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Author Topic:   Evolution: Natural selection vs. Godly guidance
Dr Adequate
Posts: 16096
Joined: 07-20-2006

Message 12 of 154 (588755)
10-28-2010 1:38 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by shadow71
10-26-2010 5:10 PM

Well, first of all we can watch natural selection happening. Those organisms which we would expect to be more successful are more successful. Stick bacteria on a culture plate impregnated with antibiotics, and guess which wins out --- resistant mutants, or the susceptible wild type?

Secondly, this is inevitable. Naturally the (relatively) well-adapted type is going to have a statistical advantage over the (relatively) poorly-adapted type. How could it not?

So what does that leave God to do? Just as he doesn't need to tell angels to carry raindrops from the clouds to the ground, being able to rely on gravity to do this anyway, so he would have no need to intervene in the selective process.

Unless, of course, he wanted to make organisms worse. By constantly using his miraculous powers to push in the opposite direction to the natural selective pressures, he could ensure that there were fish that were as hydrodynamic as bricks and prey animals that stood out vividly against their background so as to attract predators. He could smite the well-adapted and spare the maladapted.

But in the world we see around us, organisms are well-adapted to their environments. There is no need to invoke a miracle to explain this any more than to explain why rain falls down and not up.

P.S: Welcome to the forums.

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Dr Adequate
Posts: 16096
Joined: 07-20-2006

Message 30 of 154 (588824)
10-28-2010 2:56 PM
Reply to: Message 21 by shadow71
10-28-2010 12:09 PM

So I guess I am going back to the origin of the univese to argue that science is merely the investigation of what has been created and nature w/o a supernatural being would not exist.

But that question has nothing to do with natural selection, which is just one of those processes that exists in nature.

When in my post I referred to "proof" I am using the term as a trial lawyer uses the term. There must be cause for example in a Medical malpractice case for the injury to the patient. In Science I belive there must be cause for what is happening in this universe, and I don't believe Science can prove that cause is natual.

If you admit the supernatural, then it becomes hard to prove anything. Take medical malpractice. Did the patient's ears fall off? Yes, but that was because God smote his ears. But didn't the doctor accidentally prescribe the wrong pill, one that has loss of ears as a well-known side-effect? No, he didn't. However, the Devil tampered with the prescription to make it look as though he did ...

The defense attorney would be laughed out of court. And so should you be when you want to replace natural selection with a series of miracles. Why assume a supernatural substitute for something natural which happens anyway?

Jesus walking on water would be a miracle. But Jesus walking on dry land is not a miracle, because we don't need to invoke God as a direct cause of why he doesn't sink. The laws of nature do that.

Edited by Dr Adequate, : No reason given.

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Dr Adequate
Posts: 16096
Joined: 07-20-2006

Message 31 of 154 (588826)
10-28-2010 3:03 PM
Reply to: Message 29 by hooah212002
10-28-2010 2:45 PM

The evidence has been available since Darwin came up with the idea. Darwin's Finches

* coughs *

That's something of a non sequitur. Darwin didn't know that his finches were a good example of adaptive radiation through natural selection, and never used them as such.

This message is a reply to:
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Dr Adequate
Posts: 16096
Joined: 07-20-2006

Message 51 of 154 (588877)
10-28-2010 8:02 PM
Reply to: Message 48 by shadow71
10-28-2010 7:51 PM

Re: The Topic shadow, do you have anything related?
I argue that "natural selection" is not something you can prove ...

It's something you can watch.

I argue that if God by providence has created the mechanisms for the evolution of life ...

Then one of those mechanisms would be natural selection.

We know it exists. And everything we see in nature agrees with the theory that it has been operating.

But even if the changes occur, which I agree they do, science cannot prove they are by natural means or supenatural means.

But why confine this complaint to natural selection? Why not gravity as well?

Maybe there's no such thing as gravity, but rather angels are moving things around in such a way that it looks as though there's some law in nature that can be expressed by the formula F=Gm1m2/r2?

Would you like to argue for that position?

