Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

Creation and evolutionary theory, I

Science

  • Please log in to reply
412 replies to this topic

#1 John Craford

John Craford

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 44 posts
  • Guest from Another Religious Tradition

Posted 25 January 2008 - 10:02 PM

Both Bishop Alexander (Mileant) and Deacon A. Kuraev teach this. God created heaven and earth and ordered the creation to evolve. 5 billion years later a monkey appeared. God took the monkey and breathed into it His Spirit. Adam was created.
They do not show that evolution is correct, they believe it happened, and therefore billions of deaths would have occurred before "creation" of Adam from a monkey.

In the Lord,
Yura


So should Orhtodox Christians believe in evolution?

#2 Yuri Zharikov

Yuri Zharikov

    Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 259 posts

Posted 25 January 2008 - 11:20 PM

So should Orhtodox Christians believe in evolution?


this sounds like a good question for a new thread... Darwin specifically proposed this idea (evolution - although he did not coin the term) to show that "God is not" or at least He is not the God that creates and takes care of His creation.
A lot can be said about this, but perhaps next week.

In the Lord,
Yura

#3 Father David Moser

Father David Moser

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 3,581 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member
  • Verified Cleric

Posted 25 January 2008 - 11:47 PM

So should Orhtodox Christians believe in evolution?


Only if you believe that one bishop is infallible and his fellows are not - oh, but wait, that's where Rome ended up...

Fr David Moser

#4 M. Partyka

M. Partyka

    Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 345 posts

Posted 26 January 2008 - 12:06 AM

So should Orthodox Christians believe in evolution?

I think this question should be split in two, due to the overlapping areas of study involved.

The first question would be, "Is there enough observational evidence in support of evolution to warrant its acceptance as a theory rather than a hypothesis?" The question would be discussed in terms of science, not doctrine.

The second question, then, would be, "Given the results of the first question -- i.e., given how good or bad the evidence supporting evolution appears to be -- should Orthodox Christians believe in evolution?" This question would deal with doctrine rather than science.

Without this split, I'd be concerned that we could all wind up talking past one another.

#5 Paul Cowan

Paul Cowan

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,064 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 26 January 2008 - 01:38 AM

oh, Father David. tisk tisk.

#6 Yuri Zharikov

Yuri Zharikov

    Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 259 posts

Posted 29 January 2008 - 03:24 AM

I think this question should be split in two, due to the overlapping areas of study involved.

The first question would be, "Is there enough observational evidence in support of evolution to warrant its acceptance as a theory rather than a hypothesis?" The question would be discussed in terms of science, not doctrine.

The second question, then, would be, "Given the results of the first question -- i.e., given how good or bad the evidence supporting evolution appears to be -- should Orthodox Christians believe in evolution?" This question would deal with doctrine rather than science.

Without this split, I'd be concerned that we could all wind up talking past one another.


I have not been at this forum for very long but a quick search suggests that the question of evolution has been discussed a lot in one way or another. That the first question still arises suggests that no concrete evidence in support of the idea of (biological) evolution has been pointed out. You wonder why - thousands of people have been spending their whole lives "studying" evolution for the past 150 years and so far the mountain is yet to give birth even to a gnat, let alone a mouse.
What evidence for evolution, independent from the initial observations, is there?

Biodiversity? - initial observation.
Similarity of different life forms? - initial observation.
Life forms that no longer exist? - initial observation.
Artificial selection? - expression of already existing genetic information, irrelevant.
Allopatric/simpatric speciation (darwin's finches) - expression of already existing genetic information, irrelevant.
Superbugs/Resistance to anti-biotics, insecticides, etc - degradation of genetic code, irrelevant.
Mutations - degradation of genetic code, irrelevant.
Junk DNA - no such thing exists, irrelevant.

In the absence of any evidence for evolution it is neither a hypothesis, much less a theory. Since the idea is neither directly testable, nor verifiable, nor falsifiable - if I say that a crocodile jumped from a tree 70 mln yrs ago and grew wings, how this statement can be tested, verified or falsified - it's not science. No evidence is possible.

Yura

#7 M. Partyka

M. Partyka

    Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 345 posts

Posted 29 January 2008 - 09:05 PM

That the first question still arises suggests that no concrete evidence in support of the idea of (biological) evolution has been pointed out.

That's not true at all. The concrete evidence exists. The reason the question remains is that people have proposed more than one theory to explain the evidence. Evolution is one way to explain the evidence. Intelligent design is another. Special creation is yet another. All three claim to explain the evidence, but which explanation is best?

