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Talk:Evolution

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(Theory/Hypothesis: God's authorship; recombination vs. mutations; Adam and Eve.)
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I agree a decrease in pigment is not a loss of information if you relate information to the genetic code, however if you take the level to the environment (the receiver of the information if you will) then it would be a decrease in information since the mutation caused a decrease in pigment relative to the population and environment.  You forget that pigment is based on a concentration of the amounts of melanin which is directly controlled by genetic expression.  As such to be black one must express melanin to that level.  You will not have a black child from a white and black parent; you will have a lighter skinned child (relative to the black parent).  The reasons for this are due to the genes that encode for the melanin are on the autosomes, therefore one gene from the mother and one from the father.  Think of it as a dilution of the melanin.  As such abnormal coloring is caused by mutation, albinism for example.  Now we can either explain the diversity of the skin tones in humans by saying that they are caused by losses of information from Adam (as such Adam would have to been black or black would be a gain of function since it is due to a greater concentration of melanin) or we can admit that mutation can go either up or down in information by allowing a gradient of color.  The reason why genetic recombination is of no concern for all of this is that we are only dealing with Adam and his wife, who according to the bible was made from Adam, therefore having the same autosomal makeup as Adam.  Furthermore, one of the reasons why small communities are at risk of genetic diseases is that you need a population of ~76 or more of different genetic stock (in humans based on mutation and genetic corrective rates) to allow for recombination, without that large of a population the drift slides to a point where the mutation does not survive and you run into a situation where the population becomes homozygous instead of heterozygous (thus preventing recombination).  By evolutionary theory this did not happen because once again the human race came forth through genetic influx into different populations that lead to the current state, not from a family or a small group of pre-existing humans.--[[User:Timsh|Timsh]] 20:02, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
I agree a decrease in pigment is not a loss of information if you relate information to the genetic code, however if you take the level to the environment (the receiver of the information if you will) then it would be a decrease in information since the mutation caused a decrease in pigment relative to the population and environment.  You forget that pigment is based on a concentration of the amounts of melanin which is directly controlled by genetic expression.  As such to be black one must express melanin to that level.  You will not have a black child from a white and black parent; you will have a lighter skinned child (relative to the black parent).  The reasons for this are due to the genes that encode for the melanin are on the autosomes, therefore one gene from the mother and one from the father.  Think of it as a dilution of the melanin.  As such abnormal coloring is caused by mutation, albinism for example.  Now we can either explain the diversity of the skin tones in humans by saying that they are caused by losses of information from Adam (as such Adam would have to been black or black would be a gain of function since it is due to a greater concentration of melanin) or we can admit that mutation can go either up or down in information by allowing a gradient of color.  The reason why genetic recombination is of no concern for all of this is that we are only dealing with Adam and his wife, who according to the bible was made from Adam, therefore having the same autosomal makeup as Adam.  Furthermore, one of the reasons why small communities are at risk of genetic diseases is that you need a population of ~76 or more of different genetic stock (in humans based on mutation and genetic corrective rates) to allow for recombination, without that large of a population the drift slides to a point where the mutation does not survive and you run into a situation where the population becomes homozygous instead of heterozygous (thus preventing recombination).  By evolutionary theory this did not happen because once again the human race came forth through genetic influx into different populations that lead to the current state, not from a family or a small group of pre-existing humans.--[[User:Timsh|Timsh]] 20:02, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
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:{{tq|I still argue about the implementation issue,...}}  You do?  Where?
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:{{tq|...was the ability for snakes to speak removed as well?}}  There is no indication that snakes had the ability to speak, except for the one which was apparently "possessed" by Satan, so it was Satan speaking.
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:{{tq|By saying that genesis was written by Noah, I gave an example of the only human around during the time of past events to record the history.}}  Hmmm.  Noah, his wife, their three kids, and their wives.  And that's just those who lived through the flood, not all the others at other times.  I don't see your point.
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:{{tq|Still yet he was not around during creation.}}  No, but God was.
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:{{tq|Your statement about Moses writing Genesis further confounds the issue since Moses was alive well after Noah’s death, therefore less reliable than Noah.}}  Only if you assume a loss of (historic) information over time, which there's no reason to think in this case.
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:{{tq|First point, Ghost-writing? Are you saying that people wrote the book and god acted as an editor?}}  God guided what they wrote, and ensured that what they wrote was what he wanted recorded.  So although it's the human authors' words and phraseology, it's God's accurate knowledge, authority, and reliability.
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:{{tq|Furthermore, did Noah bring the book on the Ark with him, least it perished in the flood?}}  If the explanation I gave about Moses' sources is correct, that would be a reasonable conclusion (and practically a requirement).
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:{{tq|By what evidence do you have that this occurred?}}  That Noah took it on the ark?  Logical deduction that this must have been the case.
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:{{tq|Why would we accept this speculation ...}} That Moses used sources dating back to Adam?  It's not merely "speculation".  There is evidence in the form of wording within Genesis to indicate this.
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:{{tq|...and not accept the speculation that the time listed in genesis was also an assumption?}} What's the basis for speculating that details in a historical record are actually an assumption?
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:{{tq|Second point, I believe that this was how it was done, and that Moses could have had many accounts to draw from, therefore the reliability of the observations is still questionable since the people who had witnessed the events had perished.}}  First, the proposal is not that Moses ''drew on'' older accounts; it is that he assembled them together with minimal editorial changes (such as adding a parenthetical remark that place A is now known as B).  Second, your question overlooks that God was ensuring that it was accurate.
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:{{tq|Moreover, how do we know that Moses was even a real person for that matter?}}  How do we know that any person of history is a real person?  For one thing, we have details about him recorded in ancient documents (now part of the Bible).
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:{{tq|I would think that the exodus from Egypt would have been recorded by the Egyptian history since they recorded everything else.}}  No, they weren't too keen on recording their failures, which the exodus was.  Secondly, there's reason to believe that Egypt was invaded just after the Israelites left, so a new regime took over.
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:{{tq|You point about evolution is not correct. One item you seem to fail to understand is the role of inference in research.}}  So inference is okay in evolutionary research, but not in biblical history?  Doesn't that ''agree'' with what I said that there's different rules for evolution?
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:{{tq|You have been trying to use it to justify the fossils of snake relatives having legs by inferring that since Adam’s punishment did not occur immediately therefore the serpents may not have happened immediately as well.}}  Yes, but ''you'' apparently don't accept it for biblical history.
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:{{tq|The rules are not different the acceptable criteria is the issue.}}  So you agree that there is a difference, but are splitting hairs over whether it's different rules or different criteria?
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:{{tq|For a scientist to use inference to support a premise the background of the subject matter must be understood to a very high level...}}  Biblical history has been studied ''very, very'' extensively for thousands of years.  So there's no issue there.
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:{{tq|...we infer that the strata were deposited in a chronological manner due to the composition of the sediment...}}  No, that is ''assumed'' to be the case.  ''Sometimes'' there is supportive evidence.  A lot of the time there is contrary evidence, such as vast periods of time missing between layers but without any evidence of erosion.
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:{{tq|...we can go further to catalog the timeframes that the fossils were layer down relative to each other.}}  Yes, up to a point you can, but evolution goes beyond that, and assigns not just ''relative'' times, but ''actual'' times.  In many cases I would agree that a given layer sitting above another layer was laid down later.  But that doesn't have to mean millions of years later; it could mean days later.  In the latter case, the creatures in both layers lived at the same time.  This is an example of evolutionists speculating far beyond the evidence, and even contrary to it.
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:{{tq|The whole point is that we did not see the fossilization however we could deduce the timeframes due to the inference.}}  So, in summary, it's okay for evolutionists not there as witnesses to made deductions and inferences, but it's not okay for Christians to accept written testimony because the Christians were not there to witness it.  You've done a reasonable of of justifying inferences, but you've failed to justify the different standards.  I wasn't objecting to inferences.  I was objecting to different standards.
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:{{tq|The issue with what you are proposing with the bible is that there is no supported data outside of the book.}}  Blatantly false.  To take a very obvious example, the Bible claims that there was a worldwide flood.  Most of the rock formations on Earth are ''water-laid'' rocks!  Right there is supporting data!  (I'm not, of course, claiming that as ''absolute proof''.  I'm claiming it as ''supporting data'', which you claimed does not exist.)
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:{{tq|If the ark was located or some other part of the bible was found, that was specific to the bible and not a generalization that could have been incorporated in the bible (like the existence of a common city) then we could infer from the bible.}}  Yes such evidence exists.  Another example is accounts of the flood from cultures all around the world, many of which have specific details in common with the biblical account, and which one would not expect from unrelated accounts of local floods.
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:{{tq|However since this is not the case...}}  Except that it ''is'' the case, so your argument fails.
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:{{tq|With evolution we do, we can check against geology, molecular biology, genetics, chemistry and physics.}}  And very often the evidence disagrees with evolution, but evolution is such a flexible theory it can be modified to explain almost any contrary evidence.  And of course such a theory is hardly scientific.
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:{{tq|[Information] requires someone to receive it to be information.}}  So if you write a book with lots of information in it, the book actually has no information until someone reads it????  On the contrary, the information is there from the moment you put it there, regardless of whether anyone reads it.
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:{{tq|...no one has determined how to quantify biological information and therefore to make the claim of a gain or a loss of information can only be applied to the immediate organism and offspring.}}  In a sense that is true, but that's the claim being made.
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:{{tq|To be so bold to make the claim that it applies to all organisms is to not understand the complex nature of molecular biology.}}  So what happened to inference?  If all the example we have (from one organism to its offspring) is a loss (or neutral), is it not reasonable to infer that only losses occur?
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:{{tq|...I tend to know a bit more than what is taught at the university level.}}  All of which is pro-evolutionary, so you've hardly got a balanced education.
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:{{tq|So for people to make these absolutes when no true research has been performed is a fallacy.}}  What makes you think no research has been performed?  On the contrary, it has.
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:{{tq|Unless you have some publications that I do not detailing why the probability of a gain vs. a loss is so much higher.}}  A loss is higher, but since you asked, try Lee Spetner, Not by Chance, and John Sanford, Genetic Entropy.
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:{{tq|We do need a baseline, for your concept of human diversity to work.}}  Perhaps, but not to claim that no gains of information occur.
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:{{tq|I agree a decrease in pigment is not a loss of information if you relate information to the genetic code...}}  Well, that's where the information is.
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:{{tq|...however if you take the level to the environment ... then it would be a decrease in information since the mutation caused a decrease in pigment relative to the population and environment.}}  How does that make it a decrease in ''information''?
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:{{tq|You forget that pigment is based on a concentration of the amounts of melanin which is directly controlled by genetic expression.}}  No, I don't forget that at all.  That is integral to my explanation.
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:{{tq|Think of it as a dilution of the melanin.}}  I don't see why I should.  A (very) black parent and a white parent cannot give birth to a (very) black child because to do this the child would need genes for large melanin production from both parents, yet the white parent won't have the required genes.  But that doesn't mean that any "dilution" is going on.  Two middle-brown children (which could occur from such parents) ''could'' give birth to a very black child, because both could have the genes for large melanin production.  "Dilution" isn't an appropriate concept to explain this.
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:{{tq|As such abnormal coloring is caused by mutation, albinism for example.}}  Yes, I agreed that mutation ''can'' play a part, and the mutation that causes the total loss of information for melanin production is one such example.  But that is the (already acknowledged) exception to the rule.
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:{{tq|Now we can either explain the diversity of the skin tones in humans by saying that they are caused by losses of information from Adam (as such Adam would have to been black or black would be a gain of function since it is due to a greater concentration of melanin) or we can admit that mutation can go either up or down in information by allowing a gradient of color}}  Or (third choice, and the one consistent with the evidence) we can explain diversity in colour from an original set of information which allows "colours" from very light to very dark, as the linked book explained, and only invoke mutations for losses of information such as albinism.
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:{{tq|The reason why genetic recombination is of no concern for all of this is that we are only dealing with Adam and his wife, who according to the bible was made from Adam, therefore having the same autosomal makeup as Adam.}}  First, this is an assumption on your part that God didn't add some genetic variety when He created Eve.  Second, Adam himself had two copies of the relevant genes, so there is some variety there anyway.  Third, melanin production is controlled by more than one gene, so even Adam by himself had even more scope for variety.
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:{{tq|...one of the reasons why small communities are at risk of genetic diseases is that you need a population of ~76 or more of different genetic stock ... to allow for recombination...}}  You have recombination with two people.
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:{{tq|...without that large of a population the drift slides to a point where the mutation does not survive...}}  As mutations are mostly harmful, mutations not surviving is a good thing.
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:{{tq|... and you run into a situation where the population becomes homozygous instead of heterozygous (thus preventing recombination).}}  yes, that can occur by losing genetic information.
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:{{tq|By evolutionary theory this did not happen because once again the human race came forth through genetic influx into different populations that lead to the current state, not from a family or a small group of pre-existing humans.}}  I'm not claiming that evolution postulates that humans came from a single pair.  I'm claiming that evolution postulates that all life came from a single original organism.  By starting at humans you are starting with the bases already loaded.  But where did that information come from in the first place?  As for Adam and Eve being a "family", yes I guess homozygousness could occur with Adam and Eve's descendants if they all only had a few offspring, but there's no reason to think that they did.
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: [[user:Philip J. Rayment|Philip J. Rayment]]<sup>[[user talk:Philip J. Rayment|discuss]] </sup> 05:20, 14 October 2009 (UTC)

