We've had this conversation before, on this very topic. Perhaps rather than traveling the same unproductive path as before we can exert ourselves toward an improved mutual understanding.
I think narrowing the topic would help. I suggest focusing on just JPs first point for now, the one about there being no evidence that life could originate from non-life through natural processes, the upshot being that without such evidence evolutionary theory is suspect.
Most evolutionists that get backed into a corner by someone with a really good scientific background end up going in the direction of naturalism.
Those with a "good scientific background" understand that science limits itself to the natural, ie, to that which is in some way apparent to the five senses. The evolutionist and the person with a "good scientific background" would have very similar views on the nature of science.
Even crude mathematical models can demonstrate (and can be field-tested) that any species wishing to evolve significantly (into another species) would require a time period of at least one quadrillion years, a body length of one or fewer centimeters, and a generation cycle of no more than three months.
I'd love to see the math for this.
The speciation rate during the cambrian explosion meant that a new species appeared EVERY COUPLE OF THOUSAND OF YEARS. Are you ready to argue that evolution can work at that kind of a pace?
Scientists are still arguing about the duration of the Cambrian explosion, so there's unlikely to be agreement about the rate of speciation. You're concerned that the successful mutation rate is incompatible with rapid speciation, so let's do a little math.
Let's say that each offspring possesses one new mutation, and that the breakdown is that 90% of mutations are harmful and the offspring dies (ie, produces no offspring of its own), 9.999999999999% are neutral, and .000000000001% are successful. In this model only one out of every trillion mutations is beneficial. How long will it take during the Cambrian to produce a successful mutation?
We have to make a few assumptions. Creatures of the Cambrian period we're relatively small, short-lived creatures, so we'll say they reproduce 5 times/year. Also, organisms of this type typically produce many offspring at a time, so let's call it 1000 each time they reproduce. And let's say that the population of this small organism is very large since it's fairly small, so the global population is a trillion. That's right, a trillion. The world's a big place, especially for tiny creatures.
So if five times a year these creatures produce a quadrillion offspring, then with a successful mutation rate of 1 out of a trillion we'd have 5000 successful mutations/year.
And that's just one species. There weren't as many species during the Cambrian as today, but there were still plenty, each one just mutating along.
Given this, a speciation rate as slow as one every couple thousand years seems kind of pedestrian. In fact, given that we've observed a number of speciation events just in this century alone, and given that the rate was probably higher in the Cambrian, the rate you've suggested may be too low by as much as several orders of magnitude.
John Paul writes: Lord Kelvin (also a Creationist)...
Lord Kelvin believed he had demonstrated through thermodynamic evidence that the earth was around 20 million years old. No matter what label you place on him, were he alive today I suspect you two would agree on very little.
[This message has been edited by Percipient, 05-28-2002]
Percy writes: No matter what label you place on him, were [Kelvin] alive today I suspect you two would agree on very little.
John Paul replies: Would you want to live in a world where everyone agreed on everything?
You're missing the point, which was that Kepler's views on key points, such as the age of the earth, are in dramatic contradiction to your own. If you're looking for someone to cite in support your position, he seems an odd choice.
xxx writes: What would call him? An anti-Darwinist (but not a Creationist)?
First, you can't equate modern Creationist views with those of scientists past (eg, Newton, Pasteur, Pascal, Mendell, Linne, Kepler) who merely accepted the then prevailing view of origins without being actual geologists (some in your list predated the field).
Second, this is the fallacy of appeal to authority.
Third, many of roughly Newton's time made more flexible Biblical interpretations then do YECs like yourself. They held the Biblical stories to be of actual events, but didn't believe them to be 100% accurate. The inflexible "literally inerrant" view only came about with the "Back to Fundamentals" movement of the early 20th century.
Fourth, we don't know what they would think if they had the evidence available to us today.