Evolution
#61
(07-07-2012, 12:54 AM)Gerard Wrote:
(07-06-2012, 10:31 PM)Beardly Wrote: That is only accidental, not essential. The essence of evolution is the very process of evolution--natural selection, mutation, etc. How scientists theorize it actually played out is irrelevant to the essence of evolutionary theory.

Let us put is this way: geneticists can be wrong about the placement of the genetic "Adam" and "Eve" without it having any effect on the truth value of the theory of evolution qua the theory of evolution. If for some reason they unanimously agreed that the world came into existence last Wednesday (and, in this same imaginary universe, it turned out they were right), the theory of evolution would still hold the same truth value as it would otherwise. These things are all accidental, not essential.

So, are you saying that they believe Evolution is simply self-evident and there is no need to prove it, and they just look for mechanisms by which it would work according to its own internal logic?

Sort of like how Richard Dawkins said he would be willing to believe that an intelligence could have manipulated the life on earth but that intelligence would necessarily have to have evolved in its own history?

It seems you can have whatever you want as long as you call some part of it a process of evolution.  Just add another mechanism to go alongside the others to fill in the gaps.
To start with, Richard Dawkins is an ass-clown. This statement ("Richard Dawkins is an ass-clown") is probably a prerequisite for any rational conversation, and its uttering ought to a formal stage in academic discourse.

With that done, I'm not sure any scientist would ever say "Evolution is self-evident," because they aren't versed in Aristotle and Aquinas. I suppose, if they were versed in such, they would say it, but this is where I would make my argument that evolution, as it stands today, cannot be anywhere close to a complete account of biological truth, although I think there is some truth in it. Why can it not be close to truth? Because modern biology--and modern science as a whole--only takes into account two of Aristotle's four causes, the material and efficient causes, and this is at most. Furthermore, the modern scientist has improper understandings of the two causes available to him. He is able to find what leads temporally to what. He is able to calculate the number of similarities and differences  between the genetic code of various plants, animals, and bacteria, and he is able to say roughly how long ago a certain individual animal, plant, or bacterium lived.

But for all his multitudes of facts, he can do little with them--or rather, he can do far too much with them, and thus in fact does little with them. He is like a child alone in a huge room full of Lego blocks. Theoretically, he could build something beautiful, but he does not know how, and it would take too much time to search through all the blocks, and instead he keeps putting the blocks together into an odd fashion, and creates a colossal thing. What sort of thing, nobody can quite tell you. You might see the parts of real things--a tower, a staircase, etc.--but you would not see any real thing, because there is none to be found. It would be a huge thing, granted, to which he could keep adding on, or subtracting, but it could not be a real thing, that someone could recognize and say "That's a castle." If he had a general direction--say, "Build a red castle"--or if he had a picture of what all the thousands upon thousands of Lego blocks were supposed to make when put together appropriately, then, if he were a studious child, he might eventually build something beautiful.

The same with the modern scientist. Because he lacks the proper metaphysics, he cannot build the proper physics, or biology, or chemistry, or whatever else he might want to build. He has all these facts, and lumps them together in whichever way seems right. But he cannot build the truth out of all his facts, for the facts are not the truth. If he had formal and final causes in his arsenal, then, with studiousity, he might build something beautiful. Without them, though, he is as lost as the child in the room full of Lego blocks.

Now, I do think, by virtue of its having at least the material and efficient causes, modern science has some things right. This applies in the realm of evolution as well. What things, I cannot say, for I am not a scientist. It is the oft painted picture by the successors of the protestants and of the children of the enlightenment that, without their twin revolutions, science as we know it would not exist, and we would all still be wallowing in shit, more or less. This is of course false. If Aristotelian metaphysics had not been thrown out with his physics and biology, we would at this time have more purified versions of the sciences. Instead, we have jumbled pictures of things we don't really understand, all under the assumption that potential understanding s a sufficient substitute for actual understanding. I don't claim to know what scientific truth is, only that there are metaphysical problems with modern science that preclude it from being really true.

On those grounds, I don't really even bother going into the debate of whether evolution is right. Such an argument takes place on faulty grounds, and the accusation "you have no better alternative" is correct on those grounds.
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#62
(07-07-2012, 07:56 PM)Axona Wrote: Take, for example, sickle cell anemia, which is caused by an typographical error in the DNA code of the gene which codes for hemoglobin in the blood. This disease can be lethal and can be passed on to offspring. So you would assume that such a "harmful" mutation would be rare in a population. However, in Africa, it's actually quite common and widespread. This is because those with sickle cell anemia are more likely to survive malaria infections. Therefore, in the past, vicious forms of malaria existing in nature, i.e., natural selection, had selected for sickle cell anemia in the gene pool of African populations. Africans without sickle cell anemia were more likely to die off and not reproduce. Hence, evolution.

