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Why, exactly, should we believe that humans are descended from simpler forms of life?

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The second of some responses to persons who have kindly wrote in to “Some thoughts on common ancestry

(The first is Common ancestry from what, exactly?)

Mark Frank further writes

What exactly are you proposing with respect to humans? That they are not descended from other simpler life forms but spring into existence fully formed? Physically how could that happen? What would it look like?

I don’t know. But I also clearly see that current explanations of the human mind, vs. the chimpanzee mind, absolutely do not make sense. And that’s the money shot.

Not only do they not make sense, but no one has a reasonable explanation of human consciousness. And great physicists warn that it is immaterial.

With nothing compelling us to make a decision, we can just safely doubt current, insufficiently justified claims.

Previous: Common ancestry from what, exactly?

And (what kicked it off): “Some thoughts on common ancestry

See also: The Science Fictions series at your fingertips (human evolution) for why human evolution is such a sinkhole in science today.

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26 Replies to “Why, exactly, should we believe that humans are descended from simpler forms of life?

  1. 1
    littlejohn says:

    In the minds of some, the list is endless; however, simply stated, life became very complicated after ‘the fall’.

  2. 2
    Mark Frank says:

    This is really very simple. Either:

    1. We descended from a simpler form of life.
    2. We descended from an equally complicated form of life which has left no trace.
    3. We didn’t descend from any form of life but somehow sprang into existence (as adults I guess as human babies can’t survive by themselves).

    Be honest – which seems the most plausible?

  3. 3
    Mark Frank says:

    Getting muddled about which OP I am responding to. Here is my comment repeated which I wrongly posted on the first OP.

    I am going to expand on this a bit:
    From previous OP:

    The relevance to common ancestry is: Common ancestry from what, exactly?
    If we don’t know what, how do we know that?

    By considering the alternatives.  To claim that we are not descended from a simpler life form at all is to claim we sprang into existence fully formed.

    But I also clearly see that current explanations of the human mind, vs. the chimpanzee mind, absolutely do not make sense. And that’s the money shot.

    It is absolutely  not the money shot. Biologists are not proposing that people are descended from chimpanzees!  They are only proposing we have a fairly recent common ancestor. The only implication is that we have changed a lot since then.

    But no one has a reasonable explanation of human consciousness. And great physicists warn that it is immaterial.

    Whether it be material or not, there is no reason to suppose that many other life forms are not also conscious. Any dog owner can tell you that. Clearly human consciousness is a big step up from other animals. So that step up happened at some stage in the recent past. This is perfectly compatible with being descended from simpler life forms.
    In general however unique you believe we are – the jump from a simpler (but nevertheless complicated) life form to us is shorter than the jump from no life form to us.  Even if you believe we are the result of divine intervention it is going to be a lot easier for God to make a major upgrade to some ape like creature than create enough people to make a viable community in a flash of lightening and a whirl of dust.

    With nothing compelling us to make a decision, we can just safely doubt current, insufficiently justified claims

    You may doubt specific claims about descent. But if you doubt descent at all then you need an alternative more plausible hypothesis. Let’s hear it.

  4. 4

    I find Denyse’s position very difficult to fathom, as she is on record in The Spiritual Brain endorsing some essential facts of human evolution. On page 12 she (and Dr. Beauregard) stated,

    “Lest there be any misunderstanding, it is not the purpose of this book to argue that evolution did not occur. There is a fossil record, after all.”

    On the following page we are asked,

    “What about our nearest animal relatives, the chimpanzees and other large primates?”

    And most pointedly,

    “Does the answer to human nature lie in our animal nature? In our kinship with chimpanzees? With mammals in general?”

    (Remember to recycle)

  5. 5
    mahuna says:

    Like bats and whales, there are no half-humans. There are gorilla-like fossils an there are fully modern human fossils, with some variety. So, from all the available evidence, humans simply appeared, about 1 million years ago. And since then we haven’t changed (“evolved”) significantly. We know a whole lot more tricks and have much more complex material culture, but we’ve still got the same basic hardware.

    If Darwinists can’t explain the ancestry of bats, why should we trust them to explain the ancestry of humans?

  6. 6
    kairosfocus says:

    RB, it’s not that hard to see the key point: “I also clearly see that current explanations of the human mind, vs. the chimpanzee mind, absolutely do not make sense. And that’s the money shot . . . . With nothing compelling us to make a decision, we can just safely doubt current, insufficiently justified claims.” As for my own view, it is dead simple. Brains are based on computational, blind, cause-effect signal processing elements. Blind, GIGO-limited computation driven by mechanical linkages (electrochemical ones to be specific) are simply not good grounds for explaining self-aware, rational ground and consequent, meaning based contemplation — much as Haldane pointed out 80 years ago. To try to draw the second from the first is like trying to get North by going due west. KF

  7. 7
    leodp says:

    The vast difference between apes (or animals in general) humans is not physical. From the start we find humans doing art, working crops, working math, controlling fire, building buildings, building complex and interdependent communities (diversifying types of labor, specializing in craft, interdependencies on the other specialized functions, organizing rules, governing principles), technology, studying the stars, studying the weather, recognizing and appreciating beauty beyond utility, conscious of the unseen spiritual world, conscious of moral right and wrong (not just can and can’t), loving and hating, seeking the transcendent, seeking God, worship… (this list is only what comes easily to mind as I write… I think most will bear critical scrutiny, but a couple might not). But my point is:

    The difference between apes and humans is not in degree, but in kind. We are not just a few incremental steps from an ape. Apes don’t display these traits in some kind of nascent or less advanced form. As GK Chesterton said, “Apes don’t do art poorly. They don’t do it at all.” We are in a different category altogether. The Bible says humans are distinguished from the rest of creation with two things: A spirit and the image of God. And after that, the Fall. That’s where the difference in kind is.

  8. 8
    Moose Dr says:

    I have no trouble believing that there is an intelligent interloper twiddling with DNA. I have no trouble believing that there is a lot of intelligent work that differentiates between the chimp and human.

    However, there is also a whole lot in common between man and chimp. We have virtually identical body parts. We are a bit less hairy, are arms are a bit longer, our legs straighter. However, we have arms, legs, hair, etc.

    So either someone begins with a DNA compiler, began with the DNA in their “computer” and twiddled on it (common design), then made a human from the result, or that someone twiddled one intervention at a time from chimp to human (common descent).

    However, there are a bunch of specifically defined disease causing alleles that are shared by chimps and humans. These guys make a compelling case for the “interloper edits DNA of existing animals” model.

    It is for this reason, and reasons like it that I hold to common descent rather than special creation.

  9. 9
    bornagain77 says:

    To defend the ‘sprang into existence’ position, there is simply nothing within science that says that this cannot occur in this universe. In fact, given the fact that the entire universe ‘sprang into existence’, (with an extraordinary fine-tuned initial entropic state of 1 in 10^10^123), then the atheist is at extreme pains to tell us exactly why we don’t regularly see other stuff randomly ‘springing into existence’ within the universe constantly,, other stuff with much lower initial entopic states.

    How special was the big bang? – Roger Penrose
    Excerpt: This now tells us how precise the Creator’s aim must have been: namely to an accuracy of one part in 10^10^123.
    (from the Emperor’s New Mind, Penrose, pp 339-345 – 1989)

    Multiverse and the Design Argument – William Lane Craig
    Excerpt: Roger Penrose of Oxford University has calculated that the odds of our universe’s low entropy condition obtaining by chance alone are on the order of 1 in 10^10(123), an inconceivable number. If our universe were but one member of a multiverse of randomly ordered worlds, then it is vastly more probable that we should be observing a much smaller universe. For example, the odds of our solar system’s being formed instantly by the random collision of particles is about 1 in 10^10(60), a vast number, but inconceivably smaller than 1 in 10^10(123). (Penrose calls it “utter chicken feed” by comparison [The Road to Reality (Knopf, 2005), pp. 762-5]). Or again, if our universe is but one member of a multiverse, then we ought to be observing highly extraordinary events, like horses’ popping into and out of existence by random collisions, or perpetual motion machines, since these are vastly more probable than all of nature’s constants and quantities’ falling by chance into the virtually infinitesimal life-permitting range. Observable universes like those strange worlds are simply much more plenteous in the ensemble of universes than worlds like ours and, therefore, ought to be observed by us if the universe were but a random member of a multiverse of worlds. Since we do not have such observations, that fact strongly disconfirms the multiverse hypothesis. On naturalism, at least, it is therefore highly probable that there is no multiverse. — Penrose puts it bluntly “these world ensemble hypothesis are worse than useless in explaining the anthropic fine-tuning of the universe”.
    http://www.reasonablefaith.org.....n-argument

    BRUCE GORDON: Hawking’s irrational arguments – October 2010
    Excerpt: For instance, we find multiverse cosmologists debating the “Boltzmann Brain” problem: In the most “reasonable” models for a multiverse, it is immeasurably more likely that our consciousness is associated with a brain that has spontaneously fluctuated into existence in the quantum vacuum than it is that we have parents and exist in an orderly universe with a 13.7 billion-year history. This is absurd. The multiverse hypothesis is therefore falsified because it renders false what we know to be true about ourselves. Clearly, embracing the multiverse idea entails a nihilistic irrationality that destroys the very possibility of science.
    http://www.washingtontimes.com.....arguments/

    Thus, given atheistic materialism, we should see stuff popping into existence all the time for no reason at all. Whereas on Theism, we expect a logical order to the ‘popping into existence’ of stuff. Dr. Gordon puts it like this:

    Here is the last power-point slide of the following video:
    The End Of Materialism?

    * In the multiverse, anything can happen for no reason at all.
    * In other words, the materialist is forced to believe in random miracles as a explanatory principle.
    * In a Theistic universe, nothing happens without a reason. Miracles are therefore intelligently directed deviations from divinely maintained regularities, and are thus expressions of rational purpose.
    * Scientific materialism is (therefore) epistemically self defeating: it makes scientific rationality impossible.