In the absence of any evidence for evolution it is neither a hypothesis, much less a theory. Since the idea is neither directly testable, nor verifiable, nor falsifiable...it's not science. No evidence is possible.

I would guess that there are quite a few areas of science that deal in indirect testing, verification, and/or falsification. Any science dealing with past events, such as forensic science, constructs theories about past happenings given present information that indirectly supports or contradicts the theories proposed. The underlying assumption for such sciences, of course, is that past physical processes are identical to present physical processes. The theory of evolution is based on this notion, which is why it is more readily accepted in the scientific community. The theories of intelligent design and special creation assume intelligent intervention in otherwise immutable natural processes, and it's on this account that they are considered "less scientific" or "pseudoscientific" by the majority of the scientific community.

Junk DNA - no such thing exists, irrelevant.

On the contrary, there are many DNA sequences in, for example, the human genome that do not appear to have any real function. While it is true that a handful of "pseudogenes" have been discovered to carry out important biological processes, this doesn't necessarily mean that all "pseudogenes" have a function.

The main problem with evolutionary theory is the Neo-Darwinist model which says that evolution = natural selection + point mutations. Right now point mutations almost invariably have a negative impact of the survival of the organism. The cumulation of point mutations over time would more likely lead to a species' extinction than a species' improvement. There are, however, other theories about evolution's "driving forces" which propose alternatives to the Neo-Darwinist model, but I couldn't tell you what they are or how reasonable they sound. I have a recent (2005) book on "evo-devo" theory, but I haven't read it yet. I've also heard mention of "morphogenetic fields" which communicate learned behaviors to organisms within the same species, but heaven only knows how much validity there is to this notion.

#8 Anna J.

Anna J.

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 30 posts

Posted 30 January 2008 - 01:04 AM

I wouldn't say Darwin proposed the theory simply because he desired to show that God does not exist. Rather, evolution allowed atheists to be more "intellectually fulfilled" for there was now a system that (supposedly -- though I believe this isn't actually a legitimate argument) could take God out of the picture, albeit not necessarily. Evolution doesn't have to be some grand disproof of God; people just misuse it.

Plus, it was thanks to a monk that Darwin could potentially be taken seriously (well, and other people too, but not the point).

this sounds like a good question for a new thread... Darwin specifically proposed this idea (evolution - although he did not coin the term) to show that "God is not" or at least He is not the God that creates and takes care of His creation.
A lot can be said about this, but perhaps next week.

In the Lord,
Yura



#9 Anna J.

Anna J.

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 30 posts

Posted 30 January 2008 - 01:09 AM

I wouldn't see why a scientific theory should have a special place reserved in Orthodox Tradition...

So should Orhtodox Christians believe in evolution?



#10 Yuri Zharikov

Yuri Zharikov

    Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 259 posts

Posted 30 January 2008 - 01:13 AM

That's not true at all. The concrete evidence exists. .


OK, that's good let us discuss this concrete evidence. No straw evidence please :-0


I would guess that there are quite a few areas of science that deal in indirect testing, verification, and/or falsification. <...>The theories of intelligent design and special creation assume intelligent intervention in otherwise immutable natural processes, and it's on this account that they are considered "less scientific" or "pseudoscientific" by the majority of the scientific community.


First, evolution is accepted not because it is scientific, but because the only alternative is creation, i.e. God. In the words of one of the fathers of the "Synthetic Theory" E. Mayr the idea of evolution is accepted by the default of all opposing theories.
Second, can you give an example of indirect testing? I'll explain, when scientists speak of testing, they imply direct experiment. Causality can only be established via experementation. Any indirect study can only produce correlation. By definition, correlation cannot be used to infer causality - this is the most fundamental premise of the phylosophy of science.

For argument sake, let us look at these two statments:

today’s carnivorous whales evolved from plant eaters (modern biology textbook)
the tropic of cancer is inhabitated by crayfish (me)

How can you indirectly (!) test, verify or falsify either of these statements?

And "of course" the underlying assumption about constancy of physical, let alone biological processes is clearly false, right? Even the rate of nuclear decay is not constant.

