Explaining Macroevolution to a creationist

Sparhafoc

Well-Known Member
Evolution has many of those studies i think 7000+ all uphold the theory of Evolution.

As an aside, depending on what you'd take to mean upholding the ToE, this would be out by several orders of magnitude.

A few years back, someone went to the trouble of collating all papers that were necessarily predicated on the ToE being an accurate representation of nature, and for that year alone, the number of papers was more than 18,000. Of course, most of these weren't explicitly testing the ToE - which has been established beyond credible doubt for a very long time - but rather implicitly testing elements of it, such as in machine learning and the development of artificial intelligence.

I can only make up numbers on the spot, but even given just the bits I know, I am sure it would take a single individual the majority of their life to become personally acquainted with all the available evidence for evolution. I expect it's still just about within the bounds of an individual's capacity of knowledge, but the evidence grows each year in ever increasing detail.
 

Led Zeppelin

Active Member
As an aside, depending on what you'd take to mean upholding the ToE, this would be out by several orders of magnitude.

A few years back, someone went to the trouble of collating all papers that were necessarily predicated on the ToE being an accurate representation of nature, and for that year alone, the number of papers was more than 18,000. Of course, most of these weren't explicitly testing the ToE - which has been established beyond credible doubt for a very long time - but rather implicitly testing elements of it, such as in machine learning and the development of artificial intelligence.

I can only make up numbers on the spot, but even given just the bits I know, I am sure it would take a single individual the majority of their life to become personally acquainted with all the available evidence for evolution. I expect it's still just about within the bounds of an individual's capacity of knowledge, but the evidence grows each year in ever increasing detail.
If I gave you a fossil and wanted to know it's closest living ancestor, what is the name of the test we would have to do in order to find the answer? Is there such a test? This is one thing I really do not understand. I'm more of a physics guy and in physics it seems like there is always a test you can do to prove something or disprove something. :confused:
 

Sparhafoc

Well-Known Member
If I gave you a fossil and wanted to know it's closest living ancestor, what is the name of the test we would have to do in order to find the answer? Is there such a test? This is one thing I really do not understand. I'm more of a physics guy and in physics it seems like there is always a test you can do to prove something or disprove something. :confused:

It depends on a lot of factors. Do we already know the species of this fossil, or is the objective also to work out what species it is? What anatomical features are observable? Is there recoverable DNA?

There are multiple types of test; the oldest types use comparative anatomy while contemporary tests would involve sequencing whole genomes and constructing a gene-content phylogeny. While the whole battery of tests might produce slightly different answers, the overall agreement would in the vast majority of cases be consilient.

 

hackenslash

Well-Known Member
I'm more of a physics guy and in physics it seems like there is always a test you can do to prove something or disprove something.
Oh, boy, have I got the thing for you.

A whole slew of those batteries of tests involve something called 'radiometric dating'.

You've probably heard nonsense like Hovind and his 'carbon dating doesn't work', or maybe Potholer's rejoinder 'Oi, Hovind, it's got no f*cking carbon in it!' (which isn't actually correct, but where's the comedy in that?)

Anyhoo, carbon dating is itself one of a whole battery of tests, and physics is at the heart.

Not to distract form what Spar is saying, of course. One of the most important guiding principles in science is something that nobody really talks about outside science; consilience.

Consilience is when many different lines of enquiry end up at the same place. I know you've seen different phylogenies, for example. When we see many phylogenies derived by different methods arriving at largely the same nested hierarchies, we know we're onto something.

Oh, yes, the treat! A guest post on my blog by one of my all-time favourite debunkers. There's only one Blue Butterfly.

Radionuclide Dating is Rigorous by Calilasseia
 

We are Borg

Administrator
Staff member
If I gave you a fossil and wanted to know it's closest living ancestor, what is the name of the test we would have to do in order to find the answer? Is there such a test? This is one thing I really do not understand. I'm more of a physics guy and in physics it seems like there is always a test you can do to prove something or disprove something. :confused:
Well i hope when you find a fossil you call in experts because they need to know the location and what layer the fossil is in. After that they can do dating on fossil and layer, depending on other factors they can say in the field the age. But this needs to be verified by dating in a lab for a more accurate date. How they determine what they closest ancestors is or even what species it is maybe a question @AronRa can answer i have no idea how this works and would love to know more. By the way Aron maybe a new serie how they work it all out.
 

AronRa

Administrator
I am not sure if complexity really increases but for the rest I would say yes. Lifeforms change. I believe humans were all the same color when we were created and then we changed, probably as we spread out into different environments and that eventually as we continue to reproduce we will all go back to being the same color again
Of course humans were never "created", and there was already a variety of colors when there were still other species, but we'll get to that later. There are a number of studies in the peer-reviewed literature showing an increase of complexity. Here is one of them. Logically the principle of biodiversity should imply that some things would simplify and others would be more complex. If that is not a sticking point, we can move on. Do you also accept the fact that alleles vary with increasing distinction in reproductive populations, and that these are accelerated in genetically isolated groups?
 

Led Zeppelin

Active Member
It depends on a lot of factors. Do we already know the species of this fossil, or is the objective also to work out what species it is? What anatomical features are observable? Is there recoverable DNA?

