|Comment:||I'm still a little confused on what keeps evolution from being a law. I know a law describes a phenomenon and a theory explains it but doesn't evolution describe the descent of life? And is Punctuated Equilibrium a theory or law?|
|Author of:||Evolution and Philosophy|
Traditionally, laws are exceptionless universal claims in
science. A law of, say, gravity, may assert that all masses
in a gravitational field are attracted inversely as the
square of the distance, times the gravitational masses of
the objects. It doesn't say that only most objects
Of course, such exceptionless laws are fictions. There never was an infinite, flat, frictionless plane on which any object would tend to travel in a straight line until acted on by another force. But laws do tend, in physics, to be more general than in biology. Why is that?
It is because biology covers only a single planet in a vast universe, and each event in biology, such as the evolution of a spine, or adaptation to industrial pollution, is a historically singular event. Generalisations about history are only rules of thumb, and they summarise what is known about past events rather than setting the preconditions for all evolutionary events.
It is true, though, that if the criteria for a natural selection process are fulfilled, the end result has to be natural selection, unless other evolutionary "forces" intervene. But since we cannot predict exactly which mutations will arise, or which alleles will be sampled in a peripheral and isolated population, or what the Sun will do or the tectonic plates will do, in evolutionary theory, we can't make the sorts of predictions we can make in, say, astronomy.
Punctuated Equilibrium (PE) Theory is a generalisation about evolutionary patterns. It says that most change occurs off the fossil record, as it were, because the standard model of evolution of new species has it that speciation occurs in small semi-isolated or completely isolated populations, which are rarely if ever going to be fossilised in the process of speciating, and that species, once adapted to local conditions, will track those conditions rather than adapt much further.
This leads to the "stasis/rapid evolution" pattern in the phylogenetic record. It is not, as such, a "law" about evolution, but a recognition that evolution happens at variable rates, and not over an entire species' range, but locally. So it is a generalisation about (sexual) species evolving over large numbers of species and large periods of time. Unlike a law, a single instance to the contrary is not a falsification of it. Hence, PE is a model of patterns in the evolutionary record, and can be expected to apply only to most speciation events, and not all.
This is true of pretty well all evolutionary rules and models. For that reason, it is not thought that evolution has laws. Ecological theory has laws, though, and they feed into evolutionary theory. So, too, do the laws of physics and chemistry.
That is to say, this is my opinion on the matter.
visiting this website very much because it has alot of
useful information. There are hundreds of pro evolutionist
arguments here and they are always up to date even with all
the new arguments that are constantly rehashed by
creationists. I recently came across one claim wich I have
never heard before from an article called "the evolution of
man scientifically disproved in 50 arguments" by REV.
WILLIAM A. WILLIAMS. "The thickness of the earth's crust is
fatal to the theory of the great age of the earth, required
The temperature increases as we descend into the earth, about one degree for every 50 feet, or 100 degrees per mile. Therefore, at 2 miles., water would boil; at 18 miles, glass would melt (1850 degrees); at 28 miles, every known substance would melt (2700 degrees). Hence the crust is not likely more than 28 miles thick--in many places less. Rev. O. Fisher has calculated that, if the thickness of the earth's crust is 17.5 miles., as indicated by the San Francisco earthquake, the earth is 5,262,170 years old. If the crust is 2191 mi. thick, as others say, the age would be 8,248,380 years. Lord Kelvin, the well known scientist, who computed the sun's age at 20,000,000 years, computed the earth's age at 8,302,210 years. Subtract from these computations, the years that must have elapsed before the earth became cool enough for animal life, and the few millions of years left would be utterly insufficient to render evolution possible. Note how these figures agree with the age of the earth according to the Helmholtz contraction theory. The thinness of the earth's crust is also proven by the geysers, the volcanoes, and the 9000 tremors and earthquakes occurring annually in all parts of the world." My question is weather or not his argument is correct.
|Author of:||Ancient Molecules and Modern Myths|
answer to your question is, "No, his argument(s) is(are)
not correct." But thanks for a historical footnote to the
creationists' arguments aginst reality.
