Apparently, creationists love me

I don’t know whether I should be flattered that I appear to be that notable, or offended that my points seem to be so categorically missed. First the wrath of the geocentrists, now this.

So, way back this spring we took a gander on down to Winnipeg’s Creation Museum – yes, it exists, and yes, it is in a church basement, and yes, the church is full of people who believe in a literal Genesis story (which one, it’s still not quite clear), replete with Adam and Eve and plant-eating T-Rexes. There was a question and answer period after the tour of the “museum” (room). John Feakes, the pastor of the church, was an amiable, genuinely nice guy, but he was espousing some very odd interpretations of reality, including those which even Answers in Genesis has distanced itself (like the “human” tracks along side dinosaurs at the Paluxy River, which are pretty much irrefutably also the tracks of dinosaurs. Or you could go with giant humans with feet that look remarkably dinosaur-like in nature. Sure.)

In any case, in the question period, I asked him something along the lines of how he could refute the molecular evidence for evolution – that evolution predicts structural homology, that was used to create trees of life, and molecular biology has been used to confirm those exact same trees of life (with a few surprises which now explain a lot more about how life evolved). His response… well, I’ll let him tell the story in a lecture that he gave to the faithful. (This comes in at about the 51 minute mark)

Now I locked horns with a couple of atheist groups now, uh, last… year? They came out to see me. We talked for five hours on evolution and creation and all that kinda stuff. And one girl, she stood up at Q&A time, and she was very adamant, she said “I’m a scientist, and evolution has been proven, and now we can draw family trees based on the molecular data, and it’s just so scientific.”

And I said “Okay, just a minute here. Umm you’re telling me now, did whales evolve from galloping terrestrial mammals like cows, or something else? Right? Okay now, and we got into this whole thing where now the new molecular data shows they actually evolved from hippo-like creatures. [Sarcastic] Right.

I said “Okay, so are you saying that your family tree based on how these things look got replaced by a tree based on the molecular data?”

She said “Yes, that’s true.”

I said, “Okay, now, I want to tell you what Dr. Klassen said, because he is a flag-waving evolutionist. He was out debating creationists; he debated Duane Gish, back in the 80’s.” I said, “he said ‘If these things don’t line up, evolution’s been falsified.'”

[mimicking me with incredulous sputtering] Well that’s just his opinion and… [trails off]

Well, I’m not going to say he misrepresented me because I think he is more honest than most creationists – notice the “cow-like” and “hippo-like” animal references, rather than crocoduck accusations. He also prefaces this reference to me by talking about how the morphological tree of life based on morphology is rubbish, that it’s been thrown out and taken back to square one with the evolutionary tree. This is of course, completely false. Here’s a 2009 paper from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) that looked at just that – comparing molecular to morphological data in mammals and molluscs. It turns out, in the overwhelming majority of genus, we were spot on with our homology data, or a single branch got bumped to another genus. Keep in mind that this is specific stuff here, it’s distinguishing between Homo sapiens, Homo habilis, Homo neanderthalensis, etc. Of our entire genus, one branch would be booted out and go, no, that’s really not as closely related to those as we thought, they’re better suited to say, Australopithecus.

The Tyrrell Museum is my favourite museum ever. Seriously, if you've not been, go. There's a great exhibit on evolution right now. (Plus lots of other fantastic things)

Of course, this is not a perfect analogy as from my understanding of the paper it was referring to only living species – however, consider that there are 20 species of common house mouse in the Mus genus presently, and any movement of those branch points to a different genus (say, a field mouse) counts as a hit. 65.8% of the time, molecular biology confirms exactly what we had figured out by phylogeny. 65.8% of the time! And this is being extraordinarily stringent, allowing for no minor corrections. If you include these minor corrections (a single species being moved from field mouse to house mouse origins, or inclusion of other branches which were thought to have diverged earlier), we were now right 87.3% of the time. What are the odds of a random, incorrect theory based on wild assertion getting two completely separate, independently verified pieces of data to agree 87.3% of the time. The other 12.7% of the time where we were wrong? Well these are the surprises that John Feakes points out. Look at this 12.7%, he says, and please ignore the 87.3% of the time that they got it right. Keep in mind, also, that this is from within Classes – certainly no mammals were being shown to be more genetically similar to molluscs or vice versa.

This seems like a good time for a happy dinosaur break.

So yes, I did agree that the whale was a surprise. Yes, I should have been able to form a better argument than saying it’s an appeal to authority (but truly, it was the first time I’ve ever encountered the “so-and-so said” technique and was shocked by it.) None of that changes the fact that, the majority of the time, we were absolutely right. And the overwhelming majority of the time, we were very nearly right. No amount of personal incredulity will change the fact the odds of this happening by mere chance are extraordinarily low (p=0.029).

Which are, shockingly, still better odds than your family ever having taken a recreational slide down Apatosaurus' neck

In fact, the authors of this papers state that “These results likely represent a worst-case scenario for morphogenus monophyly. Much of the compiled molecular work focused on ‘problem taxa,’ those known to be resistant to morphological analysis (e.g., freshwater bivalves, oysters, bovids).” These data are merely a conservative estimate on how right we were, based on data with a bias towards areas of morphological contention, and further works under the assumption that our genotyping techniques are perfect – and of course, errors are always possible. And they still were completely right in 65.8% of mammals.

If that isn’t evidence, I don’t know what is.

This was not my ancestors' family pet 6000 years ago, this is a the sort of thing that ate my shrew-like ancestors 20 millions years ago.

Oh, and as a final note, I resent being referred to as a “girl.” It implies immaturity, it’s condescending and it’s dismissive. It makes me sound like I’m playing dress up with big-girl pants. No one would refer to the guys who stood up to ask questions as “boys.” I don’t think it’s too much to ask to request the same level of respect.

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16 responses

  1. Great read! I wish that we could get a hold of the audio from the Q&A. Perhaps I should contact Mr. Feakes about that; he seemed gregarious enough.

    Also, I agree about the “girl” remark. Keep bringing it up when that happens, because consciousness-raising is important.

