Creationist questions evolution

Discussion in 'Religion' started by Jan Ardena, Nov 10, 2018.

  1. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Jan Ardena:

    As I wrote above, your misconceptions and lack of learning about evolution are off-topic for this thread, and I'd rather have that discussion elsewhere. However, I can't help but comment briefly on some of the things you've written here on that topic.

    The best advice I could give you is to actually start asking questions and learning about evolutionary theory, including the basics of natural selection, rather than just swallowing creationist propaganda. That probably means less reading of people like William Craig on that topic. What you want is stuff written by biologists or other scientists, or at least people who don't have a religious agenda to prosecute. There are a lot of people on this forum who understand this stuff a lot better than you do right now, and you could learn something from them too. To do that, you'd have to drop some of the arrogance and preconception that you currently have on the topic. Personally, I doubt you can do that. You can lead a horse to water, etc. etc. We'll see.

    Yes. Life most likely came from simple chemical building blocks. We don't know all the details yet, but this is the only viable scientific theory we have and it is an eminently sensible working hypothesis.

    Once life began on Earth, evolutionary processes, including - importantly - natural selection, caused it to evolve to great complexity, eventually producing complex multicellular lifeforms like the mammals we see today, including human beings. Human beings themselves evolved from earlier hominids. In the process, average brain size and mental capacity increased, and various other useful bodily adaptations also evolved. None of this, by the way, is conjecture; it is well evidenced.

    Once human beings were able to speak, and later write, human knowledge could expand beyond the limits of a single individual memory. That capacity for storage of memory was what ultimately led to civilisations.

    The "how" I just explained, very briefly. As for "why", there is no "why", at least not if you're thinking in terms of some kind of master plan. If things had gone just a bit differently, none of us would be here now, or else the world would be ruled by creatures evolved from dinosaurs, or something else. As a religionist, you're no doubt familiar with thinking in terms of God's Master Plan, in which the human being is the epitome and the Reason for all of the Creation. The scientific view is very different from that. It's a much humbler view, and puts things into a far more realistic perspective.
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  3. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    First, I have to ask: do you make a distinction between what you call "Darwinian evolution" and just plain vanilla "evolution"? If you do, what is the distinction? How does your "evolution" work without the "Darwinian" parts? Which parts of Darwin's ideas do you leave out of the picture?

    Take natural selection, for example. Do you accept that as a mechanism for evolution? If not, I'd be interested to know why (though probably best to do it in a separate thread). More importantly, if you reject that, then what do you think are the main drivers of evolution, as you understand them?
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  5. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Jan Ardena:

    Your desire not to be killed is also in accordance with an evolutionary drive to survive and procreate. We would expect from evolutionary theory both of these drives to be the two strongest drives in all living things. And so they seem to be.

    No. Nature's way is to rage against the dying of the light. Isn't that obvious to you?

    Among people like yourself who don't understand evolutionary theory, probably the biggest misconception is that "it's all random". If I tell you it's not "just the result of some random process", does that make any difference to you? Want to know more? I could go through it with you in a separate thread, if you like.

    Ultimately, from the environment in which an organism finds itself, which consists of its physical circumstances as well as the activities of the other organisms that it finds itself in contact with, including those of its own species.

    Two mechanisms, at a minimum, are needed for evolution. One: a source of variation. That's the random part. Two: selection pressures and mechanisms. That's the environment part. (Actually, the environment also contributes to item One.)

    Life is anti-entropic by its nature. It draws on the environment to produce and maintain order and complexity. No man is an island, as they say, and a man is not really any different to any other form of life in this respect.

    That term - complex specified information - is right out of a Creationist grab-bag of talking points. You really need to look at some proper science if you want to understand this stuff. The Creationists have an agenda and want to pull the wool over your eyes. Do yourself a favour: stop thinking of Answers in Genesis as a reliable source of information on evolution. Read some stuff from the "enemy". That way, at least you'll get both sides of the story, and you'll be in a position to make an informed judgment. As things stand, you're just locking yourself in a dark room, wearing sunglasses and earmuffs, singing "la la la I'm not listening". Are you up for an honest discussion about evolution, or not?

