Defend the Word: Can I first thank you for your hard work, you have obviously put some significant effort into compiling this information. For those who want to go through all the points in your post they will just have to refer to the post above. I will attempt the best I can to give you my reasons why some of the things you said may be leading you to the wrong conclusion.
“when I attempt to point out and say “you have time, plus chance and random matter equals evolution you say no, no”.”
[“Then let me explain with an example closer to home. You have a daughter. She was created from nothing. Well, not quite nothing; there was a biological process involved. A single sperm fertilized an egg. That fertilizing sperm was one of many millions ejaculated into a time and place that was just right, that contained all the necessary pre-conditions for fertilization to take place and then occurred to allow fertilization to take place. The ‘chances’ of that single sperm to be the fertilizing agent was perhaps one in 50 million. Highly unlikely. Almost impossible. Yet it happened. Is this a miracle? Well, from a probability standpoint, each and every fertilization and implantation and development step leading to a successful childbirth seems so unlikely that it is often confused with being evidence for the miraculous. As parents, we often feel this sense that human life itself is both fragile and miraculous, which is perfectly understandable… especially when we understand mathematically how unlikely the entire fertilization to birth process is to yield a healthy newborn. But is it a supernatural event? Does human progeny give us evidence for a supernatural design agent? I don’t think so because we have a perfectly reasonable biological understanding of all the processes involved and our understanding requires no supernatural agent. Although fertilization seems so unlikely, it does not mean fertilization is a random process. It occurs every minute of every day all over the globe, so much so that this highly unlikely event is actually common place because of the numbers of occurrences involved.”]
Defend the Word: I have several friends who are Doctors of Medicine and one of them is a research fellow (The title of research fellow is used to denote a research position at a university or similar institution, usually for academic staff or faculty members. A research fellow may act as independent investigator, or under the supervision of a principal investigator. In contrast to a research assistant or research officer, the position of research fellow, normally requires a doctoral degree or equivalent work.) What I find interesting is that they all Believe in Creation story, so these are not only Doctors with PhD’s but they are also involved with some Post Doctoral studies. Their reluctance to get involved with the research on the subject of Evolution is usually explained by the fact that they would be ridiculed and they are not prepared to risk their careers. But on the question of Creation they all state that their scientific background is not stopping them from believing in creation story. This is one of the main reasons why we have limited work on the “process of creationism” if I can call it that. So saying that one is more scientific then the other can be explained with the fact that one is far more controlling and dominant I am sure that someone who so lovely puts his side of the argument (I mean you) you would be aware of the definition of Paradigm shift that always existed on almost all subjects in the history of Science. I therefore consider it to be inappropriate to dismiss one side simply because majority of people say something different. Though we could go through this topic separately I consider it important that we understand how our minds work.
And now more directly on your topic of human reproduction and chances, let me redefine the statistics here, I know that this is what Prof Dawkins often uses to explain “unlikely” and translate it into every day event. However few things are missing here.
1.) We know that when man and woman get together this will result in birth of children. This is statistically very probably.
2.) Statistics are also somewhat muddied here by the fact that there are especially when you remember that in fully developed male we are talking about between 40 to 600 million seeds going out at any one time. This is why doctors often talk about this in the form of race. We also know that according to the period that woman will have or the closer to the ovulation period with frequency of intimacy is increased this will then likely determine the sex of the baby. Suddenly stats are saying more about wonderful process that gives us more less even spread of both sexes rather than anything else. Can this be used to say that maybe this is how God planned things to happen so that every woman had her man, I don’t know but certainly makes good sense to me.
[“From a single simple egg fertilized by a simple single sperm comes a being today of some 150 trillion cells working in tandem to create something that looks designed, namely, your daughter. You see a single entity but biologically each of us is a swarm of related and mutually supportive cells, almost all of which live and die repeatedly throughout our lives. These cells are quite different – a liver cell is not a brain cell – yet all come from one cell! How is this possible? Well, stem cells are special little critters, eh?”]
Defend the Word: Again can I thank you as you have obviously done loads of work to put this together. But note that argument is not about genetics that is passed from one generation to the next. I understand where you are taking us with this but I think that is basing your view on number of assumptions. Fact that we start from so little is not proof of evolution one could argue on the contrary as there is already information passed in the cells of sperm and the egg we have blueprint that is being used by RNA when copying donated DNA from the parents.