    Quick note: I don’t think that John Feakes is the pastor at the church. I think he’s just the founder of Christian Apologetics Research and Evangelism (CARE) Ministries, and they use the space of the church. I could be mistaken, though.

  2. This was also my first “kick at the can”. I hardly expected myself to be able to refute his every claim.

    I questioned him on the basic premise of the earth being 6000 years old by simply asserting the calculated distance (as the current scientific research will dictate) that the universe is 13 billion light years across. How we calculated this is complicated but suffice to say that the light from the furthest point in the universe that we can see is currently 13 billion light years (number may have changed since this museum visit but I hardly think that makes a difference to the argument). Empirically we can estimate that the universe is at least 13 billion years old.

    So, if the earth and the universe for that matter are only 6000 years old, why is the night sky so bright with stars further away than 6000 light years? Did god suddenly move the stars or make light travel faster to earth than what is naturally calculated?

    He mumbled something about god being all powerful and trailed off. I noticed he left that part out of his talk because not even he can imagine how it would be possible. Evolution deals only with life once it began to form, before that cosmology was king! So if we talk apples to apples, creation to existence of everything, best to knock him down at the beginning with sound cosmology.

    • You only know the universe is 13 billion years old by making assumptions + observations + theory + maths. Those who reject the time, reject the assumptions and the consequent theory and maths.

      An old universe is merely pantheism and naturalism projected into data to produce the required times for evolution. A young universe is a supernatural world view based upon reason, revelation, theory and maths. Only the young universe can be true for the young universe has been revealed as a mysterious action of the creator.

      • Let me get this straight. You are attacking me for making assumptions based on observations, and support your position with assumptions based on supernatural conjecture? Sorry, but theory based on observation is how we know how the world works. Assumption based on ancient texts (and how do you know which one is “true” since they all claim to be the one true account of reality?) is not evidence or theory. It is merely assertion.

      • This is a reply to flora.

        flora – Let me get this straight. You are attacking me for making assumptions based on observations, and support your position with assumptions based on supernatural conjecture?

        JM – I’m only saying the inductive method is deficient and when it is combined with naturalism and pantheism, then the inductive method can and does lead to false conclusions. Naturalism and pantheism are refuted below –

        Naturalism says only natural causes account for all that exists
        Or all that exists is only natural.
        But God exists as the 1 first mover, 2 uncaused cause, 3 unordered orderer, 4 necessary being, 5 unperfected perfector.
        But all things are distinct from other things because they have something proper to themselves.
        But God as 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 is known by us through what he has in common with creatures.
        God is therefore distinct not according to what is common with creatures, but what is proper to himself alone
        What is common to creatures is natural
        Therefore what is proper to God is either unnatural or super natural.
        But what is unnatural is a lack of a due good
        But God does not lack any good, for He is the cause of all good.
        Therefore God must be supernatural to have a life proper to himself
        Therefore the supernatural exists.

        Alternatively – the natural is all things composed of essence plus existence
        But to be composed means all things natural have diverse parts of essence and being found together
        As diverse parts found together are not of themselves united, then all natural things are kept in existence by another cause, which does not have a diversity of essence and being.
        This thing that has a unity of essence and being is God
        As God is not contingent, but from His nature, necessary, then He is unlike natural things
        What is not natural, but exists is supernatural
        Therefore God is supernatural
        Therefore naturalism is false.

        Pantheism says the greatest being is the universe
        therefore the universe is God
        But the universe is composed of movement, causes, limited perfections, contingent beings and ordered things
        But to account for these there must be a 1 first mover, 2 uncaused cause, 3 unordered orderer, 4 necessary being, 5 unperfected perfector, which is God, who is distinct from the universe
        Therefore pantheism is false.

        Flora – Sorry, but theory based on observation is how we know how the world works.

        JM – This is pure myth. Man only partly understands how the world works. Light is very much still a mystery to man and the existence of the universe is also a mystery as well. To pin your beliefs on modern science theory is fraught with danger. In fact, theories such as the big bang theory are pantheistic and therefore false. Also because we dont really understand what space is, then we cannot be sure about what is really going on in space, such as the speed of light and so on. Therefore to conclude the universe is x years old, based upon modern science theory, is merely conjecture.

        Flora – Assumption based on ancient texts (and how do you know which one is “true” since they all claim to be the one true account of reality?) is not evidence or theory. It is merely assertion.

        JM – We know which texts are authored by God because God has given us a magesterium within the Catholic church, composed of the Popes and bishops, who meet at ecumenical councils and formulate doctrines based upon the sources of revelation. The power to bind and loose comes from Christ in Matt 16, and 18. As Christ is God, then the church has the powers and has used those powers within history to develop doctrines such as the canon of scripture.

        The claim of mere assertion is based upon ignorance by you. Now you know better.

    • How do you know that light travels at c in space when model theory says the space is full of dark matter and dark energy that accounts for 95% of the missing stuff of the universe?

      Actually I don’t believe the universe has dark matter or dark energy, for I am a geocentrist. Even so, we are still not sure about the speed or causes of light in deep space, so it is more scientific to conclude we really don’t know the age of the universe at all.

      • I know light travels at the speed displayed on our instruments as 299,792,458 m/s (unaffected by gravitational pull). This has been measured and verified by many experiments, ALL of which are autonomous and come up with the same answer. Meaning the number is nearly accurate perhaps minus an infinite amount of decimal places (in other words it may be rounded, but that is so near meaningless as to be silly to even worry about in this context).

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speed_of_light Has plenty of references that you can freely look up at your leisure.

        I assert that what you “believe” is meaningless and no one really gives a damn. What is the right answer, as listed above, is what it is. No amount of plugging your ears and singing at the top of your lungs is going to change that. Let’s face it, having a two year olds outlook on obtaining life’s bounty (ex. A treat from the shopkeeper) is not something you want to perpetuate.

