Evolution and Intelligent Design – The way to an agreement

The purpose of this article is to show how the Theory of Evolution (as a valid scientific theory) and Theism (as a valid philosophical theory) can coexist in the BioLogos schema proposed by Collins. I will show that the theory of Wallace-Darwin and “theism” may both be serious and logical explanations of our existence, each one adhering to different part of knowledge space.

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Author: Spiros Kakos

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Religion-Science Philosophy articles series

Introduction

The Theory of Evolution of Wallace and Darwinis one of the most discussed scientific theories nowadays. Some people think that the implications of the theory on our existence are significant, others that they are not. Some people think that this theory has deep philosophical side effects, others disagree. The true nature of evolution is one of the most popular things that trouble modern philosophers and scientists as well.

This article will deal with the question “Can and should the theory of evolution be applied to other fields besides biology, like philosophy?” and it will try to justify that “No” is the correct answer. The “Theory of Evolution by means of Natural Selection” is a valid scientific theory, while philosophy is a completely different realm with different rules. I will also attempt to present the basic points of a theory called BioLogos which attempts to reconcile the valid biological theory of evolution with the philosophical stance of theism.

What is the theory of Evolution

The theory of evolution is a biology theory according to which that species have evolved through time by means of natural selection.Actually the phrase “Theory of Evolution by means of natural selection of changes caused by random mutations” is the full-correct term.Random mutations generate variations in species and natural selection sees that only the fittest ones for survival do actually survive. Weak (i.e. not fit for survival) animals simply die. There have been many version of the Theory of Evolution. The initial theory proposed by Russel and Darwin has changed a lot since then. The so called “neo-Darwinian” synthesis is what refers to the new “version” of that theory. [1]

Theory of Evolution is correct! But for everything?

The first thing that must be said is that the theory of evolution is a valid, well evidenced and elegant biology theory. But valid not for “explaining everything concerning life”. Valid for “explaining one of the many possible mechanisms with which species change their characteristics” and noone can scientifically seriously argue against that. Many fossils show how evolution really worked in the past. Live examples also exist – consider the viruses which grow more immune to antibiotics in hospital environments. It is more than true that random DNA mutations do exist and that all species increase their chances of survival by natural selection: most weak ones dies and thus the total population tends to keep the most beneficial of these mutations as time passes. You can hardly find a modern biologist who denies the theory of evolution. Such a clarification is of the utmost importance. Most public debates on evolution are caused by the denial of the validity of the theory of evolution by people who believe in God. What I want to clarify here is that the theory of evolution is a correct and valid biological theory that has nothing to do with philosophical problems of existence, or with problems of life in general (we do not even know what “species” is, see below). Many geneticists (like Francis Collins) practice biology and at the same time believe in God! It is actually a pitty that some narrow-minded people today “use” the idea of Christianity to promote ideas like the “God created the world in 6 actual man-days”. We should not confuse Christian tradition and old texts with religion philosophy and with scientific facts. Please refer to my Knol What a Christian is NOT for more details on these issues and an analysis of how one can be a Christian with no such “conflicts”.

Some common misconceptions

It is generally very important to clarify the things one talks about. Most disagreements are a result of language misunderstandings. That is why Socrates, the great Greek philosopher, thought that before discussing anything you should first define the things that you will talk about. The main misunderstanding concerning the theory of evolution is that many people wrongly believe that there is only one theory of evolution and that this theory can explain everything related to life…

Not one single “Theory of Evolution” exists

Since Russel Wallace and Charles Darwin there have been many debates between biologists about evolution and its mechanisms. One must bear in mind that not ONE theory of evolution exists. There are many different versions of the theory, some of which have great differences. [2]

What some evolutionary biologists think about the main aspects of evolution are depicted below. [1] It is important to understand these differences so that we do not ask questions like “do you believe in the theory of evolution?”, but rather questions like “do you believe that the natural selection can result in speciation?”.

Common ancestor Gradual evolution Population-based speciation Natural selection
Lammark No Yes No No
Darwin Yes Yes Yes Yes
Haeckel Yes Yes ? Partially
New-lamarcians Yes Yes Yes No
T.H. Huxley Yes No No No
de Vries Yes No No No
T.H. Morgan Yes No No Insignificant

TABLE 1 – Various aspects of Theory of Evolution for some biologists

The table above is a simple indication of theTheory of Evolution is not just one solid piece of theory.What we refer today as “Theory of Evolution” is the modern evolutionary synthesis which was based on Darwin’s theory but not for every of its aspects. In fact, many things advocated by Darwin in his time, are now considered completely wrong. That is the way science promotes and progresses: constant criticism of existing theories. That is not something bad. I mention it just because we must have it in mind if we want to really understand the depth and meaning of the theory of evolution.

We should remember that Charles Darwin did not propose only one thing about evolution but many. Along with the mechanism of natural selection, he also proposed for example the fact that all species come from a common ancestor. Knowing what you talk about is crucial.

Not one universal definition of “evolution” exists

Additionally to the above-mentioned complexity of the Theory of Evolution as a whole, there is also added complexity to the matter with regards to the meaning of the word “evolution” per se, which must also be addressed. People generally hold one of three beliefs concerning the origin of species:

  • Naturalistic evolution : Evolution happened according to purely natural forces and processes without any (divine or not) guidance.
  • Theistic evolution / Intelligent design : Evolution happened and its mechanismwas/is created/guided by God. These two terms are oftenly misunderstood and used wrongly. The ID movement is a movement that attempts to prove the theory of evolution wrong, while theistic evolution accepts the validity of the theory of evolution while at the same time accepts God as the source of its mechanism. Francis Collins has proposed the term “BioLogos” (see below).
  • Creationism : Species were created separately by God.

When a person is asked in polls if they believe in evolution, they might interpret the question as belief in naturalistic evolution only. Alternately, they might consider it as asking whether one believes in either naturalistic or theistic evolution. Pollsters tend to like simple yes and no answers. Sometimes they do not handle questions well where there are more than one discrete positions.

Micro or Macro-evolution?

Another dimension of confusion regarding evolution (besides the philosophical one mentioned above), is related to the “level” to which this evolution refers to. Almost all biologists use the term “evolution” to talk about two different things: the evolution of a species being the first and the creation of new species being the second. This confusion could be a result of a mistake or ignorance, but it almost certainly is the result of bad intentions: Because hard scientific data that prove the creation of new species are difficult to find (if any), scientists (or better “scientists with a hidden agenda”) use the same term for both these notions in order to base their belief in the second to evidence they have for the first. Clear evidence for the evolution within a specific species do exist (micro-evolution). However evidence for the creation of new species (macro-evolution) do not exist in the extent some scientists would want. For example various experiments with thousands of generations of fruit-flies have not resulted in the creation of a new fruit-fly species. That is why they deliberately (?) use the same term for both – so that confusion may make some people think evidence for the first also support the second. You can visit the very insightful Knol on that subject Evolution – Facts, Theories, and Fiction . I will concentrate my efforts to make you understand the misuse of the abovementioned sound biological theory in philosophy.

About macro-evolution

I must note that I do not believe macro-evolution is wrong. I just understand that it hasn’t been proved by science up to now to the same degree micro-evolution has. We have not seen the creation of new species from existing ones in nature for as far as we can remember. We have not been able to “produce” new fly-species from experimenting on fruit flies. However there are some cases where scientists could have discovered possible mechanisms for macro-evolution [3] [4] [5] .That means that the “macro-evolution” is still a good theory almost pobbibly correct and it remains to be seen in what degree it is verified or not. I have nothing against the specific theory or any other theory in general. But I am against speculating and turning “theories” into “facts” just because we want to. I am against leaving our philosophical assumptions dictate our scientific conclusions. And I am against mixing things that cannot be mixed. And my antithesis to such ways of thinking is even more intense when I know that the basis for such ways of thinking is the materialistic philosophical dogma. Today it is “macro-evolution”, tomorrow it could be “Theory X”. The important thing is not to let our philosophical beliefs dictate our science.

The “Species Problem” – About the definition of “species”

It may not be clear to everyone, but the definition of “species” is not clear and something “science” has decided upon! Biologists even today argue about what the correct definition should be. Some have suggested that different species cannot interbreed and that this is the main point to consider when searching for a definition. Dobzhansky defined a species as [6]

“… that stage of evolutionary progress at which the once actually or potentially interbreeding array of forms becomes segregated into two or more separate arrays which are physiologically incapable of interbreeding” (Dobzhansky 1937)

However the application of that biological species concept (BSC) to a number of groups, including land plants, is problematical because of interspecies hybridization between clearly delimited species [7] . Many times completely different species of plants have been mixed together to produce a new one.

And one should have in mind that there is also an abundance of asexual populations that this definition just doesn’t apply to [8] . This is not just an “exception”. Asexual organism are the vast majority of organisms and the first ones to ever appear. So having problems with defining their “species” is as much as saying that we have problems defining the beginning of everything.

Last but not least, interbreeding experiments to verify that two animals belong to different species are almost never conducted [6] . How can you say that two species are different, when you do not conduct decades of experiments to determine if this is indeed the case?

Many of the debates on species touch on philosophical issues, such as nominalism and realism, as well as on issues of language and cognition [9] . Realism and Nominalism are philosophical subjects that come up in debates over whether or not species literally exist. From one perspective, each species is a kind of organism and each species is based on a set of characteristics that are shared by all the organisms in the species. This usage of “species” refers to the taxonomic sense of the word, and under this kind of meaning a species is a category, or a type, or a natural kind. This view of a species as a type, or natural kind, raises the question of whether such things are real. The question is not whether the organisms exist, but whether the kinds of organisms exist. There is a school of philosophical thought, called realism that says that natural kinds and other so called universals do exist. But what kind of existence would this be? It is one thing to say that a particular giraffe exists, but in what way does the giraffe category exist? This question is the opening for Nominalism which is a philosophical view that types and kinds, and universals in general, do not literally exist [9] . If the nominalist view is correct then kinds of things, that people have given names to, do not literally exist. It would follow then that because species are named types of organisms, that species do not literally exist. This can be a troubling idea, particularly to a biologist who studies species. If species are not real, then it would not be sensible to talk about “the origin of a species” or the “evolution of a species”. As recently at least as the 1950s, some authors adopted this view and wrote of species as not being real [10] [11] .

One is tempted to define man as a rational animal who always loses his temper when he is called upon to act in accordance with the dictates of reason.

Oscar Wilde, The Critic as Artist, part 2, 1891

Darwin himself was very much against the idea of the very notion of “species” and theclear distrinction between “species” based on the species defined as a group of individuals with similar characteristics.

For Darwin, since all individuals evolve continuously the definitionof distinct species is something completely arbitrary and based upon the subjective opinion of each taxonomist! He was actually proud that he had solved the problem of the definition of “species” by pointing out that the evolutionary mechanism continuously changes the characteristics of populations and where one “draws the line” to define a new/different species is completely subjective!!! [12]

Species could be literally a creation of our own flawed mind, which likes putting labels on everything and categorizing what it sees. If we like to say that “Bird A” is different than “Bird B”, that is fine by nature. But that does not also mean that nature thinks the same way…

Language mistakes and the Tree of Life

Scientists have for a long time tried to create a tree diagram with all the predecessors of human species – from a biology point of view. That tree is often calledthe “Tree of Life” and isthe source of many misunderstandings. The Tree of Life that most people refer to is similar to the following picture.

The “classic” view of the Tree of Life

Having a simple tree-diagram with brances that only move up without cross-sections can create the wrong impression for the reader. First of all it must be noted that according to new theories the tree is not so simple and it consists not of simple tree-like branches but of a more complex grid of lines going in many directions. What is more, scientists agree that we know very little about the lower levels of the tree: that levels could be consisting of a group of primitive cells rather than just one – so the ancestor of all species could be more and not one as many scientists today believe. Moreover, versions of the Tree of Life created based on the rRNA do not have roots at all! As strange as it may sound, the tree of life is not as simple as Darwin thought. [13]

What is more, new discoveries of huge viruses indicate that the “common ancestor” theory is not applicable to everything. Marseillevirus was a huge virus discovered by French scientists to have a mixed genome that contains material from different sources including plant and animal matter, bacteria and other giant viruses such as the Mimivirus. The genome of the so-called Marseillevirus encompasses a complex repertoire of genes that are “very different from the DNA of other virus forms,” and shows that there is genetic exchange between other micro-organisms such as giant viruses and bacteria found in amoeba.Didier Raoult, head of infectious and emerging tropical disease research at Aix-Marseille 2 University in France, said the mechanism was not foreseen by Charles Darwin’s theory that life comes from a common ancestor.“The idea of a common ancestor makes no sense in the light of viruses,” he said. “That was Darwin’s idea, but he was clearly wrong”. [14]

The rRNA-based Tree of Life. Notice that no “root” exists as in the classical veiw / approach.

But it must be noted that whatever form the Tree of Life has, we must be very careful not to extract the wrong conclusion from it. The proximity of two organisms in the tree could say very little about the actual proximity of these organisms in reality. For example in the Tree of Life humans are very close to chimps. However that says nothing concerning the true in-life differences between the two: as I analyze in the end of the article (see “Explanation of evolution mechanism is not explanation of human nature”), humans have many unique characteristics that no animal has at all. So claiming close relationship between humans and chimps is not a solid “truth” (whatever that word means) but more a category mistake – a language error. In the same way “living matter” is a “branch” that sprung out of “lifeless matter” – does that mean that life is closely related to stones and dirt? It is unfortunately very easy to make language mistakes. Lets define “thing” as “something that exists”. Does that make us all humans “things”? Yes! Or…no?

Scope of Theory of Evolution is limited

Another misconception is related to the breadth of issues covered by evolution / design. Some people (like me)regard evolution asa scientific theorycovering only the development of life forms so as to adjust to their environment (micro-evolution) – thus leaving space for thinking human as being something more than dust and electones. Others (like Dawkins)include the origins of the universe, the reason of our existence [whichthey believe itdoes not exist, since natural selection and physics laws existed there for ever and with no reason at all], the development of galaxies, stars, planetary systems, development of mountain ranges, continental drift, etc – thus leaving no space for purpose or something more ‘spiritual’ in our lifes.In my opinion it is of the utmost importance to recognize the scope of the Theory of Evolution and be very careful not to go beyond it.Science can explain the physical phenomena, but not the super-natural ones. The latter must be left to the philosophers…

In that aspect, the Theory of Evolution is a biological theory as stated above and

NOT a philosophical one

Can a watch exist without a watchmaker?

Theory of Evolution has yet to solve smaller mysteries than the abovementioned ones, like how random mutations generate new information (modern information theory tells us that “noise” – which is the equivalent of random mutations in the DNA – in an information system does not create information, but destroys it), how lifeless molecules come into “life”, how species are different every day but still “the same” (refer to Parmenides philosophy and to Theseus paradox) et cetera. Thus, it is difficult to answer the question “do you believe in evolution” with a simple “yes” or “no” without first having clarified all these issues. It may be better to leave the details of biological diversity to the scientists and the great metaphysical questions to the philosophers. According to an opinion that is becoming more and more popular over time, natural selection is something that explains well how species evolved, but does not answer any of the philosophical questions man has from the beginning of time, nor does it rule out the existence of God or purpose in the Universe.

Humans against “Evolution”

It is also very important to see that the behavior of humans is contradictory to the basic laws of the Theory of Evolution. Humans for example have the tendency to help species that are on the verge of extinction to survive. This is clearly against the very basic law of evolution according to which “the more weak are selected by nature to die”. And since we are one of the most important parts of what we call “nature”, this behavior should trouble those who claim to have found the solution for everything in the sayings of Darwin… For example Huxley, prominent figure of modern evolutionary biologists who was one of the people who formed the new evolutionary synthesis [15] was also in favour of eugenics:

“The lowest strata are reproducing too fast. Therefore… they must not have too easy access to relief or hospital treatment lest the removal of the last check on natural selection should make it too easy for children to be produced or to survive; long unemployment should be a ground for sterilisation.” [24]

Julian Huxley, Huxley J.S. 1947. Man in the modern world . Chatto & Windus, London. Originally published in The uniqueness of Man , 1941.

These views actually reflect the true nature of the foundations of natural selection. Had it been that this “law” governed our behaviour as humans, we should stop immediatelly offering help to those in need – BUT we do not! Had it been that this “law” dictated our ethics, we should start immediatelly killing the old and the weak – BUT we do not! We, as humans, DO NOT FOLLOW THE LAW OF NATURAL SELECTION!!! And that is a good thing for us! Love and compassion should be our guides, not the law of killing the weak…

I do not claim to make any arguments based on Huxley. I am sure that many many evolutionary biologists are nice people who do not want to kill the weak and the poor. But wait a minute…WHY would they not want that? Is not that what the Theory of Evolution tells us? Could we decide something different that what “Nature” has decided, i.e. that the death of the weak be the source of all life and of humans? It seems that we do. And good for us!!! Before going any further, evolutionary biologists should answer those hard questions. Because love and compassion are basic for humans (at least for the…evolved humans) and if the theory of evolution cannot explain that, it must change. Maybe not completely change, but at least the basic part of it.

Evolution does not explain everything…

The main reason that lies behind the Theory of Evolution – Intelligent Design advocates is that some evolutionary biologists try to get out of their realm of expertise and attempt to use the Darwin-Wallace theory of evolutionfor things it never meant to answer in the first place.I do not believe in natural selection as an explanation to everything…According tothe logic of many people(and nottheir faith) it seems illogical to base human existence on probabilitiesand to think that all the beautiful things people do are just a product or probabilities – that the human existence as a whole (not human evolution through the last 1,000,000 years, which may be well explain via Darwin) is based on probabilities. For example, for me it is logical to say that since people perform altruistic actions to stranger that are not made public to anyone else, then the theory of evolution must have missed something there… The logic of someone elsemight say something else. Noone has evidence to explain altruism or love or all emotions right now. And it is unfortunate that some peopleuse the findings of evolution theory to claim that “Species evolved” => “No Grand Designer needed” => “God doesn’t exist / Purpose doesn’t exist”. It is a very popular line of thinking among atheists and one of the reasons for the conflict that some people wish to exist. In other words: even though I think the theory of evolution is correct for the explanation of species evolution and biodiversity, I don’t think it applies to the beginning of life (how inorganic matter turned into living organisms), the existence/non-existence of purposeor to other grand metaphysical questions.

What is more, many great biologists even think that the dogma (axiom)of modern science that humans are just an evolved form of animals is questionable. Alfred Russel Wallace, the founder of the Theory of Evolution (see Russel Wallace and Evolution Theory ) believed that evolution mechanisms could not be applied to humans. Humans do have some higher quality intellectuall and spirituall skills that can not easily be seen as extended, improved “versions” of respective skills animals have.

To quote the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy “The more general philosophical issues associated with evolutionary theory—those surrounding natural teleology, ethics, the relation of evolutionary naturalism to the claims of religious traditions, the implications for the relation of human beings to the rest of the organic world—receive no single solution from evolutionary science”. [16]

Science is theory-driven, not evidence-based. First theories are proposed and then they are backed up with evidence. So for the matters of altruism, love, purpose one may propose a theory, I maypropose another. This is what scientists do. I cannot understand why a theory should be allowed to be spoken and another not. Saying that a ‘Grand Designer’ is the cause of Universe’s existence is as scientific as claiming that ‘Nothing’ is the cause for Universe’s existence!

Until we have all the answers it is not proper for any of us to claim he holds the key to the ultimate truth. Especially biologists should be very carefull when addressing these issues. Dealing with human life and existenceis a very sensitive matter.

Human altruism and love make evolution obsolete?

It is true that in nature the fittest species survive. We see that everyday. This is what the Theory of Evolution is based upon. But humans have the tendency to help the weak members of their society. Humans have the tendency to love and show altruism. Humans have the tendency to provide help to those who need help. All of the above actually nullify the whole “evolution process”, since it seems that humans do not really “care” about their species evolution – they prefer to have weak people whom they love than only “Strong people who survive” around them. How does the Theory of Evolution takes that parameter into account? It does not.

The problem of ethics

The Theory of evolution has really hard time dealing with ethics. If survival is the ultimate purpose, then what stops us from lying or killing to make sure that we survive? We say that “killing is bad” or “lying is bad”, but what if you had to kill or lie in order to survive as species? Does that mean that – by the Theory of Evolution – we did the “right” thing? And what if a Muslim kills people in Europe in order for him to survive? Would that make his actions moral or more “correct”? And what if a Christian killed in the name of “God” so as to survive in what he sees as an atheistic theatening environment? And what if communists killed religious people so as to keep the state running and help their ideas “survive”? Do the “survival” needs of anyone justify his – ovisously – wrong actions when examined via the filter of the Theory of Evolution? I do not think many people would agree with that. And that is why morality is one of the things evolution cannot explain. Things that are so “obvious” to everyone (like “you shouldn’t kill”) are not so obvious for Darwin.

The “poison” of materialism

Many scientists are materialists and they often confuse that philosophical stance with the very nature of science. As I mention in other Knols (see The Limits of Science ) materialism (orphysicalism)is a not-proven proposition [17]and basing everything on it is a matter of choice with no objective way to know anything about its “validity”. Materialism excludes the possibility of the existence of spirit or anything different than matter in the cosmos, so it is not surprising that scientists who believe that view cannot “find” anything different between the humans and the animals.

Be careful to know the underlying foundation of the other opinions, so as not to confuse “opinion” with “scientifically validated truth”…Everyone has pre-assumptions in his mind when speaking. The point is to make them publicly known in order to have an honest dialogue…

Great scientists’ objections for evolution

Many great scientists object to the belief that the theory of evolution explains everything – with the most critical questions not answerable by evolution being human properties and the great metaphysical questions of existence. Among these scientists two men are worth special reference:

  • Alfred Russel Wallace: Wallace was the person who first publicly promoted the idea of evolutionvia means of natural selection , one year before Darwin published the same exactly theory. He was elected head of the anthropology section of the British Associationin 1866, president of the Entomological Society of London in 1870 and head of the biology section of the British Association in 1876 . In his work ‘The Limits of Natural Selection as Applied to Man'(S165:1869/1870) [http://www.wku.edu/~smithch/wallace/S165.htm], he argues that the theory of evolution cannot explain’higher’ human properties. He proposed the existence of a ‘Higher Intelligent’ being’ to explain such things as the passing of inorganic matter to living matter or the existence of consiousness [18] .
  • Francis S. Collins: A genetist that was the head of the Human Genome Project. He is a believer in God and does not believe that the theory of evolution can explain everything. He has also published a book to provide ‘evidence for belief’ (see Bibliography). [19] [20]

The existence of such big scientists that are leaders in the biology section of science, puzzles many atheists. This should not be the case however, since many logical arguments exist in favour of the existence of intelligent design in nature and human in particular.

Towards BioLogos

BioLogos [21] is a new term proposed by Collins [22] so as to refer to “theistic evolution” in a way that cannot be confused or misunderstood in any way with other “ID” theories. It also does not use the term “theistic” in it so as to avoid any confusion with “creationism” theories. This new term frees us from the burden to analyze and clarify any possible intermix with existing theories and provides us with a “fresh start” in order to build the theory of “the existence of an ultimate being” in the world. BioLogos schema is actually a line of thinking that is in favour of the existence of a Designer (God) in cosmos. That Designer is the source of the laws and every complexityin Universe. The existence of a Designer does not mean that Evolutuon theory is wrong – quite the contrary. The world is designed by a Designer and then it evolves based on the physical laws (e.g. evolution mechanism) established in its design.What that Designer does and if he/she/it unterferes with the everyday life is a point that is not clear up to now and mostly irrelevant to the basic principle advocated by BioLogos Theory (at least up to the point I have understood): that a purpose exists in the Universe.

The BioLogos theory tries to (successfully) combine the theory of species evolutionvia natural selection (at a biological level) and the philosophy of purpose existing in the universe (at a philosophical level), thus attempting to avoid the error conducted by the Theory of Evolution (which tries to cover both science and philosophical level with one purely biologicaltheory).

Thus, it can be said that the “BioLogos” theory is actually a “marriage” between the biological scientific theory of Evolution and the philosophical stand point of theism (and not a new biological theory). The BioLogos theory does not deny the Theory of Evolution, but it fully accepts it. Its arguments just take a stand for the philosophical problems concerning our existence (“why do we exist”, “is there a purpose in our lifes” etc), with which the Theory of Evolution has nothing to do at all.