    The Absurdity of Inflation, String Theory and The Multiverse – Dr. Bruce Gordon – video
    http://vimeo.com/34468027

    Moreover, consciousness simply cannot be accounted for within the atheist’s materialistic framework:

    Mind and Cosmos – Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False – Thomas Nagel
    Excerpt: If materialism cannot accommodate consciousness and other mind-related aspects of reality, then we must abandon a purely materialist understanding of nature in general, extending to biology, evolutionary theory, and cosmology. Since minds are features of biological systems that have developed through evolution, the standard materialist version of evolutionary biology is fundamentally incomplete. And the cosmological history that led to the origin of life and the coming into existence of the conditions for evolution cannot be a merely materialist history.
    http://ukcatalogue.oup.com/pro.....9919758.do

    And quantum mechanics certainly backs up Professor Nagel’s intuition about the ‘hard problem’ of conciousness. ,,, Due to advances in quantum mechanics, the argument for God from consciousness can now be framed like this:

    1. Consciousness either preceded all of material reality or is a ‘epi-phenomena’ of material reality.
    2. If consciousness is a ‘epi-phenomena’ of material reality then consciousness will be found to have no special position within material reality. Whereas conversely, if consciousness precedes material reality then consciousness will be found to have a special position within material reality.
    3. Consciousness is found to have a special, even central, position within material reality.
    4. Therefore, consciousness is found to precede material reality.

    Four intersecting lines of experimental evidence from quantum mechanics that shows that consciousness precedes material reality (Wigner’s Quantum Symmetries, Wheeler’s Delayed Choice, Leggett’s Inequalities, Quantum Zeno effect):
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1G_Fi50ljF5w_XyJHfmSIZsOcPFhgoAZ3PRc_ktY8cFo/edit

    Verse:

    Colossians 1:17
    And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

    Moreover, the fossil record certainly is far more friendly to the ‘springing into existence’ position than atheists would prefer to believe:

    “A number of hominid crania are known from sites in eastern and southern Africa in the 400- to 200-thousand-year range, but none of them looks like a close antecedent of the anatomically distinctive Homo sapiens…Even allowing for the poor record we have of our close extinct kin, Homo sapiens appears as distinctive and unprecedented…there is certainly no evidence to support the notion that we gradually became who we inherently are over an extended period, in either the physical or the intellectual sense.”
    Dr. Ian Tattersall: – paleoanthropologist – emeritus curator of the American Museum of Natural History – (Masters of the Planet, 2012)

    “Darwin had a lot of trouble with the fossil record because if you look at the record of phyla in the rocks as fossils why when they first appear we already see them all. The phyla are fully formed. It’s as if the phyla were created first and they were modified into classes and we see that the number of classes peak later than the number of phyla and the number of orders peak later than that. So it’s kind of a top down succession, you start with this basic body plans, the phyla, and you diversify them into classes, the major sub-divisions of the phyla, and these into orders and so on. So the fossil record is kind of backwards from what you would expect from in that sense from what you would expect from Darwin’s ideas.”
    James W. Valentine – On the Origin of Phyla: Interviews with James W. Valentine

    Scientific study turns understanding about evolution on its head – July 30, 2013
    Excerpt: evolutionary biologists,,, looked at nearly one hundred fossil groups to test the notion that it takes groups of animals many millions of years to reach their maximum diversity of form.
    Contrary to popular belief, not all animal groups continued to evolve fundamentally new morphologies through time. The majority actually achieved their greatest diversity of form (disparity) relatively early in their histories.
    ,,,Dr Matthew Wills said: “This pattern, known as ‘early high disparity’, turns the traditional V-shaped cone model of evolution on its head. What is equally surprising in our findings is that groups of animals are likely to show early-high disparity regardless of when they originated over the last half a billion years. This isn’t a phenomenon particularly associated with the first radiation of animals (in the Cambrian Explosion), or periods in the immediate wake of mass extinctions.”,,,
    Author Martin Hughes, continued: “Our work implies that there must be constraints on the range of forms within animal groups, and that these limits are often hit relatively early on.
    Co-author Dr Sylvain Gerber, added: “A key question now is what prevents groups from generating fundamentally new forms later on in their evolution.,,,
    http://phys.org/news/2013-07-s.....ution.html

    etc.. etc.. etc..

    Verses and Music:

    2 Peter 1:16
    For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.

    1 Timothy 1:17-20
    Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

    The Lord Our God – Kristian Stanfill
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1uIiOLRpLU

  10. 10
    BM40 says:

    BA77, isn’t it rather you who “is at extreme pains to tell us exactly why we don’t regularly see other stuff randomly ‘springing into existence’ within the universe constantly,, other stuff with much lower initial entopic states.

  11. 11
    Andre says:

    Humans have duties and responsibilities, animals don’t.