        As an engineer, I can hardly see how you can refute humanities greatest triumph, physics. ALL aspects of engineering are subject to the laws which have been refined and developed for centuries, in a manner similar to the current building codes of our time. From a bolted connection in a truss, to the current of electrons that flows through a wire and from a fuel that passed through a pipe to the roads gradient that your car drives on are ALL dependants on the laws and calculations you see fit to refute. I wonder as to the legitimacy and safety of your engineering practice if you deny such a simple number as 9.80665 m/s2 (32.1740 ft/s2), also known as gravity.

      • Jus – I know light travels at the speed displayed on our instruments as 299,792,458 m/s (unaffected by gravitational pull). This has been measured and verified by many experiments, ALL of which are autonomous and come up with the same answer.

        JM – All of which are flawed and cannot detect light velocity changes as shown here – http://redshift.vif.com/JournalFiles/V10NO2PDF/V10N2CAH.pdf and here – http://www.mountainman.com.au/process_physics/HPS13.pdf

        Jus – Meaning the number is nearly accurate perhaps minus an infinite amount of decimal places (in other words it may be rounded, but that is so near meaningless as to be silly to even worry about in this context). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speed_of_light Has plenty of references that you can freely look up at your leisure.

        They all have the same or similar problems concerning the ability to detect light speed variation. I don’t blame you for missing this as I picked this up in Galileo Was Wrong in reference to the fringe shifts found in interferometer experiments. So bottom line is the light speed is caused and varies within a universal aether flow that permeates the universe. As such, because the aether flow is not well understood, the any claims for great distances and great ages, based upon the light at or near c are in error.

        Jus – I assert that what you “believe” is meaningless and no one really gives a damn. What is the right answer, as listed above, is what it is. No amount of plugging your ears and singing at the top of your lungs is going to change that. Let’s face it, having a two year olds outlook on obtaining life’s bounty (ex. A treat from the shopkeeper) is not something you want to perpetuate.
        As an engineer, I can hardly see how you can refute humanities greatest triumph, physics. ALL aspects of engineering are subject to the laws which have been refined and developed for centuries, in a manner similar to the current building codes of our time. From a bolted connection in a truss, to the current of electrons that flows through a wire and from a fuel that passed through a pipe to the roads gradient that your car drives on are ALL dependants on the laws and calculations you see fit to refute. I wonder as to the legitimacy and safety of your engineering practice if you deny such a simple number as 9.80665 m/s2 (32.1740 . . . also known as gravity.

        JM – Science points to geocentrism and the WMAP results point to possibly a small universe and this is something that is either not well understood or well known. Modern science is in favor of creation and biblical revelation.

        JM

  3. As the phylogenetic tree is still full of holes after so many fossils have been found and nobody knows what the common ancestor is, why would anyone not dedicated to evolution be convinced of the forced links within the tree?

    As the many transnationals are missing within the phylogenetic tree and Stephen Gould had to invent punctuated equilibrium to account for the gaps in the fossil record, which has no foundation in biology, why would anyone not dedicated to evolution be convinced of the forced links within the phylogenetic tree?

    Fossils cannot be used to determine where or when a new being has evolved, because a fossil only indicates where a thing has been deposited and not the mechanism through which it came into being. As such, any theory such as evolution that is dependent upon the fossil record to determine the origin of a biological organism must revert to historical speculation, which is not scientifically verifiable. As such evolution is not scientific through the inductive method.

    Transitionals are things with parts in transit, but to be in transit is not to be at the end. Yet only a part at the end of its formation is the fittest, therefore a transitional is never the fittest and will never survive according to evolution. Therefore according to evolution, there should be no surviving transitionals and many buried transitionals. As there should be many transitionals, yet the fossil record indicates there are only possibly a scant number of transitionals, the fossil record is against evolutionary theory.

    Evolution requires mutations as a cause of biological development, yet mutations are almost always detrimental to a biological organism and as such makes little or no contribution towards a biological organism being the fittest. As such, mutations are in opposition to the fundamental principle of survival of the fittest and therefore the theory is in opposition to itself. Therefore the theory is invalid.

    Many organisms exist without being the fittest and many organisms exist without always striving to survive (eg dogs, cats, horses, bears and so on). Many organisms exist to thrive and enjoy existence, rather than to merely exist. As such evolutions principle of survival of the fittest is a false principle, therefore the theory is invalid.

    Man has not always existed to merely survive, but has always sought to find meaning in life beyond survival in religion, art and politics. As such, human society does not conform to evolutionary theory, therefore the theory is invalid.

    Small changes in biological organisms do not account for the existence of an organism. For the existence of any thing is ontologically prior to any change for a change requires an ongoing subject from the beginning to the end of the change process. For if there is no ongoing subject, then what exists at the beginning and end of the change process is not truly a process of change, but a process of annihilation and creation. But evolution requires the organism to come about only through continuous change, therefore evolution is invalid.

    • Mutations are not almost always detrimental, they are actually almost always non-players. For example, whether I have pale skin or dark doesn’t particularly affect my ability to survive, unless I happen to live in a climate in which there is a lot of UV radiation, and individuals with more pigment would be less likely to die of melanoma before reproducing (or after only reproducing a few times). Conversely if I live in a very northern climate which receives very little sunlight in the winter, individuals with a reduced capacity to absorb vitamin D (such as those with dark skin) would quickly succumb as children to Vitamin D deficiency (rickets). If I live somewhere in between, neither will benefit me one way or another and so you will see variations of skin colour in the population based only on random proliferation and not any sort of evolutionary selection. Some mutations are even sometimes bad and sometimes good – sickle cell anemia is a rather unpleasant recessive gene (needs two copies) that is commonly found in African populations, but a single copy of this gene confers protection against infection with malaria. This mutation would not be likely to propagate in a population that isn’t exposed to malaria, since 1/4 of the children of two people with this mutation would invariably die without medical treatment, but in a malaria infested area, the parents would survive as well as 1/2 of the children. This is the essence of natural selection – depending on the environment, your genetics will affect your ability to survive.

