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Old 05-06-2004, 08:23 PM   #1
DanaC
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Evolutionary Science-v- Creationism

.......Since the topic came up on another thread......It probably doesnt come as a huge surprise to anyone that being an irreligious commy Brit I subscribe entirely to the one and eschew the other.....I would be intrigued to hear what the rest of you had to say on that subject......

As far as I can see, the evidence for Evolutionary science is thick on the ground, but the Creationist stance seems to be based mainly on faith with what scientific endeavour there is being crowbarred in to try and prove the existence of a creator God.......Or am I dismissing that idea too readily?

Is Creationsim merely a religious doctrine with science fitted into it or is it as valid as Evolutionary theory? Should it be taught in schools as equal in weight to Evolutionary science?

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Old 05-06-2004, 08:46 PM   #2
OnyxCougar
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We've had this arguement (in this forum) before, and what it comes down to is that all the non-Christians summarily dismiss any hypothesis that would indicate evolution didn't happen (as if it's not a theory, as if it's fact), and all the Christians do is state their beliefs.

I have been (and continue to be) a non-believer in evolution. I simply don't see how it could have happened that way. I've read alot of books in favor of both theories, and I think that the answers in genesis site is the most scientific of all the Creationist view sites I've seen, meaning, out of all the sites I've been to, it uses the most scientific approach. No one will ever be able to PROVE that God created the earth, and LIKEWISE, no one will ever be able to PROVE that all life on earth started out as amino acids in a primordial soup.

Bottom line is, neither are provable.

My concern on the other thread is your criteria of what are "real" scientists and what aren't. It seems to me you think that the hypothesis itself determines what is "good" science. I disagree with that.

the aig website uses the same principles of science against the theory of evolution. AiG is a Christian site, no doubt, the name gives that away. But they use the SAME scientific methods, laws and structures, and they come up with completely different hypotheses. Doesn't that interest you? I'm not asking you to say, "Oh! well then, I'm a Christian now!" I'm just asking you to think about what it is they are saying and not dismiss it SOLELY because they are putting forth a view that is religious in nature.

Don't you think that it's worth more than an offhand, RELIGIOUSLY based dismissal?

Why is it that a non Belief in Christianity automatically makes many people close their eyes, put their fingers in their ears and say lalalalalalala when presented with a scientific hypothesis that differs from evolution?

Edit: department of redundancy department

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Old 05-06-2004, 08:59 PM   #3
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From the AiG site:

Quote:
Although many prominent evolutionary fossil experts insist that there are no satisfactory fossils of transitional forms between different kinds of creatures, on page 35 of the Skeptics’ book, the author tries to show that there are. In his article about ‘Gaps in the fossil record’, he neither mentions nor shows a single
diagram of any fossil. In fact, much of the article is taken up explaining away the very gaps which he elsewhere seems to deny by saying that ‘the fossil record contains literally thousands of transitional forms'.

In spite of many words, the author neither mentions nor shows a single diagram of a fossil showing a true transitional structure — part-limb, part-wing; part-scale, part-feather, for example. This, of course, is for the simple reason that there are none.

However, all of this has been so adequately documented — not only by creationist writers such as Dr Duane Gish (Evolution: The Fossils Still Say No) by also by leading evolutionists — that this is not the issue I wish to discuss here.

Archaeopteryx is a fossil creature with some reptilian and some bird features. Most leading evolutionary paleontologists today would not regard it as a transitional form because it has no transitional structures, and because fossils of true birds have been found in a supposedly earlier geological layer. Under the subheading Archaeopteryx and feathers the author says

‘Is it really impossible for scales to have evolved into feathers? Many birds, from chickens to ostriches, show a continuous gradation from scales on some parts of their bodies to feather elsewhere (Lucas and Stettenheim 1972; Dyck 1985). Moreover scales and feathers are identical in chemistry, molecular structure and mode of development (Spearman 1966). [However, see Editor’s Note 2]

‘Most significant of all is the fact that scales and feathers are interchangeable. Recent laboratory studies demonstrate that chicken embryos can be induced to transform their developing scales into feather, and their feathers into scales (e.g. Dhouailly, Hardy and Sengel 1980). In their structure and appearance such artificially induced feathers are indistinguishable from natural ones. Indeed, it now seems possible for scientists to transform scales to feathers, and vice versa, almost at will! Similar interchanges between scales and feathers are known to occur spontaneously in wild populations of birds. Does the transformation of scales into feathers require massive genetic engineering? The answer is no. The transformation is triggered by a single chemical — retinoic acid, which is probably better known as vitamin A.

