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Darwin's Birthday

In honor of Darwin's 200th birthday I'm going to post one of the problems I have with evolution. Maybe I'll write yet another post later in honor of the day ;)

A million monkey's typing randomly won't produce a novel.

That's simply another way to express the point that random mutations won't produce complexity unless guided by more than mere chance.

I know the typical response is natural selection, but that's a weak answer. There's only two keys to a naturally selective "advantage": life, and procreation. Do both of those and the species has an advantage. The problem is that there's a great deal more variables going on then a species particular genetic makeup. Any given creature can either survive and procreate or die entirely due to reasons beyond its control. A small rodent may gain some advantage against snakes, but still get eaten by a hawk. And vice versa, some creature with a mutation that leaves it at a disadvantage may survive and procreate by mere chance.

Evolutionists who think in naturally selective terms have a very narrowed view point that just doesn't jive with the real world conditions that species find themselves in.

Take, for instance, this quote from an article on National Geographic about an "anti-malaria" gene:

Quote

One puzzling question posed by the new study is why the HbC gene is not more prevalent, said Tishkoff. "If the HbC gene has such a great advantage and provides such high protection against malaria, then you would expect everyone in Africa, or at least Burkina Faso, to have this version of the gene," she said.

The fact that only about one in five people carries the mutant HbC gene suggests there may be some disadvantage associated with this form of the gene, said Tishkoff. Another possibility is that the mutation has arisen relatively recently and has not spread through the population.


One wonders if it ever crosses their mind that there's plenty of other reasons people can die or not procreate.

To end the section, and to work back in the monkeys, I'll leave with this analogy. Evolutionists see the million monkeys typing, and posit that some of those monkeys writing get a few words right and don't get shot by that gunman known as death.

In actuality there's an entire army of gunmen shooting random monkeys for a variety of reasons.

The odds are impossibly stacked against a novel being produced.

And note, that's not a point against evolution as a whole, or a point for religious answers. It's merely to say random mutations and natural selection don't cut it for me.
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25 Comments On This Entry

“Evolution” has no goal. It is not a deliberate process striving toward something… it’s just the way that biology works. “Evolution” doesn’t care if you live or die, nor whether an entire species lasts millions of years or goes extinct. “Natural Selection” is essentially random events. Sure, certain qualities may help or hinder special longevity, but there are no guarantees. These are just terms to describe life processes on the planet.
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MADGestic, on Feb 12 2009, 05:01 PM, said:

“Evolution” has no goal. It is not a deliberate process striving toward something… it’s just the way that biology works. “Evolution” doesn’t care if you live or die, nor whether an entire species lasts millions of years or goes extinct. “Natural Selection” is essentially random events. Sure, certain qualities may help or hinder special longevity, but there are no guarantees. These are just terms to describe life processes on the planet.


That helps my case then. How can evolutionists claim their theory explains the complex system of life seen today if it's merely randomness with no goal in mind? In a truly random system where monkeys have no method of keeping words or letters, there's no novel getting produced.
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What I don't understand about the evolution argument is how we came from apes, how did we evolve such large brains with so much "unused" areas.

I mean, when I study "proven evolution" I see that organisms evolve when it they mutate by chance and get some desirable trait--like a fur coat that stays white in snow--or moths that evolve to camouflage itself in specific foliage.) But our brains have areas we never use. How could we have evolved something we don't use or seem to need?

I'm going to have to think this through a little more. It seems like such a brilliant argument to me--but I'm not saying it right.
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First off - (for the jillionth time) - Nobody claims humans evolved (or descended) from apes. I sure wish people would learn what the theory of evolution actually IS before attempting to refute it.

And second - (directed to Bob) - The "million monkeys" theorem has no relation to evolution at all (though Richard Dawkins has made the mistake of using it that way, which only tends to confuse the issue). It's an illustration of statistical mechanics. Right off the bat, it's not a "million" monkeys anyway (a large but finite number), it's: "An infinite number of monkeys typing for an infinite amount of time will almost surely type a given text" (such as something by Shakespeare). Though a million sounds "big", it's miniscule compared to infinity.

