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Question: What Part Of Evolution Do Yecs Not Understand?


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#1 ikester7579

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Posted 20 July 2010 - 09:12 PM

I hear this claim made quite often that the reason YECs don't believe in evolution is because they do not understand it. So would a evolutionist here like to make a list of what it is we do not understand? Also it is claimed we are not educated enough to understand it. So how much education is needed? Do you think all YECs went to Christian schools? I for one did not, could not afford it. So what education beyond high-school is needed?

Do you guys determine that unless we all have degrees in biology we don't understand it? How many of you have degrees in biology?

#2 PhilC

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 01:04 AM

Great question! I know that YEC'ers are intelligent, educated people. I've talked to many face to face and on boards like this, and with one or two exceptions all show how clever they are.

In so many areas the way that creationists accept things is so close to how evolutionists would say them that it is hard to explain the difference but the subtle differences make all the difference, if you'll excuse the poor wrinting of this sentence.

Top of the list for me would be a misunderstanding of how science works.

Next is and undertsanding of what makes a transitional.

One of the main problems as I see it is that much creationist literature contains mistakes but creationists accept the literature without question. I guess because it supports their viewpoint. The thing is the way a creationist reads the Bible is completely different; they can spot errors in any commentary on the Bible because they read the Bible critically. If they read the creationist literature like that a lot of the mistakes could be removed and what would be left is anything that could be a problem for the theory of evolution. We can't see the wood for the trees, though.

#3 falcone

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 02:54 AM

None of the regular posters, creationist or otherwise, appear to have a comprehensive, in depth understanding of evolutionary biology. We all know bits and pieces.

I think what happens is that evolutionists become frustrated when creationists won't accept a basic concept of evolution, if only for the sake of discussion. There are lots of examples, but here's just one:

Evolution is random.

We can agrue at length whether this is true or not (and we have), but the long and short of it is that the ToE says it is not random, like it or not. It would be great if someone would say, 'okay, I don't necessarily agree, but let's go with it for argument's sake'. Instead, we get stuck here and the discussion goes nowhere.

#4 PhilC

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 03:20 AM

We can agrue at length whether this is true or not (and we have), but the long and short of it is that the ToE says it is not random, like it or not. It would be great if someone would say, 'okay, I don't necessarily agree, but let's go with it for argument's sake'. Instead, we get stuck here and the discussion goes nowhere.


Spot on! If the ToE says something, my example was the transitionals but this is another good point, and the creationists say the opposite then they will never be debating the actual details.

#5 ikester7579

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 02:06 PM

Great question! I know that YEC'ers are intelligent, educated people. I've talked to many face to face and on boards like this, and with one or two exceptions all show how clever they are.

In so many areas the way that creationists accept things is so close to how evolutionists would say them that it is hard to explain the difference but the subtle differences make all the difference, if you'll excuse the poor wrinting of this sentence.

Top of the list for me would be a misunderstanding of how science works.


How does science work?

Next is and undertsanding of what makes a transitional.


If it's done through what we currently know about DNA, and the immune system, it does not work. But if it's done like: It works because I say so even though I cannot show you with an observable process. Then there is a problem with this also. So can you explain what makes a transitional fossil that would be considered empirical evidence?

One of the main problems as I see it is that much creationist literature contains mistakes but creationists accept the literature without question. I guess because it supports their viewpoint.


Well I can give examples of where I can show your side does the same thing. Just accepts things because science claims it.

The thing is the way a creationist reads the Bible is completely different; they can spot errors in any commentary on the Bible because they read the Bible critically. If they read the creationist literature like that a lot of the mistakes could be removed and what would be left is anything that could be a problem for the theory of evolution. We can't see the wood for the trees, though.

View Post


I realize that you won't understand what I am about to say, but I'll say it anyway. The conflict on the Bible and claimed errors is a spiritual warfare thing. Which has nothing to do with current debate unless you understood it.

#6 ikester7579

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 02:45 PM

None of the regular posters, creationist or otherwise, appear to have a comprehensive, in depth understanding of

evolutionary biology

. We all know bits and pieces.


