RE: Johnson on Bible Answer Man

From: Alexanian, Moorad (
Date: Mon Mar 17 2003 - 08:53:35 EST

  • Next message: Alexanian, Moorad: "RE: the nature of evolutionary change in human groups"

    Physicist know how to turn lead into gold---transmutation of elements.
    It can be done but it is not economically feasible. The question is, can
    biologists/geneticists do the same with species? Moorad

    -----Original Message-----
    From: Jim Armstrong []
    Sent: Sunday, March 16, 2003 8:41 PM
    Subject: Re: Johnson on Bible Answer Man

    OK, but isn't micro/macro still a matter of scale in these descriptions,

    not about degree/kind? I confess this is nitpicking and probably moot
    since there is no real question that the terms have been coopted and
    morphed a bit (not blaming you for that!) for use as in your earlier
    post. It's just a reflection of a problem I have with labels in general
    and the lack of precision of meaning those shorthand symbols seem all to

    often to embody.

    And wasn't the micro/macroevolution discussion in the last couple of
    exchanges about purely physical evolution?

    Regards - Jim Armstrong

    Alexanian, Moorad wrote:

    >The notions of collective effects, quasi-particles, elementary
    >excitations are all microscopic effects that manifest themselves at the
    macroscopic level but are not thought of as microscopic. However,
    superfluidity, Bose-Einstein condensation, superconductivity, etc. are
    microscopic phenomena at the macroscopic level---atoms lose their
    individual identities and behave as a single quantum entity. The scale
    in both instances is from the veryy small to the very large yet they are
    different in that the microscopic manifestation can be either
    macroscopic or microscopic.
    >In group theory, there are discrete and continuous groups. Discrete
    >groups are those studied in crystallography and solid-state physics and
    the elements of the group cannot be obtained by means of infinitesimal
    changes. However, the continuous groups are such that finite
    transformation can indeed be made up by infinitesimal transformations.
    Of course, it seems to me that mutations would always involve finite
    changes rather than truly continuous changes.
    >Of course, if you compare humans to animals at the purely physical
    >level, then we may be rather similar. However, one may suppose that
    man is nothing but matter but that certainly goes beyond science by
    making some rather strong philosophical assumptions.
    > -----Original Message-----
    > From: Jim Armstrong []
    > Sent: Sun 3/16/2003 6:38 PM
    > To:
    > Cc:
    > Subject: Re: Johnson on Bible Answer Man
    > I understand your point, though I differ. In science, micro and
    >are usually used to indicate orders-of-magnitude differences in scale,
    not kind. All of evolution is about changes at the genetic level (all at
    the same general spatial dimensional scale). However unintentional,
    microevolution and macroevolution are perfectly descriptive when
    understood as relating to timeframes that are between one or more orders
    of magnitude different. The evolutionary creature changes observed in
    micro- and macro- time frames seem to me to be all about degree. I just
    submit that if you pile up enough micro changes (with the passage of
    appropriate time), they would be indistinguishable from a macro change.
    That seems so straightforward to me.
    > "Kind" is another one of those words which represents a loose
    >collection of differentiators, and many of those differentiators are
    >continuing to fall by the wayside in light of the remarkable genomic
    work. Take the case of the genomes of mus musculus (house mouse) and us.
    We now know that 99% of our genes are equivalent to (and 80% of those
    EXACTLY identical to) those of the mouse. We both have about 30,000
    genes and only 300 are unique to our or their kind! A tail gene is not
    unique. We both have it. Fortunately, the tail gene is unexpressed for
    the vast majority of us humans. We both also have a horn gene, but this
    one is unexpressed for both "kinds". We both have an eye gene that codes
    for a simple single-lens eye. But swap that mouse-eye gene into the
    eye-gene location of a fruit fly, and it expresses as an appropriately
    small compound (multi-lensed) eye! That's a real result. So how
    fundamentally different are we in kind - as different species (another
    sort of artifici! al and troubled term of differentiation)? The answer
    seems to be, "not very", at least in the basic genetic and even
    architectural terms. Moreover, the differences that exist seem to be
    precisely the result of "the passage of 'enough' time."
    > Finally, Liquid crystals, as near as the watch on your wrist,
    can go
    >"continuously go from one to the other." That's another understanding
    that has changed in recent years.
    > Regards
    > Jim Armstrong
    > Alexanian, Moorad wrote:
    > The meaning of the terms micro and macro in physics is
    clear. That
    >is the way I use such terms in general. Microevolution is changes at
    the microscopic level that can manifest themselves at the macroscopic
    level, e.g., dog breeding. The genetic changes are minuscule and within
    a given species. Macroevolution is by nature a change in kind rather
    than degree and means changes that may not be possible by the passage of
    "enough" time. Crystals and fluids are of that sort. One cannot
    continuously go from one to the other. Moorad
    > -----Original Message-----
    > From: Jim Armstrong []
    > Sent: Sun 3/16/2003 12:27 AM
    > To:
    > Cc:
    > Subject: Re: Johnson on Bible Answer Man
    > I know this is not new turf, but it seems to me
    that the terms
    > microevolution and macroevolution are just a bit
    of sophistry (as is
    > perhaps contrasting "fact" with "assumption").
    Those micro- and macro-
    > terms and the dividing line between them seem to
    be artifacts of the
    > evolution discussion and not descriptive of some
    well-defined stay-put
    > dividing line in nature. Calling a spade a
    spade, isn't the real issue
    > either the timeline (micro becomes macro with
    the passage of "enough"
    > time) or the special creation of man?
    > Whether intentional or not, your last sentence
    captures well the
    > challenge experienced by some of us in
    attempting to balance intent and
    > worldview. I wonder if it is a right-brain vs
    left-brain conflict
    > Regards - Jim Armstrong
    > Alexanian, Moorad wrote:
    > >I am not defending PJ's personal interactions
    with others. My statement refers to his scientific/philosophical view
    that correctly criticizes the statement of evolutionists that
    macroevolution is a fact rather than a scientific assumption. As a
    Christian, I please God and not my ego when discussing scientific issues
    but I will not be deterred from calling a spade a spade. Moorad
    > >
    > > -----Original Message-----
    > > From: Michael Roberts
    > > Sent: Sat 3/15/2003 2:09 PM
    > > To: Alexanian, Moorad; Jim Armstrong;
    > > Cc:
    > > Subject: Re: Johnson on Bible Answer Man
    > >
    > >

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