How Not to Argue Against Evolution

(Thomas J Zwemer) #41

Name two other than bath room tasks. Don’t tell me texting and driving.

(Tim Teichman) #42

Walk and chew gum and talk.

Eat and drive.

Drink and drive. (Water/soda.)

Eat and watch TV.

Work and listen to music.

Listen and take notes.

There’s probably more. Anyone have anything?

(Allen Shepherd) #43

Energy sources do not do it. If a tornado goes through a junk yard, I would not expect a computer to suddenly appear or drop from the sky. There has to be an organizing force, or something that can harness the energy in a useful way. No random process has ever been shown to do it. Now an organizer, a mind, a living thing could do it. But those all require some information etc. Information does not come from random processes. Never can, never will.

That is why OOL experiments (like the Miller-Urey one) are doomed to failure. There is no free lunch.

(Allen Shepherd) #44

Your skill is actually astounding!

(Tim Teichman) #45

I’m surprised coming from a person such as yourself who identifies regularly with science.

For me it’s not really about belief any more than knowing the world is round.

Sciences such as medicine - big in the SDA church - and genetics stand squarely on the shoulders of evolutionary science, and their resulting findings feed right back into it and support it.

For an amazing read on genetics, I bet you’d be interested in this book:

(Tim Teichman) #46

Well science begs to differ. Sufficient external energy applied to a system precludes the inevitability of entropy-related death of the system.

(Matt) #47

Ok so this is something odd that I’ve heard before as a hand-wavey dismissal of radiometric dating. “Sure the rocks might be old but not life!” My mom used to say this. “Maybe God took old dead rock and then, poof, put life on it!” Mkay… let’s examine this for a second.

Suppose I find a fossil encased in sedimentary rock. Sedimentary rock is formed when sediment, say at the bottom of a slow-moving river, becomes buried and cements with time and pressure. Living things sometimes get caught in that sediment, and as the sediment turns to rock, so does the organic material! This is really, really simple, and probably stuff we all have known since grade school.

So… if fossilized plants and animals become trapped in sedimentary rock as it forms, then by dating the rock layer, we can date the fossil. This is the way most fossils are dated. Sometimes it’s by exact dating through a radiometric dating technique, for example, and other times scientists use relative dating methods. For example, if we have a date for a specific rock layer with a high-degree of confidence, we can follow the geologic layer to other locations, and know that that rock is approximately the same age. Rock layers above it must be younger, and rock layers below it must be older. That’s just how sedimentary rock works.

We see layer upon layer of different types of rock, each matching the ancient environment and animals life found in it. Sandstone with fossils of desert creatures, and on top of that rock that formed at the bottom of a shallow sea, complete with marine fossils, on top of that we might find an ancient tropical forest, with creatures adapted for that environment. Because these creatures are fossilized, they are quite literally the rock. We can’t separate one from the other.

I’m not sure why this idea that we can say “sure the rocks might be old but life isn’t” is still so common. It’s just… not possible.

(Tim Teichman) #48

Great post!

I find it’s very hard to be a Young Earther out here in the west. So much of geology is exposed that it’s impossible to dismiss it.

I wonder how long it took to pile up this much sediment, and then erode it away slowly:

So much of the earth’s surface is made up of fossils we just make floors out of them. This is a snapshot of the Orange County airport’s floor. The entire airport is paved with tile made of ancient fossils that formed at the bottom of the ocean. These 6 - 8" creatures are everywhere:

The white cliffs of Dover are also fascinating.
They were formed at the bottom of the ocean and are made up of fragments of coccoliths, the skeletons of tiny algae that floated in the surface waters and sank to the bottom when they died. They are thought to have formed slowly, at about 1/2 of a millimeter per year - about 180 coccoliths piled one on top of another! That’s how tiny they are.

The exposed portions of the cliffs seen here are over 350 feet tall. It seems they took a long, long time to form:

(Allen Shepherd) #49

Science does not differ from my assertion.

The system has to be able to use the energy some how. The sun shining on the earth for a million years will not increase complexity, originate life, or keep anything going unless there is some way to harness it. It will just keep the area warm. Without a means such as photosynthesis to utilize the energy, nothing happens.

That is the science. Note the tornado analogy.

