Sunday, March 7, 2010

Dealing Straight with the Evidence

I've been doing some reading lately just to document some attempts to find real arguments against evolution. I've been reading such articles for 15 years, but now I want to have a record of some attempts.

In this case, a blogger gave me some articles that would establish that scientists are systematically deceiving us as he had claimed.

The first article was a real one about falsified results. The article points out that they do exist, and perhaps in greater numbers than we realize.

True enough. However, no one is claiming that the fossil record is different than what we know it to be. We still find trilobites below dinosaurs and dinosaurs below mammoths. Oil companies can still predict at what depth they'll find oil by the fossils and layers they hit in their drilling.

In fact, this blogger's second article, called Darwin's Rubber Ruler, complains about what he calls Darwin's plasticity:

If new forms appear, the credit goes to creative natural selection; if old forms fail to change, the conservative force is called stabilizing selection.

Let me ask, are we allowed to think? Or should we just complain without ever exercising any of the higher brain functions that God supplied us with?

This sounds like a credible complaint on the surface, but it only takes a moment to realize this argument is ridiculous.

He says, "If new forms appear, the credit goes to creative natural selection."

So what should we credit new forms to? Do Christians now believe in a series of creations? There was a time when dinosaurs ruled the earth, there were few mammals and no people, and then God killed the dinosaurs and created thousands of new mammal species ex nihilo?

Once we admit that new forms have appeared, which is what the fossil record announces loudly and clearly, then of course scientists assume they evolved. What's the alternative explanation?

We have a mechanism: DNA. We have a pattern. Not only do fossils show a pattern of change from ancient life to modern life, but it's geographically sorted. Ancient giant sloth fossils are found in South America, near where sloths live now. Ancient giant armadillos are also found where modern armadillos live.

Over and over, the geographic pattern and the pattern of the fossils in the layers of the earth show that life transitioned.

If we also find that some species have remained relatively unchanged for long periods of time, should we then reject what we know about change? Or shouldn't we simply conclude that in certain situations species don't change very much at all?

In other words, isn't it wise to inject plasticity into our theories? That will allow our theories to adapt to the evidence, which is how you wind up with an accurate theory.

It is the lack of plasticity in the "theory" of a young earth that has caused its defenders to say nonsensical things like the complaint above.

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