Thursday, February 21, 2013

Robert Spencer vs. Mubin Shaikh: Does the Qur'an Call for the Violent Subjugation of Unbelievers?

I wish I could brag about Robert Spencer crushing Mubin Shaikh in this debate, but I can't. To do so would be like bragging about Mike Tyson snatching a lollypop from a toddler. I'm not, of course, condemning Shaikh's performance. I think he did about as well as a Muslim could do under such circumstances. But when the topic is whether the Qur'an calls for the violent subjugation of non-Muslims, Robert might as well be taking candy from a baby.

Here's the main verse for discussion:

Qur’an 9:29—Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the Religion of Truth, from among the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.


On a related note, here's a complete analysis of the historical, immediate, and extended literary contexts of 9:29. For some reason, Shaikh goes to the opening verses of Surah 9 (which are part of a discussion of Islam's dealings with pagans) to establish the context of 9:29 (which is a discussion of Islam's dealings with Christians and Jews). Unfortunately for Shaikh, the Muslim sources are very clear on the meaning of 9:29:

28 comments:

Larry A. Singleton said...

If there were EVER an “Exhibit A” to refute Muslims claims that Islam is a “religion of peace” this article is that Exhibit A; Sheikh Abdullah bin Humaid's article on jihad I found in my Summarized Bukhari I ordered online. This of all the articles they could use as an "Introduction" this is the one they pick. I've submitted the following challenge to dozens of Muslims and have yet to get a response:

If Islam is the religion of peace, where in Abdullah bin Humaid's article on jihad can I find the equivalent of “Love Thy Neighbor”? “and good will toward men”? And explain its prominence, (and significance), in a book that's considered second only to the Koran; My Summarized Sahih Al-Bukhari. Also address “jihad” as it's defined in Reliance of the Traveller and answer the same question. Also compare Humaid's “jihad” and Emmet Fox' Sermon on the Mount and tell me which one best represents a spirit of Love and compassion.

David Wood said...

Humaid's article is an excellent introduction to Jihad. Check out my "Three Stages of Jihad" video. Humaid takes a similar position, namely, that the type of Jihad Muslims wage is to be based on how powerful they are at a given time. I should probably make a video about Humaid's discussion at some point.

Arrow said...

In their own countries, Muslims are very frank about what they believe and what their religion teaches. I respect Omar Bakri for his honesty in this debate (Arabic): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KnEKB8BRk3M

His responses are very typical. Any honest Muslim would tell you, straight in the face, that Islam is about war and subjugation. Only in the West do Muslims go to great length to portray Islam as peaceful and friendly towards people of other religions.

Sai Krishna said...

Brilliant!!

Zack_Tiang said...

I like your description of the debate; "taking candy from a baby".

bob said...

The only 'context' to be found in the Koran relates to that of subjugating non-believers and establishing a global Islamic state by any means.

As far as salvation through Islam goes; it does not exist.

"When that Mohammedan monstrosity, the Koran, is at its best, it is nothing but a sausage stuffed with sentences mixed together in confusion from the Law and the Gospel. For both Jewish and Mohammedan fanatics have picked from Scripture whatever served their institutions and the flesh."*

Islam is a punishment, not a blessing.

The intentions, goals, ambitions and overall agenda of Islam equate to those of the Assyrians in the Old Testament, who God used as an instrument of his wrath and who were also subsequently punished themselves.

“Woe to Assyria, the rod of my anger and the staff in whose hand is my indignation. I will send him against an ungodly nation, and against the people of my wrath I will give him charge, to seize the prey and to tread them down like mire in the streets. However, this is not his intention (nor is the Assyrian aware that he is doing this at my bidding), neither does his mind so think and plan; but it is in his mind to destroy and cut off many nations.” Isaiah 10:5-7

The Assyrian himself says:

“By the strength of my hand I have done it, and by my wisdom, for I am prudent; also I have removed the boundaries of the people, and have robbed their treasuries; so I have put down the inhabitants like a valiant man. My hand has found like a nest the riches of the people, and as one gathers eggs that are left, I HAVE GATHERED ALL THE EARTH; and there was no one who moved his wing, nor opened his mouth with even a peep.” Isaiah 10:13, 14

But God says:

“Shall the axe boast itself against him who chops with it? Or shall the saw magnify itself against him who saws with it? As if a rod could wield itself against those who lift it up, or as if a staff could lift up, as if it were not wood!” Isaiah 10:15

“For yet a little while and my indignation against you (Israel) shall be accomplished, and my anger shall be directed to destruction (of the Assyrian).” Isaiah 10:25


*The Jews in later centuries mutilated the faith which God's covenant had established with Abraham, so, still later, Mohammad garbled both the Jewish and Christian faith. (From: What Luther Says, by Ewald M. Plass page 961)

bob said...

A major problem in the Western nations is the rejection of Christ in favour of another ungodly doctrine i.e. the fallacious and theory of 'evolution.'
This kind of unbelief and disrespect towards our Creator and Saviour cannot but incure his wrath.

There are many who consider 'evolution' to be an established scientific fact, but the following questions will demonstrate otherwise, and that evolution actually requires a lot of blind faith to make it 'work' rendering it as just another ungodly, anti-Christian religion.

15 QUESTIONS FOR EVOLUTIONISTS

Evolution: the naturalistic origin of life and its diversity

By Don Batten

1. HOW DID LIFE ORIGINATE?
Evolutionist Professor Paul Davies admitted, “Nobody knows how a mixture of lifeless chemicals spontaneously organized themselves into the first living cell.”(See reference 1) Andrew Knoll, professor of biology, Harvard, said, “We don’t really know how life originated on this planet.” (ref. 2) A minimal cell needs several hundred proteins. Even if every atom in the universe were an experiment with all the correct amino acids present for every possible molecular vibration in the supposed evolutionary age of the universe, not even one average-sized functional protein would form. So how did life with hundreds of proteins originate just by chemistry without intelligent design?

2. HOW DID THE DNA CODE ORIGINATE?
The code is a sophisticated language system with letters and words where the meaning of the words is unrelated to the chemical properties of the letters—just as the information on this page is not a product of the chemical properties of the ink (or pixels on a screen). What other coding system has existed without intelligent design? How did the DNA coding system arise without it being created?

3. HOW COULD MUTATIONS-ACCIDENTAL COPYING MISTAKES (DNA ‘letters’ exchanged, deleted or added, genes duplicated, chromosome inversions, etc.)-CREATE THE HUGE VOLUMES OF INFORMATION IN THE dna OF LIVING THINGS?
How could such errors create 3 billion letters of DNA information to change a microbe into a microbiologist?
There is information for how to make proteins but also for controlling their use—much like a cookbook contains the ingredients as well as the instructions for how and when to use them. One without the other is useless. Mutations are known for their destructive effects, including over 1,000 human diseases such as haemophilia. Rarely are they even helpful. But how can scrambling existing DNA information create a new biochemical pathway or nano-machines with many components, to make ‘goo-to-you’ evolution possible? E.g., How did a 32-component rotary motor like ATP synthase (which produces the energy currency, ATP, for all life), or robots like kinesin (a ‘postman’ delivering parcels inside cells) originate?

