Jeremiah 9:6

"'You live in the midst of deception; in thier deceit they refuse to acknowledge me', Declares the Lord."

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Evolutionary Worldview

Everyone Has One
Everyone has a religion of some sort that they follow. You may doubt this because when you think of religion you think of Angels and harps, or misled old people at a tent revival shouting “hallelujah!” But that’s not what I’m talking about. In fact, religion is a tricky word to use because of the way people view it. Maybe “Worldview” is a better word. A religion (or worldview) is a set of primary assumptions about our world. Worldviews can go hand in hand with science, as people try to prove their assumptions right. And the Assumptions of your Worldview will decide how you live your life. Based on what I have just said, you may still be wondering how evolution fits into all this.

It starts with assumptions…
The primary assumption in evolution is that there is no God. Now here’s the interesting part, from this one assumption we can use a solid line of reasoning to figure out what evolutionists think about a number of worldview questions. From the assumption that there is no God we can conclude that we must have come about by some natural process. And if we came about by natural processes, we must be accidents, and if we are accidents, there is no one to tell us what to do. And finally, if there is no one to tell us what to do, who cares what we do? So, from the primary assumption that there is no God, we have found the evolutionary view of ethics; “there is no right and wrong”. In the same way we can conclude that, after death we rot (that’s all), mankind is blameless, the meaning of life is to have fun, and evil and suffering are natural, you can’t blame those who inflict it because they have no set of ethics to follow.

It is Testable by Science…
To most, Evolution means science,and nothing else. Actually, evolution is an attempt to prove scientifically that the evolutionary worldview is true. Think about it, what are scientists who develop elaborate evolutionary charts, and search endlessly for missing links trying to prove? They are trying to prove that our world did not need to have a supernatural creator, (God). If you read the posts on this blog with an open mind, I don’t think you can come to the conclusion that science supports evolution. Rather, our world shows evidence of design by a loving, wonderful, creative, superpower. So evolution really isn’t about science, because if you started with science you wouldn’t arrive at the evolutionary worldview. But if you start at the Worldview of evolution, you would be forced to believe in the supposed science behind it.

It Decides How You Live…
No matter what you say, blindly believing in evolution will have a huge affect on how you live your life. And you know what? I think we see evidence of this everywhere we look. For generations, kids all over the world have been taught evolution in schools as a scientific fact, and have been forced to accept the Worldview that follows. This is why we need to let America’s kids hear both sides of the case in our schools. If we let them hear both evolution, and intelligent design, we won’t be forcing anything on them. They will be free to believe whichever worldview they think is most supported by science. But as it is, we are forcing “religion” on them in the form of “science”. Do you realize how destructive this has been? A blog series that I have been publishing lately called, “Evolutionary Concepts” explains some of the catastrophes that have resulted from the worldview of evolution. In short, I want you to realize that even evolutionists who claim faith and reason are incompatible, have based their entire lives, and risked eternal suffering, on the blind faith that there is no God. They have blinded themselves to the overwhelming evidence for a creator, and instead prefer to view themselves as worthless accidents.

Click here to read my personal worldview.


Sean said...

Evolution is separated from religion by one very simple ideal. You don't BELIEVE in evolution. If evolution hadn't been corroborated by many other fields of science, the theory would not have survived. You can find corroborating evidence by looking at extinct animals and noting skeletal and genetic similarities between related animals. You can also see evolution at work in the present. The first case that comes to my mind are the swarms of new insects terrorizing farmers who gained an adaptation of resistance to the fertilizers used by farmers after the great depression.
As far as intelligent design, it is the complete opposite of science and has no place in a classroom. The reason for this is that intelligent design takes a hypothesis: that God created and placed every living creature: and searches for evidence for support. This is a complete inversion of the scientific method where a evidence searched for a hypothesis for support. Because intelligent design does not follow the scientific method, it has no place in a science classroom.
Finally, no where in Darwin's theory or book, "The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection" does Darwin deny the existence of God. In fact, Darwin agonized for years to try and rectify his theory with his wife's religious devotion. There is, in fact, nothing wrong with thinking that evolution is the method God uses in creating the world.

Elijah said...

Hey Sean, thanks for your comment. Although I disagree with your opinion, I really love to hear from my readers, whether they agree with me, or not. However, you made a few common mistakes that I would like to explain, to help you understand why I said the things I said in this post. First, before you say that evolution is science because you start with evidence and arrive at the theory, I would like to hear an example of actual, scientific evidence that supports macro-evolution. The examples of evidence you gave were really not evidence at all! I have a post called "Evolution Today" that explains how genetics and structural homology actually disprove macro-evolution. Also, it is a common misconception to call adaptation "evolution". This is exactly what you did when you offered the adaptation of different types of insects to terrorize farmers as evidence for macro-evolution. Another post called "I Believe in Evolution" explains the difference between micro-evolution, (adaptation) and Macro-evolution in detail. Also, your explanation of the scientific method used by creationists was incorrect. The scientific method starts with an observation, and then the researcher tries to explain this observation with science. The observation we creationists make, is that our universe is to complex not to have a creator. We then go on to prove scientifically that our hypothesis, (the God of the Bible created our universe in six days) is the most likely theory to date. So as far as creation having no place in classrooms, so far you haven't made a very good case. Please read more of this blog with an open mind before you form your opinions. I also have a post called "The Million Year Creation" that will explain how you can’t believe the bible to be true, and still believe in evolution. One final thought, you say evolution is different from religion because you don’t “believe in evolution”, I think we all have to believe in something. For instance, I believe that if I jump off a cliff, I will fall down, not up. Religion is not separate from science, or reasoning. In fact, the question isn’t “who uses faith, and who uses reason” its more like, “who has the most reasonable faith, (or belief)”. It is very reasonable to believe that I will fall down, and I have found from experience, that it is even more reasonable to believe that God created me. You know, if I am wrong, (and I admit that I could be, because of the tentative nature of science) what would I lose? I would live a happy life, since I think that my life has meaning and purpose. And I will die a peaceful death, thinking I am about to see my closest friend face to face for the first time. But if you are wrong, you are going to miss out on the best thing in the world, or should I say, out of this world! And isn’t it worth it to live this life in a way that will count for eternity? I guarantee, you will be dead a whole lot longer than you will be alive. I know I’m going to heaven, and Sean, I really hope to see you there!

Sean said...

Firstly, I'm going to address your defense of intelligent design in schools, because ultimately you can believe whatever you want, but it is a very bad idea to base public policy on beliefs that don't match up with what is observable in the world. And in your attempt to debunk my assertion that ID is not a science you in fact PROVED my very point.
My argument was that creationists start with a hypothesis and only search for evidence that verifies what they believe. What you stated as an observation, "that our universe is to complex not to have a creator," is not in fact an observation at all. It is a hypothesis. You did exactly what I said all creationists do and inverted the scientific method. Darwin did not start by saying that natural selection created the separate species we see today. He went out and observed the world and collected specimens and examples, not creating his theory until his return to England. Then spending many years gathering more evidence before publishing an abstract of his work because separate scientists were coming to the same conclusion about natural selection.
Also, and I regret not placing this in the original post, Intelligent design completely eliminates any form of re-testability. All forms of science require some measure of independent testing for verification whether in the nature of the original theory or predictions that the theory makes. By completely eliminating this process, intelligent design can be classified no better than pseudoscience.
Now as far as retesting evolution, or using your definition, "macro-evolution." You very obviously cannot observe this type of evolution in action. However, the theory of evolution makes certain predictions that have been that have been shown to be true. First of these is that traits of ancestors are inherited by their descendants. This has been shown to be true through genetics. We've even gone beyond this. With every genome that we decode we discover stronger and stronger links between similar species. Both christian and secular sources put the similarity in human and chimp genomes at about 95-96%. But regardless of the actual percentages, what we find, and what evolution predicts, is that similar species have greater percentages of their genome in common than dissimilar species.
Now, as far as other evolutionary predictions we would expect to see remains of the evolutionary process embedded in currant species as a result of their change. And this is in fact what we see. We see this in whales who have vestigial hind limbs between the flippers and tail as well as a pelvis left over from their return into the water. The same thing is observed in snakes. What this amounts to is a very unintelligent design and something that flies in the face of every species being independently created by a perfect creator.
Currently, scientists are working with the chicken genome. Embedded in the genome are the ancient blueprints of their dinosaur ancestors, something attainable only through evolution. Scientists are currently reverse engineering the chicken genome to bring out the blueprints of dinosaurs into physical features. This is NOT re-creating a dinosaur as a portion of the dinosaur blueprint has evolved into the modern chicken. I would also point out that we would expect to find this blueprint in most avian species, but the chicken is the best known at present. This goes beyond adaptation, which you seem to have no problem with, to a complete creation of new species over time. In fact what we end up seeing is even further up the taxonomical chain creating new orders of animals. Macro-evolution by any definition.
This testability then, is what separates "believing" in something, and "knowing" something. Belief, while serving many useful functions, blinds a person to a non-objective point of view. You may "believe" that you fall down when you jump off a cliff. When actually this is nothing more than an illusion of your point of view. What actually happens is that you move toward the closest, heaviest object. To your eyes you move downward, but to an objective observer, say in space, you don't move down at all. If you are traveling on a beam of light moving past a star, you do not fall down. You would move left or right depending on where the star is.
After it's all said and done, science works to gain an objective view of the world through OBSERVATION, HYPOTHESIS, EVIDENCE COLLECTION, and REVISION. Intelligent design, or creationism, whichever you prefer has been soundly debunked by observations such as I pointed out to you, and in no way requires a place in science classrooms.

