Hey good people, here, I have been having a discussion with an anon gentleman going by the moniker j.w who I think lives on this side of the blue ball. 

The discussion, so far has covered several issues among them how the universe came to be, historicity of Jesus, a bit on god and a major part has been on evolution and it is here that I need some help. I have in my responses tried to explain evolution as I understand which may not be very accurate or satisfactory but looking at his responses, I feel that even though he appears to have read a bit on evolution he doesn't understand it or he is so immersed in creationism that it doesn't make sense to him.

A case in point, in the latest responses I asked him to explain among others pseudo-genes and  similarities in DNA sequence in life then in his response he says 2) SEMBLANCE IN DNA BETWEEN DIFFERENT SPECIES.
My friend When you look at that similarities between the different models of the Mercedes Benz do you conclude that they all evolved by random unguided processes from the same ancestor over a long period of time or do you conclude that they have the same manufacturer? I haven't responded yet to this, but I know it is a false comparison. If we were to take his creation story, man would be unique and would not share DNA sequence with any other animal since all animals came into existence on the word of god while man he created in his image[that is the christian god].

There are parts of his responses that are hard to read, he has a whole paragraph in caps. 

I think he also doesn't understand random chance in gene mutation and evolution in general. 

The matter of historicity of Jesus I feel has been dealt with sufficiently so it is really not a big concern for me. 

I would have asked him to go to the national museum in the human skull section since entry fee for adult citizens is just over a dollar but you'll realize from his comments that even if he were to see the fossil evidence it wouldn't help my case much.

Please, find time to make comments here or on the link I have given. Where my answers were inadequate you can point them for me here. 

Views: 279

Comment by Dale Headley on October 17, 2012 at 7:35pm

My impression is that you don’t really need all that much help; you seem to have a pretty good handle on the issue.  But I’ll try to add a little context.

Other than being the year I was born, what makes1935 an important year is that it was when penicillin became available to the general public.   Before that, doctors couldn’t cure diseases.  Almost immediately, evolutionary biologists began predicting that penicillin would, over time, be diminished in its effectiveness.  No priests, ministers, or rabbis proclaimed it from their pulpits.  There was nothing in the Bible, Torah, or Koran about it.  But evolutionary biologists, with complete confidence, predicted it; and whaddya know, they were right.  Penicillin, which once cured nearly all bacterial infections, is now only used for a few.  So how did the biologists know, for such a certainty, that this would happen.  For one reason and one reason only: THE THEORY OF EVOLUTION.  Like all robust theories, the Theory of Evolution can be, in part, confirmed by its predictive power.  In this case, it predicted that the microbes would evolve new forms that would be resistant to penicillin.  And the prediction came true.  You see, evolutionary biologists know that evolution HAPPENED; it has ALWAYS happened; it DOES happen right in front of our eyes; it will ALWAYS happen; it HAS to happen; and it cannot NOT happen.  Therefore, they predicted confidently that the bacteria WOULD evolve new forms more resistant to penicillin.  And they did.  You might want to ask your friend why God caused penicillin to become less effective over time.  And why He didn’t warn the world about it.  

Evolution is a process of change that must take place.  If evolution had not happened, there would BE no life on earth today.

Also, not widely known is the fact that there are, right now, long term experiments going on that further prove evolution.  Most of them involve putting populations of a particular species of fish in a number of separate ponds, then varying the environments of those ponds so that each one is slightly different from the others.  This has been going on for 20 years and the result is that each pond now holds a clearly different species of fish.  Biologists predicted this because the Theory of Evolution told them this would happen  If God knew it would happen, He kept it to himself.

They keep maintaining the experiment to see how far the evolutionary process will go and what directions it will take.  Who knows, perhaps one or more of the species will undergo a mutation that produces proto-limbs useful for moving on solid ground.  More likely, though, they will be new morphological characteristics never seen before in the fossil record.  But their hopes are that it will be witnessed by their grandchilden, since one human lifetime is not enough to see that big a change.  

Bottom line: when members of one species of ANY living thing (including humans) are separated into different environments that never overlap, changes will ALWAYS take place over time that are different within each isolated population.  The only limits to the degree of change - the number of new species that will develop - are contingent ONLY upon the amount of time avalable for change.  And 4 1/2 billion years seems to be sufficient time for changes to have accumulated from the very first living thing to the immense diversity we see today, including human beings.

Comment by SteveInCO on October 17, 2012 at 10:07pm

Another way to phrase the point about mutations and natural selection that may be clearer to the guy you are talking to.  Mutations are random.  Whether or not the mutation is beneficial, and therefore survives and becomes prevalent is emphatically not random.

Comment by onyango makagutu on October 18, 2012 at 3:36pm

@Dale I hope when I live that long as you have, evolution will be in the same class as other scientific theories like gravity where I hear no contests and will retire close to a lake with a long fishing rod or a telescope to look at the distant stars that straddle our beautiful visible world. And if I appear to have a grasp, it is because of people such as yourself and other giants whom I walk on their shoulders.

@Steve, we still have to work on our bets remember and I win either way. I will respond to him when he comes back with answers to my one question.

@Kris I will surely work at presenting scientific facts accurately.

@ Dr Grixis, you see religion held me back a long time am now just beginning to look at life again through a brighter naturalistic lens and it's beautiful. With time I know I will be able to recognize the old arguments and help others as you have here.

@Reg, what a beautiful analogy. I will keep that for next time.

@Juan thanks for finding time to read and respond to my concerns.

This is not meant as an end to the discussion but just my appreciation for your contribution and to add that am working hard at understanding the much I can before I eventually quit and return to where I was before I became.

Comment by Reg The Fronkey Farmer on October 18, 2012 at 4:07pm

RE: Standing on the shoulders of giants.
Newton used the phrase “If I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants" (it may not be his phrase). It is how our ideas evolve over time. Newton theories were formulated by learning from earlier Knowledge because he had shoulders to stand on. Einstein could stand on his shoulders as did (say) Feynman or Hawking stand on theirs. The next generation will reach even further and human knowledge will evolve even further. Some radical theories start off as “mutations” but if they get “selected” by the Scientific Method they become part of our accepted global knowledge bank that is open to all of us. Just like Evolution in the animal kingdom, in time this knowledge is almost taken for granted (the world is not flat anymore). It is one of the ways we evolve as a species. How more advanced would we be if religion had not retarded our species for so long?


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