The Loom

Today in Science scientists reported a potentially big advance in creating embryos that can be used for stem cell transplants. Briefly put, they figured out how to take skin cells from patients, inject them into donated eggs emptied of their own DNA, and nurture them along until they had divided into a few cells. The cells were able to develop into a wide range of cell types, their chromosomes were normal, and they were so similar to the cells of the indvidual patients that they would not be rejected as foreign tissue. The research stopped there, but the dream behind this work is to heal your failing liver or heart or dopamine-producing neurons by clipping off a little skin and farm new cells that could regenerate those organs.

This research was designed in part to overcome a problem with stem cells that is part of the evolutionary baggage we carry–a problem I blogged about in January. Traditionally embyros have been nurtured by “feeder cells” from mice and calf serum. This turned out to cause make these embryos–and any stem cells derived from them–useless due to contamination. Roughly two million years ago, our ancestors lost a gene that produced a sugar on the surface our cells. Other mammals still produce it. The earliest hominids probably produced it too. But new species of hominids that emerged after two million years ago, such as our own and Neanderthals, didn’t have it.

It turns out that if you feed an embryo with cells or serum from other mammals, they will absorb the sugar and stick it on their surface. To the human immune system, they look foreign. In other words, human evolution can shed light on current stem cell research. The scientists who did the new research figured out how to avoid rejection by coming up with a way to nurture the embryos with human feeder cells, so that they could avoid sticking sugars on the stem cells that our ancestors lost long ago.

Reading about this advance, I felt a grim sense of irony. As I wrote in my original post, President Bush stopped federal funding for research on stem cells using new lines derived from embryos, despite the fact that most of the already existing lines were contaminated by this lost sugar. American scientists have been making some progress with stem cells with private money and state initiatives, but guess where scientists finally figured out how to solve this evolutionary problem with cell sugars? South Korea.

Reading about this research, I was also reminded of an article I read last week during the Kansas “trial” over evolution and creationism.

Leonard Krishtalka, the director of the Kansas University Natural History Museum, was quoted pointing out how Kansas is raising $500 million to foster a bioscience and biotech industry in the state. It was ironic, he said, that the state’s board of education was simulataneously “trying to remove and water down the basic fundamental concept of evolution that underlies all of biology.”

Case in point: try to imagine a stem cell therapy company deciding where to set up shop. I doubt they’d be excited about a state that doesn’t make sure their high school students understood mutations, natural selection, the origin of species, the fossil record, and all the other elements of evolutionary biology–that thinks it’s fine just to claim that the broken sugar gene in our genome was just stuck there for reasons unknown by some mysterious designer.

Comments

  1. #1 david
    May 19, 2005

    You are the perfect evolution evangelist! You speak of evolution as dogmatically as a creationist speaks of creation. You obviously have great faith in the god of chance. What you fail to recognize is that the scientific method you espouse, and the genetic principles you use to “prove” your point, were both designed by people who did not believe in evolution. Sheer irony I believe. You can never or will ever understand an opposing point of view on the subject of origins from either an intelligent design or a creation proponent. The point of the Kansas debate is that the theory of evolution, at who’s alter you worship, has a number of problems that have been pointed out by the other side, and by evolutionists themselves. A rational discussion of the pros and cons of the theory is what is sought.

  2. #2 Dan S.
    May 19, 2005

    ” In other words, human evolution can shed light on current stem cell research. ”

    Of course. Exactly. As you point out, alternately, we have the “just stuck there for reasons unknown approach” that ID would condemn us to – where you *could* still solve that particular problem (if I understand correctly, evolutionary theory wasn’t directly useful, in this case, for understanding what was causing the rejection or how to fix it), but be left merely with isolated facts. Humans, no sugar-frosted cells. Other mammals, yes. Why? Why ask why! Don’t wonder. Don’t think. The Designer did it.
    Ironically, ID makes the world a whole lot more meaningless than the science they condemn as empty materialism.

    Pennsylvania – state of transitional tetrapods and Dover ID battles. Yay.

  3. #3 EmmaPeel
    May 20, 2005

    Ironically, ID makes the world a whole lot more meaningless than the science they condemn as empty materialism.

    Oof, that is elegantly put! I’m going to steal that.

  4. #4 Pericles
    May 20, 2005

    However, the Brits haven’t completely fallen behind.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/4563607.stm

    Of course, there are the naysayers. “Josephine Quintavalle from CORE said: “No matter how it is created, a human embryo’s destiny should be to live and not to be turned into human stem cells.”"

    Does this woman know about the high numbers of spontaneous abortions that occur in human reproduction? Embryo destiny? What does that mean? Seems to me that the concept of a soul is the difficulty here. Does a cloned human have a soul and if so where does it come from?

    Following that thought to its logical conclusion, at which point in human evolution, did proto man acquire a soul? Who was this first “enlightened” (caustic sarcasm) individual? Like all ideas that have assisted human progress, one by one, their usefulness declined until the idea is replaced by a better working model. Anyone remember the “four humours” theory of medicine, for example?

    On a daily basis, the veils of igmorance and confusion are lifted further from shrouding the light of knowledge and we are all dragged screaming and squabbling in to the century of the fruitbat. Three cheers for the scientists, for they shall inherit the future. I’d love to see it.

    Pericles

  5. #5 Paul K.
    May 20, 2005

    [i]The point of the Kansas debate is that the theory of evolution, at who’s alter you worship, has a number of problems that have been pointed out by the other side, and by evolutionists themselves.[/i]

    No, you’re incorrect there. The Board of Education in Kansas does not seek to introduce discussion over the pros and cons of evolutionary theory. They seek to eliminate the teaching of evolutionary theory altogether and introduce a religious ideology into the science classroom. Science provides us with a means to solve problems and find answers. Religion tells you the answer up front and tells you that any other answer, regardless of evidence, is incorrect forgetting, or course, that they have no evidence of their own at all to support it.

  6. #6 Augusta Era Golian
    May 20, 2005

    Creationism and ID don’t stop at evolution; in Texas, they are starting to attack earth science and physics as well. Since science hangs together as a whole cloth, it is inevitable that once one string is pulled the whole piece will gradually unravel.
    I think we are starting to see the logic of the Enlightenment fade into a dark age of blind religious fervor. Many are very happy to listen to a simplistic explanation based on “because God said so” than to put in the years of study and thought it takes to understand science.

  7. #7 linguist
    May 20, 2005

    Just to clarify the facts, in response to Paul K’s post. The Kansas school board is pushing for what they call “equal time” for ID theory. They are not attempting to keep evoutionary theory from the classroom. Yet.

    “Some Kansans are uneasy about evolution because of their religious faith and want to see alternatives given equal time in the classroom.” http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7644056/

  8. #8 QUANTUM11
    May 20, 2005

    Augusta wrote:
    Many are very happy to listen to a simplistic explanation based on “because God said so” than to put in the years of study and thought it takes to understand science.