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Dr Adequate
Posts: 16096
Joined: 07-20-2006

Message 78 of 154 (589050)
10-30-2010 1:41 AM
Reply to: Message 72 by shadow71
10-29-2010 11:33 AM

My conclusion is that the design advocates are not getting a fair hearing in the scientific discipline. I was impressed by Meyers book SIGNATURE IN THE CELL DNA AND THE EVIDENCE FOR INTELLIGENT DESIGN,
He states that ID partly a historical look at the origin of life which strikes me as being similar to the scientific investigation of evolution. Thus my conclusion that Main stream science is not applying the same standard of proof to ID as to Science.

If he stated that he could fly to the moon, would you wonder why he wasn't getting the same funding as NASA?

Stating things is easy. Doing things is rather harder.

What would creationist research into the origin of life even look like? You take a beaker full of nothing and a beaker full of God, mix 'em together and see if you get a giraffe?

Edited by Dr Adequate, : No reason given.

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Dr Adequate
Posts: 16096
Joined: 07-20-2006

Message 93 of 154 (589132)
10-30-2010 6:22 PM
Reply to: Message 79 by shadow71
10-30-2010 10:31 AM

Re: Meyers
I have a question for you before I can answer your post.

No, you could just answer it anyway. What would creationist research into the origin of life entail?

Do you consider theoretical physicists scientists?

Some of 'em are more like mathematicians, but for the sake of argument, let's call them scientists.

Now that I have answered your question, there is nothing standing in the way of you answering mine. Would you care to do so?

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Dr Adequate
Posts: 16096
Joined: 07-20-2006

Message 94 of 154 (589134)
10-30-2010 6:24 PM
Reply to: Message 81 by shadow71
10-30-2010 11:07 AM

I have to establish groundrules to determine if design advocates meet the standards of scientists.

Actually, no you don't.

I simply asked you what creationist research into the origin of life would look like. I am perfectly capable of deciding on my own if the procedures you describe in answer to this question constitute science.

This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
 Message 99 by shadow71, posted 10-30-2010 7:48 PM Dr Adequate has responded

Dr Adequate
Posts: 16096
Joined: 07-20-2006

Message 101 of 154 (589148)
10-30-2010 7:53 PM
Reply to: Message 99 by shadow71
10-30-2010 7:48 PM

I would refer you to Signature in the Cell by Stephen Meyer especially his DNA information work.

Since I do not have a copy of his book handy, perhaps you could give me one or two examples.

You're being awfully coy about this.

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Dr Adequate
Posts: 16096
Joined: 07-20-2006

Message 102 of 154 (589149)
10-30-2010 8:03 PM
Reply to: Message 97 by shadow71
10-30-2010 7:40 PM

It is impossible to genuinely study and express opinions on evolution unless you address the Origin of Life.

You might as well say that it is impossible to genuinely study and express opinions on Italian cuisine unless you address the origins of spaghetti.

Or that it was impossible for Newton to genuinely study and express opinions on gravity without addressing the origin of matter.

But he could.

And Darwin (for example) was able to "genuinely study and express opinions on evolution" (do you really mean to deny that he did so?) without forming any definite opinions on the origin of life. As he wrote (using the same analogy as I have just used):

It is mere rubbish thinking, at present, of origin of life; one might as well think of origin of matter. --- Darwin (letter to JD Hooker, 29 March 1863)

But he could genuinely express opinions on evolution like billy-oh. And so can scientists today, even if they are not personally involved in origins of life research.

There is a Chinese proverb to the effect that the man who says that a thing is impossible should not interrupt a man who is doing it.

It has been my experience in my readings that biological scientists refuse to address the origin of life as if it is immaterial.

Some scientists do investigate the origins of life. But to others it is indeed immaterial. If I want to know about the evolution of birds from archosaurs, how is it in the least bit relevant whether the first life on Earth arose as a result of chemistry; was seeded here by space aliens; or was magicked into existence by God? Such a question is supremely irrelevant to such researches.

Edited by Dr Adequate, : No reason given.

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Dr Adequate
Posts: 16096
Joined: 07-20-2006

Message 107 of 154 (589172)
10-31-2010 3:51 AM
Reply to: Message 103 by Stephen Push
10-30-2010 8:44 PM

Re: Did a Benevolent God Design Evolution?
Evolution causes a lot of pain and suffering in humans and other animals. Often far more offspring are generated than can survive to reproduce. Many, especially the youngest and oldest, succumb to starvation, disease, and predation. Many of these deaths appear to be slow and excruciating. This was the case for most of human evolution and is still the case to some extent today, especially in developing countries.

