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Discussion 2 to Talk Back 96
On the Nine Problems With Evolution

by: Christian Bieck

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Ok, I would like to take a stab at these. I will leave aside the first part except to say that evolution is not proof against the existence of anything - it simply is one of the myriad set of facts that make the existence of the Abrahamic god so unlikely.

To the "problems":

1. Faith
Ok if we accept your definition of faith as "everything I personally don't know or can prove". For you that means most people are living in a world of magic since they neither know how cars nor telephones nor airplanes work but have to accept that they work based on faith?

Actually, that's not a definition of faith most people I know can accept: it means "belief without verifiable evidence". I don't need a Ph.D. in biology for the evidence to be there and readily attainable for anybody who cares to learn enough about it.

2. Mutations
Does not sound like a very intelligent designer who build all those imperfections into his beings, right?

"Consider if there were just ONE good mutation for every TWO bad ones; what would be the result?" The good mutation procreates, the bad one generally does not - that is why we call them good and bad mutations. Even if only one mutation in a million is positive, i.e. enhances survivability of the mutated individual in question, in the long run that is the one that will go forward, not the 999,999 "bad" ones that do not.

You are simply ignoring the law of large numbers here.

3. Fossil evidence
You are falling for the usual logical trap here: Lack of evidence does not equal evidence of non-existence. You need to get lucky for individuals to fossilize, so it is very unlikely that you will find fossils of all transitions from A to Z. Strickly speaking, all species are transitions in some way - a species is largely a statistical phenomenon.

Evolution theory still fits the observable fossil record very well; still less than 100% but very close to that.

4. Insects
You say "the idea of evolution says that an animal progresses through natural selection to higher and higher states of complexity." Actually, that is not true - higher complexity is a possible, but not a necessary outcome of natural selection. Adapation primarily means higher survivability, of which insects have plenty - that is why they are so numerous.

Again, lack of intelligent insects does not prove anything except that they did not need intelligence or higher complexity to survive.
[NB: because insects are so short-lived, evolutionary processes are actually studied using drosophila. Just google it.]

5. Progress
Another misconception about evolution and mutation. One good mutation does not magically affect the whole species, but only the mutated individual. If it is a "good" mutation (i.e. enhancing survivability) then it will procreate and might lead to a new (sub-)species. Only when an old species and its mutation are competing for a very limited habitat would the new one likely replace the old.
And please don't use the old saw about humans descending from monkeys; that just shows you know clich├ęs, nothing more.

6. Chemistry
Yepp, a creator would use a common chemical makeup. So what? An intelligent creator would also leave out the genetic diseases (see above), the vestigial tails etc etc.

#6 is not a problem with evolution. (And actually, where does it say that there is one common ancestor?)

7. Irreducible complexity
That one really makes me mad because it shows that the ID guys never actually listen! The inclusion of this one makes me certain that I am wasting my time because Timothy, too, prefers not to listen.

I am so tired of this one that I will just link to the site that shows that even the famous mousetrap is not irreducably complex:

A reducibly complex mousetrap

8. Probability
Again, you are ignoring the law of large numbers. All that had to happen was a self-replicating chemical compound. (Which is not equal to the first cell.) And you actually are comparing apples and oranges, but not because of life but because of the micro- and macroscopic levels of what we are talking about. (The parts of a house cannot just shift around, the parts of a molecule can.)

9 Domestication
That is a really strange argument and I don't understand your point why this shows anything about evolution per se. There is no "evolve and de-volve". A mutated trait may be good for one environment and unfit for another. There is no "forward" or "backward" in evolution, there is only traits that fit the environment (and so survive) and those that do not.

As I said above, species is more a statistical thing than anything practical. Just because no farmer changed fish into frogs during the course of a few 100 years (why would he want to?) doen not prove that it cannot happen over a few million years.

Your arguments in toto are a typical example of what I would call the "pinnacle of creation" fallacy. From your human viewpoint you would like to believe that humans are the ultimate endpoint in a causal chain of events. For that you need a force that inexorably ends up with us, the pinnacles of creation.

Evolution does not have a goal or a tendency toward intelligence or greater complexity. Natural selection is simply about the best mutations surviving long term. Add to that a very long time frame and large numbers and you get the world we see today.

The fact that we humans are here just shows that the conditions were adequate for intelligence to evolve, nothing more - and nothing less.