Arguments in favour of BioLogos

There are many logical arguments in favour of the BioLogos theory. The main thing one must bear in mindis that the differences between Theory of Evolution and BioLogos theoryhave nothing to do with the details of biology. Both theories accept that the”evolution through natural selection” concept is correct for species (although many argue that it does not apply to humans). However if someone attempts to [wrongly] apply the theory of evolution tothe abstract level of philosophical questions, then conflict do arise. Some of the logical arguments in favour of the BioLogos theory include:

  1. If causality exists in the world (i.e. everything happening has a prior cause), then everything must have a cause. So the BigBang must in turn have a prior cause, that cause another cause and so on. However it is not logical to say that the Universe exists for ever without any reason. It is not logical to say that there is noinitial cause to the existence of the cosmos, because you would then deny the fact that causality exists: it is not logical to say that everything has a cause, but that the existence of universe has not!Sothere must be an initial cause that would ‘break’ that indefinite chain of causes (this is the “First Cause” argument – see Religional Science for an analysis of the argument). The initial cause proposed by the theory of theistic evolution / BioLgos is a divine creator, since only such a being can play the role of an initial cause (sincethat divine creator is outside the bounds of time and space – thus not requiring a prior cause for its own existence).In the same way the theory of Evolution proposes (but has not proven scientifically) that there is no initial cause. None of these arguments can be proven with hard data. However the proposal of the Intelligent Design theory is more logical (and logic is a scientific tool).
  2. Most things in life seem to have a purpose for their existence (teleological argument). Many aspects of human life propose that we have a higher purpose in life . We everyday strive to improve spiritually and intellectually, we write and read poetry, we cry when we hear a favourite song, we choose to give our precious life for abstract noble ideas (like freedom or dignity or love), etc. If our life as dust particles is the only thing we have, then we would never choose to commit suicide.No hard evidence can be found for the existence of purpose in the Universe. However it is a logical thing to say such a thing. Claiming that existence is an accident seems highly illogical and, thus unscientific, for a species that creates art, thinks, loves, cries… We everyday try to improve ouselfs and go past the strict boundaries of our mortal bodies, everyday we try to improve our spirit and our souls, so telling that we have the same purpose in the world as a banana sounds rather ‘not correct’.
  3. The Achilles’ heel of the theory of evolution seems to be “goodness”. Humans have the tendency to be altruistic , do good to other people not for gaining profit but just because they want to do good. This is impossible to be explained in a world were the “survival of the fittest” rule (i.e. theory of evolution)exists. Despite numerous attempts to explain altruism and goodness as a result of evolution, no such thing has ever been acomplished. Male apes or lions may kill the offsprings of other males so that they can dominate, females may eat the males after reproducing, monkeys of a team may attack monkeys in another team, but humans may do good to other humans EVEN THOUGHthat will gain them nothing (consider for example altruistic actions that happen in private without the one doing good wanting to say publicly what he/she has done). Only the existence of a higher purpose and a ‘Designer’ who has embedded in us the sense of Moral Law and the tendency tobe goodcan explain such a behaviour.
  4. The Universe itself has been proven scientifically that it is specifically designed to support life . Some 10 basic universe parameters (like the gravitational constant, the electon charge etc) have exactly the value they have to so as to support life: a minor change to the 200-th decimal point to any of those parameters would condemn us to non-existence. This looks like design – and the existence of a designer the only logical explanation for such a thing to exist.
  5. Modern developments in molecular biology strongly indicate that the concept of ‘design’ is inherent in nature and the various species. Darwin did not know about the concept of DNA, which on its own shows that many traits of humans are coded into genes. Above all, the fact that we are beginning to design new forms of life on owr own (e.g. imrpove the human genome, create new viruses for biological weapons etc) clearly shows that the idea of ‘design’ in life is more than just a theological idea – it is rather part of reality.

[Please refer to the article Religional Science for a more extensive analysis of these arguments.]

Important thing to note about logic: Even Aristotle, the founder of Logic, did not know what logic was useful about. He could not say whether logic is a tool to find the ultimate truth or just a tool to discover the limits of our language. Post-modern philosophers have thought much on that.To be precise, we do not even know whether such a thing as ‘ultimate truth’ even exists! As Wittgenstein once said, wecannotknow the boundaries of our thought, because in order to do that we should be able to think of what we cannot think!

One can clearly counter-argue that logic says that since we have no hard measurable evidence for the existence of purpose in the universe, then non exists. That could very well be the case. The point is that my logic may not reach the same conclusions as your logic. The logic of Godel (the greatest mathematician-logican after Aristotle) told him that God existed (see my knol Religional Science ). The logic of another person might say something different.That is the reason why people argue for many things. It is human. I do not claim that I have the key to the ultimate knowledge, but I would ask from everyone else not to claim such thing either (those who think they do, try and read my knol The Limits of Science ).

BioLogos critique

Many people who are against the theistic evolution proposed by BioLogos theory as a philosophical idea believe that it has already been famously demolished by David Hume in his Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (1779). The fact that Hume could only provide a plausible criticism of intelligent design, but not an alternative explanation for the complexity and diversity of life, was remediated by the theory of Russell-Darwin [22] . However what these people fail to see is that while they talk against the notion of combining philosophy (and in particular the idea of “theism”) with biology, they do the same when they conclude that the Theory of Evolution has proved that a divine creator is not required.

Debate over BioLogos

Many people ofter misunderstand terms used and I am no exceptio to that. When I read books over the subject, I can almost instantly undertand that the terms are not used consistently from one writer to the other. I use the term “BioLogos” that Collins suggested so as to refer tio “theistic evolution which accepts the biological validity of the theory of evolution”. Many people could confuse that with the Intelligent Design movement. Many people claim that theistic evolution is not science but religious dogma. This is not true. Science is the logical explanation of phenomena in our cosmos. Ancient Greeks saw things and they thought hard to explain them. So they reached to the theory that the world is composed of atoms, even without having the tools we have today! These ancient Greeks are regarded highly as the first scientists. In a similar way, the Intelligent Design supporters simply suggest a logical explanation of the facts they see (like the fact that all Universe parameters have exactly the values needed to support human life), in the same way as people who believe in Evolution suggest another. Neither of themhas hard data – i.e. scientific measurements to illustrate how or what created the universe. Thus, “soft” logic (in contradiction to “hard” mathematical logic)is our only means of finding out how the universe was created. Maybe in the future another explanation is found. But at this point our logic says that not everything is based on chance. Godel, the greatest logician after Aristole, concluded logically that God exists. Thus, Intelligent Design is logical thus scientific.

Moreover, saying that chance is the source of our existence (as evolutionarists do claim), is highly un-scientific. Science from the beginning of time tried to find logical explanations to things andnever relied on chance to explain various phenomena. Science from the beginning of time tries to find the causes of all phenomena, so it is rather ironic that some scientists claim that there is no initial cause. It is not logical to say that every event has a cause, but that the universe it self has not! After all, when examining an event, e.g. a glass of water that falls on the ground, you try to find the initial cause. If you say that “the glass fell because of the law of gravity” you would have “cheated”. You did not find THE cause, you just stated the first-most immediate cause. For your analysis to be complete, you must find the cause of the law of gravity, the cause of that cause etc…If no initial cause exists (God?), then actually the simple phenomenon of the glass falling has no cause at all! The world would stop from being intelligible…

Most scientists I speak to believe in the existence of a God. Other scientists do not. There is a controversy over the matter. The fact that the theory of evolution has not convinced so many years after its initial proposal, shows something that noone should ignore: it seems as though the Evolution theory has crossed its boundaries of expertise and falsely claim knowledge of things it cannot prove or justify. Explaining how fish evolved does not necessarily mean that we have explained the purpose of the Universe!

The difficulty in explaining *everything* with one theory (e.g. theory of evolution) is clearly depicted by the following video of Richard Dawkins interview.In that interview Dawkins was asked to name one biological process that increases the information in the genome, thus leading to new more evolved species. Richard Dawkins simply did not answer…

Dawkins fails to explain information increase via evolutionary process

Important note: Please do not confuse the main point here by paying attention on the fact that this video is tagged as “Richard Dawkins stumped by creationists’ question”. I am not a creationist and this page is not a page that promotes their ideas. YouTube videos have titles of their own and I cannot change them.

Concerning the “nature” of the Theory of Evolution

Think of comparing dogs with humans with respect to the theory of evolution standards of what “evolved” means. We humans work 12-15 hours per day to be able to eat, while dogs have us feeding them. We must get tired to have a place to live, while dogs have houses we provide them. We may not even have health-care, but dogs have the best doctors we can find for them. Many humans could be alone and suffer from depression, but dogs always have a human at their side for company. In terms of “evolution”, which of the two species seems more “fit to survive”?

And of course that would be much worse if we compare us humans with bacteria. Bacteria have proved that they can survive better than we do. They are more fit for survival and they have certainly beaten the mechanism of natural selection. What does that mean from an evolution point of view? Are they more “evolved”? The question could be fomulated us: What does “evolved” mean anyway? Are bacteria “higher” or “lower” in the ladder of species evolution?

If they are more fit to survive, why don’t we try to evolve into something similar? If not, how did they survive better than every other species?

The very basis of the theory of evolution is fuzzy and I can clearly see many philosophical dogmas underlying its foundations. Like the “we are no different than dogs and bacteria” kind of dogmas…

And do not forget that the notion of design exists even in the theory of evolution. All species evolve in a way so that the fittest to an environment survives over the least-fit species. This means that the evolution process is ‘designed’ to promote the survival of the fittest (and not, for example, the survival of the weakest animal thus leading to the degradation of our civilization). Who or what gave that ‘purpose’ to the evolution mechanism?

Being logical is the only way to reach truth – and logic says that when you play at a casino your chance will finally give you up and you will loose all your money…

Explanation of evolution mechanism is not explanation of our human nature

It is very important to clarify one big misunderstanding: Even if we explain and analyze every little detail of the mechanism of evolution, that will mean absolutely nothing for our understanding of human nature. Modern neo-darwinian theory of evolution has only scratched the surface of the mystery of life…Knowing how mutations work into producing changes tells nothing about the nature of these changes. Even after having a complete theory of evolution we will still have to explain the things that make us humans: our moral values, our culture, our spirit, our inclination towards philosophy and art, our human values. There are many things that make us unique in the cosmos and explaining how nature “selects” the more beneficial mutations tells null about what are the exact changes that actually took place for human to exist as such a unique creature. Unfortunately some atheists / materialists tend to take advantage of such subtle misunderstandings to promote their own agenda: they claim that if genes are all that makes us humans and if we differe gennetically from chimps so little, then we must not be so unique. This line of thinking is wrong because it is prejudices with assumptions not clearly stated: First of all it takes the correctness of monism (i.e. that we are only matter and not spirit as well, as dualism says) for granted – something wrong, since it has not been proved yet. It is also based on the wrong assumption that the changes in genes can account for every trait of human beings, something again wrong: we know so little about the human brain and mind that saying something like that can at least be characterized as immature. In that way atheists / materialists ignore all the things we everyday see that we only have as part of our nature and attempt to reduce us to over-evolved chimps. Seeing the whole picture and paying extra attention to how one speaks and thinks correctly and without prejudice is the only way to avoid misunderstandings like that. No animal thinks like we do about its existence, no animal has moral values system developed, no animal has developed civilization, no animal has philosophy or poetry. Our uniqueness is very compatible with an evolutionary mechanism which produced unique changes. It all remains to be proved, but with mind clear of any pre-assumptions…

Bibliography

1. ‘Dissent Over Descent’, Steve Fuller.

2. ‘The Origin of Human Races and the Antiquity of Man Deduced From the Theory of Natural Selection’, Alfred Russel Wallace (S93: 1864).

Author: skakos

Spiros Kakos (or Spyros Kakos or Spyridon Kakos) [Σπύρος Κάκος] is a thinker located in Athens, Greece. He has been the Chief Editor of Harmonia Philosophica since its inception. Spiros has a diploma in Chemical Engineering, an MSc in Advanced Materials' Technology, an MBA in Decisions' Science, a phD in the use of conductive polymers in PCB industry and is still learning. He also worked as a technical advisor and a researcher in the Advanced Materials sector for many years in the past. In his free time he develops software solutions and contributes to the open source community. He is the creator of Huo Chess, one of the smallest micro-chess programs ever that is perfect for educational purposes. He believes that science and religion are two sides of the same coin and is profoundly interested in Religion and Science philosophy, as well as the philosophy of the irrational. His philosophical work is mainly concentrated on an effort to free thinking of "logic" and reconcile all philosophical opinions under the umbrella of the "One" that Parmenides - one of the first thinkers - visualized. Since our thought is dictated by our assumptions, the only way to free it and know cosmos as it is, is to think irrationally and destroy everything we have built. The "Harmonia Philosophica" articles program is the tool that will accomplish that. Life's purpose is to be defeated by greater things. And the most important things in life are illogical. We must fight the dogmatic belief in "logic" if we are to stay humans. We should stop thinking in order to think. Credo quia absurdum!

220 thoughts on “Evolution and Intelligent Design – The way to an agreement”

  1. There is no ultimate truth — The debate on Evolution and Intelligent Design theories is always based on the common misconception that an “ultimate truth” exists and that science is the only way to reach to it. Before posting any comments stating that I am wrong and you are right, please read my other knols “Limits of Science” and “Religional Science” first.

  2. To Question Everything it’s a part of our evolutive process. — I believe Darwin was correct but it has been proven that he was not 100% correct. This theory Intelligent Design is very interesting and it makes some sense and unlikely what people say, it’s not Anti-Darwinian. I saw Anne Dambricourt Malassé being basically joked by the Darwinists that were in the room when they didn’t even analyzed her theory correctly. Everything must be analyzed and questioned that’s the natural evolutionary step. My English is not perfect, sorry if this text is not so clear.

    1. Untitled — You are more than right. Some biologists make the mistake to think that because they explained how some species evolved (which they did and good for them, nobody denies that), they have found out the truth about our purpose in life…That is so wrong and few people understand it.All big metaphysical questions of man are just outside the scope of physical sciences. Physical sciences deal with the physican phenomena, not with questions like “what is our purpose”. I refer to you an announcement made by the International Association of National Academies of Sciences http://www.interacademies.net/Object.File/Master/6/150/Evolution%20statement.pdf where they explicitely say in the last paragraph that exactly same thing: purpose and meaning of life is outside the scope of exact sciences!

    2. Untitled — Thank you for your reply. Now i leave you this one for you to think about! : )There was one time one Chinese Scientist that was talking with an American Scientist and he said, here in China we can question Darwinism but we can’t question our President while you the U.S. can question your President but you can’t question Darwinism. Just like you said it’s like some kind of “Religion”.I’m making further research on this subject of the Intelligent Design and I’ll be glad we can discuss it because when i talk to most of my friends about it they are not really interested on anything of that. Most of the people don’t bother to question themselves what’s our purpose in the Universe what are our origins where are we going next, what’s the next step? Are we simply going to cease to exist are we simply a grain of sand in the Universe or is there something bigger stored for us in the future?Best Regards!

    3. Untitled — Thanks for the comment! Your English is great, much better than the English of many English speakers. I aggree with what you say: we should question everything. Darwinism tends to be a kind of non-questionable “religion” in our days and we should all oppose to that.

  3. Science is logical… Religion is not… You can’t mix them. — The main objection that people have to “Intelligent Design” is that it comes packaged with a “Jewish-Christian God”… Implying that “Evolution” is a part of Christian Theology… Christian Fundamentalists first tried to ban the teaching of Evolution. They lost that battle. So now they have come up with “Intelligent Design” as a way to “control” the “teaching of Evolution”… fundamentalist Christians are trying to “co-opt Evolution”, and inject “their Christian God concept” into it. They want to “define” Evolution in a way that they “approve of.”… (next thing you know, they would be accusing the “stem cell research people” of committing “sins against evolution”… The Fundamentalist Christians are very illogical people, who believe every word of the Bible in a literal sense, word for word. If the Bible says God created Adam, you will never convince them that man evolved from the same common ancestor as the apes. Evolution is a very logical scientific concept, mixing it with very illogical religious fanaticism, would only harm the teaching of evolution”… which is why religious fundamentalist are pushing it… Intelligent Design is an attack on the teaching of evolution…… The next problem is that if you say “evolution” is God’s “Intelligent Design”… Which God are you talking about… Every group of people on the planet have a God/Goddess,and a “creation of the world/universe myth , and they are his/her chosen people… But even if we stick with the Christian God/Gods we still have problems…… The Roman Emperor Constantine (Emperor from 306 – 337 A.D.) made Christianity a state religion of the Roman Empire, with himself as the “pontifex Maximus” (“High Priest” in Latin) of the Christian Church, and organized the various squabbling sects of Christians in the Roman Empire into one single organized Religion called the “Roman Catholic Church”… “Catholic” means “Universal” in Latin, so the name of the new state religion was the “Roman Universal Church”… A Church that was intended to be universal enough, to include all Romans…… When the Roman Emperor Constantine adopted Christianity as a new state religion of the Roman Empire, Christianity was already hundreds of years old. During this time the Christian Communities had diverged in both the Philosophy and Practice of their religion. Constantine created the Roman Universal (Catholic) Church as a way to combine the divergent views, and to create the three necessary “God Concepts” for the three groups of citizens (pleasure seekers, power seekers, and wisdom seekers) in the empire. This was done to prevent the “pleasure seekers” or “power seekers” from debasing and corrupting the “God of the Wisdom Seekers”, down to the “God of the Power Seekers”, or the “God of the Pleasure Seekers”… Constantine was a Greek, and the Greeks (since ancient times) have worshiped “Divine Wisdom” (Hagia Sophia, which means “Divine Wisdom” in Greek) as the “highest” and most “true” God Concept… This is why the Great Church of Constantinople was called “The Church of Hagia Sophia”. But because the large mass of the people could not “understand” an abstract concept of God, “God the Son” (Christ), and “God the Father” (The Jewish God Jehovah) were also necessary. This was to include those Christians that worshiped Christ as “The God”, and those Christians who saw Christianity as “reformed Judaism and worshiped “Jehovah” as “The God”… Christ and Jehovah are included as “avatars” of “The Holy Spirit” (Divine Wisdom)…… “God the Father” (Jehovah) is the stern “policeman” of the “pleasure seekers”. The God of the great mass of the people (“hoi polloi”, meaning “the many” in Greek) who spend their lives seeking money and pleasure. God the Father restrains these people who have no self control. This great mass of the people are kept under control because God the Father is an all seeing jealous and vengeful God, who threatens fire and brimstone as punishment for those who disobey him… This is the God of the (Jewish) Old Testament who creates the sun, moon, earth. etc,… and Adam & Eve… So He would be the one that the fundamentalist Christians would say is responsible for “intelligent design”… But consider that “God the Father” is a “HE”… He is male (defined as having a penis and balls), so there must be a female Goddess who gave birth to him, or to have sex with him… Why else would a God be a “He” and have sex organs ? So how could “God the Father” be a Monotheistic God ? (Also remember that Jehovah created Adam in his own image and likeness… and why would Adam already have a penis and balls, if Eve was just Jehovah’s after thought)… How do you combine this with something as logical as Evolution…… God the Son (Jesus) can’t be responsible for “intelligent design”, because he was a produce of it…… God the Holy Ghost is a sexless monotheistic God… and would be the Christian God that would logically be responsible for “Intelligent Design”. But the Bible credits God the “Father”, a male God… Science is logical, Religion is not,You can’t mix them.

    1. Untitled — The comment is obviously not well designed and difficult to read. You seem to “answer” a lot of things I have not said.Since Godel was the greatest logician of all times and he believed in God, I find it difficult to agree with you. And since Aristotle, who was THE greatest logician of all times (and can hardly be “accussed” of being a Christian…), also believed in the “First Cause” I find it even more difficult to agree with you.Thanks for your comment!

  4. Science is logical… Religion is not… You can’t mix them… Part 2 — NO OFFENSE INTENDED… My comment was not “aimed” at what you said in your knol. My comment was “aimed” at all the things I have heard proponents of “Intelligent Design” say. The people who aggressively push for “Intelligent Design” to be taught in the schools along side of “Evolution”, are the same people who did everything possible to suppress and legally ban the teaching of “Evolution”. The concept of “Intelligent Design” was invented by “Creationists”, who failed in their attempt to suppress “Evolution”. My objection to “Intelligent Design” is that it is just another attempt to destroy “Evolution”. The people who created “Intelligent Design”, would never, ever accept the scientific fact that “man” and the “apes” descended from a common ancestor. I believe in a “God”, but I see no conflict in believing in a God, and believing that “man” and the “apes” descended from a common ancestor. I certainly don’t believe that God created “Adam & Eve”, and that all people are descended from them. Nor do I believe that the Bible was “divinely inspired”. The Bible was compiled and written and edited by men, by Romans hundreds of years after Jesus died, who were creating a new “state religion” for the Roman Empire called the “Roman Catholic Church”. If you want a “First Cause” and say the “the Big Bang” of Astrophysics was God creating the Universe, I see no conflict. But if “God always was, and always will be”, (no First Cause), it is just as possible (or logical) to say that “the Universe always was, and always will be”, or that the Universe Is God. But I certainly don’t believe the Bible story of Creation. I know the Spirit World as a fact, because I have experienced it. So I know there is an after life when we die. I also know that there is absolutely no way anyone could apply “Aristotle’s logic” to it. The Spirit World contains every contradictory thing that man has ever imagined. It even contains “the Elysian Fields” of the ancient Greeks !!!. And everyone else’s hells and heavens, and every kind of creature in the universe. Evolution describes the very consistent and logical laws of the Physical Earth World, based on observation. It is open to change. There is no “good” and “evil”.Religion deals with the Spirit World , as interpreted (mostly) by people who have never observed it. Religion is based on rigid “Dogma” and “good & evil”, and already has all the answers. It has no place for logic (unless it gives you the pre-prescribed “correct” answer). “Intelligent Design” has not place in “Serious Science”, any more than “Intelligent Physics”, “Intelligent Mathematics”, or “Intelligent Astronomy”, and so on.

    1. Untitled — Interesting way to see things. I must say that I haven’t seen things in this way. But then, it all depends on the definitions one gives to the word “spiritual”, correct?

    2. Untitled — P.P.S… The “Spirit World” and “Religion” are two completely different things. “The Spirit World exists as a place that is just as real as the “Physical World”. If we are alive, we are living in both worlds simultaneously… “Religion” is man’s inadequate attempt to describe the “Spirit World”, just as “Science” is man’s inadequate attempt to describe the “Physical World”. The ‘Physical World” and the “Spiritual World” exist as “Cosmic Realities”… “Science” and “Religion” are man’s attempt to understand the two worlds. It is not possible to “question” or “criticize” the “Physical World” or the “Spirit World”, they just are… It is only possible to “question” or “criticize” “Science” and “Religion”, because they are “man made” descriptions of the two worlds. In the same way that “Science” is not perfect and makes new discoveries, “Religion” is not perfect and makes new discoveries… Both are subject to change.