4. WHY IS NATURAL SELECTION, A PRINCIPLE RECOGNIZED BY CREATIONISTS, TAUGHT AS 'EVOLUTION', AS IF IT EXPLAINS THE ORIGIN OF THE DIVERSTITY OF LIFE?
By definition it is a selective process (selecting from already existing information), so is not a creative process. It might explain the survival of the fittest (why certain genes benefit creatures more in certain environments), but not the arrival of the fittest (where the genes and creatures came from in the first place). The death of individuals not adapted to an environment and the survival of those that are suited does not explain the origin of the traits that make an organism adapted to an environment. E.g., how do minor back-and-forth variations in finch beaks explain the origin of beaks or finches? How does natural selection explain goo-to-you evolution?
Everyone recognizes design in a glass vase, but evolutionists refuse to believe that the flowers in the vase must also have been designed. The problem is not that they do not show design, but that they show too much design.

continued...

bob said...

5. HOW DID NEW BIOCHEMICAL PATHWAYS, WHICH INVOLVE MULTIPLE ENZYMES WORKING TOGETHER IN SEQUENCE, ORIGINATE?
Every pathway and nano-machine requires multiple protein/enzyme components to work. How did lucky accidents create even one of the components, let alone 10 or 20 or 30 at the same time, often in a necessary programmed sequence. Evolutionary biochemist Franklin Harold wrote, “We must concede that there are presently no detailed Darwinian accounts of the evolution of any biochemical or cellular system, only a variety of wishful speculations.”(ref. 3)

6. LIVING THINGS LOOK LIKE THEY WERE DESIGNED, SO HOW DO EVOLUTIONISTS KNOW THAT THEY WERE NOT DESIGNED?
Richard Dawkins wrote, “Biology is the study of complicated things that have the appearance of having been designed with a purpose.”(ref. 4) Francis Crick, the co-discoverer of the double helix structure of DNA, wrote, “Biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved.”(ref. 5) The problem for evolutionists is that living things show too much design. Who objects when an archaeologist says that pottery points to human design? Yet if someone attributes the design in living things to a designer, that is not acceptable. Why should science be restricted to naturalistic causes rather than logical causes?

7. HOW DID MULTI-CELLULAR LIFE ORIGINATE?
How did cells adapted to individual survival ‘learn’ to cooperate and specialize (including undergoing programmed cell death) to create complex plants and animals?

8. HOW DID SEX ORIGINATE?
Asexual reproduction gives up to twice as much reproductive success (‘fitness’) for the same resources as sexual reproduction, so how could the latter ever gain enough advantage to be selected? And how could mere physics and chemistry invent the complementary apparatuses needed at the same time (non-intelligent processes cannot plan for future coordination of male and female organs).

9. WHY ARE THE (EXPECTED) COUNTLESS MILLIONS OF TRANSITIONAL FOSSILS MISSING?
Darwin noted the problem and it still remains. The evolutionary family trees in textbooks are based on imagination, not fossil evidence. Famous Harvard palaeontologist (and evolutionist), Stephen Jay Gould, wrote, “The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of palaeontology.” (ref. 6) Other evolutionist fossil experts also acknowledge the problem.
10. How do ‘living fossils’ remain unchanged over supposed hundreds of millions of years, if evolution has changed worms into humans in the same time frame?
Professor Gould wrote, “The maintenance of stability within species must be considered as a major evolutionary problem.” (ref. 7)

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bob said...

11. HOW DID BLIND CHEMISTRY CREATE MIND/INTELLIGENCE, MEANING ALTRUISM AND MORALITY?
If everything evolved, and we invented God, as per evolutionary teaching, what purpose or meaning is there to human life? Should students be learning nihilism (life is meaningless) in science classes?

12. WHY IS EVOLUTIONARY 'JUST-SO' STORY TELLING TOLLERATED?
Evolutionists often use flexible story-telling to ‘explain’ observations contrary to evolutionary theory. NAS (USA) member Dr Philip Skell wrote, “Darwinian explanations for such things are often too supple: Natural selection makes humans self-centred and aggressive—except when it makes them altruistic and peaceable. Or natural selection produces virile men who eagerly spread their seed—except when it prefers men who are faithful protectors and providers. When an explanation is so supple that it can explain any behaviour, it is difficult to test it experimentally, much less use it as a catalyst for scientific discovery.” (ref. 8)

13. WHERE ARE THE SCIENTIFIC BREAKTHROUGHS DUE TO EVOLUTION?
Dr Marc Kirschner, chair of the Department of Systems Biology, Harvard Medical School, stated: “In fact, over the last 100 years, almost all of biology has proceeded independent of evolution, except evolutionary biology itself. Molecular biology, biochemistry, physiology, have not taken evolution into account at all.” (ref. 9) Dr Skell wrote, “It is our knowledge of how these organisms actually operate, not speculations about how they may have arisen millions of years ago, that is essential to doctors, veterinarians, farmers … .” (ref. 10) Evolution actually hinders medical discovery. (ref. 11) Then why do schools and universities teach evolution so dogmatically, stealing time from experimental biology that so benefits humankind?

14. SCIENCE INVOLVES EXPERIMENTING TO FIGURE OUT HOW THINGS WORK; HOW THEY OPERATE. WHY IS EVOLUTION, A THEORY ABOUT HISTORY, TAUGHT AS IF IT IS THE SAME AS THIS OPERATIONAL SCIENCE?
You cannot do experiments, or even observe what happened, in the past. Asked if evolution has been observed, Richard Dawkins said, “Evolution has been observed. It’s just that it hasn’t been observed while it’s happening.” (ref. 12)

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bob said...

15. WHY IS A FUNDAMENTALLY RELIGIOUS IDEA, A DOGMATIC BELIEF SYSTEM THAT FAILS TO EXPLAIN THE EVIDENCE, TAUGHT IN SCIENCE CLASSES?
Karl Popper, famous philosopher of science, said “Darwinism is not a testable scientific theory, but a metaphysical [religious] research programme...” (ref. 13) Michael Ruse, evolutionist science philosopher admitted, “Evolution is a religion. This was true of evolution in the beginning, and it is true of evolution still today.” (ref. 14) If “you can’t teach religion in science classes”, why is evolution taught?

REFERENCES
1. Davies, Paul, Australian Centre for Astrobiology, Sydney, New Scientist 179(2403):32, 2003.

2. Knoll, Andrew H., PBS Nova interview, How Did Life Begin? July 1, 2004.

3. Harold, Franklin M. (Prof. Emeritus Biochemistry, Colorado State University) The way of the cell: molecules, organisms and the order of life, Oxford University Press, New York, 2001, p. 205.

4. Dawkins, R., The Blind Watchmaker, W.W. Norton & Company, New York, p. 1, 1986. Return to text.

5. Crick, F., What mad pursuit: a Personal View of Scientific Discovery, Sloan Foundation Science, London, 1988, p. 138.

6. Gould, Stephen Jay, Evolution’s erratic pace, Natural History 86(5):14, May 1977.

7. Gould, S.J. and Eldredge, N., Punctuated equilibrium comes of age. Nature 366:223–224, 1993.

8. Skell, P.S., Why Do We Invoke Darwin? Evolutionary theory contributes little to experimental biology, The Scientist 19(16):10, 2005.

9. As quoted in the Boston Globe, 23 October 2005.

10. Skell, P.S., The Dangers Of Overselling Evolution; Focusing on Darwin and his theory doesn’t further scientific progress, Forbes magazine, 23 Feb 2009; http://www.forbes.com/2009/02/23/evolution-creation-debate-biology-opinions-contributors_darwin.html.

11. E.g. Krehbel, M., Railroad wants monkey off its back, Creation 16(4):20–22, 1994; creation.com/monkey back.

12.pbs.org/now/printable/transcript349_full_print.html>, 3 December, 2004.

