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January 5, 2014 - 7:00 am
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evolution2013-2

Charles Blow over at the New York Times editorial page has his knickers all in a twist over a new survey from the Pew Research Center’s Religion and Public Life Project that found many Americans still reject the atheistic view of evolution. Blow called the results of the survey “sad” and said “it’s embarrassing.” The December 30th survey found that  ”six-in-ten Americans (60%) say that “humans and other living things have evolved over time,” while a third (33%) reject the idea of evolution, saying that “humans and other living things have existed in their present form since the beginning of time.”

Rejecting out of hand the notion that 33% of Americans might actually be able to think for themselves, Blow resurrects the vast right-wing conspiracy to account for the fact that Americans still reject evolution, despite the fact that virtually every public school child and every student attending college is taught as fact that they evolved from a common ancestor and that life on earth came about as a result of some sort of “highly energetic chemistry” that produced a self-replicating molecule rather than by the design of an intelligent Creator. Blow says,

But I believe that something else is also at play here, something more cynical. I believe this is a natural result of a long-running ploy by Republican party leaders to play on the most base convictions of conservative voters in order to solidify their support. Convince people that they’re fighting a religious war for religious freedom, a war in which passion and devotion are one’s weapons against doubt and confusion, and you make loyal soldiers.

So it’s those scheming Republicans who are to blame for this embarrassing display of ignorance, as Blow sees it. Probably Karl Rove, too. And the Koch brothers along with George Bush.

Charles Blow calls the views of a third of Americans — the 33% —  ”extreme religiosity” and “a form of dysfunction” and then turns around and mocks those who claim there is hostility toward religion in this country. He writes,  ”This is a tactic to keep the Republican rank-and-file riled up.”

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I posted this as a response to a comment, but let me put it here as well:

The problem is with how the word 'evolution' is defined and used. Evolution can just mean change over time. That does not in any way conflict with a belief in a Creator and the biblical worldview.

What is usually meant, however, is that life came to be simply by time and a random and undirected process. This use IS in direct conflict with the biblical worldview.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Thanks for using the word random. Here is something new:

What is supernatural? Obviously whatever would characterize the supernatural would be different from what would characterize the natural. So what is natural. Can I say that nature is that part of reality which scientists can study and find some order for. If scientists study a phenomenon and determine order in it, then it is part of nature. What that would leave for the supernatural is that which has no determinable order. A process which is random has an element with no determinable order. Since the theory of evolution postulates *random* mutation, far from being an anti-God theory, it is made to order (no pun intended) for supernatural direction. If some scientific rules were being followed which determined which mutations occurred, then the process would be entirely natural, and Dawkins et al would be right about God having no role to play.

According to the theory of evolution with its built in randomness, and the laws of quantum mechanics, the evolution of life to date could have resulted in an unimaginably large number of results (in terms of the set of species arrived at) today. Only a small fraction of them would have included man.

What picked the endpoint, which includes man? The theory of evolution does not give the answer. Science does not give the answer. Quantum mechanics guarantees that science cannot predict how evolution will proceed.

Remember Dawkins' blind watchmaker metaphor? I am going to show you how stupid that metaphor is.

Here is another metaphor - the deer and the hunter metaphor. The deer knows that the hunter is determined to bag it. It tries to determine an order in the hunter's routes and times of passage through the woods. If it can predict them, it can ensure that the hunter never gets near it. But it cannot, so the hunter is sure to bag the deer eventually. The unpredictable disorder in the hunter's movements do not limit the hunter's ability to hunt the deer. Rather, the disorder gives the hunter great power. Unpredictability is power. Unpredictability, disorder, randomness - is great power.

Now consider Dawkins metaphor, the blind watchmaker. Translated to the deer and the hunter, this metaphor would be "the blind hunter". Is that not stupid? The "great" Dawkins would have the ability of the hunter to fool the deer be the hunter's blindness. It is not the hunter who is blind - it is the deer. It is not the watchmaker that is blind - it is us.

The theory of evolution cannot predict where evolution will go. It only describes a probabilistic process. Since, in the process to date, an astronomical number of probablistic decisions have been made, the number of possible results was also astronomical. God's choice was not "blind". It was just unpredictable.

What kind of a God would be predictable? Supernatural power *must* be unpredictable. If it is predictable, it is not supernatural. The theory of evolution fits the need of supernaturally guided evolution as a well chosen glove fits the hand for which it was chosen.

