Wednesday, February 09, 2011

The Lame Duck - Why Atheism Fails


[Would he approve of atheism?]

The primary problem I have with atheism is that atheism consistently fails the duck test:

If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.

The universe seems to have been created from nothing. This implies that universe is the creation of a transcendent supreme being.

Additionally, the universe appears to be fine tuned to make life possible. This implies that the creator designed the universe having in mind to make it habitable.

Atheists will claim that actually our universe is one bubble in a multiverse. Therefore, the entire multiverse actually has existed eternally (which by the way violates the laws of thermodynamics) and by sheer chance one multiverse turned out to be fine tuned for life.

Even the simplest living things are complex beyond human comprehension. A complex and purposeful machine, such as a pump, is obviously the work of an intelligent designer. Therefore surely the human heart, for example, is clearly the work of a supremely intelligent being.

Atheists will insist that regardless of how unlikely it may seem, life originated by chance. It then continued to develop through random chance variation and natural selection.

The fossils indicate sudden changes not gradual trial and error evolution.

Atheists insist that evolution did happen, however the fossils clearly demonstrating that gradual trial and error process are always lost.

It would seem to be clear from Jewish history that the Torah was revealed before millions of people and was not merely the work of one charlatan.

Atheists generally suggest that Ezra wrote the Torah.

We see ourselves as inhabiting our bodies but we don't identify ourselves by it. This feeling begins with the smallest children and is universal culturally. Also, we all feel the freedom to make choices that are not determined by prior causes. Therefore, we hold people responsible for their behavior and either reward or punish them accordingly. These perceptions imply the existence of an incorporeal essence.

Atheists insist that these feelings are merely illusions.

So in other words, again and again, atheists insist that something appears to be one thing but is actually something else entirely different. It looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, but it's really a goldfish wearing a duck costume. This is implausible. I don't think that we are constantly deceiving ourselves; I think atheism just doesn't make sense.

75 comments:

SJ said...

It would seem to me as a nonexpert that the problem lies within the gradual development that evolution claims.

How would the earliest proto-humans even work? Scientists simply haven't established that intermediary species can survive the harsh realities of nature.

Since they all died out obviously, how did their progeny evolve fast enough to be the modern humans?

Yes I know the evolutionist hardliners are going to try to claim that I don't understand gradual development but, diagrams such as this really don't seem to be a display of the kind of SLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW gradual development evolution postulates.

On the other hand, if one believes in God, believing that a species can magically just appear is not far fetched at all.

NC said...

I have no problem with a common sense approach to life. Basically you are saying, "use common sense".

The problem is that you are applying it to complex problems, to which our "common sense" brain module is not attuned.

So common sense told ancient man that seasons were the god's moods.

And that because women could control men they were witches

And that diseases were caused by evil spirits

And that volcanoes and storms were angry gods.

That the earth was flat

And that the sun goes around the earth.

And so on.

And gradually were learned that all of these things were false, and that we could not trust our instincts.

So you and scientists disagree where common sense ends and complex problem solving begins.

Had you lived in Copernicus' time, you would have been one those people who said, "heliocentrism, bullshit! Everybody can see that the sun goes around the earth!"

jewish philosopher said...

The fact is that of course there are exceptions to the rule. Something may indeed look like a duck, swim like a duck, and quack like a duck but actually be a cleverly designed decoy or maybe a new species of duck billed platypus. However for me to accept that my eyes are deceiving me, you better have some very good evidence to back that up and atheism doesn't provide that.

Atheists just keep claiming "Trust me, I'm a brilliant professor, and you're just imagining intelligent design or the human soul or the uniqueness of Judaism however I can't really explain it to you beyond that".

I'm skeptical of the skeptics. Could it be that the brilliant professor has personal biases, wishing that you stop listening to rabbis and just listen to him?

Atheists remind me a little of the classic philandering husband who, when caught by his wife in flagrante delicto responds without missing a beat "Honey, I can explain. It's not what it looks like. She needed CPR I swear!"

You better have plenty of proof to support that or a very gullible wife.

SJ said...

NC, you ever see one species change into a new species?

NC said...

I appreciate your colorful imagery.

And I know that obviously intelligent religious people, of all faiths, are completely and honestly convinced of the truth of their beliefs and skeptical of any others.

So I, like philosophers before me, don't really know of any fool-proof way of determining what is real and objective reality.

So pick your authority, based on your own experience and intelligence: Intelligent sounding scientists, or talmudic rabbis who speak of snakes in vaginas, or crazed men with beards yelling "Allahu Akhbar".

jewish philosopher said...

The rabbis I know sound very intelligent and I don't see how the fact that rabbi's of 2,000 years ago believed in the folk medicine of their day has any relevance. Darwin for example knew nothing of modern medicine and who knows what nutty remedies he resorted to; does that discredit evolution?

In Darwin's time the doctrine of signatures and bloodletting were still the norm.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctrine_of_signatures

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bloodletting

Anonymous said...

NC:

Would those reasonable sounding scientist be the ones who perpetrated the Piltdown hoax,or the Cold fusion fiasco? Or are they the ones that used Haeckel's faked emobryo drawings in textbooks for a century. Or those global warming scientists who where caught faking the data?