The term you use (evolutionary biology) is what I find is one of the main problems with science. Scientists have already deemed evolution as a true fact even though truth cannot even be defined in scientific terms. But naming every process in science as if it can "only support evolution" makes evolution unfalsifiable by eliminating every other idea from the get go.

So would you consider creation biology when science calls it evolution biology? Of course not.

I think what happens is that evolutionists become frustrated when creationists won't accept a basic concept of evolution, if only for the sake of discussion. There are lots of examples, but here's just one:

Evolution is random.


If evolution is not random, then what guides it?

You might say: Natural selection and survival of the fittest. But what decides that we need to see when we cannot?
1) How to see.
2) How to focus.
3) What is focus.
4) How to see colors.
5) What are colors.
6) Sight needs a separate part of the brain to process it.
7) Which had to evolve first: The eye or the vision center of the brain.
8) How much pressure is needed to keep the eye inflated without damage.

etc...

Ignoring that something besides natural selection and survival of the fittest guides things does not make it to where it does not exist.


We can agrue at length whether this is true or not (and we have), but the long and short of it is that the ToE says it is not random, like it or not. It would be great if someone would say, 'okay, I don't necessarily agree, but let's go with it for argument's sake'. Instead, we get stuck here and the discussion goes nowhere.

View Post


That's the other problem. Everyone has to go along with what evolutionists say to make the debate progress. Evolutionists would not get caught dead doing that with a creationist.

When it's done this way it's called evangelism (some tactics religious some are not). A person has what's called a stronghold. A stronghold is your hold on what you currently believe. To break a stronghold you have to systematically get a person to deny what they currently believe to agree with you. This can be done several ways:

Condemnation: Making a person realize that what they do is wrong and there are consequences.

Peer pressure: Making a person feel that they cannot belong to a majority group or an elite group unless they believe and agree with that group.

Demonizing: To make a group look bad by stereotyping them with others that have done bad things.
etc...

True science is about the evidence convincing a person, not evangelism.

#7 Javabean

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 02:51 PM

I think another current issue that has cropped up is arguments for/against Evolution that have nothing to do with the subject.

Such as Creationists trying to say that Abiogenesis is a fundamental part of the theory.

#8 PhilC

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 02:57 PM

I realize that you won't understand what I am about to say, but I'll say it anyway. The conflict on the Bible and claimed errors is a spiritual warfare thing. Which has nothing to do with current debate unless you understood it.


I do understand that, I can fully comprehemd that and wouldn't dream of debating that side; what I meant was that you look at the Bible in a critical way and are able to work through complex arguments that develop through the Bible. If that same style of examination was done to much of the creationist literature then you would spot the obvious errors yourselves.


That's the other problem. Everyone has to go along with what evolutionists say to make the debate progress. Evolutionists would not get caught dead doing that with a creationist.


You've actually warned me not to do this! I have offered to accept the creationist position in return for creationists just looking at the evidence and you have closed the threads where this was done.

I wouldn't normally bring that up, but when this statement is made it is unfair.

I'll get back on subject now...

#9 PhilC

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 03:08 PM

How does science work?


Read my signature for a starting point. A person will have an idea, a hypothesis. He/she will then work out how to test that hypothesis and then will conduct an experiment or go and get some evidence that will support it. The evidence does not need to be something that is happening now in front of our eyes and the experiments do not need to be conducted in a laboratory.

Creationists often claim that evolution isn't science because we can't do the experiments in the lab or observe it, but science isn't like that. We can find the evidence for something that happened in the past.

The main point is that creationists seem to think that a scientific theory is something that is complete. It never is, science is messy and always changing. New theories come and some go. I love how higgeldy piggeldy it is. There is nothing that is static. Tomorrow a new breakthrough could change everything. It's fantastic!

#10 PhilC

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 03:27 PM

If it's done through what we currently know about DNA, and the immune system, it does not work. But if it's done like: It works because I say so even though I cannot show you with an observable process. Then there is a problem with this also. So can you explain what makes a transitional fossil that would be considered empirical evidence?