The theory of evolution *is not* a left wing theory. It is not an atheist theory. It is a very good scientific theory. It is not the theory of evolution that gives atheists and left wingers ammunition against Christianity. What gives them ammunition is the stupid fight against science by the hordes and hordes of poor thinkers who are afraid that a theory *cut out* for God's supernatural intervention is a theory that cuts God out.

If you are offended by my use of the word "stupid", before you blow me off, just answer me this question: What, in the googleplex of sets of species that could be on Earth today in complete consistency with the theory of evolution, chose the set that we have? Are you afraid to say "God"? Do you love the fight so much and hate the sincere people who find the theory of evolution a terrific theory, so good that really, if it is not true, there would be a great need to discover what scientific principle prohibits it?

You are doing great harm to Christianity by insisting on this foolish fight.

Finally, what about the time needed for evolution to work. Would the time needed not contradict Genesis?

This moment is not the time (no pun intended) for resolving this question, but here is a hint: There is God's time, and there is our time. Peter talks about it in the New Testament.
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
"many Americans still reject the atheistic view of evolution."

So a belief in evolution is an atheistic view? Should Catholics who believe in evolution be excommunicated from the Catholic Church then? Should Pope John Paul II have been excommunicated?
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (119)
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Mr. Blow: To quote one of the queens of the left "What difference does it make?" Why do you care? Embarrassed? Sad?? That says a whole lot more about you than anyone who holds a different opinion/belief than you do. Go get a life!
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
How much more embarrassed and sad he must be about the people who likewise reject Anthropogenic Global Warming, True Communism's Inevitability, and the Tooth Fairy.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Charles Blow. Was there ever a more apt surname? I'll believe when Blow evolves.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm posting this comment for Paula, who had a worthwhile article on the wretch Charles Puff-sneeze. A great many took her column as a point to go off on Evolution, the Theory of, so I want Paula to have the following for her files, and of course anyone else interested.

We too easily use “science” to mean “knowledge” gained in some sort of super-sacred way that cannot be questioned (as with Global Warming), and that this knowledge is the only true knowledge worth knowing.

This philosophy (for that is what it is) is sometimes called Naturalism, sometimes Scientism, and in philosophy: metaphysical materialism. But it isn’t science. It's a puff-sneeze passing itself off as science.

Biology IS a science, however, like chemistry, geology, (most of the) physics, and medicine. These study the studiable, i.e., our planet, its life forms, as well as whatever areas of outer space we can access by various means. All of them study the here and now, or in the case of paleo-biology, the there and then: but that too is based on the observable (fossils) and has all the proofs of the rest of the hard sciences. Geology and Astrophysics are also great at studying the past; astrophysics is why we know about the Big Bang, even if we can’t say anything as to the hows and whys of it because we can’t observe it, obviously.

What, then, is the Theory of Evolution? Most of you would say it is a scientific theory, and that puts it on a level of James Clerk Maxwell's Theory of the Electromagnetic Field or Newton's Mechanics or Quantum Mechanics. And THAT made it a force to be reckoned with, indeed. Its high status encouraged various madmen and mass murderers tried to apply it to humanity in the 20th century, via eugenics and Social Darwinism and whatever else they called it, and the results are known to all of us. But how many of us here remember that by the time the “Monkey Trial” was going on in Dayton, Tennessee, 16 states had passed eugenics laws and by the 1930s, 3,000 people a year were being sterilized? (The Supreme Court had upheld these laws in 1927. Just think of that.)

But here's the kicker, the Theory of Evolution is a theory of Natural History rather than Biology per se; i.e., it cannot observe and test species changing into other species, but it can provide (and does provide the only) non-supernatural narrative that CAN explain it.

And just like with human history, of which we know a lot of the things that happened but can only try to infer the hows and whys of their happening, basing our arguments on what evidence we can garner, thus increasing our probability of being right, so the Theory of Evolution, as a theory of Natural History, tries to make sense of what we know happened (via the fossil record, our Natural History source books) and to explain how it happened. Yet it cannot actually observe it all happening any more than some historian can actually view an historical event occurring.