And some of the things that scientists claim, like a universe that pops inot existance by itself, or multiverse, or small molecules just happening to join together to make life, or bacteria turning into blue whales by a randm process, or five pounds of meat becoming a mind make the stuff that you might find in the Gemora look tame. Even fairy tales are not as bizarre as some of the stuff scientists would have us believe.

NC said...

"I don't see how the fact that rabbi's of 2,000 years ago believed in the folk medicine of their day has any relevance."

It does if you consider them to be authorities about the physical world.

Nathan:

You, like JP, exhibit black and white thinking, characteristic of either a child or an extremist. It called over generalization.

Does the fact that there is an occasional dishonest businessman, or policeman, or clergy, mean that they are ALL dishonest and cannot be trusted?

And scientists don't just say the universe popped into existence from nothing. It come from something else, and there is good circumstantial evidence for it. And if that is not credible to you, is a god who always existed and was never created himself, easier to comprehend? And if that is easier to comprehend, than why not a universe that always existed?

" or bacteria turning into blue whales by a randm process, or five pounds of meat becoming a mind..."

You didn't really mean that, did you? Do you think that THAT is evolution??? Boy do you have a lot to learn if that's how you understand it.

jewish philosopher said...

"It does if you consider them to be authorities about the physical world."

And what about Newton, Galileo, even Darwin? Do you consider them to be authorities about the physical world although they presumably believed in who knows what quack remedies of their days?

Concerning Talmudic science, Maimonides wrote

“You must, however, not expect that everything our Sages say respecting astronomical matters should agree with observation, for mathematics were not fully developed in those days: and their statements were not based on the authority of the Prophets, but on the knowledge which they either themselves possessed or derived from contemporary men of science.” Guide for the Perplexed, CHAPTER XIV

http://www.sacred-texts.com/jud/gfp/gfp150.htm

Additionally, many Talmudic statements which seem to be scientific are in fact allegorical.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aggadah#As_part_of_the_Jewish_oral_law

NC said...

"And what about Newton, Galileo, even Darwin? Do you consider them to be authorities"

No. That's the point. Our knowledge is built upon theirs, and incorrect things have been thrown out.

jewish philosopher said...

Same thing here.

Just as an example, I happen to live very close to the village of New Square, NY.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Square,_New_York

This community is probably one of the most, if not THE most, ultra-traditional Jewish community in the world. 

It's also home to a cutting edge modern medical clinic.

http://www.refuahhealthcenter.com/about.asp

When a New Square resident is ill, he doesn't consult Talmudic remedies, he goes to a top notch modern clinic.

So anyhow I'm sure that ridiculing Talmudic science provides atheists with no end of amusement, however it no more discredits Judaism than Darwin using bloodletting would discredit atheism.  

Anonymous said...

So many scientist have been caught commting fraud why should I believe anything they ahve to say? And the latest Big Bnag explanation is False Vacuum, which menas the universe came from nothing.

We know the unbiverse did not always exist. There is no good explanation that conforms to the known laws of nature. Therefore we have to look beyond the laws of nature. The whoel point about G_d is that He is not subject to the laws of nature.

Evolution starts with random mutations. That's Darwinism 101.

Rambam said...

The difference is that the bulk of the Talmud's advice has no empirical basis or rational argument. It is all supposed to be accepted based on authority. That is, these people were "closer" to revelation.

Darwin, Newton, etc. suggested a lot of ideas, some of which have been discredited and some that are still accepted. That some of their claims were discredited is irrelevant because their character or infallibility was never material to the veracity of their claims. No action of Darwin could discredit his claims because the claims exist and are substantiated completely divorced from his persona. It's all based on the evidence.

The talmud is completely authority and trust based. The only "evidence" in the talmud are references to the Torah or common sense. The standard trick is to say that the sages were legit when it came to revelation but they threw in their own quack science too, but this shouldn't discourage us from accepting everything else they had to say.

Most nonbelievers see this reasoning as very silly because it wasn't the Torah or Talmud that made this distinction. Only much later apologists did that. Furthermore, even if we accept the distinction, there is the question of on what grounds we should accept these teachings if the only empirically verifiable elements are off the table.

I know you'll argue til your death that Judaism is legit. You don't have to waste your time with your same weak arguments. I wanted to point out that you made a grave logical error above. You completely confuse the idea of revealed truth and evidence based science. The Mesora MUST RELY on our being able to actually trust Torah authorities throughout the generations. Science does not.

NC said...

You keep conflating atheism and evolution. They often are believed by the same people, but there are plenty of religious people who accept evolution.

"It no more discredits Judaism than..."

I agree. As long as you see Judaism as a moral philosophy and a way of life. As long as you don't use the Talmud and the bible for historical or scientific matters. Including the origin of species.

jewish philosopher said...

"It is all supposed to be accepted based on authority."

Actually, no. I accept the Torah based upon well established facts of history and nature as I explain in these posts for example:

http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2006/12/truth-of-judaism.html

http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2010/03/jewish-literature-seeing-effects-of.html

The fact is that atheists, when questioned about evolution, rely upon authority by constantly insisted "That may be a good question, however evolution must be true because most scientists say so."