‘Archaeopteryx is a splendid example of a transitional fossil, showing an undeniable mixture of reptile and bird characteristics. In every feature except its feathers Archaeopteryx is similar to theropod dinosaurs. That one distinguishing feature — feathers — represents the crucial dividing-line between reptiles and birds. And today, in the laboratory, it is possible to breach that dividing-line by using simple chemical treatment to transform scales into feathers.’

Simple Transformation?
One gets the impression that it is a fairly simple matter to transform scales into feathers with the addition of a single chemical. If so it would not be at all difficult to imagine how scales could have evolved into feathers by only a small genetic change. However, common sense shows the huge flaw in this argument.

First, let us look below at the detailed structures of a feather (left) and scales (right), both magnified 80 times (Photos courtesy of David Menton)



Superbly engineered for lightweight aerodynamic efficiency, the system of interlocking hooks and barbules means that a quick preen with the bill will cause flattened feathers to snap into fully aerodynamic shape again. But note that every structure or organ must be represented by information (written in a chemical alphabet on the long molecule DNA) at the genetic level. Clearly, the information required to code for the construction of a feather is of a substantially different order from that required for a scale. For scales to have evolved into feathers means that a significant amount of genetic information, or specific chemical complexity, has to exist in the bird's DNA which is not present in that of the reptile. Examine the amazing close-up (below) of the barbules of a feather showing the tiny hooklets and grooves (Magnified 200 times, courtesy of David Menton).



At this stage we should be feeling uneasy about the idea that a simple chemical, containing a small amount of ‘information’, could cause such an ordered structure to arise. And here’s the catch, of course. The author himself has already told us that the experiment was done on chicken embryos, which already have the information coding for feather construction. The simple chemical is used as a ‘switch’ or ‘trigger’ during embryonic development.

That is, what we are witnessing is the fact that physicochemical manipulation of the developing embryo can cause a developmental pathway, which would normally result in scales, to result in feathers instead. But the information required to construct/assemble the structure of the feather is already there, and is simply being expressed at a different site. Genetically, there has been no evolutionary change — no information has been added to the organism’s ‘blueprint’ which was not already there.

So what has been achieved is that feathers have been induced to form in birds — although in locations at which they would not usually form. Equally, interference with the developmental machinery in fruit flies can cause a leg to grow where there would normally be an antenna. Such homoeotic mutations, as they are called, are not strictly analogous to the chicken example, but the point is the same, in that the genetic information for forming a leg was already in the embryo. Growing ectopic, or out of place, fur on mammals, or extra legs on flies or cows, demonstrates nothing about the origin of the information coding for fur or legs.

Thus, growing feathers on chickens cannot possibly have any value for the idea of evolution.

What if a researcher reported that vitamin A in a reptile embryo caused feathers to form? Now that indeed would be spectacular evidence for evolution. But no serious scientist would expect that such a thing were possible, for the simple reason that it would be a violation of the fundamental principles of entropy/information theory. The reptile does not contain the information for feather construction in its code. Vitamin A contains less ‘information’ in its chemistry than that required to code for a complex feather. The addition of a small amount of unrelated information cannot spontaneously cause a quantum leap towards information which was not there already.

Put simply, you cannot get something from nothing — this is why there is no such thing as a perpetual motion machine. Exactly the same principle of science forbids reptile feathers as forbids perpetual motion machines.

If a clever genetic engineer were to splice out the information coding for feather construction from a chicken embryo, and splice it into a reptile embryo to cause it to grow feathers, this would confirm the point we are trying to make here — that is, such complex information cannot spontaneously arise — it has to be created or transferred from a preexisting source. And furthermore that an intelligent mind is required to conduct the experiment.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ed. notes:
See the sequel, The Strange Recurring Case of the Feathered Reptile — a refutation of an evolutionist who tried to answer this article.

