canadiancomment

Our opinions and advice to the world. Updated whenever we get around to it.

Evolution

Fred has a nice take on the difficulties of evolution theory. In short he equates people who believe in evolution with people who believe in creationism.

He basically begins with a few questions:
(1) Life was said to have begun by chemical inadvertence in the early seas. Did we, I wondered, really know of what those early seas consisted? Know, not suspect, hope, theorize, divine, speculate, or really, really wish.

The answer was, and is, “no.” We have no dried residue, no remaining pools, and the science of planetogenesis isn’t nearly good enough to provide a quantitative analysis.

(2) Had the creation of a living cell been replicated in the laboratory? No, it hadn’t, and hasn’t.

(3) Did we know what conditions were necessary for a cell to come about? No, we didn’t, and don’t.

(4) Could it be shown to be mathematically probable that a cell would form, given any soup whatever? No, it couldn’t, and can’t. (At least not without cooking the assumptions.)
He also points out what distinguishes evolution from other sciences:
Early on, I noticed three things about evolution that differentiated it from other sciences (or, I could almost say, from science). First, plausibility was accepted as being equivalent to evidence. (And of course the less you know, the greater the number of things that are plausible, because there are fewer facts to get in the way.) Again and again evolutionists assumed that suggesting how something might have happened was equivalent to establishing how it had happened. Asking them for evidence usually aroused annoyance and sometimes, if persisted in, hostility.

As an example, it seems plausible to evolutionists that life arose by chemical misadventure. By this they mean (I think) that they cannot imagine how else it might have come about. (Neither can I. Does one accept a poor explanation because unable to think of a good one?) This accidental-life theory, being somewhat plausible, is therefore accepted without the usual standards of science, such as reproducibility or rigorous demonstration of mathematical feasibility. Putting it otherwise, evolutionists are too attached to their ideas to be able to question them.

Consequently, discussion often turns to vague and murky assertion. Starlings are said to have evolved to be the color of dirt so that hawks can’t see them to eat them. This is plausible. But guacamayos and cockatoos are gaudy enough to be seen from low-earth orbit. Is there a contradiction here? No, say evolutionists. Guacamayos are gaudy so they can find each other to mate. Always there is the pat explanation. But starlings seem to mate with great success, though invisible. If you have heard a guacamayo shriek, you can hardly doubt that another one could easily find it. Enthusiasts of evolution then told me that guacamayos were at the top of their food chain, and didn’t have predators. Or else that the predators were colorblind. On and on it goes. But…is any of this established?
The article is a bit long but it is definitely worth the read as he points out the problems with both creationism and evolution.

I've always had problems with evolution for the simple reasons that I couldn't make the numerous leaps of faith that the theory requires.

At the moment my thoughts on the matter probably fall more under the intelligent design system. I don't say that because intelligent design theory is more scientifically reliable or exact because it certainly isn't. I guess on the whole intelligent design basically acknowledges what we don't know and doesn't attempt to guess at the answers unlike evolution theory does.

Anyways, it's good reading. Check it out.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

I always found it fastinating that scientist that say they prove evolution always seem to start out creating things e.g. the feb issue of discover magazine. It is also interesting evolution and creationism both involve a lot faith.

Tom said...

You should look at this critique of Fred's position.

http://www.pandasthumb.org/pt-archives/000864.html#more

Rob said...

When non-biologists talk about biological evolution they often confuse two different aspects of the definition. On the one hand there is the question of whether or not modern organisms have evolved from older ancestral organisms or whether modern species are continuing to change over time. On the other hand there are questions about the mechanism of the observed changes... how did evolution occur? Biologists consider the existence of biological evolution to be a fact. It can be demonstrated today and the historical evidence for its occurrence in the past is overwhelming. However, biologists readily admit that they are less certain of the exact mechanism of evolution; there are several theories of the mechanism of evolution. Stephen J. Gould has put this as well as anyone else:
This is from a article(http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/evolution-fact.html) evolution is a Fact and theory as to how it happened.
www.mybackpain.org

Dana said...

For the most part the Panda's explanation doesn't quite do it for me.

An example is his response to Fred's question about recreating a cell. Panda simply responds with 'What posible point would there be to creating a new cell?'. That is totally lame and a total cope out. If a cell could be created people would be jumping all over themselves to do it.

I can't dispute much else that he said because I'm to lazy to check out the reference material he presents but if his argument is as credible as he says then why can't he explain it.

For everyone of Fred's points he simply says that Fred's point is stupid and then list some reference material.

Lame.

Friend of USA said...

Northern lights ( aurora borealis ) before we could explain what they were did exist, and we still can not recreate one in a laboratory , but they still exist.

No need for faith here, just look out your window.

Evolution is a fact ;

How do you explain that bacteria are evolving because of our overuse of antibiotics?

And what are genetically modified organisms?
Ok man made, but still an evolution.
Because of loss of habitat , we now have a cross between wolves and coyotes ; a form of evolution.

Either with man's help or with time those things eventually happen.

If it is your religious beliefs that are keeping your mind closed , well that is really sad...

Pei Yusei said...