"there are plenty of religious people who accept evolution"

I realize that there are people who believe in both God and evolution; actually my adopted mother was like that. Syncretism, the attempt to reconcile contrary beliefs, often while melding practices of various schools of thought, is historically very common.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syncretism

"Including the origin of species."

As I've recently explained elsewhere, religion is the study of the Creator, science is the study of creation.

http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2011/02/is-science-evil.html

Origins, whether the origin of the universe, life, species or man is in a sense the moment of contact between Creator and creation. This is beautifully illustrated, although not if very Jewish way perhaps, in The Creation of Adam, a section of Michelangelo's fresco Sistine Chapel ceiling.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Creation-of-adam.PNG

As such, since it deals with an act of the Creator, I would say it falls within the purview of religion.

NC said...

"Actually, no. I accept the Torah based upon well established facts of history and nature as I explain in these posts for example"

OK, JP, as a follow up to Rambam's point about distinguishing "revealed truth" from evidence based knowledge. Here's a simple test: Take some assertion about the reality that you take from the Torah or the Talmud. Now ask yourself-- would it theoretically be possible to ever find this assertion to be false?

With revealed truth, the answer is "no". The Torah/Talmud says there is a soul/afterlife, or that evil is punished, etc, therefore it is not possible for it to be otherwise.

With evidence and reason based knowledge, the answer is "yes". It is even possible the evolution could be proven false, if the evidence points towards something else. (Admittedly this is not likely given that the evidence piling up for the past 150 years is overwhelmingly supportive of evolution)

Anonymous said...

Rambam:

The Rabbis of th Talmud were followng the cutting edge science of the day. If they didn't,you would say that they were wrong for not listening to the authorities.

jewish philosopher said...

I would say that if the fossil record actually looked the way evolutionists would expect it to look, that would tip the scale in favor of atheism.

Rambam said...

Anon- false, but thanks for confirming that you are an idiot.

Rambam said...

JP- this is about the ten millionth time I have seen you get torn to shreds in an argument (here: your totally not understanding that revelation/torah is ipso facto an authority based endeavor) and then seen you respond with a blatant red herring.

No point in arguing fossil records with you. I am sure you will change the conversation to homosexuality and then to something else, keep yourself on the offensive. You are an uneducated simpleton. You know nothing about science or math. It is quite sad really.

NC said...

"I would say that if the fossil record actually looked the way evolutionists would expect it to look, that would tip the scale in favor of atheism."

You mean, you would not find another way, to either reinterpret the data or the Torah itself?

jewish philosopher said...

Rambam, I don't think you understand what "authority based" means. Do a little google searching.

NC, evolution proposes that vast amounts of seemingly purposeful complexity can be generated through a random chance process, provided that a great deal of time and space are available and some external selective force limits this random process. 

This is basically comparable to someone illiterate attempting to publish books through random trial and error and customer selection. He would buy a printing press, open a bookstore, start printing and make more copies of whatever sold. At first he just arranged his printing type at random, printed and put the results on the shelves. No one bought anything since it was all gibberish. He threw all these failures into the trash bin and continued printing. Eventually, purely by chance, one small booklet actually made sense and in fact became a best seller. So he kept printing more copies of it. Occasionally, there would be some typographical error in the printing; purely by chance, a page would be smudged, a line would be missing. Generally these errors would cause the book to be defective and it would be thrown into the trash, however once in a while a typo would add more meaning to a copy of the book – perhaps a few interesting new sentences. People would ask for more copies of it. The illiterate author would then faithfully reproduce that typo. Gradually entire new books developed through this process of random typographical errors and customer selection. Eventually, the inventory in the book shop had expanded to include tens of millions of titles including novels, plays, poetry, scientific textbooks, history, biography, huge dictionaries and encyclopedias and so on. In fact, these books were actually far more beautiful and profound than books ever written by any human author. All of these were produced by a totally illiterate author through a process of random printing, typos and customer selection over a very long period of time.

Now, if this is indeed how life developed, try to imagine how much "waste paper" the fossil evidence would be filled with before, with incredible good fortune, over great eons, one useful new limb or organ would tumble out. If the fossil record did look this way, that might be a pretty good refutation of the watchmaker analogy and it would pull the rug out from under my entire philosophy.

As we know, the fossils, even marine sediment fossils which are a dime a dozen, never look like this. We always find perfectly functioning plants, animals and entire ecosystems which appear fully developed. 

Anonymous said...

Rambam:

What exactly did I say that is false?

And it is the evolutionists like Stephen Jay Gould, and Charles Darwin that say that the fossil record does not show species to species change, i.e. evoluttion.

Anonymous said...

Rambam:

It has been my experience that when people resort to name calling, it is usually because they have nothing more intelligent to say.

jewish philosopher said...

There is never anyway of knowing what type of drunk, drugged, psychotic, deranged, immature individual is behind any anonymous comment. Comments may well be written from a day room in a psychiatric ward or by a homeless person sleeping under a bridge and using a nearby library's computer. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

As long as something makes some kind of sense I post it, but you should see some stuff I delete.

NC said...

Sometimes I get the same impulse to make a nasty remark--then I take a deep breath and wait a few minutes.

