Denial of evolution

Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by river-wind, Jul 23, 2007.

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  1. river-wind Valued Senior Member

    Why not take one of the threads where people repeatedly claim such things as:
    1) scientists know that evolution is wrong, but are hiding that fact in order to retain their power
    2) Darwin recanted on his deathbed
    3) that DNA only mutates in specific pre-defined locations like factory options for cars
    4) speciation has never been seen
    5) ok, speciation has been seen, but the creation of new Genuses has not

    ...and everything else which is summarily smacked down by everyone who passed high school biology, and make it a sticky?

    Create the permanent "So You Want to Disprove Evolution by Natural Selection" thread, which we can simply point such individuals to as soon as the same questions come up.

    Does anyone have a thread they'd nominate as the best for this purpose?
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  3. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

    Like a FAQ on creationism vs evolution?
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  5. river-wind Valued Senior Member

    I guess I was going going the lazy route, and hoping to find some use for all the posts already written. A FAQ would certainly be more streamlined, though in that case, pointing people over to would be effectively the same.
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  7. Saquist Banned Banned

    It sounds like a good idea. The topic comes up with enough regularity. If the question is on going perhaps the topic should be aswell. It give the possibility of new information to be added at any time.
  8. John99 Banned Banned

    That is a good idea. A database of outstanding posts from prior threads would be better, this way they wont be buried. And they can be expanded upon.
  9. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

    We could go through the posts and have a question answer combo for each FAQ; that way one need only point to the relevant post.

    Hmm perhaps the sciwiki may be a better option.

    Why not start an FAQ and see how that progresses?

    I am perfectly willing to help out, but I want contributions from the frequent posters in evolution threads.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    This thread is a good option to start with; it is now a sticky with a new title/
  10. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    I would very much like to stop dignifying this woo-woo by giving it a name with a cachet of authenticity: Creationism. Please call it what it is: evolution denialism. This is a science website; we are under no obligation to use the apologist terminology that has been adopted by the popular press in order to placate the religious fundamentalists among their readers. We're not attempting to attract religious fundamentalists to SciForums.

    No one has dignified Holocaust denialism, they just call it what it is.
  11. Saquist Banned Banned

    It's a fair subject. But it might be too sensitive an issue for these forums. The Truth is always delegated to the facts. I would say to those that appreciate the facts against evolution not to feel oppressed. We must as members appreciate that the moderators and their moderating on these forums is for the purpose of maintaing order. We all should be just a dedicated to that peacefull process.

    It doesn't mean you're barred from your opinioin but one would be foolish that to appreciate that expressing ones opinion might create negative reactions from others. Being that catalyst we're responisble in part for the reaction our opinions provoke.
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2007
  12. Nutter Shake it loose, baby! Registered Senior Member


    Mod note: Please do not troll in the science forums.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 24, 2007
  13. Enmos Valued Senior Member

    Im sorry.. are you kidding !?
    Creationism is NOT nonreligious !

    1. the doctrine that matter and all things were created, substantially as they now exist, by an omnipotent Creator, and not gradually evolved or developed.
    2. (sometimes initial capital letter) the doctrine that the true story of the creation of the universe is as it is recounted in the Bible, esp. in the first chapter of Genesis.
    3. the doctrine that God immediately creates out of nothing a new human soul for each individual born.

    Creationism doesn NOT fit 'the facts of science', and certainly not better then the Evolution Model!
  14. river-wind Valued Senior Member

    Well, I'm short on work at the moment, so let's give this a try!

    A Sciforums-specific F.A.Q. on evolution and its viability as a method for the creation of variation in modern life on Earth.

    1) Life is very complex! There no way that it could form by accident. (otherwise known as the "airplane formed by a tornado in a junkyard" arguement)
    Chemestry is not random. Biology is not random.

    While evolution via natural selection currently suggests that random mutation in the genome are the source of variation, the driving forces behind selection are decidedly NOT random.

