Evolutionists: blind to the obvious – UnMasking Mistakes in Memes of Evolution – Part 4

Fossil trilobites

Like the Pharisees of Jesus day, evolutionists make claims that deny obvious truths, unaware that their claims refute their own position and arguments. Let me pause here to make sure you catch the point:

Evolutionists are denying obvious truths.

In fact, the truths being denied are so obvious, one typically doesn’t even bother with a defense. If someone denies that birds fly and fish swim, do you bother with a defense, or do you simply tell them to go look at birds and fish? But Jesus took care to answer even foolish accusations, so let us do likewise.

In a well known exchange about Jesus casting out demons, Jesus uses three separate rational arguments [1] to zero in on the obvious appropriateness of him casting on the demons. His arguments also point out the Pharisee’s hypocrisy of claiming that He could only do the miracles by tapping into the power of Satan. His response showed such claims were both utter nonsense, and that such accusations really only demonstrate that those making the claims were either hypocrites or under the power of Satan themselves.  And thus Jesus showed the argument to be an easily defended attack on  the truth, and a not so veiled attack against him personally. Likewise we’ll see these attacks are easily defended against foolish attacks on truths that should  be obvious to all.

This group of misguided evolutionary memes shows that those making the claims are utterly blind to what should be obvious to those who consider themselves scientists – those who are learned in their various fields of study. Yet it is easy to demonstrate they have blinders on. Consider:  

Meme: Evolution can’t explain how all animal phyla suddenly appeared in the Cambrian explosion.
 Link to this topic: http://rationalfaith.com/2017/07/unmasking-mistakes-in-memes-of-evolution-part-4-evolutionists-blind-to-the-obvious/#cambrianphyla


Informally, Phyla, (singular phylum from the Greek), “can be thought of as groupings of organisms based on general specialization of body plan.”[2] Body plans can be thought of as the design of how the collection of body components are put together. For example, the body plan of  horse – 4 legs, long body and neck; is different from the body plan of a human: 2 legs, 2 arms, short body, short neck.  If you were to compare body plans; the body plan of a horse is closer to that of a lama than it is to a human for example. The body plan of a bird is radically different from all of those.

Now consider the point being made: Evolution cannot explain how body plans came about. Now look at the defense given in the meme above: He speaks of how long the Cambrian Explosion lasted – which is irrelevant; then he talks about the number of  species – also irrelevant.  Then he talks about phyla which are similar, like our comparison of which the horse is closer to a lama or a human – also irrelevant. Notice what he never answers: He never answers the question of the origin of the body plans.  Where do the body plans – however many you think there are – come from? He doesn’t answer that because evolutionists have no clue. They are not encoded in DNA[3], and even if they were, random mutations could not create them. Philosopher of Biology Paul Nelson states:

“If the only kind of mutations that can conceivably produce enough morphological change to alter whole body plans never causes beneficial and heritable changes, then it is difficult to see how mutation and selection could ever produce new body plans in the first place.”[4]

Clearly evolutionists have no clue where body plans come from, yet they’re too blind or too hardened in their evolutionary faith to admit it.

Meme: How come evolution stopped?
Link to this topic:Link to this topic: http://rationalfaith.com/2017/07/unmasking-mistakes-in-memes-of-evolution-part-4-evolutionists-blind-to-the-obvious/#whyno_evo_now

Here the evolutionists are caught on the horns of another dilemma. They want desperately for evolution to be considered a hard science. Yet to be a hard science, the item being studied must be observed. But evolution – molecules to man evolution – is not observable. Again this is a rather obvious fact. Nevertheless, they object strenuously when you point out that molecules to man macro-evolution[5] is not a science because it can’t be observed.[6] To that objection – that evolution is never observed happening – evolutionists claim, it is happening, it’s just too slow to be observed.

Well they can’t have it both ways.  For evolution to be science it must be observable. But if it’s too slow to be observed, you can’t then say, it’s really happening, you just can’t see it.  That is not science. That is no different from saying, there really are dark matter aliens[7], it’s just that we can’t see dark matter, and we can’t see aliens in general because they’re too far away. In both cases neither are science. They are clearly just story telling because science requires observation. In neither of these cases is there any hard observations of what they claim. Evolutionists simply do not want to accept the fact that what they claim to be science is really nothing more than a faith based religion in things they cannot observe – complete with all the trappings – faith: behavior shaping doctrine, a way to express  your identity, outrage over denials of the faith, etc.

