Re: Is evolution really the central theory for all of biology?

From: Pim van Meurs <pimvanmeurs@yahoo.com>
Date: Wed Sep 21 2005 - 13:44:57 EDT

Cornelius Hunter wrote:

>
>
>
>> Cornelius Hunter wrote:
>>
>>> Terry:
>>> It seems to me that to be compelling, an evidence should fulfill
>>> some these criteria to some reasonable degree, and not fail on them:
>>> A. The evidence should not include problems for the theory
>>> (obviously).
>>> B. The evidence should be the fulfillment of a somewhat narrow
>>> prediction of the theory. That is, if the evidence as well as
>>> several other outcomes are all accommodated by the theory, then the
>>> evidence is not compelling.
>>> C. The evidence severely damages all alternative theories (need to
>>> be careful not to misrepresent or ignore the alternative theories,
>>> of course).
>>> Make sense?
>>> The fossil record suggests or reveals:
>>> 1. Dramatically increasing complexity of life forms over time
>>> 2. Many extinctions
>>> 3. Rapid appearance of new species
>>> 4. Stasis of species once they appear
>>> 5. Rapid increase in biosphere diversity followed by winnowing of
>>> diversity (reverse of the traditional evolutionary tree, if you
>>> will) due to extinction. This occurs repeatedly.
>>> 6. Lineages (ie, there is rapid appearance, but usually the design
>>> is not radically different from earlier designs).
>>> I think 1 and 3 fail on A but realize you may disagree. Setting
>>> that aside then, I think that clearly 1-5 fail on B. None succeed on
>>> C. The only positive is 6 which succeeds on B. So, with 5 evidences,
>>> of a total of 6, failing on B and only 1 out of 6 succeeding on B, I
>>> don't see how this can be compelling evidence for evolution. Can you
>>> explain?
>>>
>
>>
>> Could you explain your reasoning why you believe 1 and 3 to fail on A
>> or that 1-5 fail on B
>
>
> Regarding A:
> The question is, does the evidence present a problem for the theory?
> In #3, if species appear rapidly (as though planted there as Dawkins
> put it) then the evidence is a problem. What is needed is an
> additional hypothesis to explain the missing evidence, such as the
> fossil record is lousy or the punctuated equilibrium idea that
> evolution speeds up sometimes so the chances of capturing it in the
> fossil record are small.
>
Why is the rapid appearance of species a problem when you admit that the
data seem to be insufficient to resolve the speed(s) invovled? Good
science deals with the evidence to the best of its abilities. That
evolutionary science is able to explain these issues should not be seen
as a weakness but rather a strength of the theory.

> In #3, the arising of high complexity in life forms (DNA code,
> trilobite eye, etc.) from unguided forces is not what science suggests
> to us about how this universe works. This level of complexity is a
> long way from snowflakes and crystals.
>
I find your claim to be highly at odds with what science suggests how
this universe works. Complexity under variation and selection is hardly
surprising.
And the more we learn about life, the more it seems to support
evolutionary theory. Yes, not all data are predicted but they are
accomodated which is nevertheless a powerful testimony to evolutionary
theory.

> Regarding B:
> The question is, is the evidence narrowly predicted by the theory?
> Observations 1-5,
>
>>> 1. Dramatically increasing complexity of life forms over time
>>> 2. Many extinctions
>>> 3. Rapid appearance of new species
>>> 4. Stasis of species once they appear
>>> 5. Rapid increase in biosphere diversity followed by winnowing of
>>> diversity (reverse of the traditional evolutionary tree, if you
>>> will) due to extinction. This occurs repeatedly.
>>
>
> Hopefully even evolutionists can agree that all 1-5 fail here.

Not really. Only in a simplistic sense could one argue that evolutionary
theory does not 'predict' these. Since evolutionary theory was
formulated to explain many of these items it is hard to claim that they
'predicted' them, but evolutionary theory accomodates them in a simple
and coherent manner.

> Evolution does not predict increasing complexity, extinctions, abrupt
> appearance of species, stasis for eons, and diversity explosions.

On the contrary. While this may be seen as a retrodiction, evolutionary
simulations show all these aspects.

> Evolution would be just fine if there was no such complexity increase,
> no extinctions, a nice clean gradual succession of species with ever
> so slight changes between each, consistently evolving species, and
> gradual diversity increase (or no diversity increase for that matter).
> None of these observations are predicted by evolution. They are
> accommodated.

Your point being? As I said, gravitational forces can be accellerating
and decelerating, should we somehow consider this a contradiction? Or
should we understand under which circumstances these "different
behaviors" take place.
Yes, evolution can handle gradual change, punctuated change, increase in
complexity, living fossils. So what's your problem. That evolutionary
theory can accomodate the data in a coherent fashion?

>
>
>
>
>> I believe that even Darwin addressed the issue of extinction. Most of
>> your arguments appear to be somewhat overly simplistic.
>> Could you explain your reasonings in more details?
>
>
> You are the one claiming the theory is a fact and the evidence is
> compelling. "Addressing the issue" doesn't make the evidence compelling.

Does this mean that you are not interested in explaining your reasoning
in more detail? In that case I have to reject your 'arguments' as not
compelling and overly simplistic.
Received on Wed Sep 21 13:45:56 2005

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