Elijah said...

Wait a second Sean, You said that intelligent design has been soundly debunked
by the observations you listed, but you really did no more than try to prove
that evolution COULD HAVE happened. We can’t go back in time and repeat the
actual evolution of different species, so following your own line of reasoning,
we CANNOT prove that evolution happened. And since you are not proving that
evolution did happen, you are not proving that intelligent design didn’t
happen. You are however correct in saying that Intelligent design cannot be
retested. So, both theories are par in this respect.

You go on to say that intelligent design eliminates any independent testing for
verification. If this were true, you would be completely correct in saying that
intelligent design has no place in science classrooms. Since intelligent design
is based upon super natural occurrences, and it is impossible to test supper
natural occurrences, I think it is fair to say that intelligent design is a
less testable theory. It is also a simpler theory, all Christians need to do is
say, “God did it” and it seems instantly viable. Ok, I know it sounds like I
just murdered my case, but let me make two important points. First, if
evolution was upheld by one thousand experiments, but rejected by five hundred,
and intelligent design had been upheld by two hundred experiments, (not actual
numbers, just an illustration), which would you consider more viable? It’s not
the number of experiments, but the consistency of the experiments that
scientists look for. And second, just because intelligent design has a simple
answer in some respects does not mean it isn’t scientific. Even though 1+1=2 is
simple math does not mean it is incorrect.

You gave the experiments concerning genetics of a chicken vs. a dinosaur, as
evidence that evolution could have happened, and although I haven’t researched
that topic, I’ll take your word for it. I freely admit the genetic similarities
between a chicken and a dinosaur. However, you failed to list the thousands of
species that are supposedly closely related, but show very different DNA. Also,
there are supposedly distant relatives that have surprisingly similar DNA. In
the end, although your example of the chicken, (and the chimp) might support macro-evolution,
you will find that the vast majority of genetics disproves macro-evolution. And honestly, genetic similarities do not contradict the theory of intelligent design. If God created the chicken and the Dinosaur, is there a law that states he couldn’t have made their DNA similar just for the heck of it? (1+1=2)

In the case of the whale, in many, many cases vestigial organs have turned out
to be useful after more data has been collected. This may or may not be true in
the case of the whale. For many years scientists claimed that the human tailbone was vestigial, and they now recognize that it is very important. So, although I don’t understand why God would have put leg-like bone structures on the whale, I think it is fair to say that we need more research before the whale can be classified as conclusive proof for macro-evolution. This is kind of like the dust on the moon is for creationists. Although the small amount of dust seems to indicate an extremely young earth, we realize that more research needs to be done before we can make that claim.

Also, I would like to defend my position regarding the scientific method. I stand corrected about the original way I stated the primary observation of intelligent design. What I should have said is that, “our universe is too complex to have happened by random chance by any means we see, or can theorize about today”. Therefore, we have hypothesized that the only way to explain our universe is through a supernatural occurrence, and we have concluded that the only thing that could have caused a super natural occurrence is a super natural being, or mind, (God). So, we can believe whatever we want, but we are doing more than that. I will admit, the majority of our theory is based on disproving evolution. Because if you can’t explain something by natural processes, then by default, it is reasonable to conclude that a supernatural entity was involved.

Also, (just interesting that it came up) how did you get DNA from a dinosaur that has been dead at least 65 million years?

Sean said...

I don't know if you'll even come back to this post since you have put another couple up. They were mostly good by the way. From that account, the college professor was a complete dick and I agree that teenagers need to have and can handle higher expectations.
I caught on one phrase that you used near the end of your post that Intelligent Design is for the most part based on disproving evolution, and I would like to caution you against using agendas in science. For the most part, mixing an agenda with science leads to misused data, misleading conclusions and poor theories. This is not to suggest that proponents of intelligent design are alone in doing this. You see the same bad science done on both sides of the global warming debate and smoking debate just to name a couple. People with an agenda almost invariable color their conclusions to fit what they expect. This is not real science, although it is difficult to distinguish at times.
You are right in saying that the evidence I gave you only shows that evolution COULD have happened. The reason then that evolution became the standard scientific explanation is because this theory used objective observations and to describe what was seen in nature.
As far as your next claim that the consistency of experiments is what should determine viable scientific theories, you are again completely correct. You can have a million bits of corroborating evidence, but if something comes along that doesn't fit the model there are two things that can happen: the model can be rethought to accommodate the "negative" evidence. This is what happened with Newton's theory of gravity. Or, if the evidence is completely contradictory, the theory gets discarded and a new theory eventually takes its place. Now, I have heard you mention evidence against evolution many times in your posts, but I have yet to actually see any evidence or observations that cannot be explained by natural selection (i.e. my comments on your tasmanian tiger) I will admit I have not looked through every post on your site, but if you do have any actual evidence I would love to see it so I can check it out as well.
When it comes to genetic similarities, I looked around and honestly could not find examples of the claims you make that similar species have dissimilar DNA and vice versa. Again, if you can let me know what species these are that would be great.
Also, since it has been shown that micro-evolution does take place, if you want to replace the theory of species creation then you would need to show at what scale micro-evolution stops working and macro-evolution fails. Because they use the same techniques it's only a matter of scale and time that separate the two ideas. At what point does micro-evolution continue to work, but macro-evolution fail.
Now, even though saying "God did it," is a simple phrase, this explanation creates extraordinary complications. Because God created the species we see perfectly, we then need to explain the observations that seem to contradict this "intelligent" design. The previous examples of whale and snake legs are a couple of observations that would then need explaining. This quickly ends up creating a more complex theory that requires revisions and exemptions. Natural selection incorporates all these forms of nature in it's random mutations and competition for life.
Again, with regards to the scientific validity of Intelligent Design, “our universe is too complex to have happened by random chance by any means we see, or can theorize about today,” is still not an observation. It is simply a restatement of the original hypothesis you gave me with your second comment. An observation, to use a common one, would be the complex structures of the eye. By gathering observations like these you would then come to your hypothesis. My original point was that proponents of intelligent design don't know the differences between the different sections of the scientific method and you have, in that case, helped me prove that point. Because of the inversion of the scientific method and the inability to even test predictions of intelligent design, it becomes a pseudoscience and has no place in a public science class.
As far as the case about reverse-engineering the chicken to bring out long dormant evolutionary pathways, the article is in the April 2009 issue of Discover, as well as repeated in local newspapers. I believe they reprinted parts in the Star Tribune. This is just in case your interested. And they're not using dinosaur DNA that's 65 million years old. This is dormant genetic strands in modern day chickens.
Lastly, I would just wrap up by saying that a hallmark of science is that if you are confronted by a force you cannot explain, it is not rational or logical to use supernatural powers to get an explanation. This has had terrible consequences throughout history and is responsible for the current 'witch hunt' occurring in Gambia. Just because we don't know what's going on doesn't mean we stop looking for a rational explanation for what we see.