In this context, "almost surely" is a mathematical term with a precise meaning, and the "monkey" is not an actual monkey; rather, it is a metaphor for an abstract device that produces a random sequence of letters ad infinitum. The theorem illustrates the perils of reasoning about infinity by imagining a vast but finite number, and vice versa. The probability of a monkey typing a given string of text exactly, as long as, for example, Shakespeare's Hamlet, is so tiny that, were the experiment conducted, the chance of it actually occurring during a span of time of the order of the age of the universe is minuscule but not zero.

Variants of the theorem include multiple and even infinitely many typists, and the target text varies between an entire library and a single sentence. The history of these statements can be traced back to Aristotle's On Generation and Corruption and Cicero's De natura deorum, through Blaise Pascal and Jonathan Swift, and finally to modern statements with their iconic typewriters. In the early 20th century, Émile Borel and Arthur Eddington used the theorem to illustrate the timescales implicit in the foundations of statistical mechanics.

It was only very recently that various Christian apologists on the one hand, and Richard Dawkins on the other, have made the mistake of arguing about the appropriateness of the "million" monkeys as a metaphor for "evolution".
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MontyPython, on Feb 12 2009, 08:49 PM, said:

First off - (for the jillionth time) - Nobody claims humans evolved (or descended) from apes. I sure wish people would learn what the theory of evolution actually IS before attempting to refute it.

And second - (directed to Bob) - The "million monkeys" theorem has no relation to evolution at all (though Richard Dawkins has made the mistake of using it that way, which only tends to confuse the issue). It's an illustration of statistical mechanics. Right off the bat, it's not a "million" monkeys anyway (a large but finite number), it's: "An infinite number of monkeys typing for an infinite amount of time will almost surely type a given text" (such as something by Shakespeare). Though a million sounds "big", it's miniscule compared to infinity.

In this context, "almost surely" is a mathematical term with a precise meaning, and the "monkey" is not an actual monkey; rather, it is a metaphor for an abstract device that produces a random sequence of letters ad infinitum. The theorem illustrates the perils of reasoning about infinity by imagining a vast but finite number, and vice versa. The probability of a monkey typing a given string of text exactly, as long as, for example, Shakespeare's Hamlet, is so tiny that, were the experiment conducted, the chance of it actually occurring during a span of time of the order of the age of the universe is minuscule but not zero.

Variants of the theorem include multiple and even infinitely many typists, and the target text varies between an entire library and a single sentence. The history of these statements can be traced back to Aristotle's On Generation and Corruption and Cicero's De natura deorum, through Blaise Pascal and Jonathan Swift, and finally to modern statements with their iconic typewriters. In the early 20th century, Émile Borel and Arthur Eddington used the theorem to illustrate the timescales implicit in the foundations of statistical mechanics.

It was only very recently that various Christian apologists on the one hand, and Richard Dawkins on the other, have made the mistake of arguing about the appropriateness of the "million" monkeys as a metaphor for "evolution".


Thank you, I didn't know all that about the million monkey analogy. :)

But all the same, my point remains the same regardless of the analogy. You can effectively remove it and leave only my discussion of natural selection and random mutations and my points will still stand.
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Are you talking to ME Monty? I believe we are supposed to have a common ancestor*--not that we come from apes. And my point still holds true. Why would we evolve brains with areas not needed for use.
*according to Darwin's "bulldog," Thomas Henry Huxley
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wag-a-muffin, on Feb 12 2009, 04:41 PM, said:

What I don't understand about the evolution argument is how we came from apes, how did we evolve such large brains with so much "unused" areas.

I mean, when I study "proven evolution" I see that organisms evolve when it they mutate by chance and get some desirable trait--like a fur coat that stays white in snow--or moths that evolve to camouflage itself in specific foliage.) But our brains have areas we never use. How could we have evolved something we don't use or seem to need?

I'm going to have to think this through a little more. It seems like such a brilliant argument to me--but I'm not saying it right.


