Abandon All Fear

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[Fallible Design] Questions I Was Never Taught To Ask

Posted by Lex Fear on June 30, 2007

This Post Is Rated: D for Duh! Warning. May cause you to seriously doubt the intelligence of the author.

Last month I posted the first in my Fallible Design series: How I Went From Intellectual to Dumb

Before I begin this second post I must issue a clarification on the subject of ‘evolution’. It appears to me there is a lot of ignorance and omission from both evolutionists and creationists when debating this subject. I include myself when I say ignorance but perhaps it is more lazy thinking.

The problem is that the whole ‘Evolution vs Creationism’ debate is framed wrong. When the term ‘evolution’ is used, it’s far too indefinite and absolute. Thus creationists (who believe God created the universe) easily fall into the trap of arguing against the whole theory and appearing quite stupid. Creationists should not be arguing against ‘evolution’. They should study it and argue on the specifics.

Wikipedia (yeah, sorry) defines the Theory of Evolution in 6 mechanisms (taken from condensed sources):

  • Adaption – “an anatomical, physiological, or behavioral trait that contributes to an individual’s ability to survive and reproduce (‘fitness’) in competition with conspecifics in the environment in which it evolved” Williams
  • Genetic Drift – “A change in the gene pool of a small population that takes place strictly by chance.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica
  • Gene Flow – “The transfer of alleles of genes from one population to another.” – Wikipedia
  • Mutation – “A change of the DNA sequence within a gene or chromosome of an organism resulting in the creation of a new character or trait not found in the parental type.” – Answers.com
  • Natural Selection – “The process by which favorable traits that are heritable become more common in successive generations of a population of reproducing organisms, and unfavorable traits that are heritable become less common.” – Wikipedia
  • Speciation – “The process in which a new species is formed from an initial one.” – Ridley

I’ve simplified the mechanisms described above as I’m not a scientist and don’t intend to get tangled in the minute details. However some reading in detail is needed to be able to fully understand the differences between these mechanisms that form the basis of the evolutionary theory.

Looking at the theory in more detail, as a creationist I would be an idiot to argue against genetic drift, gene flow or natural selection. The problems I and I assume almost all creationists have is with certain elements of adaption and mutation. I say ‘certain elements’ because it is clear mutation happens, but I disagree that mutations are heritable or transmutation occurs, for example. With this in mind, I intend to change the nature of the debate by redressing the terminology used. I recommend to Christians reading this, that if they intend to debate with evolutionists that argue on specifics such as adaption or transmutation. Debates should be titled to reflect this, eg. ‘Creationism vs Adaption’ (of course any Christians who disagree or have a better idea- feel free to discuss it in the forums).

‘Creationism’ itself is a bit of a misnomer because just as there are many complexities to evolution, there are numerous philosophies behind the creation of the universe. Creationism is not even strictly in conflict with evolution, it’s not even totally in conflict with the big bang theory. One could happily accept a philosophy such as the clockmaker hypothesis (as is unconsciously popular in western culture) as well as the big bang and all the tenets of the evolutionary theory.

With that in mind, I will now proceed with some questions that I have regarding evolution which lead me to doubt the theories of adaption, transmutation and speciation.

1. What happened to the giraffe?

The accepted theory for the adaption of the giraffes long neck put forward by Jean-Baptiste Lamarck in the 1700s was to reach the higher leaves on the trees. It is obvious that giraffes did not starve during this time they were growing their long necks, that there was plenty of vegetation to eat on the ground, so why did it happen at all? I could go on but this has been discussed already many times by people with far more knowledge than me (and not even creationists) – read The Nature Institute: The Giraffe’s Short Neck.