Now, obviously, on that last point, biologists howl. So, yes, yes, yes, we can observe what is sometimes called “micro-evolution”, something like the minor changes Darwin noted in finch beak size (which we now know come and go depending on yearly environmental changes) or more significantly, bacteria developing immunity from antibiotics. So what? The big evolution question is how “macro-evolution” happened. For example, just what motivated Eohippus / Hyracotherium from 50 million years ago to evolve into Mesohippus and finally, 5 million years ago, Equus?

The theory of evolution therefore works within the constraints of the classic science to which it is closely related, yet it is not fully a part of Biology because science works with the actual, the studiable. So while the Theory of Evolution quite often produces a scientifically plausible description, that’s all it can do. We have no way to know whether it is factual. We assume it is, please note, but that is because we’ve left out any supernatural explanation (as science cannot measure, weigh, or study the supernatural) and since no one else has ever found any other naturalistic explanation.

(Perhaps the supernatural DOES play a central role somehow? If so, we can’t know about it. It’s not the job of science to deal with that. So, let’s chill out. Perhaps, if you follow the work of Pim van Lommel or Eben Alexander, medical science will someday soon claim that the supernatural world exists and people experiencing “Near-Death” or “After-Death” encounters with it have PROVEN that. Well, great. Were something like that ever admitted, then all bets are off. But in the meantime, we stick with what we can know via tried and true old-fashioned science methods.)

Now imagine if the Theory of Evolution had been presented this way from the first. Would it have ever achieved the huge Bugaboo that it has? Darwin wouldn't have sold as many books, perhaps. Darwin supporter Herbert Spencer might not have coined "survival of the fittest" and Darwin cousin Francis Galton, the "
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
" or more significantly, bacteria developing immunity from antibiotics. "

Well, there's small problem with touting this as evidence of evolution.

It's not.

It's simply a mutation which happens to confer a survival advantage to an organism which exists in a particular environment.

"But that's exactly how evolution works, you religious whacko! You are showing your own ignorance!"

Not so fast.

The immunity is the result of the loss of a cell receptor. In the absence of the receptor, the antibiotics can't get in to the cell to kill it.

The genetic change that causes the loss of the receptor is the result of the LOSS OF GENETIC INFORMATION.

You cannot multiply losses and wind up with gains. It doesn't work that way in mathematics or biology.

Nobody has EVER observed an increase in information due to mutation, nor will they.

If there is no increase in information, there can be no new structures, functions, organs, or anything else.

There can't even be the first DNA molecule, let alone a living cell.

This is the point on which Darwinism (or Neo-Darwinism, if you prefer) can be shown to be utterly anti-scientific.

Darwinism requires that random events produce an increase in information.

This is as mathematically impossible as 2 + 2 = 179.

Information cannot be created from random events. This has been proven with more certainty than E=MC2.

It's not even a matter of improbability*.

It's IMPOSSIBLE.

Darwinism is a religion that flies in the face of science.



*Though that is a solid argument for anyone not blinded by ideology. The probabilities of getting DNA molecules to happen by chance are simply ludicrous. The structure is known and the calculations, while complex, are conceptually straightforward. DNA has a 1 in 10^287 (IIRC) probability of happening by chance, and RNA is something similar. Since you need both, you multiply the two factors. Round it down (very aggressively) and you get something like 10^500.

But that's trivial. Sir Fred Hoyle, an atheist, spent several years and a lot of Cray supercomputer time calculating that getting one living cell by chance would be on the order of 1 in 10^40,000.

To put that number in perspective, floating around YouTube is a video of Carl Sagan mentioning that the number of atoms in the universe is on the order of 10^80. Multiply that by the number of seconds there have been in a 15 billion year old universe (10^17), and you get 10^97.

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14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
...Francis Galton, the "father of eugenics", might not have pushed his obscene offspring so hard that 16 American states passed it whereas it really never got off the ground in Galton’s homeland, England. In other words, take the Theory of Evolution down a peg or two from being the equal of the great scientific theories mentioned above, and you take the boiling kettle off the burner.

Everybody wins. Science can still use it when it needs it, but it isn't marching Godzilla-like across the mental landscape of all the religious people who today consider it pure falsehood and evil lie.

