Sir I Demand to Know

By definition natural selection is a selective process (selecting from already existing information), so is not a creative process. It might explain the survival of the fittest (why certain genes benefit creatures more in certain environments), but not the arrival of the fittest (where the genes and creatures came from in the first place). The death of individuals not adapted to an environment and the survival of those that are suited  does not explain the origin of the traits that make an organism adapted to an environment.  How do minor back and forth variations in finch beaks explain the origin of beaks or finches? Sir I demand to know how natural selection explains goo to you evolution?

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14 comments
  1. Chris said:

    By ‘mining’ a part of a comprehensive and well studied and accepted theory in order to make it appear, on the face of it, is incredulous is a common ruse used by charlatans the world over. We are, in an enlightened world, becoming more adept at spotting these methods and ridiculing those who employ them. Give the many lifetimes of work that have contributed to the body of knowledge we now ejnoy, to ridicule it in such a self-serving manner, is a little difficult to comprehend.

    • How dare I assault this learned body with logic! Grrr.. By the way Chris, where did matter come from? Just asking.

  2. Chris Woods said:

    You ask… “ How do minor back and forth variations in finch beaks explain the origin of beaks or finches?”
    I assume you refer to Darwin’s study. This is hardly the latest research into evolution but it does present evidence for speciation and the process of natural selection. It does not, (and never pretended to) explain either the origin of beaks or finches.

    Beaks are a very useful adaptation and have evolved across many species. Birds, octopuses, fish, insects and whales have all evolved them independently. The platypus is born/hatched with teeth but later loses them and grows a bill which is ideally suited to its semi-aquatic life.

    There were also many dinosaurs that had beaks. (Dinosaurs were creatures that existed millions of years ago and are related to modern birds.)
    We have many dinosaur skull specimens with preserved keratin sheaths, (beaks) on the jaws.
    Ornithomimosaurs were ostrich like dinosaurs. The oldest specimens of their skulls, eg. Pelecanimimus polydon had no keratin but had teeth on upper and lower jaws .
    Later species of ornithomimosaur like Harpymimus, had a toothless upper jaw but teeth on the lower. (ie. Half a beak.)
    And later species still, such as Garudimimus were fully beaked and had no teeth.

    A similar pattern of teeth to full beak via half beak can be seen in the therizinosaurs.

    Curiously, Archaeopteryx is fully toothed. (Archaeopteryx was a winged feathered dinosaurlike bird that also existed millions of years ago.)
    Archaeopteryx is far more closely related to theropod dinosaurs than to modern birds. Other than two main characteristics, (the presence of feathers, and presence of a fully reverted toe) to all intents it is a theropod dinosaur.
    Unlike all modern birds, archaeopteryx does not have a beak. It does not have the fused vertabrae possessed by modern birds. Its spine attaches to the skull from the back,(like a reptile, not a bird.) Its brain is elongated, (like a reptile, not a bird.) There are many more differences which clearly indicate that archaeopteryx is a very different creature to modern birds. – It does however show transitional elements of both bird and dinosaur.

    Hope this helps with your beaks and finches question.

  3. We are in agreement that there is adaption within kinds. You are right the differences show that the archaeopteryx is a very different creature to modern birds, it is in fact a different species. We see variation within kinds of animals however, there is no evidence in the fossil record to show one species becomes another. It brings us back to the logical conclusion that it you see a design there has to be designer. As we highlighted in a previous post mutations in DNA are rarely helpful and do not produce new information. We are left with natural selection within kinds as they adapt to their environment, seen across all of creation, and no explanation of goo to you.

  4. Chris Woods said:

    Adrian,

    You say, “there is no evidence in the fossil record to show one species becomes another.”… YES THERE IS!
    I’ve just given you three examples of transitional fossils within the group Ornithomimosaurs.
    You also say, “we are in agreement that there is adaption within kinds.”
    Are you saying that although different species, the Ornithomimosaurs are the same “kind”? And that because they are the same “kind” it is not speciation?

