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Comment Re:not evolution (Score 1) 387

Well, you have demonstrated that you have no clue how evolution actually works, so congratulations on that. I would suggest some remedial high school biology. You haven't even made it to Behe's level.

I'll use a more basic example for you. Suppose that we had 65 six sided dice, and that 65 sixes represents a particular complex genome(you could use any combination of 65 results, but it is mathematically immaterial). Randomly hitting that result has a probability of 3.8x10^50. That would correspond to the silly conception that you are using above. Pretty damned unlikely. But, then, that bears no resemblance to actual evolutionary theory. Take a very much simplified version where results of 6 are kept. At that point, it generally only takes 25-30 rolls to get the required result. Quite a difference, wouldn't you say? Here's a simple example of that in Perl if you want to try it yourself:


my $number_of_sixes = 0;
my $number_of_rolls = 0;
my $number_of_attempts = 1000;
my $total_rolls = 0;

for(my $i = 0; $i while($number_of_sixes my $number_of_dice = 65 - $number_of_sixes;

while($number_of_dice > 0) {
my $dice_roll = int(rand(6)) + 1;
if ($dice_roll == 6) {
$total_rolls += $number_of_rolls;
print "Total number of rolls: $total_rolls\n";
print "Total number of experiments: $number_of_attempts\n";
print "Average number of rolls to get 6 dice each time: " . $total_rolls/$number_of_attempts . "\n";

Now, in reality, natural selection acts as a filter on the random inputs of genetic additions. Thus, your prime mistake is exemplified in this statement:

you still need to try 1.8e1e8 possibilities before you might randomly hit the human combination

Natural selection acts to conserve working combinations and discard detrimental combinations. Just like applying the filter of selecting 6's dramtically drops the required number of tries to reach an unlikely outcome, so to does natural selection radically drop the generations required to reach complex lifeforms.

You just agreed with me that natural selection does not generate new genetic material. It is incapable of creating, is it only able to destroy the failures.

Non sequitur. It does not follow that because natural selection does not generate new genetic material that it is a process which is only destructive. It facilitates increased fitness. This is certainly an additive or, as you seem to prefer, creative process.

Random mutation doesn't have enough tries in several billion years to exhaust the entire sample space of "possible genetic combinations".

Since such a thing isn't remotely required by evolution, this is another non sequitur.

That leaves non-random mutation, which is "guided" mutation - but then we need a mechanism that provides non-random mutation, which as I note is "unexplained" and "unobserved".

No, this is just your attempt to interject a "god of the gaps" into your inability(or refusal) to correctly understand what evolutionary theory is and how it works. A sadly common occurance.

Comment Re:not evolution (Score 1) 387

You do not have enough time for random mutations to generate enough possible answers for natural selection to sift out the "right ones".

3.6 billion years is plenty of time.

You're left with some unexplained and unobserved form of guided mutation, which natural selection is incapable of providing.

What a useless, unsupported claim. Who was guiding this "guided mutation" that you start with? And upon what grounds are you basing your idea that natural selection is incapable of producing the results we see?

Comment Re:Useless hindsight (Score 1) 387

So tell me, how does knowing the theory of evolution change any of your decisions today, tomorrow or any time in the future? In my book, if it does not make a prediction that can be proven, then it's useless.

I'm not the parent, but I'll answer. As I pointed out before, it is quite useful for prediction. But, it certainly does have an effect on my decisions. The use of antibiotics, for example, is a decision which is affected by the fact that bacteria evolve quickly. My choice of diet and activity is affected by what I know of the evolutionary history of my species. My choice of pets is partially dictated by evolution(I avoid certain breeds of cats and dogs due to genetic problems). And, of course, if you count indirect effects, evolution touches on virtually everything I experience, from social interactions to my appreciation of nature.

Finally, I would study evolution for no reason other than to learn. I am not one to revel in ignorance and call it pragmatism.

Comment Re:Useless hindsight (Score 1) 387

So Darwin made a proposition, not a prediction.

He made predictions, too. For example, a famous moth that, in 1862, he predicted must exist was finally discovered in 1903.

But that's not all. Let's try a more recent example. Based on evolutionary theory, several paleotologists began searching Ellesmere Island in Canada for examples of proto-tetrapods in sediment from the Devonian period. And guess what they found, just where they had predicted? This little bugger.

