Scrogues Gallery

A contemplation of Natural Selection: Charles Darwin at 200

Darwin“It has no escaped our notice that the specific pairing we have postulated immediately suggests a possible copying mechanism for the genetic material.”

The words are those of Francis Crick and James Watson who, in their seminal 1953 Nature paper, correctly identified the structure of DNA and placed it at the centre of genetically inherited characteristics.

In “On the Origin of Species” published almost 100 years before, in 1859, Charles Darwin had first expounded his theories of natural selection. On February 12, it will be 200 years since the birth of possibly one of the greatest scientists of all time.

Darwin was well-aware that his theories would challenge the prevailing views about man’s place in the scheme of things. It took him more than 20 years before he could, eventually, be persuaded to put his work together and publish. Then it unleashed the storm he had been expecting.

As many more individuals of each species are born than can possibly survive; and as, consequently, there is a frequently recurring struggle for existence, it follows that any being, if it vary however slightly in any manner profitable to itself, under the complex and sometimes varying conditions of life, will have a better chance of surviving, and thus be naturally selected. From the strong principle of inheritance, any selected variety will tend to propagate its new and modified form

Gravity, special relativity, quantum theory, thermodynamics … all of these scientific theories are intimately bound with specific people. All have changed the world out of all imagining. Yet only Darwin has challenged the fundamental way in which we view ourselves as human beings.

150 years on from the publication of “On the Origin of Species” – 200 years since Darwin’s birth – natural selection is still controversial. Scientifically, it is now beyond doubt that Darwin was correct. All the building blocks that are required to reinforce his original hypothesis are now in place: continental drift explains how creatures that were once identical were physically separated and continued their evolution independently, DNA shows how the trick is done, and DNA itself has allowed accurate time-frames to be developed to match observation and physical research.

Yet that is not sufficient for many. Arguing that it is a theory, many religious people declare that it doesn’t need to be taken seriously.

Owing to this struggle for life, any variation, however slight and from whatever cause proceeding, if it be in any degree profitable to an individual of any species, in its infinitely complex relations to other organic beings and to external nature, will tend to the preservation of that individual, and will generally be inherited by its offspring…. I have called this principle, by which each slight variation, if useful, is preserved, by the term of Natural Selection, in order to mark its relation to man’s power of selection

Well, gravity is a theory too. Worse, gravity requires a graviton to exist before the theory will be considered proved and the graviton has yet to be found. In fact, few of the supporting sub-atomic particles in the standard model have been found. We’re still out on the Higg’s Bosun which is required to prove mass.

Natural selection, and its basis in evolutionary theory, are infinitely more tangible.

But how, it may be asked, can any analogous principle apply in nature? I believe it can and does apply most efficiently, from the simple circumstance that the more diversified the descendants from any one species become in structure, constitution, and habits, by so much will they be better enabled to seize on many and widely diversified places in the polity of nature, and so be enabled to increase in numbers

What Darwin taught us is sometimes counter-intuitive. That life-forms spread out to take advantage of every available niche that can support life. We find living things in undersea volcanic vents; in sulphurous pools, in the coldest and hottest environments, in the driest and most remote areas.

“Fittest” does not always mean the most admirable creatures survive. “Fittest” means relative to the environment in which the life-forms find themselves. If the entire planet became suddenly dry, then creatures that once survived only at the fringes of life would suddenly be fittest.

And, suddenly, human beings are not at the centre of creation. We have become successful under circumstances that are random. Individuals continue to become successful at random even within the broad expanse of humanity.

For many, it is intolerable that there is no higher judge of order than random distribution, heritable characteristics and environmental chance. Even the non-religious find much that is uncomfortable and antagonising in the theory of natural selection.

Much of modern political theory is an attempt to get away from the battle of natural selection. Economics is a study of the adaptation of markets, individual- and collective behaviour to scarcity. Nothing is so “natural” as business and economic cycles where the strongest, and the lucky, survive.

What Darwin has taught us is that survival goes to those most determined and capable of adaptation; not the most moral, or the most noble, or the most deserving.

During this most tumultuous of historical moments, Darwin still has much to teach us. For those who would listen.

Categories: Scrogues Gallery

34 replies »

  1. Scientifically, it is now beyond doubt that Darwin was correct.

    This statement you put forth is hardly true. Notice this quote from the Watchtower.

