|Comment:||Many evolutionists believe the world started with a big bang. I'm just interested to know where you think everything came from. I can only see that atoms etc. can only be created - they weren't just there. They had to start somewhere. Where do you think all atoms, molecules, gravity, etc come from?|
|Author of:||Creation Science and the Earth's Magnetic Field|
|Response:||I don't know
where "everything" came from, and neither does anyone else.
It is distinctly possible that "everything" was created by
God, which in no way interferes with the theories of
biological or cosmological evolution.
An overly literal interpretation of general relativity (GR) creates the notion that the universe began as a tiny point that "exploded" into the Big Bang. But that is only because GR is a classically limited theory. Quantized to include gravity and the known particle forces, the new theory could easily reveal that the tiny point is just an illusion, or just a step in a longer process. String theory (or "superstring" theory) may well do exactly that.
|Comment:||I read an article about a year ago stating that the "Flood" probably referred to a single event in the Near East about 5600BC when the Mediterranean (which was and is salty) spilled over into the Black Sea, killing all freshwater sealife there and making the sea salty as a result. I am curious as to the scientific reliability of this study, and whether it has been corroborated by other, more recent research. It would certainly account for the Near Eastern story of the flood, as well as the Epic of Gilgamesh, its predecessor in literature.|
Pitman wrote Noah's Flood, a book which presents
this hypothesis. There are heaps of articles on-line about
this, pro and con. Here is one of
The talkorigins archive has no official position on these notions. We are content to observe that there has been no global flood, and leave speculations about local floods mostly alone. As individuals, we have diverse views.
In my personal opinion, the science demonstrating that a Black Sea flood occurred is highly reliable. The connection with Noah's flood is farfetched, and has not been persuasive.
Glenn Morton has written some articles for our archive on geology, and on his own site he has a refutation of this notion. Glenn has his own ideas about Noah's flood, which (my view again) are even more absurd than those of Ryan! (Sorry, Glenn.)
My view is that Noah's flood is a plain retelling of the flood story from the Epic of Gilgamesh, which you also note. A possible historical antecedent for Utnapishtim's flood in the Epic of Gilgamesh is a major river flood; but this has little to do with the reasons or form of the various derived stories, including the Epic of Gilgamesh itself. The flood story of Gilgamesh (in which the Noah-figure is actually Utnapishtim), whatever its historical antecedents (if any), is a fairly blatant moral fable of gods and men; Gilgamesh is a great king who goes in search of eternal life, and one of the people he seeks out is Utnapishtim, who was the survivor of the great flood and had been granted eternal life. (Note that Gilgamesh himself was born long after the flood.)
The Hebrew retelling as Noah's flood in Genesis is fairly obviously recasting of the story to convey the Hebrew religious faith of monotheism. None of these various related flood tales are given as history, and looking for local or global floods is interesting, but missing the point of the stories.
Those who like stories should note that the Epic of Gilgamesh is well suited to novelisation, and a number of modern authors have done so. Here are just two of them. Robert Silverbeg wrote Gilgamesh the King, and Stephan Grundy wrote Gilgamesh.
See this page for more links on the Epic of Gilgamesh, and read this essay on Storytelling, the Meaning of Life, and The Epic of Gilgamesh.
|Comment:||Testing the Feedback as there's no new stuff for several days|
We have now answered all questions anyone could ever have on creationism and evolution. People are obviously carefully reading the information supplied and not wasting our time by asking old questions, or raising issues already adequately addressed in the archive.
|Comment:||I noticed in your article concerning Archaeopteryx you conveniently omitted any mention of Protoavis Texensis - a true bird antedating Archaeopteryx by some 75 million years and completely undermining the notion that Archaeopteryx was in any way a transitional form. Care to backpedal?|
looking at the FAQ Archaeopteryx:
Answering the Challenge of the Fossil Record , which
addresses some specific criticisms.
Our main Archaeopteryx FAQ, All About Archaeopteryx , is much more detailed, and it does discuss Protoavis.
Here is a direct link to the paragraph on Protoavis.
What it means to be transitional is explained in the FAQ you were reading originally, and in the main FAQ. From the main FAQ:
From the FAQ you were reading:
Archy is almost certainly not directly ancestral to modern birds, as more recent finds have shown, but it still certainly illustrates a form transitional between dinosaurs and birds. This would remain true even if "true birds" were found older than Archy.
Protoavis, however, is a questionable example. It might be ancestral to modern birds, but it is is far more like its dinosaur ancestors than any modern bird, and is thus another piece of evidence for the evolution of birds from dinosaurs. However, the finds are very badly damaged, making detailed interpretation difficult.
Some other links:
conflict Which 'age' will you trust? Hansruedi Stutz
IN 1984, I was on a geological excursion in Mägenwil (Switzerland). I collected some sandstone samples with fossilized mussels in it. This rock is classified as belonging to the Upper Tertiary geological system. Evolutionary belief therefore maintains that this rock is around 20 million years old. In the same rock, right alongside the fossil mussels, are fragments of coalified wood, such as those also shown.
However, if it registered any age at all on the radiocarbon test (and all sources of potential contamination had been eliminated), it would mean that it could not possibly be millions of years old. So I arranged for this coalified wood to be radiocarbon 'dated' by the Physikalisches Institut of the University of Bern, Switzerland. I assumed that such a prestigious laboratory would take all necessary precautions to eliminate contamination, and allow for all other sources of error. The result: 36,440 years BP ± 330 years.
It seems that long-age believers are left with only three options: 1. Accept the radiocarbon date. This would mean that the age of the Upper Tertiary shrinks from 20 million to 36,000 years, a factor of around 500 times. The whole geologic dating system would be thrown into disrepute. 2. Arbitrarily reject the radiocarbon date. To be consistent, therefore, they would have to conclude that radiometric dates are not the absolute age indicators we are persistently told, which destroys the main plank in the old-age dogma to begin with. 3. Ignore the result, and hope not too many get to know about it.
Also, the author of the article rang the laboratory in October 1996. The laboratory confirmed that the determination (done in the traditional way, not by the newer AMS method) had included everything possible to eliminate contamination, which included doing what is known as a d13CPDB correction. This is a critical test in regard to the possibility that the wood may have been contaminated by more recent microbes while in the ground or later. HANSRUEDI STUTZ,
|Author of:||Isochron Dating|
there is a fourth option which the author of your
cut-and-pasted article did not consider: (4) expose the
claim as a fundamental blunder that reflects badly on the
author, not on the dating method. Here's the explanation:
The "traditional method" of carbon dating is to concentrate the carbon in a sample, convert it to a gas, and then measure the residual radioactivity of the gas. Even though this is done in a specially shielded chamber, some small amount of background radiation will interfere with the counts. Due to this "noise," even a completely "dead" sample will yield a computed age around 20,000 to 30,000 years (give or take, depending on several factors). That is essentially the limit of the "traditional" assessment technique. For this reason, a result in the 30,000-year range by the "traditional" method is understood to mean "an indeterminately old age."
