Talk:Biology and creation

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Surely we need to qualify young earth and old earth creationists here? Because young earth creationists cannot agree with the biology of mutation rates, unless somehow suggesting that mutation rates were far higher, and constantly more beneficial just after the flood? Old earth creationists can perhaps accept all the same science as an evolutionist, except that of abiogenesis, but I suspect more often than not they believe that the animals have been design, and the hand of god has guided evolution, which is not a belief held by evolutionists.

I'm positive there are many other aspects of biology that young earth creationists would disagree upon.Raggs 12:45, 9 April 2008 (EDT)

Sorry, I don't understand. What is the "biology of mutation rates"? And why is that relevant to the article? --Ed Poor Talk 12:51, 9 April 2008 (EDT)
I assume Raggs means the rate at which mutations occur, and that would be relevant if there have only been a few thousand years since the flood. But I came here to say something a little different - surely it cannot be true that "Creationist biologists accept all the biology that an evolutionist accepts" - given that evolution plays such a central part in modern biology, as an underpinning theory and an observed fact. The article almost seems to be saying "Creationist biologists accept all the biology that an evolutionist accepts, except for the biology"! Humblpi 12:59, 9 April 2008 (EDT)
To answer your question on my usertalk (may as well state it here), I've got a zoology degree, have worked in the field of prosimians and am planning on starting a phd soon (hell I hope to become a professor one day, so perhaps I'm not worth listening to ;)). Also I've discussed this and these topics a fair old bit. Humblpi has basically got it. Mutation rates are pretty damn constant, not just in mammals but bacteria as well, the reason they evolve so much faster is their amazingly rapid generation time compared to ours. In short, if you're dealing with a 4000 year time period, mutation rates must have been through the roof (not only a very tiny population to work with, but also a hell of a lot to diversify to), and somehow avoid negative mutations (which are far more dangerous in small populations than large ones). YEC would have a lot of problems with biology (all related to evolutionary concepts, but there are a few). OEC can indeed accept every part of biology unscathed (depending of course on their beliefs). It just seems like a very short article, containing barely any information, and that which is contained needs to be qualified in many places.Raggs 14:01, 9 April 2008 (EDT)
The article appears to be based on a comment I made here, in which I said:
Creationist biologists accept all the biology that an evolutionist accepts, but disagrees on how living things came about. That is, they agree on the observable facts, not on the unobserved history.
But the claim that "evolution plays such a central part in modern biology, as an underpinning theory" is simply rhetoric, with little basis in fact. See here for more. And (molecules to man) evolution is not an "observed fact". Nobody has ever seen a creature evolved into a different kind of creature.
I'm curious about Raggs' claim of bacteria evolving fast: What have we seen bacteria evolving into (i.e. becoming something other than bacteria)? The point is, despite the rapid generation time, we have not seen them evolve (i.e. change into something else), yet if evolution were true, surely that's exactly what we would expect. In effect, it's a prediction of evolution that has been falsified.
I don't understand the comment about mutation rates being through the roof if you're dealing with a 4,000-year time period. It seems to be suggesting that creationists believe that everything evolved from the first living thing, just as evolutionists claim, but over a period of 4,000 years. If this is what Raggs is saying, he is just showing his gross ignorance of the idea that he so readily tries to point out problems with. YECs don't believe in (molecules to man) evolution at all.
Philip J. Rayment 22:51, 9 April 2008 (EDT)
Come now, stop trying to make me out to be ignorant and merely land yourself there instead. We have seen bacteria evolve resistance to antibiotics, they don't need to become anything other than bacteria, and they have still evolved. Evolution doesn't have to lead to bacteria becoming anything else (or even multicelluar), you are using a misconceived definition of evolution I'm afraid.