Ahem, sorry for the late reply :)

I've always thought we don't use all of our brains either, but according to my fiance (who learned this in her fancy shmancy university schoolin') we do in fact use all our brains.

But still, I know what you mean about our brains. It's just a bit too big a leap to happen 1) so randomly, 2) so relatively "fast", 3) due to simply being, supposedly, in grassy African plains.
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wag-a-muffin, on Feb 13 2009, 04:25 PM, said:

Are you talking to ME Monty? I believe we are supposed to have a common ancestor*--not that we come from apes. And my point still holds true. Why would we evolve brains with areas not needed for use.
*according to Darwin's "bulldog," Thomas Henry Huxley


I was responding to both you & KIWIMON, since you both made similar comments (You said "the evolution argument is how we came from apes" and K said "HUMANS ARE NOT THE DECENDENTS OF APES"). I simply wanted to point out the fact that evolution makes no such claim.

As for the point about brain areas we don't use (though I see Bob has stated his sister says otherwise) - That (and other unused body parts) is actually a very good argument for evolution. Think about it carefully: If the human race was created exactly as is from the very beginning, then there is no logical explanation why there would be any "unused" parts, like the vomeronasal organ (tiny nonfunctioning chemoreceptors on each side of the septum which are probably all that remain of a once extensive pheromone-detecting ability), wisdom teeth (early humans had to chew a lot of plants to get enough calories to survive, making another row of molars helpful. Only about 5 percent of the modern population has a healthy set of these third molars), extrinsic ear muscles (this trio of muscles most likely made it possible for prehominids to move their ears independently of their heads, as rabbits and dogs do. We still have them, which is why most people can learn to wiggle their ears), the subclavius muscle (this small muscle stretching under the shoulder from the first rib to the collarbone would be useful if humans still walked on all fours. Some people have one, some have none, and a few have two), the plantaris muscle (often mistaken for a nerve by freshman medical students, the muscle was useful to other primates for grasping with their feet. It has disappeared altogether in 9 percent of the population), the coccyx (these fused vertebrae are all that’s left of the tail that most mammals still use for balance and communication. Our hominid ancestors lost the need for a tail when they began walking upright), the appendix, and plenty more.

As I said, if the human race was created from the very beginning exactly as we are today, then there would be no logical explanation for any "extra, unused" parts. But they are easily explained/understood when we conclude humans evolved from animals which actually had uses for such things. And that holds true for any supposed "unused" parts of the brain, too.

:)
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MontyPython, on Feb 13 2009, 12:15 PM, said:

wag-a-muffin, on Feb 13 2009, 04:25 PM, said:

Are you talking to ME Monty? I believe we are supposed to have a common ancestor*--not that we come from apes. And my point still holds true. Why would we evolve brains with areas not needed for use.
*according to Darwin's "bulldog," Thomas Henry Huxley


I was responding to both you & KIWIMON, since you both made similar comments (You said "the evolution argument is how we came from apes" and K said "HUMANS ARE NOT THE DECENDENTS OF APES"). I simply wanted to point out the fact that evolution makes no such claim.

As for the point about brain areas we don't use (though I see Bob has stated his sister says otherwise) - That (and other unused body parts) is actually a very good argument for evolution. Think about it carefully: If the human race was created exactly as is from the very beginning, then there is no logical explanation why there would be any "unused" parts, like the vomeronasal organ (tiny nonfunctioning chemoreceptors on each side of the septum which are probably all that remain of a once extensive pheromone-detecting ability), wisdom teeth (early humans had to chew a lot of plants to get enough calories to survive, making another row of molars helpful. Only about 5 percent of the modern population has a healthy set of these third molars), extrinsic ear muscles (this trio of muscles most likely made it possible for prehominids to move their ears independently of their heads, as rabbits and dogs do. We still have them, which is why most people can learn to wiggle their ears), the subclavius muscle (this small muscle stretching under the shoulder from the first rib to the collarbone would be useful if humans still walked on all fours. Some people have one, some have none, and a few have two), the plantaris muscle (often mistaken for a nerve by freshman medical students, the muscle was useful to other primates for grasping with their feet. It has disappeared altogether in 9 percent of the population), the coccyx (these fused vertebrae are all that’s left of the tail that most mammals still use for balance and communication. Our hominid ancestors lost the need for a tail when they began walking upright), the appendix, and plenty more.