You have made your printing press analogy before. Let me ask you this:

Let's assume for a moment that god created life. Now, imagine an fertilized ovum (non-human for the sake of argument) multiplying and slowly becoming an embryo with organs. This is something we can observe in real time, unlike macroevolution. Now, do you believe this happens entirely mechanistically, automatically because of the laws of chemistry and physics, or does it require active divine intervention?

Because if you say it requires intervention, then obviously there is no point in arguing about the origin of species either.

Its really a question of whether you believe ANYTHING can happen mechanistically. Is a simple chemical reaction automatic or divine intervention?

In many of your posts you express awe at the wonders of living tissues, while citing the complex physical and chemical processes involved. So I am wondering, is it chemical or divine, or both? And if its both, why is inanimate different than biological in this regard?

Please answer my specific question, without sliding into your "complex machine with interacting parts" monologue. It's a question about an important underlying assumption regarding the nature of things and cause and effect.

NC said...

JP:
"try to imagine how much "waste paper" the fossil evidence would be filled with before, with incredible good fortune, over great eons, one useful new limb or organ would tumble out."

A valid question, but amply addressed by basic evolutionary biology. I emphasize I am no expert but I think this is what an expert would answer:

As you know, the mediator of evolutionary change is DNA. (Not "random" formations of whole organs or organisms!!) As you also know, the DNA is repleat with segments of what appear to be redundant, residual, or ancient genes, which are inactive, from earlier stages of evolutionary development or even other species. This is what we would expect to find if evolution were true.

Furthermore in many species we find [what appears to be] organs and structures related to earlier evolutionary states. This is also what we would expect to find, given this DNA mediation, and NOT, as you suggest, whole "junk" species, organs or fossils, which would not come into being in the first place.

A basic misuderstanding of evolution causes one to ask why there are different species at all, if an evolved species is "better" than its ancestor. The answer, of course, is that evolution takes multiple and parallel paths, the only restaints being applied being sexual selection and natural selection in a particular environment. So you have apes and man co-evolving, seperately but in parallel, after branching off from a common ancestor.

Any real biologists out there-- did I get this right?

jewish philosopher said...

"Because if you say it requires intervention, then obviously there is no point in arguing about the origin of species either."

After creation of the original prototype, further individuals might be created automatically or, if you prefer, "naturally". However where did the first fish or cow or person come from? Prior to 1859 all scientists assumed "God did it". That sounds like the best answer to me.

"Furthermore in many species we find [what appears to be] organs and structures related to earlier evolutionary states."

In the species about which we know the most, Homo sapiens, the number of vestigial organs has dropped from about 180 a century ago to now about zero.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Wiedersheim

As we learn more about life, I would assume that all the other vestigial or "junk" features of life will likewise quietly disappear.

And anyway, where did all the junk fossils go?

NC said...

As I said, evolution would NOT predict junk fossils! Such organisms would not come into being. (although transitional structures would, and are seen in the fossil record).

Example-- no eye-->proto-eye (primitive structure present but functionless)-->neural optical tissue-->crude lens or focusing structure---->eye. Or with forelimbs. etc etc. And the process goes in either direction, as seen in fossil and the in the tree of life for living creatures.

I believe that the wiki article you cited makes quite clear what vestigial means. And the number has not been reduced to "zero". The fact that a "use" for some of them has been found does not negate the concept of vestigiality, as defined in the article.

"After creation of the original prototype, further individuals might be created automatically or, if you prefer, "naturally"."

Ok, so here we have an example of complex chemical systems, modifying themselves, growing, multiplying and morphing into very different and more complex organisms (ie tadpole to frog) entirely "naturally". A fin disappears and becomes a leg. Etc. Naturally, just chemical reactions.

So if you can believe that, why is it so hard to accept that speciation also occurs naturally??

jewish philosopher said...

"As I said, evolution would NOT predict junk fossils!"

Sure it would. Massive amounts of unfit individuals would have be born and die without reproducing before that one, lucky fit individual is created by chance.

"And the number has not been reduced to "zero"."

Because our knowledge is still incomplete. But it's getting close.

"So if you can believe that, why is it so hard to accept that speciation also occurs naturally??"

I don't follow. I believe that God can create machines which, remarkably, reproduce themselves. Therefore I must believe that such machines can arise without any intelligent design?

NC said...

"Sure it would. Massive amounts of unfit individuals would have be born and die without reproducing before that one, lucky fit individual is created by chance."

I'm not sure what part I was not clear about. Its not that some 3 eyed or 3 legged mutant suddenly appears, and lives or dies.

I will not repeat evolutionary theory here, suffice it to say that your assertion is false and reflects your misunderstanding of evolution, particularly genetic drift and selection.

Elsewhere in your blog you have admitted that life can "change" (like insects' resistance to pesticides) but you can't accept the natural formation of new organs. But in your comments here you have admitted that organs can "naturally" form from a single cell (gamete). So I don't see why its such an intellectual jump to understanding how organs can develop, naturally, just more slowly, through slow evolutionary "change" from earlier life forms.

jewish philosopher said...

I think that you are implying that just like a man and a woman are able to mate and create a new person, so also water, wind and mud should be able to mix together and eventually create a new person.

The point you are somehow missing is that the man and woman have built into them incredibly complex machinery which produces new people; wind, water and mud do not. Therefore we need God to create each species.