First remember that the Rev. Willaims http://www.ldolphin.org/wmwilliams.html was writing about science nearly eighty years ago without much training. Modern science is so far beyond that of his time that even with adequate training, it is unlikely that his "evidences" could hold water. Sadly, many of today's creationists have done no better. I have seen perhaps half of Williams' false arguments repeated in creationist feebsites and on internet discussion pages in just the last few months.
There are so many errors of fact and inference that it is hard to know where to start. Most of the historical errors in dating the Earth (and the solar system) are adressed by G. Brent Dalrymple in his 1991 book "The Age of the Earth" (Stanford University Press). Dalrymple covers the false age estimates you repeated from Williams in a manner available to non-scientists.
Actual data on the age of the solar system puts it at about 4.55 billion years old. An advanced text from 1995 is "Radiogenic Isotope Geology" by Alan P. Dickin (Cambridge University Press).
|Response:||Just to add
some references details:
Williams, William A. (1925) The Evolution of Man Scientifically Disproved: in 50 arguments, Self-published, Camden, NJ.
It was republished in 1928 and went through several reprintings after that (I own a paperback copy which was printed sometime after 1956, based on an added appendix which refers to an article on Piltdown Man from that date).
Knowledge advances while creationism keeps recycling the same junk over and over.
|Author of:||Isochron Dating|
temperature profile of the Earth's interior:
From this we can see that Rev. Williams is wrong about:
But, even so, the interior of the Earth is pretty hot. One might argue that (c) and (d) would be true to some extent even though (a) and (b) are not. For the latter half of this chain of reasoning, Rev. Williams relied on the work of Lord Kelvin. In 1862, Lord Kelvin calculated that a molten Earth would take at most a few tens of millions of years to cool down to its present temperature profile. However, Lord Kelvin's calculation requires that there be no heating after the Earth formed. If the heat inside the Earth is not residual heat of formation, the result of the calculation is meaningless.
By about 1905, radioactivity had been discovered, the heat released by radioactivity had been observed, and widespread existence of radioactive isotopes within the Earth had been established. At that point, Lord Kelvin's calculation was known to be invalid -- two decades before Rev. Williams used it anyway in 1925. That doesn't say much for the quality of Rev. Williams' research. Anyone using the same argument today has even less excuse than Rev. Williams did; it is hard to see it as anything other than a deliberate attempt to deceive.
|Comment:||i give my
beloved TO.archive guys a hard time every once in awhile
for being slow to post monthly feedback.
i know you guys have actual lives, but i would greatly apreciate a target date for posting the monthly feedback.
i know you cant post a previous months feedback on the 1st of the next month, but if you could target a day in the next month ( 5th, 10th, 15th, ect. it doesnt matter what it is) and let us know that target day , i would greatly apreciate it.
not knowing when feedback will be posted, means every day starting with the 1st of every month, I become more and more rabid each passing day, waiting to see the hovind challenge, moon dust agruement,"the earth isnt flat" missunderstanding untill i think i will die,,,,then it happens....feedback is posted and the junky shakes finally stop....untill next month.
|Author of:||Dino Blood and the Young Earth|
|Response:||Thank for the compliment, but it is Mike that does all the hard work putting Feedback into HTML. Learning experiments showed decades ago that a random re-enforcement regime was the most effective. This is not to say that the release dates for Feedback are randomized on purpose. But then, you never know.|
|Response:||I will aim
at around mid-month for posting feedback. To make it easier
to know when a new feedback document appears, the last
posted feedback will be listed in What's New. Furthermore
one can find out if a new feedback document has appeared
without even visiting the Archive by using its RSS file.
As for Gary's response, I should point out that a lot of the HTML work for feedback is handled by the feedback scripts created long before I ever lent a hand to this site.
|Comment:||i think that this site has no significants to the tasks that are performed in this school at scotch college. you are a bunch of mad scientists who have no social life and that [profanity deleted].|
|Comment:||Your site is
the best. After discovering it my 10 pg on evolution essay
was much easier. Keep up the good work.