      Punctuated equilibrium is merely one hypothesis within the theory – there are plenty of evolutionary biologists who do not think that such a thing exists and there is certainly evidence to the contrary (especially since punctuated equilibrium necessitates an identical environment over numerous generations for an entire population, which certainly could be argued does not exist.) We do not need punctuated equilibrium to describe evolution, and even if proven untrue, it does not necessitate the throwing out the rest of the theory. What you propose is the equivalent of reverting to walking because you don’t like seat belts on airplanes.

      As for phylogenetic trees being incomplete, I wish to give you another analogy. If you see a picture of a father and son playing catch, and you see the ball in the father’s hands, and then in the next photo, the child is catching it, do you assume that the ball was magically transported there by a supernatural being? Do you assume that it’s another ball entirely? Or do you assume that the ball was thrown from the father to the child? Well, maybe it’s reasonable to assume that it’s a different ball. What if we add another picture, with the ball in mid air and the child’s arms outstretched? Well, maybe there’s still doubt in your mind, so we take a video. Would you now be happy in saying that yes, the father threw the ball to his son? Well, video is just an illusion of continuity, images strung together in a way in which it appears to us that it is a continuous stream of pictures. We just think we have a complete picture, when in fact, were are missing an infinite amount of data in the gaps between those photos. And yet, we can safely say that we know what happened in the absence of these links because we have sufficient data. We have sufficient data about evolution, we have many pictures over a long period of time. No matter how many more transitional forms we have, there will always be an infinite number of gaps, because it is impossible that every individual that has ever existed has been fossilized. That does not mean that we cannot track the changes over time because we know what came earlier, what came later, and what the changes in between are. We can see the father with the ball, we can see some shots of the ball in the air, and we can see the son catching the ball. We can reasonably conclude that the father tossed the ball to his son. We cannot reasonably conclude that in between those gaps, Superman popped in to make the ball levitate, and then swapped it out for a completely different but in every way identical ball halfway in between. If our knowledge about the world is based on supernatural thinking, we may as not ever try to learn anything ever, since indeed anything, theoretically, could happen. The universe behaves in an observable, consistent way, and assuming that it behaves in a supernatural, but non-observable, and non-quantifiable way is not empirically different than simply assuming that the universe is observable and consistent.

      And irreducible complexity was refuted by Darwin himself. Things evolve in an additive fashion, with each adaptation at each stage being beneficial to the survival of the organism. Feathers might be useful for heat insulation and sexual selection before the development of gliding and ultimately flying.

      Evolution does not necessitate that all things are done merely for survival, only that heritable characteristics increase the likelihood of survival/reproduction. My development of a large neocortex has allowed me to understand complex planning and social situations, and confers self-awareness. This same planning and social neocortex that has allowed my ancestors to survive via cooperation allows me to choose not to reproduce, and yet no one could argue that humans would be more likely to survive, on a species level, without our neocortex.

      And finally, you’ve completely neglected to answer my question in this post: if we can predict the phylogentic tree from morphology, and genetics have confirmed that tree in a quantifiable and statistically significant way, how could you say that evolution is invalid? It is clearly predictive. It is not perfect, but to refute it all together in the face of overwhelming evidence is just silly.

      • Flora – Mutations are not almost always detrimental, they are actually almost always non-players. For example, whether I have pale skin or dark doesn’t particularly affect my ability to survive, unless I happen to live in a climate in which there is a lot of UV radiation, and individuals with more pigment would be less likely to die of melanoma before reproducing (or after only reproducing a few times).

        JM – Mutations are almost always detrimental to existing biological organisms. What the heck, how do evolutionists know what is and what is not a mutation anyway? Are they merely playing word games for the sake of an ad hoc theory? How do they know what is and what is not information? Is it based upon an ad hoc theory that reduces genetic material down to a numbers game? Probably, so why should the rest of us who are skeptical about the theory bow to the numbers when numbers are not a complete measure of information, biology, mutation, survival, or development?

        The fact is that these concepts such as mutation, information, survival, micro evolution, macro evolution, natural selection and so on are largely easily manipulated terms used to fit into a world view. On the surface the theory looks solid, but when we have a close look, we note the many problems, with allows non evolutionists to sit back and conclude the theory is not nearly as powerful as we are told.

        Flora – Conversely if I live in a very northern climate which receives very little sunlight in the winter, individuals with a reduced capacity to absorb vitamin D (such as those with dark skin) would quickly succumb as children to Vitamin D deficiency (rickets). If I live somewhere in between, neither will benefit me one way or another and so you will see variations of skin colour in the population based only on random proliferation and not any sort of evolutionary selection. Some mutations are even sometimes bad and sometimes good – sickle cell anemia is a rather unpleasant recessive gene (needs two copies) that is commonly found in African populations, but a single copy of this gene confers protection against infection with malaria. This mutation would not be likely to propagate in a population that isn’t exposed to malaria, since 1/4 of the children of two people with this mutation would invariably die without medical treatment, but in a malaria infested area, the parents would survive as well as 1/2 of the children.

        JM – great examples of complex biological systems that have small variations and these variation are meant to be compelling evidence for the evolutionary theory and its phylogentic tree. We creationists see these sort of examples as special pleading or bait and switch type examples where the evolutionists gives us examples of small changes and then says see, if we imagine many, many small changes then we can come up with a phylogentic tree! No thanks, just so stories, plus imagination with small example are simply not science. As such we have good reason to reject conjecture in favour of a far more reliable science of revelation.

        Flora – This is the essence of natural selection – depending on the environment, your genetics will affect your ability to survive.

        JM – This is hyper speculation based upon some observations and projection. Many animals have common genetic make ups in different environments and as such the genetic make up is not dependent upon the environment. If you think the environment causes the genetic make up then show us how an extrinsic (outside) cause of the environment, causes the intrinsic cause of genetic change. How does placing a biological substance in a hostile environment cause that biological substance to adapt, when it is not really the biological substance, but its offspring that must change in the environment.