After both the Skeptic book and this Creation magazine articles were written, we came across evidence that refutes this claim. For example, feather proteins (ö-keratins) are biochemically different from skin and scale proteins (á-keratins). A feather expert, Alan Brush, concludes:

‘At the morphological level feathers are traditionally considered homologous with reptilian scales. However, in development, morphogenesis, gene structure, protein shape and sequence, and filament formation and structure, feathers are different.’ A.H. Brush, ‘On the origin of feathers’, Journal of Evolutionary Biology 9:131–142, 1996.
This is what I'm talking about. Allllll those "good scientists" that think Archeoptrix is a transitional form completely DISCOUNT any information that sheds doubt on their theory. Doesn't matter how right it is, or how many holes it punches in their arguments. So OTHER people "break their hypothoses" as you call it, but that doesn't make them discard the hypothesis, oh no. Either the "breaking" is ignored, or kept so quiet that no one sees it has been broken, and KEEPS putting it forth as truth, even when it's been disproven.

That is NOT good science.

And there are TONNES of other articles like this one. Not that say "we're right, so believe in God" (although some do...) but more importantly, say "There is a problem with your theory, here are the holes we can shoot in it using science."

And they are out of hand rejected because of WHO puts them forward, with no interest in the CONTENT of the material.

That is NOT good science.

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Old 05-06-2004, 09:14 PM   #4
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I also want to point this out, from Talk-Origins.

Quote:
2. Is there any observation which supports any feature of your theory? (An adequate answer to this question will not be something which is a problem for evolution, but is rather evidence for your theory. Remember that it is logically possible for both evolution and your theory to be false.)

And for every question like this, I would to response thusly:

Is there any observation which supports any feature of your theory? (An adequate answer to this question will not be something which is a problem for Creationists, but is rather non-circular evidence for your theory. This includes geological column and/or fossil records. Remember that it is logically possible for both Creationism and your theory to be false.)

And regarding this paranthethical qualifier to the original question:

Quote:
An adequate answer to this question will not be something which is a problem for evolution
So obviously, there ARE problems with at least portions of the theories they are espousing. But in refuting their hypothesis, it's not allowed to bring them up? What kind of scientific argument is this?

I want to be clear. I don't know how we all got here. I don't believe my great(x infinite) ancestors were primordial bugs. I don't don't buy that. More importantly, they cannot PROVE it. Yet it's in every science and biology book printed. Now, I don't have a problem with biology. I don't have a problem with how a cell works, that has been proven. But don't try to tell me that over billions of years, information of such complexity and of different chemical components just HAPPENED to occur at JUST the right time and in JUST the right way.... no.

I can't tell you why things are the way they are. But at least I'm willing to keep an open mind and admit when I'm wrong.

I guess that makes me a "bad" scientist.

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Old 05-06-2004, 09:21 PM   #5
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I think that God created everything...in a way similar to what is described in the evolution theory.
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Old 05-06-2004, 10:03 PM   #6
lumberjim
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Quote:
Originally posted by Lady Sidhe
I'm just curious. I'm eclectic Wiccan myself, mostly Green, with a little bit of Greek, Roman, and Strega, for a little over ten years. I personally became Pagan because it just seemed like I finally found a belief system that matched the one I already held. Not to mention that it emphasizes personal responsibility, and I think the rituals are much more evocative than any church I've attended.

Anybody else wanna 'fess up?


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Quote:
Originally posted by OnyxCougar
I think this should be in the "philosophy" forum, but this question has been asked repeatedly. Do some digging, you'll find us.
appparently your split personalities have different religions. Do they argue a lot?

or do you think that godS created everything?



I don't know much about a scientific argument FOR creationism. Its kind of an oxymoron isn;t it? I mean, God has magical powers right? so science wouldn;t have much to do with it. Poof! "here's a bunny rabbit!.....isn;t it cute?" no fossil record, no scientific evidence.