    2) Proteins need DNA to form, DNA needs Proteins to form.
    This is not the genetic material you are looking for....

    3) Abiogenesis is untestable
    Not quite. The claim here is misleading, suggesting that we need to be able to have 100% certainty in every idea for it to be useful science.

    4) Mutations are extremely rare - only certain areas of the genome can mutate.
    Mutations are not extremely rare, and they happen all over. Certain areas of the genome are more effectively checked for mutations (and then fixed) than others, but no section of the genome if "protected".

    5 a) Microevolution has not been seen. Variation in populations is only the selection from a set of existing traits already in the population.
    Speciation HAS been seen, frequently.

    This is repeatedly shown to be inaccurate in lab experiments, the most obvious of which is bacterial cultures created from a single parent cell. Variation in that population is from a single starting chromosome.

    5 b) macroevolution has never been seen / variations can only occur within set limits.
    As to observing macroevolution on the human time scale- nor would we expect to, given the time frames involved. This does nothing to promote or discredit either side of the argument. Would you expect to see a new moon pop into existence from accumulated space debris within your lifetime?

    variations in "kind":

    5 c) Speciation does not mean that macroevolution is possible. They are different.
    They are? Why? One is change in a population due to the collective change in allele frequency over time. Once that accumulation is large enough, why can it not be macroevolution? Genera/Phyla, etc are all human constructions anyway, to describe the animals that exist; why would they care if they cross our imaginary boundaries?

    6) Irriducable Complexity - if you remove one part of a complex system, it stops working. How can such a system evolve bit by bit?
    You are assuming that the structure in question always did what is does now. A television doesn't work as a television when it's not plugged in, but it still makes for a great doorstop, mirror, cloths hanger, bookshelf, fish tank, and more!

    7) The eye, flagella, wings, etc are too complex/not useful in the supposed "stages" of their own evolution.
    This is simply an incorrect claim, based on the same idea as seen in #6 - a "partially formed" eye still works great - just not as great as other eye designs. Ask anyone wearing glasses whether their not 100% perfect eyes are still useful.

    8) Belief in evolution destroys any basis for a moral foundation in life.
    I am personally insulted by the idea that my moral beliefs are so fragile that I need the threat of punishment from an omniscient being in order to be civil with other people.

    9) Mitochondrial DNA proves that there was an 'Eve'
    mDNA does show that all currently living humans had a common female ancestor that lived roughly 200,000 years ago. This is no way suggests that this female ancestor was the first human, however. The last common male ancestor lived roughly 116,000 years ago.

    10) If evolution occurred, where are all the middle-of-the-road animals? The croco-pigeons?
    Animals change over time, and diverge from each other. Even though they may be related, that does mean that all individual versions of the transition will continue to sire offfspring identical to themselves.

    Did your father produce a clone of himself that is alive today? What will happen to him, as a transition version between your grandparents and yourself after he dies? Yeah, it's just like that.

    11) No completely new features have been seen evolving.
    Of course not. The likelihood of a wing spontaneously forming is pretty much 0. The chances of an existing structure changing over generations due to new uses for that structure is much more likely.

    12) There is a limited/non-existant fossil record for human evolution. OR the homonid fossil record is crap.
    There is still a fair amount that we do not know about human ancestry. But there is a lot that we do know. The fossil record for humans is fairly well put together at this point, with many transitional fossils of man-like apes that no longer live today.

    13) If humans came from apes, why are apes still around?
    Because we didn't come from apes - both humans and apes evolved from a common ancestor.
    If you and your cousins both came from the same grandparent, then why isn't that grandparent still around?

    14) the theory of evolution violates the second law of thermodynamics.
    No it doesn't. the 2nd law says that the total entropy of a closed system will not decrease. The earth is not a closed system.

    15) Information Theory says that information in genes will only decrease over time, via the second law of thermodynamics.
    You have completely confused similar terms used in different ways in different fields. Hot dogs are not made of dog, despite the similarity in names.