George said...

Hey Sean, on what you said about giving an example of a creature that can't be explained by narural selection, just check out the Bombradier Beetle post. It's under the page "Freaks of Evolution".

Sean said...

Okay, I'm going to assume in your post on the Bombardier Beetle that you are using as a source Dr. Duane Gist because most of what you described can be found in his book "Dinosaurs: Those Terrible Lizards" The problem with this is that Dr. Gist himself was made aware of the problems with these suppositions about the Bombardier Beetle nearly thirty years ago during lectures at San Diego State. He also has freely admitted that there is nothing about the Bombardier Beetle that could not have occurred through the process of natural selection, although he continues to believe in creationism.

First off the chemicals hydrogen peroxide and hydroquinones do not explode at all! They do nothing more than turn a rusty brown color when mixed together. And you don't have to take my word on this. Both of these chemicals are readily available if you want to buy them and mix them yourself.

Therefore when you stated that the chemicals are mixed, in a way that scientists don't understand, right before they leave the firing chamber, you misunderstood how the beetle works. The chemicals are mixed before they even reach the firing chamber because they do not explodes. As far as the complexity to create an accurately firing beetle, it is very complex, but not beyond anything we see in other species, such as spitting fish and chameleons.

But those are just the factual errors in the post of the bombardier beetle, nothing has yet been said whether or not such a complex system could have evolved. At least from the previous paragraphs, we know that these chemicals do not explode. Therefore, the mechanisms to create this firing system would not have had to evolve at the same time. There would be no exploding beetles.

These two chemicals that we see creating this mixture are also abundantly found in all forms of carabid beetles (ground beetles). Hydroquinone were initially used in beetles to harden their cuticle and make them taste bitter. A definite evolutionary advantage. Hydrogen peroxide is a natural byproduct of the metabolism of cells, not only in beetles. A neutral adaptation. So, all ground beetles naturally carry these two chemicals. The ability to selectively control when to secrete this chemical mixture would also provide an evolutionary advantage, but not one so great that the other beetles who just use sacs of stored chemicals died out. That worked fine too. This chemical discharge tool was something that was then refined by the bombardier beetle over the course of it's evolutionary history.

Don't get me wrong, the Bombardier Beetle is an extremely fascinating create. It kind of reminds me of Bruce Campbell's chainsaw's arm in "Evil Dead II." However, after sorting through the factual inaccuracies about exploding chemicals, taking into account that all ground beetles have some combination of these chemicals, there is nothing that I can see that shows natural selection could not have happened. Even Dr. Duane, the former vice-president of the Institute of Creation Research, admits that natural selection could have created the bombardier beetle.

Elijah said...

Hey Sean,
Yes I will come back to this post as long as you have any questions or problems with what I am saying. However, I am going camping with my family for the next ten days or so, so I will not be able to keep up.

First, I really do not understand why you say that my last explanation of the primary observation of intelligent design is not an observation. It sounds like you doubt that creation scientists have found any conclusive evidence against macro evolution. If this were true, you would be right in saying that our primary observation is really a hypothesis. But scientists can observe problems with other theories, and this is exactly what creation scientists do. There are a multitude of ugly problems with evolution, or any other ideas about our universe being created naturally. And these observations lead us to the hypothesis that our universe came about supernaturally. If this does not satisfy you, please tell me exactly why our primary observation is not an observation, otherwise I don’t know how to help you.

Second, You warned me against using science with an agenda, point taken. I do not think it is possible not to have a slight agenda in science, (as I made clear in my post “the evolutionary worldview”, because everyone has to make un-testable assumptions about their universe that govern their lives. But I think we can avoid misusing data, and all that by keeping an open mind and being honest. People on both sides of the creation vs. evolution debate could improve on this. However, when I said, “Intelligent Design is for the most part based on disproving evolution” I was by no means saying that the only way we stay alive scientifically is to go blow holes in macro evolution. Instead, it is by observing the inadequacy of other theories that leads us to believe something higher than physical laws created our universe. This is not an agenda, and when I said, “Intelligent Design is for the most part based on disproving evolution” I was referring to the primary way we choose to defend our theory, (by disproving macro evolution).

Third, you asked me to clearly define between micro and macro evolution. First, there are two basic types of change that happen, and one that evolutionists believe happens over large periods of time. These types of change are up, down, and side to side. Let me explain, Side to side is what scientists usually refer to when they say micro evolution. These changes are caused by DNA preprogrammed into an organism. This is what Darwin observed when he saw traits being passed down, and mixing together to form different breeds. Since genetics was non-existent back then, Darwin thought that the same process could, over large periods of time, produce an entirely different type of animal. This was a valid hypothesis at the time. However, scientists figured out that since this type of breeding could not create information, (only mix existing information in various combinations) a different type of evolution was needed to produce increasingly complex creatures. Their answer was Mutation. Mutation is the up and down of change. Although we see mutations pointing only down, evolutionists believed that given enough time beneficial mutations could occur. And, given enough time, I do not doubt they could. But I do doubt that time has existed long enough to allow these beneficial mutations to take place. So in defining micro from macro, it’s basically like this: Micro evolution is pre-programmed change, or small mutations, (always a loss of information). And Macro evolution is the stacking up of hundreds of mutations (a gain of information) to change an animal into a different species. But no matter how far you go from side to side, you will never go up, but you can go down.

Also, you said that no dinosaur DNA was needed to prove that chickens and dinosaurs are related, but did you know that soft tissue from a t-rex has been found? This indicates that dinosaurs were most likely alive a few thousand years ago.

I’m afraid I do not have my resources with me regarding the examples of animals whose genetics defy evolution. You will have to be patient with me, but I will try to get you that information in the next two weeks.

I agree that just because you can’t explain something, doesn’t mean you need to look for a super natural explanation. Science is tentative, it is always changing. But when you say that super natural explanations are irrational, you are proving one of my very important points, that everyone bases their life on faith assumptions. If you can prove that super natural things are irrational, that would make things different, but as is, it sounds like you are having trouble excepting the possibility of the super natural. I know this means nothing to you, but I have experienced God in my life. I have talked to God, and believe it or not, he talks back! I just want everybody to have the type of peace and joy that my relationship with God brings me. You also seemed to cut down on Christianity by blaming violence on belief in the supernatural. But Macro evolution has had severe consequences as well. These include the holocaust, abortion, hunting down aborigines for sport, assisted suicide, and other examples as well. I’m not looking down on all evolutionists for the actions of their fellow evolutionists. And I don’t think you should look down on Christians either. Fair enough?

If you want to know more about the problems evolution faces, just click on “Evolution” under topics, and read whatever sounds interesting.

Sean said...

The reason your primary observation is really a hypothesis is because you make a statement about how you believe the world works. When you say, "our universe is too complex to have happened by random chance by any means we see, or can theorize about today," you are making a statement about the workings of the world. An observation is much simpler than this statement and says nothing conclusive in and of itself. An example of an observation would be, to use a previous example, the structures of the eye. This observation says nothing about the world itself, only that it exists. In your view then, these observations would lead you to believe that the world was too complex to have been created naturally. THIS last statement becomes your hypothesis. It states how you think the world came to be as it is now. Whether or not I think you have any evidence against evolution does not bear into this at all. A good way to think of it is this. A hypothesis is WHAT you think about something, an observation is WHY you think certain ways about something. Observations in and of themselves say nothing about how the world works.

As to your next point, I agree that both sides of really any debate need to do a better job of checking their agendas. However, your boy George just happened to give a great example of such agenda driven science in his discussion of the bombardier beetle. You can check my response to that if you wish.

Now it sounds like, and please correct me if I'm wrong, that you believe that evolution could be a driving force for species creation if there had been enough time for mutations to accumulate and stack. Checking your other posts, I didn't see what you thought the actual age of the earth was, but it appeared that you don't believe that it could be older than 50,000 years based on your post on carbon dating. Now the problem I would have with this idea is that there are independent methods we can use to date both the universe and the earth to ages much older than this time.

