i’ve got questions =/

Mar 29, 2013


Discussion by: kangsj_
So it’ts kind of embrassed to ask..well first of all i’m korean and im studtying in america and im freshmen at lutheran high school at this moment. I came here 6 month ago ( my english might not perfect..hope you understnad=/) so basically i grew up in christian family but as i grew up i had doubt about God and..i started to not belive in God and whole Jesus..thing =/ and i started to go to lutheran high shchool here and i’ve got more chance to ask such things…like contradiction about bible and ..creasionism ( to religion teacher, science teacher..etc) but ive always had answer only from religious aspect..so it was kind of not enough to fulfill my curiosity.. and like a week ago, during the chapel a scientist ( he said he has a degree in biology from concordia university…( not sure about university=/) came and he explained us why creationism is right and evolutionism is wrong so basically he said creationism is wrong because ape never can’y give birth to a human lots of scientists tried it but they never succed..and dog give birth to only dog ( like some scientist or people say wolf is ancestor of dogs) whch means like even though wolf’s simillar to dog , dog never can’t give bear wolf and about fossil , it can happen becuase of noa’s arc thing… and he said there are lots of ethnicities because if adam was “african american” and eve was “white” it could be possible that there are lots of ethnicities in the world..( also showed how does it works through pictures, cite to ..DNA) i hope you guys answer about them in scientistic aspects

31 comments on “i’ve got questions =/

  • Eve was made from Adams rib from what the good old book tells us, so how is it then that he tells you that she was from a different race. What is this mans real qualifications, to be telling you this nonsens!



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  • 2
    whiteraven says:

    No scientists ever tried to breed chimpanzees or gorillas with female humans. I doubt any other combination was tried but you will have to search the scientific literature to be sure. I really don’t think it has been tried without the help of scientists because either the human or chimpanzee (or gorilla) would probably object, but you never know what people will try in the privacy of their own jungle. These are different species so it is not likely scientists would bother trying.

    Dogs and wolves belong to the same species. Dogs and wolves can breed and it has been done. You can look up Wolfdog to read about it.

    I don’t think the bible says anything about what race or ethnic group Adam and Eve were so I don’t know how the creationist would be able to answer the question. The people who are creationists believe Adam and Eve actually existed and they will tell you whatever they imagine. I think everyone else will tell you Adam and Eve never existed and are just characters in a good story that was made up long ago and eventually written down. Any real scientists will tell you that the original humans came from Africa so they were Africans. 600 years ago there was nobody who was called African American because there was nothing called America and no Africans had come here on their own or as slaves.

    I don’t know very much about the Lutheran church. From what I just read at another site about the Lutheran church, it looks like there is one group of Lutherans who are creationist believers (the Missouri synod) and another group where some are creationists and some accept evolution.

    Concordia University is the name of a lot schools in many states in the USA and Canada. Maybe there are more in other countries but I don’t know. It looks like many or maybe all of them are Christian colleges and connected with some denomination of the Lutheran church. So some of them might be on the creationist side and some might not be. It is confusing, but most things about religious groups, how they started up, how they evolved and exactly what they teach is confusing, especially if you are in one group and are trying to figure out a different one.

    You are not likely to find any people here that believe in god or any of that religious stuff. They think the scientific approach is right and that the best information from science tells us the universe is 13.8 billion years old, the Earth is about 4.5 billion years old, that evolution is the process that over several billion years connects humans and all living things back to organisms with only one cell and even further back. We think creationists, especially the ones who believe the Earth is 6000 years old, believe in stuff about god and how the universe was created is that is total nonsense. And a lot of us probably think that there are some things that religions teach about how to be a good person and live a good life that are good ideas. We disagree about where those ideas came from. There are other things they think are good that we think are not good. We will say there has to be a reason for things, not just that you should believe this or that just because it says so in the bible, or because someone says that god says it is so.



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  • I am not a scientist so my understanding of these questions may be incomplete, but I have read some books and watched various tv documentaries, including many of Richard’s. Firstly I don’t think any real scientist would expect an ape to give birth to a human. Modern apes are not our ancestors but our cousins and we share an ancestor at some point in the distant past, think of a family tree with us, chimps, gorillas etc each having its own branch. I suspect that a lot of the confusion this topic seems to arouse ( and I also suspect that some of the confusion is deliberate on the part of religious fundamentalists who do not want and do not want others to understand anything that conflicts with their beliefs… The ‘scientist’ who came to your school sounds like a prime example) is to do with our human tendency to name things. We give everything labels and this creates the illusion of each species as entirely separate from the rest of life, we forget that the definition of each species gets a bit fuzzy around the edge and that they tend to overlap; for example we think of lions and tigers as different species yet they are still able to breed when humans bring them together. Our relationship to chimps is similar to that of lions and tiger, it is just that we split from the chimp branch of the family tree further back in time than lions split from tigers so the differences are greater making us unable to interbreed.

    Good luck with finding answers to your questions, I am sure that others on this site can give more complete answers than I am able to.



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  • 4
    Reckless Monkey says:

    Hi,
    first read The Blind Watchmaker or Greatest Show on Earth. the stated clearly series on you tube are quite a good start also http://www.youtube.com/user/sciencestatedclearly?feature=watch .

