I am a supporter of evolution, and am against Intelligent Design. My problem is that I am always challenged on it with what seems an ignorant proposal. Just today I was told that the fact that humans are too complex proves the existence of god. In order for a being, we'll call him God, to create an extremely complex organism, human, wouldn't that being in turn need to be complex and intelligent? With that, wouldn't God need an even more complex creator? I am then told that god has always existed, and needs no creator.
This is my question: Why would the logic of intelligent design apply only to us, humans, and not to this god?
I cannot understand why one would accept such a flawed theory, yet I am looked at like I'm stupid. Any help on this would be much appreciated.
Eric Altman said, "I am a supporter of evolution, and am against Intelligent Design. My problem is that I am always challenged on it with what seems an ignorant proposal. Just today I was told that the fact that humans are too complex proves the existence of god. In order for a being, we'll call him God, to create an extremely complex organism, human, wouldn't that being in turn need to be complex and intelligent? With that, wouldn't God need an even more complex creator?
Answer: Creationists assert that certain complex biological systems could not emerge from a gradual evolutionary process. They argue instead that such structures are best explained by the deliberate action of intelligent designer or God. Most scientists do not endorse this conclusion, and they have good reasons. They understand that the prolonged action of natural selection can be expected to leave traces behind in the structure of modern organisms. And when scientists looked for those traces they found them in droves. Natural selection operates by preserving small, favorable variations that occur naturally in any population of organisms. Over time these variations accumulate to the point that large-scale change is the result. Natural selection works by modifying structures already present in the organism. New complex systems do not just appear instantly (a la) the book of Genesis. This observation is crucial in distinguishing between those systems that could have been crafted by selection and those that could not have been. If scientists find that a particular organism possesses a complex system made from parts wholly distinct from anything to be found in the organism's closest evolutionary cousins it will be difficult to explain that system via selection. But if we find that the system appears to be cobbled together from parts that were readily available, then natural selection remains a strong candidate. Charles Darwin employed this principle in his studies of the complex systems used by orchids to attract pollinating insects. He discovered that these contrivances, as he called them, were indeed fashioned out of modified versions of parts present in closely related flowers.
None of the arguments against evolution has been proven. All of the arguments to date have been proven wrong, and no new theory has been presented by anyone. One argument (for instance) is that natural selection could not have evolved cognitive skills (intelligence.) Intelligence evolved as a cognitive strategy in humans to meet the complex demands of their survival. The more difficult it is to survive the more intelligent the organism. Intelligence has to evolve, because evolution is how new traits appear and intelligence is definitely a new trait that evolved well after the basic original bacterium. Evolution operates by natural selection: traits that help an organism survive to reproductive age, and that help it to produce offspring that do the same, will be in evidence in those succeeding generations. Traits that did not do this will disappear with the organisms that died before they could pass them on.
Eric Altman said, "I am then told that god has always existed, and needs no creator. This is my question: Why would the logic of intelligent design apply only to us, humans, and not to this god"?
Answer: What is God made of, how did he create everything, and what did he make it from? If they can't answer that it's because they don't have the answers to anything. The creationists' stance is that the Bible is the written word of God, and they believe it to be inspired throughout. This means that they believe the accounts of origins in Genesis are a factual presentation of simple historical truths. (God's direct creation of the Earth and all things in six days, Noah's flood, Adam and Eve, sin, and salvation through Christ are all literal true.)
Some creationists try to railroad scientific evidence into conformity with a literal interpretation of the bible by rejecting all scientific knowledge that does not agree with the bible stories. Do they question the bible story that (the sun stood still)? They do question the integrity of science. They also dispute the study of life and human origins (genetics could be very important in finding cures for diseases.) Faith has never cured a disease! The real reason they attack science is to slow the inevitable growing skepticism of religion by the masses in order to protect certain interests (political and religious.)
Eric Altman said, "I cannot understand why one would accept such a flawed theory, yet I am looked at like I'm stupid. Any help on this would be much appreciated. Thank you, Eric"
Answer: Scientists do not believe the account in Genesis that everything began on "creation week", instead they have developed theories. There are many transitional fossils, the primate-human transitional form, Australopithecus. A fossil named Ida (announced in May 2009) is an extraordinary find a perfectly preserved 47 million year old fossil found in Germany - a 'missing link' in human evolution. Eusthenopteron shows marvelous intermediate characteristics between the lobe-finned fishes and the amphibians. The transitional fossils between amphibians are so various and so intermediate that it is difficult to define where one group ends and the other begin. Archaeopteryx (most primitive bird known) is clearly intermediate between reptiles and birds. In spite of such reptilian affinities as a long bony tail, toothed jaws, and clawed wings, creationists declare that because Archaeopteryx had feathers, it was a bird, not a transitional stage between reptiles and birds. Having no explanations of their own, the creationists attempt to deny the transitional fossils out of existence. More fossils are discovered every year, and each one further weakens the creationists' position.
Creationists argue that the chances of the proper molecules randomly assembling into a living cell are impossibly small. Simulation experiments have repeatedly shown that amino acids do not assemble randomly. Scientists know that their molecular structure causes them to be self-ordering, which enhances the chances of forming long chains of molecules. Simulation experiments also demonstrate that the formation of prebiotic macromolecules is both easy and likely and does not require DNA, which is a later step in the evolution of proteins. The stepwise application of cumulative natural selection acting over long periods of time can make the improbable very likely.
Creationists claim that Biologists have never seen a species evolve. Evolution Scientists know that on a small scale, we certainly have. Using allopolyploidy and artificial selection, scientists have manufactured crop plants and horticultural novelties that are reproductively isolated from the parental stock. In addition, one can see stages of incipient speciation in nature by looking at clinical variations and subspecies, that is, gradual change in the characteristics of a population across its geographical range. Major evolutionary changes, however, usually involve vastly greater time periods; we cannot watch such changes, but we can deduce them by inference from living and fossil organisms.
Creationists claim that "science" (evolution) also depends on faith - which is just another false claim. Biologists do not have to believe that there are transitional fossils; they can examine them in hundreds of museums around the world, and we make new discoveries in the rocks all the time. Scientists do not have to believe that protocells can be easily created from simple chemicals in the laboratory; they can repeat the experiments with comparable results. Scientists can also create artificial species of plants and animals by applying selection, and we can observe natural speciation in action. That is the big difference between science and religion. Science exists because of the evidence, whereas religion exists upon faith - and, in the case of religious fundamentalism and creationism, in spite of the evidence.
Creationist claim that Scientists disagree about evolution. That is not true the Biologists debate mechanisms and tempo of evolution. They do not deny the fact of evolution. The debate reflects the vigorous growth of a major scientific concept; it is what goes on routinely in all healthy, growing branches of scholarship. Creationists falsely portray this as a weakness in the theory of evolution.
These self-appointed fanatics want to govern how the rest of us think by claiming moral authority. Some of these people may be religious diehards with an irrational hatred for Science since it often conflicts with what they believe. Ignorant people often degrade what they don't understand. They often 'gang' up on someone that they decide is an enemy - like people who are interested in learning anything. Most of them don't have the backbone or the intelligence to debate a topic without using insults and chicanery to win. These nasty people need to get off of their high horses and stop vilifying those who wants to study something worthwhile like science instead of pseudoscience.
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The ACA Lecture Series continues Sunday, October 11th at 12:15pm in the Austin History Center, 9th and Guadalupe. The building opens at noon. Texas Freedom Network's Dan Quinn will give us an update on their activities. The lecture is free and open to the public.