13. Popper, K., Unended Quest, Fontana, Collins, Glasgow, p. 151, 1976.

14. Ruse, M., How evolution became a religion: creationists correct? National Post, pp. B1,B3,B7 May 13, 2000.

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bob said...

RESPONSES TO THE 15 QUESTIONS

General objections and attempted answers to questions 1–15

OBJECTION 1: These questions are only unanswerable because our science isn’t advanced enough.

REBUTTAL: But if science has not yet advanced, then how could materialistic scientists possibly know what can be answered in the future? They tend to discount predictive prophecy, at least when it’s in the Bible. If more questions about evolution were answered by scientific advance, the skeptics may have a point. But exactly the opposite has been true in the past. The more our biological knowledge expands, the more problems evolution has. For example, Darwin’s friend Haeckel thought that the cell was just a blob of goo; now we know it is a miniature city with advanced nanotechnology, including machines and factories such as ATP synthase and kinesin.

OBJECTION 2: CMI (Creation Ministries International) uses a misleading definition of evolution. Evolution is only the change in allele frequency in a population over time.

REBUTTAL: Evolution is often used to describe anything from the slight change of a species over time (for instance, changes in finch beak size) to molecules-to-man evolution. If evolution is just changes in allele frequency, then CMI would be an evolutionary organization! Our detractors are committing the logical fallacy of equivocation, also known as bait-and-switch. What is really misleading is imputing that CMI denies that allele frequencies change—but then, under an evolutionary belief system, why shouldn’t evolutionists mislead, as one bragged about?
CMI’s definition of evolution for the purposes of this pamphlet is the ‘General Theory of Evolution’ (GTE). The evolutionist Gerald Kerkut defined this as ‘the theory that all the living forms in the world have arisen from a single source which itself came from an inorganic form.’ (ref. 1) This is a perfectly justifiable definition, and one that secular scientists would agree with—and this is what the dispute is about!

OBJECTION 3: Even if science cannot explain the origin of life, to say that God must have done it is an argument from ignorance.

REBUTTAL: We do not argue from what we don’t know, but from what we do know about the nature of the information encoded in the DNA, the complexity of life, etc. Our argument is, to quote from a previous response:
“In objects of known origin, there are certain features—specified complex information—that occur only in those made by an intelligent designer (or an intelligently designed program). So by the normal analogical reasoning we use in science, when we see these features in an object where the origin is unknown, we can likewise conclude that this object had an intelligent designer.
“These features are those that an archaeologist would use to determine whether an object was designed by an intelligent designer, or that a SETI devotee would use to argue that a signal from space came from an intelligent alien, or whether a ballot or card game was fixed, or whether a sequence of letters was the result of intelligence or monkeys on a keyboard.
“In the first two cases above, it would be perverse to complain that the archaeologist didn’t discuss whether the object’s designer itself had a designer, or that the SETI researcher didn’t tell us who designed the alien. It would be even sillier to argue from this that we should simply drop the idea of design, and conclude that the object or hypothetical space signal had no designer.”
Saying, “We don’t know, but evolution did it somehow,” on the other hand, is an argument from ignorance aka ‘evolution of the gaps’.

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bob said...

OBJECTION 4: Many of these questions involve things that are very improbable. But we know that improbable events happen all the time.

REBUTTAL: In the analogies that evolutionists use, such as the lottery, a series of coin flips, etc., there will be an outcome. Someone will win the lottery, the coin flips must be some arrangement of heads or tails, etc. These evolutionists are cheating with chance. But when it comes to the origin of first life, the probability is against any outcome—see Answering another uninformed atheist: Galileo, Miller—Urey, probability.

OBJECTION 5: CMI uses quote mining, citing scientists as part of their argument against evolution even though these scientists are evolutionists. CMI quotes scientists out-of-context.

REBUTTAL: Any quote that is less than the entire work of which it is a part could be smeared as ‘out of context’. We take care not to take any quote in a manner that is other than what would be intended in the context. It is acceptable to use ‘hostile witness’ quotes to show how even people who believe evolution admit its difficulties.
An example of a genuinely out-of-context quote would be Darwin’s on the eye, where Darwin was talking about its seeming absurdity but then said that after all it was quite easy to imagine that the eye could be built step-by-step (in his opinion, with which we obviously disagree). This is why it’s on our Don’t Use page, one of the most read on our site (and even praised by Richard Dawkins himself).
But it is not ‘out of context’, say, to quote an evolutionary bird expert against the dino-to-bird theory specifically, or to cite evolutionist Ernst Haeckel to show that he believed that the Bible opposed racism and that the Bible was wrong to do so, or to cite an evolutionist who makes a controversial admission in public or in print, even if he tries to paper over that statement later.
Some of our opponents seem to think that quoting an evolutionist who has conceded a problem with evolution (even if he actually made such a concession) is ‘quoting out of context’ simply because the evolutionist would not agree with our position in toto. But this is a quite bizarre understanding of misquoting.

1. HOW DID LIFE ORIGINATE?

ANSWER 1: Abiogenesis is not relevant to the discussion of evolution—it is a separate topic (this has been a very common claim).

REBUTTAL: No one claimed that abiogenesis was irrelevant to the evolution debate until evolutionists realized they were losing the debate on it. Indeed, abiogenesis is also often called ‘chemical evolution’ (see Natural selection cannot explain the origin of life and here just one example of a paper by evolutionists proving the point, titled, “On the applicability of Darwinian principles to chemical evolution that led to life”, International Journal of Astrobiology 3:45-53, 2004). It doesn’t matter how well one can or can’t explain how the first life could evolve, if you can’t explain how it got there in the first place, the theory is literally dead in the water (or the (non-existent) primordial soup, as the case may be). Notice also that, as we stated clearly above, creationists believe in changing allele frequencies over time. Therefore, since both sides claim this as part of their model, the debate must lie outside this area. Hence, the origin of life is fair game for discussions on whether or not evolution is true.

ANSWER 2: Life/non-life isn’t a dichotomy. Rather, there are many examples of ‘proto-life’ such as viruses, prions, etc.

REBUTTAL: These intriguing sub-life entities have nothing to help evolutionists explain the origin of genuine life, because they can’t reproduce without the presence of genuinely living creatures. But see Did God make pathogenic viruses? And even a tiny virus has a powerful mini-motor.

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bob said...

ANSWER 3: Some experiments show that the early earth’s atmosphere was optimal for life.

REBUTTAL: And which studies would those be? The Miller-Urey experiment which used the wrong sort of atmosphere and produced more sludge than amino acids? Or the studies which show that the early atmosphere was oxygen-rich—not friendly for the origin of life. Or the ones that show that water would impede the formation of the hypothetical earliest cell, because it would favour hydrolysis over polymerization. Or the ones that show that information is a crucial component for life—the ‘software’ is just as important as the ‘hardware’, in other words—which gives the evolutionists the burden of showing how something so mind-bogglingly complex (such that we only are beginning to unravel some of the code) came about by random chance?

2. HOW DID THE DNA CODE ORIGINATE?

ANSWER 1: This is not an evolution question, because evolution starts with an already-reproducing organism.

