I recently brought up my atheism to a christian friend last night (through email) and explained why I now disbelieve religion. A couple of the reasons included scientific basis for how old our planet actually is, such as carbon dating, dendrochronology, radiation half-life, evolution, and so forth. Some of these methods I know date the world much, much older than the bible's approximation of 6-10,000 years. So of course, she came back with arguments against these methods and evolution.
1. "Carbon dating is not an exact science either."
With this, she mentions that scientists "redate" things because they retest and come up with different answers. Even still, the differentiation is minute in the grand scheme of things correct? From what I've understood about carbon dating is that it's quite accurate (at least relatively).
2. Drum roll please... "Even evolution is a theory."
I hear christians using this all of the time. I even dropped it a few times myself previously. I do know that there are several definitions of the term 'theory,' and the theory of evolution is proven by facts, the same facts that disprove creationism and intelligent design.
What are some good arguments to come back with? I am asking advice mainly for my own education, so I would like some handy unbiased resources and I can form my own answers. One of her arguments as well was "don't you think that the sources you have studied might have been funded by scientists trying to prove their theories?" Implying that any site you go to is biased in one direction or the other.
Argument for evolution.
1. Traits are passed through offspring.
2.more successful traits remain due to natural selection.
3.These traits come from DNA/RNA.
4. Mitosis and other phenomenon that involve replication of genes are rarely perfect, meaning that mistakes are made in the copies. Even sunlight changes DNA!
5. Supposedly the genetic difference between humans and chimpanzees only goes as low as 96%(you'll need to reaffirm that I suppose)
6. Because of point number 4, traits that have never existed maybe come to exist through the happenstance of mutation in a single generation, and because of points 3, and 4, those traits may cause the extinction of previous traits that existed prior to mistakes in DNA copying.
7. Because of point 6 and 7, the likely hood of a gradual 4% change throughout billions of years mite be so likely that something would probably have to occur to keep that from happening(This point probably has some faults. You'd have to determine the genetic similarities to the common ancestry of chimps and humans, rather than common genetics of humans and chimps themselves.)
Argument number two: Self replicating RNA has been found on asteroids which hit the earth, which evidence enough of abiogenesis occuring on earth, and while the statistical probability of a self replicating RNA being created from amino acids coincidentally banging into each other in the rite way in primordial soup phase of the earth is extremely low, the fact that it exists outside of the earth is proof enough that life on earth can be caused by the creation of self replicating RNA anywhere in the universe, increasing the probability of it happening by... I'm not sure how much, but however many planets had a primordial soup phase, and I'm sure there are a lot of those. So weather or not god created life in an extremely short amount of time, it was going to happen without him.
This gets a bit complicated because the observable universe is larger than its age suggests. The universe is 13,75 billion years old, but has a diameter of about 90 billion light years (think sphere, not a circle). That's because after the Big Bang space-time itself expanded and that happened at a speed faster than light.
The oldest known star is about 13,2 billion years old.
This is very interesting information! Thanks Gaytor. I've used the rapid evolution of P. sicula in order to prove that evolution (even on a micro level) happens and is explained and backed up by loads of evidence. The nylonase is very interesting and somewhat parallels P. sicula.
The info on ERV's is very interesting, and I'll have to study up a little bit to fully understand it. But I do see the point of it being that there is [more] evidence that we share a common ancestor with chimps. As you'll see in the video I posted below, a common misconception among creationists is that they will argue that we claim to have evolved from chimps. Their 'reasoning' couldn't be more ignorant.