What does one reply to these statements about evolution:

1. Although there have been demonstrable changes within a species, there has never been any evidence to suggest that a species can change into a different species.

2. Most mutations are negative to the species and thus aren't advantageous to the theory of evolution.

These two questions seem to me to be the best arguments creationism (pseudo-science though it is) has to offer (I know they are arguments against evolution and not for design) and they are my only concern. I have no problem with not having the answer. I am of the mind that if science doesn't know something at the moment it will figure it out.

I would love to hear your thoughts.

Views: 13

Tags: Evolution, creationism, questions

Comment by Apple on January 5, 2010 at 9:21am
These are typical arguments from people who do not understand the basics of what evolution actually is.

1) This is what I like to refer to as the "Pokemon mindset." In the game the monsters would "evolve" into different kinds of monsters. (Perhaps one reason the game has been condemed by evangelicals) People need to think of a species as a lump of clay rather than a block of steel. Change is constantly happening. Yes, you see change within a species and it can still be considered the same species. But if you keep adding the changes up over millions of years then you will end up with something completely different.

2) This is wrong, flat out. Most mutations are harmless and cause no real change. If there is a very negative change then the organism with that trait will die off. If there is a positive change, then it will have an advantage and be able to reproduce and pass that trait on. This is what we call evolution through the process of natrual selection. This is why it is not random. This is a very simple explanation and I'm sure many people on here can explain this better than me. For the most part, the people asking these questions need to know more about evolution and natural selection before they can even begin to try to pick it apart.
Comment by Keith A. Szilagyi on January 5, 2010 at 9:58am
Apple - I really like what you have said about looking at species as a lump of clay rather then a block of steel and I had the same thought about looking at change over millions of years.

I have to admit a great deal of ignorance when it comes to evolution. I am only about 6 months into this life called atheism and for the majority of my life was taught to fear evolution.
Comment by Dave G on January 5, 2010 at 10:14am
The Pokemon mindset, how very appropriate. :) This definitely comes into play when the age-old question of 'Then why hasn't a dog given birth to a cat??' comes up, demonstrating a fundamental lack of understanding of evolution and its processes.

We have seen speciation, both in the lab and in nature, it's just not the dramatic, radical Pokemon evolution that they are expecting. Talk Origins has a FAQ that contains a list of some observed speciations, and it does not even contain the newer instances. (The FAQ is woefully out of date, last updated in 1995)

As for the mutations part, Apple covered that nicely. Most mutations are neutral, of those that are not, many are harmful, but some are useful. The important thing to remember is that mutation alone is not evolution. Natural selection is essential.

I'd recommend picking up Dawkins' The Greatest Show on Earth or Coyle's Why Evolution Is True if you are interested in getting a solid overview of evolutionary theory.
Comment by Keith A. Szilagyi on January 5, 2010 at 10:41am
Dave - Thanks for the book recommendations. I will look into both of them.
Comment by Gaytor on January 5, 2010 at 10:56am
I took multiple anthropology and archaeology courses in college and just finished Coyne's Why Evolution is True. He asks some really good questions that you might not assemble on your own. ie, why is it that we find no Native Mammalian predators on Oceanic Islands, but they are on continental islands? In addition to what Apple and Dave have stated, beyond teaching you evolution, this book puts questions for the creationists in your hands that they will not be able to refute.

I posted this link on Facebook and a friend said "Then it turned into a jet plane and we all flew to Disneyland." So when we show small steps showing change, then speciation due to sexual selection, or bio geography, the creationist rejects it as micro evolution. Then when we add time, a fossil recored, DNA links (ERV's telomeric fusion) to other species they question Carbon Dating and the ilk. They want to see a transformer caught on tape, and that just isn't how it happens. I wonder if we genetically engineer a dinosaur from Chicken DNA one day if they will concede?
Comment by Johnny on January 5, 2010 at 1:00pm
I recently tried an approach of subtle questions...
Can I ask a few questions to try to establish a baseline?

1. Do you think that more offspring are produced than are able to survive to maturity and reproduce?

2. Do you think that offspring resemble their parents, but have genetic variation that makes them unique?

3. Do you think that an offspring with a trait that helps them survive (collecting food, defending/escaping from predators, surviving the environment, or attracting a mate) will be more likely to reproduce and have offspring of its own?