But of course you WON'T see it dethroned because "the powers that be" in science and in the world have always used it as a weapon precisely TO battle religion–that was its purpose to begin with. Immanuel Kant, of all people, came up with a similar theory in the 18th century. It was widely sought after among all the Enlightenment "philosophes". Various of them had similar theories. Charles Darwin, the grandson of old 18th century moonbat Erasmus Darwin (who published his own version of the idea in "Zoonomia; or the Law of Organic Life" in 1794), was the last in a long line of Enlightenment gentlemen who sought a purely naturalistic explanation for life. Whatever Charles Darwin’s personal goal, it collectively by sought by “The Enlightened” purely as a weapon, because for all of them, right down to the NYT and this Charles Blow fool today, to be enlightened meant to know that God didn't exist.

Seen in this light, the whole thing is an Ouroboros, a snake swallowing its tail, a cyclical searching for a non-supernatural explanation for life to fight religion, that great bogey of the Enlightenment, and that battle still goes on, round and round, a perpetual motion machine.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Paula Bolyard's blogs here are becoming an embarrassment to PJMedia. The problem with this latest column can be summed up with her 5-word phrase 'the atheistic view of evolution'.
What a silly and stupid thing to say. It's the scientific view, and it's a view held by many people of faith, including Christians.
If she chooses to hold to the fundamentalist Christian view that rejects evolution, that's her prerogative, but her comments are insulting to other believers who are trained in science and understand the power of the theory of evolution to explain the changes that have occurred throughout the Earth's past.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Do tell, what changes does Evolution 'explain' ?

The origin of life?
The origin of life which can also replicate itself? Hmmm.
The origin of multi-cellular life?
The origin of multi-cellular life with instructions to create different kinds of cells? Hmmm, wonder how that first set of 'software' was written?
The origin of sexual reproduction, with one sex carrying the vast bulk of the reproductive systems?

Our genetic code, as a human species, has within it enough variation _already present_ to provide more unique individuals than there are grains of sand on the earth. Similar variation is possible in the animal and plant kingdom. It has always been present, but that was not known to Darwin.

In each case, all in slight incremental changes, each one better than the last of course otherwise it would not 'preserve'.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Origins of life -- not strictly speaking part of evolutionary theory (which does not deal with the origin of life), but, yes, there are quite a few reasonable theories how life began.

The origins of replicating life -- if anything, chemical evolution with self-replicating molecules came before the first living cell. No problem at all for evolution.

Origins of multi-cellular life -- there are today creatures that spend some of their life cycle as unicellular and some and multicellular creatures (so much for the "no transitional forms" nonsense). Evolution rather easily explains it: cell colonies tend to survive better than single cells, and cell colonies with some differentiation between the roles of different cells -- that is, multi-cellular life -- better than that.

Sexual reproduction is also easily explainable. Sexual reproduction is a huge advantage for evolution, since large variations mean a much higher chance of some favorable traits developing and preserving themselves.

As for the genetic code having more possiblities than the number of grains of sands on earth -- so what? This is only because of combinatorics -- you multiply possiblities and pretty soon you reach huge numbers. There are also more ways to arrange a pack of cards (52 factorial, about 10^68) than there are grains of sand on earth -- or atoms that would fill the solar system for that matter -- but this hardly means the pack of card was created by God.

Finally, no, the genes were not always "already present". To give only one way genes are created, with new information and everything: often, mutations cause genes to multiply. Instead of gene X you now have XX. Then, due to mutation, one of the genes mutates to a new gene, XY. Presto -- a new gene was created, added to gene X! Happens all the time. This is one of the reasons some animals have more DNA and more genes than others, just like they have more organs than others. No, bacteria's DNA does not contain the genes necessary to create, say, lungs or hearts in animals. Those genes evolved -- they are part of what the evolution of those systems is.

You are attacking a silly strawman, not the theory of evolution itself. In any case, it wouldn't matter even if evolution is wrong; this would not prove God created man, or that God exists at all. It could well be that neither theory is true. This isn't a court, when one side losing means the other wins by default.

If tomorrow evolution was proven false, it would not make the competing "theory" any more reasonable. Think about it: we're supposed to accept that God, for some reason, created life on Earth, waiting for billions of years, the extinction of 99.999% of all species that ever lived, and untold suffering, so as to finally have natural selection create his original goal, man.

