Proof of Evolution?

Ironically, after I posted “Not All Science is Created Equal” I read an article that was a perfect example of this principle put into action.  The article was in the June 9th issue of New Scientist and was entitled “Bacteria Make Major Evolutionary Shift in the Lab.”

Summary

Twenty years ago, an evolutionary biologist from Michigan State University named Richard Lenski, planted a single E. coli bacteria and allowed it to grow.  Since then, Dr. Lenski now has 12 lab colonies which have seen 44,000 generations of bacteria.  Every 500th generation Dr. Lenski freezes a sample of the bacteria as an evolutionary reference point.

Mostly, Dr. Lenski has seen just larger cells and faster growth rates, but somewhere in the 31,500th generation, the E. coli did something drastic.  All of a sudden, one of the colonies developed the ability to metabolize citrate, something E. coli shouldn’t be able to do.  Indeed, one of the characteristics that seperates E. coli from other bacteria is it’s inability to metabolize citrate. 

This spontaneously developed “citrate-plus” trait is an example of evolution in action.  Dr. Lenski went into his freezer and brought out samples of each of the 12 populations, hoping to see if other populations would develop this “citrate-plus” trait.  Unfortunately only the original population redeveloped the trait, and only if he “revived” the bacteria past generation 20,000.  Something must have happened around the 20,000 generation to allow for the addition of this trait.  Dr. Lenski and his team are working hard to find out exactly what allowed for this change over 10,000 generations later.

Evolution in action?

As we discussed before, this IS procedural evolution in action.  This is definetly a change of alleles in a population of bacteria, that’s obvious.  However, this not how the article means to define evolution.

“A major evolutionary innovation has unfurled right in front of researchers’ eyes. It’s the first time evolution has been caught in the act of making such a rare and complex new trait.”

Notice how they assume “molecules-to-man” evolution to be true and this just the first time it’s been “caught in the act”.  Very scientific of them.

” ‘It’s the most profound change we have seen during the experiment. This was clearly something quite different for them, and it’s outside what was normally considered the bounds of E. coli as a species, which makes it especially interesting,’ says Lenski.” 

Lenski describes an out of the ordinary case of bacterial adaptation and then the article pulls the old “bait and switch”.  By saying,

“Lenski’s experiment is also yet another poke in the eye for anti-evolutionists, notes Jerry Coyne, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Chicago. “The thing I like most is it says you can get these complex traits evolving by a combination of unlikely events,” he says. “That’s just what creationists say can’t happen.”

See what they did there?  They provide evidence for bacterial adaptation and then claim it as evidence of “molecules-to-man” (or “expanded” as defined in the previous post) evolution.  In order for this to be true, the bacteria would have had to turn into something NONE bacteria over the 44,000 generations.

This kind of “evidence” for molecules-to-man evolution should be intellectually insulting to all parties, evolutionists included.  It just shows that they assume evolution to be true a priori and any case of life adapting will be evidence for that evolution.

Note to Dr. Jerry Coyn from the University of Chicago:  The ability of bacteria to develop a new food source, is that considered complex?  Even if it is, evolution requires the slow addition of genetic information that leads to new traits, new body forms and eventually all of life we see around us.  THAT’S what creation geneticists and information theorists say can’t happen.  Did that happen in this case?  They don’t know.  Don’t be so quick to jump on the bandwagon, you might have to retract later.

How and Why Did the E. coli Develop this Ability?

They have no idea. 

“Lenski and his colleagues are now working to identify just what that earlier change was, and how it made the Cit+ mutation possible more than 10,000 generations later.” 

So, for all they know, it could have been an outside contaminant or factor that caused this adaptation.  Eventhough they don’t know why or how, the article claims, “In the meantime, the experiment stands as proof that…”  How can it stand as “proof” of anything if they don’t know how or why?  Again, very scientific of them.

 

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57 Comments on “Proof of Evolution?”

  1. bobxxxx Says:

    (I edited bob’s comment. He didn’t bleep himself)

    You f*ing stupid a**hole. How do you think humans appeared? Do you think your sky fairy poofed them into existence?

    You Christians are the most f*ing stupid uneducated hicks in the world.

    Why don’t you study the evidence from molecular biology a**hole.

  2. Eric Kemp Says:

    bob

    Isn’t that what I was talking about, molecular biology? If you’d like to discuss the evidence for molecular biology and wether or not it supports molecules-to-man evolution I’d love to do so.

    However, judging by your profane rant, you are not interested in honest discussion and are only interested in berating those that disagree with you. Yelling at me to study a subject I’ve posted about certainly doesn’t make me look ignorant.

    Bob, let me ask you a question that I know you won’t answer: What proof do you have that God didn’t “poof” us into existence?

  3. Sirius Says:

    bob needs Prozac.

    But, my, he does inspire one to heights of intelligence, doesn’t he?

    Good article, Eric.

    –Sirius Knott

  4. Eric Kemp Says:

    Yea, one wonders why Bob reads creationist blogs if it angers him so. Perhaps he doesn’t like reading good arguments of the opposite conclusion.

    Thanks for the encouragement Sirius.

  5. bob Says:

    The micro vs macro canard? Really?

    You know, scientists have never witnessed macrogravity in a lab setting, either. Note how astronomers assume macrogravity a priori when they claim that galaxies are moving due to gravity! Very scientific of them. And note the bait-and-switch, going from a ball rolling down a hill to entire galaxies!

    And how does this “macrogravity” work? They have no idea. Some claim space itself is curved, while others claim macrogravity is transmitted by a particle *no one has ever seen*! How anyone considers macrogravity scientific is mind-blowing.

  6. Eric Kemp Says:

    Bob

    That’s actually a good analogy. Thanks for the logical response unlike the other bob.

    Here’s the problem, you are trying to equate something that is observable through telescopes, and orbits that can be tested through mathematic equations with something we can do neither with. If we had a “time” telescope with which we can took into the past, your analogy would be solid.

    For the record: I have no problem with you saying that the small changes can lead to big ones, knock yourself out. But please don’t call it an observable, testable, falsifiable science, don’t call it “the fact of biology” as it so often is. Call it what it is; an extrapolation, an inferrence, an assumption, a statement of faith.

    “The micro vs macro canard? Really?”

    Incredulity does not make an argument less valid. Especially misplaced incredulity.

  7. bob Says:

    Thank you for the complement on my analogy, and thank you for making my point that much stronger with your own weak argument.

    “Here’s the problem, you are trying to equate something that is observable through telescopes, and orbits that can be tested through mathematic equations with something we can do neither with.”

    Gravity (general relativity, actually) is extrapolated backwards and forwards all the time by astronomers. We have observed a vanishingly minuscule fraction of the time since the big bang, so the idea that we’ve observed tons of gravity is ridiculous. Since life only began on the earth ~4 billion years ago (vs ~13 billion since the beginning of the universe), our observations actually cover a much larger percentage of evolutionary times than they do gravitational times.

    By your argument, you should accept evolution more than you do gravity. Oops.

    And, as for the mathematical comment, I don’t see your point. Evolution by natural selection isn’t a deterministic process, it’s all odds and probabilities. Random mutations are just that, and then natural selection is highly probabilistic. A squirrel that’s a little slower than it’s brother isn’t guaranteed to be eaten by a fox. You’re being obtuse.

    Beside, evolution does use the “math” you so covet. The buildup of distinct silent mutations occurs at a measurable rate, and the timelines for these mutations largely synchs up with the branching evolutionary tree constructed via other evidence. Oh noes, mathematical predictions later verified by experiment.

    Again, it is a good analogy. Why do you believe in gravity but not in evolution? Or do you regularly jump out of windows?

  8. Eric Kemp Says:

    Bob

    Your response shows that you completely missed my point or are being disingenuous. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and take the former.

    “We have observed a vanishingly minuscule fraction of the time since the big bang, so the idea that we’ve observed tons of gravity is ridiculous.”

    Firstly, I never said “tons of gravity”, in fact, I wouldn’t know how to “measure” the gravity we’ve observed. My point is that we can observe gravity all the time around us. And if wanted to observe gravity in terms of planetary orbits then we can do that too (with a bit more high tech equipment).

    We CANNOT do that with evolution. No matter how much extrapolation and inference you want to make, you cannot observe a lobe-finned fish turning into a tetrapod. Sorry, it just can’t happen. Even by the definition of evolution itself, these changes take thousands upon thousands of generations and AT LEAST hundreds of thousands of years, if not millions. So evolution defines itself as being unobservable.

    “Since life only began on the earth ~4 billion years ago (vs ~13 billion since the beginning of the universe), our observations actually cover a much larger percentage of evolutionary times than they do gravitational times.”

    This is where you might be getting alittle disingenuous so I hope you clear this up. Are you saying we can observe 4.5 billion years of evolution? I was under the impression that we’ve only been attempting to observe evolution for 150 years. Also, are you saying that we “know” the Earth is 4.5 billions years old? If so, how did you come to this conclusion?

    “The buildup of distinct silent mutations occurs at a measurable rate, and the timelines for these mutations largely synchs up with the branching evolutionary tree constructed via other evidence. Oh noes, mathematical predictions later verified by experiment.”

    I’m confused, are you saying that mutations are random but predictable at the same time? Also, are you saying that we’ve been measuring genetic change for millions of years and therefore know the exact time it took between each branch of the phylogenic tree?

    Also, lets say that silent mutations build up at a constant rate. At what rate do these random mutations become beneficial, active mutations that cause change? What experiments show the random, positive mutations that an amphibian used to change into a reptile (or any other phylogeny you want to choose)?

    “Why do you believe in gravity but not in evolution? Or do you regularly jump out of windows?”

    You are trying to “bait and switch” me. You are trying to say that the random change in allele frequencies we see in populations today prove molecules to man evolution just as easily as jumping out of a building proves gravity. That’s just not the case. I hope you see the distinction.

  9. bob Says:

    Again, you’re being obtuse, in my opinion.

    “We can measure planetary orbits.” Sure. Compared to the scale of the known universe, I would call that micro-gravity. The size of our solar system is nothing compared to the size of, say, our local galaxy cluster. By your estimation, we know nothing about macro-gravity. We haven’t observed the Andromeda galaxy collide with another galaxy, so I suppose there’s no reason to think it will collide with the milky way. Macro-gravity is just materialist dogma.

