Is there hard evidence for macro-evolution?

(Stewart Hough) #21

I was told this is a discussion forum, not an inquisition. Macroevolution is not believed by all because the phylogenetic gradualism mandated by evolution theory’s natural selection is slow and incremental, not consistent with major genetic changes occuring instantaneously,
None of the “make me a new gene” methods are not intelligent design or fully macroevolutionary in the context of common descent to new genuses or families, only within a species, making them of a “sub-macro” nature at best.

The “transitional evidence” is woefully insufficient. The massive, extensive changes required for the changes for genus and family progression should reveal changes over time at every level. The transitions preached are circumstantial and those of unique species of special creation, not the requisite evidence of gradualistic evolutionary change. “Dozens of examples” should be hundreds to thousands.

(Steve Schaffner) #22

“Macroevolution” is a word used by speakers of English, in this case evolutionary biologists and paleontologists, to mean something. What they mean by it is large-scale evolutionary change. One thing they do not mean by it is rapid change. Any claim that “macroevolution” means rapid change is simply and factually wrong. Your argument here that macroevolution requires rapid change is also wrong and involves some pretty thorough confusion about evolutionary biology. Evolutionary change does not require natural selection, natural selection does not require phyletic gradualism, large-scale evolution has been verified repeatedly, via both fossils and genetics, for numerous organisms, and even if it hadn’t been verified, that would make the concept of macroevolution as large-scale change unverified, not incoherent. In short, every thing you’ve said here is wrong. Have you considered the possibility of asking biologists questions, rather than lecturing them on their own subject of expertise?

This is incorrect. Mutations that make incomplete changes occur all the time without harming organisms. Also, organisms have no mechanism for detecting and destroying harmful mutations.

What single genome changes do you have in mind? Please be specific. And what modeling are you talking about? Citations, please.

Again, you would be better served learning what the scientists are talking about rather than insulting them.

(Matthew Pevarnik) #23

My apologies for any confusion and inquisiting you have felt. One thing that I was personally asking for and I think most feel similarly- is that we ask for evidence about claims where possible. Since you made a large number of claims I wanted to ask for what evidence you have to support those claims.

Let’s try to unpack that sentence a little bit. To begin, what do you mean by ‘macroevolution?’ In other words, where is the clear dividing line between micro and macro? You will find that the term is rarely used in scientific publications because it is not particularly useful.

What are some examples of genetic changes occurring instantaneously? What do you mean by instantaneous in this context? Instantaneous in the context of billions of years could be a million years.

Do you know what kinds of differences exist between modern humans and modern chimpanzees? Believe it or not, the differences between us and them are made up of a combination of each of those mechanisms listed. You have to demonstrate a) what differences exist in the genome and then b) that no mechanisms could ever account for such.

To end this part though, many Christians believe that God designed and upholds natural laws as you yourself agreed above. I would personally add that I believe God designed those laws you mentioned above in an exquisite way, but also the mechanisms that underly the biological world. God can still ‘orchestrate’ galaxies just as much as he can create endless forms most beautiful via mechanisms He created and upholds.

(Stephen Matheson) #24

It’s a discussion forum, and a good one. It has expectations about what a discussion should be. A few patient people serve as moderators, attempting a task that Hercules would have been wise to avoid.

I can see why you might feel an “inquisition.” My opinion is that you are prone to making unsupported claims, and making them flatly as assertions of “fact,” on topics that you don’t understand. That last part might sound like an insult, but it’s not, and it’s not meant to be. Those of us who know evolutionary biology can immediately see several big errors on your part, and they are the kinds of errors that show a shallow and flawed (deeply flawed, I would say) understanding of the topic. When this ignorance is coupled with an apparent confidence in the claims you make, the impression you give is not a good one.

The only way to improve the conversation is to learn more about the things you write about. Maybe one idea is to change your viewpoint, to see the people here not as inquisitors but as instructors and to see your role not as crusader but as student. In fact, the forum includes people with world-class expertise on the subjects you seem to be interested in. You have gotten the attention of @glipsnort, for example, and that means you have the potential opportunity to learn about genomes and lots of other things. I think the choice is now yours. Merry Christmas.