Do you see the mistake you made here? "I say so even though I cannot show you with an observable process. "

My previous post shows that science doesn't need to be observed, it needs to be able to show that the evidence supports or falsifies a theory.

I don't know why you say that it doesn't work with what we know about DNA and the immune system because the theory supports transitionals in general and the specific ones we have.

So can you explain what makes a transitional fossil that would be considered empirical evidence?


The first thing that needs to be done is understand how the theory of evolution works. This isn't about setting up a presupposition but an objective way of testing whether what we claim is a transitional is really one by our own standards.

It becomes difficult because the best way of describing the process is by a story, but that also comes under attack as the name of this website testifies, but it is the quickest way of doing it (which is why it is done, not as evidence in itself but as a shortcut to an undrestanding of the evidence.

A population divides into two which look like organism X; these two populations are similar and they become isolated and speciate.

The speciation continues but one branch goes along a much stranger route than the first. Eventually more species come about in the second group but these are ultimately different from the first group (Y). The first group continues evolving but changes from X at a much slower rate(Z).

X eventually becomes extinct, and a lot of the forbears of Y and Z do too, but Y and Z survive until modern days.

If we then find a fossil of X we will see a transitional. It looks a lot like Z but it has traits of Z in it too.

It will be classifed as part of the group Y completely. It will be a Y, but it will have particular details that are also Z-like.

Creationists think a transitional should be half way between Y and Z but that would be impossible according to the theory of evolution because Y and Z are modern species. This is the strawman that creationists use.

To now use a particular example; Archaeopteryx. Creationists say this can't be a transitional because it is completely a bird. Of course it is completely a bird, no evolutionist would argue with that. It isn't half way between a modern bird and a modern reptile too, so creationists reject it for that reason.

Both these reasons are fallacious. A transitional between a dinosaur and a bird would have to be a dinosaur with primitive bird-like features. which is what Archaeopteryx is.

To show that I'm not only picking one that is well known, I will predict one that hasn't been found. There will be an insectivorous mammal that has bat-like features. It will not be half way between a bat and a small mammal, and it will be clearly labelled by scientists as an insectivore (or a bat, depending on the particular details). It hasn't been found, but it existed.

#11 Isabella

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 03:46 PM

I hear this claim made quite often that the reason YECs don't believe in evolution is because they do not understand it. So would a evolutionist here like to make a list of what it is we do not understand? Also it is claimed we are not educated enough to understand it. So how much education is needed? Do you think all YECs went to Christian schools? I for one did not, could not afford it. So what education beyond high-school is needed?

Do you guys determine that unless we all have degrees in biology we don't understand it? How many of you have degrees in biology?

View Post


I really like these forums, because I find that the majority of creationists are quite well-education when it comes to evolution. However, I have seen evolution misrepresented on threads here, as well as in videos and on other websites. I’m not claiming that every creationist has made these mistakes, but here are the most common misunderstandings:

Gradual change: Creationists sometimes say things like, “We’ve never seen a chimp give birth to a human baby” when trying to refute macroevolution. This implies that macroevolution is a single-step process that occurs within one generation. In reality, it’s a slow accumulation of changes that occur over several generations.

Evolution’s effect on the individual: Even though we all know Lamarckism is outdated, there still seems to be some confusion about evolution acting on individuals. If a fish sprouts legs during its lifetime, those legs will not be passed on to its offspring. Evolution does not claim that animals suddenly acquired new traits or behaviours during their adult life. Evolution acts on populations, not individuals.

Common ancestry: There’s a misconception that some modern animals have come from other modern animals, for example the false claim that humans came from chimps. If two animals are extant, one did not “come from” the other. They shared an ancestor.

Evolution’s “goal”: Sometimes creationists imply that evolution, like intelligent design, is a guided process. It’s not. Evolutionary change is influenced by environmental factors (both biotic and abiotic), but there’s nothing it’s aiming towards. Furthermore, there is no hierarchy of evolutionary perfection with humans at the top.