    You ask for the observation of a “lobe-finned fish turning into a tetrapod.” Well, I ask for the observation of two galaxies orbiting each other. Macro-gravity apparently also defines itself as being unobservable.

    As for my comment about percentages, perhaps I was unclear but I suspect you were just thrown off by my large numbers (a YEC, I take it?). If you assume life is 4 billion years old and the universe is 13 billion years old, we have more of what you call “evidence” for evolution (~0.00000375% of evolutionary time, assuming 150 years) than for general relativity (~0.00000357%, assuming 500 years of good astronomical data). I ask again, why believe in macro-gravity? It’s just a pack of materialistic lies; a deity moves the galaxies wherever He sees fit.

    Calculations of where galaxies or planets or stars were before we could observe them are analogous to fossils, for this evolution-gravity analogy. And, they allow us to make sense of the universe around us. And, they let us build a cohesive picture of what happened in the past. Just like fossils. Whether you believe it or not.

  10. Eric Kemp Says:

    bob

    “Again, you’re being obtuse, in my opinion.”

    Ah yes, the old “only nincompoops don’t believe evolution happened” argument. Classic.

    “Sure. Compared to the scale of the known universe, I would call that micro-gravity.”

    Oh, c’mon. Are you really arguing “well that’s not macro in my opinion!”? You know what I mean by this. You know I mean that evolution is not observable in the same way planetary orbits are. It’s ok, you don’t need to be disingenuous to not concede a point. You can concede this point of the analogy and still believe/have an argument for evolution.

    “By your estimation, we know nothing about macro-gravity.”

    The observation of our own planetary orbits being inferred (in general) upon the planetary orbits of other systems is still based on observation. Again, by the very definition of evolution, we can’t observe it.

    “As for my comment about percentages, perhaps I was unclear but I suspect you were just thrown off by my large numbers (a YEC, I take it?)”

    Ah yes, I’m a YEC so I’m too stupid to comprehend big numbers. If you want to argue ad hominem just to make a point I can’t stop you, but it’s just not very logical of you.

    “I ask again, why believe in macro-gravity? It’s just a pack of materialistic lies; a deity moves the galaxies wherever He sees fit.”

    I already answered this in my previous response. But you bring up an interesting question. Let’s say we know EXACTLY how macro-gravity works, does this knowledge of “how”, within itself, exclude God from setting the forces in motion and/or maintaining them? (The question is to be taken at face value, I’m NOT asking the same about evolution)

    “Calculations of where galaxies or planets or stars were before we could observe them are analogous to fossils, for this evolution-gravity analogy.”

    Ah, I see what you’re trying to say. Here’s the difference. You say, “before we could observe them” because you know we can observe planets in motion now. We still can’t observe fossils in evolutionary “motion”.

    At the very least we can take a still frame picture of a far away planet at a certain time, take another one in the future of the SAME planet and calculate how far it traveled and how long it took the planet to get there (orbital velocity).

    When we try to do this with an evolving species the fossil is our “still frame picture”. The problem is that we can’t take another “picture” of that SAME fossil in the evolutionary future. The next evolutionary “picture” we take is a completely different species (no matter how similar). Looking at two different “pictures” of two different species we must infer evolution. It’s THAT inference that isn’t scientific (observable, testable, falsifiable).

    That is where your analogy falls apart. But did you really think any analogy is flawless? They all fall apart at some point.

    “And, they allow us to make sense of the universe around us.”

    And creation doesn’t do this?

    “And, they let us build a cohesive picture of what happened in the past. Just like fossils. Whether you believe it or not”

    Only if evolution is inferred upon the still frame “pictures” we have of evolutionary history. To deny this inference OR to subscribe to it (same thing really) is a statement of faith. Making a statement of faith is ok as long as you acknowledge it.

    But I have a question, is a picture of the past, especially built by science, really EVER “cohesive”?

    Might as well ask you this here instead of Sirius Knott’s page: In general, do laws of logic exist?

  11. bob Says:

    You might want to look up the definition of argumentum ad hominem. Me calling you a dumba$$ (which I didn’t do, mind you) is not an ad hominem attack unless I say “you’re wrong because you’re a dumba$$.” I said you’re being obtuse (I even pointed out that this was only my opinion), and then I explained why. That’s not a logical fallacy in any way, shape or form. (You seem to be seeking persecution in your last post, by the way.)

    It seems that ‘laws of logic’ do exist for you, but yours are different than everyone else’s.

    I’m not being disingenuous by harping on the micro/macro business. That’s the problem here, and you’re still not getting it. We can see evolution in the laboratory. Take a culture of bacteria in a flask. Raise the temperature a bit. Most of the bacteria will die, and then the flask will refill with bacteria optimized for that temperature. Add a simple phage, most bacteria will die, and the flask will refill with bacteria protected from that phage. Add a weak antibiotic, most bacteria will die, and the flask will refill with bacteria resistant to that antibiotic.

    You and your ilk claim this isn’t really evolution, or is microevolution, or some other lame rationalization. But, regardless of what you think or say, it is natural selection working on random mutations. Hate to break it to you.

    Also, you are operating under the idea that fossils don’t let you do what you consider ‘real science.’ Well, the branching tree of life biologists have worked out offers tons of possible species between currently-known species (translation: hypotheses). These are regularly discovered, I’m sure you remember the snake with legs found just this April. Finding these counts as doing an experiment to test the hypotheses. Again, just because you don’t like it or it doesn’t involve math or a lab doesn’t invalidate it. Is forensic science not a science? How about physical anthropology?

    You then ask about science excluding god. Of course not, you can’t prove a negative. However, you might want to think about Occam’s razor. Let’s look at two hypotheses for macrogravity: (i) general relativity explains it, or (ii) god moves the galaxies around. The main a priori assumption for the first is that the laws of physics are the same everywhere, and the main assumption for the second is that some kind of deity exists. I’ll let you decide which is the bigger unproven assumption, and apply the razor as you see fit.

    Finally, you say that faith lets you make sense of the world. I disagree wholeheartedly. Faith shuts out further inquiry, in that it explains away everything with a quick goddidit. 500 BC: how do the planets move? In perfect sphere, because the gods are perfect. 1700 AD: how do we explain orbital deviations from Newton’s equations of gravity? Oh, there you see the hand of god. 2000 AD: what about dark matter or dark energy? Ah, tis the lord. Thank goodness everybody didn’t just let faith make sense of the world, or we’d still be dying at age 30.

    I can’t guarantee I’ll come back and respond, as fun as this has been. Don’t you and Sirius hurt your arms patting each other on the back for “scaring away another evolutionist.” (Or Darwinist or naturalistic or materialist, or whatever this month’s term is to make science and reason sound like just another religion.)

    You and Sirius seem like smart guys, but that doesn’t change that you’re still arguing backwards. You start with conclusions (you god exists, evolution is wrong, the world is only a few thousand years old) and anomaly hunt or try to reason your way to your predetermined conclusions. I hope, someday, you guys are willing to open your mind and let the evidence guide you wherever it may, even if it’s away from your preconceived notions.

  12. Eric Kemp Says:

    bob

    “You might want to look up the definition of argumentum ad hominem. Me calling you a dumba$$ (which I didn’t do, mind you) is not an ad hominem attack unless I say “you’re wrong because you’re a dumba$$.”

    I’ll quote you, “perhaps I was unclear but I suspect you were just thrown off by my large numbers”, ei. “You’re too stupid to understand what I’m saying and therefore you’re wrong”. That IS a logical fallacy.

    Honestly, bob, you calling me stupid and obtuse doesn’t really bother me, I just want to point out that you are using it to prove your point, which is illogical.

    “It seems that ‘laws of logic’ do exist for you, but yours are different than everyone else’s.”

    Ok, and are these laws of logic (the ones everyone else uses) material?

    “You and your ilk claim this isn’t really evolution, or is microevolution, or some other lame rationalization. But, regardless of what you think or say, it is natural selection working on random mutations. Hate to break it to you.”

    You don’t have to break it to me, I COMPLETELY agree. Bacteria adaptation is absolutely Natural Selection in action. I would never deny that Natural Selection happens and therefore we all know that evolution happens over time. In fact, Creationist believe that evolution has happened since the beginning of time, but only in the way we can observe and test it.

    Only YOU are adding the assumption of kinds turning into other kinds. This is evidenced by the fact that I have continually asked for observed or tested instances of cross-phyla evolution, and the example you give me? Bacteria. Believing that bacterial changes in alleles over time leads to cross-phylogenic changes is a statement of faith.

    “These are regularly discovered, I’m sure you remember the snake with legs found just this April. Finding these counts as doing an experiment to test the hypotheses.”

    Actually, no it doesn’t. Finding a “snake with legs”, even if that’s really what it is, is only finding another species of snake. It’s evolution must be inferred and you know it.

    “However, you might want to think about Occam’s razor.”

    Using Occam’s Razor in this discussion is actually VERY detrimental to your argument. Please, reread Occam’s Razor and rethink wether or not you’d like to use it here. If you still would like to use it, I’ll prepare a more lengthy response to Occam’s Razor.

    “Don’t you and Sirius hurt your arms patting each other on the back for “scaring away another evolutionist.”

    At no point have I ever been trying to push you away from discussion. I’ve only answered your questions an honestly as possible and called out fallacy where I saw it. That’s all I’ve done.

    ” You start with conclusions (you god exists, evolution is wrong, the world is only a few thousand years old) and anomaly hunt or try to reason your way to your predetermined conclusions. I hope, someday, you guys are willing to open your mind and let the evidence guide you wherever it may, even if it’s away from your preconceived notions.”

    You’re right, when it comes to the science issue, I DO start with my conclusion. I’m only trying to show you that you do the same. My statement of faith “God did it” is no different than your statement of faith “Natural Selection did it”. You may say that I’m denying some evidence of evolution, but I’m looking at the same evidence you are.

    Ironically, “letting the evidence guide you where it may” is exactly what the academic community is attempting to suppress.