As I said, if the human race was created from the very beginning exactly as we are today, then there would be no logical explanation for any "extra, unused" parts. But they are easily explained/understood when we conclude humans evolved from animals which actually had uses for such things. And that holds true for any supposed "unused" parts of the brain, too.

:)


First of all, it's my fiance :P I'm glad she's not my sister :) :)

The problem with your argument is that you or anyone else is hard pressed to show that "there's no use". You can say "we don't know the use", but not "there is no use".

Also, I'm not so sure there's much of a point saying they had a use for "our ancestors". Why couldn't they have always been useless? That'd be a much better boon to the argument that this is the work of random mutations, or "the blind watchmaker".

And then, when we're back to random mutations and random useless parts, we're back to the original point of my blog entry :)
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LOL

I knew I shouldn't have broken my standing rule concerning never posting in the blogs.....sigh.....This will probably be my last entry here. I think this is a subject better debated on the open boards.


Bob the nobody, on Feb 13 2009, 06:29 PM, said:

First of all, it's my fiance :P I'm glad she's not my sister :) :)


You're right, of course: You did say "fiance", not "sister". That was my silly mistake. Sorry about that.


Bob the nobody, on Feb 13 2009, 06:29 PM, said:

The problem with your argument is that you or anyone else is hard pressed to show that "there's no use". You can say "we don't know the use", but not "there is no use".


Nonsense. The third option (which you didn't include) is best of all: "There is no longer any use". It would be different if all the unused body parts had never had any use. But each can be traced to a former use, which is why I made sure to include all those explanations of what their former uses were.


Bob the nobody, on Feb 13 2009, 06:29 PM, said:

Also, I'm not so sure there's much of a point saying they had a use for "our ancestors". Why couldn't they have always been useless?


As I said, the former uses are easily determined. And again I point out - Why would there be any "useless" parts at all, if we had been created from the very first exactly as we are today? What would be the purpose of creating us with useless parts? The fact that there clearly are useless parts is a very strong argument in favor of evolution.


Bob the nobody, on Feb 13 2009, 06:29 PM, said:

That'd be a much better boon to the argument that this is the work of random mutations, or "the blind watchmaker".

And then, when we're back to random mutations and random useless parts, we're back to the original point of my blog entry :)


Please keep in mind that there are millions of us who accept evolution as a fact, but don't ascribe it to "random" mutation at all. There is nothing "random" about God's use of evolution in His deliberate design (creating humankind via evolution).

:)
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Bob, your essay is riddled with logical fallacies, and if you can train yourself to reject them and examine the evidence for evolution instead, you might get a better understanding.

Here's a few of the places where you went wrong:

Quote

A million monkey's typing randomly won't produce a novel.


You spend way too much time working this point. It's just a metaphor, useful only to make a difficult concept easier to visualize. Arguing against it, or even applying an extrapolation of the metaphor into the actual argument reduces it to a non-sequitur, which has no bearing whatever on the topic being discussed.

Quote

That's simply another way to express the point that random mutations won't produce complexity unless guided by more than mere chance.


This is a bad analogy. You are attempting to infer similarity between two points that have no relationship other than a purely metaphorical one.

Quote

I know the typical response is natural selection, but that's a weak answer.


This is called an argument by half-truth. You are making the false assumption that random mutation and natural selection are the only drivers of evolutionary change, and that they alone are not sufficient. But you are wrong about that. There are many other factors besides those two that influence evolutionary change such as: environmental forces, gene duplication, polyploidy, genetic drift, extinction events, the segregation and isolation of population subsets, etc.

Quote

Any given creature can either survive and procreate or die entirely due to reasons beyond its control.


