27 September 2007

Understanding Evolution

a terrific site from the University of California Museum of Paleontology. If you are at all unclear about what is evolution and how does it work?, are having sleepless nights about how evolution impacts on your life, are going hairless as a naked ape wondering what is the evidence for evolution or wish to swot up on the history of evolutionary thought, or are on rocky ground about the science of evolution this is a good place to go. Here's one of the many gems in the "misconceptions about evolution" section:

Clear, elegant, the finest kind of science writing. Sou'wester tip to Kevin at The Other 95% for the link.


Anonymous said...

Many people, when they can't provide evidence for their theory, adopt the strategy of falsehood. Such is the case with many of those who have fallen victim to the propaganda of renowned evolutionists.
If evolutionists want to end the arguments all they have to do is, get their brilliant heads together and assemble a 'simple' living cell. 'Surely they have a very great amount of knowledge about what is inside the 'simple' cell.

And after all, shouldn't all the combined Intelligence of all the worlds scientist be able the do what chance encounters with random chemical collisions, without an instruction manual, accomplished about 4 billion years ago,according to the evolutionists estimation. Without any intelligence at all available to help them these 'simple ' cells miraculously created themselves into a living entity. Surely then today's evolutionists scientists should be able to make us a 'simple' cell.

If it weren't so pitiful it would be humorous, that intelligent people have swallowed the evolution mythology.

Beyond doubt, the main reason people believe in evolution is that sources they admire, say it is so. It would pay for these people to do a thorough examination of the flood of evidence CONTRARY to evolution which is readily available: Try answersingenesis.org. The evolutionists should honestly examine the SUPPOSED evidence 'FOR' evolution for THEMSELVES.

Build us a cell, from scratch, with the required raw material, that is with NO cell material, just the 'raw' stuff, and the argument is over. But if the scientists are unsuccessful, perhaps they should try Mother Earth's recipe, you know, the one they claim worked the first time about 4 billion years ago, so they say. All they need to do is to gather all the chemicals that we know are essential for life, pour them into a large clay pot and stir vigorously for a few billion years, and EUREKA, LIFE!

Oh, you don't believe the 'original' Mother Earth recipe will work? You are NOT alone, Neither do I, and MILLIONS of others!
Please don't swallow the lies they tell about the 'first life' problem, scientists are falling all over themselves to make a living cell. Many have admitted publicly that it is a monumental problem. And, is many years away from happening, if ever. Logical people understand this problem and have rightly concluded that an Intelligent Designer was absolutely necessary. Think of it this way, if all the brilliant scientists on earth can't do it, how on earth can anyone believe that it happened by accident?????

nunatak said...

Dear "anonymous",

In general, we aren't interested in hosting such vitriol on our blog. After all, we have better things to do, like build a Beagle.

However, in this instance I feel compelled to respond by the extraordinary number of false suppositions in your comment.

First, you seem obsessed with trying to use the problem of first life to tear down the theory of evolution by natural selection.

Evolution by natural selection explains the diversity of life, not its origins. In the recapitulation of On the Origin of Species, Darwin wrote that "...I should infer from analogy that probably all the organic beings which have ever lived on this earth have descended from some one primordial form, into which life was first breathed."

Yes, there are those who carry out lab experiments to try to recreate the origin of life, but this is an entirely separate area of inquiry from biological evolution.

The mystery of the origin of life itself is indeed a "monumental problem" in science, but it is not a "monumental problem" to evolution by natural selection, which does not attempt to explain it in the first place.

And anyways, without "monumental problems" science would not exist. That is what we scientists do: try to solve problems, to explain the natural world by proposing and testing natural hypotheses by experimentation and observation. The presence of a "monumental problem" is simply that - there is no need to fill the void with a supernatural explanation. To do that would be to fall into the "god of the gaps" trap - inserting god into places of uncertainty and ignorance. A dangerous habit - as you will remember god was inserted to explain the orbits of planets until we understood gravity, and the same story holds for many other phenomena.

Second, you say that the reason "evolutionists believe in evolution is that sources they admire, say it is so". This is wrong on two counts. First, I (and I daresay "we") don't "believe in" evolution. Rather, we think that evolution by natural selection provides an incredibly well-supported and simple explanation for the diversity of life on earth. "Belief" is something altogether different. I do "believe" that all natural phenomena have a natural explanation (which is why I do science in the first place), but "belief" is not the right word to apply to my/our understanding of evolution by natural selection.

Third, you say that the "evolutionists" should examine the "supposed" evidence "for" evolution "for THEMSELVES" (all caps are so tedious, by the way). Every single day in lab I am doing exactly that, examining the evidence. Perhaps you would be interested to see the DNA sequence alignments I have assembled this week for a variety of distantly related plant species?

Okay, I think that about covers it for this comment. If you really want to continue this discussion, I would suggest not doing it on The Beagle Project Blog but rather at other purpose built blogs like Talk Origins or The Panda's Thumb where arguments such as this have no doubt been played out ad nauseum.