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Author Topic:   Observations about Evolution
onthuhlist
Inactive Member


Message 1 of 17 (97990)
04-05-2004 10:44 PM


I have some observations I've made about evolution. A small few of these observations are posted here: [Edit: Sorry, link is now obsolete]
I'd like to invite your feedback. (intelligent feedback, please. No ad hominem statements.)
Also, has anyone here responded to the "Starlight and Time" book by D. Russell Humphreys, whose theory points out that time is relative, and may actually reconcile billions of years phenomena with young-earth phenomena.
onthuhlist
Edited by onthuhlist, : Signature obsolete, so changed it
Edited by onthuhlist, : Link obsolete.

Replies to this message:
 Message 2 by Coragyps, posted 04-05-2004 11:10 PM onthuhlist has not replied
 Message 3 by wj, posted 04-05-2004 11:36 PM onthuhlist has replied
 Message 12 by Quetzal, posted 04-06-2004 10:55 AM onthuhlist has not replied

Coragyps
Member (Idle past 847 days)
Posts: 5553
From: Snyder, Texas, USA
Joined: 11-12-2002


Message 2 of 17 (97994)
04-05-2004 11:10 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by onthuhlist
04-05-2004 10:44 PM


Hi, newguy! Dr Humphreys' stuff has been quite thoroughly dissected on these forums several times in the last year or so - you might want to poke around the cosmology topics.
It's one of the fairly heavily enforced rules here, too, that you shouldn't post bare links, especially to multifaceted sites. You'll fare much better with the mods if you bring a few of you observations to the appropriate topic.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by onthuhlist, posted 04-05-2004 10:44 PM onthuhlist has not replied

wj
Inactive Member


Message 3 of 17 (97998)
04-05-2004 11:36 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by onthuhlist
04-05-2004 10:44 PM


Collection of strawmen
Chris
It appears that you are rather ignorant of the science involved in the theory of evolution and other fields such as radiometric dating. I suggest you create a thread for each of your "observations" in the appropriate fora and have them analysed with respect to the real science involved.
BTW, try to learn the distinction between the fields of biological evolution and abiogenesis.
I found the most amusing "observation" that:
All radiometric dating methods presume the elements being dated came into existence by natural means; therefore, radiometric dating is inherently biased against the possibility of supernatural creation.
Do you also apply this thinking to your mechanical engineering? Do you produce any old ridiculous design which conflicts with engineering principles and expect that it will work by the intervention of supernatural forces?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by onthuhlist, posted 04-05-2004 10:44 PM onthuhlist has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 4 by coffee_addict, posted 04-06-2004 1:52 AM wj has replied
 Message 8 by onthuhlist, posted 04-06-2004 9:31 AM wj has not replied

coffee_addict
Member (Idle past 589 days)
Posts: 3645
From: Indianapolis, IN
Joined: 03-29-2004


Message 4 of 17 (98029)
04-06-2004 1:52 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by wj
04-05-2004 11:36 PM


Re: Collection of strawmen
quote:
Chris
It appears that you are rather ignorant of the science involved in the theory of evolution and other fields such as radiometric dating. I suggest you create a thread for each of your "observations" in the appropriate fora and have them analysed with respect to the real science involved.
BTW, try to learn the distinction between the fields of biological evolution and abiogenesis.
I found the most amusing "observation" that:
All radiometric dating methods presume the elements being dated came into existence by natural means; therefore, radiometric dating is inherently biased against the possibility of supernatural creation.
Do you also apply this thinking to your mechanical engineering? Do you produce any old ridiculous design which conflicts with engineering principles and expect that it will work by the intervention of supernatural forces?
Easy there, wj. Even I thought that was harsh on a newbie. Let him come in here unsuspecting of any danger. He's fresh meat!