The only problem is, that's not evolution, that's simply one lethal disease preventing being in the way of another. Those that did not have sickle cell and died off by one of a number of possible reasons, not necessarily malaria, were still human. No morphological changes occurred. And the mutation is only relatively detrimental. No greater complexity is going on.

Quote: Anyway, we can discuss the intricacies of evolution all day, but the fact remains that it's accepted by 99.99% of the scientific community, and therefore, it's up to the 0.01% to prove evolution wrong and provide evidence for an alternative theory.

Most of the scientific community is not affected by evolution one way or the other and with limited benefits of going against evolution, they prefer to stay silent on it because it is politicized science.

Going by Thomas Kuhn's "Structures of Scientific Revolution" we are entering the "crisis" phase of evolutionary theory, following the "normal science" phase we should be heading into the new paradigm after an ongoing battle.

Logically, those who are critical of evolution are not obliged to offer an alternative. That is simply a man-made construct of academic convenience and not a construct of logic.

Most great leaps in scientific acheivement were not done under a constructed model of progress given an imprimatur by Karl Popper. Paul Feyerabend has been a proponent of scientific anarchy (see his book: Against Method)

Quote:  I'm obviously not knowledgeable enough to defend evolution down to the last objection, just as I'm not knowledgeable enough to defend heliocentrism down to the last objection. Someone could easily come up to me and ask me to "prove" that the earth revolves around the sun, and I would only be able to respond with a few general examples. Therefore, just because a common person cannot carve out a detailed explanation of a scientific theory and refute every objection raised against it does not somehow render the theory moot. In the end, it's really based upon the authority of the scientific community.

But, let me ask you a question: what theory, other than evolution, do you adhere to? And can you provide scientific evidence for it?

You're imposing an artificial paradigm. The critic of evolution is looking for the truth when bringing unresolved conflicts in evolutionary thought. 

Part of the problem is what question is it, that is being asked? Evolutionists have not yet settled on exactly what it is they are even asking. They accept evolution on faith as a process but can't prove the process and can't find the point.  Darwin's original book was "the Origin of Species" yet in the whole book, he doesn't actually show the "Origin of any species."  He simply demonstrates some limited change over time. Evolutionists and scientists also spend a lot of time stepping out of hard science and spreading junk science in order to promote a social agenda. (See Berlinski's "Devil's Delusion." )

Going back to Kuhn, the object should be to go back to a pre-paradigm position. This is based on the failure of evolutionary theory to even settle itself into a concrete discipline. (uniformitarianist evolution over long periods of time, punctuated equilibrium over comparatively short periods, panspermia, directed panspermia and other variations don't even show a true evolution in the hypotheses of evolution.) 

If the goal of evolution is simply looking for a mechanism that explains the living without reference to a superior intelligence, then, it ipso facto refuses to engage in anything beyond its own parameters and it really isn't science.  So, if  for example "God" directly were to intervene and reveal and demonstrate his Creation, it would not be a "substitute" for evolution, but rather only a refutation of an idea based on a falsehood. 
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#63
(07-07-2012, 07:56 PM)Axona Wrote: Anyway, we can discuss the intricacies of evolution all day, but the fact remains that it's accepted by 99.99% of the scientific community, and therefore, it's up to the 0.01% to prove evolution wrong and provide evidence for an alternative theory. I'm obviously not knowledgeable enough to defend evolution down to the last objection,

The thing is we are are not even discussing "intricacies" here but basic tenets of the evolution paradigm. Natural selection for example...What is it ? How does it actually work given that it is referred to as the engine of evolution. I've been trying to find an answer for 20 years.No one has offered anything other than jejune meanderings and circular reasoning.And I read a lot of scientific literature. I have concluded that N.S. is a term without real meaning or substance beyond the most basic of explanations.

I would dispute the 99% percent claim.I have read otherwise and know quite a few people in the sciences who quietly don't buy the theory.A theory incidentally which has no practical application to-date.And the more time that passes and the better the actual science the more implausible becomes the theory.Advances in molecular biology are causing real concerns for Evolutionists in terms of the staggering complexity of life on the cellular level.As of yet still little understood.

Personally I would find it difficult to place myself ideologically into a camp that has such profound impact on society without a clear and deep understanding of the actual workings of the science.Evolution clearly relies on a lot of blind acceptance (as you have admitted to) and vague platitudes.
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#64
(07-07-2012, 07:56 PM)Axona Wrote: Take, for example, sickle cell anemia, which is caused by an typographical error in the DNA code of the gene which codes for hemoglobin in the blood. This disease can be lethal and can be passed on to offspring. So you would assume that such a "harmful" mutation would be rare in a population. However, in Africa, it's actually quite common and widespread. This is because those with sickle cell anemia are more likely to survive malaria infections. Therefore, in the past, vicious forms of malaria existing in nature, i.e., natural selection, had selected for sickle cell anemia in the gene pool of African populations. Africans without sickle cell anemia were more likely to die off and not reproduce. Hence, evolution.

