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Author Topic:   5 Questions...
hoostino
Inactive Member


Message 1 of 107 (541)
12-07-2001 2:41 PM


Hello all, this is my first post to this board. I'm an evolutionist in the midst of a debate with a creationist (more specifically, an intelligent design advocate), and I would like to share some of his arguments in hopes of refining my responses to them.

My opponent's questions (in his own words, and which he claims a reputable evolutionist couldn't answer):

1. Explain the origin of all matter in the universe, and don't use the Big Bang. That is only what dispersed it.

2. Explain how a Venus flytrap evolved. According to atheistic theory, these plants evolved an ingenious trap to capture insects due to a nitrogen deficiency (his point: the trap required an idea...it's too well-conceived to have happened by accident).

3. Explain the evolution of the Saguaro cactus. Arizona was marshland less than 10,000 years ago...an environment which would quickly kill this delicate plant off. Where did it come from? (he claims the plant couldn't have adapted via evolution in such a short amount of time).

4. Which came first? The fig tree? Or the fig wasp? (I assume many of you know of the relationship between these two organisms.) And why can't a fig tree grow in the wild?

5. The diving bell spider builds a diving bell of web under water. Using a pair of hooks on its legs, it traps an air bubble on the surface, then carries it down to the diving bell, where it lives. Without the equipment (the hooks), it couldn't carry the bubble down. Yet, according to evolution, the spider evolved the hooks (which have no other practical use) to trap the air. So, which came first? The spider's idea to build a diving bell? Or the physical tools to accomplish it? If this critter evolved, that means that a spider thought up the idea for a diving bell, before it had the physical means to accomplish it. Utter nonsense.

I have developed some responses to his questions, but I think they need more input in order to convince him of their validity. After all, he claims "You can't change my mind." But it appears he is somewhat reasonable (imagine that!) and open to sufficient evidence (and thus in search of truth and not a confirmation of his religious beliefs). Thus, a finely-tuned explanation for his questions may do some good...

Thank you for your time.


Replies to this message:
 Message 2 by mark24, posted 12-07-2001 4:35 PM hoostino has not yet responded
 Message 3 by mark24, posted 12-07-2001 5:01 PM hoostino has responded
 Message 4 by Percy, posted 12-07-2001 6:57 PM hoostino has not yet responded
 Message 5 by joz, posted 12-10-2001 9:14 AM hoostino has not yet responded

mark24
Member (Idle past 3896 days)
Posts: 3857
From: UK
Joined: 12-01-2001


Message 2 of 107 (542)
12-07-2001 4:35 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by hoostino
12-07-2001 2:41 PM


Firstly, ask him why he demands evidence from you but isn't prepared to offer any evidence for a designer that istn't tantamount to "its there & its fantastic, therefore God did it".

I'll attempt to help on one or two......

1. Explain the origin of all matter in the universe, and don't use the Big Bang. That is only what dispersed it.

Matter has been observed to be converted from energy via the uncertainty principle, & a mechanism similar to this is purported to be involved in the Big Bang. That is to say, a universe full of matter was converted from energy based around a very small point/singularity. It did not appear ex nihilo. I suggest going to Astronomy.com & asking there for details of expansion etc. But it was this expansion that resulted in the outward flying galaxies that we see today.

In explaining the origin of all that energy, I could just as well ask your friend where the creator came from to create all that matter/energy, & EXACTLY what mechanism was used? This is a circular argument & creationists can't have it both ways. Or perhaps a better way of putting it would be to ask why creationists allow themselves the hypocrisy of demanding to know what created all matter & energy, whilst never asking this question of their creator?

3. Explain the evolution of the Saguaro cactus. Arizona was marshland less than 10,000 years ago...an environment which would quickly kill this delicate plant off. Where did it come from? (he claims the plant couldn't have adapted via evolution in such a short amount of time).

Perhaps Arizona was marsh. But who said the cactus evolved solely in Arizona? Thats like saying reclaimed coastline didn't have grass 100 years ago, by virtue of it being underwater, so how did grass evolve on it? Er, perhaps it colonized the habitat as it became suitable. Just because a species exists in a habitat now doesn't mean it was indiginous 10,000 years ago, or 100 years ago.

4. Which came first? The fig tree? Or the fig wasp? (I assume many of you know of the relationship between these two organisms.) And why can't a fig tree grow in the wild?

Fig trees DO grow in the wild! Where do you think they came from?

They would have co-evolved. Each species would gain a survival advantage by making themselves more "homely" to the other. As a result of countless mutations offered up to natural selection, we end up with the symbiotic relationship that exists today. That is to say, as time went by the two species became more symbiotic.