An age around 30,000 years (on a much older object) by the "traditional" carbon dating method is neither a refutation of carbon dating nor a rejection of the old-Earth timescale. Anyone trying to use it is such is either deliberately being dishonest, or else is so ill-acquainted with the procedure that they have no business criticizing it.
|Comment:||To whom it
What fascinates me is that individuals like you dedicate their whole existence proving God does not exist. Why? Why spend so much energy disproving the existence of a creator?
You would consider me a fanatic, non-educated, person who needs a crutch to get them through life. I'm a believer in God and Christ. I believe in a "Master Creator". But lets say for argument sake, that God does not exist, whats the fascination with proving it? Don't people who adhere to scripture and obey its teachings make better citizens?
Where do the evolutionists obtain their morality? Why shouldn't people rob, steal, cheat and lie to gain further monetary domination if it truly were survival of the fittest? These are the questions that puzzle me about individuals like you.
Rational people have a hidden, deep down realization of the difference between right and wrong. Its what makes us different than animals. The sense of morality is a God-given gift. We have to make a choice, to ignore it, or embrace it. Do we want to drive the bus, or do we allow ourselves to be passengers. That's the daily question.
|Author of:||What is Creationism?|
|Response:||To the best
of my knowledge, none of the contributors to this web site
dedicate any of their existence to proving that God does
not exist. Many of them devote energy to saying just the
You must remember that creationism, not evolution, is anti-religion. All religions are welcome to study evolution. I personally know Christian, Jewish, Mormon, Moslem, and Buddhist evolutionists. Creationism, on the other hand, opposes all religions but one and requires a narrow interpretation of that one (albeit not always the same one, depending on the variety of creationism). Members of groups such as the ICR dedicate their whole existence to proving God does not exist, at least not the God I understand. Your question would better be directed to them.
You are free to believe whatever religion you want. I might disagree, but I won't try to stop you, especially if it helps make you a better person. You are not free, however, to force your religious beliefs on others. If a religion tells you, say, that all swans are green, and you choose to believe it, then I may look at you funny, but I'll let you be. When you start insisting that others must learn that all swans are green, then I will argue. Your religion applies only to you and to others who choose to accept the same religion. It does not apply to me, to swans, to biology in general, or to anything else in the world.
Evolutionists obtain their morality from society, just as you do. Evolution only describes what is, not what should be. Besides, "survival of the fittest" is a very poor description of evolution, and it would require a gross MISunderstanding of evolution to use it to justify all the anti-social behaviors creationists accuse us of.
|Comment:||So here we are in 2 thu future, and TRX is dead, but, rember it was only A, movie, its either, !!Argentinosaurus, are Sauropods,!! that is not the issue but theses animals will live once more in our future that will be free ove what we are face with 2, day, now is thu time, TRX lady, you the pretty girl in that move this is reall it was as reall as life as we know it 2 day, eye could all most see it, but any way, their is somthig all ove you need 2 do, by dew process, you are all saved by du ball, now is thu time, 36706, Danile 2:44, Exodus 6:2,3, Psalm 83:18, now is thu time, women and children first, on December 7-1941 about 6:Am Junior Officer disregared incoming message, now where is, !!Skoon, come here Ashaly, now where is Case, Case, Ashaley, now is thu time, 36706, 20002 20002 20002 20002 20002 20002 20002 20002 20002 20002 20002 20002 20002 20002 20002 20002 20002 20002 20002 20002 20002 20002 20002 20002 20002 20002=53 Charlie.x DRIFTDEADLOCK HILL30 5-31-20001|
|Response:||I surrender. I am totally defeated by a creationist argument.|
evolution/creationism debate seems to have flourished to an
incredible degree on the Internet in the last decade. The
debate is not going away, and with the creationist/ID
literature becoming increasingly sophisticated and
mainstream, they are getting harder and harder to ignore.
On one of many debate forums I have come across a Young Earth Creationist whose knowledge of paleontology, fossils, and primate anatomy vastly outstrips mine or anyone else's around there. When a YEC is throwing around fibia and tibula measurements, or discussing the question of what degree of bipedalism this or that anatomical characteristic in A. Afarensis indicates, there is absolutely nothing a layman, however educated, can do. Nor should we have to: the debate of scientific questions properly belongs to the scientists, not to average joes killing time on the Internet.
My point is this. The evolution/creation debate is being largely fought at the grassroots level, but this is not an appropriate place for such a debate. Non-scientists such as myself can defend evolution against such spurious claims as "it violates the second law of thermodynamics," but against more sophisticated critiques we are powerless. All we can do is quote talkorigins, which opens up to the same charge as the Creationists, i.e. we are just believing something we read somewhere.
The mainstream scientific journals have clearly held the position, for many years, that ignoring the creationists is the best policy -- that treating their claims with anything other than dismissive contempt confers upon them an appearance of legitimacy that is wholly undeserved. This may or may not be true. But I believe the professional scientists, the universities, the journals, the men and women who have been collecting and analyzing the evidence for evolution, can no longer ignore creationism, can no longer rely on popular-science books by Dawkins, Pennock and Eldridge to do their work for them. Even armed with these books, I and others like me lack the expertise to confront the full range of creationist arguments.
Therefore, I think the respectable scientific journals should begin soliciting papers from creationist institutions such as ICR. They should demand that the creationists put their money where their mouth is. The Neo-Catastrophist Flood Theory of Geology, the Irreducible Complexity Theory of Intelligent Design, the Divergent Non-Hominid Ape Theory of Olduvai Gorge Fossils, should be presented in the peer-reviewed journals and scrupulously examined by professionals in the appropriate fields. They should be subjected to the full force of scientific criticism, and published for all to see.
The Creationists are not going away. Ignoring them has proved an unsuccessful strategy. It's time the real scientists of the world woke up and smelled the coffee. Perhaps it's unfair that this debate needs to be hashed out a second time, 150 years later, but the alternative, an increasing "ivory tower-ization" of evolutionary biology while charismatic Congressmen lobby for the butchery of our education curricula, is infinitely worse.
|Comment:||The essay on
Chance" by John Wilkins begins,
"Evolution does not proceed from any basic randomness, although genetic changes are not coupled to selection and may be characterised as "random" relative to selection pressures, nor do they anticipate the needs of a species."