[“The code for how cells live and die and interact rely on genes. The genes in your daughter are a direct descendant of a shuffling of your genes and your wife’s. Notice how I intentionally use the word ‘descendent’ rather than ‘replica.’ So why isn’t your daughter made up of exact replicas of you in part and your wife in part? Why do her ears look more like yours (let’s say) than your wife’s but without the hair? Perhaps her ears look nothing like either of her parents but a spitting image of a grandparent’s? Why not a replica? The answer is a key element of evolution. Although your daughter’s genes are roughly 99.999% equivalent to a mixture of her parent’s genes at fertilization, she has some mutations. We call these mutations ‘random’ but they occur within a very ‘designed’ framework, namely, the collection of genes from you AND your wife. So although we can call the mutations random, they occur within very strict guidelines. That does not mean one of her genetic mutations is an elephant and another a kangaroo; it means there are differences in her DNA code than let’s say a brother’s code.”]
Defend the Word: I understand what you are saying, in fact in one of my previous comments I did in fact stipulate that if one of your grand parents is from different ethnic background you could have child born to two white Caucasian parents but they could have child of different ethnic background look which is identical to one of the parents, parents. In other words child would look more like grandparent. This is not new and neither is it contradictory to what ID people stand for. Most of the ID proponents argue that we share common ancestry probably coming out of Africa, this is in fact consistent with the story of Adam and Eve.
[“Random changes occur. More importantly, your daughter has developed since fertilization and this development has been influenced by her environment pre-and post birth. Her development has been similar but different from yours and similar but different from her mom’s. Believe it or not, your daughter is a living example of evolution in action. She is from you and your wife but neither you nor your wife nor some pure replica of a mixture of both. Over the next 20,000 years, her progeny and let’s say a brother’s progeny will be remarkably different from each other after such a great deal of time has passed as each of these tiny alterations are passed on generation after generation even though both daughter and son come from the identical ancestry.”]
Defend the Word: On the issue of replication we accept that human cloning is wrong, as there are number of ethical issues that both British and American governments believe to be disadvantageous to our long term survival. This is why even in the Bible you will find that close relatives should not get married, so diversity is beneficial to our productivity as species.
[“This is where so many creationists stop understanding evolutionary effects. They say, “Well I understand that small changes can be passed on through generations but that doesn’t explain why you (scientists) think humans come from monkeys! Humans come from humans.””]
Defend the Word: This is often used as a joke rather than serious rebuttal, but basic principle is that ID proponents believe that the development of Humans is not fully answered, for example even today many scientist disagree on whether Neanderthals shared common ancestry with Homo sapiens, sapiens and this is not the only divergence amongst this “well established tree of life” bellow is the extract I picked from one of such web pages for you to check that I’m not making things up here. To say that this issue is closed is to be forgetful of the issues that are constantly staring us in the face. As per your comment Precambrian period shows very little diversity and complexity then we have forms of animals that are introduced to earth history which continue to this day with some minor modifications.
Their results show that the genomes of modern humans and Neanderthals are at least 99.5-percent identical, but despite this genetic similarity, and despite the two species having cohabitated the same geographic region for thousands of years, there is no evidence of any significant crossbreeding between the two. Based on these early results, Homo sapiens and Homo neanderthalensis last shared a common ancestor approximately 700,000 years ago.
[“It is the understanding of common ancestry that throws off a good many people. Few of us can truly grasp what a million or a 200 million years of evolution can yield and this is where other evidence is so powerful.”]
Defend the Word: Please note that people generally understand (At least those who are continuously debating this subject intelligently) this principle of ancestry this is not difficult concept to master. Difference in opinion does not mean lack of understanding.
[“If we can determine that direct progeny usually yields a transference of nearly but not quite 100 % of genetic material shuffled from both parents, then what should we expect to find over, let’s say, 10 generations? Well, it’s reasonable to expect to find the average genetic difference between one generation and the next and multiply that by ten. Guess what? That’s what we find. But ten generations is next to nothing in evolutionary time frames for people. Your daughter is not expected to grow some physiological feature from a different species. So how many years are we talking about for 10 generations? 600 years? Do you have any idea where a scientist could find your great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandmother and establish how much genetic drift has occurred? Probably not. I don’t. So working strictly with human physical ancestry regarding evolution is full of very real problems.”]
