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Author Topic:   Evolution guided by god? Or a natural process?
Fosdick 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3673 days)
Posts: 1793
From: Upper Slobovia
Joined: 12-11-2006


Message 16 of 44 (499211)
02-17-2009 11:41 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by Rahvin
02-16-2009 7:46 PM


Clarification
Rahvin writes:

Evolution is driven by mutation and genetic drift guided by natural selection.


Let's give inge1990 something better than that for his assignment. Firstly, mutation and drift do not "drive" evolution as if there is a force behind them; they merely make more adaptive options possible when environmental conditions change. Secondly, you need to include gene flow and sexual selection on your list of things that add to a population's adaptability. Thirdly, natural selection does not "guide" anything; it is simply an occurrence of differential reproductive success among individuals of a population.


I can see Lower Slobovia from my house.
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Fosdick 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3673 days)
Posts: 1793
From: Upper Slobovia
Joined: 12-11-2006


Message 17 of 44 (499212)
02-17-2009 11:53 AM
Reply to: Message 15 by Modulous
02-17-2009 11:35 AM


Re: Darwin's creator
Modulous writes:

...All taken from the first edition.


Thanks for the Darwin lesson; you're very astute. And it should help inge1990, too, with his assignment. In fact, the quotes seem to be right on the mark in that regard. (If the Creator was important enough to be mentioned The Origin of Species, maybe He has something to do with evolution after all.)


I can see Lower Slobovia from my house.
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Replies to this message:
 Message 18 by Dr Adequate, posted 02-17-2009 12:11 PM Fosdick has responded

    
Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16097
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 18 of 44 (499214)
02-17-2009 12:11 PM
Reply to: Message 17 by Fosdick
02-17-2009 11:53 AM


Re: Darwin's creator
Thanks for the Darwin lesson; you're very astute. And it should help inge1990, too, with his assignment. In fact, the quotes seem to be right on the mark in that regard. (If the Creator was important enough to be mentioned The Origin of Species, maybe He has something to do with evolution after all.)

But Darwin's arguing the exact opposite of what Inge wishes to argue:

To my mind it accords better with what we know of the laws impressed on matter by the Creator, that the production and extinction of the past and present inhabitants of the world should have been due to secondary causes, like those determining the birth and death of the individual.

That is, he's suggesting that God would set up the laws of Nature such that evolution would work without the necessity for divine intervention.

Edited by Dr Adequate, : No reason given.


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 Message 17 by Fosdick, posted 02-17-2009 11:53 AM Fosdick has responded

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Rahvin
Member (Idle past 1360 days)
Posts: 3964
Joined: 07-01-2005


Message 19 of 44 (499215)
02-17-2009 12:18 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by RAZD
02-16-2009 10:48 PM


Re: LOL nothing like a little deja vu
Now consider the ones that are not contradicted by fact and evidence ...

In other words they are inherently bad speculations because you can't prove or disprove them, while the equally bare speculation that there are no gods is a good speculation that does not "run into problems" because it is not based on fact and evidence ...

A discussion on atheism would be off-topic for this thread, and further your representation of atheism (or at least the version of it that I categorize myself under) continues to be a strawman.

I gave arguments supportive of divine guidance of the evolutionary process, and simply pointed out counter-arguments becasue, for all I know, this assignment will involve debate, and it's typically best to anticipate your opponent's arguments ahead of time when possible. I said absolutely nothing about atheism - I only pointed out that speculation in the absence of evidence is indistinguishable from bare fantasy and imagination, and that arguments supporting divine guidance of evolution will face counter-arguments along those lines.

Perhaps we could try to keep discussions on whether atheism is rational to a thread where it's appropriate, rather than derailing this one?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 9 by RAZD, posted 02-16-2009 10:48 PM RAZD has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 23 by RAZD, posted 02-17-2009 11:49 PM Rahvin has responded

  
Huntard
Member (Idle past 468 days)
Posts: 2870
From: Limburg, The Netherlands
Joined: 09-02-2008


Message 20 of 44 (499216)
02-17-2009 12:42 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by inge1990
02-17-2009 6:49 AM


Inge writes:

Indeed, I am Dutch


Now how did I guess that? ;)

Thank you for all your reactions! It really helped me!
And I'm sure I will visit this forum more often, I am really interested in those things. (I noticed this during the last few weeks, when I was working on my assignment

Good, this is a very good place to learn about these things, and more.

I already had one "argument" which is maybe more or less related
to Rahvin's reply:

"It is argued that evolution would require some kind of guidance to guarantee that random variation combined with undirected selection would produce any particular creature. There are simply too many accidents involved without guidance." (I have this from another site)


Ok, you could say that. However, I see a bit of an error in it :).
You say "Too many accidents without guidance". The thing is, evolution IS guided, kinda. Natural selection ensures that all traits that are beneficial will be spread, while anything that is detrimental will die off fairly quickly. So, only the good traits survive making all the "accidents" irrelevant.