REBUTTAL: But this is something evolution must assume. Leading philosopher Antony Flew lost his atheistic faith by considering (among other things):
“It seems to me that Richard Dawkins constantly overlooks the fact that Darwin himself, in the fourteenth chapter of The Origin of Species, pointed out that his whole argument began with a being which already possessed reproductive powers. This is the creature the evolution of which a truly comprehensive theory of evolution must give some account.
“Darwin himself was well aware that he had not produced such an account. It now seems to me that the findings of more than fifty years of DNA research have provided materials for a new and enormously powerful argument to design.” (ref. 2)
If there’s no way for the DNA code to come about via natural processes, evolution is impossible. A huge problem is this: the DNA information requires complex decoding machines, including the ribosome, so it can be decoded into the specifications to build the proteins required for life, including enzymes. But the information required to build ribosomes is itself encoded on the DNA. So DNA information can’t be decoded without products of its translation, forming a ‘vicious circle’. And decoding machinery requires energy from ATP, built by ATP-synthase motors, built from instructions in the DNA decoded by ribosomes … ‘vicious circles’ for any materialistic origin theory.

ANSWER 2: Originally, life used RNA instead of DNA to encode information.

REBUTTAL: First, where is the evidence for this, such as fossilized ancestral RNA life? Second, the RNA world hypothesis is fraught with difficulties. RNA is even less stable than DNA, and that is saying something—about a million DNA ‘letters’ are damaged in a typical cell on a good day, which then requires repair mechanisms to be in place (another problem for origin-of-life scenarios). And it is extremely unlikely that the building blocks for RNA would come about by undirected chemical interactions, and even if this happened, it would be even more improbable that the building blocks would self-assemble into any RNA molecule, let alone an informational one. And this is only the tip of the iceberg. See this article for more details, which discusses the objections of a major origin-of-life researcher to the ‘RNA world’ hypothesis.

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bob said...

ANSWER 3: It is disingenuous to argue from the current DNA code, because the original code would have been much simpler.

REBUTTAL: This is most disingenuous. So many evolutionists have appealed to the common DNA code to “prove” common ancestry. But now they are claiming that the first life had a different code not possessed by any living creature! But how could we go from the hypothetical simpler coding system to the current one? It would be like switching keys on a computer keyboard—the messages would become scrambled (as anyone who is accustomed to a QWERTY keyboard who has tried to use a non-QWERTY Latin keyboard would know only too well).
Actually, it has long been known that there are exceptions to the code, as we have pointed out (see The Unity of Life) and that is a problem for evolutionists. Richard Dawkins was recently stumped when “life-creator” Craig Venter pointed out that there were different codes—Dawkins has long taught that evolution was supported by a single code and used this to argue for the single (evolutionary, of course) origin of all life.
There is a certain minimum amount of information which would have to be encoded for any living thing to survive. Currently, the self-replicating organism with the least amount of genetic information is the Mycoplasma genitalium with 580,000 ‘letters’ coding for 482 proteins. But this can only survive as a parasite, so non-parasitical life would have to encode even more information. See How simple can life be?

ANSWER 4: The question of how the modern code emerged from these early predecessors is evolution itself. Random deviations in the nucleic acid structure would change the by-product produced, if the by-product was more efficient at replicating, it would overwhelm less efficient codes. This gradual change in the complexity of the underlying code is useful in explaining many aspects of biological theory. Such as why RNA is used as an intermediate between DNA and protein synthesis.

REBUTTAL: Random deviations would randomly change the “by-product produced”, so they would disrupt all the proteins encoded. RNA is used as an intermediate because it is more labile; it’s optimal for the short time frames needed for cell communications. It is a hopeless candidate for hypothetical eons in a primordial soup.

ANSWER 5: The words ‘code’ and ‘language’ are only metaphors when applied to the DNA code, and they have no reality outside our own mental constructs. In reality, the whole thing is dependent on chemical properties.

REBUTTAL: Secular scientists refer to the nucleobases of DNA as ‘letters’, so it’s hardly original to us. And we would agree that the workings of the code are due to chemical properties—we are not vitalists (see also Naturalism, Origins and Operational Science). But this doesn’t explain the origin of the code. Similarly, we believe that the workings of computer decoders can be explained totally by the laws of semi-conductor electron levels and other electrical properties, but these laws didn’t make the computer. Should we say then that there is no difference between a 500 GB hard drive and an old 2 MB one, because it has no reality outside our mind? Also, this is a rather petty thing to dispute, since it does not address any of the arguments from the pamphlet. One wonders why we received several objections of this nature.

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bob said...

ANSWER 6: It is easy to create amino acids and the building blocks for RNA by running an electrical charge through mineral-rich water.

REBUTTAL: If you could actually get all the amino acids needed for life, and the sugars for RNA, from those conditions (which you can’t, since the conditions are incompatible, so this is a baseless assertion), that would be only the very first step. You then have to polymerize the amino acids in the right sequences into proteins (don’t forget about folding the proteins into precisely the right shape with chaperonins, because even one wrongly-folded protein can wreak havoc), and assemble all those proteins into micro-compartments to prevent the wrong things from reacting, then combine these compartments together to make the first cell. That is why such experiments never go beyond these simple “building blocks”; they are too dilute, contaminated, cross-reactive, and racemic (instead of being ‘one-handed’), to build anything. See Origin of life: instability of building blocks and Origin of life: the chirality problem. We have already covered the problems for the RNA world.

3. HOW COULD MUTATIONS—ACCIDENTAL COPYING MISTAKES—CREATE THE HUGE VOLUMES OF INFORMATION IN THE DNA OF LIVING THINGS?

ANSWER 1: If only eight mutations per year were passed on for three billion years, that gives 3 gigabytes of information.

REBUTTAL: This assumes that those information-gaining mutations occur—which hasn’t been shown. Second, as a population grows larger, it is harder to fix new mutations in the population, because the cost of substitution is greater (this is Haldane’s Dilemma). (ref. 3) Third, it assumes that the mutations that will be fixed are the sort that create new structures, such as lungs, feathers and wings. But it is becoming the consensus even among evolutionist geneticists that mutations are like spelling mistakes in an instruction manual, which overwhelmingly degrade information. These changes can be adaptive (helpful to survival or ‘beneficial’) in certain circumstances, but they are still heading in the wrong direction to make evolution tenable. This includes antibiotic resistance, wingless beetles on windswept islands, blind fish in caves, and chloroquine resistance in malarial parasites. A recent paper shows that even the “beneficial” mutations work against each other—it’s called antagonistic epistasis.

ANSWER 2: Computer models have shown how mutations can lead to large-scale change.

REBUTTAL: Every computer simulation of information-gaining mutations known to us stacks the deck in favour of evolution and in no way simulates what actually happens in real life. You might as well argue from the computer game Spore (although some do). See the articles on genetic algorithms and Dawkins’s Weasel program at our Natural Selection Q&A, as well as the more sophisticated Mendel’s Accountant, which does simulate (model) the real world genetics of living organisms. We know that mutations break things—and it’s far easier to break something than to make it.
Note also, that the issue is not the size of the change: dogs and cabbages both exhibit enormous variety, but they are still dogs (wolves, coyotes, German shepherds, etc.) and cabbages (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, etc.). These changes can occur within an animal or plant type (kind/baramin). Evolutionists need to find a mechanism for ‘nature’ to invent new genetic instructions for complex new features such as feathers for reptiles, if evolution did really change a reptile into a bird, for example.

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bob said...

ANSWER 3: Using words such as ‘accidental’ and ‘mistakes’ is misleading and misses the point entirely.