(Stewart Hough) #25

Thank you for you more conciliatory response. I never expected acceptance on this site, an organization so aligned with evolutionism, but did not withhold my perspective so that the degree of belief in evolution would be more apparent. I do not get insulted, but see it readily manifest if conformance to approved doctrine is not seen. The site being “a good one” is arguably dependent on the conformance to accepted ideology.

No one responded with clear counterpoints, only refusal to objectively consider the arguments, contention of semantics and definitions and without the proper context to critically determine their truth or relevance. It is a common technique of sites adhering to naturalism to not explicitly respond to issues, rather promote and broadcast ideologically approved viewpoints and lots of external, ideologically sanctioned material that adheres to accepted beliefs not able to withstand critical examination.

Regarding “unsupported claims,” one site alluded to took up the topic of “making genes” but in detailed analysis was not relevant, applied only in a narrow context, and was insufficient to refute my point.

Another classic technique is to allege lack of understanding to the approved doctrines or not conforming to accepted beliefs. Counter positions are readily demeaned as a lack of understanding.

Those who “know evolutionary biology” are, to varying degrees, indoctrinated with the ideology, I believe it is a house of cards, is very universally mandated to be accepted and is policed to reduce threats to the ideology with exposure.

The willingness of this site to objectively engage alternate perspectives of science will ultimately judge its intellectual, theological and ontological value. I have no illusions but do not shy away from nonconforming counter arguments, not to be contrarian or contentious but to expose the truth…


Why not answer some of the questions pevaquark asked you?

(Phil) #27

In review, I see a lot of info offered in the links provided (it is difficult and not very practical to have people create a long post de novo to explain what is explained elsewhere.) Sometimes the trees get lost in the forest, so it would be helpful to focus on one area at a time. Do you have any specific question that can be focused on, or a counter-argument to one of the specific examples of macroevolution provided earlier?

(Haywood Clark) #28

You appear to have a very fundamental misconception of evolution if you expect it to be verified in an organism.

Evolution only happens to populations.

(Haywood Clark) #29

Nothing you’ve introduced is scientific, so there’s no reason to engage it as a scientific perspective.

(William DeJong) #30

Dear Scott Canion,

Many (even highly educated) people are convinced that simple (organic) molecules have a natural desire to combine themselves into ever more complex molecules. They share this conviction with the Alchemists, who believed that cheap, ordinary materials as mud and lead possess the natural property to transform themselves into precious, extraordinary materials as gold, under the right conditions (position of the moon, presence of the blood of frogs, the powder from a unicorn, and the right spells). This pre-Victorian Alchemist faith lays at the basis of the theory that natural processes can produce ‘macro-evolution’ = the transformation of simple organic molecules into ever more complex molecules (DNA) and next into structures of molecules (cells) and subsequently into ever more complex structures of structures (organisms). It can easily be proven that this theory is false.

Proof by contradiction (see Wikipedia )

  1. Let P be the proposition that simple (organic) molecules have a natural desire to combine into ever more complex molecules and structures of molecules.
  2. Assume that P is true. Then P implies that, without building a factory, natural processes can transform molecules with a low energy content into molecules and molecular structures with an ever higher energy content. As a consequence, energy can be harvested for free and chemical industry can be closed down.
  3. The implications of P are absurd. Therefore, P cannot be true and thus is false.
    The impossibility of (chemical) macro evolution by natural processes is illustrated by the experiments of Miller (1953) and Otto (2018) , which show that for the production of an ever increasing amount of amino acids, respectively synthetic fibers, a (primitive) factory must be built.

Conclusion: It is impossible to find hard empirical evidence for a process that provably can not exist in physical reality, but only in a fantasy world.

Happy new year!

Dr. W.M. DeJong, Evoskepsis Association

(William DeJong) #31

Dear Mark,

You believe, as most writers on this forum do, that billions of small changes always ad up to big changes. Unfortunately that is not true. When you move a cup of tea on your table a billion times into a different position, it never moves from its 2-dimensional space into a 3-dimensional space and starts to fly.

