Re: Evolution: A few questions

From: jack syme <>
Date: Sat Jun 12 2004 - 18:39:29 EDT

Welcome to the list.

I am also skeptical of evolution, and probably favor progessive creationism.
But I will try to answer your questions as I understand them.

You need to think of evolution, not in terms of the organism, but in terms
of the function of the gene. Dawkins wrote a book about this called "The
Selfish Gene". The fundamental idea is that if a gene confers increased
surviveability, it is selected for. And, it is then multiplied and passed
on. The argument about complex organs is the basis of the argument against
evolution by the ID (Intelligent Design) folks. And, I would assume the
evolutionist would claim that the intermediate forms also increased
surviveability, and that the genes that produced the intermediate forms were
selected for previously, and then another mutation later is selected for and
you have an eye, or blood cotting cascade, etc.

Symmetry itself is, it would seem, a epiphenomenon of notocord development.
That is, a central nervous system, with a brain, spinal cord etc, is an axis
that the rest of the organism develops around.

----- Original Message -----
From: <>
To: <>
Sent: Saturday, June 12, 2004 4:04 PM
Subject: Evolution: A few questions

> Hi All,
> I stumbled upon this site last night and it seems that there are quite a
> few theistic evolutionists here (or is this group for theistic
> evolutionists?). If I had to classify myself, I'd say that I'm a
> progressive creationist -- I believe in an old earth holding the day/age
> view, etc. I'm skeptical (very skeptical?) of evolution, but I allow for
> the possibility of it. Anyway, maybe some theistic evolutionists here can
> provide some insight into some questions that I have (especially being
> that this list seems pretty civilized, as opposed to a lot of other
> message boards out there):
> 1) Since evolution is not "conscious" how does it "know" that something is
> a benefit or a hinderance? The organism which experiences the change
> doesn't think, "Oh, wow, this <insert change> benefits my <insert feature>
> so I'm going to make sure I retain it!" And the process of evolution isn't
> isn't "conscious" so it doesn't consciously retain it, either. Or does it
> have to do more with the fact that the change isn't harmful to the
> organism (which would cause it to die without reproducing) therefore it's
> passed on? I imagine this is the case. If so, do we have any physical
> characteristics -- internal or external -- that developed by chance and
> that don't serve a purpose, but aren't harmful to survival, either so
> they're retained? I imagine organisms would randomly develop a number of
> these throughout the history of life.
> 2) What happens during the intermediary stages when a feature is evolving,
> but before it's fully functional? For example, I imagine it took an
> EXTREMELY long time before the wings of an insect or animal (which evolved
> from whatever they evolved from) were perfected and enabled them to fly.
> What happens during "however many generations" the organism exists with
> wings that were not yet functional? Wouldn't this be more detrimental thus
> causing the evolutionary process to drop the wings before they're useful?
> 3) My last question concerns non-theistic evolution -- the belief/theory
> that there's no God, that life occurred purely by chance, etc: The purpose
> of organisms is to survive and reproduce -- but why? If there's no purpose
> for existing and reproducing then what difference does it make if they do
> so or not? Why do organisms, from simple celled life-forms to plants to
> animals, have an innate need to survive and reproduce if there's no point
> to it?
> 4) Ok, one last question :p . This is another one concerning non-theistic
> evolution and has to do with design -- specifically bodily symmetry. It's
> hard to understand how blind chance produced such a symmetrical body. Take
> the eyes for example. I followed a link from this list to
> . Under the
> progressive creationism section the article briefly describes how eyes may
> have evolved: "[A] few light-sensitive cells form an eyespot, the eyespot
> becomes recessed to increase the light-gathering area and to allow
> directional sense, the opening narrows to create a "pin-hole camera" eye,
> fluid fills the space for protection, the fluid becomes a lens." (the
> comment "the eyespot becomes recessed to increase the light-gathering
> area" makes it sound like it's a conscious decision, but I already asked
> about this in question 1). It's hard to understand how there just happened
> to be two areas containing light sensitive cells that were so
> symmetrically and "strategically" placed on the head. It seems more likely
> that organisms would have one eye on the side of the face, or two or three
> eyes placed randomly on the face. Another example are ears. I imagine the
> ears evolved in the same way the eyes did -- starting with an area of
> sound-sensitive cells. Again, though, it's so hard to imagine that two
> sound sensitive cell areas on the head happened to be so symmetrical --
> being at the same distance from the center of the head, the same distance
> from the top of the head, that they both evolved the exact same way, etc.
> It seems more likely that blind chance would result bodies being more
> asymmetrical and random. Can anyone comment on this?
> Oh, finally, does anyone have testimonies online? I'd be interested in
> reading how believers dealt with and reconciled evolution and the Bible
> including the fall of man, the introduction of sin into the world causing
> the need for a savior, etc. Like I said above, I'm skeptical of evolution,
> but I do allow for the possibility of it so I want to hear some thoughts
> from Christian evolutionists.
> I look forward to any resonses.
> Thanks a lot!
> Jason
Received on Sat Jun 12 19:06:29 2004

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