Revision as of 05:20, 14 October 2009


Contents

Introduction

The following sentence strikes me as misleading: This sense of evolution as universal common descent is often conflated with the more limited observation that organisms vary with each generation and that the variations best adapted to the environment tend to proliferate. The word "conflated" seems wrong. Conflation is a blending of two different things. The more limited observation referred to is a subset or part of the evolutionary process. How can you blend something that is already part of the original thing? I shall attempt a solution. --Horace 07:06, 13 September 2009 (UTC)

Upon reflection I am not sure why the sentence is there at all. It reminds me of the section that I once put into the article which said that creationists don't dispute all of evolutionary theory, merely that one species can evolve into another species (but evolution within species is fine). As I understand it that is the "creationary" position (which came about in order that Noah's Ark not be too overcrowded). Philip didn't like my addition (I'm not really sure why). Anyway, if that is what the sentence is about then it ought to be stated clearly. I suggest the sentence be removed and the issue dealt with in more detail either in the body of the article or in another article. --Horace 07:14, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
Conflation is a blending of two different things. The more limited observation referred to is a subset or part of the evolutionary process. It being a subset means that it is not the same thing, and therefore a different thing. That there might be some relationship between the two different things doesn't mean that they are not different things. Further, the claim that one is a subset of the other presumes that evolution is true, and is thus begging the question.
As I understand it that is the "creationary" position... In that case, it shows how little you understand about the creationary position that you argue so vehemently against. Remarkable, actually, considering that at least part of your misunderstanding was already dealt with in the article.
Philip didn't like my addition (I'm not really sure why). Perhaps because you didn't know what you were talking about?
I suggest the sentence be removed and the issue dealt with in more detail either in the body of the article or in another article. It was already expanded on in the body of the article, although perhaps that part could be further elaborated.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 11:14, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps because you didn't know what you were talking about? You're so cute when you're being petty. ħuman Number 19 04:43, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
Either you don't understand what a subset is or you don't understand what conflated means. Perhaps you should look them up. Conflated is the wrong word. Further, your complaint about " begging the question" was ill thought-out. The relationship being discussed is conceptual and is not reliant on the truth or otherwise of evolution. Gotta be on the lookout for any such naughty evolutionary assumptions though. Don't we?
You say that I am so very wrong about the creationary position but don't deign to actually point out where the error lies. The only error appears to be that I perhaps should have used the word "kind" as opposed to "species". Is that it? Or is it a secret? You were rude without being in any way informative.
The creationary position appears to be essentially that evolution can take place within "kinds" but not across the "kind barrier". It is not supported by any evidence whatsoever and appears to have "evolved" from an earlier position as a result of people realizing that Noah just couldn't fit all those animals in the Ark. Just stop me if I get something wrong. --Horace 06:42, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
I've just looked up conflate, and although it's a bit different than my understanding, I still think it's being used correctly, and can't see what difference one being a subset of the other makes; it would only make a difference if the two things were the same, which they are not.
The relationship being discussed is conceptual and is not reliant on the truth or otherwise of evolution. Fair enough.
Gotta be on the lookout for any such naughty evolutionary assumptions though. Don't we? Yep.
You say that I am so very wrong about the creationary position but don't deign to actually point out where the error lies. If I had a dollar for every time someone has said to me, "It's not my job to educate you", ... But apparently it is my job to educate you even when you haven't asked.
You were rude without being in any way informative. I wasn't rude.
The only error appears to be that I perhaps should have used the word "kind" as opposed to "species". Is that it? No, that's not it.
The creationary position appears to be essentially that evolution can take place within "kinds" but not across the "kind barrier". Not really.
It is not supported by any evidence whatsoever... You mean other than genetics?
...and appears to have "evolved" from an earlier position as a result of people realizing that Noah just couldn't fit all those animals in the Ark. Incorrect.
Just stop me if I get something wrong. I tried, but you kept going. :-)
Seeing as you asked so nicely(?)...
...creationists don't dispute all of evolutionary theory, merely that one species can evolve into another species (but evolution within species is fine). As I understand it that is the "creationary" position (which came about in order that Noah's Ark not be too overcrowded)
  • It's misleading to say that creationists don't dispute all of evolutionary theory: They dispute that all of what is called "evolution" really is evolution.
  • Creationists don't dispute that new species can form.
  • Creationists don't consider variation within species to be "evolution", as such variation is not what is required for bacteria-to-botanist evolution.
  • The claim that accepting speciation came about to solve a problem with Noah's Ark implies that it wasn't because of the evidence that speciation occurs. The modern creation movement has always accepted speciation, and although many earlier creationists didn't, creationists as far back as Linnaeus did so, and because of the evidence, not because of having to fit animals on the ark.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 10:24, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
I don't see it Philip. Creationists do accept evolution (as much as they do not like to put it in those terms for obvious reasons), just not across the "kind" barrier. They are forced to do so by a set of inconvenient facts: (a) No room in the Ark; and (b) evolutionary processes are well understood and have been observed. They clearly accept that a species can change over time. It is well known and observed in examples such as dog breeds. You just don't like to use the term "evolution". Unfortunately it is not they who define that term. Changes that occur within the "kind" barrier are still evolutionary changes by the accepted definition of evolution.
Of course, no "kind" barrier actually exists. "Macro evolution" is merely "micro evolution" plus time. But the creationist position has really been reduced to defending the "kind" barrier. The rest has essentially been conceded. --Horace 23:28, 17 September 2009 (UTC)
Creationists do accept evolution (as much as they do not like to put it in those terms for obvious reasons), just not across the "kind" barrier. That's a misrepresentation. Their argument is that the changes within kinds are of a fundamentally different type than is required for goo-to-you evolution.
They are forced to do so by a set of inconvenient facts: Why are they "inconvenient"? That's just tainting the argument.
...evolutionary processes are well understood and have been observed. The sorts of processes required for goo-to-you evolution have not been observed.
You just don't like to use the term "evolution". Unfortunately it is not they who define that term. Who does have the last say, given that it keeps being redefined?
Changes that occur within the "kind" barrier are still evolutionary changes by the accepted definition of evolution. That depends on which accepted definition you are talking about. The one that deceptively considers any change as evolution, or the one that is about the evolutionary family tree.
Of course, no "kind" barrier actually exists. Of course. Because you say so?
"Macro evolution" is merely "micro evolution" plus time. That depends on how you define those terms. But the changes we observe plus time will not give us the evolutionary family tree.
But the creationist position has really been reduced to defending the "kind" barrier. Funny thing about genetics: it explains why when dogs breed you get dogs and not cats. Just like the Bible says, but evolution denies.
The rest has essentially been conceded. In your dreams.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 03:12, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
That's a misrepresentation. Their argument is that the changes within kinds are of a fundamentally different type than is required for goo-to-you evolution. Really? I am intrigued. Is there something other than natural selection plus mutation at work here? Do tell Philip.
