12/20/2007                                                                                       View Comments

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Intelligent Design

Yes, it's the name of a real book that purports to explain intelligent design.

Apparently, the book is for idiots who don't quite understand intelligent design, but who after reading the book, are fully equipped to become idiots who promote intelligent design.

Available on Amazon.com

43 comments:

Anonymous said...

How would I go about disproving intelligent design/an intelligent designer?

-Fort Wayne, IN

jimearl said...

Nova featured an entire two hour program a couple of weeks ago about the trial in Dover where they did disprove ID. Take a look at that by goggling Dover Pa. BTW, the program was very interesting and can be found on etv's website.

xrayman said...

Yea Jimearl that was one of the best programs I have seen in a long time. The evolution team had a mountain of evidence taller than Everest, and the ID team had...well nothing. Not even a tidbit to back their postion.

Yea that book takes Oxymoronism to a new level.

Enjjpt said...

The ID vs. evolution debate was one of my favorite subjects when I was a fundie. Man, I thought I was so smart with my pseudo scientific arguments and logic.

Yes, there are gaps in evolutionary theory. I have yet to see an explanation for the Cambrian explosion, lack of substantial transitionary fossils, or a biological explanation that allows for beneficial mutations within a species. That aside, I am sure as we advance in science that these gaps will be closed and understood as knowledge increases.

The ID folks cherry-pick the fossil record when it suits them, then deny it when it does not. Just like the flat earth folks of long ago, these idiots are doing nothing more then sticking their heads in the sand.

As others have said, without 'god' the world around us makes so much more sense.

heretic said...

Hey, talk about gaps...

Now the latest find are fossils way older than those found in Africa, and they were in Spain. This once again turns our 'African Eden' theory upside down. I do believe that there are still thousands of undiscovered fossils hidden from us presently.Just because we haven't filled the gaps yet, definitely doesn't mean that they will never be filled.

They are not, however, making new discoveries at any time, proving more and more, the theory of intelligent design.

heretic said...

Correction:

"They are not, however, making new discoveries at any time, proving more and more, the theory of intelligent design." This should read:

They are not at any time making any discoveries that prove in any way the theory of intelligent design.

billybee said...

Hey jimearl; I loved the "Judgment Day" program! It was a science/civics/critical thinking/lesson all rolled into one well made show. THANK YOU NOVA!

Enjjpt said...

The only 'evidence' of a special creation that I can honestly say fits the ID argument is the Cambrian era. Hundreds of complex forms of life appear suddenly in the fossil record with very little evidecne of complex life prior to it, and no transitionary forms to speak of. Aside from that, the fossil record points very convincingly towards an evolutionary explaination for life as we know it.

Perhaps evoloution happens very quickly given the proper conditions, which leads to a lack of transitionary fossils in the record. Perhaps organic debris from comets and mertoites deposited DNA that helped the process along. Any of these expalnations still make more sense and are more plausible then "God created" it all.

I bet it will not be long before molecular biologists are able to create sythentic life from amino-acids and proteins. When they are able to show that 'life' will spontaneously generate in the right conditions the S.S. Creation will have been torpedoed and sunk once and for all.

billybee said...

In a way, I understand how people feel when they are faced with needing to find an explanation for where we all came from.
I was watching the show Jeopardy the other day, and I caught myself wanting desperatly to have the correct answers to questions that I had almost no knowledge about. It felt (almost) painful to admit that "I dunno...".
Creationism is ancient mans "stab in the dark" attempt to answer the 'big question'.
Science can take us back in time to one BILLIONTH of a second after the Big Bang. Some day (I trust) we will break through to finding the cause of 'the beginning of time'.
Until then science says."We dunno.....BUT, we're working on it!"
I think that Alex Trebeck would agree - THAT is the correct answer!

Huey said...

"The Complete Idiot's Guide to Intelligent Design"

You have to agree it is appropriately named.

twincats said...

That's got to be one of the thinnest volumes published in a long time since ID STILL has no testable scientific hypotheses.

All they ever do (scientifically speaking) is work at disproving evolutionary science, which they've never done successfully as we saw in Dover.

There's simply no "there" there.

Spirula said...

Yes, there are gaps in evolutionary theory.