(Allen Shepherd) #50

How do we know evolution is happening? quotes Lenski’s bacterial experiment where he has kept e coli in culture for about 58,000 (2013) or more generations. They are still e coli. But there has been change. Here is a note about the change by Behe:

Lenski’s Long-Term Evolution Experiment: 25 Years and Counting – Michael Behe – November 21, 2013
Excerpt: Twenty-five years later the culture — a cumulative total of trillions of cells — has been going for an astounding 58,000 generations and counting. As the article points out, that’s equivalent to a million years in the lineage of a large animal such as humans.,
,its mutation rate has increased some 150-fold. As Lenski’s work showed, that’s due to a mutation (dubbed mutT) that degrades an enzyme that rids the cell of damaged guanine nucleotides, preventing their misincorporation into DNA. Loss of function of a second enzyme (MutY), which removes mispaired bases from DNA, also increases the mutation rate when it occurs by itself. However, when the two mutations, mutT and mutY, occur together, the mutation rate decreases by half of what it is in the presence of mutT alone — that is, it is 75-fold greater than the unmutated case.
Lenski is an optimistic man, and always accentuates the positive. In the paper on mutT and mutY, the stress is on how the bacterium has improved with the second mutation. Heavily unemphasized is the ominous fact that one loss of function mutation is “improved” by another loss of function mutation — by degrading a second gene. Anyone who is interested in long-term evolution should see this as a baleful portent for any theory of evolution that relies exclusively on blind, undirected processes.
,for proponents of intelligent design the bottom line is that the great majority of even beneficial mutations have turned out to be due to the breaking, degrading, or minor tweaking of pre-existing genes or regulatory regions (Behe 2010). There have been no mutations or series of mutations identified that appear to be on their way to constructing elegant new molecular machinery of the kind that fills every cell. For example, the genes making the bacterial flagellum are consistently turned off by a beneficial mutation (apparently it saves cells energy used in constructing flagella). The suite of genes used to make the sugar ribose is the uniform target of a destructive mutation, which somehow helps the bacterium grow more quickly in the laboratory. Degrading a host of other genes leads to beneficial effects, too., –

(Tim Teichman) #51

Actually the energy from the sun, combined with thermal energy at the bottom of the oceans, does just that.

This energy is what continues to enable life to exist and flourish.

(Allen Shepherd) #52

Really? I have not heard of that result. Where do you get that?

There are three schools of thought on OOL: 1. RNA first. 2. Protein first. 3. Membrane first.

None of these have been able to get anywhere after years fo experiments. It is an act of real faith to believe that life can come from non-life. REAL FAITH…

(Allen Shepherd) #53

I do not disagree with this statement.

But you have to get life first, and then harnessing of energy can begin You assume a harness. That is an assumption and speculation. Where did the harness come from?

(Tim Teichman) #54

I read about it in serious scientific books. Don’t have them now.

These are decent treatments on the subject:

(Thomas J Zwemer) #55

you missed patting your head and rubbing your stomach

(Steve Mga) #56

Does anyone Remember the older commercials about “Learning while one sleeps”?
Listen to recordings while sleeping, letting the subconscious do the learning while it

(Allen Shepherd) #57

I have looked over you sources:

  1. Energy for the Origin of Life offers no method of harnessing the energy noted.

  2. Serpentinization is all speculation about some chemosmotic energy available, but, again does not give a method of how it was harnessed.

energy available, but no method of using it.

  1. We’ve been wrong…: Full of speculation with no details. Note the closing paragraphs.

While proponents of the primordial soup theory argue that electrostatic discharges or the Sun’s UV light powered life’s first chemical reactions, modern life is not powered by any of these volatile energy sources. Instead, at the core of life’s energy production are ion gradients across biological membranes. Nothing even remotely similar could have emerged within the warm ponds of primeval broth on Earth’s surface. In these environments, chemical compounds and charged particles tend to get evenly diluted instead of forming gradients or non-equilibrium states that are so [central to life].

Deep-sea hydrothermal vents represent the only known environment that could have created complex organic molecules with the same kind of energy-harnessing machinery as modern cells. Seeking the origins of life in the primordial soup made sense when little was known about the universal principles of life’s energetics. But as our knowledge expands, it is time to embrace alternative hypotheses that recognise the importance of the energy flux driving the first biochemical reactions. These theories seamlessly bridge the gap between the energetics of living cells and non-living molecules.

Where is the proof the the last statement? There is none.