Hope this was some help,

Mark

------------------
Occam's razor is not for shaving with.


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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mark24
Member (Idle past 3896 days)
Posts: 3857
From: UK
Joined: 12-01-2001


Message 3 of 107 (543)
12-07-2001 5:01 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by hoostino
12-07-2001 2:41 PM


1 more.......

5. The diving bell spider builds a diving bell of web under water. Using a pair of hooks on its legs, it traps an air bubble on the surface, then carries it down to the diving bell, where it lives. Without the equipment (the hooks), it couldn't carry the bubble down. Yet, according to evolution, the spider evolved the hooks (which have no other practical use) to trap the air. So, which came first? The spider's idea to build a diving bell? Or the physical tools to accomplish it? If this critter evolved, that means that a spider thought up the idea for a diving bell, before it had the physical means to accomplish it. Utter nonsense.

The hooks, or something similar would have come first. the spider probably already swam, so anything that accidentally trapped air would be an OBVIOUS survival advantage. For example, hooks on legs ALREADY used for gaining purchase on land, or adaptations on legs for swimming, leg hairs etc. Anything that would trap air. All the spiders offspring would have them. The spider didn't "think" of anything. As the spiders crawled/swam in the aquatic vegetation they would leave trails of web silk behind them. As they to & fro'd a silk net would form. Air could become detached and collect in small bubbles, trapped by strands of silk etc. Remember, the smaller you are the more important waters surface tension is, meaning its much more easy to trap small bubbles than big ones (Next time you get in the bath, look at the bubbles attached to hairs on your legs/arms/hairy bits). These small air pockets could be used as ad-hoc breathing holes. The spiders that developed the behaviour to visit aquatic bubbles would have a survival advantage in staying underwater longer looking for prey. The more times a spider returns to its breathing hole, the more silk would be deposited & larger bubbles could be trapped. Subsequent reinforcement of this OBVIOUS survival advantage would result in larger underwater webs, culminating in "diving-bells". The behaviour would be reinforced by natural selection fom the early small bubble species, giving way to rough web "umbrellas", to the diving bells we see today. Also, those rudimentary hook/hairs would evolve alongside this. Anything that increased the air-collecting capability of the legs would be a survival advantage, & over subsequent generations would increase their efficiency.

Mark

------------------
Occam's razor is not for shaving with.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by hoostino, posted 12-07-2001 2:41 PM hoostino has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 9 by hoostino, posted 12-10-2001 8:58 PM mark24 has not yet responded

Percy
Member
Posts: 19881
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 5.9


Message 4 of 107 (544)
12-07-2001 6:57 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by hoostino
12-07-2001 2:41 PM


I think you're taking the wrong approach. Even if you find answers to all the questions, it only means your opponent asked the wrong questions. There will always be mysteries on the frontiers of science for which we do not yet have answers. At one time lightning, stars and planetary orbits were mysteries, and the primitive explanations for them usually involved supernatural entities or forces.

The mistake of ID is an ancient one. ID is merely the interpretation of the present day limits of knowledge as evidence of the divine.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by hoostino, posted 12-07-2001 2:41 PM hoostino has not yet responded

joz
Inactive Member


Message 5 of 107 (547)
12-10-2001 9:14 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by hoostino
12-07-2001 2:41 PM


quote:
Originally posted by hoostino:
1. Explain the origin of all matter in the universe, and don't use the Big Bang. That is only what dispersed it.

Not sure if this will help but look it over

http://home.xnet.com/~raydbias/meta08.htm

this one may help as well...

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/quentin_smith/cosmology.html

Of course one of the best arguments here is that...

"1st law, law of conservation. Matter and energy can neither be created not destroyed. They can only change form."(this is a statement of the 1st law from a creationist site, a better definition is that the amount of mass/energy is constant.)

therefore any act of Creation is a violation of physical law...


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by hoostino, posted 12-07-2001 2:41 PM hoostino has not yet responded

Mister Pamboli
Member (Idle past 6278 days)
Posts: 634
From: Washington, USA
Joined: 12-10-2001


Message 6 of 107 (548)
12-10-2001 3:10 PM


I hope you will not find my reply too unsatisfactory. I haven't contributed to the forum before so I thought I would address a couple of issues your questions raise.

1. Explain the origin of all matter in the universe, and don't use the Big Bang. That is only what dispersed it.

I don't think you should answer a question which seeks to restrict your response in this way. One may as well ask, "Explain who Christ was, but don't mention God, He's just a metaphor."

Of course, there are cosmological theories as explained in other posts, but if neither you nor your questioner are experts in the field, you may find the debate sterile.