  13. bob Says:

    I knew I shouldn’t have come back, what with bulletproof arguments like the one you opened with. Just take what I said, rewrite it so that it fits your claim, and then go to town. I really have no response. No worries, though … you clearly relish feeling oppressed and persecuted, so by all means imagine that I’m talking down to you.

    I think I see what your getting at with the ‘non-materialist’ aspects of logic. I suppose logic is “immaterial,” so us evil naturalists shouldn’t be using it. (I can fantasize about being ad hominem-ed, too.) Well, you’re being inconsistent. You claimed above that equations made gravity different than evolution. It doesn’t get any more abstract than mathematics.

    But now to the real problem. I’m pretty surprised you carted out the kinds-into-kinds canard. This is wrong in two major ways, one of which is precisely what we’ve been discussing this whole time. (Glad I spent the time typing, I’ll tell you.) Why did we talk about “macro-gravity”? Because you’re complaining about a lack of evidence for “macro-evolution.” Did you read what I wrote, or just quote-mine for things to nitpick?

    I’d harp on about that aspect, but I really don’t think there’s any point. You want an ad hominem? Here’s one: I’m pretty sure than even AiG doesn’t suggest creationists argue about macro/micro evolution. I think that if an argument is so vacuous even *they* don’t want any part of it, it must be fantastically worthless. There you go, now I really am employing a logical fallacy. Happy?

    The problem we haven’t discussed yet is that of moving goalposts. In fact, this is the *exact* example I use when telling people what the moving goalpost fallacy is. Every time some bit of evolution is observed, you just demand more. You just expand the definition of your hopelessly vague term “kinds,” and keep on playing as if the goalposts were always at their current position.

    Imagine for a second if Lenski’s bacteria had somehow become protists. (Wouldn’t have happened, but let’s just do this thought experiment.) That wouldn’t have convinced you, because you would just argue bacteria and protists are the same kind. Same if it had become a fungus or a virus, regardless of how huge these changes would have been. Unless he opened the flask and saw a drowned monkey, you’d stick to your guns (though probably not, I guess you’d argue contamination or divine intervention). Talk about non-falsifiable arguments!

    I’d continue, but I’m sure I gave you enough to go on. I’m guessing the next one is elaboration on your “point” that a snake with legs is still a snake. And I suppose a reptile with a snakelike body is still a reptile. Wait, unless he’s a snake. (See what I mean about moving goalposts?) Actually, to heck with it … reptiles and snakes are clearly the same Kind, anyways.

    More importantly, I’m not going to convince you of anything. As you said, you started with your conclusion. It sounds like no argument is too wild, so long as it arrives at your predetermined conclusion. You even appealed to a grand conspiracy theory with your last line. If you’re going to go down that path, there’s no reason for me to be here. I’m just part of the conspiracy, after all.

  14. Eric Kemp Says:

    “No worries, though … you clearly relish feeling oppressed and persecuted, so by all means imagine that I’m talking down to you.”

    Look, bob, every single one of your posts has an air of condescending sarcasm. If saying “you’re a YEC so you’re confounded by big numbers” isn’t calling me stupid then I don’t know what is. Like I said, I don’t feel oppressed or persecuted, but if you can’t see that you ARE talking down to me then you’re just not being honest.

    “I think I see what your getting at with the ‘non-materialist’ aspects of logic. I suppose logic is “immaterial,” so us evil naturalists shouldn’t be using it.”

    Actually, that’s not what I’m saying, but now that I think about it, naturalists ARE being inconsistent when they use them. But my real purpose was to quote you from Sirius’ blog “The neat thing about the universe is that it contains everything.” And show you that you admit the Laws of Logic exist and they are immaterial. Are they “in the universe” too? Or outside of it? So something DOES exist that is immaterial. Kinda like God.

    “Why did we talk about “macro-gravity”? Because you’re complaining about a lack of evidence for “macro-evolution.” Did you read what I wrote, or just quote-mine for things to nitpick?”

    Wait, are we going back to the gravity analogy? I thought I just showed you where it falls apart and we abandoned it. And where did I quote mine?

    “I’m pretty sure than even AiG doesn’t suggest creationists argue about macro/micro evolution.”

    Never once did I say micro/macro. Not once. I am talking about science we can observe and science we can’t observe (which doesn’t make it science).

    “Every time some bit of evolution is observed, you just demand more. You just expand the definition of your hopelessly vague term “kinds,” and keep on playing as if the goalposts were always at their current position.”

    Ok, I’m not even going to defend myself on this one because I don’t need to. If you were to read this very blog article over again you would see that the goal posts are set clearly.

    “That wouldn’t have convinced you, because you would just argue bacteria and protists are the same kind.”

    To be perfectly honest with you, no I wouldn’t. A bacteria and a protist are completely different in many ways. And here is something you ignored, I admitted and know that bacterial adaptation is evolution in action. What you are unable to do is observe, test or falsify that evolution will lead to the massive changes your beliefs require. You MUST assume it will.

    “Talk about non-falsifiable arguments!”

    You’re correct, my argument is unfalsifiable. But yours is as equally unfalsifiable. That is my entire point, thank you for finally seeing where I’m coming from, even if you won’t concede the point.

    Reptiles and snakes are not the same “kind”. But a snake with legs is actually a problem for evolutionists. Why? Because, in the Garden, the snakes had legs and God cursed them to crawl on their bellies after the Fall.

    “More importantly, I’m not going to convince you of anything. As you said, you started with your conclusion. It sounds like no argument is too wild, so long as it arrives at your predetermined conclusion.”

    If you are trying to show that I use wild arguments, you have been unable to do so. Calling something wild does not make it so, you’ll have show it. But I like how you take my admission of “conclusion first” and ignore the fact that you do the same. You can claim you don’t but your unwillingness to admit that, by it’s own definition, evolution is unobservable and your unwillingness to see the monumental difference between bacterial adaptation and cross-phylogenic evolution speaks loud enough for you.

    Perhaps there is a “conspiracy”, but that’s not what I’m saying. I just found it ironic that you asked me to “follow the evidence where ever it leads” while excluding the supernatural a priori yourself.

    For the record: I am here to honestly discuss these issues. I take nothing personally in argument or I wouldn’t be able to be here. Perhaps you are used to Sirius’ approach which is to overtly bash his opponents into submission. I do not take this tactic. But I will point out any lack of sincerity or logical fallacy I see. Everything I say is up for discussion, and if you don’t think I’m being honest or am falsely accusing you of something, just point it out to me and we can attempt to fix the issue. I have no desire to “win”, only to discuss.

  15. bob Says:

    No need to wonder, I now no longer respect your ideas and will openly condescend them. Upon ‘consideration’ consisting of a whopping five blog comments, your ideas have devolved to drivel and long-refuted creationist canards.

    God exists because you can’t poke abstract concepts like logic and math with a stick? Really? That’s the best you can come up with? What a phenomenal reason to base your life on something.

    “But a snake with legs is actually a problem for evolutionists.” That’s interesting, because the discoverers didn’t seem to notice a problem. In fact, they seem to think that it nicely fits into the proposed evolutionary scheme of lizards-to-snakes. But, as you said, it’s just a snake. Well, I think you’re wrong … my fallacy generator says it’s actually just a lizard. Hell, this discovery actually made two new holes in the idea of “evolution” … this “theory” is even worse now!

    I’m not even going to bother addressing the ‘problem’ you cited: “[I]n the Garden, the snakes had legs and God cursed them to crawl on their bellies after the Fall.” The coincidence that the example I gave sounds like your favorite fairy tale could not possibly be more irrelevant. (You asked for your “wild” arguments, there’s my main reply.)

    I don’t remember the exact details, but I recall recently hearing about the discovery of fossils of small humanoids. Everyone dubbed them “hobbits,” so I guess it’s time to anoint JRR Tolkien as a prophet.

    You keep clamoring for direct laboratory evidence for something that’s proposed to take millions of years, as if that’s going to impress anyone but others who started with the same conclusion you did. There are multiple lines of evidence for the theory of evolution, and it makes predictions/hypotheses that turn out. What more do you want?

    You can’t watch galaxies form in the lab. You can’t watch stars over their entire lifetime in the lab. You can’t watch someone develop Alzheimer’s in the lab. You can’t watch a murder that happened last week in the lab. You can’t watch Aztec culture in a lab. You can’t watch an ice age progress in the lab. You can’t watch a tsunami in the lab.

    I also can’t stand to argue with you anymore. You say that “perhaps there is a conspiracy.” Or, perhaps, your ideas are pathetic and unreasonable.

  16. Eric Kemp Says:

    Bob

    “No need to wonder, I now no longer respect your ideas and will openly condescend them.”

    I was waiting for your tone to change through out the comment but it didn’t, you’ve had the same condescending sarcasm since post #1. Just recognize that this is one of your main ways of getting your point across and accept it.

    “God exists because you can’t poke abstract concepts like logic and math with a stick? Really? That’s the best you can come up with?”

    I said no such thing. You made a comment that the physical universe accounts for EVERYTHING and I showed you that the Laws of Logic are non-physical yet still exist, that’s it.

    “That’s interesting, because the discoverers didn’t seem to notice a problem. In fact, they seem to think that it nicely fits into the proposed evolutionary scheme of lizards-to-snakes.”

    I never said otherwise. Of course it makes sense to them, evolution is unfalsifiable and any discovery can be made to fit the paradigm. In any new discovery they line is, “Well, we previously thought X but now, because of new evidence, we think Y. See, it all fits the evolutionary model!” For example: we previously thought that soft tissue could only survive for a very limited amount of time (in the evolutionary sense), until they discovered “65 million year old” T-Rex soft tissue. Instead of questioning wether or not T-Rex’s were really 65 million years old, they decided that soft tissue COULD survive that long after all! Sticking to that paradigm!

    “The coincidence that the example I gave sounds like your favorite fairy tale could not possibly be more irrelevant. (You asked for your “wild” arguments, there’s my main reply.)”

    The argument is only “wild” because you decided a priori that Genesis is a fairy tale. The fact that the discovery does fit the Genesis account is competeley relevant wether you like it or not.

    “You keep clamoring for direct laboratory evidence for something that’s proposed to take millions of years, as if that’s going to impress anyone but others who started with the same conclusion you did.”