    The guy who claimed to be a biologist was dishonest. Either he wasn’t a biologist or more likely he wasn’t arguing as a biologist. The question to ask him is where these opinions he has given have been published in peer review journals. I guarantee you they have not because they are frankly rubbish. He is giving you his option based not on science but on his religious views. Peer review if you are not aware is the process by which bad science is eliminated. The reason we can state what science says is by this process of publishing your ideas and the evidence (experiment, observations, predictions). Other scientists in the field in this case evolutionary biology review the proposed paper and raise criticisms and offer the author the opportunity to re-submit if they can fix them. If it is unworthy or cannot be changed then it isn’t published. On being published the paper is then criticised by every other scientist who disagrees with it. This way bad science is eliminated. So when these guys show up and claim to be speaking for science then put them on the spot. “You say you are speaking from a scientists perspective? So can you please show me a peer review journal in which your views have been published?” If they cannot you know they are speaking through their arse.

    He’s telling you lies about breeding programs again ask for the journal article. But he is right the difference between a two similar species is that they have had sufficient genetic drift that they can no longer interbreed. A good example is horses and donkeys, they can breed but their young a ‘mule’ is not fertile. Chimps and Humans are probably further apart (we have a different number of chromosomes- in humans two fused to become 1 more proof of our relatedness). Another aspect of this to look up is ring species http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ring_species in which basically a species which extends say around the globe at the same latitude say seagulls can interbreed with the similar breeds next door but as you go further around the ones more distant have changed sufficiently that they cannot breed with those say 4 breeds away. Wolves and dogs can interbreed http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolfdog here is a peer-review article found by using google scholar http://www.nature.com/hdy/journal/v90/n1/abs/6800175a.html

    I assume by Noah’s ark and fossils you are referring to the fact that species are buried in the rocks from sediments laid down in the flood. There are problems with this namely, fossils are only found in the right order. That is you never find bunny rabbits fossilised with dinosaurs. This is one of the ways you could disprove evolution but they have never found fossils completely out of place like this.

    Creationists try to explain this away by saying larger animals like dinosaurs were too slow to go for higher ground while mammals scurried to higher ground and where drowned last. This ignores the fact that sloth’s are very slow and many dinosaurs were very fast, surely a T-Rex could have outpaced a three toed sloth? It also doesn’t explain why fish also show certain species existing only at certain times so even though they are free to swim where ever we are expected to believe that all of the ‘old’ species every one got buried in sediment.

    As for different races, this is a clear case of evolution in action. When we (whites – speaking for myself here) moved from Africa to Europe there was much less available sunlight to produce vitamin D in our skin. Those with lighter skin produced more and didn’t suffer from rickets and general poor health due to lack of vitamin D. People in Sunnier climates gain protection from burns and blistered skins and therefore risk of death from infection by having darker skin. Take 20 Africans and take a photo of one part of their skin and I guarantee you no two will have exactly the same skin colour this provides the raw material for natural selection to choose from.

    There are any number of other examples that show how someone who’s read even a single well written book on evolution wouldn’t come up with the sort of nonsense this guy has.



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  • 5
    bajoelsol says:

    The theory of evolution describes a gradual process. You always belong to the same species as your parents, and so do your descendants. You would never see a spontanious mutation give birth to a new species at once. Nobody expectes that to ever happen.
    Try “Why evolution is true” by J. Coyne, it’s very accessible to non scientists and even if you’re not fluent in english and miss some stuff, you would still learn a lot.



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  • 6
    Sjoerd Westenborg says:

    We can explain the absolute absurdity of this scientist’s arguments to you, but if you study the actual theory of evolution (not what biased creationists have told you about it) yourself, you would be able to realise how wrong and disingenuous they are yourself.

    I strongly recommend ‘The Blind Watchmaker’ by Richard Dawkins. Or ‘Evolution for Dummies’ by Greg Kukonis if you want to go really basic.

    ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’ by Richard Dawkins, and ‘Why Evolution is True’ by Jerry Coyne provide more of the actual evidence for evolution. And there is a lot of it.

    ‘Ancestor’s Tale’ tracks our actual ancestry and goes more in depth about how our actually family tree looks (we did not ‘come from monkeys’ as many creationists claim we think!).

    There are also a lot of videos on youtube and articles/blogs on the web that offer short, but clear explanations of the concept of evolution and about the evidence for it.



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  • 7
    OHooligan says:

    Welcome to this site.

    There’s lots to study, but for a good introduction, I recommend the BBC documentaries by David Attenborough. Maybe start with The Living Planet series. It tells a coherent story, illustrated from places all around the world.

    How anyone can see the Grand Canyon and still believe the world is only a few thousand years old is something I can’t even begin to understand. It’s just obvious.

    And once it starts to look obvious, you can follow up and seek out more information in as much detail and depth as you can stand. Don’t take any one person’s word for anything, but do learn to seek out the experts. You go to a garage not a church when your car needs fixing. You go to a hospital not a church when you break a leg – at least I hope you do. You call a plumber not a pastor when the toilet won’t flush.

    So, ask a geologist about the age of the world and how it got to look the way it does now. And so on.

    Good luck, you are now on an exciting journey that will probably last the rest of your life.



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  • 8
    gryphaea says:

    I can tell you this much. The guy was no biologist if that was his level of understanding.

    I don’t say that as my verdict though. I say it because if he took a biology exam and answered like that he would fail.

    This raises the question of whether you can learn a subject and answer it while disagreeing with it and then claim to be competent when you come out and practice without applying what you were taught.