This message is a reply to:
 Message 3 by wj, posted 04-05-2004 11:36 PM wj has replied

Replies to this message:
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wj
Inactive Member


Message 5 of 17 (98042)
04-06-2004 2:54 AM
Reply to: Message 4 by coffee_addict
04-06-2004 1:52 AM


Re: Collection of strawmen
A mechanical engineer who displays such ignorance deserves no kid gloves.
I strongly suspect that this will be a drive-by preaching anyway rather than someone who wishes to partake of intelligent discussion. If so, no great loss.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 4 by coffee_addict, posted 04-06-2004 1:52 AM coffee_addict has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 6 by NosyNed, posted 04-06-2004 3:03 AM wj has not replied

NosyNed
Member
Posts: 9007
From: Canada
Joined: 04-04-2003


Message 6 of 17 (98045)
04-06-2004 3:03 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by wj
04-06-2004 2:54 AM


kid gloves
I think it is a good idea to start gently with everyone.
In the long run you are asking for an enormous, worldview shaking change in someone's mind. This will not be accomplished if you start off harshly.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 5 by wj, posted 04-06-2004 2:54 AM wj has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 7 by Denesha, posted 04-06-2004 9:19 AM NosyNed has not replied
 Message 9 by onthuhlist, posted 04-06-2004 9:50 AM NosyNed has not replied

Denesha
Inactive Member


Message 7 of 17 (98061)
04-06-2004 9:19 AM
Reply to: Message 6 by NosyNed
04-06-2004 3:03 AM


Re: kid gloves
Dear Chris,
Your text is not easy to understand for foreign readers. I feel that you suggest the answer pathway in the question formulation.
* Chris has written a song, "Analogies of Evolution", which he would be glad to share with you. The song contains analogies that demonstrate how the theory of evolution is an insult to the intelligence.
Please give us the link to download this .wav (or .mpg). It will perhaps be more clear with musical background.
Ned, I'm constructive. Isn't it?
Denesha

This message is a reply to:
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onthuhlist
Inactive Member


Message 8 of 17 (98063)
04-06-2004 9:31 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by wj
04-05-2004 11:36 PM


Re: Collection of strawmen
WJ, In regards to mechanical engineering, I would argue based on my experience that intelligent intervention is required to produce functional systems. If evolution were a good methodology for the functional micromachines that run the cell, I would expect that the methodology would also hold true for much less sophisticated systems that carry out much fewer interrelated functions - an example is the Windows OS. I would expect that Microsoft could much more quickly develop Windows XP without having to pay top-notch intelligent programmers. Instead, by starting with DOS 2.1 and having a supercomputer iteratively copy the OS, say, 10 billion times (not hard for a computer to do in a reasonable amount of time). The supercomputer would monitor the cumulative errors that cropped up during the copying, and to mimic natural selection, which can only make a selection if the inferior design is not survivable, the supercomputer would weed out copies that caused the blue screen of death. If after 10 billion copies your OS has evolved into Windows XP, I'll be an evolutionist, too.

Evolution (the creation of genetic information that codes for new functional constructs) is not proven fact, so it should not be promoted dogmatically.

This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
 Message 10 by Denesha, posted 04-06-2004 9:54 AM onthuhlist has not replied
 Message 11 by PaulK, posted 04-06-2004 10:10 AM onthuhlist has not replied
 Message 13 by Loudmouth, posted 04-06-2004 1:08 PM onthuhlist has not replied

onthuhlist
Inactive Member


Message 9 of 17 (98068)
04-06-2004 9:50 AM
Reply to: Message 6 by NosyNed
04-06-2004 3:03 AM