    3. Untitled — Spiros,I think that writing anything that can reconcile “science & religion’, would be very worthwhile. It is probably the intellectual issue that creates the most “angst” in our society at this time. What we need more than anything else, is to unity of the “Body” (science) and “Soul” (religion) of our culture… I think the title should something like, “Science & Religion : a Modern Platonic Dialogue”… because Plato’s Dialogues cover such a wide range of topics, that the title needs to be more specific and informative. Then you use “Evolution” and “Intelligent Design” (or anything else) as a theme, to illustrate the points you want to make… Below are some thoughts on the subject. The “Intelligent Design” people say that “Evolution” is just a “theory” with no “proof”. “Atheists” say that “Religion” is just a “theory” with no “proof”. The “Intelligent Design” people are clinging to a literal interpretation of the Bible stories they were taught as a child, while the “atheist” sees a literal interpretation of the Bible stories as being impossible and rejects them… Each is “ignorant” in their own way. The Religious Fundamentalist clings to religion, and denies the value of Science. The Scientific Fundamentalist (Atheist) clings to science, and denies the value of Religion. Science and Religion are similar, in that each is trying to describe “how the world & universe works”. So they are in competition with one another. But this is because science itself was originally a part of religion. Astronomy and mathematics were invented by the shaman/priests to understand and explain the movements of the heavens,and how it effected man’s fate. Medicine was invented by the Shaman/priests to cure people of the “evil spirits” that were making them sick. The shaman/priests were the “keepers of knowledge”.In the tens of thousands of years that modern man has been in existence, both religion and science have evolved and gone through many changes to suit the needs and circumstances of the world that man lived in at the time. Both Religion and Science have evolved along with man. As man has acquired more knowledge, both Religion and Science have absorbed the new knowledge and been changed as a result. Both need to change to be stay relevant. The times we live in now are the beginning of a new era. It started with Darwin’s “origin of the species” and “machines”, in the 19th century. Then the 20th century added airplanes, electricity, radio & television, atomic energy & bombs, space rockets and landing men on the moon, computers, the discovery of DNA, the Hubble space telescope, the internet, and so on. Science has been rapidly evolving, but Organized Religion has not.Christians should treat the “Bible stories” as “parables”, not literally true “word for word”… For example…. That “god’s creation of the world in seven day”, means seven eons, (seven being a figure of speech, meaning, “many”) because day is simply one rotation of the Earth, and God hadn’t created the Earth yet…. That the story of the “Garden of Eden” is man’s recollection of when he was a Hunter-gatherer, when the world was filled with animals and plants, and he could easily go out and find food everywhere… That the story of Adam & Eve eating the fruit of the “Tree of Knowledge” is man inventing tools and methods to efficiently kill more and more animals, and gather more plants… That the story of Adam and Eve “Cast out of the Garden of Eden”, is when man had multiplied (because of his increasing knowledge) and raped the land of free animals and plants, he was then forced to work for his food, either as a “herdsman” (raising animals) or as a “farmer” (raising plants”)… That “Cain killing Able”, is the story of a “range war’ as the herdsmen battle with the farmers over control and use of the land. “Cain” (the farmers) are growing unlimited amounts of food, and the farmer population is exploding, the farmers are pushing the herdsmen (Abel) off of the best land and killing them… That the story of “Noah’s Ark”, is about a “great local flood” that covered “their whole world”, and Noah was a man who saved “breedings stocks” of domesticated animals, and “root stocks” of domesticated plants, so that after the flood they could start over again, and not face starvation… and so on… In this way, there is no conflict with Science and Logic… Then the parable of Adam & Eve cast out of Eden, early hunter-gatherer man raping the land and destroying all the free food animals and plants, could be used as “a cautionary parable”, and compared to what modern man is doing to the planet now. That if we are not careful, we will be cast out of the “eden” that Planet Earth is now . In this way Christians could be focused on the great Spiritual Issues of our times. Religion could then assume it’s rightful place as the “Soul of Science”. P.S… Why don’t you delete my first comment, as it might unnecessarily offend someone who reads your knol.seeger

    4. Untitled — Seeger, no offence taken. That is why we are here: in order to disagree! 🙂 That is the point of discussing…I agree with your view of religion and science in the way that they deal with different realms: the spiritual and the metaphysical one. I also agree with the fact that the “Intelligent Design” concept has been wrongly used by many to ban the teaching of the scientific theory of evolution at schools (something with which I totally disagree: the theory of evolution is a correct and valid biology theory). However I also disagree with the way some people use the theory of evolution as a tool to promote atheism (e.g. Dawkins).Have you seen the “Modern Platonic Dialogue” I have written? I was thinking of creating a new “MP Dialogue” with the theme “Evolution and Intelligent Design”. What would you think about such an idea?

  5. Complementary clarifications — If anyone who reads my article has any objection concerning the arguments in favour the “divine purpose” of humans or the existence of God, then he should try to read my “Religional Science” knol first before posting a question.Thanks in advance.

    1. Untitled — Right. Actually Russel found out that such antinomies are inherent in our Logic (in fact that paradox was first noted by ancient Greeks with the infamous case of a man from Crete who says that “all men from Crete are liers” – is he telling the truth?) and then Godel managed the “final blow” to the foundations of mathematics.The whole point of the article is to pinpoint that the great metaphysical questions of humankind are not so easy to answer with a “theory” based on some fossil, but a much greater problem that even great philosophers have not managed to answer. See my article on religion and philosophy at http://knol.google.com/k/spiros-kakos/religion-and-science-unification/2jszrulazj6wq/2# for more on those metaphysical questions and the attempts to answer them.

    2. Untitled — Is the statement “There is no ultimate truth” itself a claim of being an ultimate truth? A claim that the ultimate truth is that there is no ultimate truth, then such a statement is a self contradiction, right?// Rolf Lampa

  6. Untitled — ” Wallace was the person who first published the theory of evolution, one year before Darwin published the same exactly theory.” Not so, there are many earlier scientists who did this (among others Darwin’s grandfather Erasmus Darwin). What is new about Wallace and Charles Darwin is the mechanism they proposed: natural selection. See:http://knol.google.com/k/klaus-rohde/free-markets-and-free-trade-ecology-and/xk923bc3gp4/25#http://knol.google.com/k/klaus-rohde/richard-dawkins-the-god-delusion-terry/xk923bc3gp4/60#edit

    1. Untitled — You are correct – my mistake. I will make the necessary adjustments to my article.Update [13/4/2009 10:11 Greece Time]: Update conducted.

  7. The(odicy) Problem — Is your theory simply that a Designer created the universe with its physical laws as we see them and sat back to watch them unfold (evolve)? That is fine, but I do not think it needs a fancy name. And I think your arguments for it are not very strong.(5) Because we are designers, and there may have been other designers in our biological history, it does not follow that there needs to a Designer. As one of the other commenters has said, you should read (and review for us!) ‘The Selfish Gene'(4) If the universe did not have these properties, would we be here to comment on it, hmmm? Your argument (4) reminds me of the argument in ‘Candide’: “Observe that noses were made to wear spectacles; and so we have spectacles.”(3) It is easy to explain how altruism could arise through group selection. A group whose members cooperate with one another and are willing to make sacrifices for one another will prosper at the expense of groups that are more fractious and selfish. The group will want to reinforce these tendencies (good for the group, even if bad for individuals) through cultural mechanisms, and so humans do. The altruistic behaviour you mention is seen among members of other ‘pack’ animals subject to similar selection pressures, I believe.(2) This argument hinges on the fact only that *you* want to believe there is a purpose; why should there be a purpose? (Of course I also want to believe there is a purpose- but preying on other people’s hopes, instead of appealing to reason, is improper.)(1) I agree that the universe looks like a caused thing; but we do not know how far up the ‘ladder of causality’ it might be, or what could conceivably have caused it; it might have spontaneously congealed out of some pre-existing quantum froth; it might have been designed with meticulous care; it might have been thrown together in a slapdash way to meet quota, etc..Far more important to me than the question of whether the universe had a Designer or not is, Can the properties of the universe we observe be reconciled with a Designer who is good? I think this can best be done by minimising the role of the Designer in bringing into existence the suffering and evil we see in the natural world. It is not clear to me how your theory does that.

    1. Untitled — But what would have given these entities this free will? How can you have “Free Will” in a world that is ruled by universal physical laws?

    2. Untitled — “What I cannot understand is why me believing that the cosmos is designed is “illogical” (as some atheists I talk with claim). I know that there are alternatives. But if we do not have an objective criterion upon which we can rely so as to decide which alternative is the best, then all should be tagged as equally “logical”.”Here, I am in complete agreement with you! I think once you allow free-willed agents (which I feel is necessary to solve this problem of evil), it becomes difficult to talk about a universe that is designed: what we see could then well be almost entirely the product of free-willed entities going against the wishes of the Designer.

    3. Untitled — Actually I did not choose that name for being fancy. It was just the name proposed by Collins in order to “clear” the landscape from any misunderstanding and science-religion debates.I indeed want to review the Selfish Gene someday. In fact, someday soon…The “teleology” (existence of purpose) and “First Cause” arguments are founded in the logic of some great thinkers of humanity. I have a small desciption in the Religional Science knol of mine. However there are of course some counter-arguments as well. I do not claim to know which one is more “valid” than the other, but I would also ask the same from everyone else…Finally, the universe seems designed but many people believe it is not. That is perfectly acceptable and respected. What I cannot understand is why me believing that the cosmos is designed is “illogical” (as some atheists I talk with claim). I know that there are alternatives. But if we do not have an objective criterion upon which we can rely so as to decide which alternative is the best, then all should be tagged as equally “logical”.The question about the Designer who allowed evil into the world is more a question of “Free Will”. Unfortunately not the simplest philosophical issue…There are theories which allow for the existence of free will and theories which do not. If humans for example design a robot, will we hold it responsible if it malfunctions and accidentally kills a person?

  8. Untitled — Evolution is not based upon scientific principles. Evolution has no proof, and it is only a religion based on faith.Evolution/The Big Bang/etc. can not be experimented on or observed; only hypothesized about. This places Evolution outside of the realm of science.Evolution is not reconcilable with Scripture. The Bible teaches that God created the world in 6 literal, 24-hour days; Evolution states that the world came into existence through billions of years of mistakes. I hope that all who read this will also check out the resources at http://www.answersingenesis.org

    1. Untitled — @Untitled:The Bible does not say anything about “literal, 24-hour days.” It uses the word “day,” yes, but at other places in scripture the word “day” is used to describe a much longer period of time which included many “literal, 24-hour days.”Also, contrary to what you have stated, there actually is quite a bit of evidence to support the big bang theory. In fact, there is quite possibly more tangilble empirical evidence supporting the Big Bang Theory than for the Theory of Evolution.I’m not saying that the Theory of Evolution is entirely true, but the arguments you’ve made against’t it aren’t valid ones.

  9. Some problems with your arguments — I am contesting the arguments you make above, for reasons cited below:”1. If causality exists in the world (i.e. everything happening has a prior cause), then everything must have a cause. So the Big Bang must in turn have a prior cause, that cause another cause and so on.”This is the classical “infinite regression” argument — and the classic counter-argument is that if God does not require a cause, then why does the universe?Given two scenarios:[Universe]->[everything else][God]->[Universe]->[everything else]Adding God is an unnecessary element. What if the universe simply ALWAYS existed? What if there are multiple universes? There are plenty of other scenarios to consider, so stating that God MUST exist because of infinite regression is an Argumentum ad Ignoratiam.”However the proposal of the Intelligent Design theory is more logical (and logic is a scientific tool).”I agree that logic is used in science — but what you’re talking about here is not logic — you’re stating a groundless argument; If you were to say “Well, I BELIEVE God exists and was the first mover”, then we can just agree to disagree — but the position is not based on logical reasoning. [If you still believe that it is, please respond with your logical propositions formally.]”2. Most things in life seem to have a purpose for their existence (teleological argument). … No hard evidence can be found for the existence of purpose in the Universe. However it is a logical thing to say such a thing.”This is an Appeal to Consequences (Argumentum ad Consequentiam). You are saying “Since I dislike the idea of a purposeless universe, it must not be true.” Again — this is not a LOGICAL argument. It may “make sense” to you, but “making sense” does not always imply a logical basis. “Claiming that existence is an accident seems highly illogical and, thus unscientific,”Science is WHOLLY based on making testable predictions, testing those predictions, and making more testable predictions. Logic is only used for positing the predictions to be tested. The claim that existence is an accident isn’t illogical at all — and again, you’re Appealing the Consequences again here. “… so telling that we have the same purpose in the world as a banana sounds rather ‘not correct’.”That’s a straw man argument. No one is saying that we have the same purpose as a banana. Lack of divine purpose does not imply lack of purpose altogether, either. Is the existence of a human more noble than that of, say, an Antelope? How about a Tortoise? Penguin? Sunflower? Dolphin? You might argue that what separates us is from the “beasts” is an immortal soul (or any sort of “spirit”) — but how do you know that the “beasts” DON’T have one. (I am mostly certainly NOT asserting that they have one, by the way) But if they did — what makes ours better? The ability to think? To communicate? To create? If all living beings had a “soul” of some kind, then why would our purpose be more divine when we rape and pillage our own planet for our personal gain? When you view the events that transpire from the lens of “no divine purpose”, statistical occurences make a lot more sense. Disasters happen regardless of the composition of religious belief (or non-belief) of the population affected. ” 3. The Achilles’ heel of the theory of evolution seems to be “goodness”. Humans have the tendency to be altruistic, do good to other people not for gaining profit but just because they want to do good.”Can you cite your source here please? Because I beg to differ. Not to be particularly pessimistic or anything, but I would say that by and large, MOST humans tend to look out for themselves and their close friends and relatives BEFORE acting. Altruism exists in some animals, and is absent in others (some birds, for example, actually go out of their way to kill / eat the offspring in the nearby nests of other birds — and guppy mothers will eat their OWN offspring if left to their own devices)”This is impossible to be explained in a world were the “survival of the fittest” rule (i.e. theory of evolution) exists. Despite numerous attempts to explain altruism and goodness as a result of evolution, no such thing has ever been acomplished.”You really need to read “The Selfish Gene” by Dawkins. He goes into detail about the question of Altruism. Bear in mind, also, that “Survival of the Fittest” was a term coined by an ECONOMIST who was adapting Natural Selection to the business world. Altruism, particularly altruism for your own genetic line, makes perfect sense. I have a son. He carries half of my genetic material and half of my wife’s. It is in the interest of my genetic material that he survive and grow up healthy, and that I protect him. If you want to look at altruism to strangers (the “good samaritan” factor) — consider the neurochemical “reward” sensation we get from doing good things. There are also “social” rewards. Sometimes there are “monetary” rewards, or rewards of “reciprocity”. There are many reasons for us to do good — and the survival of our species as a whole (as well as our individual genetic lines) benefits from us doing good things. This is HARDLY an achilles heel.”…but humans may do good to other humans EVEN THOUGH that will gain them nothing “So, you’re completely overlooking the fact that mankind harnessed the power of the atom for the purposes of annihilating another population of humans? What about the Genocide in Darfur? The Pogroms? Inquisitions? Heck, even the holocaust (and before you go bringing up the “social darwinism” issue (which is about the same as blaming Newton for a lynching), bear in mind the beginning pages of Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” where he declared that he believed himself to be doing the work of his Creator.)”4. The Universe itself has been proven scientifically that it is specifically designed to support life.”This is called the “Anthropic Principle” — the basic problem with this argument is this: We exist, so the possibility of the conditions happening that resulted in our existence is 100%.Pondering over what might have been is like a puddle of water marveling that there was a divot created in the ground that JUST HAPPENED to be EXACTLY the right shape to fit the puddle.”This looks like design – and the existence of a designer the only logical explanation for such a thing to exist.”Again — this makes the HUGE presumption that humans on Earth are the ultimate culmination of the universe; which is remarkably arrogant when you consider how insanely large the universe is. If the conditions for life are so optimal, then why only life on one planet? If there was life created on other planets, why put them so far apart? Why make the universe as incredibly large as it is? Our footprint in the universe is smaller than a single electron’s footprint in our SOLAR SYSTEM. And yet you believe that a massively-massive universe was created and fine-tuned so that we may exist? “5. Modern developments in molecular biology strongly indicate that the concept of ‘design’ is inherent in nature and the various species. Darwin did not know about the concept of DNA, which on its own shows that many traits of humans are coded into genes.” Look up: Endogeneous Retroviruses. SINEs. Vestigial organs / limbs. Look at the development of the eye in humans. I don’t know if you’ve taken any biology courses yourself, but if you understand how DNA actually functions at a molecular level, the “design” behind the “coding” seems less apparent. Genes frequently have redundantly coded proteins because during the “crossing-over” period of meiosis, the chromatid tips overlap in a rather informal / lax fashion. But it is this lax redundancy that helps to ensure our survival by making favorable portions of the genetic code show up more often. As for the “coding” aspect — to think of the DNA as “information” is a bit of a misnomer. Check out the replication process of DNA -> Proteins (that IS the sole purpose of DNA, btw — to produce proteins). The cell, particularly the existence of DNA, *IS* really amazing — and it often seems unfathomable how it came around — but that’s no reason to defer to an Argumentum ad Ignoratiam. (I don’t know if you’re aware of the Rebuttal to Behe’s Irreducible Complexity argument, but do a youtube search for “flagellum evolution” and look for a video by Ken Miller. The key concepts here are “exaptation” and “emergent properties”)”Above all, the fact that we are beginning to design new forms of life on owr own (e.g. imrpove the human genome, create new viruses for biological weapons etc) clearly shows that the idea of ‘design’ in life is more than just a theological idea – it is rather part of reality”To date we have not “designed” any NEW life – we have modified existing genomes (such as glow-in-the-dark corn, and other recombinant DNA). And if you’ve ever read up on how genetic engineering works, it’s kind of like shooting a bazooka at a barn — we capitalize on the products of artificial selection from random (but somewhat targeted) insertion.

    1. Untitled — “Adding God is an unnecessary element. What if the universe simply ALWAYS existed? What if there are multiple universes? There are plenty of other scenarios to consider, so stating that God MUST exist because of infinite regression is an Argumentum ad Ignoratiam.”God is not an unnecessary element. He is the only necessary element. No arguments are necessary at all, unless there is a point in arguing to begin with. (If all of existence came into being without God, then all of existence is entirely lacking of purpose and every argument is entirely moot.) Even words like “necessary” are meaningless, because nothing is required of anything or anyone in a world where nothing has the purpose and value that can only be bestowed by a Creator. In order for anything to have a purpose, it must have been created for that purpose. To argue that something has purpose not endowed by a Creator with prior intention is actually an argument for “use.” For example, if I were to say, “This rock was created for the purpose of crushing wheat into flour,” I would be entirely wrong, due to confusing the meaning of “use” with “purpose.” Similarly, if I were to say, “My life was created for the purpose of enjoying myself,” I would be committing the same error in logic. Just because I have decided to use something a certain way does not mean it was originally intended for that purpose. Hypothetically, if I were a potter, and I left a lump of unused clay to the side long enough that it dried and hardened, it was not created with any purpose. Even if you come along and notice that the lump of clay happened have an opening in the top, happened to be roughly circular, and happened to make a suitable (albeit crude) drinking vessel, the dried lump of clay would still have no purpose. It would have a USE. However, If I take a lump of clay, and with the preconceived intention of creating a drinking vessel, follow through on those designs, then the final creation would, indeed, have a purpose. “Purpose” is an attribute that can only be bestowed by a creator capable of intentionally bestowing it. “Use” is an attribute that is bestowed by a user. Only things which have been created can have a purpose.The problem of causality is not restriced to the debate of space-time origins. Purpose and value cannot arrive as self declared values. Their very definitions require a first cause; a Creator. Even things made by man only have true purpose if mankind was created for a purpose in the first place. You’ll note that I am not arguing for God’s existence as the only possible reason for the existence of the universe (because as you said, who knows if there are other universes out there). What I am arguing, is that the only way it is possible for the argument about God’s existence to matter is if He does exist. Philosophically and logicaly, no argument for or against God’s existence is capable of having any inporance unless the very concepts of philosophy and logic pre-exist us and were granted purpose by God in the first place. The fact that concepts of good & evil, right & wrong, fact & fiction, and logic & nonsense even exist at all is evidence that God exists, because none of those things would matter unless they were Created and designed to matter.Science may reach a dead end on the issue of causality, but logic cannot. Arguing against a Creator is arguing against logic, science, philosophy – everything. Nothing matters without a first cause; a first value capable of bestowing value.

    2. Untitled — I stopped reading your response after the son comment.Uh, you do know your son exists. You’ve got hard evidence of that, unlike the existence of a god…:

    3. Untitled — Aaaron,I am very pleased to see you have read my article and comment on it. Your arguments are well defined, but nothing new for someone who does not believe in the “divine purpose” of humans. When I state that a divine purpose must exist, I also clearly mention that my opinion is based on “soft” evidence and not hard evidence (i.e. scientific measurements). You cannot measure the love you have from your son or the satisfaction you gain when helping a complete stranger. I think that these actions (love, altruism etc) are all part of our divine spirituality. You disagree and that is acceptable. However what you must realize and accept is that none of us has hard evidence. Spirituality and God – as well as atheism – are things in which you must believe in. No hard data will show you the answer. And as Wittgenstein said, the things for which we cannot talk about are the ones that really matter…Phrases you use clearly show the above. “WHAT IF the universe simply always existed? WHAT IF there are multiple universes? There are plenty of other scenarios to consider […]” you say and I couldn’t agree with you more! These are your scenarios! My scenario has God in it. What I cannot agree with is that your scenarios are more valid than mine.The “First Mover” and the “Teleological” arguments are two well documented LOGICAL arguments in favour of the existence of God. My logic (and not my faith) approves them. However your logic does not! Again, no problem exists here. The logic of many people does not always coinside even when the same data are used. That is normal. That is why people disagree on many things. The logic of Godel (the greatest logician after Aristotle) told him that God existed…If the comparison of a human with a banana hurt you, I could alsways use the “straw men” YOU mention…Antelope, tortoise, penguine. My argument would still be the same. Unless you have actually talked with an animal and have scientific measurements clearly proving that these animals are similar to human in the spirituality aspects of human mind. I have read the “Selfish Gene”, who said I haven’t? But how can you state that animals have altriusm without being able to talk to them and know their real intentions? That doesn’t sound much scientific to me…If you talk about your BELIEF that animals have soul and exchibit true, genuine altruism, that is another matter…If you consider yourself a statistical occurence, then what makes your arguments valid? How do you know that your arguments are not mere statistical results of movements inside your brain and, thus, random and completely wrong – instead of being a product of your own free will? For me it is illogical to say such a thing. For you, it is not.The fact that we can commit suicide for ‘noble’ reasons like the ‘freedom of speech’, is not so compatible with the idea that we are nothing more than dirt composed into living matter. For you, it is.You ask for my sources to justify my saying that humans exchibit altruism. That means that when you see a complete stranger in danger, you will not go and help him? Interesting and, again, acceptable. But what makes you draw conclusions on the whole humanity? If you want to see altruism you can find altruism. During World War II many Greeks helped Jews to hide from the Germans at the risk of their own lives. THAT is altruism. On the other hand you state that you wouldn’t do such a thingn in a similar situation?In conclusion, my logic says some things and your logic says other things. When I state that our existence cannot be based on chance, I deduce with my logic (NOT faith) that many aspects of our behaviour are not compatible with the complete lack of divine purpose.We can have a great conversation on all of the above. However noone of us can convince the other that his logic is “more” correct than the logic of the other. How do you even know the thing we call “reality” even exists? I cannot accept that you name “logical” what you see through the lens of “no divine purpose exists”, but you name “illogical” what I say through the lens of “divine purpose exists”. We both have to believe in the one or the other at some point (the famous “leap of faith”).My knol “Religional Science” may provide some answers on your concerns.I would be happy to continue this conversation in the near future!Happy thinking!

  10. Found myself many times — Spiros –You’ve written a 4-star Knol. To be 5-star you simply need to edit it to fix typos and spellings, improve paragraph spacings and work on the syntax a little for improved comprehension. It’s a wonderful piece of work and I celebrate and encourage the effort. This is a very important arena for human understanding.On the subject matter, I discovered myself many times. All my life I’ve maintained a “Grand Architect” theory. Some of my family and friends see me as an atheist. In reality I’m more BioLogos and you’ve explained why. On the question or observation of Altruism, there is a growing body of empirical evidence showing altruistic behavior in other creatures, notably and visibly among elephants. As a long time dog owner, I’ve witnessed “kindness” between animals many times (though not as often as the opposite). And we’ve actually witnessed inter-species cases in dolphins and orcas, thanks to all those people running around with cameras and camcorders.I look forward to the 5-star version, which I’ll make a favorite.

    1. Untitled — Thanks for the comment! I will fix the small errors and continue to update the article as far as my other obligations allow me to. Keep knoling!

  11. Copy-Paste from Knol-to-Knol? — I have started and written this article about Evolution and Intelligent Design a long time ago. However I just noticed that two people in Knol have copied the article as it is and posted it again under their own name! These copy-knols can be found at http://knol.google.com/k/sai-praneeth/evolution-and-intelligent-design-the/397vpp4zz6bzj/2 and at http://knol.google.com/k/anonymous/evolution-and-intelligent-design-the/wahdvup5cvdy/4?domain=knol.google.com&locale=en. Besides copying from other sites, have some people now started copying from Knol to Knol ?!?!? Offenders have been reported. All honest Knol authors, keep an eye for such cases and report them immediatelly to “Knol Help” or to “Plagiarism on Knol”.

  12. “The problem of ethics” got me thinking — Do evolutionists do what they do to maintain their theory at the forefront of the debates, in order to survive as a “species of evolutionists”? Do they intentionally maintain many vague definitions of the term “species”; extrapolate evidence from “genetic enrichment” to prove “generation of new species”; expel from academia anyone who disagrees with the official “party line” – in an effort to survive as a unique species?