REBUTTAL: Again, this sort of language is used by secular scientists, so take it up with them. But an assertion is not an argument—our opponents didn’t even defend this assertion. Carl Sagan, an ardent evolutionist, admitted: “ … mutations occur at random and are almost uniformly harmful—it is rare that a precision machine is improved by a random change in the instructions for making it.” (ref. 4) How can random changes be anything but ‘accidental’ and ‘mistakes’?

4. WHY IS NATURAL SELECTION, A PRINCIPLE RECOGNIZED BY CREATIONISTS, TAUGHT AS 'EVOLUTION' AS IF IT EXPLAINS THE ORIGIN OF THE DIVERSITY OF LIFE?

ANSWER 1: It is disingenuous for creationists to claim to accept natural selection and not ‘macroevolution’, since the cumulative effect of the former leads to the latter.

REBUTTAL: Actually, there is not one undisputed example of one structure arising gradually through natural selection. But if natural selection was the engine for evolution, we should have many examples of this happening. Rather, every example of natural selection that we have shows that it is a conservative force which specializes creatures to be better adapted for their environment. This involves a loss of information; for example, a population of bears in a cold climate losing information for short and medium-length fur (see How information is lost when creatures adapt to their environment).
The major issue here is that natural selection does not create any genetic information, so ‘natural selection’ is not the same as evolution. Demonstrating some example of natural selection is not demonstrating ‘evolution in action’ because no new genetic specifications are being created by natural selection. So there is nothing disingenuous about creationists accepting natural selection but not molecules-to-molecular-biologists evolution. However, it is disingenuous of evolutionists to continually equate natural selection with evolution.
However, high-profile evolutionists themselves have long recognized that ‘macroevolution’ is not just a matter of more ‘microevolution’; it is qualitatively different (so CMI advises against using these terms, which tend to create confusion). In November 1980 a conference of some of the world’s leading evolutionary biologists, billed as ‘historic’, was held at the Chicago Field Museum of Natural History on the topic of ‘macroevolution’. Reporting on the conference in the journal Science (Vol. 210(4472):883–887, 1980.), Roger Lewin wrote:
“The central question of the Chicago conference was whether the mechanisms underlying microevolution can be extrapolated to explain the phenomena of macroevolution. At the risk of doing violence to the positions of some of the people at the meeting, the answer can be given as a clear, No.”
Francisco Ayala (Associate Professor of Genetics, University of California), was quoted in the same article as saying:
“… but I am now convinced from what the paleontologists say that small changes do not accumulate.”

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ANSWER 2: There are over 100 new mutations for every child born. It is inevitable that evolution would happen with this rate of mutation. Those with the best mutations survive and reproduce.

REBUTTAL: We’ve noted the mutation rate—and that it’s a huge problem for evolution. 100 mutations is actually the lowest (unrealistically low) possible number of new mutations per person, and that’s already extremely problematic for evolution. You see, in the evolutionary view, there have been 100 new mutations for every child for millions and millions of years. That’s billions of mutations. (ref. 5) This also collapses a common argument for human-ape similarity: why should there be any similarity at all in the alleged five or six million years since their alleged common ancestor (but see also Evolutionists abandon the idea of 99% DNA similarity between humans and chimps).
When a person reproduces, his genes as a whole (half of them) are passed on, with both beneficial and non-beneficial mutations. It’s not as if a certain gene gets selected—it’s the group of genes that the person has. Most mutations are nearly neutral, emphasis on nearly. We don’t need to worry about the really catastrophic mutations being passed on most of the time; they often result in the death of the individual or otherwise prevent reproduction (natural selection operates here to remove the lethal ones, thus acting as a conserving force).
But most mutations aren’t like that—the person can survive. The deleterious effect may be so small that it’s imperceptible by itself. But add up thousands, hundreds of thousands, of those mutations, and you have a substantially ‘less fit’ individual than someone from the first generation. This person isn’t an example of evolution—he’s an example of devolution. He’s more likely to have problems like allergies and immune system disorders, he’s more likely to have trouble reproducing, and he’s probably got a shorter lifespan (without modern medical help), just for starters. And it gets worse for his descendants, because eventually all these mutations build up to an unsustainable level, and we get a situation that Dr John Sanford, geneticist, describes in Genetic Entropy and the Mystery of the Genome:

“When selection is unable to counter the loss of information due to mutations, a situation arises called ‘error catastrophe’. If not rapidly corrected, this situation leads to the eventual death of the species—extinction! In its final stages, genomic degeneration leads to declining fertility, which curtails further selection (selection always requires a surplus population, some of which can then be eliminated each generation). Inbreeding and genetic drift then take over entirely, rapidly finishing off the population. The process is an irreversible downward spiral. This advanced stage of genomic degeneration is called ‘mutational meltdown’. Mutational meltdown is recognized as an immediate threat to all of today’s endangered species. The same process appears to potentially be a theoretical threat for mankind” (p. 41).

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5. HOW DID NEW BIOCHEMICAL PATHWAYS, WHICH INVOLVE MULTIPLE ENZYMES WORKING TOGETHER IN SEQUENCE, ORIGINATE?

ANSWER 1: There’s no reason to think that the first life was as complex as today’s—the simplest forms would be extinct by now, out-competed by the more complex modern forms. A self-replicator can be as simple as a strand of six DNA nucleotides. These self-replicators set the stage for evolution to begin whether or not you call these molecules ‘life’.

REBUTTAL: Documentation? Evidence? Hard science indicates that the simplest life is incredibly complex (we have already cited How simple can life be?). So your imaginary scenario is just that; far removed from what we know of life on Earth. For more on claims of self-replicating molecules, peptides and enzymes, see Self-replicating enzymes? A critique of some current evolutionary origin-of-life models.

ANSWER 2: Furthermore, looking at the biochemical processes in detail at a moment in time does not indicate the evolutionary history of an organism. Scaffolding is a means to develop a process. Furthermore, evolution is established on the macroscopic level through morphology as well as on the molecular level with genetics. As the understanding of biochemistry proceeds (as it is a much younger science), a better understanding will develop. Furthermore, as Michael Behe learned at the Dover trial, there is a lot known about the evolution of proteins, such as with the immune system.

REBUTTAL: Lots of assertions here with little to back them up. Taking each sentence in turn:
In one sense, it is good to see that some evolutionists have finally abandoned the discredited “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny”argument applied to biochemistry. But this also exposes the inconsistency of a major evolutionary argument: supposedly the many biochemical similarities prove evolution from a common ancestor with these features. But then it turns out that the ancestor didn’t have these features at all! E.g., all life uses DNA because of common ancestry, but then this common ancestor didn’t use DNA. Or, there is a common pentadactyl (five-digit) limb pattern in all tetrapods, because they all came from a common ancestor that walked up on the land from the sea. But the usual candidates for this common ancestor don’t have five digits—Acanthostega had eight, while Ichthyostega had seven, although all of these, including the much hyped Tiktaalik, have been trumped by more recent fossil evidence.
Scaffolding is really the “spandrel” argument by Lewontin and Gould. (ref. 6) Yet there is no further evidence presented.
The morphological evidence is dealt with elsewhere, and is a change of subject.
There is yet another quasi-prophetic appeal to what we will understand in the future, but this is of course a tacit admission that evolutionists don’t have an answer now.
Lots of rubbish has been talked about the Dover Trial, where a previously unknown judge became the darling of the liberal media and evolution-pushing organizations by parroting the ACLU submission in his verdict. See our analysis.

ANSWER 3: It’s not a lucky accident!