There is something wrong with this sentence. Perhaps it should actually be 2 sentences. I decided to read no further. I don't know if I am typical but I am put off by such writing. Perhaps the author would like to re-write this.
Respectfully, Eric Roberts
|Author of:||Evolution and Chance|
|Response:||Well, the way something is summarised is one thing - how it is written is another. Perhaps you might like to spend the time it took to respond looking at the rest of the page before commenting? This sentence is a single line summary of the conclusions.|
agree: This sentence should be taken out and shot. Its
primary problem is the clause beginning with "nor,"
especially since the antecedent of "they" is unclear.
I suggest the following revision:
|Author of:||Evolution and Chance|
|Response:||I yield. I'll advise the administrator.|
|Comment:||Dear writers, I enjoy reading your answers very much. I am an 18 year old girl who was raised as an atheist. I have come to believe in God and Jesus, and His role in the creation of the Earth, and the only thing that has made me question that for a while now is reading some of the painfully bad responses you get. My face burns every time someone writes in stating some argument involving the second law of thermodynamics, probability of evolution, etc. and proceeds to glorify in their accomplishment, usually with insults. All they're doing is giving the world a reason to treat Christianity with humor and disdain. If they had ever studied biology, if they would stop listening to fundamentalist propaganda and research what real scientists, the people who know their stuff, had to say, they would already know that those "arguments" have already been refuted about 3 million times. On this site alone. I believe in God but I refuse to close my eyes to the world around me. I refuse to stop learning about it for fear that I may find something that contradicts the Bible. I refuse to believe that God is decieving us, that he would create the gamut of evidence he has for evolution just to lead us all astray. That is not my God. My God is the one who created this beautiful world and guided it's development with care. He loves you all, even those of you who ignorantly insult the more knowledgeable of his creations, but I'm sure he's not happy about it.|
|Comment:||I am a
creationist, but I still find your site interesing and
quite accurate in many areas. I certainly have no
complaints about your responses to many creationists who
write comments containing false information or poor logic.
I do, however, want to note some inconsistencies in certain
generalized responses you have made. I will focus on two of
your staff members (?) assuming that, based upon their
positions, they speak for the entire organization.
While your site addresses science, you do make many philosophical statements about the validity of certain religious beliefs. Given the sheer volume of beliefs out there I realize that this is inevidable.
Thus, Mark Isaak has made statements such as, "I don't believe either you or I have the wisdom to determine which paths are right for which people . . . The loving thing to do is to encourage people along in their own ways, not the ways that we decide for them." (Feb. 2001 response to Stewart Harden)
However, other responses would lead one to wonder what your position really is. For example:
"Genesis does not give a step-by-step account of the origen of the earth. It is mythology . . . Moses did not write Genesis, nor any other book of the Bible." Ken Harding (Feb. 2001 response to Nathan Van Ryn)
"Provide an objective method of deciding disputed issues. Science gives such methods . . . The only method creationism offers is political campaigning." Mark Isaak (Jan. 2001 response to Mark Fisher)
"You need to stop reading creationist tracts, and start reading some true information." Ken Harding (Feb. 2001 response to Leah Buswell)
I realize quotes can be tricky, but I believe that I have given your thoughts in their entirety within each example.
So, I am led to wonder, what kind of reponse will I get -- good cop or bad cop.
Sincerely, Wyatt Feeler
described aren't inconsistencies.
There are no "staff members" -- just independent volunteers. Your quotes are from different people, and different people have different opinions.
Furthermore, I wouldn't see any inconsistencies even if they had been said by one person. I agree that every individual should find their own moral and social path through life, and I see no problem with people using the bible as an ethical guide (well, at least with some parts). However, that does not mean that I think the bible is a literally accurate science textbook, and I do take issue with people who are so ignorant that they think it can be used in such a way.
In other words, I can applaud when someone says, "Love your neighbor", and call them an idiot when the same person says the world is only 6000 years old. There's nothing inconsistent in that.
|Comment:||I have a question regarding clinal variation leading to speciation in mammals using BSC as the concept of speciation. The Herring Gull (Larus argentatus) and California salamander (Ensatina eschscholtzii) are noted examples of clinal variation leading to speciation. Are there any examples of it in mammals? I am not interested in speciation produced by the founder effect or any other means. Can you help?|
the following in a PubMed search. I hope they are useful:
Hayes, J.P. and M.E. Richmond. 1993. Clinal variation and morphology of woodrats of the eastern United States. Journal of Mammalogy 74: 204-216.
Gunduz I, Lopez-Fuster MJ, Ventura J, Searle JB. 2001. Clinal analysis of a chromosomal hybrid zone in the house mouse. Genet Res Feb;77(1):41-51
Houlden BA, Costello BH, Sharkey D, Fowler EV, Melzer A, Ellis W, Carrick F, Baverstock PR, Elphinstone MS. 1999. Phylogeographic differentiation in the mitochondrial control region in the koala, Phascolarctos cinereus. (Goldfuss 1817). Mol Ecol Jun;8(6):999-1011
Ravosa MJ. 1998. Cranial allometry and geographic variation in slow lorises (Nycticebus). Am J Primatol;45(3):225-43
|Comment:||If one of the leading examples given to prove evolution is the peppered moth then why was it recently discovered the photographs showing the light moths against the darkened tree trunks were faked. These moths gly about in the branches of trees and don't perch on the trunk at all. Theodore Sargent of the University of Massachusetts admitted that he glued dead samples of the moths onto the ree tunks for a NOVA documentary. This only proves god made the moths able to adapt to there surroundings and no there dna did not change.|
|Author of:||Evolution and Philosophy|
photographs were illustrative only, and were not the
foundation for the research. They were not faked.
But suppose they were. Would this mean that God made moths able to adapt to there (sic) surroundings, not evolution? Not at all - it would only mean that this piece of research didn't show that evolution was the cause of the change.
As it happens, we know that there was a DNA mutation because it has been seen repeatedly - don't forget that we have much better information about DNA these days than fifty years ago.