    If you think about how this would work in engineering. Lets say a person does a degree in Civil Engineering and passes, but passes because he learnt the answers, not because he believed them. The person then gets a job as a Civil Engineer and is asked to build a bridge. They ignore everything they were taught and do it their own way, but it is OK because they have a degree in Civil Engineering. What will happen? The bridge will collapse and people will be harmed either directly or indirectly.

    A qualification means nothing if the knowledge you bring once you have it cannot do anything.

    Watch. I am a geologist. The moon is made of cheese. Give me some money to go and mine the cheese moon…

    Epistemology, the branch of philosophy concerned with the definition of knowledge, is important. Your ‘biology’ lecturer has redefined what knowledge means and then come at you with his own definition. It is wise to understand when people try and play this trick on you. Science is a way of building up knowledge. Many people disagree and think knowledge can be gained by guesswork and that their intuition will help them know what guesses are right. They almost always fail unless they are doing this within a scientific context and building on previous confirmed data. Religions don’t do this. This is why they are almost always wrong when we are able to check their guesses.



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  • 9
    Alan4discussion says:

    @ kangsj_

    It appears from your article, that you need some basic information in a readily readable form.

    I would suggest that you buy a hardback copy ( or get one from a library) of Richard Dawkins “Magic of Reality”

    The pictures and diagrams are better in the hardback versionAlt Text

    @OP – ( he said he has a degree in biology from concordia university…

    If he told you this ignorant nonsense, he is not a competent biologist – but those who lie about scientific information have no problem lying about qualifications. (Some theology colleges give degrees in pseudoscience such as “Bible Biology”.)

    ( not sure about university=/) came and he explained us why creationism is right and evolutionism is wrong ….. because ape never can’y give birth to a human

    The changes take place a tiny bit at a time over millions of years. Some fossil links are uncertain but here are some lines of human ancestry.
    http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2011/08/malapa-fossils/lineage-graphic

    lots of scientists tried it but they never succed.

    He just made this up! Nobody has tried to breed humans with other modern apes.

    Here is the PRIMATE FAMILY TREE showing the relationships and branches of the ancestry. http://www.whozoo.org/mammals/Primates/primatephylogeny.htm
    These evolutionary trees are the very basis of biological classification.

    .and dog give birth to only dog ( like some scientist or people say wolf is ancestor of dogs)

    Wolves were the ancestors of modern dogs.

    whch means like even though wolf’s simillar to dog , dog never can’t give bear wolf

    Again he is making up nonsense! Some people today cross-breed dogs and wolves!

    These pseudo-scientists are just ignorant posers who make stuff up! Some of them write books full of ignorance to sell to gullible fundamentalist Christians.

    Here is a clickable link to an article about wolf-dogs http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolfdog – with some quotes here:-

    A wolfdog (also called a wolf–dog hybrid or wolf hybrid) is a canid hybrid resulting from the mating of a gray wolf (various Canis lupus subspecies) and a dog (Canis lupus familiaris).

    In 1998, the USDA estimated an approximate population of 300,000 wolfdogs in the United States (the highest of any country world-wide), with some other sources giving a population possibly as high as 500,000.[1] In first generation hybrids, gray wolves are most often crossed with wolf-like dogs (such as German Shepherds, Siberian Huskies, and Alaskan Malamutes) for an appearance most appealing to owners desiring an exotic pet.

    Any scientist with a knowledge of dogs and wolves would know this! Anybody with any scientific investigation skills or honest teaching skills, would have found the information before lecturing on the subject.

    Some of these pseudo-science posers come here with their comically incompetent claims, as do their followers.

    The scientists here demolish their laughable nonsense very quickly, using information which has been verified by evidence from university science departments.



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  • 11
    papa lazaru says:

    and like a week ago, during the chapel a scientist ( he said he has a degree in biology from concordia university

    Liar, liar, pants on fire.

    Basically, he’s talking complete nonsense, like any creationist would. You did the right thing and remained sceptical. He is also arguing from ‘authority’, and like always, never take things said for granted especially if you know little about the subject yourself. Get yourself informed first!

    R.D. literature is great for dispelling those stupid myths and creationist nonsense (Magic Of Reality, The Blind Watchmaker, Climbing Mount Improbable, The Greatest Show On Earth). And frankly, if that’s the level of argument you are getting from them, then you’ll find 1,000’s of reliable scientific references and documentaries that will show you how ridiculous, ignorant and deceitful these people really are.

    I’ll throw in Bill Bryson – A Short History Of Nearly Everything. If anything, you’ll get an understanding how through the centuries, The scientific enquiry illuminated and dispelled the cretinous ideas your creationist friend is putting forward.



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  • 12
    Dom 2061 says:

    Hello kangsj,

    It sounds to me as if you have taken the first steps into a world of wonderful reality and fact, and out of the dreary emptiness of childish stories.
    I don’t really know what a Lutheran high school is, but this so-called ” biologist” should never be allowed to teach, in my opinion. No animal ever has – or ever could – suddenly give birth to a different species: that is not how evolution works. It goes something like this:

    When two animals breed their DNA mixes together.
    This mixing, along with other influences, can sometimes lead to tiny little mistakes or variations which may make the offspring just a VERY LITTLE BIT different from their parents.

    The difference will probably be unnoticeable: for example, it could just be that it changes eye colour, but it might do something more fundamental such as changing the mix of digestive enzymes in the gut.