    If you are going to act like molecules-to-man evolution is true science just like bacterial adaptation is then YES, it is my RIGHT to ask for similar lab evidence. The fact that you can’t give it to me is fine, I honestly don’t expect you to be able to, just as you know it’s not possible. Just STOP equating the two!

    Also, you are COMPLETELY ignoring the starting conclusion that you have (I’ve admitted mine) which is that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old and evolution DID take billions of years. Once you START with this conclusion, then bacterial adaptation can absolutely be evidence for evolution. But does bacterial adaptation, by itself, as evidence in it’s own right with no outside influence, point to molecules-to-man evolution? An honest man answers, “no”.

    “You can’t watch galaxies form in the lab. You can’t watch stars over their entire lifetime in the lab…”

    More false analogies and equivocations. I would show you how each of those false apart as metaphors for molecules-to-man evolution, but there would be no point. The bottom line is that none of those phenomena are claiming for themselves something they are not and/or none of them are attempting to be a “fact” that explains the origins of all things in the unobservable past.

    You call my ideas pathetic and unreasonable but you have attempted to answer almost none of them. And the ones you have attempted to refute you have either straw-manned them out with things I never said, used false analogies (Alzheimers), equivocations (macro-gravity), or “bait and switch” tactics.

    The reason we cannot have an honest discussion is because you cannot be intellectually honest enough to admit the limitations of science to describe molecules-to-man evolution, and you won’t even acknowledge your own starting assumptions/conclusions. Like I said, you can admit these limits and assumptions and still have plenty of ammo to defend yourself, but I guess you don’t see it that way.

    For the record: My best case scenario would be for the majority of evolutionary biologists to say something like,
    “Well, based on this evidence we believe that X and Y happened but we can’t really be sure because of A and B. Our limitations are C and D and we recognize them and are working to shrink our limitations. Because of A, B, C and D we are open to allowing the evidence to take us where it does and to also recognize that the evidence doesn’t necessarily mean X and Y happened. If anyone would like to challenge us, bring it on, and we’ll attempt to honestly defend ourselves and listen to you at the same time.”

    If they did this, you and I would be having a very different conversation.

  17. bob Says:

    Wow. I’m having trouble even coming up with a response … they should have sent a poet.

    No one assumed the earth is 4.5 billion years old, that’s called a scientific consensus. You are spectacularly wrong in calling it an assumption. The scientific consensus is the best set of theories scientists have to explain all the available evidence. It is the cumulative and collaborative synthesis of decades upon decades (centuries in some fields) of hypotheses and research by millions of scientists.

    That you compare this to assuming your religion’s creation story is correct is nothing sort of astonishing. You literally could not be more incorrect. People started with your assumption and scientific evidence forced them to recognize that it was incorrect.

    It is astounding that you are attempting to turn this around. I feel I need to find a thesaurus, I’m out of words to describe your assertion.

  18. Eric Kemp Says:

    Your incredulity, again, doesn’t make my point any less valid.

    Are you saying that Darwin, in writing Origin, didn’t assume that “somehow” the Earth was old enough to support his theory? Are you saying that “old Earth” was proven before Darwin wrote Origin?

    Also, are you saying that the Earth being 4.5 billion years old is a rock solid, indisputable fact?

    But I actually believe you. I believe that you honestly don’t know that radiometric dating is based on several unscientific assumptions. Perhaps this ignorance is willful or you just haven’t run across this info before.

    Before I continue, I must know your knowledge base about radiometric dating. I don’t want to be repeating information you already know or excluding something you don’t so I can be as specific as possible. My knowledge is only now getting into the specifics of the process, but I know how it works generally.

  19. bob Says:

    You have absolutely no idea how science works. There is no reason to argue with you, because you are literally and willingly ignorant of the most basic tenets of the scientific method.

    I skimmed your garbage about radiometric dating. (Yup, ad hominem. Get over it. Go ahead and call me childish if you’d like, too.) I’ll tell you my favorite part; it’s my favorite because it’s additional and corroborating evidence of my hypotheses that (i) you have no clue about scientific concept or how science works and (ii) are cynically and hopelessly biased against scientists.

    “We can measure what the rate of decay is at the time of experiment, and must assume that same rate has existed for all time. Yes, I can propose some mechanisms [for a changing rate]; temperature, pressure and chemical factors might effect rates of decay.”

    This displays both your striking ignorance and your contempt for scientists. Radioactive decay is a nuclear process, whereas temperature pressure and chemistry matter/occur at the molecular (ie electron shell) level. I know some nuclear processes are slightly affected by these things, and I’m sure you’ll anomaly hunt and find sources concerning those processes or perhaps discussing irrelevant temperature extremes. However, your comment displays your complete ignorance of physics and chemistry quite well.

    Furthermore, your comment implies that you think scientists haven’t thought of that. I’ve got news for you that might cause some cognitive dissonance in your closed mind: temperature is the first place scientists go to explain things. The idea that no one thought of temperature until you had a little cynical lightbulb go off in your skull is both ludicrous and profoundly arrogant. It’s called high energy physics (nuclear decays occur due to the strong and weak nuclear forces). It’s extraordinarily hard. Some of the smartest people on the planet work on it. It is a wildly successful endeavor. And you are ignorant and not a little pathetic.

    Before you whine about my tone again, consider this quote from Thomas Jefferson: “Ridicule is the only weapon that can be used against such unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them.” Your propositions hardly deserve even ridicule.

  20. Eric Kemp Says:

    “There is no reason to argue with you, because you are literally and willingly ignorant of the most basic tenets of the scientific method.”

    It’s obvious this isn’t true to anyone reading my posts. I have a 4 year degree in a scientific field, the 1st of which was spent as a biochemistry major. Yup, I know nothing about the scientific method.

    “Yup, ad hominem. Get over it. Go ahead and call me childish if you’d like, too.”

    This just shows that you find your position so irrefutable that you are justified in using logical fallacy in proving that position. Since you can’t be wrong, using logical fallacy doesn’t invalidate your arguments. You believe yourself above invalidation.

    “(i) you have no clue about scientific concept or how science works and…”

    Already shown to be wrong to anyone reading this blog.

    “(ii) are cynically and hopelessly biased against scientists.”

    This is another standard argument I’ve heard several times. This is also called an ad hominem attack and therefore completeley invalidates your argument. The ironic part is, once I show you that several scientists think this way and are doing research to determine wether or not this is true, you’ll say “they aren’t real scientists” and will show your own bias against scientists that don’t agree with you.

    “I know some nuclear processes are slightly affected by these things, and I’m sure you’ll anomaly hunt and find sources concerning those processes or perhaps discussing irrelevant temperature extremes.”

    There is some good research out there done showing that rates of nuclear decay can change. They aren’t “anomolies”, it’s been proven in a lab. But, if God created the world, at what temperatures did He do so? We don’t know. We can only speculate, that’s my point.

    “However, your comment displays your complete ignorance of physics and chemistry quite well.”

    Merely stating that I have ignorance doesn’t make it so. In fact by claiming it but not showing where my ignorance lies, you are making yourself look ignorant.

    “Furthermore, your comment implies that you think scientists haven’t thought of that.”

    That’s not what I’m saying at all. Of course they’ve thought of that. Here’s the problem, the temperature of the unobservable past is UNKNOWABLE (pressure or chemical factors as well). They MUST assume that it had no affect on the weak nuclear force of the isotopes, there is no way around it, sorry.

    You previously asserted that not every event that has happened in the past can be observed in the lab. Things happen outside the lab, that the lab can’t describe. Right? So this doesn’t apply to the weak nuclear force? The lab has thought of/covered EVERYTHING regarding the decay of isotopes? Which one is it, is every event is able to be described in the lab or not? You can’t have it both ways when it suites your purposes.

    What? Nothing about the other assumptions I pointed out? They must assume the starting amount of the parent isotope and must assume that there is no daughter isotope present when the rock solidifies. Oh, I forgot, I know “nothing” about science and therefore any point I make is completely irrelevant, wow, that’s one rock solid argument you’ve got there.

    So here’s the situation: You have not attempted to defend your position, not once. Every question, assertion or argument I make has not been answered with a like argument. You have used either ad hominem, straw man, false analogies, incredulity, or appealing to a higher power (smart scientists). You call all these names and make all these claims and you have backed none of them up by showing ignorance or stupidity, choosing instead to call upon scientists who believe like you do.

    The only conclusion I can draw is that you have not reasoned through your position enough to have an answer to my claims. Your training tells you that I’m stupid but you don’t know how I am. Your bleating of “ignorance!” without actually reasoning why I’m ignorant beyond “other smarter people disagree” is reminiscent of a child who is angry but can’t express why. People who are smarter than you believe as you do, and that’s good enough for you.

    Again, I don’t mention your tone because it hurts my feelings. The only affect you have on my feelings is a small about of exasperation on your continued use of fallacy. I mention your tone, and fallacies, because you use them to make your arguments, which invalidates them.

  21. bob Says:

    Again, the scientific consensus is the collection of the best current hypotheses to explain the available data. You somehow feel that this is faith, which is utterly incorrect. This is my justification for mocking you. You feel correct when you argue about scientific topics yet you are *fundamentally* confused about what science does and is. That bears repeating: you are fundamentally confused about science.

    Don’t whine that I’m criticizing you and not telling you why. Here is why. You do not grasp the concept of the scientific method, nor do you understand what a scientific consensus is. Your last few posts demonstrate that you believe (key word) a scientific consensus is when someone makes assumptions and everyone else takes them as gospel. This is wrong, and thus you are wrong. (In fact, this is exactly what you do. Are you projecting your unjustifiable actions onto millions of scientists? Is that it?)

    Your arguments amount to logical fallacies, false skepticism (cynicism), and lamely replying “nuh-uh, what if my deity did it?”

    Well, pal, what if your deity didn’t do it? Since you’re not open to that possibility, your arguments are a waste of time from the get-go. This is an unjustified major premise, and the best you can come up with is to yell “you do it, too!” (Which, as a side note, wouldn’t even make your arguments valid if it were true. The options aren’t just modern science and your religion; that’s a false dichotomy.)

    You just ignore the fact that, no, scientists do not do any of this, and you maintain this opinion by blithely ignoring what science does and is. I suppose one could call this a giant straw man, but really what’s the point of finding more problems with your argument? Again, the unstated (well, until your third reply) major premise that your deity exists makes your arguments logically and scientifically worthless.

