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Old 15th October 2003, 08:40 AM   #11
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Default Just had to comment on this one...

Behe, and others with similar views make one major mistake in their interpretation of evolution, and this is partially the fault of the way we view and classify species using the Linneaean system.

Because of the way we classify species, we do not see the effects of evolution as a continium, merely as an arbitrary selection of apparently different looking organisms, with diffent long winded incomprehensible Latin names.

Thus, differences/evolution that is continually occuring are not recognised as such, especially as most of them seem to have no apparent utility until the final step. In fact, some of them may not have any use at all, under current circumstances, it is only when an enviromental change occurs that they become useful.

As you have been talking about frogs, and sex, how about this as an example.

A frog produces frogspawn as we know, a mucus like substance that surrounds and protects the frog embryo. Suppose over a period of time, one particular group of frogs in a limited enviroment, through the process of mutation and Mendelian genetics produce a slightly different protein in that mucus. It has no apparent use, it still works fine in that enviroment, but it is just different. Suppose then that the climate becomes dryer, and the pools that the frogs lay their eggs in dry up for a while before the rains come each year. The frogspawn with the slightly different mucus, that until then has been useless, then may have a slighty better chance of retaining moisture, and thus the eggs have a better chance of survival.

This is a very simplified argument, and plenty of holes can be picked in it, but I belive it shows how many missenterpret evolution.

In summary, change is a continum, and, derived characteristics may have no apparent benefit. You have to look at the process, rather than the results.
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Old 15th October 2003, 12:37 PM   #12
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The irony is that immune responses are one of the ways in which we actually can experimentally observe evolution in a speeded-up sense.

The other problem with the Linnaen approach is a rhetorical and cladistic one; we have to set categories, then stuff real creatures (or their remains) into one of the categories. So, when a "creationist" comes along and says, "Aha, there's a missing link between creatures A and B!" you're stuck with a nonscientific argument about categorization. And if indeed at some future time, one does discover an organism with a phenotype between A and B, the "creationist" now has two NEW gaps to point to. And biologists get to argue about whether the newly-discovered creature is "really" just a form of A or B, or if it deserves to be considered a new species.

Hmmm, I'm motivated to go back and reread Mayr and Maynard-Smith. That may delay my new amp project...
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Old 2nd November 2003, 04:27 AM   #13
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In many cases, Ad Hominem arguments are not very useful because the character, motivations, and bias of a person making an argument is not relevant to the discussion or even the specific argument. In this case, however, we see a rare occasion where an Ad Hominem argument may be useful. Being that this subject requires a large amount of research in order to get the sufficient understanding for intelligent discourse on this topic, it is entirely possible that one might limit himself to researching through materials and sources that are more likely to reflect his own bias(or at least evaluated on the basis of the author's reputation as less likely to offer up ideas that challenge those already held by the person researching), and then it is up to the person's opponent to wade through the same sources (provided the person has even cited sources) and determine if the spread of sources cited reflects a bias in the selection of materials. As an example of this "Legitimate Ad Hominem" SY proposes that the work of this author Behe probably doesn't reflect the most unbiased source (perhaps now isn't the best time of discussing subjectivity in determining bias -- maybe later) and now the burden is on Behe's supporters to review the work and convince the opponent (or if the opponent is an immovable object, it is generally acceptable just to convince the audience) that Behe's work is indeed credible, or at least reflecting a smaller degree of bias than the sources the opponent is using to formulate his own arguments.

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Old 2nd November 2003, 04:37 AM   #14
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Indeed no. Behe has proposed a theory that is at its core nonscientific, in the sense that it makes no predictions that can be tested, admits no way of being falsified. This is in contrast with various natural selection theories, which have a rather rich body of confirming evidence, and (so far) no falsification. No human fossils amongst the trilobites, no elephant bones in deposits K-Ar dated to the Cambrian, no DNA sequence that decodes out to the first hundred decimal places of pi, or any other designer signature that violates well-established natural law.

For this reason, Behe is unable to have his work published in peer-reviewed journals (which do not at all discriminate against some pretty wild ideas- as long as there's evidence and the possibility of falsification), and must resort to trying to convince nonexperts in commercial and religious venues. That shouldn't give a great sense of confidence to the lay reader, to say the least.
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Old 2nd November 2003, 07:55 PM   #15
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Disclaimer: the following is an opinion and in no way should be interpreted as being argumentative :End Disclaimer

IMO I don't see that the proving of evolution, the age of the earth, or any other scientific analysis disproves that God created the earth. The only threat I see is to the belief that the bible should be interpreted completely literally. If one chooses to interpret the story of creation, as a laymans version of how God really did it then everyone can be happy

You could take the approach that all of the missing links are the points where God got bored with the fact things were taking so long (with his initial creation), so he intervened and gave a helping hand in the evolutionary chain.

I haven't read Behe, I only have 1st year UNI Physics Chemistry and Geology knowlege, and a Christian upbringing to guide my thoughts, so I probably don't rate as having enough requisite knowlege to argue either way, I just don't necessarily see that there needs to be an argument.

Regards,

Tony.
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