    It's already been explained to you. Basically, it comes down to random genetic variation of various types, acted on by natural selection, just like a lot of other things in evolution.

    Think about this, for starters: why are there any multicellular organisms? Why not just single-celled bacteria? Try to think about it from an evolutionary perspective rather than a creationist one. Try to go beyond the pat answer "God made it that way". Hint: what's in it for bacteria to team up with one another? How might they benefit? And if they do team up, why would they not all stay the same afterwards? Why might they change, and in what ways might they change?

    If you read Creationist websites, it won't be long before you come across an old story about Richard Dawkins being apparently unable to answer the killer question of "how is new genetic information created". Another hint: the story is a Creationist lie. If you want Dawkins' answer to the question, it's online, along with his side of the story about how the creationists colluded to make up the lie.

    The simple fact, as Dawkins points out, is that new information is being created in the genome all the time. How that happens is explained above, but there are plenty of other web resources you can consult if you really want to confirm the details.
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2018
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  7. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    That's not true.
    Darwinian evolutionary theory offers one such explanation, for example.
    You are posting dishonestly, and as a pretext for personal attack, as always.
    I can. I have. So have many others. Right in front of you, right here. Done and done.

    The relevant question in this thread is why your category of theist, the overt Abrahamic, comes on these science forums solely to lie and slander and disparage everything and everyone connected with reasoning from evidence. This is a psychological question, and it may very well have bearing on the psychology of theists generally - while you guys are extreme, somewhat similar leanings are occasionally visible in other theistic traditions.
  8. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

    How did life begin on earth?
    If you can't answer that, how do you know that life evolved in the Darwinian sense?
    How did nature construct the information that it would take to build the first life form?

    Why did nature create speech?
    How does speech benefit nature?

    Actually you didn't. You just accept there is life, and you just accept that we speak.
    If nature has somehow given us the ability to exist in our present forms, and the ability to communicate, and ask questions. Then it is entirely natural to ask what the benefits are to nature.
    We are, after all, from the evolutionary perspectives, nothing but aspects of nature.

    As a theist, which from the atheist perspective, is a natural phenomenon, introduced via the processes of natural selection, I see God as the origin of the manifestations of nature.
    Whether has a master plan, or not, is of no real concern. The theist view, from such a perspective, offers an understanding of not only how we are, but why we are. It is far more logically coherent than the atheist view, which only seeks to understand ''how'' we are. Both are natural expressions, but one is more advanced than the other.
    The current (popular) scientific view is not necessarily humble, as tries to sidestep the obvious intelligence that goes into building life forms. It appears to hold back human development by tethering humans purely to nature.
    It tells us that we are not special, in any way, despite the obvious advanced human intelligences, over the other animals.
    We obviously have the capacity to think beyond just being an expression of nature, we also have a knowledge of God, which can be rekindled through ancient scriptures. Let's bare in mind that this is natural phenomena (from evolutionist pov). Something like this must be important, for nature to express it, via us.

  9. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member


    Why does it matter whether organisms live, or die?

    No. Please explain.

    Obviously evolution isn't a random process, but the amalgamation of the first cell, was a random process.
    So we are the result of a random, natural process, as is natural selection, from that perspective.

    How is the new genetic information constructed and compiled?

    Be that as it may, it still describes what is present.
    The information is very complex, specific.

    Proper science?
    Are you saying there is no information, that it is not complex, and specific?

    Do you want to have a discussion James?
    I suggest you stop with the insults.
    If I am so misinformed, then correct me.
    But don't try and belittle me, as there is no need for it.
    Do you think that is possible?

    I'm aware of the explanations given, as they are the standard explanations, or attempts, currently given by evolutionists, or people who believe in evolution.
    But it cannot be demonstrated. We see variations within a population, but we don't see the building of entirely new organisms. This tends to be an idea.

    You mean this one...

    … it's funny though isn't it?
    I know Write4U will see the humour in it.

    But you haven't really explained it. You simply allude to the idea of gene mutation (which is generally a loss of information), and gene duplication. But you haven't explained how new information arises, that gives rise to the variation of life forms we see today. That surely is what Darwinian evolution is based on.