Re: kid gloves
True, we are discussing ideas from different paradigms, and to shift someone else's paradigm is an enormous challenge. However, I have a thick skin. So "bring it on".
I promise to honestly and openly consider all statements. I simply ask that we all stick to the issues, and not base our arguments on insulting the other's profession or other ad hominem arguments which are based on attack of the other's character instead of sticking to the issues.
And to clarify, I don't think that evolution by itself is an unintelligent viewpoint. I simply believe that it's a paradigm that, like any paradigmal framework, blinds the observer to data that doesn't fit the paradigm. And I am making observations that don't jive with an evolutionary framework. I'm sure that my paradigm has the same effect on me, blinding me to certain data that doesn't fit my framework. But unless we are all willing to patiently expound what we feel the other is not understanding, the other will never understand or have the chance to learn. We cannot just get impatient and tell the other, "go learn about microbiology" or something like that, since these subjects are so broad that person could read on the subject 24/7 and still not know everything about it. Plus, as we articulate our thoughts, we become more adept at doing so, right?
I apologize for my ignorance on how to post to these boards. Sorry for posting a link instead of posting the material here. If posting individual topics in various discussions is the most expeditious way to go, then I'd be glad to do so.
To assist me in starting a topic that would not be too broad, does anyone have a suggestion for where they'd like to start, based on one of the thoughts I shared on my linked page? Then I can start such a topic and we can all move there to discuss, as time allows.
Thanks.
onthuhlist
Edited by onthuhlist, : Signature obsolete, so edited it.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 6 by NosyNed, posted 04-06-2004 3:03 AM NosyNed has not replied

Denesha
Inactive Member


Message 10 of 17 (98071)
04-06-2004 9:54 AM
Reply to: Message 8 by onthuhlist
04-06-2004 9:31 AM


Re: Collection of strawmen
If you want Chris.
The suggested analogy couldn't be done because the transcription errors could be a benetfit for a living population in a given environment. He is immediately tested in-situ because he exists.
This is not true for software copy. If an error occurs, the soft is good for the trash recipient. Your intelligence will decide to garbage the bad copy and never test the eventual benefit of this error.
Denesha

This message is a reply to:
 Message 8 by onthuhlist, posted 04-06-2004 9:31 AM onthuhlist has not replied

PaulK
Member
Posts: 17853
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 3.9


Message 11 of 17 (98077)
04-06-2004 10:10 AM
Reply to: Message 8 by onthuhlist
04-06-2004 9:31 AM


Re: Collection of strawmen
I've got a question about the quote from your site in wj's post.
How do you get from the idea that rock is supernaturally created to false radiometric dates ?
Are you suggesting that since igneous rock originates as lava (very hot and comes from deep underground) it is a creation of the devil ?
As for your comments on Windows NT, I am sure that Microsoft would be extremely happy to have a fast, automated tester which could reliably tell if a new Windows release met the requirements they had set for it. It would save an awful lot of time taken in testing. Since you assume that such a thing is easily within Microsoft's grasp - your "evolutionary" scenario requires one - perhaps you could explain why Microsoft don't have such a thing.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 8 by onthuhlist, posted 04-06-2004 9:31 AM onthuhlist has not replied

Quetzal
Member (Idle past 5984 days)
Posts: 3228
Joined: 01-09-2002


Message 12 of 17 (98088)
04-06-2004 10:55 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by onthuhlist
04-05-2004 10:44 PM


