A new thread prompted by by a current discussion.
Is Darwinism a scientific explanation, or just another belief system?
Bbrerean, Wilderness, and EncephaloiDead have been going round and round in a debate relating to creationism, Darwinism, and macro, or micro evolution.
So here is a wrench in the gears of the Darwinist camp, (to which I subscribe). Going beyond the usual rhetoric of macro vs micro evolution, God vs. Creationist explanations, and of course the missing link "Bigfoot" scenarios.
Anti-Darwinists have many seemingly valid arguments against the theory of evolution - but no concrete proof. Darwinists have tons of scientific research that appears to validate their support, but, even admitting I believe the scientific study of evolution has more documented proof than "Creationalists," there is still one anti-Darwinism example that gives me pause.
It is the infamous "Bacterial flagellum." It is a mechanism that involves something that causes movement, (like a fin), and a "bearing" mechanism, and a motor, (to drive the "fin"). All of which are needed to function and could not have developed a step at a time. I will follow with a more detailed link, but in short, it appears to be a bacterial entity that cannot be explained using arguments of evolutionary development. Meaning A did not lead to B which in turn lead to C.
The function of this flagellum allows it to "swim," as in locomotion, and could not have, (again, apparently), evolved in a step-by-step process. It either works as a unit, or there was no need for any parts of it to begin with. So no need to evolve to the finished product.
Here is one source for the details: Bacterial Fl;agellum
Of course this is listed as refuting Darwinism. While it does give me pause, it does not shatter my belief in the theory of evolution.
What say you?
Was one or more parts of the flagellum first used for another purpose and, with the addition of additional parts, became more useful as a flagellum? Or even there with no real purpose, but no harm to survival, either?
Reminds me of the "irreducible" eye; which some animals have reduced to a simple light sensor much like a photocell. No focus, no closing, no color, no nothing but a receptor that responds to light with an electrical signal.
It has been awhile since my Darwin/Anti-Darwin readings, so I guess I will have to dust off a couple books to refresh my memory. Until then I plead for leniency as I speak from recollections.
This bacterial flagellum being the one I remember as one of the Anti-Darwinists "big guns."
The explanation I recall is that the answer to your question is no. As a bacterial cell, there was no evident use or need of any of the parts for other purposes. One part did not "evolve" to a new and improved version by adding any of the other parts. Or so the explanation goes.
Regarding your "irreducible eye" aka Irreducible Complexity," yes, the flagellum is an example of that argument. But as I remember, unlike many of the IC theory examples, (such as the eye), which can be debated, the flagellum ws one example that just doesn't seem evolutionarily explainable. Like most controversial topics, even though the Irreducible Complexity explanation has been rejected by peer review, it still holds water as proof that Darwin's theory is wrong, and intelligent design is right for a lot of people. ( I bet that is bBerean's camp) I disagree.
Hard to believe that we think we've discovered the very first bacteria "fossil" with any part of a flagellum.
More likely is that the nay sayers have declared there were none others prior, without having the faintest notion if it is true or not. Given: a mutation that produced one part that did nothing particular, bad or good, towards survival, that bacteria would live and reproduce. When a second mutation that DOES do some definite good towards survival happened, it would take over the niche of bacteria without the multiple mutations.
So how do we know (or think we know) that there were no bacteria without the first mutation? Because we don't find fossilized bacteria bones? That is commonly the complaint for the "missing links", after all - we haven't found them so they never existed.
You are on the right track. There have been others that say there is evidence of other bacterial cells that have a spine-like protrusion used to inject toxins that may have been a forerunner to the flagella that is so controversial.
But the complexity and seemingly unique function of the bacterial flagellum is still fodder for some contentious debate.
GA, are you sure you want to open this up? There are many aspects of evolution where I contend it falls apart under sincere scrutiny, but this thread of investigation may well facilitate it's quickest unwravelling. Where I may disagree is in your thinking this example is unique. I will concede it is among the most glaring. When the dust settles from a good, hard, honest look though you will begin to see the problems represented by this example are present in varying degrees with every imagined change outside of the adaptability engineered into all living portions of creation.
Can you define and explain "adaptability" in such a way that it stops dead at changing the class of an organism, but up to that point can make any changes possible?
Perhaps it would be simplest to consider it changes breeders are able to facilitate, (in other words changes that can actually be shown to occur). What I posted in the other thread in response to another question about micro vs macro evolution has relevance here as well:
Sure, let's have a go at it. But be forewarned, while I agree there are many instances that pose reasonable challenges to Darwinism, IC, (Irreducible Complexity), has enough valid criticisms to make it susceptible to doubt also.