Defend the Word: This is all well and good but we have information, (and this is according to the theory of Evolution) going back many thousands of years that show little changed of human specimens.
[“Welcome to the world of fruit flies. Each generation is about 24 hours and they make excellent subjects. Following the genome of fruit flies over hundreds and thousands of generations reveals evolutionary trends. Different wing coverings. Different colourations. Different sizes and number of offspring. But still fruit flies. Fish have been shown to evolve in fewer than 10 generations due to predation and stream bottom types. So too do viruses evolve. Granted none give live birth to cats or alligators, but they do show genetic change when strains are split from each other and exist in different conditions. In the lab we can show evolutionary change in viruses and some critters. No supernatural creator is necessary to explain this biological process. By extension, the working hypothesis for the evolution of humans is that over a very great deal of time our species was separated from our brothers and sisters by geography and need and developed differently.”]
Defend the Word: Note again there is very little that I would pick to disagree with you except the final conclusion that this demonstrates and confirms the process of evolution. Much has been said about the analysis of fruit flies, and interestingly enough this constant tinkering with genetics is often overlooked, they would like us to think that these are natural processes yet they are preformed in highly controlled environment. Secondly changes that are introduced often disappear in the following generation, lastly things as extra wings used to explain process of evolution are often handicap that prevents flies from functioning as per normal. Therefore this unnatural process again proves to be destructive rather than positive i.e. generating animals improvement and benefit. So rather than bringing net gain it usually brings loss of information. This does not mean that Christians reject evolution completely. The evolution process is well documented but the definition and its full reach is often overestimated. I.e. there are minor changes that are governed by the change in the environment like the variation of habitat of close islands and bird populations will result in same species having slightly differing characteristics. This I would argue can be attributed to the designers insight rather than evolution process i.e. as any project manager would tell you. You need to take every eventuality into account so that your product will function properly whatever the environment. We also know that when the environment is back to normal these birds would get their old beaks to the original design. Therefore we have oscillation in size and shape, and on the subject of crossbreeding of dogs we know that these unfortunately whenever preformed continuously by humans will result with severe impediment to their development.
[“How can I make such a claim? This is where genetics is such a powerful investigative tool. You have no doubt heard that monkeys and humans are genetically different by about >3%. That >3% requires about 4 million years of genetic drift from a common species separated at about that time. That creature’s full genetic code (100%) should make up about the same 97% of our code that is shared by monkey’s. That would be our common ancestor. What might it look like? Well, it should have the same physical features common to both monkeys and humans. We are getting closer. We have found several intermediate human-like critters for both humans and monkeys that share 98% of their genetic codes, 99% of their genetic codes, so imagine the excitement if a critter was found that looked like it may be the common ancestor? Turns out, it wasn’t. It’s another intermediate, but closer still. This kind of work is what evolutionary biology looks like in action, arriving late on the scene (today) but trying to work backwards to explain all the evidence (finding that common ancestry for all critters of the world).”]
Defend the Word: Genetics can only take you so far, we do need to both analyse, and understand that data before we can give our conclusion on what we examine.
Look at the article here in National Geographic’s I will just give you first few paragraphs. Whilst I disagree with their conclusion it shows that often we make claims that are not necessarily 100% accurate.
“For decades, scientists have agreed that human and chimpanzee DNA is 98.5 percent identical. A recent study suggests that number may need to be revised. Using a new, more sophisticated method to measure the similarities between human and chimp DNA, the two species may share only 95 percent genetic material.”
I am also going to include something from Discovery sight that is giving further explanation on the implication of new research on genetic difference and similarity.
1% Genetic Difference Between Humans and Chimps a “Myth”
Last July, David Tyler wrote an insightful post at ARN stating,
For over 30 years, the public have been led to believe that human and chimpanzee genetics differ by mere 1%. This ‘fact’ of science has been used on innumerable occasions to silence anyone who offered the thought that humans are special among the animal kingdom. ‘Today we take as a given that the two species are genetically 99% the same.’ However, this ‘given’ is about to be discarded.
Tyler was quoting a Science news article entitled “Relative Differences: The Myth of 1%,” which reported that “human and chimpanzee gene copy numbers differ by a whopping 6.4%.” The statistic of an alleged 1% difference between human and chimp DNA is thus quickly becoming a thing of the past. A recent post at Scientific American’s blog states, “humans may have as little as 99% of their genes in common with one another, and, by the same analysis, as little as 95% of their genes in common with chimpanzees.” Thus, according to the article, “Humans turn out to be as genetically different from one another as it was previously thought they were different from chimps.” (emphasis added).
