Does evolutionary theory provide any useful scientific benefit?

(Jay Johnson) #457

Yes, because if you are willing to accept the idea that God created with an appearance of age, you cannot be sure that the universe wasn’t created 15 min. ago.


Since the overwhelming majority of dinosaurs are presumed to have been extinct, and not exist after 4000 years, then the conditions under which they became extinct could have quite easily caused rapid and severe degradation of DNA before any cold dry conditions which later existed. Keep in mind that fossilization happens under rapid burial, not under slow cold burial. If this rapid burial was accompanied by warm waters, rapid movement of sediment, then dry conditions would not prevail for some time, and since the climate was warmer, and flooding of waters was accompanied by volcanic activity and tectonic shifting, we would not expect cold conditions either.


Creating with an appearance of age is an old idea long discarded by serious creationists. The appearance of age is not about how it was created, but how we perceive it. As we perceive it incorrectly, because we are using the wrong measurements and the wrong assumptions.

(James McKay) #460

Thanks for your response John. Unfortunately DNA does not degrade into oblivion in a single year under any realistic conditions that we would expect during the Flood. In any case, according to YEC teaching the Flood was immediately followed by a ~200 year ice age, which would have provided ideal conditions for DNA preservation.

Besides, Noah is supposed to have dinosaurs on board the Ark. That being the case, isn’t it a bit strange that we’ve never found a post-Flood dinosaur carcass anywhere?

In theory, yes. In practice, many YEC arguments do, on closer inspection, turn out to be nothing more than a sophisticated variety of omphalos, in that they just propose a possible mechanism by which the earth could have been made to look older than it really is. Accelerated nuclear decay is one such example.

(George Brooks) #461


And yet .,… in all of this slow burial … elephants and whales totally resisted being intertwined in the burial fields of these dinosaurs.

And totally resisted being intertwined in the burial fields of the marsupials of Australia.

Only a God completely dedicated to fooling humanity would have an interest in making these things appear this way …


And, for 60 million years, coelacanth fish also completely resisted being fossilized… wait?!! they’re still alive? Still exist? wow! How dare they!


Face-palm. Is JohnZ unaware that Coelacanth fish are an entire taxonomic order of fishes, not a single species? Or is he simply pretending that the two modern Coelacanth species are the same as the ancient, long-extinct species found in the fossil record?

This is a great example of a popular “mockery argument” promoted by the major Young Earth Creationist anti-evolution ministries which only sounds convincing to audiences of science-uninformed people. It angers me because the propaganda ministries know that most people lack even the basic knowledge of first-year undergraduate biology which would protect them from such nonsense.

I’ve even seen AIG articles claiming that because modern Coelacanths “look identical” to the fossil Coelacanths, they “obviously” prove that evolution never happened.

I’m curious, JohnZ. How many times have people explained to you that modern, living Coelacanths are the not the same species as the ancient fossils from 60 million years ago? In fact, do I recall someone explaining that to you on another thread some time ago?

It doesn’t matter how many time these ridiculous anti-evolution arguments are debunked. They get endlessly recycled just the same.


Yet another STRAW MAN ARGUMENT from JohnZ. No competent evolutionary biologist claims that the term “vestigial” means “useless”.

Until you start getting your science education from a textbook or other credible source—and stop spouting propaganda slogans from science-illiterate anti-evolution websites—you will continue to promote dishonest arguments. (I have no way to know if you know the truth, so I’m not calling you dishonest. Yet I do know that many of the ministries which spread this lie have been fully informed for their errors and the truth explained to them. So the arguments are indeed dishonest.)


Now that your nose is squished and your eyes out of focus, mr molinist, have you become aware that it matters not that whether there are multiple species of coelacanth? Or even that defining a species of coelacanth without genetic information is not a clear cut unambiguous process? Now you know. The point is NOT that this proves that evolution never happened. It merely proves that absence of fossils does not prove absence of species, which is a foundational principle of geological paleontology. Thus, for evolutionists to say that a species did not exist when a geo layer was formed, if we have not yet found any fossils of that species in that layer, is simply scientifically fallacious. Now you know the real point.


Your definition of “competent” is highly inflammatory and defamatory.

(of an organ or part of the body) degenerate, rudimentary, or atrophied, having become functionless in the course of evolution.
“the vestigial wings of kiwis are entirely hidden”

vestigial certainly means more than “useless”, yet useless is essential to the definition, and is the significance of the argument. Your straw man is even more flimsy than your allegation.