    Is Evolution the Intellectual Choice?
    From its beginning, notes the book Milestones of History, the evolution theory “appealed to many people because it seemed more truly scientific than the theory of special creations.”
    Moreover, the dogmatic statements of some evolutionists can be intimidating. For example, scientist H. S. Shelton asserts that the concept of special creation is “too foolish for serious consideration.” Biologist Richard Dawkins bluntly states: “If you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid or insane.” Similarly, Professor René Dubos says: “Most enlightened persons now accept as a fact that everything in the cosmos—from heavenly bodies to human beings—has developed and continues to develop through evolutionary processes.”
    From these statements it would seem that anyone with a measure of intelligence would readily accept evolution. After all, to do so would mean that one is “enlightened” rather than “stupid.” Yet, there are highly educated men and women who do not advocate the theory of evolution. “I found many scientists with private doubts,” writes Francis Hitching in his book The Neck of the Giraffe, “and a handful who went so far as to say that Darwinian evolutionary theory had turned out not to be a scientific theory at all.”
    Chandra Wickramasinghe, a highly acclaimed British scientist, takes a similar position. “There’s no evidence for any of the basic tenets of Darwinian evolution,” he says. “It was a social force that took over the world in 1860, and I think it has been a disaster for science ever since.”
    T. H. Janabi investigated the arguments put forth by evolutionists. “I found that the situation is quite different from that which we are led to believe,” he says. “The evidence is too scarce and too fragmented to support such a complex theory as that of the origin of life.”
    Thus, those who object to the evolution theory should not simply be brushed aside as “ignorant, stupid or insane.” Regarding opinions that challenge evolution, even the staunch evolutionist George Gaylord Simpson had to admit: “It would certainly be a mistake merely to dismiss these views with a smile or to ridicule them. Their proponents were (and are) profound and able students.”
    A Matter of Faith
    Some think that belief in evolution is based upon fact, while belief in creation is based upon faith. It is true that no man has seen God. (John 1:18; compare 2 Corinthians 5:7.) Yet, the theory of evolution holds no advantage in this regard, since it is founded upon events that no humans have ever witnessed or duplicated.
    For example, scientists have never observed mutations—even beneficial ones—that produce new life-forms; yet they are sure that this is precisely how new species arrived. They have not witnessed the spontaneous generation of life; yet they insist that this is how life began.
    Such lack of evidence causes T. H. Janabi to call the evolution theory “a mere ‘faith.’” Physicist Fred Hoyle calls it “the Gospel according to Darwin.” Dr. Evan Shute takes it further. “I suspect that the creationist has less mystery to explain away than the wholehearted evolutionist,” he says.
    Other experts agree. “When I contemplate the nature of man,” admits astronomer Robert Jastrow, “the emergence of this extraordinary being out of chemicals dissolved in a pool of warm water seems as much a miracle as the Biblical account of his origin.”

  2. Dennis, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Your God gave you a brain. I assume it’s still working. Use it. Explain to me how quoting a bunch of “smart people” makes an argument against evolution. I’ve seen a couple of talks over the years that sound exactly like your post and I always walk away from them shaking my head. You used a lot of words and wasted a lot of electrons saying absolutely nothing. Give me the specific details about evolution with which you find fault. We’ll go from there.

    In the mean time, should you ever find yourself in need of any drug developed in the last 60 years, please try to remember how that drug was tested and approved for use in humans.

    As for your last quote, I fully agree. The emergence of life out of a bunch of chemicals is, indeed, miraculous. But not necessarily surprising. To me, a God who had the foresight to generate everything around us based on a few relatively simple rules is far more miraculous than a god who decided to wing it and work backwards. What could be more perfect than a God who could flip a switch and walk away, knowing everything is exactly as it should be?

  3. Sorry, I have not returned here in a while. You may not appreciate the reference to “smart men” in my post, but, I think it would have been refreshing if the writer of this article would have quoted a few smart men and at least attempted to prove his theory. Anyone can say this is true, or that is true, but that does not make it any truer than someone trying to prove their point by insulting people.

    Explain to me UberTramp, how writing an article on evolution without any proof at all, proves evolution? You say, quote, “To me, a God who had the foresight to generate everything around us based on a few relatively simple rules…” Pleas tell me what “relatively simple rules” you are talking about? Science has not duplicated, or for that matter, even throughly agreed how life spring from nothing, using your relatively simple rules.