This is called an argument of generalization. Evolution is about how a true breeding mutation conveys a survival advantage over a population, not an individual. The spread of an advantage among a large group of individuals reduces coincidental mishaps of a few to irrelevancy. To apply a metaphor: firing a shotgun into a flock of pigeons will not kill them all, and the pigeons with slower reaction times have an incrementally larger likelihood of getting shot.
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Since Monty dared to tread, I will try to step lightly in his tracks.

An essential aspect of evolution which your assessment seems to miss is that of choice. The passage of genes from one generation to the next through sexual reproduction is anything BUT random chance. Whether an individual passes on their genes is the result of a zillion different interactions between an individual and it's environment, NOT the flip of a coin. Can they survive? Can they successfully find someone with which to make sweet, sweet love in that genetics sort of way? Will those offspring also survive and successfully mate? This applies to all God's creatures, great and small. Each contributes their part to create the world within which we all exist.

Evolution does not claim that a zillion random events resulted in mankind. Evolution claims that mankind, alongside each and every other species alive on Earth today, is the result of several billion years worth of zillions of choices made by every being that ever lived.


RationalThought
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Well, I hate to venture into evolution threads or topics.

The hardest part I have with evolution is the concept of speciation. How can a new species just suddenly pop up from the old one... and then survive? You'd need at least several of these new species to pop up at once in order to reproduce. Unless you have two divergent paths, but then it begs the question, why don't we see common ancestors? Why should they all die out. But... I really haven't researched evolution, so I really can't comment on it with any authority what-so-ever.

However, it does seem that if you want to study evolution, you could start with evolutionary algorithms. I always thought that the free market was a remarkable evolutionary system. You have new "species" created, particularly new companies with new products, products never before seen. You have extinction, old companies and products going bankrupt. You have mutations and changes, going from landlines to cell phones, slide rules to calculators to PCs. You have adaptations and changes, both in marketing (kind of like finding a mate), taking slight changes on products (sort of like an iphone versus a blackberry), etc.
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Xephon, on Feb 13 2009, 09:02 PM, said:

Bob, your essay is riddled with logical fallacies, and if you can train yourself to reject them and examine the evidence for evolution instead, you might get a better understanding.

Here's a few of the places where you went wrong:
You spend way too much time working this point. It's just a metaphor, useful only to make a difficult concept easier to visualize. Arguing against it, or even applying an extrapolation of the metaphor into the actual argument reduces it to a non-sequitur, which has no bearing whatever on the topic being discussed.
This is a bad analogy. You are attempting to infer similarity between two points that have no relationship other than a purely metaphorical one.


I'm not sure how you can say I'm basing my entire argument on the analogy (which is the only way it can become a non-sequitur by your own reasoning). As I said to Monty, remove the metaphor and my points can stand on their own.

By your logic, Dawkins dwindled into non-sequitur simply by naming a book "The Blind Watchmaker," a metaphor.

Quote

This is called an argument by half-truth. You are making the false assumption that random mutation and natural selection are the only drivers of evolutionary change, and that they alone are not sufficient. But you are wrong about that. There are many other factors besides those two that influence evolutionary change such as: environmental forces, gene duplication, polyploidy, genetic drift, extinction events, the segregation and isolation of population subsets, etc.


No, it's called simplifying a post. By your logic here children's school books are giant logical fallacies, rife with "arguments by half-truth," since they don't delve into the most minute of details.

"Random mutations" is a simple and convenient way to state that unguided mechanisms were at work. "Natural selection" is the proposed reason behind what we see today in life forms. Your "environmental forces" and "segregation and isolation of population subsets" fall within that overarching idea of natural selection.

Quote

This is called an argument of generalization. Evolution is about how a true breeding mutation conveys a survival advantage over a population, not an individual. The spread of an advantage among a large group of individuals reduces coincidental mishaps of a few to irrelevancy. To apply a metaphor: firing a shotgun into a flock of pigeons will not kill them all, and the pigeons with slower reaction times have an incrementally larger likelihood of getting shot.


My point applies to both though. Individuals are at risk from a great many things, and populations as a whole are also at risk from a great many things. Just because we move to the macro level doesn't mean things suddenly become magically black and white.