If you were questoning your creationist friend on the doctrine of the trinity (if they are trinitarian), would it be fair to expect them to be able to parse obscure hebrew verbs, interpret the rather difficult greek paleography of some fragments of John, balance historical interpretations of the Talmud or the Septuagint, or tackle the intricacies of the council of Nicea? And were you to consult experts, would the debate between you be fruitful or just a tennis match of quotations - with all the problems of misunderstanding and misquotation that would ensue?

In such we rely on authority - the teaching of pastor or church in theological matters, the teaching of scientists in scientific. Do not be abashed to say "The science is too difficult for me". There can be no harm in the position that we respect and believe the teachings and systematics of scientists and theologians alike because we can see the application of their work revealing palpable truth in other areas.

But perhaps the other questions are more fruitful for non-specialist debate, if not in their ecological and biological details, then in their principles.

2. Explain how a venus fly-trap evolved. "The trap required an idea."

This type of question presupposes a direction (in both senses) to the development of the fly-trap. By direction in both senses, I mean: directed by someone/thing and leading towards some state already defined as an end point before it is actually reached. Scientists of all varieties are prone to the latter use.

The confusion is simply because we take an anthropocentric view of the created world (or uncreated, if you prefer) and assume that means and ends are related as we would relate them.

I like the polar bear example: "the purpose of the bear's white fur is to camouflage it" is a handy anthropocentric shorthand for "bears with white fur survive when bears with coloured fur do not."

So the purpose of the fly-trap is to trap flies? No - the fly-trap just survives better.


Replies to this message:
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redstang281
Inactive Member


Message 7 of 107 (549)
12-10-2001 3:38 PM
Reply to: Message 2 by mark24
12-07-2001 4:35 PM


In explaining the origin of all that energy, I could just as well ask your friend where the creator came from to create all that mark - matter/energy, & EXACTLY what mechanism was used? This is a circular argument & creationists can't have it both ways. Or perhaps a better way of putting it would be to ask why creationists allow themselves the hypocrisy of demanding to know what created all matter & energy, whilst never asking this question of their creator?

God just is. God is above science and above scientific explanation for himself. This of course is a justifiable answer to a creationist. However, if you bind yourself completly by the laws of science and deny religion then how can you conceive of a definite beginning or even an indefinite beginning for that matter? By scientific law everything has to come from something.


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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joz
Inactive Member


Message 8 of 107 (551)
12-10-2001 4:05 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by redstang281
12-10-2001 3:38 PM


quote:
Originally posted by redstang281:
God just is. God is above science and above scientific explanation for himself. This of course is a justifiable answer to a creationist. However, if you bind yourself completely by the laws of science and deny religion then how can you conceive of a definite beginning or even an indefinite beginning for that matter? By scientific law everything has to come from something.

Nothing just is. Consider this what is god? matter? energy? a combination of both?

If God is none of the above how can he interact with the universe?

If God is one of the above then God is theoretically (read as with correct apparatus) observable and therefore a scientific study of God could be made.

In other words the only things unobservable by science are those that have absolutely no interaction with the universe so either your "above science" God is a an impotent observer or he is observable counter to your claims OR God does not exist at all.....

Oh and once again I refer you to:
http://home.xnet.com/~raydbias/meta08.htm
for a theoretical solution to the origin of the mass energy in our universe...

[This message has been edited by joz, 12-10-2001]


This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by redstang281, posted 12-10-2001 3:38 PM redstang281 has not yet responded

hoostino
Inactive Member


Message 9 of 107 (554)
12-10-2001 8:58 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by mark24
12-07-2001 5:01 PM


Thanks a lot for the replies, everyone. Mark brings up some solid points. My original answer to question 1 was identical to Joz's (that creation would violate conservation laws). Thanks for the links. Excellent feedback. I can also agree with Percy, as answering his questions probably won't accomplish much, but hey, my parents always encouraged me to take a more...educational approach to my spare time.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 3 by mark24, posted 12-07-2001 5:01 PM mark24 has not yet responded

hoostino
Inactive Member


Message 10 of 107 (556)
12-10-2001 9:24 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by Mister Pamboli
12-10-2001 3:10 PM


Pamboli -- Your replies were very satisfactory.

Yeah, neither of us are exactly experts in astronomy, and thus our arguments on that question will most likely prove to be mutually unproductive, although I think I can convince him that the topic does not adequately offer evidence of any creator, and thus force him to abandon it in his arguments.

Your analogies (namely the one featuring the polar bear) will prove most helpful. Thanks.