No,this not evolution but rather an accidental outcome of what is essentially a generally lethal disease for people with two parents carrying the sickle gene.Michale Behe refers to this issue as biological trench warfare as opposed to evolution.Fact is the people with the damaged DNA are still people.If this were true evolution we would all desire to carry the new mutant DNA but of course that would disastrous for human populations going forward.A a step backward if anything.Behe describes the use of broken hemoglobin to fight Malaria as "an act of biological desperation akin to plugging a hole in the Hoover dam with a TV set " He goes on to state that we still don't know where the Dam or the TV set came from!
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#65
(07-07-2012, 07:56 PM)Axona Wrote: But, let me ask you a question: what theory, other than evolution, do you adhere to? And can you provide scientific evidence for it?

Let me ask you a question...Why do you feel the need for an alternate theory to replace an increasingly untenable one? Is your faith such that a divine cause is utterly out of the question?
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#66
On a side note:

There was always one aspect of Evolutionary theory that never seemed to sit well with the fruits of said process.Evolution,we are told, is a random affair with no end-game or fixed pathway.Naturally this aspect of the theory was designed to circumvent the need for God or a designer or any kind of outside influence (although Aliens are becoming an acceptable idea.)

And yet how many beautifully rendered charts and evolutionary  trees have we seen showing a clear propensity for going from simple to more and more complex forms until we reach the heady state of modern nature in all its glory? This would appear to be a very coherent route for a theory that is, by definition, biologically incoherent and without direction or pattern.

Sorry,but ti doesn't make any sense.The reality of biological diversity in all its complexity appears to contradict the stated incoherence and painfully slow nature of evolution through random mutation and Natural Selection ( a fancy term for Generation).

No sir,I don't buy it.
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#67
Organ Discovery Shows Why Whales Didn't Evolve

"by Brian Thomas, M.S. *

Rorqual whales, including blue whales and minke whales, don't have teeth. Instead, they eat tiny sea animals by filtering water with comb-like bristles in their giant mouths called "baleen." Working in symphony with an array of rorqual-specific traits, a newly discovered sensory organ builds an even stronger case for their special creation.

A subset of baleen, rorqual whales eat through a process known as "lunge feeding" that requires a long list of fully formed features. One of those unique traits, essential for the whale's feeding, involves the mouth and the jaw—the accordion-like skin folds on the throat greatly expand when they swallow huge mouthfuls of prey-laden water.

No combination of natural processes could have organized rorqual whale features, even considering toothed whales as possible evolutionary precursors. All the necessary traits were required for survival in the beginning, so they must all have popped into existence by a miraculous creation event.

In the journal Nature, American and Canadian scientists described a previously unknown sensory organ situated in the front and center of the whale's lower jawbone, where the bone is split into left and right halves. The organ measures and informs the brain about the resistance force upon the whale's gaping mouth when lunge feeding. The unique organ also detects "dynamic rotation of the jaws during mouth opening and closure," according to the report.1 In other words, without this sensory organ whales would not know how much force is too much when lunging through water—they could fatally damage themselves without this key sensory and data coordination device.

And according to the study authors, baleen whales need all of the following parts linked in precise proportions in order to eat: comb-like baleen to filter out food; expandable, accordion-like "ventral groove blubber" with cartilaginous support bars; the newly discovered sensory organ; a split jaw that is loosely connected to the skull; and tactile organs, "vibrissae," along the chin that sense prey.

The researchers had difficulty describing when the newly discovered sensory organ might have evolved, and they did not even attempt to describe how it might have evolved. They suggested that if it evolved in pre-rorqual whales, then it was a "pre-adaptation for lunge feeding."1

But this contradicts a fundamental evolutionary tenet—natural forces are supposed to have no foresight. How could nature prefabricate precisely-fitted machine parts that would only function after generations of future whales had finally evolved all the other machine parts?

