Evolution - A Theory in Crisis ?

Posted:
in PoliticalOutsider edited January 2014
Because the previous thread was (supposed) to be devoted to science education and evolution, I thought useful to proffer an opportunity to those who think it is is "impossible" and/or requires ID.



To that end, let's try and keep the discussion civil, the pokes with humor, and a bit of wit (including from yours truely).



From TALK ORIGINS:



"Statement: 'The theory of evolution says that life originated, and evolution proceeds, by random chance.'



There is probably no other statement which is a better indication that the arguer doesn't understand evolution. Chance certainly plays a large part in evolution, but this argument completely ignores the fundamental role of natural selection, and selection is the very opposite of chance. Chance, in the form of mutations, provides genetic variation, which is the raw material that natural selection has to work with. From there, natural selection sorts out certain variations. Those variations which give greater reproductive success to their possessors (and chance ensures that such beneficial mutations will be inevitable) are retained, and less successful variations are weeded out. When the environment changes, or when organisms move to a different environment, different variations are selected, leading eventually to different species. Harmful mutations usually die out quickly, so they don't interfere with the process of beneficial mutations accumulating."



Sounds good to me.
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Comments

  • addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,667member
    I would just add that the theory of evolution has nothing to say about how life originated.
  • maxparrishmaxparrish Posts: 840member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by addabox

    I would just add that the theory of evolution has nothing to say about how life originated.



    True. The naturalistic view of life's origins is called abiogenesis.
  • marcukmarcuk Posts: 4,442member
    Satan's great trick on me is to waste my life arguing with retards, so I'm not getting involved this time
  • thttht Posts: 2,514member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by addabox

    I would just add that the theory of evolution has nothing to say about how life originated.



    I think this is just plain wrong. This particular train of thought is a response to Creationist impeachment of the theory of evolution and in todays world, wrong. 100 years ago, they really didn't have much to go on. Now, there are multiple hypotheses or conjectures.
  • shetlineshetline Posts: 4,695member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by MarcUK

    Satan's great trick on me is to waste my life arguing with retards, so I'm not getting involved this time



    I might get a bit snarky myself in frustration at times, but being completely honest and not merely polite, I don't think I've encountered too many "retards" in these threads.



    I have encountered what I consider to be some pretty narrow and/or overstated viewpoints, and, while not been crazy enough to think I'm going to be changing any minds in a major way, I keep hoping I might manage to at least moderate some of the very overstated rhetoric I hear used against evolution.



    The title of this thread brings up a key point. Many anti-evolutionists wish to portray evolution as a "theory is crisis". This simply isn't true. There is no crisis -- at least not in the world of the vast majority of working scientists and academicians.



    There's definitely a political crisis being created in some places, but that's a very different thing.
  • chris cuillachris cuilla Posts: 4,825member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by MarcUK

    Satan's great trick on me is to waste my life arguing with retards, so I'm not getting involved this time



    The third reply post...that must be some kind of friggin' record!



    Geez.
  • johnqjohnq Posts: 2,763member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by THT

    I think this is just plain wrong. This particular train of thought is a response to Creationist impeachment of the theory of evolution and in todays world, wrong. 100 years ago, they really didn't have much to go on. Now, there are multiple hypotheses or conjectures.



    ORIGIN OF SPECIES.



    NOT



    ORIGIN OF LIFE



    It's not for nothing that Darwin choose the former for his book's title.
  • chris cuillachris cuilla Posts: 4,825member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by johnq

    ORIGIN OF SPECIES.



    NOT



    ORIGIN OF LIFE



    It's not for nothing that Darwin choose the former for his book's title.




    This is true, but it is also disingenuous to deny that the theory of evolution (origin of species) is connected and even reliant upon the theory of abiogenesis (origin of life).



    And when you have people running round saying things like:



    "The evolution that nearly all scientists support is the only theory: that all life came from a common ancestor, that all species that exist today are from previous species, and that life first occurred on earth at least a billion (or two) years ago."