By the way: could you guys write up more rebuttal against the theory of the young earth? Its much easier debating against my biology teacher who believes in intelligent design after I found this site. I win sometimes.
|Comment:||There is in Australia a "mouth breeding frog". The parent frog swallows the eggs which then mature to fully metamorphosed frogs in the stomach. Digestive juices are turned off during this procedure. My question is: What is a possible evolutionary scenario for the development of this process (adaptation).|
|Author of:||Evolution and Philosophy|
|Response:||The frog in
question is the Gastric Brooding Frog of which there are,
or rather were, as they became extinct almost as soon as
they were discovered in the Queensland rainforest, two
the Northern Gastric Brooding Frog (Rheobatrachus
the Gastric Brooding Frog (Rheobatrachus silus)
As to how this behavior might have evolved, we simply don't know, but an educated guess might be possible if we consider Darwin's frog (Rhinoderma darwinii), found in Argentina and Chile. This species picks up the developing eggs and carries them in its mouth (the male's) until they hatch.
Anuran (frog) parental care occurs mostly in territorial species, and it makes sense to protect your eggs against predators and competitors. A species that independently from the Rhinodermatidae carried eggs in its mouth might very well find it advantageous to carry them further down in the gastric tract, leading eventually to carrying them in the stomach, rather than in the vocal chambers as Darwin's frog does.
This would set up a process whereby selection would make it easier to carry eggs this way by shutting down acid production, and for eggs to be more resistant to gastric juices. But all this is just a guess - so far as I can tell there is no evidence how it evolved. And since they are now extinct, we can't really observe the biochemical pathways they used, to hazard better guesses.
that I have been pondering and cannot seem to find the
answer to at various websites is the question of natural
gas production. Specifically as to the formation of natural
gas. The question arose while attempting to determine
exactly how helium is formed. It seems we derive our helium
by extracting it from natural gas pockets. Where a star
such as our sun produces it at the core.
My dilemma is earth's natural gas is formed organically then how is helium formed inorganically or am I wrong here? Or does helium develope in our core and get trapped along with natural gas, which makes more sense to me, than helium being created organically.
I am looking at these things in particular due to the earth's age argument. I for one am an old earth proponent, I used to be very much the opposite however the creation theory no longer holds any water for me.
Has anyone ever really discussed the requirements to creating a gas field? To me this would require an old earth. First of all, it would require an enormous amount of organic material. Which would take an incredible amount of time. These creatures would have had to have lived long before their bodies began to decay and eventually under the right conditions form gas. Secondly these pockets are deep within the earth. The time it would take to bury these pockets would certainly be a great deal of time as well.
The part that I am missing here is how does the body/plant die, decay, form gas and get trapped over time? If I bury an animal or plant and come back a year later I probably won't find the plant remains anymore and I would only find some bones from the animal. Nothing to make oil or natural gas from. To me somehow there would have had to have been a mass population die off and for some reason that mass population just happened to all be together at that particular time, I mean almost every living creature in one place at one time. Yet this cannot be true since there are deposits all over the earth. Then the mass had to have been buried in such a way that they were sealed in. Then where did that which buried these life forms come from? Which we see is normally layer upon layer of sedimentary rock, not metamorphic, which is indicative of being buried over an extensive period of time. Burying over time would only possibly create layers of organic material in which to form gas or oil, not an enormous pocket. Also simply decaying doesn't do the job, all of the matter making up the bodies had to stay put, decay but not go anywhere. Answers to these and more on this subject would be enlightening. Many say this is how it happened but don't explain the implications of how it happened this particular way.
|Author of:||Problems with a Global Flood, 2nd edition|
form either by fusing smaller (hydrogen) atoms, or by
breaking apart larger atoms. Fusing hydrogen takes very
high temperatures such as you find only in hotter stars or
in the Big Bang itself. The helium in the earth comes from
larger atoms breaking apart. Many radioactive elements
decay by emitting an alpha particle. An alpha particle is
simply a helium nucleus -- two protons and two neutrons.
Thus helium is constantly being generated by radioactive
decay. Some of it follows cracks or porous rocks and
gathers in pockets, where it can be mined.
Natural gas (chiefly methane) has a completely different origin. As you note, it forms from the decay of organic material. Decay does not always produce significant amounts of natural gas, but under the right conditions, it does. Swamp gas is natural gas being formed today in swamps. Methane is formed in many modern landfills; some gather it and use it for their energy.