In general all of the key arguments that would prove evolution valid are based on postulating events that are inherently not observable/verifiable. Such unique, once-in-history events include but are not limited to the very emergence of life (i.e., the formation of the first prokaryotes), emergence of eukaryotes, development of canonical and non-canonical genetic codes, appearance of photosynthesis and mitochondria, origin of vascular plants, beginning of sexual reproduction, appearance of Hox-genes (see below), Cambrian Explosion of phyla, radiation of all major classes and even orders of the animal kingdom. Because of their uniqueness, all these events, their mechanisms and conditions under which they took place by default fall outside of the realm of science. You will like this. In 2005 (I think) there was an attempt to introduce a mere mentioning of the "intelligent design" in a public school in PA. There was a court hearing. The judge justified his verdict of not allowing the ID into school in the following words: Science is limited to empirical, observable and ultimately testable data. Anything that can be observed or measured is amenable to scientific explanation.[1]Ironically the judge and plaintiffs remained completely blind to the fact that the same definition also puts evolutionism in general and Darwinism in particular outside of the field of scientific explanation. (That's one reason why it's not good to believe in evolution - it blids you, :-0)

[1] Gallagher J. 2006. Galileo in reverse. Liberty: Magazine of religious freedom. May/June issue: 14-15, 28-29.

On the contrary, there are many DNA sequences in, for example, the human genome that do not appear to have any real function. While it is true that a handful of "pseudogenes" have been discovered to carry out important biological processes, this doesn't necessarily mean that all "pseudogenes" have a function.


Take a look at your computer. The hard-drive "encodes" all the information, there is also a handful of wires, transistors, etc with important functions, but the frame and the box onto which all this stuff is fixed is.... what, without any real function?
A bit of biology here. Most eukaryotic genomes (cells with a nucleus) consist primarily of DNA that contains no functional genes (up to 97% in humans) - that is genes encoding proteins. So it was suggested that this DNA is but evolutionary junk - randomly-produced sequences that had lost their coding ability due to genetic damage or partially duplicated genes that were non-functional. It should not exist if DNA was in fact designed by an intelligent agent. Recently a body of research has emerged that clearly demonstrates that non-coding DNA plays numerous critical functions in genomes including chromosome packaging and regulation of gene expression during development [1]. Its functions in many ways are analogous to the functions of cover, binding, pages and bookmarks in a book or internal frame and external case in a computer. The “junk” DNA may also be the key to encoding biological complexity [2]. Upon closer examination this argument is a reenactment of the long-dead contention of existence of vestigial organs (there is none, in fact). It simply presupposed that since we do not know the function(s) of non-coding DNA, then it has no useful functions.

[1] See http://www.godandsci...on/junkdna.html for details and references.
[2] Taft, R.J. and Mattick, J.S. 2003. Increasing biological complexity is positively correlated with the relative genome-wide expansion of non-coding DNA sequences. Genome Biology, 5:1

There are, however, other theories about evolution's "driving forces" which propose alternatives to the Neo-Darwinist model, but I couldn't tell you what they are or how reasonable they sound. I have a recent (2005) book on "evo-devo" theory, but I haven't read it yet. I've also heard mention of "morphogenetic fields" which communicate learned behaviors to organisms within the same species, but heaven only knows how much validity there is to this notion.


The book is about genes known as the Hox-genes. Hox-genes are a particular group of genes found in all multicellular organisms that are responsible for patterning the body axis at the early stage of embryonic development. The Hox-genes do not directly control the nature or shape of structures, but regulate the expression of a complex hierarchy of other genes that do so. By providing the identity of particular body regions, Hox-genes determine where and other segments will grow in a developing foetus or larva. Although mutations in these genes are often invoked as a possible source of evolutionary novelty, in real terms mutations in Hox-genes are very harmful - in vertebrates point mutations in Hox-genes lead to spontaneous abortions of embryos while in arthropods (for example fruit flies) re-arrangements in these genes produce monstrous growth abnormalities.
Suggestions have been made that major evolutionary events such as the Cambrian Explosion are achieved via large scale genomic rearrangements such as duplication of whole genomes or particular genes, especially those regulating development (i.e. the Hox-genes). Well, these suggestions are untenable. First, they do not address the cornerstone issue of how the genes that have been duplicated emerged in the first place. For example, describing the “evolution” of Hox-genes Carroll [1] simply wrote that their origin was a unique phenomenon (see the first point above!). Second, genome duplication requires pre-existence of sophisticated biochemical pathways, which also have to appear somehow. Third, the pattern of gene (genome) duplication does not match the pattern of morphological radiation. Authors of a recent article on this issue wrote[2]:
Many have argued that genome duplication is a dominant factor in the evolution of complexity and diversity. However, a clear correlation between a genome duplication event and increased complexity and diversity is not apparent… A causal link between any specific genome duplication event and increased species diversity remains elusive.