My perspective is that IC is just an argument for the Intelligent Design theory, (aka God did it theory).
As for the flagellum being a unique example - I do believe it is more unique than others I have heard that could reasonably be explained either evolutionarily, or as a "we just don't know" conundrum. Yet, even this example has some seemingly valid discussions that portray the flagella parts as being able to serve different functions in different bacteria. leaving the door open for a possible evolutionary explanation.
Science is great, but it does not always have all the answers. Unlike belief-supported theories.
Agreed; genuine pure science is great. It is however, by definition deaf, blind and mute to anything outside of materialism and must assume and proceed as though nothing outside of it exists. This leaves a great many things, indeed nearly everything we hold most dear, as outside of the realm of science.
In spite of what the subtitle of Darwin's book claims, science is also totally useless in determining our actual origins, what life is, how inanimate objects could have animated and pretty much anything regarding how all the needed pieces of the puzzle came to be.
All that said then we must jump ahead to where all the most basic components exist and go across that vast gulf science can never hope to touch to where the most "basic", (with even the most basic cell being more complicated than all of man's collective accomplishments), life form is already alive and well, eating, thriving and reproducing. Later, perhaps we can revisit how none of that makes any sense within the parameters science can speak to.
Let's look at what evolutionists consider the "earliest" example of a life form, and the first occurrence of it transitioning to another kind of life form. From your understanding, what pray-tell do they imagine that example to be?
See, I knew we would get off to a good start. You went straight to the most unsatisfactorily answered question - The determination of the origin of life.
The ol' "Primordial Soup" theory may be a possible explanation, but it relies on many suppositions that are made because we just don't have any other answers.
But, I think the provable evolutionary evidence after that first cell is valid, and that same validity may reflect on a scientific explanation for the emergence of life. Whereas Creationism relies solely on the lack of concrete proof and acceptance of belief as proof.
Beliefs can be wonderful life structures, but their cost is unacceptable for many. And they are not a substitute for science. Or the current lack of provable scientific answers.
Indeed. And yet, if science detected, at the very least, anything at all from this so-called realm, they would attempt to measure and qualify it as they do with everything else. But alas, not even the rattling of a saber.
And, this completely undetectable realm in which you hold everything most dear is where exactly?
That is comical, at best, and shows only deep denial without any reasoning whatsoever.
From where do you get that ridiculous notion?
Of course, if you never attempt to learn anything about science, it will probably not make sense. One must actually take the time to educate themselves in matters they wish to delve.
Simple proteins, of course. Didn't you know that? You did say you knew about evolution, right?
Couldn't even be bothered to look it up yourself? Wow.
I hope you don't mind if I jump in, I did start this thread. I have been following your exchanges, and your responses have been so patronizing and ridiculing that I am surprised by this last one.
A more accurate explanation of the predominate theory of life's origin starts with nucleotides. Then it progresses to the components of RNA, DNA, Amino Acids, and proteins.
But even giving you a bit of slack, (something you apparently do not feel obliged to offer any who disagree with you), and understanding that many folks take the lazy route of attributing the origin of life to a combination of proteins - you still ignore the more important fact.
It is still an unproven theory! It is a "maybe it could have happened this way" conjecture based on the best available data. First it was an abrupt synthesis created by lightning strikes into the primordial soup of Earth's early waters. Now, more recently, it is leaning more in the direction of occurring in or around deep sea thermal vents rich with the chemical ingredients needed.
Maybe next will be that the chemical combination occurred within the crust and was spewed forth from these same thermal vents and was nurtured through development by the womb of hot deep sea water around these vents.
I certainly don't know, and my bit of shallow searching has not turned up any scientific authority that is willing to proclaim this as fact. The best I could find is that this is viewed as a probable explanation - a theory.
Yet you seem sure enough to condescendingly declare, "Simple proteins, of course. Didn't you know that?"
Ok, where is your proof that your answer is fact - and not a belief?
RNA and the Deep Blue Sea
Life began when on the earth molecules occurred,
And short strands of DNA in the probiotic world.
Short polymers produced in a lab,
Show sequences of copied pairs and that should make us glad.
RNA is catalyst in all our modern cells,
and molecules must all compete for monomers to prevail.