2. How is adaption triggered?

This is one thing that puzzles me. An animal either somehow finds itself in an alien environment, or it perceives one from afar (eg. fish to land). So over successive generations it’s physiology transmutates (adapts) to be able to migrate and exist in that environment. Let’s take it for granted that the first fish could observe land above the surface of the water. What is the secret ingredient that now tells the fish genes to start creating fish/mammal hybrids. Of course a creationist could argue God, but that’s the easy way out. If not God (or a spiritual/energy/intelligent force if you’re a naturalist), then we have to assume that the fish either consciously activated the adaption itself, or received the genetic requirements by some form of applied kinesiology (where the body responds to its environment). It’s hard to imagine a simple life form such as a fish (which after millions of years of adaption still falls for the old maggot on a hook) consciously adapting itself, we humans can’t even do it. Therefore applied kinesiology it is.

3. With the exclusion of a few nutbags, why don’t creationists debate the theory of gravity, or the earth revolving around the sun? Yet the theories of adaption and transmutation still cause much debate.

4. Why does God exist?

In opposition to the teaching of intelligent design, Bobby Henderson ‘went public’ with the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Which had apparently been around, in secret, hundreds of years. Oddly, whilst being secret, the religion managed to retain “millions, if not thousands” of followers. Not a very good secret then. Yet I doubt any scrap of religious texts could be produced for the FSM could be produced that existed before 2005- which makes it not a very good religion. In fact, can the FSM really be proven to be the same religion it was hundreds of years ago, if no-one shared the secret and no proof existed before 2005? Enough of this nonsense, we all know it’s parody, however back to adaption and transmutation. If we really did mutate from bacteria, adapting to new environments as required, how on earth did we adapt God into our environment? This is beyond applied kinesiology- this is some sort of defective mutation. We did not know about the FSM hundreds of years ago, because it did not exist (until an objector decided to respond with a parody). If some form of higher power did not exist, then we would not even know about it.

5. How many parallel universes?

Why is it easier to believe in infinite parallel worlds than it is to believe a intelligent being (perhaps on the evolutionary scale) created our planet? Rather than objective reasoning, it seems to me that for people like Stephen Hawking any explanation but a being more advanced than humans will do.

6. Why do we sacrifice our lives, even for our own enemies or people we do not know?

If sacrifice is the result of altruistic memes, then why do the memes continue to exist? Surely the memes would have been forgotten early during human development. How would a meme spread if its objective is to work against survival? If it is passed on by genes, why has it not been bred out- how do the sacrificial gene carrier transfer to a non-sacrificial gene carrier, unless you infer that sacrificial genes are also able to recognise sacrificial genes in others. Once again we have to ask how? Is this the same way an organism transmutates into an entirely different organism (see above)? Would it not mean that psychics and spiritualists are real because they are actually using their genes?

7. Why do we wear clothes, and why are we embarrassed by our bodies?

Technically, anyone who is free from religion should automatically strip down and start living naked. The first thing that God did when Adam and Eve were discovered to have sinned, was to cover them up. Covering up and hiding parts of the body is deeply rooted in religiosity. So is this a meme that has refused to die? Why is Richard Dawkins still enslaved by this religious meme? Is it a gene that tells us to be ashamed of our own nakedness? Then why doesn’t this gene prevent us from going into changing rooms, or revealing our nakedness to a sexual partner? Can the gene detect when it’s safe to be naked and when it is not? Why then would someone who has the naked shame gene then be able to overcome that gene later in life to become a nudist?

8. Why do we feel injustice and suffering, why do we seek revenge, what is evil?

I once accidentally kicked my dog, when he was a little pup, in the head. But there was never any trace of bitterness or revenge in the dog, we went on to have a healthy ‘man and his dog’ relationship. However, if we accidentally cut up another motorist, we see can see great examples of bitterness, resentment and hate in the form of road rage. Animals do not show signs of revenge or hate, whereas humans can hold on for a lifetime to one incident and exact revenge years later. Of course animals can exhibit patterns of aggression if under sustained mistreatment or threat (perceived or real). But for an uncharacteristic isolated incident of harm, an animal will not act in this way. Since we have adapted and mutated to our environment, and not the other way round, why do we perceive injustice and unfairness? Surely we would simply adapt to the new environment rather than complain.

9. Why can we conjure abstract thought and concepts? Why are we interested in entertainment?

A human being will ignore all natural impulses to eat or survive to feed their appetite for entertainment or greed.