[This message has been edited by hoostino, 12-10-2001]


This message is a reply to:
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redstang281
Inactive Member


Message 11 of 107 (557)
12-10-2001 9:54 PM


If God is none of the above how can he interact with the universe?

If God is one of the above then God is theoretically (read as with correct apparatus) observable and therefore a scientific study of God could be made.

In other words the only things unobservable by science are those that have absolutely no interaction with the universe so either your "above science" God is a an impotent observer or he is observable counter to your claims OR God does not exist at all.....

You are missing the point. The point is, God does not comply with the laws of science and man. Which is to be expected because God created science and is above science. Being that with science everything has a beginning and an end it is scientifically impossible for science to explain a definite beginning. Because I can always ask "what was before that?"


Replies to this message:
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joz
Inactive Member


Message 12 of 107 (558)
12-11-2001 8:08 AM
Reply to: Message 11 by redstang281
12-10-2001 9:54 PM


quote:
Originally posted by redstang281:
You are missing the point. The point is, God does not comply with the laws of science and man. Which is to be expected because God created science and is above science. Being that with science everything has a beginning and an end it is scientifically impossible for science to explain a definite beginning. Because I can always ask "what was before that?"

No I think you are missing the point:

1)If Allah/God/Yahweh/Ahura Mazda/Odin/Mithras etc (from now on referred to as the big fella) were to interact in any way with the universe especially in a way that is a violation of physical laws it would be observable.

2)If such observations are made then the subject of big fellas existence becomes permissive of scientific inquiry.

3)Hence either:

a)The big fella doesnt interact with the universe = impotent observer.

b)The big fella interacts with the universe = scientifically observable.

c)The big fella doesnt exist at all.

and once again I refer you to:
http://home.xnet.com/~raydbias/meta08.htm
for a theoretical explanation of the origins of the singularity at the start of the big bang....


This message is a reply to:
 Message 11 by redstang281, posted 12-10-2001 9:54 PM redstang281 has not yet responded

redstang281
Inactive Member


Message 13 of 107 (561)
12-11-2001 8:47 AM


"1)If Allah/God/Yahweh/Ahura Mazda/Odin/Mithras etc (from now on referred to as the big fella) were to interact in any way with the universe especially in a way that is a violation of physical laws it would be observable. "

Not necessarily, God could make it so it was observed, or he could decide not to and cover it up. But it is likely that it would be misinterpreted or misunderstood by man. His power is limitless.

What's the highest number?


Replies to this message:
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 Message 15 by joz, posted 12-11-2001 10:09 AM redstang281 has responded

redstang281
Inactive Member


Message 14 of 107 (562)
12-11-2001 9:26 AM
Reply to: Message 13 by redstang281
12-11-2001 8:47 AM


I ask again. What was before the big bang? If lightning created life in the earth's oceans then how did the lightning get there? If life is just a continuous loop and continually regenerates itself then how did the loop get here? You can always go farther back until you reach the beginning, but how can science have a beginning? The only way is through super natural forces.

[This message has been edited by redstang281, 12-11-2001]


This message is a reply to:
 Message 13 by redstang281, posted 12-11-2001 8:47 AM redstang281 has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 16 by Mister Pamboli, posted 12-11-2001 10:11 AM redstang281 has responded
 Message 17 by joz, posted 12-11-2001 10:17 AM redstang281 has responded

joz
Inactive Member


Message 15 of 107 (563)
12-11-2001 10:09 AM
Reply to: Message 13 by redstang281
12-11-2001 8:47 AM


quote:
Originally posted by redstang281:
"1)If Allah/God/Yahweh/Ahura Mazda/Odin/Mithras etc (from now on referred to as the big fella) were to interact in any way with the universe especially in a way that is a violation of physical laws it would be observable. "

Not necessarily, God could make it so it was observed, or he could decide not to and cover it up. But it is likely that it would be misinterpreted or misunderstood by man. His power is limitless.

What's the highest number?


The only way he could cover it up in a way that was entirely unobservable would be to reverse the interaction entirely. If the big fella influences the universe in any way the effect of that interaction and therefore the interaction and the big fella are observable. Ergo if God interacts with the universe in a way which affects it in any way, i.e obliterating cities, turning people into pillars of salt,it IS observable...

Oh and the highest number is whatever anyone else can think of raised to its own power.....plus 1 (pointless as there is always a higher no. as the set of real no.s is a limitless set extended each time by plus 1)


This message is a reply to:
 Message 13 by redstang281, posted 12-11-2001 8:47 AM redstang281 has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 18 by redstang281, posted 12-11-2001 11:23 AM joz has responded

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