Does biology need the theory that all life shares a common ancestor?

I read it on some evo site. There are variations on the theme - all rather amusing.

Sorry, but no, the inability of selective breeding to generate new species of dogs (or cats) does not count as evidence of “kinds”. I know very little about dog breeding, but I do know that highly pure bloodlines are quite rare and thus greatly prized. Interbreeding is much more common, which will continuously “shuffle” the gene pool. Additionally, the time scale required for speciation is generally quite a bit longer than the time since animal domestication…

After decades of denying speciation, it is fascinating to read the recent rhetoric from AiG claiming that not only does speciation occur, it occurs at a rate orders of magnitude faster than the theory of evolution would suggest. Ken Ham states “The scholars doing the research for this project are predicting from their research on living and fossil mammal, amphibian, reptile, and bird kinds that there may have been as few as 1,000 land animal kind represented on the Ark.” AiG also completely comfortable with an estimate of 8.7 million species on the planet today. Admittedly, not all of these 8.7 million species are land animals, but we are still faced with ~1,000 land animals evolving (and yes, they would have HAD to evolve) into millions of land animal species in ~4,000 years. The math simply doesn’t add up.

Let’s take a look at a statement from the Ark Encounter page: “The biblical concept of created “kind” probably most closely corresponds to the family level in current taxonomy. A good rule of thumb is that if two things can breed together, then they are of the same created kind. It is a bit more complicated, but this is a good quick measure of a “kind.”” Ignoring the inaccuracy of the description of Family, their use of the word “probably” would suggest that they don’t really have a good concept of exactly what a “kind” is.

I know it is uncomfortable to examine the implications of what the science tells us, but we DO NOT have to abandon the Bible in order to accept the science. What I consider essential theology remains unaffected by accepting the well-established science of evolution. Accepting evolution does bring up interesting discussions about Adam and Eve (http://biologos.org/common-questions/human-origins/were-adam-and-eve-historical-figures), but our sin and subsequent separation from God, the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, and His triumphant resurrection remain intact! Keep an open mind and genuinely try to learn and I’d be willing to bet you will come away with an understanding that Bible-believing followers of Christ can still accept the science of evolution. Listen and learn instead of arguing and plugging your ears, what do you have to lose?

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No one here has precisely defined what they mean by Darwinism.

So, it seems you define “Darwinism” as only what is contained (and only what is contained) in the Origin of the Species (and possibly other writings of Darwin)?

Well, then obviously i cannot use it because Darwin didn’t know about proteins, DNA, RNA, chromatin, or much of anything else like that.

If so, I suppose that I should have written:
“Does biology need Darwinism: if Darwinism could be removed from the science of biology, would it suffer? …”, my answer would be “yes”. Particularly the area where we use molecular evolution to actually determine 3D structures of proteins or RNA."

Whatever imprecision I may be guilty of, the fact of the matter is that molecular evolution techniques, which often incorporate many of the concepts of Darwinism, work and work quite well.

By Grace we proceed.

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Thus you are contending that he has no idea what he is talking about.

You are telling a professional biologist that he doesn’t understand how to do his work. Please tell me, @Dredge, how it is that you have this awesome super-power? And can you kindly solve the P=NP and Turing Halting Problems while you’re at it? I would like some professional help from a guy like you.
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I respect glipsnort’s opnion, since he is a professional biologist, but there may be another side to the story and/or a flaw in his argument.

To consider all the judgements of science professionals to be infallible is a tad naive and childish, isn’t it?

@Dredge,

The reason the history of dog-breeding is not particularly helpful to a discussion on Evolution is that dog breeding has been conducted as an exercise in how much diversity can be created while maintaining reproductive compatibility. You can’t bring the favorable traits of one dog lineage to another if the two lineages cannot produce offspring.

One of the key premises to Speciation (a corollary to Common Descent) is that unless there is extreme population isolation at work, long before you can produce dramatic differences in phenotype, you have to create enough genetic distinction that two or more populations can no longer successfully mate to produce fertile offspring.

How else would you get a breed of air-breathing mammals that prosper mating and birthing in the wide open ocean - - instead of in a fold in a fertile valley of Earth?

How else would you get a breed of rodent to fly with less effort than some birds do?

How else would you get a breed of marsupial to develop jumping legs that put many insects to shame - - even in a proportional comparison?

One might be tempted to say “by the grace of God’s special creation” . . . but this doesn’t explain the incredible consistency we find in the fossil record … where we find numerous transitional forms, for numerous animal Genus or Geni, that are all long gone… and where the forms we consider most closely related to the end forms we know exist today are consistently found buried more recently than the forms we consider more similar to the proposed common ancestors.

The only conclusion that fits all the facts is an ancient Earth and Speciation.

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Sure, I’m skeptical whenever a scientist strays outside his/her area of expertise. There is little that Richard Dawkins speaks of philosophy and religion that I do not disagree with, for example.

I think it’s more than a tad foolish and naive to question the Pope about Catholicism, Hugh Ross about astronomy, or Steve Schaffner about biology.

