Evolution Archive List

Thu, 27 May 1999 09:58:41 EDT

Subj: Re: evolution archive list
From: Bertvan@aol.com
To: Susan-brassfield@ou.edu (Susan Brassfield)

Hi Susan. Thanks for the pleasant reply. I have more questions

Susan wrote:
>There are many details of specific mechanisms known. Natural selection has
>been observed to occur and the specific details are well known. Natural
>selection is not the only mechanism. Species also change through genetic

>Theists speculate from their conclusion. For them the only acceptable
>evidence is Genesis.

I've met many theists, and even creationists, who never mention Genesis or
the bible. Having just joined this list, I learned to my surprise that it
was originated by Phillip Johnson. He calls himself a creationist, but
having read nearly everything he has written about evolution, I've never
heard him offer Genesis as scientific evidence. I disagree with him about
religion, but then I believe differences of opinion are healthy. Apparently
you and most biologists (who seem to call themselves Darwinists) regard
natural selection and genetic drift adequate to explain macro evolution
(appearance of new organs, systems and body parts). Do you regard anyone who
doesn't find those mechanisms adequate a "creationist"? Do you regard Denton
and Behe as "creationists"? Do you believe no one should question "random
mutation and natural selection"?

Susan wrote:
>there are a huge number of genes in just your body alone and they are
>replicating all the time, every time a cell divides. Replication errors are
>frequent and most are trivial. Rarely, the error is useful and is passed on
>to descendants. If the occupance and survival of these useful genes isn't
>random who is guiding the process? Theists say that a god (a specific
>middle-eastern god) is the guiding force.

Materialists, determinists, reductionists, Dawkins and other Atheists believe
these rare, useful mutations are random accidents--without plan, purpose,
meaning or direction. I suppose theists believe the process is supervised by
god. Personally, I like the idea that they are the result of the many
individual choices made by organisms over long periods of time, ideas
resembling those of Larmarck or Rupert Shelldrake. All are speculations
compatible with our personal ideologies. However I doubt any of us will
find "proof" for the validity of our ideologies. Again, I regard differences
of ideology healthy.

Susan wrote: (on common ancestors)
don't you and your siblings have more than one grandparent? and don't you
have those grandparents in common?

Yes, but I'm not convinced about Adam and Eve, and see no convincing evidence
that we are all the descendants of one "first-human" (or I guess there would
have to be two). If life arose more than once, why should they all have been
identical? Maybe they each were different from the beginning. Like the
origin of life, maybe humans evolved more than once. If the earliest
organisms, bacteria or whatever, arose more than once, why should they have
been identical? It's not an idea I'm pushing; I'm merely trying to find out
what Darwinists mean by a "common ancestor".

Susan wrote:
>Dawkins says that abiogenesis was rare and difficult. I (not so humbly)
>disagree. If the conditions were correct, life would be inevitable.
>Everything that is alive is so similar in pattern, though, it is likely
>that we all evolved from one original occurrence of life.

Thanks for saying, "it is likely". You see similarities and I see
unexplainable differences.

I said:
>>Similar DNA apparently results in similar morphology, but is that
>>proof of common descent?

Susan wrote:
>yes. Otherwise it would be useless to use DNA testing to confirm paternity.
>Also members of the same family have DNA very similar to each other and
>less similar to other people who are not as closely related. That same
>pattern is observed in any population where the familial relationships is
>known. If you and my brothers were standing in a group, we can use DNA
>testing to tell which one of you is not my brother.

True, but DNA can also be used to determine who is not related.