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intelligentdesign

Intelligent Design, Creationism and Evolution in Denmark and the rest of the world


Comments to Mikes response

In a few cases, Mike Roth's respond is in question-form.
Here I answer some of those questions.
Here and there rather lenghtly i'm afraid. Complicated stuff calls for detailed answers.

 

* Evolution is a theory universally accepted not because it can be proven by logically coherent evidence, but because the only alternative, special creation, is ignored and rejected.

Evolution is accepted because based on it you can make predictions that can be shown to be met by observation. That is what science is all about!

What observation? Can you give examples? Evolution cannot be observed.

First you have to consider what to expect to observe.
If ‘Evolution’ is ‘Anatomical, physiological or complicated chemical changes with a few generations’ you should not expect to see ‘Evolution’.
But some real predictions from evolution can be observed.

1: The fossil record. The older a layer is dated to be, the more strange the fauna in that layer is.
The most extreme cases are the Ediacaran (635-542 mio. years ago) and Cambrian (541-485 mio. years ago) faunas.
Except for Jellyfish, Ediacaran animals mostly seem to belong to extinct phylae (the most inclusive group of animals).
Some of the Cambrian animals are so strange that it has been quite a challenge to work out what is up and down, front and rear (Hallucigenia). In others, just working out which fossils came from the same animal, has been difficult (Anomalocaris).

2: The nested hierarchy of life. All of life falls into a groups within groups hierarchy. This is exactly what you would expect from evolution. But no such thing can be predicted from creationism.
The hierarchy originally was based on morphology, but is now more and more based on genetics. This has led to smaller revisions (within bird e.g. Falcons has been realized not to be as closely related to other birds of prey as previously thought).
The fact that the hierarchy is highly conserved when you switch from anatomy to genetics (even if you use genes with no relationship to anatomy) is predicted by evolution, but not by creationism. This has been used as an argument that even if we didn't have any fossils, we could reconstruct much of evolution anyway.

If we take an uncontroversial example: The domesticated cat, Felis catus. (It's not a joke, that is the scientific name)
The domesticated cat belong to the following hierarchy of groups:
Genus: Felis
Family: Felidae (Cats)
Suborder: Feliformia (Cat-like carnivores, in contrast to Caniformia, the Dog-like carnivores)
Order: Carnivora (Carnivores)
Level with no name, but above Carnivora: Eutheria (Placentals)
Class: Mammalia (Mammals)
Level with no name, but above Mammalia: Tetrapoda (Four-legged vertebrates)
Level with no name, but above Tetrapoda: Vertebrata (Vertebrates, Animals with a spine)
Phylum: Chordata (Chordates, Animals with a notochord)
Kingdom: Metazoa (Animals)

3: Anatomical details respect the hierarchy.
This was actually the reason it was possible to build the hierarchy in the first place.
The strongest predictions from this is a kind of 'negative' predictions. Possible falsifications:
There will never be found an insect with camera eyes!
There will never be found a vertebrate with Mollusk-style eyes (Retina reversed compared to Vertebrates)
There will never be found a mammal with feathers or a bird with hair.

Continue the list yourself ad infinitum.
No such predictions can be made from creationism. There is no other reason the creator didn't make such animals except 'He just didn't' which is no answer.
Under evolution, this is exactly what you would expect, at least as long as fairly complicated structures are considered. The chance that such a structure should evolve twice is neglectable.

4: The mitochondrial genome (mtDNA)
First question: Why is there a mitochondrial genome?
The answer under evolution is that the mitochondrion is the descendent from what was once a free-living bacterium that was engulfed but not digested by another single celled organism.
Second Question: Why has the mtDNA its own genetic code?
The genetic code is the code that translates the information in DNA to protein.
MtDNA contains its own genetic code. It is slightly different from the 'Standard' genetic code in the nucleus. The variation follows major taxonomical groups. That of vertebrates are slightly different from that of insects or plants or fungi.
The mtDNA contains only protein-coding 13 genes. Therefore, a mutation that changes the genetic code has a chance of surviving, because the change at the protein-level is only minor.
In the nucleus, with its thousands of genes, the chance for such a mutation not to be lethal, is so close to zero, that it has never happened (at least to my knowledge - an example would be interesting).
Third question: Why does the mitochondrion contain the same genes in large taxonomical groups? The reason this question is relevant, is that the function of the mitochondrion requires proteins coded by nuclear genes. Therefore, under a creationist point of view, there is no good reason that e.g. all vertebrates have the same set of mitochondrial genes, while e.g. sponges (Phylum Porifera) have a slightly different set.
From an evolutionary point of view, this is to be expected, as the transfer of a protein-coding gene from the mtDNA to the nucleus (probably primary by reverse transcription) became impossible shortly after the genetic code of the mtDNA changed.

The mtDNA also support the hierarchy mentioned earlier.

5: New genetic information.
Under evolution, you would expect new genetic information to be able to accumulate in the genome.
This complicated topic has been described here.

 

* To qualify as real scientific theory, it must be supported by events, processes, or properties, which can be repeatedly observed in the present, not just chance. This is impossible with evolution.