Speciation by hybridization: This does occur sometimes (ferns are the example that comes to mind) but it is not common... especially for animals. Yet when creationists ask for examples of transitional species, it almost seems as though they’re looking for a hybrid like the classic “crocaduck”. Transitional species are not simply a cross between two animals.

#12 ikester7579

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 03:50 PM

I think another current issue that has cropped up is arguments for/against Evolution that have nothing to do with the subject.

Such as Creationists trying to say that Abiogenesis is a fundamental part of the theory.

View Post


Can you have evolution without it? Nope. Either life starts so that evolution can start or neither happened.

#13 PhilC

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 04:00 PM

If evolution is not random, then what guides it?

You might say: Natural selection and survival of the fittest. But what decides that we need to see when we cannot?
1) How to see.
2) How to focus.
3) What is focus.
4) How to see colors.
5) What are colors.
6) Sight needs a separate part of the brain to process it.
7) Which had to evolve first: The eye or the vision center of the brain.
8) How much pressure is needed to keep the eye inflated without damage.


Firstly, sorry about dominating this thread...

Secondly - a lot of speculation in this tread, but it is speculation that could be tested for and so it becomes a hypothesis.

Just typed a huge amount about the way light sensitivity could have evolved, but it needs a lot of work to get round a couple of problems, so it's not ready yet.

Nothing decides what we need when we can't see. If there is any mutation that makes light sensitivity (which is basically just a protein changing shape) happen then if there is a survival value in that then teh ones with it wil survive and ones without it won't.

6 and 7 can be dealt with together. The eye and the brain evolved together in our earliest ancestors. Simple mutlicelled animals had little nervous system and poor eyes. Simpler ones had next to no nervous system and poor eyes. As the eyes evolved and the nervous system did, so the connection became more complex. As the connection became more complex so did the brain, as the brain became more complex parts of it specialised. It was a bootstrap process.

8 and 2 can be dealt with together to. It's the problem of perfection. This troubled me for a while because if evolution is 'make do and mend' as I know it is then how come some things are perfect. It took me a while to work it out, and once again, Darwin knew the answer.

It's to do with variation. I will look at focus but the pressure thing uses the same thing to. Focus is just our ability to see things clearly. Why should we see things crystal clear when evolution shows organisms are actually a botch job or jury rigged?

There will be variation in how focussed eyes are. Some eyes will be slightly better than others. In order to see things clearly like predators or prey there will be selective pressure towards perfect focus. I could never understood how this pressure could make perfection happened until I realised that the selective pressure would overshoot. It would go from 'under' focus to 'over' focus. The variation would be a Bell curve around the perfect spot. If then there was somrthing that damaged the population, those closest to perfection would tend to survive, meaning the Bell curve would become narrower around the perfect point.

The pressure thing works in the same way, selective pressure increases the pressurel goes too far and then swings back. It's feedback.

Colours are different wavelengths of light that come from the sun. If by a mutation a light sensitive cell became more selective about when it fired then we would see some colour. We can see if this is correct by examining the proteins in rods and cones. There shold be particular homologies.

Animals that can see colour can use it to help them survive.

#14 ikester7579

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 04:01 PM

I do understand that, I can fully comprehemd that and wouldn't dream of debating that side; what I meant was that you look at the Bible in a critical way and are able to work through complex arguments that develop through the Bible. If that same style of examination was done to much of the creationist literature then you would spot the obvious errors yourselves.


An error is not an error unless you can correct it with truth. And so far I have yet to see a definition, from a scientific view point, of what truth actually is.

You've actually warned me not to do this! I have offered to accept the creationist position in return for creationists just looking at the evidence and you have closed the threads where this was done.

I wouldn't normally bring that up, but when this statement is made it is unfair.

I'll get back on subject now...

View Post


I know the difference between when someone is doing something because they "truly" agree, and when someone does it because the grudgingly agree because they feel they have to. You had that attitude through those threads and kept implying you were only agreeing because you felt you had to. I made it perfectly clear that was not the intent, but you kept at it so I closed those threads.