And what about those templates: They have to do with me;
They have to do with RNA and the deep blue sea.
But none of this is proved at all... the scientists aren't sure.
Could it be that meteorites brought all the microbes here?
Yes, I am the one who is the problem here, of course, demanding honesty and integrity from those who do little more than offer denial, lies and religious beliefs instead of reasonable discussions of topics they know nothing about.
Yes, that's called molecular evolution.
Seriously? Are you saying I've not offered time and again, folks like deBerean plenty of opportunities to offer their rebuttals against evolution, asking them over and over to provide a logical, reasonable argument and receiving nothing in kind?
I don't believe that even entered into the conversation? Who asked about lightning strikes and deep sea thermal vents?
That would certainly be another topic for discussion, please start a new thread if you feel compelled to do so.
Allow me to offer the definition of a theory:
"A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that is acquired through the scientific method and repeatedly tested and confirmed through observation and experimentation. As with most (if not all) forms of scientific knowledge, scientific theories are inductive in nature and aim for predictive power and explanatory force."
But, had you actually been following along the exchanges between us, you would have found that deBerean claims to have a full understanding of evolution and science, yet cannot even raise a simple argument in terms of the basic postulates. The only thing he ever offered was denials.
I can only presume by this post of yours that you support his dishonest tactics?
Most of us know how dangerous assumptions can be. They have caused me to stub my toe frequently, so I hope I am being helpful if I try to address a couple of yours.
"Yes, I am the one who is the problem here, of course, demanding honesty and integrity from those who do little more than offer denial, lies and religious beliefs instead of reasonable discussions of topics they know nothing about.
It wasn't I that said you were the problem here. And who are you to demand anything from anyone? Someone that disagrees with you may be denying your perspective, and they may be offering religious beliefs as the basis for their understanding, but to earn the title of "lies," shouldn't you be able to prove they are purposeful lies and not just differences of opinion or realities?
Your declaration that because someone disagrees with you they know nothing about the topic seems like a very big assumption. Regarding this particular topic, (and the one that sired it), that assumption would seem to stand on very shaky ground.
"Yes, that's called molecular evolution.
Are you sure about that? Nucleotides combining with other ingredients to form life doesn't sound like an evolutionary process to me. Perhaps I did not look deep enough, or understand what I did read, but I don't see how something living can evolve - until it actually becomes something living. Which is not a description of nucleotides. If you wanted to point me in the right direction I would welcome the opportunity to correct my possibly false understanding of evolution.
In response to bBerbean, (in this thread), prior to your response I said this...
"See, I knew we would get off to a good start. You went straight to the most unsatisfactorily answered question - The determination of the origin of life."
The ol' "Primordial Soup" theory may be a possible explanation, but it relies on many suppositions that are made because we just don't have any other answers."
Perhaps you did not intend the origin of life to be part of your understanding of evolution, or maybe you missed this, otherwise you might not have said;
"I don't believe that even entered into the conversation? Who asked about lightning strikes and deep sea thermal vents?"
Sure looks to me like it was in the conversation
"Allow me to offer the definition of a theory:
"A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that is acquired through the scientific method and repeatedly tested and confirmed through observation and experimentation. As with most (if not all) forms of scientific knowledge, scientific theories are inductive in nature and aim for predictive power and explanatory force.""[/i]
It would seem like your definition needs a qualifier - like "proven", or at the least, "accepted" scientific theory.
And then there is this...
"I can only presume by this post of yours that you support his dishonest tactics?"
What could be worse than an assumption? I know, I know... "A presumption!"
Demanding honesty in a discussion where it is severely lacking or is willfully missing is something we all expect, yes? Is there any point to any discussion when one party never offers even their honesty from the get go?
No one is denying "my" perspective or is offering a difference of opinion, they are denying facts and evidence that support theories accepted by the scientific community. I did offer the definition of theory for you if you so need it.
Not sure where you get that idea, they are making denials without adding a shred of explanation or evidence. What assumption is on shaky ground?
You might want to look that up, then.
And yet, it isn't in the conversation, according to the quotes you just provided.
Is that supposed to be a joke?
I think we are making progress EncephaloiDead.
I did follow your advice and looked a little deeper into the nucleotides and molecular evolution thing.
I know this is dealing with just one part of a conversation about evolution, ( a comment about the origin of life), but it still seems to me that molecular evolution can't start until a molecule is formed.
