Saturday, February 19, 2011

Labsci and I Discuss Evolution

By Michael David Rawlings
Related Article

I appreciate the reasonableness of your tone. The typically sneering attitude that most evolutionists exhibit in the vicinity of those with whom they disagree is tiresome. I prefer the former, and I’m always happy to respond in kind. Moreover, I appreciate the subtle sarcasm of the following:
Sorry, but I agree with her. Except the 99.9%. It's probably just 99%. But I think you get the picture.  —Labsci
Followed by. . . .
Most creationist sites do, in fact, give false information about science, in particular evolution. Claims that micro evolution occurs but macro evolution does not just display[s] an ignorance, rather than dishonesty, about the fact that there is no difference between them apart from the time over which they occur. Many micro evolutionary steps equals macro evolution. Sometimes little physical change is evident, sometimes a lot of change. —Labsci

First, with regard to the Creationist’s perspective, the correct term is “micro-speciation”, not “micro-evolution”. And while millions of fruit flies have undergone micro-speciation in the laboratory, not a single one of them ever underwent macroevolution. They remained fruit flies. There's a vast difference between the changes that occur within species and the transmutation of species. The rest is just talk, the party line of evolutionary theory.

And that’s the crux of the matter, isn’t it? We have before us the idea that all species evolved from a common ancestor. That’s all you’re really saying; i.e., you’re merely restating the theory’s fundamental assertion, one that is driven by yet another idea, the underlying metaphysical presupposition of a materialistic naturalism. It's absurd to call the rejection of these ideas an “error”; they go to the very essence of the dispute.

The evolutionist assumes that the paleontological record necessarily entails an unbroken chain of natural cause-and-effect speciation. There’s nothing necessary about it. And given the complexity of life and the fact that the paleontological record overwhelming reflects, not a gradual appearance of an ever-increasingly more abundant and varied collection of species, but a series of abrupt appearances and extinctions of fully formed biological systems, it's not unreasonable to argue that we are looking at a series of distinct, creative events orchestrated by an intelligent being. The record would look the same.

The Catholic Church should have never conceded this point to what is ultimately an atheistic materialism.

The arrows that evolutionists scratch on charts between illustrations of species that are alleged to be directly related are not found in the paleontological record. They're the gratuitous additions of a theoretical model. To characterize my interpretation of the evidence as an “error” begs the question and mistakes the arrows for something they're not, i.e., the artifacts of observable empirical phenomena. With all due respect, the only error on display here is one of logic, and it’s not mine.

Pointing to a small handful of groupings of allegedly related lineages consisting of an equally small handful of intermediate forms, which is the best that evolutionists have ever been able to come up with out of millions of fossils, does not impress me (just like I'm not impressed by this rhetorical preemption:  "[a]ssuming they are not dismissed out of hand by anti-evolutionists").  The number of changes required and the degree of complexity involved, for example, in the enterprise of transforming a land animal to a sea animal, or vice versa, are immense. Just how many transitional forms are we talking about here? Such a splash didn’t take place in one dive. It involved every system—skeletal, respiratory, digestive, reproductive, circulatory, integumentary, lymphatic . . . the transitional migration of a snout into a blowhole on the top of the head!

Are we talking about thousands of transitional forms? Tens of thousands? Multiply that by millions of species. 

I’m well acquainted with the rhetoric that evolutionists invoke with respect to the dearth of plausible intermediate forms, like how we would not expect “to find . . . half-bat/half-bird [intermediate forms] in the fossil record.”

Oh? And why not?

The early Darwinists, including Darwin himself, certainly expected them and were perplexed by their absence.  And what's Neo-Darwinism anyway, really, but a collection of attempts (including punctuated equilibrium) to explain why we don’t see them.

It was and remains a serious problem for the theory, one which evolutionists themselves are actively trying to resolve. It’s just that the theory’s leading lights tend not to talk about it frankly or very often. The rest is just double-speak. In the meantime, they think to turn this problem into a smear against the skeptics who raise it, that is, against those who keep resurrecting the bone they want to keep buried.  Moreover, in spite of the standard meaning of "change" in evolutionary theory, with which I am well acquainted from a purely theoretical perspective and do understand what you mean, a scheme of common ancestry necessarily does entail transmutation. Yours is more of the same sophistry.

(Evolutionists talk in meaningless circles like this all the time as if no one will notice and as if those who do are idiots.)

So you imply that I don’t understand evolution as rendered by its proponents? Perhaps you don’t understand the nature of the skeptic’s objections. Aside from the convoluted rhetorical shenanigans, there’s nothing rocket-sciencey about the theory. You’re merely repeating yourself once again—invoking the same presuppositions, begging the question. 

I don’t buy it! It’s as simple as that. And let me save you the trouble of repeating another logical fallacy with an excerpt from a piece that I wrote just recently:
Evolutionists who argue that if I’m right than the paleontological record proves the Deity to be a deceiver are merely repeating themselves once again, i.e., reasserting their presupposition in a most dogmatically unscientific manner. They’re making a theological argument—for crying out loud!—as if God had to use evolutionary processes. These things fly right over their heads. My retort: “The evidence would look the same; you’re merely deceiving yourself, as you imbue brute forces with magical properties to achieve amazingly complex feats and arrogantly spurn the obvious.”  —Michael David Rawlings

The Debate Continues. . . .


Kyle Jamison said...

I have to admit, I never considered speciation from the perspective of a mechanistic naturalism before. Things would look the same.

Michael David Rawlings, a.k.a. "Bluemoon" said...

Yes. And like I said on Dawson's blog, I do not believe that abiogenesis, especially, or an evolutionary scheme of a common ancestry can be reconciled to the biblical view. Hence, the scientific approach to biology for the Christian would be that of intelligent design premised on the metaphysical presupposition of a mechanistic naturalism.

Kyle Jamison said...

So the "biblical view" is that god created the various species we see in successive "creative events" over a period of time--thousands to millions of years? So God apparently started with simple organisms and went on from there?

Michael David Rawlings, a.k.a. "Bluemoon" said...

Yes. Exactly! But don't forget we have evident that other creatures were created too that have since gone extinct.

Michael David Rawlings, a.k.a. "Bluemoon" said...

oops, "evidence"

Kyle Jamison said...

I get it. How do we see that in the Bible?

Michael David Rawlings, a.k.a. "Bluemoon" said...

We see it in Genesis, the Creational Hymn, albeit, in a rough outline. Genesis talks about the creation of creatures that live in the waters or seas, then it talks about the creation of land creatures and eventually comes to the creation of man, the crown jewel as it were. There's no way to know the period of time we're talking about here. The Six Days of Creation are metaphoric. We learn through scientific investigation and discovery about the actual age of the universe, the Earth, life and so on. . . .

Kyle Jamison said...

Okay, that's what I was getting from what you wrote. Just wanted to make sure.

I have more questions on the theological side of things. Just not the time today. Would like to get back to you on those later.