How Not to Argue Against Evolution

(Allen Shepherd) #61

Yes it does. Heb 11:3 By faith we understand that the universe was formed aat god’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. (note, this is consistent with the Big Bang theory).

The problem here is that those that believe evolution think they do not need faith to believe as they do. You can look at all of Tim’s citations and you would think it is a mere hop skip and jump for life to come from non-life. But their speculations are far, far from any reality at all. It is all metaphysics, not science at all. They assume materialism and naturalism, and you can’t just assume that.

(Allen Shepherd) #62

You are correct. Behe is an evolutionist, but a believer in intelligent design.

(Harry Allen) #63




(Kevin Seidel) #64

I don’t believe the point is to make a good argument against evolution so much as it is apologetics for a particular interpretation of Genesis. It is to believe in spite of the evidence. If it takes bad arguments and logical fallacies, then they will use those. I can’t do that. It seems too much like lying to myself and I’d rather deal painful truth than comfortable lies.

(Allen Shepherd) #65

Evolutionists will state emphatically that their theory is fact, and the arguments are over regarding it. If one does not have any knowledge of its weaknesses, one assumes that what they say is true. And they are emphatic. There are weaknesses, and they need to be known.

I don’t have a problem with good apologetics for Creationism. But the scientific evidence for it is fairly weak. The evidence in other fields rather than science is much better. Without showing the weaknesses of the theory of Evolution, it would seem to have the high ground in the scientific field. That is not altogether the case.

I might add that materialists have a large problem with the reality of consciousness. If matter and energy is all there is, what is consciousness? They say an illusion. We think we are real, but we are an illusion that are brains play on us. This idea is held by some pretty well known folk, and is discussed and accepted by a fair group of folk.

But they can’t live as if it were so. To believe you are an illusion, and that that little creature who runs out to greet you with hugs and kisses is just a bag of complex chemical reactions is impossible.

(Jan Long) #66

When Darwin proposed his hypothesis, all arguments were analogue in nature. Analogue involves a lot of speculation and imprecision. However, the process of unraveling the DNA Code is an unfolding game changer, and has moved the conversation to mathematics and digital analysis. Science now has a method of quite definitively connecting one species to another.

For all the handwringing that goes on, all we are talking about is “change.” Change is really the language of the universal order, illustrated by observations of cosmology, the atomic table and the actions of isotopes, the quantum world, DNA and genomes.

It’s probably time to grow up.

(Kim Green) #67

It does take a form of “faith” to be able function as a human being. We have to have “faith” that most of our world will be there when we open our eyes in the morning…or trust that those we love will love us back, etc., etc.

From what I have understood from most true hard-core “Evolutionists” is that there are things that they do know and other things that they do not know (yet). I will agree that from their vantage point they present Evolution as a “fact”…but I see that Creationists do the same thing. I don’t get that Tim is saying that there is a scientific explanation for EVERYTHING but that there are some “facts” that counter what some Christians happen to believe.

So, I see “faith” could mean “trust” or it could mean a form of religious doctrine. I don’t think I see any difference in the “belief” in a God that cannot be seen or in the cold hard “facts” of Evolution. But, then again, I find it only important that God is Creator…not that the world and humankind was created in 6 days or so. Depends on why you need “apologetics” I suppose.

(Kim Green) #68

I appreciate your comment, Kevin.

(Steve Mga) #69

Kim –
“I believe…” = “I trust…”, also.

(Kim Green) #70

Absolutely, Steve. I am glad that you brought it up in that context. I think that it is imperative to determine the semantics or else the Dog will chase its tail…endlessly.

(Kim Green) #71

Great explanation…it truly is about “change”. However, the endless wrangling over trying to make that “change” fit into a 6-7 thousand year period never dies off.

(George Tichy) #72

Maybe you even felt disappointed when you read my statement. Yes, I identify greatly with science, but I must confess that, for me, the bucket always stops with the origin of the “spark of life” being a spontaneous event. Suddenly, “poof,” life! Difficult for me to understands/accept this possibility.

I don’t want to be narrow minded on the issue. I have been doing some reading on it for quite a while, but I don’t feel yet being apt to even comment on the issue. I sure will get the book you recommended and will read it a well. Though I have about 6 books already waiting…


In the real of scientific methodology, there is no other factual scientific theory that can explain biodiversity as it relates to what we observe from a wide array of scientific knowledge we have (ID is not a scientific theory, since it has no mechanisms to explain, hence it’s an axiom that doesn’t exclude evolution).

Again, by “evololutuon is a scientific fact” is similar like gravity is a fact… meaning that it has been observed as a mechanism in nature. The details of why, how, and how much… are blurry, but evolution is a fact just like gravity is a fact. Even creationist would agree to what is labeled as “micro evolution” as a viable mechanism for generational change.