  10. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Still being investigated.
    We don't. We theorize.
    Of the several possibilities, and the possibility of others not yet thought of, we don't know.

    Darwinian evolution seems the most likely - it is easily sufficient, matches the evidence, and was available.
    Revealing a basic confusion between manifestations - such as the Abrahamic God, one of them - and origins.
  11. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Not according to Darwinian evolution. It was an evolutionary process, according to that theory.
    Exactly as Darwinian theory predicts.
    Yes, he has. With examples - gene duplication and mutation, recombination, horizontal transfer, jumping context, etc.

    But you aren't here for that.
  12. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

    Sorry, I was of the impression that Darwinian evolution could account for the development of the first life, only how life evolved once life was present.

  13. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    That error has been corrected for you dozens of times, on this forum.

    Your supposed impressions, which conflict with each other and change from post to post even within threads (as seen right there), are of no interest in a discussion forum. You don't care to correct them, or make sense of them, or employ them for any purpose except as ad hoc pretexts for repetitions of slander and disparagement.
  14. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

    Probably it came about with animals calling to each other for mating purposes serving the need to recreate or just have sex and the better grunters got more dates and so over time it slowly develops and man can speak.
  15. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

    So you do know how the first life got here via natural selection?

  16. Beer w/Straw Transcendental Ignorance! Valued Senior Member

    What was the first life?
  17. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Yep. Ask Robert Hazen. Natural selection started with the formation of the first chemical elements and compounds. All living things are biochemical patterns and very much subject to natural selection.
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2018
  18. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

    Some ancient cell, which just happened to be put together by random processes.

  19. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Not according to Darwinian theory. That's a fundie Abrahamic theist claim.
    That is wrong about the nature of dogs, especially wild ones. Dogs that attack everybody are not wild, but abused by corrupt domestication - compared with wild dogs, they are mentally ill.
    One step, a necessary aspect of dealing with such a situation, is to isolate and restrict the influence of the corrupting domestication, deny these corrupting influences - such as the religions that inculcate mental illness - physical power over their neighbors. Separate church and state, say.

    This kind of stuff on Fridays from the folks who deny they are Abrahamic theists on Tuesdays.

    Fundamentally dishonest. All of them.
  20. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    We don't. We theorize, reason from evidence, etc.
  21. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Jan Ardena:

    The question of how life evolved after it started can be separated from the question about the origin of life from non-life (which is known as abiogenesis).

    The answer to your first question, about the origin of life, is: I don't know, and neither do you. However, there's no reason to suppose we need to introduce anything as complex as a supernatural God to explain it.

    The answer to your second question is: the convergence of all the evidence points to that conclusion, and to hold the opposite conclusion - that life did not evolve "in the Darwinian sense" - would be ridiculous considering the evidence.

    Of course, I should be a little careful, because at this point I'm assuming your understanding of what the words "in the Darwinian sense" mean is similar to mine. There's no actual guarantee that is the case. Above, I explicitly asked you how you distinguish what you refer to as "Darwinian evolution" from plain vanilla evolution, and I'm still waiting on your answer to that question. Perhaps you skipped it by accident? Or was that a dishonest move on your part? Here's a convenient link to where I asked you, in case it was an honest oversight:

    As I said, the first life form was built from simple chemical building blocks. Those were governed by the laws of physics and chemistry. In other words, the answer is basically: nature used the available matter and energy, along with the fundamental forces (such as electromagnetism) to put things together in a particular way. This kind of thing happens all the time. Amino acids, for example, have been found on comets. You might as well ask where the "information" came from to put those together.

    As I said, nature has no master plan. There is no "why".

    The ability to vocalise exists in many animals, as you are aware. Producing complex speech requires an evolved capacity and it is also a learned skill in human beings. The capability to speak would have evolved in the same way that any other bodily function evolved, by the usual methods of variation and selection. It is very likely that the ability was selected for and refined by natural selection for the usual reason, too: i.e. that those human beings who had the ability had more reproductive success than those who did not, on average.

    I don't know what you're asking. Why do you think speech should benefit "nature", as some kind of abstract thing? I can't see any particular benefit to "nature" in the abstract, myself.