As Humbli stated, and as I would have thought to be obvious, the 4000 year figure comes from the flood. We have pairs of animals, now unless you claim noah manage to fit two (or seven or fourteen of some animals), of every species that exists today, then he must have taken two of every "kind" (at whatever point creationists decide to define as a kind at the time). Now if we only have two to start with, and a lot of species to get to, then we need a lot of mutation to achieve the species variety in such a short time, and even more so because we are dealing with tiny populations. So if you are willing to state creationist biologists believe in everything evolutionists believe in, except molecules to man, then they would also accept mutation rates, however they cannot agree with biologists on these things due to the reasons I've just stated. Mutation is an observable event. Mutation rates are observable. The mechanism of replication is observable. So unless the replication systems have changed a great deal in the past few thousands years (in order to slow down speciation (more comfortable a word for you as opposed to evolution?)), then YEC biologists must argue mutation rates.
And to be honest, I'd like to go back to when mutation was extremely fast, and apparently almost never bad. Because that's another important thing you have to consider, with a large population and slow mutation you have a good buffer to survive negative mutations (doesn't matter if some animals just don't make it), when dealing with a very small population, in which almost every animal has some serious mutations, then you're facing big trouble.Raggs 02:16, 10 April 2008 (EDT)
Your comments show that you don't know the basics of creationist arguments, so "ignorant" is quite appropriate. The whole point of evolution is that all living things evolved from the first living thing, the evolutionary "family tree". If that were true, then given the generation rates of bacteria, you should, as I said, expect to see bacteria evolved into something else. Yet you don't, as you now admit.
To put that in more precise terms, the first living cells would not have had the genetic information for hair, blood, and lungs, to pick just three examples. So between bacteria and humans (etc.) evolution has to add enormous amounts of new genetic information. The question is, can we identify mechanisms that can produce this information?
First, the simply answer is "no". Mutations either have no informational effect, or they destroy information. This has been observed over and over. In other words, a key prediction of evolution is falsified.
Second, bacteria having resistance to antibiotics does not involve the generation of new genetic information. In many cases, a few members of the population already had the resistance. The antibiotic wiped out the ones without the resistance, and only the ones with the resistance were able to reproduce, so now a large part of the population are resistant to the antibiotic. But there was no new information generated. So it is not "molecules to man" evolution.
Third, when two creatures mate and produce offspring, each of the offspring inherit half the genetic information from each parent. None of the offspring have a full complement of the genetic information of their parents. If environmental pressures wipe out individuals with certain characteristics (such as short fur in a cold environment), the genetic information that is not in the ones that survive is lost. So if two populations of creatures that started out together end up in different environments with different selection pressures, each population ends up being a little (or not so little) different to the other. Depending on how different, we might classify them as different species. But in all this process of speciation, no new genetic information has been generated, and no mutations were involved.
Mutations do occur, however, and could also affect the above process, causing even further genetic information to be lost than just that lost from selection pressure on inherited subsets of the information. But again, this is a loss of information, not a gain, and cannot explain the evolutionary family tree from the first living thing to humans, birds, and pomegranates.
So the various species that exist today are indeed descended from the fewer kinds that were on the ark, but not from a process that can explain the evolutionary family tree, and much of it not from mutations. Mutations, and mutations rates, both of which have been observed, are not the issue. The issue is whether or not mutations can produce the evolutionary family tree. That is the (claimed) history, and has not been observed.
Again, this is pretty basic YEC creationism, and if you're not aware of that, you really don't have a clue about the idea that you are attempting to refute.
Philip J. Rayment 06:42, 10 April 2008 (EDT)
I think this reinforces the point I made near the top of this discussion. The beliefs of creationists and mainstream biologists/evolutionists are so far apart that it is simply not true to say that "Creationist biologists accept all the biology that an evolutionist accepts, but disagree on how living things came about." I am not here to argue about who is right, just to point out the size of the gap. I think that gap is so large that the thesis of the article is simply nonsense. [[User:|Humblpi]] 07:12, 10 April 2008 (EDT)
That can only be true if evolution makes up a large part of biology. I addressed that above with a link. Here are further examples.[1][2] The claim that evolution is a large part of biology is simply not true. Philip J. Rayment 07:21, 10 April 2008 (EDT)