10. At what point did the first organisms become cannibalistic?

At some point in the water, or after we crawled out of the water, some of us stopped eating plants and eating each other. Obviously this was not triggered by species survival, was it triggered by mutation? How could this be a slow process of evolving. What did the intermediary species eat while they were waiting for their vegetarian stomachs to turn into carnivore stomachs? This makes me think of dodos. The dodo became extinct through hunting. Like penguins and chickens, they were unable to fly. But why did some of those first land-mammals become birds? It can’t be because of a desire to fly, or food supply, otherwise the dodos would have continued flying instead of getting lazy. It must have been to escape predators right? Well as we see by example of the dodo, the first bird would have never had a chance to get its feet off the ground. Why do chickens not fly the coup, to escape inevitable murder at the hands of the farmer? How long have we been eating chickens and they have not yet developed their wings enough to escape us? Aah but we provide for the chickens and do not feed on them to extinction. So who was there farming the first birds? Do we see any other examples in nature of one species farming another species? Is it even possible?

The following is a question of contradictions in the Wikipedia article on introduction to evolution. Yes, I know it’s Wikipedia, but shows that however naive or inconsistent creationists are in their explanations, evolutionists are just as bad:

Key Points

  • Evolution does not mean “progress” towards an ultimate goal; in fact, evolution is not goal-driven. Organisms are merely the outcome of mutations that succeed or fail, dependent upon the environmental conditions at that time.
  • Evolution is not a random process for creating new life forms. Mutations are (partly) random, but natural selection is far from random.

Well, which is it- is evolution random or not?

  • Evolution does not state that humans are descended from monkeys, or that human ancestors were monkeys. However, evolution implies that humans and present-day monkeys share a common ancestor.
  • Evolution does not attempt to describe the process which brought forth life on earth (such as abiogenesis or some other method).

Why are these things often stated as fact? Why do evolutionist see the need to argue against creationism when it’s clear the two are not in conflict (and more to the point, why do creationists respond on their terms)?

“Evolution is one of the most successful scientific theories ever produced and is widely accepted by biological scientists. An understanding of evolution underlies all biological sciences and much of medicine.”

Really? how is that benchmarked. No-one disputes gravity so why is this the best? surely an undisputed unanimously agreed theory is the most successful?

I have purposefully used my own questions, and not referenced the usual and repeated questions from the main debate, which can be googled. There really is a lack of common sense from both sides. I’m not a scientist so I’m not going to do a large cut and paste job of debunking scientific theories here, but at the same time, I have difficulty tolerating other people who are not scientists simply doing the same thing for the theory of transmutation.

I do believe that creationists who want to argue against evolution have set themselves a difficult if not impossible task. Not only are they choosing to argue against a group of differing theories as one big theory (just as anti-theists attack ‘religion’ and lose by not discerning between different belief systems), they are choosing the wrong theory to attack.

How are you going to convince someone who doesn’t even believe in a higher power that the universe did not bang itself into existence? Evolution is the only reasonable explanation for them. The theory of Intelligent Design goes a step in the right direction, but even then the next acceptable theory after the big bang would be aliens, which still does not discount the big bang.

On the other hand, anti-theists who want people to stop believing in God, are not going to get anywhere by using the theory of evolution. If you can convince someone of transmutation, it shouldn’t affect their faith one bit. There’s nothing to say that God could not be as active in transmutation as he is in creation.

If you really want to rid the world of theism, then you need to study philosophy and find ways to defeat theists by reasoning, rather than by science (which is not the opposite of religion).

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8 Responses to “[Fallible Design] Questions I Was Never Taught To Ask”

  1. David Duff said

    Well done! I, too, remain as deeply doubtful concerning the wider claims of the theory of evolution as Darwin was himself! It seems to me, another non-scientist, to be a very good explanation for variation within species but a very poor one for explaining the rise of totally different species. For a more convincing theory , try “Chaos and Life” by Richard J. Bird. I struggled with the maths but just about grasped the general thrust of his argument.

