User:PhilipN/Essay:Questions to evolutionists

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Question 1: How can a major mutation happen while transitional states are not viable ?

While eyes or wings are undoubtedly advantages, those evolutions did not happen in 1 generation. And, as it is often quoted, Evolution is blind. How 10% of an eye or 10% of a could have been be useful ?

The transitional states ARE viable, and the eye is a very good example of that. The first "eye" was just a primitive patch of photosensitive cells on a creature's head that could tell light from dark. This became more complex, becoming a concave eye cup capable of telling the direction of light. Eventually, a clear covering for the eye cup developed to protect it. That clear coating played the role of a lens soon enough, and the eye became capable for the first time of resolving images.

The question should not be "What would you do with 10% of an eye?" Instead, ask "What would you do with an eye 10% as good as the one you've got! RachelW 08:37, 30 January 2012 (EST)

Question 2: How can speciation happen without geographic separation ?

Geographic separation is the best way to get two groups of the same species to evolve differently from one another. However, any phenomenon which causes two groups to stop interbreeding can cause speciation. The term for it is sympatric speciation.RachelW 08:41, 30 January 2012 (EST)

Question 3: Who was the first Homo Sapiens ?

Was his father a homo sapiens as well ?

There was no "first" Homo sapiens. Evolution does not work like that. Evolution works through gradual changes within a population over generations. The "boundary" of speciation is not a defined threshold. Rather, speciation occurs gradually as allele frequency and genomic structure changes subtly, within a population, from one generation to the next. --JHunter 00:01, 30 January 2012 (EST)

Question 4: How would an evolutionist define a specie ?

Is it even possible to do so ?

Taxonomy is a human construct designed to make classifying animals easier. When two groups of animals can no longer interbreed, we usually call them different species, but the universe doesn't give a wet slap what we call animals, and indeed many "separate" species can interbreed to make hybrids. RachelW 08:44, 30 January 2012 (EST)

Question 5: How is Evolution more scientific than Creation ?

How isn't it a question of faith?

Evolution was formalized by careful study of natural evidence, and not widely accepted as a valid theory until large amounts of supporting data were found, and the theory was altered and fleshed out, a process still continuing today. There is no part of the evolutionary theory that is not subject to question or debate, as long as the evidence for an argument can be presented. This is the scientific process, and the theory of evolution is one of humanity's crowning achievements in the sciences. There is no such thing as "evolutionary dogma."

Creationism uses as its primary source of information the vaguely worded and most likely metaphorical creation story in Genesis. Creationism explains nothing about how life developed, only that it was put here by means that could never be tested or verified. Central to creationist belief is the historical truth of the Genesis account, but since there exists no evidence that could prove or disprove a supernatural source of the first life on Earth, it is a position one must take on faith alone.

In other words, Evolution is a properly vetted scientific theory which can be tested, and Creationism is a religious position that does not attempt to explain specific evidence of the Earth's age or of the provenance of animals, relying instead on faith in the Genesis account.RachelW 08:56, 30 January 2012 (EST)

Question 6: Is evolution a science ?

As defined by wikipedia, Science (from Latin scientia, meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe.
Is is testable ? Can we do predictions over millions of years ? And finally, could the theory be falsified?

Evolution can be and is empirically tested every day. Like astronomy, evolution relies primarily on observational data to form its theories. Those theories are tested by observing other parts of nature and seeing if the theory holds. It is also possible to experimentally demonstrate evolution. The Lenski experiments, well known on this site, are only one of the many experiments in which evolution has been demonstrated.

If you want to falsify evolution in a way that scientists would accept, the easiest way would be to find an organism too complex to have evolved gradually, in other words, find and demonstrably prove that such an organism is "irreducibly complex," that previous forms of the animal could not have possibly survived. Attempts to do so using such characteristics as wings and eyes have failed, as the evolution of these traits are well understood, but it is possible, though I personally would wager that such a creature does not exist. RachelW 09:06, 30 January 2012 (EST)

Question 7: Some great advantages are not very often seen

Why is that we do not see many big-brain species, it seems to be a pretty good strategy.

It is a very expensive advantage as well. Our large brains are very delicate, consume huge amounts of energy and make childbirth much more difficult for us than other primate species. Also, remember that "big brain" doesn't always mean "more intelligence," especially in larger animals that need more and more of their brains to control autonomic processes in their bodies. It is easy to see that evolving a large brain might not be as advantageous for other species as it is for us.

On a more general note, the process of genetic mutation is somewhat random, so it is very difficult to predict which specific adaptations will develop in a creature, if any at all. Just because a trait is beneficial doesn't mean that anyone in the species will ever develop the first mutations necessary to set them on that path. And remember, behavior is as affected by evolution as a creature's physical makeup, and much adaptation happens in how animals respond to the environment behaviorally. RachelW 09:15, 30 January 2012 (EST)

Question 8: What is the evolutionary advantage of Art ?