Finally, note that even if every example of evolution were shown to be wrong, this would not prove anything about God's activity (nor does establishing evolution prove anything about God's lack of activity, but that's another matter). At best it undercuts the argument of evolutionary theory, but it proves nothing. We might all be the result of intelligent alien intervention, although that poses the question of the origins of aliens.
|Response:||There is one other minor little problem with what you say. Peppered moths do rest on tree trunks. One person who investigated the moths in the wild (Majerus, 1998, Melanism: Evolution in Action, p. 123) found 15 on branches, 12 on trunks, and 20 on trunk/branch joints. Anyone who says peppered moths never rest on trunks is simply telling falsehoods.|
|Comment:||Dear guys, Thanks and thanks again for the website. It's not only informative but heartening to see that you are willing to answer questions and not insist on editing out the more negative comments. As an evolutionary Christian, it's great to see you respond to the fanatic element with civility and the occaisional humor they deserve. To all fundamentalists: Please stop disputing what you usually don't understand. Just because you say things loudly, and call evolution a lie repeatedly, doesn't make it true. Do your homework. I guarantee even the briefest discussion of evolutionary principles will be interesting and enlightening, an will show you yet another example of the complexity of God's Earth. Thanks again, writers. Rebecca|
|Comment:||I am surprised that "evolution" is both a theory (that I know) and a fact (that I don't know). Referring to two different concepts with the same name is always a cause for confusion in sciences. In this case I will say that it is a terrible mistake!!! It opens a crack for the creationists to attack, althrough they will try to attack evolution anyway.|
|Author of:||Evolution and Philosophy|
actually, this is pretty common in science. There's a fact
of electricity, and a theory of electricity; a fact of
gravity, a theory of gravity; a fact of genetics, a theory
of genetics. It is not immediately clear why we ought to
redefine science in order to prevent a group of wilfully
ignorant people from doing what we know they will do anyway
- misunderstand science.
Instead it is an opportunity to make clear the nature of science to those who are willing to listen.
|Comment:||Your "fossil hominids" FAQ web page is down!|
Hominids page is up and available, at http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/homs/.
Unfortunately, there is an incorrect link in our main browsing index. Due to problems moving to a new server, it is taking time to fix these glitches.
Thanks for the error report. Normally, you can report such problems with mail to , but that also seems not to be working last time I tried it.
wonderful resource. Time is a precious commodity, so let me
thank you for spending that commodity here, especially in
the biological aspects of evolution, for which my own
education is lacking. It is that, which brings me to write
and ask you to spend a little more of your time.
In an ongoing, very amiable by the way, discussion of the evolution/creation debate, the following series of questions were asked:
Why would the hemoglobin of a lungfish have undergone just as many changes in its amino acid sequence, as did the line leading up to man from the alleged ancestral lungfish? The original lungfish was successful as it was. Why the change? I suppose you could say that these changes in the lungfish did not hinder their survival, but if that's the case, why are all the lungfish as divergent and not any of them today resembling the ancestral speculation? Apparently, none of the changes of their amino acid sequence significantly altered their morphology or physiology, but the same amount of changes created man! I see no logic in this. How can we be so lucky? Furthermore, why would favorable habitats not preserve the original sequence or at least slow down the change?
Since my understanding of genetics is limited, I was hoping someone could explain what the amino acid changes mean in relation to genetic change.
Thanks again for your time.
this: the amount of "evolving" done by lungfishes since
they and we last had a common ancestor is pretty much the
same as the amount of evolving done by our own lineages. If
we split at (say) 500 million years ago, then they have
done 500 million years of evolving, and so have we. Hence,
the overall amount of change of parts of their metabolism
and physiology is the same in both lineages.
Evolution's primary lesson is that things will change, unless something stops them from doing so, in generation to generation. The number of possible working hemoglobin molecules is very large, so as long as each one does much the same job, simple random change will cause their hemoglobin and ours to diverge at a more or less regular rate.
What causes things not to change includes natural selection. If a lungfish has some feature that makes it fit for its environment, then selection will tend to prevent that from undergoing the usual random change that occurs to all living things. Other things that may prevent change, in my opinion, resolve to selection or something like it, but that is a matter of debate.
Changes in amino acids mean that the genetic structure has changed. According to the Central Dogma of molecular genetics, information is passed from genes to proteins but not vice versa.
through your summation of evolution, and admittedly, alot
of it was over my head. I'm kind of a "tweener" on
Evolution vs. Creationism. I have questions about both.
Some things that I just don't understand about evolution:
1) How did life come from non-life 2) If life did come from non-life, how did it reproduce (or how did it know how to reproduce?) 3) How did a single cell creature become a multiple-cell creature? 4) How do you explain the transformation from asexual reproduction to sexual reproduction? In the instant that a creature took on the characteristics that equipped it to reproduce sexually, where was its mate? 5) How did males and females evolve separately, yet maintained the ability to mate (for instance -- which came first, the penis or the vagina?) Were the two genders in cahoots? 6) How did the eye evolve? 7) Take the digestive system for instance...which evolved first, the mouth or the stomach? What good was the stomach without the mouth? or did it all just happen at the same time -- a creature that previously had no mouth, stomach, or digestive tract all of the sudden had all three? Not to mentuon the ability to extract proteins, etc. from food, pass those proteins into the blood system (wherever blood came from), and then dispose of the waste products 8) How did the brain evolve? How did the nervous system evolve? When a creature sprouted an arm, how did the brain know that the arm was there? How did the brain figure out to send the arm sensory messages? 9) Related to sexual reproduction -- how did the reproductive system come about? At some point, the first instance of live birth had to take place; had the birth canal already developed at that point? What about the nipples? Why would a creature have nipples if it had never had a baby before? How would the baby live if the mom didn't have nipples? Where did the milk come from? 10) You talked about how the giraffe's neck didn't get long...How did the giraffe's neck get long? 11) Does evolution explain instinct? How do salmon know that they are supposed to swim upstream? 12) Where did blood come from? 13) You spoke of the first "animal"; what did that animal look like? 14) Your explanation of genes etc. seemed to conclude that mutations do not provide items of utility (such as a land-based creature suddenly sprouting lungs). How did things like lungs come about?
Just a few questions that run through my head. Thanks.
|Response:||A few? You
are babbling. I suggest you stop for a moment and think,
and then ask one or two straightforward, digestible
In general, though, most of your questions suggest a woeful ignorance of basic biology. For instance, you are hung up on human details: you ask which came first, the penis or the vagina. The answer, of course, is neither. Most animals that reproduce sexually do not have either of those structures; others have both. Single-celled organisms that reproduce sexually may just have a single gene difference.
Other questions just reveal creationist misconceptions, such as "land-based creature suddenly sprouting lungs". They didn't.
|Comment:||you are a Moron this shit is not an accident!|
this feedback is indeed not an accident: it is deliberately
offensive, and you should be ashamed of yourself.
The diversity of life is not an accident either. It is a natural consequence of processes observed and studied by biologists.