    16) Darwin recanted on his deathbed.
    This is not a true event.

    I'll add more from the creation side if I have some time after I get some actual work done.
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2007
  15. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member


    It would be nice is someone linked to their earlier posts on sciforums as well

    river-wind has provided a good list of the FAQ as a basis
  16. draqon Banned Banned

  17. river-wind Valued Senior Member

  18. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

    Anyone know how to get these threads into printer friendly mode?
  19. draqon Banned Banned

    ask a friend to print it.
  20. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

    I got it; its thread tools > show printable version.
  21. John99 Banned Banned

    deleted by moderator

    Mod note: Please do not troll in this forum.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 25, 2007
  22. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Most humans cannot comprehend the significance of a period of time measured in millions or billions of years. They have no idea what the Law of Averages can do to all of the "random" events that take place during that time.
    Abiogenesis is not a critical component of the theory of evolution. If a "cosmic watchmaker" dumped the raw materials down here a few billion years ago, he included with them a program--the "watch"--that they followed in order to end up where we are today. That program is evolution. This is the reason that the leaders of all the major religions find no conflict between the science of evolution and the faith in divine creation. Their god created a universe that is sufficiently orderly and logical that we can make our way in it without having to stop every ten minutes and ask for divine inspiration in dealing with this or that anomalous natural phenomenon, and being gobbled up by it while waiting for said divine inspiration. The universe runs rather elegantly on a set of natural laws and evolution is one of the many corollaries of those laws. Somewhere there may be a universe built on Lobachevskian geometry where there is no gravity, no entropy and no lightspeed limitation, and that god had to design a different set of natural laws for his creatures. (Hey, I read fantasy and sci-fi too, I just don't try to pass it off as religion.)

    I agree that abiogenesis as a distinct theory is difficult to disprove. It awaits the corroboration of finding evidence of non-DNA based life having arisen on earth and either hiding in some deeply buried cracks or being out-competed to extinction. Or of finding that same evidence on another planet. As such it's a work in progress and has not achieved the status of evolution itself, relativity, heliocentrism or gravity.

    Still, disprovability is only one element of the scientific method. Another is that extraordinary assertions require extraordinary substantiation. Which assertion is more extraordinary: abiogenesis, or the existence of creatures external to a universe that reveals itself to be more orderly with every generation of scientist, which violate all the rules of that universe? The theory of abiogenesis can safely be used as a working hypothesis while we await the exploration of our solar system and then the next one. The "theory" of supernatural creation requires extraordinary substantiation before we have any obligation to treat it with respect.
    We have massive evidence of macroevolution both in DNA and in the fossil record. To say that an observation must be made using only the senses and technology available to a Mesolithic human is to insult both science and engineering. It also gives support to my own screed that the goal of Abrahamic religion is indeed to drag us all back into the stone age, in this case literally.
    We keep discovering the functionality of "incomplete systems." Birds bred in captivity to be flightless give us a window into the lives of the "birds" whose feathers were not sufficiently developed to provide enough lift for flight. We were thinking "inside the box" and not considering negative lift. Domestic chickens use their feathers to flap in the "wrong" direction, creating negative lift with which they can climb up walls that are not just vertical but negative in slope. This is a feature that is available incrementally for predator evasion and does not require feathers to spring up fully developed.
    Lower animals have much simpler light sensing organs that still help them navigate. Primitive wings are very useful for fanning oneself in hot weather and as they become less primitive airfoils they incrementally increase the distance an animal can jump, giving it an advantage over arboreal predators.
    Au contraire. This speaks to an issue on which I have expounded at great length on this website. Instinctive behavior is only "moral" in a very narrow context. In our species that context is the Mesolithic hunter-gatherer. We are hard-wired with synapses to care instinctively only about our pack-mates, a band of a few dozen people whom we have been with since birth, and to distrust anyone outside that extended family as competitors for the scarce resource of our hunting and gathering territory.