Here's a poser for you....the giant squid has an eyeball that is superior to ours in design. If we were created in God's likeness, why did he give us an eyeball with a blindspot in it? Does God have a blindspot in HIS eyeball? perhaps the squid has need of more acute vision than we do, so it friggin evolved that way.

COuld not the two theories coexist? maybe god created whatever went BANG at the beginning of time, but to think that he plunked Adam and freaking Eve down on this one planet amongst all of the infinite planets in the universe is just plain nuts.
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Old 05-06-2004, 11:17 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by OnyxCougar


My concern on the other thread is your criteria of what are "real" scientists and what aren't. It seems to me you think that the hypothesis itself determines what is "good" science. I disagree with that.

the aig website uses the same principles of science against the theory of evolution. AiG is a Christian site, no doubt, the name gives that away. But they use the SAME scientific methods, laws and structures, and they come up with completely different hypotheses. Doesn't that interest you? I'm not asking you to say, "Oh! well then, I'm a Christian now!" I'm just asking you to think about what it is they are saying and not dismiss it SOLELY because they are putting forth a view that is religious in nature.

Don't you think that it's worth more than an offhand, RELIGIOUSLY based dismissal?

Point of order. You cannot argue science by making an inaccurate statement about how the scientific method works. A scientific hypothesis is the second step in the rigorous field of endeavor known as the scientific method:

1. Observation and description of a phenomenon or group of phenomena.

2. Formulation of an hypothesis to explain the phenomena. In physics, the hypothesis often takes the form of a causal mechanism or a mathematical relation.

3. Use of the hypothesis to predict the existence of other phenomena, or to predict quantitatively the results of new observations.

4. Performance of experimental tests of the predictions by several independent experimenters and properly performed experiments.

If the experiments bear out the hypothesis it may come to be regarded as a theory or law of nature.

A poor hypothesis makes for poor science. If you don't like this fact go debate about art or something, but don't expect scientists to take you seriously.
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Old 05-06-2004, 11:38 PM   #8
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Although many prominent evolutionary fossil experts insist that there are no satisfactory fossils of transitional forms between different kinds of creatures, on page 35 of the Skeptics’ book, the author tries to show that there are. In his article about ‘Gaps in the fossil record’, he neither mentions nor shows a single
diagram of any fossil. In fact, much of the article is taken up explaining away the very gaps which he elsewhere seems to deny by saying that ‘the fossil record contains literally thousands of transitional forms'.

In spite of many words, the author neither mentions nor shows a single diagram of a fossil showing a true transitional structure — part-limb, part-wing; part-scale, part-feather, for example. This, of course, is for the simple reason that there are none.
That's bullshit.

You're right, it's not good science. It's cherry picking evidence, skipping facts and pursuing a very narrow agenda. It's all I've ever seen from creationist 'science'. As stated on the other thread, it's more of a philosophy than a science, there is zero, precisely zero scientific evidence supporting it.

In terms of the links between reptiles and birds, you might want to research the following fossils/species. I think the reason that creationists picked this area is because feathers do not fossilize well, so getting accurate ideas of what species looked like has been particularly difficult.

Archaeopteryx lithographica
Sinosauropteryx
Confusciusornis
Protarchaeopteryx

Of course some of the other 'evidence' this idiot throws up is even worse, particularly the claims there is no evolutionary advantage to feathers. Proposed reasons include insulation, water resistance, particle filtration, sexual displays, buoyancy and protective coloring.

Of course that doesn't fit so nicely with the wankings of a bunch of blind idiots cherry picking evidence to suit their theory. Every time I come across one of these examples of why clearly god made everything or evolution doesn't work they pic some very small detail and attempt to blow it all out of proportion. The last one I heard which really made me laugh was that the banana was proof that god exists because it's a perfect food for us....

Good page here on all this.
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Old 05-06-2004, 11:56 PM   #9
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I've never really seen a great disparity between evolution and creationism.