REBUTTAL: And if the question was, “Was the origination of new biochemical pathways, which involve multiple enzymes working together in a sequence, a lucky accident?”, that would be an answer to our question, although still only an unsupported assertion. Either it’s a lucky accident or it’s designed. Selection can’t work before these already exist in a functional form—it’s pure chance. But the question was how did they come about, and this didn’t even attempt to answer that one.

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6. LIVING THINGS LOOK LIKE THEY WERE DESIGNED, SO HOW DO EVOLUTIONISTS KNOW THAT THEY WERE NOT DESIGNED?

ANSWER 1: They don’t, but to say they are is a mere argument from ignorance.

REBUTTAL: If evolutionists admit they don’t know, isn’t that by definition an admission that they’re arguing from ignorance? Also, as stated in part 1, the argument from design is based on what we do know.

ANSWER 2: If there were a designer, we should see designs tending toward simplicity, not complexity. Yet that is the opposite of what we see.

REBUTTAL: So life is too complex for it to be designed? This is a new one! In any case, this is only a form of argument from bad design, refuted in a number of articles under What about claims of ‘bad design’?
Actually, the critic also forgets the Fall, so we should see degeneration, as pointed out in our book By Design. We have previously noted that many parasites are genetically depleted compared to free-living equivalents—see articles under How does biblical Christianity explain the origin of poisons, and pathogenic bacteria and viruses. Thus it should be called devolution not evolution (a downhill change is consistent with the biblical Creation-Fall model). This was backed up by an interview with famous evolutionist Lynn Margulis in Discover April 2011:
“Both the treponema that cause syphilis and the borrelia that cause Lyme disease contain only a fifth of the genes they need to live on their own. Related spirochetes that can live outside by themselves need 5,000 genes, whereas the spirochetes of those two diseases have only 1,000 genes in their bodies. The 4,000 missing gene products needed for bacterial growth can be supplied by wet, warm human tissue. This is why both the Lyme disease borrelia and syphilis treponema are symbionts—they require another body to survive.”

ANSWER 3: Vestigial organs provide evidence of evolution: these are structures which once had a purpose but no longer do.

REBUTTAL: 100 years ago, there were dozens of organs and systems were thought to be vestigial. Today, we know of uses for every organ on those lists. In some cases, an organ serves no essential or known function in the adult, but in the developing stages it serves a critical role. See a few examples under Performing surgery upon evolutionary thinking (interview with pediatric surgeon Dr Ross Pettigrew).
Furthermore, it’s ironic that this critic accused us of using an “argument from ignorance”, then did just that! Just because we don’t know of a function for a certain organ or system doesn’t mean there is none. One important and recently discovered function of the appendix—a safe house for beneficial bacteria—should have been a lesson. At least, that should have been the argument 100 years ago. Today, we know better. See also Do any vestigial organs exist in humans?.

ANSWER 4: There are structures that would be horrendously designed, but they’re easy to explain if they evolved. The laryngeal nerve is one example of this.

REBUTTAL: See our article on the laryngeal nerve.

ANSWER 5: It’s very lucky that everything works out just so it looks like it were designed, but if it weren’t, we wouldn’t be around to notice it.

REBUTTAL: It’s a simple explanation—except it’s not an explanation. The analogy that we have borrowed to show the inadequacy of the explanation is if I were surrounded by an execution squad comprising expert marksmen, each person with a rifle, and they all fired, but I was still alive afterwards, it’s equally true that if it hadn’t happened that way I wouldn’t be around to observe it, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be surprised by it. So that we exist doesn’t make it any less surprising that we do.

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7. HOW DID MULTI- CELLULAR LIFE ORIGINATE?

ANSWER 1: It was beneficial for cells to work together.

REBUTTAL: That may be true, but while that may tell us why such a fully developed system is advantageous, it says nothing about how such a system originated, and what benefits the incomplete stages would have.

ANSWER 2: Colonies of cells that cooperated were the first step.

REBUTTAL: There is a huge difference between a colony of single-celled organisms and a true multi-celled organism, and no known mechanism would enable an organism to make that leap. For example, there is a big jump between selection for single cell reproductive success and that for integrity of a multicellular organism. In complex creatures, great reproductive success of a single cell type is usually called cancer. See Evolution of muticellularity: what is required?

8. HOW DID SEX ORIGINATE?

ANSWER 1: Sexual reproduction allows for evolution at a much faster pace than asexual reproduction. Organisms that exchanged DNA were thus able to evolve out of situations that might have killed their asexual counterparts.

REBUTTAL: Another answer which tells why but not how. Creationists can explain the origin of fully functioning sexual reproduction, from the start, in an optimal and genetically diverse population, at the hand of an intelligent Creator. Once the mechanisms are already in place, they have these advantages. But simply having advantages doesn’t remotely explain how they could be built from scratch. The hypothetical transitional forms would be highly disadvantageous, so natural selection would work against them. Sexual reproduction involves fine tuning on both the molecular level (so DNA from two individuals can combine into a new one) and the macroscopic level: in many cases, the male and female genitalia are precisely tuned so one could fit the other, meaning that they could not have evolved independently.
It’s also only partially right: yes, because of recombination, sexual reproduction allows much variability. But it also allows a successful organism to pass on only half the genes to any given offspring (and in a stable population by definition, there is only one offspring per parent). This acts as a conservative force. This is a good thing, because most mutations are harmful, and it’s a good thing they are not passed on. But for evolution, it’s a problem since any putatively beneficial mutation has a 50% chance of not being passed on. Also, sexual reproduction allows these harmful genes, if recessive, to be shielded by a backup copy.

ANSWER 2: Sex depends on both the male and the female. Any incompatibilities would cause sterility and would be selected against.

REBUTTAL: Sex is indeed dependent on the actions of the male and the female, but unless you’re some kind of neo-Lamarckian, that isn’t going to lead to complementary structures. The fact that natural selection will weed out sterile individuals doesn’t explain how functioning sexual reproduction came to be, since there’s a lot more ways to make something that doesn’t work than something that does. Incidentally, many responses to this question show more confidence about the origin of sex than Dawkins had. See Evolution of Sex (Refuting Evolution 2 chapter 11).

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9. WHY ARE THE (EXPECTED) COUNTLESS MILLIONS OF TRANSITIONAL FOSSILS MISSING?

ANSWER 1: They aren’t missing. Every fossil ever found is a link between older and newer forms.

REBUTTAL: This is assumed, not demonstrated. It is also patently absurd, as, numerically, the majority of fossils fit neatly into previously-described species (many of them documented in Living Fossils). It also obfuscates the real problem. Even on a species-by-species basis, transitional forms are the exception to the rule. There are only a handful of fossils claimed to be transitional between major groups of life. This was recognized by Darwin himself as a huge problem for his theory. And this handful of disputed fossils is different from the disputed handful of the past. For example, the coelacanth fish was presented by evolutionists as ‘the ancestor’ of tetrapods (four-legged animals) for many years. It is no longer considered as such by evolutionary palaeontologists, although it is still in many school textbooks. See: Famous Living Fossil ‘Link’ Idea Fizzles Further.

ANSWER 2: Only a small fraction of animals are fossilized, the fossil record still remains largely incomplete.