The sorts of processes required for goo-to-you evolution have not been observed. Oh, but they have Philip. A change is a change is a change. Enough changes equal "goo to you". (Ooh, I feel dirty after using that phrase).
Who does have the last say, given that it keeps being redefined? The term "evolution" insofar as it relates to the biological theory of evolution does not change other than in the normal course of scientific discovery (unlike creationism which does not change with scientific discovery because it must always comply with some interpretation or other (depending on one's religion of choice) of biblical "truth").
Of course. Because you say so? Regrettably, Philip, the onus lies upon you. Change over time is observed and is well known. If you assert that there is a "kind" barrier then you should tell us why it exists and by what mechanism it operates.
Funny thing about genetics: it explains why when dogs breed you get dogs and not cats. Just like the Bible says, but evolution denies. This was my favourite quote. Ha! Tell me Philip is there more information in a dog or a cat? Your complaints about "new information" in our other discussion caused me to wonder about your pronouncement on dogs and cats. Dogs and cats have essentially the same parts. If I wanted to evolve a cat from a dog would I need to add any new information? Obviously I would need to change the shape of various parts. But what exactly do you say is the barrier to breeding a cat from a dog given enough generations? --Horace 04:21, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
Really? I am intrigued. Is there something other than natural selection plus mutation at work here? Do you really think that you are not identical to your parents because of mutations? See also genetic information#Inheritance.
A change is a change is a change. There is more than one type of change, so no, they are not all the same.
Enough changes equal "goo to you". Not if they don't add genetic information.
The term "evolution" insofar as it relates to the biological theory of evolution does not change other than in the normal course of scientific discovery ... In other words, it doesn't change except when it does.
...unlike creationism which does not change with scientific discovery ... Creationism has changed. As with evolution, the core concepts haven't, but as with evolution, many of the details have.
Regrettably, Philip, the onus lies upon you. Why? You made the claim.
Change over time is observed and is well known. Yes, but only within the created kinds (or something roughly equivalent).
If you assert that there is a "kind" barrier then you should tell us why it exists and by what mechanism it operates. Why it exists is because that's the way God made it. The mechanism is genetics, that results in dogs giving birth to dogs, and so on.
...is there more information in a dog or a cat? I don't know, but that's not relevant to this discussion. The point is that they have different information (and no, not totally different; many of the details are the same, but the sum of all the information in each is different).
Dogs and cats have essentially the same parts. Yes, I could have chosen two creatures that were a lot more different, but there's enough difference between those two to make the point.
If I wanted to evolve a cat from a dog would I need to add any new information? I'm sure that you would.
But what exactly do you say is the barrier to breeding a cat from a dog given enough generations? For one thing, the lack of a way to generate the new genetic information that would be required.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 08:59, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
You have answered my post in a series of glib one-liners. It indicates to me that you have little of substance to say in opposition to my points. Let me deal with your minimalist responses:
Do you really think that you are not identical to your parents because of mutations? Goodness Philip. Do I have to give you a lesson in basic genetics? First of all, how could I be identical to both my parents? There are two of them and only one of me. I asked if there was something other than natural selection and mutation going on and you failed to answer. Is there? If it is merely natural selection and mutation then it is evolution.
There is more than one type of change, so no, they are not all the same. Well, explain what you mean Philip. It's as if you are afraid to explain yourself lest you become cornered. Tell us what you mean.
Not if they don't add genetic information. But Philip, you've never been able to tell me what a mutation that adds genetic information would look like. Furthermore, what is it that prevents a mutation adding genetic information? Is there some mysterious process that you have not yet disclosed to us?
I'm not going to bother arguing about whether and to what extent the theory of evolution has changed. It is a sideshow and is of no consequence here. Look it up if you are genuinely interested.
Why? You made the claim. Now this really irritates me. I do not claim that there is a "kind barrier". I regard the suggestion as silly. YOU are the one claiming that there is a "kind barrier". YOU bear the onus of explaining why and how it operates. As far as I know there is NO evidence of such a barrier. Show me something. Anything.
The mechanism is genetics, that results in dogs giving birth to dogs, and so on. Ah, so here is your explanation? And yet, it is no explanation at all. "The mechanism is genetics"??? Do you seriously regard that as an explanation? What genetic process prevents the crossing of the "kind barrier" Philip? Tell us. We are dying to know. We know why dogs give birth to dogs. But we also know that with mutations those dogs can be just a little different (in terms of their genetic make-up) to their parents. Enough generations can lead to something that is no longer a dog. Where is the barrier? What is the mechanism?
Yes, I could have chosen two creatures that were a lot more different, but there's enough difference between those two to make the point. But no, Philip, you do not make your point. Dogs and cats have essentially the same parts. What is barrier to changing the size and shape of those parts?
For one thing, the lack of a way to generate the new genetic information that would be required. And here we have your minimalist explanation. But we already know that you cannot explain what you mean by this "new genetic information". Perhaps that would be a good starting point. And perhaps we should consolidate the discussion into the discussion below. --Horace 23:58, 19 September 2009 (UTC)
You have answered my post in a series of glib one-liners. It indicates to me that you have little of substance to say in opposition to my points. Ad hominem argument.
Goodness Philip. Do I have to give you a lesson in basic genetics? It seems that I need to give you one, given that you didn't see how my question answered yours.
First of all, how could I be identical to both my parents? I didn't say you could. I figured you were capable of realising that the differences were not due to mutations. Moreover, I gave you a link to read for more information.
I asked if there was something other than natural selection and mutation going on and you failed to answer. Is there? Are you different to your parents due to mutations? Or something else? (Hint: the clue is your point about having two parents.)
Well, explain what you mean Philip. ... Tell us what you mean. See your answer to my previous question (the line just above this one).
But Philip, you've never been able to tell me what a mutation that adds genetic information would look like. Huh? How short is your memory? Have you forgotten about the elephant's trunk and other examples already?
Furthermore, what is it that prevents a mutation adding genetic information? Information (of this sort) comes from a mind, not from chance.
Now this really irritates me. I do not claim that there is a "kind barrier". No, you claimed that there was no kind barrier. I had not raised that subject.
YOU bear the onus of explaining why and how it operates. No, you made the claim (that there was no barrier), so the onus is on you to support your claim.
"The mechanism is genetics"??? Do you seriously regard that as an explanation? It's a reference to the explanation. It would probably take a book to explain it fully.
What genetic process prevents the crossing of the "kind barrier" Philip? The genetic barriers to different creatures mating and the genetic mechanisms for preserving the genetic information from changing too much, including error checking of DNA duplication and natural selection, which weeds out the worst genetic defects.
Enough generations can lead to something that is no longer a dog. You mean, for example, a dead dog (due to the accumulation of genetic defects)? True, but that's not evolution. Or do you mean a (hypothetical in this case) dog-like creature that is defined as being a non-dog. If so, that is actually still extremely similar; it's not a cat.
Dogs and cats have essentially the same parts. Then why can't they interbreed? Why do we call one "dog" and the other "cat" if they are so similar?
But we already know that you cannot explain what you mean by this "new genetic information". Despite the fact that I already have? That's odd.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 07:12, 20 September 2009 (UTC)