I'll start with the universe, and I will assume that the universe is what Genesis talks about when it says "heavens." If this isn't the case let me know. First off, the speed of light in a vacuum is a constant quantity that has been known for over a hundred years. Quite simply put, a light-year is the distance light travels in a year. Now if, the heavens and the earth were created at the same time we would only be able to see about 50,000 light-years into space. However, when we look into space we find out that we can actually see a little over ten billion light-years away. We know these distances to be correct because we focus our telescopes on them on a daily basis. If we were focusing to the wrong distance all of our images would appear extremely blurry and without definition. Clear images show that the distances are correct. Also, we can show that the speed of light is remaining constant because if it weren't we would have continually flickering stars as different speed light reached us at different times. Because the light from stars do not go off and on we know that the speed of light is remaining constant, and the distances can date the earth, not exactly, to over ten billion years old.

Now, the age of the earth. I'm not going to start talking about carbon dating because you already discussed this elsewhere, and quite honestly, I don't know enough about it to refute anything. The measurements I will use stem from the theory of continental drift. A theory that has been proven and measured. At the mid-atlantic ridge, you are probably aware that their is a fault line that runs north and south along the entire floor of the atlantic. At this fault line new rock is pushed up from the mantel and spreads the Americas away from Europe and Africa. This has been measured and averaged to approximately an inch a year. This by itself says nothing about the age of the earth. But, periodically (but not regularly) in Earth's history, our magnetic field reverses it's polarity. Magnetic north becomes magnetic south and vice-versa. If you were to live through such a change, your compasses would switch to always facing south instead of north. This magnetic switch, has left a pattern in the rock radiating outward from the mid-atlantic ridge. The iron molecules in the rock have lined themselves up to either magnetic north or south depending on the polarity of the magnetic field. A good way to visualize this think of the way grass lays on a newly mowed lawn. The opposite orientation of the grass leaves distinctive lines in the lawn. The same thing was seen moving outward from the mid-atlantic ridge during deep-ocean surveys to lay trans-atlantic cable. The opposite orientation of iron molecules leaves a distinctive magnetic pattern. This striping pattern then taken with the known average of continental drift (because periods of rapid expansion would leave unmistakable marks in the crust that we just don't see) means we can date the last magnetic switch to a little less than 800,000 years ago, and we can date the earth back to Pangea, making the earth at least a couple hundred million years old. These measurements are why I cannot reconcile the earth being only a couple tens of thousands of years old, and they give evolution more than ample opportunity to stack it's mutations.

Moving on, I did know that tyrannosaur soft tissue had been found, I do have a soft spot for dinosaurs. This then has caused a major re-thinking in the scientific community about how preservation works, and many more paleontologists are going to much more careful now to try and preserve any soft tissue that may be around. However, no DNA has been found in specimen, although an original protein was found. This I discovered through the NC State University website. With a young-earth view, though, this would be the norm for paleontologists not a once-in an era find. If you would like to learn more about the reverse evolution of the chicken, Jack Horner, the lead researcher, just released a book on this experiment entitled "How to Build a Dinosaur." I picked it up, but haven't read it through yet.

As far as blaming Christianity for violence, I was not at the time talking about Christianity, although I agree my statement was ambiguous and could be taken as such. I was at the time talking about African tribal religions who are currently kidnapping and and murdering people they believe to be witches that were causing maladies to their regions. I will say that it is easy to pick on Christianity for violence in the world because it has been to dominant social construct for the last 2000 years. I do not doubt that if the roles of religion and science had been reversed the same tragedies would have happened. It's a fairly depressing commentary on human nature though. The holocaust was going to happen regardless of science because Hitler was insane.

Elijah said...

Ok Sean, thanks for specifying about primary observations. I learned about the scientific method in general science, but never heard it that way, so your explanation was helpful. With that explanation would it make sense to say that our primary observation is the complexity of the universe? I think I was accidently combining our observation with our hypothesis. We start with the complexity of the universe, gather information from other fields of science, and hypothesize that it is in fact, too complex to have happened by natural processes that we can observe or theorize about.

You are not altogether wrong to say that I do believe that, “evolution could be a driving force for species creation if there had been enough time for mutations to accumulate and stack.” However, there are a few points I would like to make. For one thing, this view goes against the scientific law of Entropy, Information Theory, and all observations of how mutations affect genetics today. If, given enough time these things could be reversed by random chance, a seemingly infinite period of time would be needed. I’m not talking billions, or even trillions of years, but more like the number one with literally hundreds of zeros extending after it. You can’t cut this amount of time down to a noticeably smaller size even if there were a billion different paths to create life, (we don’t even know if there is more than one). So given enough time, macro evolution could happen. You are right, (but honestly, it doesn’t sound very convincing).

You went on to name a few major and important ways that scientists measure the age of the earth. I know that these methods are reliable, (unlike radio isotope dating), and I know that if things have been proceeding much the same way since the universe was created, these methods date the earth to be very old. However, over 80% of the ways scientists measure the age of the earth show it to be under 10,000 years old. These are strong numbers that point in favor of intelligent design, and against macro evolution. I can also rationally explain why these dating methods would be useless if the bibles account of creation, and the world-wide flood, were true.

First, God did not need to wait around a few billion years for the light from distant stars to reach the earth. He obviously knew how beautiful it would be to look up on a camping trip, and see hundreds of stars scattered across the sky, (something I got to enjoy camping this past week). For the same reason god most likely created the chicken before the egg, and created plants instead of seeds, it is reasonable to believe that god created the light already hitting earth from the stars.

Second, creationists have constructed a model of what a world-wide flood would do to our earth, and have concluded that such a huge catastrophic event could be what started the plates of the earth in motion. If this were true, the plates would have been moving much faster than they are now, and would be slowing down. The worldwide flood would have also altered the earth’s magnetic field. And leave millions of fossils, seemingly frozen in time, all over the world. This is very consistent with what we see around us. I personally believe the earth to be around 7,000 years old.

When talking about the newly discovered soft dinosaur flesh, you referred to the find as a “once-in an era find”. This is not the case; there have been several cases of preserved dinosaur flesh, also mammoths and fruit trees, which support a young earth.

I also told you I would provide examples of animals whose genetics are difficult to explain with macro evolution. My reference is “exploring creation with biology” by Dr. Jay L. Wile, and Marilyn F. Durnell. The book shows a chart of animals compared against other animals, to show how different or similar their DNA is. The percentages I will list after each animal’s name is the percentage of genetic difference they have from the animal at the beginning of the list.

Lamprey eel:
Horse 15%, Pigion18%, turtle18%, Carp 12%

Horse 13%, Pigeon 14%, Turtle13%, Lamprey 12%

Horse 11%, Carp 14%, turtle 8%, Lamprey 18%

Pigeon 11%, turtle 11%, carp 13%, lamprey 15%

This chart shows that the most similar species should be the turtle and the pigeon! Dr. Wile says, “If you look at the data represented in [the table] it is clear that you can establish no evolutionary trends. This is the case with the vast majority of data collected from molecular biology.” The book goes on to say, “Even though exceptions are rare, many disreputable macro evolutionists actually highlight those exceptions as evidence for evolution.”

I am glad to hear you are not blaming violence on Christianity, I believe that a true Christian should follow the example of Jesus Christ, and work toward loving everyone, and sacrificing their own time and energy for others. Unfortunately, many who called themselves Christians have been absolute idiots, and they bring down all other Christians with them. You mentioned how depressing human nature is, and I couldn’t agree more. I’m curious to know your views on what causes this. It sounds like you relies that humans are inclined toward evil, but why do you think that is?
It has been nice talking to you online, and I have defiantly taken away something from our conversations. I had thought evolutionists were always making cover-ups, and misinterpreting evidence to fit their own ideas. But I have come to realize that macro evolutionists and creationists can look at the same evidence, and each come away thinking they have proven their theory. You know, I do not doubt that some observations can easily be interpreted as evidence for evolution, but when you look at the big picture, we do not see consistency in the hypothesis of macro-evolution. And instead, we see that the evidences for evolution can usually, and just as easily be translated as evidence for intelligent design, or a worldwide flood, (both of which go hand in glove). Have you come away with anything positive?

Sean said...

Okay, you were correct when stating that you were combining your observations and hypothesis. This statement "complexity of the universe" is a better observation although generally not specific enough. This would be a good umbrella statement about specific observations. Generally, a good theory has more than one observation. Darwin, for example, made many observations over the course of years. Ideally, you wouldn't talk about the complexity in your observation because it makes a personal interpretation about the world, but the general idea is there.