[1] Carroll R.L. 2000. Towards a new evolutionary synthesis. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 15: 27-32.
[2] Crow K.D., Wagner G.P. 2006. What is the role of genome duplication in the evolution of complexity and diversity? Molecular Biology and Evolution, 23: 887-892.

So again, I see no independent evidence in favour of evolution and thus no need at all to raise your question 2.
In the Lord,
Yura

Edited by Yuri Zharikov, 30 January 2008 - 02:18 AM.


#11 M. Partyka

M. Partyka

    Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 345 posts

Posted 30 January 2008 - 01:54 AM

OK, that's good let us discuss this concrete evidence. No straw evidence please

Given that discussing the scientific evidence for and against evolution isn't a matter of doctrine or theology, perhaps you'd like to open us up a new thread in a more appropriate area?

First, evolution is accepted not because it is scientific, but because the only alternative is creation, i.e. God.

Perhaps, but surely you must see the bind it would put the scientific community in to start positing divine intervention. The moment you say, "God did it by his omnipotent power," scientific inquiry ends right then and there. Certainly there are things which have happened through supernatural rather than natural forces, but it behooves science to at least look for natural explanations before giving up inquiry altogether. Once the search for natural causes runs it course, honest scientists can then admit their ignorance and leave it to the individual to posit the existence of either a supernatural cause (in the case of a believer) or an undetected natural cause (in the case of a skeptic).

Here is the words of one of the fathers of the "Synthetic Theory": Let

Unfortunately, it looks like this part of your post failed to come through. Care to re-post?

Edited by Father David Moser, 30 January 2008 - 03:54 AM.
fix quote


#12 Yuri Zharikov

Yuri Zharikov

    Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 259 posts

Posted 30 January 2008 - 02:21 AM

Unfortunately, it looks like this part of your post failed to come through. Care to re-post?


sorry i was editing, see complete post,

Yura

#13 Yuri Zharikov

Yuri Zharikov

    Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 259 posts

Posted 30 January 2008 - 02:32 AM

[quote name='M. Partyka'][quote name='Yuri Zharikov']OK, that's good let us discuss this concrete evidence. No straw evidence please[quote]Given that discussing the scientific evidence for and against evolution isn't a matter of doctrine or theology, perhaps you'd like to open us up a new thread in a more appropriate area?

Perhaps, but surely you must see the bind it would put the scientific community in to start positing divine intervention. The moment you say, "God did it by his omnipotent power," scientific inquiry ends right then and there. Certainly there are things which have happened through supernatural rather than natural forces, but it behooves science to at least look for natural explanations before giving up inquiry altogether. Once the search for natural causes runs it course, honest scientists can then admit their ignorance and leave it to the individual to posit the existence of either a supernatural cause (in the case of a believer) or an undetected natural cause (in the case of a skeptic).

Unfortunately, it looks like this part of your post failed to come through. Care to re-post?[/quote]

if you know how to move all this into a new thread, please go ahead, that would be great.

Thank you,
Yura

#14 M. Partyka

M. Partyka

    Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 345 posts

Posted 30 January 2008 - 03:58 AM

if you know how to move all this into a new thread, please go ahead, that would be great.

Hmm...Looks like the "Everything Else" category I was eyeing is also under "Doctrine & Theology", so never mind -- I guess the discussion fits fine here.

#15 M. Partyka

M. Partyka

    Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 345 posts

Posted 30 January 2008 - 04:48 AM

[quote name='Yuri Zharikov']...can you give an example of indirect testing? I'll explain, when scientists speak of testing, they imply direct experiment. Causality can only be established via experementation. Any indirect study can only produce correlation. By definition, correlation cannot be used to infer causality - this is the most fundamental premise of the phylosophy of science.[/quote]I think I understand what you're saying here. Basically, the fact that A and B are both present in a sample does not necessarily mean that A causes B or B causes A.

[quote]How can you indirectly (!) test, verify or falsify either of these statements?[/quote]1) Today's carnivorous whales evolved from plant eaters. -- The first question that comes to my mind is, "Where are carnivorous whales found in the fossil record compared to where their plant-eating ancestors are found?" If plant eaters don't appear until after the carnivorous whales are found, then we might conclude that this falsifies the hypothesis. I would consider this an "indirect" test in that it depends upon the observation of data pertaining to past events rather than to present experiments.