This was something I was trying to address with the quote from National Geographic, which showed scientists thinking so narrowly on the macro scale. You yourself also illustrate a narrow thinking. You really think it's only your shotgun threatening the population?
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Bob the nobody, on Feb 12 2009, 05:30 PM, said:

MADGestic, on Feb 12 2009, 05:01 PM, said:

“Evolution” has no goal. It is not a deliberate process striving toward something… it’s just the way that biology works. “Evolution” doesn’t care if you live or die, nor whether an entire species lasts millions of years or goes extinct. “Natural Selection” is essentially random events. Sure, certain qualities may help or hinder special longevity, but there are no guarantees. These are just terms to describe life processes on the planet.


That helps my case then. How can evolutionists claim their theory explains the complex system of life seen today if it's merely randomness with no goal in mind? In a truly random system where monkeys have no method of keeping words or letters, there's no novel getting produced.

As you can see, others are more knowledgeable and eloquent than I in discussing this matter; and I’ll defer to them on those aspects that have already been covered. However, it was a more philosophical wrinkle that led me to post earlier; and I’ll call that: “perception bias”. Here we are, modern humanity, as the most advanced and dominant species on the planet. We are supposedly the only sapient species… (or at least the most sapient)…, and are inarguably more technologically advanced than any other.

It’s not too difficult to see ourselves as some sort of pinnacle of evolutionary “achievement”. We can figuratively turn around, look behind us, take note of all the eons of development, trials and tribulations, wipe our collective brow and say: “Whew! Good thing we made it through all that!” I think that’s the wrong way to look at it since it implies that there was a purpose to “all that”; namely, arriving at where are today. But “today” was never the goal.

In prehistory, there was never a conscious and deliberate striving to become who we are today… it just happened. And there are an unimaginable number of random events that could have changed or even eliminated this outcome. Just one more (or less) meteor strikes, just a few more efficient predators, just a few less trees or natural shelters… we were (and still are) just one virus away from extinction.

Because of our inquisitive, artistic, and spiritual nature, we want (perhaps even need) to attribute our “success” to something other than the minutia of scientific theory coupled with chance. That’s why we developed things like philosophy and religion, and a concomitant and remarkable sense of collective self-importance. It’s more comforting to think that we got here due to our own deliberate efforts, and/or due to some invisible and unknowable “power” that somehow “chose” and directed us. Compared to that, the “cold, dead hand of Darwin” seems pretty boring… almost silly… and certainly less entertaining.

I think that’s the “perception bias”… the: “we couldn’t have become this great without deliberation.” Yet that is exactly the pompous position from which creationism/”intelligent design” has sprung. And one might argue: “Well, there wasn’t ‘one more meteor’ or ‘more efficient predators’ or anything else like that… how do you explain that?!” We’ve already explained it… in fact, there’s a word for it:

COINCIDENCE

Although in this case, I think SERENDIPITY might also apply.

:cry:
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Bob the nobody, on Feb 14 2009, 06:05 AM, said:

I'm not sure how you can say I'm basing my entire argument on the analogy


Quote

A million monkey's typing

Quote

To end the section, and to work back in the monkeys

Quote

Evolutionists see the million monkeys typing,

Quote

some of those monkeys writing get a few words right

Quote

an entire army of gunmen shooting random monkeys


Oh, I don't know where I got that idea.

Bob the nobody, on Feb 14 2009, 06:05 AM, said:

By your logic here children's school books are giant logical fallacies,


No, you're ignoring intent. Children's books are meant to make complex concepts understandable to grammar-schoolers who have little or no familiarity of those concepts. If you want to challenge the validity of those concepts, you need more than a grammar-schooler's knowledge of it. Part of the reason why vocal creationists are held in contempt by the scientifically literate is because they pontificate on the "flaws" of evolutionary theory, write blogs, create entire websites devoted to disproving "evilution"....and they use grammar-school arguments to do it because that's the only level on which they can argue.


Bob the nobody, on Feb 14 2009, 06:05 AM, said:

populations as a whole are also at risk from a great many things.


Well....yeah. Which is why not every species survives. You're missing the point that survival challenges are an impetus to adaptation and evolution, not a barrier to it.