    1. Untitled — That is how they think. “Survival of the fittest” remember? They wouldn’t know anything about people sacrificing their own life for something…Or maybe they do, but *decide* it is not relevant to their theory…Or maybe *decide* that it is relevant and that it actually proves their theory! Don’t ask me how…They know, they are the biologists…We are just ignorant guys questioning things based on some weird things like “logic” and “scientific principles”…

  13. Conflicting statements — In one section you write :————————————————————————————-So the “Gradual evolution of species via natural selection” is the full proper name for a correct and sound biological theory. And it is important to understand the misuse of the abovementioned sound theory in philosophy, along with the attempt of some not-so-honest people to expand the validity of the “micro-evolution” to the “macro-evolution (creation of new species from existing ones) idea.—————————————————————————————————————————————–and in another section :—————————————————————————————————————————————-Some people (like me) regard evolution as a scientific theory covering only the development of life forms from the first one-celled animal to the present diversity of plants and animals – thus leaving space for thinking human as being something more than dust and electones.—————————————————————————————————————————————-This looks like a logical contradiction to me. Can you explain this or at least clean up the knol a bit ?

    1. Untitled — I am a scientist and a thinking person. And I can think. In this knol I state some thinking not only mine but also of great biologists you also accept as knowledgeable.The argument I make in this knol is:- Evolution is a biology theory.- Do not mix it with philosophy.The argument concerning macro-evolution is:- Macro-evolution is not proven like (= to the same degree) micro-evolution has been.- When it does I will happily report that in my article, even though the main purpose of the article is not to pinpoint errors in biology theories, but to show that the specific theory is not made to be used as an answering machine for every philosophical question.- Until then I cannot accept to have it being reported as a “Fact”.As simple as that.Please refer to my new comment above about what “proving” something looks like.

    2. Untitled — Collins also subscribes to the definition of evolution I gave above. He just thinks God set the universe in motion and that everything in it can be explained by naturalistic processes and that these physical laws / constants were fine-tuned by God to give rise to life.The point remains, that you cannot redefine evolution the way you do , because it flies in the face of the usage of the term today by scientists. It is also a bit of a strange argument you make in this knol :you : evolution is only micro-evolution to mescientist : no, it also includes speciation you : omg, you are so intellectually dishonest.

    3. Untitled — You are right for the names you mention. I will add them. But I will also add some other names…For example in the past we also had Russel Wallace. Do you acknowledge him as the founder of the theory of evolution and as leading biologist? (see my knol at http://knol.google.com/k/spiros-kakos/russel-wallace-and-evolution-theory/2jszrulazj6wq/8# for more details)Today we also have Collins. Do you acknowledge him as a biologist and geneticist?

    4. Untitled — First of all , no body takes Lamarck and neo-Lamarckism seriously. Lamarckism is a dead end and no experiment has been performed that shows that Lamarckism is correct.Secondly , a lot of names are missing from your table. It is 2009. I would expect to see Gould , Lewontin, Dawkins, Futuyama, …Last of all, even in your table , all of them (except Lamarck) acknowledge common descent (fact of evolution), and try to work out what the mechanism of evolution is.You can observe something and not know how it works, and even create mathematical formulas that work based on those observations , and still not know what causes the phenomenon. If you can not name the natural phenomenon I am hinting at, you have a lot of study work to do.

    5. Untitled — First of all you continue to ignore the fact that the “theory of evolution” contains many things and is not a coherent one unified theory. The common ancestor is part of the theory of evolution and not all agree to that. Please tell me what you think about the validity of the table I have in the “Not one single “Theory of Evolution” exists” sub-chapter.Secondly, you use the word “fact” for a theory. If it is a “fact” then we would surely have seen new flies-species after the experiments on the fruit flies during the last decades.Finally, it is hard to have “evolution” as a “fact” but not being able to understand its mechanism. Can I claim that the nature of light is based on photons but at the same time admit complete ignorance on how these photos produce light?

    6. Untitled — It is not one view, it is THE view.You are mixing up 2 different things in your knol :1) the basic fact of evolution : common descent with modification (see definition above) with generation of slight changes and big changes (speciation).2) theory of evolution : what is the mechanism that makes common descent with modification work.No biology scientist is in disagreement with point 1 (not even Ernst Mayer). The finer points of the mechanisms of point 2 are debated.As long as you mix those two up (and introduce your own confusing definition) you will have a knol that makes no sense to people with actual knowledge of the field.

    7. Untitled — Nice. This is one view. There are other. For example Ernst Mayr correctly pinpoints differences between different theories that are all called “theories of evolution”. Do you disagree with his findings?

    8. Untitled — Happy to oblige: ————————————————————————————————————————-Biological (or organic) evolution is change in the properties of populations of organisms or groups of such populations, over the course of generations. The development, or ontogeny, of an individual organism is not considered evolution: individual organisms do not evolve. The changes in populations that are considered evolutionary are those that are ‘heritable’ via the genetic material from one generation to the next. Biological evolution may be slight or substantial; it embraces everything from slight changes in the proportions of different forms of a gene within a population, such as the alleles that determine the different human blood types, to the alterations that led from the earliest organisms to dinosaurs, bees, snapdragons, and humans. Douglas J. Futuyma (1998) Evolutionary Biology 3rd ed., Sinauer Associates Inc. Sunderland MA p.4—————————————————————————————————————-

    9. Untitled — Can you please refer me to any bibliography where it is clearly stated that Evolution = “that and that only” ? I will gladly put it into my article. What I try to do in this Knol is exactly that: make people understand the complexity of the different ways the word “evolution” is used by various people. Do you disagree with what I write in the “Not one single “Theory of Evolution” exists” chapter? I state my bibliographical source. Do you have another?

    10. Untitled — Ok, now that I know what paragraph you removed, I would also suggest you redact the paragraph titled “Evolution is Correct”.As far as I can evaluate your statements, you do not think evolution is correct at all. No biologist uses the term micro-evolution versus macro-evolution. Reducing the theory of evolution to only this ill-defined micro-evolution construct makes it something else then the theory of evolution.

  14. At last something intelleigent on Intelligent design. — Good work Spiros. I wish I had read it before writing what I just posted (Dark Energy and the Multiverse)–I could have written much less!

  15. More Definition of God — I like this article in the beginning, however I find it increasingly confusing. This is primarily because you state:”That is why Socrates, the great Greek philosopher, throught that before discussing anything you should first define the things that you will talk about.”Well, how can we (any group of people) intellectually discuss this topic without further discussing God? I mean, what is God? I think that depending on what and who one concieves God to be will greatly impact how one will respond to this article. And even then, such thoughts are mostly beliefs… we cannot really “test” God. In addition, if what you say about science being limited is entirely true, then even if we could “test” God, we could never be sure if our conception was the REAL conception of God, as we do not have methods to be certain that what we “see” is reality…

    1. Untitled — I thought so. Then I strongly disagree. “Everything” is a very heavy word to use in such a phrase. There are many things that are related to curiosity or need for knowledge. Maybe you could elaborate a little more that general statement?

    2. Untitled — I am not sure about the statement “not eveything is related to resources and money.”I am very confident about the statement, “Not every person is motivated by a desire to obtain resources and money.”

    3. Untitled — Maria,Not everything is related to resources and money. There are people who really just discuss about things and have their opinion. I don’t suppose you think I write what I write here bacause I want to earn some government funds, do you? 🙂 Of course not…Collins does not refer to “creationism”. Nowhere in the creationism dogma is there room for evolution. Combining the mechanism of evolution with the existence of a “First Cause” is “First Cause + Evolution, it is not “creationism + evolution”.

    4. Untitled — I think I undertand what you are saying now… is it that creationism (as defined according to Collin’s description) and the theory of evolution (as defined by your bibliography’s descriptions) are not mutually exclusive and that there exists some area for both to be considered true?If so, I would conclude that the arguments which suggest that either creationism or evolution is right (and one is wrong) are based less on what the actual ideas are and is a result of personal preference for form of expression. When people think about how things come to exist, some may prefer to say “create” because of social associations with the word, whereas some may like to say “evolve” because it makes more sense to them in their type of work and efforts. I do not see the actual concepts which make up the definitions of these ideas in any type of conflict. This is why I think the arguments which would suggest one must be wrong if the other is right are constructed with the intent to influence policy and thus influence how resources are distributed.

    5. Untitled — You are right in saying that we must define God before talking about Him. However I do not follow the path: “I know what God is” => “I talk about God”, but the path “I analyze empirical data with my logic” => “I reach some conclusions that indicate someone/something must have designed things”. My statements do not depend at all in our knowing all the characteristics of God in detail. In fact it does not even matter if you name that someone/something that is the cause of design as “God” or as “Maria”.Defining all properties of God in detail is one thing. Making logical analysis of things you see and reaching to conclusions like “something must have designed that” or “there must be a First Cause for all these” is another. We analyze our universe and use our logic to reach some conclusions. If we reach to the conclusion “something must be the First Cause of all things that exist”, this is not dependent on whether we know all the characteristics of that “something” or not. And even if someone thinks that this “something” is God, the situation is the opposite from what you describe: through our thinking we managed to find one characteristic of God. Sure there are many others. But not knowing the other characteristics does not nullify the fact that we have found one.

  16. The probability of randomly mutating one species into another — All DNA is encoded with four nucleotide bases which serve as the coding building blocks. The genetic codes of two closely related yet different species of mammals has an information contents difference of much higher than 100 gene coding locations. A difference of less than 100 gene coding locations produces different individuals within the same species or slight mutations within a species; this difference is not sufficient to produce a new species.”Morgan, Goldschmidt, Muller, and other geneticists have subjected generations of fruit flies to extreme conditions of heat, cold, light, dark, and treatment by chemicals and radiation. All sorts of mutations, practically all trivial or positively deleterious, have been produced. Man-made evolution? Not really: Few of the geneticists’ monsters could have survived outside the bottles they were bred in. In practice mutants die, are sterile, or tend to revert to the wild type.” (Michael Pitman, Adam and Evolution, London: River Publishing, 1984, p. 70.)Darwin and others have noted that there are no closely-spaced transitional creatures between species. There is plenty of speculation but no evidence for evolution of new species (as opposed to genetic enrichment within a species) in small steps. Theoretically, there may be many viable mutations possible. But, in order to be a different species, in the absence of closely-spaced survivable transitional creatures, the irreducible minimum of information-contents difference must be greater than 100 gene coding locations. Therefore, the probability of randomly mutating one species to another, without external guidance (by a Creator), is less than one chance in 4^100 trials. 4^100 equals 10^60. Without external guidance, it will take more than a trillion trillions (10^24) of mammals, mutating and procreating ten thousand times per second for more than a trillion trillions of years, to randomly evolve one survivable creature of a new different mammal species.There are no creatures which can procreate ten thousand times per second. Planet earth never contained a trillion trillions of mammals. (The volume of planet earth is 10^21 cubic meters. 10^24 mammals would occupy a volume greater than the entire volume of planet earth.) And, as far back as we can remember, the universe does not exist for a trillion trillions of years.Wait a minute, if planet earth can somehow contain a trillion trillions of mammals, and, one species of mammals did randomly mutate into a different species, it proves that life on planet earth started more than a trillion trillions of years ago…

  17. Evolution mechanism and human nature — If we discover everything about the mechanism of evolution, will that mean that we know anything about human nature itself?

  18. Theism is a “why” and a broad “how”. Evolution and Science is a detailed “how” — I myself also firmly support this reasoning of both Theistic and Evolutionary being non-contradictory. If you look at christianity, the bible has a vague timeline, but nothing concrete, and many things are relative to the time the stories started and the times the stories were interpreted. Now, here’s a quick something about how you can relate christianity to evolution: It is the most popular belief today among scientists and historians that human beings did NOT evolve from apes/primates, but of a cousin (if we had evolved from them, they would not be around today). Humans started as Australopithecus, a more developed form of primates, with opposable thumbs, and the ability to make simple tools. Most scientists and historians agree that this species was not capable of language. From there on, humans moved into Homo erectus, where the spine became more developed and rigid for upright walking, the brain grew bigger, and certain features were “fine tuned” which allowed language. From there on, we became “Homo Sapiens”, ones who were able to think, and ponder. And from this pondering grew ideas, community, tools, etc. (I leave out neandertal because they developed more in the german european area). So now let us analyze the genesis part of the bible, roughly. God created the Earth in seven days. What was a day to God? What was a day to those who first started telling the story? What was a day to those who wrote everything down? To go on further, you must also think that the bible is not always literal word, but more of a literary work composed by men, and influenced through God and their story telling. Man gaining knowledge- does this not represent humans turning into Homo Sapiens, and later developing villages and cities? Where they gain more knowledge about how to build, and grow, but at the same time, they damage their environment more, wars are created, and have less free time than they did in their previous hunting/gathering societies. But whether it is the Bible, the Hebrew Scripts, The Veda/Upanishads/other Hindu works, or anything else, the greatest reasoning for the fact that there is a God, evolution or no evolution? As one of Renee Des Cartes’ many statements on this he says that “God is a being than which no greater can be thought and therefore can be said to exist in the mind, and that to exist actually is more perfect than to exist only in the mind; therefore God must exist in reality as well as in the mind.”

    1. Untitled — Thanks for the comment. I am aware of the onotlogical argument and it indeed provides a reasoning for God. How that can persuade an atheist that is another question…Maybe you wish to see my knol “Religional Sciece” for more on that. As for the analysis of the evolution of humans, I believe it is incomplete in many points. I do not know all the answers of course. But it seems to me that atheists and/or materialists are thinking too far away and far beyond the point where their data can take them (and it is very interesting to see that they claim the theists do exactly that when thinking of logical arguments for God or spirit)… Difficult themes, difficult discussions…

  19. Human evolution questions — Loosing the tail is NOT what characterizes us. Logos, poetry, fantasy, abstract thinking, the ability to question our own senses are some of the things that characterize us. If millions of years were needed to go from fish to amphibians, how these changes were conducted in a smaller time period so that transition from lower species to human was achieved? An honest question.

    1. Untitled — Ghost and Goblins was and still is one of my favorite games :)I do not recall you saying that something does not exist, I agree. I just want to make sure that we all talk by the same terms and without having pre-assumptions that make us prejudiced. Can we agree in something like that? What does the purpose of life has to do with what we discuss? Maybe you refer to another Knol of mine? Do you want to open an new thread about that?

    2. Untitled — As far as I know the word supernatural does not have negative connotations. If you want to use another word that is fine by me though. From my viewpoint it looks like you are using “immateriality of the gaps” (for want of a better term). In other words you just point to areas where we have an incomplete understanding and say “hey , that is where the immaterial stuff is hiding”. But I restate that making a positive claim that something exists is not enough, science requires that there is a framework , evidence, hypotheses that can be tested / measured / quantified. Logically such a framework could never satisfy all the religions of the world though because they hardly agree on anything. I again challenge you to find a statement I made in one of my comments where I declare anything as non-existent. All I am saying is that the evidence for non material “stuff” is very light. Scientifically speaking I can not rule anything out, but as a person I can say that it makes no sense at all to pick any one religion in the world, because they all logically contradict each other.It can not disagree with questions, just with the answers you give. Let me give you another question : “What is the evidence that there is a reason for our existence ?” EDIT : ooh , almost missed the irony here. Are you 100% sure ghosts and goblins do not exist ? 🙂

    3. Untitled — Koen stop talking about me using the “supernatural” as I am some kind of an illiterate person believing in ghosts and goblins. I do not refer to supernatural entities and I do not use it.I refer to dogmas that we ALL have and that we must not use when talking about science. What I simply say is that we cannot fill in the gaps that we both agree exist in our current knowledge, with our philosophical dogmas. You do that by using the dogma of materialism every time you see something that cannot be explained by matter but you still insist that it will be someday explained by matter. I offer another perspective. We both have theories.In the case of materialism, I must point to you that our current understanding of the cosmos is so immature that having anyone claiming “I know that the world consists of” sound not even funny – it sounds ridiculous. Do you really claim you have such “certain knowledge”? I do not care if you name the thing that makes us have consciousness “Maria” or “A” or “B”. Name does not matter (funny word, huh?). I simply point out that our consciousness does not seem at all as something that we can take and through away – like we do to a stone lets say…In the case of this article, I simply say that the “why evolution exists” or “why do we evolve” or “who are we as humans” are questions which cannot be answered by just explaining the mechanism of evolution. To which of these do you disagree and why?

    4. Untitled — .” If millions of years were needed to go from fish to amphibians, how these changes were conducted in a smaller time period so that transition from lower species to human was achieved? An honest question.”….At a fairly early stage of evolution gillslits appeared as opening from the side of pharynx , but as the fish advanced from a diet of microorganisms to larger prey the gills were adapted to taking oxygen dissolved in the surrounding water into the blood.Land dwelling vertebrates breathe with lungs but the gills of their aquatic ancestors have persisted in a modified form.Gills can be recognized at some stage in the growth of every vertebrate , including man.When a tadpole becomes a frog the lungs take over and gills vanish.In most primitive vertebrate the forward gills are adapted for use as jaws.In land dwelling vertebrates the remaining gills present in the form of larynx , parathyroid glands , thyroid glands and the inner ear.So the transition is there but how…?… Changes occur by mutation , which as a rule is harmful but occasionally confers an advantage and it helps in evolution.Growth of an embryo from a single cell to an infant is like an epitome of evolution, over millions of generations, of the human race from first living cell.It’s adaptation to the environment which causes gradual and very very slow evolution.I gave the example of sickle cell anemia and achondroplasia in my comments which were deleted by Zvi.Sorry for the interruption between the great discussion , just couldn’t resist the temptation of writing after reading these posts.

    5. Untitled — This is just an illustration of you two misunderstanding science and mangling terms (such as theory, hypothesis).Some issues :1) Indeed , it is not possible to “prove” a negative. If I say there is a monster of Loch Ness, it is not possible for somebody to “prove” it does not exist.2) The corollary to the previous statements is that a positive statement is not enough. If you make a positive claim, you need positive evidence for it. Just pointing to gaps in our knowledge is not enough. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. If Spiros says that the brain is governed by a combination of material and non material forces then there should be evidence to backup that claim. NDE’s have been explained by scientists.3) Theists all around the world only agree on one thing ( Ietsism – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ietsism ) , the details / interpretations of what that something outside of nature (supernatural) is vary wildly. Scientists can not measure it, religious people can not agree on its exact nature (even within sects) , the only logical conclusion is that it is unknowable (at the moment). 4) Lastly (and you can check my comments) , if have never said that something does not exist. (Well I mentioned to Zvi that he is not spiritual, but that is something I concluded from all his writings). So the last comments which are essentially about “proving a negative” are just massive red herrings.It is always amusing to me when people say science should take the supernatural into account but what they really mean is that science should confirm their particular religious beliefs. What if science would find that the Sumerian mythology is correct ? 🙂

    6. Untitled — Saying “something does not exist” is a huge extrapolation, in a series of steps. The data – the facts – are “I don’t see it”. The first step in this extrapolation is stretching the “I don’t see it” into something like ” if I don’t see it, then, nobody sees it.” The next step is “if nobody sees it, then, nobody has ever seen it and nobody will ever see it.” The final step is: “if nobody has ever seen it and nobody will ever see it, then, it does not exist.”Extrapolation is a dangerous tool, both in science and in logic.

    7. Untitled — Interesting way of looking things. I had not thought about that in this way. It is true that the induction method has limitations. We indeed can have great difficulty in saying “something exists”, but we have even more difficulty in saying “something does not exist”. The question asked many times by atheists/materialists is “why do you think spirit exists?”. The answer is that there are many things – with consciousness being one of them – that do not seem to have materialistic foundations. I do not say I am certain in any way of course. I leave that to the dogmatic ones…

    8. Untitled — There is a huge difference between “spirit exists” and “only matter exists”. Superficially they both look like dogmas. But, the first one is a positive expression. The second one means that something – spirituality – does NOT exist. How can anyone know what does not exist? Just because somebody cannot experience it, does not mean “it does not exist”. The honest way to say it is “I cannot see it”. The dishonest way to say it is “it does not exist”. A New Yorker can say “I don’t see camels” and that would be a true statement. But, if based on the fact that the New Yorker does not see camels in New York, he extrapolates it to say “camels do not exist”, that’s a fallacy.So, Koen, when you say “Dogmatism is not the same as spirituality” you are saying something true. But, if you extrapolate it into “spirituality does not exist” or “you don’t have it” you are no different than the New yorker who says “camels do not exist”. 99% of all the people in the world have never seen a real camel and never will. Does this majority count when it is time to decide whether camels exist?How do you know what I have or don’t have? You are stuck in your own dogma like the New Yorker.

    9. Untitled — I do not have an a priori belief that the explanation of the consciousness is supernatural. I just do not like dogmatism. And you can be dogmatic when you say “spirit exists” and dogmatic when you say “only matter exists”. That is what I say. Both are theories. When you say “I have matter and I think that EVERYTHING can be explained with it” but at the same time that matter does not even account for more than 10% of the observable universe, isn’t it a bit premature to hold such a statement? I am just saying that we have to have our eyes opened and not pointed to one certain direction – no matter (not “matter” 🙂 which… Do you disagree with that?

    10. Untitled — The word “spiritual” is the cheapest and vaguest word in human history.And btw, you have a hypothesis, not a theory.

    11. Untitled — I have my own theory, which is just a theory.The human brain is not only a “thinking machine”. It is also a modem – a communication tool which enables communication with the spiritual dimensions of the world, and enables non-physical communication with other humans.Koen, you don’t need to accept the existence of the spiritual dimensions of the world. Don’t bother to argue against it either. All such arguments have the weight of a color blind person saying that there is no such thing called color.Maybe those humans who descended from monkeys don’t have this “modem” part of the brain. Other humans, who were created, do have it…. 🙂

    12. Untitled — “mystery” does have a strong link with “supernatural” though, whether it is about consciousness or thought. So the question remains : “do you have an a priori belief that the mystery of consciousness has a supernatural explanation ?”

    13. Untitled — I do not hold that the solution to how brain works is so simple. However I was mostly referring to the “mystery” of human consciousness.

    14. Untitled — I have not read Lyells work , so I can not comment on his methodology. A creationist always misrepresents the work of scientists so I withhold my judgement until I have the chance to read his books myself. At the moment I would say he did the best he could with the limited toolkit that was available to the scientists of that time.What do you think of Lord Kelvin’s estimate by the way ? 🙂 A clear example of a creationist viewpoint diminishing the quality of his scientific work.Samarium 146 – trace amounts could probably be found if it was useful in some field like plutonium is. There are other naturally ocurring short lived isotopes that should be here on earth if the earth was created only 6000 years ago.

    15. Untitled — Human brain “mystery” seems to indicate to me that you have an a priori belief in a supernatural origin of human thought ? So far it has failed because cheap massive “parallel” computing power was not available to many researchers on an exclusive basis. Once that hurdle is overcome (and it is happening now) the construction of an artificial brain is possible. What I mean by this is that a human brain = countless specialized slow minicomputers working in parallelversus supercomputer limited (compared to a human brain) number of cores that can work more or less in parallel. (parallelism in computers means something different then parallel in the brain)

    16. Untitled — “Those imaginative dates are not followed blindly” -Aha, so you do admit that Lyell’s dates were imaginative? And, that’s what Darwin copied? And, that’s what his followers followed blindly for the next 100 years?Still, Nobody knows how Lyell invented his dates, ranging into 240 million years, without any scientific dating technology. Samarium 146 – and if it were to be found, you would revise your question up to 104,000,000?

    17. Untitled — About Lyell’s date :Church-of-Darwin members, up until today, blindly follow these imaginative dates.1) Church-of-Darwin ? Is this not a bit immature ? :)2) Those imaginative dates are not followed blindly, they were revised upwards when the discovery of radio-activity made new estimates for the age of the earth possible.3) Explain the lack of naturally occuring isotopes with a half life < 80 000 000 years on the earth (for example Samarium 146 with a halflife of 103 million years is no where to be found).

    18. Untitled — well first of all , we do know more than “nothing” about the human brain. Scientists are working to refine the models of the individual synapses and are even trying to build a mechanical brain. If/when a “mechanical” brain is constructed, it will pose a serious problem to non-materialists. I think (not with absolute certainty) that it will happen and that scientists will learn a great deal about our human brain while creating an artificial brain. The following link is about the blue brain project and would be interesting for you 2 to keep an eye on : http://bluebrain.epfl.ch/Secondly, with regards to evolution of the brain, there are a lot of facts that are known about human brain evolution. This topic is too large to fit into a single comment, but the following article is a nice introduction of what is currently known : http://www.plosbiology.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pbio.0030050Edit : to specify further : it is an observed fact that the human brain evolved, scientists are now working on the historical reconstruction of “how” it evolved.