Root problem in most discussions on evolution is that evolution is not a robust scientific concept. Evolution (= slow change) stands opposite of Revolution (= fast change). But change can happen in different ways! Systems can change in their parameters: (a1, b1) --> (a2, b2) ; this type of change is called ‘variation’ or ‘first order change’. Systems, however, can also change in their dimensions: (a1, b1) --> (a2, b2, c2); this type of change is called ‘innovation’ or ‘second order change’. You can easily see that billions of variations, during billions of years, cannot produce innovation. The fundamental difference between first order and second order change is a key distinction in organization and change theory and in the field of innovation theory.

In every branch of science, scholars are eager to define the fundamental concepts of their theories as accurately as possible. In evolutionary biology, however, this eagerness is missing. After more than one hundred and fifty years, the concept of evolution urgently needs to be defined more accurately by distinguishing first order change + the engine of first order change + the empirical evidence for it, from second order change + the engine of second order change + the empirical evidence for it. The consequence of this distinction will be that, for instance, the change in the form of the beaks of Darwin finches, produced by the mechanism of recombination of gene variants and selection and by gene regulation, can no longer be used as evidence that a bacterium can change into a human. See further: ‘Ten misconceptions about how the DNA changes’

In 2019, naturalists will continue to broadcast that evolution is a robust scientific concept and will keep misusing examples of variation of the DNA by natural processes as proof of innovation of the DNA (= expansion of it into new dimensions) by natural processes. They will also keep policing against any attempt in evolutionary biology to distinguish first order from second order change, as is normal in any branch of science that studies change. But ultimately - maybe this year yet - they will fail to block the progress of empirical science.

Happy new year!

Dr. W.M. DeJong, Evoskepsis Association

(Matthew Pevarnik) #32

Are you referring to the origins of life (which is completely separate from this thread concerning macro-evolution)?

Oh I see. You’ve made up your own version of macro-evolution and then proceeded to tear it down. That sounds like a straw man argument. You appear to have though ignored all the evidence provided by myself and others earlier in the thread which I hope we can try to discuss.

(Randy) #33

I am surprised at your thoughts, Dr DeJong. Are you from the Netherlands, per your website? Are you familiar with @cees_dekker or @Casper_Hesp, or Ard Louis? They have good experience with science and faith and have either been cited by Biologos or been on our forum. Maybe you would enjoy their works.


(Steve Schaffner) #34

Where did you get that idea? He believes that billions of small changes sometimes add up to big changes. Erecting and then knocking down an obvious straw man doesn’t seem like a good use of anyone’s time.

(Steve Schaffner) #35

I have never heard anyone make that claim. I have heard the claim that simple molecules have the capacity, under certain circumstances, to form more complex molecules and other structures. You really would be better off addressing the claims that people actually make.

(Stephen Matheson) #36

His very first sentence was a falsehood, used to construct a slander in which scientists, including regular contributors and moderators here on this Forum, are equated to alchemists. Personally, I’m a little more interested in why you want to hear more from a point of view like that.

(Randy) #37

Good question. Please don’t take it that I agree with you, Dr DeJong @WilliamDJ . I’m hoping that you, who apparently believe this, will be willing to listen if I listen to you first. I don’t agree with your sentence, but I’m hoping you will be open to listen if you can explain your reasoning. At least we can agree to presume good intent.

@glipsnort, @pevaquark, and @sfmatheson are scientists who know much more than I do. I agree with their statements. Thanks.

(Mark D.) #38

Perhaps he is assuming naively that every action taken by any organism requires an intention or at least a brute predilection. That might be a valid supposition regarding creatures like ourselves but seems highly unlikely for the vast majority of life forms on this planet. But of course, if you were to look at the ways populations of humans may be evolving you won’t find any deliberate intention involved there either. It is only the actions we undertake as conscious, sentient beings where it makes sense to inquire as to our intentions and/or tendencies.

Of course no such premise is required to reach the conclusion that natural selection best describes the history of life on this planet.

(Andrew M. Wolfe) #39

@WilliamDJ has shown up before here. We’ve even discussed his publication record. I predict he will ghost us as he did last time, leaving a trail of BioLogos people wasting our time on responses that he will ignore. His primary goal seems to be to drive traffic to his website and start 2019 on some sort of faux-triumphalist note by trolling Evangelicalism’s flagship evolutionary-creation discussion forum.

I hope I’m wrong!

(Randy) #40

Ah. @WilliamDJ, have you had a chance to address the valid questions made in this link for you?

I’d be interested. Thanks.