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The General Anti-Creationism FAQ

Science and Evolution

by Jim Meritt
Originally formatted for the web by Tedd Hadley
The Meritt FAQ has been replaced by Mark Isaak's extensive Index to Creationist Claims which is superior in almost every respect. It deals with issues relevant to this file in its Philosophy and Theology section especially its Epistemology subsection. Also see 29+ Evidences for Macroevolution: Scientific Proof? and the Evolution and Philosophy FAQ. The Meritt FAQ is preserved for archival purposes only and its text will not be updated.


Science and Evolution

Creationism deserves equal time because evolution is only a theory.

But a theory in the scientific sense of the word, meaning that it explains a wide range of phenomena and that there's lots of data to back it up. Creationism, on the other hand, isn't even a theory; it's an assertion. "Equal time" in what? In schools in general, or in science classes? Science classes are suppose to teach science. There are two criteria for this:

  1. It must be falsifiable i.e. there must be some way to show that the theory is incorrect. The theory must be testable. Evolution is, in that there can be things specified which, if they can be verified, would disprove evolution. Creationism allows no such test.
  2. It must be able to make predictions i.e. it must be able to tell you how something WILL occur (and then you must be able to verify the accuracy of the prediction). The theories which compose evolution are useful in this regard in that they have made predictions concerning population densities, physiologies, chemistries, fossil find forecasts,... Creationism does none of this. At best, its "predictions" are either in the past (already happened) or unverifiable.


As a BTW: A Creationist posting was made on talk.religion.christian, (a moderated group) but no rebuttal was allowed from any evolutionist.

Evolutionists themselves admit they have no proof.

That is because science doesn't "prove": it shows possibilities and disproves things and makes predictions. Science doesn't deal in proof. It deals in evidence. Evolution has LOTS of evidence.

Twenty objections admitted: evolutionists themselves have admitted to flaws in their argument.

Isn't it nice to have a system that you can criticize and test? The only system which has no flaws is one in which those flaws are either defined away or ignored. We call this dogma. The presence of these flaws reveils the presence of active investigation into the limits. We call this "science".

Scientists condemn evolution: some scientists don't agree etc. ....

Then the same argument disproves Creationism, too, since many (most?) theologians don't agree with it.

What else has 100% concurrence? Gravity is not 100% concurred with, either.

Evolution isn't a science because you can't observe things that happened millions of years ago.

But you can observe the RESULTS of things that happened millions of years ago. And then, by using basic scientific knowledge, extrapolate back. And by observing trends within the period you can derive general rules which may then be used for predictions into the future. Just the historical observation is not evolution.

Rift between mathematicians & biologists

Here's an interesting story... (I think)... In 1967, a few mathematicians and biologists were chatting over a picnic lunch organized by Victor Weisskopf, prof. of physics at MIT. A "weird" discussion took place as the conversation turned to the subject of evolution by natural selection. The mathematicians were stunned by the optimism of the evolutionists about what could be achieved by chance. The wide rift between the participants led them to organize a conference on "Mathematical Challenges to the Neo-Darwinian Theory of Evolution"...(skip to the conference)... which opened with a paper by Murray Eden, Prof. of Electrical Engineering at MIT, entitled "The Inadequacy of Neo-Darwinian Evolution as a Scientific Theory". Eden showed that if it required a mere six mutations to bring about an adaptive change, this would occur by chance only once in a billion years --while, if two dozen genes were involved, it would require 10,000,000,000 years, which is much longer than the age of the earth. (See Gordon R. Taylor's "The Great Evolution Mystery"). "Since evolution does occur and has occurred, something more than chance mutation must be involved. Von Neumann & complexity

It's hard to see how the described "wide rift" between biologists and mathematicians could exist, since most of the population geneticists I know are mathematicians--like my thesis advisor, a PhD in Statistics. Population genetics is an intrinsically mathematical subject, as my students found with great dismay about 2 weeks into the course I TA'ed on the subject.....

I get a little angry when people seem to be implying that evolution is casually refutable and was refuted (by a professor of electrical engineering?) decades ago. Do they really think that two decades of bright, dedicated biologists would stick to a theory that this kind of argument could refute?

Adaptive change by mutation has been shown in the laboratory and is not in question. It is quite easy to demonstrate in bacteria, and advantageous forms which were generated by the co-occurrence of multiple mutations are quite possible. Three points are usually being missed by people who make Prof. Eden's mistake:


  1. Disadvantageous forms can persist in the population for a long time;
  2. Multiple ways to the same end (multiple mutations giving the same result) are not only possible but common;
  3. Intermediate steps often have an inobvious advantage in themselves, making them targets of natural selection.

Seriously, there is something badly wrong with the mathematician's models if this story is true. In the first place, there isn't really a necessity for each mutation to occur from a blank slate - virtually all species have a fair amount of diversity. In the second place, there is a considerable amount of recombination - even with base pairs on the same chromosome (crossover) (or maybe the mathematician has never heard of sex :-). Thirdly, the rate of mutations can be measured and is significantly higher than what appears to be implied by the fixing of 6 mutations in 1 billion years. Fourthly, if any intermediate forms have any slight advantage (due to partial implementation of the feature), then those forms will be selected -- and selection is NOT a random process. Fifthly, many single point mutations have similar/identical effect (that is, it wouldn't be necessary for 6 specific mutations to occur but one from each of 6 different sets, a much easier problem).

All I can figure is that the model assumes a population of a single homozygous individual whose progeny never exchange any genetic material and in which the mutated genes never recombine by crossover during mitosis. In other words, sort of like analyzing the aerodynamics of racehorses by assuming a spherical horse

Sounds like he's talking about six simultaneous mutations, which may very well be statistically phenomenal. Not required they be simultaneous by evolution however, and once one mutation is replicating throughout a group of related organisms, the odds then go up that one of them might develop another significant mutation in addition to the one they are now carrying.

The doctrine of evolution is atheistic and therefore immoral.

Unlike creationism, evolution doesn't require the acceptance or rejection of any religion. In fact, many theists believe in evolution. The doctrine that atheism is immoral is bigotry, and therefore immoral. Competition doesn't imply hatred or war.

Competition for survival implies "strife, hatred, war, and death."

The Soviets did have a problem along these lines. Lysenko in particular disbelieved in natural selection for these reasons. He got charge of the Soviet Union's grain production. Their agricultural industry has almost recovered...

The atheistic and satanic character of the doctrine is evidenced in the many evil social doctrines it has spawned.

What?!?! Talk about irrelevant mud-slinging!!!

All of my statements, past, present and future express solely my opinions and/or beliefs and do not in any way represent those of any of my employer's unless such is specifically stated in the content of the text.

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