    19. Untitled — Evolution cannot explain human brain. Wishful speculations can be concocted. But a real scientific explanation?

    20. Untitled — There is no problem with assumptions as long as they are stated clearly. Evolution could explain human brain, but that means nothing about our knowledge of the brain which is currently near zero. Correct?

    21. Untitled — Zvi, your calculations are wrong. I have told you multiple times that the raw odds of any sufficiently long series of events are always astronomical. I could use the same calculation to prove that you could not exist. Evolution is a ratcheting mechanism.And young earth creationists are as foolish as flat earthers. Spiros:Bigger brain not in terms of weight, but capacity.And please tell me what the problem is with materialistic assumptions. When you are sick do you go to a shaman, or to a real doctor ?

    22. Untitled — I have in mind a different point of view: we know almost nothing about the human brain and yet we are so certain about the mechanism that created it… I can smell a materialistic assumption here… And placing all the things I told you under the ‘bigger brain’ difference looks like a category mistake. In the same way animals with bigger brain than human are what? Species higher than human? It is not humans vs lower species. That would imply that these species can do what we do know: discuss and think in abstract levels.

    23. Untitled — Even these little changes would require mutations in more than 100 base locations. Even you will agree with it. Before I get into the details, it is very telling that no answer was offered to “Nobody knows how Lyell invented his dates, ranging into 240 million years, without any scientific dating technology… Church-of-Darwin members, up until today, blindly follow these imaginative dates.”Theoretically, there may be many viable mutations possible. But, in order to be a different species, in the absence of closely-spaced survivable transitional creatures, the irreducible minimum of information-contents difference must be greater than 100 nucleotide base locations. (This does not mean that there is only one survivable solution with a difference in 100 nucleotide locations. What it means is that the total number of possible random permutations divided by the number of survivable solutions has a lower limit equal to the information-contents equivalent of 100 nucleotide substitutions.) Therefore, the probability of randomly mutating one species to another, without external guidance, is less than one chance in 4^100 trials. 4^100 equals 10^60. Without external guidance, it will take more than a trillion trillions (10^24) of mammals, mutating and procreating ten thousand times per second for more than a trillion trillions of years, to randomly evolve one survivable creature of a new mammal species.This calculation does not prove the existence of a Creator. What this calculation does prove is that it would take many trillions of years to obtain the irreducible-minimum change without a Creator, regardless of whether the change occurs in one big step or in many small steps. Current estimates of millions or billions of years, which are based exclusively on geological considerations, do not allow sufficient time for such a random change to occur or to accumulate.There are no organisms which can procreate ten thousand times per second. Planet earth never contained a trillion trillions of mammals. (The volume of planet earth is 10^21 cubic meters. 10^24 average mammals would occupy a volume greater than the entire volume of planet earth.) And, as far back as we can remember, the universe does not exist for a trillion trillions of years. Therefore, the hypothesis as if species can evolve into new species through the accumulation of random mutations, without external guidance, is nothing but a wishful speculation based on ignorance.

    24. Untitled — As I said before , not that many changes are needed to develop a human starting from an ape-like ancestor. (and Spiros it is about more then the tail, your sophistry shines through once again).So it is us humans versus the lower lifeforms eh ? lol

    25. Untitled — There are only two possibilities:a) Humans were so created, orb) Evolution through random mutations and natural selection would take more than 10^50 years.The hypothesis as if humans evolved in less than 2 million years is baseless. This hypothesis mimics imaginative geological theories.James Hutton was the first to postulate the idea that the earth is old based on rock formations. He developed his theory of rock formations and privately described it in 1785-1795. Charles Lyell continued Hutton’s work, invented the geologic column and its associated dates, and published it in his book “Principles of Geology” in 1830. Radiometric dating was not invented until 100 years later. Nobody knows how Lyell invented his dates, ranging into 240 million years, without any scientific dating technology. Charles Darwin was impressed by Lyell’s book and became a close friend of Lyell. He accepted Lyell’s imaginative dates, and incorporated them into his theory of evolution. Church-of-Darwin members, up until today, blindly follow these imaginative dates.

    26. Untitled — I am interested to understand how random mutations can result in such sophisticated characteristics, especially if we take into account the fact that most of them are NOT good for species survival…

    27. Untitled — Species without logos, poetry, fantasy, abstract thinking or the ability to question their own senses (just to start with).

  20. This seems rather circular — If we take the statement”And do not forget that the notion of design exists even in the theory of evolution. All species evolve in a way so that the fittest to an environment survives over the least-fit species. This means that the evolution process is ‘designed’ to promote the survival of the fittest (and not, for example, the survival of the weakest animal thus leading to the degradation of our civilization). Who or what gave that ‘purpose’ to the evolution mechanism?”It would be very hard to say that the outcome of any process was not designed. In fact, species do not evolve in a way that the fittest survives. Differential inheritance is a mechanism of evolution, not an objective. If we drop the confusion between process and purpose, evolution stand full well and theism is not really needed. All evolution really needs is long enough time frames and a few simple mechanisms.

    1. Untitled — Thanks for the comment. However it seems that you are making the mistake I am talking about in the article: project a biology mechanism to philosophical questions to which they have not relevance at all…

  21. Concerning proof (e.g. of macro-evolution) — Many people argue that macro-evolution is “proved”. I again clarify that I have nothing against the specific (or any other) theory. I just want to see it “proved” like micro-evolution in order to fully accept it as a “fact”.In the article I mention some examples of possible macro-evolution fellow knoller Koen pointed out. I thank him for that. However I must point out the following:1. The examples are debatable. Even the authors of the respective papers use words as “possible explanation”, pointing to the not-finally-proven-anything nature of the theory.2. There are many counter-arguments: no macro-evolution of fruit flies has been observed. All known mutations are bad for the organisms. Fossil record does not have the necessary completeness to verify (or reject) that theory.3. FINALLY: A theory that is true, it is true in every single case we observe. Gravity applies to every planet, star and galaxy existing. Imagine the case of having gravity applicable only to a specific planet that we discovered after years of research (while we cannot make gravity apply to all other planets we see). Would that make us think “See! Gravity is true after all!”? No. We want to see gravity applicable to EVERYTHING in order to say that it applies as a natural law.Until it is proved, macro-evolution will have the place every non-proven theory has.

    1. Untitled — I would like to comment on my new addition to the article:”For Darwin, since all individuals evolve continuously the definition of distinct species is something completely arbitrary and based upon the subjective opinion of each taxonomist! He was actually proud that he had solved the problem of the definition of “species” by pointing out that the evolutionary mechanism continuously changes the characteristics of populations and where one “draws the line” to define a new/different species is completely subjective!!!”It is very relative to the discussion we had and draws attention to a critical point: how can you know when a new species starts to exist if the evolutionary mechanism is continuous?

    2. Untitled — Brilliant argument. Losing a tail is much more important to survival than absorbing a more abundant food under extreme starvation conditions. Brilliant. Why didn’t I think of that?Now the geologists can sleep peacefully at night.

    3. Untitled — We are not humans because we lost a tail. Concerning that, I have one comment: Knowing the evolution mechanism does not make us know anything about human nature. I opened a new comment discussion thread about that topic.

    4. Untitled — Humans started from an existing mammalian framework. The evolutionary changes in humans were really not that spectacular- bigger brain- lose tail ( some humans are still born with a tail )- enhance voice box- walk upright- change feetAll of these had a much easier evolutionary pathway then the change of foodsource for E.Coli

    5. Untitled — This is getting reduced to the level of nonsense. What do you think, Prof. Lenski did not know what you are saying? yet he wrote in the article: “the mutation rate of the ancestral strain from Cit- to Cit+ is immeasurably low.”. And he had 10^11 organisms per generation who tried to do it. How many monkeys tried to evolve into humans?Rate, probability, statistics, are practically synonyms here. (Yes, i know they are not exact synonyms). Would you be happier if I changed the word probability to rate?”Are you actually believing your own argument here ? ” If evolution is fact, then, life on planet earth had to start trillions of years ago 🙂 Let the geologists sweat a little.

    6. Untitled — Even if we temporarily agree with your 600,000 years equivalent for humans, Lenski had more than 10^11 cells per generation “searching the problem space SIMULTANEOUSLY”. Monkeys/humans in the early days did not exceed 10^7 , so it would take them a factor of 10^4 longer. Multiply 600,000×10^4 and you get 6 billion years just to evolve an improvement in monkey/human food digestion.

    7. Untitled — Are you actually believing your own argument here ? The beauty of evolution is that a lot of organisms are searching the problem space SIMULTANEOUSLY ! Is that really so hard to understand ? I don’t think I am the one who needs to brush up on statistics. Be careful Zvi, BASIC STATISTICS coming in : The ODDS of something that has already happened are exactly ONE !!The odds that a given person X will win the lotto are immeasurably low. The odds that a random person from a group of ten million people will win the lotto are a lot higher. I really cannot believe I have to explain this to you.

    8. Untitled — I guess you need to brush up on statistics. 11 populations are still trying and failing after 40,000 generations. The probability should really be 1 out of 471,000 generations. The populations that did NOT evolve the change cannot be ignored. They are part of the statistical data. That’s why the authors said: “the mutation rate of the ancestral strain from Cit- to Cit+ is immeasurably low.”Is the church of Darwin now struggling to find ways to dispute their own data?Wait a minute, if one species of mammals did randomly mutate into a different species, it proves that life on planet earth started trillions of years ago…

    9. Untitled — One out of 378,000 generations is cute sophistry but it is incorrect.It did not take that one population 378,000 generations , it took that one population 30 000 generations to accumulate enough mutations to change the food source. I would even call that 378,000 number you put there dishonest. With regards to humans that would put the timeline at about 600,000 years, which is just a blip on the evolutionary timescale. There are also differences in evolution due to sexual reproduction versus asexual reproduction.E. Coli by the way is identified by the food source it uses. So a change of food source is MAJOR !The fossil record already shows the evidence of human evolution. No need to calculate the odds of something that has already happened, and certainly not the way you perform those calculations.

    10. Untitled — The Lenski experiment demonstrated that the probability of a minor improvement in the ability to transport food, under extreme starvation conditions, is one out of 378,000 generations (taking into account the fact that in 11 populations this ability did not evolve). The authors acknowledge in their publication that “the mutation rate of the ancestral strain from Cit- to Cit+ is immeasurably low.” In humans, 378,000 generations would take 7 million years. It would take some humans 7 millions years, under extreme starvation conditions, to evolve a minor improvement in the ability to digest a more abundant food source. Some humans will never evolve this ability. At this rate, under natural conditions which are not that extreme, it would take trillions of years to evolve more complex systems and a higher brain capacity. Even the most “religious” evolutionists do not believe that humans evolved more than 2 million years ago. Evolution biologists never agreed with probability calculations showing that complex systems would take trillions of years to evolve. Now, evolution biologists have experimentally verified the correctness of these calculations. Yes, some evolutionary changes are fact, but, it would take trillions of years, maybe more, to evolve a complex system or one animal from another.

    11. Untitled — Maybe so , but the way you calculated the total probability is wrong. Any sufficiently long series of events has impossible odds. The variation in proteins among all the species (alive and extinct) also shows that multiple forks are possible in the series of events.Your probability is as valid as calculating the odds that specifically you were born. If you were to plugin your wrong formula into some of the mutations of the experiment , you would also get impossible odds, but somehow it still happened.Secondly E.Coli in nature can only utilize Citrate under anoxic conditions and in the presence of an oxidizable cosubstrate. So it is new information and a capability that did not exist before.The ability to adapt is not preprogrammed, it is the result of mutations as clearly shown in the study. The same adaptations were sometimes achieved by different random mutations (comparable to the same function that fins in aquatic mammals and fish have although the evolutionary pathway to these fins was very different).Lastly , the fossil evidence clearly shows evolution (see whale evolution for a very nice example)

    12. Untitled — 10^-20 and 10^-1000 are equally non-measurable. it makes no difference which one it is, or anywhere in between. 10^-20 = 33 base pairs – an insignificant change – a fraction of one gene.The Lenski experiment, showing E. coli bacteria learning how to metabolize citrate, has been publicized by evolutionists as evidence of evolution in action. Careful reading of the original publication (not journalistic interpretations of it) reveals that this experiment demonstrates the ability of E. coli bacteria to adapt to a citrate food source. The existence of E. coli strains in nature, which can metabolize citrate, is known and is acknowledged in the Lenski publication. This experiment succeeded in variating an E. coli strain which feeds exclusively on glucose, into a strain which can also feed on citrate. This experiment did NOT evolve a new species which never existed before, or a new ability which never existed before. This experiment caused variation of one known strain into another known strain.The researchers claim that each of the 12 populations in this experiment experienced billions of mutations, far more than the number of possible point mutations in the 4.6-million-base-pair genome. This ratio implies, to a first approximation, that each population tried every typical one-step mutation many times. Yet, no new species and no new unknown capabilities emerged.Adaptations by mutations under stress is a well known phenomenon. If such adaptations were to be the result of totally random mutations, as evolutionists suggest, each population undergoing such adaptation would be different. However, repeating the final stages of this experiment on samples preserved from earlier generations of the original population that did experience this adaptation, resulted in identical populations which emerged after the same total number of generations.The fact that many samples of early generations of E. coli produced the same adaptations and identical populations, prove that:- the ability to adapt is pre-programmed into the genetic codes;- such genetic changes and their final destinations are governed by the pre-programmed genetic codes; and,- these genetic changes are not the result of random mutations. (If they were random, the results would not have been identical.)

    13. Untitled — There is no scientific basis for your probabilities at all. You even admitted yourself you used arbitrary numbers.The experiments by professor Lenski even clearly show that those probabilities you pull out of thin air are clearly wrong. (neutral mutations were in the chain that led to the change of food source in those long term experiments).Oh and as an added bonus , please calculate the probability of this happening : http://www.collegehumor.com/video:1917990

    14. Untitled — You are playing games with semantics.You bring examples of could with a probability of 10^-1 to defend speculations of could with a probability of around 10^-1000. In the English language, both could’s sound the same. In science they are not.The author in the last article is not honest enough to admit that he is playing with wishful speculations (let alone mention the probabilities of the order of 10^-1000). Many other authors do admit it.If you find an artistically crafted Victorian chair in the woods, it COULD potentially be the result of lightning hitting a tree, the tree exploding, and the chair being one of the fragments. Yes, it could be, but, is it? Would you believe me if I told you that it is?For some strange reason you, like all other evolutionists, believe that every could and would represents science, even when the probability is 10^ -1000. There are very few people in the world who can comprehend the significance of such low probabilities. Even 10^-20 cannot be comprehended by most biologists. At 10^-20, one event per second will take 3 trillion years.According to quantum theory an egg can be thrown through a steel wall without breaking. Yes, it is potentially possible, with a probability of less than 10^-1000. What will happen to a physicist who talks about it as if it were a practical reality? The same thing that happens to the biologists who openly declare that they believe in creation rather than evolution. Expelled… If evolution biology was a real science, then, those who talk about an event with a probability of the order of 10^-1000 (or even 10^-20) as if it were a practical reality, should be the ones to be expelled. Shouldn’t the same academic standards apply here and in physics?That’s what I mean when I say that you have lost the ability to tell the difference between science and fiction. that’s also why it is useless to continue this conversation.

    15. Untitled — (name dropping and creationist quote mining once again ignored)Potential in the sense of “potential energy” (from physics). Genetics is an exact science and when scientist say there is a potential pathway that is not speculation. It means that one of the known mechanisms for genetic change is possible.It is no more speculation then saying a tornado “could” blow the roof of a house.It is akin to reconstructing the path a fallen rock took when it tumbled down the hill. Sure there are some things (for example the momentum at each exact moment) that cannot be determined with 100% accuracy but the fact that it fell is clear and where it made contact with the ground is also clear. From those data points a highly accurate path can be reconstructed.There is no potential pathway from dew to aphids, and no potential pathway from hay to mice.Do you call the following sentences wishful speculations ?If you cross the street when the light says “stop” you could get hit by a car.If you jump out of a three story building from the top you could get killed.Just simple examples hopefully simple enough for you to understand how juvenile your would/could hobby-horse is.

    16. Untitled — hahaha – what’s the difference between potentiality and speculation? James Shapiro and Franklin Harold, professors of microbiology and biochemistry, knew very well what they are saying when they called all such articles “wishful speculations”. I guess they also suffered from a reading comprehension problem?”aphids arise from dew” and “mice arise from rotten hay” said Aristotle. Any evolutionist should be able to design a POTENTIAL pathway for it to happen. Maybe this should be the entrance exam for admission into the “Church of Darwin”.You have hopelessly lost the ability to tell the difference between science and fiction.

    17. Untitled — The usages of the words could and would in the text are used to describe potentiality not speculation. Perhaps a reading comprehension problem. Your argument looks a bit like Behe’s irreducable complexity argument, although it is not as well developed as Behe’s model. The uncrossable barrier exists only in your mind.

    18. Untitled — You can ignore quotes, but, you cannot ignore the reality which the quotes describe (unless you are an ostrich).The article you show is just another example of the reality that there are no detailed Darwinian accounts for the evolution of any fundamental biochemical system, only a variety of wishful speculations.Examples of wishful speculations in this article: – “this system could be built up into a full system… and then mutations … would have produced a workable primitive clotting system.” “could be”… and “would have…” = wishful speculations.- “Another possible, but simpler, pathway suggests itself.” wishful speculation- “A simple mutation to the small Factor XIII would allow it to…” wishful speculation- “… also suggest how a clotting system could be assembled piecemeal.” wishful speculation- ” I’ve presented three plausible scenarios”. plausible = wishful speculations. The data may be interesting, but, the conclusion is nothing but wishful speculations. Understanding of the term “wishful speculations” is key to understanding the current status of evolution research (again, unless you are an ostrich).Besides, who cares what Behe said or didn’t say? I guess it is now my turn to call your reply “straw man”. I did NOT talk about Behe’s Irreducible Complexity, yet, you responded with an attempt to disprove it. What’s the connection? I guess the uncrossable barrier will remain uncrossable, until the next wishful speculation is invented.

    19. Untitled — Thanks. If there was an answer, you would mention it. I read a few of the articles, and all present wishful speculations and admit it. e.g: “While much of this model is speculative…” and: “we now have a pretty good speculative scenario about how that happened…”James Shapiro, who is a professor of microbiology at the University of Chicago wrote: “There are no detailed Darwinian accounts for the evolution of any fundamental biochemical or cellular system, only a variety of wishful speculations.”Franklin Harold, emeritus professor of biochemistry at Colorado State University, wrote: “but we must concede that there are presently no detailed Darwinian accounts of the evolution of any biochemical system, only a variety of wishful speculations.”None address the uncrossable barrier.Those who believed in spontaneous generation of life, also accused critiques of using the argument from ignorance. Just because we don’t know how it happens is not evidence that it does not happen…Here is an updated version:”Blood clotting and the immune system provide the ultimate proof that “survival of the fittest” and “natural selection” cannot be the driving force behind evolution. According to evolution theory, the ability of blood to clot at an injury and the ability of the immune system to cure infections are mechanism which had to evolve somehow. They must be perfectly balanced mechanisms – too little, and the animal will not survive an injury or an infection; too much, and the animal will destroy itself. What exactly would be the driving force to cause such adaptive evolutionary improvements of survivability? Before an animal is injured or before an infection occurs, there is no reason to adaptively evolve. After an animal is injured or after an infection occurs, it is too late.The other possibility, according to evolution theory, is to acquire these abilities by chance, through random mutations. However, for most animal species, there are no animals in nature which don’t experience at least one injury or infection once they are born. Therefore, all animals within any given population must have these abilities from the moment they are born, otherwise they will not survive their babyhood. As soon as one animal in a population gets infected, all animals will quickly get infected. The survival rate of most animal species without these abilities would be 0%, and the species will be extinct before it had a chance to get started. Differential reproductive rates in favor of animals which acquire such an ability by chance, will never have a chance to get started because their parents, if they were to lack these abilities, would have never survived. This is also why all females must have the ability of blood clotting from their early existence. All females experience blood loss before giving birth to their first offspring. Without blood-clotting ability, they will never reach an opportunity to give birth, and will definitely not survive giving birth. There is no time to adaptively evolve such an ability when the need arises, and there is no reason to adaptively evolve such an ability before the need arises. Differential reproductive rates will, again, not help because ALL females in the population must already have this ability before giving birth. This seems to be an uncrossable barrier to the evolution of these abilities.There are many publications which present wishful speculations about the sequence or pathway in which such mechanisms “could have evolved”. (Wishful speculations and “could have evolved” are not science.) The issue is not the sequence, or the pathway, or the complexity, but the lack of a driving force behind it (for adaptive evolution) and the lack of opportunity for differential reproductive rates to get started. Publications on the subject completely ignore this uncrossable barrier.The ability to survive an injury or an infection, or the lack of such an ability, is a binary state. There is nothing in between. This is true not only for individuals, but, also for entire populations, because without it, survival rates would be 0%. It is not like running speed which can be slowly developed over time and give an advantage to fast runners. The ability to survive an injury, or giving birth, or an infection must be there from the very beginning, or else it is too late. The ability to survive an injury, or giving birth, or an infection is not something which can evolve over time or by chance.”

    20. Untitled — It is more the question of why you do not want to investigate the science that explains the evolutionary mechanism of blood clotting.You are arguing from a position of ignorance.It is comparable to the people who say :I can not see how the Egyptian pyramids could have been built by humans, hence the gods / aliens did it.Stonehenge could not have been built by humans, hence the gods / aliens did it.Lastly you speak of “ultimate proof”. Have you not learned by now that there is no “proof” in science ?

    21. Untitled — Again, you missed the point. This is not a question of “I can’t see”. This is a question of a fundamental contradiction and an uncrossable barrier. Is there anyone who can see? Nobody can see something which cannot exist.Still no answer to the question. What is a driving force that can overcome the barrier of “once the need arises to evolve this ability, it is too late, and, before the need arises, there is no reason to evolve.” Are you open-minded enough to the possibility that maybe there is no way to overcome such a barrier?

    22. Untitled — Also a very good natured creator that makes a blood clotting system that can cause Thrombosis. Hey it’s a perfect way to cull the herd isn’t it. Fast , painless , what’s not to love.

    23. Untitled — You are not qualified as an arbitrator of valid science. You would not be able to perform the Lenski experiment, you would have said “I can’t see how e. coli could develop the ability to digest citrate”

    24. Untitled — Incredulity: unwillingness to believe. It is funny to see an evolutionist talk about incredulity. The entire field of evolution (and atheism) is founded on personal incredulity.”Fallacy label sticking” is not a valid scientific response; it is a trick to avoid the need to pay attention to the contents of an argument. The Spanish Inquisition had more than 2000 fallacy labels to stick on arguments.There are many publications which talk about the SEQUENCE in which blood clotting “could have evolved” or “must have evolved”. “Could have…” and “must have…” are not science. The issue is not the sequence but the driving force behind it. All publications on the subject ignore the basic problem that once the need to evolve this ability arises, it is too late, and, before the need arises, there is no reason to evolve.In the publication you cite, evolution is pre-assumed. Then, it proceeds to search for and find a progression of genes that matches the assumption. This has nothing to do with the driving force which led to the innovative ability of blood clotting. By the way, the following quotes from this article demonstrate classical speculations:”must have made their appearance more recently in evolution than…””it was long ago realized that a series of gene duplications must lie at the heart of…””have led to the suggestion that…””could conceivably be associated with..””could equally well have been used””All indications are that this could be…”

    25. Untitled — This is an argument from personal incredulity ( a fallacy to add to your knol ) and it is wrong. The evolutionary pathway to blood clotting is well understood.There are numerous articles on the subject, here is one from the top 10 of google search results.http://www.pnas.org/content/100/13/7527.fullThis just indicates a lack of curiosity and rigour on your part.