    It makes that linkage appear to be even more critical.
  • johnqjohnq Posts: 2,763member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Chris Cuilla

    This is true, but it is also disingenuous to deny that the theory of evolution (origin of species) is connected and even reliant upon the theory of abiogenesis (origin of life).



    And when you have people running round saying things like:



    "The evolution that nearly all scientists support is the only theory: that all life came from a common ancestor, that all species that exist today are from previous species, and that life first occurred on earth at least a billion (or two) years ago."



    It makes that linkage appear to be even more critical.




    It's not denied (that evolution suggests/implies a starting point/common ancestor) - it is simply moot. There is a difference. Abiogenesis is an irrelevant factor when discussing anagenesis/cladogenesis. It's a nicety. It's important topic of research on its own. But it isn't important for explaining speciation millions of years hence, after the initial conditions for abiogenesis have long, long, ago cooled off and transformed countless times over.



    It's only a matter of simple cause and effect and logic. The only way to escape that kind of backtracking to a single point of origin based on repeatable, specific conditions (meaning, that might have happened/are happening/will happen countless times elsewhere in the cosmos) is to use (profoundly silly) unprovable notions like what, oh, Abrahamic-type religions do. That there is a God that started everything ex nilio each in a specific ready-to-go form.



    If the Abrahamic religions are "true", then any pagan religion is therefor true too.
  • chris cuillachris cuilla Posts: 4,825member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by johnq

    It's only a matter of simple cause and effect and logic.



    Right.



    And I would not say that it is irrelevant.



    In regards to what creations will say about these things, they will dispute that: a) life began, and b) all species (biologically reproductively isolated populations) have evolved from (ultimately) a common ancestor, absent an intelligent, purposeful creator.



    One could argue that the processes used by an intelligent, purposeful creator look like what the theories of abiogenesis and speciation describe. In fact, if there is a creator who did these things, and the processes do actually look like what we think then, by logical deduction, the creator must have used processes that look like what the theories of abiogenesis and speciation describe.



    In that sense, I suppose those two ideas are not mutually exclusive.



    What is mutually exclusive is when it is assumed that there are only naturalistic forces at play and that life began and all species have come about as a result of random, purposeless, naturalistic events.



    This last point is the key point of contention for most creationists and intelligent design advocates.



    Now...the base reasoning?



    1. Probability (see DMZ's points in the other thread). There is a clever line from the movie "The Ninth Configuration" that addresses this very point:



    "In order for life to have appeared spontaneously on earth, there first had to be hundreds of millions of protein molecules of the ninth configuration. But given the size of the planet Earth, do you know how long it would have taken for just one of these protein molecules to appear entirely by chance? Roughly ten to the two hundred and forty-third power billions of years. And I find that far, far more fantastic than simply believing in God."



    2. Complexity...emerging from simplicity...(this is a variant of #3 here, admittedly). We just don't see this happening absent external (intelligent, purposeful) forces. Again this is a requirement for these theories simply because we are more complex than base life creatures we are assumed to have evolved from.



    3. Order emerging from chaos...we really don't see this happening in real life, but is really required for both of these theories to be true. It is absolutely essential. (Relative) order must emerge from (relative) chaos. In fact, this flies in the face of the 2nd law of thermodynamics. Of course this assumes a "closed system", but no one has been able to prove that the universe is in fact not a closed system.



    4. Order...period...looking at the various base structures of matter and life (atoms, molecules, proteins)...one sees an amazing amount of order...one could even say "design". These things are well order, well-balanced "systems"...I have even heard the term "biological machines".



    Finally, the "big" problem with Evolution (capital "E") seems to be what appears to the a priori assumption that it just did happen that way, and that everything must fit that first assumption.
  • hardeeharharhardeeharhar Posts: 4,841member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Chris Cuilla



    "In order for life to have appeared spontaneously on earth, there first had to be hundreds of millions of protein molecules of the ninth configuration. But given the size of the planet Earth, do you know how long it would have taken for just one of these protein molecules to appear entirely by chance? Roughly ten to the two hundred and forty-third power billions of years. And I find that far, far more fantastic than simply believing in God."





