Dropped off the net for a while, literally, as my internet access went kerflooie, until I figured out I had a bad modem. Swapped that out and Tada! Back on the web.
Well, I kind of lost some steam with the creationism bit, but I wanted to drop in one more post, in response to Brian Switek’s response to me, entitled “Why fight creationism?”
Again, the crux of his argument seems to be something along the lines of because it’s unscientific, and therefore clinging to Biblically-based creationism is rather akin to suffering under religious authoritarianism such as experienced by Da’vinci and other “heretics” of the past. Well, more concisely, his view seems to be that combatting creationism is a waste of valuable time better spent on researching actual science, especially since creation-science types are pretty much writing themselves out of the mix anyway.
If I haven’t made it clear before, let me reiterate: I don’t in any way mean to suggest that creationist views and religious ideology should supplant the scientific method. I enjoy science. I love learning about the way our world works and the amazing complexity and interdependence of the life and natural processes of this world.
I just don’t happen to think it within the realms of possibility that it could all just “happen” through a series of random accidents and fortuitous spontaneous breakthroughs.
In his well-written and erudite response, Brian however commits himself to the same flaws in logic of which I wrote here, specifically, a vague anthropomorphization to explain the internal mechanism whereby a species adapts to an external change in environment. Here are some specific examples:
provided the selective pressure for the lobe-finned fish to develop limbs and crawl to other pools as to avoid death.
would have given creatures like the ancestors of tetrapods good reason to develop their lungs and start exploiting food along the shore than to try swimming through the thick vegetation of the water habitats.
they were marvelously pre-adapted by evolution to exploit a new niche
An external change gave the tetrapods a “good reason to develop their lungs.” Okay, so they’ve got the reason. Now what? Do they think to themselves, “Hmm, guess it’s probably a good time to develop lungs. Ready…..GO!”
Clearly a silly example; or is it? Examples such as these seem so suggest that species respond in an almost cognitive fashion, and that this somehow results in a kind of genetic memory that is imprinted on their DNA. What’s the real answer? “Evolution,” (as in the proper noun) was kind enough to “pre-adapt” species (and by that I take to mean “build in?”) the capability to exploit a new niche? So Evolution pre-engineered in capabilities? Tetrapods were given a reason to developed their lungs? Lobe-finned fish responded to selective pressure, pushed up on their arms, and “decided” to leave the water in order to avoid death? The water murks up, the plants move in, and you have a choice: adapt or die. So you adapt. Huh?
If I understand correctly, the tetrapod already had the capability to breath air, it just didn’t know it, as it was too busy breathing water. But, when the water option ran out, in a last ditch, dying effort it said, “Screw it. Here goes nothin’,” and launches himself up on the shore. Gasp, gasp, gasp….hey. Wait a minute. I’m not dead! Woo-hoo! I can breath air! Nice! Good thing Nature built-in a previously unneeded capability to process air as well as water. Now I just gotta find me a chick tetrapod with the same deal! “Anyone? Uh….anyone?”
This is exactly the kind of intellectual sleight of hand that causes me the most trouble with much of the current evolutionist theories. To vaguely suggest that “Nature” did it or “Evolution” did it is NO DIFFERENT than saying that “God” did it! Do you see what I’m trying to get at here?
What I want evolutionary theory to provide me, to provide us, to provide science the world over, is reproducible evidence of the the internal, bio-chemical mechanism whereby RNA and DNA, all those little peptides and amino acids are re-arranged or reprogrammed, how from one generation to the next they are imparted with new replication data that results in a different species, one now better suited to live on land, rather than water. How does “Nature” pre-adapt a species to a range of potential changes? And on a wide enough scale to ensure viability?
I’ll readily admit that much of my data on evolution might be a bit dated, as I’ve kind of been out of the “fight” for a few years. However, from what I’ve been able to gather, evolutionary theory is still long on what happened, and a little short on the how it happened. And to me, if you continue to insist on the what, without being able to provide the how, well then my friends, you are operating in faith as surely as that Bible-thumping creationist.