    An excellent,trenchant comment. People of most creeds are being lead down a shortcut to rational discourse. It is a symbiotic relationship. Churches, synagogues, mosques are power exercising organizations who demand money and fealty from someone. In return, the followers are provided comfort in the face of manufactured fear.

    A close friend, and engineer, says “I hate it when I have to think” when faced with a complex problem or issue. Of course he goes on to resolve the problem. The rabble apparently really does “hate it when they have to think”. Their reticence is obliged by willing creeds, politicians and other assorted hucksters.

    Fear and greed. The ultimate motivators. As a stock trader I go long on fear and short on greed. It is a winning formula. I wish it were not so.

    Oh, and David, if you really wish a rational discourse between ID “proponents” and mainstram, established science, get through your Post-Doc and write a few papers.

    ID charlatans and creationists take the same short road that Augusta outlined above. Just as is condensed in a bumpersticker I saw the other day. “[g]od said it, I believe it.”

  9. #9 Bill
    May 20, 2005

    I have no problem with ID/creationism in the classroom. Just so long as it’s not a science classroom.

    If it’s in the comparative religions class, then fine. Along with all the creation stories from other religions too.

  10. #10 david
    May 20, 2005

    Before you go parroting what one writer claims as the “truth” of the Kansas School Board debate, why don’t you try reading some other articles that explain other points of view.
    http://www.answersingenesis.org/docs2005/0518Kansas.asp
    http://washingtontimes.com/op-ed/20050504-085831-8761r.htm
    http://www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/index.php?command=view&id=2559&program=CSC&callingPage=discoMainPage

  11. #11 Auros
    May 20, 2005

    Pericles: One irony of the Catholic position, that at some point there was a special creation of human souls, is that it seems like the earliest humans must, by necessity, have been practitioners of bestiality (mating with non-ensouled individuals, who were still animals), unless God decided to simultaneously ensoul a large number of ADULT proto-humans — in which case it becomes hard to argue that ensoulment necessarily occurs at conception.

    (And of course, if ensoulment occurs at conception, then 50-70% of all humans die in their first week of existance, and we should cease all research on any topic other than ending the Holocaust of the Zygotes.)

  12. #12 Auros
    May 20, 2005

    Everyone’s aware of the liars and fools who insist that the theory of evolution has “problems”. The TalkOrigins.org site archives responses to many of the critiques, TalkDesign.org specifically addresses proponents of ID, and I’m sure if you go ask the people who post on the Talk.Origins newsgroup, they’ll be happy to explain things in detail.

  13. #13 Dan S.
    May 20, 2005

    “You are the perfect evolution evangelist!”
    No, I think he’s quite a good evolution enthusiast. Or perhaps science enthusiast?

    “What you fail to recognize is that the scientific method you espouse, and the genetic principles you use to “prove” your point, were both designed by people who did not believe in evolution.”
    Uh-huh. So? What’s your point? The written alphabet we are using was designed by people who didn’t believe in typewriters, let alone computers!
    You really don’t get how science works, do you?

    ” You can never or will ever understand an opposing point of view on the subject of origins from either an intelligent design or a creation proponent. ”
    I think I speak for all the pro-science folks here when I say we definitely *do* understand these opposing “points of view.” That’s why scientists boycotted the Kansas debacle – not worth the effort or the perceived legimitization.

    “The point of the Kansas debate is that the theory of evolution, at who’s alter you worship,”
    That’s altar.

    “A rational discussion of the pros and cons of the theory is what is sought.”

    The world is between 5,000 and 4.5 billion years old. Uh-huh.

    To quote from an excellent piece in the LA City Beat, itself quoted in another excellent essay at the Panda’s Thumb

    Another manifestation of the misdirection of the ID movement is the ludicrous notion that high schools are the appropriate venue for intricate debate about the finer points of evolutionary science. Any public school science teacher will tell you it’s already a minor miracle if a 16-year-old can accurately summarize The Origin of Species, or pinpoint the Galapagos Islands on an atlas. Raising questions about the cellular structure of the flagellum is unlikely to exercise most students until grad school.

    The only reason for raising such questions before state education authorities is not to deepen the scientific understanding of teenagers but rather to sow deliberate confusion. It is about denigrating mainstream science as biased against religion – which it is not; it merely regards questions of the supernatural to be outside the realm of scientific inquiry – and by extension bringing God and open avowals of faith into the public school system

    The Panda’s Thumb essay, “Creationist Fears, Creationist Behaviors,” is quite good, and offers a very plausible explanation of creationist points of view.

  14. #14 quantum11
    May 21, 2005

    Dan S. wrote:

    “What you fail to recognize is that the scientific method you espouse, and the genetic principles you use to “prove” your point, were both designed by people who did not believe in evolution.” (spake David)

    Uh-huh. So? What’s your point? The written alphabet we are using was designed by people who didn’t believe in typewriters, let alone computers!
    You really don’t get how science works, do you?

    Dan S. I have just come out od a rousing blog battle today. Dan, my humble respects to you for this rough and effective counter to David’s argument. It is about as pithy and incise as it gets.

    Major burn. I bow my arms to you and chant “I’m not worthy. “

  15. #15 David B.
    May 21, 2005

    I understand that the “lost sugar” is produced by the feeder cells and absorbed by the stem cells.

    Now that there are techniques to grow stem cells on human feeder cells, the “lost sugar” could be diluted out of the stem cell population because neither the human feeder cells nor the stem cells will actually produce it.

    This could be a way decontaminate existing cell lines.

  16. #16 Doug
    May 21, 2005

    What we have is a belief system, that the believers feel is grounded in facts and evidence. To be sure there are gaps in the evidence and possible alternative interpretations of the facts.

    The problem is beliefs lead to assumptions which effect the interpretaion of the facts. The gaps are filled by dogma.

    As an example imagine a paleontologist is digging up bones and finds a fossil of a a Saint Bernard and at another site the fossilized remains of a chihuahua. For the sake of argument let us assume that dogs are an extinct species. The paleontologist may find a correlation between bones and plant them on the same branch of the evolutionary tree but no respectable scientist would publish a paper placing them in the same species. It would be laughable. Yet in the same species they remain.

    This illustrates a very believable situation in which a scientist operating under the dogma of evolution might incorrectly interpret the facts.

    As it stands today the evolutionary tree is largely a conglomerate of leaves with hypothetical branches drawn in. Honest trees represent well documented relationships or branches, with solid lines and inferred or postulated relationships with dotted lines. The vast majority of lines are dotted. Lines with any serious depth are dotted. These dotted lines are the gaps. A true representation of known evolution based on fossil evidence is more like a raked pile of leaves on the ground with no branches connecting them. With some imagination one might see a tree, or a bush, or a pile of leaves.

    As it turns out the majority…in fact the vast majority of irrefutable evidence for “evolution” is evidence that supports a creation model of origins (i.e. Antibiotic resistance in bacteria, observed speciation, pesticide resistence, evo-devo, etc.). The refutable pool of evidence deals with that which can not be directly observed, and repeatably tested scientifically. This evidence requires interpretation based on assumptions which are based on one’s prior worldview.

