Archive for the ‘Evolutionism’ Category

Fossils in the Wrong Rock Layers?

October 28, 2013

Sometimes we are told that evolution could be falsified by finding fossils in the wrong rock layers. This just is not true. Consider the linked article (link). As the article points out:

Jim Fassett, author of the research of the US Geological Survey, said many would still doubt the discovery.
He said: “The great difficulty with this hypothesis – that these are the remains of dinosaurs that survived – is ruling out the possibility that the bones date from before the extinction.
“After being killed and deposited in sands and muds, it is possible for bones to be exhumed by rivers and then incorporated into younger rocks.”

You see, there are already explanations for why the bones are in the “wrong” rock layers. And the bottom line is the same – evolution, or at least philosohpical naturalism, is a precommitment of atheistic scientific endeavors.

-TurretinFan

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Response to JaclynGlenn’s Response to Ray Comfort

October 7, 2013

JaclynGlenn attempts to respond to Ray Comfort (link – caution, profanity and blasphemy). Once you weed through the profanity, blasphemy, and assorted name-calling and insults, there is actually very little to JaclynGlenn’s comments, aside from an unsubstantiated assertion that Mr. Comfort is somehow opposed to logic.

Let’s address her points:

1) Alleged Evidence of Speciation

JaclynGlenn complains that birds and salamanders changing into other kinds of birds and salamanders is an example of speciation and consequently it should be accepted as evidence of Darwinian evolution. What JaclynGlenn seems to be missing is that if this is the best evidence for speciation, we’re not very impressed. Part of that is because “species” lines tend to be drawn pretty fluidly, and these variations could easily be seen as variation within species, rather than generation of new species.

2) “Nothing Made Everything”

JaclynGlenn says she does not “believe” this, and she would change her mind if scientists told her something else. It’s not really clear whether JaclynGlenn just doesn’t understand that she’s placing her trust in scientists, or whether she only uses “believe” pejoratively.

3) “Long Term Changes Not Observable”

JaclynGlenn’s point is well taken – but it cuts the opposite of the way she thinks. It doesn’t provide an excuse for scientists – it simply underscores the fact that Darwinian evolution is not scientific.

4) “Tiny Differences Between Humans and Chimps”

JaclynGlenn thinks Ray Comfort should have said “tens of millions of bases” instead of “hundreds of millions of bases” of differences. JaclynGlenn responds that this is still only a 1.5% (rounding up) difference. JaclynGlenn seems to think this is significant, suggesting that the genetic difference between humans and chimps is 10 times less than between a rat and a mouse.

Again, I’m not sure JaclynGlenn realizes the problem. The problem is not simply the magnitude of the differences as a percentage of the whole, but the magnitude of the differences in absolute terms.

Keep in mind also that genetics is still a young field. One frequently cited number says that about 98% of the human genome is “non-coding” or “junk” DNA. While the 1% number was previously used, other studies suggest 4% (see here). Moreover, it is sometimes unclear whether the 1% is as fraction of the whole genome or only of the coding part (i.e. the part thought to be functional). Finally, newer studies are casting doubt on the idea that the “non-coding” DNA is not functional.

5) “Fossil in the Wrong Geological/Geographical? Location”

JaclynGlenn refers to the possibility of evolution being proven wrong by a fossil being found in the wrong “geographical position” (I assume she means the wrong geological position in the rock layers). She claims this hasn’t happened yet.

Apparently, JaclynGlenn is unaware of the coelacanths, which were thought to have been extinct for 65 million years based on the fossils, but were discovered to be still living today. Of course, for philosophical naturalists, this didn’t blow evolution out of the water – and it won’t for JaclynGlenn when she reads this, because she’s committed to trying to explain everything without reference to the Creator.

Cardinal George Pell vs. Richard Dawkins – Some Thoughts

April 11, 2012

Someone directed me to a sort of informal debate between Cardinal Pell and Dawkins, in the form of a moderated Questions and Answers session. Dawkins came across as insecure, accusing the audience of bias (though they routinely cheered for his statements) and repeatedly asking the audience why they are laughing (such as at his comment that the “it depends on how you define ‘nothing.'”

Pell was asked about evolution and his religion. He alleged that those in his communion can believe almost whatever they like about it. He took the position that men are descended from Neanderthals (Dawkins reacted to this much the way a Star Wars geek would react to you talking about Hans Solo instead of Han Solo and Pell blew it off). He said that the first time a soul was “human” was when it had various characteristics of communication and the like. When question about Adam and Eve, he took the position that they were just mythological, like “everyman.” (around 30 minutes) He said he wasn’t sure whether the Old Testament recounts God himself inscribing the ten commandments (33 minutes in).