While it’s fine to disbelieve any given scientific theory, I’ve heard plenty of Adventist preachers who do so in a rather arrogant and abrasive manner… For example Doug Batchelor, goes straight to saying that doctors and scientists deceive people and they believe evolution because it justifies their sin. Stuff like that should be embarrassing to any person in congregation, and these kinds of preachers should be educated a bit more on the subject to at least stop making false accusations and bad arguments.


The nature of consciousness doesn’t really change certain facts about onservable reality. Whether one holds to substance dualism or materialistic monism… that’s rather irrelevant for ToE. Consciousness is something we likely never be able to examine, but we’ve plowed through a lot of biological mechanism so far and these point to evolution as a mechanism for biodiversity.

Of course it’s very possible that everything was created with appearance of old age, and that ERV markers are merely look like there is phylogenetic relationship, and fossil stratification from simple to complex is an (unlikely) result of the flood, and so on and so on … It’s an enormous list of coincidental factors to rationalize.

(EdZirkwitz) #75

A thought provoking post. Evolution has its place.
. Understanding evolution is important. Understanding evolution helps us solve biological problems that impact our lives. There are excellent examples of this in the field of medicine. To stay one step ahead of pathogenic diseases, researchers must understand the evolutionary patterns of disease-causing organisms.
Change and natural selection are and have been a real part of our planet. The underlying Christian challenge is: how and where does this scientific belief undermine our belief in a creator God, that God created the earth in 6 days with the 7th for resting?

(Allen Shepherd) #76

I am not so sure.

  1. The origin of a code. Nothing but mind can do it. If you can explain how a code came to be by evolutionary means you would have something. I know of no explanation.
  2. When various organisms are compared, different proteins, DNA segments and modifications of those segments and proteins reveal different relationships. One protein will say squirrels are closer to bats, and another, they are much closer to mice (these are made up examples, but this is the case with this sort of thing.) It is not so clear cut.
  3. Change. I have no problem with change. But to use evolution to explain the diversity, without being able to really have a mechanism that does it (new body plans by simple evolution), then there is a sense that one has not yet grown up yet either.

(Allen Shepherd) #77

Evolutionary theory has not explained how new body plans occur. It has not demonstrated that. There is extrapolation from micro to macro, but such inference is inference, not proof. And the complexity of such an act, that it is impossible in the time allotted, and by the mechanism available is really quite clear. To wave a wand over a drastic change and say, “Well, it probably… or it is likely that…” is speculation, not science. And as the statement from Behe above says, almost all of evolution seen is the degrading of enzymes, not the creation of new ones. (See post 50 above)

This statement is ambiguous. I can agree with the changes, adaptations, called micro-evolution and agree they are facts. But the larger “evolution” is certainly not demonstrated except by extrapolation.

The problem is this. The fossil record and its dating seem to show that there was progress from simple organisms to complex ones over time. It is the strongest evidence for Evolution. To explain how it happened is another matter. The study of present day organisms, such as Lenski’s bacteria, and the finches of the Galapagos does not give a method showing how the great changes in body plans in the column have occurred. They rather show adaptation

Here is a comment on whale evolution that explains the problem:

As many readers will doubtless be aware, the evolution of the whale has previously raised substantial problems because of the extremely abrupt timescale over which it occurred. Evolutionary Biologist Richard von Sternberg has previously applied the population genetic equations employed in a 2008 paper by Durrett and Schmidt to argue against the plausibility of the transition happening in such a short period of time. Indeed, the evolution of Dorudon and Basilosaurus (38 mya) from Pakicetus (53 mya) has been previously compressed into a period of less than 15 million years.

Previously, the whale series looked something like this:

Such a transition is a fete of genetic rewiring and it is astonishing that it is presumed to have occurred by Darwinian processes in such a short span of time. This problem is accentuated when one considers that the majority of anatomical novelties unique to aquatic cetaceans (Pelagiceti) appeared during just a few million years – probably within 1-3 million years. The equations of population genetics predict that – assuming an effective population size of 100,000 individuals per generation, and a generation turnover time of 5 years (according to Richard Sternberg’s calculations and based on equations of population genetics applied in the Durrett and Schmidt paper), that one may reasonably expect two specific co-ordinated mutations to achieve fixation in the timeframe of around 43.3 million years. When one considers the magnitude of the engineering fete, such a scenario is found to be devoid of credibility. Whales require an intra-abdominal counter current heat exchange system (the testis are inside the body right next to the muscles that generate heat during swimming), they need to possess a ball vertebra because the tail has to move up and down instead of side-to-side, they require a re-organisation of kidney tissue to facilitate the intake of salt water, they require a re-orientation of the fetus for giving birth under water, they require a modification of the mammary glands for the nursing of young under water, the forelimbs have to be transformed into flippers, the hindlimbs need to be substantially reduced, they require a special lung surfactant (the lung has to re-expand very rapidly upon coming up to the surface), etc etc.