        This is the common fallacy in evolution. It is surmised that offspring is the measure of survival and as such the offspring must change to be the fittest in the environment. So if the offspring change, what is the mechanism that causes the offspring to be better than the parents and therefore make them the fittest? If it is mutations, then what is the cause of a mutation that allows the random mechanism to produce the fittest? If it is natural selection, then why is mutation evoked so much when mutation is random and as such, must cause populations to become extinct at least as much as survival, let alone become the fittest?

        If evolutionists appeal to a mechanism of natural selection within an environment, then how do they account for an environment of multiple dependent biological systems that are all producing mutations? If for example, biological organism 1 is dependent upon 2 and so on and 1 has a change that is adverse for 2, or 3 or 4, but is good for itself, then why do we see that so often 2, 3 ad 4 continue with these adverse changes? Apparently natural selection is merely an appeal to what is needed for the system to survive, must happen and as such any change is for the good of the biological system.

        Natural selection is really only a metaphor used to remove the need for an intelligence to account for all the biological systems that point directly to design and therefore a designer. As such, because a designer does exist, then natural selection is at best only a metaphor, with limited value within an inductive, empirical theory.

        Natural selection is only ever associated with small changes. As such, the theory must restrict its applicability to small changes and go no further, to remain an empirical based theory. But as the theory is stretched way beyond what is observed, to construct the phylogenetic tree, then the theory has moved from observation, to speculation and faith based actions on the part of those who believe the theory accounts for all biological life. As such, natural selection is merely a bait tool used by evolutionists to sucker people into believing a naturalist and pantheistic, or even an atheistic world view, which goes way beyond the power of the observations made and the examples of evolutionary change given by evolutionists.

        Flora – Punctuated equilibrium is merely one hypothesis within the theory – there are plenty of evolutionary biologists who do not think that such a thing exists and there is certainly evidence to the contrary (especially since punctuated equilibrium necessitates an identical environment over numerous generations for an entire population, which certainly could be argued does not exist.)

        JM – Punctuated equilibrium is a desperate attempt for evolutionists to confront the lack of fossil evidence for gradual changes within a population. As such, Darwinian evolution is invalidated and as Punctuated equilibrium doesn’t have a biological mechanism, then evolutionary theory, with the phylogenic tree is also invalidated.

        Flora – We do not need punctuated equilibrium to describe evolution, and even if proven untrue, it does not necessitate the throwing out the rest of the theory. What you propose is the equivalent of reverting to walking because you don’t like seat belts on airplanes.

        JM – what you need is a miracle to explain the lack of evidence for the phyogenetic tree. Both punctuated equilibrium and transitionals do not exist in the real, so all the branches of the tree are at best hyper speculation and at worst, outright science fraud.

        Flora – As for phylogenetic trees being incomplete, I wish to give you another analogy. If you see a picture of a father and son playing catch, and you see the ball in the father’s hands, and then in the next photo, the child is catching it, do you assume that the ball was magically transported there by a supernatural being?

        JM – As a scientist I would speculate more than one cause to account for what I see and what I don’t see. As an evolutionist, you must speculate the ball got into the sons hand through natural selection, whereby the hand mutated to the shape of the ball, because the ball is the environment. We creationists sit back and see the outright craziness of evolutionary speculation and see the obvious evidence for the design of the father, son and the ball and conclude the entire episode is caused by God and his designed creatures.

        Flora – Do you assume that it’s another ball entirely? Or do you assume that the ball was thrown from the father to the child?

        JM – Evolutionary theory denies the need to account for the formal cause within biological systems. As such, evolutionary theory reduces biological systems down to merely biological matter, without the need for the soul. In a similar way, evolution must also account for the non living bodies, such as the ball, without the formal cause. So what then is the evolutionary explanation for the existence of the ball? Answer – evolution has no answer within its own false world view, so it merely promotes evolution in biological systems without the need for formal causes (which is false), yet when there is no formal cause in the real, as in the case of the ball, then evolution has no answer, other than an intelligent design (which is inconsistent with evolutionary theories denial of the existence of a formal cause).

        The denial of formal causation within evolutionary theory is one magnificent logical hole, from which it cannot recover. The denial of formal causation is the downfall of evolutionary theory.

        Flora – Well, maybe it’s reasonable to assume that it’s a different ball. What if we add another picture, with the ball in mid air and the child’s arms outstretched? Well, maybe there’s still doubt in your mind, so we take a video. Would you now be happy in saying that yes, the father threw the ball to his son? Well, video is just an illusion of continuity, images strung together in a way in which it appears to us that it is a continuous stream of pictures. We just think we have a complete picture, when in fact, were are missing an infinite amount of data in the gaps between those photos.

        JM – The gaps mentioned here are nothing compared to the gaps in the phyogentic tree. There is virtually no evidence whatsoever in the fossil records for transitional biological organisms. Even if there were evidence for such transitionals, then we have the logical problem of what a transitional is and how it has any relationship to the survival of the fittest and natural selection. The notion of a transitional within the theory is very problematic.

        Flora – And yet, we can safely say that we know what happened in the absence of these links because we have sufficient data. We have sufficient data about evolution, we have many pictures over a long period of time.

        JM – You don’t have sufficient data. What you have is observations of small changes in the present and stability of biological systems in the present. You also have a classification system that is tailor made for the biological systems to fit into part of the theory. For example it is often argued that the emergence of new species have been observed, yet the definition of what a species is, is so flimsy that a new species comes about through what the evolutionist requires and wants to exclude. Once the “new species” is observed, then grand claims are made about the success of the theiry and the validity of the phylogentic tree. All of this is hand waving of course and the creationists is left a gasp at the gullibility of the evolutionists.

        Flora – No matter how many more transitional forms we have, there will always be an infinite number of gaps, because it is impossible that every individual that has ever existed has been fossilized.

        JM – the situation is far worse than you make it out to be. The very notion of a transitional is either poorly defined or logically not possible, or problematic within the theory itself. So an appeal to finding some transitionals is merely assertion and the appeal to an infinite number of gaps does the theory no good whatsoever either. It like saying we have a theory to account for some action, but the evidence for the theory is almost always negative, therefore we conclude the theory is a success. This means the less evidence there is, the more successful the theory is. Of course anyone who is scientifically minded knows this sort of thinking is entirely against the inductive method. But this is what the evolutionist’s push – no evidence means we must look, look, look, even though the very notion of a transitional is illogical.