See also two FAQs on Evolution and Chance.
|Comment:||I graduated with a BS in Biology in 1999 and have since been researching trying to discover the truth of creation - How did God do it. As a first semiseter College student I was convinced that evolution and the big bang were scientific answers and I was convineced. But in the last six or so years I have had a change of mind. Even before graduating college it became blaring obvious that evolution could not be true. What random chance process could account for all the information in the human genome (8.08 X 10 ^10 miles!). Information comes from an intelligent designer. That was the first step. But to make a long story short: God created the heavens and the earth and all that is in them in six days. As we know the bible is infallible not only on faith and morals but also on history and nature (see Pius XII's Divino Affiante Spirita). And Exd. 20:11 states: "For in six days, the LORD made heaven and earth, the sean and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day ..." Science also as showed a young earth: e.g. tiny amounts of moon dust, strength of earth's magnetic field, distance of the moon from earth, salt content of the oceans, the list seems to go on and on. Moreover, there is no evidence for macro-evolution. There is definitely chages within a species, but no evidence for a duck becioming a pigon. Moreover, much so-called evidence has been falsified. Evolution is a lie that is motivated by the desire to rid us of a punitive God. We want to be gods and how can that be true if we are but creations. We Catholics are missing the boat. Our beloved Holy Father states that we are living in a culture of death. Is it any wonder? We were created by death according to the theory of Evolution. It is death that made us and it is death that makes us better. Evolution demands that it is the survival of the fittest. Theistic evolution demands that God is the God of the strongest. Does that resonate with Jesus' words? - "What ever you do to the least of my brother you do unto me." Moreover these days were predicted by St. Peter (see 2 Peter 3:3). "Knowing this first, that in the last days there will shall come decietful scoffers, walking according to their own lusts, saying: Where is his promise of his coming? for since the time that the fathers slep, all things continue as they were from the begining of creation. For this [creation] they are wilfully ignorant of..." Read the whole context and it becomes clear that St. Peter is prophesying that at the end people will be wilfully ignorant of creation and the flood. I know you must get many emails so let me conclude with this. As Roman Catholics we can no longer accept this pagan religion. Theistic evolution is stupid, in the most precise meaning of the word possible. God is not the God of mistakes and blunders. He is the God of perfection and beauty. I can not accept either scientifically nor theologically the idea that God would employ random chance to bring about his image and likeness. There is no science in evolution nor the big bang, as Christians let us stand up and proclaim God's work. I believe that he did it is six days because he said so. Let us be unafraid of such a responce to this post-Christian world. In my past I have mocked others for saying what I am now professing, and I expect to be mocked but such is better that to be praised now by humans and moked later by God. Rick Scheeler|
|Response:||A minor question: since when is information content measured in miles, and where does this figure of 8.08 x 10^10 miles for the human genome come from?|
|Author of:||Is the Planet Venus Young?|
|Response:||I hope you
find the degree in biology to be of some use. While you
were doing biology, did you ever take a course in English?
One of the things they teach is a grammatical device known
as the paragraph. Your writing would be much easier
to read if you used them occasionally.
As a biologist, you should be in a good position to critique some of our Biology and Evolutionary Theory archive, which includes such hits as "Introduction to Evolutionary Biology", "The Modern Synthesis of Genetics and Evolution", and even "The Evolution of Color Vision". Did you read any of them? Do you have a biology based criticism? Or are you just too impressed by your own hocus-pocus about random chance? And what about "29 Evidences for Macroevolution"?
And as for the age of the Earth, all of the arguments you cited are easy to refute, and some are already refuted in this archive: "Meteorite Dust and the Age of the Earth", "Creation Science and the Earth's Magnetic Field", and "The Recession of the Moon and the Age of the Earth-Moon System" all refute your evidence for a young Earth. As for the "salt in the oceans" argument, it never was much of an "argument". But still, you can read Glenn Morton's refutation of that one too.
Science points resoundingly towards an "old" Earth, and biology points resoundingly towards "evolution". If you think otherwise, then use your education in biology to take on the biology in this archive and show that it is wrong. Isn't that supposed to be "easy"?
|Comment:||This is more of a question than a comment. I am a Christian and have been for many years. I am however not a creationist and I find many of their "facts" to be absurd. I go to a Christian school and I am writing a report on the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics and how it partains to Creationism and Evolutionism. This of course means that I am expected to lean towards creationism. I was wondering if you could give me some facts that would blow Creationism out of the water. In other words, without comparing Evolution to Creationism, how is Evolution not prevented by The 2nd Law?|
|Author of:||The Recession of the Moon and the Age of the Earth-Moon System|
|Response:||The 2nd law
of thermodynamics says the following: The change in
entropy for any thermodynamic system, resulting from a
transition from one state to another, will always be
greater than or equal to zero, provided that both the
initial & final states are thermodynamic equilibrium
states, and that the system remains thermodynamically
isolated throughout the transition.
The first thing that should be obvious is that equilibrium & isolation are necessary criteria. The 2nd law does not apply to any system which does not meet the specified criteria. The surface region of the earth is approximately in equilibrium; if you average a year's worth of solar input against a years worth of earth's thermal output, they are pretty much equal to each other. But that is not necessarily true over shorter time periods, making it questionable whether or not the earth surface region is in equlibrium. However, the existence of solar input clearly violates the necessity for isolation, and that means the 2nd law cannot be applied as stated to the earth surface region. The same statements hold true, as generalities, specifically for the biosphere.
Biological evolution is a process that deals only with living things. If you consider the aggregate of all living things as a system, it should be at once obvious that the living system is neither isolated, nor in equilibrium (in the context of life, "equilibrium" = "dead"). The living system is in fact held in a state far removed from equilibrium by the chemical & physical processes that keep living things alive. Since the system of life, which encompasses "evolution", does not meet the necessary criteria established for application of the 2nd law, then it hardly makes sense to even talk about the 2nd law being "violated". How can you violate a law that doesn't even apply?
Also see the Thermodynamics, Evolution and Creationism articles. But this is a site that emphasizes "evolution" vs "creation", so there are comparisons between the two. For myself, I point out that creationists regularly abuse & misunderstand science in general, and thermodynamics is no exception. The most common fallacy is to equate "disorder" and "entropy" as if they were strictly synonymous, ignore the basic criteria that are a part of the 2nd law, and then complain about how evolution, by requiring "disorder" ("entropy") to decrease violates the 2nd law. But the whole argument is just a sham.