Another argument I have (maybe not directly related to guidance by god, but to faith/belief), is a question James and Clifford ever proposed:
“Must ALL your beliefs be dictated by the evidence you have and by nothing else?”

I've got a counter question to that one: "If one only accepts evidence, does one even have a belief?".

Further I also talk about some "gaps" in the Big Bang theory,

Would you mind telling of some, yes it will be off-topic, but a few posts won't matter, I guess. And I wouldn't want you to put false information in your report. I'm guessing it's for your school? Better have accurate information in it then.

the first organisms and the origin of DNA (to support creation by God).

While the arguments might still be valid as of yet, it is essentially playing the god of the gaps argument, and that hasn't worked very well in the past.

The evidence for the evolution theory (to support that evolution is true), but after that I want to convince people that
evolution should be guided by god (The only thing I still need to work on).

The problem you run into here (the most obvious one to me at least) is that you can NEVER show it has to be YOUR god that is doing the guiding. It could just as easily be another one.

The presentation and essay don't have to prove that the story of God is true, but it has to be persuasive, So I hope I am!

Well, unless the people you are holding it for are already convinced god exists, it might be a bit hard to persuade them it is indeed your god that is doing it all. An example. Do you think that if you told Muslims that it was indeed the Christian god (I'm assuming you are a Christian) that was guiding evolution, do you think they would accept it? Or try it the other way around, if a Muslim told you it was Allah guiding it, would you accept it?

My point here? That one needs a predisposition of already believing in the particular god that the case is being made for to accept it is indeed that god that is guiding it all.

By the way ... I will go to a lecture from Cees Dekker (see wikipedia for information about him ), and if he has some interesting things to say (I'm sure about that) I will definitely
let you know! (if I get his permission)

Sounds interesting, from what I've seen of him, he knows a lot about all this stuff. However, I don't think he can give you any tips on how to convince people that god is behind evolution (I could be wrong though, I don't know him personally) since, from what I've seen, his position is something like: "I simply believe god is behind it, because I don't see any other way it could be". Which is fine, but I don't think you're going to convince anyone that doesn't already believe in your god that that is indeed what is happening.

Long story short: If one doesn't believe in a particular god, one is not easily convinced it is that god that is behind anything at all.

Oh, and Fosdick, I think Inge is a she, not a him. (going by the name here, correct me if I'm wrong)


I hunt for the truth
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Rahvin
Member (Idle past 1360 days)
Posts: 3964
Joined: 07-01-2005


Message 21 of 44 (499221)
02-17-2009 12:58 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by inge1990
02-17-2009 6:49 AM


Thank you for all your reactions! It really helped me!

Good!

I already had one "argument" which is maybe more or less related
to Rahvin's reply:

"It is argued that evolution would require some kind of guidance to guarantee that random variation combined with undirected selection would produce any particular creature. There are simply too many accidents involved without guidance." (I have this from another site)

This is a rather classic Intelligent Design argument. However, it is flawed.

Take the example of a poker hand dealt from a deck of cards. A series of cards are dealt in a specific order. If you look at the chances of each individual card being delat, and then at the chances of those specific cards being dealt in that specific order, the probability of getting the exact hand you were dealt in the same order is extremely remote.

Does this imply guidance? Of course not - some result was going to happen, and all] of the possible results would be equally improbable given those same circumstances.

Evolution is similar, but it's also far less random than dealing cards. The process of mutation has a random component, but it's still confined by chemistry, and more importantly is guided by natural selection. Organisms that survive well will continue to reproduce, while those that do not survive well will not.

But your argument also assumes as an axiom that there is a "goal" behind evolution, which is only valid if an intelligence is behind it. But there is no goal driving evolution - the variation of species is the inevitable result of imperfect replication and limited resources. Advantageous changes are replicated more often than disadvantageous changes. To marvel at the likelihood of evolving a specific species makes the mistake of assuming that there was an intent for that species to exist. It's identical to considering the likelihood of receiving your specific poker hand, in order - you presuppose an intent that does not exist to account for an unlikely result.

Another argument I have (maybe not directly related to guidance by god, but to faith/belief), is a question James and Clifford ever proposed:
“Must ALL your beliefs be dictated by the evidence you have and by nothing else?”

