Anyone care to help me refute this?
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23-04-2014, 10:54 AM
Anyone care to help me refute this?
A theist that I know claims to have read a lot about evolution and science, but says he is convinced that there's no such thing as macro-evolution (but he believes in micro-evolution). He's written up some paper on it and handed it to a professor to refute, who never got back to him. He gave it to me to refute, but I don't feel qualified to do so. It is his feeling that, since nobody has responded to his paper, it must mean he is right.

I was wondering if anyone here would like to read and respond to it, even if it's only so much as making notes in the margins (perhaps using MS Word's "review" tab) of sources or theories that disprove his paper.

The paper is attached to this post.
Thank you very much!


Attached File(s)
.docx  evolution.docx (Size: 279.92 KB / Downloads: 35)
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23-04-2014, 11:56 AM
RE: Anyone care to help me refute this?
I started reading it but don't really want to spend time delving into someone's homework. Needless to say the essay is rife with strawman arguments and argues from ignorance. Very poor technique. There are a lot of points raised here that require proper discussion and writing it as a footnote of a word document isn't really suitable. Especially as it's obvious that the author's understanding of evolution is quite poor.

For example he says:

Quote: A martial artist hits bricks every day his bone structure strengthens and that alters his genetics slightly enough to pass to his offspring to have stronger bones.


This is completely wrong. The Baldwin effect is the closest thing to this which (from wikipedia) "places emphasis on the fact that the sustained behavior of a species or group can shape the evolution of that species"

So if a species adapted to hit hard objects all day, offspring with harder bones would have an evolutionary advantage. The classic example is that an animal whose skin toughens through their behaviour, offspring would have evolutionary advantage if they were born with tough skin to begin with.

The author of the article never actually attempts to refute the opening argument with the text gradually turning from red to blue but just tries to throw in other points instead. When I write a genetic algorithm for example, I go to great lengths to make sure to keep each possible change as small as possible. If I want I can make the evolutionary run completely unconstrained so I end up with wildly different solutions.

He discusses the lack of fossils but does not acknowledge that not every organism will be turned into a fossil by default, what it will take for a fossil to be created and the chances of this happening.

Sometimes it's quite difficult to understand what he's talking about.

e.g.

Quote:First, to me and most people, all fish look kind of similar, so using fish when there are 1.3million species alive to use is eh, ugh. Not to include that the last 2 species on that list were still alive (question mark - kind of fishy - pun).

Although, using all living species like monkey to ape to man doesn’t work with gradual process, because of the time it would take a man to change from an ape, monkeys should be extinct do to genetic degeneration of species.

Eh wot??

And what is genetic degeneration of species?

Quote:just one of our DNA bit strand to randomly exist is 1 out of 480 octillion, but we’ll give a pass on Mendel’s law of genetics; no, never mind we won’t

Who says a DNA strand just came into being by chance? He does not understand the role of thermodynamics and self organisation.



Quote:Survival has to be gotten right the first time, in many cases. Evolution by trial and error or slow mutations could never produce success under that kind of pressure. This is scientifically proven.

If this is scientifically proven then it shouldn't be a problem to for him to provide references (it isn't proven, it's just plain wrong). It completely misses the point that survival only has to be 'gotten right the first time' for a single organism. The most successful mutations are ones that do not carry a cost and which therefore can spread, but which can increase the evolutionary fitness of members of a species that have that mutation. It all comes down to probability and averages over time. Mutations do not have to be used in helping an organism to survive in order to spread. But mutations that do will spread faster.


Quote:Genetic material is never gained, always lost. Therefore we know from genetic science that evolution to higher forms is not possible.

With artificial evolution it is understood that convergence leads to genetic information being lost over time. This is why you also need mutation to increase it.
If some genes are duplicated in a way that does not incur a evolutionary cost then future generations have more genetic material that can be mutated in possibly beneficial ways. It widens the search space and can lead to more complex organisms.


Quote:Where are the missing links/transitional forms between species? Why are new creatures not showing up? Why would we have to worry about endangered species if new creatures were constantly emerging by evolution?

Relative rates of change. Species are dying off orders of magnitude faster than they can evolve. Evolution takes an extremely long time.

Quote:And genetics is teaching us that we are degenerating like all species, while getting frailer as a species and not living as long

Again the author does not explain what they mean. Degenerating? How?