As far as the ideas of entropy and information loss, I'm pretty sure you've heard the rebuttal (as it seems to be a fairly common argument) that the continuous injection of energy into this living system counteracts the natural tendency to disorganization. As far as the time required to overcome negative changes, your vast amount of time should only apply if everything we are taking about were left to random chance. However, and I will direct you back to my replies concerning the tasmanian wolf. Evolution is NOT a random natural occurrence. The mutations themselves are the only random part. But the influences that then drive natural selection are not random. This gives the whole process a direction and keeps mutations in life from meandering into un-beneficial areas. This direction drastically reduces the time needed for species creation.

On to the age of the earth. If some of what you claim as the 80% of the ways that scientists measure the Earth are represented by your posts on the age of the earth, I have serious doubts to this claim. You have mentioned things like the eroding of Niagara Falls as evidence to a 10,000 year old Earth. A quick perusal of the Niagara Falls website describes the creation of the Falls after the last ice age approximately 12,000 years ago. Also you estimation on erosion would assume that the course of water over the falls has been consistent throughout the years when, in fact, there were times in which the river between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario took a different course and bypassed the falls entirely. Almost every one of your comments on the age of the earth include this statement in some variation, "How could this happen if the Earth were billions of years old?" The posts I've read (and that hasn't been everything) on your blog don't really seem to measure the age of the earth, but the age of certain features on the earth. A lot of these features date back only ten thousand years or so because that was when the last major ice age began to recede leaving harsh imprints on the land as the glaciers left. Evidence for these glaciers can be seen everywhere, including (as an example) roughly parallel lines in the rocks of Central Park caused by rocks trapped under the glaciers of the last ice age.

As far as your reply to the age of the universe, it is clear that we are at an impasse because the idea that God would have made light automatically hit the earth upon creation creates impossible reconciliations for me including wondering why God would impose a speed limit on light only after creating instantaneous light throughout the universe.

With regards to the age of the earth, I have one word of caution. Computer models are incredibly unreliable forms of proving what happened, because the systems we are talking about here are so intricate and complex that it is impossible to account for every variable and how it affects your system. Now, for me, this applies to scientific computer models as well. Again the global warming debaters are terrible at this, using computer models to predict doom and gloom. Your idea that a one-time global flood could cause continental drift and changes in the magnetic field, quite frankly, are weak. For a couple of reasons, a rapid expansion of rock, that you say would be required to date a young earth, would leave different stresses and consistency in the ocean floor closer to our coasts than near the mid-atlantic ridge. This is something that we do not see. Secondly, I fail to see how a one time event (the flood) could cause multiple shiftings of the magnetic field. I also fail to see how a flood could affect the gravitational field, please explain that to me. Finally, if this were the case (and that's a big if) and the continental drift were slowing down, you would expect to see a general trend to shorter areas of rock before the gravitational field changed, when in fact what we see is a random distribution ranging from thousands of years to hundreds of thousands of years.

I'll only address the dinosaur soft tissue in this reply as it's getting rather long, and pick up with your evidence and other stuff in the next reply. I went looking for more claims of soft tissue in dinosaurs and was only able to come up with one tentative claim to Edmontosaurus tissue from the same site as the T-rex. I also found some articles on this soft tissue through National Geographic indicating that what was found was not really soft tissue. So I'm less thrilled about the prospect of soft tissue than I was even a couple of days ago, although, honestly, I hope these alternatively claims to the soft tissue prove incorrect. In either event, I've found one fairly strong case for soft tissue and one iffy one. Hardly several. The mammoth and such, were of course perfectly preserved in ice until their discovery greatly aiding the preservation process, and not for nearly as long as dinosaurs.

Sean said...

Okay, now to your evidence. And I have to say, this appears to be nice solid evidence. I could find nothing overtly discrediting with your source, besides being a devotee to creationism, but I can hardly fault him for that. He has a degree in Nuclear Physics so he's got some good solid scientific credentials. I don't even have a gripe against his statistics as long as the criteria for each was consistent, and I have no reason believe that this isn't the case. Although I will say, preemptively attacking people who interpret his statistics differently as disreputable is a bit sketchy.

First I would like to show that the numbers you gave to me do in fact show a trend that matches what we would expect to see with the current explanation for the path life has taken. What I did was take the average genetic drift of each of the five animals you presented and lined them up in order from greatest drift to least drift. What I mean by that is I took the four percentages for the lamprey eel and found their average (15.75%). Here are the averages of your numbers.

Lamprey Eel 15.75%
Carp 13%
Turtle 13%
Pigeon 12.75%
Horse 12.5%

What we see is the basest life form, the cartilage skeleton invertebrate, has the greatest drift from the other animals Next we move to more complex water animals (Carp) and lizards that live in both land and sea (Turtle) to the beginning of the avian genetics (Pigeon) followed closely by the appearance of mammals (Horse). If this order looks familiar it is because this is the accepted progression of biologists with respect to evolution. However, I will point you back to an earlier discussion about the flimsiness of statistics and how they can be used to interpret anything you want. What we have here are two interpretations of raw data, neither of which are either necessarily wrong or right.

However, I will look at Dr. Wile's own interpretation, "that turtles and pigeons are the closest species with regard to genetic difference." I will say that there is a reason that Dr. Wile chose these animals, and that is because there really is little similarity between them to begin with. Taxinomically, these species share only their Kingdom and Phylum together. Basically saying they are all animals and that's it. All these animals belong to different Classes (the third section of taxinomical catagories) so what we are essentially doing is comparing which Classes are closest genetically. Now a close relationship between reptile and avian genetics IS what we would expect to find, and this close relationship has been seen a large number of times throughout the biological record. The clearest way to put this is to think, again, of dinosaurs. There are two sub-orders of dinosaur (the classification below Class) and these are Ornithischia and Saurischia. What is the difference between these two sub-orders? One is bird-hipped the other is lizard-hipped. Given this close relationship between lizards and birds, is it really that inconceivable that the pigeon and turtle were the most closely related species on Dr. Wile's chart? I would say not.

As far as my views on human-nature, I think there is great truth the the idea that absolute power corrupts absolutely. I generally think that it is the desire for power that causes people to look narrowly at self-interest instead of combining this ambition with a greater good and a broader picture. In order for people to acquire this vast ambition, though, they must have people following them and they must have a way of persuading people that they are right. Traditionally throughout history, this justification has been religion, but science can provide equal justification. These people ambitious people use these justifications to corral mobs of people, who in big groups are dumb, excitable, and prone to violence, to create violent situations. Most people don't actually mind doing violent acts in a group because of the anonymity a group provides.

Another interesting theory, although possibly even more depressing depending on your viewpoint, would be that our purpose in life is to destroy. Now, I'm not saying this is true (or that I wholly agree with it), but for life to occur you need to periodically have a cleansing agent. On the small scale this could be a wildfire clearing dead wood, on the large scale we could talk about asteroid impacts or volcanic super-eruptions. But periodically you need to keep the gene pool from becoming stale. Now, mass extinction doesn't have to occur because of some meteor from overhead, or great disruptions in the atmosphere. Maybe, our natural tendency toward destruction fulfills this act of cleansing and we will destroy a certain percentage of life, ourselves, and afterward life will be allowed to flourish, change, and *evolve* into new life forms. In this case, though, our violence isn't evil in the big picture, but a necessity for a healthy ecosystem.

Looking at the big picture, though, I have still yet to see any evidence that contradicts evolution while I have a number of hang ups on the plausibility of creationism. Regardless of this, as I don't really expect to change your views, I hope that you can understand that injecting such a faith-heavy idea into public schools, where an ever increasing amount of students will not believe in YOUR god is not an idea that this country was founded on. Yes, the founders were Christian, but their ideas were solidly based in the enlightenment era of philosophy, and the ideas of life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness are not monopolies of the Christian religion. I have taken things away from these discussions, although not the same obviously as you. I still don't hold much validity in the argument "God did it" and I still see evolution as the best natural explanation, however, these discussions have focused my attention on why I think this idea to be true and to look very critically at the evidence I use.

Elijah said...