To form useful pockets of natural gas and oil, you need to bury the organic debris to keep the gas and oil in place, and you need to keep the stuff from getting eaten before then. The second condition in particular is not met in the case you describe. In most areas, earthworms, beetles, termites, fungi, etc. will scavange and destroy a dead plant or animal before it gets buried deep enough to matter. It is interesting to note that the amount of coal deposits decreases greatly after termites evolved.
Once oil and natural gas form, they don't necessarily stay in place. They also move through porous rocks, such as sandstones, and gather in reservoirs formed by non-porous layers, such as clays.
|Comment:||Forgive my ignorance, but can anyone tell me where the ape came from?|
primates, known as prosimians. And they from shrew-like
tree-dwelling creatures that existed at the time of the
dinosaurs, and so back to the earliest mammals, their
predecessors, the common ancestor of dinosaurs and mammals,
the common ancestor of them and reptiles, and so on.
Everything that is alive, has ancestors.
site. Especially the evolution part.
Especially for reinforcing my arguments about the argument that I occasionally have.
Then, of course, I can explain to my friends that evolution doesn't disprove God. That makes them less anxious, if they were anxious before.
abiogenesis probability arguments are as fallacious as the
Boeing 747 canard
Hello. I'm a pagan theist and a theistic evolutionist. Ever since I learnt about evolution properly three years ago, after being an Orthodox Jewish young-earth creationist, I've been a staunch evolutionist. I also believe abiogenesis on earth is the most probable speculation as to the origin of life, and I wish to comment upon that.
I've read so many creationist diatribes on the improbability of abiogenesis. Although abiogenesis is different from evolution, I submit that improbability arguments against abiogenesis are of the same order as the canard that a tornado blowing through a junkyard wouldn't produce a Boeing 747. The fallacy is exactly the same. Just as evolution works because the particles have the capability of self-organisation ("A fully gifted creation", as Howard J Van Till puts it), abiogenesis was inevitable for the same reason. The laws of chemistry are such that the rise of life from non-living chemicals had to happen.
The whole saga of stellar evolution, planetary evolution, abiogenesis and biological evolution compels me to believe in design on the cosmological level--the authorship of laws designed to enable particles to assembles themselves into complex, living stuff. I find the evidence for evolutionary creationism to be overwhelming.
|Comment:||Noah did bring dino's on the arc you idiot. It's not that hard you bring babies a pink one and a blue one. Wow hey nice job creating life in your lab with methane and ammonia. lol you evolutionist are always trying to lie to the public you make me sick. Repent now before its too late. I challenge you to debate Kent Hovin. God bless|
|Comment:||In your FAQ
you have the following:
Don't you know that the earth is round? Yes, we do...
However, to be correct, it should read as follows:
Don't you know that the earth is round? No, we do...
Do you know that the earth is round? Yes, we do...
Here are some simple questions for the evo-board: Do you think (believe) that a Creator God exists? If not, where do you think "natural" law/order comes from?
If "evolution" happened millions of years ago why is it not happening NOW? If you say it happens in "microscopic" scale now, then why is it not happening now in macroscopic scale? If you say it does, tell me one observable example. I mean REAL TIME, actual event as one species just becoming another one.
Do you think there is infinity in time (eternity)? If you think there is not, what is there when finite time ends? If you think there is, do you think evolutionistic "science" will discover eternity in given finite time?
I am eagerly waiting for your truly "scientific" response. Please do not refer me to some lengthy essays I've read quite a few of them.They are all futile.
|Author of:||Dino Blood and the Young Earth|
This is a simple question? It seems to me to have occupied millions of people over the millennia. The simple response is that TalkOrigins is described in the introductory comments on the home page,
So, there is no point to poll the volunteers to the TO archive as to their personal faiths. I know some who are Christian, some who are atheists and some who are members of other faiths. Let me direct you to a FAQ here which should clarify why this is an irrelevant question The God and Evolution FAQ
Re: New species
Evolution of new species is commonly observed. There are examples given in "Evolution has never been observed.", 29+ Evidences for Macroevolution The Scientific Case for Common Descent, Observed Instances of Speciation, and Some More Observed Speciation Events. I have read three articles in the science literature on new species in just the last few months (one amusingly claimed to be the "first" observation of an incipient species).
