Monday, December 19, 2011

Biogeography - Love not Evolution


[marsupials - only in Australia - well, almost only]

One of the major “proofs” of evolution is biogeography – the distribution of living things.

As far as I can tell, biogeography does not mean that animals are always most similar to other animals living near them and more different than animals that live far away. There are too many exceptions to this rule. Alligators, for example, occur only in Florida and eastern Asia. The opossum is a unique American marsupial. It also doesn’t mean that present day animals closely resemble extinct animals from the same area. The fauna of North America a million years ago resembled today’s Africa.

What it seems to mean is that, if God created life, then similar habitats should have been created with similar plants and animals. There would be no need for all the variety that we find in the modern world. Deserts should all have one standard desert flora and fauna, forests should have a standard forest type of life, the Polar Regions should be the same and so on. In fact, this is far from the case.

I would like to question this premise, however.

According to Judaism, the highest level of serving God is the love of God, and that love may best be attained by studying nature. The wisdom and beauty of nature instills within us a love of God. If a painter painted a thousand masterpieces he is clearly greater than if he painted only ten. So also, the diversity of nature is designed to fill us with a greater love of God. This is the correct explanation for biogeography.

25 comments:

Ironmistress said...

You skip completely the concept of ecological niche. That, and the habitat, dictates the form of the organisms.

It is true alligators occur only in Florida and not in Asia. Yet there are alligator-like creatures there. They are just called crocodiles. The ecological niche is the same and it is occupied by convergent organisms. Likewise, pythons exist only in Old World and boa snakes in New. Yet they both occupy the same ecological niche.

Deserts do not have one standard desert flora and fauna, but they do have similar standard ecological niches. Likewise, the ecological niches of the polar regions are similar. The reason why there are no penguins in the Arctic is that the creature occupying that niche - the Great Auk - was hunted to extinction. The reason why there are no polar bears in Antarctic is that the Antarctic separated and drifted off before the evolution of placental mammals. But there are similar giant predatory pinnipedals - walruses and leopard seals - at both polar regions. The ecological niche is the same.

jewish philosopher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jewish philosopher said...

"That, and the habitat, dictates the form of the organisms."

No, God does. And apparently God likes a lot of variety, therefore South American and Africa may have similar climates but entirely different flora and fauna.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/places/South_America

http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/places/Africa

This demonstrates more fully the wisdom and power of the Almighty.

By the way polar bears in Antartica would probably be catastrophic 

http://www.wired.com/science/planetearth/news/2008/07/species_relocation

which is why God didn't put them there. 

Ironmistress said...

JP, if you compare the similar habitats and biotopes on both South America and Africa - rainforests, savanna, desert, pampas/plains, plateaus. mangrove, - you will see the fauna is VERY similar in both. Same ecological niches exist in both, and evolution has produced similar species on both. This is known as convergence.

The introduction of polar bears would be catastrophic in Antarctic because the possible prey animals have not adapted to the threat by the new apex predator - polar bear - and it could cause several extinctions. The situation would balance itself sooner or later, but it would take thousands, perhaps millions, of years.

jewish philosopher said...

It's not too clear if polar bears would survive the Antarctic winter either.

http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/antarctica2/ask/new/Polar_bears_in_Antarctica.txt

The fact is that God has created many different habitats, from tropical to polar, and each one is unique, bearing witness to God's infinite wisdom.

As far as evolution - it's simply a fairy tale that de novo genetic mutations which increase fertility could have converted a flatworm into a human, a polar bear, a blue whale and countless other animals in a few hundred million years. Santa Claus and his reindeer is the ultimate in rationalism by comparison.

Mr. Cohen said...

Iron Mistress, I noticed that you post many messages on this blog.
Why are you called Iron Mistress? Are you Jewish?
What are your beliefs?
Why do you spend so much time at this blog?

Jeff said...

Biogeography in itself does not prove evolution or anything else. Neither does the structure of DNA, or fossils, or carbon dating, or homology.

However, since science uses inductive reasoning, we accept as truth the theory that best explains the facts.

Evolution is the theory that best explains all of the above things.

In contrast, the God theory explains nothing. Saying that god put some creature 10 miles down on the bottom of the ocean floor, never to be seen by man, so that one day we can discover it and appreciate His wisdom, does nothing to enlighten us, since without evolution there would be no wisdom to appreciate. This is because evolution allows to appreciate and understand the imperfections as well as the perfections.

jewish philosopher said...

"God did it" is a perfectly wonderful explanation and the only rational explanation.

As far as evolution - it's simply a fairy tale that de novo genetic mutations which increase fertility could have converted a flatworm into a human, a polar bear, a blue whale and countless other animals in a few hundred million years. Santa Claus and his reindeer is the ultimate in rationalism by comparison.

jewish philosopher said...