Regarding the immense number of failed mutations which should appear in the fossil record, you seem to be implying that naturally most mutations promote fitness, therefore this immense mass of biological "waste paper" does not exist. The fact of course is that particularly in multicellular life (which most fossils come from) mutations are rare and almost always reduce fitness. Of the let's say 10 or 15 billion people who have been born since Origin of Species was published, has even one been born with an original, new mutation which caused him to be significantly more successful reproductively? On the other hand fatal or damaging mutations, let's say following exposure to radiation, are apparently common.

http://chernobyl.info/index.php?userhash=&navID=30&lID=2

NC said...

"so also water, wind and mud should be able to mix together and eventually create a new person."

I am not referring to abiogenesis. Evolution does not address that.

I am talking about the origin of species, given simple life forms. If you believe a gamete can become a person, given natural processes, so can an amoeba, just a lot slower. Evolution gives the mechanism.

jewish philosopher said...

All the scientists and laboraties in the world could not make an ameoba into a person, or even a fertilized chimp egg into a person.

Furthermore, no evolutionist encourages global warming on the basis that it would stimulate evolution, because no one sincerely believes in the whole idea, as I explained here.

http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2009/03/climate-change-and-evolution.html

NC said...

OK, JP, when you begin to use cheap debating tricks, like changing the subject, I withdraw.

jewish philosopher said...

Same topic nc. Evolution today is identical to the Jesus worship of an earlier era; just another load of nonsense and obvious fantasy.

Anonymous said...

NC;

The overwhelming majority of mutations are harmfull. For every positive mutation that leads to a new species, we should see lots of bad mutations in the fossil record. Its simple arithmetic.

jewish philosopher said...

Obviously, religious dogmatists don't worry about trivialities such as facts. Fantasy is so much better.

NC said...

JP, in your earlier comment you asked a perfectly valid question (regarding "junk" in the fossil record, as part of the evolutionary process).

We were debating the logical and scientific merits of your assertion.

Then out of the blue you start throwing out comments about "stimulating evolution", abiogensis, and about synthesizing life. These have nothing to do with the point which we were discussing.

If you are debating somebody on a point and wish to change the subject, just say so explicitly.

To your question: Harmful or neutral mutations certainly do occur with a high frequency. But they start out small with minimal effect on the organism, and the trait/mutation disappears without being magnified. This would appear in the fossil record as just another typical individual, without an obvious change in structure. A positive trait, on the other hand, gets built upon and magnified because of selection forces, which produces a yet greater and noticeable change in the structure of the organism. This change will be seen in the fossil record. All the negative mutations (other than massive chromosomal errors--"birth defects") would not show up-- no "junk"-- except in the DNA record, which is exactly where we see it.

jewish philosopher said...

"If you are debating somebody on a point and wish to change the subject, just say so explicitly."

It's all still on the topic of this post, how atheism contradicts common sense.

"This would appear in the fossil record as just another typical individual, without an obvious change in structure."

Evolution only involves soft tissues, not hard ones which are seen in fossils? I would assume it involves both, if it ever happened. And junk DNA is now believed to be not junk.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noncoding_DNA#Junk_DNA

NC said...

Soft tissue changes might or might not be seen in the fossil, it depends on whether the skeleton needed to accomodate it. Bony changes would be seen, but in either case only if the direction was adaptive, because otherwise it would be "stemmed at the bud" and not magnified.

Is your problem that you can't see conceptually how any adaptive change could occur in this fashion, or is it only the bigger changes such as formation of new species?

Conceptually they are really the same. If some group of individuals branched off from a given population, with some minor change (such as a change in size of a limb or teeth, or color), and afterwards continued to develop and evolve in a different environment then the original--- there you have a new species!

Then just imagine the above process a million times over in billions of years. I really really don't understand what your difficulty is.

Its really about the philosophy of science. I know I'm repeating myself--remember, almost all of science is inductive reasoning . Its infering about the unseen from the seen. Datapoints, then a theory, connecting the dots, and then filling in the blanks. Sometimes the unseen remains forever unseen, and sometimes with new tools it becomes seen.

jewish philosopher said...

Evolution seems to claim that there are massive numbers of genetic mutations happening all the time, some of them just by chance are reproductively helpful and those are passed down and spread in future generations. Eventually more positive mutations pile up on the existing positive mutation and life evolves. However neither in the present nor the fossils do we see this happening.

NC said...

I think that if you were to talk to a geneticist and a zoologist, look at the details of present and past changes, you would see that this is exactly what we see. And the "junk", by your analogy, would be all of the species that have disappeared because of extinction.

The "junk" would not be random individual specimens, as you suggest, but would be the evolved species which had once been adaptive but were no longer so.

jewish philosopher said...

"The "junk" would not be random individual specimens"

Mutations only happen to individuals, not entire species.

According to evolution, there must have been tons of bad mutations until that one golden one popped out somewhere, then more tons of bad ones followed by one more good one adding onto the last good one as we Climb Mount Improbable.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climbing_Mount_Improbable

NC said...

"Mutations only happen to individuals, not entire species."

Yes, but your visible "junk" would be the result of accumulation of mutations causing morphological changes in new species, not the individual single mutation. The individual mutations would not be visible.

Some adaptive mutations would not be seen in fossils, but perhaps in skeletons. For example a change in hemoglobin function might show up on bone analysis but not in a fossilized specimen.

jewish philosopher said...