    The irrefutable pool of evidence supports the following [incomplete] definition of evolution: Change in gene frequency over time. If this were evolution there would be no debate, however this is a very important part of the creation model as well. Therefore for the purposes of this discussion it is inadequate.

    The definition of evolution that is questioned is that: all life we observe around us descended through gradual genetic modification from a single life source or as Darwin put it “common descent with modification.” This is not simply an extension of the former definition. The changes touted as evidence for the former definition are inadequate to explain the appearance of new genetic information and function. Manipulating a hox gene to get the appearance of a non-functional (in-fact fatal) set of legs where the antennae should be does nothing to explain where the first-ever genetic information to create legs originated. It is not simply a matter of extrapolating the changes we observe over a vast amount of time because the changes we observe, while occasionally beneficial in a certain environment, lead to a loss of function.

    The entire debate reminds me of a past episode in history. There was a certain scientist, rather famous today, whose scientific beliefs were at odds with the society in which he lived. His life suffered greatly but he refused to renounce his belief in a heliocentric solar system. As it turns out Galileo was right and this stands as one of the most embarrassing events in the history of Christianity. The ironic twist is that the tables have turned and it is now the “scientific community” that holds to a dogma they’ll not allow to be challenged.

    I’ll admit I don’t really know specifically what’s happening in Kansas. The coverage is so biased (from both sides) that its hard to really know. I am not interested in seeing Genesis as the appendix of a biology textbook. I believe it would be fair and important to point out the shortcomings of the theory of evolution. Call them areas that need further research to confirm (or deny) its validity. I believe it would be nice to differentiate between the processes that change the color of a moth wing for camoflauge or a bird’s beak size for seed collection, processes that are well documented; and the process that would account for the development of wings or eyes from genetic mutations. High school is an important forum for the topic to be addressed because for many students its the only time they’ll be exposed to it I’d like to be sure they get the facts right. I lost 10 years of my life being put on the incorrect path thanks to evolution and other atheistic influences and I thank God it wasn’t longer.

  17. #17 Juke Moran
    May 22, 2005

    “The creationists seek to eliminate the teaching of evolutionary theory altogether”, or really, what they want is to make it go away.
    While “science” in aggregate seeks to eliminate evolution altogether, to make it go away. To eliminate selection by controlling the process.
    Everything that we value in ourselves, everything that got us here – big brain, quickness, complex immune system, emotions, social cohesion – is ours by a process of selection that science is arrayed against like an army.
    We didn’t get those things by controlling the process, we got them by adaptation. Now we’re doing everything we can to avoid adapting to a larger system that demands recognition. Harmonic balance is how we did it for hundreds of thousands of years. Where is that balance now? Goats that excrete spider silk?
    The stem cell research that’s waved like a flag here is exactly counter to the process of selection that gave us our immune systems. Controlling our own evolution with the limited and partial understanding we have, of where and what we are, is dangerously arrogant; and the cumulative results of that arrogant tinkering are piling up around us, toxically.
    Evolution’s attacked by both sides in this argument.

  18. #18 joey
    May 22, 2005

    Might someone be so kind as to explain “Trackbacks”

    while you’re at it maybe you could also explain “permalink to comment”

  19. #19 David Holland
    May 22, 2005

    Doug,
    You forgot to include any information that refutes evolution or supports creationism (these are two very different things). Why don’t you start with your own research and where it is published. If you know more about biology than 99.9% of all the biologists working now you must be highly educated, where did you get your degree?

    On the remote chance you aren’t actually a biologist can you point me to the research that does support creationism. I’m not aware of any but I’m not an expert like you.

    By the way if chihuahuas and saint bernards were the only breeds of dogs they would be different species, by any definition I know. Gene flow through the other breeds is the only reason they are considered the same species now. The same goes for saint bernards and great danes. They cannot interbreed and if they were the only breeds of dogs they would be different species.

  20. #20 David B
    May 22, 2005

    Joey,

    Trackbacks are other web sites that have linked to this story. In other words, links to sites that have linked to this site. Very circular.

    Permalink to this comment is a URL that will take you directly to the specfic comment.

  21. #21 Dan S.
    May 22, 2005

    Why am I wasting my time?

    Well – Doug:
    “This illustrates a very believable situation in which a scientist operating under the dogma of evolution might incorrectly interpret the facts.”

    How do you know what a paleontologist might do? *I* don’t know all that much about paleontology – just tidbits I’ve gleamed from popular science and 2 paleoanth classes – but I recognize that – so much more to know! How about you? I do strongly suspect that with reasonably complete remains it would be recognized that they were closely related.

    The real scientist would certainly get closer than someone w/ ID assumptions – what would they think? Hard to tell.

    “.in fact the vast majority of irrefutable evidence for “evolution” is evidence that supports a creation model of origins (i.e. Antibiotic resistance in bacteria, observed speciation, pesticide resistence, evo-devo, etc.).
    WTF? How on earth do you come to this conclusion?

    ” the changes we observe, while occasionally beneficial in a certain environment, lead to a loss of function.”
    No.

    “Change in gene frequency over time. If this were evolution there would be no debate, however this is a very important part of the creation model as well.”
    No.

    “I am not interested in seeing Genesis as the appendix of a biology textbook.”
    That’s good. However, a lot of people do seem to want vice versa, which is just silly.

    ” I lost 10 years of my life being put on the incorrect path thanks to evolution and other atheistic influences and I thank God it wasn’t longer.”
    I’m glad you feel your life is meaningful now, and am sorry you feel so many years were wasted! However, you are presenting a false choice – between evolution or God. For millions of people, it’s easy to have their science and worship too! Please do not participate in undermining science education, and the growing understanding of how our material world works (if you are religious, surely a source of wonder and one form of worship) because of this misunderstanding.

    Another misunderstanding – I get the impression from your post that you don’t really get that science is different from revelation. Scientists get stuff wrong. They might not understand everything. There might be gaps – for a long time, in some case probably forever. It’s all about getting a slightly better idea of how things work – something that takes a lot of time and effort.

  22. #22 guthrie
    May 22, 2005

    Just for a laugh, I thought I’d repsond to Doug, with my meager knowledge of biology and evolution:

    Doug said:
    “As it turns out the majority…in fact the vast majority of irrefutable evidence for “evolution” is evidence that supports a creation model of origins (i.e. Antibiotic resistance in bacteria, observed speciation, pesticide resistence, evo-devo, etc.).”

    Thats interesting. How does aquirance of a novel feature in response to a changing environment show that creationism is correct?

    “The irrefutable pool of evidence supports the following [incomplete] definition of evolution: Change in gene frequency over time. If this were evolution there would be no debate, however this is a very important part of the creation model as well. Therefore for the purposes of this discussion it is inadequate.”

    And selection by viability in the environment. Your forgetting the second bit. Or to define more clearly, genetic changes though time which are screened out by selection pressures upon the individuals with the mutations. Which creation model are you using that says that only genetic changes occur and that they are evidence for creation?