Information section

I think the section should go. It's a nonsense. Can someone tell me what a mutation producing additional genetic information would actually look like? --Horace 07:32, 13 September 2009 (UTC)

It's not nonsense. No, I couldn't tell you what one would look like, because they don't exist! Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 11:15, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
Well Philip if you can't even tell me one would look like then the section (and, indeed the whole concept) is a nonsense. If you don't even know what is meant by "a mutation producing additional genetic information" then how can it be a criticism that no-one has seen one. If it would be less painful I will remove the section for you. --Horace 06:46, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
I apologise. My response was too flippant, concentrating on "looks" rather than characteristics.
A mutation producing additional genetic information would be one that adds some new (useful) function to the organism. You can think of things like adding feathers to reptiles or turning a nose into a trunk, although those are large-scale changes, and they need not be that large. Perhaps adding tear ducts, or a blood-clotting mechanism. They might be too large-scale also. But the point is that it has to be a true added function, not merely more of the same (such as being a bit bigger), nor a beneficial loss (such as losing the ability to fly when you are on a windy island where flying is likely to get you blown into the sea and drown).
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 10:41, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
The way a nose becomes a trunk is by small incremental steps. Presumably they would be a combination of (a) muscle development that allowed for movement/manipulation of the nose; and (b) elongation of the nose. Eventually, by way of such steps, a nose becomes a trunk. Voila! Information has been added! The same would be true of feathers. Scales would change over generations. There would need to be a reason that intermediate scale/feathers were useful (perhaps insulation?). But over many generations the scales change form until recognizable feathers are the result. Again, voila! Information added. The point is that evolution works with what is available. Feathers and trunks don't just suddenly appear (as you seem to recognize). They evolve from pre-existing body parts over many generations.
Having explained that to you, I assume that I may now remove the section. --Horace 23:11, 17 September 2009 (UTC)
The way a nose becomes a trunk is by small incremental steps. Given that nobody has ever seen that happen, how can you honestly state that in such a matter-of-fact way?
Presumably they would be a combination of (a) muscle development that allowed for movement/manipulation of the nose;... That is, a new function.
Eventually, by way of such steps, a nose becomes a trunk. Again, stating it as though it is a known fact, when it is actually merely evolutionary story-telling.
Voila! Information has been added! Where? I didn't see it. All I saw was a made-up story. No, actually, you are correct. If that happened, there would have had to be new information. So yes, that would be an example. If it actually existed, and that's the problem—it doesn't.
The same would be true of feathers. Exactly. If it happened.
The point is that evolution works with what is available. True. The point is that the required new information is not available.
Having explained that to you, I assume that I may now remove the section. Huh? By what logic would you do that? On the contrary, you've supported why it should be there! That is, you've agreed that these changes would involve new information, as the section says. It also says that there is no mechanism to supply this information, and you've provided no evidence of such a mechanism. Rather, you've simply asserted that the changes would be slow and gradual, which is not any sort of evidence that there is a mechanism for these claimed slow and gradual changes (or any other sort).
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 03:24, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
Given that nobody has ever seen that happen, how can you honestly state that in such a matter-of-fact way? I can do so because the process is well understood by everyone (except perhaps creationists). It is supported both by the fossil record and by our knowledge of genetics. Your reference to no-one seeing it happen is a little silly, isn't it? The time required for evolutionary change is so great that such a development dwarfs our puny lifetimes. Of course no-one has ever seen it happen. Do you suggest that we should have? Do you suggest that evolution is less likely because we haven't actually observed a nose develop into a trunk?
That is, a new function. Well, I can wiggle my nose. If you are unable to do so then I extend my commiserations. Presumably (my knowledge of anatomy is not extensive) I can wiggle my nose due to the proximity of a number of muscles. For my nose to develop into a trunk (and some would say that it doesn't have far to go) those muscles would need to extend along the side of the nose/trunk. Nothing new. Just a rearrangement of an existing structure or structures. Is it still a new function?
Again, stating it as though it is a known fact, when it is actually merely evolutionary story-telling. See above. Your failure to understand the difference between a scientific theory and story-telling is of concern.
If it actually existed, and that's the problem—it doesn't. I'm not even going to bother with that bald assertion.
The point is that the required new information is not available. I don't think you understand what you mean by new information. The two examples we have been discussing (both provided by you) are modifications of existing structures. This is the case with most evolutionary changes. Exactly what "new information" is required in the trunk example? This is exactly why I asked you what a mutation producing additional genetic information would actually look like. It seems to me that you have been operating under a misapprehension as to when this "new information" is required.
...you've agreed that these changes would involve new information, as the section says. I'm sorry if I have misled you Philip. I do not agree with the section at all. I think it is nonsense. When I said " Voila! Information has been added!" I was merely attempting to express the matter in your terms. I make no such claim. The whole argument, as Professor Dawkins has pointed out, is merely a rehashing of the argument from incredulity: "I can't believe that something as complex as a gnu/tortoise/creationist could just evolve". It's like rainbows; once you understand how they are made you don't require divine intervention. The whole "new information" complaint is meaningless. It is just change by mutation. --Horace 04:05, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
I can do so because the process is well understood by everyone... A story being well understood is not the same as evidence that it happened.
It is supported both by the fossil record and by our knowledge of genetics. How do either support it?
Your reference to no-one seeing it happen is a little silly, isn't it? Not at all. If nobody has observed it, then it remains speculation, not evidence.
The time required for evolutionary change is so great that such a development dwarfs our puny lifetimes. True, but that just underscores the point that evolution is a story, not a fact.
Of course no-one has ever seen it happen. Do you suggest that we should have? Only if you claim it to be observed fact, which evolutionists do.
Do you suggest that evolution is less likely because we haven't actually observed a nose develop into a trunk? No, I'm saying that you can't claim with any certainty that it did happen.
Well, I can wiggle my nose. If you are unable to do so then I extend my commiserations. I can move my nose, but I don't think it's by means of muscles in my nose, but that might be just me.
For my nose to develop into a trunk (and some would say that it doesn't have far to go) those muscles would need to extend along the side of the nose/trunk. Nothing new. Just a rearrangement of an existing structure or structures. Is it still a new function? Nothing new? An elephant has around 40,000 to nearly 150,000 muscles just in its trunk[1], of several different types, with all the accompanying structures and control systems. No, this is not "just a rearrangement"; this is a whole new design.
Your failure to understand the difference between a scientific theory and story-telling is of concern. I'd suggest that your inability to tell the difference is a concern.
I'm not even going to bother with that bald assertion. You're not going to bother supplying evidence to refute it? Not surprising, given that there is none.
The two examples we have been discussing (both provided by you) are modifications of existing structures. That's begging the question.
This is the case with most evolutionary changes. And that's a problem. Much of evolution is question-begging.
Exactly what "new information" is required in the trunk example? I don't know exactly, but in general terms, the information for all those muscles, associated structures, and the control systems.
It seems to me that you have been operating under a misapprehension as to when this "new information" is required. Huh?
I think it is nonsense. But have failed to show that.
When I said " Voila! Information has been added!" I was merely attempting to express the matter in your terms. I make no such claim. So you lied?
The whole argument, as Professor Dawkins has pointed out, is merely a rehashing of the argument from incredulity: It doesn't bear any resemblance to an argument from incredulity. Simply throwing out an accusation like that doesn't make it so.
"I can't believe that something as complex as a gnu/tortoise/creationist could just evolve". Except that that is not my argument. A genuine example would be Dawkins' arguments of the style "I can't believe that God would have created it that way, so He didn't".
It's like rainbows; once you understand how they are made you don't require divine intervention. Missing the point again. Poor example, but explaining the mechanics of a rainbow does not explain how they came to exist in the first place, such as who wrote the laws of nature that they depend on.
The whole "new information" complaint is meaningless. It is just change by mutation. Except that mutations don't produce novel functions and structures. So the "change by mutation" claim is meaningless.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 09:34, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
I regret that I do not have time to answer you right now. Perhaps we could consolidate this discussion with the one above. I have posted a response to that suggesting the consolidation. I will respond to this one presently. I just briefly comment that if you are not familiar with the enormous amount of evidence supporting evolutionary theory then you really should read a book or two. I have previously suggested The Blind Watchmaker I note that Dawkins has recently put out a new book aimed at describing the evidence supporting evolution. Sounds perfect for you. It is called The Greatest Show on Earth. I will even lend you my copy if you give me a couple of weeks to read it first. That way you won't have to add to the coffers of the evil professor by purchasing your own. --Horace 00:04, 20 September 2009 (UTC)
The problem is not a lack of reading, but a lack of actual evidence. As for Dawkins' new book, I'd like to, but as I said to Sterile recently, I'm already well behind in my reading (I'd also like to read The God Delusion). But I don't expect Dawkins to be convincing. For one thing, his previous book got panned from both sides of the fence (and I know a young, new Christian who read The God Delusion, and he said it strengthened his faith, seeing how pathetically poor the the arguments against God were). For another, I've just read the on-line copy of the introduction, and it's riddled with poor analogies, condescending remarks and labels, and straw-man arguments. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 07:40, 20 September 2009 (UTC)