The implications of these differences remain to be sorted out by biologists, but those seeking to understand evolution and genetics should realize that the 99% similarity statistic between humans and chimps is now admitted to be a “myth.”
Also please note that whilst these percentage may appear to be small when you talk about several billions of letters then this 5 plus percent represents large number of differences that should not be discarded. If this is ignored we could argue that we are also linked to mice, as I’m sure you will be aware that some of the experiments done on mice are for our human benefit due to “genetic similarity” we have with them.
[“There are many criticisms of particular aspects of evolution. These are tests for the theoretical framework and, so far, each has been satisfactorily accounted for. There are no theory breakers, such as the oft cited rabbit found in the pre-cambrian. There are ideas like Intelligent Design that sound more plausible than evolution to many, but unless and until evidence that establishes its explanatory superiority is offered and accepted by peer reviews, the working framework remains evolution. Its power lies in its ability to explain, predict, test, and yield consistent results. ID fails on all these accounts save for explanation. That’s why it is considered junk science. It remains assertion. The flagellum example introduced by Behe has been shown to be wrong. Complex systems DO combine from other bits.”]
Defend the Word: These are very debatable comments;
1.) I would disagree that all issues have been satisfactorily explained by the modified theory of evolution. As modification is often accompanied when challenges are presented.
2.) On the issue of irreducible complexity and Behe, I don’t believe that this was disputed successfully for two reasons. One whilst there are less complex bacteria, we know that for flagellum it needs all the parts, secondly sequence and timing plays big part which is also ignored. In other words if not timed correctly or parts are not produced on time bacteria will be useless.
[“But before I go off on this tangent and allow myself to drawn into dealing with a thousand and one quibbles about evolutionary specifics, let’s return to your daughter.
You will notice that she is significantly different in biological complexity than when she was a zygote, an infant, a toddler. Is this not evidence for a supernatural agent ‘causing’ her increasing complexity? No, it is not. She is undergoing an increase in complexity that can be explained in strictly biological terms. We do not need a supernatural agent and allowing for one answers nothing.”]
Defend the Word: The increase in complexity in the time of the existing single animal or human is development process that is observed daily but again this is not example of evolution in action on the contrary we know that DNA is degrading and aging is not positive but negative process on all of life.
[“But imagine a large and well-funded group of people who step forward and insist that your daughter HAD to be created by supernatural means, that her development was testament to the benevolence of a supernatural creator, that in fact unless you discard the conspiracy of biologists to fool you into thinking she is a natural product of biology and environment, you cannot be moral. You must be unethical, an intolerant, strident, militant god-denier if you allow human physiology rather than belief in a creator to be the prime agent of human reproduction.”]
Defend the Word: I think this is “slight” misrepresentation of the facts, as I pointed out to you earlier there are many Christian Doctors of Medicine two issues are not contravening each other. Christianity has historical evidence to support it’s endeavour to understand and progress science not vice versa.
[“Now take a leap: if you were a professional doctor of human physiology, having studied complex human biological processes to the point of being able to use all the tools and advanced specialized knowledge to help women with physiological impediments to become pregnant through the use of modern science, and had to argue with these faith heads that what you understand has a basis in explanatory knowledge of human physiology and well established with real world cause and effect that can be successfully predicted and tested and falsified and established as fact in a consistently meaningful way everywhere and at all times, then I suspect you would not be quite so ready to call the doctors’ insistence on what offers every hallmark of what’s true, accurate and correct to be called ‘ignorant’. Just the opposite, I would hope. They’ve earned their knowledge and know what they are talking about. The faith heads have not. They have assumed their explanation without informing it with what’s testable, falsifiable, and predictive and do not know what they are talking about regarding physiology.”]
Defend the Word: Here are some of your major week points in this argument, you “take a leap” and you should not do that, rather you should make logical progression with your argument.
1.) There are religious scientists, Christians are not ignorant people.
2.) There are verifying attitudes to the issue of Evolution and reproduction amongst all scientist and simplistic view of them and us is always wrong.