2) The tropic of cancer is inhabited by crayfish. -- This statement isn't as open to "indirect" testing, but it is at least verifiable. Find a crayfish in the right spot (assuming it hasn't been deliberately planted), and you've proven the theory.

[quote]And "of course" the underlying assumption about constancy of physical, let alone biological processes is clearly false, right? Even the rate of nuclear decay is not constant.[/quote]I don't see how this is "clearly false". The rate of nuclear decay is not itself constant, but the rate of change of decay is constant, is it not?

[quote]In general all of the key arguments that would prove evolution valid are based on postulating events that are inherently not observable/verifiable. Such unique, once-in-history events include but are not limited to the very emergence of life (i.e., the formation of the first prokaryotes), emergence of eukaryotes, development of canonical and non-canonical genetic codes, appearance of photosynthesis and mitochondria, origin of vascular plants, beginning of sexual reproduction, appearance of Hox-genes (see below), Cambrian Explosion of phyla, radiation of all major classes and even orders of the animal kingdom. Because of their uniqueness, all these events, their mechanisms and conditions under which they took place by default fall outside of the realm of science.[/quote]I think there's a hole in your logic somewhere. Consider for a moment the progression you have just described: prokaryotes, eukaryotes, genetic codes, photosynthesis, mitochondria, plants, sexual reproduction, Hox-genes, vertebrates, and the development of vertebrates from the simpler to the more complex. Now consider we've got a fossil record to work with. Doesn't there exist at least some potential for falsification from the fossil record as regards the sequence of biological development and diversification you've just described?

[quote]Take a look at your computer. The hard-drive "encodes" all the information, there is also a handful of wires, transistors, etc with important functions, but the frame and the box onto which all this stuff is fixed is.... what, without any real function? A bit of biology here. Most eukaryotic genomes (cells with a nucleus) consist primarily of DNA that contains no functional genes (up to 97% in humans) - that is genes encoding proteins. So it was suggested that this DNA is but evolutionary junk - randomly-produced sequences that had lost their coding ability due to genetic damage or partially duplicated genes that were non-functional. It should not exist if DNA was in fact designed by an intelligent agent. Recently a body of research has emerged that clearly demonstrates that non-coding DNA plays numerous critical functions in genomes including chromosome packaging and regulation of gene expression during development [1]. Its functions in many ways are analogous to the functions of cover, binding, pages and bookmarks in a book or internal frame and external case in a computer. The “junk” DNA may also be the key to encoding biological complexity [2].[/quote]You're not saying anything different from what I said before: Some pseudogenes that were previously thought to have no function have since demonstrated function. That's not the same thing as saying that all pseudogenes have function, but it certainly does open up that possibility.

[quote]Upon closer examination this argument is a reenactment of the long-dead contention of existence of vestigial organs (there is none, in fact).[/quote]I don't think it's necessarily true that "vestigial" and "functional" are mutually exclusive, though. Who's to say that a vestigial organ cannot be biologically appropriated and modified through natural selection to serve other functions?

[quote]Hox-genes are a particular group of genes found in all multicellular organisms that are responsible for patterning the body axis at the early stage of embryonic development. The Hox-genes do not directly control the nature or shape of structures, but regulate the expression of a complex hierarchy of other genes that do so. By providing the identity of particular body regions, Hox-genes determine where and other segments will grow in a developing foetus or larva. Although mutations in these genes are often invoked as a possible source of evolutionary novelty, in real terms mutations in Hox-genes are very harmful - in vertebrates point mutations in Hox-genes lead to spontaneous abortions of embryos while in arthropods (for example fruit flies) re-arrangements in these genes produce monstrous growth abnormalities.[/quote]I think I've heard of these genes before -- something about switching around a single Hox-gene's causing a fruit fly to grow legs from its eye sockets, or something like that. What I think the discovery of these genes has done, however, is lend a helping hand to Neo-Darwinists who can now demonstrate how tiny changes in the genetic code can cause major variations in biological forms.