  1. Wikipedia: Origin of Life. Here are the opining paragraph for this entry I have boldly italicized the important statements and speculations:

The origin of life on Earth is a scientific problem which is not yet solved. There are plenty of ideas, but few clear facts.[1]
It is generally agreed that all life today evolved by common descent from a single primitive lifeform.[2] It is not known how this early form came about, but scientists think it was a natural process which took place perhaps 3,900 million years ago. This is in accord with the philosophy of naturalism: only natural causes are admitted. (why is that?)
It is not known whether metabolism or genetics came first. The main hypothesis which supports genetics first is the RNA world hypothesis, and the one which supports metabolism first is the protein world hypothesis.
Another big problem is how cells develop. All existing forms of life are built out of cells.[3]
Melvin Calvin, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, wrote a book on the subject,[4] and so did Alexander Oparin.[5] What links most of the early work on the origin of life is the idea that before life began there must have been a process of chemical change.[6] Another question which has been discussed by J.D. Bernal and others is the origin of the cell membrane. By concentrating the chemicals in one place, the cell membrane performs a vital function.[7]
Many religions teach that life did not evolve spontaneously, but was deliberately created by a god. Such theories are a part of creationism, which has “old earth” and “young earth” versions. Because of lack of evidence for such views, almost all scientists do not accept them.

I have noted by bold italic the areas of speculation. it is all speculation. They admit they do not know.

Then just to show their bias, they write the last sentence, Creation has no evidence. So it is rejected. But OOL, abiogenesis has no evidence either. And should be rejected on the same basis, if you are going to reject something.

  1. Abiogenesis: Here is a sentence form the opening paragraphs;

Although the occurrence of abiogenesis is uncontroversial among scientists, there is no single, generally accepted model for the origin of life, and this article presents several principles and hypotheses for how abiogenesis could have occurred.

They believe in scientism, naturalism, and materialism, that is that matter and energy are all that there is. Ergo, abiogenesis has to be true.

Such beliefs are metaphysics and not science. The idea of abiogenesis was disproved by Lister, and has not been shown to occur since then, Lots of speculation as your entries note. No evidence, no proof, no nothing.

Some of your sources cite the Miller-Urey experiment where amino acids and sugars were formed from H2, H2O, and CO2. They initiated the reactions with sparks of electricity. They did get AA and sugars and even some nucleic acids. These promptly joined together to form a brown goo. It happened every time. There was no progress to more complex molecules but a dead end brown goo. It was a total bust.

You can believe whatever you want. We all can. But to feel that OOL research has shown that abiogenesis can occur is a rabid act of faith. There is no scientific evidence for it. It is based on no better evidence than that of a young earth.


Evolution doesn’t rule out intelligent design. In fact, most of the proponents of ID are not creationists.

(Kim Green) #59

" It is an act of real faith to believe that life can come from non-life. REAL FAITH…"

This is slightly off the topic…but doesn’t it take faith to believe in the Creation Story?

(Phillip Brantley) #60

The argument of Baldwin and other Seventh-day Adventist scholars goes like this: Y contradicts, does not cohere with, and is inconsistent with X, so if X is true as we have always believed, then Y is not true. This is a very powerful argument that should not be confused with the type of argument urged by the artisans in Ephesus: Irrespective of whether Paul’s message is true, we must oppose it because it will bring us financial ruin. The first argument addresses the truthfulness of X, whereas the second argument is indifferent to the truthfulness of X. Even the following rhetorical flourish that looks like the second argument is really a type of the first argument: If evolution is true, we will have to shutter the Seventh-day Adventist Church. What is really being said is that if evolution is true, then our Seventh-day Adventist beliefs are not true.

I think Ted Wilson is obviously employing the rhetorical device of hyperbole in his declaration that “evolution is not a science, it is a false form of religion and part of spiritualism.” I don’t think he is so ignorant as to believe that his statement, taken in isolation, is true. I would think he would respond, “This is what I am trying to say…,” which is the typical and appropriate response whenever one’s hyperbole is challenged and misinterpreted. But in general, I agree that mischaracterizing what science is, what scientists do, and the method they utilize in doing what they do is a loser of an argument against evolution.

I am also baffled with the suggestion that we err when we characterize our religious beliefs as “biblical.” It is strange to interpret such a characterization as a claim that interpretation of the biblical text and the biblical text itself are the same thing. I sense that there is a feeling of futility about the hermeneutical endeavor in general. People who actually understand hermeneutics do not wallow in uncertainty, indeterminacy, and relativism. Let’s be very clear. Certain individuals in our faith community who understand the meaning of the biblical text have authority over those who do not possess this understanding. That authority is not equal to the authority of the biblical text itself and is subject to and derivative of the authority of the biblical text. But the authority of those interpreters is, I dare say, biblical.

Notwithstanding these three observations, I think this thought-provoking essay makes a contribution to our present discourse.