Quote:The interdependence of the earth's ecosystem as well as all the components and processes within an individual creature, demands that all the components be there at once

Ecosystems always change over time and each part grows dependent on other parts. Complexity grows over time. For example you could introduce an invasive species into an ecosystem and hundreds of years later parts that ecosystem would be dependent upon the presence of that once invasive species.

Quote:How could impersonal forces create intelligence by accident? Chemicals are not ideas/intelligence.

Intelligence is an emergent phenomenon. The author is arguing from ignorance. They also need to define intelligence. The simplest organisms are only concerned with maintaining homoeostasis. Small improvements in achieving this over time can essentially lead to what we now subjectively call intelligent behaviour.

Quote:Explosions (the Big Bang) create chaos, not order!

To properly discuss this the author needs to understand non-equilibrium thermodynamics and entropy. The order arises over time from fluctuations in thermal gradients providing a pressure to create localised islands of order. Again complexity increases over time.


Quote: Evolution is speculative philosophy/metaphysical naturalism, and cannot be determined by forensic science (fossils) or operational science (reproducible, experimentally verifiable laboratory work).

Wrong.
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23-04-2014, 12:09 PM
RE: Anyone care to help me refute this?
Macro evolution is just micro evolution over a longer time span, IIRC. They both use the same minor changes over time.
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23-04-2014, 03:50 PM
RE: Anyone care to help me refute this?
Thank you very much, Mathilda! I was getting overwhelmed with terms and such that I'm not familiar with, and I'm not very good at responding to a debate-like situation anyway.
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23-04-2014, 03:57 PM
RE: Anyone care to help me refute this?
(23-04-2014 03:50 PM)TheInsignificantAtheist Wrote:  Thank you very much, Mathilda! I was getting overwhelmed with terms and such that I'm not familiar with, and I'm not very good at responding to a debate-like situation anyway.

No problem. The essay relied upon the reader not knowing the answers to the questions it posed. Many of those questions are active research areas in science.

I only briefly replied to each point so I can provide further clarification if I have been vague or ambiguous.
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23-04-2014, 04:03 PM
RE: Anyone care to help me refute this?
I may be able to explain where he is coming from with his "genetic degeneration of species" bit.

But FIRST! I would like to take this moment to QQ about his frikking grammar/usage/writing in general. It's truly nauseating. I can understand why nobody will get back to him on his paper. I would not want my name on a response to something like that.

Ok, back to my original point.

I have heard it taught by those in AiG (at conferences and such) that the genetic material of humans and other organisms was more complete and sound than it is now. Think "De-evolution." There is a school of thought that says that nature is in the process of deteriorating from its original perfect state, and that sin is what started this deterioration. I'll need to find some examples of those who promote this and link you guys to them; I'm pretty sure Jason Lisle has said something of the sort as well (scientist at AiG), but I heard this at a conference and cannot be 100% sure if it was him or if it was a different person.
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23-04-2014, 04:09 PM
RE: Anyone care to help me refute this?
Thanks Charis. That would explain the bit in the essay where the author says:

Quote: while getting frailer as a species and not living as long

... which is just plain wrong. The author cannot tell the difference between science and pseudo-science. What's important to them is that it is written in a book with an erudite tone and gives the desired message. They think if they can do the same then it will convince other people as well.

Completely agree with you on the writing style!
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23-04-2014, 04:13 PM
RE: Anyone care to help me refute this?
Okay, here's a link to a book that is promoted by AiG.

I understand that AiG does not hold water here, but their influence in the ID community is rather LARGE. A great many of those you will be talking to on this subject will be getting at least some of their information from AiG AND/OR from the information sources that AiG themselves promote. AiG has a rather extensive store ranging from history, to science, to parenting and homeschooling, to tactics in talking with Atheists. Knowing what they are saying can be a very good key to communicating with them and defending against their tactics (see the book "Tactics" by Greg Koukl, an author promoted by AiG).
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23-04-2014, 04:18 PM
RE: Anyone care to help me refute this?
All of these arguments have been debunked in front of a federal court. Facepalm

[Image: 7oDSbD4.gif]
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23-04-2014, 04:32 PM
RE: Anyone care to help me refute this?
Thanks for the link Charis. It immediately shows up a flaw in what they are saying.

Their argument is that genetic information is lost over time ... but also that genetic deterioration is occurring due to the accumulations of new mutations (i.e. the accumulation of new genetic information).

No wonder the author avoided describing what they meant by genetic deterioration. That's clear evidence of deliberate intellectual dishonesty because they are simultaneously holding two completely contradictory positions.
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