  12. 12
    bornagain77 says:

    BM40 you ask,,,

    isn’t it rather you who “is at extreme pains to tell us exactly why we don’t regularly see other stuff randomly ‘springing into existence’ within the universe constantly,, other stuff with much lower initial entopic states.

    Actually no. In fact atheists are also at extreme pains to tell us exactly why the finely tuned immaterial universal constants don’t randomly vary over time since atheists hold that unfettered material randomness/chaos to be the ultimate reason why the entire universe and everything in it sprang into being in the first place. i.e. You can’t demand that randomness/chaos be the head chef at your restaurant and then refuse to eat what you are served!

    According to the materialistic philosophy, there are no apparent reasons why the value of each transcendent universal constant could not have varied dramatically from what they actually are. In fact, the presumption of materialism expects a fairly large amount of flexibility, indeed chaos, in the underlying constants for the universe, since the constants themselves are postulated to randomly ’emerge’ from some, as far as I can tell, completely undefined material basis at the Big Bang. In fact if an atheist were ever to be truly consistent in his thinking (which would be a miracle in its own right) he would have to admit that he should a-priori expect variance in the universal laws and constants, like this following astronomer did:

    Scientists Question Nature’s Fundamental Laws – Michael Schirber – 2006
    Excerpt: “There is absolutely no reason these constants should be constant,” says astronomer Michael Murphy of the University of Cambridge. “These are famous numbers in physics, but we have no real reason for why they are what they are.”
    The observed differences are small-roughly a few parts in a million-but the implications are huge (if they hold up): The laws of physics would have to be rewritten, not to mention we might need to make room for six more spatial dimensions than the three that we are used to.”,,,
    The speed of light, for instance, might be measured one day with a ruler and a clock. If the next day the same measurement gave a different answer, no one could tell if the speed of light changed, the ruler length changed, or the clock ticking changed.
    http://www.space.com/2613-scie.....-laws.html

    Indeed, the materialistic worldview is, at its ‘chaotic’ base, very antagonistic to the very ideal that we should find such unchanging laws. This fact alone goes a long way towards explaining why there were no atheists at the founding of the modern scientific revolution. Yet, Christianity, contrary to what atheists would prefer to believe, is very nurturing to such an idea of unchanging universal constants. And indeed it can be, and has been, forcefully argued that that reason is one of the main reasons why we always find that the great men at the base of the modern scientific revolution were devout Christians. As C. S. Lewis, in his clear no nonsense style, put it:

    “Men became scientific because they expected Law in Nature, and they expected Law in Nature because they believed in a Legislator. In most modern scientists this belief has died: it will be interesting to see how long their confidence in uniformity survives it.”
    Lewis, C.S., Miracles: a preliminary study, Collins, London, p. 110, 1947.

    =======

    Latest Test of Physical Constants Affirms Biblical Claim – Hugh Ross – September 2010
    Excerpt: The team’s measurements on two quasars (Q0458- 020 and Q2337-011, at redshifts = 1.561 and 1.361, respectively) indicated that all three fundamental physical constants have varied by no more than two parts per quadrillion per year over the last ten billion years—a measurement fifteen times more precise, and thus more restrictive, than any previous determination. The team’s findings add to the list of fundamental forces in physics demonstrated to be exceptionally constant over the universe’s history. This confirmation testifies of the Bible’s capacity to predict accurately a future scientific discovery far in advance. Among the holy books that undergird the religions of the world, the Bible stands alone in proclaiming that the laws governing the universe are fixed, or constant.
    http://www.reasons.org/files/e.....010-03.pdf

    Stronger and More Comprehensive Tests Affirm the Universe’s Unchanging Physics – July 1, 2013 By Dr. Hugh Ross
    Excerpt: For thousands of years, the Bible has been on record stating that the physical laws governing the universe do not vary. For example, Jeremiah 33:25, God declares that he “established the fixed laws of heaven and earth” (NIV, 1984).,,,
    Laboratory measurements have established that variations any greater than four parts per hundred quadrillion (less than 4 x 10-17) per year cannot exist in the fine structure constant, which undergirds several of the physical laws.,,,
    ,,they confirmed with 99 percent certainty that possible variations in the fine structure must be less than two parts per 10 quadrillion per year over the past 10 billion years. This limit is about a thousand times more constraining than the one I described in More Than a Theory.
    http://www.reasons.org/article.....ng-physics

    Psalm 119:89-91
    Your eternal word, O Lord, stands firm in heaven. Your faithfulness extends to every generation, as enduring as the earth you created. Your regulations remain true to this day, for everything serves your plans.

  13. 13
    Mark Frank says:

    #5 Mahuna, #7 leodp, #11 Andre

    You all emphasise the very large differences between humans and other animals. But that is not the point. As Moose Dr points out, we are a lot more similar to other animals than we are to no life at all.

    Either we descended from other animals (with divine intervention and massive additional features if you like) or we sprang into existence as a fully functioning species with all the complexity and components magically assembling themselves. Do you really think the second is the more plausible?