First, I want to address this phrase. It is a popular one with the creationist (former fundy here) and is a complete misnomer. There are no "gaps" in the theory of evolution. Simply put, The Theory of Evolution states that all forms of life arose from pre-existing forms, and these forms diversified (speciation and adaptive radiation) over time by the process of natural selection. Natural selection, operating at the phenotypic level, favors the reproductive success of some individuals in a population over others. This explains the history and diversity of life on earth.

No gaps in that.

Now, where you could argue "gaps" is in the record of certain lineages (the ancestral record). But this should come as no big surprise, given that fossilization usually only occurs under certain conditions (usually uncommon ones for many organisms).

For you to fill in all these "gaps", you'd have to know where to look, and they would also have to be accessible. You can't just go fossil hunting anywhere you like. For all we know, the Egyptian Sphinx was built on top of a perfect specimen of the closest ancestor to modern humans. You get the idea.

Now to the Cambrian "explosion". A period that lasted between 5-10 million years hardly qualifies as a sudden event in even geologic terms. There are a variety of explanations for the diversification (e.g. evolution of hard parts to animals leading to more of them fossilizing than their ancestors), but it is important to point out what isn't there too. Plants. Plants post-date the Cambrian. This applies to some phyla of animals as well. In addition, there have been other rapid radiation events besides the Cambrian (such as the Ordovician and the early Cenozoic).

Now to the "harmful" mutations. Now that gene sequencing and other techniques allow us to compare genes like we never could before, we find "mutations" to be quite common. Alleles of a gene are a mutation, if it involves base sequence changes. Alleles are common among genes. Some genes have several dozens (see MHC genes as an example). Importantly, if you catagorize mutations as neutral, harmful or helpful, the vast majority are neutral. This if followed by harmful, and lastly helpful. But you can't underestimate the value of the neutral mutations as these may become very helpful if conditions change.

Anyway, I understand where Enjjpt comes from, I just don't like the use of creationist prejudicial terms like "gaps" or "explosion" or their playing on the public's misunderstanding and aversion to terms like "mutation" (sort of evoking all those bad 50's sci-fi and Godzilla movies).

Okay. Test on Friday.

enjjpt said...

Spirula,

Poor choice of words on my part,i.e. 'explosion' and 'gaps', still shaking the programming off.

I still have a question as to the mechanisim of evolution, I am not a trained scientist, but is seems that the biological diversity we see today requires something that moved quicker than natural selection+time. I just dont think there has been enough geologic time to allow for this. I don't subscribe to the 'punctuated equillibrum'theroy completely, but simple small, non-harmful mutations would take much longer to produce what we have today.(IMHO)

The bottom line is, someday we will figure it all as to how it all came about naturally. Science will explore, test, verify and fill the missing details/mechanisims in.

Spirula said...

I just dont think there has been enough geologic time to allow for this.

Based on what? Speciation rates vary widely. Until recently, we had no idea how often bacteria exchange genetic material with each other (sex pili and plasmids). Molecular genetics only got its START in the 1950's with the discovery of the structure of DNA.

How fast do populations evolve? Varies with species, with changes in their enviroment, and with adaptability (e.g. herbivorous insects are great at evolving resistance to pesticides since many have evolved an array of enzymes to deal with plant toxins).

Among genes mutations rates can vary widely, at least in terms of what we see expressed. Highly conserved genes show that there little selective tolerance for much change in that gene. Other genes change in the population rapidly. Take fingerprints (which probably are the expression of several genes). A lot of genetic variance in the population to the point of every individual being unique. Why? Neutral trait no doubt. Will it always be neutral? No way to know for sure.

It's not a good idea to argue from incredulity "doesn't seem long enough" or "I can't see how". Evidence is what it is. If you want to challenge the hypothesis or conclusion, you have to come up with a testable alternative (and testable can be observational). Otherwise, you're argument is akin to ID..."looks to complex or fast to happen by mutation and natural selection" but no evidence to back up the assertion (such as "simple non-harmful mutations would take too long").

Hope you don't take this as harping on you. I'm not. It's just that (as a researcher and former college biology teacher) it bothers me that so many Americans have such incomplete understanding about evolution, yet feel free to make all sorts of claims about its credibility. So I tend to jump in on the conversation when I see some problems with what is being said, or just to address some questions.

It's a teacher thing.

enjjpt said...