    That you assumed your conclusion from the onset invalidates your argument. *EVEN IF* you could show that modern science does the same thing (assume it’s conclusions), it would only serve to invalidate some aspects of modern science. This would do nothing to prove your beliefs, unless you set up the false dichotomy I explained above.

    It’s a nice tactic; it at least sounds a lot better than the usual “evilution violates teh entropee.” Sadly for you, it’s ultimately no more effective.

    Finally, you accuse me of not reasoning my position though. Again, I think you are projecting … which one of us assumed his conclusion before evaluating the evidence?

  22. reluctantfundie Says:

    “…evolution caught in the act.”

    oops, all that overwhelming evidence from the last 200 years must have been hot air. Now they’ve *really* got the evidence they don’t have to lie anymore. I should like to go and have a chin wag with the newly evolved bacteria.

  23. Eric Kemp Says:

    bob

    “You do not grasp the concept of the scientific method, nor do you understand what a scientific consensus is. ”

    Show me. Show me how I don’t understand the scientific method. Here, I’ll give you the way to do so:

    My assertion is that, when looking at the amount of daughter isotope in a rock, to determine the age of a rock, scientists MUST make certain assumptions.
    1. The rate of decay of the parent isotope has NEVER changed
    2. The starting amount of parent isotope when the rock formed is ALWAYS the same
    3. There is NO daughter isotope present when the rock solidifies

    Go ahead. Show me how the scientific method, as used by the geologists, accounts for these assumptions. Until you do so, your bleetings of my ignorance are meaningless.

    Also, there is NO scientific consensus. MANY geologists look at the same evidence and conclude that, because of these assumptions, we can’t really know the age of the Earth. There is a research group out there called RATE (Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth) doing research, and finding evidence, that rates of decay are not constant.

    “You just ignore the fact that, no, scientists do not do any of this, and you maintain this opinion by blithely ignoring what science does and is.”

    You ignore the fact that I have a four year science degree from a SECULAR university, the 1st year of which was spent as a biochem major. I’ve taken more than enough evolutionary biology to suit you. But let me ask you: Are you saying that scientists DON’T exclude the supernatural a priori?
    Show me how they don’t.

    “…which one of us assumed his conclusion before evaluating the evidence?”

    Both of us. You ignored my previous question so I’ll ask it again. Darwin didn’t assume an “old Earth” when he wrote Origin? Evolutionary geologists in the ’40s weren’t looking for a way to prove the already assumed old Earth when radiometric dating was invented?

    Again, you have discussed nothing. You scream assertions, accuse me of fallacy, and do not show me how.


  24. ““(i) you have no clue about scientific concept or how science works and…”

    Already shown to be wrong to anyone reading this blog.”

    Silly statement, Eric. Obviously it HASN’T been shown to anyone reading the blog because Bob read the blog and came to that conclusion. Unless you’re omnipotent like God, I doubt you can know what EVERYONE reading your blog thinks of you.

    I’ve even told you at my own blog that I’m left puzzled as to what you think science is and how it works.

    In any case, just out of curiosity, could you expand on the following:

    “You ignore the fact that I have a four year science degree from a SECULAR university, the 1st year of which was spent as a biochem major. I’ve taken more than enough evolutionary biology to suit you.”

    I’m not aiming to poke fun at anyone’s credentials. There are plenty of brilliant people that can argue either for or against something without actually having a background in that field. Likewise, there are plenty of people who may be brilliant in one field but sound like complete nincompoops when they stick their nose into another field’s business.

    So just purely out of curiosity, since you brought it up, what is your degree in and what university did you attend?

  25. Eric Kemp Says:

    airtightnoodle

    “Silly statement, Eric. Obviously it HASN’T been shown to anyone reading the blog because Bob read the blog and came to that conclusion. Unless you’re omnipotent like God, I doubt you can know what EVERYONE reading your blog thinks of you.”

    You are assuming the bob was being honest or that his statement isn’t false. Which I think isn’t likely based upon reading all of his posts. Now, if you’re of the opinion that “what’s true for you is true for you” then you can say whatever you like but it means nothing to anyone else. But if there is such a thing as objective truth, then bob is far from objective.

    But more to the point: bob’s statement was that I know “nothing” about science. I don’t need to be anything more than merely reasonable to rightly assert that it’s obvious to everyone that I at least know SOMETHING about science. Bob, with his absolute “nothing” statement, must be the one to be omniscient for him to know that statement to be true.

    “There are plenty of brilliant people that can argue either for or against something without actually having a background in that field. Likewise, there are plenty of people who may be brilliant in one field but sound like complete nincompoops when they stick their nose into another field’s business.”

    My statement about my education is no way was meant to establish me as any kind of an authority in any field. It was merely to combat the notion that I am a nincompoop as bob repeatedly asserted. Like you, I don’t feel than anyone needs to have a Ph.D to have a good grasp of the subject matter. To FURTHER the field via research, yes, a Ph.D is needed.

    “So just purely out of curiosity, since you brought it up, what is your degree in and what university did you attend?”

    My degree is a B.S. in Kinesiology and I am continuing my education, on my way to becoming a physical therapist. Now, I have already put up my real name for everyone on the blogosphere to see, I’m not sure I’m comfortable also putting what school I attended. But I have no problem sending you an email in that regard if so requested.

  26. bob Says:

    And I quote: “Also, there is NO scientific consensus.” Simply incorrect, and again more evidence that you don’t know jack about science, regardless of where you went to school or what you majored in.

    As I stated above, the scientific consensus is the synthesis of the best theories to explain the available data. It does not physically exist in a book somewhere, because that would be antithetical to science itself. It is a dynamic and changing concept, since theories evolve and the body of data increases and improves. But, as usual, you miss the boat entirely; I wouldn’t be surprised if you first use the fact that the scientific consensus is ethereal to ‘prove’ god exists, and then compare the consensus to a bible to project your irrational worldview onto scientists.

    A bit more: “MANY geologists look at the same evidence and conclude that, because of these assumptions, we can’t really know the age of the Earth. There is a research group out there called RATE (Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth) doing research, and finding evidence, that rates of decay are not constant.”

    Wow, promoting the views of one group of researchers. Yeah, you sure know how science works. Would you like me to point you towards a lone researcher who think vaccines cause autism? Or one who thinks cold fusion works? Or one who thinks he has evidence for faster-than-light motion? Or one who thinks acupuncture cures AIDS? That’s kinda the point of a scientific consensus … you don’t trust the lone crank pumping out unreproducible results that support his pet theory. Again, you miss the point entirely.

    And finally, there are all the issues we’ve been happily discussing here. Like you, the RATE people are avowed YECs. Big surprise that they conclude that the earth is young … they started with that conclusion! That you cite that group as some kind of evidence against the scientific consensus is simply preposterous.

    I will grant you one point: it was superfluous of me to talk in absolutes about your lack of understanding about science. Of course, every educated person does not know nothing about science. I wouldn’t think it necessary to point out that I was exaggerating, but since that’s all you talked about in your latest replies I guess I need to explicitly mention it. On the other hand, maybe you just don’t have anything of substance left to say and are resorting to nitpicking and whining.

    While you do know SOMETHING about science, I still maintain that you fail to grasp the overall concept of science. Miserably. You promoted the opinions of a lone set of biased pseudoscientists as “proof” that the scientific consensus is either wrong or nonexistent (couldn’t tell which from your writing). What more evidence do you want from me? You don’t know what you’re talking about!

  27. Eric Kemp Says:

    bob

    You state that there is a scientific consensus and then acknowledge that there are scientists who disagree, just not enough of them. So which one is it? Is there a consensus or just “not enough scientists” to overturn the convention? So since it’s obvioulsy not a “consensus” is old Earth a “convention” then?

    Also, you continue to hold to an imaginary position of neutrality. Neutrality doesn’t exist. Naturalistic scientists exclude the supernatural a priori. That’s neutral? So when you accuse supernatural scientists of forming their conclusion first you sit firmly upon yours, ignoring that you are doing so. When I point below you, to your philosophical foundation, you will again ignore me and assert that I know “jack” about science.

    You also ignore the fact that the fathers of science (Newton, Galileo, Descartes, Kepler, Copernicus) were YEC’s by belief and that didn’t stop them from inventing the modern scientific method. So why are modern YEC’s hindered from doing “good” science by their YEC beliefs?

    Actually, let me test your knowledge of science. Is the idea of “induction” (more popularly the “uniformity of nature” ) essential or non-essential to the scientific method?

    Oh, I like how you change the word “nothing” to “jack” and think that it’s somehow NOT a universal negative about my knowledge.

    Also, you have not shown…not ONCE that my knowledge about science is lacking. I offered you a CLEAR way to do so regarding the assumptions radiometric dating is based upon and you have ignored it.

  28. bob Says:

    Eric, I’m at a loss here. There are people who think the freaking earth is flat. Does that mean we can’t reasonably conclude that the earth is round? What is this, some kind of militant postmodernism?

    I don’t know how else to respond to what you’re saying about this point. Sorry. If you’re going to allow that one maniac barking at the moon about his beliefs constitutes valid scientific controversy, we’re effectively speaking a different language when we say “science.”

    Anyways, as I just posted on your buddy Sirius’ blog, I’m getting out of here for real this time. You guys have assumed that your mythology is correct, and then use that assumption to prove your mythology. If you look at this objectively, it is an absurd and illogical argument. The only reason it flies is history. You had to make that assumption up until the past few centuries, unless you liked getting executed for heresy.

    Since you get to assume your fantasies are real, I’ll take my turn now. I imagine that this conversation has planted some seeds of doubt and skepticism in your head, and maybe someday they’ll bloom and you’ll dare to *not* make the assumption that the literal Christian creation story is real. I suspect that this is completely foolhardy for me to believe, but then again so is the bible but that’s not a problem on this blog.

  29. Eric Kemp Says:

    bob

    “Eric, I’m at a loss here. There are people who think the freaking earth is flat. Does that mean we can’t reasonably conclude that the earth is round? What is this, some kind of militant postmodernism?”

