A Conversation for Evolution and Creation - an Introduction and Glossary

Intelligence

Post 1

The ghost

the hitchhikers guide game at http://www.douglasadams.com/creations
says that one of the earmarks of intelligence is being able to hold two contradictory beliefs at the same time. by this criteria both evolutionists and creationist flunk the test.
to be intelligent you need to believe in both.


Intelligence

Post 2

Martin Harper

Consistency may be the hobgoblin of small minds, but deliberate inconsistency is not always the sign of great minds.
-myre


Intelligence

Post 3

Schrödinger's Cat-flap

If you've read '1984' by George Orwell, you should be able to understand this. I'm Catholic, so I believe what the Bible says, but then the evolution theory is pretty hard to argue with these days, so I believe both. Simultaneously. It's a bit like doublethink. Strange concept, but not impossible.
-TPV


Intelligence

Post 4

Garentee - Ruler of Uterly Hopeless Romantics

Sorry about the haziness of this post, i will go do some research, but:

Darwin (in his book) said that if any single system/organism could be found which could not possibly have been achieved by repetitive small changes to base organism, ie evolved, then the whole theory would be disproved.

This thing is called an 'irreducably complex system'. An example is a standard mouse trap. It would not work with any one part missing, and none of the parts put together could end up as a mousetrap by small changes. eg. Where would the spring have started to become a spring in the mouse trap. If any of the single components were any other way, it would not work and there would be no mouse trap.

The example found in nature is a type of bacteria. (i'm not a biologist, so sorry if some of this isn't 100% correct.) It's got flagellum which it uses to move through fluid. These consist of a little motor and a thingy which sticks out into the fluid and spins. This is an irreducably complex system. Without the motor the "sticky out bit" would be useless, and evolution should have gotten rid of it. Without it though, the motor would be useless as well. The motor itself is made up of biological stuff which altogether makes the motor and without one of those components it wouldn't work, but none of them could be achieved by small changes.

This bacteria is the example which would disprove Darwin's theory of evolution.

Off to find the book I read this in b4 somebody jumps on my head...
smiley - run
(ps. Was long time ago, don't know if I will be able to find it. Please don't jump on my head. smiley - grovel)


Intelligence

Post 5

Hoovooloo

Hi Garentee,

See A670213. I dealt with the fallacy of irreducible complexity there (we didn't just throw this together you know smiley - winkeye). The book you're thinking of is probably "Darwin's Black Box" by Michael Behe, which includes the example of the mousetrap. That doesn't make it any less of a fallacy. Mouse traps are manufactured macroscopic objects. They do achieve a purpose, but it would be possible to imagine a system which could arise entirely by chance which would achieve the same result - like a hole in the ground. Or a cat.

The organism you're thinking of is the rotifer.

I won't go into detail here, but have a read of the entry linked above, and let me know what you think...

H.


Intelligence

Post 6

Ste

If you take away the catch and the metal bar from the mousetrap you might not have a mousetrap anymore, but you would have a pretty good paperclip. The catch would make a good fishhook and the bar would make a great toothpick. The spring that you mention would have started elsewhere and would be recruited into the "design". All of the components of a mousetrap could have a use. Irreducible complexity is a myth, born out of a lack of understanding of molecular genetics and evolution. Either that or it is the usual creationist strawman.

On thing that evolution is good at is that it can take proteins that are used for one function and force it to do something else entirely. Far from being an example of irreducible complexity (IC), the flagellum is a great example of how evolution can work (thanks!): One small part of the flagellum can be found elsewhere in the bacteria. It is used to inject poisens into other cells. The function of this part when working alone is different, but has obvious evolutionary advantages.

The argument of IC makes the huge presumtion that all pieces of a machine must be assembled in it's final form. This is simple not the case in biology. Is IC an example of anthropomorphism with regards to manufacture of technology?

The proteins that clot blood can also be found in the digestive system, albeit in a modified form. Gene duplication events and mutation happen all the time. The mechanism is known and it has been observed and documented.

I find it very amusing to see religious types being far more guilty of reductionist thinking that scientists.

smiley - cheers

Stesmiley - earth


Intelligence

Post 7

Steve K.

A favorite quote from Ludwig Wittgenstein, possibly relevant:

"It would strike me as ridiculous to want to doubt the existence of Napoleon; but if someone doubted the existence of the earth 150 years ago, perhaps I should be more willing to listen, for now he is doubting our whole system of evidence."

If there is an all powerful deity, she could have started the entire universe (or multiverse) a few minutes ago. How could we tell? Which leads to another favorite quote from Wittgenstein:

"Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent."

Or as an intelligent friend once said, in response to a meaningless comment from a mutual acquaintance, "You don't know and I don't know. The difference is, I KNOW I don't know."

smiley - cdouble


Intelligence

Post 8

Martin Harper

> "If there is an all powerful deity, she could have started the entire universe (or multiverse) a few minutes ago. How could we tell?"

We can't tell, but we can ignore the possibility. Suppose Universe A was created ten seconds ago fully formed, and Universe B is the normal one.

Argument by Occam's Razor: A is more complicated than B and makes no more predictions. Discard A in favour of B.

Argument by Pragmatism: A is a philosophically perverse universe. It's not possible to meaningfully discuss philosophy in such a universe. We are currently discussing philosophy, so to do so meaningfully we must assume B.

Occam's Razor can be applied if you suppose that the supreme deity won't both mucking things up any more. Pragmatism can be applied if you suppose that the supreme deity is on a mission to piss off philosophers.