But of course that would all be true even if starvation, disease, and predation were not agencies of natural selection. There'd still be the same amount of suffering, it would just be completely pointless. It doesn't offer more of a challenge to a theist to suppose that it results in evolution as well, because that's not the morally problematic aspect of it.

Edited by Dr Adequate, : No reason given.

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Dr Adequate
Posts: 16096
Joined: 07-20-2006

Message 122 of 154 (589215)
10-31-2010 5:22 PM
Reply to: Message 113 by shadow71
10-31-2010 3:16 PM

That is why I have trouble understanding why biological science refuses to entertain the thought that a supernatural being began all that we know of nature and the universe ...

How would biological science entertain a cosmological hypothesis?

This is one of many concepts that can have nothing to do with biology. Biological science does not either entertain the thought that Saturn has rings. I suppose all biologists know that it does, just as many biologists believe that the universe had a creator. But this doesn't enter into biological science --- how could it?

Scientists presume that natural selection is the prime moving cause of evolution.

Now there's a thoroughly inexact statement.

How can you prove that if you do not prove how life originated. And if you cannot prove a natural cause for life, then what is left is a designed cause by a supernatural being. God.

And there's the God-of-the-Gaps fallacy.

I might (with slightly more justification) say: "If you cannot prove that life originated supernaturally, then what is left is a natural cause".

But fortunately, as I have pointed out, it is not necessary to resolve this question in order to study biology.

Instead science, according to Eugenia Scott, precludes involving any nonnaturalistic or non material causes to explain the features of the natural world.

Quite. But this is not prescriptive, it is descriptive.

Suppose you lose your spectacles. You can try out all sorts of naturalistic hypotheses (maybe you left them here, maybe you left them there, maybe your wife moved them). But you cannot test the idea that God sent an invisible angel to bear them up to heaven.

We may note that even if you found your spectacles where you thought you'd left them, this wouldn't falsify the angel hypothesis, because God might have sent another angel to put them back. And similarly a failure to find your spectacles anywhere you looked would not confirm the idea that they were sitting on a cloud near the heavenly throne.

The fact that you are a theist and can entertain the idea of spectacle-carrying angels doesn't change the situation. You can entertain the idea but you can't research it.

And scientists stand in a similar situation with regards to ... well, everything. It's not that they exclude the supernatural a priori --- many of them, after all, are believers. It's that they can't research it.

This is why I asked you what creationist research into the origins of life would look like, a question that you avoided answering.

I just read a debate by Richard Dawkins and Francis Collins. I am wondering if any of you hold the opinion that Collins is a Creationist?

No, he's just a theist.

Creationism is not simply the belief that God created the Universe. Perhaps that's what it should mean, but creationists have hijacked the word, so that what it now denotes is a set of silly blunders and unsupported conjectures about biology that disgrace and dishonor the human intellect.

Edited by Dr Adequate, : No reason given.

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Dr Adequate
Posts: 16096
Joined: 07-20-2006

Message 126 of 154 (589388)
11-02-2010 12:59 AM
Reply to: Message 124 by shadow71
11-01-2010 9:32 PM

Behe's Blunders
1. Observation/ Question
Natural slection acting on random mutation cannot account for the molecular underlying resistance to malaria by humans, or resistance to antibiotics by the malarial parasite

And WHAM! he falls flat on his face at the first hurdle.

That's not an observation. It's a religious dogma. And it happens to be untrue.

You do not say which form of resistance to malaria you're talking about, so let's take the most notorious of them all --- the allele which, when homozygous, causes sickle-cell anemia.

It is caused by a single nucleotide substitution changing A to T in the gene coding for β-globin, resulting in the change of a single codon from GAG to GTG, and so the substitution of valine for glutamate as the sixth amino acid in the chain.

Do you deny that single nucleotide substitutions can occur? No?

Now, being immune to malaria has an obvious selective advantage. Do you deny that? No?