        Flora – That does not mean that we cannot track the changes over time because we know what came earlier, what came later, and what the changes in between are.

        JM – You only know what came before and after because you assume uniformitarianism in geology, which is challenged by recent catastrophes and as such is merely a problematic assumption. Also you only think you know what came before and after, but you have no way of knowing if this is real or not, based upon where you find a fossil. For a fossil location does not infer heredity or causation of life. A fossil location only infers the death and burial of an organism and nothing more. The rest of the evolutionary mechanism and phylogentic tree is mere naturalist speculation.

        Flora – We can see the father with the ball, we can see some shots of the ball in the air, and we can see the son catching the ball. We can reasonably conclude that the father tossed the ball to his son. We cannot reasonably conclude that in between those gaps, Superman popped in to make the ball levitate, and then swapped it out for a completely different but in every way identical ball halfway in between.

        JM – This is a very poor analogy that has no relationship whatsoever to the formation of biological organisms. Then again, this is all the evolutionist ever produce as “evidence”, for they are lost in a naturalist, pantheistic, or perhaps atheistic world view that is thoroughly anti-realist.

        Flora – If our knowledge about the world is based on supernatural thinking, we may as not ever try to learn anything ever, since indeed anything, theoretically, could happen. The universe behaves in an observable, consistent way, and assuming that it behaves in a supernatural, but non-observable, and non-quantifiable way is not empirically different than simply assuming that the universe is observable and consistent.

        JM – Actually you merely assert supernaturalism is anti science, yet you don’t produce the evidence, so why do we not find naturalist arguments compelling? Could is be because many of those arguments are non sequiturs? Yep.

        Flora – And irreducible complexity was refuted by Darwin himself. Things evolve in an additive fashion, with each adaptation at each stage being beneficial to the survival of the organism. Feathers might be useful for heat insulation and sexual selection before the development of gliding and ultimately flying.

        JM – actually irreducible complexity is only one of several death strikes to the theory. Merely hand waving over the problem with an appeal to an analogy of “additive fashion” is intellectual hubris. The very notion of irreducible complexity is that a system is composed of a number of irreducible parts so that if one part is missing the system doesn’t work. So how then are we creationists to take evolutionists seriously when their arguments are reduced to –

        1. Irreducible complexity is a system composed of an irreducible number of parts
        2. Evolution says irreducible complexity is accounted for through the addition of parts
        3. But to have an addition of parts means the system without the parts does not function.
        4. But to not function, means the system is not the fittest
        5. Therefore evolution cannot account for irreducible complexity, without contradicting survival of the fittest.

        Some how we are to ignore the logic of simple arguments against evolution and go along for the naturalist ride. I don’t think so.

        Flora – Evolution does not necessitate that all things are done merely for survival, only that heritable characteristics increase the likelihood of survival/reproduction.

        JM – Evolution does not necessitate that all things are done merely for survival, means modern evolutionists have noticed many organisms exist and act not from the motive of survival. Creationists have notice this for some time and have conclude the theory is full of non survival holes.

        Flora – My development of a large neocortex has allowed me to understand complex planning and social situations, and confers self-awareness.

        JM – Simply gibberish. You had no role whatsoever in the development of your neocortex. Your neocortex was designed as part of the generative plan made by God. To say you developed your own neocortex is to say you existed before you came to be.

        Creationists have often noticed evolution is really a closet creation which substitutes the creator for humanism and pantheism. Evolution = creation – real creator + false creator in man + metaphor of natural selection.

        Flora – This same planning and social neocortex that has allowed my ancestors to survive via cooperation allows me to choose not to reproduce, and yet no one could argue that humans would be more likely to survive, on a species level, without our neocortex.

        JM – There is another metaphor of “social planning” and “social neocortex”. The reality is God as the creator made organisms to interact in groups as social animals so He gave them the biological mechanisms needed to act the way they do. We see no evidence whatsoever for any development of the neocortex or for that matter any organ at all within history as required by the phyogenetic tree.

        Flora – And finally, you’ve completely neglected to answer my question in this post: if we can predict the phylogentic tree from morphology, and genetics have confirmed that tree in a quantifiable and statistically significant way, how could you say that evolution is invalid?

        JM – You cannot predict the phylogentic tree from morphology, other than to set up a self serving classification system and add in intelligently designed models to retrospectively find what you need to find to prop up the many, many voids in the tree. Do you really think that those voids in the real, are filled in by a classification system that doesn’t have any evidence in the field? Evidently you do, but we creationists see this as a giant retreat back into maths plus assumptions and forced interpretations.

        Really these classification systems that require trait and homology (common underlying structures) for classification into the phylogenetic tree are largely projections of the evolutionists. Lets have a look at the recent claim that recent models in two genus classifications of mammals and molluscs have had some success. What then are we creationists to say about such studies?

        Firstly we can note that the definition of genus is most likely a set up definition used that assumes evolution and therefore assumes a common ancestor and heredity. So why wouldn’t such studies produce results consistent with genus classifications? After all that is what the classification system is all about. As such, such studies are most likely self serving evolutionist propaganda.

        Secondly, the classification of genus is only of second rank above the poorly defined rank of species. So why would any success in the rank of genus be of any worry to a creationist? Does such success provide solid evidence for the tree, which requires solid evidence for modeling all the way through 7 other ranks of family, order, class, phyum, kingdom, domain and life. No it does not and it does not provide any evidence for a tree over say a forest or a succession of creation events or a single creation event.

        Thirdly, the systems by which organisms are classified are done so on the bases of trait. So a common trait, or a group of common traits is often used as evidence for a common ancestor. But does this really follow as strong evidence, for a common ancestor and any substantial links to other ranks? Definitely not, simply because the inductive method does not have the means by which such common ancestors can be proven to have existed. The inductive method is only concerned with what can be observed here and now, and not what may or may not have happened in the past, especially when the past shows no evidence of transitionals.

