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Author Topic:   Understanding how complex things appear
Member (Idle past 2548 days)
Posts: 569
From: Ireland
Joined: 05-19-2003

Message 1 of 5 (161511)
11-19-2004 1:59 PM

While I was reading through the "Ignorant Creationists vs. Knowledgeable Evolutionists" thread, I encountered a typical creationist analogy from buzsaw - that because we have many complex things like computers, cars, watches, etc. that were "obviously" designed and created by intelligent beings, complex organisms in nature must also have been designed and created by an intelligent being, i.e. God.

This analogy crops up regularly, and is inherently flawed. It's essentially a rehash of the "Tornado moving through a junkyard and assembling a 747" scenario. I'm not sure if it has been addressed before, but I feel it should be put to rest once and for all.

The flaw in the analogy is that populations of complex objects such as computers do not have certain traits that populations of organisms have; i.e. they cannot reproduce, and they cannot independently change from one generation to the next. Such improvements that occur are the result of human intervention. In contrast, populations of organisms can reproduce, and can effect changes in successive generations without outside assistance - and thus can evolve in response to their environment. Forget about stating statistics that some organism that exists only had a miniscule chance of evolving, or could not have evolved at all - evolution need only prove that a small change can independently occur, small changes accumulate, and an end product will appear that is more suited to its environment. Similarly, if it was shown that a population of computers (a network, to use the collective noun ) could make new computers, and make small changes to the new computers in every generation which are retained depending on how useful they are, then they are evolving. That an end product will appear goes without saying; effectively if the process is freeze-framed at any point, the current generation is the "end product".

So in summary, any analogy to evolution must conform to these general rules:

1) The analogy must address a group of objects or entities, not a single entity.

2) The group in question must be able to reproduce themselves.

3) The group must be able to effect changes of any size to the new generation without help from individuals outside the group.

4) The changes must be capable of being retained over successive generations.

5) A selective method or process must exist that causes certain changes to be more desireable than others.

Anything that conforms to these rules, in my opinion, is evolving. Anything that does not simply cannot evolve. An analogy that does not conform to these rules is misleading at best and dishonest at worst, and I find that the continued use of them by creationists shows how little they actually understand of how evolution causes complex biological organisms to appear.


The Rock Hound

Posts: 4754
From: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Joined: 11-11-2003

Message 2 of 5 (161523)
11-19-2004 2:30 PM

Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.
Member (Idle past 2548 days)
Posts: 569
From: Ireland
Joined: 05-19-2003

Message 3 of 5 (161751)
11-20-2004 9:11 AM

No takers? Then my point stands.
Replies to this message:
 Message 4 by happy_atheist, posted 11-22-2004 10:56 AM IrishRockhound has not yet responded

Member (Idle past 3025 days)
Posts: 326
Joined: 08-21-2004

Message 4 of 5 (162325)
11-22-2004 10:56 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by IrishRockhound
11-20-2004 9:11 AM

You've hit the nail on the head, those are exactly the points I bring up when someone backs up ID with that argument. It's strange that the only things that are "obviously" designed are the things that we KNOW we designed.
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 Message 3 by IrishRockhound, posted 11-20-2004 9:11 AM IrishRockhound has not yet responded

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 Message 5 by PurpleYouko, posted 11-24-2004 11:09 AM happy_atheist has not yet responded

Posts: 713
From: Columbia Missouri
Joined: 11-11-2004

Message 5 of 5 (162929)
11-24-2004 11:09 AM
Reply to: Message 4 by happy_atheist
11-22-2004 10:56 AM

another point
Hey Nice set of rules. I think you summed it up pretty well.

There is, however, one more point that I always think of when somebody drops the "to complex to have appeared on its own" argument on me.

The problem I have is that if we must have been created due to our complexity, then who created the creator? He must obviously be greater and more complex than we are if he indeed exists at all. So where did he come from?

Maybe he evolved from life forms in an earlier (or different) universe . Perhaps there are millions of these gods out there, each with their own universe, all playing against each other to get the best score A kind of online life sim lol.


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