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@Dredge
There are two possibilities here. The first is that you mistook an anti-evolution website for a pro-evolution website, and second is you accepted the caricature of evolution on an anti-evolution website as true.

In either case this diction of evolution is false. If you believed it to be true, the it is small wonder that you are opposed to it.

However you need to get you information from sources you can trust like a good book on the subject. BioLogos has many suggestions. Don’t read Dawkins, but a textbook.

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@Chris_Falter

More than a tad foolish? It’s a page right out of Grog’s handbook - - it’s borderline insulting. It would be like questioning Brad’s credibility by charging “he is merely working for donors who might be tempted to tell him what to write.” @Dredge wouldn’t be the first one to head in that direction …

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@Dredge and @cwhenderson:

The purported Bible category of “kinds” is viable, when you look at exactly how kinds are described.

Kinds are aggregations of life forms that produce more of the same.

This does not mean a Lion can produce a Cougar… because they are both a feline “kind”. It means a Lion represents a Kind, and a Cougar, which produces its own offspring, is a different Kind from a Lion.

“Kind” cannot mean “similar group” - - no matter how the YEC’s use the term. It’s not how the Bible uses the term.

For those who know that Lions and Tigers can produce fertile offspring, it raises the obvious question that while a Cougar may not be part of a Lion’s kind, it does seem that Tigers are !

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From what I understand about what “kind” means, which admittedly isn’t much, there is a wide range of theological interpretation of the term. Some theologians adhere to a very similar description to yours, @gbrooks9 - organisms capable of producing fertile offspring. Others view it as a much more flexible term. I’ve read descriptions equating the term with what we would mean in modern English by saying “God made all kinds of animals”. I think theologians are far from a consensus opinion on how best to interpret the word.

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My statement was that I know of no other reason, besides common descent, for divergence to track with diversity. Common descent predicts that they will be correlated. Data confirms that prediction. That constitutes evidence for common descent. That was my argument. The statement that you quoted said that I know of no counter-argument – no other reason for the two quantities to be correlated. Clearly, you don’t know of any other reason either, or you would have offered it. So my actual argument, which you edited out, remains unchallenged.[quote=“NonlinOrg, post:96, topic:35756”]
I am not sure what you mean. Can you explain?
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Some parts of chromosomes mutate faster than other parts. In those places, mutations will accumulate more quickly. That means that two humans will differ more at those places; it also means that humans and chimpanzees will differ more at those places.

By the gradual accumulation of lots of mutations in the population ancestral to humans.

An African ape that lived roughly 6 million years ago.

If what was closer to the modern ape? Regardless, competition has eliminated many of the branches – Neanderthals and Denisovans, to name two.

I don’t know how to answer that question, since I have no idea why you’re postulating that the ancestor happened upon a bounty of food. What does that have to do with anything? Humans presumably evolved large brains because those with larger brains survived and reproduced better than those with smaller brains. It certainly seems to have been a successful strategy. In any case, I haven’t offered any claims about why humans evolved; all I’ve said is that the evidence shows that humans did descend from a common ancestor with chimpanzees

They were both in the murky zone of near-speciation.

Creationism is unable to explain genetic data. At all.

The answer is, I am using my hypothesis to predict.

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Once upon a time I wrote to two or three creationist organizations asking them related questions. I never got an answer.

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Well, for starters, you’d be missing out on radio, television, computers, cameras, safe drinking water, and eyeglasses. The branches of science they’re based on were theoretical before they became applied. There’s really no applied science without theoretical science.

In any case, as I said before, most of what I do is indeed applied science.

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@cwhenderson, I trust you are not surprised that I am not surprised by your findings?

But like many other Biblical views claimed by YEC’s, the use of “kind” only appears to have one working definition: a kind is identified by their production of offspring, with the context that this is an ongoing transmission of “kind” that would not be satisfied by the production of infertile offspring (as with Horses and Donkeys).

The whimsical refuge of YEC’s to “kind” meaning what seems to be intended as “any arbitrarily defined group of animals that seem to be alike for the purposes of their dispute”.

The Creationists who submit that speciation occurs after the ark is emptied of its cargo, want to say that it might be speciation, but it is “within” kinds (as they arbitrarily define them). But what we see, in fact, is the presence today of millions of terrestrial species, each one a “kind” as defined by the context provided in Genesis.

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Yes, this is a classic example of faulty argument. Your imagination or lack thereof is not a valid argument. Data does not predict your belief. Instead you fit your model (evolution) onto the existing data (data makes no claim one way or another), and then want to use this artificial “correlation” to justify your model. Think about it - this is 100% circular logic!

I am still not sure what you mean. Whatever mutations happen in humans “at those points” are obviously not important enough to make us anything but humans (no human-ape monsters). Your link with chimps doesn’t follow.

In addition, you put too much faith in DNA anyway. Contrary to popular belief, DNA is not “essence of life” but a mere 1.5 GB of data with which you can’t fully specify a hair dryer, let alone the monster complexity that is a human body and its life cycle.