    Instead of dinosaurs, let’s imagine that there were three species of dog, one with teeth, one with a beak, and one that was half beak, half teeth. Are these three dogs the same kind? Did all dogs micro-evolve from the same two dogs on the ark? And if so were the ark dogs beaked, toothed or a combination?

    Archaeopteryx clearly shows morphological transitional elements between therapods and modern birds. Whether it was truly a transitional creature or just shared a close common ancestor to the true transitional creature doesn’t matter. It is solid evidence of which you are in complete denial.

    How many species does a “kind” have?
    Take the horse for example. Obviously you would need to include donkeys and zebras. But what about extinct species such as Dinohippus. Dinohippus was a monodactyl, (one toed) horse. Its skeleton was virtually identical to our modern horse and so must surely also be part of the horse “kind.” However we have now discovered fossils of a tridactyl, (three toed) Dinohippus. So that must mean that both monodactyl and tridactyl horse are of the same kind. There were many species of three toed horse. Indeed horse fossils show a wonderful, if complicated, progression of transitional forms.

    If we are to include the three toed horses then we might as well include the other three toed ungulates such as rhinos and tapirs. And if we include tapirs, how about Phenocodus, an earlier five toed ungulate. Three of Phenocudus’ toes were hooved and the smaller back two weren’t. (Yet more transitional evidence.)

    Where exactly does your Biblical “kind” stop?
    Did God create a pair of monodactyl ungulates which Adam called “Brown Horse”? (Brown horse later evolved within its kind into Shire Horse, Pygmy Horse and Black and White Stripy Horse.)
    And then He created three pairs of tridactyl ungulates which Adam called “Rhino”, “Tapir” and “Looks Exactly Like Brown Horse But Has Got Three Toes.”

    You said, “The death of individuals not adapted to an environment and the survival of those that are suited does not explain the origin of the traits that make an organism adapted to an environment.”

    Try this for a very brief explanation…
    Once there was a species of five toed creature. Let’s say it looked a bit like a badger.
    Some of these creatures had stronger middle toes. This was a useful to the individuals of the species that lived on the savannah because they could run ever so slightly faster and were less prone to injury than other individuals of their species.
    More of the big toed creatures survived and so a greater number of the species had bigger middle toes over the following generations. In fact in each successive generation, it was the biggest, thickest, middle toed creatures that were surviving. In addition, it was the taller, faster running, longer legged individuals that were surviving.
    Over millions of years, some of these creatures ‘secondary’ toes began acting more like supports to the main toe, rather than separate toes. This turned out to be a beneficial mutation as it made the whole foot stronger and less prone to damage.
    These savannah living creatures lived by eating grass and running away from predators. They did not need many toes and claws to rend flesh or dig for worms. In fact extra toes were a useless encumbrance especially as now their legs were so long that two of their toes were a long way from the ground. Eventually the five toed creature became a three toed creature.
    Hundreds more generations pass and some individuals actually grew toes that were fused together. Again this turned out to be a useful mutation and it was these creatures that thrived whilst their cousins that grew sticky-out toes got killed and eaten.
    The savannah really favoured this tall, incredibly fast, grass eating, one-toed creature. We now call that creature Equus, or ‘horse’ but there were many species between ‘badgerlike’ creature and horse. There were also many other species evolved from ‘badgerlike’ creature that aren’t horses.

    Please stop insisting that there are no transitional fossils because the truth is virtually all fossils are transitional. Species are evolving all the time. All species will either die out or branch out and evolve into new species. But it is a gradual process and totally imperceptible from one generation to the next.

    I hope that this goes some way to explaining your question however if you need any more information please just ask.

    Best regards,

    Chris

  5. Then you stop insisting that ‘virtually all fossils are transition’ or you’ll force me to quote eminent professors such as Dr Colin Patterson, senior palaeontologist at the British Museum, or Stephen J Gould professor of palaeontology Harvard, both with an evolutionist worldview, who have confessed to struggle with the supposed evidence for transitionary forms. Neither of them peddle the nonsense that nearly all fossils are transitionary forms.