  4. Consider the structural units of DNA, (that the above article refers to) which bears the genetic code. Five histones are involved in DNA (histones are thought to be involved in governing the activity of genes). The chance of forming even the simplest of these histones is said to be one in 20100—a huge number “larger than the total of all the atoms in all the stars and galaxies visible in the largest astronomical telescopes.”(Evolution From Space, p. 27)

    Yet greater difficulties for evolutionary theory involve the origin of the complete genetic code—a requirement for cell reproduction. The old puzzle of ‘the chicken or the egg’ rears its head relative to proteins and DNA. Hitching says: “Proteins depend on DNA for their formation. But DNA cannot form without pre-existing protein.” (The Neck of the Giraffe, p. 66)

    This leaves the paradox Dickerson raises: “Which came first,” the protein or the DNA? He asserts: “The answer must be, ‘They developed in parallel.’”(Scientific American, September 1978, p. 73) In effect, he is saying that ‘the chicken’ and ‘the egg’ must have evolved simultaneously, neither one coming from the other. Does this strike you as reasonable?

    A science writer sums it up: “The origin of the genetic code poses a massive chicken-and-egg problem that remains, at present, completely scrambled.” (The Sciences, “The Creationist Revival,” by Joel Gurin, April 1981, p. 17).

    Chemist Dickerson also made this interesting comment: “The evolution of the genetic machinery is the step for which there are no laboratory models; hence one can speculate endlessly, unfettered by inconvenient facts.” (Scientific American, September 1978, p. 85)

    But is it good scientific procedure to brush aside the avalanches of “inconvenient facts” so easily? Leslie Orgel calls the existence of the genetic code “the most baffling aspect of the problem of the origins of life.” (New Scientist, April 15, 1982, p. 151).

    And Francis Crick concluded: “In spite of the genetic code being almost universal, the mechanism necessary to embody it is far too complex to have arisen in one blow.” (Life Itself, Its Origin and Nature, by Francis Crick, 1981, p. 71, Ibid., p. 130).

    Evolutionary theory attempts to eliminate the need for the impossible to be accomplished “in one blow” by espousing a step-by-step process by which natural selection could do its work gradually. However, without the genetic code to begin reproduction, there can be no material for natural selection to select. (quoted from the book, “Life-How did it get here? By evolution or by creation?)

    • Wow, your information is WAY out of date, Dennis. At the moment, it looks far more likely that RNA developed before either proteins or DNA. RNA is capable of replication and can duplicate some of the effects of primitive proteins, so there’s no chicken/egg problem with RNA. And so if RNA existed first, then it enables the creation of DNA.

  5. I appreciate your comments Brain, I am not a scientist by any means, nor do I keep up on all the latest year to year findings. However I do know how to do research and keep myself updated when it is required.
    You say, quote, “RNA developed before either proteins or DNA…”? Could you be kind enough to refer me to a scientific source where I might study some finding on this. Thank you.

    In the mean time consider what I did find that seems to contradict what you say to some extent. The following is just a partial quote from the middle of an article I was reading.

    “However, since the blueprint for building a protein is stored in the nucleus of the cell and the actual site for building proteins is outside the nucleus, help is needed to get the coded blueprint from the nucleus to the “building site.” RNA (ribonucleic acid) molecules provide this help. RNA molecules are chemically similar to those of DNA, and several forms of RNA are needed to do the job. Take a closer look at these extremely complex processes for making our vital proteins with the help of RNA.
    Work starts in the cell’s nucleus, where a section of the DNA ladder unzips. This allows RNA letters to link to the exposed DNA letters of one of the DNA strands. An enzyme moves along the RNA letters to join them into a strand. Thus DNA letters are transcribed into RNA letters, forming what you might call a DNA dialect. The newly formed chain of RNA peels away, and the DNA ladder zips up again.
    After further modification, this particular type of message-carrying RNA is ready. It moves out of the nucleus and heads for the protein-production site, where the RNA letters are decoded. Each set of three RNA letters forms a “word” that calls for one specific amino acid. Another form of RNA looks for that amino acid, grabs it with the help of an enzyme, and tows it to the “construction site.” As the RNA sentence is being read and translated, a growing chain of amino acids is produced. This chain curls and folds into a unique shape, leading to one kind of protein. And there may well be over 50,000 kinds in our body”.

    The article concludes by saying: “What is the point? While other factors too numerous to mention are involved, the teamwork needed to produce and maintain life is awe-inspiring. And the term “teamwork” hardly describes the precise interaction required to produce a protein molecule, since a protein needs information from DNA molecules, and DNA needs several forms of specialized RNA molecules. Nor can we ignore the various enzymes, each performing a distinct and vital role. As our body makes new cells, which happens billions of times a day and without our conscious guidance, it requires copies of all three components—DNA, RNA, and protein. You can see why the magazine New Scientist comments: “Take away any one of the three and life grinds to a halt.” Or take this a step further. Without a complete and functioning team, life could not have come about.
    Is it reasonable that each of those three molecular team players arose spontaneously at the same time, in the same place, and so precisely tuned that they could combine to work their wonders?