If anything, this "theory" is significantly less probable than the story of the garden of Eden, where at least God had the good sense to create man together with the rest of the animals and for that matter the universe itself, and not wait three and a half billion years since the first cells -- or fifteen billion years since the Big Bang -- to finally get around to His real purpose. Talk about procrastination.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Skeptical Thinker,
Keep investigating, there is more here than meets the eye. I have responded in [brackets]

The origins of replicating life … No problem at all for evolution. [No sir. Information must be added to drive the replicating process, different from the information for the organism’s existence. Information theory holds that information cannot spontaneously generate from random sources beyond about one sentence’s worth of data. Life, even at the cellular level, involves staggering amounts of data hardly to be comprehended]

Origins of multi-cellular life -- there are today creatures that spend some of their life cycle as unicellular and some and multicellular creatures … that is, multi-cellular life – [Observing something, and reporting that it exists and has favorable characteristics, is not a proof that evolution can follow its own rules and explain how life came to be multi-cellular from uni-cellular.]

Sexual reproduction is also easily explainable. Sexual reproduction is a huge advantage for evolution [Yes of course it is a huge advantage. But evolution cannot explain HOW that came to be. The complexity of sexual reproductive systems could NEVER have come in one small incremental change, and all the preceding increments that would be required to achieve it would be of _no value_ until the final result was achieved, and therefore would never have survived natural selection]

As for the genetic code having more possiblities than the number of grains of sands on earth -- so what? This is only because of combinatorics -- …-- but this hardly means the pack of card was created by God. [Thank you for confirming the data point. As for God, I did not say it means life was created by God. I make this point so that people can understand that variation and natural selection does not require –nor prove- evolution, it has always been with us]

Finally, no, the genes were not always "already present". To give only one way genes are created, with new information and everything:… [Duplication is not new information, it is duplicate information. Mutated information is not new information, it is damaged information. They may cause changes from time to time, and those changes are sometimes beneficial, but the genetic information has always been present. Fact is, our genetic code is actually _breaking down_ as the generations pass. This is 100% contrary to the ideas proposed by evolution]

You are attacking a silly strawman, not the theory of evolution itself.
[I asked questions. That is not attacking a strawman. Then I discussed an important aspect of evolution which is often overlooked, that while we can all agree that some variation is helpful, evolution requires that it happens in small increments and that in order to survive _each increment_ must be demonstrably helpful and not just the final form. This is Darwin, this is evolution. I am merely point it out. I then pointed out a fact about genetic code. No strawman in sight, and frankly, no attack in sight either, just facts and questions. If however you are referring to my first question “Origin of Life” as being technically outside the bounds of evolution, then remove that question and consider every subsequent question.]

In any case, it wouldn't matter even if evolution is wrong; this would not prove God created man, or that God exists at all. [Agreed. But evolution is so predominantly forced upon our society/culture/education, that if it is wrong it is vitally important to understand that].

If tomorrow evolution was proven false, it would not make the competing "theory" any more reasonable. Think about it: we're supposed to accept that God, for some reason, created life on Earth, waiting for billions of years, the extinction of 99.999% of all species that ever lived, and untold suffering, so as to finally have natural selection create his original goal, man.

If anything, this "theory" is significantly less probable than the story of the garden of Eden, where at least God had the good sense to create man together with the rest of the animals and for that matter the universe itself, and not wait three and a half billion years since the first cells -- or fifteen billion years since the Big Bang -- to finally get around to His real purpose. Talk about procrastination. [Here we agree! I never said God waited millions or billions of years. That is a theistic evolution view. Nothing human can ‘prove’ that God created universe/earth/life, but we can find scientific evidence that conforms to it, and that is the point. Scientific evidence _does_ conform to it, but generally speaking that view cannot get a fair hearing.]
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
(Sigh) your entire answer is based on the creationist mistake that mutations "cannot add information" and can only "damage" it. THis is quite simply totally false.

Mutations can, do, and were often seen to add information to the genome, all the time. The "mutations cannot add information" or "mutations cannot add complex information" is just the same old, same old creationist argument - "all mutations are harmful", or "there is no way small changes can create complex organs".

They are both false for the same reason: mutations are not always harmful and sometimes add information, and natural selection makes it possible that small changes in information to add up over time, just like organs such as lungs develop gradually over tme.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Mutations can, do, and were often seen to add information to the genome, all the time. "

Cite one. Random events cannot create information.

All they can do is re-arrange existing information.