    Actually I did. You must have missed the part where I talked about evolution. Go back and read it again.

    As for accepting that there is life etc., what do you propose? Rejecting those facts?

    Natural to you, maybe. You're typically big on teleology, being a religionist and all. Everything has to have a grand purpose and there must be a master plan, according to religion.

    But we're talking about nature here, not your God. Nature, unlike you idea of God, doesn't need a plan or an end goal. It doesn't require "benefits". In science, we just talking about "nature", not "Mother nature". See the difference?

    And so...? How do you infer from this that nature requires a grand plan or an ultimate goal?

    Religion is cultural, not just genetic. Obviously, nothing in nature prevents you from holding your religious beliefs.

    You missed a word there. Did you mean to say that it is no concern to you if God has no master plan, or if nature has no master plan?

    Theism does nothing to explain the "how". At best, religion has the pat answer of "God did it somehow", which is a God of the Gaps argument. All of the detail in the "how" on the question of human origins comes from science, and none of it comes from religion. There is no religious research into the "how".

    As for the "why", that is a philosophical question rather than a scientific one. Science doesn't even attempt to answer these kinds of ultimate "why" questions; that's a job for philosophy of one kind or another. Theology is one answer to the "why", but by no means the only one available.

    To argue that your religious position is somehow more "logically coherent" than my atheist position is silly. For starters, you have never been able to demonstrate any incoherency in the atheist position. The philosophical questions that you answer by appealing to the authority of your "scriptures", I answer by appealing to secular philosophical ideas. You could try to make a case that secular philosophies are inherently less coherent than religious ones if you like. That could be fun for me to watch.

    There's no obvious intelligence that goes into building life forms. People make babies all the time while having no clue at all as to how babies "work", for example. They trust the mindless DNA to do the job, no intelligence needed. (And, as we know, the DNA has evolved.)

    An alternative view is that religion holds back human development by tethering humans to the fantasy of God. Who's to say your view is correct and this alternative is wrong?

    Intelligence - big brains etc. - is just humanity's evolutionary "trick". As a species we were lucky enough to have our ancestor species fall into a particular environmental niche that became available when the dinosaurs were mostly wiped out.

    If you were a cheetah, you might as well be complaining that the "Darwinian" view tells you that you are not special, despite your obvious advantages over other animals (and humans) when it comes to running fast.

    I have no idea what that means. Are you saying we have the capacity to imagine things? Can't disagree there, but that's a function of big brains.

    You continually assert that this "knowledge of God" is innate in human beings. You are also continually unable to point to any such innate knowledge, or to explain how it comes to reside in a human brain.

    You have utterly failed to establish that innate knowledge of God is "a natural phenomenon". You've never so much as made a start in trying to establish that as a fact. (If you could do so, hypothetically, this might be some evidence for God that you could post in the "Evidence for God" thread, to start to fill the theistic void that is there at the moment.)

    On the contrary, it seems likely that religious belief is a side-effect of other, more useful, evolved adaptations that human beings possess, such as the capacity for pattern seeking, the capacity to look for agency and cause, and so on.
  22. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Jan Ardena:

    It matters in an evolutionary sense because organisms that die might not have passed on their genes to the next generation.

    Consider an extreme example. Suppose there is a gene for utterly reckless behaviour - walking in front of traffic being one such behaviour, as an example. Start with a hypothetical population in which half of the people possess the "reckless" gene and the other half do not. Clearly, on average, those with the gene will tend to step out in front of buses and get themselves killed more often than those who don't have the gene. It follows that, on average, those who lack that gene will be more likely to have children, who will similarly lack the gene. Over time, we would expect that the population will come to be dominated by people who lack this "reckless" gene. The gene might even disappear in time, if enough carriers of it get themselves killed before being able to reproduce.

    Similarly, you might consider a hypothetical gene for being interested in having sex. Let's say that those who lack the gene have no interest in having sex. Those with the gene will be breeding like rabbits (or ordinary humans), while those who lack it are more likely to remain celibate and thus fail to breed. Again, over the course of many generations - or maybe not too many at all - the population will come to be dominated by people who have the gene for interest in sexual activity. This, by the way, is obviously not some way-out scenario. Look at the current human population and the average level of interest in sex, if you need convincing.