    You are being completely disingenuous. Your statement was that there was a “consensus” and I showed you that there is not. A fact you admitted by acknowledging the group of scientists who disagree. You are merely throwing out the “flat earth” strawman to keep from conceding a point.

    The Earth being round is OBSERVABLE, the Earth being 4.5 billion years old is NOT.

    For one who comments on the blogosphere, you seem to have a basic misunderstanding about the standards for reasoning during argument and the Laws of Logic. Let me show you:

    “If you’re going to allow that one maniac barking at the moon about his beliefs constitutes valid scientific controversy…”

    I have asked you several times to show me HOW the geologists who disagree with “old Earth” are wrong or “barking at the moon”. You have ignored me each time. In argument, when you make a statement and someone asks you to defend that statement, and you ignore their request and then continue to use the challenged statement, that’s called an “argument from ignorance”. You have not defended your statement but continue to use it, ignoring any challenge. That’s not rational discussion.

    “You guys have assumed that your mythology is correct, and then use that assumption to prove your mythology.”

    You also are ignoring that I’ve pointed out to you several times that you also have presuppositions, just as Christians do. I have pointed out what those presuppositions are (supernatural phenomena does not exist) and you have still ignored me. Not defending, acknowledging or disputing your own presuppositions but continuing to attack ours (which we’ve admitted several times btw) is not rational discussion.

    I have also asserted that a belief in God does not disqualify someone doing good science a la Newton, Descartes, Galileo, Kepler and Copernicus. This assertion has gone unchallenged.

    You are leaving this discussion because your only tactic is condescending incredulous sarcasm followed by insult and strawman. When this tactic is challenged, you simply ignore the challenge, rinse and repeat. It almost seems that you want us Christians to get into a flamewar with you, meeting you at your sarcastic insults and therefore acting unChristian like, giving you another reason to dismiss us. When that doesn’t work, you bail.

    For someone who takes science at face value, and believes it gives us truth, you sure don’t seem to be able to defend that truth. Every attempt of mine to get you to discuss scientific issues has fallen on deaf ears.

  30. Chris Says:

    May I offer my take on this?

    Now I’m not a scientist, and I only have a basic understanding of most things related to such, but doesn’t it make sense to be able to prove something without observing it? This isn’t a perfect analogy but I think this goes to the “cat in a box” theory. If you put a cat in a box and close it, is the cat still there? Well, if I’m not too far off base, the laws of physics can prove that it is through the things that we know to be true. We know that the cat wouldn’t disappear spontaneously, and according to several other factors, we know the cat is still there without opening the box.

    Of course this doesn’t directly relate to evolution, and there are several things that or “ify” about this analogy, but the point is can’t we prove something without actually observing it?

    Now I’m not attacking you here but as a Christian it seems a little bit hypocritical to say that something can’t exist without proof. I believe you are saying something more along the lines of, It may be possible to prove evolution but this doesn’t do it, and I agree. Maybe the scientists writing this article are just a little over zealous to prove their point. but then maybe this does prove evolution, just without all the necessary steps of the scientific method. I mean, evolution or creation, humans are still here and we can’t prove “how or why” we are here. So, are you saying that without how or why, theoretically, we can’t prove that humans exist? I think it’s possible to prove something without answering ALL the questions right off the bat.

    I’m not saying you or anyone else is wrong about this but as an Agnostic that believes science and religion coincide, I hope you take my comments as just that, not as an attack.

  31. Eric Kemp Says:

    Chris

    “Now I’m not a scientist, and I only have a basic understanding of most things related to such, but doesn’t it make sense to be able to prove something without observing it?”

    I’m no scientist either and I don’t think we need to have Ph.d’s to understand and discuss these things.

    We can absolutely prove things by other means than observation. For instance the Laws of Logic, we can prove they work but we can’t see them, they aren’t material. But we also couldn’t call them science. Anything we prove without observation using logical reasoning is great, but it can’t be called science. Therefore molecules-to-man evolution is not science.

    “If you put a cat in a box and close it, is the cat still there? Well, if I’m not too far off base, the laws of physics can prove that it is through the things that we know to be true. We know that the cat wouldn’t disappear spontaneously, and according to several other factors, we know the cat is still there without opening the box.”

    Two problems
    1: You know that you just put the cat in the box, you observed yourself doing so. This is not the case with evolution. No one has observed it in the molecules-to-man sense, we don’t even know if it is possible.
    2: You are assuming that physics can be relied upon in ALL instances. Since you CAN’T observe every single instances regarding physics in the universe, you must assume it’s the same everywhere and in every instance. This is called the uniformity of nature. In a purely materialistic world, complete uniformity of nature cannot be accounted for. Why? Because univesal, abstract, immaterial laws such as “all matter acts the same way” cannot exist in a purely naturalistic world.

    “Now I’m not attacking you here but as a Christian it seems a little bit hypocritical to say that something can’t exist without proof.”

    You’re right. If that is what I’m saying, then yea, that would be hypocritical of me.

    But what I’m saying is that if we call something a “scientific” conclusion then we can’t use unscientific premesis to prove that conclusion. That’s irrational.

    Also, if we are trying to prove something that does not fall into the realm of natural science, then we must be logically consistent in our reasoning. It’s my contention that the atheistic/agnostic worldview cannot account for certain things in our world.

    “So, are you saying that without how or why, theoretically, we can’t prove that humans exist? I think it’s possible to prove something without answering ALL the questions right off the bat.”

    I’m not saying that because the theory of evolution can’t answer every question I can throw at it then it’s bunk. That would be unfair. What I am saying is that the evolutionary/naturalistic worldview cannot account for the beginning of the universe, the beginning of life or abstract, immaterial laws.

    “I’m not saying you or anyone else is wrong about this but as an Agnostic that believes science and religion coincide, I hope you take my comments as just that, not as an attack.”

    I take nothing as an attack unless it is meant as so. And it’s ok to show people HOW they are wrong, as long as you don’t just say it. “Science and religion coincide” is not the argument. Read my post on “What Creationists Believe” and you’ll see that we fully embrace science as any rational Western thinking individual does.

    It’s the philosophical naturalistic worldview that we reject.

  32. nakedscientist Says:

    Dear Eric,

    To have a true insight of the paper, it would be better to read the original paper written by the scientists (http://www.pnas.org/content/105/23/7899) from the PNAS journal.

    The New Scientist article is a digested summary of the study that simplify quit drastically the scientific contents for the public to understand.

  33. Eric Kemp Says:

    Nakedscientist

    My only point to this article was that bacteria evolving the ability to metabolize citrate is so far away from proof of molecules-to-man evolution that it would be dishonest to suggest otherwise. In fact, any creationist would also fully expect bacteria to evolve new abilities.

    I realize that the New Scientist article is completely watered-down for us none scientists to understand. But I’m curious to know what insights the technical article could give that would disprove my point stated above?

  34. nakedscientist Says:

    “I’m curious to know what insights the technical article could give that would disprove my point stated above?”

    Dear Eric,

    The Article in PNAS is not only technical. It contains also the conclusion that the Authors made given the results.

    The reason I’m suggesting to read the original Article is that the author NEVER claim that vertebrates (and therefore Human) evolve in a similar fashion. The study is done on E.coli and all their conclusions applies to E.coli.

    As a matter of fact, reading quickly through the New scientist, I did not see any clear reference to Human. Where to you see one ?

    Original articles in scientific journals are boring to the public. Conclusion are very carefully stated to avoid over-interpretation. So article in popular scientific journals try to “spice it up” a little to keep the reader attention. So in order to react to any scientific finding, I would strongly suggest anyone to actually read the original work.

  35. Eric Kemp Says:

    nakedscientist

    “As a matter of fact, reading quickly through the New scientist, I did not see any clear reference to Human. Where to you see one ?”

    The New Scientist article clearly suggests that this E.coli adaptation points to evolution. And they mean “evolution” in the sense of molecules-to-man, small changes leading to large changes in kinds, type of evolution. They went to far as to say that this adaptation is a “poke in the eye for anti-evolutionists”

    THAT is the point of the article and THAT was what I took exception to. Perhaps you have never seen evolutionary scientists attempt to bait and switch us by showing evidence of biological adaptation and saying, “See! Everything came from a single cell!!”. That kind of unscientific, philosophically naturalistic conclusion is what I am objecting to.

    Like I said, every Creationist expects evolution to happen, in fact we know God created life to do so. We disagree with the presupposed naturalistic conclusion that EVERYTHING came about this way, and that the small changes we can observe around us inevitably leads to the large changes we cannot observe, test or falsify.

    I am no stranger to peer-reviewed scientific articles and I promise I know the difference. It wasn’t the technical aspect of the study/findings that I wrote the post about, it was the unscientific conclusion the New Scientist article came to that I find disingenuous.

  36. nakedscientist Says:

    Dear Eric,

    I’m commenting this part of your post :

    “The New Scientist article clearly suggests that this E.coli adaptation points to evolution.”

    Yes. This adaptation -is- an example of evolution in the species E.coli.

    “And they mean “evolution” in the sense of molecules-to-man, small changes leading to large changes in kinds, type of evolution. ”

    No, that’s your interpretation.

    “They went to far as to say that this adaptation is a “poke in the eye for anti-evolutionists” ”

    Okay, I agree with you it is not a particular nice sentence. As I mentioned in my previous post, the popular scientific journals are here to spice the story up. They want attention and, I guess reading your blog, they did.

    But to come back to a very popular miss-conception with evolution that people tend to do : E.coli is not a lower organism waiting to evolve towards a Homo sapiens. E.coli is a perfectly well adapted organism. The common ancestor between Human and E.coli was neither a man nor a E.coli. Both species are the result of billion of years of independent evolution.

  37. Eric Kemp Says:

    Naked Scientist

    “Yes. This adaptation -is- an example of evolution in the species E.coli.”

    I agree with that.

    “No, that’s your interpretation.”

    That was explicit in the article.

    “As I mentioned in my previous post, the popular scientific journals are here to spice the story up. They want attention and, I guess reading your blog, they did.”

    I’m not necessarily taking exception to the tone, I’m used to condescension as an arguing technique. I’m talking, like I said, about the bait and switch. Finding evidence for evolution/adaptation of a single species and pointing to it as evidence for molecules-to-man evolution.