    Evolution gave us the resource to ascend beyond this. It gave us a uniquely large forebrain with so many synapses that it can successfully compete with the more primitive synapses in our generic vertebrate midbrain. Our cognitive ability is so great that it can literally override instinctive behavior with learned and reasoned behavior. This is why we were able to test the idea that building a permanent settlement where several once-rival packs could live together, practicing agriculture, division of labor and economy of scale, would make all packs more prosperous than wandering through the forest at the mercy of nature's bounty. This is why we were able to test the idea that combining several settlements into a single city, even though it meant having to live in harmony and cooperation with complete strangers, would increase our health, safety and comfort even further.

    This overriding of natural instinct is morality! And we only have it because of evolution.
    Even if it does--and previous posts demolish that hypothesis--the theory of evolution says it is quite possible that one pair of individuals carrying a set of mutated genes may be the only ones to survive a crisis and live to reproduce. Lucy may have been a member of a large clan of early hominoids who were wiped out by disease or disaster. She may have been the sole survivor because she alone had the one gene that made her able to resist the disease or outrun the disaster. Or it could have been plain dumb luck: Review my earlier remark about the workings of the Law of Averages in million-year time intervals.
    Sophomoric questions like this simply reveal the questioner's ignorance and prove what we suspected all along: that his education in biology is not advanced enough to understand the topic he claims to be prepared to debate and he's making a fool of himself in the attempt. Almost all birds are "croco-pigeons"! Turn one over and look carefully at his feet: they are covered with scales. (Don't grab a penguin, their feet have feathers because they need them.) While you're down there stick your proctoscope into his butt. They have cloacas like reptiles, a single tract that serves for urination, defecation and copulation. We have fossils of "missing links" that are even more reptilian and less avian, "birds" with teeth and tail vertebrae.
    This falls into the category of extraordinary assertions and therefore requires extraordinary substantiation before we have any obligation to divert energy to take it seriously. Just exactly what is it about the hominoid fossil record, which has been verified, studied, catalogued and peer reviewed by several generations of scientists from many nations and religions, that fails the peer review of this particular critic who has already revealed himself to lack the qualifications to be called an amateur biologist? (My only professional involvement with biology is as a dog and parrot breeder and even I know about the vestigial scales on birds' feet, the negative lift provided by feathers too small for flying, and the missing link fossils with teeth. This person hasn't even picked that stuff up in the popular press yet he claims to know more than the professionals.)
    For starters, we are apes, just watch a professional gymnast at work. Religionists hate to admit that.

    The mutations that are the engine of evolution only hit one individual at a time. His offspring will carry those genes and the offspring of his siblings will not. So two bloodlines are established which may recombine with interbreeding or may separate because of environmental factors or because of that pesky million-year-law-of-averages coincidence. Chimpanzees are a successful species in their ecological niche so there was no reason they would die off just because we came along and found a niche of our own.
    Even if this were true, it doesn't mean that his theory was wrong. The systems in people's bodies start to fail as they approach death. Duh, that's sort of what death is all about. Cognitive abilities often diminish in the elderly. My mother identified my wife as my ex-wife, someone she hadn't seen in thirty years. Does that mean that my wife is really someone else?
  23. madanthonywayne Morning in America Registered Senior Member

    That's a pretty hard line view.

    Regardless of your opinion on the origins of life, exposure to common falacies in a forum where they can readily be debunked is a good thing.

    If a thread has a unscientific bent, move it to pseudoscience or whatever. Dpn't ban them or move them to the sticky ghetto.

    I never read stickys. They're too long and boring. I enjoy posting and exchanging ideas. I can't do that in a thread that's seventeen plus pages long for fear everyone will say, "Didn't you read the rest of the thread?" Once a thread hits ten pages or so, I ignore it. Unless I've been in it all along.
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