The deal about "entropy" and "energy" is that "energy" is required to do "work" (push a chemical reaction along or move something, etc.). Entropy tells you how much "useful energy" is available to do work. If you can't pump any new energy in (isolation), then you eventually use up the useful energy you have, can't do any more work, and you're done. The increase in entropy required by the 2nd law reflects that process of using energy. But living systems suck up energy like sponges, as photosynthesis or as eating food. As the system of life uses up energy getting the work of living done, it takes in new energy to keep the work of living going. Living things could live forever, if they could keep that process going forever. Evolution is just one of the things that living systems do; it takes energy, but there's plenty to go around. So there is no fundamental reason for suspecting that evolution somehow violates any law of thermodynamics.
Another creationist tactic is to argue that the absence of some plan or program to convert energy requires evolution to violate the 2nd law. But that's a "bait & switch" trick, because the absence or presence of such things is outside the vision of the 2nd law, and constitute an entirely separate argument of their own. Of course, the essential statement is also false, since there are indeed "programs" in place to convert energy (that's what photosynthesis is).
|Comment:||Ok, hi, I'm
13 and if you hadn't guessed by the e-mail address I'm a
Christian and am obviously against most if not all of your
site. I came here because I am doing a school project
called: Creation vs. Evolution. I wanted to recommend a
site but it didn't work so here it is:
www.users.bigpond.rdoolan/ (Creation Tips)
A word of advice, not everything can be explained scientifically.
|Author of:||Creation Science and the Earth's Magnetic Field|
|Response:||You got the
URL wrong, it's "
http://www.users.bigpond.com/rdoolan/". All I see is
the usual collection of misrepresentations and falsehoods
that are so very typical of this kind of website. For
instance, there is one page called "How
to date a Volcano". According to the author of that
page, scientists were unable to make consistent
radioisotope dates for volcanoes in New Zealand &
Hawaii. But neither story is true, both are fictional tales
invented by the webpage author. In both cases, what the
scientists actually showed (and said in their research
papers) that caution had to be used in choosing material to
date. For instance, the lava in Hawaiian volcanoes is
relatively cool, and there are inclusions called xenoliths,
small rocks in the lava that don't melt. Because they don't
melt, their radioisotope clocks are not reset, and they
measure an onlder age than the rest of the lava (for the
simple reason that they really are older). So, when
measuring the age of the volcano one must avoid including
xenoliths, or one will get the wrong answer. Why didn't the
author of that webpage tell that part of the story? Why
wasn't the truth good enough for them?
The evidence in favor of an "old" Earth is scientifically overwhelming. The arguments put forth for a "young" Earth are generally very bad, and sometimes downright dishonest. Many of these points are covered in our "Age of the Earth" collection.
Evolution is a scientific theory about the natural course of change on Earth, including organic and natural change in life. As you say, not all things can be explained scientifically, a fact that we are all well aware of over here in Talk.Origins land. But some things are explained scientifically, and the age of the Earth is one of them. So are the natural changes that add up to "evolution". But that scientific theory has not a thing to say about salvation or the relationship between man & God. Don't make the mistake of thinking that it does.
|Comment:||This is a simple question, is it possible for even the most primitive kind of life to arise fron nonliving substances. If so how did this happen. If it happened in the past is it happening now? If you believe it happened in the past do you have hard evidence for it and why doesn't it occur now(assuming it doesnt) It seems to me that the earth should be producing life from nonlife now in more abundance than it did in the past, simply because living conditions are far better now that a few billion years ago.Lastly if the only way to create life from nonlife was to make it under highly controlled conditions, would not this be a good argument for intelligent design??|
|Author of:||Five Major Misconceptions about Evolution|
for sure whether life can arise from non-life, but there is
no reason to think it can't. Claims that the chance of it
doing so are vanishingly small are invalid because (1)
those claims assume a single very specific outcome, not
any sort of life; nobody has even the slightest idea
how many different forms of life are possible; and (2)
nobody thinks that life arose by chance in the first place;
chemistry does not work purely by chance. The bottom line
is: Once there was no life; now there is. That implies life
from non-life somehow.
Nobody knows how life arose, either. However, we know from a variety of experiments and observations that complex molecules form in lots of different situations. A couple of the most popular hypotheses for how those molecules got complex enough to reproduce are the RNA world and submarine hydrothermal reactions. There are numerous other hypotheses as well.
It is not surprising that life is not coming from non-life now because the environment now is horrendous in the extreme for developing proto-life. First, there's lots of oxygen, which tends to damage large organic molecules. Second, there's lots of life here already, and much of that life is quite adept at making a meal out of anything that can't protect itself.
If life from non-life could only be made under restrictive conditions (and how could one ever show that that was the only way?), that would merely show that those conditions once existed. It would say nothing about where those conditions came from.
|Comment:||I have two
I was reading one of your responses to a question where you said that (quote) "There certainly are beneficial mutations; although do note that beneficial is with respect to a given environment." Well, you are mistaken. There has NEVER been a documented case of a good mutation. The ONLY mutation that even resembles a good mutation is the mutation that causes sickle-cell anemia. This is a DISEASE. People who have this disease are less likely to die from Malaria, but it also makes their blood much less efficient at sending oxygen to their cells! As a result, 25% or the people who have this "benificial mutation" DIE prematurely! Surely this blows the main evidence for Neo-Darwinism!?!
And Second: The moon is moving very slowly away from the earth. The rate at which it is doing so has been figured out and calculated back some 500 million years. At that time, the moon was approximatly 30 feet off the ground. Just another of thousands of facts that show that evolution (well, macroevolution that is) simply is not possible. Take the second Law of thermodynamics for another example! It simply just does not fit!
quick comments are incorrect.
The sickle-cell anemia example is not presented as a classic "beneficial" mutation, but as a demonstration that what is beneficial depends strongly on the environment. For an example of an unambiguously beneficial mutation in humans, see our Are Mutations Harmful FAQ. This link takes you straight to the appendix about a mutation which conveys resistence to atherosclerosis, with no apparent associated disadvantages. The FAQ also gives a few other examples, one more in humans, and others in other species.
On the Moon receding from the Earth, we explain the actual facts of the matter in our FAQ on The Recession of the Moon and the Age of the Earth-Moon System . Briefly, your facts about recession are simply incorrect.
|Comment:||You say that the horses theory is true, well then how do Eohippus with 18 pairs of ribs evolve into Orohippus, who had 15 pairs, and hor did Orohippus evolve into Pliohippus, with 19 pairs of ribs, and to the modern horse who has 18 pairs of ribs? huh??? And one more thing, Darwin quoted in his book, "If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down." (Ibid, pg 170). This means that ALL body organs must be functioning while the small, minute steps of evolution are taking place. How could the one-chambered heart of an invertebrate function while evolving into a four-chambered heart of a vertebrate's? Natural Selection would kill the invertebrate. e-mail me back please, I will send you one more special document against evolution that will blow your mind away.|
of ribs is variable within vertebrate species. For
example the normal complement of ribs in humans is 12
pairs, however some individuals are born with 11 and others
with 13. If the number of ribs is not constant
within a species, then slightly differing rib count
between species can hardly be used as evidence against
their sharing a close descent relationship.