I don't have a tremendous time to do much more than take little bite-sized chunks out of your website, and will be absent for the next three days or so. However, with what time I have:
An evolutionary conundrum: Evolution depends on "survival of the fittest" to give organisms the momentum to change in a direction of greater refinement, organization, and sophistication. And the idea makes sense if we only consider that a new trait may give an organism a greater chance to survive. But we neglect to consider that "natural selection" can select this new trait only if organisms without this trait are eliminated. The trait must mean the difference between life and death, or the new trait is not "selected".
Evolution doesn’t require that organisms change in any particular direction. Normalizing (also known as stabilizing) selection, for instance, maintains the given population in a position of statu quo. Indeed, depending on the particular selection pressure’s effect on the population, evolution may actually make a population simpler over time, or drive it extinct. Evolution can even eliminate the middle of the curve — leaving only those members which are at the extremes of the distribution.
Secondly, you are incorrect that natural selection is a black-and-white matter of life and death. Marginal fitness increases (or decreases) are most often gradual over hundreds or even thousands of generations (assuming no significant change in the biotic and abiotic environment factors involved). Your strawman consists of an assertion that change has to be abrupt. The opposite is true — radical change is most often either immediately fatal or eliminated (Goldschmitt’s hopeful monster), especially in metazoans with their intricate interdependent components.
This fundamental misunderstanding of natural selection answers your question #1:
quote:
If the new trait is required for survival, how did the organism survive before it developed this trait? And how was it unable to survive after others in the population possessed the new trait?
The new trait is NOT required for survival, and a radical new trait appearing in a single generation is rather more likely to be eliminated.
As to your question #2
quote:
It is difficult to propose that the sophisticated refinement found in life on earth is necessary for survival. For example, what if the human nose were pointed sideways rather than down? Would this change be great enough to decree death to humans with sideways noses? Then why are human noses pointed downward? What if humans had a couple "useless" extra teeth growing in their armpits? Why would such a human not survive? And so then, why are teeth found in the mouth, but not in other places on the body where they must have occurred if placement of teeth in the body was by chance? Life on earth exhibits hallmarks of design which are not adequately explained by "natural selection".
once again you are misstating what evolution describes. The distribution of body parts is NOT chance. Every organism on the planet is constrained by historical contingency — they are the sum of the gradual evolutionary changes that have occurred since the beginning, whatever that might be. By the same token, every lineage on the planet bears witness to the evolutionary changes that have taken place through vestigial bits — organs or structures which, while possibly remaining functional in some context, are no longer serving the function for which they originally evolved, or which have obviously been co-opted (and not always really effectively) from other structures. Many of these structures are in direct opposition to what would be, in an engineering context, considered optimal design. If there is a designer, it is an incredibly inept and sloppy one. However, such structures are quite consistent with evolution, which is designed to make do, rather than make best.
Fitness is a prerequisite for survival. Therefore, survival cannot be invoked as fitness’ cause. In other words, survival of the fittest doesn’t explain the origin of the incredible engineering designs found in living organisms. It only predicts the survivability of a pre-existing design. Evolutionists can't have it both ways - Survival cannot be both fitness' cause and its result.
Incorrect. Fitness is a measure of the potential for survival of a particular organism or population in a given environmental context. It isn’t a prerequisite, nor is it a cause. It is, in fact, utterly dependent on the conditions facing the particular population in their local context. Fitness also has nothing to do with the evolution of complexity. It is a snapshot of the current state of a population. Another strawman.
Evolution insults the intelligence: I have a difficult time envisioning how the theory of evolution and natural selection can be responsible for life’s design. It’s like looking at a neatly built cabin of Lincoln Logs, and trying to explain its existence. Would it make sense to hang your hat on the chance that someone dumped a can of Lincoln Logs on the floor, and, as luck would have it, a perfectly stacked Lincoln Log house formed from the dumping? An inference to a better explanation (and one most folks would bet their money on) is the assumption that an intelligence was imposed on the Lincoln Logs to form them into a neatly stacked cabin. In other words, someone built the cabin. If dumping out a can of Lincoln Logs is a good explanation for the existence of a cabin built from the logs, then evolution is a good explanation for the information encoded in DNA.
Although basically a rather poor argument from personal incredulity, I would like to note that your Lincoln logs example is exceptionally erroneous. Unless you can show a set of logs where each log self-assembles, then replicates, then joins with other logs on its own, and finally what selection pressures on the logs would cause them to naturally form structures and what environment would lead to assembly rules that, through trial and error, would ultimately lead to a log cabin structure, then your analogy is useless as an example of an evolutionary pathway. IOW, unless you can hypothesize an evolutionary history for your log cabin, with intermediates and supporting evidence (fossilized log outhouses, perhaps?), as well as related structures also made from logs that diverge from the log cabin, then your analogy is simply wrong. Basically, Lincoln logs are not alive — therefore your analogy is yet another chance cartoon version of evolution.
All I have time for today. If this is the best you can do, I think evolutionary theory is little threatened by the errors, strawmen, and cartoons on that website.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by onthuhlist, posted 04-05-2004 10:44 PM onthuhlist has not replied