Meme: Anyone can see design in Nature
Link to this topic: http://rationalfaith.com/2017/07/unmasking-mistakes-in-memes-of-evolution-part-4-evolutionists-blind-to-the-obvious/#design_in_nature 

First, well known atheist and evolutionist Richard Dawkins, though he probably won’t admit it, makes a nice case for the design apparent in nature. In his book “The Blind Watchmaker” Dawkins defines biology as, “…the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.”[8] In this one statement Dawkins refutes the entire premise of the evolutionary argument in this meme. But first, let’s look at what he acknowledges as true in this statement.

By saying biology is a study of “complicated things” with the appearance of being “designed for a purpose” Dawkins acknowledges:

1.  Many biological systems are complex
2.  Design can be recognized, otherwise there could be no “appearance of design” because one could never recognize design
 3. The design is meant to achieve a purpose, and that purpose is apparent.

You’ll note that by this definition, the sand dune does not meet the definition of “designed.” Millions of pieces of an item does not imply complexity. Nor does mere symmetry. Suppose millions of drops of water fall on either side of a hill forming two round pools. The fact that there are millions of drops, and that the pools are symmetrical does not imply design. Neither does the millions of grains of sand in the sand dune above. Also note that the fact that the sand dune can be used for a purpose – like for shade or a habitat – does not mean it was “designed for a purpose.” The two pools of water I mentioned can be used to swim in. That does not mean they were designed to be swimming pools.So the writer of this evolutionary defense is totally ignorant of basic concepts of what creationists mean by “design in nature.”

Second, the inference of design has come a long way, led by Intelligent Design advocates such as William Dembski. Beyond mere symmetry coupled with complexity, Demski notes there are three specific criteria required to be met before being justified in making an inference of design:

“Whenever we infer design, we must establish three things: contingency, complexity, and specification. Contingency ensures that the object in question is not the result of an automatic and therefore unintelligent process that had no choice in its production. Complexity ensures that the object is not so simple that it can readily be explained by chance. Finally specification ensures the object exhibits the type of pattern characteristic of intelligence.” [9]


The sand dune example fails on all 3 requirements of this definition: It is not contingent – it can in fact be the process of unintelligent processes; it is not complex – it can in fact be readily explained by chance, and finally there is no specification – there is no particular pattern it’s matching. [10]

So this rather puerile attempt to refute design in nature fails whether you approach it from atheist assumptions, or from intelligent design assumptions. It in no ways refutes apparent design in nature in things like DNA, the bacterial flagellum, the blood clotting cascade, etc.  But this feeble and fallacious argument does offer up other lessons: 1. This is a classic straw man argument – the arguments presented are, like a straw man – easily knocked down, and though not representative of what the opposing view (intelligent design) states, is used anyway for what appears to be an easy knock down victory for the one employing the fallacy (evolutionists) 2. Don’t be surprised when evolutionists misrepresent the views of creationists and intelligent design advocates.  They do it fairly often, so you must be constantly vigilant like the Bereans (Acts 17.11) to check what they’re saying to see if they’re presenting facts and views correctly and accurately.

In these three items, evolutionists are clearly and obviously wrong. Once again the scriptures have said it best:

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.
 Ps 19.1-2
 
For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
 Rom 1.20

 


Duane Caldwell | posted 5 July, 2017 | printer friendly version
 

Related articles:
Mistakes in Memes of Evolution Part 1
Mistakes in Memes of Evolution Part 2

Mistakes in Memes of Evolution Part 3: Codes and Complexity
Listing of Topics – Evolutionist Misconceptions


Notes

1 For details on the obvious truths Jesus defending, and the rational arguments he used, see the side bar:  “Jesus refutes the Pharisees – Matt 12.22-29
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2. Wikipedia, “Phylum”, accessed 7/3/17   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phylum
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3. Research Biologist Jonathan Wells states:
“The body plan, as far as we know, is not in the DNA.”
ref from: Darwin’s Dilemma: The Mystery of the Cambrian Fossil Record, Illustra documentary DVD, 2009
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4. Paul Nelson, ref from Stephen C. Meyer, Darwin’s Doubt – The Explosive Origin of animal Life and The Case for Intelligent Design, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2013, p.263
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5. For the difference between Microevolution and Macroevolution see: Microevolution: Dispelling the Myths and misconceptions :  http://rationalfaith.com/2016/08/microevolution-dispelling-the-myths-and-misconceptions/
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6. See Meme Mistake “Evolution is not science” here:
http://rationalfaith.com/evolutionist-misconceptions/Evolution-is-not-science.htm
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7. For more on Dark Matter and dark matter aliens, see:  “The Expanding Big Bang Fairy Tale”  http://rationalfaith.com/2017/02/the-expanding-big-bang-fairy-tale/
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8.  Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker, W.W. Norton & Company, New York, USA, p. 1, 1986.,  ref from David Cachpoole, “Dawkins and Design” Creation 31(3):6 June 2009; also Creation.com  http://creation.com/dawkins-and-design
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9.   William A. Dembski, Intelligent Design – The Bridge Between Science & Theology  Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 1999, p. 128
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10. For more on how Dembski’s criteria for recognizing design, see my article on the watch maker analogy as an argument for design titled “Everyone should have one”  http://rationalfaith.com/2015/06/the-watchmaker-analogy/
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Images:

All memes by Duane Caldwell 
All images – used by permission from the license holders as noted below

Fossil – old trilobite © Jaroslav Moravcik | Fotolia (used by permission)
Vintage film reels © Miguel Garcia Saaved | Fotolia (used by permission)
Sand dune Erg Chebbi, Morocco, Africa | By Rosino on Flickr (84514010) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

19 thoughts on “Evolutionists: blind to the obvious – UnMasking Mistakes in Memes of Evolution – Part 4

  1. Is it necessary to demonstrate “molecules to man” evolution for the creationist model to be effectively refuted? It seems to me, as a casual observer, the comprehensive evolutionary history of the planet need not be complete before the creationist alternative is shown to be untenable.

    For example, if (just arguendo) it could be conclusively demonstrated that humans and chimpanzees had a common ancestor, wouldn’t that be a rather direct refutation of special creation for human beings?

    • First, there are multiple lines of evidence that prove evolution to be false. Failure to observe “molecules to man evolution” is just one of them. All objections would need to be addressed as with any scientific theory.

      Second, your test of “conclusively” demonstrating that “humans and chimpanzees had a common ancestor” is a not a scientific test, but an opinion based one. Without an eye witness – which scientist will never be able to produce – you could never “prove” any similarities were due to evolution versus the intentional acts of a common designer. So appeals to LUCA (the Last common universal ancestor) or any other supposed common ancestor will never refute the creation model.

      • First, you begin with a logical fallacy. Failure to observe something cannot be positive evidence that something is false. All of scientific history is filled with examples of things that had never been observed eventually being observed.

        Second, “molecules to man” includes essentially all evolution that has ever taken place, and while not ALL of it has been observed, MUSH of it has. Remember, “observation” is not exclusively eyewitness experience of a contingent event. Most of what we observe about the universe at the micro and macro levels is observed through instruments and sensors… but it is observation none the less. And especially in the historical sciences (such as geology, paleontology, etc.) observation is not of the events themselves, but the consequences of those events as recorded in the geologic record.

        Third, you err concerning the very nature of the scientific method. No. “All” objections need not be addressed by a scientific theory. Theories are themselves tested and refined and tested again. Almost no scientific theories, even the most robustly proved, begin in the exact same for they finish. All that is required is that a scientific theory best explain the facts in evidence, in comparison with competing theories.

        And finally, you seem to reject essentially all of science with the assertion that any conclusions regarding a common ancestor of humans and chimpanzees “is a not a scientific test, but an opinion based one.” It is nothing more than a preemptive cop out, the announcement before hand that you actually do not care about scientific evidence or proof. You have dismissed the evidence before even seeing it.

        Hardly a demonstration of intellectual rigor.

        We are not speaking of mere “similarities” here at all. We are talking about specific details of genetic code that have no alternative explanation other than direct inheritance from a common ancestor.

        And finally… what creation model? I have been a creationist observer since 1982. I have never actually seen one.

          • Again, you are cherry picking gaps and then ignoring the actual evidence. It is one of those “games creationists play.”

            For starters, there is no actual difference between “macro” and “micro” evolution. They are exactly the same thing. But creationists use the term to justify arbitrary (and demonstrably illegitimate) boundaries simply for the purpose of making bald assertions regarding the limits of evolution. How do we know they are arbitrary and illegitimate?

            Look no further than the creationist concept of “baramin” by which they attempt to get around the problem of fitting all living things on Noah’s Ark. They consider the post-diluvian evolution of horses and zebras from a common ark born ancestor to be “variation within the kind,” even though horses and zebras are much farther apart genetically than are humans and chimpanzees. They allow far more evolution than is necessary to prove the creationism false… but simply pretend otherwise. It is pure rhetoric, unblemished by facts or evidence.

            And this ignores that we have observed even the most extreme examples of what even creationists would consider to be “macro” evolution in the fossil record. In another “game creationists play” they pretend that the fossil record is not observation. But of course… it is not only observation, it is testable and repeatable. The historical sciences are subject to all the same controls and standards of experiment and repeatably as the laboratory sciences are.

            But that is disingenuously ignored in favor of the God of the gaps.