14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
My entire answer to your long post was individually addressed to each of your points. It is disingenuous to suggest otherwise. Most of the responses were not about mutations, but primarily about the inability of small changes to add up incrementally, _AND be an improvement every time_, before reaching a complex improvement over the last form. Creationists agree that natural selection will weed out less helpful variation, and creationists agree that variation occurs. The point is that there are multiple significant break points in the species that cannot be bridged with small changes. These chasms cannot be jumped one little bit at a time. They must be leaped in a single bound, because there is no intermediate state of 'partial' self-replication, no intermediate state of reproduction, no intermediate state of multi-cellular advancement that also occurs with intermediate benefits _at every stage_ before reaching the final states. At the very most the incremental changes needed for complex transformations would be neutral in the aggregate, and therefore would have no advantage vis a vis natural selection and therefore would be bred out during the countless generations in between evolutionary incremental changes. That concept has nothing to do with mutations and is all about the significance of the transformation that is required to get to a more complex form.

If you find these arguments to be “old”, that is irrelevant. What matters is if they are valid.

Returning to mutations however, there are some limited circumstances where apparently they add information I am told, but by and large they are harmful and not helpful. If you don’t believe me, then go ahead and suggest to your family and friends that the pregnant women in their families can benefit by standing in front of microwaves for extended periods of time, or forego lead aprons during medical x-rays, in order to increase the chances of achieving a beneficial mutation.
In any event however, the useful and dramatically diverse genetic information has always been present.

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14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Look, yes, you DID reply to each of my points - but every one of your replies was wrong for the same basic reason, which is the false belief that it is impossible for mutations to add information and be beneficial in increments that add up.

Well, they can add information, and then natural selection takes care that those whose information is beneficial to them survive; then new information is added by further mutations, and the changes add up.

As for the "unbridgable gaps in the information" - this is merely the old "there are no transitional forms" argument of the old style creationists, translated into information-speak, since the old argument was lost and "gaps in information" sounds more modern and computer-science like than plain ol' "no transitional forms". Both are simply false.

There are no relevant "unbridgable gaps" in information that natural selection "cannot" bridge, much like there are numerous transitional fossils and living forms in the alleged "unbridgeable gaps" between man and ape, reptiles and mammals, multi-cellular and uni-cellular animals, etc., etc. etc.

It *is* true that there are "horizontal" unbridgable gaps between animals on different branches of the evolutionary tree - no whale will turn into a hippopotamus, for example. BUT THAT IS NOT HOW EVOLUTION WORKS.

Whales did not become hippos or vice versa; they both evolved from a *common ancestor*, and there *are* transitional forms between the common ancestor and the hippo on the one hand, and the same common ancestor and the whale on the other, and also between their genomes, complete with incremently added information that becomes more and more complex.

In other words, the only "unbridgable gaps" - in information or transitional forms - that evolution "cannot bridge" are precisely those it DOES NOT bridge, and doesn't need to because that's not how it works.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
SkepticalThinker,

I do not concede that mutations which add information are a positive overall driver for the theory of evolution, and you did not address that they are harmful in the vast majority of cases, but for the sake of argument lets put that aside and assume you are correct.

I wish I knew how to use HTML here, so I will just say instead that when I use all caps I am not raising my voice but rather am making an emphasis.

There are certain large jumps in capability. These jumps can be reached incrementally. They CANNOT be reached incrementally AND add to survival value with each individual increment.

Example: moving to sexual reproduction. For one form of offspring to have only sperm, and the other form of offspring to have only eggs and birthing/hatching organs, is not a small change, and therefore requires multiple steps. How many? No one knows, but let’s say it is 20 incremental steps with 10/100/1000 (?) generations in between each. Let’s say 10 generations to be charitable.