    Evolution certainly fails to explain certain characteristics of human behaviour that natural selection should have wiped out eons ago. For a detailed ‘fisking’ of the more preposterous claims of ‘archbishop’ Dawkins ‘et al’, try David Stove’s “Darwinian Fairytales”.

    I should add, that as a ‘fundamentalist agnostic’, I long ago ceased to worry about whether or not God exists!

  2. Stef said

    I’m another fundamentalist agnostic (with a couple of Earth Science degree under my belt)

    and I don’t doubt for a second that Darwinism is profoundly flawed in many ways

    The reason for its popularity has very little to do with its explanatory or predictive power (both of which are rubbish) and a lot to do with the fact that it is currently the *only* non creationist explanation for how life came to be the way it is.

    Very few people have the courage these days to say ‘I don’t know’ and therefore they have to embrace Darwinism by default if they have an atheistic world view

    And whilst not strictly a Darwin-related issue a nice example of scientific ‘faith’ can be seen in the approach taken with accounts of the initial origin of Life. No scientist has come anywhere near synthesising even a single living cell from inanimate components yet lay people are taught that the spontaneous appearance of life is the virtually inevitable consequence simple of application of enough time and some lightning points on a pool of sludge

    There’s no direct or experimental evidence for this at all but people believe that they have to believe it, otherwise they believe they will have to embrace theism

    They don’t

  3. Lex Fear said

    DD/Stef,

    Thanks for your comments.

    I shall look up the books you suggested and maybe sometime I’ll have time to read them.

    It’s good to see that there are people who can meet in the middle and say honestly “I wasn’t there, I can’t really tell you”. That doesn’t mean we should throw out scientific theories or not try to find out what happened, but we should always be ready to accept alternative theories, or even be proved wrong.

    Of course the big bang is a good belief to follow if you don’t want to believe in God. But there are other alternatives that require as much imagination as the big bang does. As a Christian, whilst I doubt aliens and parallel worlds, if they were to exist, it really doesn’t affect my faith in God- it simply means to me that God created them also. Same goes with the big bang, or transmutation.

    I think more needs to be done to present viable alt theories and to teach people you don’t have to embrace theism to disbelieve some of the ‘evidence’ presented for origins of life.

  4. lwtc247 said

    Hi Alex, as far as I understand it, Darwin proposed species changed slowly according to the environment they were in. This was called Nature (the influence of the natural flora nad fauna). People hijacked this to mean that it wasn’t God that shaped the living planet.

    However this is based on the assumption God does not influence nature, which from a theist pointof view I say God does because it is God who has set up the physics in which the physical world is manefest. So the Darwinian pirates arguement falls down flat. An Islamic verse tells us that God has the power to shape you and change you.

    Additionally, That species can change is not proof that God doesn’t exist. The pirates here say that as things change, the animal kingdom converges at some point to a single animal and monotheism talks of whole complete species instantly ‘springing forth’. However convergence does not have to originate from a singularity. There are many threads of metamorphasis from which can emerge different species. When you look at the different hominids you actually find this independent multi threaded source for todays Homo sapiens. They cant even acknowledge the fact and inferences they spend so much time digging up from the earth – becasue their determination to obliterate (is it jealously) belief in God from the minds of people blinds them.
    Aaaah. I seem to remember a story about a biological eve, and then a later story about many biological eves. To me this again suggests a multi threaded lineage of life.

    Also, unicellular organism (singularity) or multi threaded source of life does also not exclude animals being made spontaneously by the will of God. I doubt such a thing can be proved or disprived, merely suggested by the presence of fossils sudenly appearing around the same time line (so far, yet again, hominid remains suggests a sudden creation of man)

    As far as I know Darwin did not and could not have espoused the idea that what he concluded from the study of isolated animals that God does not exist.

    A third line of debate the pirates put forth is the regression of man into an ape/monkey. This idea resides in the minds of many atheists implaneted from junk science programs that use proof by computer animation to groom their supporter. It is a populist concept and a myth. But again the lineage of man does not support a human-ape break.