Nevertheless, as let's say fish evolved into lizards there should have been an immense number of failed mutations (remember, according to atheism, mutations are random, not intelligently designed) until a successful mutation at some point appeared and reproduced. And I guess the successful mutation would have to somehow be just big enough to improve reproduction yet not big enough to make mating with existing fish impossible.

We should see a lot of fossils of fish with no fins, fish with 10 fins, all types of freaks until that one luck fish got fins which looked just a little like legs, but still able to mate with other fish, until, very very slowly the lizard appeared.

Anonymous said...

NC:

Individual mutations in HOX genes are quite visible in fruit flies, chickens, etc, etc. For every new species, I would expect to see lots of defective organisms in the fossil record. But, to the best of my knowledge, we don't. We also don't see the actual species to species change. If that is what happened. I would expect see more than the dozen or so examples of possible species to species change, on the Talkorigins website.

NC said...

JP, your error is in understanding common ancestry.

In your example, a fish does not turn into a lizard. its not linear one species changing to another. Rather, there would be a common ancestor to both fish and lizard. Lets call it a "fizard" for argument's sake, some kind of reptile. [A real zoologist could give you the real information here] This fizard, has a certain amount of natural genetic variation and drift within its population, which originate from mutations and errors. At some point some natural variants of the fizard, due to physical distance or environmental change, separates off from the main fizard population and continues to develop and adapt on its own. One branch has the legs smaller and more fin like. Another branch gets larger legs and gill sacs more lung like. The basic structure is stable and doesn't change (like number of limbs, vertebra, presence of a bony skeleton, etc) because the natural variation and genetic drift is constrained by corrective mechanisms in the replication process. Each "branching" becomes a new species. The branching continues millions of times for billions of years. And each species is a "transitional" or intermediate species in relation to its parent and child branch. Etc....

The fossil record is loaded with evidence of this.

Think about the natural variation in humans. We vary in skin color, height, facial features, etc. We don't vary by number of limbs or by presence or absence of a tongue.

It is this genetic variation that is utilized and magnified by selection. There are very few "freaks" and that is not how evolution works.

So your oft-quoted "worms to people" or apes to people is really a misrepresentation of evolution.

The domestic dog or cat is a great example of artificial selection-- evolution speeded up. Wolves and dogs have a common ancestor from tens of thousands of years ago, and after they branched off the continue to evolve separately. Same with cats and tigers.

jewish philosopher said...

NC, you're throwing out, I assume innocently, a couple of common evolutionist scams.

Every time a creationist says "evolution claims we're all descended from monkeys" and all (sane) people laugh, an evolutionist will answer "wrong! According to evolution men and monkeys are both descended from one common ancestor." which I guess is supposed to sound better.

Actually, evolution does mean we are descended from monkeys, lizards, worms, etc however with the small clarification that those monkeys, etc are not identical to the species alive today but a long time ago monkeys, lizards and worms were a little bit different.

Secondly, animal breeding has no relevance to evolution. Darwin, the covert atheist advocate and amateur third class naturalist, claimed that, but it's obviously nonsense.

http://www.evolutionnews.org/2007/12/proving_evolution_doggybreedin004585.html

Anonymous said...

With all the selective breeding, all dogs are still considered one species. No new species have appeared. And with all the experiments on fruit flies, no new species of fruit fly has appeared. Same thing with E.Coli being raised in labs for thousands of generations. No new bacteria. Just old bacteria that has learned to eat a new food.

nc said...

JP, there is a HUGE difference between the common ancestor idea and your linear transformation, as I was attempting to explain to you why there is no junk as you demand. Because a new species is formed after in incremental change that is adaptive, whereas other changes remains part of the natural variation in a species without being magnified.

And by dismissing something a scam based on an obviously biased article mined from the web doesn't address the challenge to your position. Although artificial selection is not natural, it shows how new species emerge without creationism or intelligent design.

jewish philosopher said...

I believe that my understanding of how evolution allegedly worked is quite solid as is confirmed here.

http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2010/01/questions-to-scientist.html

"dismissing something a scam based on an obviously biased article"

That sounds like an ad hominen to me.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem

Anonymous said...

nc:

To the best of my knowledge, artificial selection has never actually produced a new species.

David Johnston said...

I see no reason to decide that beings are necessary for something to come from nothing.

Life is fine tuned for the universe, not vice versa.

The idea that our universe is one bubble in a multiverse is not at all common among atheists.

Pumps are obviously the work of an intelligent designer not because they are complex but because they have no way to grow.

No, the fossils clearly demonstrating the gradual trial and error process are not always lost. There are plenty of them.

At what point in Jewish history was the Torah revealed before millions of people? (And what does that even mean?)

I do not feel the freedom to make choices that are not determined by prior causes.

jewish philosopher said...

"I see no reason to decide that beings are necessary for something to come from nothing."

Got a better idea?

"Life is fine tuned for the universe, not vice versa."

So life can exist anywhere. Where do you see it except on earth?

"The idea that our universe is one bubble in a multiverse is not at all common among atheists."

Richard Dawkins seems to believe it.

http://books.google.com/books?id=yq1xDpicghkC&pg=PA173&

"Pumps are obviously the work of an intelligent designer not because they are complex but because they have no way to grow."