The atheist position seems to be that any explanation however astronomically unlikely is better than saying "God did it". Saying "space aliens did it" is better than saying "God did it". Saying "we have no idea what did it and may never know" is better than saying "God did it".

I don't see any excuse for this, except either "I want to live a guilt free life therefore at all cost I must deny God" or "I don't want the clergy to win back any prestige and authority from scientists therefore at all cost I must deny God".

Ironmistress said...

Mr. Cohen, some answers:

1) "Ironmistress" is a professional title. I am a metallurgist by my profession.

2) I am not Jewish, but I do have Abrahamic undergrowth on my family tree

3) I am agnostic. I do have scientific education.

4) Because JP writes well. I do not agree on what he says, but he has interesting aspects.

Ironmistress said...

Santa Claus and his reindeer is the ultimate in rationalism by comparison.

Santa Claus - bishop St. Nicholas of Myra - exists. [Or rather has existed.] His grave is in Bari, Italy. His corpse is still extant. He is a perfectly historical personality.

Reindeer do exist. I have ridden one, I have eaten reindeer meat and I have a reindeer pelt.

So, two components of the tale are true. [And your point was...?]

jewish philosopher said...

It's far more reasonable to suggest that Santa and his reindeer will land on your roof this Saturday night than it is to believe that you could drop a worm somewhere and return a few hundred million years later and find a human, a polar bear, a blue whale and countless other animals.

Ironmistress said...

As far as evolution - it's simply a fairy tale that de novo genetic mutations which increase fertility

which increase capability of producing surviving offspring.

could have converted a flatworm into a human

Flatworm does not convert into a human. They do have, however, same predecessors. Here some more. And here on the constraints of evolution, i.e. why we do not develop extra limbs.

Ironmistress said...

JP, that is a straw man and you know it too.

jewish philosopher said...

Flatworms are allegedly our ancestors.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/03/990322062150.htm

ah-pee-chorus said...

the biogeography of oceanic vs. continental islands is powerful evidence of evolution.

"When we look at the flora and fauna of oceanic islands we find the same pattern repeated over and over. We find an absence of land mammals, freshwater fish, amphibians, and reptiles. These are animals that one finds in abundance on the rest of the earth. Why would the creator place them all over the earth, except the oceanic islands? The creationists, of course, have no answer to this conundrum. They might claim that the creator did not place them there as the islands were not suitable for them. However, whenever such animals have been introduced by humans, they have invariably thrived, even to the extent of becoming pests. The cane toad, which was introduced into Hawaii in the thirties, has prospered and constitutes a threat to cats and dogs. The introduction of black cobras to San Tome has made many areas positively dangerous as the snakes are so numerous. The pattern has been repeated many times. "

http://www.thoughts.com/stevehayes13/evolution-6-evidence-from-oceanic-islands

jewish philosopher said...

Perhaps coral and volcanic islands were created only after animals were created.

ah-pee-chorus said...

or as per occams razor and logical thought its because the god creation myth is fantasy and evolution is true.

jewish philosopher said...

Let's put it like this: if you go to a zoo and notice that each building contains different animals, does that prove that no intelligent designer built it, because why wouldn't he put the same stuff in every building?

ah-pee-chorus said...

obviously you failed to grasp the significance of the difference between the 2 types of islands else you wouldnt have offered that silly analogy.

Alex said...

"I don't see any excuse for this, except either "I want to live a guilt free life therefore at all cost I must deny God" or "I don't want the clergy to win back any prestige and authority from scientists therefore at all cost I must deny God"."

Those two choices ignore the many Orthodox layman and rabbis who also accept evolution.

Ironmistress said...

JP, no. Flatworms are not our ancestors; vertebrates and flatworms have common ancestors and stem from the same predecessors. They are distant relatives.

Likewise, your great-grand-uncle is not your ancestor, but your distant relative. You have a common ancestor (your great-great-grandparents).

jewish philosopher said...

"obviously you failed to grasp the significance of the difference between the 2 types of islands else you wouldnt have offered that silly analogy"

I don't know what that means.

"Those two choices ignore the many Orthodox layman and rabbis who also accept evolution."

They have been duped by the atheist scientific establishment. I call them Useful Idiots.

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

"JP, no. Flatworms are not our ancestors"

Flatworms are allegedly our ancestors.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/03/990322062150.htm

natschuster said...

apch:

The repopulation of the world after the flood could explain the pattern scene on islands as well.

natschuster said...

I understand that curretn theories of biogeography has difficuklty explaining the evolution of new world monkeys. They would have had to float across the Atlantic on rafts since South America was not connected to Africa.