Evolutionary theory is actually very useful in predicting things, from the probable location of certain fossils to the genetic changes which occurred in the various families that results in the species we see today. Go look at whale evolution and how it was worked out, for another example.

Comment Re:not evolution (Score 1) 387

None of that generates new genetic material.

No, it doesn't. New material is generated in a variety of ways. Mutations are(as far as I know) the most common development of novel genetic material. Duplications, inversions, copy mistakes, mistakes in damage repair, etc. You can get new genetic material from interbreeding between related species(say, lions and tigers). You can even get direct genetic integration from virus infections(endogenous retroviruses) and the like. This is grist used by the process of evolution. It does take a while, as there is no guarantees that any individual change will be beneficial or will spread to others. In the only example we know of, it took about 3.6 billion years to turn a basic single celled organism into us.

But there is an evolution controversy, and it's rooted in the evolutionary belief that if you add up a lot of small changes, you eventually end up with a big change; and that you can get from simple species to complex species by a lot of small incremental steps.

In as much as it is possible to prove that, it has been done.

Comment Re:not evolution (Score 1) 387

Why is this fact required?

It's just a fact of life. It is significant to evolution because living things of the same species compete for the same resources, and those with even a slight advantage conferred by a heritable trait are more likely to pass that advantage on. Hence, natural selection.

Comment Re:lies, all lies (Score 1) 387

I am Norwegian, they are not my fellow citizens

Enough said. The situation is very different between Europe and the US. The US has a strong strain of Fundamentalism which is wields a depressingly large amount of political power. It's slowly changing and I hope to reach a more rational point in my lifetime.

Comment Re:lies, all lies (Score 1) 387

Many Christians I know say it's a metaphor and has no objection to evolutionary biology.

Great. Same here, though not locally(I have many theistic evolutionist friends in other places, but I live in a stronghold of pure creationism). That has no bearing on the statistics. I invite you to watch an episode of 700 Club, or listen to one of the many Christian radio stations run by creationists and then try to envision the audience for those programs. There is a large part of that 46%. I can even point you to Catholic and Eastern Orthodox people who reject evolution entirely(and Muslims and Jews, to round out the program). Do you think it was just a crazy statistical anomaly that so many of the GOP candidates for president in this last election were creationists?

If presented thus, the %s would probably be lower.

What part of this is unclear?

Forty-six percent of Americans believe in the creationist view that God created humans in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years.

You may not like it, but it's still true. A lot of your fellow citizens believe in creationism, and they are not bashful about it.

Comment Re:lies, all lies (Score 2) 387

Natural selection is something that everyone I know is fine with. Random mutation is something that everyone I know is fine with. But the creation of new species? Not so much. And in this case, we're merely seeing natural selection at play, which is not evolution, in and of itself, any more than a motor by itself should be considered a car.

Until the sub-species is altered in some way to prevent interbreeding(physical isolation, physical inability to mate, behavioral changes which prevent mating, etc), it is indeed not a speciation event. It is, however, evolution("a change in heritable traits over time"). The term "species" is just a convienent label to place on living things in order to categorize them. It is just a snapshot of a particular group of living things at a particular time. All species are always adapting, always evolving. Some can interbreed(even long after they diverged, like lions and tigers), some can't.

Saying that you accept all of the mechanisms of the evolutionary process and yet reject the logical result of those processes is irrational.

Comment Re:lies, all lies (Score 1) 387

When I was in college, I could say that the vast majority of Christians I knew accepted evolution. I currently live in central Kansas, and the situation is completely reversed. I'm sure I know a Christian who accepts evolution who lives here, but I literally couldn't name one off of the top of my head. Given what we know from polling in the US, I would guess that this is not an uncommon situation, especially in less urbanized areas.

Comment Re:lies, all lies (Score 1) 387

And if the universe itself is infinitely old and un-caused, then that too is a violation of the notion of cause and effect every bit as great as that of the First Effect.

The obvious response is that we have evidence of the universe, so until we find evidence that that is not sufficient then there is no need to pretend that some amorphous mind simply popped it into existence.

There is a quantative distinction between an organism engaged in biotic processes and other collections of matter which are not.

Sorry to bust your bubble, but it is just chemistry. Complex chemistry, mind you, but chemistry all the same.

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