There are multiple types of test; the oldest types use comparative anatomy while contemporary tests would involve sequencing whole genomes and constructing a gene-content phylogeny. While the whole battery of tests might produce slightly different answers, the overall agreement would in the vast majority of cases be consilient.

Oh, boy, have I got the thing for you.

A whole slew of those batteries of tests involve something called 'radiometric dating'.

You've probably heard nonsense like Hovind and his 'carbon dating doesn't work', or maybe Potholer's rejoinder 'Oi, Hovind, it's got no f*cking carbon in it!' (which isn't actually correct, but where's the comedy in that?)

Anyhoo, carbon dating is itself one of a whole battery of tests, and physics is at the heart.

Not to distract form what Spar is saying, of course. One of the most important guiding principles in science is something that nobody really talks about outside science; consilience.

Consilience is when many different lines of enquiry end up at the same place. I know you've seen different phylogenies, for example. When we see many phylogenies derived by different methods arriving at largely the same nested hierarchies, we know we're onto something.

Oh, yes, the treat! A guest post on my blog by one of my all-time favourite debunkers. There's only one Blue Butterfly.

Radionuclide Dating is Rigorous by Calilasseia
Well i hope when you find a fossil you call in experts because they need to know the location and what layer the fossil is in. After that they can do dating on fossil and layer, depending on other factors they can say in the field the age. But this needs to be verified by dating in a lab for a more accurate date. How they determine what they closest ancestors is or even what species it is maybe a question @AronRa can answer i have no idea how this works and would love to know more. By the way Aron maybe a new serie how they work it all out.
Of course humans were never "created", and there was already a variety of colors when there were still other species, but we'll get to that later. There are a number of studies in the peer-reviewed literature showing an increase of complexity. Here is one of them. Logically the principle of biodiversity should imply that some things would simplify and others would be more complex. If that is not a sticking point, we can move on. Do you also accept the fact that alleles vary with increasing distinction in reproductive populations, and that these are accelerated in genetically isolated groups?
My apologies to everyone for taking so long to reply. I'm trying to move but it has not been going so well. All I can say right now is that will consider every everything that as been said here. Even though we disagree about some things I know you all are very smart and I would be stupid not to appreciate your input. I will try to answer AronRa's post hopefully here in the next hour or so If I can.
 

Led Zeppelin

Active Member
Of course humans were never "created", and there was already a variety of colors when there were still other species, but we'll get to that later. There are a number of studies in the peer-reviewed literature showing an increase of complexity. Here is one of them.
With all due respect, I actually have a lot of problems with this. These problems could be a result of my lack of education but I will state them.

First of all it seems the article you link to assumes common ancestry and thus the arisal of protein-coding sequence from a non-protein coding sequence. The sequence was not even predicted.

2nd There is no test you can preform to determine the complexity of an entire organism, based on a DNA analysis.

3rd If you say there is such a test, I would likely deny your idea of complexity

Last of all, If DNA is not really a code then why are you referring me to an article which uses the word "coding" 52 times? Is it a code? If not, than the least you can do is give me another a word I can use to replace the use of "coding" here. Or should I just disregard the term, each time it is used in the paper you link to?

It I have made a mistake somewhere in this post, it was not an attempt to obfuscate or deceit.
 

hackenslash

Well-Known Member
First of all it seems the article you link to assumes common ancestry and thus the arisal of protein-coding sequence from a non-protein coding sequence. The sequence was not even predicted.
There's a problem with the way you're viewing this.

First, common ancestry is established. You need to be clear about that. It isn't some woolly notion that we assume, it's been tested time and time again, to the degree that even Hume would confidently say it's been established to a high degree of confidence. In fact, by all metrics of evolutionary theory, what this represents is yet another test of common ancestry, which it has passed.

Second, this paper wasn't offered in support of common ancestry, it was offered in support of increasing complexity, and it does that, by showing new function in an existing gene.

The prediction of the sequence here is a non sequitur. The specific sequence didn't have to be predicted, only the existence of a de novo gene. They chose a gene known to have function in humans that they reasonably assumed might not have identical function in our closest relatives, because it's linked to a very human behaviour. By showing that the gene underpinning nicotine addiction in humans differed from our closest relatives, they pinned down a human-specific gene.

This is one of those things where a little grounding in the philosophy of science really makes a difference.
2nd There is no test you can preform to determine the complexity of an entire organism, based on a DNA analysis.
You can draw extremely strong conclusions, if you have a decent map of the terrain. A DNA analysis of an organism you'd never seen could be placed confidently in a clade with very little ambiguity based on comparative sequencing alone. This is trivially the same technology that convicts murderers (with considerably more ambiguity in the results in forensics than in taxonomy).

I'm compelled to ask what you mean by 'complexity' here, because it's one of the most horribly misused terms in existence.
3rd If you say there is such a test, I would likely deny your idea of complexity
Complexity is behaviour emergent from the interaction of multiple parts.

Here's my idea in more detail.