    “This is not simply an extension of the former definition. The changes touted as evidence for the former definition are inadequate to explain the appearance of new genetic information and function. Manipulating a hox gene to get the appearance of a non-functional (in-fact fatal) set of legs where the antennae should be does nothing to explain where the first-ever genetic information to create legs originated. It is not simply a matter of extrapolating the changes we observe over a vast amount of time because the changes we observe, while occasionally beneficial in a certain environment, lead to a loss of function.”

    Ah ha, we have J A D clone here? So, you don’t think that antibiotic resistance is a new bit of “information” and function? Presumably the studies of speciation that have been observed occured mean nothing to you?

  23. #23 david
    May 24, 2005

    Dan S.
    Uh-huh. So? What’s your point? The written alphabet we are using was designed by people who didn’t believe in typewriters, let alone computers!
    You really don’t get how science works, do you?

    You obviously didn’t understand the point I was trying to make as I didn’t go into detail for the sake of brevity. The author as well as many of those who post here have taken the stand that only those scientists that agree with their belief in evolution are credible scientists. Those who espouse creation or ID are not real scientists and not worthy of mention. My point was that Bacon who designed the scientific method, you are so fond of, as well as Mendel who’s genetic principles you use to defend evolution were both Creationists. There were many others whose laws you refer to every day, and some whose equipment you use in medicine are also creationists. They all arived at their discoveries with an initial premise of a Creator, and were considered great scientists. You ridicule me and say I don’t understand how science works. I think I do since I was a science major and studied science all my life. I know that all the proofs of evolution that my text books taught me: Urey-Miller; Haeckels embryos; peppered moths; Darwins finches; Piltdown man; were either outright frauds or have since been disproven. Just as over 75% of the evidence for evolution presented in the Scopes Trial have been disproven. And I’m sure some other evolutionist will come along in another 10 or 20 years and disprove punctuated equilibrium.
    Your theory is in trouble boys and you are clinging to it just as those who thought the Titanic was unsinkable, clung to it all the way to the bottom. It is why one of your fellow evolutionist would say the following:

    Much of present-day biological knowledge is ideological. A key symptom of ideological thinking is the explanation that has no implications and cannot be tested. I call such logical dead ends antitheories because they have exactly the opposite effect of real theories: they stop thinking rather than stimulate it. Evolution by natural selection, for instance, which Charles Darwin originally conceived as a great theory, has lately come to function more as an antitheory, called upon to cover up embarrassing experimental shortcomings and legitimize findings that are at best questionable and at worst not even wrong. Your protein defies the laws of mass action? Evolution did it! Your complicated mess of chemical reactions turns into a chicken? Evolution! The human brain works on logical principles no computer can emulate? Evolution is the cause!
    –Robert B. Laughlin, A Different Universe (New York: Basic Books, 2005), pp. 168-169.

  24. #24 Doug
    May 25, 2005

    I don’t claim expertise in science. I never have. I don’t believe it requires a PHD in biology to understand evolution. I’ve read numerous books about and against evolution. (I’ve just finished 2 by Carl Zimmer himself.) I also know that a typical (but very weak) debating technique is to attack the debater and not the argument he makes. I try very hard not to resort to those tactics because an intelligent audience sees right through it. Even the creationist readers would pick up on it! (wouldn’t it be nice if there was an html tag for sarcasm? Although it might get overused on the blog medium.)

    How do you know what a paleontologist might do? *I* don’t know all that much about paleontology –

    I’ve learned about paleontology the same way I’ve learned about evolution and other sciences, by reading books. Not simply creationist literature, although I’ve read quite a bit, but books by mainstream scientists and science authors. Still fresh in my mind is At the Waters Edge by Zimmer. It goes into quite a bit of detail about how the fossilized bones are studied. Zimmer describes how paleontologists correlate the bones to hypothesize a map of evolution. In my hypothetical example of the vastly different dogs I have no doubt that the two would be closely related on the chart. Being the same species they would have a very high correlation of bones, at least positionally speaking. But when comparing the size and shape of the bones a paleonotlogist would conclude that they were different species. The brain cavity alone might be enough to conclude that the species were not contemporaries.

    You forgot to include any information that refutes evolution or supports creationism (these are two very different things)

    As for not providing eveidence against evolution and/or for creation, considering there are thousands upon thousands of pages I think its a bit beyond the scope of a short blog entry. I’d suggest you do a little exploration at:
    Answers in Genesis
    ICR
    CRS
    Center for Scientific Creation
    These sites are filled with research done by creation believing scientists virtually all of whom hold post-grad degrees in a scientific field. I believe the large majority hold PHD’s.

    You forgot to include any information that refutes evolution or supports creationism (these are two very different things)
    This is an interesting statement. While disproving evolution would not prove creation, I believe the opposite is true, that a proof of creation would disprove evolution. This all depends on the definition of evolution (I’ve adopted “common descent with modification”) and the degree of creation. Some versions of the ID theory are quite compatible with evolution they simply believe that some intelligent force operating at the quanta level is steering biological change. Strict biblical creation is not compatible with common descent.

    On the other hand if you move just a bit broader evolution becomes naturalism and creation becomes its opposite. As far as I know there are no other naturalistic theories about biological origins therefore this is not an unreasonable extension. Because at this point they become mutually exclusive proof against one is automatically proof for the other. While there are those that believe in evolution and claim a belief in a God, I wonder how many of those have a PHD in biology and are therefore qualified to have an opinion (in accordance with the statements made on this blog concerning my qualifications.)

    As for my opinion, I agree they should at least be treated as different things. The side I would like presented in public schools are the problems with evolution. I don’t even care if they are presented along the lines of “evolution, the common descent of all biological systems from a single relatively simple early life form is the most subscribed to theory of the origins of the biological world we see around us. However, even the simplest imaginable organism would be very complex and questions remain as to how such a complex structure could arise by completely natural means.” Do you notice how it makes no reference to a creator? The operative word is “how.” It doesn’t even express doubt, it simply proposes that there are areas for further study. Following this I’d like to see some of the arguments about irreducible complexity, the different kinds of mutations and their frequencies, etc. I’d like a distiction to be made between what is known from observations that are repeatable and testable and what is merely hypothesis in need of further study.

    ” the changes we observe, while occasionally beneficial in a certain environment, lead to a loss of function.”
    No.

    Yes
    And while you failed to provide an example to back up your “NO” here is one to back up my “yes” this is an exerpt from an article by Kevin L. Anderson Ph.D. Microbiology

    “Is Bacterial Resistance to Antibiotics an Appropriate Example of Evolutionary Change?”

    Mutations, defined as any changes in the DNA sequence (Snyder and Champness, 2003), provide the only known genetic mechanism for producing new genetic activity and function in the biological world. In light of this, only mutations have the potential to provide evolution a mechanism that accounts for the origin of antibiotic resistance. Thus, only that resistance resulting from a mutation is a potential example of “evolution in action” (i.e., common “descent with modification”).