        Flora – It is clearly predictive. It is not perfect, but to refute it all together in the face of overwhelming evidence is just silly.

        JM – Maybe it is predictive, but then again the theory is so full of logical holes and ad hoc answers and just so stories and the fallacy of naturalism that creationists step back and say where does all this false research end? In another grant, . . .?

        I notice you have avoided several criticisms of evolutionary theory. I will take this as an indication that you are reconsidering your position or you currently acknowledge the problems are real. I have also now found more problems with the theory and as such you should respond to those problems. The problem of irreducible complexity has not been resolved by evolutionists and as such the theory is currently invalidated. Because it is invalid, then science must be open to a creation event, or at least some form of intelligent design.

        JM

    • @JM – I don’t have time to dissect all of this immediately. I do have a response, but I have an extraordinarily busy schedule this week and can’t afford to fall behind on my studies. I will allow this topic its own blog post since it deserves addressing, and these stacks of comments are getting a little disorienting. Please check back at a later date. I will, however, say that I am not a physicist (as I have mentioned before) and cannot suppose to accurately refute your claims to light constants, etc., but I’m happy to continue discussing molecular biology/evolution.

      • Take your time and think things through. I request you put your best arguments for evolution forward for review and I will answer them. You can take your arguments from any source you like for the sake of fair use. I prefer that you keep your arguments as non technical as possible for the sake of clarity. I am not a biologist or a scientist, but I have read many books on philosophy, history, theology and science. I am qualified in engineering, philosophy and theology.

        I am confident that evolution is an invalid theory and must be replaced by any thinking scientist in favor of a more robust, evidence based theory.

        Another argument against evolution is as follows –

        Irreducible complexity means a system is composed of parts and each part is needed for the system to function. Evolution proposes to account for irreducible complexity by stating parts of a system are found in other, more primitive systems and these parts eventually came together over time to form more complex systems. This means, evolutionists believe the more complex systems are therefore derived from less complex systems and ultimately the most simple system, which is only one part.

        But can a system of many parts be derived from a system of fewer parts or only one part? As a part is a heterogeneous thing, which is different to other parts, which is less than the whole, then of itself the part is not in any way ordered towards a function (and therefore an end) other than what the part acts for. For the part to then be used in another system for the same end, requires the part to be copied and then placed within the new system. But to have the part placed to acted within the new system, requires the action of intelligent design to order the part towards an end within the system for the following reasons.

        1. A part from itself cannot arrange itself to act outside the system which it currently acts.

        2. The part acts for an end and as an end can only be known as an end by an intellect, then a part can only act for an end, assuming the action of an intellect. but an intellect concludes to intelligent design and not evolution.

        3. A part acting for an end is a part that has received order, for not from itself can anything order itself essentially. As such, the passive ordination in a part, means an ordering intellect must be actively ordering. But this means wherever a part is acting, there must be an intellect acting, which is intelligent design and not evolution.

        Therefore the evolutionary claim that parts can be used from other systems to account for irreducible complexity concludes to intelligent design. As such evolution is invalidated.

        Another argument –

        Evolution claims that natural and mutation selection accounts for the biological systems around us. Yet in this claim, there is the implied claim that biological systems can be accounted for through the assumption that life is merely a well ordered biological system. As such, evolution denies there is any fundamental difference between the living and non living biological systems, other than the ordering of the system to allow it to function and therefore survive in the case of a living system, or to not function, and therefore die and decompose, in the case of a non living system.

        Yet what does reason have to say about the differences between the non living and the living? The living is a body that moves itself according to an auto-perfective motion. Such motion brings a living body from a state of tension to equilibrium and then back to a state of tension, contrary to the action of chemicals, which only ever act from a state of tension to equilibrium. Therefore to account for this action of equilibrium to tension, another cause exists within the body to that than mere chemicals. This other cause must act with a power within the body, which is to give a form to the living body. This form as a cause is the formal cause of the body, which is the soul. As such, all living bodies must have a soul as the formal cause of the living body.

        Also, as motion is on account of an end, then action may be divided into the manners in which living bodies act for an end –

        Plants only act for an end, such as nourishment, without knowledge
        Animals act for an end, with sense knowledge and instinct (which is not a will)
        Man acts for an end with sense and intellective knowledge of an end.

        As such action must be accounted for formally, then there must be three species of soul according to –

        Plants have a vegetative life whereby the body acts beyond chemical actions to grow, nourish and regenerate.
        Animals have a sensitive life whereby the body acts beyond chemical actions to grow, nourish and regenerate and have sense knowledge.
        Man has an intellective life whereby the body acts beyond chemical actions to grow, nourish and regenerate, have sense knowledge and intellective knowledge.

        Therefore all bodies have a soul as the formal cause of life in the living body. But evolution denies the need or existence of the soul in living bodies, therefore evolution is an invalid theory.

        JM

      • Quick comment to you JM:
        I believe it is not up to Flora, or yours truly to come up with anything in defense of evolution. I believe the burden of proof for your idea of creationism (there are many different opinions on creationism, so I refer to yours in particular) lies with you. I ask that you present your data for us to review.

        In fact, Flora is more qualified to refute your claims against evolutionary processes as she is a biologist. I hardly think that engineering (to which I am also an alumnus) philosophy and theology hardly give you the credentials to debate evolution with anyone. But, in honour of peace and friendly discussion, I welcome your claims. In your comments above, I see plenty of your assertions but nothing worth refuting as only your thoughts are listed and nothing empirical to refute.

        I ask, nay I demand proof of a god from you and anyone else prior to believing intelligent design, creationism or any other claim that the pious make. Once that is proven to a tangible degree, I demand proof that he/she/it displays the abilities and the compassion that so many religious people insist upon. Short of having god interviewed by Oprah or Barbra Walters (I would prefer Peter Mansbridge or Larry Updike, they are awesome interviewers) I can hardly see how this is possible. If you can figure out a way to do this, I am all ears.