Evolution undermines biblical teaching

Is that Dawkins quote actually about evolution undermining biblical teaching? --Horace 07:37, 13 September 2009 (UTC)

Edit War - Instructions

I am instructing the following editors to leave this article alone for 24 hours: TheEmperor, Horace, OscarJ, Jaxe. You may continue to discuss the source here, but be specific. In other words, if you are going to discount a source, explain why and substantiate). If you are going to cite a source, be specific about what that source says including actual quotes. I will have a brief look at the article, but what I intend to do is restore the section but add a fact tag or two to indicate that quality citation is being asked requested. BradleyF (LowKey) 06:28, 14 September 2009 (UTC)

Edit done. I figure nobody will be happy with it at the moment, but that's equity for you. I would like to remind everyone to keep discussion civil, and edit summaries constructive. BradleyF (LowKey) 06:39, 14 September 2009 (UTC)

The neutralised version was no different to old version apart from grammar. I put up a compromise instead. Jaxe 10:06, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
Didn't you read the post above? You were supposed to leave the article alone for 24 hours. --OscarJ 10:13, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
Jaxe, for refusing to follow the intruction above I have blocked you for the remainder of the 24 hours (approximately). BradleyF (LowKey) 12:11, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
Jaxe, you forgot the Third Kommandment: "Always obey the sysops' orders, for they are always correct". Oh well. ħuman Number 19 04:42, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

Theory/Hypothesis

I have changed the lead to read that Evolution/UCD is an hypothesis. In fact UCD is a single explanation/idea and Evolution is a whole group of explanations/ideas. I checked definitions of hypothesis, and these are the first 4 definitions that I found;

1. A tentative explanation for an observation, phenomenon, or scientific problem that can be tested by further investigation.

2. Something taken to be true for the purpose of argument or investigation; an assumption.

3. The antecedent of a conditional statement.

4. A suggested explanation for a group of facts, accepted either as a basis for further verification or as likely to be true.

The first couple of definitions for theory I found are these;

1. A set of statements or principles devised to explain a group of facts or phenomena, especially one that has been repeatedly tested or is widely accepted and can be used to make predictions about natural phenomena.

2. A set of statements or principles devised to explain a group of facts or phenomena. Most theories that are accepted by scientists have been repeatedly tested by experiments and can be used to make predictions about natural phenomena.

Evolution (particulary UCD) has not been tested and thus cannot be considered a theory (it also only predicts what it is attempting to explain). In fact it is questionable whether it can be tested, and thus even hypothesis is generous. BradleyF (LowKey) 00:27, 5 October 2009 (UTC)

Even Conservapedia (!) and Creationwiki call it a theory. Just saying. Editor at CP 06:45, 5 October 2009 (UTC)
Argumentum ad populum aside, we are working on the aSK article. "Idea" is accurate but considered loaded, "Hypothesis" is less of both, "Theory" even less accurate (as in not). "Evolution" is an hypothesised process (it fits definition 4 above just fine, 2 sort of, and 1 apart from testability. It doesn't fit the definition of a theory because it has not been "repeatedly tested". BradleyF (LowKey) 08:07, 5 October 2009 (UTC)
Being unfalsifiable, it certainly isn't scientific. BradleyF (LowKey) 08:09, 5 October 2009 (UTC)

(OD) I have removed "scientific" for now. I would like to actually reparse that first sentence, and then we can see about terms. "Evolution" is the process, Universal Common Descent is the state (i.e. the result of the process). Darwin proposed both, hand-in-hand, to explain the diversity of organisms in the world. I would like to reshape the lead to explicitly evolution as the process. BradleyF (LowKey) 08:17, 5 October 2009 (UTC)