    In itself this might not be very important for the animal, but supposing something changes in the environment? Perhaps, say, the weather gets hotter and drier and the local vegetation becomes thinner, tougher and less nutritious.

    Suddenly these offspring have an advantage: their digestive enzyme allows them to survive on low quality food when their siblings, (who don’t have the enzyme), struggle and die out.

    Because they survive they breed, and over many generations the animal with the stronger digestion becomes the New Normal for that species in that location.

    It may be that other members of the same family live in a place where the climate did not change so much, so there was never any need for nature to favour the new enzyme. Now we have two distinct populations: one with and one without. It becomes easy to see then how, over millions of years, hundreds and thousands of these tiny changes can result in two completely different species, but at one time in history they were the same animal.

    It’s a beautifully simple but staggeringly powerful process with overwhelming evidence to support it, and I cannot understand how anyone can deny it. You seem to have a strong curiosity which is only satisfied with facts, and I hope your school never crushes that out of you!



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  • 13
    canadian_right says:

    This so called scientists is no scientist at all. Pretty much everything he told you is wrong.

    There are many good books for regular people that explain evolution. I can recommend “The blind watchmaker” by Richard Dawkins, and “Why evolution is true” by Jerry Coyne. Another good book is “The demon haunted world” by Carl Sagan which is more about the science in general and why people often hold beliefs that are not supported by any evidence.

    Evolution is very gradual. No ape gave birth to a human. An ape like animal gave birth to a slightly more human animal, that animal gave birth to a slightly more human animal, and after millions of years you have humans. Each generation could breed with the previous and next generation. Only the animals separated by thousands of generations could be considered different species.Even the word species is a bit fuzzy as most species cannot interbreed, but a few can.

    Adam and Eve never existed; it is just a story made up by people who were ignorant of modern science to explain their origins. It is fine story, but just a story.

    The minor variations you see in humans today slowly evolved as humans spread out over the globe and these somewhat isolated populations diverged over time as they adapted to their local environment and random changes caused their appearance to differ. These differences are minor and all humans are of one species.

    I strongly recommend you read many books, not just about evolution, but physics, science, philosophy and theology.



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  • 15
    Nodhimmi says:

    From the Concordia web site-

    “Concordia’s undergraduate program is distinctive among Christian universities in the region because of the University’s innovative and engaging Core Curriculum, and its **Lutheran heritage that provides a thoughtful and caring Christian community that lives out Grace Alone. Faith Alone.”

    You may be attending the wrong **sort of high school, considering your desire for facts; that professor’s qualification is extremely suspect. Don’t be impressed by such an ‘authority’ and go on challenging…



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  • 16
    Nordic11 says:

    Welcome to Christianity in America!!

    Unfortunately, the majority of Christians in the US believe the earth is thousands of years old, there was a literal global flood resulting in all earth’s geology, and evolution is of the devil. I believe Professor Dawkins cites a Gallup poll in his latest book showing nearly 50% of Americans believe in these things based on their interpretations of the Bible, and the percentage among Christians is much higher.

    Many US Christians believe modern scientific explanations about the universe but still embrace God as the originator of the earth and universe. We reject naturalism (the belief that completely natural forces created the universe.) If you want to explore this issue from this philosophical bent, I would suggest the website Biologos. If you are an atheist, then you’re in the right place (these members provide lots of resources).

    As for an explanation of evolution, I would not recommend the Blind Watchmaker contrary to the recommendations on this thread. I appreciated much of the historical details Dawkins went into but found the explanations of evolution sorely lacking. His Greatest Show on Earth book is better if you can handle all the science.



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  • 17
    This Is Not A Meme says:

    Science

    Sociology: There are Muslim high schools that teach the Earth is flat. There are Jewish schools that teach Jews have an extra soul. There are many such ridiculous schools, and you are attending one.

    Physics: Noah’s Ark is impossible.

    Geology: The fossil record is understood by strata, layers of rock that settled at different times. When scientist want to find a fossil of the first fish to have arms, they know exactly where to look. The Earth is billions of years old.

    Biology: If Adam was Black and Eve White, everybody would be Sicilian. Mixing African and European genetics does not create every other possible ethnicity, like Ainu, Indian, Japanese, American Indian, Hispanic, etc. In fact, Mendelian genetics would suggest we’d all become Black because of recessive vs. dominant genes.

    Philosophy

    Epistemology: The Bible does not say Adam was Black and Eve was White. Therefor, we know that your ‘biology teacher’ is just making stuff up. You can’t believe anything they say. Some people just make stuff up and don’t see any problem. Other people never do that, and those are real scientists.

    Rationalism: You were right to question the ‘university’. For $20 you can buy a PhD degree online without taking any tests, be able to call yourself a doctor and get jobs that way. Where the degree comes form is what matters. You didn’t know that. Nobody told you. So how did you know? You figured it out with reason. Well done.

    And welcome to this website.



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  • 18
    Nordic11 says:

    Following the lines of this writer’s thread, I was wondering if the members here could shed some more insight on the topic of stasis of species (introduced in a thread a few days ago). I read the responses on that thread but was unconvinced how many species stay relatively the same for millions of years (such as the coelacanth) while other species undergo rapid change (dog like creature into whales) despite drastic environmental changes.

    I’ve also been following Richard Lenski’s e coli experiment for quite some time, and find it very odd that no new species has popped up in his test tubes despite nearly 70,000 generations of many different environments (as far as I know, he does not consider the ability of the bacteria to metabolize citric acid to constitute a new species).