[quote]Suggestions have been made that major evolutionary events such as the Cambrian Explosion are achieved via large scale genomic rearrangements such as duplication of whole genomes or particular genes, especially those regulating development (i.e. the Hox-genes). Well, these suggestions are untenable. First, they do not address the cornerstone issue of how the genes that have been duplicated emerged in the first place. For example, describing the “evolution” of Hox-genes Carroll [1] simply wrote that their origin was a unique phenomenon (see the first point above!). Second, genome duplication requires pre-existence of sophisticated biochemical pathways, which also have to appear somehow. Third, the pattern of gene (genome) duplication does not match the pattern of morphological radiation. Authors of a recent article on this issue wrote[2]: Many have argued that genome duplication is a dominant factor in the evolution of complexity and diversity. However, a clear correlation between a genome duplication event and increased complexity and diversity is not apparent… A causal link between any specific genome duplication event and increased species diversity remains elusive.[/quote]I agree this you that none of this is conclusive, but it does make for a start, wouldn't you think? For example, if I give you a sequence of events N1 to N100, and I can show you that the events developed in that order, but I can't show you how N24 led to N25, and N60 and N80 are missing altogether, do the "gaps" in my knowledge of how things happened invalidate the whole sequence?

[quote]So again, I see no independent evidence in favour of evolution and thus no need at all to raise your question 2.[/quote]Honestly, I don't think we've spent nearly enough time on question 1, so I wouldn't jump to conclusions just yet.

#16 Paul Cowan

Paul Cowan

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,064 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 30 January 2008 - 04:53 AM

[quote name='Yuri Zharikov'][quote name='M. Partyka'][quote name='Yuri Zharikov']OK, that's good let us discuss this concrete evidence. No straw evidence please

if you know how to move all this into a new thread, please go ahead, that would be great.

Thank you,
Yura[/QUOTE]

Or perhaps move it to a PM?

#17 Yuri Zharikov

Yuri Zharikov

    Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 259 posts

Posted 30 January 2008 - 05:36 AM

I think I understand what you're saying here. Basically, the fact that A and B are both present in a sample does not necessarily mean that A causes B or B causes A.

1) Today's carnivorous whales evolved from plant eaters. -- The first question that comes to my mind is, "Where are carnivorous whales found in the fossil record compared to where their plant-eating ancestors are found?" If plant eaters don't appear until after the carnivorous whales are found, then we might conclude that this falsifies the hypothesis. I would consider this an "indirect" test in that it depends upon the observation of data pertaining to past events rather than to present experiments.


There is no test here either direct or indirect. You simply assume that evolution created the order and the use the order as a test of evolution. Circular logic - I am right because I think I am right. Suppose I dig up a kettle from under a PC in a garbage dump. Is this an indirect test of evolution of PC from a kettle? It is a simple correlation. You read evolution into it. Also geostratigraphic column in an abstraction any way. It is a model of what things would have looked like if evolution existed. You cannot actually find it in the ground. Lastly that what's below is older than what's above is also an assumption. Most fossil deposits are catastrophic in origin, not gradual (otherwise they wold not be there) so the order of things in themselves means nothing.

2) The tropic of cancer is inhabited by crayfish. -- This statement isn't as open to "indirect" testing, but it is at least verifiable. Find a crayfish in the right spot (assuming it hasn't been deliberately planted), and you've proven the theory.


The question was meant to be absurd. There is not such place as constellation of Cancer

I don't see how this is "clearly false". The rate of nuclear decay is not itself constant, but the rate of change of decay is constant, is it not?


Actually it is not. The rate of decay changes with chemical environment (http://www.answersin.../decay_rate.asp).

I think there's a hole in your logic somewhere. Consider for a moment the progression you have just described: prokaryotes, eukaryotes, genetic codes, photosynthesis, mitochondria, plants, sexual reproduction, Hox-genes, vertebrates, and the development of vertebrates from the simpler to the more complex. Now consider we've got a fossil record to work with. Doesn't there exist at least some potential for falsification from the fossil record as regards the sequence of biological development and diversification you've just described?


I am missing what the hole is. What I have described is not a sequence. It is assumed to be a sequence assuming there is evolution. Otherwise it is just a diversity of levels of organization all of which exist today.
Fossil record only tells you that some things that existed earlier do or do not exist today. This is all. Everything else you read into this initial observation depending on what you believe in.
To say something about "biological development" you need to identify a mechanism by which this development happens. As a thought exercise, take a hummingbird or giant salamander and "evolve" it in 1000 steps each of which would be an improvement on the original into something else along with the rest of the ecosystem into which these critters fit perfectly well.
:-)

In the Lord,
Yura

None of the other things you mention provide any evidence for evolution (or at least I do not see it). Non-coding DNA that maintains the structure and placement of coding DNA, flies with legs on their heads, organs that are developed to a different degree in different organisms but always with a useful function... how does evolution follow from any of that?