    So, in what I have found so far, RNA does not create anything by itself, but comes from DNA, and is a transporter of components of DNA, to manufacture proteins.

  6. I did manage to find one article, so far, that seems to refer to what you are talking about Brain. This is what it says:

    From “the RNA World” or Another World?
    In view of the DNA-RNA-protein team impasse, some researchers have offered “the RNA world” theory. What is that? Instead of asserting that DNA, RNA, and proteins originated simultaneously to produce life, they say that RNA by itself was the first spark of life. Is this theory sound?
    In the 1980’s, researchers discovered in their laboratory that RNA molecules could act as their own enzymes by snipping themselves in two and splicing themselves back together. So it was speculated that RNA might have been the first self-replicating molecule. It is theorized that in time, these RNA molecules learned to form cell membranes and that finally, the RNA organism gave rise to DNA. “The apostles of the RNA world,” writes Phil Cohen in New Scientist, “believe that their theory should be taken, if not as gospel, then as the nearest thing to truth.”
    Not all scientists, though, accept this scenario. Skeptics, observes Cohen, “argued that it was too great a leap from showing that two RNA molecules partook in a bit of self mutilation in a test tube, to claiming that RNA was capable of running a cell single-handed and triggering the emergence of life on Earth.”
    There are other problems as well. Biologist Carl Woese holds that “the RNA world theory . . . is fatally flawed because it fails to explain where the energy came from to fuel the production of the first RNA molecules.” And researchers have never located a piece of RNA that can replicate itself from scratch. There is also the issue of where RNA came from in the first place. Though “the RNA world” theory appears in many textbooks, most of it, says researcher Gary Olsen, “is speculative optimism.”

    • First, the articles I’ve read on RNA were in Scientific American and/or Discover magazines. Don’t recall at the moment which one, though.

      Second, energy is all around us, and we’ve proven that there are a number of ways that organic molecules can form without the existence of life. Electricity can do it, heat can do it, electromagnetic radiation can do it. There have been some hypotheses that life didn’t pop up in hot areas at all, in fact, but that it could have evolved in ice first. As water freezes, impurities get concentrated in briny pockets and because the concentration is so much higher, the pockets are pretty much guaranteed to produce organic molecules. Remember that there was plenty of time for life to evolve, and chemical reactions happen all the time without the need for much external energy – just so long as you have time to wait for the reaction to finish.

      Life popped up 3.5 billion years ago, but that was 300 million years after the Earth was literally unlivable due to cometary and asteroid impacts. In the last 300 million years, dinosaurs evolved and went extinct, mammals evolved, flowering trees evolved from ferns and related plants, and so on.

      So there’s a number of hypotheses for the origin of life, some which required lots of energy, some which didn’t, some which were based on heat, some on cold. I don’t presently see how we’ll know which option is correct, but if they’re all possible, then perhaps they all are correct to some greater or lesser extent.

      My biggest problem with your perspective on this, Dennis, is that it says “we don’t understand it today, so God must have been responsible.” Maybe. But just because we don’t understand it today doesn’t mean we won’t understand it tomorrow. And if we stop looking for those answers, then we’re not much better than the Greeks who ascribed lightning to the wrath of Zeus.

  7. NO, I do not feel that because we don’t understand it today, God must have been responsible. But many that believe in evolution say, in effect, we can’t prove evolution but never the less, some how it had to have evolved. They reject the evidence for creation simply because they do not want to believe in a God. My perspective, is that one should consider the evidence both for and against evolution, and accept what the bulk of the evidence seems to indicate. And, many evolutionists and scientists do lean towards a creator, they are not all evolutionists.

    My point in commenting on this above quoted article was that the author makes the claim that evolution is now scienticly provable beyond doubt, and that is just not true. Evolutionist write article like this and people read them, and without any follow through research, just think “well, their scientists so they must be right”, when in fact much of what is put forth as fact is on theory.

    You write, quote: ” Second, energy is all around us, and we’ve proven that there are a number of ways that organic molecules can form without the existence of life. Electricity can do it, heat can do it, electromagnetic radiation can do it. There have been some hypotheses that life didn’t pop up in hot areas at all, in fact, but that it could have evolved in ice first. As water freezes, impurities get concentrated in briny pockets and because the concentration is so much higher, the pockets are pretty much guaranteed to produce organic molecules”.