Intelligence

Post 9

Steve K.

"It's not possible to meaningfully discuss philosophy in such a universe."

From what I've read of philosophy in recent times, the philosophers HAVE pretty much given up "discussing philosophy", at least in the sense of explaining the "big issues". There are areas like "philosophy of ..." (science, art, etc.), but the historic areas of metaphysics, the origin of the universe, how many angels on the head of a pin, etc., have been abandoned to the scientists and the poets.

Wittgenstein, "Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent." Shakespeare (Caliban), "Be not afeard. The isle is full of noises, Sounds, and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not."

I vote for the scientists and the poets. smiley - magic


Intelligence

Post 10

Hoovooloo

I heard another cracker of a Creationist straw man the other day.

"The sheer unlikelihood of the formation of DNA by random chance is akin to a tornado blowing through a junkyard and assembling a jumbo jet."

Doesn't that sound great? Wilful ignorance of chemistry, right there.

If I take two bits of scrap metal - even if they were once bits of a jumbo jet - and stir them violently, they don't bond magically together, then attract a third bit slightly and form a weak linkage to that.

Oddly enough, if I do the same with atoms (hydrogen and oxygen, say, in anything like the right quantities), magically bonding together is EXACTLY what they do. And more to the point, they do it incredibly quickly and in truly, mindbogglingly VAST numbers.

DNA is just a molecule. And like I said somewhere else - if a replicating molecule is POSSIBLE (and it is, duh!), then if your planet has been around long enough with reasonable conditions of temperature and pressure and composition, the only surprise would be if there were NONE. It only has to happen ONCE, and then by definition it keeps on and on and on happening.

I think I said this somewhere else. The arrival of DNA could be more properly compared to someone winning the lottery. It's INCREDIBLY unlikely - for a given person. But if you buy enough tickets, it becomes a certainty - and evolution buys a trillion tickets every single second, and has been doing for four billion years. And we're surprised it keeps winning? smiley - laugh

H.




Intelligence

Post 11

Twenty-First Century Schizoid Man

This forum reminds me of something. I said i wouldnt believe in something without prrof, and they said 'so you dont believe in cleveland or tokyo or anything you havent seen?' he was wrong, and i now amend my statement-I blieve what I CHOOSE to believe. And so does anyone else.


Intelligence

Post 12

Twenty-First Century Schizoid Man

But, there isnt really any proof for creationism other than a story book written by a bunch of guys about 3k years ago. So you can believe the storybook, or look to common sense.


Intelligence

Post 13

Garentee - Ruler of Uterly Hopeless Romantics

Hi Hoovooloo

Thanks, I have read it. (But after I posted, I don't know why I missed that one.) I am undecided about many things. This being one of them. Just thought I would put in something I had read and see where that goes. smiley - smiley

G


Intelligence

Post 14

Orko

well, i happen to think that evolution is just swell. It explains alot of very complex things in relatively simple terms. No need for unseen entities such as god or whatever. Just simple selective mechanistic procedures. I thing all life forms evolved, i take that as a given. I think creationist should focus on intentionality, and boldly claim that nature could never create an intentional being...

but i would disagree with them, of course.....

but the question is kinda interesting, can rationality arise from a mechanistic process? ha? can it?

bimmbirimm


Intelligence

Post 15

The ghost

someone said that if a set of chemicaLS HAS BEEN AROUND LONG ENOUGH
it would be a surprise if a self replicating molecule does not uccur.
The planet Mars has been here as long as we have. By that logic, Mars should have life just like Earth has. In fact the planet is just as dead as I am.


Intelligence

Post 16

Martin Harper

And Mars may well have life, or have had life. That's why people are busy sending probes to Mars.


Intelligence

Post 17

Orko

it takes more than chemicals and time.....certain conditions ar also necessary......probably stuff like temperature and water and ice cream with choccie fudge....


Intelligence

Post 18

Hoovooloo

Why is it that these people are apparently perfectly capable of reading the Bible, but put something in front of them which was written within the last millenium and they come over all illiterate?

"the Ghost" - in order not to look stupid, consider attempting to READ what I wrote before you try to pick holes in the logic. What I wrote was "if your planet has been around long enough with reasonable conditions of temperature and pressure and composition".

Now, what made you just skip over the last nine words and pretend that they weren't there?

It is NOT just a question of time - otherwise you could equally well point to Mercury (too hot), Venus (too hot and too acid), Jupiter (not even a terrestrial planet), the Moon (no oxygen and gravity too low to retain an atmosphere) or Pluto (just too far away). This planet has the crucial combination of (1) great age (2) a gravity field strong enough to hang on to an atmosphere (3) temperature and pressure suitable for the existence of liquid water. NONE of the other planetary bodies in the solar system (With the possible exception of Europa) has now or has ever had those conditions (Mars may possibly have had, once - we don't know yet).

None of those factors is particularly difficult to get. It's just that IN THIS SOLAR SYSTEM, we're the only one. This is NOT surprising.

H.


Intelligence

Post 19

Orko

yeah...thats what I said.


Intelligence

Post 20

Runner

Sorry, but isn't the argument of Creationism vs Evolution somewhat academic - from what I see, people who believe in literal creation aren't doing so because that's the logical conclusion of a deductive agrument, but because it's just what they believe (because, ultimately, they want to, I guess). So trying to use deductive reasoning just won't work.


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