    Oh and by the way, a find reported in 2011 has forced a change in the Archaeopteryx story. Chinese scientists recently discovered another creature with “feathers,” named Xiaotingia zhengi, which evolutionists view as older than Archaeopteryx, based on their old-age dating assumptions. After comparing both of these creatures with modern birds and dinosaurs, the researchers concluded that neither is directly related to modern birds. In fact, they propose classifying both Archaeopteryx and Xiaotingia zhengi in the dinosaur group of Velociraptor (Deinonychosauria). (L. Witmer, “An Icon Knocked from Its Perch,” Nature 475 (2011): 458.).

    There is a reason for our difference and it is not as you mention, with such imperialist overtones, “my complete denial of evidence”. It is the information we use to interpret the evidence we find. You come to the table with the presupposition that there was a big bang, then somehow amino acids came together and formed cells, and DNA in a primordial goo, from which fish came and these fish crawled onto the land and then over millions of years mankind evolved into what you see in the mirror each morning. (forgive me if that’s not the entire theory but it’s goo, to zoo to you in a rough nutshell).

    I come to the table with the presupposition that when we see design in a building, or mannequin, we know there is designer. Or when you see a painting you know there is a painter. All you need is brain to think and eyes to see. The Bible is axiomatic and creation reflects what is recorded in it. Mankind and animals breed within their own kind. Cats don’t mate with dogs, they only mate with other cats and we see evidence of adaption to environments within all these kinds. The Bible is replete with sound scientific information recorded many generations before mankind reached any kind of scientific consensus.

    Another fact. You will die. When you do you will stand before God who created you to give an account for every thought word and deed. Any lie, covetousness, not wholeheartedly honouring your parents, fornication (sex outside marriage) blasphemy, not putting God first in your life and your unbelief will be presented to the just judge of all mankind. Will you be innocent or guilty of breaking his laws? Listen to your conscience (con-with science-knowledge). It will tell you the difference between right and wrong. You’ll be without excuse no matter what you believe.

    Easter is a great time to look to the Cross and see Jesus Christ who absorbed God’s wrath for our transgression of his law. Why is Easter the greatest story ever told? Why does human history revolve around a penniless, galilean preacher who was abandoned by all his followers and executed by the Roman authorities? This life is not all there is, the Bible says that eternity is written on your heart. You are an image bearer of God, your life is meaning and purpose, you did not come about by a series of random chances over millions of years. It is an irrational, unscientific and bogus theory, you have been duped. Why do we believe lies? Because they are attractive, convincing, peppered with truth and we want to. The Bible says that the truth will divide father from son but it also says that the truth will set you free. Jesus said, “I am the LIfe, the Truth and the Way, nobody comes to the Father but through me, John 14:6”. Today is the day of salvation!

    Thanks for sharing.

  6. Chris Woods said:

    You said, “you’ll force me to quote eminent professors such as Dr Colin Patterson, senior palaeontologist at the British Museum, or Stephen J Gould professor of palaeontology Harvard, both with an evolutionist worldview, who have confessed to struggle with the supposed evidence for transitionary forms.”

    I tell you what… I’ll quote them both for you.

    The following quote is the one creationists have been using since it was written in 1979. It is from a personal letter from Patterson to creationist Luther D. Sunderland and is referring to Dr. Patterson’s book “Evolution”.

    “I fully agree with your comments on the lack of direct illustration of evolutionary transitions in my book. If I knew of any, fossil or living, I would certainly have included them. . .I will lay it on the line, There is not one such fossil for which one might make a watertight argument.”

    Here are lines in his book “Evolution” to which he is referring…
    “In several animal and plant groups, enough fossils are known to bridge the wide gaps between existing types. In mammals, for example, the gap between horses, asses and zebras (genus Equus) and their closest living relatives, the rhinoceroses and tapirs, is filled by an extensive series of fossils extending back sixty-million years to a small animal, Hyracotherium, which can only be distinguished from the rhinoceros-tapir group by one or two horse-like details of the skull. There are many other examples of fossil ‘missing links’, such as Archaeopteryx, the Jurassic bird which links birds with dinosaurs.”
    “. . .Fossils may tell us many things, but one thing they can never disclose is whether they were ancestors of anything else.”

