Thursday, November 22, 2007

Evolve This!

The American monarch butterfly is a migratory insect. In order to survive, the monarch butterfly requires certain types of vegetation, in particular milkweed. In northern climates, such as New England and Canada, milkweed is available only in the summer. Rather than hibernating during the remainder of the year, the monarch butterfly migrates south to Mexico and California. Interestingly, this migration from Mexico to Canada and back takes more than one generation to complete. In other words, the butterflies arriving in Mexico now have never been there before. The path of migration is therefore not remembered, but is somehow stored in the butterflies’ genetic code. This is besides the fact that the method used by the butterflies to navigate is still little understood. Bear in mind that the butterfly’s brain is about pinhead size.

The question arises, how could this conceivably have evolved?

Evolution means “gradual development”. According to evolution, life developed through a series of very small changes. Each change must be small enough to have occurred spontaneously, yet large enough to give it’s bearer a significant reproductive value. The question is, how could the genetic “computer program” which guides the butterfly have developed gradually? Each butterfly must have full instructions guiding it in exactly the correct direction at each time of year in order to survive. A half written, incomplete or defective “program” would lead to butterflies committing mass suicide. On the other hand, a perfected “program” originating in one generation seems incredible, especially considering that this phenomenon is so complex that it is still a mystery to modern science.

Let's spend a few moments marveling at the miracles of creation.

To insist that this all came about as a result of small, random genetic mutations, each one having occurred by chance and having a significant survival value, is simply an insult to reason.


Spike said...

I feel you should watch this:

Evolving watches[]

Spike said...

And if you could cast your eye over this paper [], which, if you don't want to pay, can also be found here for free.

Cameron said...

Wow - I'd say the Watchmaker argument just got SPIKED - nicely done.


jewish philosopher said...

That's all very interesting, however I believe that I have already refuted evolution some time ago. This post is just intended as a little icing on the cake.

It never ceases to amaze me how some people will grasp desperately at any shred of evidence, some lame computer simulation for example, which seems to refute Judaism, however the most overwhelming evidence supporting Judaism is just shrugged off because "it hasn't appeared in peer reviewed journals" or any other silly excuse.

Spike said...

Perhaps you should also read this [, .pdf].

jewish philosopher said...

I like that article; I may use it. It helps understand why people like Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens who have never read a single page of the Talmud are so certain that Judaism is false. The more dumb you are, the more you think you're smart.

Rebeljew said...

I have already refuted evolution some time ago.

I think that makes the point of over-assessing one's own position rather nicely.

Cameron said...

JP: It never ceases to amaze me how some people will grasp desperately at any shred of evidence, some lame computer simulation for example...

CH: What exactly was it that was lame about the computer simulation? He was up front with the parameters, ran it several times to test the results, and gave solid reasons behind all the choices he made. So where's your beef it was 'lame'?

JP...which seems to refute Judaism,

CH: Perhaps you watched a different video than I, but not once did I hear mentioned the word 'Judaism'. I think this hits at a core mistake you have made with your theology. You insist that the Watchmaker argument - despite its many and obvious faults - is somehow a 'proof' of Judaism, when it is merely proof that the person making the Watchmaker argument hasn't kept up to speed with everything that has taken place in biology and genetics since William Paley. If you insist on conflating Judaism with the Watchmaker argument, you insist on putting yourself - and your Judaism - opposite of the truth.

JP: however the most overwhelming evidence supporting Judaism is just shrugged off because "it hasn't appeared in peer reviewed journals" or any other silly excuse.

CH: Yeah those peer-reviewed journals with their standards of evidence, proof and repeatability are so anti-Judaism.

jewish philosopher said...

Basically, what bothers me is: To refute the Watchmaker Analogy, why not just show me a watch without a maker?

badrabbi said...


I enjoyed the "evolving watches" video very much. Thanks for sharing!

