Creating Information Naturally, Part 1: Snowflakes, Chess, and DNA

(Ashwin S) #48

I don’t think that’s the correct definition…
By that definition, a chimp would be a transitional species between a common ancestor and human beings… This is not the case.


Since a chimp doesn’t have any human features that other ape species do not have we wouldn’t consider chimps to be transitional. Again, the transitional nature of fossils has to do with their physical characteristics.

(George Brooks) #51

@Ashwin_s, say… you sure are bolted to the floor over special creation, aren’t you?

The evidence says the Earth is billions of years old…
The evidence says Species inherit attributes from prior populations in a way that says Nested Hierarchies exist in the Tree of Life. There would be no need for Nested Hierarchies if each species was created as an independent event.

If you are an Old Earther, we can discuss this some more. If you are a Young Earther, then mostly you are stuck on the Earth’s age - - with not much progress possible for you until you accept Old Earth like several Evangelical “camps” have already done.

(George Brooks) #52


When constructing cladograms, scientists are not trying to create a proof of evolution. They are trying to show how traits, organized as nested hierarchies, can be found in clusters of like creatures.

You probably should forget about analyzing “transitional” (or better, “Intermediate”) life forms… because you aren’t going to like how these concepts are handled. They aren’t handled this way to satisfy YECs; they are handled this way to learn new things buried in the evidence.

(Ashwin S) #53

I don’t know what to say to this. It’s as if once biologists decide something is a transitional species, then they will make up stories as much as possible to hold on.
You are painting a scenario where 4-5 species evolve into different transitional species ending up finally as a whale in a few million years while not leaving behind no evidence they existed before the whales were formed!
Is this still science?

Actually genetically constructed trees are worse. Based on the original assumptions
and the genes that are compared, you can get practically any result. I am attaching an article that explains the problem and points to a solution…

Guess what the solution is… Cherry pick the genes to compare to ensure you get the “right tree”.

(Ashwin S) #54

I am not a YEC.
I am not talking about cladograms. I was referring specifically to an example given in the article above with respect to transitional species/fossils from which whales are supposed to have evolved.
Now if you are saying that these species are not ancestors of whales, but just animals that look kinda like whales… I don’t have any problems with that. In fact, I think so too.

(George Brooks) #55


You are misunderstanding the point of Cladograms. I think you should probably wait a while before you tackle the logic behind them. They were not invented to convince YECs that Evolution is true. They are for the purpose of study - - for those who already accept Evolution.

If you don’t accept or understand Speciation … it is not likely that you will find much value in Cladograms and Cladistics.

(Ashwin S) #56

I was discussion a specific case connected to evolution of whales with @Lynn_Munter. We were not exactly talking about cladograms.

If you read the thread, you might be able to chip in with something related.

(George Brooks) #57


If you are going to dispute the term “Intermediate Species”, then you are disputing cladograms… because this is when that terminology is most used.

What you should be asking yourself is why would God specially create proto-whales with legs… and have them all go extinct even before humans are around to see them?

We can’t explain a giant chunk of natural process, if we don’t start with some smaller steps first.

(Ashwin S) #62

Why should I ask that question. The Bible doesn’t say that God creates to impress human beings.
We are a part of creation. Not the reason for it.

(George Brooks) #63


Exactly. And God has created a mountain of evidence that not only demonstrates the Earth is billions of years old, but also that life on Earth is beyond question linked to each other by common ancestral populations.

(Chris Falter) #64

Hi Ashwin,

Glad to have you here. Given that the scientific method as we know it didn’t exist until Francis Bacon, I don’t think that the Apostle Paul is asserting that science can prove God’s existence. What Romans 1:20 is referring to, IMHO, would be more like a “design intuition.” Does that make sense?

(Ashwin S) #65

Actually I thought it was obvious that life on earth was linked by the fact of having a common designer.
As to common ancestral populations… are they populations of unknown imaginary common ancestors?

(Ashwin S) #66

Hi Chris,
My emphasis was that being agnostic/denying a creator was because the person suppressed the truth as Paul said. So if science actively suppresses the truth of a creator by ignoring it’s possibility or viewing it as outside the boundaries of its interest… It’s not in a particularly nice place.
That’s why he says they are without excuse.
Besides many (perhaps most) evolutionists would claim the design intuition is a false intuition and spend a lot of energy in proving this in social circles.

(Chris Falter) #67

When I play the piano, or write forum posts, or write code, or read an economics paper, or watch the weather forecast, I do not think that I prove God’s existence thereby. As a Christian, I find referents to faith in every domain, but I do not think that a meteorologist is suppressing faith if she talks about cold fronts rather than God. Meteorology is not designed to detect God; it is designed to detect approaching storms.

Likewise with biology and its theories, I suggest.

(George Brooks) #68


Is there a reason you refuse to acknowledge the “intelligent design” implicit in the “God Guided Evolution” stance that many of us here endorse?

Unlike your stance, we can actually explain the logical source of shared design features:

  1. God used Evolution to create the life forms he needed. This automatically explains how some traits are shared over millions of years.

  2. And God using evolution ALSO explains how traits that couldn’t be shared (because there is no relevant common ancestral population) could still APPEAR to be shared… by means of evolutionary convergence (especially when genetics proves there is no genetic connection).

(Ashwin S) #69

I reject the term “God guided evolution”. It’s a contradiction. Evolution is not a process guided by any intelligence by definition.

(Matthew Pevarnik) #70

Yes but only in the same sense that DNA transcription is not a process that is guided by any intelligence by definition. Or radiometric decay is not a process that is guided by any intelligence by definition. Or meteorology describes a process that is not guided by any intelligence by definition. Or galaxy rotation curves, stellar nucleosynthesis, cell membrane binding energies and preferred shapes, crystal formation, Higgs field interactions, etc.

(George Brooks) #71


“Evolution” is defined by most practitioners as “any change in the gene pool of a given population”.

So you are wrong about the use of the term “on its face”. You are trying to insist on a definition that gives you the presumed rhetorical benefit of being able to knock down the straw man.

But I think this is rather silly. No matter what word is used, the concept is still there … waiting for you to recognize it!

If you give me terms or a phrase for describing the position that:

“God uses ‘Common Descent’, ‘Speciation’ and Mutations in order to produce the life forms He needs”,

I will be happy to use a (mutually agreeable) phrase of your construction in my future discussions with you.

But the only way we can move to that concession, you have to understand what the above bold phrase actually entails.

What are you thoughts on the proposal, @Ashwin_s?

P.S. I should point out that you are using the definition for DARWINIANISM when you insist on “randomness” and the absence of an intelligent designer. The Mission Statements of BioLogos makes it clear that the organization (and most of its supporters) do not adhere to a Darwinian form of Evolution!

(Ashwin S) #72

Hi Pevaquark,

All the above processes are minute parts of a grand system. And it should be a question whether the overall system requires an intelligence as cause or not.

Evolution is often presented/understood as a system that covers all parts of biology providing explanations to pretty much every biological phenomenon there is (including DNA transcription)… if you look at living systems and associated phenomenon, ultimately every cause and effect chain ends in an evolutionary explanation. If every cause and effect is explainable by a process not guided by any intelligence, it’s a claim far different from that of meteorology.

Edit: I just want to add that the “randomness” in the examples from physics cited by you are not really thought to be random. In this case, random is just a word for “unknown reasons”. I don’t think many physicists think anything is truly random.
Of course that’s another topic altogether.