REBUTTAL: This begs the question, because the ‘evidence’ that the fossil record is incomplete is the rarity of intermediates! This argument may have been convincing in Darwin’s day, although Darwin’s paleontological opponents like Richard Owen, Louis Agassiz and Adam Sedgwick, didn’t buy it, when there were only a small number of fossils that were known. But today we have fossilized representatives of every living animal phylum and every plant division. There are many phyla that have fossilized representatives of every living group or class. We have pointed out before that 97.7% of living orders of land vertebrates are represented as fossils and 79.1% of living families of land vertebrates—87.8% if birds are excluded, as they are less likely to become fossilized (see The links are missing). With so many forms accounted for, there doesn’t seem to be much room for transitional forms to do their work.
What evolutionists should say instead is that fossilization events are rare in processes occurring today. That should lead them to realize that fossils are mostly the result of an extra-ordinary event—such as a globe-covering flood that buried lots of creatures very fast, and prevented them from decomposing or being scavenged as today. See for example Hundreds of jellyfish fossils!—Darwin claimed, due to his faulty uniformitarian views, “No organism wholly soft can be preserved.”

ANSWER 3: They aren’t missing. There are millions of transitional forms.

REBUTTAL: First, there is something bizarre when excuses are basically mutually incompatible, like #2 v. #1 and #3. Which is it? Are they commonplace, or rare because of the rarity of fossilization events?
This answer would require practically every fossil to be a transitional form (actually, several transitional forms at once, given that only about 250,000 fossil species are actually known). But many fossils are practically identical to living creatures, in which case the adjective ‘transitional’ becomes meaningless.

ANSWER 4: Tiktaalik is a good example of a transitional link.

REBUTTAL: Tiktaalik is an amazing example of a well-designed fish—see Tiktaalik roseae—a fishy missing link There is no evidence that it is the ancestor of tetrapods, especially since there are footprints in the fossil record dated before Tiktaalik—see Tetrapods from Poland trample the Tiktaalik school of evolution. The descendant can’t be older than its ancestor!

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ANSWER 5: Evolution would stand even if we didn’t have a single fossil.

REBUTTAL: Not all evolutionists would agree. The foremost French zoologist Pierre-Paul Grassé (1895–1985), editor of the 35-volume Traité de Zoologie, wrote:
“Naturalists must remember that the process of evolution is revealed only through fossil forms. A knowledge of paleontology is, therefore, a prerequisite; only paleontology can provide them with the evidence of evolution and reveal its course or mechanisms … that is why we constantly have recourse to paleontology, the only true science of evolution. From it we learn how to interpret present occurrences cautiously; it reveals that certain hypotheses considered certainties by their authors are in fact questionable or even illegitimate.” (ref. 7)
In any case, these critics would have us believe that evolution is sound with fossils or without fossils, it’s by chance and natural selection but it’s not a random accident! If your theory can explain any set of events, then it’s not scientific, according to many philosophers of science, because it’s not falsifiable in your eyes by any conceivable findings (although see also Self-serving SEC definitions of ‘science’).

10. HOW DO 'LIVING FOSSILS' REMAIN UNCHANGED OVER SUPPOSED HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF YEARS, IF EVOLUTION HAS CHANGED WORMS INTO HUMANS IN THE SAME TIME FRAME?

ANSWER 1: When creatures find no need to adapt to changing circumstances, they don’t change.

REBUTTAL: So evolution explains if creatures don’t change, and it explains if they do! How convenient. See Question 12 with a quote from one of the world’s leading organic chemists, the late Philip Skell.
But surely mutation would work at the same rate in the populations that had unchanging environments, and if eight mutations per year were being fixed in the population as argued in the above answer, this would mean that most, if not all, species would be subject to radical change over time. How could these species not change in light of the species evolving around them, some of which, including bacteria, would be trying to make a meal out of the species in stasis? Also, evolutionists believe that environments changed drastically over millions of years, while some creatures in these environments didn’t change? See also Evolutionary Stasis: Double—Speak and Propaganda.
People take an animal’s environment to mean things like the temperature, pressure, salinity (for marine and fresh water organisms), O2 concentration, etc. So it’s not inconceivable in their mind for an environment to stay roughly the same for millions of years. But once one stresses that a creature’s predators, and their prey species (if carnivores) or plant food (if herbivores), are very much part of their environment, as are their parasites and other pathogens, suddenly it gets even more ludicrous that the environment would stay constant for eons. There are species of all of these categories not only migrating in and out of the area, but also supposedly undergoing all this evolutionary change themselves.

ANSWER 2: Worms didn’t change into humans—we still have worms today. Rather, worms and humans have a common ancestor, if you go back far enough.

REBUTTAL: Tell that to the evolutionist who wrote the article “We were once worms”.

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11. HOW DID BLIND CHEMISTRY CREATE MIND/INTELLIGENCE, MEANING, ALTRUISM AND MORALITY?

ANSWER 1: Morality and the meaning of life is a philosophical question and irrelevant to the theory of evolution.

REBUTTAL: Of course it’s a question for evolution. Evolution is all about how we got from the first life to the life we have today. And humans today have (at least the illusion of) mind/intelligence, meaning, altruism and morality.
You assume that evolution only has to answer scientific questions. But evolution is as much about philosophy as science (I would argue that it’s much more about philosophy than science). There are branches of evolutionary ‘science’ called sociobiology, human behavioral ecology and evolutionary psychology, which attempt to explain human society, love, morals, religion, altruism, etc., purely in evolutionary terms.
But if you’re really serious, then you better tell many of your fellow evolutionists who pontificate about religion and morals!

ANSWER 2: Everyone creates his or her own meaning for life—it’s not a question science can answer.

REBUTTAL: This is presented as if it’s an answer—it’s the biggest non-answer one could give. But this is really our point: if evolution were true, then there is no basis for right and wrong—see Dawkins’ admission, this article on the foundation for ethics, and how an evolutionist justified deceiving students to believe in evolution.

12. WHY IS EVOLUTIONARY 'JUST-SO' STORY-TELLING TOLERATED?

ANSWER 1: Because evolution’s ‘just-so’ stories are based on facts.

REBUTTAL: Does the critic realize that question was based on a review by evolutionist Richard Lewontin who referred to “the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories”. That’s the whole point: if they were based on fact, then they wouldn’t be ‘just-so’ stories, as Lewontin admitted existed!

ANSWER 2: I don’t understand what this has to do with the theory of evolution being wrong.

REBUTTAL: It should be obvious: the whole rationale for teaching evolution and excluding any opposition is that it’s a plausible scientific theory for the origin of living creatures. If the majority of supporting examples are really just-so stories, then this pretense of a proven scientific theory should be dropped.
But this question attacks practically every evolutionary explanation there is. “Oh, you found unfossilized blood vessels with red blood cells in them? Obviously flesh can survive in some cases for millions of years!” “This animal is no different from the fossil? Obviously it was so well-adapted that it didn’t need to evolve and stayed the same over millions of years!” Evolution can explain why men are monogamous, or why they cheat, or why they rape. It can explain how females drive sexual selection, except when it wants to argue that the males do. See: ‘Just-so’ stories of sex and family life.

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13. WHERE ARE THE SCIENTIFIC BREAKTHROUGHS DUE TO EVOLUTION?

ANSWER 1: Evolution is an extraordinary breakthrough in its own right.

REBUTTAL: But other things that are extraordinary scientific breakthroughs in their own right lead to other breakthroughs.

ANSWER 2: Evolutionary concepts are being applied to electronics to create more efficient circuits.

REBUTTAL: No, the concept of iterative algorithms, which long pre-date Darwin, have been hijacked with an “evolutionary” label. If humans were more mathematically adept, we would not need to resort to trying multiple random changes of a system to see where the best potential improvements lie. See Genetic algorithms—do they show that evolution works?