3.) Detailed understanding in one subject does not mean you understand all subjects, also note that when you are not told to question those who teach you one will much longer to get to the point of disagreeing with established scientific paradigm “dogma”.
4.) Some scientist hold different often opposite views on many of the issues in their particular area of study. And I don’t only mean Evolution, this shows that often when we give credit to someone who is highly educated we don’t into account that someone else equally qualified may disagree with his/her hypothesis.
[“In addition, the faith heads have not earned the right to actively interfere with the subject practiced by these doctors. Nor would you be willing to stand by and allow the faith heads to insert creator theories of human reproduction into physiology courses, as if there existed a ‘controversy’ between the ‘believers’ of human physiology and the believers in human creationism by a supernatural agent. And when you came across well-intentioned people assuming that the subject was actually open to debate, you would feel obligated to point out the vacuous basis on which the creator belief was established compared to the knowledge base offered by understanding human physiology and reproductive biology. There is no room for both to be correct, no middle ground to tolerate the creationist belief along side understanding human physiology.”]
Defend the Word: I am suppressed that someone so bright can make so many assumptions without looking at the broad picture. I appreciate that you may have had bad experience and in the way this partially justifies your attitude but you should not limit your understanding on singular answer but look for what others that oppose Evolution may say. There is a great variety of views on this subject even amongst Christians, some believe in Young earth others believe in Billions of years, some believe in gradual Evolution guided by God, others believe in progressive creation process that lasted long time. And this is just basic differences that I’m sure you would be aware of.
[“That is exactly what is happening with the ‘debate’ about evolution. There is not debate. Evolution has proven itself to be a comprehensive theory that explains how life evolves. It works. It works in every aspect of understanding change over time.”]
Defend the Word: As I have shown to you with some of my answers many of the “proven” arguments have been challenged fact that this is ignored does not mean that they are irrelevant arguments on the contrary. There is evidence that amongst scientists they are arguing the same issues, fact that they are included in some research papers shows that momentum is growing rather than receding. This issue is not going to go away until truly satisfactory answer is found.
[“Evolution is not concerned with abiogenesis, the beginning of life. We can assume that it must start with protein chains and that it involves a catalyst of enzymes. RNA looks very promising but until we can create life in the lab under conditions similar to the known geology of 4.2 billion years ago, then scientists don’t know. Faith heads know, because their knowledge is simply belief and that’s good enough for them, but science is a little more discriminating, a little more insistent that for us to know something requires more than stating something must be so.”]
Defend the Word:Again I think your bad past experience is leading you to this conclusion, I think we all need to learn to think “outside the Box” where we are not limited with personal experiences but are looking objectively on all aspects of the counter arguments. I take your point on first origin and beginnings, however not all atheists and proponents of Evolution would agree with you but I admire your honesty. Often people will pretend that they understand when factually we have no data to analyse, so question is how can one come to such conclusion is one that should not be avoided.
[“Nor is evolution concerned with the creation of the cosmos. Evolution explains how life evolves and the evidence is overwhelming. Even faith evolves.”]
Defend the Word: I agree that we observe Evolution, but in my opinion this is the case of adaptability which is good for us and secondly Evolution may bring changes which are not so good for us. There are no incontrovertible proofs only observation and hypothetical explanation, and this is precisely how ID works so to say that one is better than the other I just not critically correct.
[“Hopefully, your daughter will evolve and continue to change throughout a long and meaningful life. The more she passes on her knowledge to the next generation, the better able they will be to continue to evolve. Our world needs more of this kind of informed change than the entrenched ignorance that faith provides to meet the challenges of the evolving world.”]
Defend the Word:Thank you for your kind words, as it happens I have been bugging my 8-year-old daughter to study medicine, and my Boy has plenty of dinosaur toys they have number of encyclopaedia, and I intend to buy for them microscope and books on the universe with some CD / DVD material. So as you can see I would hate for my children to be factually ignorant and would love for them to challenge everything in the nicest possible way. I do not believe in dogma, I believe that whenever we are told something / given instructions in the Bible this is given to us for a reason. And often with greater understanding of science we understand the importance of what the Bible is saying. For example Bible talks about the earth being round and hung on nothing. It also talks about beginning of Time. And today we know from Cosmology that time was created when the Big Bang happened and we know that Earth is indeed suspended in space.
Finally let me again thank you for such enormous amount of work that you have done.
Defend the Word