You are correct in saying that the way I stated our primary observation was not very specific. I do not see any problem with this because I was combining all sorts of smaller observations about how complex the individual components of the universe are, into one large observation; that the universe it’s self is complex. You even said that good theories often have multiple observations, and this is the case with intelligent design. So, unless you have other problems with this subject, You must admit that we do have a valid primary observation, and thus follow the scientific method. And this was your primary reason to keep intelligent design out of schools.

You are also correct about the continuous injection of energy needed to reverse entropy and information loss. However, you never mentioned that this energy must be organized into a certain way in order to do this, (the energy of the sun, for instance, actually causes entropy unless something it able to use its energy to accomplish a task. Random chance is not an example of the needed organized energy.

I completely understand that natural selection adds a great deal of direction. I have never had a problem with natural selection, but I do think there are things it cannot rationalize. Mutations are the random part of evolution. My vast amount of time actually took this into consideration. I don’t think you understand how incredibly complex DNA is; it holds more information than the greatest computer ever built. And if one nucleotide base is out of order, the result is often a fatal mutation. Rewriting any part of a strand of DNA would be like monkeys on typewriters spelling out a book. The random mutations needed to convert a single cell organism into a human are so close to impossible, they almost are. Not to mention the chances of spontaneous generation. So you are right that natural selection is not random, but Mutations are random enough to require the vast amount of time I mentioned.

Actually, you are correct that Niagara falls is not evidence for a young earth, it is more like evidence for the biblical timeline. You are right that erosion could have been very different in years past, but in Niagara falls, we see exactly what we would expect from the biblical timeline. You have yet to debunk, (or prove that they do not contradict evolution) the other 80% of the ways we measure the age of the earth to be less than 10,000 years old. So far, I have debunked radio isotope dating, and explained how starlight equally supports both hypothesizes. You are right that we cannot figure out exactly what a worldwide flood would do to the earth, and because of this, we have a far too easy way to explain reverses in the earth’s magnetic field, and plate tectonics. It is an explanation, whether it satisfies you or not. I don’t know much about the subject personally, but I know that real scientists accept this explanation. The problems you had with the Idea of the flood causing plate tectonics to be set in motion, and the multiple reverses in the earth’s magnetic field can also only be calculated using computer models, which you cautioned me against, because the event cannot be repeated to prove if it could or couldn’t have happened. We can however calculate the likelihood of an event like this doing what we think it did, (just as in evolution)

The reason God created a speed limit for light was most likely because of its affiliation with time. Without a speed limit on light, time would not have a speed limit either. I can understand why it would be hard for you to grasp the concept of God creating light the way he did. It defiantly is not very scientific, but this does not mean it couldn’t have happened, because we have already agreed that if God did exist, his powers would not be scientific.

In regard to my model of the onetime global flood model being “weak” I need to say that we cannot prove that it actually happened, what we can do is use computer models and research to find out if it really could have happened. Computer models are not everything, but since they are the best way to analyze what a worldwide flood would do, we should be at least satisfied to know that it could have happened, and this is what we find. I found an article by Dr Andrew Snelling (BSc, PhD, and CSF's geological spokesman) about the flood catastrophe that I thought you might find interesting. The link is

Regarding soft tissue, what you fail to relies about soft tissue is that we creationists do not recognize a difference in the ages of dinosaurs and mammoths, Mammoths are just as old as dinosaurs, so to find mammoth soft tissue is just as important to us as dinosaur tissue. When you say that we should be finding more of these specially preserved specimens, the answer is that we do. Only from your millions of years perspective, the mammoths are not as impressive as dinosaurs, but from our perspective, they are both equal. And because of this, we do have several cases of soft tissue, which, as you said, is what we would expect to find.

I think what you did to the chart of genetic differences between the lamprey, carp, turtle, pigeon, and horse was slightly missing the point. I guess I don’t see how the actual math you did would work. When you added up the percentages, they seem to become meaningless numbers. Here’s why; the percentages showed the difference between two individual creatures, when you show the difference between an individual creature, and all the other animals on the list, you assumed that the animal with the least difference from all the other animals would be the most complex, and that the animal with the greatest difference would be the simplest. This would be true if we were measuring the amount of difference against a human, (or some other extremely complex creature), but your method to show the “evolutionary trend” seems like it was just luck that the numbers lined up from biggest to smallest, because I don’t think the numbers mean anything. I could be wrong, but I really thought about it, and the more I thought about the way you got those percentages, and what you assumed about them, the more I wondered if your method was viable. I guess you also missed the point about how the individual species are genetically similar to creatures that are very different, and different from creatures that are more similar.

I would agree that the desire for power is the single most thing that corrupts us humans. The interesting thing is, when you say that desire for power corrupts us, you have automatically implied that there is a standard of behavior, or moral law, that we should follow. After all, in order for something to be wrong there must be a rule that says it’s wrong somewhere. Football players could not receive penalties unless the players had agreed on the rules before the game. I guess it would be interesting to know where you think this moral standard comes from, with your materialistic views. You have already affirmed that you do believe in absolute right and wrong.

Evidence against evolution would be things like, 80% of the ways we measure the age of the earth, the fact that the primary dating method evolutionists use on fossils (radio isotope dating) has been proven to be completely unreliable, (showing 4 year old volcanic rock to be millions of years old for instance). Also, although natural selection would provide guidance to the hypothesis of macro evolution, the idea that random mutations can actually create new DNA has such ridiculous odds against it that I believe it takes more faith to believe in evolution than in Christianity. The lack of transitionary forms in the fossil record, (we have less examples of transitionary forms than in Darwin had) is another problem. You have stated your personal faith in the idea that cause and effect will be proven to dissolve at some point, but you must relies that until you prove this, everything in this theory points to a supernatural intervention.

As for the hang-ups you have with intelligent design, all of them have been personal problems with the exception of the whales with traces of leg bones. Although I see your point, you must remember that vestigial organs are turning out to have important purposes all around us. In fact, evolutionists used to point out 200 some vestigial organs in humans, and almost all of these have been proven useful.

I do not consider intelligent design a faith heavy idea at all. You must understand by now that presuppositions come before science, and effect how you translate the facts around you. Evolutionists start with presuppositions too, and that put them into the category of “faith” as well. You once said that just because we cannot explain something “rationally” (and by this I think you mean scientifically) we don’t need to go looking for a supernatural explanation. Do you know what scientists do when they are presented with this problem? They explain the observation the best way they can with the science they have, and always keep their ideas open to change. Right now, the best explanation for time, life, and the universe, is God whether you like it or not. This can change, but until then we should at least consider the possibility of a God who is just as real as me and you. In the end, I do not believe in Intelligent design because I want to, I believe in intelligent design because it fits the evidence best. And if you could ever get past your presupositions that a real, personal, powerful God couldn't exist, I think you might arive at the same conclusion I have.

You seem to misunderstand what I want in schools. I do not want to force my ideas about God on other people. What I want is for macro evolution to be taught as a hypothesis, (not as a law as it is taught now, or as a theory as it is called). I want students to be able to question macro evolution without getting shamed for it. I want curriculums and teachers to be honest about the evidence, and point out problems with the theory (like those I mentioned above). And I want students to hear a different interpretation of evidence, (like the fossil evidence that points to a worldwide flood). In the end, I would like students to hear the truth; that we cannot explain everything with science, and that gives credibility to the theory of intelligent design. I think creation and evolution should be taught honestly side by side for comparison, and we should leave students to decide what they want to believe in, and if they think God is a better explanation, they can by all means chose what they will believe about God. But right now, students are taught that God is nothing but wishful thinking, and foolishness, they are taught that science has proven that God wasn’t needed to create the universe, when at present we cannot explain the universe without him. And this is a catastrophe.

You know, there are fascinating things about intelligent design that I think students would be fascinated with, if our schoold would alow such things to be mentioned in class. Such as, did you know that if a water canopy existed before the flood, and in the upper reaches of our atmosphere, (like the Bible mentions), it would create near optimal conditions for life? the flying reptiles would be able to fly due to increased air pressure, Dinosaurs would have been able to breathe with their small nostrils, due to increased oxygen and air pressure. The magnetic field of the earth, and the light rays that would be able to enter the earth would also be changed. This would result in creatures like dinosaurs being able to grow as large as they did (even dragonflies could have grown to be three feet in wingspan, and moss would have grown three feet high), increased stamina, the virtual elimination of disease, quick healing of wounds, and many other benefits. Is that cool or what?