With this new fossil find, however, dating to 49 million years ago (bear in mind that Pakicetus lived around 53 million years ago), this means that the first fully aquatic whales now date to around the time when walking whales ( Ambulocetus ) first appear. This substantially reduces the window of time in which the Darwinian mechanism has to accomplish truly radical engineering innovations and genetic rewiring to perhaps just five million years — or perhaps even less. It also suggests that this fully aquatic whale existed before its previously-thought-to-be semi-aquatic archaeocetid ancestors.

(Allen Shepherd) #78

If a theory one espouses leads to the idea that one is an illusion, on what basis does one even make assertions? And if one is an illusion, what does that say about "observable reality’?

Your points about the appearance of old age etc. are good points. They are the strengths of he theory. But the theory as noted above, has some weaknesses. It is not “Hey, Creationism is just wishful thinking, and we have all the science.” It is a bit more complex than that.

(Allen Shepherd) #79

I am sorry for this long post, but it is some comments a world famous scientist, James Tour made about evolution, macro evolution when he was asked by a student what he believed. He is one of the ten most cited chemists in the world:

I will tell you as a scientist and a synthetic chemist: if anybody should be able to understand evolution, it is me , because I make molecules for a living, and I don’t just buy a kit, and mix this and mix this , and get that . I mean, ab initio , I make molecules. I understand how hard it is to make molecules. I understand that if I take Nature’s tool kit, it could be much easier, because all the tools are already there, and I just mix it in the proportions, and I do it under these conditions, but ab initio is very, very hard.

I don’t understand evolution, and I will confess that to you. Is that OK, for me to say, “I don’t understand this”? Is that all right? I know that there’s a lot of people out there that don’t understand anything about organic synthesis, but they understand evolution. I understand a lot about making molecules; I don’t understand evolution. And you would just say that, wow, I must be really unusual.

Let me tell you what goes on in the back rooms of science – with National Academy members, with Nobel Prize winners. I have sat with them, and when I get them alone, not in public – because it’s a scary thing, if you say what I just said – I say, “Do you understand all of this, where all of this came from, and how this happens?” Every time that I have sat with people who are synthetic chemists, who understand this, they go “Uh-uh. Nope.” These people are just so far off, on how to believe this stuff came together. I’ve sat with National Academy members, with Nobel Prize winners. Sometimes I will say, “Do you understand this?”And if they’re afraid to say “Yes,” they say nothing. They just stare at me, because they can’t sincerely do it.

I was once brought in by the Dean of the Department, many years ago, and he was a chemist. He was kind of concerned about some things. I said, “Let me ask you something. You’re a chemist. Do you understand this? How do you get DNA without a cell membrane? And how do you get a cell membrane without a DNA? And how does all this come together from this piece of jelly?” We have no idea, we have no idea. I said, “Isn’t it interesting that you, the Dean of science, and I, the chemistry professor, can talk about this quietly in your office, but we can’t go out there and talk about this?”

If you understand evolution, I am fine with that. I’m not going to try to change you – not at all. In fact, I wish I had the understanding that you have.

But about seven or eight years ago I posted on my Web site that I don’t understand. And I said, “I will buy lunch for anyone that will sit with me and explain to me evolution, and I won’t argue with you until I don’t understand something – I will ask you to clarify. But you can’t wave by and say, “This enzyme does that.” You’ve got to get down in the details of where molecules are built, for me. Nobody has come forward.

The Atheist Society contacted me. They said that they will buy the lunch, and they challenged the Atheist Society, “Go down to Houston and have lunch with this guy, and talk to him.” Nobody has come! Now remember, because I’m just going to ask, when I stop understanding what you’re talking about, I will ask. So I sincerely want to know. I would like to believe it. But I just can’t.

Now, I understand microevolution, I really do. We do this all the time in the lab. I understand this. But when you have speciation changes, when you have organs changing, when you have to have concerted lines of evolution, all happening in the same place and time – not just one line – concerted lines, all at the same place, all in the same environment … this is very hard to fathom.

I was in Israel not too long ago, talking with a bio-engineer, and [he was] describing to me the ear, and he was studying the different changes in the modulus of the ear, and I said, “How does this come about?” And he says, “Oh, Jim, you know, we all believe in evolution, but we have no idea how it happened.” Now there’s a good Jewish professor for you. I mean, that’s what it is. So that’s where I am. Have I answered the question?

(Allen Shepherd) #80

You might visit Panda’s thumb, or Evolution is True for some real arrogant and abrasive comments about ID or creationists. Batchelor’s comments are mild by comparison, and he doesn’t get vulgar or crude…