    Why is it that creationists or even people who don't understand evolution always turn to movies?





    You want to know something remarkable Chris:



    Most amino acids have at least six possible conformations. If we take a small protein, say 100 amino acids long, and individually evaluate the energy of each possible conformation (6^100 = 6.53318624 × 10^77). Even if we check each conformation at the rate of molecular vibrations, 10^14/s, it would still take us on the order of 10^53 years to look at each conformation. That is just for one tiny protein!



    In the cell proteins fold at a relatively extraodinary rate of 1000/s, 10^60 times faster than our molecular vibrational scanning. How can that be? Is it impossible to think that without the hand of a deity guiding each protein, we might not be alive?



    :rollseyes:
  • thttht Posts: 2,514member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by johnq

    ORIGIN OF SPECIES.



    NOT



    ORIGIN OF LIFE



    It's not for nothing that Darwin choose the former for his book's title.




    The power of the theory is that its applicable across all scales of lifeforms from the gigantic whales all the way down to microscopic bacteria. It's foolish to think that evolution has no say or does not concern itself with the very beginnings of life. It's not as solid as when applied to amniotes, or even when applied to single celled lifeforms, but it does have a say to how life originated.
  • marcukmarcuk Posts: 4,442member
    Stauros
  • sammi josammi jo Posts: 4,634member
    Quote:

    "In order for life to have appeared spontaneously on earth, there first had to be hundreds of millions of protein molecules of the ninth configuration. But given the size of the planet Earth, do you know how long it would have taken for just one of these protein molecules to appear entirely by chance? Roughly ten to the two hundred and forty-third power billions of years. And I find that far, far more fantastic than simply believing in God."



    A solution, which avoids this quoted mathematical/statistical unlikelihood of life "spontaneously appearing on Earth", would be that of "life being placed here by some third party, in the far distant past, for some purpose of which we are not aware. Why should this be considered weirder or wackier than the "creation" story of the Christian bible?



    "God" is the great catch-all basket for a lot of what we do not know. Without an explanation or understanding what of "God" (!?) is, then the "God creating life ex nihil" statement remains meaningless.
  • chris cuillachris cuilla Posts: 4,825member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by hardeeharhar

    Why is it that creationists or even people who don't understand evolution always turn to movies?



    You know...I knew someone would try to take the use of that line too literally and ignore everything else I said.



    Regarding the rest of your post, I'm not sure if you were trying to prove or refute the point. Sorry.
  • marcukmarcuk Posts: 4,442member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by sammi jo

    would be that of "life being placed here by some third party, in the far distant past, for some purpose of which we are not aware. Why should this be considered weirder or wackier than the "creation" story of the Christian bible?







    curiously, there is a passage in the bible, that alludes to aliens - not originating life, but certainly effecting it.
  • chris cuillachris cuilla Posts: 4,825member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by sammi jo

    Without an explanation or understanding what of "God" (!?) is, then the "God creating life ex nihil" statement remains meaningless.



    Not meaningless...just not completely understood. Just because something isn't fully understood, should not cause us to relegate it to the realm of meaninglessness.
  • hardeeharharhardeeharhar Posts: 4,841member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Chris Cuilla

    You know...I knew someone would try to take the use of that line too literally and ignore everything else I said.



    Regarding the rest of your post, I'm not sure if you were trying to prove or refute the point. Sorry.




    You are unqualified to judge either way.



    Edit: And regarding the rest of your post. It is filled with the same level of understanding... or as it were misunderstanding...
  • chris cuillachris cuilla Posts: 4,825member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by hardeeharhar

    You are unqualified to judge either way.



    Ah...so time to go ad hominem now.
  • marcukmarcuk Posts: 4,442member
    Nachash
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