The study authors also suggested that if the organ evolved at the same time that rorqual whales supposedly branched off of the baleen whale lineage, then "the organ evolved in tandem with the ventral groove blubber and specializations in mandible morphology."1

The only difference between "evolving in tandem with [the necessary rorqual feeding] specializations" and God creating all those specializations at the same time is that the former calls upon deaf, dumb, and blind nature to perform what only an all-knowing, all-seeing God of Creation could have wrought. The credit for rorqual whale design and construction is rightfully His."

http://www.icr.org/article/6893/
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#68
Gene Control Regions Are Protected--Negating Evolution

"by Jeffrey Tomkins, Ph.D. *

The erroneous idea that complex genetic information in the form of genes and regulatory DNA can randomly evolve, has become more untenable with every new discovery in the field of genomics. Just this past week, a discovery published in the prestigious British journal Nature has once again spectacularly confirmed that evolution is nothing but a complete myth. While the discovery was groundbreaking, the research paper received very little publicity or fanfare in the scientific press. I wonder why?

To understand the importance of the discovery, a brief review on some standard biology is in order. When sperm and egg cells are formed in animals, the process of meiosis occurs to create genetic variation. This is why the offspring of two parents are always unique, except for identical twins where the fertilized egg cell splits into two embryos.

Most plant and animal genomes have two sets of chromosomes, one set from the father (paternal) and the other from the mother (maternal). Part of the process to create genetic variation occurs at the beginning of meiosis when the maternal and paternal chromosomes pair up with their similar counterparts and exchange segments of DNA in a process called homologous recombination. This means that only similar (homologous) parts of DNA can be exchanged (recombined) between the sister chromosomes.

Homologous recombination involves the exchanging or shuffling of DNA segments to facilitate genetic variability, only in a highly controlled manner. The DNA segments are typically maintained in the same order on the chromosomes and the process is only allowed to occur in certain parts of the genome. These areas where recombination occurs are called hotspots.

The common house mouse (Mus musculus) is one of the primary DNA model systems for animal genomes. Recombination hotspots have recently been mapped all over the mouse genome.Scientists have recently discovered that genetic recombination is directed away from sensitive parts of the genome that contain genetic control elements and features. These key parts of the genome carefully regulate how genes are turned off and on and function in precisely regulated networks.

Evolutionists have speculated for years that homologous recombination is one of the key mechanisms associated with the creation of new genes and regulatory DNA sequences. They claim that this operates as some sort of mystical tinkering mechanism that miraculously spits out new genes that somehow become fully and precisely integrated into the genome's functional networks.

The emerging concept that homologous recombination is a highly regulated and controlled feature of the genome limited to specific hotspots contradicts the idea of random evolutionary processes being able to produce new genes.

We also know that the key regulatory parts of the genome that are critical for gene function are protected from recombination processes. This scientific discovery is a virtual death blow to any idea that recombination can serve as a random tinkering tool to create new genes and gene functions."

http://www.icr.org/article/6886/

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#69
The Evolutionist Speaks: Savor the Irony

"July 10, 2012 Posted by Cornelius Hunter under Intelligent Design


People sometimes ask me if evolutionists are at all changing their minds given the overwhelming scientific evidence against their religious mandate. The answer of course is “no.” But there are some evolutionists, well one anyway, that at least acknowledges some of the evidence. That would be the one and only Lynn Margulis who illustrates just how far an evolutionist can go, but no further. In her 2011 Discovermagazine interview, after stating that “All scientists agree that evolution has occurred,” the University of Massachusetts professor goes on to explain that natural selection “eliminates and maybe maintains, but it doesn’t create,” that she believed the textbook orthodoxy that random mutations lead to evolutionary change and new species “until I looked for evidence,” and that “There is no gradualism in the fossil record.” Kudos to Margulis for acknowledging the evidence. It seem strange to laud someone for stating the obvious, but that’s evolution for you. Margulis also recounts how evolutionists denigrated her for coming too close to the hypothesis of acquired characteristics—another example of how evolution has harmed science..."

http://www.uncommondescent.com/intellige...the-irony/

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#70
They said it: Did you think we were kidding about Darwinism and morality?


"    The time has come to take seriously the fact that we humans are modified monkeys, not the favored Creation of a Benevolent God on the Sixth Day. In particular, we must recognize our biological past in trying to understand our interactions with others. We must think again especially about our so-called ‘ethical principles.’ The question is not whether biology—specifically, our evolution—is connected with ethics, but how. As evolutionists, we see that no justification of the traditional kind is possible. Morality, or more strictly our belief in morality, is merely an adaptation put in place to further our reproductive ends. Hence the basis of ethics does not lie in God’s will… In an important sense, ethics as we understand it is an illusion fobbed off on us by our genes to get us to cooperate. It is without external grounding… Ethics is illusory inasmuch as it persuades us that it has an objective reference. This is the crux of the biological position. Once it is grasped, everything falls into place.

    - Michael Ruse & E. O. Wilson, “The Evolution of Ethics,” Religion and the Natural Sciences: The Range of Engagement, , ed. J. E. Hutchingson, Orlando, Fl.:Harcourt and Brace, 1991."

http://www.uncommondescent.com/evolution...-morality/
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