    Bacterial resistance to the antibiotic, rifampin, can result from a commonly occurring spontaneous mutation. Rifampin inhibits bacterial transcription by interfering with normal RNA polymerase activity (Gale et al., 1981; Levin and Hatfull, 1993). Bacteria can acquire resistance by a point mutation of the â-subunit of RNA polymerase, which is encoded by the rpoB gene (Enright et al., 1998; Taniguchi et al., 1996; Wang et al., 2001; Williams et al., 1998). This mutation sufficiently alters the structure of the â-subunit so that it loses specificity for the rifampin molecule. As a result, the RNA polymerase no longer has an affinity for rifampin, and is no longer affected by the inhibitory effect of the antibiotic.

    —————————————-

    “Change in gene frequency over time. If this were evolution there would be no debate, however this is a very important part of the creation model as well.”
    No.

    Again Yes.

    The creation model simply put suggests:
    God created various kinds of creatures fully formed. A kind is a little hard to pin down but think of things like the Horse kind which would include zebras, ponies etc.; or the elephant kind which would include mammoths. God created life with an unmeasurable amount of genetic information allowing them the diversity to adapt to the changing environmental conditions around them. God created a kind which included finches and in them he provided the genetic information necessary to adapt their beaks (as a population) to changing conditions. He adapted the bear kind so that its fur could adapt for camoflauge or warmth depending on the conditions in which they lived. He created the kind containing peppered moths with enough genetic variation that they could ossilate between darker and lighter wing colors depending on there environment.

    These are the exact type of changes observed. This is the evidence presented for evolution but as you can see its exactly what the creation model predicts.

    The Bible itself, in Genesis, tells of Jacob who was tending another man’s sheep. The population contained black, white and mixed sheep. In the deal Jacob was allowed to keep the mixed sheep for his own flock. He did a little genetic manipulation by ensuring that the best and biggest white and black sheep mated so that his mixed flock would be grand. Thus in the earliest book of the Bible we have an example of a change in gene frequency.

    This part of evolution is not in question and is very important to the creation model. Evolutionists going back to Darwin himself do not appear to recognize this point. Darwin mistakenly believed that the Bible required fixicity of species which it does not. I believe it was this misconception that led to a lot of darwin’s angst.

    For more on this read The evolution train’s a-comin’

    The questioned part of evolution is that time is the only thing requred to extend the “evolution” that we observe and can test. Based on current evidence we find the idea ridiculous that if Jacob could have kept the sheep in his family for millions of years they might have began to prefer the water and ultimately developed the numerous systems required to become an underwater form of sheep with fins and blowholes.

  25. #25 guthrie
    May 25, 2005

    Doug- I’d be interested to know how you can distinguish between a situation in which “God” created the world, animals etc, and left them with enough leeway to evolve as you have postulated, and the current theory of evolutionary biology which can see no “god” manipulating things. Where is your evidence for the postulated creator?

  26. #26 Dan S.
    May 25, 2005

    David’s claim about past scientists doesn’t make any sense. He seems to be going for a “gotcha” moment – look, you think creationists are whackos, but Mendel was a creationist! Francis Bacon was a creationist! Haha, got you!
    Francis Bacon lived a long time ago, pre-Origin of Species (Darwin had various precursors, but I’m pretty sure that late 16th-early 17thC Bacon lived before any of them). He also lived before the germ theory of disease. Many famous founding geologists were non-plate tectonicists, having lived and worked before that theory was proposed or evidence assembled . . .
    It’s also possible for a scientist to be credible in their (non-evolutionary) field and a creationist – people are good at compartmentalizing that way; there are numerous respected scientists who go outside their area of expertise and make fools of themselves. There can even be creationist life science people – they can’t add anything beyond a certain point, but as long as they are within that limited sphere, I’m sure they could do a good job.

    David’s science textbooks appear to have been Wells’ book “Icons of Evolution.” You might want to go here. Piltdown man! When did you go to school?! Pre-1953 (and I assume that would be for college – I would be surprised if highschool texts mentioned Piltdown, but who knows), or did they just forget to buy new books?

    Doug:
    “The brain cavity alone might be enough to conclude that the species were not contemporaries.”
    Why?

    The bit about aquatic sheep is ironic, considering that you – like me – just finished reading “At The Waters’ Edge,” which includes a discussion of transitional fossils roughly tracing whales’ journey back to the water.

    “These sites are filled with research done by creation believing scientists virtually all of whom hold post-grad degrees in a scientific field. I believe the large majority hold PHD’s.”
    In bio-stuff?

    “I believe the opposite is true, that a proof of creation would disprove evolution. ”
    Well, depends what was created (the first little blob ‘o life?), but quite possible. That’s because evolution is real science.

    “While there are those that believe in evolution and claim a belief in a God, I wonder how many of those have a PHD in biology. . . ”
    Well, , for starters (Ph. D., 1974, University of Colorado – a claim that would presumably turn out to be legit, both in terms of degree earned and status of school as a meaningfully accredited degree-granting institution!).

    “On the other hand if you move just a bit broader evolution becomes naturalism”
    Would that be methodological naturalism (ie, if your cow gets sick, you look for natural explanations instead of accusing your reclusive elderly female neighbor of being a witch?

    “and creation becomes its opposite.”
    Super-naturalism? You mean belief in ghosties and goblins and other fun Halloween stuff? You can’t mean religion – that’s waaaay too big a stretch . . .

    “Because at this point they become mutually exclusive proof against one is automatically proof for the other. ”

    Because of course, if you put a lightning rod on top of your (lightning-strike-prone) church, you are defying God’s will (or denying his very existence?) and he will smite you with earthquakes. No, I’m not making that up as an absurd hypothetical. Look here (with Bacon bits, even!) (starting here for a more extensive account of “a sacred [meterorological] science based upon the letter of Scripture and on theology . . . which have never led to a single truth–which, without exception, have forced mankind away from the truth, and have caused Christendom to stumble for centuries into abysses of error and sorrow.”) and here. And from a 2002 conference abstract: “What to philosophers was a useful and humane product of experiment, was to Calvinist ministers an impious obstacle to the moral regulation of human beings by God. This regulation proceeded through unmediated, divine access to the body; securing bodies against lightning thus appeared to deny God’s sovereignty to punish sinners by harming their bodies. In response, natural philosophers denied that re-directing lightning away from the body challenged the idea that God directed nature. Lightning was still an instrument of divine direction, philosophers claimed, as long as one accepted their re-definition of this direction as benevolent, lawful and predictable.”

    “The creation model simply put suggests:
    God created various kinds of creatures fully formed.”
    [Kinds apparently corresponding to Western folk models of animal "families" or natural groups - ie, equids; elephants+mammoths, polar, brown, grizzly bears. . . and gave them enough genetic variety to 'microevolve' in order to adopt to changing conditions.]

    How do you reconcile this model with fossil and DNA evidence?
    And why did God strike down the trilobite kind? – and what about the dinosaur kinds? Did T. rex legalize gay marriage or something, forcing God to smite them all with a big honking chunk of holy space rock? (complete with inscribed 10 commandments?)

