Creation: Of God, Through God, and To God


(system) #1

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://biologos.org/blogs/deborah-haarsma-the-presidents-notebook/creation-of-god-through-god-and-to-god

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #4

@DeborahHaarsma

We are all descended from the same early humans. All humanity is one family.
Deb Haarsma from the Blog

Let me be clear. The statement above is good and right. I am not accusing BioLogos of being racist or anything like that. All I am saying is that it is that it could do more and I would like to help it do more.

Part of the Christian faith is the acknowledgement that we are all sinners, even if we were are saved. We are all sinners saved by grace, which means that there is always room for improvement in the quality of our faith and the quality of our deeds.

My problem is not that evolution teaches that human races are different species, because it does not. My problem is that Darwin taught through Survival of the Fittest that genetic groups within the same species, called alleles, are in a life and death struggle for scarce resources.

This is not species against species, but members of the same species against each other to determine who will survive, and indeed this concept was based on the human population theories of Thomas Malthus.

Whereas theories concerning evolutionary change involving genes have expanded and changes over the years as we learned more about how DNA works, our study and understanding of Natural Selection has not.

Indeed Survival of the Fittest has never been scientifically studied. I know because I have found no studies that verified that it works and no one has successfully responded to my challenges to produces such a study.

Thus I am not asking BioLogos to reject good science. I am asking it not to treat evolutionary theory as above criticism on a scientific basis. Also I am saying that there is a readily available replacement for Survival of the Fittest in the form of ecology, so I am not rejecting the concept of Natural Selection, just the methodology, but that is important.

Why is it important? First of all because it is true. It is scientifically verified by ecology. Maybe evolution biologists like Dawkins resent having to playing second fiddle to ecology, but that is not a reason.

Second, it confirms that the universe and Life are good. They were rationally created by God using rational means though the Logos, Jesus Christ.

The first is for the Bio in BioLogos and the second is for the Logos.

Allowing Survival of the Fittest to stand as a scientific concept justifies the kind of conflict and selfishness we see in the world today. I doubt if it causes it, but that is besides the point. It justifies racism, and it needs to be refuted as false and wrong.


(Christy Hemphill) #5

Alleles are not agentive and do not struggle for resources.

How did we jump from alleles to humans all of the sudden?

For about the fiftieth time in recent memory, description is not prescription.


#6

Indeed Survival of the Fittest has never been scientifically studied. I know because I have found no studies that verified that it works and no one has successfully responded to my challenges to produces such a study.

Really? A quick Google search brought me to this paper in the New England Journal of Medicine.

As far as I’m concerned, survival of the fittest logically follows from some well known facts that I was told about when I was being taught evolution. Firstly, there is a limited amount of resources in an environment. Secondly, animals overproduce offspring. For example, some fish can lay literally millions of eggs in a single season. But not all of them will survive. That means there will be competition between animals in a population, and so many will die and few will survive. By logical extension, only the fittest of the offspring will be able to survive. Any offspring with defects will quickly die, and those with advantages over others (that are gained through mechanisms that drive evolution like mutations) will survive. This is survival of the fittest. And this doesn’t justify racism, since I can’t see any logical steps that take you from ‘in a natural environment the fittest members of a population will survive’ to ‘black people are inferior humans’. Even if one ethnicity was somehow conquered by the other, survival of the fittest would not justify it, survival of the fittest is merely an observation of what happens in populations in their given environments.


(Roger A. Sawtelle) #7

First of all Science is not based on “known facts” or we would still believe that the world is flat and everything revolves around the earth.

Second, let me mention some well known scientific facts. Dinosaurs went extinct a long time ago, allowing for mammals come into their own and become the top of the food chain. The reason this happened was not because the mammals were fitter, and this was believed to be stronger or faster, but because of climate change gradually destroyed the habitat of the dinosaurs.

The “conflict” was not between alleles, as with Darwin, but the naturally changing relationships between flora, fauna, and the environment. The dinosaurs lost out because they were unable to adapt to a new colder environment with the exception of those who took to the air and became birds. They found a fresh source of food. were smaller so they needed less of it, and had feathers for warmth.

The ecological example is based on scientific fact, while Darwin’s theory was based on Malthus’s theories which were not accurate. The future of our world is dependent on humans taking serious ecological science over Darwin’s speculations. The future of our world also depends upon our taking serious the fact that we must work together to solve our mutual problems rather than trying to prove that I am fittest!