This was in a discussion with my aunt (a YEC). She asked a few questions for clarification, but finally said that she agreed with those three questions. I then replied letting her know that was evolution, plain and simply. That was a few months ago, and she hasn't replied yet.
Comment by sukhdeep on January 5, 2010 at 6:04pm
A1: the fossillized skeleton of archaeopteryx indicates tranistion between reptiles and birds

A2: sickle cell anemia is/was advantageous for the survival of life in west and central africa and it is decreasing in the western black popluation because it is not needed anymore
Comment by Altis Fosteson on January 6, 2010 at 3:49am
How bout a creationist perspective?

How about extremely minimal, if any, fossil records? For example I've heard some say that the manatee used to be an elephant.... ok, I'll buy that, but, where are all of the animals inbetween? If the dinosaur bones, from millions of years ago survived the test of time, then there should be a significant amount of fossils supporting evolution. Like where are all the animals that led up to the manatee? Where's the Elephant bones with flippers? You know what I'm saying.

As a creationist, I further argue that the very idea of evolution defies the general laws of science. It defies the laws of thermodynamics.

1. You cannot win (that is, you cannot get something for nothing, because matter and energy are conserved).
If matter can neither be created nor destroyed, as science teaches us, how did evolution, or the universe for that matter, ever get created in the first place? People ignore everything before evolution and just dive right in, but what about before evolution? If matter cannot be created... how did evolution ever begin?
2. You cannot break even (you cannot return to the same energy state, because there is always an increase in disorder; entropy always increases). This law is interesting, everything we see in nature decreases at some point, EVERYTHING, people live and die, animals live and die, the sun will eventually burn out, the earth will eventually be destroyed in some way or another. If there is always an increase in disorder, according to science and what we can observe of nature and matter, how does evolution miraculously defy this? Evolution, somehow, defies the laws of nature to go in the opposite direction of what science teaches us. If I throw a styrofoam cup into a landfill, is it going to last forever? Or will it eventually decay into a lesser form? I'm sure most of you will agree with me, that it will not last forever.

Also, in my opinion, there are a lot of animals that defy evolution altogether. There are animals that exist, who could not have survived "natural selection" because they are far too complex to have ever evolved from anything. I like to use the woodpecker for my arguments against evolution. I have more, but for now the woodpecker will do. I really like these series of videos. Check out this video on the woodpecker and why he defies evolution. The dude in the video is a Christian, so he throws the word God around a lot, but bear with it, it's good.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lm6NGWPvItE
Comment by sukhdeep on January 6, 2010 at 8:25am
sorry....did u read my comment above it has intermiditiary link listed and woodpecker is easily explained too if u read evolutionary books......read a book called evolution and the myth of creationism by tim berra it will answer all of ur questions that u have put forward
Comment by Altis Fosteson on January 6, 2010 at 9:24am
How is it easily explained? Aside from reading the entire book in its entirety, humor me with a response. What happened? One day a bird decided, hey, you know what? I think I'll start drilling a hole in a tree to get my food! Then what happens? Bird doesn't have the cartilage necessary to survive the impact of the hits NOR does it have the tongue long enough to reach the bugs once the hole is drilled. Evolution seems impossible to me since BOTH of those mechanisms need to be in place and in working order all at the same time. The woodpecker would never survive long enough to develop those traits. The amount of cartilage needed to survive the blows would never develop fast enough, the woodpecker would knock itself out or cause itself brain damage far before it could ever develop such things. If you have a reasonable response other than, oh hey, here's this book, then please, share it. I've never had anyone give me a solid answer on this. What was the woodpecker before? Some sort of crazy lizard?

Evolution doesn't occur fast enough for things to survive, the timing is off. Supposedly it takes millions of years. Let's say you have a lizard of some sort, suddenly his food source is dying off and he needs to find a new source of food. Evolution is unrealistic in the sense that he doesn't have millions of years to find a new food source, he has months, or a year, or even a thousand years, or whatever before his food source dies off. Is he going to evolve in a year? Of course not. He will die. "Natural selection" can be applied to nothing because nothing could ever survive it. Changes happen too quickly for animals to adjust to them. Let's say a blizzard blows into an area that normally has a hot climate. What will the animals do? Instantly evolve to the environment? Or will most of them freeze to death of be forced to migrate elsewhere?

Why would an organism EVER evolve to an environment if it has no need to do so. Any REASON to evolve is always going to happen too quickly for the evolution to take place. Otherwise, why ever evolve in the first place???

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