Joined: Jan. 2006
|Quote (afdave @ April 24 2006,07:47)|
|Thanks for the explanations ... I wanted to see if there is anything new which might convince me that Macro-Evolution really happened, but there's apparently not ...|
Corkscrew had some very thoughtful answers and I was particularly interested in his understanding about whale evolution ... but what I found appears to me to be another case of wishful thinking on the part of evolutionists ... non-existent skeleton parts drawn in to make the skeleton look the way they want it to, etc. Darwin predicted an enormous number of transitional fossils ... but 140 years later, we only have a handful of disputable examples. In my opinion, it is too early to draw conclusions about Tiktaalik
I have not studied the nylon-eating bacteria, but it sounds interesting. I guess I should revise my terminology regarding 'beneficial mutations'. It can be very ambiguous to determine what exactly is 'beneficial.' How about this? <i>No one has ever shown me a mutation which INCREASES the information in the organism.</i> This is probably a less ambiguous statement.
I agree that evolutionists' observation of variation within the living world is quite valid and can be very predictive. Creationists also observe this variation, but we realize that there is no NEW information being added to genomes. There is only LOSS of information, hence the phenomenon of "dead-end" species, such as cardinals. I had an interesting dialog one time with an evolutionist about Chihuahaus and Great Danes. He basically said you could breed back a pair of Chihuahuas to eventually get a "mutt" or even a Great Dane and was citing evolutionary theory to support this. I'm curious to know if there are other evolutionists who believe this? All my observation tells me that you have to have the Great Dane info in some "mutt" parents rather far back in time in order to breed a Great Dane. Once you breed down to a Chihuahua, the Great Dane info is gone--artificially selected out. This understanding of breeding is why I believe it is entirely possible that all "dog-type" animals, for example--dogs, coyotes, wolves, etc. came from one, genetically rich "dog-kind" pair.
I like your link to the Genetic algorithm, but again, this kind of thing is not "Evolution" in the sense that any new information is being added. The computer program is just selecting EXISTING information, just like what happens in nature.
It is also baffling to me how evolutionists cannot see evidence for a global flood. One huge piece of evidence to me is the Grand Canyon. To me it has always seemed absurd to assume that the Colorado river carved the canyon over millions of years. A much more plausible explanation to me is that the whole region was laid down by water over a short period of time--after all, it is fossil-bearing, sedimentary rock. Then as the water subsided, the canyon was carved in what was still soft sediments, then subsequently hardened. What is so convincing about this hypothesis is that Mt. Saint Helens showed us precisely how this happens. We have a "mini-Grand Canyon' right there at Mt. Saint Helens and it happened in 1980--no speculation needed at all. How can evolutionists deny this evidence? Fossil sorting is also interesting: what we have in the fossil record is exactly what one would expect to find if there was a global flood due to hydraulic sorting.
I think the whole Creation/Evolution debate is a very intersting topic and I think it involves a lot of science, philosophy, human prejudice and other factors. I agree that many pro-evolution people are open-minded. I think explains why so many excellent scientists are jumping the "Darwin ship" and turning into Creationists.
|Corkscrew had some very thoughtful answers and I was particularly interested in his understanding about whale evolution ... but what I found appears to me to be another case of wishful thinking on the part of evolutionists ... non-existent skeleton parts drawn in to make the skeleton look the way they want it to, etc.|
I thought you might think that, which is why I carefully chose examples that referred to actual complete skeletons. To the best of my knowledge, none of the fossils I listed were mere "artists' impressions" - they were all either actual fossils or direct, unmodified drawings of the fossils. No parts were added or altered.