Friend of USA - I will only point out that your "proof" of evolution implies that we can visually witness the evolutionary event in the same way one visually witnesses celestial phenomena. This illogicality alone should be enough to dismantle your "proof", without my having to overview the history of philosophy which, if nothing else, has shown us that no single epistemology can be affirmed as the "right one". For example, what you see when you look into the sky at the moon will be completely different from what scientists see when analyzing pictures sent back by the Lunar Prospector. I would tend to find myself on the side of philosophers like Berkeley and Kant, who knew that reality is, in many ways, what our minds bring to it. I also happen to believe that assertions of every kind are faith-based, whether you're talking about science (the assumption of the uniformity of nature, which underlies the scientific enterprise, depends very much on an understanding of the human intellect as something other than just the random result of chemical processes) or religion (at which point Kierkegaard's "leap of faith" becomes quite relevant and poignant).

Dana said...

In no way am I saying that evolution theory is wrong. All that I'm saying is that much of the theory depends on you believing it in order for it to make sense. In that way it doesn't meet the standards of most other sciences.

The examples you gave are, at least in my opinion, examples of adaptation which is quite different that evolution.

Bateria adapts due to external stimuli. I believe it and it makes sense. No problem there.

But to go from that to the theory that thousands or millions of DNA structures could change within one generation, such as the butterfly example, and produce something useful is a bit of a stretch. It requires faith in order to make that jump.

And as far as I'm aware, we have seen plenty of cases of adaption or interbreeding between species. The bacteria example and coyote examples you give are good.

But have we any documented cases of evolution? Sure we can selectively breed larger cattle or plumper chickens but can we selectively breed cattle that lay eggs or chickens that have hooves?

Freind of USA. said...

Dana ,I think we can only witness adaptation because evolution takes too long.

We can see small signs of erosion of sea shore or accumulation of debris , but no one has ever seen a continent form ; it takes too long.

Adaptation is like a little brick in the immense wall of evolution.

If it is so easy to cross genes of tomatoes and fish in a lab( it's been done )in a few years or even a few months, why would it be impossible for nature to do it in a few million years.

No one ever said it was a quick process.

I know it's harder to believe this applies to cells but science is getting better and better at explaining things around us.

Friend of USA said...

Pei,
Ok maybe I wasn't clear...
Let me try again;
We can see the aurora but we can not see the cause.
We can see sparks but we can not see electricity.
We can see the magnets but not the magnetic field.
We see the grand canyon but we did not see it form.
We see the life forms but we can not see millions of years of evolution.
Though in this case we have fossils that are snapshots of it's evolution...


And about reality...
Before the americans brought back rocks from the moon every one could have it's own "reality " about what the moon was made of.

But now there is only ONE valid reality.

If some people still want to believe the moon is made of gruyere cheese , that is not a "reality" it is delusion.

Dana said...

USA: The examples you give are fine and I am not debating those. I just don't see though how the examples you give explain more complex forms of evolution.

The butterfly example is worth mentioning. First evolution had to take a bug and decide that it was going to produce the material to create a cocoon. Fine but that would require thousands of genetic changes. So now we have a bug with this building material hanging out of it's ass for a couple million years. The insect doesn't know what to do with it because evolution hasn't given it the instructions at this point.

Then the insect must undergo the evolutionary changes to convince itself that it should wrap itself up in this stuff. Why? The insect doesn't know. Has it undergone the genetic changes yet that allows it to become a butterfuly? Not freaking likely.

In the butterfly example the evolutionary changes required to go from having gooey stuff hanging out of it's ass to a butterfly is unfathomable.

Maybe someday science will explain it but telling me that bacteria adapt doesn't,in no way whatsoever, explain the butterfly.

Dana said...

USA: I figure I might as well respond to your comments to pei.

The examples you give are fine because I can understand and accept the modern explainations of these phenomenon. Aurora. I like it. Electricity. Ditto on that too. Magnetic fields are good. Grand canyon I can live with that as well.

All of these examples I can wrap my head around. Large scale evolution I still have my doubts about.

Pei Yusei said...

Friend of USA - I understand what you mean. I was only taking issue with your use of the word "proof", which, in fact, can no more be used for the existence of aurora borealis than it can for the theory of evolution. Thinkers over the centuries have never been able to agree on the nature of reality for the simple reason that such conceptions are faith-based.

My purpose in my comment on the uniformity of nature was to show that even the very enterprise of science presupposes that our minds are capable of logic. If, however, the world merely evolved out of a primordial chaos, and if we are merely matter in motion, then our thought constructs are nothing more than the random and determined effects of random and determined causes.

However, my own personal faith-based viewpoint is that there is uniformity in nature. I also happen to agree with you that if there is irrefutable evidence for evolution (which, by the way, there isn't), and if religious people ignore it on the basis of some biblically-based (or otherwise) assumptions, then that is sad.

Personally, I haven't come to a verdict on evolution . . . and I wasn't trying to argue against the theory per se. Again, it is merely when people think that anything constitutes proof (which would presuppose our ability to ascertain absolute truth of some kind) that I get a little suspicious.

Pei Yusei said...

Sorry, this was my first time using trackback, which is why in my first effort I screwed up the URL, and in my second effort I sounded incoherent and inane. The simple and easy way to get to my post is to click on the title "correction" on trackback.

Dana said...

pei: i fixed up your trackback for you.

Pei Yusei said...

thanks Dana, much appreciated

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