Hi guys,

Currently in a debate on Facebook with a creationist friend... as per usual haha.

The latest reply is this:

even if the mutations were slow and slight, they never consisted of NEW genetic information being introduced or forming itself out of nowhere, only mutation of whatever was there already.
I mean for the whole grand/mega-coplex of evolution concept built up nowadays, there sould be at least a few tiny minuscule examples in the billions of living organism today where we can see this slight process at work, 
there is like.... not even ONE such example?? 
that kindda settles it for me.

Now I've heard this argument plenty of times, but I'm not confident in giving an answer as I don't feel I have enough knowledge on this specific point. So... will someone enlighten me? Thanks :)

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A good example is the baccteria that evolved the ability to digest nylon. As nylon is a synthetic material that didn't exist prior to 1935, the ability to digest it is a new ability that didn't exist perviously.

Of course, given the false assumption (mutations cannot generate new genetic code) your friend subscribes to, they may not accept any answer other than "Oh wow, I guess God Did It"

You might try this example of how new genetic information can arise from existing code. Take the first 200 words in a dictionary. Not the definitions, just the words. You can take the letters making up those words and mutate them (change a letter or two) and end up with words that are nott contained within those initial 200. For example, the word 'air' could mutate into 'fir'.
It is so hard for me to have a debate/conversation with people that believe in Creationism. The idea of a mythological belief system is so ridiculous to me now, that the "Creation" question always turns into a debate on Theism. It would be like if I ran across someone who believed in the Tooth Fairy and tried to use science to justify "her/his" existence. The Tooth Fairy does not exist, and so, to try to use science to either prove or disprove its existence, I wouldn't even know where to begin. But I DO like Dave G's analogy!

This irks me. People who have just enough knowledge to be annoying with these questions that would be answered in 9th grade biology class.

Try this; "I'm not a scientist, but so much of the overwhelming majority of the scientific world has accepted the theory of evolution, that is is widely acccepted as fact. In terms of Natural Seclection, again enough scientists have accepted this theory that I also accept this as the current leading theory. If annother, SCIENTIFICALLY TESTABLE hypotheis, that is able to be thoroughly PEER REVIEWED, appears and is accepted by the majority of the scientific community, I will change my view. However, the vast majority of scientists, the courts and academia agree creation theory, which is not testable, and intelligent design, IS NOT SCIENCE! So there is point in trying to talk me into believing an idea that has NO SCIENTIFIC MERIT in the eyes of the world!"

Unfortunately, the ID crowd will interpret that line as just another appeal to an arbitrary authority. They don't understand what science is, so explaining that scientists have reached a consensus sounds to them just like millions of ignorant Xtians have reached a consensus.

Yes but trying to reason with a lunatic is lunacy. So I will say that and walk away.

This video sums it up nice and neatly for me.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SrNKFzXznVU&feature=youtube_gdat...

Also a good video with a good quick question that you may ask him to see if the discussion is worth your time and energy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jb2u1P9s-YU&feature=youtube_gdat...

A mutation IS new genetic information. Genes are not single, discreet units. They are made up of a sequence of amino acids. If any of those acids are out of order, or swapped with another, that makes an entirely new gene, which might kill the creature, might be irrelevant, like hair color, or might give it an edge in reproducing, thus propagating the new sequence on to future generations.

Also, we now know that genes can be swapped from one organism to another. When you get a virus, it injects it's dna into your cells to reproduce more viruses. Some of that dna can combine with yours, thus altering your  genetic code. What that gene does in a virus could be quite different from what it does in your body.

People get hung up on this deal about new information. The truth is, new information isn't really needed. Look into fruit fly research. They can get rid of wing, change colors, and multiple other things simply by turning genes on or off. A lot of information is already there. It is simply recessive or turned off. Whales have hips and manatees have three toe nails on there from flippers. Why hips or toe nails on sea creatures that have no back legs or toes? They once walked on land obviously. Enough changes will make DNA non compatible over time with the original because of genetic changes. People that deny this either are to....dim or they are lying to themselves. You can't change there mind because they will deny the truth, even when it's in there face. Ask him about the whale and manatee. I bet they say " it's god design."

If I understand correctly they are talking about not evolution of current or even past organisms but the arising of new life or radically new types of life in living creatures. If this is the case then just respond that A) evolution has nothing to do with the origins of life and doesn't even address that and B) even if it did then the reason new life has not come about like the life we see evoked around us now is because the conditions that allowed for the origins of life are no longer present on the earth.

The inherent problem in this specific argument is the notion of 'new information.'  As has been pointed out, information in this instance is coming from arguments by Dembski, and ultimately it (in my view) steers the conversation towards the inevitable goal of information = design.  Other problems arise that anything you get that answers the question being posed, is that they will either not understand, or ignore what you present.  You could talk about polyploidy, which doubles (or triples, etc) the genetic information, which just by itself can lead to speciation (which is what many creationists call 'macroevolution').  You can see that in many plants, like dandelions.  However this won't satisfy the question as its a doubling (or more) of the information that is already there, and would be dismissed as not introducing 'new' genetic information. Dave G's suggestion of bacteria digesting nylon is an excellent example, but more than likely it will be ignored as well (having had this same conversation myself with a creationist).

Trisomy is an example of genetic information being expanded.  When one has 3 of a particular chromosome rather tan 2, they have a 50% increase of information at that juncture.  Trisomy is not always deleterious, and therefore can be passed along.  Look up XYY syndrome, argument from ignorance refuted, irrefutably.

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