    I’ve had my suspicions for quite some time that natural selection is a superb engine but random mutations do not have enough octane to fuel major species changes. The evidence is not convincing me. I know I’m shooting your scared cow, but could there be some other process at work here aside from natural selection?

    I’m interested in your thoughts/ explanations.



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  • 19
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #16 by Nordic11:

    Hi Nordic!

    Many US Christians believe modern scientific explanations about the universe but still embrace God as the originator of the earth and universe.

    As you point out, it is rather strange that so many Americans believe in biblical literalism and a Young Earth, when mainstrean churches (RCC and CofE etc), believe in PARTLY accepting the naturalist biological theory of evolution by means of natural selection – which they patch into THEISTIC EVOLUTION, while accepting the scientific calculation of the age of the universe, and the big-bang theory.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theistic-evolution
    Theistic evolution is not a scientific theory, but a particular view about how the science of evolution relates to religious belief and interpretation. Theistic evolution supporters can be seen as one of the groups who reject the conflict thesis regarding the relationship between religion and science – that is, they hold that religious teachings about creation and scientific theories of evolution need not contradict.

    We reject naturalism (the belief that completely natural forces created the universe.)

    naturalism = laws of science.

    If you want to explore this issue from this philosophical bent, I would suggest the website Biologos.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BioLogos-Foundation

    >

    The BioLogos Foundation is a Christian advocacy group

    established by Francis Collins in 2007. BioLogos aims contribute to the discussion on the relationship between science and religion and emphasize a compatibility between science and Christian faith.

    The foundation promotes theistic evolution, but maintains separation from the label to avoid being associated with atheism in some religious communities.[5] Evangelicals are the foundation’s primary audience, however, Collins says that he hopes that skeptics, seekers and believers of other faiths will find the website to be helpful.

    “Theistic evolution” which Biologos and the RCC promotes ;- is of course a fudge to slide god-did-it-by-fiddling-with-it, into the sciences of physical and biological evolution. – A fudge for which the supernatural mechanism has never been coherently explained!

    but maintains separation from the label (of theistic evolution) to avoid being associated with atheism in some religious communities.

    This is really teo-faced of Biologos – pretending to evangelicals that “Theistic Evolution”, is associated with atheism, when theistic evolution is being promoted by Roman Catholic establishment and the Church of England, but disputed by scientists and atheists.

    The BioLogos Foundation has drawn criticism from both creationists and atheists. . . .. Ken Ham, a young-earth creationist, said “it is compromisers like Collins who cause people to doubt and disbelieve the Bible—causing them to walk away from the church”.

    If you are an atheist, then you’re in the right place (these members provide lots of resources).

    kangsj – is better off asking evolutionary biologists, cosmologists, astronomers, and geologists, about the evolution of the universe, the Solar-System, Earth, and life, than looking for science on religious sites, which offer varying degrees of supernatural theistic fudge.



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  • 20
    Alan4discussion says:

    @kangsj

    ( he said he has a degree in biology from concordia university…( not sure about university=/) came and he explained us why creationism is right and evolutionism is wrong

    If you want to see an example of one of these “anti-evolution ‘expert’ authors”, – Babu G. Ranganathan – (B.A. Bible/Biology), totally ridiculed in only one post, look at Alan4discussion comment 8, on this discussion.
    http://www.www.richarddawkins.net/news-articles/2013/2/26/how-dinosaurs-grew-the-world-s-longest-necks?category=Science#



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  • 21
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #18 by Nordic11:

    Following the lines of this writer’s thread, I was wondering if the members here could shed some more insight on the topic of stasis of species (introduced in a thread a few days ago). I read the responses on that thread but was unconvinced how many species stay relatively the same for millions of years (such as the coelacanth) while other species undergo rapid change (dog like creature into whales) despite drastic environmental changes.

    I think this is the discussion you are referring to:- http://www.www.richarddawkins.net/discussions/2013/3/3/unchanged-organisms#

    Without wandering too far of the questions of this OP, I think it is clear that superficial phenotypic resemblance in fossils does not equate with evolutionary stasis. Essentially with successful body plans, family lines and genera are more durable, while species vary with divisions and extinctions. The rates of evolutionary change vary with changes in environmental pressures.

    The present day Coelacanths are not the same species as the fossil ones. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Actinistia
    See Taxonomy and Phylogeny

    Mutations creating variations in a very successfully evolved body plan, are likely to be detrimental and selected against, unless there is a relevant change in the environmental selection pressures.

    Environments vary widely over geography, climate and time, changing the pace and opportunities to evolve. Mass extinctions and radical environmental changes, offer opportunities to surviving or invading species to diversify and expand into new niches without competition.

    Mobile animals like whales and some birds can move as environments change, others like large seeded slow maturing trees, can only move slowly across favourable terrain, unless something else aids them. Rates, volumes and mobility of offspring are also factors.

    If you are interested in whale evolution there is a good article here:- http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2010/08/whale-evolution/mueller-text

    With a good animated illustration here;- http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2010/08/egyptian-whale/whale-animation



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  • 22
    DocWebster says:

    Wow, Where’s Richard when you need a good slapdown. Whatever that moron was, he wasn’t a scientist. It would hilarious, epically hilarious in fact, to have Aron Ra go after that ignoramus. I’d pay good money to see it



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  • 23
    Nordic11 says:

    Hi alan!