Then mutation and selection very adequately explain the prevalence of the allele; and Behe's "observation" is simply something he's made up.

You also do not state what mistakes he has made about drug-resistance in malaria; though one of his mistakes (or yours) appears to be the belief that malaria is treated with antibiotics. Do not try this, as it will not work.

The evolution of resistance to antibiotics by bacteria (which are vulnerable to such drugs) can be observed in the laboratory: again the mutations are simple and the selective advantage obvious.

The evolution of resistance of malaria to antimalarial drugs can also be observed directly. (See here for example.) Again, note that the mutation is simple and the selective advantage obvious.

So, Behe's starting point --- his "observation" --- is something that no-one has observed, that is contrary to observation, and that he has made up in his head.

(Edited to add: I discuss one particularly crass blunder of Behe --- relating to chloroquine resistance in malaria ---here.)

Edited by Dr Adequate, : No reason given.

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Dr Adequate
Posts: 16096
Joined: 07-20-2006

Message 134 of 154 (589469)
11-02-2010 6:23 PM
Reply to: Message 129 by shadow71
11-02-2010 4:25 PM

All abiogenesis theories are so speculative as to be ridiculous.

Some more than others, of course. Have you read the book of Genesis?

The whole point of my post is that until Science can prove the origin of life, evolution is not proven to be a natural caused event.

You have had it explained to you at length why this is not the case; and repetition is a poor substitute for rebuttal.

At least the ID people attempt to show that this could not happen w/o a Designer.

And how are they doing with that?

Can they tell us yet what the first life was like and under what circumstances it arose?

Only if they can't do that, then how can they begin to speculate on its possibility? Without that, they're reduced to saying: "Something or other happened, but we don't know what ... under certain circumstances, which we can't specify ... but it certainly did happen, and it's impossible for it to have happened, even though it did."

That is the problem I have with Scientist who state, if we can't explain it today we will tomorrow.

Can you quote one of them?

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Dr Adequate
Posts: 16096
Joined: 07-20-2006

Message 147 of 154 (589874)
11-04-2010 8:52 PM
Reply to: Message 143 by shadow71
11-04-2010 3:26 PM

Is Michael Behe a liar.

Not necessarily. He could also be a fool.

It is my opinion the LAW has a valid way of finding the truth of the above cited disputed scientific facts. That would be by depostion under oath.

I could take a few weeks preparing the depostions of Behe, Carroll and Coyne and find out who is hedging & who is not.

Here's Michael Behe testifying under oath.

Q But the way you define scientific theory, you said it's just based on your own experience; it's not a dictionary definition, it's not one issued by a scientific organization.

A It is based on my experience of how the word is used in the scientific community.

Q And as you said, your definition is a lot broader than the NAS definition?

A That's right, intentionally broader to encompass the way that the word is used in the scientific community.

Q Sweeps in a lot more propositions.

A It recognizes that the word is used a lot more broadly than the National Academy of Sciences defined it.

Q In fact, your definition of scientific theory is synonymous with hypothesis, correct?

A Partly -- it can be synonymous with hypothesis, it can also include the National Academy's definition. But in fact, the scientific community uses the word "theory" in many times as synonymous with the word "hypothesis," other times it uses the word as a synonym for the definition reached by the National Academy, and at other times it uses it in other ways.

Q But the way you are using it is synonymous with the definition of hypothesis?

A No, I would disagree. It can be used to cover hypotheses, but it can also include ideas that are in fact well substantiated and so on. So while it does include ideas that are synonymous or in fact are hypotheses, it also includes stronger senses of that term.

Q And using your definition, intelligent design is a scientific theory, correct?

A Yes.

Q Under that same definition astrology is a scientific theory under your definition, correct?

A Under my definition, a scientific theory is a proposed explanation which focuses or points to physical, observable data and logical inferences. There are many things throughout the history of science which we now think to be incorrect which nonetheless would fit that -- which would fit that definition. Yes, astrology is in fact one, and so is the ether theory of the propagation of light, and many other -- many other theories as well.

Q The ether theory of light has been discarded, correct?

A That is correct.

Q But you are clear, under your definition, the definition that sweeps in intelligent design, astrology is also a scientific theory, correct?

A Yes, that's correct.

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