    26. Untitled — Blood clotting provides the ultimate proof that “survival of the fittest” and “natural selection” cannot be the driving force behind evolution. It also proves that evolution cannot exist. The ability of blood to clot at an injury is a perfectly balanced mechanism. Too much, and the blood vessels will clog up even without an injury. Too little, and the blood will drain out of an injury. In either case, the animal will not survive and will never have a chance to evolve into a new animal with a better balance. According to evolution theory, such a perfectly balanced mechanism, if not created by God, had to evolve somehow. What exactly would be the driving force to cause such an evolutionary improvement of survivability? Before an animal is injured, or if the injury is minor, there is no need to evolve. After an animal is injured beyond its current ability to survive, it is too late. This is also why all females must have this ability from their early existence. There is no time to evolve this ability when the need arises.The ability to survive a blood-letting injury, or the lack of this ability, is a binary state. There is nothing in between. It is not like running speed which can be slowly developed over time. The ability to survive a blood-letting injury must be there from the very beginning, or else it is too late. It is not something which can evolve over time.

    27. Untitled — Koen, I read your writtings well and with as much attention as you read mine. I do not accuse someone of something. I just state that it is wrong to have our philosophical prejudice to drive our scientific results and theories.The only “fact” is that we are talking about a theory which has still many problems to overcome. The only “fact” is that for every of the abovementioned questions you may have ONE or two examples but still leave unanswered many cases where the theory has problems explaining. One example is not “proof”, you tend to forget that.- For example you get past the question “why there is an inherent mechanism against mutations?” by just stating that “there are two different copying mechanisms. Nice comment, but it does not explain what I wanted you to explain.- You also say that the species definition problem is a human problem and that nature does not put anything into categories. Nicely put! So maybe the theory of evolution concerning macro-evolution is just the human way to see things and is not something “real”?- The abiogenesis is not an unrelated problem. It is THE problem! How can life start?- You easily bypass the point that the theory of evolution is a tautology. I do not claim that this makes the theory obsolete, but mainly the fact that this should make us understand how we should use and “not-apply” this theory to grand metaphysical questions.- The prediction “life will be radically different” is not a prediction.- The laboratory experiment you sent me is indeed very interesting. From a short reading I understood that it refers to changes in the specialization of bacteria using different substrates after many thousands of generations. The question of whether this constitues new species remains to be seen, although I admit it is a good starting point for our discussion.I look forward to your answer. Thanks again for participating in that dialogue. It helps me to see things from a different perspective.

    28. Untitled — An interesting case is the long term laboratory experiment performed by professor Lenski. In short, this is an experiment that was started februari 1988. A lot of evolutionary changes were detected during the experiment.One of the most striking evolved traits was the ability to digest citrate.A paper describing the experiments and result can be found here : http://myxo.css.msu.edu/lenski/pdf/2004,%20Plant%20Breeding%20Reviews,%20Lenski.pdfA nice example of evolution in the lab.

    29. Untitled — I get the impression you do not read everything I write in full, and are just skimming posts, but ok I’ll repeat some of the things I wrote in this post.First of all here is what is wrong with your paragraph- you claim scientists have bad intentions- you claim they have a hidden agenda.Both are juvenile accusations, not worthy of an authoritative knol on the subject.- Why do organisms have inherent mechanisms to battle against mutations, if these mutations are the main origin of macro-evolution?bacteria for example have 2 versions of copying mechanisms. A high quality one in times of peace (low pressure on the organism) and a low quality one in times of stress. This was mentioned in one of my posts, and is something you obviously did not read.- Why does the “fossil gap” remains a gap?Not a direct question you posed to me, but I mentioned an example of a complete line of fossils for cetaceans, and also humans have a complete fossil record.- How did life came into being from inorganic matter?Not a direct question you posed to me, but this is a question outside of evolution, and is part of the field of abiogenesis, which remains speculative in nature. There was however a recent paper that describes the thermodynamic probability for 10 amino acids (which are enough to form simple proteins)- What is the definition of species?Not a direct question you posed to me, but I discussed the problems with the definition of species by pointing out that there is a continuum of species in some cases and the problem of defining species is a human problem. We like to put stuff in categories, but nature does not work that way. The species definition is just a tool to classify organisms.- Why some scientists claim to have found new species based on different buttefly wings colour?Because they analyze mating behaviour and genetic evidence.- Why evolution drove organisms away from simple and very fit-to-survive patterns like bacteria?The step from single cell to multi cell took a very long time but predation was probably a factor, as I already answered.- How new species arise from other species if mutations within a species only lead to changes in the same biological material but do not produce new?- You forgot about the nylon eating bacteria, that is definitely something new.- Walking whale developing fins, tail and blow hole is definitely something new.- Birds “relearning” the ability to dive and catch prey underwater is something new.- How can you call something a “scientific theory” if it cannot make predictions for the future?The theory of evolution does make predictions. It predicts that life will look radically different within a million years , but that all the changes will happen within the framework of common descent with modification. The theory of evolution also predicts that no human fossil will be found in the same layer as a dinosaur fossil.- Is not the “fit to survive” idea a tautology?The sentence can not replace the whole body of work . It tries to convey the point that only beneficial or neutral mutations have a chance to survive into a new generations. The environment (itself under constant change) determines what a beneficial or neutral mutation is.- Why something that is so “evident” and a “fact” cannot be so easily reproduced within lab?Simply because of the timescales involved. It works best with bacteria because of the short generation and exponential growth in populations.I have answered all these questions and gave a lot more info, you just do no read carefully enough and skip what you do not like.You have not raised any serious evolution related questions, just some juvenile accusations against scientists.In short , you are wrong, evolution is a fact.

    30. Untitled — Koen,In response to your comment (“Nonsense Spiros, you have a chip on your shoulder against evolution”, Posted by Koen Samyn, last edited Aug 14, 2009 3:55 PM) on Zvi’s Knol (http://knol.google.com/k/zvi-shkedi/evolution-facts-theories-and-fiction/2uwlycjywdbb9/8#comment-2uwlycjywdbb9.jzr8n6) I post my comment also here so that you can take a look at it.It is important to set the rules of the dialogue and be alligned on the method of debate.**********************************There are tons of things you have not responded to. Both here and at my Knol at http://knol.google.com/k/spiros-kakos/evolution-and-intelligent-design-the/2jszrulazj6wq/3#. And I do not like the personal insult attitude you are using in your responses. You continuously fail to answer specific things to questions raised and almost constantly use rhetoric tricks to bypass the difficult situation: you either characterize the other guy with some bad attributes (“you have not studied biology”), refer to other peoples authority on the matter (“read Mr. X, he has proved what I say”), use statements rather than explanations (“this is it, didn’t you know?”) etc.You mention a paragraph from one of my Knols but do not explain what is wrong with it. A pefrect example of how you work in your supposed “answers”. Away from the topic and well into personal characterizations. I will not go with you into that play. You are alone in your world full of unexplained “facts” that “everyone knows”.But if however you want to continue a productive discussion, start addressing real problems like…- Why do organisms have inherent mechanisms to battle against mutations, if these mutations are the main origin of macro-evolution?- Why does the “fossil gap” remains a gap?- How did life came into being from inorganic matter?- What is the definition of species?- Why some scientists claim to have found new species based on different buttefly wings colour?- Why evolution drove organisms away from simple and very fit-to-survive patterns like bacteria?- How new species arise from other species if mutations within a species only lead to changes in the same biological material but do not produce new?- How can you call something a “scientific theory” if it cannot make predictions for the future?- Is not the “fit to survive” idea a tautology?- How can you call something a “scientific theory” if it cannot be falsified?- Why something that is so “evident” and a “fact” cannot be so easily reproduced within lab?Many more to come. Most of them are not even touched by you in your answers, unless you consider the “Mr. X told that” an answer…You write good computer graphics articles. I suggest you keep doing that. I repeat that this is not an issue you-against-me or me-against-evolution. I repeat that I accept evolution as a valid biological theory. But I cannot accept your being blinded in front of many serious evolution-related issues that are still to be discussed and for which we know almost nothing.Waiting for true answers here and at my Knol, where you stopped the thread of dialogue with a simple reference to “Futuyama”…

    31. Untitled — I accept what you say and record your comments. However in a discussion I expect the other party to provide evidence on his own and not say “ask the other guy, he will tell you”. When I pose specific questions and counter-arguments I expect specific answers and not a “this is considered a fact” answer. I already told you many times that I understand there are arguments in favor of micro- and macro-evolution. And I record them in my article as well. What I want you to understand is that there are also gray areas where many things need to be clarified. And these are the things I want to discuss with you. Answers like “Futuyama knows” do not help in the progress of the conversation. I speak, you speak and so on – that is the way the conversation progresses. Waiting for you to really participate into the conversation anytime you feel so, with real dialogue and not reference to other references.

    32. Untitled — “Micro” and “macro” evolution both have mountains of evidence and are considered fact. The introductory tutorial on the berkeley website is very condensed. I suggest you pickup something more appropriate for your age, like Futuyamas workAsk any competent scientist in the field of biology if they consider “common descent with modification” to be a fact, the answer will be overwhelmingly yes.And I explained the usage of the words in the berkeley introductory tutorial. You didn’t catch my explanation of the other paper, probably because you read over it.

    33. Untitled — The problems with macro-evolution is that it is not so well founded and verified like the micro-evolution. Most cases that are tagged “macroevolution” or “speciation” concern cases where a species has changed colour or that has “possibly matting preferences”.The “you are parroting” does not sound like an answer to me…I do not think I am parroting Zvi since I produced a specific site from a very specific university and asked a very specific thing. That even biologists who are in favour of that “theory” view it as a good theory and not as a “fact”. And if you do not consider Berkeley so good for you, in our discussions I had also provided a scientific paper where scientists used the same words. And I didn’t catch your answer there either…I hope you understand that our disagreement is not in the theory of evolution itself but in your zealotry of tagging a theory as a “fact”. And we would have that discussion for every theory you called “fact”.

    34. Untitled — What are the problems with macro-evolution (for example in the case of cetaceans) ? Can you list and explain some of those problems ? Just stating there are problems is not enough.Have you looked up ring species yet or do you have some personal reason no to look into that piece of evolutionary evidence?The complete list of all the arguments in favour of macro-evolution is not hard to provide. It consists of all the knowledge in the fields of geology, dating science, genetics & biology.————————————————————————————————————————————–In addition to the above, please consider reading http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/_0_0/history_20 and http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/_0_0/history_21 concerning speciation. You can see that words like “could”, “would”, “will”, “should” are constantly used. Can someone explain me where the “facts” are? The site is from Berkeley and not a random site.—————————————————————————————————————————————You are just parroting Zvi here. Do you have any original thoughts ? In the articles , the author writes about a hypothetical unidentified species. The article is also not a scientific paper.

    35. Untitled — I think we should ALL start on the basis that we do not know everything. And that we are ALL in the process of trying to figure out what is happening.If we admit that, then sentences like “Explain to me why a designer would leave non functional remnants of pelvic bones in a whale” would loose their validity. I repeat that there are evidence for micro-evolution and for macro-evolution. However the evidence for macro-evolution are so problematic that make us wander and analyze further. Moreover there are many logical and biological issues to deal with before you mark the debate over macro-evolution as completed.I already stated my wish for all of use to compile a complete list of for-and-against arguments for macro-evolution so as to have a good starting point of objective discussion. I repeat that wish here.

    36. Untitled — You can’t imagine how many scientists told me, and keep telling me up until today, “You don’t understand cold fusion”.It is obvious that your real motivation is anti-creation rather than pro-evolution. I know that you will quickly turn it around and say “Zvi, your motivation is pro-creation rather than anti-evolution.” What you don’t seem to understand is that I could not care less if evolution is true or not. All I want is to find the truth and dispel the fiction. Evolution is NOT a challenge to creation. Creator-guided evolution is perfectly legitimate. This may be the explanation for atavism etc. Anyone who really understands the probability calculations, and also believes in evolution, has only one conclusion to reach: Evolution is guided by the Creator. See also:http://knol.google.com/k/zvi-shkedi/evolution-facts-theories-and-fiction/2uwlycjywdbb9/8?pli=1#Quantity_and_TimeThe Creator gave all creatures an ability to adapt to environmental changes within a certain range. (This also includes nylon eating bacteria. Take these bacteria and change their food supply to more conventional food, and you will see how they revert to the original strain. No new species are formed.)You asked me in another thread what is the definition of species? I would rather let the biologists figure it out. But, if you ask me, I would offer this as a starting point: Species is a group of creatures which is bound by its existing genetic capabilities. A different species is a group of creatures which cannot be reached by natural variation within a given genetic pool. Crossing the border from one species to another would require the innovative synthesis of new genes, something that a filtering process, like natural or artificial selection, cannot do. (it may require further refinement, but it is a good starting point)Every chemist knows that a filter cannot synthesize new chemicals.

    37. Untitled — I can’t be anti-creation because according to you there is nothing to infer from the hypothesis that the creator created. So without a stated position for the creationists there is nothing to be against.Your probability calculations use arbitrary numbers as you yourself have admitted.——————————————————————————————————————————————-The Creator gave all creatures an ability to adapt to environmental changes within a certain range.——————————————————————————————————————————————-This is nonsensical ! How do you know this ? Where is it in the bible ? How come species go extinct anyway ?——————————————————————————————————————————————-Species is a group of creatures which is bound by its existing genetic capabilities.——————————————————————————————————————————————-What are these existing genetic capabilities ? How do you determine them in a species ?

    38. Untitled — @ZviCorrection : you lack understanding of atavism 🙂 But do come back when you have studied the subject a bit more.@Spiros : atavism is only tangentially linked to the species definition problem. It is another piece of evidence that shows common descent.There is also vestigals : Explain to me why a designer would leave non functional remnants of pelvic bones in a whale for example and then look at the fossil evidence of the walking whale : http://members.cox.net/ardipithecus/evol/lies/lie030.html . The link also deals with some of the dishonesty of creationists when dealing with this fossil find.So if there is a designer/creator , it was a very sloppy one. But apparently according to Zvi it is not even possible to infer anything from the hypothesis that there was a designer/creator. So the question is , why do we need that hypothesis then ? Do you agree with that statement or do you have some predictions about what you would expect to find in nature if there was a designer/creator ?

    39. Untitled — If we put ERVs and atavism next to problems with species definition, problem with finding a “benefitial” mutation and problem to create new species in the lab then we may get somewhere. Noone has all the answers, so it is annoying to have someone saying “this is the fact”…

    40. Untitled — —————————————————————————————————————Science, on the other hand – anyone who can be educated can learn science.—————————————————————————————————————I submit to you that everything you write shows you have a blind spot to biology. Otherwise , with your interest in the topic you would have heard about ERV’s, atavism, and numerous other subjects a long time ago. I think you only read articles that confirm your point of view and disregard (do not read) papers that disagree with you. If the creator’s actions are unknowable then the materialism of biology is justified. If there is nothing to infer from the hypothesis that the creator created, it is a useless hypothesis.

    41. Untitled — Did you read my color blindness analogy?”A color-blind person can never be a judge of colorful art. He may be the most honest and ethical person on earth, but, if he cannot see color, he cannot judge colorful art. Imagine that all the inhabitants of an island are, and have always been, color blind. One day a visitor shows up who starts taking about the beauty of certain features that the locals cannot see. What will their reactions be? Most likely they will accuse him of having a vivid imagination. Who is right and who is wrong? That’s why atheists think that religious people have too much imagination, while religious people feel sorry for those who are spiritually color blind.”To learn religion, a color blind atheist needs to first cure his color blindness. Learning about colors before the cure will not work.Science, on the other hand – anyone who can be educated can learn science.The hypothesis is nonsensical, NOT because it is wrong (as opposed to being right). It is nonsensical because: You thing the Creator should do A; I think the Creator should do B; who are we to hypothesize on what the Creator should do? The Creator could not care less what you and I think, and does what he does. The nonsense is in the belief that there is room to express an opinion on what the Creator should do. This is independent of whether the opinion is right or wrong.A mathematical analogy: We cannot find an exact solution to a set of equations with thousands of variables when we know only a few of the equations. In a Creator model, the Creator knows all the equations. We know only a few. Believing that with only a few equations we can find or suggest THE solution is nonsensical. Again, this is independent of whether the solution is right or wrong.

    42. Untitled — Ring species can be classified as one species or as different species. There is an inherent (natural) fuzziness in ring species that makes it impossible to define species in any meaningful way.Your paragraph about atavism is very strange. I’ll take it you have no real answer for why these atavisms happen.——————————————————————————————————————————————–Nonsensical – because atheists who don’t even believe in a Creator have no business expressing opinions on what they think a creator should do.——————————————————————————————————————————————–Haha, then I could also say that creationists who still literally believe in bronze age myths have no business expressing opinions about the work scientist do 😉 What’s good for the goose is good for the gander :)So again, no answer on why that statement is nonsensical.

    43. Untitled — The different definitions reflect the fluidity of nature. – small correction: The different definitions reflect the fluidity of evolutionists.Those atavisms show the evolutionary history of a species. – I don’t argue with speculations. Charles Darwin was not the inventor of “evolution”. The first one to propose that current species might evolve from previous ones, was the Greek philosopher Anaximander (circa 550 BCE), with his “theory of aquatic descent”, proposing that mankind had sprung from an aquatic species of animal. Plato (circa 400 BCE) and Aristotle (circa 300 BCE) further developed the theory of evolution, which they called “development”. Those days (and up until 1862 AD), everyone believed in spontaneous generation of life. If life can be spontaneously generated, there should be no reason why organisms which are already alive, cannot change from one species to another. The entire premise of evolution was based on the notion that changing from one life form to another is much simpler and easier than spontaneously generating new life. Once, this premise was established, people started looking for “evidence”.Nonsensical – because atheists who don’t even believe in a Creator have no business expressing opinions on what they think a creator should do. It’s about the same as me trying to convince you what I think space aliens from different stars should look like, what the differences between them should be, and insisting that I know what I am talking about.

    44. Untitled — Does not matter if they can potentially mate or not. Once 2 populations are separated from each other (through mating behaviour , geography , or other reasons) no more genes are exchanged between the two groups. Over the course of millions of years (as evidenced by the fossil record) those 2 populations will diverge further and further. And we humans are now for the first time able to follow this process step by step, gene per gene.The different definitions reflect the fluidity of nature. See also ring species.If God cursed the snake should that not be permanent ? Why can a snake regain hind legs ? There are also other atavisms in whales / dolphins / human tails / horse toes /Those atavisms show the evolutionary history of a species.———————————————————————————————————————————“A creator model would result in very crisp and clean bounderies between species.” – Who invented this nonsensical hypothesis?——————————————————————————————————————————–Before I answer your question , I need to know why you think it is nonsensical.

    45. Untitled — “The interesting thing is that a small colour mutation causes such a drastic change in mating behaviour. ” – Before America, white and black people also did not mate. They were capable of mating, but practically did not. I doubt the these birds are not capable of mating.Do you think a coyote and wolf are the same species? – I don’t know. They could be variations of the same species that diverged over time through genetic enrichment. In other words, a wide spectrum of genes was available to select from, and over time some were selected here and some were selected there. This does not amount to “generation of new species”. I could also be wrong. This question touches on one of the most difficult questions in biology “what is the definition of species? How is the borderline defined?” So far there are about 10, may be more, different answers to this question. Isn’t it Socrates who said: “Wisdom begins with the definition of terms.” No definition – no wisdom.Snake hind legs are very interesting. The Kabbalistic interpretation (2000-3000 years old) of the biblical account of the snake seducing Eve to eat from the forbidden fruit, tells us that the snake used to have legs. Then, God cursed the snake to lose the legs. Those days nobody knew about genes. How on earth would people know something like that without knowing genetics? Now we discover those suppressed (cursed) genes, which leads to only one possible conclusion – whatever evolution does occur in nature is directed by the Creator, and the Creator reveals his secrets only to a select few. (I know you will try hard to invent/discover some answer to that. Don’t bother.)”A creator model would result in very crisp and clean bounderies between species.” – Who invented this nonsensical hypothesis?

    46. Untitled — @Zvi : There is a big difference between a controlled experiment and “reality” as it were. To be 100% certain those 2 species do not interbreed you would need to be put every male of one subspecies with every female of the other subspecies and vice versa. That experiment would take ages to perform. So yes, scientists devise other ways to determine wether or not the mating behaviour has changed.And they are honest and say it is an assumption. So I do not get how you can say this is a fraud comparable to the cold fusion hoax. In any case, the scientists are there doing the hard work, and will record any changes for us. The interesting thing is that a small colour mutation causes such a drastic change in mating behaviour. And yes if two populations do not breed , they will diverge. And there is indeed a debate to start the classification of some dog species on the grounds that mating is not possible anymore. (dogs are a bit like a ring species, but not based on location , but on height).A question for you : Do you think a coyote and wolf are the same species ? @SpirosHere you again trying to change the definition of evolution. I do not see the design you speak of. I see many ad hoc systems in nature. Genes are very messy.I’ll give one example : atavism. Snakes still have the genes for hind legs (hind legs are visible as small stubs on snakes), but these genes are suppressed. Sometimes a snake is born with hind legs. (another piece of evidence for evolution). Even our DNA shows its age, with junk DNA, SINES, LINES, ERV’s , suppressed genes, barely working genes, genetic diseases. This is not the work of designer, it is just good enough for survival purposes.If you have all the data at hand, it should be easy to give me a fossil or piece of genetic data that contradicts evolution.@both : Speciation is a long process, and scientists are tracking the evolution of these two species as we speak. As I have mentioned many times allready, the fact the species are hard to delineate is consistent with evolution. A creator model would result in very crisp and clean bounderies between species.

    47. Untitled — I agree with the abovementioned questions by Zvi.And I would like to add the following question to Koen:You mention “evolution” but maybe the right term you would like to use is “evolution via means of natural selection and complete lack of any design in nature”. Because I cannot see any indication or possible logical argument that could be used to show that the mechanism you refer to was not “designed”. To me, this complex mechanism looks very much as designed. Could you look at a computer virus program and say that it hasn’t been designed by a designer?Having that in mind, I really cannot see how the phrase “evolution is the ONLY possible solution” can be applied to all the data we have at hand.

    48. Untitled — The 2-bird example is worse than cold nuclear fusion.Close your your eyes to mating and open your eyes only to some speculative assumption? (“…then one can assume that mating between members of the two populations is rare”) Evidence based on a vague definition and an assumption? If this is not pseudo-science, I don’t know what is.Besides, Eskimos and Aborigines do not willingly mate and cannot survive in each others territory. Are they also different species? How about an English mastiff and a chihuahua dog? The genetic difference between an English mastiff and a chihuahua is a thousand times greater than the difference between these birds. Researchers who can call these birds different species while the dogs are same-species are an insult to science.

    49. Untitled — The evidence for common descent with modification is overwhelming so yes, I call it a fact.There are more examples of speciation to find , for example this recent discovery : http://www.geneticarchaeology.com/research/Study_catches_2_bird_populations_as_they_split_into_separate_species.aspAgain, as I have mentioned many times, it is consistent with evolution that it is difficult to delineate species. A “creator” model would result in species that are totally separate (no hybrids)

    50. Untitled — Biologists indeed have a hard job to do. However that has nothing to do with the validity of their theories. I accept them as scientists, no discussion about that. However a scientific theory that makes “predictions” (if any) for the PAST, is something that must go under a lot of analysis before it is to be accepted as a “fact”.I entered the paradigms you mentioned in the knol, in an effort to show that I have no problem with any specific theory. My problem lies with the wrong expasion of the scope of that theory.Now concerning the discussion about macro-evolution: I read an article about speciation in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speciation and found out that the best speciation example reproduced in a lab is the creation of mating preferences in some fruit-flies. I admit I was somehow disappointed: is this the only case for something that everybode calls a “fact”? And do “mating preferences”, without waiting to see if those two different groups of fruitflies will indeed evolve into different species, the point where the research should have stopped?What is more, I read at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Species_problem that there is a thing called “The species problem”. This problem is related to the very basis of evolutionary biology: do species actually exist, or are they something abstract that human mind invented? (see discussion between realism and nominalism) I was interested to see that even Wittgenstein was part of the discussion and that no single and final solution has been reached.Do you really want to call “scientists” those who call that thing a “fact”, while all these things mentioned above are under discussion?Do you classify something as “certain” in your field of scientific expertise so easily? If yes, can you tell me of an example? If no, can you tell me please why?

    51. Untitled — Again, a speculative theory is a contradiction. If a paper contains speculation it is a hypothesis. If the conclusions of the paper are confirmed by evidence / independent verification it can be added to the theory.