Edited by Father David Moser, 30 January 2008 - 03:08 PM.
fix quotes


#18 M. Partyka

M. Partyka

    Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 345 posts

Posted 30 January 2008 - 06:20 AM

[quote name='Yuri Zharikov'][quote name='M. Partyka']The first question that comes to my mind is, "Where are carnivorous whales found in the fossil record compared to where their plant-eating ancestors are found?" If plant eaters don't appear until after the carnivorous whales are found, then we might conclude that this falsifies the hypothesis. I would consider this an "indirect" test in that it depends upon the observation of data pertaining to past events rather than to present experiments.[/quote]There is no test here either direct or indirect. You simply assume that evolution created the order and the use the order as a test of evolution.[/quote]On the contrary, the test should be clear. If the order doesn't match what we expect from the theory, then the theory is false. It does not logically follow that if the order does match, the theory is true. Remember, you asked whether the statement could be tested, verified, or falsified -- not necessarily all three.

[quote]Also geostratigraphic column in an abstraction any way. It is a model of what things would have looked like if evolution existed. You cannot actually find it in the ground.[/quote]This is a false statement. The full geologic column has been unearthed in several locations in both North America and Asia.

[quote]Lastly that what's below is older than what's above is also an assumption. Most fossil deposits are catastrophic in origin, not gradual (otherwise they wold not be there) so the order of things in themselves means nothing.[/quote]Fossilization can take place not only under catastrophic conditions but also over long periods of time. Moreover, catastrophic conditions are insufficient to explain the way fossils of different size and shape are distributed throughout the geologic column.

[quote][quote name='M. Partyka']2) The tropic of cancer is inhabited by crayfish. -- This statement isn't as open to "indirect" testing, but it is at least verifiable. Find a crayfish in the right spot (assuming it hasn't been deliberately planted), and you've proven the theory.[/quote]The question was meant to be absurd. There is not such place as constellation of Cancer.[/quote]Actually, the Tropic of Cancer is a line of latitude in the southern hemisphere running parallel to the equator. (There is also a constellation of Cancer, also known as The Crab, but I assumed you were referring to the line of latitude.)

[quote][quote name='M. Partyka'] I don't see how this is "clearly false". The rate of nuclear decay is not itself constant, but the rate of change of decay is constant, is it not?[/quote]Actually it is not. I do not have the source handy but if you excite isotopes with radiation the rate of decay changes.[/quote]Well, granted, if you expose an isotope to outside radiation, you're not going to record a normal rate of decay for that isotope. I'm thinking that the rate of decay of an isolated isotope, however, changes at a constant rate. I could be wrong on that, though.

[quote][quote name='M. Partyka']Consider for a moment the progression you have just described: prokaryotes, eukaryotes, genetic codes, photosynthesis, mitochondria, plants, sexual reproduction, Hox-genes, vertebrates, and the development of vertebrates from the simpler to the more complex. Now consider we've got a fossil record to work with. Doesn't there exist at least some potential for falsification from the fossil record as regards the sequence of biological development and diversification you've just described?[/quote]What I have described is not a sequence. It is assumed to be a sequence assuming there is evolution. Otherwise it is just a diversity of levels of organization all of which exist today. Fossil record only tells you that some things that existed earlier do or do not exist today. This is all. Everything else you read into this initial observation depending on what you believe in.[/quote]I think you and I are arguing two different issues under the same heading of "evolution". One issue is evolution, and the other is the age of the earth, correct? We should probably split off these issues into separate threads, or at least tackle them one at a time.

[quote]To say something about "biological development" you need to identify a mechanism by which this development happens.[/quote]I agree, and I've seen a few different things offered, some of which I've already mentioned. I don't know whether any of them rises to the challenge of explaining how organisms could evolve. I still hope to do more research on the topic.

[quote]None of the other things you mention provide any evidence for evolution (or at least I do not see it). Non-coding DNA that maintains the structure and placement of coding DNA, flies with legs on their heads, organs that are developed to a different degree in different organisms but always with a useful function... how does evolution follow from any of that?[/quote]It doesn't automatically follow, but it does lend credibility to the idea that small changes in an organism's DNA are sufficient to cause major morphological changes in an organism (which can then be passed to its offspring).

#19 Yuri Zharikov

Yuri Zharikov

    Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 259 posts

Posted 31 January 2008 - 03:34 AM

On the contrary, the test should be clear. If the order doesn't match what we expect from the theory, then the theory is false. It does not logically follow that if the order does match, the theory is true. Remember, you asked whether the statement could be tested, verified, or falsified -- not necessarily all three.