Loudmouth
Inactive Member


Message 13 of 17 (98111)
04-06-2004 1:08 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by onthuhlist
04-06-2004 9:31 AM


Re: Collection of strawmen
quote:
WJ, In regards to mechanical engineering, I would argue based on my experience that intelligent intervention is required to produce functional systems. If evolution were a good methodology for the functional micromachines that run the cell, I would expect that the methodology would also hold true for much less sophisticated systems that carry out much fewer interrelated functions . . .
Would you accept a program that relies on evolutionary algorithms to create design, design that works. Check out 3D simulation and evolution | Framsticks or do a search for framsticks. These are workable models whose design is the sole product of mutation and selection. The interesting thing is that the framstick designs are suboptimal when compared to man made designs in some instances. This is very similar to what we find in nature, design that is suboptimal compared to how humans would have designed it. Take your eyes, for example. The nerves actually pierce through the retina and fold back onto the rods and cones. So, when you recieve light from the environment it actually has to pass through capillaries and nerves before hitting the photsensitive cells. This is suboptimal, but in evolutionary terms, good enough. Humans would have wired the retina so that the nerves enter from the back side of the retina since this would increase the resolution of the retina. Again, non-intelligent design is apparent in nature, as is shown by designs created by algorithms based on evolutionary mechanisms.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 8 by onthuhlist, posted 04-06-2004 9:31 AM onthuhlist has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 14 by Coragyps, posted 04-06-2004 1:38 PM Loudmouth has not replied
 Message 15 by compmage, posted 04-06-2004 3:49 PM Loudmouth has replied

Coragyps
Member (Idle past 847 days)
Posts: 5553
From: Snyder, Texas, USA
Joined: 11-12-2002


Message 14 of 17 (98116)
04-06-2004 1:38 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by Loudmouth
04-06-2004 1:08 PM


Re: Collection of strawmen
Humans would have wired the retina so that the nerves enter from the back side of the retina since this would increase the resolution of the retina.
Just like the Great Squid God did for His cephalopods......

This message is a reply to:
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compmage
Member (Idle past 5265 days)
Posts: 601
From: South Africa
Joined: 08-04-2005


Message 15 of 17 (98138)
04-06-2004 3:49 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by Loudmouth
04-06-2004 1:08 PM


Re: Collection of strawmen
Loudmouth writes:
The interesting thing is that the framstick designs are suboptimal when compared to man made designs in some instances.
Look here.
From the article:
With this laissez-faire philosophy, Thompson has evolved a circuit that distinguishes between two tones, two electric signals that, if fed into a stereo speaker, would produce two notes. One has a frequency of 1 kilohertz, the other 10 kilohertz.
After 5,000 generations and two weeks of computer time, the computer was distinguishing between the two tones.
Strangely, Thompson has been unable to pin down how the chip was accomplishing the task. When he checked to see how many of the 100 cells evolution had recruited for the task, he found no more than 32 in use. The voltage on the other 68 could be held constant without affecting the chip's performance. A chip designed by a human, says Thompson, would have required 10 to 100 times as many logic elements--or at least access to a clock--to perform the same task. This is why Thompson describes the chip's configuration as "flabbergastingly efficient."
Evolutionary processes producing a chip that is far more efficient at distinguishing between these two tones than anything a human has design.
{Edited to fix link}
[This message has been edited by compmage, 04-06-2004]

Freedom, morality, and the human dignity of the individual consists precisely in
this; that he does good not because he is forced to do so, but because he freely
conceives it, wants it, and loves it.
- Mikhail Bakunin, God and the State, from The Columbian Dictionary of Quotations

This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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