1. One small incremental change towards sexual reproduction, but no sexual reproduction ability reached yet. NO IMPROVEMENT IN SURVIVAL VALUE. 10 generations before the next mutation or variation.
2. One additional small incremental change towards sexual reproduction, but no sexual reproduction ability reached yet. NO IMPROVEMENT IN SURVIVAL VALUE. 10 generations before the next mutation or variation.
3. One additional small incremental change towards sexual reproduction, but no sexual reproduction ability reached yet. NO IMPROVEMENT IN SURVIVAL VALUE. 10 generations before the next mutation or variation.
4. One additional small incremental change towards sexual reproduction, but no sexual reproduction ability reached yet. NO IMPROVEMENT IN SURVIVAL VALUE. 10 generations before the next mutation or variation.
5. One additional small incremental change towards sexual reproduction, but no sexual reproduction ability reached yet. NO IMPROVEMENT IN SURVIVAL VALUE. 10 generations before the next mutation or variation.
6. One additional small incremental change towards sexual reproduction, but no sexual reproduction ability reached yet. NO IMPROVEMENT IN SURVIVAL VALUE. 10 generations before the next mutation or variation.
7. One additional small incremental change towards sexual reproduction, but no sexual reproduction ability reached yet. NO IMPROVEMENT IN SURVIVAL VALUE. 10 generations before the next mutation or variation.
8. Same…
9. Same…
10. Same…
11. Same…
12. Same…
13. Same…
14. Same…
15. Same…
16. Same…
17. Same….
18. Same…
19. Same…
20. By now there have been a sufficient number of incremental changes to reach sexual reproduction, and BENEFIT TO THE ORGANISM IS ACHIEVED. There is now additional survival value to the organism.

But wait. There are two problems.
1st – TWO organisms must have evolved the same way, in the same geographic location, at the same time, except that one must have been a female evolution throughout the ENTIRE process, and the other must have been a male evolution throughout the ENTIRE process. And of course they have to find each other.

2nd problem – both forms must have progressed in such a manner, WITH NO ADDITIONAL SURVIVAL VALUE through 200 generations. We both know that 200 generations is very very charitable.

The Theory of Evolution, by its very construct, tells us that Natural Selection will not favor changes with no additional survival value, and that Natural Selection will penalize any changes that do not provide an effective economy of resources. These two forms, one male and one female, must have somehow each survived 20 incremental changes, at the same time, in the same geographic location, with no additional survival value while weighed down with the burden of mass, energy and volume of unneeded organs which do not provide any benefit until the 200th generation. Evolution and Natural Selection will tell us that they will be at a disadvantage, and LESS LIKELY TO SURVIVE, for the first 19 incremental changes.

If you then consider that the sexual reproductive systems of any animal are far more complex than 20 small incremental changes, that it takes more than 10 generations between mutations, and that the entire process up until the last step actually violates the Theory of Evolution, this is simply not reasonable.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
"I wish I knew how to use HTML here, "

For the benefit of all, a small tutorial:

You can use italics and bold here. (And perhaps others.)

Simply encase the text in the standard HTML tags for those attributes. I'll add some spaces to show what it would look like.

< i >Italics.< / i >

< b >Bold.< / b >

They can also be combined

< i >< b > combined < / b > < / i >


Remember to CLOSE each tag with the slash mark, or the formatting will continue, and the forum will add the needed closing tags to your post. (Otherwise your formatting would continue through the rest of the page!)

This has been a public service announcement. ;-)
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Aargh. I tried to edit this comment because I was rude at the beginning and because I garbled the end. Didn't work. Here is what I meant to post:

Okay, what changes can Evolution 'explain' ?

The origin of life?
The origin of life which can also replicate itself? Hmmm.
The origin of multi-cellular life?
The origin of multi-cellular life with instructions to create different kinds of cells? Hmmm, wonder how that first set of 'software' was written?
The origin of sexual reproduction, with one sex carrying the vast bulk of the reproductive systems?

Remember evolution requires that in each case, these occurred gradually via slight incremental changes, _each one better than the last_, otherwise it would not 'preserve'. It is not enough to say that one destination form is better than another original form. Every single incremental change that was wrought in between must be demonstrably better than the previous, or else it falls apart and does not reproduce.

Now consider this: Our genetic code, as a human species, has within it enough variation _already present_ to provide more unique individuals than there are grains of sand on the earth. Similar variation is possible in the animal and plant kingdom. It has always been present, but that was not known to Darwin. This also means that evolution is not required as an explanation for the change that we see. All that is required is that we understand Gregor Mendel's general theory and then to have discovered the nearly unimaginable complexity of the genetic code lying within us.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
This issue always seemed manufactured to attack people out of anti-religious hatred.

Do people who reject evolution commit more crimes? Do they use more
drugs? Are they worse at math, writing, history, geography? Do they riot in the streets and destroy property? Are they mean and brutal to others? In other words, does it make them worse citizens? I've seen no evidence of such things.

How often does the theory of evolution factor in to the decisions of anyone's daily life?