    Good to talk with you again! I’ve had a rough several months (very bad chemotherapy side effects) so I’ve not had the energy for anything extra (such as discussions here).

    We’ve danced around the naturalism/ theism debate before, and there’s not much sense in partnering up again. You believe naturalism is science; I believe it’s philosophy, but I’m more interested in your comments about evolutionary change. Thanks for the resources, by the way! Always helpful.

    I understand the varying changes of environmental pressures and the fact that the coelocanth and other “static” organisms have changed species, but to me, much evidence points to a taxonomic wall (whether genus, family or class I don’t know) through which evolutionary change cannot penetrate. I’m certainly not suggesting we go back to the pre-Darwinian immutablity of species theory, but is there an immutablity at some other taxonomic level? Does natural selection have a taxonomic boundary? The evolutionary biologists I read (including Dawkins) provide excellent examples of evolutionary change on smaller scales (bacteria resistence to antibiotics, Galopgas finsches, DNA evidence for a common descendant of chimps and humans, even the evolution of whales from land mammals), but the huge changes seem to be inferences (I realize we cannot observe them). Could there be something else going on here apart from natural selection? This question has been a thorn in mind for quite some time. Of course, if there is some other process for change, I have no idea what it could be.

    I also wanted to know your thoughts about the Lenski experiments. He has boiled his e coli critters in the environmental pressure cooker for tens of thousands of generations, and we are just not witnessing any significant (major) evolutionary changes. You’re much more knowledgeable about this topic than I so I defer to you.

    Good to connect with you again, and I hope all is well!

    Cheers and enjoy a great weekend!

    Nordic



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  • 24
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #23 by Nordic11:

    I understand the varying changes of environmental pressures and the fact that the coelocanth and other “static” organisms have changed species, but to me, much evidence points to a taxonomic wall (whether genus, family or class I don’t know) through which evolutionary change cannot penetrate. I’m certainly not suggesting we go back to the pre-Darwinian immutablity of species theory, but is there an immutablity at some other taxonomic level? Does natural selection have a taxonomic boundary?

    History suggests not – and that present life tracks back to LUCA. Obviously not every one of the millions of species have been tracked, but enough have to make the point. We all share the same DNA.

    I know you do marine biology, so you might like to look at sponges, which illustrate the transition from single cells to multicellular organisms.

    Sponge Reaggregation- 2minute video –

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N462jZFr13k
    Extract from the BBC’s ‘First Life’ documentary. A classic experiment in which sponge tissue is broken down into individual cells by being forced through a sieve. Special motile somatic cells called archeocytes then reassemble the disassociated sponge cells to form a new sponge. Narrated by David Attenborough. Interview with Prof. Bernard Degnan (University of Queensland).

    A sponge which is broken into single cells, will clump and regrow into a multi-celled animal. You will know that life starts from a single (sometimes egg) cell and divides. Some stay single. Eukarotes clump into multicellular organisms

    The evolutionary biologists I read (including Dawkins) provide excellent examples of evolutionary change on smaller scales (bacteria resistence to antibiotics, Galopgas finsches, DNA evidence for a common descendant of chimps and humans, even the evolution of whales from land mammals),

    If you look at vertebrate evolution, it starts with Chordates – but keeping it simple;-

    It starts with a worm-like marine creature with a notochord, progresses to fish, which evolve into lobe-finned sea-bed walking fish, which progressed to gaining access to tidal beaches with progressive levels of amphibian capability (like modern Mudskippers – see my link @20). The true amphibians then evolved (Salamanders frogs etc), some of which evolved into the reptiles (Crocodillians Dinosaurs etc) , and some evolved into mammals. Of course there are many other branches, still representing earlier forms which took different evolutionary paths. (A lack of understanding of this leads to silly YEC questions like – “If we evolved from fish, why are there still fish?”)

    but the huge changes seem to be inferences (I realize we cannot observe them). Could there be something else going on here apart from natural selection?

    Actually we can! Many changes are reflected in embryo development, and many more are illustrated in the diversity of modern species. (Frogs for example have a huge range of levels of parental care – from just abandoning their eggs, to giving live-birth to tadpoles or adult frogs. – See my comments on this discussion –
    http://www.www.richarddawkins.net/news-articles/2013/3/16/bizarre-extinct-frog-brought-back-to-life?category=Science# )

    I also wanted to know your thoughts about the Lenski experiments. He has boiled his e coli critters in the environmental pressure cooker for tens of thousands of generations, and we are just not witnessing any significant (major) evolutionary changes. You’re much more knowledgeable about this topic than I so I defer to you.

    Sorry, I have heard of this, but bacteria are not really my field. Perhaps someone else can help.



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  • 25
    Zeuglodon says:

    In reply to #23 by Nordic11:

    I understand the varying changes of environmental pressures and the fact that the coelocanth and other “static” organisms have changed species, but to me, much evidence points to a taxonomic wall (whether genus, family or class I don’t know) through which evolutionary change cannot penetrate. I’m certainly not suggesting we go back to the pre-Darwinian immutablity of species theory, but is there an immutablity at some other taxonomic level? Does natural selection have a taxonomic boundary?