    How many people do you see walking out in front of traffic, oblivious to their own safety? Why is that, if nature hasn't given them a care about whether they live or die?

    No. That amalgamation must have relied on the usual laws of physics and chemistry whose application is very far from being random.

    Natural selection requires only the existence of replicators, limited resources to sustain those replicators, and some kind of variation that can make one replicator better able to reproduce than another.

    It's really a very simple process, and not that hard to understand if you try.

    That was explained above, was it not?

    Let's say we have a the following hypothetical snippet of DNA:


    Now, suppose that a random error in copying that snippet results in a duplication, so that we have:


    Would you agree that DNA contains complex, specified information?
    Would you agree that the DNA snippet with the duplication contains more complex, specified information than the original snippet?
    If you agree, then you have one answer to your question of how the complex, specified information in DNA can increase, by a purely random process.

    And we haven't even had to consider selection in this explanation.

    Unfortunately, Jan, you have very little credit left with me regarding the presumption of good faith in this kind of discussion. It always interests me these days to see what parts of my posts you conveniently forget to address, for example. What you leave out is often so much more informative than what you reply to, because you tend to avoid the hard questions in favour of the easy one-line knee-jerk responses.

    I am trying to educate you a little about evolution. But, sadly, I seem to recall carefully explaining similar things to you in the past, yet here we are again and it's like it never happened. You're back to square one, reading Answers in Genesis and sucking it all up.

    I'm really not sure what kind of reaction you expect when you start parroting creationist talking points, while at the same time demonstrating a serious lack of understanding of even the basics of the theory you like to think you're critiquing. The first step in a learning process is to admit that you have something to learn, but all indications are that you think you have the whole evolution scam pegged down already.

    In passing, I note that you again spit out phrases from the grab-bag of creationist propaganda: terms like "evolutionist", and the idea that evolution is a belief system rather than a scientific theory.

    Speciation has been directly observed in the lab in a number of experiments.

    See above. Does the gene duplication in the snippet above represent a loss or a gain of information, in your opinion?

    I note, also, that you ignored these questions that require you to think:

    Think about this, for starters: why are there any multicellular organisms? Why not just single-celled bacteria? Try to think about it from an evolutionary perspective rather than a creationist one. Try to go beyond the pat answer "God made it that way". Hint: what's in it for bacteria to team up with one another? How might they benefit? And if they do team up, why would they not all stay the same afterwards? Why might they change, and in what ways might they change?​
  23. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    You think it's funny that creationist filmmakers misrepresented themselves to obtain an interview with Dawkins, then edited the resulting footage to give the false impression that Dawkins couldn't answer a simple question about how new information arises in evolution?

    Do you think that it's funny for Creationists to go to such lengths to tell lies, knowingly?

    To complete the picture, I present Dawkins' own side of the story of how this video was produced, which is containing in his book A Devil's Chaplain (2003):

    "In September 1997, I allowed an Australian film crew into my house in Oxford without realizing that their purpose was creationist propaganda. In the course of a suspiciously amateurish interview, they issued a truculent challenge to me to ‘give an example of a genetic mutation or an evolutionary process which can be seen to increase the information in the genome’. It is the kind of question only a creationist would ask in that way, and it was the point I tumbled to the fact that I had been duped into granting an interview to creationists – a thing I normally don’t do, for good reasons. In my anger I refused to discuss the question further, and told them to stop the camera. However, I eventually withdrew my peremptory termination of the interview, because they pleaded with me that they had come all the way from Australia specifically to interview me. Even if this was a considerable exaggeration, it seemed, on reflection, ungenerous to tear up the legal release form and throw them out. I therefore relented.
    My generosity was rewarded in a fashion that anyone familiar with fundamentalist tactics might have predicted. When I eventually saw the film a year later, I found that it had been edited to give the false impression that I was incapable of answering the question about information content. In fairness, this may not have been quite as intentionally deceitful as it sounds. You have to understand that these people really believe their question cannot be answered!"
    He has answered it, by the way, at length, in an article that can be found on his web site (and no doubt many more times in various other fora).

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