As Paul observed, it is futile to try to educate the "willfully ignorant." But this is a good opportunity to point out some great articles to anyone willing to learn.
|Comment:||Ok yeah I am a creationist and blah blah and your site doesn't change my mind but I must say this, some of your stuff is hard to read for me, I mean dumb it down a bit so whilst arguing evolution I can maybe win my arguement.|
is rocket science. If you want to have an
informed opinion about the science, you have to do a bit of
work - it can only be "dumbed down" so far before it
becomes a cartoon of the real stuff.
I'm sorry if you find it hard to "win arguments" because the subject matter is difficult, but whether you can understand it or not, it remains what it is. Perhaps you should either decide to investigate the reasons why you think science and theology have to be in conflict, or acquiesce in what your own coreligionists accept - that two truths cannot be in conflict.
|Comment:||I am writing in response to a question in the "FAQ" section about evolution as a theory verses evolution as a fact. The greatest problem I see in the public's understanding of science in general and theories in particular is a basic misunderstanding of the meaning of the word theory. A scientific theory is not a guess as the word theory is used in everyday language. A scientific theory is an explanation of a phenomena of the natural world. It is supported by observations and experimentation. A theory must have a predictive ability. If an observation of experiment comes along that contradicts the theory, the theory must be modified to take into account the contradiction. If this cannot be done the the theory is discarded and a new theory takes its place. Evolution is theory not fact. However, the Theory of Evolution continues to meet the requirements of a scientific theory and the evidence supporting it increases on a daily basis.|
|Author of:||Evolution and Philosophy|
|Response:||This is a
very good point, and one that is made in the Evolution is a Fact and a
Theory FAQ. I investigate the nature of science
The meaning of the word "theory" derives from the Greek, of course, where it means "perspective". A theory in science is a perspective on a number of problems, which resolves them and explains why they are as they are. Most modern scientific theories involve mathematical models, and the explanation occurs when the observed results fall out logically from the models used. If, in short, the implications and the observations match, then the theory explains the observations.
Evolution the process is observed, both in the fossil record and the modern day. This is what has to be explained. Darwin's theory, and the elaborations and revisions made since him, explains how the things we observe to evolve do so. Sometimes this involves prediction, sometimes it involves "retrodiction".
But you are exactly right when you say that a theory is not a guess. It is well-supported as a hypothesis well before anyone calls it a theory.
|Comment:||Hi; Evolution is a subject I find interesting, I do not believe man evolved from animal life, I have visited the public library and I find writers build theory upon theory, make assumptions with out fact. Why remains the question? and what are you calling our common ancestor? Evolution to me is the religeon of humanism, this gives it purpose-to replace christianity- If evolution is ever proven the world will beat a path to the door of the one proving it. It will not be proven. The harm evolution has done to our society is now starting to destroy America. Our young have no spiritual strength to avoid evil, and adults have lost their concern and will to fight evil. Fred L Jones|
|Comment:||Hi, You have
a link on your page to either Bob Riggins's Page or the
"Things Creationists Hate" page or one of my other pages.
Please note the new address:
Thanks, Bob Riggins
|Comment:||There was a creator. About 15 billion years ago. Since then the creator has pretty much left this planet be. Or should I say left this universe be. What was the big bang? You can either believe in random chance, or that this universe was created. Why was it created, subject for preachers. Since the creation evolution has pretty much been the rule. Actually,science and the book of Genesis are in accord. Read the book carefully and you will see.So that I do not appear too dogmatic I will close with this, Evolution Rules!|
Great site. I am recommending it to several people I know with children in junior high/high school.
A random thought - several of the comments in the archives have mentioned the impossibility of a dog giving birth to a cat. This is true, but the dog and the cat did have a common ancestor at one point!
In thinking about that, it occurred to me that the dog might well be used as a good example of evolution.
If dogs were known only from the fossil record I am sure that the chihuaha and the great Dane would be considered separate species. The wide variety of dog sizes and bodies would lead to many other species designations as well, although they would be considered to be related.