Theories are tested by how well their predictions meet observations. Some random examples:
- In archaeology someone might say: If our theory is correct about a certain civilisation living X years ago at place Y, then we should be able to dig down Z meters and find a certain type of artefacts.
- In astronomy someone might say: If our theory is correct about how a certain type of star forms, then we should be able to look at a certain type of galaxy, and look for stars at such and such a distance from the centre, then we should find percentage X of stars are whatever we prediced in size, composition, age, etc.
- In biology someone might say: If our theory is correct about species X living here, at a certain time, and species Y living over here, at some different time, and they are closely related, then we should be able to dig down to strata layer Z at some third geographic place, and find a new species with certain features of species X and certain features of species Y, in a habitat with such and such conditions, temperature, humidity, etc.
If these kinds of predictions are often correct, at a higher rate than one could expect by pure guesswork, then there is some merit to whatever theory was being tested. Evolution's track record here is exceptional. Easily as good as any other similar theory that has a historical component, archaeology, geology, astronomy, cosmology, etc. New species, never seen before, have been discovered this way. And this is without me even mentioning genetics in which evolution's predictive power is even more astonishingly accurate.
If evolution is not a theory, then there are NO theories in science. Jaxe 08:40, 5 October 2009 (UTC)
Jaxe, if your elephant hurling assertions had substance it shouldn't have been too difficult to actually provide a single example; and yet you provided not a one. The "new species" claim was close, I suppose, but what new species how predicted? BradleyF (LowKey) 12:13, 5 October 2009 (UTC)
Sure. A beautiful example is the entire genus of Tiktaalik[2]. A predicted genus that scientists specifically went out to look for, they went to the predicted location, dug down to the predicted age, and found the fossils they had predicted, with the features they had predicted, living in the habitat they had predicted. Jaxe 12:33, 5 October 2009 (UTC)
I was about to say (before I saw Jaxe's last post) that I recall evolutionists claiming that they had made such a prediction which turned out to be true. It's probably the one that I see Jaxe has now posted. I was also going to say that it's the exception that proves the rule, because it's about the only such prediction (i.e. prediction of finding a particular fossil in particular strata) that they have successfully made, which hardly constitutes an "exceptional" track record. And even with that, I'm not sure that the prediction, let alone the find, was as specific as he claimed ("in a habitat with such and such conditions, temperature, humidity, etc.").
Contrast that with many other "predictions" that evolution has made, such as the now-extinct dinosaur-age coelacanth having rudimentary limbs as a predecessor of land creatures, which turned out to be not extinct and not rudimentary limbs, or the prediction that evolution could not produce a wheel, yet we all have not only wheels, but rotary motors, or the prediction that grass evolved after dinosaurs, which was falsified after they found evidence of grass in dinosaur coprolites or stomach contents (I forget which).
Yes, evolution can make some predictions, and occasionally they might get lucky and get them right, and often they turn out to be wrong, but they are not the sorts of predictions that will falsify the theory, because the theory lives on, because they are predictions about peripheral details, not about the core of the idea, which can't be falsified.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 12:45, 5 October 2009 (UTC)
(EC) The tiktaalik is a nice story, but you have it wrong, Jaxe. What was predicted (and sought) was an intermediate (i.e. "transitional") between a fish and a land tetrapod (in other words a four legged fish), what was found was a fish with fins, and unique features. The "limb" bones were not connected to the vertebrae, and thus the "limbs" offer no support (i.e. they're fish fins). Tiktaalik had features not found in other fish or in tetrapods (also, quite notably, not predicted and even more notable not transitional). Also the searchers did not dig down to a predicted age. They just dug and dug and dug (3 or 4 years of digging, IIRC). In fact they dug up plenty of other fish fossils which they had not predicted. Also "predicted location" is a serious overstatement. BradleyF (LowKey) 13:09, 5 October 2009 (UTC)
Where do you get the unusual idea that limb bones must be attached to the vertebrae to provide skeletal support? This sounds like you are quoting from somewhere, but the idea is wrong on its very face. --Martin Arrowsmith 16:12, 5 October 2009 (UTC)
I did not mean directly attached (as in the arm bone connected to the backbone), but structurally attached. The bones in the tiktaalik fins are isolated, as in they do not form part of a supporting structure. The backbone is, well, the backbone of skeletal support. Sorry if I was unclear there. I read the particular objection in a "mainstream" paper quite some time ago, and I have also read it in creationist papers. BradleyF (LowKey) 22:42, 5 October 2009 (UTC)
(I also found the idea of fossils living in a habitat amusing, but I know what you meant).BradleyF (LowKey) 13:11, 5 October 2009 (UTC)
Ah, the good ol' creationist trick of "if a transitional fossil is found, demand more transitional fossils." Kinda like the Zeno's paradox of the creationist criticism of evolution. What fun! Sterile 15:28, 5 October 2009 (UTC)
Well, actually I was pointing out that the tiktaalik was not the transitional that was predicted, although it was obviously not "just another fish". The tiktaalik has features (structures) not seen in the organisms placed either side of it in the proposed sequence. It therefore is not transitional from the "before" to the "after". I wasn't saying "find another"; but "no that isn't one". BradleyF (LowKey) 22:42, 5 October 2009 (UTC)

I will throw this one out there. Evolution predicted that Serpentes came from organisms that had legs. Through fossils we were able to determine that the ancestors to snakes had legs and lost them over time and through the use of molecular genetic analysis we were able to show that the Hox genes to produce legs were still found in Serpentes, however they are downregulated thus proving the prediction.--Timsh 13:22, 5 October 2009 (UTC)

A prediction made by both competing views cannot be used to support one view over the other, especially the view that made the prediction second. The Bible suggests that snakes originally had legs (Genesis 3:14). So it's a bit rich for evolutionist to later "predict" this and then claim a successful prediction. In addition, a prediction of a loss of (expression of) genetic information can hardly be used to support a view that requires gains in genetic information. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 13:39, 5 October 2009 (UTC)
Here is the difference between the biblical prediction and the scientific one. For starters, the scientific prediction was based on the observed (snake with no legs) and determined that through fossils that the snake once had legs, which was proven true by the snake having the genes for legs although not expressed. The biblical observation was made only by Adam, Eve, and god, as the snake only had legs before the fall. As such the only evidence was by word of mouth that this was true, word of mouth later written in the bible. As such there is no physical evidence other than the bible to support the claim. Moreover, the bible tells of how the snake lost its legs so we should not find any snake fossils with legs considering that God punished the snake, and thereby all snakes (since all snakes do not have legs) and since there was no death before the fall then there were no bodies of snakes to fossilize therefore no snakes with legs. However, we do find snake fossils with legs. Thus showing the logical failure of the argument. So the point is, the scientific argument is based on observables while the biblical argument is based on the bible which logicaly fails in this regard when presented with the evidence of a fossilized snake with legs.--Timsh 14:48, 5 October 2009 (UTC)
You might have a point about the biblical snake losing its legs before any fossils, but on the other hand, perhaps God's judgment of the snake was to take effect gradually, not instantly, in which case some could have survived long enough to be fossilised.
You minimise the value of eye-witness testimony, yet eye-witness testimony from a reliable witness is the backbone of much of what we know, and you presume without good reason that it wasn't written down at the time.
You originally claimed that snakes with legs was a prediction of evolution later confirmed by the evidence. You now seem to be claiming (although it's not clear) that the "prediction" was based on observation. That is, there was no "prediction", but merely an observation from fossils that (some?) snakes once had legs.
Further, you failed to respond to the point that a loss of genetic information is not good support for a view that requires gains of genetic information.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 07:38, 6 October 2009 (UTC)

Philip, I do not believe we can assume that the snake’s judgment was gradual, man’s was instant (consider that the snakes with legs would have to survive until Noah, god really had to be procrastinating).

I do not question the value of eye-witness testimony; I question the reliability of the witness (as you listed as a criterion above). Consider that Genesis was written by Noah, how many years after the fact? About the time when Noah was not alive but yet it is listed in the book. You can not rely on the testimony of a person who was not present, that is third handed information if not more.

What I stated was that evolution predicted that snakes had legs at one time by the trace of the fossil record, this was proven when it was discovered that snakes contain the genes for producing legs (however un expressed). The prediction was based on the transition of aquatic life to terrestrial life then further, consider that all terrestrial life have leg like structures. As derived by a common ancestor. For this to be true snakes would have had a legged ancestor, as shown in the fossil record. This is a prime example of evolutionary theory making a prediction based on observation that was later confirmed. By the way, all predictions of science theories are based on observations (consider that mathematical models are also considered observables).

Loss of genetic information, you know you need to understand something. Consider the Heisenberg Uncertainty principle; you can either know the position or the momentum to an exact degree but not both at the same time. The reason for this is that one is relative to the other. Loss or gain is relative to the existing information, which is further relative to the receiver (in this case the surrounding environment). The case you apply to the gain or loss of information neglects to account for the previous information and if the information was allowed to continue along with its impact on the receiver. For example, I have a gene that expresses a dark pigment in my skin; I develop a mutation that allows me to store a greater amount of fat in my cells. The drawback is that this mutation down regulates the pigment gene causing my skin to be lighter. However, because of the change in fat percentage I am able to live in colder environments. Now, would you consider this a loss of information, gain of information, or a neither? The answer is easy; it is relative to the existing information which is relative to the environment. The pigment gene was not turned off, it was reduced by not being expressed as much, no change in the genetic information (no mutation removed the gene) but there was a suppression by the protein regulators caused by a different mutation Which means an increase of the protein by some over expression due to a gene repeat (the mutation). Do you see the issues with this trying to quantify a loss vs. a gain? I am not saying it can not be done but the task of quantifying information is based on the relative nature of genetics and to say there is a lack of gains of information is speaking prematurely, considering that very few people understand protein signaling cascades to explain if the mutation caused a decrease in the next protein expression and regulation or not. For starters, you can not make a claim of a loss or a gain until you have a baseline. So for the case of a human what is your baseline? Adam would be the logical choice due to your biblical beliefs, with that said we must assume that Adam had all of the genes, according to your claim of loss of information, that we see expressed today to allow for all of the diversity of human life. With that being said, was Adam black? Because skin color is based on pigment concentrations and a decrease in pigment is a loss of information, therefore we could not have black peoples unless Adam was black. Now do you see my point?--Timsh 13:36, 13 October 2009 (UTC)

