To: Dawn and Tommy
From: Mr. Ratzlaff
Taken from an article on the debate of creationism v. evolution:
But science cannot entertain the notion that there
are phenomena in the everyday natural world that
require supernatural intervention. That requirement
would emasculate science.
- "Evolution versus Creationism"
Many people look on "science" as holding or containing different
groups or requirements to actually make it a complete whole, and thus
without the complete whole, you do not have "science," so let's start
with the scientific method.
The scientific method, from which all science springs, has one
important part; experiment. How is an experiment to prove creationism
or evolution performed? Many people would argue, perhaps yourselves
included, that certain limitations exist to what can be gained from
experimental evidence to prove the mechanics of either theory.
If I get a response from yourselves regarding the evolution side, I
will do my best to punch holes in the evidence supplied, because, as
someone who had initially accepted evolution in elementary school, and
later came to find it so flawed with very unscientific foundations in
the fundamentals of the theory as I went through junior high, senior
high, and on to a B.Sc. in mechanical engineering, I would actually
like to be put to the test, to see if my reason can clearly see that
evolution has some real quantitative values that other sciences can
Perhaps part of my problem is that I have not seen the evolution
equations. That's kind of a joke because I know that the last article
I read in support of evolution had no equations in it. That's part of
my problem, you see in most of the sciences, even basic equations,
something quantitative almost overruns any explanation provided in a
scientific journal, textbook, etc., and I can easily run through the
logic and pattern.
Obviously, there is a mechanism involved in the evolution mechanism. I
know that you are trying to yell in my face "NATURAL SELECTION", but,
you see, I make my living from the fact entropy exists. Show me the
numbers, equations, logic, anything to bridge what is presently known
about physical chemistry and the evolution mechanism (all life is made
of atoms, so maybe the evolution equations should start there) and I
will start to make a climb towards understanding how the rest of
science accepts evolution as fact, while forgetting entropy. Please
help me with this one. I'm sure you can do it!!!! (This is not sarcasm.
I am looking for a way to look at evolution so I can say, "yes, that
My main goal in writing this to you is to cut out all the emotional
riff-raff that comes with this stuff. Pieces on a chess board keep
score, not sarcasm, or sounding cute or making invalid arguments that
anyone who studies logic can punch holes through (even a lawyer). Part
of my reason for writing this is that I don't think it's a good idea
for evolution people or creationism people to go off half-cocked
without just coming to each word or number in the evidence used and
say, "what scientific conclusion can be based on the evidence?" Yes,
we all have the urge to be absolutely right and also know without
doubt where we came from. But can that cloud scientific judgement?
As Mr. Friday of "Dragnet" would say, "Just the facts, ma'am."
To: Mr. Ratzlaff
From: Dawn and Tommy
Date: UnknownWe’re sorry it has taken so long to answer your letter, but there was some forwarding involved.
Anyway, in response to your comments:
“…But science cannot tolerate the implication that the everyday natural world has phenomena that require supernatural intervention. That requirement would emasculate science.”Science investigates the natural world. Scientists can’t analyze supernatural phenomena because miracles violate natural law. They occur erratically and can’t be measured or analyzed. James Randi has offered a million dollars to anyone who can demonstrate their paranormal abilities within a controlled environment, but so far, no one has accepted his challenge.
Many people look on “science” as holding or containing different groups or requirements to actually make it a complete whole, and thus without the complete whole, you do not have “science,” so let’s start with the scientific method.Let me quote Dr. Michael Shermer from an essay titled the “Consilience of Evidence for Evolution.”
The scientific method, from which all science springs, has one important part: experiment. How is an experiment to prove creationism or evolution performed?
We know about the past through a convergence of evidence. Cosmologists use evidence from astronomy, astrophysics, planetary geology, and physics to tell the history of the universe. Geologists reconstruct the history of the Earth through a convergence of evidence from geology and the related Earth sciences. Archeologists piece together the history of civilization using artwork, written sources, and other site-specific artifacts.But, if you want something more tangible, how about the fact that we’ve invented a new vegetable genus from a single species of wild mustard that includes broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, and brussel sprouts? And ‘genus’ is a biological classification that ranks between family and species.
The historical theory of evolution is confirmed by the fact that so many independent lines of evidence converge to a single conclusion. Independent sets of data from geology, paleontology, botany, zoology, herpetology, entomology, biogeography, comparative anatomy, physiology, and many other sciences each point to the conclusion that life has evolved. This is aconvergence of evidence.
Creationists demand just one fossil transitional fossil that shows evolution. But evolution is not proved through a single fossil. It is proved through a convergence of fossils and many other lines of evidence, such as DNA sequence comparisons across species. For creationists to disprove evolution they would need to unravel ALL these independent lines of evidence and find a rival theory that can explain them better than evolution does.