That's a more personal question. My answer would be that I require evidence to support any active belief, but that all of my beliefs are tentative pending additional information. I tend to avoid making absolute statements for this reason. For example, I have no evidence that there is or is not an intangible and invisible fairy sitting on my desk. Because the likelihood of the fairy existing is identical to the likelihood of all other speculations I could possibly make and I have no reason to believe that teh fairy exists, I simply do not believe. This is slightly different from saying that I believe that the fairy does not exist - that implies knowledge or certainty that the fairy does not exist, and I have no evidence to base such a claim on. Instead I simply lack belief in the fairy until evidence supporting its existence is found. If asked whether there is an invisible, intangible fairy on my desk, I would be forced to answer "probably not." If asked whether it was possible that an invisible, intangible fairy is on my desk, I would have to respond that I lack sufficient information to disprove the fairy.

Others disagree, and base their beliefs on subjective things like faith and personal feelings.

Further I also talk about some "gaps" in the Big Bang theory,
the first organisms and the origin of DNA (to support creation by God). The evidence for the evolution theory (to support that evolution is true), but after that I want to convince people that
evolution should be guided by god (The only thing I still need to work on). The presentation and essay don't have to prove that the story of God is true, but it has to be persuasive, So I hope I am!

You may want to rethink this. The Big Bang Theory involves the earliest moments of the Unvierse and its continued expansion; it has literally nothing to do with the origin of life, or DNA, or evolution. One could compeltely prove or disprove Big Bang Theory and still retain or discard any number of hypotheses regarding the origin and variation of life independantly. Cosmology is separate from biology.

It looks like you'll want to talk about the "gaps" in abiogenesis, which is the hypothesis that life arose from nonliving matter. Fortunately for you, this is much easier. While science has been "closing gaps" relating to abiogenesis over the past decades, it's still an incomplete hypothesis that has only demonstrated a degree of plausibility and a few potential pathways for nonliving matter to arrange itself into imperfectly self-replicating molecules that could eventually form the most basic proto-cells. Just remember that the "god of the gaps" argument tends to win battles but lose wars.


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Fosdick 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3673 days)
Posts: 1793
From: Upper Slobovia
Joined: 12-11-2006


Message 22 of 44 (499223)
02-17-2009 1:23 PM
Reply to: Message 18 by Dr Adequate
02-17-2009 12:11 PM


Re: Darwin's creator
Dr Adequate writes:

...That is, he's suggesting that God would set up the laws of Nature such that evolution would work without the necessity for divine intervention.


Yes, I see your point. But maybe Darwin meant that the Creator also created the automatic button on the evolution machine.


I can see Lower Slobovia from my house.
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RAZD
Member
Posts: 19890
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 5.5


Message 23 of 44 (499277)
02-17-2009 11:49 PM
Reply to: Message 19 by Rahvin
02-17-2009 12:18 PM


Re: LOL nothing like a little deja vu
I gave arguments supportive of divine guidance of the evolutionary process, and simply pointed out counter-arguments becasue, for all I know, this assignment will involve debate,

But no pro arguments. Thanks. Curiously the Deist position on the topic would be that evolution would indeed be a natural process, and not one guided by god/s.

This is a point to make so that our young student isn't caught blindsided by the claim that it is an either or proposition.

Enjoy.


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


• • • Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click) • • •

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Replies to this message:
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Rahvin
Member (Idle past 1360 days)
Posts: 3964
Joined: 07-01-2005


Message 24 of 44 (499279)
02-18-2009 12:54 AM
Reply to: Message 23 by RAZD
02-17-2009 11:49 PM


Re: LOL nothing like a little deja vu
But no pro arguments. Thanks.

I did give pro arguments, RAZD. I simply also noted their likely counters.

Curiously the Deist position on the topic would be that evolution would indeed be a natural process, and not one guided by god/s.

This is a point to make so that our young student isn't caught blindsided by the claim that it is an either or proposition.

And I even gave that specific argument as well:

quote:
A better argument might be that, if a deity Created the Universe, that deity defined the behaviors and properties of the Universe (which we try to describe through scientific laws and theories) in such a way that evolution would happen - a sort of divine clockmaker who designed the process of evolution itself rather than designing organisms directly. This bypasses the "poor design" counter. Because all action on the deity's part would occur at the creation of the Universe, no evidence of his direct hand in events would be found.

Did you actually read my posts, or are you just carrying frustration from an unrelated thread?


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RAZD
Member
Posts: 19890
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 5.5


Message 25 of 44 (499300)
02-18-2009 8:11 AM
Reply to: Message 24 by Rahvin
02-18-2009 12:54 AM


Re: LOL nothing like a little deja vu again
Did you actually read my posts, or are you just carrying frustration from an unrelated thread?

Yes, and I don't see you saying "This is a point to make so that our young student isn't caught blindsided by the claim that it is an either or proposition."

I did give pro arguments, RAZD. I simply also noted their likely counters.

