Feel free to leave an artifact of your visit to my page below...
Creationism vs. Evolution
Hello, Severoon. There is an online book that scientifically (without using religious ideas as proofs) shows the many difficulties evolutionary theory would have to overcome to be correct. It is In the Beginning: Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood. I have been reading it myself and it is excellent. JBogdan 23:52, 16 May 2006 (UTC)
- Hi JBogdan! My first visitor!
- Thanks very much for the reference—as it happens, I'm just leaving for vacation tomorrow and I won't have time to get to this until mid-June, but I fully intend to look it over and let you know what I think. Thanks for stopping by! Severoon 19:01, 17 May 2006 (UTC)
- I finally had a chance to browse the link you posted—I wasn't expecting something so long, so it took me a while to get through.
- I have seen many of the arguments presented therein several times before. The biggest recurrent problems with the material you provided is that it completely dismisses existing counterarguments, much of the time by avoiding them. It does a disservice to the reader when, for example, the author discusses the creationist viewpoint on abiogenesis without broaching the Anthropic Principle; the author simply leaves the reader with the impression that abiogenesis is extremely unlikely and leaves it at that. Even assuming that it is several orders of magnitude less than 1% likely that abiogenesis could occur—a proposition which is not accepted by many—the Anthropic Principle accounts for our existence.
- Allow me to borrow an example from Richard Feynman to illustrate this. He once came to his Caltech class and told his students that an amazing thing happened to him that very morning. While he was parking his car, he witnessed something that had only a vanishingly small probability of occurring: he had seen a vehicle that morning with out-of-state plates, and the license number was ACH 878. This is remarkable, he explained, because out of all the vehicles in the entire country, the entire world even, imagine how slight the chances that he would be in the right place at the right time such that he could observe this particular license plate! Amazing, no?
- Of course it's not amazing. His point was that every single day of our lives, the worldline that traces our existence encounters a configuration of particles in our immediate neighborhood that are always in a particular configuration, out of an unimaginable number of possible configurations. However, once you realize that we simply must encounter exactly one of these particular configurations, looking back at the particular configuration we did happen to encounter and calculating the odds of that one particular configuration out of all possible is a fool's errand.
- This uncovers a foundational principle of basic statistics: reasoning must operate based on available information. Once an outcome is known, the probability of that outcome is simply 1; it is given that it's already happened. To reason that a particular outcome could not have happened based on the set of possibilities at the time preceding the outcome is faulty logic—the fact remains that it did happen, no matter how unlikely it may have seemed before the fact.
- Another example, on the very next page, the author claims that "[n]ew genetic traits are not created; instead, the environment can switch on genetic machinery already present." This is stated baldly with no support whatsoever, and flies in the face of counterexample we already know as fact. Example: it is not necessary for one to have genetic precursors for a certain type of cancer to actually contract that type of cancer. In other words, at birth, a person may not have the genetic markers associated with skin cancer, yet that person may experience enough sun damage throughout life that a "[n]ew genetic trait" is indeed created: a cancerous skin cell.
- I could continue dismantling this work nearly page by page. Unfortunately, the author does not present an overall thesis, an overall point he's laboring to support, making it difficult to discuss the work as a whole. Instead it's simply a collection of arguments against points from a cohesive body of work on evolution. As such, the only way to approach it would be as I have above, debunking every specious point one by one.
- If there is, however, an overall thesis or a particular argument of note you'd like to discuss, please let me know and I'm happy to continue discussing it! Severoon 15:03, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
You asked word choice: irreplaceable -> irreparable (what are "irreplaceable" casualties, anyway? :-)
There is a military concept called battle casualty replacements. These are men who are added to units to replace men who have become casualties.