My incredulity stems from what I consider to be a logical question. If natural selection is the process which drives evolution with beneficial mutations/variances within a species over millions of years, wouldn't it take a rapid change/mutation of genetic code within a percentage of a population to pass on the trait?

If fish X has a beneficial mutation, but is the only one within that species to have that mutation, what are the chances of it being passed on, replicated, and codified into the genetic structure?

To produce large changes within a given species, where one form has evloved into another would need many members of the species changing at the same time. One fish at a time + one small beneficial mutation at a time seems to be a serious limiting factor.

As I said I am not a scientist, but it would appear to this layman, that evolvution can be a farily rapid process. Maybe there is some trigger that causes genes within a segment of a species to begin to mutate quickly.

My knowledge of evolutionary theory has been up until this year decidly one-sided, so I am still learning the basics of how it all works. Some of the old ID questions still seem to me to at least hold water. When fish began transitioning to amphibians, they had no idea what legs were, their fins started to become something else, with no end in mind. Fins that dont quite swim, and legs that dont quite walk seem to be not very helpful to survival. But there are animals like coelacanth that appear to be stuck somewhere between the two and survive quite nicely.

So how does an tiny variation of a fin in one fish become a new species with legs over enough time? Was that first tiny change so beneficial that it helped it survive that much better? Thats what I mean when I say that it seems like either there was not enough time, or the mechanisim happens more quickly than we think.

tinyfrog said...

If fish X has a beneficial mutation, but is the only one within that species to have that mutation, what are the chances of it being passed on, replicated, and codified into the genetic structure?

To produce large changes within a given species, where one form has evloved into another would need many members of the species changing at the same time. One fish at a time + one small beneficial mutation at a time seems to be a serious limiting factor.


No. A single mutation happens (usually) in one organism and sexual mating causes it to be passed on to the rest of the species. There is usually one organism with one mutation - although that's not always correct. Genetic studies have shown that sickle-cell anemia (which gives limited resistance to malaria) has arisen five different times. Also, the mutation that allows adults to digest milk (something that only children can do in most mammal species) has happened multiple times independently. All of the milk digestion mutations happened within the past eight thousand years (only after humans started domesticating animals), and most adults can now digest milk.

However, it's definitely not necessary for the same mutation to occur repeatedly in a species. It is possible for a single mutation to spread to the rest of the species. And in the case of sickle-cell anemia and adult milk digestion, the mutations happened in geographically separated areas. If you are one of the millions of people from Kenya or Tanzania who can digest milk, you received your adult milk digestion mutation from a single ancestor who lived around 800 BC.
See this link for more information:
http://arstechnica.com/journals/science.ars/2006/12/11/6246

Also, we don't expect large changes with a single mutation - just small changes. Nothing like a mutation that adds legs to fish. And if you look at the fossil record, this change from fish to walking animals happens over a very long time - with small incremental changes over the whole period.

The thing about sexual mating is that it allows one organism with one beneficial mutation to pass it on to the rest of the species, while another organism with a different beneficial mutation simultaneously passes on it's single beneficial mutation to the rest of the species. The end result is that the species eventually accumulates all these beneficial mutations produced in all of it's members independently.

So how does an tiny variation of a fin in one fish become a new species with legs over enough time? Was that first tiny change so beneficial that it helped it survive that much better?

A mutation that increases the survival rate as little as 1% will sweep through the entire species within a relatively small number of generations. You seem to be thinking too big - as if a mutation needs to have large, obvious effects before an organism gets any benefit from the change.

Madame M said...

What is the book like 1 page thick. How much writing does it take to say "goddidit and he's magical and can do anything he wants." *sigh*

stronger now said...

First, I would like to say that this isn't meant to be an attack on evolution or on enjjpt.

enjjpt:"I bet it will not be long before molecular biologists are able to create sythentic life from amino-acids and proteins. When they are able to show that 'life' will spontaneously generate in the right conditions the S.S. Creation will have been torpedoed and sunk once and for all."

Not so, enjjpt. When I was a fundie I read a lot of the creationist/ID propoganda. They are quick to point out that if life is created by scientists it would only prove that life is created.

The S.S. Creation's hull is impenetrable to the torpedo of science or reason.

Jamie said...

Is there a link anywhere to the Nova program online? Or can the whole thing even be seen online?

alanh said...

Enjjpt:

There are many transitional fossils, perhaps the best example is that of the horse. Good luck with the deprogramming, the talkorigins site can be quite helpful.

billybee said...