    52. Untitled — Want to learn the difference between a scientific theory and a speculative theory?A scientific theory is an attempt to explain an observation in a logical way. Most scientific theories are expressed in the form of mathematical equations or formulas. A scientific theory must be stated in such a way that enables experimental scientists to perform experiments to test the validity of the theory. A claim or opinion which does not avail itself to experimental testing is not a theory – it is just a private opinion or imagination. For example: “Life was brought to earth on a UFO” is not a theory – it is imagination. A scientific theory must be based on facts which support the theory, and, there cannot be any fact or observation which contradicts the theory. However, since the factual basis on which the theory is based is not sufficiently broad or complete, we still call it a theory rather than a fact. When a theory is a) completely free from contradictions; and, b) all experiments trying to prove the theory are consistently successful; c) all experiments trying to disprove the theory are consistently unsuccessful; and d) all predictions made on the basis of this theory are experimentally validated as true; then, the theory might be upgraded by scientists to the status of “well established theory” and sometimes even to the status of “fact”. If, on the other hand, scientists find even a single fact or observation which contradicts the theory, the theory gets downgraded to the status of “failed theory”.A speculative theory is an attempt to explain an observation without a sufficient foundation of scientific facts. Such a theory may sound right, may be pleasing to our senses, and may even offer a possible explanation of an observation. However, the observation may also have other possible explanations which can be very different. What makes a theory “speculative” is the possibility of other theories and the lack of sufficient evidence to prove which one of these theories is the right one. For example: When a person does not come home from work at the time his wife expects him to be home, the wife will usually develop a speculative theory as to the reason her husband is not home. There can be many possible theories, but the wife does not know which is the right one. If she chooses to believe in one specific theory, it would be a speculative theory.

    53. Untitled — But, at least they are honest. A real physicist will never say, based on a speculative theory, that dark matter is fact, and will never teach it as if it were a fact to unsuspecting students…

    54. Untitled — @Zvh : In your exposé you did not address my point. I always use the formal meaning of the word. A speculative theory is an oxymoron. There are hypotheses and theories. Gravitons and dark matter are a hypothesis, while we speak of the theory of evolution.Unfortunately, some scientists use sloppy language which dilutes the formal meaning of the word. For example “string theory” should be “string hypothesis”.And yes, nothing is proven in science. We can have high confidence in a theory , but still a counterexample could come along and invalidate some parts or all of it. We say that nothing can exceed the speed of light , but maybe there is just something fundamental we do not understand about physics.For example if someone would find the value of Pi to 10 000 decimal places in the human genome, that would be enough for me to say that I was wrong.@Spiros : Well I have a high esteem for biologists. They work with the micro and the macro “scope” of things and everything in between. They work with vast time frames and reams of data points. Thanks to the hard work of those scientists we have a better understanding of nature as a whole. When I read a knol that diminishes them (by calling them dishonest for example) it really does give the impression that you are anti – biology. So it is nothing personal for me too, but I do want to correct the picture you paint of these fine scientists.And yes the addition of dark matter, dark energy makes you wonder if the formula for gravity is correct. What they are doing is stuffing dark matter (an entity that nobody has observed, it is a mathematical construct) in the right places to make sure the formulas give results that correspond to the observations in space. So yes , physicists have a lot of work before they can rise to the level of theory.

    55. Untitled — Gravity has been observed. What is you saw a star cluster that does not follow the law of gravity? Wouldn’t that make you wander if the law is correct and universal?The other questions in my original post (about harmful mutations etc) remain unanswered too. If you know the mechanism of evolution, then why we haven’t located a beneficial mutation of genes yet? Why does the DNA has specific mechanisms to prevent the expansion of such mutations? Aren’t those mutations a basic part of the evolution mechanism? If that mechanism exists as some biologists postulate (= random mutations + natural selection = new species) then why couldn’t we reproduce the same mechanism in our flies-experiments?Please TRY TO UNDERSTAND that I hold nothing against you or any theory. As long as something is proved I accept it. My article tries to show that you cannot apply biological theories to non-biology subjects (e.g. philosophical). It IS NOT an anti-biology article. I do not care about whether the macro-evolution (speciation) theory is correct or not. I just cannot see it being applied to grand metaphysical questions as if it was created to do that thing in the first place!

    56. Untitled — “in science nothing is proven. ” – with all due respect, such a statement demonstrates a lack of understanding of the interaction between theory and experiments.Scientific research is usually divided into two categories, experimental and theoretical. Experimental scientists who publish their research results, devote most of their publications to the experimental procedures and findings. Following the experimental section, it is common to suggest a theory to explain the experimental findings, or to connect the experimental findings with one or more theories suggested by other scientists. Both the authors and the scientists who read the publications know that the theoretical suggestion at the end of an experimental publication is a speculative theory. They know that it is only one of several possible theories which “could make sense”. Non-scientists who read such a publication usually don’t understand that the theoretical suggestion is a speculative theory. They often misunderstand the theoretical suggestion and believe that the entire purpose of the publication is to “prove” a new scientific theory.Theoretical scientists write their publications differently. They usually open with a review of available experimental findings, continue with the results of their theoretical research, and conclude with suggestions for further experiments to be performed to validate or to resolve uncertainties in their theory.Experimental scientists rely on theoreticians to guide and to suggest new experiments. Theoretical scientists rely on experimentalists to provide them with experimental data on which they can base their theoretical research. This interaction and cooperation is the core of modern scientific research.Every experimental result needs to be uniformly reproduced and validated by other experimental scientists in order to be accepted as a scientific fact. Similarly, every suggested theory must be tested and validated by experiments in order to be accepted as a scientific theory. Every suggested theory also carries an additional burden before it can be accepted as a scientific theory: a) it has to be consistent with all known experimental findings, b) no contradictions are permitted, c) all attempts to prove the theory wrong must fail, d) all experiments performed to test the theory must yield favorable results, and, e) the theory must be capable of making predictions which can be tested by future experiments.The requirement of a theory to be capable of making testable predictions is one of the distinctions between modern science and old-style science. In old-style science, everyone could suggest theories. If they sounded right and were free from contradictions, they were recognized as scientific theories. Experienced scientists know that most of the theories so developed, are wrong. An experimental basis and lack of contradictions are no longer recognized as sufficient. To limit the proliferation of wrong theories, the requirement of making testable predictions is now uniform among scientists. Theories which cannot produce testable predictions are no longer considered scientific. Untestable theories are the fruit of human imagination. Any subject which appears superficially to be scientific or whose proponents claim is scientific, but, contravenes the testability requirement, is classified as pseudo-science.Experienced scientists who read scientific publications know how to identify theories which their authors admit to be speculative. Such speculative theories are often presented using vague phrases like: “we can infer that …”; “it is consistent with …”; “it is possible that …”; “undoubtedly …”; “we must conclude that …”; “it may have occurred at …”; “there is no doubt that …”; “it appears to be …”; etc.

    57. Untitled — Two quick comments:1) The use of the word “proof” is maybe caused by translation problems, but in science nothing is proven. Proof is for mathematics. Science builds a model that corresponds to the data.2) The use of gravity as an example is interesting. There is no theory of gravity yet. There is speculation that “gravitons” are a particle that cause gravity but nobody has been able to detect or measure them. Even worse, the visible matter is not sufficient to explain all movement in the universe, so a mathematical construct (dark matter) was introduced as a place holder for a phenomenon that is yet to be discovered. In light of this the theory of evolution has a much better framework relative to the hypothesis of gravity.There is more wiggle room for a creator in the field of gravity then there is in the field of evolution 🙂

  22. What should you believe ? — About evolution : 1 God made the world in 6 day’s ? Genesis 1:1 says : In the BEGINNING God made Heaven and Earth. That is BEFORE the 6 “day’s” of creation.Genesis does say that the 6 “day’s” of creation ended, however it DOES NOT SAY the 7th day ended, so after 6034 years it is STILL in progress.Would the other “day’s” be only 24 hours and this last one be over 6000 years ?2 We share much of the same DNA of with “related” species, like Orangutan and Mice ?We are related indeed, because we share a common CREATOR. DNA is our source code.If we are MADE by the SAME CREATOR, does it not stand to reason he would use the same code over and over again ? A GOOD human programmer does.3 Evolution happens on a daily base all around us ?The bible say’s it DOES, because all now living people and animals (except for those that swim) descended from the very few aboard the ark of Noah.So, yes, SPECIES EVOLVE, but that is more so because of what we CALL a “species” rather than of what we call “evolution”.http://www.watchtower.org/e/20080101a/article_01.htmhttp://www.watchtower.org/e/20040622/article_03.htmhttp://www.watchtower.org/e/200609/article_03.htmhttp://www.watchtower.org/e/20070815/article_02.htm

  23. New giant virus proves “Common Ancestor” wrong? — New discoveries of huge viruses indicate that the “common ancestor” theory is not applicable to everything. Marseillevirus is a huge virus discovered by French scientists to have a mixed genome that contains material from different sources including plant and animal matter, bacteria and other giant viruses such as the Mimivirus. The genome of the so-called Marseillevirus encompasses a complex repertoire of genes that are “very different from the DNA of other virus forms,” and shows that there is genetic exchange between other micro-organisms such as giant viruses and bacteria found in amoeba.Didier Raoult, head of infectious and emerging tropical disease research at Aix-Marseille 2 University in France, said the mechanism was not foreseen by Charles Darwin’s theory that life comes from a common ancestor. “The idea of a common ancestor makes no sense in the light of viruses,” he said. “That was Darwin’s idea, but he was clearly wrong.”Source: http://www.qt.com.au/story/2009/12/11/french-scientists-find-giant-new-virus/

  24. Intelligent Design or BioLogos are belong to metaphysics and not physics — By definition the Transcendent God of Judaism, Christianity and Islam is beyond time space and matter. As science is the study of time space and matter; by definition we cannot study God in a scientific paradigm.Intelligent Design people should leave pursuit of science to molecular biologists, chemists, physicists and astronomers etc. I agree with what ID people are saying if they recognize that what they are proposing aught to be taught in class of religion or philosophy and not science, as the Dover case ruled. If we clarify these domains this battle will be settled.

    1. Untitled — I do not even believe such a battle exists. Biology belongs to the biologists. Philosophy to the philosophers. As simple as that.

  25. A challenge for Dawkins: Where did carbon come from? — Unlike the 19th century physics the twentieth century physics demands that there aught to be a creator of this universe. The concept of ‘multiverse,’ is confabulation of atheist scientists to get out of this difficulty. In the past it used to be that the theists had to resolve to rhetoric to defend their ideas. But now that fate has fallen on the agnostics and atheists since the discoveries of Edwin Hubble. The present day physics demands a creator. The biophilic aspects of universe in the previous decades used to be brought up by peripheral writers but now are being expounded upon by professors of Oxford, Cambridge and Harvard.Here is a clear and lucid challenge to Professor Richard Dawkins in which carbon is used as a general proxy for physics. The article references several recent works.http://knol.google.com/k/zia-shah/a-challenge-for-dawkins-where-did/1qhnnhcumbuyp/3#

  26. Good first draft… — This is a very interesting article. It does make many very excellent points that are typically quite ignorantly ignored in most ID vs neo-Darwin debates. I suspect that the reason that there has been a backlash against Darwin is precisely as you lay out in this article that philosophy and science are often confused with each other. When science started down the path of evolution to explain “the origin of the species” as was the name of Darwin’s famous work then the implication was that God was either irrelevant or didn’t exist. Whether you believe in God or not, surely you can understand this would cause widespread outrage. As this theory has progressed it has increasingly encroached on philosophy until those who believe in God had no choice but to enter the world of science with a theory competing with neo-Darwin. Unfortunately many scientists believe that science trumps philosophy and even that philosophy is irrelevant just as God in their thinking is irrelevant or nonexistent. I do find it interesting that you readily admit that even though microevolution can – and has – been proven scientifically (which ID proponents readily accept as true) macro biology has not been scientifically proven – something that I applaud you for saying and I wish Neo-Darwinist would admit. Therefore how can you possibly make a credible case that macro biology is a legitimate theory yet Intelligent Design is not? The efforts of ID have been to legitimately separate the belief in God from the scientific pursuit of discovering the progression of the species so that the scientific theory of intelligent design is purely a scientific theory and not based on God or religion or spirituality – it is based purely on reason. It is based on looking at the evidence and drawing the most obvious conclusion based on ALL the available data. Neo-Darwin evolution fails to do this when it suppresses debate and belittles ID. ID is an endeavor to explain how even the most primitive and basic of life forms contain highly advanced intelligence – something that argues against neo-Darwinism which presupposes that life starts very simple and gradually becomes more complex. ID is based on information and intelligence not on spiritualism or a supernatural being. Nothing is left out of their quest for the truth all theories and evidence is included, evaluated and tested. This is unlike Neo-Darwinism which by definition excludes ID specifically and voraciously. Neo-Darwinists would do better to spend their energy and resources on improving their theory rather than trying to silence any questioning of their ‘theory’. One observation about the article… In the third heading you state that “Theory of Evolution is Correct” yet two paragraphs down you state “Not one single theory of evolution exists” …Well which is it. Then you begin to correctly state that we need to get the definitions correct about which we are discussing. It seems to me you have broken your own rule. If you wish to label the third paragraph “The Theory of Microevolution is Correct” then it would be much more credible.Overall I like your attempt at this. You have set yourself to an extremely complex and challenging task. I truly wish you the best in this endeavor. Just be ready for some vicious personal attacks. Neo-Darwinists don’t like it when you even mention ID. Though by the time someone reads this you may have already changed the article based on their pressure.

    1. Untitled — Thanks for the comment. I state that “the theory of evolution is correct” because I understand the specific theory as a set of models which try to describe changes in organisms (and NOT as a set of models which try to explain our nature or the existence of life as many wrongly believe). Indeed the title you mention may cause confusion, but I chose that title in order to avoid any stupid criticism like “don’t you believe theory of evolution is correct?”. I try to show people that what is wrong is not the theory of evolution itself (it has many problems, with macro-evolution being the greatest, but so do all other theories to be honest), but the way that theory is used by atheists to promote their philosophical views. I would very much like to hear criticism about the article. The more I get, the more I understand that I am right… 🙂 Thanks again for the comment! Hope to talk to you soon again!

  27. The Vast Unknown — To a layman like me, “The Vast Unknown” is “God”.and my concept of “God” changes with every nano unfolding of “The Vast Unknown”.

  28. Great mental gymnastics. — We spin our wheels and land back on square one. It’s like mental shadow boxing. I have been pondering on evolution for some time now and have my own synthesis of the theories of evolution and creation. Instead of the belief that “Weak (i.e. not fit for survival) animals die,” I believe that “[w]eak (i.e. not fit for survival) animals [EVOLVE].”In simple terms, there are two things that are indispensable to social evolution, resiliency and adaptability. They hold the secret to equilibrium. In this we understand that some things must remain constant for there to be change. The natural man must evolve while the spiritual man is fully adapted and completely resilient. In his unnatural state, man is imperfect and must therefore evolve. Man in his perfect state stops evolving. Evolution, therefore, is not for the survival of the fittest but nature’s gift of adaptation for the survival of the unfit. I love these discussions it reminds me of Pavlov’s dog.

    1. Untitled — Thanks for the fresh point of view into things. Indeed the philosophical implications of the theory of evolution are intriguing. One could say that it is through the death of some of the unfit organisms, that the remaining unfit organisms evolve. But in order for that to happen, the whole process must be in perfect balance: some unfit organisms must die but not all of them, so that there are some to evolve! But wait, if an organism survives, doesn’t that make it – by definition – “fit to survive”? Hehehe…

  29. What? — “Science is theory-driven, not evidence-based. First theories are proposed and then they are backed up with evidence.” That’s NOT how science works. Science finds facts, then proposes a theory to explain the facts, then collects more facts to see WHETHER OR NOT the theory explains those new facts as well. Your bias and lack of understanding is clear with this statement.”This new term [BioLogos] frees us from the burden to analyze and clarify any possible intermix with existing theories and provides us with a ‘fresh start’ in order to build the theory of ‘the existence of an ultimate being’ in the world.” – This, on the other hand, is an example of how you apparently think science works, but in fact doesn’t – starting with a theory without any facts to back it up, and then finding facts to back it up.Speciation: here is direct, observable evidence of speciation (“macroevolution”) in action: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ring_speciesAltruism: cooperation can have an evolutionary basis, according to evolutionary game theory as well as computer evolutionary simulations [one example: http://hampshire.edu/lspector/pubs/FS204SpectorL-cite.pdf%5D. Here are some proposed evolutionary mechanisms to explain the evolution of cooperation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Evolution_of_Cooperation . Also, see group selection, kin selection, and selection for averageness.Ethics: simply put, we are social animals. Our survival depends on our ability to work together as a group. We are altruistic by necessity. How this evolved? See above.The rest of your “arguments” mainly consist of logical fallacies, red herrings, or are merely semantic arguments.

    1. Untitled — If the god who created energy and matter also created space and time (not much of a logical leap there), then God would need no creator Himself, because cause-and-effect do no apply to extra-temporal beings.Think about it…cause-and-effect as a rule is an inextricable part of the natural linear-time based universe so it stands to reason that a timeless,supernatural being wo subject to a rule

    2. Untitled — If we go back to another cause and then to another cause and then to another one… then we end up with no actual “cause”. So there must be a cause that can “cause itself”. Otherwise you accept the weird conclusion that everything in the world has a cause, except for the world itself.

    3. Untitled — Yes, we agree that the 6-day creation story does not fit the evolution.And I understand we may agree on the fact that a theory about a “First Cause”, as soon as you let go of the connections you – on your own – make with any religion existing at the moment. Note for example that I did not speak of a “God” but of a “First Cause”. Scientists DO try to find a first cause and for some of them, we are very close in finding it.Try also to remember that we are not debating on whether someone has solved the great mystery of life or not. I am just saying that we should have the same criteria when judging theories – no matter how we like them or not. And a theory which is backed up by so logical arguments like the argument of the First Cause (see Aristotle) should, in my opinion, be considered a good theory.

    4. Untitled — – No, I don’t really consider string theory scientific, but I’m not a physicist, and some physicists think it qualifies as a proper scientific theory. It’s debatable.- If you accept that we will only know for sure if we meet God, then that still doesn’t make the theory scientific because it still cannot be tested through any experiment or new discoveries. God would have to reveal himself to us by his own will.- Then we agree. God may still exist – just the 6-day creation story doesn’t fit with evolution.

    5. Untitled — – If it is unfalsifiable, how come you consider it “scientific”?- I am referring to the theory that a “First Cause” exists for the Universe.- If you refer to evolution as contradicting 6-day creationists, then we agree.

    6. Untitled — “String theory is also unfalsifiable? What do you think?” — I’m not a theoretical physicist, but it sounds unfalsifiable from what I’ve heard.”And what if I told you that ‘there are arguments supporting God’s existence and I accept that we will know for sure only / if we meet Him’. Would that make the theory better? More ‘accepted’?” — Which theory?”With regards to the Theory of Evolution, the boundaries crossed are the very ones you tell me that I shouldn’t cross: all the references to the ‘proof that no God exists due to the evolution mechanism’.” — Right, but scientists don’t really say that. Scientists don’t address the question of God’s existence. Evolution contradicts 6-day creationists, so 6-day creationists have made evolution the enemy. Not the other way around.

    7. Untitled — String theory is also unfalsifiable? What do you think?And what if I told you that “there are arguments supporting God’s existence and I accept that we will know for sure only / if we meet Him”. Would that make the theory better? More “accepted”?With regards to the Theory of Evolution, the boundaries crossed are the very ones you tell me that I shouldn’t cross: all the references to the “proof that no God exists due to the evolution mechanism”.

    8. Untitled — “If for example I tell you ‘the cosmos looks designed, so maybe there is a God who designed it’ would you protest that I getting into un-scientific arguments?”Yes, because such a theory is unfalsifiable. God is supernatural, but science only deals with the natural. God is inherently out of science’s domain.”I accept the validity of the great Theory of Evolution’s conclusions, as long as they stay within the limited boundaries in which they belong. Do you believe there are such boundaries?”I suppose there are such boundaries, but I wonder what boundaries you think are being crossed that shouldn’t be?

    9. Untitled — Do you agree that modern positive/accurate science should be something more that “stating”? Do you agree that whenever the word “may” is used, the more we are getting far away from positive / accurate science? There are many theories. And with “mays” you can create even more. I accept the validity of the great Theory of Evolution’s conclusions, as long as they stay within the limited boundaries in which they belong. Do you believe there are such boundaries? If for example I tell you “the cosmos looks designed, so maybe there is a God who designed it” would you protest that I getting into un-scientific arguments?

    10. Untitled — “Macroevolution is not just a larger scale of analysis. It is a whole different phenomenon.” — Did you read the wikipedia section I linked? It clearly states that macroevolution and microevolution are caused by the same mechanisms and that they’re just different scales of analysis, and that creationists just think macroevolution is something different when it’s actually not.Here is the complete explanation on how speciation in both reproduction and morphology may occur. First, the fruit flies example or the ring species example shows how two populations can diverge to the point where they can no longer interbreed. Second, when this happens, the two populations are able to diverge genetically even more so since their gene pools do not mix. This means their genitalia can change to the point where they couldn’t mate even if they wanted to. It also means any other parts of their body can change and gain or lose functionality (to adapt better to their environment), to the point where the two populations don’t even resemble each other anymore. There you go, you have two species that cannot interbreed and who inhabit different niches and look different from one another.On “more than 3 examples”: Darwin had the whole of Earthly life to go on. His theory of evolution explains how lifeforms today came to be. It can be falsified – and in fact I just learned now that parts of it have been. See: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/evolphil/falsify.html:”It is significant that, although it is often claimed that Darwinism is unfalsifiable, many of the things Darwin said have in fact been falsified. Many of his assertions of fact have been revised or denied, many of his mechanisms rejected or modified even by his strongest supporters (e.g., by Mayr, Gould, Lewontin, and Dawkins), and he would find it hard to recognise some versions of modern selection theory as his natural selection theory. This is exactly what a student of the history of science would expect. Science moves on, and if a theory doesn’t, that is strong prima facie evidence it actually is a metaphysical belief. [note 4]”You will also see in that article that Darwin made a point to collect as many examples of evolution as he could.

    11. Untitled — Macroevolution is not just a larger scale of analysis. It is a whole different phenomenon. It surely is related to microevolution and (allegedly) derived by it, but it is a separate phenomenon which scientists would like to see. It is another thing when you have water changing states and another thing when oxygen and hydregen form a completely new particle. The problem is that in chemistry the formation of the new particle is well defined, while in the Theory of Evolution it is not. Why is that? And more importantly, why doesn’s that bother you at all? Please elaborate on the “more that 3 examples” and refer to macroevolution. And please elaborate on the fruit flies example and explain why you see there macroevolution and not a simple small change within the same species.PS. For evolution not being falsified, I write in the article. It is hard to be proved wrong when you actually say “whatever happens, it happens because it was supposed to happen”…

    12. Untitled — “I had another discussion with another guy here and the “ring species” was also mentioned. The other speciation paradigm mentioned was the fruit flies example from Wikipedia, which I understand it to be an example of micro-evolution and not of speciation.”Speciation occurs through microevolution. Macroevolution, in contrast, is just a larger scale of analysis. It is not a phenomenon in and of itself. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macroevolution#Criticisms_of_macroevolution“However: Do you really think that having so few examples to support something, can lead to “one of the most sucessful theories” of the 21st centrury as some call the Theory of Evolution?”Speciation is not the only thing the theory of evolution explains. It is the most successful theory because it is elegant, supported by evidence, and continues to explain new observations to this day. It was posited before the science of genetics was born, which is amazing in retrospect. And genetics helped to elaborate the mechanisms of evolution. There is no reason to think that “species” have some special quality that precludes two populations of that species from undergoing divergent evolution to the extent that they cannot interbreed and produce viable offspring (thereby evolving into two separate species), or vastly differentiate their morphology over longer periods of time. That is an assumption caused by either our bias of only seeing species that are around in the present or because of religious texts. See this for more observed instances of speciation: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-speciation.html“If I had a theory for gravity and only 3 examples to show it working (which all three were debatable by the way), would you recognize me as a great scientist with a great theory?”If your theory continued to explain new observations and not be falsified for another 150 years, yes. But Darwin had more than 3 examples anyway.

    13. Untitled — I had another discussion with another guy here and the “ring species” was also mentioned. The other speciation paradigm mentioned was the fruit flies example from Wikipedia, which I understand it to be an example of micro-evolution and not of speciation. There was also another third example that I also incorporated into my Knol. However: Do you really think that having so few examples to support something, can lead to “one of the most sucessful theories” of the 21st centrury as some call the Theory of Evolution? If I had a theory for gravity and only 3 examples to show it working (which all three were debatable by the way), would you recognize me as a great scientist with a great theory?