Neither does the human heart, beginning with simple chemicals.

"No, the fossils clearly demonstrating the gradual trial and error process are not always lost."

It seems like they are.

"Eldredge and Gould proposed that the degree of gradualism commonly attributed to Charles Darwin is virtually nonexistent in the fossil record, and that stasis dominates the history of most fossil species."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punctuated_equilibrium

"At what point in Jewish history was the Torah revealed before millions of people?"

See Exodus 20.

http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt0220.htm

"I do not feel the freedom to make choices that are not determined by prior causes"

Have you discussed this with your psychiatrist? And if you don't have a psychiatrist, get one.

David Johnston said...

""I see no reason to decide that beings are necessary for something to come from nothing.""

"Got a better idea?"

Yes I do. Acceptance that not everything I don't know or don't understand is God.

"So life can exist anywhere. Where do you see it except on earth?"

Are you seriously arguing that the barrenness of the universe is evidence that it was fine-tuned for life?

"Richard Dawkins seems to believe it."

So what? Richard Dawkins is not some kind of leader of atheists and he does not have an army of people who hang on his every word. He's just a guy who manages to get a lot of press attention.


"Neither does the human heart, beginning with simple chemicals."

You are incorrect. Human hearts do grow.

"Eldredge and Gould proposed that the degree of gradualism commonly attributed to Charles Darwin is virtually nonexistent in the fossil record, and that stasis dominates the history of most fossil species."

"Virtually" doesn't mean the same thing as "entirely"

"See Exodus 20."

Exodus 20 is part of a story about how a single man walked up a mountain and came down again with a set of rules. There were no other witnesses to his communication with God and since they were desert nomads there certainly weren't millions of them.


"Have you discussed this with your psychiatrist? And if you don't have a psychiatrist, get one. "

Because it's my feeling that my actions happen for reasons?

jewish philosopher said...

"Acceptance that not everything I don't know or don't understand is God. "

Which means you have no better idea.

"Are you seriously arguing that the barrenness of the universe is evidence that it was fine-tuned for life?"

If you believe life can exist under any conditions, why doesn't it?

" Richard Dawkins is not some kind of leader of atheists"

I think he is widely considered to be.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Dawkins#Atheism_and_rationalism

""Virtually" doesn't mean the same thing as "entirely""

Let's not split hairs.

"Human hearts do grow."

Not from a bag of chemicals; from people and God created the first person. 

"Exodus 20 is part of a story about how a single man walked up a mountain and came down again with a set of rules."

It's about a few million people hearing the Ten Commandments. Read from the beginning of Exodus to get the entire context.

http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt0201.htm

"Because it's my feeling that my actions happen for reasons?"

Because you feel you have zero self control and are entirely controlled by other forces.

David Johnston said...

"Which means you have no better idea."

No, it means what it says. There is nothing about not knowing why something happened that implies the answer is an arbitrarily powerful being.

"If you believe life can exist under any conditions, why doesn't it?"

Don't ascribe to me a position I never expressed.

"Not from a bag of chemicals"

Human hearts are a bag of chemicals. Chemicals do combine into compounds that grow.

"It's about a few million people hearing the Ten Commandments. "

Second hand.

"Because you feel you have zero self control and are entirely controlled by other forces."

My personality is also a cause

jewish philosopher said...

"There is nothing about not knowing why something happened that implies the answer is an arbitrarily powerful being."

Sure it does. On the one hand, mass cannot be created/destroyed.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conservation_of_mass

On the other hand, no system can function eternally.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perpetual_motion

Therefore, the only explanation for our existence is creation by a transcendent creator.

"Don't ascribe to me a position I never expressed."

You wrote "Life is fine tuned for the universe, not vice versa." implying that were the universe entirely different, life would have formed anyway. So in that case, why is there only life on earth, but not the moon, Mars, interplanetary space, etc? Why doesn't life fine tune itself to those circumstances?

"Chemicals do combine into compounds that grow."

Bags of chemicals do not grow into hearts just like piles of junk do not grow into jet planes. A machine cannot come into existence unless an intelligent being creates it.

"Second hand."

No, they all heard God speak. Read the Bible.

"My personality is also a cause"

If by "personality" you mean an incorporeal essence which makes choices that are not determined by prior causes, then you're right, however how did that evolve from simple chemicals.

NC said...

JP: "Secondly, animal breeding has no relevance to evolution. "

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domestication#Genetic_pollution

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Experimental_evolution

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artificial_selection

NC said...

JP, its amazing to see your ability to deny;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speciation

The closest think to your "junk" would be hybrids.

Unless you wish to correct the Wikipedia with your scientific insight.

jewish philosopher said...

Nothing in your links demonstrates the spontaneous creation of new functional organs or limbs, or in other words a watch with no maker which would refute my philosophy.

Some of your examples probably involve the environment directly affecting DNA.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/08/060807154715.htm

NC said...

"Nothing in your links demonstrates the spontaneous creation of new functional organs or limbs"

They show gradual change, which is all I need to show you to prove there won't be any junk when a new species is formed. It shows how a chimp and an early human could come (and did come) from the same ancestor, about 4 million years ago.