(Christy Hemphill) #8

Though survival isn’t the actual relevant issue, it’s reproduction. What happens when the fittest for survival is not necessarily the most attractive to the opposite sex. Often within a species the very traits that make an individual stand out for a mate make them more susceptible to predators. There have been some long and drawn out conversations here about what “fitness” actually means.


(Roger A. Sawtelle) #9

So it would seem that the males who live in areas where the population is growing fastest, often third world Muslim countries, are the most fit.


#10

How is it a ‘known fact’ that the Earth is flat? If anything, it’s completely the opposite. The ‘facts’ I mentioned are 1) the limited # of resources in an environment, 2) overproduction of offspring, 3) competition in an environment and 4) natural selection. Do you contest any of these? Also, you’ve said earlier that there are no papers on survival of the fittest – however I have produced such a paper.

Later, you say that evolutionary change is driven by ecological change rather than survival of the fittest. In fact, it is driven by both. ‘Fitness’ can be defined as the ability to survive and reproduce in your environment. By definition, the fittest will always survive, and those fittest tend to have genetic traits or characteristics that they can pass on to their offspring. For example, when we use antibiotics to kill bacteria, only the bacteria with specific adaptations will be able to survive and reproduce, making them the fittest in their environment.

The future of our world also depends upon our taking serious the fact that we must work together to solve our mutual problems rather than trying to prove that I am fittest!

This is definitely true, but it’s true because humans have cheated evolution with modern medicine and technology.


#11

Yes, you’re right, I should have said survive and be able to reproduce (since that is the biological definition of fitness).


(Roger A. Sawtelle) #12

Because “everyone” said that it was true

It can. but 1) It was not by Darwin and Dawkins, 2) No one else besides maybe myself wants to change this definition today, and 3) survival by adaption eliminates the conflict aspect of evolution which for some reason appeals to the ego of white folks.

A definition is not good until it has been generally accepted. If you want to help me fix the science that would be great.

Modern medicine and technology are not genes. Ecology is not cheated as we are no discovering to our grief. As E. O. Wilson has recently pointed out social animals are fittest in that they work together with each other, rather than struggle against each other.


#13

Because “everyone” said that it was true

Ugh, the proof for the points I mentioned (limited resources in an environment, competition, etc) is not what people simply say. I thought I was listing some simple axioms. Do you disagree with any of the points I mentioned?

It can. but 1) It was not by Darwin and Dawkins, 2) No one else besides maybe myself wants to change this definition today, and 3) survival by adaption eliminates the conflict aspect of evolution which for some reason appeals to the ego of white folks.

Woah, woah, woah, hold up. Firstly, I think Dawkins is a quack. Secondly, I don’t see what castigating white people has to do with any of this. Thirdly, for all technical purposes, let’s just say that fitness is the ability to survive and reproduce. That’s the definition always used by biologists, I am aware of no other. What is your definition of fitness in a biological environment?

Modern medicine and technology are not genes. Ecology is not cheated as we are no discovering to our grief. As E. O. Wilson has recently pointed out social animals are fittest in that they work together with each other, rather than struggle against each other.

There are no organisms as social as humans, or even close, due to our cognitive abilities of language and advanced intellect and rational moral states. In regular environments, rabbits sometimes eat their young and ants are perfectly willing to kamikazi for the promulgation of the colony. Even humans, in a non-Christian world in my view, would fall into the same (yet admittedly still much different) hole. For example, I think it was in one of the great epidemics that swept the Roman Empire in the mid-3rd century AD where it was reported that though the pagans fled the cities, and therefore left their fellows to die, the Christians stayed back and gave help to those infected even at the cost of their own lives. Humans really did cheat the environment with technology. If we were still in cavemen times, and I broke one of my legs, I’d be almost certainly dead. Now, breaking your leg is something you can get healed in a few months with a cast and some proper care. Or what about before the invention of antibiotics? I think penicillin alone is estimated to have saved over 300 million lives (though antibiotic resistance is apparently catching up).

EDIT: I have found a PDF of the paper discussing survival of the fittest I mentioned earlier. It is only 3 pages long, by the way, more of a summary of recent accumulating evidence rather than a study in its own right.