This is a false statement. The full geologic column has been unearthed in several locations in both North America and Asia.

Fossilization can take place not only under catastrophic conditions but also over long periods of time. Moreover, catastrophic conditions are insufficient to explain the way fossils of different size and shape are distributed throughout the geologic column.

Actually, the Tropic of Cancer is a line of latitude in the southern hemisphere running parallel to the equator. (There is also a constellation of Cancer, also known as The Crab, but I assumed you were referring to the line of latitude.)

Well, granted, if you expose an isotope to outside radiation, you're not going to record a normal rate of decay for that isotope. I'm thinking that the rate of decay of an isolated isotope, however, changes at a constant rate. I could be wrong on that, though.

I think you and I are arguing two different issues under the same heading of "evolution". One issue is evolution, and the other is the age of the earth, correct? We should probably split off these issues into separate threads, or at least tackle them one at a time.

I agree, and I've seen a few different things offered, some of which I've already mentioned. I don't know whether any of them rises to the challenge of explaining how organisms could evolve. I still hope to do more research on the topic.

It doesn't automatically follow, but it does lend credibility to the idea that small changes in an organism's DNA are sufficient to cause major morphological changes in an organism (which can then be passed to its offspring).


We seem to be spinning our wheels here. I'll try to explain what circular logic means using a quote from Thomas Kuhn:
The similarity of forms is explained by evolution, and evolution in turn is proven through the grades of similarities. That here one has fallen victim to circular reasoning is hardly noticed; what one wants to prove, namely that similarity is based on evolution, is simply assumed, and then the different degrees in the gradation of the (typical) similarities, are used as evidence for the truth of the idea of evolution.
This applies equally to all other so-called evidence for evolution including fossils, which are explained by evolution and used to prove evolution at the same time. (You may wish to read his (T. Kuhn) book The structure of scientific revolutions - a classic on philosophy of science).
So I'll again repeat that patterns of biological similarity or fossils are only initial observations they do not tell us anything about their origin in themselves (they need to be interpreted). To demonstrate that these patterns came about by means of evolution you need to show the mechanism - answer the question 'how'. That is you need to present something you can directly observe and experiment with as many times as needed (this is what is mean by testability and verifiability). Otherwise you are dealing with correlations and unverifiable assumptions and we can argue about such "evidence" till the cows come home (this would also apply to the age of earth and the question of whether or not crabs live in the constellation of the Crab). The mechanism (of evolution) should be capable of increasing genetic complexity in a biologically meaningful way, i.e. to increase fitness or odds of survival. If it does not, there is no support for evolution. This is what is meant by falsifiability - you make two alternative statements one of which, if borne out by facts, falsifies your hypothesis or theory, meaning that it is invalid. The other - only means that the theory stand for the time being. What I have just laid out are the most fundamental principles of scientific enquiry. If we cannot agree on them, there is no point in continuing this conversation.

So to be as explicit as possible, by "concrete" evidence, I have been asking for, I mean evidence on mechanism of evolution available for independent scrutiny.

In the Lord,
Yura

P.S. Could you please give me the original source on the full geologic column that has been unearthed in several locations in both North America and Asia.

#20 M. Partyka

M. Partyka

    Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 345 posts

Posted 31 January 2008 - 03:07 PM

I understand the circular logic argument. Basically, the sequence of fossils in the geological column is used to establish the progressive stages of evoluntionary development, and then this "established" sequence of stages of evolutionary development is used to define the age of geological samples in places where the column is not wholly present. A supports B supports A supports B, etc., etc.

The only problem I have with this argument is that there is a sequence of fossils in the geological column, and it doesn't fall into the same order predicted by catastrophists, particularly those who claim that the great flood of Noah is responsible for the fossils found throughout the entire geologic column.

P.S. Could you please give me the original source on the full geologic column that has been unearthed in several locations in both North America and Asia.

One article can be found at http://home.entouch.net/dmd/geo.htm. There is a list of sources at the end of the article, so I don't know that you would consider the article an "original" source -- go look up the sources yourself if you feel so inclined -- but the author is a former Young Earth Creationist (YEC) who wrote several papers for YEC journals before his job as a geologist in the oil industry confronted him with geological and fossil data on a daily basis which convinced him that YEC wasn't a scientifically tenable position to hold.




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users