  14. 14
    Jehu says:

    Mark Frank

    But if you doubt descent at all then you need an alternative more plausible hypothesis.

    Nonsense. If descent is falsified then lack of a better hypothesis doesn’t make it true.

  15. 15
    Mark Frank says:

    #14 Jehu

    If descent is falsified then lack of a better hypothesis doesn’t make it true.

    If descent of any kind is absolutely falsified then that follows. But that is not the situation. Denyse has some doubts about certain specific accounts of descent. But they are not 100% falsifications and they do not rule out other patterns of descent. So we are talking about inference to the best explanation. Descent from a simpler life form is one such explanation. We have yet to hear what the alternative is.

  16. 16
    bornagain77 says:

    as to Frank’s ‘charitable’ criteria of allowing ‘100% falsification’ against his theory, note that the burden in his mind is shifted and now the burden is not on him proving the plausibility of his theory, but is on us proving the absolute 100% implausibility of his theory:

    As Plantinga points out, this is horrid science.

    Darwinism Not Proved Absolutely Impossible Therefore It Must Be True – Plantinga – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/10285716/

    The burden is squarely on Darwinists to prove their theory plausible not merely remotely possible:

    The Universal Plausibility Metric (UPM) & Principle (UPP) – Abel – Dec. 2009
    Excerpt: Mere possibility is not an adequate basis for asserting scientific plausibility. A precisely defined universal bound is needed beyond which the assertion of plausibility, particularly in life-origin models, can be considered operationally falsified. But can something so seemingly relative and subjective as plausibility ever be quantified? Amazingly, the answer is, “Yes.”,,,
    c?u = Universe = 10^13 reactions/sec X 10^17 secs X 10^78 atoms = 10^108
    c?g = Galaxy = 10^13 X 10^17 X 10^66 atoms = 10^96
    c?s = Solar System = 10^13 X 10^17 X 10^55 atoms = 10^85
    c?e = Earth = 10^13 X 10^17 X 10^40 atoms = 10^70
    http://www.tbiomed.com/content/6/1/27

    Programming of Life – Probability – Defining Probable, Possible, Feasible etc.. – video
    http://www.youtube.com/user/Pr.....ckv0wVBYpA

    Could Chance Arrange the Code for (Just) One Gene?
    “our minds cannot grasp such an extremely small probability as that involved in the accidental arranging of even one gene (10^-236).”
    http://www.creationsafaris.com/epoi_c10.htm

    Probabilities Of Life – Don Johnson PhD. – 38 minute mark of video
    a typical functional protein – 1 part in 10^175
    the required enzymes for life – 1 part in 10^40,000
    a living self replicating cell – 1 part in 10^340,000,000
    http://www.vimeo.com/11706014

    “The probability for the chance of formation of the smallest, simplest form of living organism known is 1 in 10^340,000,000. This number is 10 to the 340 millionth power! The size of this figure is truly staggering since there is only supposed to be approximately 10^80 (10 to the 80th power) electrons in the whole universe!”
    (Professor Harold Morowitz, Energy Flow In Biology pg. 99, Biophysicist of George Mason University)

    Neo-Darwinism isn’t even ‘science’ in the first place because, besides its stunning failure at establishing empirical validation in the lab, it has no mathematical basis, and furthermore neo-Darwinism can have no mathematical basis because of the atheistic insistence for the ‘random’ variable postulate at the base of its formulation:

    “It is our contention that if ‘random’ is given a serious and crucial interpretation from a probabilistic point of view, the randomness postulate is highly implausible and that an adequate scientific theory of evolution must await the discovery and elucidation of new natural laws—physical, physico-chemical, and biological.”
    Murray Eden, “Inadequacies of Neo-Darwinian Evolution as a Scientific Theory,” Mathematical Challenges to the Neo-Darwinian Interpretation of Evolution, editors Paul S. Moorhead and Martin M. Kaplan, June 1967, p. 109.

    Nobel Prize-Winning Physicist Wolfgang Pauli on the Empirical Problems with Neo-Darwinism – Casey Luskin – February 27, 2012
    Excerpt: “In discussions with biologists I met large difficulties when they apply the concept of ‘natural selection’ in a rather wide field, without being able to estimate the probability of the occurrence in a empirically given time of just those events, which have been important for the biological evolution. Treating the empirical time scale of the evolution theoretically as infinity they have then an easy game, apparently to avoid the concept of purposesiveness. While they pretend to stay in this way completely ‘scientific’ and ‘rational,’ they become actually very irrational, particularly because they use the word ‘chance’, not any longer combined with estimations of a mathematically defined probability, in its application to very rare single events more or less synonymous with the old word ‘miracle.'” Wolfgang Pauli (pp. 27-28) –
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....56771.html

    Evolution and the Illusion of Randomness – Talbott – Fall 2011
    Excerpt: In the case of evolution, I picture Dennett and Dawkins filling the blackboard with their vivid descriptions of living, highly regulated, coordinated, integrated, and intensely meaningful biological processes, and then inserting a small, mysterious gap in the middle, along with the words, “Here something random occurs.”
    This “something random” looks every bit as wishful as the appeal to a miracle. It is the central miracle in a gospel of meaninglessness, a “Randomness of the gaps,” demanding an extraordinarily blind faith. At the very least, we have a right to ask, “Can you be a little more explicit here?”
    http://www.thenewatlantis.com/.....randomness

  17. 17
    Mark Frank says:

    #16 BA77

    This is so muddled!