Jaime: Hi...Try this link to watch. Judgement Day: Intelligent Design on trial.http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/programs/

Enjjpt said...

Tinyfrog and Spirula,

You both seem to be much more knowledgable in this subject than I, so hopefully you could speel this out for me.

Again to my example of "fish x" from earlier...Say that you have these fish who have been getting along just swimmingly for several million years. Suddenly one, just one, of their offspring has a slight mutation that makes an ever so slight bump at the base of the pectoral fin.

Does it need this mutation to survive? No. Does this mutation give it any real advantage No. Evolution is blind, the gene in the fish that caused the tiny bump did not have and articulating foot in mind as an endgame. How did it go from pure fin to pure foot over millions of years when all the steps in between were getting along just fine without the continued mutation.

I know this is treading very close to ID waters, and believe me, there is no god. I am just amazed at the process of evolution and want to know its mechanics.

tinyfrog said...

Again to my example of "fish x" from earlier...Say that you have these fish who have been getting along just swimmingly for several million years. Suddenly one, just one, of their offspring has a slight mutation that makes an ever so slight bump at the base of the pectoral fin.

Does it need this mutation to survive? No. Does this mutation give it any real advantage No. Evolution is blind, the gene in the fish that caused the tiny bump did not have and articulating foot in mind as an endgame. How did it go from pure fin to pure foot over millions of years when all the steps in between were getting along just fine without the continued mutation.


For a long time, it was thought that early fish/land-animal transitionals were using their fins to basically scoot around on land between puddles of water, escape predators, maybe lay eggs away from predators, eat land-dwelling plants, or insects (plants and insects were on land before fish evolved into land animals). While that might be true of later transitionals, the earliest ones couldn't do any of those things because their fins and skeletal structure weren't developed enough for it.

There's an article on this at Scientific American from two years ago. It's a bit technical, though. Here's an excerpt:

But why, after millions of years of successfully breathing underwater, did some fish begin turning to the air for their oxygen? Clues have come from the overall shape of the skull, which in all early tetrapods and near-tetrapods discovered so far is quite flat when viewed head-on. This observation, combined with paleoenvironmental data gleaned from the deposits in which the fossils have been found, suggests that these creatures were shallow-water specialists, going to low-water places to hunt for smaller fish and possibly to mate and lay their eggs. Perhaps not coincidentally, vascular plants were flourishing during the Devonian, transforming both the terrestrial and aquatic realms. For the first time, deciduous plants shed their leaves into the water with the changing seasons, creating environments that were attractive to small prey but difficult for big fish to swim in. Moreover, because warm water holds less oxygen than colder water does, these areas would have been oxygen-poor. [And early transitionals could breathe air.] If so, the changes to the skeleton [including like increased muscle attachments to the fins, a downward movement of the fins rather than a backward stroke, a more flexible neck, all allowing them to hold their head above water to breathe] may have given early tetrapods access to waters that sharks and other large fish could not reach by putting them literally head and shoulders above the competition. It was just happenstance that these same features would later come in handy ashore.
http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=000DC8B8-EA15-137C-AA1583414B7F0000&page=1

And some information on one of the transitionals: Tiktaalik
Those limbs tell us something about the evolution of limbs. Tiktaalik was definitely not a terrestrial animal, but had developed muscular, bony limbs and a strong pectoral girdle that had helped it prop itself up on the substrate, perhaps even holding itself partly out of the water. Those jointed digits were capable of extension and flexion, splaying out when they were pressed against the ground. That simple function, of spreading out to increase the surface area of limb contact, could be the precursor to the flexibility we now have in our hands.
http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2006/04/tiktaalik_makes_another_gap.php

xrayman said...

Enjjpt,
I am glad you have been asking the questions you have been. I am as atheist as they come, and I trust with all my heart that the guys with PHD's know what they are talking about in regards to evolution, but like you when I thought really deep about it, it does seem like there wouldn't be enough time for so much change to happen in a spieces one little mutaion at a time, but then again it is hard to comprehend ten or 100 million years.

Thanks to all the guys who are addressing this issue. I am learning a lot on this thread.