Theoretically, but you got nothing to show. I see Nakalipithecus, Ouranopithecus, Sahelanthropus and Orrorin but you cannot positively link these to humans. Furthermore, if humans ancestors supposedly changed so dramatically, what happened to the chimps in this period? Why did chimps not change as dramatically as humans? And how come both chimps and humans survived? Whatever happened to “survival of the fittest”? How are you not just fitting data to your story?

That’s my point: why bigger brains, and not bigger bodies and overpopulation? If “larger brains survive better”, where are the other human-like brains say in felidae or canidae?

You (evolutionists) own the murkyness. Either clarify, or admit failure.

Really?!? Just look outside the window at [say] transportation implements and you will see plenty of “evolution”, common “genetic data”, “tree of life”, etc. etc. All 100% Creationism.

No, you are not. Evolution is part of your Religion and you have never used it to predict anything because no one has ever used Evolution to predict something. As I explain - http://nonlin.org/philosophy-religion-and-science/ - Science is a composite of Observation and Belief, but most people are under the mistaken assumption that their Knowledge is due to pure Objective Science. Basically it’s impossible to separate Religion from Science.

That’s not the case. As I explain, http://nonlin.org/evolution/ , Darwinism fails in every claim and genetics (Mendel) explains in part why Darwinism makes no sense.

It is time to retire:

“Natura non facit saltum” (gradualism) – argument is illogic and contrary to molecular/atomic physics as well as contrary to sexual reproduction
“Randomness” as in random mutations and “Random creates”
“Natural” in natural selection – everything is natural; this religious argument does not comply with the scientific method, is unsupported, and beyond the competence of claimants
“Unguided and Purposeless” – argument is illogical and, since selection is guided and purposeful, the outcome must be as well guided and purposeful
Recognize that Selection and Survival are one and the same – the selected survive and the surviving have been selected
“Fit” as in survival of the fittest – we cannot measure “fit” except as “survival”
“Four or five”…or LUCA (Last Universal Common Ancestor) – in a generic “primordial soup” scenario if one happens, then many happen …unless said soup is magical(?)
“Arising” as in Arising of Everything and Life vs. Entropy
“Benefit” and “optimization” – there’s nothing wrong with these anthropic concepts, but they are utterly incompatible with the mechanistic universe envisioned by Darwin and his followers

Science is not done in the same way that philosophy is done. Scientists frequently use the “principle of parsimony” in which they stick to the most likely explanation that is indicated by scientific evidence. Sometimes new evidence results in the modification of an explanation, but science would be very difficult (if not impossible) to conduct if researchers were to “imagine” any possible explanation to a set of results. Ridiculing professional work that you don’t understand is unbecoming.

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There are certain “hot spots” that accumulate mutations at a higher rate than most other regions of the genome. So these regions have higher variability between individual human samples. These exact same regions also happen to vary at a higher rate between human and chimp genomes - which is quite likely NOT a coincidence.[quote=“NonlinOrg, post:115, topic:35756”]
In addition, you put too much faith in DNA anyway. Contrary to popular belief, DNA is not “essence of life” but a mere 1.5 GB of data with which you can’t fully specify a hair dryer, let alone the monster complexity that is a human body and its life cycle.
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It has been widely known for decades that DNA encodes RNA and RNA is used to make proteins. Proteins are what make up a considerable portion of organismal structure and function. Thus, DNA is of central importance to physical characteristics of organisms. I would agree that life is more than just physical properties, but your argument just plain does not make sense. If I am following your hair dryer argument correctly, you are stating that DNA is insufficient to code for the human body and it’s life cycle? If so, what else do you suggest we attribute the complexity to?[quote=“NonlinOrg, post:115, topic:35756”]
And how come both chimps and humans survived? Whatever happened to “survival of the fittest”?
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If evolution worked the way you seem to think it works, there would be only a single organism on the planet that battled it’s way to “fittest” at the expense of all other organisms. You are taking the concept of “survival of the fittest” too far. While it is true that advancement of one species is often to the detriment (and sometimes even extinction) of another, it is possible for similar organisms to settle into different niches, thereby reducing selective pressure and allowing similar organisms to survive.

It is quite apparent that you have done a lot of reading, but it is equally clear your understanding of science has considerable gaps. Feel free to continue with legitimate questions, but please keep the scorn to a minimum.

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It does indeed stretch credibility a bit to think that 1,000 species could evolve into millions without breaking any sort of “kind” barrier.

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Gentlemen! (@cwhenderson, @Dredge, et al)

Dog breeders are not trying to create speciation… .they want to create new breeds of dogs! One of the reasons it would be counter-productive to create a new Species is the desire for very different kinds of dogs is so strong, you need to maintain a compatible genetic profile so that you have hundreds of dog varieties and thousands of dog alleles at your disposal, whenever you want to create something new or special.

How many alleles do you think a new species would have available to it should anyone want some variant?

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Evidently, Darwinism rattles your faith. The best I can do is remind you of this song “Jesus paid it all”

Lord, now indeed I find
Thy pow’r, and thine alone
Can change the leper’s spots
and melt the heart of stone

Jesus paid it all, All to Him I owe
Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.

and another really good one is Great is thy faithfulness

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee
Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not;
As Thou hast been, Thou forever wilt be.
Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

By Grace we proceed,

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“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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