Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Extreme Variation: Alot of explaining to do!

In a recent visit to Fairhaven Baptist Church, the church/college I attended in Chesterton, Indiana for many years, I discovered I had at least one reader left. That being true, I felt bad for my long sabbatical from writing on the topic of evolution versus science. So here is my next installment, I hope you (singular) enjoy it.

One thing that has been holding my attention recently is the number of highly unusual anatomical features, behaviors and other facets that must be explained in terms of gradual development if we are to believe evolutionists fairy tale about the origin of these species.

For a simple example, consider nest-building instincts. How did the inclination, ability and proficiency to build a nest come to any one set of animals? Would the inclination mean anything without the ability (strength, dexterity, skill)? Would the ability mean anything without the inclination? Even more, how did the inclination, ability and proficiency to train their offspring come to them? How did the offspring develop a mechanism by which to learn and remember the behavior once demonstrated?

A nest must be made of certain materials, constructed a certain way, at a time right for the offspring, not too early not too late. It must be located in a place safe from predators and accidental injury to the offspring. The temperature must be just right. Not in the direct sunlight, nor if full shade. It must be sturdy, and constructed of materials that don't attract the attention of unwanted eyes. And what's the point. If I (the parent bird) got here alright, then why do I need to build a nest for my eggs? Nest building is akin to basket-weaving, but with only a vague sense of symmetry. Where would one go to school for weaving? How will I transport the materials? And how will I secure them in the tree until they are all collected? Should the edges of the nest go up or down? Will this branch sway too much in the wind? It's not so simple as it seems!

Even if you come up with a story that explains all these problems, what is the mechanism of memory? If you say that it is simply mental memory, then how do you explain orphaned animals that exude the same basic characteristics and behaviors as their parents without ever having known them? If you say that it's genetic memory, then the problem only worsens! Since evolution's storyline relies upon accidental changes in the genome, then how could a learned behavior possibly be accidentally coded into the genome within the same generation as it was learned, so as to pass that behavior on to the ensuing generation. I'm not a gambling man, but I'd take odds on that one!

If the genetic alteration came before any learned behavior, then why aren't we seeing birds attempting to speak and elephants attempting to fly....without Disney? If they hold to the genetics-first method of passing on behavioral characteristics to offspring, then their whole theory on "gradual improvements" is lost. A thousand deleterious changes should occur for every one beneficial change!

Evolutionary Biologists would certainly come back with the ol', "only beneficial changes get passed down, because non-beneficial changes cause the host to die out" line. But these people have never raised children. Any parent knows that both good and bad behavioral characteristics are passed to our children without either dying out. And scientist can's explain any reason why that would be different in the rest of the natural world.

But if the God of Heaven created these creatures by special creation, then none of these things present any problem. As God is infinite, so do we see His infinite nature reflected in the natural world He created. Through the vastness of space, the speed of light, the complexity of life and the power of the atom, we see things so vast that our mortal eye cannot discern between these and things infinite. Truly, "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork." Psalm 19:1

To Come on the topic of Extreme Variation:
  • Vastly differing habitats of extant species (extremophiles and the like)
  • Vastly differing forms of communication of extant species
  • Vastly differing forms of navigation of extant species (where are the bees going?)
  • Vastly differing diets of extant species (You eat what?)
  • Vastly differing forms of housing of extant species (You built that....yourself?)
  • Vastly differing forms of predation of extant species
  • Vastly differing defense mechanisms of extant species (zap, kaboom, vanish, bloat, poke, and die)
  • Vastly differing methods of reproduction of extant species (hover-craft)
  • Vastly differing interdependencies of extant species (I'd lichen it to co-habitation)
  • The vast number of fully unique behaviors and mechanisms found in extant species (this one's very interesting!)


Jeff Voegtlin said...

Count me as another of your avid readers. You write well on this topic and I've enjoyed every post.

Joe said...

"Evolutionary Biologists would certainly come back with the ol', "only beneficial changes get passed down, because non-beneficial changes cause the host to die out" line. But these people have never raised children. "

You're wrong, serious evolutionary biologists would not say this. Beneficial traits tend to be replicated more often, but that's only because they tend to help their owners survive and thereby be able to replicate. However, if that same owner also hosts traits that are negative, then those traits will also be 'passed down.' The process is blind in this sense. Factors other than the benefit of a trait will affect whether or not it is replicated; the environment can play a key role. For instance, if for some reason all of the members of a species with the best traits are wiped out, perhaps due to some catastrophic natural event, and only those members of the species whith negative traits remain, then only the negative traits will make it to ensuing generations.