    Even if say to court their fables, man and monkey were one and then uderwent speciation (news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4708459 and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speciation) another sacred cow of potty spun, it is totally illogical to call that single line ‘the ape’ line. It could equally well be called the ‘human’. Actually, it is more logical to call it neither as humans and apes are NOT what this combines line was (or might have been). Whether or not it had ape like characteristics does not make it an ape. this single line could have been the line that God made as the first Humans, but changed him over time into races and so forth by the influence of nature. furthermore, there is absolutely no evidence linking this combines line back to a singularity.

    Islamic doctrine tells of life coming from the sea. It does not say if this creation was a singularity or a multi-threaded line serving the basis for all species.

    Western scientists are extremely arrogant too. their hijacking of Darwins proposals gives only 1 of two choices. You believe in evolution free of God or your a primitave and mentally paralysed individual whose research into science is irrelevant.

    Actually, these people do NOT make up ALL western scientists. They are massively over represented. There are western scientists who do believe in God and understand we are governed by science. Forthermore there are non-western scientists who believe in God and science. Even more so, there are scientists who accept the transmutation of species and believe in God. They reject the attempt at which these overly loud Dwkin accolytes try to impose upon the whole debate. They try to bring ridicule on religion, not only becasue they personally dislike it (and yes mans implementation of religon DOES have problems), but if you keep them withing the scientific data when you debate it with them, many soon find themselves in the realm of the ridiculous (thats why they distract from the science and attack religion as a distraction)

    Shame on the pirates of Darwinism. Shame on the casues of the piracy of Darwinism.

    rushing – no time to check spelling/grammer

  5. Lex Fear said

    Hi LW,

    I agree that Western science has been hijacked by those with the ‘biggest gobs’ so to speak. Of course, attacking religion gets you attention for your platform, and as I’ve suggested before, Dawkins is one whom I would bet harbours bitterness towards the church.

    The transmutation I disagree with is of one species becoming another. However ITA that within a certain ‘line’ there can be variations. I believe that there could easily be several different types of humans with different bone structures, either co-existing or some existing before others. One only has to read the old testament for eye-witness accounts of this (which could lead you to conclude that it was due to angels interbreeding with humans).

    Interesting what you say about Islamic doctrine, as the Hebrew account is of man being made from the ground (did we descend from plant life? aah but I digress).

    I remember during my university years that we went to a lecture given by a Christian scientist who believed in and explained the evolutionary theory, unfortunately I can’t remember his name but he was a prominent scientist. It’s just unfortunate that people like him do not get heard enough.

    With regards to Darwin, I believe he was an agnostic himself, and that he is quoted somewhere as saying that his theory did not make any allusions as to whether or not there was a God (sorry no sources right now it’s from my memory). Also a number of his first observations have been proved wrong or superseded- this is not really discussed in the school science lessons either.

    It seems to me that the ignorance of religion has been replaced with the ignorance of science.

    That is not to say that science or religion conflict. Neither is it to say religion or science is ignorant. It was monks who set up the first universities to counter superstition and witchcraft, after all.

  6. lwtc247 said

    What you say about the giraffe is an EXCELLENT example of the way in which nature programs talk about evolution. There is always a sudden event e.g. trees grow taller, and this sudden event facilitates the need for the genetic hence biological change. e.g. the giraffes neck gets longer to be able to eat the leaves. The proposed genetic change genetic change is also often presented as spontaneous. Watch out for this in any nature program that ‘explains’ or pushes the hijacking of Darwinism upon its unfortunate audience.

    When I first came to realise this, I see it in sooooo many nature programs. It got to the point where I became angry at the programs for putting forth such a flawed arguement – actually, tantamount to a con.

    E.g. The tree produces poisions in its leaves (sudden event) to keep off competitors, so the catepillars (reaction) developed to cope with the poisons to continue to eat the leaves.