Bob the nobody, on Feb 14 2009, 06:05 AM, said:

You really think it's only your shotgun threatening the population?


No, and I don't recall claiming so. As with the typing monkeys, I was applying a metaphor (and I'm pretty sure I mentioned that) to simplify the concept in order to make it easier to understand. Perhaps I didn't simplify it enough.
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Xephon, on Feb 14 2009, 07:57 PM, said:

Bob the nobody, on Feb 14 2009, 06:05 AM, said:

I'm not sure how you can say I'm basing my entire argument on the analogy


Oh, I don't know where I got that idea.


Yes, I've used the metaphor in my post which you've just shown. However, I'm not basing my argument on the metaphor, which is what I said.

Quote

Bob the nobody, on Feb 14 2009, 06:05 AM, said:

By your logic here children's school books are giant logical fallacies,


No, you're ignoring intent. Children's books are meant to make complex concepts understandable to grammar-schoolers who have little or no familiarity of those concepts. If you want to challenge the validity of those concepts, you need more than a grammar-schooler's knowledge of it. Part of the reason why vocal creationists are held in contempt by the scientifically literate is because they pontificate on the "flaws" of evolutionary theory, write blogs, create entire websites devoted to disproving "evilution"....and they use grammar-school arguments to do it because that's the only level on which they can argue.


This is a blog post. I'm not sure why you're expecting an academic dissertation. I'm not writing this to try to disprove to the scientific community.

Quote

Bob the nobody, on Feb 14 2009, 06:05 AM, said:

populations as a whole are also at risk from a great many things.


Well....yeah. Which is why not every species survives. You're missing the point that survival challenges are an impetus to adaptation and evolution, not a barrier to it.


I'm not missing that point at all. The entire point of my post was that such impetus is not enough to create such complexity.

Quote

Bob the nobody, on Feb 14 2009, 06:05 AM, said:

You really think it's only your shotgun threatening the population?


No, and I don't recall claiming so. As with the typing monkeys, I was applying a metaphor (and I'm pretty sure I mentioned that) to simplify the concept in order to make it easier to understand. Perhaps I didn't simplify it enough.


So it's ok for you to simplify your points and use metaphors but it's not ok for me to do so? Why is that exactly?
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MADGestic, on Feb 14 2009, 03:56 PM, said:

Bob the nobody, on Feb 12 2009, 05:30 PM, said:

MADGestic, on Feb 12 2009, 05:01 PM, said:

“Evolution” has no goal. It is not a deliberate process striving toward something… it’s just the way that biology works. “Evolution” doesn’t care if you live or die, nor whether an entire species lasts millions of years or goes extinct. “Natural Selection” is essentially random events. Sure, certain qualities may help or hinder special longevity, but there are no guarantees. These are just terms to describe life processes on the planet.


That helps my case then. How can evolutionists claim their theory explains the complex system of life seen today if it's merely randomness with no goal in mind? In a truly random system where monkeys have no method of keeping words or letters, there's no novel getting produced.

As you can see, others are more knowledgeable and eloquent than I in discussing this matter; and I’ll defer to them on those aspects that have already been covered. However, it was a more philosophical wrinkle that led me to post earlier; and I’ll call that: “perception bias”. Here we are, modern humanity, as the most advanced and dominant species on the planet. We are supposedly the only sapient species… (or at least the most sapient)…, and are inarguably more technologically advanced than any other.

It’s not too difficult to see ourselves as some sort of pinnacle of evolutionary “achievement”. We can figuratively turn around, look behind us, take note of all the eons of development, trials and tribulations, wipe our collective brow and say: “Whew! Good thing we made it through all that!” I think that’s the wrong way to look at it since it implies that there was a purpose to “all that”; namely, arriving at where are today. But “today” was never the goal.

In prehistory, there was never a conscious and deliberate striving to become who we are today… it just happened. And there are an unimaginable number of random events that could have changed or even eliminated this outcome. Just one more (or less) meteor strikes, just a few more efficient predators, just a few less trees or natural shelters… we were (and still are) just one virus away from extinction.