    That kind of argument fallacy is similar to this quote of yours: “The common ancestor between Human and E.coli was neither a man nor a E.coli. Both species are the result of billion of years of independent evolution.”

    This is something you can’t possibly know. You are making an absolute truth statement about the unobservable past. You are assuming that the Earth is billions of years old to show evidence of evolution, which proves that the Earth is billions of years old. It’s circular. Also, the radiometric dating techniques have inherent assumptions as well which allow scientists to conclude an old Earth. The radiometric evidence itself requires interpretation to conclude an old Earth, which was preassumed by Darwin in the first place.

  38. freidenker85 Says:

    Sweet. There’s a myriad of E. coli species that cannot metabolize citrate and suddenly, an E. coli culture develops this trait. This isn’t evolution, right? Oh wait. It IS.

    But, it’s not “molecules-to-man” evolution, so no one’s grandfather was a monkey, right?

    This might be a slight exercise in futility, but let’s take a look at your argument for a minute with a critical eye.

    ” A major evolutionary innovation has unfurled right in front of researchers’ eyes. It’s the first time evolution has been caught in the act of making such a rare and complex new trait.”

    Notice how they assume “molecules-to-man” evolution to be true and this just the first time it’s been “caught in the act”. Very scientific of them.”

    Who uses phrases like “molecules-to-man”? This is something I hear from creationists, usually. Mainly because it’s easy to claim that no scientist has ever demonstrated molecules becoming people because that is, quite frankly, true.

    Something like this would more likely prove creationism than evolution, which works by gradual change. And since the world had 3.5 billion years for evolution to produce Homo sapiens out of whatever the hell it was that first lived (there isn’t even a consensus for whether or not it was DNA-based life-forms!) – there’s no actual problem, no logical obstruction for ancient replicators to eventually accumulate novel traits until they beget something that will sometimes in a very far future become human.

    This whole attack on “macro-evolution” appears, to me, to be so sad. You bring out an article that shows small-scale evolution of a novel trait (and you WOULD agree that cit+ is a novel trait for that particular E. coli culture) and then you go on saying that the mysteries regarding… hmm… Anything else that scientists don’t know precisely and haven’t caught on tape is unproven, unscientific tripe.

    Let’s, for a moment, leave all the mountains of evidence that will contrast your claim and have a little thought experiment:

    What is more likely:

    a natural process that has been observed on a small-scale happening throughout billions of years which produced and produces observed change all the time eventually leading to the appearance of modern species…

    Or –

    a 2000 years-old creation-myth made up by some ignorant desert tribesmen?

    I just want to point out, that as a biology major and a very avid science-supporter, I can drone for yonks about what science has to say about evolution on a large-scale. To me, it’s fascinating. But I don’t think you’d waste time reading whatever it is that I write on the subject. But I think that the answer you may have to my question will be more revealing than anything you may say about any evidence I present to you.

  39. Eric Kemp Says:

    Freidenker

    “Sweet. There’s a myriad of E. coli species that cannot metabolize citrate and suddenly, an E. coli culture develops this trait. This isn’t evolution, right? Oh wait. It IS.”

    Hmmmm…I don’t think you actual read the entirety of my post, because if you did you’d know that I agree with this.

    “This might be a slight exercise in futility, but let’s take a look at your argument for a minute with a critical eye.”

    Please do.

    “Mainly because it’s easy to claim that no scientist has ever demonstrated molecules becoming people because that is, quite frankly, true.”

    Exactly, and frankly, no scientist has ever demonstrated one kind turning into another as well.

    ” And since the world had 3.5 billion years for evolution to produce Homo sapiens out of whatever the hell it was that first lived (there isn’t even a consensus for whether or not it was DNA-based life-forms!) – there’s no actual problem, no logical obstruction for ancient replicators to eventually accumulate novel traits until they beget something that will sometimes in a very far future become human.”

    Firstly: fine, let’s say there is nothing illogical with it. But, as you just admitted, there is NO scientific evidence for this taking place. Why do we still consider this science then?

    Secondly: You assume your conclusion in your premise. You assume that the Earth really did have 3.5 billion years to work with to form humans. This is something you cannot know or demonstrate, just like we can’t demonstrate one kind turning into another kind.

    “This whole attack on “macro-evolution” appears, to me, to be so sad.”

    And yet, you just admit there is no evidence for molecules to man evolution.

    “then you go on saying that the mysteries regarding… hmm… Anything else that scientists don’t know precisely and haven’t caught on tape is unproven, unscientific tripe.”

    This also makes me think you didn’t actually read my article. I was specifically taking exception to the idea that this small novel adaptation was evidence for evolution as a whole (molecules to man included, the article was explicitly saying this).

    And please, don’t misrepresent the argument with “don’t know precisely”. There is no scientific evidence for the claim that these small novel changes lead to large phyla creating changes that evolution requires.

    “Let’s, for a moment, leave all the mountains of evidence that will contrast your claim and have a little thought experiment:”

    No, please, let’s not. Please, especially after your claim that no scientist can show molecules to man evolution, I’d like to see this “mountains” of evidence what would contradiction me. Once caveat however:
    1. Remember that I agree that evolution takes place all around us; it’s the specific claim of molecules to man evolution that I am arguing against.

    “a natural process that has been observed on a small-scale happening throughout billions of years which produced and produces observed change all the time eventually leading to the appearance of modern species…”

    We’ve observed these small changes throughout billions of years? Really? Or is it that you are assuming that billions of years have taken place? Can you provide me with specific evidence that shows the Earth is billions of years old?

    OR

    “a 2000 years-old creation-myth made up by some ignorant desert tribesmen?”

    Ooooo…nice strawman. I’ll tackle this one when I respond to your blog.

    Btw, I’ll read whatever you give me on evolution on a large scale, seriously I will. The only thing that bothers me is when people have no argument and merely link something like Talkorigins and say “See!”. If you’re going to link something, at least also explain it in your own words.


  40. “Exactly, and frankly, no scientist has ever demonstrated one kind turning into another as well.”

    I’m still trying to figure out exactly what a “kind” is.

  41. Sirius Says:

    Hi airtightnoodle [again],

    By the most common definition of a kind [“a cat is a cat is a cat, whether tiger or domestic house cat”], it would generally [i.e. – in most cases] be equivalent to a family.

    –Sirius Knott

  42. Sirius Says:

    Ugh, “definition” should actually be analogy or explanation.

    Tired.

    –Sirius Knott


  43. No matter what your definition of “kind” is, whether it equates to family or not, there are many fossils that document inter-phyla transitions.


  44. To clarify…I meant transitions across different taxa, whether we are speaking of genus-species, order-family, etc.

  45. Eric Kemp Says:

    Airtightnoodle

    We already had the fossil discussion. What you’re looking at are seperate species, dead, “still” in time, that you assume evolved from each other for the sole reason that they are similar. No matter how you rephrase it or how much similarity there is, it’s still separate species that are just similar to each other.

    Here is the other problem, as I’ve stated before, the Creationist fully expects evolution to take place, guided by natural selection. So Darwin’s Finches are expected in the Creationist model, but what isn’t expected is an amphibian evolving into a reptile. Too bad for you there is no scientific evidence of the latter.


  46. “We already had the fossil discussion. What you’re looking at are seperate species, dead, “still” in time, that you assume evolved from each other for the sole reason that they are similar.”

    No one randomly came up with the idea of evolution and then used similarity to explain it. It’s the other way around. Naturalists (like Darwin) started looking at the diversity of life, started noticing how some organisms are similar, started noticing fossils, etc, and then came up with the theory of evolution to explain that similarity. That’s generally how science works (in a very simplified nutshell).

    “So Darwin’s Finches are expected in the Creationist model, but what isn’t expected is an amphibian evolving into a reptile.”

    What mechanism do you know of that is going to prevent these “macro” changes over long periods of time? If you expect Darwin’s finches to evolve, then there is no reason to not expect them to become something very different over much longer periods of time.

    “Too bad for you there is no scientific evidence of the latter.”

    Perhaps you should tell all the people that have studied phylogeny, fossils and transitional forms, embryology, mammalian ear bones and the reptilian jaw, vestigial structures, transposons, pseudogenes, and on and on and on…that they have all REALLY screwed up.

  47. Eric Kemp Says:

    airtightnoodle

    “No one randomly came up with the idea of evolution and then used similarity to explain it. It’s the other way around. Naturalists (like Darwin) started looking at the diversity of life, started noticing how some organisms are similar, started noticing fossils, etc, and then came up with the theory of evolution to explain that similarity. That’s generally how science works (in a very simplified nutshell).”

    Of course, absolutely, right on, and any other affirmative phrase that would be appriopriate here. I would never say any different. But that doesn’t change the fact that all you’ve got is similarity.

    “What mechanism do you know of that is going to prevent these “macro” changes over long periods of time? If you expect Darwin’s finches to evolve, then there is no reason to not expect them to become something very different over much longer periods of time.”

    We don’t know what would prevent it therefore evolution must be true. Isn’t that the type of argument you chide Christians for? The problem is this, that kind of genetic change has never been observed, not even CLOSE! But as you stated, that’s not how science works. Science only subscribes to theories that have evidence to back them up. If there is no evidence that DNA can change itself as much as evolution requires, why are we still calling it science?

    Here is the more direct answer to your question however. DNA cannot ADD information to itself. That’s not to say that traits can’t change and that Natural Selection has no affect on attributes of species, of course it does. But these genetic changes are only that, changes; rearranging of alleles and base pairs to form new traits. It’s never ADDING genetic information, only switching it around.

    “Perhaps you should tell all the people that have studied phylogeny, fossils and transitional forms, embryology, mammalian ear bones and the reptilian jaw, vestigial structures, transposons, pseudogenes, and on and on and on…that they have all REALLY screwed up.”

    Let’s go through each of those.
    Phylogeny = similarity
    fossils = similarity
    transitional forms = assumed that they’re “transitional” because they’re similar
    embryology = similarity before birth
    mammalian ear bones = similar structure
    reptilian jaw = not sure what this refers to
    vestigial structures = even evolutionary biologists disagree about this one being evidence for evolution
    psuedogenes = another controversial subject in which the evolutionary community is quite divided about
    transposons = this one is new to me

    Look, I’m not saying that these people have wasted their lives, they’re doing scientific study in legit areas. But their unscientific, philosophical conclusion of “therefore we all evolved from a single cell” based on the evidence gleaned from there particular field is what I’m challenging.