The snake's judgment was immediate, but I'm suggesting that it's implementation was gradual. Just like Adam's. Adam was told (Genesis 2:17) if he ate the fruit, he would die. When he ate the fruit, God immediately passed judgment, and Adam was no longer to live forever. But his death took 960 years to fully take effect.
Genesis is traditionally written by Moses, not Noah, but there's two points you are overlooking (one which you may not be aware of). The first is that humans were sort of "ghost-writing" what is actually God's book, and God was an eyewitness (and a reliable one) to the events. The second is that there is reason to believe that Genesis was actually compiled by Moses from existing written accounts passed down to him, dating all the way back to Adam.
You can not rely on the testimony of a person who was not present... Precisely. So why rely on the testimony of scientists who were not there to observe evolution? Oh, that's right. Different rules apply for evolution, don't they?
As for the snake prediction, thanks for the clarification, although I wonder why I've never been quoted this example before if it really is "a prime example".
No, I don't see your point about genetic information gain or loss. The topic has been studied enough that we are able to distinguish gains from losses, even if we don't have a way of quantifying how much information there is. I don't see that the example of the pigment and fat is easy to answer, and why is the information relative to the environment? The effect is (in your example) relative to the environment, but that doesn't mean that the information itself is. I also don't follow why you feel the need to say that it is "based on the relative nature of genetics" when obviously a gain or loss is relative to the previous amount.
We don't need a universal baseline. When deciding whether a mutation is a gain or loss, you only need to compare before the mutation with after it, not to an original state.
Adam would clearly be the (unnecessary for this argument) "baseline" for humans from a creationist perspective, just as zero information would be the baseline from an evolutionary perspective.
A decrease in pigment is not a loss of information. It could, in theory, be caused by a loss of information, but it could just as easily be caused by a gain of information (if, for example, the information coded for a white pigment in a naturally-black skin). But skin pigment is coded for by at least two genes which each code for different amounts of melanin. See page 226 here for more detail. Variations in skin colour can (and do) come about by genetic recombination; mutations are not required (although they could also have an effect). So your claim that Adam must have been black is genetically incorrect (although, by the same token, he could not have been 'white' either).
So no, your example of Adam is incorrect (although even if it was, so what?), and so no, I don't see your point.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 14:39, 13 October 2009 (UTC)

I still argue about the implementation issue, furthermore, was the ability for snakes to speak removed as well? By saying that genesis was written by Noah, I gave an example of the only human around during the time of past events to record the history. Still yet he was not around during creation. Your statement about Moses writing Genesis further confounds the issue since Moses was alive well after Noah’s death, therefore less reliable than Noah.

To address the two points. First point, Ghost-writing? Are you saying that people wrote the book and god acted as an editor? Furthermore, did Noah bring the book on the Ark with him, least it perished in the flood? By what evidence do you have that this occurred? Why would we accept this speculation and not accept the speculation that the time listed in genesis was also an assumption? Second point, I believe that this was how it was done, and that Moses could have had many accounts to draw from, therefore the reliability of the observations is still questionable since the people who had witnessed the events had perished. Moreover, how do we know that Moses was even a real person for that matter? I would think that the exodus from Egypt would have been recorded by the Egyptian history since they recorded everything else. Considering the role that Moses played according to the bible was not insignificant in Egyptian history, I find it suspicious that the story of Moses was not engraved somewhere, or stricken for that matter.

You point about evolution is not correct. One item you seem to fail to understand is the role of inference in research. You have been trying to use it to justify the fossils of snake relatives having legs by inferring that since Adam’s punishment did not occur immediately therefore the serpents may not have happened immediately as well. The rules are not different the acceptable criteria is the issue. For a scientist to use inference to support a premise the background of the subject matter must be understood to a very high level, we can use the snake as an example. In the fossil record we see a progression of fossils through different strata, we infer that the strata were deposited in a chronological manner due to the composition of the sediment (seasonal particulate matter, density of material, soil composition, ect.) based on this inference, which is based on physical observation, we can go further to catalog the timeframes that the fossils were layer down relative to each other. The whole point is that we did not see the fossilization however we could deduce the timeframes due to the inference.

The issue with what you are proposing with the bible is that there is no supported data outside of the book. If the ark was located or some other part of the bible was found, that was specific to the bible and not a generalization that could have been incorporated in the bible (like the existence of a common city) then we could infer from the bible. However since this is not the case we only have the bible with no way to check if the deductions gleaned from it are correct. With evolution we do, we can check against geology, molecular biology, genetics, chemistry and physics.

The snake prediction is commonly known by biologists, I am unsure why you had not heard of it before. I learned of it in a molecular genetics class that concentrated on Hox genes.

Genetics is relative by its very nature, my eye color vs. yours, my height vs. yours, my disease resistance vs. yours, ect. This is how information relates to the environment. The concept that I was trying to get across is that information is not finite on its own. It requires someone to receive it to be information. In the sense of biological information the receiver is the environment. A change of information is only detected by how the organism reacts to its environment. For example, a change in pigment means the organism would have to adjust to a different concentration of light passing into its cells. The point of all of this is that no one has determined how to quantify biological information and therefore to make the claim of a gain or a loss of information can only be applied to the immediate organism and offspring. To be so bold to make the claim that it applies to all organisms is to not understand the complex nature of molecular biology. I would not claim to know 5% of the cellular signaling processes for a basic cell, as I am a researcher in the field I tend to know a bit more than what is taught at the university level. So for people to make these absolutes when no true research has been performed is a fallacy. Unless you have some publications that I do not detailing why the probability of a gain vs. a loss is so much higher. Just to throw this out there, you do realize that during post processing of proteins that mutations are often corrected, however in some cases it has been found that this correction is incomplete thereby allowing for the protein to function but with a different structural component (allowing for the building block for different functionality). Also you do realize that many proteins have multiple functions, it is not often an all or none situation, thereby allowing for mutation to allow for different functions.

We do need a baseline, for your concept of human diversity to work. Consider, no evolutionist will comment that humans came from one female and one male ancestor. We came from a mixture of breeding therefore we have diversity because there was no common human pair to start, as the genes became more dominate over the population the shift allowed for a concentration of the human genes and therefore speciation. Your concept of man coming from Adam and Eve, relies on a baseline, Adam.

I agree a decrease in pigment is not a loss of information if you relate information to the genetic code, however if you take the level to the environment (the receiver of the information if you will) then it would be a decrease in information since the mutation caused a decrease in pigment relative to the population and environment. You forget that pigment is based on a concentration of the amounts of melanin which is directly controlled by genetic expression. As such to be black one must express melanin to that level. You will not have a black child from a white and black parent; you will have a lighter skinned child (relative to the black parent). The reasons for this are due to the genes that encode for the melanin are on the autosomes, therefore one gene from the mother and one from the father. Think of it as a dilution of the melanin. As such abnormal coloring is caused by mutation, albinism for example. Now we can either explain the diversity of the skin tones in humans by saying that they are caused by losses of information from Adam (as such Adam would have to been black or black would be a gain of function since it is due to a greater concentration of melanin) or we can admit that mutation can go either up or down in information by allowing a gradient of color. The reason why genetic recombination is of no concern for all of this is that we are only dealing with Adam and his wife, who according to the bible was made from Adam, therefore having the same autosomal makeup as Adam. Furthermore, one of the reasons why small communities are at risk of genetic diseases is that you need a population of ~76 or more of different genetic stock (in humans based on mutation and genetic corrective rates) to allow for recombination, without that large of a population the drift slides to a point where the mutation does not survive and you run into a situation where the population becomes homozygous instead of heterozygous (thus preventing recombination). By evolutionary theory this did not happen because once again the human race came forth through genetic influx into different populations that lead to the current state, not from a family or a small group of pre-existing humans.--Timsh 20:02, 13 October 2009 (UTC)

