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Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Appendix 1 to "Kalam and Teleological Arguement...: post  

1. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
2. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
3. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
4. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
5. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

A massive explosion tears the fabric of space/time, expelling enormous amounts of matter across space. Massive amounts of super hot atoms, called plasma, heat up the surrounding space, giving off huge amounts of radiation. The origin of the explosion is unknown, although theories range from a super dense point of matter to the creation of virtual particles.









6. And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
7. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
8. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
9. And God said, Let the waters under the Heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
10. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.


The plasma clouds begin to cool, forming first clouds of gasses, then stars, and planets. On the Earth, the gasses cool and form an completely opaque atmosphere, allowing only no visible light to reach the surface of the Earth. Volcanic and tectonic activity is present, pushing up land masses from beneath water/ammonia seas.












11. And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
12. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
13. And the evening and the morning were the third day.

The atmosphere of the Earth begins to grow less opaque, allowing more light to reach the Earth’s surface. This allows the evaporation of ammonia from the seas, allowing for a pre-biotic “soup” to be formed. This in turn allows the first bacterial and viral forms of life to arise, which evolve into single cell plants capable of photosynthesis. As the atmosphere continues to become more transparent, the single cell plants clump together becoming the first multicultural life, eventually forming grasses, ferns and evergreen plants.







14. And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
15. And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.
16. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.
17. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,
18. And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.
19. And the evening and the
morning were the fourth day.


The Earth’s atmosphere becomes transparent, allowing visible light from the Sun and stars to be seen from the surface. This allows further photosynthesis, also allowing for more complex plants to emerge. These plants contribute to the cleaning of the atmosphere by turning Carbon Dioxide into Oxygen.



















20. And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
21. And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl* after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
22. And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.
23. And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.

(*In Biblical Hebrew, the classification of animals is determined by body type or function - thus in English translated as “winged fowl” in Hebrew is 'owph, which merely means a creature with wings. The reference is to insects.)


The first single cell animals appear, and evolve into more complex multicellular animals called fish. The first lungs evolve, in winged insects, which leave the water completely behind except to reproduce. There are relatively few fish or insect species.










24. And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.
25. And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.


The first lunged fish appears, evolving shortly into a huge multitude of amphibians in what is known as the Pre-Cambian explosion. From these amphibians evolved early reptiles, then dinosaurs, birds and mammals.
















26. And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
27. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
28. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
29. And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
30. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.
31. And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.


Man evolved from ape-like creatures . Man was able to walk upright, and had an opposable thumb, giving him the ability to grasp and manipulate objects in ways other apes could not. Early man developed simple tools, such as the spear, bow and arrow, and wheel, allowing him an advantage over other animals and his environment. Man began building primitive temporary shelters, developed plow-based agriculture, domesticated cattle and dogs, developed verbal language and artistic expression, and early communities.






















1. Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.
2. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.
3. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.
4. These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens,


Science has yet to discover any completely new species to have evolved since man appeared on the Earth.




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Comments:
The last line of this article is baseless. First off, bacteria and viruses are a form of life, and have evolved, and continue to evolve - even today. SARS, the bubonic plague, polio, AID's/HIV, new strands of the flu virus. The list is endless. Sure, we might have provided conditions that are more favorable for such a diversity of life to evolve, but that's how evolution takes place - because it was an advantage for one species or another to have new traits. In addition, dogs have been bred into thousands of varying species where they once were only a few hundred. You could claim that we were playing 'God', but I see our role as merely accelerating an already natural process.
 
With all due respect, you are incorrect. Note I said "completely new species", not varient on an existing species due to natural survival mechanisms. We're not talking about a bacteria which adapts to become resistance to antibiotics. We're talking a bacteria that becomes a single cell plant cell, or single cell animal cell. There has to be a catagory shift involved.

Your comment does illustrate one of the problems of this debate: the use of shifting terminology. When creationists began "scoring points" on pointing this out, biologists began reclassifying adaptations to environment as the creation of new species, in contradiction to the classic evolutionary definition of what a new species was. Regardless of what side of the debate you are on it is not one of the evolution apologist's shining moments.

The dog example you cite is a point in my column. Dog breeding occurs precisely due to intelligence being introduced to the equasion; the dog breeder selects the traits he wants to highlight in the ofspring.

One thing is that while there are thousands of dog species (my son is currently catagorizing them in his search for a puppy he wants to get) they are still recognizably dogs. There has yet to be a dog breeder breeding two dog species and getting a new, heretofore unknown species of bear.

Good post! Thanks for your comments!
 