ANSWER 3: Norman Borlaug’s understanding of evolution and genetics helped him to mass-produce crops to feed millions of people, winning him the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize.

REBUTTAL: Yet there is nothing about Darwinian evolution that had any relevance to Borlaug’s work. One of his innovations was developing multiline varieties via crossbreeding so they would have many genes for pesticide resistance, compared to the purelines that were genetically depleted. But this shows that the artificial selection that led to purelines resulted in loss of information, while the multilines recombined some of the original information. In fact, the author of the tract is a Ph.D. plant physiologist with much experience at such things—see What! … no potatoes? We have shown the same problem with purebreds in other creatures such as dogs, compared to the superior fitness of mongrels (see “A Parade of Mutants”—Pedigree Dogs and Artificial Selection).
Another of Borlaug’s projects was breeding dwarf wheat for their shorter, stronger stalks that would support larger seed heads. But this is also an application of artificial selection of largely existing genes and possibly mutants with stunted growth, which would not be so good in the wild because they are worse at competing for sunlight.
Finally, as we have pointed out, many of the advances in agriculture predated Darwin by millennia, including breeding (artificial selection).

ANSWER 4: Music, theology, and philosophy don’t lead to scientific breakthroughs either but they’re still taught in schools.

REBUTTAL: You’re missing a fundamental distinction—evolution claims to be science. The other subjects don’t claim to be subsets of science. What other subset of science has yielded precisely no useful discoveries, including Nobel science prizes?
In any case, aren’t you aware that there are certain philosophical assumptions one has to make for science to be possible? For example, there has to be the assumption of an orderly universe, where under normal conditions things work consistently. For instance, gravity isn’t suddenly going to change and work differently than it did 5 minutes ago, so we can do tests and replicate results. See also The biblical roots of modern science.

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14. SCIENCE INVOLVES EXPERIMENTING TO FIGURE OUT HOW THINGS WORK; HOW THEY OPERATE. WHY IS EVOLUTION, A THEORY ABOUT HISTORY, TAUGHT AS IF IT IS THE SAME AS THIS OPERATIONAL SCIENCE?

ANSWER 1: There have been plenty of experiments that demonstrate evolution, one of the most famous being Lenski’s experiment.

REBUTTAL: What experiments demonstrate that a universal common ancestor changed into all the living things on earth? None. This is a belief about history and no experiments can be done on such an imagined history. You are referring to experiments that demonstrate mutations, adaptation, etc., in today’s world. Creationist biologists have no argument with these, except when they are held up as ‘evidence of evolution’, which they are not, because these observable variations in living things cannot be extrapolated to explain the origin of those living things. This is the old equivocation trickery, which we have written about (see It’s not science, for example). As for Lenski’s experiment, this is old news, thoroughly refuted in The Greatest Hoax on Earth? ch. 4. Dr Batten dealt with the most dramatic “evidence” in this experiment: Bacteria ‘evolving in the lab’? ‘A poke in the eye for anti-evolutionists’? We will say it once again: variation in an existing trait does not explain the origin of the trait or the origin of the bacterium.

15. WHY IS A FUNDAMENALLY RELIGIOUS IDEA, A DOGMATIC BELIEF SYSTEM THAT FAILS TO EXPLAIN THE EVIDENCE, TAUGHT IN SCIENCE CLASSES?

ANSWER 1: Evolution can explain the evidence, creationists such as CMI simply refuse to recognize this.

REBUTTAL: Ipse dixit (“he himself said it”—an unproved and dogmatic statement designed to be accepted on faith not substance). One of the previous answers asked what was wrong with just-so stories, which really don’t explain anything. Also, many evolutionists, including our critics, explain certain things by mutations and natural selection, which are also parts of the creation model, so are powerless to choose between them. Likewise, common features are a prediction both from common ancestry and common design; but some of them thwart evolutionary explanations so favour the latter (see Argument: Common design points to common ancestry from Refuting Evolution 2 by J. Sarfati Ph. D.)

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ANSWER 2: Evolution has no doctrines or dogma, no rituals, traditions or holidays. It has no leaders or defenders of the faith because it does not allow faith. Evolution is not a religion, and it’s deceptive of creationists to claim that it is.

REBUTTAL: Yet this charge of deception would thus need to be applied to the evolutionary philosopher of science, Michael Ruse:

“Evolution is promoted by its practitioners as more than mere science. Evolution is promulgated as an ideology, a secular religion—a full-fledged alternative to Christianity, with meaning and morality. I am an ardent evolutionist and an ex-Christian, but I must admit that in this one complaint—and Mr [sic] Gish is but one of many to make it—the literalists are absolutely right. Evolution is a religion. This was true of evolution in the beginning, and it is true of evolution still today.

“ … Evolution therefore came into being as a kind of secular ideology, an explicit substitute for Christianity.”

Some atheistic humanists are quite open that they are “proselytizers of a new faith”. For more, see Atheism: A religion, Atheism, and Atheism, agnosticism and humanism: godless religions.
In reality, evolution is a deduction from the faith position—which can’t be proven by science—that matter is all there is, so no supernatural is allowed. I.e. creation is 'streng verboten' as a conclusion, regardless of whether the evidence supports it, because of self-serving ‘rules of the game’.
Conversely, biblical faith is never contrasted with reason or evidence, but with sight. See Loving God with all your mind and Using the Bible to prove the Bible? Are biblical creationists guilty of circular reasoning?

REFRENCES
1.Kerkut, G.A., Implications of Evolution, Pergamon, Oxford, UK, p. 157, 1960. He continued: “the evidence which supports this is not sufficiently strong to allow us to consider it as anything more than a working hypothesis.”

2.Flew went on to say that such DNA research “has shown, by the almost unbelievable complexity of the arrangements which are needed to produce (life), that intelligence must have been involved.” My Pilgrimage from Atheism to Theism: an exclusive interview with former British atheist Professor Antony Flew by Gary Habermas, Philosophia Christi, Winter 2005.

3.According to the theoretical mathematics of population genetics, if a beneficial mutation has a selective advantage, its probability of survival is about 2s/(1–e–2sN), where s = selection coefficient and N is the population size. See Spetner, L.M., Not By Chance, The Judaica Press, Brooklyn, NY, 1996, 1997; see online review.

4.Sagan, C., The Dragons of Eden, Hodder and Stoughton, London, 1977, p. 28.

5. According to theory, the fixation rate of neutral mutations is roughly proportional to the mutation rate. Therefore, 1,000,000 years / 20 years/generations = 50,000 generations. 50,000 generations x 100 mutations/generation = 5 billion mutations, more or less, in 1 million years. This is a complete overturning of the genome! Why is there any similarity between chimpanzees and man left after a supposed 6 million years of separation?

6. See Gould, S.J. and Lewontin, R.C., The spandrels of San Marco and the Panglossian Paradigm: a critique of the adaptationist programme, Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B, 205(1161):581–598, 1979.

7. Grassé, P.-P., Evolution of Living Organisms, pp. 3,4. Academic Press, New York, NY, 1977; original French title L’évolution du vivant, 1973.

David Wood said...

Bob,

The comments section is for discussing a given topic, not for posting dozens of off-topic comments about whatever you happen to be thinking about.

bob said...

David,

I understand. It was intended as a means of pointing out that part of the reason why evolutionary indoctrinated societies are crumbling before Islam can be attributed to their rejection of faith in Christ (and the wisdom that comes with it) in favour of the religion of evolution. The intention was to expose evolution as false to those who have been decieved by it.