    No, for the simple reason that the taxonomic levels higher than the species level are artificial and arbitrary classifications, holdovers from the Linnean hierarchy, which doesn’t take into account modern cladistics. And I don’t know what evidence you’re citing, but the evidence from genetics, palaeontology, and straightforward logic show that all species are linked by a chain of relatives, from any one individual’s ancestry all the way back to the most recent common ancestor and then down another line of ancestors to another modern individual from another species. The evidence is in favour of the Last Universal Common Ancestor (LUCA) theory.

    So that leaves only two “boundaries” I know of. One is a pragmatic one: simply that it would take anywhere from tens of thousands to hundreds of millions of years to accomplish more dramatic change, especially in macroscopic organisms, via artificial selection (humans breeding the animals).

    The other is the level of reasonableness in the skeptic’s demands. For instance, you claimed that “random mutations do not have enough octane to fuel major species changes”. On what basis are you making this claim? Even if a beneficial mutation arose only once every ten thousand years, that could still add up to a hundred new and beneficial mutations within one million years. Given a hundred million years, that would produce 10,000 beneficial mutations, and given a thousand million years, 100,000 mutations. This is three to five times greater than the current estimate for the number of active genes in the human genome, and given how duplication and mutation work, it’s possible for a single example of either to create more than one new genetic locus (for instance, plants have been known to double the number of chromosomes in their genome). And this is just for one lineage.

    If a speciation event occurred only once every million years to turn one lineage into two (such that 100 beneficial mutations would separate each one), and assuming each species survived and could split off on its own, you’d end up with a 31-digit number of species after only a hundred million years. After merely 329 million years, you’d hit a hundred-digit number of species. To put this into perspective, the modern overestimate for number of extant species is somewhere in the 20 million species range. If the entire inventory of species were replaced every year for the entire 4.5 billion years of the Earth’s history, such that every year had a completely new set of 20 million species, you’d still only get a seventeen-digit number, or about one ten-trillionth of my pessimistic estimate for the number of species if you could only have one speciation event per lineage for a mere hundred million years.

    Couple this with the fact that genes can have multiple effects via pleiotropy in embryological development, and the fact that evidence from our own artificial selection experiments like Lenski’s suggests that mutation rates are faster than that, and I think skepticism over natural selection’s ability to overcome “taxonomic boundaries” is purely intuitive. Even if you don’t accept the specific numbers on offer here, which in any case are hypothetical, it should at least make you think about the scale of the change you are questioning.

    The evolutionary biologists I read (including Dawkins) provide excellent examples of evolutionary change on smaller scales (bacteria resistence to antibiotics, Galopgas finsches, DNA evidence for a common descendant of chimps and humans, even the evolution of whales from land mammals), but the huge changes seem to be inferences (I realize we cannot observe them). Could there be something else going on here apart from natural selection? This question has been a thorn in mind for quite some time. Of course, if there is some other process for change, I have no idea what it could be.

    Frankly, no. Once you’re past the species boundary (which isn’t even a crisp line so much as a fuzzy spectrum), the same evolutionary mechanisms apply simply because it’s just more of the same, akin to the principle of extrapolation that allows us to understand that an erosion rate of 0.01cm a year on average would reduce a 1km high mountain to its base in a hundred millennia.

    Here, I’ll illustrate it. Keeping in mind my point above about rates of evolutionary change, the separations of each major phylum have been dated by genetic analyses to have largely occurred between 1,200 and 600 million years ago. If each species on average gave birth to the next generation around ten years into their lives, such that you’d go through 100,000 generations per million years, that adds up to between 60 million and 120 million generations. As an aside, in the real world it would only take between 40 to 50 generations for a human to go back to his or her ancestors a thousand years ago, and humans are unusually long-lived among mammals (at least, modern humans are). Merely going back to the time when our ancestors diverged from those of the chimpanzees’, about 6 million years ago, gives you 240,000 to 300,000 generations, and to make a hairpin bend and go forwards to modern chimpanzees’ might require double that number: 480,000 to 600,000 generations.

    Of course, the average might be nearer 1 year – 600 and 1200 million generations – or nearer 100 years – 6 and 12 million generations – but for now I’ll proceed with the ten million year assumption for the sake of argument.

    To get from a whale to a spider, for example, you’d potentially have to go through twice that many generations (once for the line from whale to common ancestor, and again for the line from common ancestor to spider), leading to 120-240 million generations. Whales evolved from medium-sized animals in only 50-60 million years, and evolved from shrew-sized creatures in only 100 million years. They evolved from reptilian creatures within about 300 million years, from fish-like ancestors within 400 million, from tiny wormlike creatures like Pikaia within 500, from wormlike creatures within 600, and from a common ancestor of protostomes and deuterostomes about 910 million years ago. Then the protostomes went through presumably worm-like forms, past creatures that would have looked like ragworms and water bears, then past creatures that would’ve looked like velvet worms, onward to the armoured-back arthropod ancestors and finally through the arachnid ancestors to spider-like creatures before giving rise to spiders. And all this could potentially be achieved within 120-240 million steps.

    If you still think you have evidence for otherwise, please provide it, but if it’s simply a gap in our knowledge (i.e. an argument from ignorance), it isn’t considered evidence. If you wish to dismiss inference, however, then you are effectively dismissing probabilistic reasoning and induction, and potentially arguing that no crime scene investigation – which uses both – would be worthwhile because all possible explanations are equally likely. If you dispute the latter, then given the strength and comprehensiveness of the case for evolution, I think you should not be dismissive of inference when used in scientific analysis.