I still argue about the implementation issue,... You do? Where?
...was the ability for snakes to speak removed as well? There is no indication that snakes had the ability to speak, except for the one which was apparently "possessed" by Satan, so it was Satan speaking.
By saying that genesis was written by Noah, I gave an example of the only human around during the time of past events to record the history. Hmmm. Noah, his wife, their three kids, and their wives. And that's just those who lived through the flood, not all the others at other times. I don't see your point.
Still yet he was not around during creation. No, but God was.
Your statement about Moses writing Genesis further confounds the issue since Moses was alive well after Noah’s death, therefore less reliable than Noah. Only if you assume a loss of (historic) information over time, which there's no reason to think in this case.
First point, Ghost-writing? Are you saying that people wrote the book and god acted as an editor? God guided what they wrote, and ensured that what they wrote was what he wanted recorded. So although it's the human authors' words and phraseology, it's God's accurate knowledge, authority, and reliability.
Furthermore, did Noah bring the book on the Ark with him, least it perished in the flood? If the explanation I gave about Moses' sources is correct, that would be a reasonable conclusion (and practically a requirement).
By what evidence do you have that this occurred? That Noah took it on the ark? Logical deduction that this must have been the case.
Why would we accept this speculation ... That Moses used sources dating back to Adam? It's not merely "speculation". There is evidence in the form of wording within Genesis to indicate this.
...and not accept the speculation that the time listed in genesis was also an assumption? What's the basis for speculating that details in a historical record are actually an assumption?
Second point, I believe that this was how it was done, and that Moses could have had many accounts to draw from, therefore the reliability of the observations is still questionable since the people who had witnessed the events had perished. First, the proposal is not that Moses drew on older accounts; it is that he assembled them together with minimal editorial changes (such as adding a parenthetical remark that place A is now known as B). Second, your question overlooks that God was ensuring that it was accurate.
Moreover, how do we know that Moses was even a real person for that matter? How do we know that any person of history is a real person? For one thing, we have details about him recorded in ancient documents (now part of the Bible).
I would think that the exodus from Egypt would have been recorded by the Egyptian history since they recorded everything else. No, they weren't too keen on recording their failures, which the exodus was. Secondly, there's reason to believe that Egypt was invaded just after the Israelites left, so a new regime took over.
You point about evolution is not correct. One item you seem to fail to understand is the role of inference in research. So inference is okay in evolutionary research, but not in biblical history? Doesn't that agree with what I said that there's different rules for evolution?
You have been trying to use it to justify the fossils of snake relatives having legs by inferring that since Adam’s punishment did not occur immediately therefore the serpents may not have happened immediately as well. Yes, but you apparently don't accept it for biblical history.
The rules are not different the acceptable criteria is the issue. So you agree that there is a difference, but are splitting hairs over whether it's different rules or different criteria?
For a scientist to use inference to support a premise the background of the subject matter must be understood to a very high level... Biblical history has been studied very, very extensively for thousands of years. So there's no issue there.
...we infer that the strata were deposited in a chronological manner due to the composition of the sediment... No, that is assumed to be the case. Sometimes there is supportive evidence. A lot of the time there is contrary evidence, such as vast periods of time missing between layers but without any evidence of erosion.
...we can go further to catalog the timeframes that the fossils were layer down relative to each other. Yes, up to a point you can, but evolution goes beyond that, and assigns not just relative times, but actual times. In many cases I would agree that a given layer sitting above another layer was laid down later. But that doesn't have to mean millions of years later; it could mean days later. In the latter case, the creatures in both layers lived at the same time. This is an example of evolutionists speculating far beyond the evidence, and even contrary to it.
The whole point is that we did not see the fossilization however we could deduce the timeframes due to the inference. So, in summary, it's okay for evolutionists not there as witnesses to made deductions and inferences, but it's not okay for Christians to accept written testimony because the Christians were not there to witness it. You've done a reasonable of of justifying inferences, but you've failed to justify the different standards. I wasn't objecting to inferences. I was objecting to different standards.
The issue with what you are proposing with the bible is that there is no supported data outside of the book. Blatantly false. To take a very obvious example, the Bible claims that there was a worldwide flood. Most of the rock formations on Earth are water-laid rocks! Right there is supporting data! (I'm not, of course, claiming that as absolute proof. I'm claiming it as supporting data, which you claimed does not exist.)
If the ark was located or some other part of the bible was found, that was specific to the bible and not a generalization that could have been incorporated in the bible (like the existence of a common city) then we could infer from the bible. Yes such evidence exists. Another example is accounts of the flood from cultures all around the world, many of which have specific details in common with the biblical account, and which one would not expect from unrelated accounts of local floods.
However since this is not the case... Except that it is the case, so your argument fails.
With evolution we do, we can check against geology, molecular biology, genetics, chemistry and physics. And very often the evidence disagrees with evolution, but evolution is such a flexible theory it can be modified to explain almost any contrary evidence. And of course such a theory is hardly scientific.
[Information] requires someone to receive it to be information. So if you write a book with lots of information in it, the book actually has no information until someone reads it???? On the contrary, the information is there from the moment you put it there, regardless of whether anyone reads it.
...no one has determined how to quantify biological information and therefore to make the claim of a gain or a loss of information can only be applied to the immediate organism and offspring. In a sense that is true, but that's the claim being made.
To be so bold to make the claim that it applies to all organisms is to not understand the complex nature of molecular biology. So what happened to inference? If all the example we have (from one organism to its offspring) is a loss (or neutral), is it not reasonable to infer that only losses occur?
...I tend to know a bit more than what is taught at the university level. All of which is pro-evolutionary, so you've hardly got a balanced education.
So for people to make these absolutes when no true research has been performed is a fallacy. What makes you think no research has been performed? On the contrary, it has.
Unless you have some publications that I do not detailing why the probability of a gain vs. a loss is so much higher. A loss is higher, but since you asked, try Lee Spetner, Not by Chance, and John Sanford, Genetic Entropy.
We do need a baseline, for your concept of human diversity to work. Perhaps, but not to claim that no gains of information occur.
I agree a decrease in pigment is not a loss of information if you relate information to the genetic code... Well, that's where the information is.
...however if you take the level to the environment ... then it would be a decrease in information since the mutation caused a decrease in pigment relative to the population and environment. How does that make it a decrease in information?
You forget that pigment is based on a concentration of the amounts of melanin which is directly controlled by genetic expression. No, I don't forget that at all. That is integral to my explanation.
Think of it as a dilution of the melanin. I don't see why I should. A (very) black parent and a white parent cannot give birth to a (very) black child because to do this the child would need genes for large melanin production from both parents, yet the white parent won't have the required genes. But that doesn't mean that any "dilution" is going on. Two middle-brown children (which could occur from such parents) could give birth to a very black child, because both could have the genes for large melanin production. "Dilution" isn't an appropriate concept to explain this.
As such abnormal coloring is caused by mutation, albinism for example. Yes, I agreed that mutation can play a part, and the mutation that causes the total loss of information for melanin production is one such example. But that is the (already acknowledged) exception to the rule.
Now we can either explain the diversity of the skin tones in humans by saying that they are caused by losses of information from Adam (as such Adam would have to been black or black would be a gain of function since it is due to a greater concentration of melanin) or we can admit that mutation can go either up or down in information by allowing a gradient of color Or (third choice, and the one consistent with the evidence) we can explain diversity in colour from an original set of information which allows "colours" from very light to very dark, as the linked book explained, and only invoke mutations for losses of information such as albinism.
The reason why genetic recombination is of no concern for all of this is that we are only dealing with Adam and his wife, who according to the bible was made from Adam, therefore having the same autosomal makeup as Adam. First, this is an assumption on your part that God didn't add some genetic variety when He created Eve. Second, Adam himself had two copies of the relevant genes, so there is some variety there anyway. Third, melanin production is controlled by more than one gene, so even Adam by himself had even more scope for variety.
...one of the reasons why small communities are at risk of genetic diseases is that you need a population of ~76 or more of different genetic stock ... to allow for recombination... You have recombination with two people.
...without that large of a population the drift slides to a point where the mutation does not survive... As mutations are mostly harmful, mutations not surviving is a good thing.
... and you run into a situation where the population becomes homozygous instead of heterozygous (thus preventing recombination). yes, that can occur by losing genetic information.
By evolutionary theory this did not happen because once again the human race came forth through genetic influx into different populations that lead to the current state, not from a family or a small group of pre-existing humans. I'm not claiming that evolution postulates that humans came from a single pair. I'm claiming that evolution postulates that all life came from a single original organism. By starting at humans you are starting with the bases already loaded. But where did that information come from in the first place? As for Adam and Eve being a "family", yes I guess homozygousness could occur with Adam and Eve's descendants if they all only had a few offspring, but there's no reason to think that they did.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 05:20, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
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