Funny as I was having a very nice ane respectful conversation with a Christian a few months back, I told him I totally supported evolutionary theroy. He stated how wrong it was and how I should learn as much as I could from a highly respected scientist named Ken Hamm. The sad fact is that so many people would totally listen to their preacher and watch Ken Hamm's bullshit and take it as fact.

eel_shepherd said...

enjjpt wrote:
"...If fish X has a beneficial mutation, but is the only one within that species to have that mutation, what are the chances of it being passed on, replicated, and codified into the genetic structure?..."

It's a near certainty, provided that the mutation in question is of the rare, beneficial, class. For one thing, that individual will enjoy certain survival benefits that the others don't have. So it will either eat a bit better than average, or avoid getting eaten a bit better than average. And most of its offspring will enjoy that same competitive advantage over the offspring of the ones who were not heir to that beneficial mutation from the previous generation, and will in turn get to mate more than the ones who died because they didn't eat as well or avoid getting eaten as well. Before long, if you weren't heir to that heritable mutation, you qualify as the runt of the community's litter and your blood line's going nowhere. And, measured against geologic time, it happens fast. And it only takes one individual having the beneficial mutation to start the ball rolling.

Spirula said...

When fish began transitioning to amphibians, they had no idea what legs were, their fins started to become something else, with no end in mind.

No. The lobe-finned fish, Crossopterygians, have unique fins (limbs actually) and are considered the ancestors of tetrapods. Since there is only one living Crossopterygian fish, the coelacanth, it's fin usage has been studied. While its lobed fins are not (as previously thought) used for walking on the bottom of the ocean, analysis does show that it's unusual style of fin usage (synchronous alteration)gives it pre-adaptive abilities for use on land. If you watch salamanders crawl they use synchronous alteration.

In other words, they were using their limbs for a different, but similar purpose...locomotion. So it is not accurate to say they "didn't know what legs were".

In addition, there are numerous fish species that do use their fins for walking, although they're are not ancestral to tetrapods (e.g. Mudskippers and some anglerfish).

The key to understanding limb development centers around the Hox genes. There are a number of sites that address this so I won't.

If you're interested in the evolution of animals from land to water (and back again), I suggest reading Carl Zimmer's "At the Waters Edge". He's a very good science writer and he addresses this very issue.

Again, not being able to fully reconstruct the sequence of events, or not being able to grasp the speed or timescales of speciation is not evidence against it. Arguing from incredulity is a logical fallacy, something the ID crowd are constantly doing. The evidence is what it is. That's the way science must and does work.

Anyway Enjjpt, great questions. As others have pointeed out, there are a lot of great sites out there that address these very things.

enjjpt said...

Earlier, someone had mentioned the evolution of mammary glands in mammals from modified sweat glands. Same idea as the fish fin-to-legs question that I just cant seem to understand.

The very first mammals evolving did not have milk-producing mammary galnds, but fast forward a few million years and we have lactating mammals. What evolutionary benefit was it for ealry mammals to have ever so slightly changed sweat glands on the female of the species? For millons of years it was just a sweat secreting gland, again with no idea it was going to become a lactating mammary gland a million years hence.

The question is, what survival benefit was it to the species to have an enlarged sweat gland for a million years that did not sustain the young? How did the initial mutation prove so useful that it increased the chance of survival, and the mutation built upon itself to keep improving? If lactation was so vital to the survival and development of mammals, why did only the female of the species develop consistent lactating capibilities?

Can anyone break this down Barney-style for me? I really appreciate your knowledge! Thanks guys!

Spirula said...

What evolutionary benefit was it for ealry mammals to have ever so slightly changed sweat glands on the female of the species?

This has been extensively written about

http://www.jstor.org/view/00063568/ap040066/04a00080/0

and also

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?db=pubmed&uid=12751889&cmd=showdetailview&indexed=google

the second is a PubMed so you can only access it if you have an account, however, it is summarized here:

http://nationalzoo.si.edu/ConservationAndScience/SpotlightOnScience/oftedalolav20030714.cfm

As to why females, well, in most animals the males play no part in the rearing and feeding of young. However, male lactation does occur, but usually not for nourishment of young (with the exception of one species of fruit bats).


again with no idea it was going to become a lactating mammary gland a million years hence

This is teleological, just like you did with the fins-limbs earlier. Natural selection has no design, no purpose, no goal. It is a description of the forces that act on the survival of a population. If you sufficiently adapted, you survive. If not, good bye.