But No Simpler.
Last of all, If DNA is not really a code then why are you referring me to an article which uses the word "coding" 52 times? Is it a code? If not, than the least you can do is give me another a word I can use to replace the use of "coding" here. Or should I just disregard the term, each time it is used in the paper you link to?
It isn't a code, but our treatment of it is a code, and we apply the language of our treatment to the molecule because it aids in understanding. We explain things by comparing them to things we understand. In some cases, the comparison works so well that the language of one is useful shorthand for talking about the other. That's what's happened here.

This piece post about information theory and DNA covers all the bases here, including dealing with why we use the terms we do, in what ways DNA is like a code, why we talk about it having 'information', etc.:

Who Put It There?
 

Sparhafoc

Well-Known Member
Complexity is behaviour emergent from the interaction of multiple parts.

Yes! By far the most interesting aspect of this for me LZ is finding these fundamental aspects of our universe; not disputes about evolution or common ancestry which have been shown far beyond credible doubt that they're pretty much routine. Instead, think about the amazing fact that complexity inevitably arises from the interaction of simple components: this is a profound and extremely basal description of our universe.
 

Sparhafoc

Well-Known Member
Last of all, If DNA is not really a code then why are you referring me to an article which uses the word "coding" 52 times? Is it a code? If not, than the least you can do is give me another a word I can use to replace the use of "coding" here. Or should I just disregard the term, each time it is used in the paper you link to?


Well, for a start there would need to be a system of substitution, where one thing is intended to indicate another 'hidden' meaning. Secondly, codes are designed systems where both the signaler and receiver need to both be able to understand the code and what it truly signifies.

This just doesn't really bear out metaphorically with respect to DNA.

You can say X gene codes for Y protein, but that meaning is meant metaphorically to be like the way a programmer writes out instructions in order to arrive at an output, so not a code in the first sense of the word.

Really, metaphors are useful and help us envision something that's otherwise not immediately in front of us by likening it to something we are more familiar with. But one has to understand the remit of the metaphor - no one's employing a metaphor with the intent of suggesting they're identical. Maps and terrains.

You don't need to disregard the word 'code' - you need to abandon the semantic significances you attach to it from other irrelevant areas of life. It's not really tricky - you find banks lining rivers, but you don't expect to be able to withdraw money from them. Same here with the word 'code' - it doesn't mean what you take it to mean.
 

ldmitruk

Active Member
Semantic baggage is a terrible barrier to clear thought.
And now we're talking about suitcases. :p

It is unfortunate how semantics has clouded discussions involving evolution. From 'it's just a theory' to confusing stellar evolution with biological evolution. It's amazing how many times words have to be carefully defined for creationists and yet they still bugger things up.
 

Nesslig20

Active Member
Last of all, If DNA is not really a code then why are you referring me to an article which uses the word "coding" 52 times? Is it a code? If not, than the least you can do is give me another a word I can use to replace the use of "coding" here. Or should I just disregard the term, each time it is used in the paper you link to?

I have learned biology ever since I started high school... my books talked a lot about organisms consisting of "cells" but I was very confused when I learned that there were no prison inmates present in my own body.
 

Led Zeppelin

Active Member
There's a problem with the way you're viewing this.

First, common ancestry is established. You need to be clear about that. It isn't some woolly notion that we assume, it's been tested time and time again, to the degree that even Hume would confidently say it's been established to a high degree of confidence. In fact, by all metrics of evolutionary theory, what this represents is yet another test of common ancestry, which it has passed.

Second, this paper wasn't offered in support of common ancestry, it was offered in support of increasing complexity, and it does that, by showing new function in an existing gene.

The prediction of the sequence here is a non sequitur. The specific sequence didn't have to be predicted, only the existence of a de novo gene. They chose a gene known to have function in humans that they reasonably assumed might not have identical function in our closest relatives, because it's linked to a very human behaviour. By showing that the gene underpinning nicotine addiction in humans differed from our closest relatives, they pinned down a human-specific gene.

This is one of those things where a little grounding in the philosophy of science really makes a difference.

You can draw extremely strong conclusions, if you have a decent map of the terrain. A DNA analysis of an organism you'd never seen could be placed confidently in a clade with very little ambiguity based on comparative sequencing alone. This is trivially the same technology that convicts murderers (with considerably more ambiguity in the results in forensics than in taxonomy).

I'm compelled to ask what you mean by 'complexity' here, because it's one of the most horribly misused terms in existence.

Complexity is behaviour emergent from the interaction of multiple parts.

Here's my idea in more detail.

But No Simpler.

It isn't a code, but our treatment of it is a code, and we apply the language of our treatment to the molecule because it aids in understanding. We explain things by comparing them to things we understand. In some cases, the comparison works so well that the language of one is useful shorthand for talking about the other. That's what's happened here.

This piece post about information theory and DNA covers all the bases here, including dealing with why we use the terms we do, in what ways DNA is like a code, why we talk about it having 'information', etc.:

Who Put It There?
Hackenslash, It will take me a long time to go over and think about all of the information you and others have very graciously provided me, concerning macroevolution, in this thread and in many other places on this forum. I don't think I am really qualified to debate our origins at this time so I would rather not add anything else to this thread. There is no point in me babbling endlessly about things I don't understand.
 
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