    * I am not defending Darwinism in this case. The issue is common descent not Darwnism. On this particular issue the more intelligent IDists (gpuccio, vj torley) agree with me. So all your links about problems with Darwinism are irrelevant.

    * I have not shifted any burden of proof. All I am saying is that in the absence of 100% falsification then we should use inference to the best explanation – as Stephen Meyer keeps exhorting us to do.

    If you believe the creation of a viable population of humans from inanimate matter is a better explanation than being descended with modification from some other life form then I can only admire the strength of your faith.

  18. 18
    Silver Asiatic says:

    #3

    Even if you believe we are the result of divine intervention it is going to be a lot easier for God to make a major upgrade to some ape like creature than create enough people to make a viable community in a flash of lightening and a whirl of dust.

    If God did make a major upgrade to an ape-like creature, would we still consider that “descent”? I would think that once God is directly involved, then things like reproductive rates and inheritance don’t need to follow the ordinary processes. Whether it’s more difficult to turn an ape into a human or to create a human from dust is an interesting question. Certainly, using ordinary natural processes, it would seem the ape-like to human would be easier (although that still requires thousands of morphological changes). But I don’t think the distance from non-consciousness to conscious-rationality can really be measured scientifically.

    Human life could have been seeded on earth by more complex organisms – so descent is not necessarily from simpler forms.

    God could have bio-engineered life itself – and then human life from the same process.

    Consciousness is an awareness of thought and this allows the ability to communicate thought.
    Dogs, for example, are not conscious because, while they communicate some things, they don’t communicate thought.

    The ability to communicate thought enables humans to learn — from each other and from humans through history. Thoughts are preserved in consciousness and handed on — thus education.

    Human society has obviously changed radically in the last 5,000 years — as a result of conscious learning.

    Dogs have not learned anything in the same period of time. The greyhounds that attended Tutankhamon have the same intelligence, behaviors and social structures as they do today.

  19. 19
    Silver Asiatic says:

    The issue is common descent not Darwnism. On this particular issue the more intelligent IDists (gpuccio, vj torley) agree with me.

    I think Michael Behe agrees also, although I don’t know how explains the descent-transition from animal to human.

    A side thought … while it seems difficult to accept the direct-creation of a fully-grown human population, it might be easier to think that God could have bio-engineered the DNA in fertilized human eggs that had self-organizing properties and accelerated growth rates.

  20. 20
    Joe says:

    LoL! No one cares who agrees with Common Descent, Mark. The issue is evidence and a plausible mechanism.

    This is really very simple. Either:

    1. We descended from a simpler form of life.
    2. We descended from an equally complicated form of life which has left no trace.
    3. We didn’t descend from any form of life but somehow sprang into existence (as adults I guess as human babies can’t survive by themselves).

    Be honest – which seems the most plausible?

    You forgot one Mark-

    4- We are descendants from a colonizing population that arrived from another planet- an ET “Noah’s Ark”, so to speak.

    Now I know you will say that only pushes the issue back but science deals with proximate causes and right now we are only concerned with life on Earth.

  21. 21
    bornagain77 says:

    Mr. Frank, so in the thoughts of your mind (excuse me, in the random, aimless, fluctuations of the chemicals of your atheistic Brain 🙂 ), you don’t believe you have to actually show the plausibility of gradual transition from one species to another? You only have to be incredulous of God creating kinds top down?

    Color me unimpressed by your incredulousness of God Mr. Frank!

    Mr Frank, more specifically, does the limited ‘variation within kind’ that is postulated within Theism, or does the unlimited plasticity that is postulated within Darwinism, best explain the following evidence?

    In Explaining the Cambrian Explosion, Has the TalkOrigins Archive Resolved Darwin’s Dilemma? – JonathanM – May 2012
    Excerpt: it is the pattern of morphological disparity preceding diversity that is fundamentally at odds with the neo-Darwinian scenario of gradualism. All of the major differences (i.e. the higher taxonomic categories such as phyla) appear first in the fossil record and then the lesser taxonomic categories such as classes, orders, families, genera and species appear later. On the Darwinian view, one would expect to see all of the major differences in body plan appear only after numerous small-scale speciation events. But this is not what we observe.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....59171.html

    Disparity precedes diversity – graph
    http://www.veritas-ucsb.org/li.....ages/G.gif