To the extent that evolution makes predictions that can be tested in real time, it has been confirmed.
E.g. the ‘nested hierarchy’ that is a group within groups pattern of biological species, is an unavoidable result of evolution. Not an unavoidable result of creation, merely a diversification of creatures that share common traits that already were in their genetic makeup.
Sharing similar traits does not in any way prove evolutionary theory. Remember, as modern evolution claims; we evolved from apes that evolved from lower life forms, that evolved from cells, that evolved from chemicals, that came from”¦.where again? If we evolved from apes, why do we still have apes that have absolutely no physical appearance to man. Where are the transitional in-betweens now living (Big Foot excluded)?  

That Humans share a number of traits with other species is exactly what evolution predicts.
And not just a random selection of anatomical, physiological and genetic traits. A very specific pattern! Some traits only with the other Apes (e.g. no tail). Fewer with Apes and the rest of the primates (e.g. opposable thumb). Even fewer with the rest of the placental mammals (e.g. the placenta). Yet fewer with the rest of the mammals, the Monotremes and the Marsupials (e.g. milk glands and hair) and so on all the way through the hierarchy of life.
From a creationist point of view there is no reason why even the most complicated traits (such as a placenta) could not be shared by animals as different as Humans and Lizards.
Under evolution, it would be very hard to explain how a complicated structure as a placenta could evolve twice.
The remark “If we evolved from apes, why do we still have apes that have absolutely no physical appearance to man” has to be answered in two ways.
Once there was an ape species, which became the last common ancestor of Humans and Chimps (our closest relative). One population of this species started the line of evolution, which ended with man. Some other population started the line, which eventually evolved into Chimpanzees.
Second: It is simply not true that Apes are very different from Humans. Chimps have very close “physical appearance to man” given what Mike means is that Humans and Chimps share a large number of anatomical traits. Bone by bone, muscle by muscle, organ by organ, Humans and Chimps are very much alike. The only pronounced exception is our mental capacities (which is of course a very important difference) but even that is more a question of ‘more or less’ than of ‘absent or presence’ Few mental skills (symbolic language and ”¦?) are entirely Human.
Did you consider the possibility that the in-betweens are extinct?

 

* So called “cave-men” (Neanderthal, Cro-Magnon”¦,) most likely were descendants of Noah’s family, scattered throughout parts of Africa, Europe, Asia, and elsewhere, as they dispersed from the site of their ancestral home. They are believed to be descendants of post-flood man because all the remains have been discovered in the so-called Pleistocene deposits, which are believed to be post-flood. They are now known to have been living at the same time as “modern” man.

Neanderthals are genetically distinct from Modern Humans.
Proof? Didn’t think so. Actually they are identical in genetic makeup. They had to be. They merely had different physical traits.

Proof! The mitochondrial genome (mtDNA) form Neanderthals are distinct from that of modern humans.
The most different mtDNA between two modern humans are more homologous to each other than to any mtDNA from a Neanderthal. And vice versa.
Use e.g. GenBank number KC879692 (Neanderthal mtDNA) as a template, and find the most homologous sequences using BLAST https://blast.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/Blast.cgi choose ‘Nucleotide’ and follow the instructions. A ‘Distance tree’ will show you that Neanderthals fall in one group, while Modern humans fall in another.

 

* Evolution teaches that a comparatively simple creature, like the one-celled amoeba, has become a much more complicated one, like a horse. The simplest known one-celled creatures are complex, but they clearly do not contain as much information as a horse or a man. So to go from cell to man would require many steps, each involving an impossible INCREASE IN INFORMATION.

Just a little curio: Some Amoebae contain tens to hundreds of times more DNA than humans.
The ‘Increase of information’ problem is real though, and commented on above (de novo gene formation).

Logically thinking, can you really imagine a few chemicals, gaining information from nothing that would cause them to evolve into more complex creatures? It has not been done.

Whether it has been done is a question of definition. Proteins with random amino acid sequences have been shown to contain information.  This and other subjects relevant to increase in genetic information is dealt with here. The Origin of Life is dealt with here.
As usual, you have to consider what to expect. What is relevant here is testing the prediction of the Theory of Evolution. ToE does not predict that the process from chemicals to cells came about within a few decades. Neither does it predict that complex structures evolved in the same timeframe. Therefor the question is irrelevant.

 

* For those who doubt that the human race could have risen to today’s numbers from just 8 people on an ark”¦ It’s actually a fact that today, human populations are increasing consistently at more than 1% per year. Allowing for disease, famine, wars, and so forth, and using a much more conservative figure of 0.5%, at this rate, it would take only around 4,000 to 5,000 years, staring with eight people from Noah’s Ark, to reach today’s population.

Correct, but try to calculate what growth rate is needed to go from 8 to a reasonable number to build the tower of Babel.
How many would be needed? Have you done the calculations?

Two examples, then it’s your turn:
1: Let’s give 100 years from the flood to Babel, which seem to be the upper limit. If we, as you suggest, assume a constant growth rate from the flood to today (0.48% to be exact) we end up with 13 (thirteen) people to build the tower of Babel. At the time of Jesus, there would be about 500,000, which is ridiculously low.
2: Let’s assume 2000 people at the time of Babel, which seem to be a lower limit (they should not only build the tower, they should, at the same time, sustain a life). The result is a growth rate of 5.7% per year.
Then if we assume a constant growth from Babel to now (4200 year later, 7 billion people) we end with a growth rate of 0.36%, which is OK. But then there should be a mere 8 million people at the time of Jesus. Which is still very low. So to make things fit, you have to suggest a changing population growth, which miraculously make the numbers fit.

Opdateret 16/10/2016