My question, though, is how was natural selection simulated in the computer algorithm? How did the computer know that the primitive watches were able to tell time? For that matter, how did the simulation know that any watch was able to tell time?

badrabbi said...


I also glanced at the article that you supplied. Fascinating to say the least, and apropos to this forum and its hosts perceptions! I have not had a chance to fully read the article, but I have a question.

It is interesting that consistently people ranked at the third quadrantile of test scores actually showed a dip in their perception of their performance. In other words, lower ranked people thought that they had higher abilities than higher ranked people.

Any ideas why this might be so?

badrabbi said...

"It helps understand why people like Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens who have never read a single page of the Talmud are so certain that Judaism is false"

JP, I have read portions of the Talmud with care and attention, and I can attest that having read it, my valuation of the divinity of Judaism has significantly diminished.

Even in your forum I have brought many Talmudic passages to your attention, showing you some of the multitude absurdities in it. Your defense has always been "what do you expect from people who lived 2000 years ago!" Well, ok, but don't then accuse people like Dawkins of being uninformed about religion because they have not read the Talmud.

jewish philosopher said...

Bad, I’m sure you’ve dabbled in the Talmud. However what exactly are your curriculum vitae? Do you have any advanced degrees from the world’s leading rabbinical seminaries? Have you done any original Talmudic research? Have your opinions and theories been published in any peer reviewed Talmudic journals?

If not, then your opinion about Judaism is simply the meaningless ranting of a layman.

Every leading Talmudic scholar in the world has declared that the divine origin of the Torah is not a theory, but a fact. There is no question or doubt about this. Only the ignorant fail to appreciate this. Or perhaps a few renegades who clearly have a special personal agenda.

badrabbi said...

You see, JP, you have moved the goal post! First you wrote that people like Dawkins can not opine about Judaism or religion because they have not "read a single page". I come along, and point to you that I have read some of Talmud. You now have a different criterion: "Do you have an advanced degree?" or "have you done Talmudic research?"

JP, I will not answer these questions, as I think I have made my point. I do suspect, though, that if I answered you, you would then move your goal post again: "have you spoken with God? Are you Chazal? Are you one of the Mepharshim?"

I have a feeling that even if Moses came down from Mount Kisko and told you evolution is true, you would belittle him, asking if he had a degree from the Sinai Desert Theological Seminary!

jewish philosopher said...

I’m just pointing out that if you want to base your arguments on authority ("Spike,I also glanced at the article that you supplied. Fascinating to say the least, and apropos to this forum and its hosts perceptions!"), two can play at that game.

If I would have a degree in molecular biology and denied evolution would you accept that? I can find a few creationist like that.

badrabbi said...


I have not a clue what "game" you are alluding to. Spike linked to an article which showed that the lack of knowledge in a given area often makes people more confident in relying on their mistaken formulations. I think that this is apropos to you, since you say statements like "I have refuted evolution". I do not think at all that you have ‘refuted evolution’, and frankly it is amusing that you think you do.

Now, I have not claimed to be an expert on the Torah or Talmud - not by a long shot. I have, however, studied both to some degree. I have not made an argument from authority that somehow I know more about Torah or Talmud than, say, you do. I hereby grant that you have more knowledge of Torah and of the Talmud. I do have opinions though, and if I am mistaken on them, I wish that they are refuted on their own ground rather than simply dismissed because I lack ordination.

There are some subjects that I know very little about. I do have a degree in molecular biology, but I do not know a whole lot about, say, global warming. Here, I will tend to accept the consensus of experts. If the majority of experts are saying unequivocally that the earth is warming, without reviewing all the information myself, I tend to go along with their opinions. I have an open mind, though, and if the consensus opinion shifts, then I am also open to change.

Similarly, I do not know a whole lot about the Talmud. Thus, if Rabbi Yochanan states that Zomemim are a subclass of false witnesses, then I defer to his opinion. A Talmudic scholar, I guess, is the expert on the Talmud. If there is a consensus opinion amongst the Talmudic scholars that a certain passage needs to be read a given way, then so be it.