Dawkins asks where original sin comes from if there is no real Adam and Eve.

When an atheist asks Pell (around 41 minutes in) what will happen to him when he dies, he says

(Cardinal) Well, I know from the Christian point of view, God loves everybody. But every genuine motion towards the truth is a motion towards God. And when an atheist dies, like everybody else, they’ll be judged on the extent to which they have moved towards goodness and truth and beauty. But in the Christian view, God loves everyone except those who turn their back on him through evil acts.
(Moderator): Oh, so athiesm – not an evil act.
(Cardinal): No, not a – well, no I don’t – in most cases its not.

(Moderator): Is it possible for an atheist to go to heaven?
(Cardinal): Well, it’s not my business.
(Moderator): No, but well, you’re the only authority we have here.
(Cardinal): I would say ‘certainly, certainly!’

Dawkins acts shocked that Christians will be bodily resurrected.

Later on the Cardinal asserts that the idea of any child going to hell is grotesque and does not represent the Christian God (48 minutes in)

Around 49 minutes in, the Cardinal shares his views on hell and salvation from it:

(Moderator) Where do you draw the line? Do unbelievers go to hell?
(Cardinal) No, no, no. The only people – Well, (1) I hope nobody’s in hell. We Catholics generally believe that there is a hell. I hope nobody is there. I certainly believe in a place of purification. I think it will be like getting up in the morning and you throw the curtains back and the light is just too much. God’s light would be too much for us. But I believe on behalf of the innocent victims in history, that the scales of justice should work out and if they don’t, life is radically unjust: the law of the jungle prevails.

The Cardinal’s theodicy is, in essence, that freedom is necessary.

-TurretinFan

Squid Lighting System – Clearly Designed

October 25, 2010

I don’t support the group that put on this presentation, and their purpose is not to show intelligent design of biological systems. Nevertheless, the following video provides some interesting insights. The video is mostly about the communication that bacteria use to communicate both within and among species of bacteria. The video also explains, however, a very special system in a certain variety of squid that relies on bacteria to help the squid operate in a sort of stealth mode. It is really quite fascinating:

http://video.ted.com/assets/player/swf/EmbedPlayer.swf

It seems self-evident to me that the squid and the bacteria are designed, not simply the result of chance. I realize that people will disagree, but I don’t think it’s because the evidence is not clear enough.

– TurretinFan

Hat tip to Dr. James White for bringing this to my attention.

Mitochondrial Eve

August 26, 2010

One of the problems for Evolutionism is the discovery of mitochondrial DNA. This DNA is passed down maternally. In an article published recently, “scientists” indicated that using various assumptions they have calculated mitochondrial Eve (the female ancestor of all living humans) as having lived about 200,000 years ago (link to article). That number is probably one or two orders of magnitude to high, but the result is problematic for evolutionary science that wants to push back common descent significantly beyond 200,000 years.

As a result, we see resort to the following example of speculation:

“There is always some other female that predated mitochondrial Eve, whose DNA didn’t make it up to modernity,” said Marek Kimmel, a professor of statistics at Rice University. “So the age of the mitochondrial Eve is always less than the age of the true, first female modern human.”

How on earth could Professor Kimmel have access to that information? The only reason for making that kind of claim is the idea that naturalism does not accept the idea of a woman formed from the first man’s rib.

-TurretinFan

>Morphology vs. Genetics vs. Evolution

August 10, 2010

>Peter Pike made an interesting argument in the comment box of my previous post (link to post). The argument runs along these lines:

1) Evolutionism claims that common descent can be demonstrated via clading, where clading is broadly defined as grouping individuals in a family tree based on genetic similarity.

2) Clading is great for things like paternity testing.

3) Clading, however, is not great for predicting morphology. The Orangutan is morpholigically the most similar living animal to man, but is not genetically the most similar to man.

4) Virtually all that palentology can provide with respect to most specimens is bone morphology.

The conclusion: palentology does not support (whether or not it rebuts) the contemporary argument of evolutionism. Obviously, a good bit of the weight of the argument hangs on (3). I’m sure the typical response would be to argue that morphology is used because that’s all we have. The conclusion, however, still stands. The fact that it is the best you have doesn’t really mean it’s enough.