    Sorry, that was a little uncalled for – I have a headache.

    Just for fun, the talk.origins transitional fossil faq, although apparently it hasn’t been updated for a number of years.

    “Thus in the earliest book of the Bible we have an example of a change in gene frequency.”
    Now *that’s* naturalism in action. The wages of naturalism, it seems, are bigger cows.

    “Darwin mistakenly believed that the Bible required fixicity of species which it does not.”
    Ok, really, we’ve made some progress, since now you guys only insist on Genesis-as-a-science-textbook requiring fixity within a kind (~= genus? ). You’d think that if Genesis was supposed to be, among other things, an animal husbandry manual, it would go into a little greater detail than just the absolute basics! Classical breeding would have been very helpful!

    I believe it was this misconception that led to a lot of darwin’s angst.”
    Eh?

    I mean, you guys can believe whatever makes you happy – it’s a free country – but for any undecided types reading, this is what creationism brings you. Bear “kinds” and Jacob’s cattle in science class (actually, that would be an interesting illustration, but you get the idea). You think that will prepare your kids/country for the future?

    Oh, by the way, thanks, quantum11.

    And more talkorigins goodies: the infamous 29+ evidences for macroevolution and more.

  27. #27 david
    May 25, 2005

    Dan S.
    Just for fun, the talk.origins transitional fossil faq, although apparently it hasn’t been updated for a number of years.

    These are precisely the type of things I was citing in my previous post as examples of evolution that have since been disproven. By other evolutionists I might add. Just to pick 3 supposed transitional forms they offer such as Archaeopteryx from dinosaur to bird:
    “Paleontologists have tried to turn Archaeopteryx into an earthbound, feathered dinosaur. But it’s not. It is a bird, a perching bird. And no amount of paleobabble is going to change that.” According to Alan Feduccia, a world authority on birds at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an evolutionist himself.

    How about transitions from land Mammal to Whale in which Ambulocetus and Basilosaurus are cited
    In the Ambulocetus fossils the critical skeletal elements necessary to establish the transition from non-swimming land mammal to whale are missing. “Since the pelvic girdle in not preserved, there is no direct evidence in Ambulocetus for a connection between hind limbs and the axil skeleton. This hinders interpretations of locomotion in this animal, since many of the muscles that support and move the hindlimb originate on the pelvis.” According to Annalisa Berta, evolutionary biologist.

    “The serpintine form of the body and peculiar shape of the cheek teeth make it plain that these archaeocetes, like Basilosaurus, could not possibly have been the ancestor of modern whales.” According to Barbara Stahl a vertebrate paleontologist and evolutionist.

    I guess the link you provided really does need to be updated! Just like my biology textbooks needed to be updated but never were. You can still find these examples in modern texts. Except for Piltdown Man of course this was a bit dated example but still took over 40 years to correct this fraud.

    and what about the dinosaur kinds? Did T. rex legalize gay marriage or something, forcing God to smite them all with a big honking chunk of holy space rock? (complete with inscribed 10 commandments?)

    Pretty funny, but again there is no evidence to prove that this actually happened and eliminated the dinosaurs. Actually this too is someone’s theory that band wagoners are starting to call a fact.

  28. #28 Dan S.
    May 25, 2005

    “But again there is no evidence to prove that this actually happened and eliminated the dinosaurs”

    No evidence that God smote them (well, there *isn’t*, right?), or that a big rock hit the earth? Cause there is a lot of evidence that is pretty suggestive of that latter possibility.

  29. #29 Doug
    May 25, 2005

    I expected you to throw out Ken Miller as an example of a Christian evolutioniist. I don’t want to judge another man’s heart but having read Finding Darwin’s God, I believe that perhaps Miller wants to believe in a god and since he was raised Catholic, God is the natural choice. According to Miller himself, his students find it difficult to belive he still embraces faith in God, given what he presents in his lectures.

    I pulled the following from a link off of Miller’s website.

    Invariably someone lingers after class and asks if he believes in God.

    “Yes,” says Professor Miller, a Catholic Christian.
    “What kind of God,” the student pursues.
    “Darwin’s God,” he answers. Meaning the Creator that Darwin thought had breathed the power of
    adaptation into a few life forms from which endless variations “most wonderful and most beautiful have been, and are being evolved.”

    One might interpret this statement in a couple ways. First Darwin never reconciled his theory of evolution with the God of the Bible. Because of the fixicity of species i mentioned earlier, compounded with the death of his daughter he wondered how a god deserving of worship could let such evil and pain prevail. This is another area of theology that Darwin failed to understand. Darwin gave up Christianity and became agnostic, according to his own autobiographical letters. (Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea; Carl Zimmer pg 342). That being said, if Miller believes in Darwin’s god he must also be an agnostic.

    Another interpretation (which i’m sure is not intended) focuses on “the Creator…had breathed the power of
    adaptation into a few life forms from which endless variations…are being evolved.”

    Wow! I couldn’t put creation in much simpler terms.

    Warning Theology ahead!

    Incidently the reason dinosaurs or anything else is extinct or that death and suffering exist in the world is because of sin. God created the universe and proclaimed that it was good (there was no death at this point). Sin entered the world with Adam and Eve and God cursed his creation. Because of sin things die. The pre-curse world was a very different place. Luckily God sent His Son Jesus Christ as a Savior to conquer sin and those with faith in Him will be saved from the curse in the world to come.

    This does not mean that God decided to smite the dinosaurs. If they decided to start promoting gay marriage they probably went extinct for obvious reasons…its a hard way to reproduce. (Incidently Dan, I thought your comment was a clever and it did make me chuckle.) Many kinds would have gone extinct after the flood. As you can imagine the Earth would have been a very different place after the flood. You likely can’t imagine how different. First the mountains were now huge whereas before they were only hills, vegetation was drastically reduced, weather and climates were introduced that had never been seen, etc. Again a discussion for another blog.

    No need to rebut this. Its just important to realize, from the biblical pov why there is death and suffering in the world. If death and suffering were just a part of the world with no relation to sin then we wouldn’t need Jesus and should truly eat drink and be merry for tomorrow we die!

    for more see Death and Suffering Q&A
    —————————————————–

    Also interesting that you’d bring up the germ theory of disease
    Well known is Louis Pasteur father of Microbiology and the germ theory of disease. Louis Pasteur died on September 28, 1895, long after Darwin’s theory had been published and widely accepted. Pasteur’s contributions to science were truly outstanding. His Christian faith sustained him through many trials. He firmly believed in creation, and strongly opposed Darwin’s theory of evolution because it did not fit well with scientific evidence.

    You may counter that the evidence has come along way, but the fact is, the criticisms faced by evolution remain. The weaknesses in the evidence for evolution named by Darwin himself are still weaknesses (i.e. transitional fossils record, complex bio systems). If anything they are stronger weaknesses: amazing complexity now seen at the molecular level of biology, immense amount of fossil finds over the last 150 years without much standing out. It would be interesting to count the number of Big Evolution Headlines and their subsequent retractions. Wouldn’t it be nice if they taught this stuff in biology class.