    The Cambrian’s Many Forms
    Excerpt: “It appears that organisms displayed “rampant” within-species variation “in the ‘warm afterglow’ of the Cambrian explosion,” Hughes said, but not later. “No one has shown this convincingly before, and that’s why this is so important.””From an evolutionary perspective, the more variable a species is, the more raw material natural selection has to operate on,”….(Yet Surprisingly)….”There’s hardly any variation in the post-Cambrian,” he said. “Even the presence or absence or the kind of ornamentation on the head shield varies within these Cambrian trilobites and doesn’t vary in the post-Cambrian trilobites.” University of Chicago paleontologist Mark Webster; article on the “surprising and unexplained” loss of variation and diversity for trilobites over the 270 million year time span that trilobites were found in the fossil record, prior to their total extinction from the fossil record about 250 million years ago.
    http://www.terradaily.com/repo.....s_999.html

    Disparity preceding diversity is not only found in the Cambrian Explosion but is found after it as well. In fact, in the following paper, some Darwinists tried to argue that since Disparity preceding Diversity is a consistent pattern in the fossil record after the Cambrian Explosion then, by their reasoning, that means the Cambrian Explosion wasn’t that special after all:

    Cambrian Explosion Solved? – October 2010
    Excerpt: Looking at the big picture, though, they argued that the Cambrian explosion was really not all that special; other parts of the fossil record show similar patterns: “the observation that disparity reaches its peak early in a group’s history seems to reflect a general phenomenon, also observed in plants (Boyce, 2005), the Ediacara biota (Shen et al., 2008), Precambrian microfossils (Huntley et al., 2006), and within many individual animal clades, such as crinoids (Foote, 1997), gastropods (Wagner, 1995), and ungulates (Jernvall et al., 1996). Although of significant interest, this high disparity soon after a group’s appearance is not unique to the Cambrian,” they said.
    http://www.creationsafaris.com.....#20101031a

    Scientific study turns understanding about evolution on its head – July 30, 2013
    Excerpt: evolutionary biologists,,, looked at nearly one hundred fossil groups to test the notion that it takes groups of animals many millions of years to reach their maximum diversity of form.
    Contrary to popular belief, not all animal groups continued to evolve fundamentally new morphologies through time. The majority actually achieved their greatest diversity of form (disparity) relatively early in their histories.
    ,,,Dr Matthew Wills said: “This pattern, known as ‘early high disparity’, turns the traditional V-shaped cone model of evolution on its head. What is equally surprising in our findings is that groups of animals are likely to show early-high disparity regardless of when they originated over the last half a billion years. This isn’t a phenomenon particularly associated with the first radiation of animals (in the Cambrian Explosion), or periods in the immediate wake of mass extinctions.”,,,
    Author Martin Hughes, continued: “Our work implies that there must be constraints on the range of forms within animal groups, and that these limits are often hit relatively early on.
    Co-author Dr Sylvain Gerber, added: “A key question now is what prevents groups from generating fundamentally new forms later on in their evolution.,,,
    http://phys.org/news/2013-07-s.....ution.html

    “Darwin had a lot of trouble with the fossil record because if you look at the record of phyla in the rocks as fossils why when they first appear we already see them all. The phyla are fully formed. It’s as if the phyla were created first and they were modified into classes and we see that the number of classes peak later than the number of phyla and the number of orders peak later than that. So it’s kind of a top down succession, you start with this basic body plans, the phyla, and you diversify them into classes, the major sub-divisions of the phyla, and these into orders and so on. So the fossil record is kind of backwards from what you would expect from in that sense from what you would expect from Darwin’s ideas.”
    James W. Valentine – as quoted from “On the Origin of Phyla: Interviews with James W. Valentine”

    “It is a feature of the known fossil record that most taxa appear abruptly. They are not, as a rule, led up to by a sequence of almost imperceptibly changing forerunners such as Darwin believed should be usual in evolution…This phenomenon becomes more universal and more intense as the hierarchy of categories is ascended. Gaps among known species are sporadic and often small. Gaps among known orders, classes and phyla are systematic and almost always large.”
    G.G.Simpson – one of the most influential American Paleontologist of the 20th century

    A geneticist weighs in here:

    A. L. Hughes’s New Non-Darwinian Mechanism of Adaption Was Discovered and Published in Detail by an ID Geneticist 25 Years Ago – Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig – December 2011
    Excerpt: The original species had a greater genetic potential to adapt to all possible environments. In the course of time this broad capacity for adaptation has been steadily reduced in the respective habitats by the accumulation of slightly deleterious alleles (as well as total losses of genetic functions redundant for a habitat), with the exception, of course, of that part which was necessary for coping with a species’ particular environment….By mutative reduction of the genetic potential, modifications became “heritable”. — As strange as it may at first sound, however, this has nothing to do with the inheritance of acquired characteristics. For the characteristics were not acquired evolutionarily, but existed from the very beginning due to the greater adaptability. In many species only the genetic functions necessary for coping with the corresponding environment have been preserved from this adaptability potential. The “remainder” has been lost by mutations (accumulation of slightly disadvantageous alleles) — in the formation of secondary species.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....53881.html