    This is a good example of things that evolutionists say all the time, BUT, in fact all of it is just theory. Where did the water come from that freezes? And water is not just a simple compound.
    . In fact, Dr. John Emsley, a science writer at Imperial College, in London, England, said that it is “one of the most investigated of all chemicals, but it is still the least understood.” New Scientist magazine stated: “Water is the most familiar liquid on Earth, but also one of the most mysterious.”
    Dr. Emsley explained that despite the simple structure of water, “nothing is as complex in its behaviour.” For example, he said: “H20 should be a gas, . . . but it is a liquid. Moreover, when it freezes . . . , its solid form, ice, floats instead of sinking,” as would ordinarily be expected. Regarding this unusual behavior, Dr. Paul E. Klopsteg, a past president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, observed:
    “This appears as a remarkable design for sustaining aquatic life such as fishes. Think what would happen if water, as it cools to the freezing point, didn’t behave as described. Ice would form and keep forming until it occupied an entire lake, snuffing out all or most marine life.” Dr. Klopsteg said that this unexpected behavior of water is “evidence of a great and purposeful mind at work in the universe.”
    According to New Scientist, researchers now think that they know the reason for this unusual behavior of water. They have developed the first theoretical model that accurately predicts the expansion of water. “The key to the mystery,” the researchers realized, “lay in the spacing of oxygen atoms within these structures.”
    Isn’t that remarkable? A molecule that appears so simple challenges human comprehension. And to think that water makes up most of the weight of our body! Do you too see in the marvels of this molecule, of only three atoms of two elements, “evidence of a great and purposeful mind at work”? Yet, a molecule of water is extremely small and much less complex than many other molecules”.

    So, my point is, one should not ignore the evidence for creation either. However, even if we have a creator, does that meant that He does not want us to continue to grow in our understanding of things? Man will always continue to grow and progress, and as an example, how many inventions do we have today because of mans study of the wisdom inherit in creation?

    • Evolution has been proven beyond any reasonable doubt. Complex species have been observed to change rapidly in response to environmental pressures (food, predation, radiation, loss of habitat) as predicted via natural selection. Human genes have been proven to vary in time as they’re exposed to differing environments (sickle-cell in Africa, lactose-tolerance in northern Europe). Our ancestors created new species in the process of developing agriculture. Bacterial responses to antibiotics is evolution in real-time. And thus far everything you’ve quoted as “evidence” for creation is simply a hole in the scientific knowledge, nothing more.

      Saying “water is perfect for the creation of life” is nothing more than a restatement of the anthropic principle – the universe must exist as it does because if it was much different than it is, then we wouldn’t be here to observe it. So what? Again, just because we can’t know why the fundamental relations in the universe are the way they are doesn’t mean that it was created – it could have been, but it could have been pure luck. As Ubertramp pointed out, we can’t know what happened before the Big Bang.

  8. Dennis, the “simple rules” I was referring to were things like the speed of light, the gravitational constant (big G not little g), strong and weak forces. All the fun stuff big and small world theoretical physicists like to argue about. I’m also a huge fan of complexity theory. You’d be amazed with what kinds of complex behaviors fall out of very simple rules.

    I’m not say we understand everything about what’s going on. I’m a scientist myself. An engineer by training and an radiation immunologist by trade. I’d be lying if I said I completely understood even the most basic of in vivo immune responses. But that doesn’t mean I’m completely clueless about what’s going on and can’t make any “educated guesses.”

    Your questions about RNA and DNA are perfectly legit (you wouldn’t happen to have recently seen Ben Stein’s Expelled movie, would you?). If you would have started with that, I would have had far less of an issue with what you were saying. Asking questions is perfectly reasonable. It’s what I do every day. But when the answer becomes ‘because God said so,’ regardless of what we know we can test, then the argument, and therefore understanding, completely stalls.

    “Because God said so,” leaves the realm of science and becomes religion and/or philosophy. You’re way off in Descartes land. And even he was asking questions like “what do we really KNOW anyway?” I LIKE Descartes. He basically dreamed up The Matrix hundreds of years ago and we still haven’t figured it out. But that’s a different issue.

    The only way I can see your original post having any real legitimacy is if you were a physicist trying to figure out what happened “before” the Big Bang. For all we know, God really DID flip a switch and quoting smart people is just as legit as quoting Genesis. I don’ t think you’d get much argument from anyone on that. We just don’t know.

  9. Dennis, I have to ask. What IS the evidence FOR creationism. So far, your argument is exactly as Brian described. We don’t understand every single detail, therefore God did it.