Indeed, if one of the definitions of species is considered, (able to mate naturally and bear live, fertile offspring) the chihuahua and the great dane are already separate species, or very close to that point. (I get really strange pictures in my mind picturing the mating of the two breeds.) At best, the dog should be considered a "ring species" (not sure of the correct term), with the most extreme examples not able to interbreed although with multiple links between.
This appears to me to be an example of macroevolution occurring from many small steps (micro-evolution) - with ALL of the transitional steps preserved. (Yes, I know man did the selecting - but aren't we part of the environment that influences the selection of those animals that survive?) Keep up the good, thought provoking work!
|Comment:||Hello. I have looked at your web page and have found many claims. These claims say that the theory of evolution has been tested and found to be true thousands of times. I did not and have not seen any evidence to support these claims. Oh yes there were lots of supposed evidences but in fact these evidences can be interpreted in many different ways by either side of the debate. Many Evolutionists say, "We will never be able to totally prove evolution but we can get close." This fact alone should make you wonder if you are in fact even close to the truth of the beggining of life and matter at all! At no observable time has a certain kind of animal produced an entirely different kind of plant or animal. Variations within the kind yes but you cannot say that this points toward macro-evolution. Just because a Clydestale Horse has big bones does not mean that it will become a truck. Just because a car shares some of the same parts as another car does not mean that one car evolved into the other. Basically, I believe "In the beggining God" and you believe "In the beggining dirt." I think life has purpose and you think life has no purpose. If you believe in Evolutionism then why are you fighting for your belief? Shouldn't you just give up? To you it should not matter. Nothing matters to you. You think you are matter created by nothing? So why are you fighting the Creationist view? Because it's not true? In your belief you don't believe there is a defenition for truth! Think about it! May God speak to your hearts and open your eyes to the truth that is found in Christ Jesus.|
|Comment:||I found lots
of good stuff on your new "Panda's Thumb" page. But the
statement that "right-wingers and evangelical
fundamentalists need not apply" to the blog page, while
certainly within the author's freedom of association, I
found obnoxious. Would you support a page that said "Jews
need not apply?"
I'm not a fundamentalist myself, since I dissent on #1, but I don't like religious prejudice in any way, shape or form.
|Author of:||Evolution and Philosophy|
|Response:||The quote in
question was a post by Paul
Myers, author and keeper of the Pharyngula blog, which is
solely his own. He gets all het up over political and
religious issues from time to time, as is his right under
what you Americans refer to as the Bill of Rights. You,
equally, are free to disagree with both him and this
Paul was asking if anyone wanted to guest-blog in his absence - since it is his blog, he is free to restrict access to anyone he likes, including Jews (not that he would). But being a largely rational person, Paul chose to base his discrimination not on culture or ethnicity nor even religious faith, but upon individual conceptual commitments. He wants those who think sympathetically to him on his own blog. I don't think that is offensive; and those who take a right-wing neo-conservative, or fundamentalist religious, view directly opposite to Paul's are entitled to make exactly the same stipulations on their blogs.
Panda's Thumb is not a formal part of this archive, but it has a lot of the same crew contributing. Think of it as the "personal" pages of those who take a more formal and cautious approach when working here. He speaks, in short, for himself. And those who choose to agree with his position...
In the meantime, doesn't he explain developmental biology well for the masses?
|Comment:||So where's the open forum about evolution/creation?|
|Response:||It's the Usenet newsgroup called talk.origins. This site maintains information resources for the established science side of the debate.|
sir the site gives a great source of information for a
budding scientist like me. evlolution always twisted and
turned in my mind because it is a very controversial
subject. thanks a lot for the information.
|Response:||Thanks to you for your kind words. We are glad you liked the FAQ.|
|Comment:||THANK YOU!!!!!! http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/index.html IS THE BEST THING EVER!!! I have often had debates with creationists that went towards evolution and this has helped me so much. My compliments to the authors.|
That being said, I think Talkorigins is great, the best site of its kind; keep it up guys! (And thanks Dr Wilkins for recommending Pratchett, waiting for Feedback is no longer an ordeal.)
|Response:||We aim to improve all aspects of your mind...|