– TurretinFan

>Trouble with Clading

August 8, 2010

>One of the claims of evolutionists is that we Creationists don’t want to listen to the evidence, and that evolutionists do listen to the evidence. They claim that we are unreasonable in dismissing their attempt to establish common descent by simply grouping living beings with similar characteristics together.

They claim that they are not simply dogmatically asserting common descent, and that their hypothesis is falsifiable, if we find an example of something that eludes their clading – explaining similar features by common ancestry.

We point to things like octopus eyes as an example that shows that their system of clading cannot be right, since humans and octopuses do not have any alleged common ancestors that have eyes. They simply claim that this is an example of parallel evolution. By remarkable coincidence, the eye evolved by chance at least two different times.

But the absurdity can be seen to be even greater than that. Recently, it was announced that a study had determined that sea sponges share human genes – and not just one or two. The study claims that sea sponges share 70% of human genes (link to report of study).

This sort of evidence ends up getting waved away by evolutionary dogmatists. Who cares about sea sponges, chimps have 99.something % of our genes, they’ll tell us. But then when you bring up articles on chimp studies that suggest that there are problems with the hypothesis that gene similarity means we are close relations to chimps (first article, second article), they tend to simply wave them off as well.

And then, of course, they’ll accuse you of anti-intellectualism because you don’t uncritically accept the dogma of evolutionism on faith. Oh, the irony.

– Turretinfan

>Synthesizing Light and Darkness

August 7, 2010

>Christopher Benson has a new post called, “The Future of the Science and Religion Debate.” (link to post – not recommended) Benson argues that, “Christians can achieve a “synthetic middle ground” in the debate if they get a better handle on the vocations of science and religion and a more robust doctrine of creation.” But Benson, in a quotation from Giberson, defines this synthetic middle ground as a position “where one might simultaneously embrace a science shorn of its over-reaching scientism and a faith freed from a simplistic biblical literalism.

Why on earth would I want to compromise Biblical literalism? What good is a synthesis of truth (that God created the world in six days) and error (anything else)?

According to Benson, the apparent reason would be to avoid negative perception from unbelievers: “A Pew Forum poll conducted in 2007 showed that only 25% of evangelicals believe in evolution and 10% in evolution through natural selection––a statistic that puts them at odds with the scientific consensus, reinforcing the cultural perception of Christian anti-intellectualism. The New Atheists have emerged, defining the terms of engagement in the debate on science and religion. And the Intelligent Design crowd has lost its stamina, becoming a scientific embarrassment.

Guess what, there are some other things that are contrary to the scientific consensus:

1) Noah’s Flood

2) The Plagues on Egypt

3) The Crossing of the Red Sea

4) Manna from Heaven

5) The Crossing of the Jordan

6) The Battle of Jericho

7) The Virgin Birth

8) The Resurrection of Lazarus

9) The Resurrection of Jesus

I could list many more. The scientific consensus is that there are no miracles. It’s not there are miracles only about things less amazing than creating the world in six days. It’s worse than stupid to compromise the truth of Scripture for the sake of being more well-liked by unbelievers.

James 4:4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

-TurretinFan

The Proof Evolutionists Have Been Waiting For

January 13, 2010

This sea slug is (according to journalists, a huge qualification) part animal and part plant (link). Thus, the slug defies conventional clades. It does not fit into the evolutionary tree. Will any atheists accept this evidence and discard evolution? Probably not. Most will simply try to build a new tree and assume that one can be built until they succeed.

Incidentally, I suspect that this sea slug will turn out to have a parasitic plant living symbiotically with it, or something like that. If so, it will fall more or less neatly into the existing clades.

The explanation in the article is that by an unexplained mechanism (it sounds so much nicer than “magically”) the slugs steal genes from their food and pass those genes on to their offspring. If this is correct, then the slugs fit in the slug clade and simply have a very unusual distinctive trait of being able to steal genetic code from other organisms.

Of course, by the way, the ability to steal genetic code from other organisms is a great deus ex machina to avoid letting the clading system be falsified by the evidence of nature (much like the deus ex machina of parallel evolution).

-TurretinFan

Evidence for Recent Fossilization

May 29, 2009

That’s how I’d characterize the linked article, that describes alleged findings of dinosaur proteins, an unlikely event if the sample were really 65 Million years old (link).

Caveat: Scientists dispute findings all the time. I wouldn’t be surprised to see folks try to challenge these findings as well.

-TurretinFan


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