    14. Untitled — Yes, the line between species is not completely clear-cut. It is generally drawn between two species that cannot mate or that produce inviable offspring when they do mate. We have observed this with ring species as well as via artificial speciation in the lab. We have also observed changes in morphology over longer periods of time (Galapagos finches, fossil record, etc.). On top of that, we have a theory that explains how it works, which has been further corroborated by the science of genetics. In other words, there are a lot of good reasons to think speciation works as described.In regards to “satisfactory theory”: A scientific theory is never completely satisfactory. All scientific theories are a “work in progress”. You cannot use lack of evidence to draw a limit line. Remember, a scientific theory is supposed to predict things that are not yet known, so there is always going to be a “gap” somewhere. To draw a limit line you have to find contradictory evidence. Epigenetics is one example – there is evidence for it. Yet it still doesn’t invalidate the whole of the modern evolutionary synthesis; it just adds a “caveat”.

    15. Untitled — If you have a physics theory that explains the motion of plantes but not the motion of stars will that be a satisfactory theory with gaps? And based on what criterion is something a gap of the theory and not a point which makes the theory “work in progress” ? If speciation is the major conclusion of the “theory of evolution by means of natural selection”, then the fact that we haven’t observed speciation is merely a “minor gap” ? And if even Darwin himself pointed out that the very definition of “species” is rendered useless by the very nature of evolution (in other words: if species are constrantly changing, then the definition of speciation must be based on completely subjective criteria on where a new species starts being), is that still a “minor gap” ? I understand the theory of evolution as a very honest and good effort to explain things in nature, but I think someone must be very honest in drawing the limit line as well…

    16. Untitled — “If altruism or speciation cannot be fully explained, then how can we talk about a complete theory of evolution that explains everything?” — I don’t think scientists assert that the theory of evolution explains everything. It is a theory that explains known facts and predicts facts that may yet emerge. It may still be falsified if enough contradictory evidence emerges. IDers tend to point out GAPS in evidence, which is not the same as contradictory evidence.”You answers about niches and about why bigger organisms were evolved were good and I would like to add them to my knol.” — Please feel free.”that some organisms change depending on their environment. How can that be a ‘scientific theory’?” — You’re leaving out the natural selection, variation, and heritability parts; those are all parts of Darwin’s original theory, which allow it to explain HOW evolution happens. That’s what makes it a scientific theory. When scientists say “evolution is both a theory and a fact”, they don’t mean “the theory of evolution IS a fact”; they mean the WORD “evolution” can be interpreted as either the observed fact that “organisms change over generations”, or the theory that explains that fact, specifically that “they change via natural selection, variation, and heritability”.Hope that helps.

    17. Untitled — Thanks for the answers Kenneth. Indeed, my goal is not to say anything against evolution but to clear things out on what evolution is. I am not against evolution, but I am against people using this bioloogy theory to draw philosophical conclusions. Yes, organisms evolve. However the fact that the main things concerning evolution are yet to be resolved, I think it is premature for someone to apply the micro-evolution to realms far away its reach.The examples we discuss are indicative: If altruism or speciation cannot be fully explained, then how can we talk about a complete theory of evolution that explains everything? If the only example you can show me for speciation is related to “the beginning of a possible way through which speciation could occur”, then don’t you think we are far away from claiming that this has been “proved”? If the altruistic behaviour which is the main goal of humans who want to be something more than animals cannot be fully explained, then how can there be books claiming that biology has finally deciphered the altruistic behaviour based on enzymed and aminoacids?Civilized discussion about evolution is something rare. We have a good and civilized discussion but don’t be fooled. Most people tend to get rather aggressive when discussing these things. You answers about niches and about why bigger organisms were evolved were good and I would like to add them to my knol.However I understand that we are discussing the obvious: that some organisms change depending on their environment. How can that be a “scientific theory”? I mean without specific criteria and specific prediction laws, can such a theory be called “scientific” in the way we call physics and astronomy? OK, we agree that organisms change. What then? Can we get that a step further? Or do we say something like “if you touch a rock, then something will happen”?

    18. Untitled — Reply pt.1…”If every species survive in their niche, why not have *everything* survive? Why not every being surviving in its own ‘world’?”I didn’t say every species survives in its own niche. I said the species you mentioned don’t compete over the same niche. Why doesn’t everything survive? Because they can be out-competed by those in their niche, or killed by predators, or wiped out from lack of nutrients. There are a lot of reasons why entire populations can get wiped out. Maybe I don’t understand what you’re asking.”I cannot understand what you do not understand about the dog and the bacteria survival paradigms: These species have much more chance to survive in this world than humans do. Nothing more, nothing less. When the world is destroyed by a global disaster, in which niche are we going to be? The ‘we are all dead and watching the bacteria which survived’ niche?”Yes, you’re right. Bacteria are probably harder to eradicate than humanity is. But it’s not like global disaster is the only evolutionary pressure to consider. In fact, it’s probably one of the least likely scenarios, which is why such complex-yet-fragile life forms have been able to survive and reproduce. Again, how is this evidence against evolution? I still haven’t heard anything from you that explains why bacteria and humans shouldn’t be existing side-by-side.

    19. Untitled — Reply pt.2…”If evolution does not have a ladder of direction, why did everything result in more and more complicated (and thus, more prone to malfunction and less prone to survival) brains?”Because a bigger organism can eat smaller organisms. But bigger organisms need to be more complex to function. They need to have systems that move nutrients around their bodies, complex internal communication and control networks (nervous system), etc. And once we get advanced brains – they allow us to predict future events, design and build things, etc., which greatly help us survive. Brains are just one thing evolution tried out that happened to work. But not everything has a brain – certain insects, jellyfish, bacteria, etc., and they still survive. This is what I mean when I say evolution doesn’t have a direction – it spreads out and tries new things. Some things just stick because they work.Speciation: “So it mentions reproducing preferences and not speciation. From that, you derive the conclusion that speciation is observed?” Perhaps a first step of speciation at least (there are other possible ways speciation may happen). If two sexual populations don’t interbreed (by choice or other mechanism), that means they can undergo divergent evolution (i.e. further speciation) – perhaps to the point where even if they were forced to breed, their offspring would be inviable.”Concerning ethics and altruism finally, I must note that one can apply any theory to whatever he/she wants. Have you applied the game theory to people who risked (and lost) their lifes for strangers, without getting a reward?”Assuming they did it because they were compelled by their morality, the game theory analysis could be simply that if they didn’t save the stranger, they would feel guilty – and that person would rather die than live with that guilt. Maybe it’s more worth it to him to die for someone else than let that person die and live with the guilt. So really, this is about a certain moral code, that for whatever reason this person believes (may be a religious reason); it’s hard to say how this links to evolution since his morality could be very influenced by culture.

    20. Untitled — If every species survive in their niche, why not have *everything* survive? Why not every being surviving in its own “world”? I cannot understand what you do not understand about the dog and the bacteria survival paradigms: These species have much more chance to survive in this world than humans do. Nothing more, nothing less. And this is what the theory of evolution is all about. When the world is destroyed by a global disaster, in which niche are we going to be? The “we are all dead and watching the bacteria which survived” niche?If evolution does not have a ladder of direction, why did everything result in more and more complicated (and thus, more prone to malfunction and less prone to survival) brains? I am asking questions, do not misunderstand me. But there seems to be some misunderstanding on how a great and proven theory the theory of evolution really is. If a theory has problems in such a fundemendal level, how can it convince people of being one of the “most successful” theories ever?As far as speciation is concerned, the example you gave was exactly the one I had in mind: The article states “After thirty-five generations, the two groups and their offspring were isolated reproductively because of their strong habitat preferences: they mated only within the areas they preferred, and so did not mate with flies that preferred the other areas”. So it mentions reproducing preferences and not speciation. From that, you derive the conclusion that speciation is observed?Concerning ethics and altruism finally, I must note that one can apply any theory to whatever he/she wants. Have you applied the game theory to people who risked (and lost) their lifes for strangers, without getting a reward? I understand that there are many people who understand “altruism” like a big game, but not everyone thinks like that.

    21. Untitled — Fallacies: Okay, let’s go over your dog vs human example. You ask: “In terms of ‘evolution’, which of the two species seems more ‘fit to survive’?” Neither one is “more fit” since they are different species competing over different niches. They are both “fit to survive”, which is why they both do. What is fit is what survives and reproduces – it doesn’t matter how it’s done. Humans survive by working; dogs survive by being companions and workers for humans. How is this evidence against evolution?Let’s go over your bacteria vs human example as well. It doesn’t matter which “survives better” – we both survive just fine, and we don’t compete over the same niche so we don’t compete with each other. You said, “They are more fit for survival and they have certainly beaten the mechanism of natural selection.” In fact, they haven’t “beaten” natural selection. Natural selection is precisely how they become immune to antibiotics. You asked, “What does ‘evolved’ mean anyway? Are bacteria ‘higher’ or ‘lower’ in the ladder of species evolution?” Bacteria were around long before humans, so in that sense they are “lower” in the “ladder”. But they clearly have a successful way of life, so they continue to survive. Evolution doesn’t really have a ladder or a direction. Rather, evolution spreads out, creating diversity, and expanding into new environments. Bacteria work well in their environment; humans work well in ours — that’s why we’re both still around.I take it back – these aren’t so much fallacies as just misunderstandings of evolution.Science and facts: The facts behind string theory are all of known physics – relativity and quantum mechanics in particular. The problem with string theory is that we are currently unable to find new facts to verify it, making it unfalsifiable. As for relativity, there seemed to be a lot of facts to back up the theory before it was created: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special_relativity . I am not knowledgeable enough about it to really say, though.Speciation: yes, evolution is a theory and a fact [http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/evolution-fact.html]. Speciation is difficult to observe directly because it takes a very long time to happen and it’s hard to pinpoint when one population becomes unable to reproduce with another. However, we do have the fossil record. As well as the Hawthorne Fly [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speciation#Hawthorn_fly] and a replicable artificial speciation experiment if you want to see it for yourself [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speciation#Artificial_speciation] – looks like it involves fruit flies, which goes against your fruit fly example completely.Ethics and altruism: Apparently, you don’t understand _evolutionary_ game theory. It doesn’t have to do with calculating – it has to do with applying game theory to the processes of evolution to figure out how certain survival strategies (altruism, for example) make their way into a population, whether or not the individuals in the population are aware of it.

    22. Untitled — I begin with your closing sentence which very nicely summarizes the depth of your arguments: If the rest of my arguments “mainly consist of logical fallacies, red herrings, or are merely semantic arguments”, then please tell me something about these fallacies.Concerning science and how it works: You say it is fact-driven. So what is the “fact” behind the string theory? What was the “fact” behind the theory of relativity, which was verified experimentally decades after it was proposed?Concerning speciation, I already mention that there are examples of macro evolution. The point here is something you completely missed: The FACT that 2-3 examples cannot be the basis of a so serious and so catholic theory (theory? not fact?) as the theory of evolution. If speciation is the case, then I would expect 1,000 examples you could mention, not one (and me on the other hand being on the difficult position to have only 1-3 examples to support my case).Concerning ethics and altruism, I understand that you do not understand those things. If you thing altruism is game theory then you think of something completely irrelevant to what I refer to. What I speak of altruism I refer to giving WITHOUT calculating what you will get.The rest of my arguments remain at your disposal when you have the time to read them…

  30. This article fails — About MacroevolutionKakos misses the point on macroevolution. He tries to soften his stance on the theory, but he clearly doesn’t support it; I say that because the theory is well supported, so he is either being ignorant or disingenuous.The fact is we don’t need to have the same level of evidence, as we do for microevolution, to demonstrate macroevolution. For instance, in the case of someone committing a murder: in one example we may have to cop catching the perpetrator in the act (microevolution evidence) and in the second we may find fingerprints, DNA, shoeprints, hair and a lack of alibi (macroevolution evidence). Both show guilt. Kakos claims we can’t demonstrate macroevolution in a lab, but this is because the only class of species who could build enough generations are bacteria; we simply lack the time to show macroevolution in a lab. But, this doesn’t mean we can’t infer. Just as we infer a Brontosaurus probably couldn’t reproduce with a Stegosaurus because birds and dogs can’t reproduce, we can also show with transitional fossils that macroevolution could have occurred because the end creatures of the transitional fossils are so different.—-The Species Problem and the Definition of SpeciesHis next point on species is misleading. Darwin’s point on species was to say that if the chain of life from protoplasm 3 billion years ago to present day is a continuous tree, how can you define species? Where would you draw a line in a series (1,2,3,4,5) when any two direct relatives could interbred (1 and 2 or 4 and 5, and maybe 1 and 5)? But, Darwin is NOT saying that species separated by millions of years are likely to be able to interbreed (3 and 400000). Also, interbreeding between differing species to create an offspring does not mean they are the same species. For instance, a horse and a jackass are two separate species and can make a mule, but the mule is infertile. Finally, we don’t need there to be a clear definition of species to understand the concept that differing species exist. Beastiality has shown that we don’t get horse men or dog women from breeding with other species. We may get liggers from close species that are infertile, but not from majorly different species. Considering the transitional fossils again, or the very fact that species today descended from other, extinct, extremely different, it is not a leap to say there exists separate species, and that all living organisms today descended from different species, i.e. macroevolution. Kakos is trying to make a stretch to prove a point.—-Language Mistakes and the Tree of LifeKakos’ next point on the tree of life is again misleading. He tries to suggest that since scientists are in disagreement on one issue then that means the whole theory is false or fallible. He uses this approach throughout the article, but it is wrong. If we are unsure of whether the shooter shot a Desert Eagle or Barrette, does that also mean we can’t conclude he shot the person? Of course it doesn’t. We analyze the tree of life with geographic distribution and depth, with DNA, with bone structure and with a host of other tools. The bottom of the tree is hard to organize because microorganisms reproduce differently than most plants and animals and can corrupt the evidence by taking up DNA and RNA of other organisms. Just because it is hard to describe some microorganism’s descent doesn’t mean we can’t understand that we evolved from a common ape ancestor with modern apes. His last two rhetorical questions in this section are an attempt at emotional pleading…sad, and the answers are yes and yes.—-Scope of Theory of Evolution is LimitedEvolutionary Theory and science, including scientists, are solely interested in understanding the world from a scientific perspective, that is, from what is observable and testable. They are not interested in Philosophy, as it is not science, nor are they interested in philosophical questions like what is the purpose of life? The only scientist who might even be interested in such a question, scientifically, would be a psychologist interested in discovering where in the mind does the brain ask such a question, or by what need does a person feel it necessary to find altruistic meaning in everything. Science would answer that question from the observable: the purpose of life seems to be to procreate because all living things procreate, as an example. I don’t see how science is interested in philosophical questions, or that philosophical questions can have concrete answers, even from philosophers. So in that sense, the questions asked are limited. Also, science doesn’t rule out god(s) and it doesn’t rule out pixies and bigfoot; it just has no evidence to support any of those non-existent things.

    1. Untitled — Concerning the philosophy that scientists are “not” interested in: if they are interested in just what is “observable” and “testable” then they should leave the purpose of life alone. What kind of experiment can let you know of our purpose on Earth?

    2. Untitled — “we don’t need there to be a clear definition of species to understand the concept that differing species exist”Again, a very “scientific” point of view…Cannot argue against THAT! 🙂

    3. Untitled — “we don’t need to have the same level of evidence, as we do for microevolution, to demonstrate macroevolution”…Interesting. It’s like saying “I do not have to prove what I say, bacause I do not have to prove what I say”…

  31. This article fails continued… — Humans Against EvolutionThe behavior of saving endangered animals is not contradictory to evolution. It could easily be supported when we note that saving endangered animals helps our species survive because it builds community, provides opportunity for study and education, may be economically stimulating, demonstrates kindness in building bonds and fosters a social currency for trust and sharing. Our species are better for it and those involved are considered better to others for being participants. That is natural selection and sexual selection at its finest.He obviously doesn’t understand the law of natural selection. We struggle against the environment, against other species and against our own species. And one of the ways we prosper is through our social bonds. Being utilitarian, as he describes by killing off the elderly, could help the species by removing unproductive individuals, but that would also be at the cost of losing the knowledge the elderly can pass to knew generations and the intrinsic value of enjoying our family. Kakos is trying to make natural selection seems like a bad philosophy and it is not. Even though nature and it could be, that does not mean it is its nature. Again, he is being misleading.—-Evolution Does Not Explain EverythingIt doesn’t try to explain everything, especially if everything includes that which is not testable. But it does explain love and altruism, which is testable. It is funny that he says “it doesn’t explain it all right now” because he is admitting it might some day, while at the same time playing to the classic “god of the gaps” argument, that is, science doesn’t know X so it must be god. This is incorrect.Then he states that science is theory driven and not evidence based! What? Evidence is exactly what science uses to determine which theories are supported and which are not. Science starts by proposing a hypothesis about something observable, then creates a test to enhance knowledge on the subject, then analyzes the results to determine whether the hypothesis was valid or invalid. If it is valid then more tests are done until the theory is solid and can make predictions. If it is invalid then a new hypothesis/theory is constructed and more tests are done. Kakos clearly doesn’t understand this basic concept.He is correct that you can say a grand designer exists as a hypothesis to a theory, but that isn’t to say it is a valid theory that has been tested. Someone couldn’t even say that the mentioned hypothesis is even based on any evidence to begin with. It is also not as equal as saying there is no grand designer, as saying there is a grand designer. Is every positive as equal as every negative, such that, it is equal to say that there are pixies, as it is to say there are no pixies?—Human Altruism and Love Make Evolution Obsolete?Wrong again. Altruism has already been explained by Richard Dawkins. Altruism is a type of misfiring and a social, currency generator. These points I leave to Dawkins to explain, and I have mentioned above in some detail.—-The Problem of EthicsHumans are not special compared to animals, so if other social species don’t just randomly kill off other members of their group then why is our nature un-Darwinian? Also, morality stems from an avoidance of harm. Kakos tries to suggest situation where people would use the ends to justify the means. Of course society can’t build morality on such logic. The fundamental unit must be the individual to have freedom and liberty, and anyone can pursue happiness as long as their liberties don’t conflict with others. There is no reason why the theory of evolution needs to conflict with the way society defines morality, nor is it mutually exclusive. When he says the obviousness that it is wrong to kill is not obvious to evolution theory, he is being disingenuous to this point because evolutionary theory could explain why it is wrong to kill without concern in a social structure. Obviously that thinking and person would not survive very well in a social structure.—-The Poison of MaterialismScientists need reason to speculate that some supernatural reason is at work. As of yet, scientists have not run into that problem. They have always been able to give reason to that which is testable, so scientists don’t see the point in discussing what is untestable because it is not in their scope of practice.—-Great Scientists’ Objections for EvolutionAll he is doing is pleading to authority…logic fallacy.

    1. Untitled — “Scientists need reason to speculate that some supernatural reason is at work. As of yet, scientists have not run into that problem. They have always been able to give reason to that which is testable, so scientists don’t see the point in discussing what is untestable because it is not in their scope of practice”Having consciousness and altruism is something you live every day with. However you cannot measure it in a lab as you can measure the legth of a table. Does it mean it does not “exist”?

    2. Untitled — “There is no reason why the theory of evolution needs to conflict with the way society defines morality, nor is it mutually exclusive. When he says the obviousness that it is wrong to kill is not obvious to evolution theory, he is being disingenuous to this point because evolutionary theory could explain why it is wrong to kill without concern in a social structure”That is what you may think because you may be weak to survive as a person. But what if someone next to you wants to kill you in order to prevail (according to the Theory of Evolution)? Do you really think your “argument” would stop him?

    3. Untitled — “It doesn’t try to explain everything, especially if everything includes that which is not testable. But it does explain love and altruism, which is testable”Then I rest my case!If it has explained Love then why bother with the details?!? 🙂

    4. Untitled — “The behavior of saving endangered animals is not contradictory to evolution. It could easily be supported when we note that saving endangered animals helps our species survive because it builds community, provides opportunity for study and education, may be economically stimulating”Sorry but the Theory of Darwin does not state that a species can save other species for “educational” purposes…

  32. This article fails continued…final. — Arguments for BioLogos1. Causality Argument: This classic argument is easy to refute because it is a “god of the gaps argument and because it fails to describe two points. It is a logic fallacy (special pleading) to say we must have a first cause and then to say that first cause it god and it doesn’t have to have a first cause. It is also non-sense to say that the universe must have been caused because causing implies “before” and requires time, and since time came about the instant the universe was made, we can’t talk about before the universe because there is no time.2. Everything he describes could be described as tools to help procreation, and I would be not the first to do so. He knows this, but not liking that answer doesn’t mean it is not true.3. I already demonstrated altruism, so he is wrong again.4. The logical answer is not to assume a designer. The logical thing is not to just throw that “god of the gaps” argument in there for everything that is not understood. We don’t know if those numbers are dependent on the other, such that they can’t be form in any other way. We don’t know if this universe is just one of infinite universes. We also are finding each day that the definition of what it takes to create life is greater and greater. It is also very egotistical to suggest that because we are alive and that we feel important that life even matters to the cosmos.5. DNA is not evidence of design and Kakos never attempts to justify why he believes there is design. Just because DNA codes for information does make it unnatural or not evolved or anything.—-The VideoThe answer Richard Dawkins was trying to explain, and may have been removed, is that the genome does increase as things evolve such that our genome has more information than fish or even that our genome has more information than our ancestors. But to answer the question for Richard, mutations could create the structure of a new protein and because not all the cells in the body may carry this information, some could make the new protein and some the old protein, thus there is now more information. This is even easier seen in organisms that duplicate their genetic code and insert copies in their DNA, which is free to evolve independently from the old. Also, there can just be a change in the timing of turning genes off and on and that could lead to great changes in phenotypes without having a change in genetic size, so we need to be careful when talking about “increases in genetic code”.—-Concerning The Nature of EvolutionScience does not use such distinctions as higher species or more evolved. They are arbitrary and, at best, relative. Trying to give “higher” meaning to the Theory of Evolution is not a subject matter for scientists, and any conclusions made by evolutionary philosophers that may be distasteful doesn’t demean the strength of the theory.Design does not exist in evolution. Kakos tries to say that design is in evolution because the strongest survive, and who came up with that standard when perhaps it could just be the opposite. Wrong. Kakos is using the creationism filter-glasses, so it is hard for him to explain such things. The mechanisms of the environment being deadly, procreation and nutritional requirements determined that the strongest survive because the organisms that have a harder time surviving in their environment, procreating and getting food are not likely to last on the evolutionary scale. Evolution didn’t make this true. It is true because living things need nourishment to survive, need to procreate or else their DNA dies with them, and need to survive against the natural forces around them.—-Explanation of Evolution Mechanisms Is Not Explanation of Our Human NatureThe only reason people would reduce our accomplishments to an over-evolved chimp is to appeal to the belief many creationists have that animals do not have a soul or anything that transcends. In other words, if God was the hand of evolution, at what point did it give us a soul? And if we evolved from animals, and we can easily explain our behavior from an evolutionary perspective, what reason do we have to believe a soul exists, or, that it is necessary to explain our behavior. Because at this point, it isn’t necessary, and Kakos hasn’t given us any evidence or reason to believe otherwise.

    1. Untitled — “Design does not exist in evolution. Kakos tries to say that design is in evolution because the strongest survive, and who came up with that standard when perhaps it could just be the opposite. Wrong. Kakos is using the creationism filter-glasses, so it is hard for him to explain such things”I am just trying to show things from a perspective. A physicist looks at the Universe and finds out that it is working based on specific laws. The same in biology. No matter how dogmatically you try to avoid it, the simple question still arises: how did these laws (no matter what they say) came into existence? I suppose Randomness is your answer for everything?

    2. Untitled — “The answer Richard Dawkins was trying to explain, and may have been removed, is that …”OK.I guess you should call him and tell him that. He seemed to have a hard time there.

    3. Untitled — 4 & 5 arguments: I am not referring to the God of the Gaps. I am merely stating what is “logical” for even you to think in any case you see something which looks designed: that a designer exists.

    4. Untitled — “Everything he describes could be described as tools to help procreation, and I would be not the first to do so. He knows this, but not liking that answer doesn’t mean it is not true”OK.But this goes the other way as well: If you do not like MY asnwer, that does not mean it isn’t true.

    5. Untitled — “Causality Argument: This classic argument is easy to refute because it is a “god of the gaps argument”No.Causality = CausalityGod of the Gaps = God of the GapsTwo different things.

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