George said...

Hey Sean,
I would have responded to your comment on the bombardier beetle sooner, but I was on an extended vacation.

Anyways, about the chemicals not exploding when mixed; I was aware of that fact. However, when the other enzyme is added, the mixture is quite explosive. I'm sorry if I did not make that clear in my post.

Now, for your other comments. I am well aware of the fact that lots of other beetles posses these chemicals. However, in performing my research (and reading your comment), I have not come across any hypothesis for the evolution of the bombardier beetle that includes legitimate answers to the problem of genetics. All of the ideas that I've read or heard, either- completely exclude the factor of genetics (as did yours); or try to use mutations to explain the necessary adaptations. The problem with mutations is that nobody has ever observed a beneficial mutation that adds to the genetic code. If you can de-bunk this statement, I would love to hear it.

Now for what you said about the complexity of the firing mechanism being "not beyond anything we see in other species". It IS more complex than the examples you gave. It utilizes the "machine gun" approach in order to avoid the equal and opposite reaction required by the action of one sudden explosion. If you can explain this via natural selection, please tell me.

Sean said...

Yeah sure, beneficial mutations.

How about bacteria mutating the ability to digest nylon when exposed to a nylon-only environment.

Plant breeders use mutation breeding to create beneficial traits

Not to mention the fact that "beneficial" is entirely dependent upon the environment and what is beneficial changes from era to era. If you want more, I found these at which does a great job of directing you toward source material on these subjects. So don't say that statement again. It is a lie COMPLETELY unsupported by science.

Now as to mutations to the evolution of the bombradier beetle, there was a great video on youtube that adequately explained and showed how this happened. How mutations don't apply to genetics I have no idea, but the way to increase the growth of something, say the sacs of chemicals, is to allow the genes to work for an extended period of time. How this doesn't apply to genetics I'm completely lost!

As for Newton's law, the back of the beetle's abdomen acts much like a shock absorber and looks much like the kick back from firing a gun. A person's hand doesn't fly away when they fire a pistol. Muscles keep it in control as well as allow the beetle to quasi-control where the spray goes.

If this is confusing you're going to have to better describe what you mean by a machine-gun approach. You're using lots of metaphoric language that's possibly confusing the issues. But seriously, this debate (like a LARGE number on your site) were debunked and abandoned BY CREATIONISTS decades ago.

I suggest taking a look at They do a great job of answering all these questions and directing you toward ACTUAL evidence.

Sean said...

No, I don't really have any more problems with observations. I said it was a general statement, you concurred, we're good on that point. I will agree, that the universe is incredibly complex. Incidentally, there is a great article in this month's Discover magazine about a bio-centric universe which you would probably like, and could tie in with our discussion on space and time.

As far as collecting energy into a useful energy . . . one word: photosynthesis. The opposite also happens in the deep ocean around ocean vents using energy from inside the earth. Look up Black Smokers.

Now, you have some MAJOR misconceptions about DNA. If one nucleotoid in a strand is changed a fatal mutation is not usually the result. In fact, most of the time, such a small amount of change leads to no developmental change AT ALL. The same thing happens when reading a book. If I switch the letters in teh, not only will the reader generally not notice it, but the meaning of the word, sentence, paragraph, chapter are still completely intact. If this were the case then every single organism would be fatally flawed from birth and die because EVERY time DNA replicates it incurs variations and mistakes in copying. One last point to make is that one of the driving factors of mutations are genes and their development. Changes in DNA can change how genes work and for how long the work during embryonic development. Small changes in the order of gene procession order or the length of their work can have VERY drastic effects developmental biology. This is a great evolution answer to your problem of the giraffe.

Now, for the rest of this post, please excuse me if it sounds like I'm being rude, but until now I always thought you had a grasp on reality and were at least interpreting evidence differently, which is perfectly fine. But this business about the young earth has absolutely NO evidence to support it.

If you agree that Niagara Falls doesn't show a young earth, why are you posting that it does? By putting such posts on here you are lying to anyone who reads this. It's disingenuous and one of the major problems I have with "Christian Scientists" One other thing, all these statements about the majority of scientists or real scientists supporting your ideas. If you don't mean "Christian Scientists" when saying this you are again being dishonest with anyone who reads this because most "Scientists" regard these ideas as being fantasy. I find that you have a very cynical idea about scientists. Most scientists are not out to disprove God, those that are we can agree are not very credible. However, scientists out to prove God are equally not-credible. Most scientists, like Darwin, Einstein, or Newton, had no preconceptions about their universe. Darwin was Christian before his work, and Einstein worked till his death reconciling his idea of God with the world he was describing. Back to the original point, most scientists do NOT accept a world-wide flood as having happened because the observations of today do not match up with how a flood would have shaped the earth. Only scientists from places like AnswersinGenesis.

Also, dating the earth is not like scientific theories in this way. Whereas, finding a human skeleton below a dinosaur skeleton would COMPLETELY destroy evolution, using your numbers (which I seriously doubt but will use anyway) 20% of the ways used to date the earth to billions of years is all you need. It doesn't matter if the other 80% are unreliable, because if you have just one way to measure the date of something to at least a certain date, that's all you need. Most of your ideas dated the world to at most 10,000 years old, so that is the minimum age so far. Other dating techniques, such as thermoluminescence and geochronology date the earth to billions of years, so the world is at least that old. Dating is not a theory, it's a process, and it only takes one process. And just because I'm not positive on how radioisotope dating works doesn't mean you've debunked it. I'll direct you to for better descriptions on why we even use such techniques. And that bit on starlight, it is ENTIRELY scientifically invalid. If you want to make the claim that a natural constant has been changed, you had better have some proof beyond God did it. Also, how can you say that you don't find Intelligent Design to be a very faith based idea, when all you have given me are suppositions and explanations that require God intervening to make your theories line up. You would have to be deaf and blind to everything you have written to say that it is not a "Faith Heavy" idea. Your scientists presuppose before everything that God did it some how, whereas REAL scientists, who are credible, make no suppositions about the world at all. The are only concerned with HOW something works. A scientist that goes beyond that presupposes that God doesn't exist is not credible to either you or me.

As far as your flood, you COULD prove it if it had left any evidence. All processes leave evidence and all theories predict certain outcomes. A global flood predicts a uniformity in erosion contingent upon the types of rocks, but a look at the Rockies and Appalachian Mountains show two different periods of time for erosion. The Appalachian being far older than the Rockies. Also pre-flood population density would have placed greater than 2000 species per acre! The very physics of this are impossible. That computer model you led me to is the very type of thing I was warning you against. You can make a computer model say anything, and even he was only able to make it work after "some force" set it all in motion. Even when trying to be scientific he fails miserably. And if all of these theories are to believed then Hawaii would be an island chain not more than 50 miles wide due to the rapid distance covered. Instead it is over six times as large. Also, in order for this to be true you would see a large different in stresses in the ocean floor due to the rapid spreading of the floor. Something I have mentioned before but you seem to ignore. Also the forces would have had large effects at teh point of eruption none of which we see. And quite honestly, the entire fossil record destroys any chance that this idea has any truth to it at all. If all these animals lived together you would SEE skeletons together, and not the HUGE gaps we see between dinosaurs and, we'll say, wolly mammonths. Seriously, when you said that you count those two organisms as living together I did a spit take and began to wonder what kind of fantasy world you live in. Yeah, all this stuff would be cool, if it had ANY basis in reality at all. There are many sections of science that continually give us evidence that the earth is billions of years old. All you have are suppositions, which are NOT evidence, and wild, unsupported ideas. And you wonder WHY this stuff isn't taught to students?

As to that genetic evidence of yours. I stated in my last post that these were simply my interpretations of the evidence. To get a better idea of whether or not they are valid, we would need more animals to compare. But then you COMPLETELY ignored my second paragraph where I showed that you would EXPECT reptile and bird DNA to be the closest out of the five CLASSES presented. And he really does his best to confuse the issue by choosing species from completely different taxonomical classes. Even so, they support evolution. If you want to show that DNA disproves evolution, show me that fish DNA is closer to sheep DNA than other fish.