    • OK, given the fact that astrophysicists are proposing infinitely cycling universes via brane collisions and other interesting ideas, I’ll give you that perhaps “can’t” was a bit too strong. How about “just shy of impossible at this time to imagine how we’d figure out what existed pre-Big Bang with any level of scientific certainty?”

  10. Nope. We can imagine anything. Even that God did it. 🙂 I’ll settle for “don’t really know,” though. Hehehe.

    Besides, you can’t really have a “pre-Big Bang.” Before the Big Bang, Time as we know it did not exist. You’d have to invent a new term…like “meta-time”. Within which Time, like Winnie the Pooh, just is. Hahaha.

  11. Ubertramp-Dennis, I have to ask. What IS the evidence FOR creationism. So far, your argument is exactly as Brian described. We don’t understand every single detail, therefore God did it.

    If you go back and read the first paragraph of my last post you will see That that is not what I said is it?

    Ubertramp you ask:” What IS the evidence FOR creationism.”

    If either of you would seriously like to consider why some scientists consider creation being just as plausible as evolution, I would be happy to send you a small book, that may, or may not give you some food for thought. I say “may not”, because not everyone has an open mind, being willing to at least consider evidence to the contrary of what they believe.

    Anyway, my e-mail is dwmnow@msn.com, send me an address where I can ship the book and I will. Thanks, Dennis

  12. Dennis, my request for evidence was a direct response to your first paragraph. You said, “My perspective, is that one should consider the evidence both for and against evolution, and accept what the bulk of the evidence seems to indicate.” I simply asked that you provide “evidence against evolution.” So far, the examples you’ve given are, as Brian said, holes in our understanding. In contrast, Brian listed a whole series of evidence FOR evolution. In my first response to you, I suggested you consider the ramification of using animal models to test drugs for use in humans. That opens up another pathway to understanding evolution.

    Don’t send me a book. A simple title would do. I can almost guarantee it’ll be in our library. Even if it isn’t, a book like that would have space on the web like any other idea out there. I could also send you a list of a hundred text books that cover everything from physics to biochemistry to neurophysiology. But I doubt it would get us any where.

    How about we try this. Open that book you offered to send me. Pick one chapter. And outline one particular item that you consider “evidence against evolution.” Just one idea. We’ll go from there.

  13. Here is a web address you can go to: http://www.watchtower.org/e/20040622/article_03.htm

    The name of the book is, “Is their a creator that cares for you”, published by Jehovah’s witnesses.

    As I said above, I am not a scientist, did not even go to collage, so to talk to you about many of the things you mentioned I would have to do a lot of research. At my age I am not inclined to do that, as I am as set in my beliefs as you are in yours. However, when you can send me a scientific magazine that states that they have created life, even the simplest form of life, from an atmosphere thought to precede life on earth, I will be interested. Until then, the “holes” you mention that I brought up, in my mind at least, precludes anyone from making the statement, “evolution is now a scientific established fact”. It is not true! You can say, we know this, and so theoretically this should be the way it happened, but until you can create life in the laboratory you can’t prove that it happen that way.

    IF, the above article would have said, evidence seems to indicate creation by evolution, I would not even have commented on it, because to you and many others that may be the case. But, it is not scientific fact yet.
    Romans chapter one, verse twenty, in the bible says, ” because what may be known about God is manifest among them, for God made it manifest to them.  For his invisible [qualities] are clearly seen from the world’s creation onward, because they are perceived by the things made, even his eternal power and Godship”. For me, personally, this is what I see, tremendous power and wisdom and orderliness in created things. Everything in creation shows signs of design and that wisdom and design did not come from evolution. Just looking at the DNA that is needed for anything to multiply and exist. This DNA contains hundreds of volumes of Communication, communication that even scientists do not understand, and such wise communication does not come from Unintelligent, dead, non living matter. Because this communication had to be there first.

    • Dennis: First, I laughed myself fuzzy at your source. Thanks – I needed that.

      But then I got to the most severely mistaken thing you’ve said so far (and that list is pretty long): as I am as set in my beliefs as you are in yours.

      See, that’s the problem. You most certainly are set in your beliefs, but people like myself are anything BUT set in our beliefs. We never stop searching, never stop learning, never stop iterating our perception of the world around us. Never, ever. I know a zillion times more today than I did even a decade ago and expect to look back on Slammy circa 2009 with a good bit amusement come 2019, should I somehow last that long.

      Once a mind sets it might as well be dead.