    Patterson wrote this last sentence because he is a scientist and not a charlatan, he was trying to explain that it is not possible to say for certain whether a fossil is in the direct ancestral line of a species group. As I clearly stated in my previous post, Archaeopteryx is not necessarily directly ancestral to birds. It is likely to have been a species on a side-branch. However, that in no way disqualifies it as a transitional form, or as evidence for evolution. Evolution predicts that such fossils will exist, and if there was no link between reptiles and birds then Archaeopteryx would not exist, whether it is directly ancestral or not.

    And now for some quotes from Stephen J Gould…

    “Transitions are often found in the fossil record.”

    “In 1972 my colleague Niles Eldredge and I developed the theory of punctuated equilibrium. We argued that two outstanding facts of the fossil record—geologically “sudden” origin of new species and failure to change thereafter (stasis)—reflect the predictions of evolutionary theory, not the imperfections of the fossil record.”

    “Since we proposed punctuated equilibria to explain trends, it is infuriating to be quoted again and again by creationists—whether through design or stupidity, I do not know—as admitting that the fossil record includes no transitional forms.”

    “Evolutionists make no claim for perpetual truth, though creationists often do (and then attack us for a style of argument that they themselves favour).”

    Adrian, this is your blog and I have no problem with your beliefs but you do keep asking how evolution works. Unfortunately you keep ignoring the answers.
    You also keep repeating quote-mined comments from scientists which you have found on creationist websites. I have warned you before that these are taken out of context and do not mean what you think they mean. Ken Ham, Ray Comfort and the rest deliberately misrepresent scientists in order to further their cause. What they are doing is bearing false witness. Please don’t join them.

    • Cool, thank you. I appreciate your contribution. I’ve said before, you and I present our alternative worldviews and allow those spectating to determine for themselves who is telling the truth. My hope is that people think through their presuppositions as they examine the evidence. And remember that universal, abstract and unchanging logic exists. The main things are the plain things and the plain things are the main things.

  7. Chris Woods said:

    Adrian,

    You are not presenting your worldview. You are misrepresenting mine. There is a difference.

    Repeating a lie, is still a lie.

    Chris Woods

  8. Chris Woods said:

    And thank you for allowing me the opportunity to air my views.
    Whilst I wholeheartedly disagree with virtually everything you write, I appreciate you giving me the right to reply.
    I may believe that your fingers are in your ears but at least they aren’t tying a gag around my mouth.
    Perhaps there is hope for you yet.

    Thanks again,

    Chris Woods

  9. Chris Woods said:

    In the light of your recent posts, I’ve changed my mind.

    There is no hope for you.

  10. And whose standards would you be applying to come to this bold assertion? Oh yes, that’s right, you are applying the laws of logic, science and morality. Mmm… As the BIble says, “the fool says in his heart there is no God. You Chris are several heart beats closer to death than when you started reading this post. Each breath you have is a gift from the God who knitted you together in your mother’s womb and in whose image you are created. Turn from you sin now while there is breath in your body, repent and put your faith and trust in the Saviour Jesus Christ, it is your only hope.

    You seem so well read, articulate and intelligent and I am sure you have come to your convictions about me and God by applying that fine intellect of your. However, you know that your mind does nothing apart from your heart. It is your love of sin that is keeping you from humbling yourself before God in repentance and glad submission. How else would you follow these ideas that suppose nothing+time+chance=everything. I am sure you have a quite brilliant mind but you are educated beyond your intelligence and unwilling to see those things all around you which is God’s amazing creation.

    I have a friend who was a mining engineer from many years. He would routinely blow things up. Never in the years he was doing this did he witness anything but chaos as a result of bangs. In fact, if he ever found so much as a pile of rocks at the coalface he knew that someone had been there before him. The heavens declare the glory of God and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. (Psalm 19:1). And remember Chris that it is appointed once for a man to die and after that judgment. (Hebrews 9:27)

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