The gods can create things any way they want to, after all, and make adjustments along the way as the design either proves itself or flubs.
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Old 05-07-2004, 12:15 AM   #10
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Creationism is yet another topic that pushes my "asshole button"

I'm so aghast that anyone with in IQ over 80 would buy that fairy tale type explanation for how things became how they are now that I lose a little hope for the human race each time I encounter it. In fact, that's it. I've had enough. Stop the world. I wanna get off!
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Old 05-07-2004, 12:21 AM   #11
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pagans:

is there a specific "creator god"? Could creationism coincide with paganism?

I have said before that i am a pickandchoosist. One of the things I like about paganism is that they see god in the many aspects of nature. They choose to identify them individually and worship them to suit. I also firmly believe in evolution.

Of the individual Pagan Gods, which of them is responsible for the beings that christianity subjugates to man? ... the flowers, birds, crickets, sheep, etc? Gaia? do pagans believe that gaia's womb produced all living things whole in their current state? What do the other religions say? Is creationism a mainly Christian belief? Judaism too, I guess? and is Islam a derivitave of those two? does it have the same stance on this? How about Hinduism and Bhuddism?
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Old 05-07-2004, 12:35 AM   #12
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There are as many answers to that question as there are pagans.

Some paths honor a single creator god, and consider other gods and goddess as aspects of that One.

Others follow a goddess and a god, recognizing the duality of creation. Some assign different names, faces, and duties to a variety of goddess and gods.

Some see the inherent divinity in all things, beings, creatures, plants, landforms, rocks, etc.

Some make things up as they go along and don't give these kinds of questions all that much thought.
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Old 05-07-2004, 02:27 AM   #13
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Quote:
That is, what we are witnessing is the fact that physicochemical manipulation of the developing embryo can cause a developmental pathway, which would normally result in scales, to result in feathers instead. But the information required to construct/assemble the structure of the feather is already there, and is simply being expressed at a different site. Genetically, there has been no evolutionary change — no information has been added to the organism’s ‘blueprint’ which was not already there.

So what has been achieved is that feathers have been induced to form in birds — although in locations at which they would not usually form. Equally, interference with the developmental machinery in fruit flies can cause a leg to grow where there would normally be an antenna. Such homoerotic mutations, as they are called, are not strictly analogous to the chicken example, but the point is the same, in that the genetic information for forming a leg was already in the embryo. Growing ectopic, or out of place, fur on mammals, or extra legs on flies or cows, demonstrates nothing about the origin of the information coding for fur or legs.

Thus, growing feathers on chickens cannot possibly have any value for the idea of evolution.
We've proven that the blueprints for creating scales and for creating feathers are very similar. We've demonstrated a plausible way to make simple changes in life forms. However, we have not seen an experiment in which a process which takes millions of year can be seen to occur from beginning to end before our very eyes.

No, evolution is not provable in the way that "diamond is harder than charcoal" is provable. Neither are: the dinosaurs, the Flood, the existence of black holes, the existance of subatomic particles, the existance of God, the composition of stars, or the age of the Earth.

Would the histories of wheat, strawberries and antibiotics or the work of Gregor Mendel be enough to satisfy your demands for evidence of evolution? Upon which facet of evolution do you focus your vitriol?
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Old 05-07-2004, 03:36 AM   #14
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I think the main problem Onyx Cougar had was my out of hand dismissal of the creationist "science" on that site. ....In that she wa sfair enough....I did dismiss it out of hand and without more than a cursory glance at the site and its contents.

I have now had a chance to read a little more thoroughly and I stand by my original opinion, to whit, Creatinist science is pseudo science masqeurading as the real deal. Just because someone uses scientific sounding phraseology and tone doesnt make them a scientist. I have heard equally "scientific" sounding "scholars" give their evidence for Flat Earth Theory and the Bible code. As soon as you examine any of the data in detail their theories do not stand up to scrutiny.

Man invented creationism to answer the questions which scientists weren ot yet able to answer. The need for such fanciful explanations has now been superceded by scientific endeavour.
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Old 05-07-2004, 04:35 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by lumberjim
I don't know much about a scientific argument FOR creationism. Its kind of an oxymoron isn;t it?
I think that just about sums it up. The two perspectives are so disparate that one cannot prove or disprove the other via application of the other's fundamental building blocks to validate the hypothesis. You wouldn't attempt to verify evolution by quoting the bible, would you?
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