  14. Dennis, That was your evidence? Wow. I am very disappointed. I have to agree with Slammy on this one. I question my belief system all the time. That’s half the reason I’m a scientist. I question damn near everything. From immunology to God. And based on those questions, I’ve come to accept that evolution makes far more sense than creationism.

    I’m sorry that you are set in your ways and feel that you don’t have enough time left to explore various theories about LIFE. Why not just try and pick one thing and study it? Really study it. I don’t care what. Your favorite flower. A cytokine called Interleukin-1. Your pet poodle. I don’t care. And if you come to the conclusion that “God wanted it that way,” then fine. Try to figure out WHY S/He wanted it that way. And HOW S/He did it. And HOW it all fits together. Don’t just say I never went to college or I’m too old and I don’t have any more time. Like I said in my first post. Your God gave you a brain. Use it.

  15. Well, I am glad you have a sense of humor Dr. Slammy, you are going to need it in the days ahead. Just because someone is set in their beliefs does not mean they stop learning. I have not however in my studies run across any knowledge that would make me change courses in my belief system.

    1Corinthians 3:19 says: ” For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God;…”. Some scientist seem to think they have all the answers, but as I have seem from this discussion they don’t. I never said that the information on the web site I gave you was proof of any thing, did I? I said some scientists have come to believe that there is just as much EVIDENCE for creation as there is against. The book and website shows that this is true. The trouble with some, so called, highly educated individuals is that they look down on others and don’t take the time to really try to understand what others are saying. Well, I am not educated, but all you could do is ridicule the “holes” I brought up in your theory’s, you did not explain why they were wrong? AND, you did not explain how someone can say evolution is a fact, when in fact it is not?

    So, laugh all you want, but you did not convince anyone! Is this the way science works?

    • @Dennis: You haven’t run across knowledge because knowledge is the thing you’re working the hardest to avoid.

      The biggest problem here is that you’re abusing the language. You’re using words like “knowledge” and “evidence” to mean things they simply don’t mean. You use them in ways that come very close to suggesting the OPPOSITE of what they mean.

      There is ample evidence regarding evolution. The is ZERO evidence – actual evidence in the sense of what the word means – in your head or anyone else’s, that supports your beliefs.

      In fact, that’s the whole POINT of “faith.” It is, in its most literal sense, the ability to believe that for which there is no evidence. If there were evidence you wouldn’t need faith, would you?

  16. “And, many evolutionists and scientists do lean towards a creator, they are not all evolutionists.”

    I am always amazed at the faith of my brother-in-law. His degree is in Physics, he is Head of the Science Department in a Secondary Comprehensive School in Britain and his Catholic faith never waivers.

  17. Dennis, Please point out where I “ridiculed the ‘holes'” in theory? Trust me. The holes are what make science interesting. There’s nothing I like more in seeing data that completely change the way I think about something in immunology. And that happens quite often. Especially when working with students that have completely different perspectives. It’s a situation I put myself in every day. Do you? And do you listen? IF not, if you are already irrevocably set in your beliefs, then why bother joining the debate?

    To paraphrase your words, you haven’t convinced anyone, either. Is this how religion works?

    I have no idea how you can even think that “there is just as much EVIDENCE for creation as there is against” when you haven’t presented even a single shred of evidence FOR creationism. All you’ve said is you don’t have the time nor inclination to look at any of the evidence for evolution. Fine. That’s your choice. If you are happy with your immobile, stagnant interpretation of the world, then fine. But don’t expect us to take you seriously when your entire argument seems to be that “scientists don’t understand everything, therefore god did it.”

    Elaine, even if your brother-in-law’s faith never waivers, I hope that aspects of his faith does change over time. Being a physicist, I wonder what he thinks about this…

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7794668.stm

  18. I don’t debate his Catholic faith with him – it would be rude for he is family. Besides he is way too sharp and intelligent for me when it comes to science.

    I was once a Catholic and when I converted to that Faith many moons ago I asked my assigned priest (an Army Padre) how everything/everyone could be reconciled. (He firmly believed that all peoples would end up as Cathollic). I had a bit of a problem accepting his view but he said that it was all wrapped up in God’s mystery…

  19. Elaine, I was raised catholic. My dad is still very much catholic. And whenever I bring up anything even remotely involving his religion (be it Galileo or pedophiles), he backs out of it. Not because he’s not smart enough to handle it. But because asking questions can sometimes be a very scary thing. I suspect Dennis is in the same boat. Like Bilbo once said,

    “It is a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door, you step onto the road, and if you don’t heed your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

  20. Hey Ubertramp,

    I’ve been meticulously researching the references in the text by the Watchtower Society (W.S) that you faithfully quoted above (Life: How Did It Get Here). The problem you have is that the W.S. authors (They don’t give their names.) did not, themselves, faithfully quote these authors (like Jastrow, Stanley, and Hitchings). Further, many of the quotes are brazenly taken out of context. Further, some of the claims made by the W.S. in their text are brazen lies. I have the text and the original articles referenced right here on my desk as I type this. I am currently itemizing the references in Chapter 4 so I can go look them up.