    As for those with PHD’s in life sciences that also subscribe to Creation and disgard Evolution (common descent with modification) Here is a list I put together in about 2 minutes so there are bound to be a few more.
    * Dr E. Theo Agard, Medical Physics
    * Dr James Allan, Geneticist
    * Dr S.E. Aw, Biochemist
    * Dr Don Batten, Plant physiologist, tropical fruit expert
    * Dr Kimberly Berrine, Microbiology & Immunology
    * Prof. Vladimir Betina, Microbiology, Biochemistry & Biology
    * Dr Raymond G. Bohlin, Biologist
    * Dr Andrew Bosanquet, Biology, Microbiology
    * Dr David Catchpoole, Plant Physiologist (read his testimony)
    * Dr Choong-Kuk Chang, Genetic Engineering
    * Prof. Chung-Il Cho, Biology Education
    * Dr Harold Coffin, Palaeontologist
    * Dr Bob Compton, DVM
    * Dr Ken Cumming, Biologist
    * Dr Raymond V. Damadian, M.D., Pioneer of magnetic resonance imaging
    * Dr Chris Darnbrough, Biochemist
    * Dr Nancy M. Darrall, Botany
    * Dr Douglas Dean, Biological Chemistry
    * Dr David A. DeWitt, Biology, Biochemistry, Neuroscience
    * Dr Geoff Downes, Creationist Plant Physiologist
    * Dr André Eggen, Geneticist
    * Prof. Carl B. Fliermans, Professor of Biology
    * Prof. Robert H. Franks, Associate Professor of Biology
    * Dr Maciej Giertych, Geneticist
    * Dr Duane Gish, Biochemist
    * Dr Werner Gitt, Information Scientist
    * Dr Margaret Helder, Science Editor, Botanist
    * Dr Joseph Henson, Entomologist
    * Dr Kelly Hollowell, Molecular and Cellular Pharmacologist
    * Dr Bob Hosken, Biochemistry
    * Dr Neil Huber, Physical Anthropologist
    * Dr James A. Huggins, Professor and Chair, Department of Biology
    * George T. Javor, Biochemistry
    * Dr Pierre Jerlström, Creationist Molecular Biologist
    * Dr Raymond Jones, Agricultural Scientist
    * Prof. Leonid Korochkin, Molecular Biology
    * Dr Dean Kenyon, Biologist
    * Prof. Gi-Tai Kim, Biology
    * Prof. Harriet Kim, Biochemistry
    * Prof. Jong-Bai Kim, Biochemistry
    * Prof. Jung-Han Kim, Biochemistry
    * Dr John W. Klotz, Biologist
    * Dr Vladimir F. Kondalenko, Cytology/Cell Pathology
    * Dr Leonid Korochkin, M.D., Genetics, Molecular Biology, Neurobiology
    * Dr John K.G. Kramer, Biochemistry
    * Dr John Leslie, Biochemist
    * Prof. Lane P. Lester, Biologist, Genetics
    * Dr Ian Macreadie, molecular biologist and microbiologist:
    * Dr John Marcus, Molecular Biologist
    * Dr George Marshall, Eye Disease Researcher
    * Dr David Menton, Anatomist
    * Dr Angela Meyer, Creationist Plant Physiologist
    * Dr Len Morris, Physiologist
    * Dr Eric Norman, Biomedical researcher
    * Prof. Chris D. Osborne, Assistant Professor of Biology
    * Dr Charles Pallaghy, Botanist
    * Dr Gary E. Parker, Biologist, Cognate in Geology (Paleontology)
    * Dr Jung-Goo Roe, Biology
    * Dr Ariel A. Roth, Biology
    * Dr Joachim Scheven Palaeontologist:
    * Dr Timothy G. Standish, Biology
    * Dr Esther Su, Biochemistry
    * Dr Michael Todhunter, Forest Genetics
    * Dr Lyudmila Tonkonog, Chemistry/Biochemistry
    * Dr Royal Truman, Organic Chemist:
    * Prof. Walter Veith, Zoologist
    * Dr Joachim Vetter, Biologist
    * Dr Kurt Wise, Palaeontologist
    * Dr Ick-Dong Yoo, Genetics
    * Dr Sung-Hee Yoon, Biology
    * Dr Henry Zuill, Biology

  30. #30 Doug
    May 26, 2005

    guthrie
    I’d be interested to know how you can distinguish between a situation in which “God” created the world, animals etc, and left them with enough leeway to evolve as you have postulated, and the current theory of evolutionary biology which can see no “god” manipulating things. Where is your evidence for the postulated creator?

    My faith in the Creator is partially grounded in the objective evidence of the Bible. Beyond its accuracy, it has amazing coherence given that it was written by over 40 authors during a 1600 year period in 3 languages on 3 continents. Fulfilled prophecy alone makes a remarkable argument. I have no PHD in statistics either but I took a couple courses in college and I understand how probability is calculated. The prophecies that have been fulfilled are amazing in themselves but when the probabilities of related prophecy are compounded one really hits numbers that are incomprehensible. But I digress, as this is a discussion for a different blog.

    In regards to distinguishing between God and evolution I would again refer you to the article “The evolution train’s a-comin”

    There are two directions in which evolution must work to succeed. Let’s call them up and down. As an example of “down,” consider the simple situation of beetles with wings that somehow find themselves on a windy island. The wind on this island becomes detrimental to their survival because their wings act like a sail and they are blown into the sea. Some of the beetles have a mutation that eliminates their wings. These beetles now flourish because they don’t get blown into the sea. As you can see, there is a loss or corruption of genetic information for wings, a loss of function. This example shows a change in gene frequency but not the kind of evolution that would create the wings in the first place. Evolutionists often point to examples similar to this and my previous example of antibiotic resistance. They make the claim that: given enough time these changes will add up to “common descent with modification” but it takes only the tiniest bit of logic to see that losing wings doesn’t show how the wings were formed. What’s next loss of legs? If evolution is extended in this direction the organism will only reach extinction.

    I can’t give you a good example of “up” evolution. Perhaps you have a few. Its not that I haven’t looked. The example needs to show how an actual function and its genetic information originates. There are cases where DNA is transferred horizonataly so that a bacteria gains a function that it didn’t have before, but it doesn’t evolve the function it only adopts it. This is not a case to show how the genetic information originated to begin with.

    “Down” evolution is perfectly consistent with the belief that God created the universe. It’s perfectly consistent with the Bible. Its the evolution used in science to fight disease and make biological predictions. “Down” evolution is science. “Up” evolution is science-fiction. Even if a few isolated candidates are introduced, their frequency is far from what would be required.

    I believe mutation frequency must be either hard to determine or a stumbling block for evolutionists because i generally find them reported in very ambiguous terms. Since I have Zimmer’s Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea next to me I’ll use it to explain what I mean. Its taken from pg 78 and I’ll cut some stuff out but I’ll try not to alter the context. He writes, “Cells…duplicate DNA almost flawlessly, but every now and then a mistake creeps in. Proofreading proteins can find most…but a few slip through… If the mutation happens to alter the DNA in an egg or sperm, it get’s a chance at immortality…” A mutation may be favorable, unfavorable or neutral “…Many…have harmful effects…but sometimes…a mutation does some good.”