Here is a brief excerpt from a course paper at Brown University: Lecture 12: Molecular Evolution
"Some important theoretical background: we want to develop a picture of what happens to a new mutant in a population, lets say a single nucleotide change a one position in the DNA. This is the starting point for molecular evolution."
This seems to indicate that the addition of DNA and that other stuff to nucleotide combinations to mysteriously reach the point of a living molecule/cell is more initial formation than evolution.
There were more articles and course work that also indicate molecular evolution couldn't start until there was first a molecule to evolve. But this point was just a small part of a larger conversation, so we can probably leave it be for now. I just wanted to address your question about who asked about lightning strikes and deep sea thermal vents. It was an exchange between bBerean and myself that you responded to.
Thanks for providing that definition of scientific theory. It was a good one. But perhaps an additional caveat might have been helpful when discussing such a controversial theory as evolution vs. theories that had enough proven facts to become scientific laws - Like Newton and his theory about gravity. Do you think there are enough proven facts for the theory of evolution to now qualify it as the Law of Evolution?
Hopefully this may also help you dump your presumption that I agree with bBerean's theory of creation and Intelligent Design, (it was your declaration he was using "dishonest tactics" - so there is nothing there for me to agree or disagree with). I don't, but since his basis is geared more to the question of the origin of life, than just its evolution, I also can't say I believe our science has enough "proven" facts to dismiss the possibility that he could be right. I don't think he is, but until we can "factually prove" the origin of life, all we can do is say we think we are right and he is wrong.
Unfortunately, that's now how it works.
Laws in science differ from theories in that a law extracts consistent, measurable, results from observational phenomena, they take on mathematical formulas in order for us to fully understand how they work. This is reason why evolution will never be a law.
Again, that's not really how it works, especially with evolution. Theories are not proofs, proofs are more related to mathematicians. Theories are based on a collection of facts that explain the phenomenon.
But, say for example, I took the time to learn about evolution and you did not, yet you went on about how evolution was wrong, but never offered an explanation why it's wrong, but instead, offered only a denial, wouldn't you think the issue would be less about who is right and who is wrong, but instead, more about who is looking at and acknowledging the facts and who refuses to look at them at all?
Good explanation. But what if I did learn about evolution too, but the gaps and guesses left enough doubt for my "other" explanations to be true for me?
I do not believe bBerean is ignorant about evolution. I think he just thinks the theory is wrong as applied to the explanation of life. I did not get the impression he disagreed with the probability that evolution was responsible for changes and adaptations of a species.
Of course he is more than capable of speaking for himself, but I understood his point to be that evolution has not been proven to be the creator of species. A point I disagree with in many fossil and observational species changes that do seem proven by material evidence. But... it also must be admitted that there are many gaps that have not been proven to be a result of evolution, but evolutionists have used the proven facts they do know and extrapolated them to cover the cases where proof hasn't been found yet.
You should note that although I do believe the theory of evolution is valid, I do not believe it has been proven as an answer to the most basic creation of life question.
No one is going stop you from believing whatever you want to believe.
He appears scientifically illiterate and has been indoctrinated into his religion so much, that he cannot distinguish fantasy from fact.
What gaps, exactly? Be specific. Use peer reviewed articles to show your work so that I can understand exactly what it is that you disagree. Saying evolution is wrong is saying nothing.
Of course not, that question is being answered with abiogenesis.
Oh my, you don't want much do you. While I have enjoyed our exchanges, what you ask is beyond the effort I am willing to contribute.
I say there are areas of doubt, and gaps of real understanding. If you believe that evolutionary theory is so bullet proof that you anxiously await my production of peer reviews validating my opinion - then good for you.
I don't think it is bullet proof, and am willing to stand with my opinion. You are certainly welcome to declare my opinion wrong, and we will both glare across no-man's land thinking the other is being hardheaded.
Thank goodness for Baskin-Robbins.
Notice that once again, dBerean has not produced a single argument against evolution or the "Bacterial flagellum", but has written plenty of denials.
When the dust settles, indeed.
Actually, there's been no debate yet, deBerean has made claims against evolution, but has yet to produce anything other than a denial.
I have never seen one single valid argument against evolution.
Yes, this has been one of latest creationist/ID assertions originally and dishonestly perpetrated by Behe in his book, "The Black Box". He goes on to insist the Bacterial flagellum was designed, yet the so-called design has already been explained by scientists, and they have also provided other microscopic lifeforms that are very similar to the Bacterial flagellum. It's old news.
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