Humblpi, We weren't talking about their beliefs, if by that you mean their own philosophical speculations about the history of life on earth (see Origins debate).
  • "Creationist biologists accept all the biology that an evolutionist accepts, but disagree on how living things came about."
Leaving aside what the article says to leave aside (wink), the article asserts that there is no other area of disagreement between biologists who accept and reject evolution. Since this is not a debate page, let us confine our discussion to ways in which we can improve this article.
If you are aware of an aspect of biology other than the historical question of how living things came about originally, on which there is disagreement between pro- and anti-evolution biologists, then you are duty bound to add it to the article. Or at least mention it here. --Ed Poor Talk 07:27, 10 April 2008 (EDT)

Reading up: given that evolution plays such a central part in modern biology

What part does evolution play in modern biology? In your answer, please be sure to give an example of a biologist invoking the theory of evolution in his work because leaving it out wouldn't make sense. Don't forget to show what percent of biology papers (in peer reviewed journals) refer to evolution.

In case you can't answer this - and I was pretty sure you couldn't when I posed it - it means that biologists might give lip service to evolution, or keep silent about the claim that "nothing makes sense without it". But in fact, everything but the question of how forms of life originated makes perfect sense without any mention of evolution, positive or negative.

In case I'm wrong, I'll check back later to see if you have bothered to reply. --Ed Poor Talk 07:15, 10 April 2008 (EDT)

Apologies if I have offended or transgressed. Please don't treat me like a child and set me "homework". I am only trying to help, and I was trying to say that the article looks pretty thin in terms of content - but I don't think it's up to me to add to it, because I think the underlying premise is flawed, and if it were up to me I'd simply delete it. In answer to your other point, yes, evolutionary processes are indeed a core part of much of modern biology. I'll give just a couple of examples, with sample reasonably accessible references, one from the field and one from the lab: (1) Research on predator-prey relationships assumes a parallel set of evolutionary driving forces, acting on predator and prey, and without a basic understanding of how the changes occur from generation to generation it makes no sense (e.g. Reznick DN, Ghalambor CK, Crooks K. Experimental studies of evolution in guppies: a model for understanding the evolutionary consequences of predator removal in natural communities. Mol Ecol. 2008 Jan;17(1):97-107. Epub 2008 Aug 23. [PMID 17725576]). (2) Research on bacteriophages demonstrates evolution in action, and in fact most of what is currently going on in this field is concerned with evolutionary changes (e.g. Kropinski AM. Phage Therapy - Everything Old is New Again. Can J Infect Dis Med Microbiol. 2006 Sep;17(5):297-306. [PMID 18382643]). Good enough, or would you like more examples? They are endless. Humblpi 08:08, 10 April 2008 (EDT)
In the right ball park, but so far you're striking out. Neither example addresses my concern.
Taking the second example first, AFAIK there are no disagreements between pro- and anti-evolution biologists about bacteria mutating. If you don't know about this area of science, perhaps I should ask Philip, but I haven't heard of a single "Christian biologist" saying that mutations never occur. The 4-winged fruit fly is fairly well known, even among us laymen.
The first example is unclear. Granted that they assume evolutionary driving forces, how does this affect their analysis? What does it have to do with anything they've observed? (Surely you're not saying that leopards and gazelles have evolved during the lifetime of the ethologists observing them.) --Ed Poor Talk 08:28, 10 April 2008 (EDT)
I have just seen your addition to Ecology: "Here at Conservapedia, we use "evolution" only to mean the emergence of a new species." Ah, well now... If you are using that incorrect definition, then I think we'll just have to agree to disagree. End of discussion. Humblpi 08:34, 10 April 2008 (EDT)
I agree that the definition in Ecology is incorrect, but not that incorrect. See Definition of evolution for more. Otherwise, I agree with Ed Poor's comments above. Philip J. Rayment 09:25, 10 April 2008 (EDT)