Art is most likely an exaptation of the primate sense of shapes, and the ability to quickly pick out and identify shapes in patterns and images. This sense seems to be instinctual in pirmate species, and is the reason that humans see shapes in clouds and the surface of the Moon. Art was very likely a unifying force in early communities, where artists could use images to teach people about their history, how to hunt, which plants not to eat, and so on. What we call "cave art" may well have been vital information for our ancestors, as well as something nice to look at. RachelW 09:20, 30 January 2012 (EST)

Question 9: Is Evolution unfalsifiable ?

A theory is falsifiable if it suggests testable (falsifiable) hypotheses. Evolution has suggested scores of testable hypotheses (e.g. the genetic homology between species) and every single one of them has been supported by subsequent experimental evidence. So, yes, evolution is falsifiable; it has been tested (and supported) time and again.
Creationism, on the other hand, does not suggest any testable hypotheses. Creationism is unfalsifiable. --JHunter 21:49, 30 January 2012 (EST)

Question 10: Is Evolution exempt of the 2nd law of thermodynamics ?

The second law of thermodynamics states the entropy increases over time in a closed system. Evolution does not violate this. A common creationist misconception is that evolution absolutely requires new information. However, this is not always the case. A simple change to a number of already existing genes can bring about big changes to the organism. For example, tetrapod limbs are said to have evolved from fish fins. This was a change of already existing information, and not an increase in the amount of information. Therefore, not only is the accusation incorrect, but the accusation also works off of a strawman argument. --RedGoliath 13:57, 30 January 2012 (GMT)

The Second Law only applies to closed systems. The Earth is not a closed system. I really wish creationists wouldn't use this argument because it makes us look ignorant. --GeorgeLi 08:59, 30 January 2012 (EST)

Question 11: How would you explain self-destructive behavior ?

Smokers, drug addicts, alcohol drinkers should not survive and should not attract the opposite sex.

If humans lived in an environment where such vices impeded the ability of people to survive to childbearing age, then this argument would be valid. However, since our society guarantees that the large majority of people survives to reproductive age, natural selection has little to do with these behaviors. As for what attracts the opposite sex, it is entirely possible for someone to drink, smoke, and still have traits that make them attractive, but this is more of a sociology question then one related to evolutionary biology. RachelW 10:34, 30 January 2012 (EST)

Question related to Evolution but not challenging the theory

Question A: According to Evolution, degrading biodiversity does not matter

According to evolutionists, there has already been many great extinction followed by explosion of diversity. If so, It does not really matter if we degrade biodiversity, it will be fixed by itself.

That couldn't be farther from the truth. Yes, mass extinction events have happened in the past, but almost every one of them wiped out everything larger than a squirrel. Not to mention that it took millions of years after each mass extinction for biodiversity to return to its pre-extinction levels. The current biodiversity crisis should be of concern to humans because (in addition to being larger than squirrels) we are losing potential sources of food and medicine with each species lost. Furthermore, as ecosystems are thrown into disarray, the loss of biodiversity is accelerating.
The current mass extinction is the result of habitat destruction and over-exploitation of natural resources by humans. Ecosystems are fragile and delicate things; as humans, we depend on a balanced ecosystem for food (that cheeseburger had to graze on something), oxygen, and drinking water. If the damage to the Earth's biosphere throws the whole system out of balance, it could threaten our very survival as a species. --JHunter 22:25, 30 January 2012 (EST)

Question B: According to Evolution, a human is not more important than a cockroach

So why should we kill cockroaches and not humans ?

Evolution does not make judgements about which species is "more important." That is a philosophical question that cannot be empirically tested or even objectively defined. Evolution only says that cockroaches, humans, and all other forms of life have an ancient, common ancestor, not that they are all morally equivalent. RachelW 10:40, 30 January 2012 (EST)

Question C: Is Evolution compatible with the Soul ?

If yes, how did it begin ? Did homo habilis have a soul ?

The soul is a unfalsifiable explanation for human consciousness invented by thinkers who did not have the benefit of modern medicine or neuroscience. Evolution has nothing to say on the existence of the soul, in homo habilis or otherwise. The definition of the soul, what it entails and is responsible for, has changed over the centuries as new information about human behavior and physiology has become available. If it exists, it is most likely an emergent property of the brain, and may very well exist in other animals and in previous hominid species. RachelW 10:45, 30 January 2012 (EST)

Question D: What do you find illogical with creationism ?

Creationism is not supported by empirical evidence (circumstantial appeals to "complexity" are not empirical evidence). It is the product of a dogmatic belief system based on iron age mythology religious tradition; not systematic observation of the natural world. Mythology Theology has no place in the laboratory or the science classroom. --JHunter 22:25, 30 January 2012 (EST)

Question E: What is the purpose of life ?

In the biochemical sense, the function of life is to perpetuate itself. Natural selection has refined DNA into a very potent machine for reproduction and survival. In the moral sense, this is a religious and philosophical question unrelated to how we developed over time. RachelW 10:47, 30 January 2012 (EST)

42--JHunter 22:25, 30 January 2012 (EST)