    So “a few” of the “now and then’s” “happen to” “sometimes” do “some good.” Now subtract all the cases where the “good” was due to a loss (of specified complexity, function, genetic information, etc.)and you’re left with an atomic, infinitesimal, microminiature, microscopic, minute, teeny-weeny chance (i used the thesaurus). I think numerically this gets pretty close to statistically impossible therefore the likelihood of accumulating the billions upon billions needed to change pond scum into professors, ponies, and pineapples seems pretty itty-bitty.

  31. #31 Dan S.
    May 26, 2005

    Now, for all the undecideds out there – is this what you want taught in science class?

    No? That’s why it’s important to support the teaching of real science in public school science classes, not theology! That could be discussed in a comparative religions class, or by the child’s family (you know, the folks who are supposed to be in charge of the child’s religious ed)through involving them in Sunday school, church attendance, and at home – no problem there. The alternative is send kids out into a confusing, fast changing, highly competitive world with a high school science education (quite possibly all they get) taken up by flood claims and nonsensical”discussions” of anti-evolution “evidence,” which would drown out any real understanding of the actual shape and form of scientific debate.

  32. #32 guthrie
    May 26, 2005

    OK, here we run into the point about Doug and his propensity for argument by authority….

    You know that the Bible is objective truth how?

    Which prophecies have been fulfilled, and whi ones hav’nt? Why should we believe the Bible is true over say the Quran?

    “I can’t give you a good example of “up” evolution. Perhaps you have a few.”

    Yes, the easiest ones to comprehend involve bacteria and antibiotics.

    “I believe mutation frequency must be either hard to determine or a stumbling block for evolutionists because i generally find them reported in very ambiguous terms.”

    They are hard to determine. We’re talking over periods of hundreds of years here, and thousands. They are reported in ambigous terms because the people doing the reporting are scientists, who are almost by definition in a state of uncertainty.

    “Now subtract all the cases where the “good” was due to a loss (of specified complexity, function, genetic information, etc.)and you’re left with an atomic, infinitesimal, microminiature, microscopic, minute, teeny-weeny chance (i used the thesaurus).”

    In order for that argument to make any kind of sense, you are going to have to come up with numbers to back up your infinitesimal claims. Oh, wait am inute, you can only get them from evolutionary biologists. Who then explain that the infinitesimal number doesnt matter, because in evolutionary theory we’re talking thousands or millions of individuals, over periods ranging from days to millenia.

    Heres a couple of words you might not find in your thesaurus:
    glaikit numpty

  33. #33 David Holland
    May 26, 2005

    Look a list of creationist with out a single Steve.

  34. #34 Doug
    May 26, 2005

    First I don’t want to see the bible in the science classroom. The reason it was brought into this discussion is that Dan asked how I distinguish between what God does between what nature does and where my foundation that God exists comes from.

    Many who engage in debate on the evolution side are guilty of attacking the creation side by attacking Christianity and questioning how God works. (i.e. why do bad things happen to good people, the crusades, gallileo, the fictional idea that Christians believed in a round Earth, etc.). If they are unable to do this they attack the debater, like attacking the crediblity of a witness in a murder trial (admittedly both sides resort to this).

    I believe it would be wrong to teach biblical creation in the science classroom. I’m not alone in this, Answers in Genesis is one of the leading creation organizations and they also have no interest in seeing biblical creation taught in school. Off the cuff I’m not aware of the other creation orgs so I won’t speak for them. Don’t confuse ID’ers with creationists either because they generally don’t believe in biblical creation and would therefore fight just as hard to keep the bible out of the science classroom.

    I believe it is a disservice to students and the field of science to pretend there are no questions to be answered regarding evolution. The Big Bang’ers have no problem admitting that they see problems with the big bang. Well known and publicized is that it introduces a beginning that they have no natural answer for. The big bang still survives as the strongest theory of the beginning of the universe but students know there are some questions to be answered. Quantum physics is very open about questions such as how an electron moves from one orbit level to another orbit level spotaneously, meaning they can’t show a linear path it just appears like magic. Quantum physics has not crumbled because of this question it has been inspired. But ask an evolutionist what questions remain and you’ll be met by his “beware of Dogma” sign.

    Evolution has spilled over into psychology, sociology, history, philosophy, music, art, and probably almost every other subject because it has been accepted dogmatically as a way to explain everything. Before you tout this as evdience that it must be true remember that Christianity used to fill those shoes. The evolutionary explainations are constantly changing when they turn out to be wrong or unacceptable. Evolutionary psychologists explained that rapists were only acting out their primal instincts until that view was not popularly received so it was altered but the dogma it was based on is never questioned.

    “I can’t give you a good example of “up” evolution. Perhaps you have a few.”

    Yes, the easiest ones to comprehend involve bacteria and antibiotics.

    I agree its easy to understand, and I already used that as an example of “down” evolution. I provided a pretty concise yet complete explanation of why it is a “down” example, from Kevin Anderson who holds a PHD in Microbiology and I will repeat it below for your convenience.

    If you’d rather have a chart to look at here is nice table showing an Antibiotic and the bacterial phenotype that leads to its resistance to the antibiotic

    “Is Bacterial Resistance to Antibiotics an Appropriate Example of Evolutionary Change?”

    Mutations, defined as any changes in the DNA sequence (Snyder and Champness, 2003), provide the only known genetic mechanism for producing new genetic activity and function in the biological world. In light of this, only mutations have the potential to provide evolution a mechanism that accounts for the origin of antibiotic resistance. Thus, only that resistance resulting from a mutation is a potential example of “evolution in action” (i.e., common “descent with modification”).

    Bacterial resistance to the antibiotic, rifampin, can result from a commonly occurring spontaneous mutation. Rifampin inhibits bacterial transcription by interfering with normal RNA polymerase activity (Gale et al., 1981; Levin and Hatfull, 1993). Bacteria can acquire resistance by a point mutation of the â-subunit of RNA polymerase, which is encoded by the rpoB gene (Enright et al., 1998; Taniguchi et al., 1996; Wang et al., 2001; Williams et al., 1998). This mutation sufficiently alters the structure of the â-subunit so that it loses specificity for the rifampin molecule. As a result, the RNA polymerase no longer has an affinity for rifampin, and is no longer affected by the inhibitory effect of the antibiotic.

    ————————————-

    Now perhaps you can point to some examples where information and novel function are created, showing an actual example of “up” evolution(necessary for common descent). Perhaps they are so few and far between (assuming they exist) because of a lack of researchers. Perhaps young students for years, considering their career options, eliminate evolution, because as taught in the classroom they probably don’t see any reason to go in that direction since we already know everything. They probably choose to study quantum physics with all its well publicized mysteries.

    ——–