Can you explain this transformation without appealing to evolution?
Many people would argue, perhaps yourselves included, that certain limitations exist to what can be gained from experimental evidence to prove the mechanics of either theory.The oldest fossils on Earth are single-celled organisms. Older strata bear fossilized animals that don’t exist in later strata and vice versa. Some specimens, like lampreys and horseshoe crabs, have been around since the Cambrian period and show only slightly modified body plans today. But other specimens show enormous alterations as you trace their lineage through time, although it’s important to remember that evolution isn’t vertical and you’re not necessarily looking at a specific ancestral species. You can also examine evolutionary relationships by comparing DNA protein sequences among existing species.
If I get a response from yourselves regarding the evolution side, I will do my best to punch holes in the evidence supplied, because, as someone who has initially accepted evolution in elementary school, and later came to find it so flawed with very unscientific foundations in the fundamentals of the theory as I went through junior high, senior high, and on to a B.Sc. in mechanical engineering, I would actually like to be put to the test, to see if my reason can clearly see that evolution has some real quantitative values that other sciences can lean on.
Granted, there are gaps. But instead of “poking holes” at individual pieces of evidence, can you build a comprehensive theory that incorporates all these lines of evidence into one unified theory that is superior to evolution? And one that rigorously sticks to the natural sciences? Or are you going to pen a long technical algorithm that, every so often, inserts a parenthetical “God stepped in here” reference?
In the March-April 1998 issue of American Scientist, geologist Donald Wise said,
Creationists have always picked here and there at science trying to discredit the whole by casting doubt on some small piece, largely by misrepresenting the facts before scientifically unsophisticated audiences. The rock record may be a much easier point of attack. It offers a fairly straightforward outline of events and rates of change generally familiar to most Americans. The total creationist view of Earth history should be exposed in full detail, and its proponents should be forced to defend it in public debate. The time has come to start challenging creationists to defend in toto what they call science, humorous absurdities and all.So if I were you, I’d try to do more than simply “poke holes” at obscure points. Leave that to lawyers.
Please help me with this one. I’m sure you can do it!!!! (This is not sarcasm. I am looking for a way to look at evolution so I can say, “yes, that makes sense.”)Let’s start with your objection concerning entropy. The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that energy always flows from order to disorder unless there is “work” being performed to decrease the entropy, or disorder. Otherwise, matter and energy seek a state of inert uniformity.
Since living organisms receive a generous amount of solar energy, the Sun is gaining entropy at the expense of the “work” being performed here on Earth. And when an acorn grows into a ten-ton oak tree, it is increasing its complexity at the expense of the increasing entropy around it that provides sustenance to do its work.
So, what’s the problem? Does sexual reproduction violate any laws of entropy? Since you yourself started out as a microscopic zygote that grew into an adult engineer that now designs manmade structures, does your existence violate uphill processes?
However, searching for a sole mathematical proof to predict mutational changes to every living organism is absurd.
But if you’re really interested in applying evolutionary predictions to applied mathematics, then I can’t recommend enough Stuart A. Kauffman’s book The Origins of Order: Self-Organization and Selection in Evolution (Oxford University Press, 1993). Kauffman provides plenty of “equations” you can go crazy with. Also, the Journal of Molecular Evolution includes statistical analyses for you to cross-examine.
You can find an abstract of Stuart A. Kauffman’s book on his Webpage.
As Mr. Friday of “Dragnet” would say, “Just the facts, ma’am.”Fair enough. Please propose your own theory of descent with modification without natural selection. You’re free to include mathematical proofs, too.
P.S.: TFarnon, a contributor to our site, wanted to respond to some of your points:
There are some equations to model the processes of mutation and subsequent phenotypic change. [You are] clearly unfamiliar with the mathematics of population genetics, and the work of Mootoo Kimura. There are other papers out there, but I forget who wrote them. No, wait! Allen Orr wrote one of them. Huelsenbeck showed that phylogenies constructed from the theories of molecular evolution pretty much coincide with the stratigraphic record.
Since I deal with engineers a lot, I can tell you that they really don’t understand life processes. They try, rather desperately, to make complex phenomena fit into their very simple formulae, and it doesn’t work. Hell, I managed to stump an entire class full of engineers by asking how an equation supplied by the instructor was applicable to their field (wastewater treatment). Only the instructor knew.
[ also show that [you] forgot everything [you] ever learned in engineering thermodynamics. Life processes, including evolution and abiogenesis, are not modeled in terms of Delta-S, or change in entropy. They are modeled in terms of Delta-G, which can include Delta-S when temperature changes are involved, but can also involve all kinds of nifty things like electron transfer, energies of activation, kinetic rates and concentration.
Most engineers don’t like the life sciences because when the papers finally get to a quantitative level, they are crushingly and brutally complex. They just can’t be understood in a quick read-through.