Your post is rife with such blatant assumptions and misunderstandings about evolution. In general, I think you need to reread the theories of natural selection and genetic variation, because you've obviously misunderstood some very important concepts (to be fair, most people do misunderstand these concepts). You should also look up something called Lamarckism... it was a rival theory of evolution that was more popularly accepted than Darwin's theory when the idea of evolution came about. Lamarckism is blatantly wrong, however, for reasons that you can easily find with a bit of reading on the subject. Unfortunately, because it was more popular, its misconceptions about the nature of evolution have continued to muddle the subject to this day. Lines of your argument more closely resemble Lamarckism than Darwinism (to include my quote above) and are therefor irrelevent in your case against the modernly-accepted concept of evolution.

Your list of variation at the end can be fully explained by the concept of evolution; over the time period that evolution has taken-place thus far, much variation would have occurred. We're talking about millions upon millions upon millions of generations here, not just a few.

In summary, I would hope that none of this is taken to be offensive. However, upon reading some of your misconceptions and blatant assumptions, I needed to comment and reccommend your reading up on how the theory of evolution really works. There's a very good chapter on evolution and how it relates to consciousness in Consciousness Explained by Daniel Dennett. Give that a shot, if not for the explanation of consciousness, at least for the clearer explanation of evolution present.

I wish you well and thank you for publishing your thoughts in a public domain where open dialogue can take place.

Anonymous said...

there is a difference between wild animals and human children. say a pidgeon is born with.. i dont know.. hemophelia. that bird will die. people are born with hemophelia and we live. because we have HOSPITALS and DOCTORS and HEALTHCARE. wild animals dont have any way of doing those things.

i'm not saying evolution is a fact, but dont be stupid about it.

Jason Hodge said...

Thanks for that insight, Mr. Anonymous. I hadn't noticed that my two sons differed from their pidgeon counterparts. I'll have to keep that in mind in future posts.

Look, the point I've made in past posts is that a belief in evolution calls for the genetic accumulation of *accidental* changes. If they are accidental, then there's no, "OOPS! I accidentally changed in a non-beneficial way! Now I'll undo that change." The undoing would also have to be an accident. But the probabilities of undoing the change are astronomically against that happening, again by accident.

If you start to add purposeful changes: "That wasn't a beneficial change, undoing...", then you've added design and intelligence into the formula, which can't happen in a evolutionary world view.

I'm not being "stupid" about it. It's called satire. I am trying to make the other guys look absurd because they, and their beliefs, are; they just don't get much credit for it.

I always get anonymous posters assuming I'm clueless about what evolutionists think and what the theory says. But honestly, who is more likely to be a memorized drone? The guy who gives many reasons why evolutionists' theories are untenable? Or the guy who learned in college that:

1) the universe began with the big bang.

2) the earth is gazillions of years old

3) man sprang from monkeys and monkeys from amoebas

4) there is absolutely no god!!! [emphasis theirs]

5) empirical science is the source of all truth

...none of which can be known empirically!?!

I know exactly what they believe. They often disagree with each other , and therefore it's hard to debate everyone at the same time with the same point, but we do aim to please.

And I'm glad you're not saying evolution is a fact. It means you may not be stupid either.

Jason Hodge said...


Sorry for the long delay in responding to your comments.

First, let me say that I do understand current thought in evolution. You are obviously of the classical, but not ancient theory. Your beliefs don't match modern experiments and observations. You're not taking into account the body of evidence that exists in the modern day. And no, I'm not a Lamarckist. I don't even own a llama!

What you must admit is that the scientific community is destitute when it comes to the theories that make up evolution.

Take, for instance, the difference in opinion between Gradualism and Punctuated Equilibrium. Gradualism states, as you did, that changes can only occur over many thousands or millions of generations. You said: "We're talking about millions upon millions upon millions of generations here, not just a few."

But the simple fact is that Punctuated Equilibrium is the only method of "evolution" (I prefer variation and natural selection) that is observable.

One study published here have shown that variations can happen in a VERY short amount of time! That's a big problem for those that think that the earth is billions of years old. The problem with Punctuated Equilibrium is even compounded when you take into account migration.

Normally, the PE crowd says that changes in environment force changes in the species. They generally refer to ice ages and global climate events. But environmental changes due to migration would be far more common than those that happen every few million years (by their standards) on a global scale.

The study linked earlier in this post shows how they were able to turn long-legged lizards into short-legged lizards by introducing them into an environment where shorter legs were more advantageous...and it happenned in 10 years. Not 10 million, not 10 thousand! Just 10 years!

You may know the theory of evolution better than me, but the theory of evolution isn't meshing with what scientists are actually observing. Even if you quote a thousand scientists to back you up, you cannot dismiss this evidence. And these cases are not rare. Google for "Rapid Evolution" and see what you find! There are MANY instances of rapid variation (which is what they are really observing).

Wrestle with these thing for a while and let me know what you come up with. Merge the observable into your world view and see how things fall out in your mind.