Also, lab experiments have shown that allowing a single bacterium to evolve leads to the creation of new DNA (not just rewritings of old DNA) and rather quickly. The idea of transitional fossils are probably a result of you refusing to admit what is a transitional fossil. Those examples of whale and snake legs ARE transitional fossils. Not to mention the different stages of human development from hobo habilis to homo erectus, and homo sapians. Again, lists eleven that you can look up for yourself.

As far as what is being taught about God in schools, you either have a VERY unique experience, or you are GREATLY misinformed. The subject of God is as close to poison as you can get in a school. Teachers aren't going to go anywhere near it because the backlashes are extreme but easily avoidable if you just don't talk about it. You can trust me on this because this is what I do for a living. I'm in these schools every day, God doesn't come up because nothing good comes out of it. Also, you can tell my Hindu students why they have to believe in your God in order to understand the world. Their seven year old brains would absolutely love that.

So yeah, all that stuff about young earth would be fascinating to know, if it had ANY basis in reality. If there were ANY evidence that it had occurred. But there is NO evidence and it is fantasy. Like saying that Middle Earth was an actual history for our Earth. The same amount of evidence is around (more if you want to include the hobbit fossils found in New Guinea).

George said...

OK Sean, your argument of the nylon-digesting bacteria was good. But there is still a problem. There is NO DNA ADDED to the genetic code. The mutation takes away from the genes of the bacteria. In order for the mutation to be accepted as evidence for evolution, the mutation MUST ADD to the genetic code. Otherwise the organism is LESS complex, instead of MORE complex. If an organism is getting less complex, it is "devolving" (for lack of a better word) instead of evolving. This is also the case with the plant breeders.

On the you tube video; I believe I saw the same one when I was researching for the post. I came across the same problem with the explanations I saw elsewhere. They lack evidence. There is no evidence that a mutation can be beneficial and add to the genetic code, and there is such genetically differences between species of beetles that for one to "adapt" out side of the genetic code to form the bombardier beetle is impossible.

For your argument referring to the pistol. The reason for the fact that the pistol doesn't fly out of your hand is for just the reason you stated. However, the total force of the explosions would be too great for the beetle to withstand. So the beetle was designed to fire repeatedly to avoid the shock. In the case of the pistol, we are much larger than the beetle. The blast from the pistol is smaller in proportion to our mass than that of the beetle's. That is why the pistol stays in our hand, yet the beetle must have a different approach.

By the way, the bombardier beetle is commonly used by creation scientists. I will try to take a look at that site you mentioned, but I have limited time so I can't guarantee anything.

Sean said...

If you'd take a look at that site, they have source experiments (through links) that show DNA being added through evolution with experiments on single bacterium. Through the generations DNA gets added, not simply changed.

Also, do not confuse evolution with a conveyor belt moving toward more complex creatures. That's just not how evolution works. Evolution works to fit species with their environment. Complexity is independent. A great example of this is monocular vision vs. binocular vision. You would look at binocular vision as being more complex because it allows for depth perception. However you don't see animals of prey with binocular vision because it creates an evolutionary disadvantage by limiting the viewing field and taking resources away from detecting movement. So complexity is very contingent on a particular animals situation. Evolution does not necessarily move inexorably toward greater complexity.

If you then want to show that the spray of the bombardier beetle would have been too great for the beetle to stand, this is not a hard claim to verify. Show me at what point the expulsion of this liquid causes the beetle to fly backward into the nearest wall. My guess would be that the current explosion rate you see now only occurred gradually keeping up with the beetles ability to control it's spray. This of course did not happen all at once. Everything would have gradually come about over time. Meanwhile, the other species (those with just pits of chemicals, or those with less powerful sprays) become those transitional species all creationists say don't exist.

George said...
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George said...

OK Sean,
I looked at the site you mentioned. At first I was quite convinced by their argument using the Apo-AIM. However, I noticed quite a large lack of evidence presented. I preformed further research on the topic and found that this is a rather recent discovery and has been extensively studied. However, there is not a lot of information available. So, from what I found there is really no way that the Apo-AIM could be used as evidence for or against evolution.

There were really no other examples of beneficial mutations that definitely ADD to the genetic code. If you can find an example that is well documented, has good evidence, and is NON-DEBATEABLY beneficial AND adds to the genetic code please show me. (It is also helpful to cross-reference your information) Also please include the link to the specific area of the site you find it on so that I can read it as well (mainly so we can be on the 'same page').

With the animals of prey having monocular vision; that is just further evidence that can be used for evolution or creation. Let me explain. You could assume that the monocular vision came about by natural selection or you could say that the creature was designed by an intelligent designer (God) to have that type of vision so that it could survive as a predator. Either way is useable for both ideas.

I agree that complexity is dependent on the environment, but the complexity that I am talking about with the bombardier beetle is such that it exceeds the complexity of other organisms in the same environment.

About your claim concerning the gradual increasing intensity of the explosion is a good idea. However, the way that those chemicals and enzymes mix makes that impossible. I think that all explanations attempting to explain the evolution of the bombardier beetle are quite desperate attempts that have an extreme lack of evidence to back them up. I would love to hear ANY evidence that support any of the hypotheses for the evolution of the bombardier beetle.

Sean said...

The comment on monocular vision vs. binocular vision wasn't meant to be a proof of anything except to illustrate the point that looking for increased complexity is the wrong way to go about proving or disproving evolution. Complexity itself is subjective on it's own. Then to throw in environmental factors means that we cannot expect all changes to increase the complexity of an animal or even that we can expect most mutations to be beneficial. We can only expect that beneficial changes will be passed on because they allow a creature to better survive, with all neutral changes coming along for the ride, and harmful changes to disappear. But again, beneficial is NOT necessarily complex.

As far as the Apo-AIM is concerned, this was not an argument I had heard before, but I did find an interesting response to Answers in Genesis at this site: From this is appears that this mutant protein was first discovered close to 30 years ago.

But back to the beneficial argument. A mutation cannot be seen as beneficial or unbeneficial until it has been put into the environment. The mutations themselves are random and the environment determines what becomes beneficial.

I still don't see where you think that the combination of chemicals in the bombardier beetle would be impossible because there are other examples of these chemicals combining. In fact all carabid beetles have this arrangement, and in fact some eject such combinations as a way of warding off predators. The only difference between these beetles and the bombardier is the refinement of the "butt-gun" to become more accurate. This can be found on the wikipedia page for the bombardier beetle.

As far as adding information, this page: can give a few examples as well as direct you to 14 references and suggested reading.

George said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
George said...

I completely agree with your comment that "beneficial" mutations are subjective to the environment. But what I am trying to communicate is that if and when there is a mutation that adds to the DNA and is relatively "beneficial", that benefit must be an all-around benefit. What I mean by that is the mutation must not inhibit the organism's life functions that the mutation does not directly affect. So far I have not found any example of this being the case.

What I will try to explain again about the bombardier beetle is that the extra enzyme that is in the bombardier beetle and not in the other "related" beetles, is what makes the evolution of the bombardier beetle impossible. I will explain. That extra enzyme is what makes the chemicals explode. With out it, the solution would serve as no more than what the other "related" beetles have as a defense system. With out the internal structures of the bombardier beetle, the extra enzyme would be useless to the beetle because it would explode when the chemicals and enzymes mix inside due to a lack of separating structures. One solution to this problem was presented to me during a "debate" with a friend who strongly believes in evolution and had recently researched the topic. He said that the beetle could have evolved the internal structures before the addition of the enzyme. He said he got that idea from a dependable source, but I have yet to find where. Anyway, the problem with this explanation is that:

1. There would be no reason for the beetle to evolve the structures because there is no purpose for the structure to exist.

2. There is no way that the structures could evolve due to the limitations to the level of change with in the DNA.

I hope that my point is now clear.

I looked at the site you suggested looking at, and found that it was relatively vague in its examples, I researched one topic mentioned (Alves et al. 2001; Brown et al. 1998; Hughes and Friedman 2003; Lynch and Conery 2000; Ohta 2003), and I will have to research it a little more due to a large number of resources with greatly differing biases and information.

I was also thinking that this subject could be continued on the Bombardier Beetle post so that the two discussions (the one between you and I, and the one between you and Elijah) would not be confusing to navigate. That way there is more ease in finding what comment went with another. Thanks.


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