    Notably, many of the comments ascribed to the various authors are only introductory in nature and appear in initial chapters wherein the cited authors, such as Jastrow and Hitchings, were simply laying the landscape within which they would then pursue the answers that were the subject of the writings. They faithfully explained the pros and cons to their readers. Then, they set about presenting the evidence thus far collected. Many of the quotes that appear in the W.S. text are from these introductory commentaries, but are presented by the W.S. as though they were the cited author’s conclusions. If you want to know what Hitchings, Stanley, Jastrow, Dawkins, and others truly thought, you’ll need to read the referenced material.

    Here is Jastrow’s conclusion from his work “The Enchanted Loom” (Cited by the W.S. and source of the quote you wrote above), page 101, “As with all historical evidence, the proof of man’s animal origins is circumstantial, but its cumulative impact is overwhelming. The fact of evolution is not in doubt.” Query: Why didn’t the W.S. include this quote in its own text, LIFE?

    This is what Hitching said on p. 12 of the same text you cited, The Neck of the Giraffe, “Despite the many believers in Divine creation who dispute this [discussing evolution] (including about half the adult population of the United States, according to some opinion polls), the probablity that evolution has occurred approaches certainty in scientific terms.” Query: Why didn’t the W.S. include this quote in its own text, LIFE?

    As an example of the brazen lies told by the W.S., go to page 20 of the LIFE text. There you will find the following quote beneath a graphic depiction of three extinct species, the Eohippus (common name North American Horse), Archaeopteryx, and Lungfish.

    “Some of the classic cases of darwinian change in the fossil record … have had to be
    discarded or modified as a result of more detailed information.” — David Raup,
    Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History.

    The actual quote, however, from Raup’s original article reads as follows:

    “The record of evolution is still surprisingly jerky and, ironically, we have even fewer
    examples of evolutionary transition than we had in Darwin’s time. By this I mean
    that some of the classic cases of darwinian change in the fossil record, such as the
    evolution of the horse in North America, have had to be discarded or modified as a
    result of more detailed information – what appeared to be a nice simple progression
    when relatively few data were available now appears to be much more complex and
    much less gradualistic.”

    Nowhere in Raup’s article does he suggest that evolution was no longer a viable theory. He was outlining the distinctions between two competing evolutionary theories: The Darwinian model of gradualism, and a newer theory whereby there are spikes in evolutionary advances, called Punctuated Equilibrium. Nowhere in Raup’s article did he state that there were no longer any known examples of transitional species.

    The graphic depictions that appear above the misquote in the LIFE text, however, all have large X’s through them, indicating that they all are no longer considered transitional species. Problem is, Raup never mentioned Archaeopteryx or Lungfish in the cited, five-page, article. Why not? Because, to this day, those two species are still considered examples of transitional species. How do we know that the W.S. knew this when they published LIFE and decided to mislead their readers? Because in one of the very next references they cite, that by Steven Stanley, The New Evolutionary Timetable, there is a graphic depiction of Archaeopterxy, p. 76, being identified as an example of a transitional species between reptile and birds. The Stanley citation referenced by the W.S. is on p. 77 of Stanley’s book. Are we to understand that the anonymous writers at the W.S. didn’t notice that picture on the opposing page right next to the quote they were mining? Important note here: Raup’s article was written in 1979; whereas Stanley’s book was published in 1981.

    I have found dozens of misquotes, which are frankly just lies, in the LIFE text. Query: If what the W.S. has to say is true, what are they hiding with these misquotes and lies? Why are they brazenly lying to their readers?

    I suggest you do as I have done and take these people at the W.S. to task by diligently researching each and every citation they have included in their LIFE text. I am only up to Chapter 4 in that text and I have convincing evidence that the reason the authors of that text do not identify themselves is because they knew they were publishing lies. Good Luck.

  21. Hey Ubertramp,

    I just realized I addressed my previous post to you and not to Dennis Moore. I lost track of the string. Sorry about that.

    Hey Dennis,

    Please take what I have written here from a sincere desire to pursue truth. If you will follow my suggestion, you will find yourself learning something you never thought possible: The W.S. is a den of dishonesty.

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