And what is your definition of being fair?

1) That we agree so that evolution can move forward?
2) That even though you cannot define truth in scientific terms, that we allow you to call us wrong anyway even though you may be proven wrong by your own peers in some future discovery? Does that make a person a wrong one day but not the next when that happens, or are they always wrong just because they disagree?
etc...

#15 PhilC

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 04:03 PM

Can you have evolution without it? Nope. Either life starts so that evolution can start or neither happened.


This is exactly what we mean. Life started by natural or supernatural means. That is outside the scope of the theory of evolution. You have said you want to know what you don't understand. Start here. The theory of evolution is about evolution. It has to have something to evolve to happen.

How life started is outside the terms of reference of the theory of evolution. Of course there is some relationship philosophically but scientifically there is none.

#16 Guest_Tommy_*

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 04:15 PM

I have a B.A. in history and it's due to principles of source criticism that I don't follow any scripture. I actually find biology (enzymes, proteins, amino acids etc)extremely boring although I have recently taken undergrad courses in human antaomy and neuroscience and, yes, evolution explains a lot.

I never understand how creationists will accept small changes over time but not that these could acumlate into major differences - there is even a rule here against it claiming it is "intellectually dishonest"! I'm sure that if it were so obviously erroneous then there would be a killer argument at hand and no need for prohibition. Well, due to the rule this is all I can say on the matter.

I wonder if creationists don't grasp deep space and deep time. When I look at the Andrommeda Galaxy or M81 in my 'scope I never fail to marvel at the size of the cosmos. Regarding the age of the Earth radiometric testing is based on orthodox chemsitry - there is no professional disagreement other than by those carrying in contradictory dogma. The YEC viewpoint feels provincial and the bit about Eve's disobediance dated and patriachal.

#17 PhilC

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 04:17 PM

An error is not an error unless you can correct it with truth. And so far I have yet to see a definition, from a scientific view point, of what truth actually is.


That is left to the philosophers, not the scientists. A scientific fact is a theory that has evidence that supports it and none that falsifies it.

I know the difference between when someone is doing something because they "truly" agree, and when someone does it because the grudgingly agree because they feel they have to. You had that attitude through those threads and kept implying you were only agreeing because you felt you had to. I made it perfectly clear that was not the intent, but you kept at it so I closed those threads.


My attitude was "you know I'm an evolutionist but for the sake of argument I will accept the creation argument to help move the discussion on." You thought it was otherwise and I am not going to argue about your perception of me, but it wasn't agreeing because I felt I had to it was only for the sake of argument, which above you said no evolutionist would do over their dead body.

And what is your definition of being fair?

1) That we agree so that evolution can move forward?


That in order to move forwards we need to find where the point where we part company, list the things we can both agree on and move from there. If one side disagrees with something it gets removed. That is fair.

2) That even though you cannot define truth in scientific terms, that we allow you to call us wrong anyway even though you may be proven wrong by your own peers in some future discovery? Does that make a person a wrong one day but not the next when that happens, or are they always wrong just because they disagree?
etc...


Interesting, Ikester. The things that I discuss there is particular evidence that supports it. Some things said about that evidence is patently incorrect as far as the evidence stands now. All I can do is point out the mistakes. It isn't that they disagree with my viewpoint but there are actual flaws in the argument. I am happy for people to disagree with me if they show understanding (look at Gilbo's signature).

I would love the theory of evolution to be wrong. In my post in this thread about science I talk about how it's fantastic that things change so much. I actively look for things that are wrong with the theory and would jump on any real evidence. Creationists should be finding this stuff but all I read is basic errors which is incredibly disappointing.

BTW - College educated in IT, no formal biology qualifications at all, I'm just a very interested amateur.

#18 ikester7579

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 04:18 PM

Firstly, sorry about dominating this thread...

Secondly - a lot of speculation in this tread, but it is speculation that could be tested for and so it becomes a hypothesis.