If you can see any linked pictures of which this isn't true, please point them out to me and I'll either find better images or retract my support for that fossil.
|Darwin predicted an enormous number of transitional fossils ... but 140 years later, we only have a handful of disputable examples.|
Well, technically speaking, according to Darwin every fossil is transitional. It'll take more time than I have at the moment to provide linkey support for this, but I'm given to understand that most of the major transitions are very thoroughly documented. The classic anecdote here is that palaeontologists working on the reptile/mammal transition actually spend hours arguing which of their fossils are reptile-like mammals and which are mammal-like reptiles. This makes no sense unless there's actually a continuum from one to the other.
|I have not studied the nylon-eating bacteria, but it sounds interesting. I guess I should revise my terminology regarding 'beneficial mutations'. It can be very ambiguous to determine what exactly is 'beneficial.' How about this? <i>No one has ever shown me a mutation which INCREASES the information in the organism.</i> This is probably a less ambiguous statement.|
Now, this is an interesting point for me - in fact, it's actually the one that brought me to this debate in the first place. See, I'm a maths student, and one of my courses is Coding and Cryptography - basically it's Information Theory 101. And the interesting thing about information is that mutations will nearly always increase it. This of course depends on your definition, so I'll run through a couple:
Mathematical definition 1: Shannon information
Shannon information is a measure of the amount of information that a given communication could contain. Say you wander down to breakfast and grunt "good morning" at your wife. That's something you do very often, so it doesn't really tell your wife much about your state of mind.
Now say you wander down, take one look at her and run screaming from the room. Your wife now knows:
a) there's something very unusual happening
b) you're sleeping on the couch
The rarity of this behaviour on your part makes it a high-information communication.
Now, let's say that your behaviour spontaneously mutates - in other words, you pick a random action from your repertoire to perform. There's going to be a half chance that you pick the low-information grunt and a half chance that you pick the high-information scream. Comparing this to your usual behaviour (the grunt), it's easy to see that a random behaviour is going to be higher-information than a "normal" behaviour. This result transfers directly across to study of genetic sequences.
Mathematical definition 2: Kolmogorov complexity
Kolmogorov complexity is, broadly speaking, the length of the shortest program that can generate a given communication. So, for example, the Kolmogorov complexity of "AAAAAAAA" would be very low by comparison to that of "NBCJEDFJLEDLAN". It's fairly easy to see that, going by this definition, most random strings will be higher-information than most non-random strings, since the latter will generally display patterns that can be exploited to reduce the K-complexity.
Layman's definition 1: Data that means something
Since meaning is a purely subjective measure, this is something that is unlikely to be produced by an objective process. One would not expect nature to produce works of Shakespeare, for example. Fortunately for evolution, there's no information of this sort in the genetic code of living creatures. No really. What there is, however, is...
Layman's definition 2: Data that does something
To anyone who isn't a mathematician, this is probably the most interesting definition, and it's undeniable that living systems have it in spades. Fortunately, functionality is a fairly objective measure, so it's entirely possible for objective processes to produce it. In fact, it turns out that this is something evolution is perfectly capable of producing.
In particular, it's fairly hard to deny that information of this sort is produced by genetic algorithms. What's really interesting is the fact that GAs apparently often come up with solutions that humans would never in a million years have considered.
If you can come up with another definition that you believe can't be produced by evolution, I'll happily discuss it.
|I had an interesting dialog one time with an evolutionist about Chihuahaus and Great Danes. He basically said you could breed back a pair of Chihuahuas to eventually get a "mutt" or even a Great Dane and was citing evolutionary theory to support this. |
Well, you could certainly get back something that was Great Dane shaped, although in other, less obvious ways it would probably differ from the original. I'm rather intrigued by your idea that breeding from a wolf to a Chihuahua is possible but breeding from a Chihuahua to a Great Dane isn't - are you suggesting that wild wolves originally had some kind of essence-of-Chihuahua in them alongside the essence-of-Great-Dane?
|Fossil sorting is also interesting: what we have in the fossil record is exactly what one would expect to find if there was a global flood due to hydraulic sorting. |
Not being a geologist I can't speak about the Grand Canyon stuff, but I already discussed problems with hydraulic sorting. Can you please explain roughly what criteria you would expect a flood to sort carcasses by, so we can compare it to the evidence?
|I agree that many pro-evolution people are open-minded. I think explains why so many excellent scientists are jumping the "Darwin ship" and turning into Creationists.|
I'd note that creationists have been saying this for about the last hundred and fifty years, and yet the overwhelming majority of reputable scientists in relevant fields still support evolution. That suggests that the claim is factually inaccurate.
Just out of interest, could you give a few examples?