  2. In your discussion of the Cambrian Explosion, your objection appears to be with the origins of “body plans.” But it offers no substantive criticism beyond the question “Where do the body plans – however many you think there are – come from?”

    First, a correction to your discussion you assert that “They are not encoded in DNA, and even if they were, random mutations could not create them.” Neither of those statements are obviously true. Certainly quoting bald assertions from other creationists such as Jonathan Wells or Paul Nelson cannot be considered anything but circular. But you seem to then imply that your real objection is not the origin of body plans, but the diversity of body plans and the impossibility of evolving one radically different body plan from another.

    The answer to that objection is, frankly, an obvious one. The different phyla need not evolve from each other (though some clearly have). The different metazoan phyla, particularly those with the most radical differences in body plans, each evolved independently from protozoan ancestors. There need be no transition from, say, a radially symmetric body plan to a bilaterally symmetric body plan. Each evolved independently and subsequent descendants of each were limited to those variant initial body plans through simple contingency.

    • You’ve missed the main point that evolution cannot develop body plans at all. Period. Full stop. It is impossible for reasons that Darwin himself would understand, as Paul Nelson points out. (For further evidence of that point you need to read Stephen C. Meyer’s book “Darwin’s Doubt“, it is not the intent of this article to list all the reasons why that is true.

      If it is impossible for evolution to develop any body plans, then where did body plans come from?

      • I have not missed that point. I have pointed out that it is a bald assertion and not a genuine argument that can be supported with evidence or reason. It is not impossible at all. It is not even particularly mysterious.

        I have read much of Paul Nelson’s work. He is not a rigorous scholar, and often objectively wrong. So too with Stephen Meyer.

        The body plans came from the same process that accounts for all evolutionary innovation; natural selection acting on the genetic variation found in any population of organisms.

        • First off, you cannot prove evolution vs an intelligent designer after the fact without a witness. That is not a logical fallacy, that is a statement of fact.
          Second, you appear to making the same error you’re claiming they are making. You are basically stating what they’re saying is wrong. Really? Prove it. Their basic contention, simplified, is that random chances acting on the DNA of a single celled organism is incapable of creating or even changing body plans. What’s your evidence that that assertion is incorrect? If you have none, you’re just making unsubstantiated claims. Your claim: “Natural selection acting on the genetic variation found in any population” is incapable of creating a single protein much less an entire body plan. I discuss the impossibility of evolution creating even a protein in Mt Improbable and other impossible evolutionary dreams

          • Alas… it is the intelligent designer that requires a witness, not the absence of one. We have before us two explanations for the observed diversity and distribution of life on earth. One explanation simply requires invariant natural law (of which we have a vast amount of direct evidence) and the other requires an intelligent designer of unimaginable complexity, sophistication and power… and for which we have no evidence at all. Occam’s Razor alone would require us to reject ID in favor of the naturalistic explanation.

            But of course, there are MANY things we can and do prove, everyday, after the fact, without a witness. I can prove (for example) through a genetic test that my brother and I are in fact brothers, even though every “witness” to the events of our births is long dead. We can prove that South America and Africa were once conjoined, even though there are no witnesses to the separation. And we can prove that humans and chimpanzees shared a common ancestor, though no living being did or even contemporaneously could have witnessed it.

            Again… their basic contentions are all bald assertions. Yet the field of developmental biology proves at least of them false. Consider just the bogus claim by Jonathan Wells that body plans are not coded in the DNA. We can demonstrate in the laboratory that this is not true, that body plans are coded in those genes that express during ontogeny as “switches” either inhibiting or allowing the expression of those more ordinary genes that directly code for proteins at specific points in embryonic development. This is not theory. This is empirically observed fact.

            The claim that natural selection cannot create a protein is as vacuous as most other creationist assertions of impossibility. The evolutionary innovation of new proteins through the replication error of gene duplication followed by subsequent selection is perhaps the best understood phenomenon in all of evolutionary biology. It produced the vertebrate clotting cascade. It produced polychromatic vision.

            This is almost elementary, and it is shocking you do not already understand it.

          • PS. I went and read your “Mt. Improbable” essay, You might be better served reading the work of real scientists, as opposed to the crackpots of the Discovery Institute.

          • The line between an ad hominem and an appropriate label is a thin one. Certainly “crackpot” is a tad more snarky than some (but not most) of its synonyms, but as I am familiar with the “work” of the Discovery Institute and many of their authors, it appears to apply.

            Perhaps you would find it less offensive if I followed your own model and couched my judgments regarding the quality of their work more gently? Using terms such as “misguided” or “desperate” or “utterly blind”?

            It is after all your blog. I am happy to keep my ad hominems more stylistically in line with yours.

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