As for hearts, one can find almost every variation from simple to complex within living organisms. Crocodilians for example have a heart somewhat intermediate between the three chambered 'reptilian' heart and a four chambered avian one. Also the hearts of advanced vertebrates, like mammals and birds, grows from a simple one to a more complex one during embryological development and somehow the embryos usually manage to survive the process.
These and other non-problems with evolution could be avoided if those wishing to criticize the theory would take the time to get a little basic education in the comparative anatomy and embryology of vertebrates. However understanding the science of living things is not the priority for most of these individuals. Rather their concerns are theological and therefore the facts of biology are of little relevance to them.
As for your "special document", given the poor track record of anti-evolutionist claims, we won't lose sleep wondering what it might contain.
|Comment:||Your article is a bunch of crap. Evolution is a theory, and theory does not have the same definition as fact.|
feedback is in response to Evolution is a Fact and a
That FAQ does make clear that theory and fact do not have the same definition. Evolution is both fact (data) and theory (explanation for the data).
|Comment:||Maybe for fun you should read the Bible on your way to Hell!!! Yours truly, A minister for the church of Christ.|
minister, but I have already read the bible start to finish
on two seperate occasions, and much of the bible I have
read many more times than this.
I think you are a disgrace to your church, by the way, and that you demonstrate that any reading of the bible you may have done has not done you any good.
|Comment:||Well, I'm a
Christian and I was viewing your site because of a school
project I'm doing (Creation vs. Evolution). Something I'd
like to point out is, if neither Creation nor Evolution can
be properly proved by science (like many evolutionists have
said), why do you still choose to believe in chance not
design? It doesn't make sense to me. Also, here are some
things the Bible has said, but coz man didn't believe we
didn't find out until hundreds of years later.
>Earth is a sphere suspended in space (Isaiah 40:22 He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth... Job 26:7...He suspends the earth over nothing)
>Blood sustains life (Leviticus 17:11 For the life of a creature is in the blood...)
>The stars are extremely distant and can't be numbered (Jeremiah 33:22..as countless as the stars of the sky...)
>The winds form a circulating system (Ecclesistes 1:6 The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning on its course.)
Don't you see, if we had only read and believed the Bible we would have known these things many, many years before we finally discovered them by ourselves. If you believe the world is suspended in space (like the Bible says), and that blood sustains life (like the Bible says again, as well as other things), why don't you believe the first sentence in the whole Bible?
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
(Please e-mail your answer or display it on the site, thanks)
(KJV): It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the
earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers;
that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth
them out as a tent to live in.
Isaiah 40:22 (NIV): He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in
Note that in both cases the word used is quite clearly "circle". A circle is two dimensional (i.e., it's "flat"). A sphere, on the other hand, is three dimensional. Now I think it is a matter of some importance to note that God certainly knows the difference betwixt one and the other, and certainly knew which word to use, assuming of course that these are God's words. History does not show us an individual who looked at these words and exclaimed "Lo! For the world is truly a sphere!" (or some such). But history does record that ancient Greek astronomers paying close attention to shadows on the earth, deduced from simple observation & logic that it was round (and they also figured out how big it was). They didn't have the Bible, and didn't need it. Nobody ever thought of that passage as a "prediction" that the earth was round ("spherical") until after it had already been figured out by poor Godless tinkerers. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. But you treat the contents of this passage as if it were something that humans either did not or could not know without the Bible, and that's wrong on both counts.
Job 26:7 (KJV): He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing.
Job 26:7 (NIV): He spreads out the northern [skies] over empty space; he suspends the earth over nothing.
Once again the presumption is that the words carry a message that could not be known to the mere humans of the day. But those same ancient Greek astronomers had already noticed that the moon floats freely in space. They had already constructed a model of the solar system with the sun and planets moving freely in space around an earth suspended in space. It was a crude mathematical model by today's standards. But, it shows that this great mystery of the Bible is another one that had in fact been figured out before, by people who had no knowledge of the Bible.
Leviticus 17:11 (KJV): For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.
Leviticus 17:11 (NIV): For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one's life.
Do you really think that people who already had a few thousand years of experience at fighting wars, needed the Bible to tell them that they needed blood to live? Of course not; they already knew from experience that "blood was life", they just didn't know why.
Jeremiah 33:22 (KJV): As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured: so will I multiply the seed of David my servant, and the Levites that minister unto me.
Jeremiah 33:22 (NIV): I will make the descendents of David my servant and the Levites who minister before me as countless as the stars of the sky and as measureless as the sand on the seashore.
Well, in this case, God would appear to be wrong. Or perhaps the Bible's human authors were expressing their awe at the large numbers involved. Indeed, they may have believed that the beaches & heavens were infinite, but they were wrong. The stars are not "countless", in fact there are probably no more than 1025 stars in the universe. That's a lot, but it's not "countless". Likewise, the number of grains of sand on the beaches of the world surely does not exceed 1030, which would be their number if the entire earth were made of sand grains.
Ecclesiastes 1:6 (KJV): The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits.
Ecclesiastes 1:6 (NIV): The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning on its course.
By the time the Bible was written, the peoples living around the Medeterranean Sea had quite a bit of experience navigating along its coasts, as well as along the Atlantic coast of Africa and perhaps Europe. Likewise were sailors experienced with the confines of the Persian Gulf & Red Sea. If you want to know about winds, just ask a sailor. Those people knew the wind patterns backwards & forwards, and knew how they changed with seasons. There's nothing here that wasn't already known well before the bible appeared.
The Bible has enough virtue in it, without the need to add virtues that it does not have. Contrary to your last paragraph, and your obvious sentiment, everything you have described here was well known to the people of the world, and well within their experience, well before the words of the Bible ever appeared in written form. Maybe even before they appeared in voice. Perhaps your desire to convert the nonbeliever would be better served if you concentrated on the Bibles spiritual & redemptive value, and set aside the desire to make claims for the Bible that it does not need.
The Big Bang is something I've always been curious about, and I find different answers and explanations everywhere I go. There are a couple of things that I'd love to lean about the big bang, but the replies I get are always too complex for my layman understanding of science. Is there anyway someone could answer the following questions as if I were a four-year-old?
