Re: Evolution: A few questions

From: D. F. Siemens, Jr. <>
Date: Sun Jun 20 2004 - 23:49:56 EDT

On Sun, 20 Jun 2004 23:18:55 +0100 "Vernon Jenkins"
<> writes:
> Hi, Dave,
> Thank you for this interesting illustration. However, just a few
> points:
> 1) Your reference to 'down time' is hardly relevant to the
> matter under
> discussion, for I am not claiming that fins cease to function while
> legs
> develop, but simply that they must lose their effectiveness because
> of the
> hydro-dynamic impediments (eg swellings and protrusions) that must
> herald
> the presumed changes.
You are again illustrating that you can find excuses for believing the
dogma to which you are committed, but not at all good at recognizing the
assumptions on which your claims rest. Here you assume that fins are
ideally structured for their purpose, which purpose remains constant
through change. However, fins function within constraints, for none are
ideal for all finny functions. Indeed, pectoral and pelvic appendages are
not what primarily drive fish through the water. Greatly expanded
pectoral fins are essential for the flying fish, of course, but for the
most part fins are used for changing direction. There is no reason to
assume that this obvious function of fins will continue to be the
function of developing limbs. There is also no need to assume that fins
are necessary for efficient swimming, since sea snakes swim very well,
thank you, without anything like fins. What is needed to support your
claims is totally specious.
> 2) What you have written brings back memories of Haeckel's
> infamous
> embryos and the concept of recapitulation. Clearly, all that is in
> evidence
> here is an inbuilt programme of development that takes us from a
> fish-like
> form to frog in a relatively brief span of time. The suggested
> extrapolation
> is, I believe, invalid.
Where did you get the idea that I wrote about recapitulation? All I
claimed to illustrate was a change from an aquatic pollywog to an adult
frog without loss of function at any stage. I contrasted this process
with the need to pause activity for a general reorganization in the
insect pupa. I see no way that a creature could survive if a quasi-pupal
form were the adult. This is clearly anti-Haeckel. My argument is
analogical. Let me restate it simply. If an aquatic pollywog can
transform into a terrestrial frog (a toad makes the point more strongly)
without hiccups, aquatic creatures could evolve into other forms,
including terrestrial ones, without hitting road blocks. Since we have
numerous fossils showing sequential development, and since such
development can proceed smoothly, your argument is silly and misguided.
> 3) I am intrigued by your closing paragraph. You question: why
> would
> God have to work out a series of intermediate creatures leading up
> to the
> current forms? As a TE (please correct me if I am wrong) you believe
> that
> man has appeared on the world scene by a divinely-ordained process
> of
> evolution. Presumably, with this ultimate end in view, He either
> front-loaded all the necessary information for such an outcome into
> the
> first living cell, or otherwise constantly maintains a controlling
> hand on
> all that transpires. This being so, I can surely put the same
> question to
> you: why would God have to work out a series of intermediate
> creatures
> leading up to the current forms? Why all the carnage over a vast
> period of
> time? Is our God incapable of creating all living forms, together
> with those
> represented in the fossil record, simultaneously, in one mighty
> operation?
> In the Scriptures, God has revealed what actually happened way back.
> He can
> hardly be held responsible for the errors of those who have chosen
> to
In this paragraph you assume that all information had to be
"front-loaded." In the biological realm, this is nonsense. New
information arises, as "bivalve" noted in this string on the 18th, if
only through position effects. But there are other possibilities as well.

To look at matters more broadly, can natural processes produce life? I
don't know. It may be that original life had to be introduced
miraculously. But I would not be surprised if we found that special
conditions give rise to entities that could absorb nutrients, maintain
homeostasis and reproduce--if we are able to recognize the entities as
simple life forms, for they would certainly be different from what we
find currently. Recent studies in the Sargasso Sea indicate that we have
grave problems recognizing some contemporary life forms.

Then you trot out the silly claim that "nature red in tooth and claw"
cannot be the work of God. Think for a couple seconds on what the world
would be like without death. Nearly a century ago we killed off all the
large predators on the Kaibab Plateau north of Grand Canyon. In a few
years, all the vegetation that deer could reach was gone, eaten, and all
the deer were starving. Death is a necessary part of this world (but just
try to design a world without death). Which death is better: slow
starvation with the destruction of the ecosystem, or a quick bite by a
predator? It's easy to oppose death because a partly eaten carcass is not
a pretty sight. But it is a very silly argument.

Vernon, I wish you had given evidence in this post that you had thought
something through before setting it down. Unfortunately, you have merely
parroted irrelevancies, items known to excite prejudices, and similar
drivel. If you are going to respond, please do better.
> Vernon
Received on Mon Jun 21 00:06:05 2004

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