  22. 22
    bornagain77 says:

    Dogs/Wolves provide an excellent case study of limited ‘variation within kind’ due to the greater loss of genetic information the further a species diverges from its original parent kind:

    podcast – On this episode of ID the Future, Casey Luskin talks with geneticist Dr. Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig about his recent article on the evolution of dogs. Casey and Dr. Lönnig evaluate the claim that dogs somehow demonstrate macroevolution.
    http://intelligentdesign.podom.....1_14-08_00
    Part 2: Dog Breeds: Proof of Macroevolution?
    http://intelligentdesign.podom.....7_07-08_00

    Moreover Mr. Frank, there are principled reasons for believing that top down ‘limited variation within kind’ is true. One reason is that ‘polyfunctional complexity equals polyconstrained complexity’ (Sanford; Genetic Entropy: R. Marks; Overlapping Codes). Another reason is that developmental Gene Regulatory Networks (dGRNS) are ‘species specific’, in that dGRNs are a all or nothing deal. Basically dGRNs are highly, highly, complex embryonic developmental codes that must be implemented all at once, i.e. ‘top down’, for each species and cannot be implemented in a gradual ‘bottom up’ fashion.

    The mouse is not enough – February 2011
    Excerpt: Richard Behringer, who studies mammalian embryogenesis at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Texas said, “There is no ‘correct’ system. Each species is unique and uses its own tailored mechanisms to achieve development. By only studying one species (eg, the mouse), naive scientists believe that it represents all mammals.”
    http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/57986/

    A Listener’s Guide to the Meyer-Marshall Debate: Focus on the Origin of Information Question -Casey Luskin – December 4, 2013
    Excerpt: “There is always an observable consequence if a dGRN (developmental gene regulatory network) subcircuit is interrupted. Since these consequences are always catastrophically bad, flexibility is minimal, and since the subcircuits are all interconnected, the whole network partakes of the quality that there is only one way for things to work. And indeed the embryos of each species develop in only one way.” –
    Eric Davidson
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....79811.html

    Stephen Meyer – Responding to Critics: Marshall, Part 2 (developmental Gene Regulatory Networks) – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cg8Mhn2EKvQ

    Verse and Music:

    Genesis 1:24-25
    And God said, Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind, cattle, and creeping things, and beasts of the earth after their kind: and it was so.
    And God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creepeth upon the ground after its kind: and God saw that it was good.

    Third Day – God of Wonders
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CBNE25rtnE

  23. 23
    bornagain77 says:

    Of related note: Video: Stephen Meyer Reflects on the Debate with Charles Marshall
    David Klinghoffer August 5, 2014
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....88581.html

  24. 24
    Joe says:

    One problem ith universal common descent:

    Loci that are obviously variable within natural populations do not seem to lie at the basis of many major adaptive changes, while those loci that seemingly do constitute the foundation of many if not most major adaptive changes are not variable.- John McDonald, “The Molecular Basis of Adaptation: A Critical Review of Relevant Ideas and Observation”, Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics: 14, 1983, p77-102

  25. 25
    bornagain77 says:

    OT per Timothy Kershner

    Human “speciation” takes it’s 4th death-blow in under 6 months:

    In October 2004, excavation of fragmentary skeletal remains from the island of Flores in Indonesia yielded what was called “the most important find in human evolution for 100 years.” Its discoverers dubbed the find Homo floresiensis, a name suggesting a previously unknown species of human.

    Now detailed reanalysis by an international team of researchers including Robert B. Eckhardt, professor of developmental genetics and evolution at Penn State, Maciej Henneberg, professor of anatomy and pathology at the University of Adelaide, and Kenneth Hsü, a Chinese geologist and paleoclimatologist, suggests that the single specimen on which the new designation depends, known as LB1, does not represent a new species. Instead, it is the skeleton of a developmentally abnormal human and, according to the researchers, contains important features most consistent with a diagnosis of Down syndrome.

    http://phys.org/news/2014-08-f.....obbit.html

  26. 26
    tjguy says:

    @ Mark Frank

    This is really very simple. Either:

    1. We descended from a simpler form of life.
    2. We descended from an equally complicated form of life which has left no trace.
    3. We didn’t descend from any form of life but somehow sprang into existence (as adults I guess as human babies can’t survive by themselves).

    Be honest – which seems the most plausible?

    Mark, if these are the only options, then of course, the most plausible out of all of these implausible options is number 1.

    I understand perfectly why you choose number one.

    HOWEVER, I view them all as too implausible to have happened. Just saying that number one is the most plausible of all of these options doesn’t mean it is right or even possible.

    As a creationist, I have to go with a modified number three. Humans simply sprang into existence having been designed and created by God. Certain aspects of the common design seen in all of creation were used by the Designer/Creator, which explains the common traits, genes, etc. that we see.

    I see the evidence for common descent and if we exclude God from the equation, I would probably be an evolutionist as well and believe in number one. After all, no matter how implausible it may seem, like Mark said, what else could there be?

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