    I also wanted to know your thoughts about the Lenski experiments. He has boiled his e coli critters in the environmental pressure cooker for tens of thousands of generations, and we are just not witnessing any significant (major) evolutionary changes. You’re much more knowledgeable about this topic than I so I defer to you.

    What would be an example of a “major evolutionary change”? Biochemical processes have undergone a large overhaul in many cases, such as their ability to process new foods that were previously unavailable to them. On the scale of bacteria, this is akin to having whole new organs installed; by proportion, a more dramatic change than most of the macroscopic equivalents in multicellular organisms (the reason why is in the name). As far as I recall, each manipulation of the environment used by Lenski et al. produced an evolutionary response. I don’t know what you were expecting, unless you’re appealing to the “evolutionary stasis” argument, in which case see the other thread Alan linked to.

    And suggesting that there has been no change in species is simply a specious claim. Bacteria are asexual. Since a species is normally defined by its ability to interbreed with other organisms, it’s not entirely helpful to apply that criterion here. I don’t know exactly how bacteria are classified into species – it would either be based on cellular and biochemical morphology or based on common genomic information – but in any case, organisms have changed over generations as a result of environmental pressures. Arguing that they’ve got to do more and more of it before you’ll concede the point is simply moving the goalposts.



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  • 26
    zengardener says:

    The scientist you described is a joke to real scientists.

    The good news is that your curiosity can lead you to real knowledge. Hit your library and check out the books recommended by the wonderful people that populate this site.

    You will do fine.

    I recommend “Why Evolution Is True” by Jerry Coyne as well.



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  • 27
    Nodhimmi says:

    Many US Christians believe modern scientific explanations about the universe but still embrace God as the originator of the earth and universe. We reject naturalism (the belief that completely natural forces created the universe.) If you want to explore this issue from this philosophical bent, I would suggest the website Biologos. If you are an atheist, then you’re in the right place (these members provide lots of resources).

    As for an explanation of evolution, I would not recommend the Blind Watchmaker contrary to the recommendations on this thread. I appreciated much of the historical details Dawkins went into but found the explanations of evolution sorely lacking. His Greatest Show on Earth book is better if you can handle all the science.

    Biologos? Really?
    Funded by Templeton Foundation, totally lacking credibility. What’s the going rate for a famous scientist (to betray his scientific principles)?



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  • 28
    God fearing Atheist says:

    kanjsi,

    No evolutionary biologist has ever claimed an ape gave birth to a human, or a wolf a dog. That’s a straw man argument.

    I like Richard Dawkins analogy. Suppose you hold hands with your mother, and she holds hands with her mother, and your grandmother holds hands with her mother, and so on back through the generations.
    Suppose a modern chimp does the same. Assuming a human and chimp generation is about 20 years, then the line you are leading, and the line the chimp is leading, will eventually join about 30 million ancestors back. There will be one female about 6 million years ago who had one daughter who is your ancestor, and one daughter who is the chimp’s ancestor. But you would not be able to tell the daughters apart, or predict what one of their descendants would look like.

    Now walk down the line of human ancestors and spot the difference between and mother and daughter. There will be no perceptible difference. We all know a new born baby turns into an adult in 18 years. But at any time that child looks identical from one day to the next. There are only 6570 days from birth to adulthood.

    To see real differences you would probably have to look at least every 100,000 years, or half million ancestors, as you might have to look at a child every 3 months to see noticeable changes, and even then sometimes the changes would be too difficult to see. There is no mother who ever gave birth to a daughter of a different species, just as there is no birthday that physically changes a baby into a toddler, or a child into a teenager, or a teenager into an adult. Those are human labels for ages, or legal definitions. The species labels we place on human ancestors are the same.

    I suggest you read Richard Dawkins books. Try “The Greatest Show on earth”. He is far better at explaining this than I.



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  • 29
    Dublin-atheist says:

    Heigh kangsj, that person who tried to say he is a scientist is a bullshiter of the highest order not a scientist, if you look at our DNA it shows that we are very similar to chimpanzees there’s only a 2% difference between us and them but that 2% difference makes a huge difference in terms of physical appearance and mental development, our DNA is even more different to other primates and even more different to monkeys and even more different to other mammals and so on. The study of the natural world is amazing,beautiful, incredible. spellbinding,worth looking into never mind the fool from Concordia university nobody ever tried to mate with an ape expect probably him.



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  • 30
    mannypanning says:

    kang, you’ve been fed the usual creationism line. Of course an ape cannot give birthto a human. It has never happened, and evolution does not say it has ever happened. As far as I am aware, here has never been any attempt to do so.

    When you are presented with these claims of “filed attempts”, request citation. I bet they can’t produce it.

    If this person had a degree in biology it wasn’t from Concordia in Montreal….



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  • 31
    ChancePike says:

    o petty you poor thing… I was born in Asia, Buddhist background… grew up in a Christian school.. Found all religions boring and didn’t give me any logical answer…. The question you ask is a very basic question for an atheist to answer. I am not an atheist (more agnostic) but this answer is from basic middle school biology. Basically, evolution happens after a span of a LONG time. It will not happen in a matter if days, weeks or months. Your teacher’s experiment would have been logical if his experiment was 30 millions years long. I mean 30 million years of continuous breeding to notice changes. Evolution is just a result of such experiment. WE are the result of such occurrence. Just an additional information, our DNA is around 98% similar to chimps and around 60% with a banana. You can google these things and find reliable sources. Good luck with that 🙂



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