But if a collection of Talmudic scholars declares that the Talmud is the “legitimate word of God”, forgive me for not jumping on its bandwagon. That they are Talmudic scholars in the first place, by definition, makes them drink the cool aide of Orthodox Judaism. Their opinion, by definition, is biased. This would be like a group of herbal ‘scientists’ claiming that herbal remedies are ‘legit’.

If you have claims to make, regardless of your expertise, make the claims, and let us logically assess them. If they pass muster, then fine. If they do not, then we throw your ideas in the garbage heaps in which they belong.

jewish philosopher said...

I say "I have refuted evolution" just like I can say "I have refuted Christianity" or "I have refuted the worship of Zeus". I don't see what the problem is with that. Is my lack of faith in Zeus the result of my ignorance?

If evolutionists (or for that matter Christians or idolators) have evidence I don't know about, I'm all ears.

SJ said...

In the Torah, the human lifespan dropped from like 930 years from Adam to the way it is now. If the Torah is to be taken as true- isn't that due to a gradual change in human physiology / genetics over time?

jewish philosopher said...

I believe that the basic issue between creationists and evolutionists is not whether species can change over time. Rather it is whether or not each family was specially, intelligently created from inanimate material by God or did all living things gradually develop spontaneously from other living things, going back to one original bacterium whose origin is unknown.

LakewoodShmuck said...

good post.
i like your blog, why did you change the picture?

jewish philosopher said...

I'm just fooling around with some recent photos. This one got about 7 on Hot or Not.

Henry said...

I will go with evolution. Stephen Jay Gould tends to be better than Dawkins at filling in the detail.

homefire said...

Great post. Raising monarchs happens to be a favorite hobby of mine, and I, too, have found them to be one of the most amazing evidences of creation. I want to go see them in Mexico sometime--did you know that millions of them all go to the same forest, completely covering the trees? It's so incredible that they all make their way back to that tiny piece of land that their ancestors left.

I went back to the post that you called your refutation of evolution, and I was highly amused by j.i.'s comment. He made the statement that while yes, evolution seemed improbable, that since we are now looking back on it and "know that it did happen" that we can't say that it's not possible.

Talk about circular reasoning! He makes it sound as if evolutionary theory had been conclusively proven, which is totally ridiculous.

The whole conflict between ID and evolution is present only because none of us was there, and none of us KNOWS the answer by firsthand experience. We can only tally up the evidences on each side, weight them as our beliefs dictate, and draw our conclusions.

As for the watchmaker analogy, I also found it quite amusing that this guy went to all the trouble to make a video to refute it. Obviously, it's ridiculous, and was only created to highlight the fact that evolution is only slightly less unbelievable.

Considering the extreme rarity of positive mutations, evolutionists must keep adding years. When I was a kid, they talked about millions of years. After discovering that that wasn't nearly enough to time to make it feasible, they began to use billions of years as a time frame. I notice that it keeps increasing. As you said, they make any desperate attempt to shore up their arguments. I also find that most evolutionists are very quick to attack on a personal basis when the argument becomes difficult.

Thanks for a good discussion.

jewish philosopher said...

Thank you very much for your support. I appreciate it.

I have been debating with evolutionists for over two years now and my conclusion is that ultimately evolution is based on two logical fallacies:

An argument from incredulity – I cannot believe that a transcendent being exists, therefore it does not. And if there is no God, we must have evolved.

An argument from authority – nearly all scientists believe in evolution therefore it must be true.

That’s all it really boils down to.

homefire said...

Yes, I think belief in evolution is nothing more or less than a religious belief.

And the fact that "nearly all scientists" believe it--well, we may never know that for sure, since it seems the peer-reviewed journals are controlled by evolutionists. Whenever a reputable scientist comes out in favor of ID, he is blackballed. Science has, unfortunately, become quite political.