        Holding a bunch of paper in your hand is not enough proof. Shouting from the pulpit is not enough evidence. Lastly, assertions from the dreams of anyone do not constitute proof of anything other than immense imagination of the hosts mind.

      • Jus – I believe it is not up to Flora, or yours truly to come up with anything in defense of evolution. I believe the burden of proof for your idea of creationism (there are many different opinions on creationism, so I refer to yours in particular) lies with you. I ask that you present your data for us to review.

        JM – I’m not defending evolution. I’m against macro evolution, transitionals, natural selection and its so called “power” and the phyolgenetic tree which are all problematic.

        Jus – In fact, Flora is more qualified to refute your claims against evolutionary processes as she is a biologist. I hardly think that engineering (to which I am also an alumnus) philosophy and theology hardly give you the credentials to debate evolution with anyone. But, in honour of peace and friendly discussion, I welcome your claims. In your comments above, I see plenty of your assertions but nothing worth refuting as there are only your thoughts and nothing empirical to refute.

        JM – evolutionary theory is tied into reason, which is therefore tied into philosophy. It is also used as an account of biological systems in competition with the creation account and as such, is related to theology. Even so, anyone who has read about evolution can make comment freely and we are not restricted to bowing to the experts. After all, if this theory really is as good as the evolutionists say, then lets hear the answers to some tough questions. If they are silent, then we no longer have to take the experts seriously any more.

        I’ve been involved I discussions on evolution before and the evolutionists always find ways to excuse themselves from giving in depth answers to questions and abjections. It’s like all false beliefs systems. When they are challenged, they hand wave, ignore and so on, but never really give detailed answers. This is a sure sign that the theory is in trouble and needs to be amended or abandoned.

        Jus – I ask, nay I demand proof of a god from you and anyone else prior to believing intelligent design, creationism or any other claim that the pious make. Once that is proven to a tangible degree, I demand proof that he/she/it displays the abilities and the compassion that so many religious people insist upon. Short of having god interviewed by Oprah or Barbra Walters (I would prefer Peter Mansbridge or Larry Updike, they are awesome interviewers) I can hardly see how this is possible. If you can figure out a way to do this, I am all ears.

        JM – proofs for god are presented here – http://maritain.nd.edu/jmc/etext/nath.htm and here – http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?73442-Basketball-Court-Proofs-for-God

        On the demand for proof that God is compassionate and therefore good, see here on god, creation and providence, by St Thomas Aquinas – http://dhspriory.org/thomas/ContraGentiles.htm

        Jus – Holding a bunch of paper in your hand is not enough proof. Shouting from the pulpit is not enough evidence. Lastly, assertions from the dreams of anyone do not constitute proof of anything other than immense imagination of the hosts mind.

        JM – the same holds true for evolutionary theory. I’ve provided evidence for God, creation and providence in the links above. How about you provide solid evidence for atheism and evolution.

        JM

      • Some arguments against evolution –

        A series of horses, dogs, or any series of biological life presented by the evolutionists are always composed of individual organisms lined up in a series. Each member of the series has individuals with fully functional organs arranged as a whole to allow the whole to exist as required by the principle of fitness. As such, each member of an evolutionary series is really only an organism which has fully functional organs organized within a system. Therefore according to evolutionary examples, transitionals are only metaphors used within an evolutionary paradigm. But as metaphors cannot be used as evidence for a theory, then such examples are not evidence for evolutionary theory.

        Transitionals are so few and far between, as presented by evolutionists that these transitionals –

        1. Are all or largely extinct and therefore not the fittest. Therefore the notion of transitional contradicts evolutionary theory, which requires the fittest to be the fittest according to the organisms propensity to reproduce and therefore populate and remain in existence.

        2. Never existed and as such are merely a myth, therefore the notion of transitional contradicts evolutionary theory.

        3. Existed en mass, but such organisms have not been found. As such the theory has not been established in the field, which alone is the solid evidence required for the theory to be established. Therefore the notion of transitional contradicts evolutionary theory.

        As such, the lack of evidence for transitionals is clear evidence against the theory of evolution.

        The evolutionary theory uses the classification system of ranks as – species, genus, family, order, class, phylum, kingdom, domain and life. Yet nowhere in this classification system is there any room for transitionals between ranks. Also nowhere within each rank is there any room made for determining what a transitional is. As such, evolutionary theory, with its rank system, has no room whatsoever to classify what is and what is not a transitional. As such, the theory is invalid.

        Examples of natural selection are only ever given whereby existing organisms, with fully functional organs are presented and any small change, such as shape, or color or skin are then concluded as being solid evidence for natural selection, without the need for a designer. But this is clearly fallacious, for a small change does not conclude to evidence of the evolution of an organism, but only concludes to existing organisms have the ability to undergo small changes. No more and no less. Any grand conclusion, as required by evolution, requires much more data and much more solid reasoning to provide a grand case. As the data and reasoning are missing, and the grand case does not exist, then the evolutionary conclusion is therefore false.

        Evolutionists substitute design and even brilliant design with the hand waving of natural selection, which is said to be a process without purpose, foresight or design. But what does this mean? If natural selection is without purpose, then natural selection acts neither for the good of the organism or for the evil of the organism. As such, natural selection does not have an end for which it acts and as such, does not have sufficient reason for any action within the natural selection process. As such, evolution is invalid.

        If natural selection is without design, why then do we observe so many biological systems that look like they have been designed? How does an evolutionist ignore the design inference as observed and then conclude, what looks like design is actually not design at all? Can the evolutionists appeal to any principles of reason, or any solid evidence from the fossil record, or any powerful cause within biology? No, the evolutionists, who denies the design inference, must make ad hoc appeals to imagination and vague references to inferences that do not have any solid evidence in the real. As such, the immediate and rather obvious evidence of design, found everywhere, is ignored and replaced by the rather counter intuitive and non evidenced theory that has no foundation in reason or any evidence in the real. As such, evolution is invalid.

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