Ahh, you are correct. I must have somehow missed that minute detail which threw off my entire argument, and to be honest, I didn't read the entire article - I saw that last sentence in question and proceeded to mindlessly provide my 2 cents.

Nevertheless, I think there is more that can be said in light of your follow-up.

Evolution is a slow process. Even if you didn't believe in evolution, you'd have to agree that scientists have never proclaimed that evolution was a swift process. With that being said, it wouldn't be unreasonable that a totally new species has yet to be created within the short period of time that humans have lived on this planet - at least, to our knowledge. At the same time, even though you were specifically mentioning the lack of a brand new species, you did acknowledge in your follow-up the adaptation of other organisms that we can clearly observe. Adaptation is an immediate response to an environment or condition. If the environment or condition changes, so too the organism. After many more cycles of this process of change a new species will emerge. That's evolution for you. And so, while it may be hard or even improbable to witness progress of this slow evolutionary process in our life time, or even several thousand years from now, that doesn't mean that such events aren't taking place. I would say that this is similar to the extreme opposite. If you can't see a neutrino whiz past you, does that mean it doesn't exist or that the event didn't happen? It depends on your perception and reasoning. We know such particles exist, but yet - we don't notice them without the tools that science provides.
 
Lots of good stuff to comment on! To keep my thoughts coherant let me quote the points I want to address in itallics.

Evolution is a slow process. Even if you didn't believe in evolution, you'd have to agree that scientists have never proclaimed that evolution was a swift process. With that being said, it wouldn't be unreasonable that a totally new species has yet to be created within the short period of time that humans have lived on this planet - at least, to our knowledge.

The concept about the time needed for evolution to occur is true for the most part, although this poses more problems than it solves. Peer reviewed literature actually says that the amount of time needed to bring about the diversity of life we see today is too short. Gould has a famous article that talked about this, but the name of it escapes me. What I remember about the article (which I read for a philosophy class I was taking on evolution and ethics) was it was a discussion on punctuated equalibrium. (I may be mispelling that.)

Punctuated equalibrium may have been dismissed by Gould as unworkable (and as I understand Gould I agree), the reason it was theorized in the first place was there actually isn't enough time for evolution to work.

Adaptation is an immediate response to an environment or condition. If the environment or condition changes, so too the organism. After many more cycles of this process of change a new species will emerge. That's evolution for you. And so, while it may be hard or even improbable to witness progress of this slow evolutionary process in our life time, or even several thousand years from now, that doesn't mean that such events aren't taking place.

But there still should be some evidence for the process. Darwin even said himself that it would take the discovery of "transitional species" to prove the theory of adaptation + time = new species.

Here lies another problem with shifting terminology - the fossil record records plenty of fully formed species (by Darwin's definition) that bear remarkable simularities to another species - and we're not talking about some finch that lives in one valley that is slightly different than a finch in the next valley over. We're talking its clear they are different species yet have one or two features that are very simular.

Lets use Compysognathius (the little dinosaur in Jurassic Park 2 that ate the little girl) and Archeopteryx (which is now recognized as a true bird in peer reviewed literature) for example. But to get to that point from Compy to Arche, especially over time with the pace of evolution, the animal would have to undergo a transformation where the limbs altered drastically. As the fingers elongate they would pass through a stage where they would be useless either as wings or hands. Other organs would have simular problems, such as lungs and the heart. That would put that animal at a distinct evolutionary disadvantage threatening extinction - basically making the animal a walking chicken mcnugget for some other dinosaur.

Yet the fossil record does not record even ONE of these thalidimide baby-looking fossils.

Granted that even having one fossil is problematic, but the record only has fully formed species? Not one of the litterally millions of generations of transitional species got trapped in the tar pits? That's a real problem for the evolutionists as what Darwin said was needed to prove the theory apparently doesn't exist.

The most popular evolutionary answer so far has been to shift the definition of a transitional species so that the next fully formed species closest to the preceeding animal is the new "missing link". But this heightens the time problem, and may have been the catalyst for the puntuated equalibrium theory.

In my opinion, for what little that may be worth, evolution functions as a very good explanation for survival mechanisms. But that isn't surprising, since that part of the evolution paradyme isn't under any serious dispute.

But it fails to explain, at least with current data, the origin of new species. Back in the 1930's Nicola Tesla wrote a letter to the New York Times accusing biologists of engaging in ontological philosophical arguments rather than biology. I tend to agree with him personally.
 
I appreciate your follow-ups, and you have raised several valid points.

Would we recognize a transitional species if we saw it? Perhaps we might if, like you had pointed out, we had seen a species with an extremely obvious flaw, such as useless limbs.