You stated the argument with **one** rather small pro: "This bypasses the "poor design" counter" - and then went on for a full and much longer paragraph on why you think it is a BAD argument. So yeah, it was deja vu all over again.

So I am disappointed.

There are many theistic arguments, and the common element of all of them is that there is no conflict between evolution being a natural process that is part of the god plan.

We can also talk about how this position cannot be invalidated, and how invalidation is important to science, but is not able to deal with concepts outside science, concepts that are part of philosophy and faith where there is no (and not likely to be) evidence pro or con, so that acceptance of such ideas is more based on world view than on logic and reason.

We can talk about how making an ad lapidem comparison to such belief with as silly a reductio ad absurdum concept as can dreamed up ad hoc is also a logical fallacy:

1. Your belief is like this argument
2. This argument is silly\ridiculous\delusional
∴ therefore your argument is silly\ridiculous\delusional

All A is B, B, ∴ A

All you have shown is that you can make up a silly\ridiculous\delusional argument, not that you can deal with the belief.

Take Stragglers intermediate example:

quote:
The proposal that alien life of some sort is likely to exist somewhere in the universe, I think most would agree is a rational conclusion that is both itself strictly unevidenced but which also contradicts no known evidence (I don't want to drag this thread down the "aliens exist" route however so let's not get too caught up in the specifics)

Thus arguments\claims that are "unevidenced but which also contradicts no known evidence" are not necessarily silly\ridiculous\delusional, and such theistic refutation arguments as you presented are not valid.

Enjoy.

Edited by RAZD, : clarity


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


• • • Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click) • • •

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JaysonD
Junior Member (Idle past 3688 days)
Posts: 12
Joined: 02-26-2009


Message 26 of 44 (499349)
02-18-2009 12:07 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by Dr Adequate
02-16-2009 7:39 PM


By analogy, if I write a computer program to perform some calculation, I don't write it so that every now and then I have to stop the program and rewrite the code in order to get it to do what I want. I'd be a pretty lame programmer if I did. Instead I write it so that I press the start button and the program does the rest.

I have to disagree here. You'd be an pretty extaordinary programmer if you only wrote programs which never needed any fixes or updates. And along the same lines this arguement:

The history of evolution is littered with failures and dead-ends. We can point to species that didn't make it ... and genera ... and families ... and orders ... and classes ... and phyla. At the lowest level, we see lots of failed mutations that will never make it: mutations that lead to death or severe handicap or sterility. Does this look like the product of a perfect, all-knowing God, or of the hit-and-miss processes described by the theory of evolution?

fails in that it assumes god is either perfect and all-knowing or non-existant. If we assume that a god exists, I think the evidance is pretty ample for imperfection.

That being said, I'd say the only arguement possible for guided evolution is "I have faith it is so, and you can't disprove faith"


This message is a reply to:
 Message 4 by Dr Adequate, posted 02-16-2009 7:39 PM Dr Adequate has responded

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New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 27 of 44 (499367)
02-18-2009 12:54 PM
Reply to: Message 26 by JaysonD
02-18-2009 12:07 PM


That being said, I'd say the only arguement possible for guided evolution is "I have faith it is so, and you can't disprove faith"

That's not the only one, I can think of another. You could argue that some feature or characteristic could not have arrisen naturally and that it would have require some guidance to emerge.


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Replies to this message:
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 Message 31 by JaysonD, posted 02-18-2009 2:36 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

  
Theodoric
Member
Posts: 6318
From: Northwest, WI, USA
Joined: 08-15-2005
Member Rating: 3.3


Message 28 of 44 (499373)
02-18-2009 1:05 PM
Reply to: Message 27 by New Cat's Eye
02-18-2009 12:54 PM


You could argue that some feature or characteristic could not have arrisen naturally and that it would have require some guidance to emerge.

In order to use that argument you would have to show that something could not have arisen naturally.


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 Message 27 by New Cat's Eye, posted 02-18-2009 12:54 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

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New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 29 of 44 (499386)
02-18-2009 1:44 PM
Reply to: Message 28 by Theodoric
02-18-2009 1:05 PM


You could argue that some feature or characteristic could not have arrisen naturally and that it would have require some guidance to emerge.

In order to use that argument you would have to show that something could not have arisen naturally.

Yes, yes you would.

But it remains as an argument that is not "I have faith it is so, and you can't disprove faith", so that is not the only argument possible for guided evolution.


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Theodoric
Member
Posts: 6318
From: Northwest, WI, USA
Joined: 08-15-2005
Member Rating: 3.3


Message 30 of 44 (499395)
02-18-2009 1:54 PM
Reply to: Message 29 by New Cat's Eye
02-18-2009 1:44 PM


My point was
it is not possible to show that something could not have arisen naturally.
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