(Chris Falter) #467

Evidently you are not familiar with the concept of exaptation and how it applies to vestigial structures. In addition, vestiges can have reduced functionality, as opposed to none whatsoever.


The NCSE website has a great article on various bogus but interesting creationist arguments concerning vestigial structures:

Readers interested in the OP behind this thread will find the following Khan Academy tutorial a useful response to the question “Does evolutionary theory provide any useful scientific benefit?”

The article is entitled: “How evolution saves lives and promotes prosperity.” but the scientific benefits are also explored in other ways, not just in terms of economic payoffs.

(Phil) #469

Indeed. I was looking at the vestigial cigarette lighter socket in my car, now that it has been re-purposed to charge my cell phone. Not a very good design for its current use, but there it is as a power outlet.


And most vestigial cigarette lighters in cars also found a very useful unplanned function where that little pullout ash tray became a coin holder for parking meter payments.

Vestigial refers to the loss of the original primary function of a structure but does not insist that new functions never result.


I will admit I have not read the 454 responses in this thread. I’m just answering the original question here. The theory of evolution gave us the idea of conserved sequence = likely to have an important function. I’m not well-versed on the literature , but surely this bit of info has helped with scientific advancement in some way, and conceivably the progress of medical research, which would directly benefit humans? :slight_smile:

(George Brooks) #472


I think you would find lots of information in the sources mentioned here:

"Over the past two decades, a more formal discipline of evolutionary medicine has slowly been emerging.

[First Significant Work]
The publication of The Dawn of Darwinian Medicine, by George C. Williams and Randolph Nesse, was the first significant attempt to place human disease within a framework of evolutionary thought (Williams and Nesse 1991).

Since then, concepts have been refined as evident in the first systematic textbook of evolutionary medicine

[Three recent contributions to the field]
and in a variety of overview publications (Nesse and Stearns 2008;

Gluckman et al. 2009;
Gluckman PD, Beedle AS, Hanson MA. Principles of Evolutionary Medicine. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2009

Nesse et al. 2010).

Recently, the American Association of Medical Colleges has opined that evolutionary science must now be one of the core components of the premedical course (AAMC-HHMI Scientific Foundation for Future Physicians Committee 2009)."

"Traditional evolutionary questions concerning the origin of a trait, the limits of adaptive capacity, host–parasite–symbiont relationships, and pathogen evolution interactions are increasingly being addressed within human biology and medicine, using new experimental and theoretical tools. This new field, which arises from the intersections of evolutionary biology, clinical medicine, and experimental biomedical disciplines, is now known as evolutionary medicine. It asks evolutionary questions to explain vulnerability to disease. The explosion of knowledge of the human genome allows a level of evolutionary analysis not previously possible. Such research has helped tackle fundamental evolutionary questions such as our origin as a species and our species’ migrations around the world and provides compelling evidence for continuing selective pressures acting on our species, some of which have relevance to disease risk (Akey 2009; [and]…

…Barreiro and Quintana-Murci 2010). < [End of sentence of quoted text.]
Barreiro LB, Quintana-Murci L. From evolutionary genetics to human immunology: how selection shapes host defence genes. Nature Reviews Genetics. 2010;11:17–30. [PubMed]

[Link to the Quoted Text Above]

(Christy Hemphill) split this topic #473

4 posts were split to a new topic: Study in Nature shoots down three basic claims of evolutionary theory

Study in Nature shoots down three basic claims of evolutionary theory
Study in Nature shoots down three basic claims of evolutionary theory
Study in Nature shoots down three basic claims of evolutionary theory

Thanks! Exactly what I was looking for!


It seems to me that the “evolutionary” scientific principles involved in the linked articles would be acceptable to any creationist, as none of it depends on accepting the theory that all life shares a common ancestor. That is to say, the science involved depends only on what exists in the here and now, and not on how it got here over millions of years of supposed evolution.
So in this sense, it’s somewhat misleading to call the scientific principles involved “evolutionary” as they are simply principles of biology.

(Steve Schaffner) #479

That’s not correct. The selection scans described in one of the links depend on common ancestry of humans and chimpanzees in at least two ways: they rely on common ancestry to determine the ancestral allele at every site in the genome, and they rely on it to correct for local mutation rate variation.