And amongst mammals, mammary glands can be very different, especially between the Monotremes versus the Metatheria and Eutheria. As would be predicted by evolution, the primitive, egg laying Monotremes (Echinda and Playtpus) have primitive mammary glands that lack nipples and still retain hair.

tinyfrog said...

enjjpt:
Adding to what spirula wrote about mammary glands, I wrote some things about the platypus and early mammals a little over a month ago. It's a little bit tangential to the milk question, but here's the link:
http://tinyfrog.wordpress.com/2007/11/05/the-platypus-is-not-a-chimera/

Cousin Ricky said...

@enjjpt:

As a general rule of thumb, any “unsolved” problem that the creationists told you about was actually solved a long time ago, and the creationists either haven’t learned about the solution, or are ignoring it. The Nova program gave a startling example in ID promoter Michael Behe (who isn’t even a traditional creationist). He wrote an entire book about “irreducibly complex” biological features, yet at the trial, a stack of books was plunked on his desk, of scientific discoveries and explanations for the problems that Behe insisted were impossible to solve.

If a professional biologist can miss so much (or fool himself so badly), what can you expect from creationists, who make their living by disavowing science?

It may be hard to accept that the “experts” you have trusted for so much are at best intellectually dishonest, or even outright liars. The questions you have asked here have already been answered by biologists. You basically need to forget everything you’ve been told about evolution and relearn from scratch, this time from biologists instead of preachers. Here are a good basic tutorial, and an overwhelming repository of information, including evidence for macro-evolution and refutations of the lies they told you.

You are on the right track by rejecting the god of the gaps. Now see for yourself how far science has come!

Enjjpt said...

Cousin Ricky,

I am on board with the natural selection train and accept that even though I dont know the hard science behind it, that it is the way it all went down. Thanks for everyones patience with me on this one.

Are there any examples of animals living today that are in the same family line? Meaning, that humans and apes share a common ancestor, but there are no earlier human ancestors living in contemporarly with us. While chimps and other apes are cousins, are there other animals out there where the "grandfather" of a certain species exists at the same time as a branch of its family tree? Thanks!

Wayne said...

The Cambrian Explosion?

Two words... Space Aliens.

With turkey basters and crock pots.

(sorry - I just had to toss in an idiotic comment to lighten things up.)

tinyfrog said...

Are there any examples of animals living today that are in the same family line? Meaning, that humans and apes share a common ancestor, but there are no earlier human ancestors living in contemporarly with us. While chimps and other apes are cousins, are there other animals out there where the "grandfather" of a certain species exists at the same time as a branch of its family tree? Thanks!

Well the "grandfather" species had the same amount of time to evolve as the "child" species, so it wouldn't really be a "grandfather" species anymore - at least not genetically identical to the "grandfather" species anyway.

Here's a graphic of human evolution:
http://www.archaeologyinfo.com/species.htm

There is some overlap of species there - for example homo erectus overlapping with Neaderthals and maybe Homo sapiens, too. But, when you look at graphics of skull sizes, you can see an increasing brain size for homo erectus over their existence. The graphic below shows both the overlap (in time) of species (which are either human ancestors or siblings to the human branch), along with cranial capacity:
http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2006/09/fun_with_homini_1.html

Neaderthals branched off of the human lineage, and continued to live alongside humans for tens of thousands of years. They went extinct only about 30,000 years ago. If I remember correctly, based on genetics, our last common ancestor with Neaderthals was around 500,000 years ago, but our last common ancestor with everyone in the human race was only about 100,000 years.

Enjjpt said...

Tinyfrog,

Thanks for the info. I was using the human evolutionary tree as an example, but am still wondering if there are any other examples in the curret living animal kingdom? Are there any species that are considered the same species but have groups that are more highly evolved? There has to be a great deal of overlap out there, I was just looking for ones we can point to next time a creationist pipes up.

tinyfrog said...

Are there any species that are considered the same species but have groups that are more highly evolved?

Well, the "living fossils" argument is usually used by old-earth creationists to claim that evolution doesn't happen - instead, creatures were created by God at various times over the past 600 million years - and are exactly the same from the minute they were created until they go extinct. No evolution happened, they'll claim. There are a number of animals that have been around for hundreds of millions of years - although they're not the same species, they're just the same class of creatures. Snakes, turtles, and sharks have been around for a very, very long time. The coelacanth has been around for a very long time, too - although the modern coelacanth are the same class of fish - not the same species of fish - that existed 400 million years ago.

