionists touching that with a ten foot pole..except in vague terms like they tried to do with the Miller urey experiments. (which actually proved nothing about origins)

The whole point of evolution is that ther is no guiding or purpose to the natural world. It just..."is.


It just is???? A world this finely tuned isn't just "is"! Even athiest grasp for a theory of the origin of life and Earth. I can't believe there are still people that think that. To say that we are just hear because we are hear is giving up on trying understand purpose. What do you believe your purpose is?

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