Because of our inquisitive, artistic, and spiritual nature, we want (perhaps even need) to attribute our “success” to something other than the minutia of scientific theory coupled with chance. That’s why we developed things like philosophy and religion, and a concomitant and remarkable sense of collective self-importance. It’s more comforting to think that we got here due to our own deliberate efforts, and/or due to some invisible and unknowable “power” that somehow “chose” and directed us. Compared to that, the “cold, dead hand of Darwin” seems pretty boring… almost silly… and certainly less entertaining.

I think that’s the “perception bias”… the: “we couldn’t have become this great without deliberation.” Yet that is exactly the pompous position from which creationism/”intelligent design” has sprung. And one might argue: “Well, there wasn’t ‘one more meteor’ or ‘more efficient predators’ or anything else like that… how do you explain that?!” We’ve already explained it… in fact, there’s a word for it:

COINCIDENCE

Although in this case, I think SERENDIPITY might also apply.

:cry:


That same human nature and formation of philosophy and religion also gave rise to what you call the "cold, dead hand of Darwin." It itself isn't simply reality but a "perception" and is based on theory. I mean, I could easily use your same points in the opposite way (and indeed, some Christians do exactly this) by saying it's easier and more comforting to think there isn't something directing all this, that we really are here by chance.
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RationalThought, on Feb 14 2009, 12:20 AM, said:

Since Monty dared to tread, I will try to step lightly in his tracks.

An essential aspect of evolution which your assessment seems to miss is that of choice. The passage of genes from one generation to the next through sexual reproduction is anything BUT random chance. Whether an individual passes on their genes is the result of a zillion different interactions between an individual and it's environment, NOT the flip of a coin. Can they survive? Can they successfully find someone with which to make sweet, sweet love in that genetics sort of way? Will those offspring also survive and successfully mate? This applies to all God's creatures, great and small. Each contributes their part to create the world within which we all exist.

Evolution does not claim that a zillion random events resulted in mankind. Evolution claims that mankind, alongside each and every other species alive on Earth today, is the result of several billion years worth of zillions of choices made by every being that ever lived.
RationalThought


Well, "natural selection" isn't random, but that's not what I said anyways. I said "random mutations", or random changes in genetic makeup through various mechnanisms. I simply don't think such simple changes here and there can lead to where we are today. And I don't think natural selection, or the countless choices made, is enough of a guide to lead to where we are.
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Bob the nobody, on Feb 15 2009, 12:06 AM, said:

Yes, I've used the metaphor in my post which you've just shown. However, I'm not basing my argument on the metaphor, which is what I said.


Then why whip the dead horse five times? Why make blanket statements like "Evolutionists see the million monkeys typing...." when they clearly don't. Evolutionists don't need the metaphor; we understand the concept quite capably without it, thanks just the same. The metaphor is for the edification of those who don't have the deeper understanding.

Bob the nobody, on Feb 15 2009, 12:06 AM, said:

I'm not writing this to try to disprove to the scientific community.


Then why did you write it? Why spend so much time expressing your personal incredulity if not as a challenge to knowledge you don't want to accept? If you're having so much trouble understanding the concept, why not just learn more about it? Unless, of course, you've already made up your mind based on your limited (and flawed) knowledge of evolution, and don't want to be exposed to any information that might challenge your cherished paradigm (I'm told that can be pretty painful).

Bob the nobody, on Feb 15 2009, 12:06 AM, said:

The entire point of my post was that such impetus is not enough to create such complexity.


Maybe it is and maybe it isn't. That can't be determined because it never was the only factor that drove evolution (I did say survival challenges were an impetus to evolution, not the impetus).

Bob the nobody, on Feb 15 2009, 12:06 AM, said:

So it's ok for you to simplify your points and use metaphors but it's not ok for me to do so? Why is that exactly?


Because I was using my metaphor to try and help you understand a concept I suspected was over your head. And I apologize for failing to accomplish that. You used yours as a strawman argument. You lack the information to attach the concept, so you attack the metaphor.
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