    These mental brainwashing programs are often polycontradictory. The pirates often say diversification is the key to success, e.g. the common crow or fox able to interact well with the human impact upon the enviroment, eat new foodstuffs etc. And yet fact, from their “proof by artists illustration” {a scam that brings them enormous success}, they show the entire animal kingdom diverging in the direction of specialisation!! – to occupy niches in the bio world. Look at the Panda – it can only eat bamboo leaves. Wow bloody great that isn’t it? Just hope the Chinese dont chop down the bamboo or your dead or sime mutating bacterium brings the bamboo crop to its knees one year.

    They often use both tactics (diversification – in the context of a single species, and specialisation) in their brainwashing at different times to strengthen their case. Who cares if they clash head on, there are war of minds going on. Very few have the mental faculties or balls to speak out about the flaws in these “educational” programs also.

    What did the first uni or oligocellular organisms feed on. Why did they have to change from this cushy situation? How did these cellular organisms aquire the ability to store information (DNA). Why and how did the djective tract form. How about an ear? A hair? A feather.

    These piracts if anything are anti-science, anti-Occam in their arrogant atheism.

    Even though david duff and stef proclaim to be agnostic, I respect him becasue I do not see him using spurious fallacies to support his position. If the anti-God insurgents had rationality on their side too, I’d have no choice but to respect them also, but I’m still waiting to see any. If people want to be athiests too I can live with that. They have a choice. But when they use lies I cannot respect that.

    As regards to ice-cream. I love almond ice-cream. I give it to my friends and family. I am sad that at times they dont like it. I would be happy if they did like it, but they dont. I am still happy if they like other flavours. If they totally dont like ice-cream then I’m saddened even more, but when they give me their fermented prawn chutney and I spew all over the kitchen floor, their disbelief at my actions are momentary when they remember at how I said “Oh Well” when they told me they’d never try ice-cream again. :p

  7. lwtc247 said

    Have had connectivity problems. Hope this gets thru…

    Dawkins on people who go to religious places looking for miracles (restoration of health etc) ask people things like ‘how many times have you been here, and have you been healed, to hich some answer “No” Dawkins then says this shows the frivolity of religion and faith. I have yet to see him discuss with someone who has had a health revolution in defiance of the medical profession.

    Dawkey then says Why are their wars, famine opression and suffering. Where is the loving God. Before discussing the actions of man in the context of a Creator, Why not answer these questions wihtout any reference to God? i.e. The phychological and physiological aspects. It is the scientific method to narrow down the number of unknowns so that any change to a system by virtue of the tinkering of the unknows can be ascribed to that particular unknown. Yet Dawkey refuses to do this. There is no room for the very science he assues us he has absolute faith in. In short a hypocrit.

    There are so many other simple things (one or two pointed out by Alex) that we cant asnwer, why I like beef but my frend likes fish. Dawkins I feel knows what he is doing and feels no shame in doing it becasue of his dislike for religion.

    This does not mean we should not address such issues, but we need to understand that frankly at the moment it’s hopeless to expect that we can answer them. This brings me to what I like to tell people. How can a finite organ that occupies roughly the same size as a large grapefruit, where the contemplation of man takes place, possibly hope to get into the ‘mind’ of God and/or the infinity of the universe. This is anthropomorphism, and it’s irrational.

    It is the nature of man to examine things he does not unserstand, and I like it. The buzz you get when examinging something puzzling is fantastic. It has helped man develop (in some areas and possibly regress in others). The best I think we can EVER do is make a model that seems to work most of the time.

    lwtc247

  8. Lex Fear said

    Lots of information to chew on LW, thanks.

    I get the same feeling when I watch nature docs too. I find myself smirking everytime they mention that something was “created” or “designed”. It makes me wonder, why don’t they just say “by chance” or “spontaniously” eg. “The polar bear spontainiously developed white fur, which just so happened to blend in with the white background of the Arctic by chance. millions of years ago, all the brown bears in the arctic died out… through shame”

    So Dawkins really uses that example to prove ‘frivolity of religion’. By that token also Doctors and Nurses are silly to ask if we suffer from any allergies, have had previous related illness etc… how frivolous of Dawkins.

    I like your last two paragraphs, particularly towards the nature of man. Another thing which is in the nature of man- to invent, create and name- the first two are images of God, the last is one of the first commandments of God.

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