  48. “We don’t know what would prevent it therefore evolution must be true. Isn’t that the type of argument you chide Christians for? The problem is this, that kind of genetic change has never been observed, not even CLOSE! But as you stated, that’s not how science works. Science only subscribes to theories that have evidence to back them up. If there is no evidence that DNA can change itself as much as evolution requires, why are we still calling it science?”

    Eric, I never said since we don’t know it must be true. I’m simply asking–do you know of any mechanism that is going to prevent such a thing from occurring? Yes or no?

    Can you elaborate on “no evidence that DNA can change itself as much as evolution requires”? Let’s make sure we all understand what you mean by “change” first of all, and then how much do you think evolution REQUIRES? And of course, when you say evolution, I’m assuming you are speaking of what is called “macroevolution” but correct me if I’m wrong.

    “DNA cannot ADD information to itself. That’s not to say that traits can’t change and that Natural Selection has no affect on attributes of species, of course it does. But these genetic changes are only that, changes; rearranging of alleles and base pairs to form new traits. It’s never ADDING genetic information, only switching it around.”

    Eric, I believe you are poorly misinformed on this particular topic. There have been several studies demonstrating that mutations can, and do, add information to genomes–no matter which way you define “information”.

    Unfortunately as my area was hit by Hurricane Ike this past week, I’m having some issues with the laptop and can’t expand right now. I hope you’ll look into the above, though. Hopefully we’ll get our power and cable restored soon.


  49. Oh, also, I was wondering if you agree with Sirius definition that a “kind” is basically equal to a family.

  50. Eric Kemp Says:

    airtightnoodle

    I would say that “kind” is equal to an order

    Now, this isn’t an exact definition or position. But I looked up a taxonomic tree and read through it, deciding that order is CLOSEST to what I’m talking about but maybe not ALWAYS the case.

    For example, do I think that some dogs are evolutionary descendents of wolves? For sure. But then kangaroos and possums are in the same order but there is no way a possum and kangaroo are of the same “kind”. But here’s the bottom line. We have observable, testable evidence that some dogs have evolved from wolves, however we have NONE about a possum evolving from a kangaroo (if they share a common ancestor, I’m not sure about it), do you see what I’m getting at?


  51. Eric,

    Thanks for the clarification on what you think a “kind” equates to.

    Any comments on the comment I made prior to that question?

  52. Eric Kemp Says:

    airtightnoodle

    “Eric, I never said since we don’t know it must be true. I’m simply asking–do you know of any mechanism that is going to prevent such a thing from occurring? Yes or no?”

    You are attempting to say that since we don’t know of anything stopping it, then it’s possible that large genetic change can happen. This argument is equal with an argument you rightly chide Christians for such as, “There is no evidence against God, therefore He exists.”

    But yes, I do. Bear with me.

    “And of course, when you say evolution, I’m assuming you are speaking of what is called “macroevolution” but correct me if I’m wrong.”

    I don’t like the term “macro” evolution but yes, I mean molecules-to-man evolution.

    “Can you elaborate on “no evidence that DNA can change itself as much as evolution requires”? Let’s make sure we all understand what you mean by “change” first of all, and then how much do you think evolution REQUIRES?”

    Molecules-to-man evolution requires that a single cell, over hundreds of millions of years, eventually evolved into large mammals. This is genetic change on a MASSIVE, MIND-BOGGLING scale. Genetic change that has never been observed or tested. Therefore there is no evidence that this is possible.

    But not only that, this is genetic ADDITION, something that is impossible. Firstly, can we agree that a species genome is a closed system? Meaning that it doesn’t matter how much cow DNA I eat, I won’t suddenly have all these cow traits injected into my genome, correct? We are born with as much DNA, as many chromosomes and alleles as we’re going to have right? (That doesn’t mean that allele frequency doesn’t change over time, because we know it does, it means that there isn’t allele ADDITION over time).

    So, we can have new traits but NOT new genetic information? Yes, that’s what I’m saying.

    Let me give an example. Let’s say I sent an mass text message out to my friends, and as my friends relayed the message to their friends, the message got alittle distorted, like this:

    -“Jan may have just won ten million dollars worth of Zippy Cola!”

    -“Jan may have won ten million dollars worth of Zippy Cola!”

    -“Jan may have won ten million dollars wroth of cola!”

    -“Jan may have won ten million dollars wroth of cola dollars wroth of cola!”

    -“Jan may have won ten million dollars!”

    -“Jan m ayhave won ten million dollars!”

    -“Jan won ten million dollars!”

    -“Jan won ten miloon dollars!”

    -“Jan won ten dollars!”

    Notice how the “meaning” (trait) changed completely but that no new information was added. On the contrary, information was lost! Now, you may say in rebuttal that what if one of the friends wanted to add some erroneus information to the chain of text messages? That rebuttal doesn’t hold water because that’s not the genetic situation. Where would our genome get outside DNA injected into it? Where would this new genetic information come from? The genome is a closed system remember?

    I mean, very simply, cell replication is just like photo copying a piece of paper. How do I get new information out of photo copying? Mitosis is just like rearranging the letters on the piece of paper. The meaning of the paper will change but how can I get new information from rearranging?

    Can you point me in the direction of some of these studies where genetic information was added?

    Man, I hope that you didn’t get hit TOO hard with Ike. Is your family ok?


  53. “You are attempting to say that since we don’t know of anything stopping it, then it’s possible that large genetic change can happen. This argument is equal with an argument you rightly chide Christians for such as, “There is no evidence against God, therefore He exists.””

    Actually Eric I already stated that this sort of argument doesn’t necessarily mean that it can (or can not) happen. I just wanted to know what you thought could stop it, if anything. And, as far as I know, I’ve never “chided” Christians for any such argument. I certainly may have chided creationists from time to time, but since I am a Christian myself, I tend to try NOT to chide people for having the same beliefs in God as myself…

    Yes, we made it through the hurricane ok. Thanks for asking. We had no damage to our home. Our pool is pretty much a wreck as we were without electricity for 13 days. It’s going to take some time to get it all cleaned out and get the chemicals back to where they need to be. In fact, we just got power back two days ago, so I’m going to make this post as short as possible since I have a ton of work to do. 😦

    Here are some references to mutations adding genetic information:

    increased genetic variety in a population (Lenski 1995; Lenski et al. 1991)
    increased genetic material (Alves et al. 2001; Brown et al. 1998; Hughes and Friedman 2003; Lynch and Conery 2000; Ohta 2003)
    novel genetic material (Knox et al. 1996; Park et al. 1996)
    novel genetically-regulated abilities (Prijambada et al. 1995)

    A mechanism that is likely to be common for adding information is gene duplication, where a long stretch of DNA is copied, followed by point mutations that change one or both of the copies. A search on PubMed for gene duplication articles returns thousands of hits, many of which discuss how gene duplication is likely responsible for the origin of some proteins. Obviously I haven’t read all of these articles. 🙂

    Transposons are also thought to be able to add new information. A transposon is a gene that is able to move or copy itself from one chromosome to another.

    Also, through the process of polyploidy, the total number of chromosomes can double, or a single chromosome can duplicate itself. This is pretty common in plants, for example.

    One of the problems with the argument that “mutations cannot add information” is that creationists typically resort to the text analogy–as you did yourself, above. But that’s all it is–an analogy. DNA is not text. A beneficial and a harmful mutation both change the original “message”. The “message” is not what it was. But does that change result in an increase in fitness for the organism relative to its environment?

    For example, let’s say a bank transfers $100, but there is some interference in the process, and the signal is “mutated” to transfer $1000 instead. The original “message” was certainly changed–you could even say degraded. But is that change a good or bad change? Is it helpful or harmful?

    The bottom line is that it isn’t impossible for mutations to “improve” an organism, which is really the argument creationists are trying to make when they say mutations are always harmful or that mutations cannot add information. All it means is that the mutation no longer accurately represents the original DNA “message”. This says nothing about whether this new signal is of greater or lesser value.

  54. Eric Kemp Says:

    airtightnoodle

    I’m glad that everyone is ok on your end. Being without power for 13 days must have been an adventure to say the least.

    I want to spend some time and look up the studies that you linked me and actually read them so I won’t respond to the body of your post for a few days.

    However, from one Christian to another, I want to ask you how you reconcile in Matthew where Jesus clearly takes the six day creation described in Genesis literally . . .

    Matthew 19:4; “And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE . . .” (emphasis included in text)

    Jesus is clearly saying that God created humans “from the beginning”; Jesus is wrong if molecules-to-man evolution took place. How do you reconcile this?

    Also, Paul took the Genesis account to be literal.

    Romans 5:12; “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned– ”

    In fact, this is a MAIN point in Paul’s entire theology. That SINCE sin and death entered into the world through one man, therefore all of humanity needs a savior from that sin and death.

    Paul goes on to say v.15 “. . . For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many.”

    If Genesis isn’t literal, and therefore sin and death didn’t enter into the world through Adam, then why did humanity need a savior? Why did Jesus come to die if death already existed for hundreds of millions of years before humans evolved (and therefore “sin” isn’t the problem)?

    If the Apostle Paul, and Jesus, were so absolutely backwards on this basic teaching of Christianity, how can we trust them about anything? As a Christian, how do your reconcile these contradictions?


  55. Eric,

    I’ve written about the “Genesis creation–should it be read literally” issue a bit on my own blog. I don’t have time right now unfortunatey to go into it further as I am working on assessing my students’ TAKS scores (it’s due this week–yikes). So I’ll direct you to my blog for now.

  56. Eric Kemp Says:

    airtightnoodle

    Take your time getting back to me, there is never a rush.

    So, in a roundabout way, are you saying that Jesus and Paul were wrong about a literal interpretation of Genesis?


  57. No, I’m saying I don’t think they necessarily had a literal interpretation of Genesis.

    http://airtightnoodle.wordpress.com/2008/10/04/what-did-jesus-say-about-creation/


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