But we have. Atavism, as you may already know, is the reemergence of the traits/genes of primitive generations. A classic example of this is the dolphin with hind legs/fins: http://www.underwatertimes.com/news.php?article_id=31071605289.
Why does this happen? Atavisms occur because genes for previously existing phenotypical features are often preserved in DNA, even though the genes are not expressed in some or most of the organisms possessing them. So, what does this indicate? The switching on of old genes which were present in a primitive species - which had eventually evolved into the species that we commonly see today.

What about human vestigiality? As you may also already know, these are behaviors and/or organs that serve no function today, but have long ago in our primitive ancestors . Goosebumps, for example, are present today, but serve no real function. We get goosebumps when we are cold or are nervous. When our primitive ancestors had hair all over their body, this would serve to puff up their hair - which when they were nervous it caused them to look bigger and more menacing, or when they were cold it would provide more warmth by giving heat more layers - like a blanket. Our heightened sense of smell was necessary to our primitive ancestors when they were hunters and gatherers because it allowed for them to find food/prey more easily. This is why smell is directly tied to memory. But with the sudden shift from hunting and gathering to domestication and agriculture, we still possess, but have no true need of this heightened sense of smell. What about the coccyx? Even today, there are cases of weak tails in humans today: http://www.creation-vs-evolution.us/visual-evolution/human-tails/

The epigenome is how adaptation takes place. Stress causes the epigenome to switch on or off certain genes. So can the lack of stress, as well as a plethora of other environmental stimuli and emotional responses to that stimuli. The epigenome literally recodes your DNA. I would seriously ask that you do some research on the epigenome. How you live today can and does effect the DNA of future generations. So, it's not just your life that you may be impacting if for example you smoke or have a lot of stress.

The point I'm trying to make here is that there is evidence of evolution even today, and we are apart of this process and will continue to be. We are on the cusp of a global climate change, and this will spark a need for new species. Perhaps there has been a sense of stability lately that has not presented a need for existing organisms to evolve. At the same time, perhaps our hold on the environment might influence the outcome of other species. Since we are constantly changing our behavior as a species/society and our population is exploding at a much quicker rate than what most other organisms can adapt to, we have seen an increase in many organisms going extinct. Of course, that can be attributed to a direct influence, such as overfishing, but it disturbs the balance at such a scale that it may be more/faster than what other life can adapt/evolve into in order to restore the balance and maintain the survival of their species.
 
My apologies for taking so long to get back to our discussion; I'm in my final term at Clemson and have overloaded myself with classes to make it my final term. I've been away playing catch up.

Again I will quote you in italics for clarity sake.

Would we recognize a transitional species if we saw it? Perhaps we might if, like you had pointed out, we had seen a species with an extremely obvious flaw, such as useless limbs.

But we have. Atavism, as you may already know, is the reemergence of the traits/genes of primitive generations. A classic example of this is the dolphin with hind legs/fins: http://www.underwatertimes.com/news.php?article_id=31071605289.


I think this holds more promise as a "could be" than a "we have". It runs into the problem of Darwin's Finches.

The problem is whether this is a one time trait that recesses again when conditions change (such as when Galapogos finch ofspring's beaks grow thicker in drought conditions and thinner when the weather gets wetter, or vice versa), or something that passes on to the next generation and changes even more over time. If the latter, while I still don't think it proves full changes in species, I do think it takes a big step towards that point.

Atavisms occur because genes for previously existing phenotypical features are often preserved in DNA, even though the genes are not expressed in some or most of the organisms possessing them. So, what does this indicate? The switching on of old genes which were present in a primitive species - which had eventually evolved into the species that we commonly see today.

What about human vestigiality? As you may also already know, these are behaviors and/or organs that serve no function today, but have long ago in our primitive ancestors .


In the logic of the evolution paradym that makes sense, but there is an explanation from the degigner paradym that makes as much logical sense in context: the idea of copying a successful design.

Giraffes and elephants are very different animals, but they do share certain "design" traits in the environments they share. Both are four legged animals with tails - a design that works very well, because not only do they share it, but other animals around them, including their preditors, also share the design. That design works in that context.

All monkeys and apes share a simular hand design and simular (enough) body design. The design works for the niche they fill in the animal kingdom.

An obvious comparison is the auto industry - all cars have simular designs, but one manufacturer puts fins on the back of the car and sales take off. Soon other cars come out with fins. While each car is different, and some have fins and some don't and each set of fins are different in shape and size, the success of the design dictates how many fins we see.