There is nothing unique about a "new" organ, its just a modification of an existing structure or an out budding.

Same with plants. With plants your see it more vividly.

The rest is history. Its really quite brilliant when you think about.

And, BTW, where is the god-maker?

NC said...

Here's an example of the development of an organ

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_of_the_eye

All of these stages of development of the eye can be seen in living organisms, or evidence of them in fossils.

jewish philosopher said...

"which is all I need to show you to prove there won't be any junk when a new species is formed"

Not really. According to Darwinism, or, more correctly, neo-Darwinism, what we should see in living and fossil animals is perhaps 99% normal and 1% mutated. Of the mutants, there would be perhaps 1% who are "more fit" and these will be selected by nature. Through those very, very gradually new limbs and organs would appear.

This article, written by a Mormon mathematician, describes how ridiculous this idea is.

http://www.mathematicsofevolution.com/ChaptersMath/Chapter_110__The_Pre-Liver__.html 

About the eye, if I find only televisions in the bottom of landfills, however televisions and computers in the top level, that hardly proves that computers evolved from televisions. Or that both are descended from old black and white TVs with rabbit ear antennas on top.

"And, BTW, where is the god-maker?"

He lives in Washington at the moment. ;-)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Rove

NC said...

Let's put it this way. Neither you or I are mathematicians. Have you fully reviewed the mathematics of Einsteins relativity theory or quantum mechanics and confirmed that it is correct? I haven't. Have you confirmed that experiments performed to confirm special and general relativity have in fact been performed and not fabricated? How do you know?

Or, do you think that relativity or quantum mechanics, being counter-intuitive, is just a big hoax?

I say this not because scientists can't be right about one thing and wrong about another. They can. However, JP, you simply are out of your league, when you think you understand the mathematics of evolution after reading a Mormon's polemic for lay people.

The mathematics of evolution has been rigorously studied, and is debated in scientific journals. Simply put, I don't think either your or I could understand or corroborate the complex math involved. So you'll just have to rely on SOMEBODY....I'll put my money on the experts.

There is a reason that there are professional people who must devote extensive training and a long career to study and become experts on a topic. If it were as easy as Googling some dumb article, there would be no need for universities.

I know you'll scream "argument by authority"-- but I'm NOT saying the scientists are infallible. But being part of 21st century life is relying on experts, because you can't know everything.

I think these illustrate my position on the issue we were discussing.

http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB925.html

or

http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB940_1.html

In my view, the scientists and scientific method has a proven track record (notwithstanding occasional mistakes). So I'll go with it.

Yes, go ahead and start making analogies to Nazis, North Korea, the Communists, if you want...

But even YOU, whether you admit it or not, rely on "authorities" , sacred or profane, for areas of knowledge that you have neither the desire or ability to acquire yourself.

jewish philosopher said...

"The mathematics of evolution has been rigorously studied, and is debated in scientific journals."

That's actually not true, unless by debated you mean "debated and rejected".

http://home.planet.nl/~gkorthof/kortho46.htm

Anonymous said...

NC:

All the examples on the page are fully functioning eyes. How did even the simplest eye get that far?

Anonymous said...

According to this analysis:


DURRETT, R., and D. SCHMIDT, 2008 Waiting for two mutations: with applications to regulatory sequence evolution and the limits of darwinian evolution. Genetics 180: 1501 –1509.

It owuld take >100,000,000 years for an adaptation that requires just two mutations to work its way to through a population of organisms that reproduce at the rate humans do.

jewish philosopher said...

I think that among scientists, the biggest fans of evolution are biologists because evolution is the Unifying Principle of the Life Sciences. How cool is that?

Paleontologists have been a little bit less thrilled because they can't find those damned missing links, but they must be out there some place.

Mathematicians who have bothered to check out evolution I think usually respond with something along the lines of "What the f---?"

nc said...

JP, I'm impressed that you seem familiar with the opinions of most biologists, paleontologists, and mathematicians.

Who do you hang out with in your spare time?

jewish philosopher said...

Check it out; this stuff is not a secret.

jewish philosopher said...

A mathematician on evolution.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fred_Hoyle#Rejection_of_chemical_evolution

A paleontologist

http://www.don-lindsay-archive.org/creation/quote_patterson2.html

A biologist

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Dawkins

nc said...

How do you know that these opinions are representative in their fields? Have you done a survey ? Biologists I will grant you. But the others? It's like reading Haaretz then concluding that most Israelis are leftist, antizionist and antisemitic.

I submit that because of the technical complexity of the matter you are really not qualified to arrive at your conclusions.

jewish philosopher said...

As is true of any orthodoxy, no one wants to question evolution and suffer the consequences of heresy, as this movie demonstrates

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cEvq4xIHmH4

Paleontolgists have never loved evolution. Darwin admits

"Those who think the natural geological record in any degree perfect, and who do not attach much weight to the facts and arguments of other kinds even in this volume, will undoubtedly at once reject my theory."

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/origin/chapter9.html

Since then, the fossils have not changed too much, just the excuses have improved a little.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punctuated_equilibrium

I don't think too many mathematicians want to talk about the probability of evolution, however when they do the results seem to be negative.

http://www.evolutionnews.org/2006/07/mathematicians_and_evolution002387.html