Re: evolution archive list

Susan B (
Mon, 31 May 1999 09:49:32 -0500 (CDT)

>>they began to try to nit-pick evolution to death. They have nothing at all
>>to replace it with, and creationists like Phillip Johnson don't seem to
>>think that any replacement is necessary.
>By "nit-pick", do you mean listing aspects of Darwinism which appear
>implausible to them?

yes, while ignoring vast amounts of evidence which supports evolution

>I fear I agree with Johnson that "don't know" seems
>preferable to accepting what seems to us an inadequate theory.

Considering all the evidence available which supports evolution "I don't
know" seems to be driven by an agenda.

>It's neo
>Darwinism (random mutation and natural selection as a mechanism of macro
>evolution) that I (and many creationists) object to--not necessarily
>evolution itself.

actually a good many of the creationists I have debated object to the very
idea that species change at all. They obviously do change and have changed
dramatically down through the eons. There are *no* pre-cambrian dogs or
mammals of any kind. Creationists like to think if they can prove that the
peppered moth experiments were somehow faulty they can convince people that
dogs were "created" all at once along with dinosaurs and angiosperms.

>Perhaps as other mechanisms are discovered, the day will
>come when "evolutionary biologists" are no longer locked in mortal conflict
>with so many creationists.

other mechanisms *are* and have been discovered. Creationists do not just
object to natural selection, they object to anything that isn't creation ex

Also you exaggerate the conflict between evolutionists and creationists.
These debates do get heated, but for a lot of scientists (and myself, a
non-scientist) this debate is just a hobby. Most scientists are busy doing
science and ignore the creationists altogether. Creationists promulgate a
lot of misinformation about what evolution is, says and means. Only an idiot
would believe in the straw-man version of evoultion that you read about in
creationist websites and books. I think it's important to reply to the
creationist material and not let it go unanswered. That's what I try to do.

> > 3.It postulates that speciation is (usually) due to the gradual
>>accumulation of small genetic changes. This is equivalent to saying that
>>macroevolution is simply a lot of microevolution.
>This is my understanding of neo Darwinism. I've recently heard some quite
>respectable biologists no longer believe "macro evolution is simply a lot of
>microevolution". It is the part I find implausible. You never said whether
>you think this makes me a "creationist"

it depends on whether or not you believe that a god--specifically the
biblical god--created everything out of nothing all at once and species have
been utterly static since then. If you believe that, then you are a
creationist. There are some on this list who believe that the biblical god
used evolution to create. They are not creationists.

>>Denton is a creationist (as far as I know). Behe appears to not be a
>In his latest book, At Home in the Universe or Nature's Destiny, (I can't
>remember which is his and which is Kauffman's book) Denton says he is not a
>creationst. Do you not take his word for it?

I read your quote from Denton's "Nature's Destiny." He very carefully does
*not* say that he is not a creationist. He only says "I'm not going to use
any creationist arguments here." He, like some other creationists, struggle
to prove that there is a scientific basis for a literal interpretation of
Genesis. Dawkins does not say in the introduction to any of his books "I'm
not going to use any creationist arguments in here." He doesn't need to say
that. Denton is a creationist.

>>questioning and doubt are sacred to a scientist. How else could you get at
>>the truth? However, there is so much evidence that mutation and natural
>>selection take place and are at least one of the mechanisms of evolution,
>>nobody has really seriously doubted it for a very long time.
>You mean no one has ever questioned Natural Selection? I am the first?

do you question whether or not the earth orbits the sun? Do you question
whether the earth is flat? Do you question whether or not disease is caused
by evil spirits? There's quite a bit of evidence for the germ theory of
disease. These days people are a lot more interested in studying the germs
and do not debate germs vs. evil spirits. Since natural selection has been
observed in real time by real scientists, what part of it is in doubt? You
don't seem to think that natural selection explains how the Cambrian
vertebrates evolved into dogs and cats (and us) and some biologists don't
think that natural selection *alone* accounts for it, but the fact of
natural selection has been observed so many times now that nobody really
questions whether or not it happens.

>>Ah! Lamarck! You may want to read some Cuvier. He pretty much >demolished
>Lamarck in the very early 19th century. Why does Lamarck >interest you?
>Everyone with something interesting to suggest about evolution interests me.
>I regard it as the most intriguing of mysteries. People often say Lamarck
>was "demolished", but I haven't been able to learn HOW he was "demolished".
Keep reading. I suggest you read some Cuvier. Lamarck (like Darwin) didn't
know anything about genes.

>I also know Leysenko had some idea about wheat changing in a
>few generations, but I can't imagine how that "demolished" Lamarckism.

actually I'm under the impression that Lysenko was a Lamarkian and that's
why Russian agriculture is so far behind western agriculture.

> I'd be more interested in putting mammals in a dark environment for many,
>many generations and finding out if their eyes atrophied.

fish in caves have nonfunctioning eyes, but I think this is an example of
drift. Huxter4441 can probably explain that better than I can.

>Or if mammals which
>didn't use their legs for many, many generations would inherit atrophied
>legs? I'd be interested in learning if behaviors and instincts can change
>in response to the environment, and if that change can become permanent.
>(Even many Darwinists seem to be concluding that everything is not contained
>in the genome.)

actually if the environment changes that will often force a change in
behaviors and instincts, etc. Animals who don't change would die, or at
least not be as successful. It is how natural selection works.

>Since the mutations of macro evolution took place over eons
>and eons of time, how has it been determined that those mutations were
>"random" and not in specific response to use, or the environment?

I have heard of experiments being done that seem to suggest that mutation
becomes more rapid when a population is under some kind of stress. With more
mutations, a population would have more "tools" to draw from in order to
evolve more rapidly.

>I'd be interesting
>in finding out why domesticated animals differ physically from their wild
>counterparts and if that difference is inherited. I know it is for a few
>generations. With enough time could that inheritance become permanent?

domesticated animals are "unnaturally" selected by humans. That is why they
are different from their wild counterparts.

>convinced me people inherited more from their parents than a physical
>body--attitudes, beliefs, temperament. All those traits can be altered by
>the environment. Can such alterations be inherited?
>However, I realize any scientist who has been convinced Lamarck was
>"demolished" would not be interested in such questions.

actually all that stuff (or most of it) is around in the scientific
literature. Keep reading!


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