Still Looking For More said...

"Are there any species that are considered the same species but have groups that are more highly evolved?"

I suspect that one of the quickest and easiest examples would be one that was mentioned earlier--the pesticide resistant insects. I'm sure their non-pesticide resistant "grandfathers" are still thriving in areas where there aren't many pesticides.

SLFM

Cousin Ricky said...

Enjjpt wrote: “Are there any examples of animals living today that are in the same family line?”

IIRC, the coyote, Canis latrans, is descended from the still extant gray wolf, Canis lupus. (See the cladogram in section 3.3 for one phylogeny. A different phylogeny is on page 3. They’re still working these things out.) I don’t know the particulars of that diversion, but coyotes hunt smaller prey than wolves, this presumably being a niche into which they evolved. (I suspect the diversion occurred when some wolves moved south from the North American forests into the desert southwest. The descendants of the migrants evolved into C. latrans; those remaining in the northern forests remained as C. lupus. This type of evolution is called allopatric speciation. You can try looking this up if you’re interested in the real story.)

A more familiar example, but involving artificial selection, is the common dog, Canis lupus familiaris. The dog is also descended from C. lupus. This probably happened when prehistoric wolves discovered that they could get free meals by hanging around human garbage dumps. Thus a new evolutionary opportunity opened up for a new subspecies of wolf, even as the wolves’ old environment (the wilderness) persisted. In this way, a descendent subspecies was able to co-evolve with its ancestor species.

JeffXL said...

We have this book in the library where I work.

The author has ironclad credentials to write about a "scientific theory." He has a master's degree in divinity.

Hey! I have master's degree in library and information science! I think I'll perform some brain surgery and then write a treatise on astrophysics.

Pathetic.

Anonymous said...

My original question was this: "How would I go about disproving intelligent design/an intelligent designer?"

I've read through the comments citing the evidence for evolution, but how does evolution disprove ID?

Christians can then say that God used evolution as an elaborate process, thus proving ID and an Intelligent Designer and I've got nothing in response to such a claim. Any ideas?

-Fort Wayne, IN

Jim Arvo said...

Anonymous from Fort Wayne said "My original question was this: 'How would I go about disproving intelligent design/an intelligent designer?'"

Here's the short answer: You CANNOT disprove intelligent design (as it is most broadly construed) because it is an unfalsifiable claim.

Anonymous continued "Christians can then say that God used evolution as an elaborate process,..."

Correct. Christians can (and do) say lots of things. Similarly, I can claim that my pet turtle, Fred, created the entire universe last week, carefully implanting memories and "evidence" of the past so as to give the illusion of a universe that stretches back billions of years. That too is unfalsifiable, and for the very same reason. EVERY conceivable observation is consistent with an omnipotent god who does exactly as he wishes, and also with a magic turtle who has constructed an elaborate hoax. I might add that it's also consistent with "brains in vats", solipsism, etc. We can all dream up endless kooky ideas that are consistent with ALL observations, and therefore unfalsifiable.

Here's the important question: Is there any reason to believe any of them to be true? Just because something cannot be proven false does not mean that it is true. Can you prove that your mom is not an alien from the planet Zapton, given that such aliens can mimic humans down to the slightest detail? You cannot. Must you therefore believe that she is? I sure hope not.

Does that help?

mooseball said...

If any of you are in need of a good belly laugh, then see the link below and read the part that says "All evolution believers should be banned from voting."

http://www.csama.org/csanews/nws200807.pdf

Enjoy !

mooseball said...

If any of you need a good laugh, then see the link below and read the section titled evolutionist should be banned from voting.

ENJOY !!

http://www.csama.org/csanews/nws200807.pdf

eel_shepherd said...

Mooseball, you're right; that site is a hoot. Here was one of the nuggets from the 3rd page of the PDF document:

"...Evolutionists shout,
`Evolution is just change, change is everywhere, evolution is a
fact!' This is a bit like noticing dents in your child's wagon,
and deciding that rocks change wagons, therefore more rocks
might turn it into a car..."

Since we know that: i] rocks do dent wagons; and, ii] cars exist, it follows that there are unchaperoned dented wagons humping in every backyard in North America, right under the noses of the creationists.

And these people consider themselves worthy of the vote....