But that auto analogy has a pushback: it shows the current limits of ID theory. The only way (at this stage, at least) to prove the idea of reuse of successful design is to ask the designer "Is that what you're doing?" Research by definition stops - can you interview God?

Even with the problems of the fossil record, there is still the hope of continued discovery for evolution as your dolphin link shows (great link, btw!).

Perhaps there has been a sense of stability lately that has not presented a need for existing organisms to evolve. At the same time, perhaps our hold on the environment might influence the outcome of other species. Since we are constantly changing our behavior as a species/society and our population is exploding at a much quicker rate than what most other organisms can adapt to, we have seen an increase in many organisms going extinct. Of course, that can be attributed to a direct influence, such as overfishing, but it disturbs the balance at such a scale that it may be more/faster than what other life can adapt/evolve into in order to restore the balance and maintain the survival of their species.

While I am a HUGE skeptic on the global warming/ecology controversy (man-made GW is a scam and the eco movement has been hijacked by power grabbing politicians and a few scientists with a desire to become a new elite class), there is a lot of wisdom in what you are saying here. The Bible gives man dominion over the environment and all things within it, but with dominion comes responsibility for it. One does not have to be a Christian or Jew or even believe in a god at all to say we have not lived up to this "commandment".

Animals are remarkably resilient, but we do have the capacity to push them beyond their ability to adapt. We've lost numerous species to extinction, yet our stewardship has also brought many species back from the brink. It is the latter which we should strive for, because it is an example of man's better nature.
 
Thank you for taking the time to respond despite your busy schedule.

I wanted to take a moment to respond to your GW stance. Immediately following the 9/11 attacks the FAA grounded all commercial airlines for 3 days. It was during this 3 day hiatus that scientists were able to study how a lack of contrails would impact the climate - if at all. With only 3 days without contrails the global temperature decreased by 1°C. Now, this doesn't sound significant, but it is because it was a global temperature change - the largest in over 30 years. In addition, removing one form of known pollution and receiving an immediate climate response is definitive. We do impact our climate [http://www.sciencenews.org/articles/20020511/fob1.asp].

Could you imagine how much of a difference we would make if we stopped driving for 3 days? Or how about using renewable energy? Imagine how much cleaner and more efficient our infrastructure became if we upgraded our system. We have the technology to do so, but the oil companies are resisting with a fervor because they will lose their grip on their marketshare and the political pull they have by buying corrupt officials. At the same time, we know that the oil companies will bribe scientists with large sums of cash in order to fabricate science against the GW issue [http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2007/feb/02/frontpagenews.climatechange]. A lot of the information that is out there is misinformation, I agree with you about that, but pay attention to where that information comes from before wholeheartedly giving credence to it. Remain objective.

There isn't a doubt in my mind that we have an impact on our environment. There isn't a doubt in my mind that with the tons of pollutants that we spew into the atmosphere on a daily basis is not helping. I respect the judgment of the scientists who have spent their lives in their areas of study, who have gotten their degrees, who have done more to shape this world and our understanding of it, than I ever would to a politician, political party, special interest group, or a generally uninformed/uneducated public that is incapable of remaining objective. If the majority of the scientists from various fields of study all indicate that their data does not lie and is unanimously comes to the same conclusion, I am inclined to believe their judgment, data, and science.

On another point, you mentioned, "The only way (at this stage, at least) to prove the idea of reuse of successful design is to ask the designer "Is that what you're doing?" Research by definition stops - can you interview God?" I thought you could. Isn't part of your faith having the ability to ask God? "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you" [Matthew 7:7 - among the many other verses with the same message].

I firmly believe that the questions you seek, for the large part, have already been answered. It may not hold the same spiritual gratification, but it certainly provides an answer. However, for the questions that science has yet to answer or completely understand, it should be noted that that doesn't mean that science can't answer those questions. That's the beauty of science - it is always changing, always building upon previous knowledge. This is because as a new piece of the puzzle is added, it has the potential of changing our entire perspective. For many, this is a source of instability, and lack a desire to change/adapt to the flowing river of knowledge. Science is forever in the pursuit of knowledge. I can't say the same for religion. If you can remember, God's word is unchanging - therefore, so is your understanding/perspective of the world. In this way, religion limits how far one can go since they will perpetually run into boundaries rendered taboo by the church.

Lastly, even if the GW issue isn't as bad as some would like to claim, I don't see the harm in making the environment more livable for our generation, and the generation of our children. At the same time, we can run more efficiently with renewable energy. The technology is there - it couldn't hurt to use it.
 
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