Just typed a huge amount about the way light sensitivity could have evolved, but it needs a lot of work to get round a couple of problems, so it's not ready yet.

Nothing decides what we need when we can't see. If there is any mutation that makes light sensitivity (which is basically just a protein changing shape) happen then if there is a survival value in that then teh ones with it wil survive and ones without it won't.

6 and 7 can be dealt with together. The eye and the brain evolved together in our earliest ancestors. Simple mutlicelled animals had little nervous system and poor eyes. Simpler ones had next to no nervous system and poor eyes. As the eyes evolved and the nervous system did, so the connection became more complex. As the connection became more complex so did the brain, as the brain became more complex parts of it specialised. It was a bootstrap process.

8 and 2 can be dealt with together to. It's the problem of perfection. This troubled me for a while because if evolution is 'make do and mend' as I know it is then how come some things are perfect.  It took me a while to work it out, and once again, Darwin knew the answer.

It's to do with variation. I will look at focus but the pressure thing uses the same thing to. Focus is just our ability to see things clearly. Why should we see things crystal clear when evolution shows organisms are actually a botch job or jury rigged?

There will be variation in how focussed eyes are. Some eyes will be slightly better than others. In order to see things clearly like predators or prey there will be selective pressure towards perfect focus. I could never understood how this pressure could make perfection happened until I realised that the selective pressure would overshoot. It would go from 'under' focus to 'over' focus. The variation would be a Bell curve around the perfect spot. If then there was somrthing that damaged the population, those closest to perfection would tend to survive, meaning the Bell curve would become narrower around the perfect point.

The pressure thing works in the same way, selective pressure increases the pressurel goes too far and then swings back. It's feedback.

Colours are different wavelengths of light that come from the sun. If by a mutation a light sensitive cell became more selective about when it fired then we would see some colour. We can see if this is correct by examining the proteins in rods and cones. There shold be particular homologies.

Animals that can see colour can use it to help them survive.

View Post


LOL, just as I thought. Everything you say or claim is empirical, while anything we say at best is a hypothesis. :rolleyes:

Knowing how something works does not explain how it was "made" to work.

Can you get a tube and some glass and expect to make a telescope work? Or does it take painstaking trials and error to get the angles of the glass correct and the distance between them so that your eye can focus?

So how does biological cells make the determination of all these things to make a working eye? Was there one master cell that had blueprints and held a meeting to see of the other cells would agree to work together to build the eye?

What are the options that this would happen and how it would happen?
Here is a pic of the human eye:
Posted Image

Can you explain how the cells of the human body got together and decided that an eye was needed?
Can you explain how the cells knew just how to build it?
Can you explain how the cells knew all the parts that were needed to make it work?
Can you explain how the cells knew that the conditions would change so therefore one has to change in order to continue to see?
How the cells knew what colors we needed to see?
How the cells knew that a processing center for vision was needed?

Basically, how do complex things just happen as evolution would imply that they do. Because if there is "no guide", then there is only random chance.

#19 ikester7579

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 04:22 PM

This is exactly what we mean. Life started by natural or supernatural means. That is outside the scope of the theory of evolution. You have said you want to know what you don't understand. Start here. The theory of evolution is about evolution. It has to have something to evolve to happen.

How life started is outside the terms of reference of the theory of evolution. Of course there is some relationship philosophically but scientifically there is none.

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Having evolution without abiogenesis is like having a creation without a Creator.

Question: Is the Creator a part of the creation? Yes. Just like abiogenesis is a part of evolution.

#20 PhilC

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 04:23 PM

Yes, but not tonight. I've been reading about the embryology of that in the last couple of days, but am tired now.

In simple terms you are looking at the eye with the eye of a creationist as a complete unit seperately created.

We think it evolved. If you want to understand the theory of evolution as this thread suggests then you need to think like that too.

Our ancestors didn't have a great eye like that. They only had a light sensitive spot. It has been shown by computer model that simple variation can make this form an eyeball with a lens. We can see all the stages in other creatures.




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