Wouldn't Blow's energies be better applied to more critical lagging areas of the curriculum?

Scientific theories should be taught and tested in schools. Everyone should be familiar with them. What people choose to believe in earnest is their own decision.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Fish to Amphibian
http://chem.tufts.edu/science/evolution/fish-amphibian-transition.htm

Limnoscelis is a transitional animal between Amphibian and reptile.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_transitional_fossils#Amphibians_to_amniotes_.28early_reptiles.29

A whole list of transitional fossils.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's easy to see an interesting creature and claim it is transitional. It's done all the time.

Showing the transition is another matter.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
DNA took the 'theory' of macro Evolution off the books for anybody smart enough to look at it. Believing everything came from nowhere into nothing and produced all life via evolution in the time earth has been inhabitable is a true 'faith' system. Oh, and then there is that little problem of no intermediate fossil evidence and the Cambrian Explosion.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Fish to Amphibian
http://chem.tufts.edu/science/evolution/fish-amphibian-transition.htm

Limnoscelis is a transitional animal between Amphibian and reptile.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_transitional_fossils#Amphibians_to_amniotes_.28early_reptiles.29

A whole list of transitional fossils.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
DNA took the 'theory' of macro Evolution off the books for anybody smart enough to look at it.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Last time I checked Catholics believe in evolution. Maybe this author could do some basic research before calling it an Atheist idea.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's amazing that Charles Blow is disappointed that intelligent people can reconcile the Origin of Species with a loving and compassionate Creator G_d. Sorta like they can ride a bike and chew gum at the same time. I fancy he's still picking the gravel out of his knees from that last time....'>>.....
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
I posted this as a response to a comment, but let me put it here as well:

The problem is with how the word 'evolution' is defined and used. Evolution can just mean change over time. That does not in any way conflict with a belief in a Creator and the biblical worldview.

What is usually meant, however, is that life came to be simply by time and a random and undirected process. This use IS in direct conflict with the biblical worldview.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Random process" and "undirected process" are not mutually exclusive in a reality which includes the supernatural. A process is random if there is no rule allowing it to be predicted from its past. Do you think God is predictable? A predictable God, one for which you can write down a rule so that you can correctly say "and now God will do this, and now God will do that" would be a pathetic God more like a performing circus animal than God.

OK, so now imagine a gene and suddenly an X-ray photon strikes it and randomly changes the 312th nucleotide. By "randomly" is meant following the rules of quantum mechanics, which specify a probability only. Now imagine that God chose it. Does it now become a contradiction with science? How? (Hint: it doesn't).

Now imagine evolution happening according to Darwin's theory up to the point where the first human came into existence. Would this human's birth correspond with God's intent?

What is the probability that humans would have evolved according to the Darwin's theory? Since it required billions of mutations, the probability is extremely tiny. Life could have evolved many, many different ways, most of which would not have ended up today with humans walking the Earth. No evolutionary biologist would disagree with that. OTOH, if God made the choices as to what mutations would occur, all He needed to do to make it fit Darwin's theory was to make the mutations fit with the appropriate probability distributions given by quantum mechanics.

There is no conflict between Darwin's theory and God's intentional creation of humanity. None. All that was required was for God to have designed the universe so that of the astronomical number of end results today consistent with Darwinian theory, one of them was a world of life which included humans, fit seats for the soul.

There is no scientific proof for what I have just postulated. It would require faith to accept that God made the choices. That's the way it's supposed to be. We are not supposed to put God to the test - and I suppose God is powerful enough to ensure that we can't.

"Irreducible complexity" would supposedly demonstrate God's existence through scientific investigation. Sorry, God is not that crude. Do you think He is?

A lot of people just can't figure out what "random" means. They seem to think that "random" means the same thing as "mindless". It doesn't. Suppose I ask you to consider every sequence possible of 100 binary digits. Would you be able to say that any of them were random? Well, for every single one of them, there is an appropriate key that converts it into a meaningful ASCII sequence. This means that there is no test that can determine whether or not a mind produced a finite sequence that seems to satisfy every test of randomness. The whole point in sending information that is supposed to be kept secret in coded form is to make it seem as random as possible. I suppose God could code as well as any human cryptographer, could He not? Well, the "random" mutations of evolution are a cipher which keeps God's intentional creation of human beings a matter of faith.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
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