-Does the Big Bang support the concept of an eternal universe (i.e. the bang was caused by another bang, which was caused by another bang, and so on), or did the universe "spring from nowhere"?
-If the universe is not eternal, then how is the Big Bang possible, scientifically and philosophically?
-Is there more than one version of the BBT? If so, which one is more popular, recent, likely, etc.?
Thank you so much for humoring me,
|Author of:||Creation Science and the Earth's Magnetic Field|
cosmology has usually been interpreted, at least in the
"popular" versions, as implying a unique beginning for the
universe. That is probably how it was originally seen, as
Big Bang cosmology pre-dates the advent of quantum
mechanics. A "literal" reading of general relativity shows
the initial state of the universe to be "undefined", much
as the ratio 1/0 is simply not defined and so does not
exist. But the idea of the universe suddenly appearing out
of nothing is not very satisfying, and probably has never
been commonly held in the community of scientists. But the
theory of general relativity gives no clues as to what may
have come "before" the Big Bang gave birth to time itself.
Since the 1920's it has been understood that quantum mechanics is the proper theory for understanding the universe on scales of the very small. It eventually became obvious to cosmologists that some combination of general relativity & quantum mechanics is necessary to describe the universe properly when it was very young, and very small. Such a theory could provide clues as to the environment that preceded the Big Bang, clues about where the Big Bang came from. The top pick for such a theory today is string theory (or superstring theory), which uses physics cast in the mathematics of a space with 10 or 11 dimensions. That theory give rise to a "pre Big Bang" scenario, or rather to several possible pre Big Bang scenarios. So modern cosmology has plenty of room, or so it seems, for an infinite universe, and a pre Big Bang universe.
There is more than one Big Bang model. They all share a "bang" in common, but differ in how they treat the universe after the "Bang". There are "standard" models, with "cold" dark matter or "hot" dark matter, and there are also "inflationary" models for each kind of dark matter. There are models that replace "inflation" with a variable speed of light, and there are models that include a kind of energy called "quintessence". At the moment the inflationary models are most popular, and seem most likely to be right. But Big Bang cosmology remains a matter of active scientific study, and one should not get too close to one or another model quite yet I think. And string theory will have a lot to say about such things, but maybe not for a few more years.
|Comment:||Big Bang If
I am not mistaken, I recall a time when evolution covered
the creation of the universe to present day. I was somewhat
surprised to see that your site says that evolution covers
the origin of species to present day. Is this change in
Science of Convenience I have read your position on Punctuated Equilibrium (PE). To my mind this is a disappointment. Based on the level of reasoning I have quickly become accustomed to on this site, your explanation of why there are gaps in the fossil record is nothing short of an excuse. In your archives under PE the second heading and the third paragraph the word “may” occurs four times in one sentence. This is not convincing when you are discussing facts. Then using the analogy of trying to reconstruct a partially burned, unbound, shuffled page book to the point where it actually approaches a credible record is nothing short of fantastic and should be removed because from the article as it further weakens your position. This is a very transparent attempt to cover a yawning hole in a theory. There is no shame in saying we are not sure or we do not know.
Of facts and Conclusions
Quite often you have observed certain facts in the fossil record. Fossils which appear like they could be related to existing species or extinct ones. (though apparently not enough of them are found) So what happens next? An explanation to justify an existing belief. If Punctuated Equilibrium (PE) or the Big Bang (BB) were positions creationists had introduced you would have laughed it to scorn. One can propose any number of scientifically based scenarios that may attempt to explain events that otherwise make very little sense. ( PE and BB). Just because you can formulate a well-worded explanation does not make the event a fact. Because you found evidence that MIGHT support such an event, does not mean that the explanation is now valid either. In this case, you are mingling fact with conjecture and calling it all fact. But like everyone else you have a bias, and you arrived at your conclusions by interpreting the facts the way you think they should be interpreted. To deny there is no bias would be an admission of not being human and would also be contrary to scientific findings in the area of human psychology. The conclusions which evolutionists have proposed are not incontrovertible (as Chris Ho-Stuart would like to believe). You are well educated men and women who are trying to find evidence to support your already formed conclusions. One more thought. Evolutionists have believed what you are saying to be true for decades without the benefit of modern science or recent “discoveries”. So, did they believe evolution by faith in the absence of “evidence” or did they believe in “old facts” which have since “evolved” into more modern ones.
|Author of:||Punctuated Equilibria|
We're interested in biological or organic evolution here. There's no noticeable change in position on this over the past century, AFAICT.
As the author of the PE FAQ, the criticism here was of interest to me.
The sentence specified as having too many "may"s in it occurs as follows:
Other than a gratuitous "to" that should be removed, I don't see the problem in using "may" as I have in the above sentence. Geological processes have contributed to confusion concerning the import of fossil evidence. It is a fact that not all sedimentary strata were deposited at the same rate. It is a fact that some, but not all, strata have been eroded. It is a fact that compression has altered some, but not all, fossils in a way that reduces their informative value to paleontologists.
The use of the "damaged book" analogy may be arguable. I don't think that it materially "weakens my position". The explication of PE stands on its merits or demerits, not on whether the accompanying prose illustrations meet some aesthetic criterion.
While there may be no shame in saying that we are not sure or that we do not know something, there is also the point that when it comes to PE, we do know certain things. We know that modern tetrapod species predominantly speciate via allopatric speciation of peripheral isolates. We know that migration of a species into a new habitat can occur with extreme rapidity (using a geological timescale). We know that when looking at the fossil record that we must take into account these biological processes as well as the geological processes already cited. We know that fossil evidence exists which supports PE interpretations. (See pp. 98-108 of Eldredge and Gould's original essay for two examples.)
Science is often a process of finding mechanisms for patterns. One might say that this is just making "an explanation to justify an existing belief", as any theory of gravity must explain the behavior of objects in Earth's gravitational field if we are to accept it as a possible mechanism. But saying that we "explain to justify an existing belief" appears to simply be a rhetorical ploy to avoid dealing with the evidence and the arguments, and instead denigrate what cannot otherwise be efficiently criticized on evidential grounds. The fact of the matter is that biologists do accept PE as "making sense", and that physicists do accept the "Big Bang" hypothesis as "making sense". Perhaps it isn't the biologists and the physicists who are mistaken when it comes to evaluating these concepts.
|Comment:||I may be missing something, but on my Mac, your "Chat" page led me to an ad for Vol... something or other, and I seem unable to chat. Is it me, my Mac? Should it be so difficuly?|
|Response:||It works fine on my Macs. It does require Java, and different browsers handle that differently; you also need to have Java enabled.|