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kytheskeptic
New Member

USA
25 Posts

Posted - 08/22/2010 :  08:43:41  Show Profile  Visit kytheskeptic's Homepage  Send kytheskeptic an AOL message Send kytheskeptic a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Need help on a reply to creationist, and links as well.
I posted this Richard Dawkins clip on facebook http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wh0F4FBLJRE
and my creationist friend commented with

"Ok Ky, I understand that you have taken this stance, but even you must admit that this video provided no evidence for any of the statements made within it. If you are stating that you come from a system of rational thought, logic and science why is everything that Dawkins points to does not currently find any definition of existence? Seriously, he is now having to address that we aren't decedents, which I agree with, but he conveniently has no evidence of what he is stating, I'm not trying to frustrate, insult, or anger you or Dawkins, I think Dawkins is a very intelligent man. However, I am asking for is evidence to the claim, that is; rational science, and logic. There is a convenient lack of both fossil record, and scientific evidence to produce this specific conclusion. This would definitely fall under the category of theory, in which case it should be tested. please feel free to provide any feedback."


I know that the relation of common ancestors are from DNA, but I can't find a great resource showing the percent difference and whatnot... Hoping for a biologist to let me know, because I don't have great knowledge on DNA, and I don't want to bring up stuff that's misinterpreted, or not true.

Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13462 Posts

Posted - 08/22/2010 :  10:12:15   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Ky,

Well, see, Dawkins was addressing a silly argument. Your friend seems to think there is a lack in the fossil record that shows that hominds went from much more ape like creatures to fully human. But there is a wealth of fossils that show exactly that.

Talk Origins is always a good place to start:

Fossil Hominids
The Evidence for Human Evolution


Hominid Species

Prominent Hominid Fossils

This really follows the hominid line, but it doesn't take much to see that if you follow these fossils back in time, eventually you get to what is essentially an ape like creature.

Also, maybe more along the lines of what you are looking for is this:

Comparison of the Human and Great Ape Chromosomes as Evidence for Common Ancestry

And more links here from the same site: Evidence for Human and Ape Common Ancestry

Also, this statement:
There is a convenient lack of both fossil record, and scientific evidence to produce this specific conclusion. This would definitely fall under the category of theory, in which case it should be tested. please feel free to provide any feedback.


Your friend assumes that ancestry can't be tested and that we don't have the fossils. Wrong! The fossil evidence for human evolution is incredibly rich. And one big test for all common descent, but in this case human/ape ancestry, is the prediction that the farther back in geological time we go, the more ape like will be the fossils that are considered to be homo. Go back far enough and there is nothing from the genus homo. Go back even farther and there are no hominids, and so on. All it would take is for one of these creatures to be out of place, for example, a homo erectus to found at the ten million year mark, to falsify the theory of the common ancestry of chimps and homo sapiens.

And while the age of hominids has been pushed back over the years since Darwin's time, the order (by looking at traits) in which we would expect to find certain fossils in the column has been completely predictable. And that is very much a test of the scientific validity for common descent.

I also like these wiki links too because they help define what it is you're talking to him about:

Common descent

Hominidae

Edited several times...


Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 08/22/2010 :  10:44:45   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message  Reply with Quote
When I am home this evening I'll try to get a few minutes to help you out here ky.


Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth
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kytheskeptic
New Member

USA
25 Posts

Posted - 08/22/2010 :  10:51:57   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit kytheskeptic's Homepage  Send kytheskeptic an AOL message Send kytheskeptic a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Dang! I wished I refreshed earlier to check your message Kil, but my reply to him was,

"This video is oversimplified because he was making small clips, but this video was to get rid of the misconception that we evolved directly from chimpanzees and etc. The actual evidence that the scientist used for this is DNA. There are many systems they use to test the common ancestors through DNA, but as of right now, I only know of one which involves retroviruses splicing their DNA into other species. From what I read up, 98% of our DNA is so called "junk DNA", and as they went back through this DNA with apes and humans, it shows that the common ancestors shared this/these retroviruses depending how far back you go. So as we diverged from this common ancestor, other apes went their way with different retroviruses and we went our way with other retroviruses, but we shared the same one with this common ancestor. But honestly, I'm just barely learning this, so if you really have questions, I say email these experts on this if you want to find the truth, so there's less misinformation.

Zachary Moore - zach@drzach.net
Eugenie C. Scott - scott@ncse.com

Don't forget that science is always self-correcting, that's why Evolution Theory is called theory, even though it is considered a fact as it fits with the evidence and mechanisms and laws of natural selection. It's only considered a theory in the scientific definition, to keep it open for more data and a better theory to arise. Gravitation Theory, Newtonian Theory, Theory of Relative is all considered a fact, but it stays a theory for more evidence to find a better one. The reason why Evolution is science, because of the mechanism of natural selection and diversity. The reason why Creation/Intelligent Design isn't considered science, is that, they have to provide the mechanism of which this "Creator" created it. As well, you would need the strings that connects it to the specific creator, or it would just be considered an argument from ignorance, because of that jump without those actual strings of evidence, I can easily say the Flying Spaghetti Monster did it and it's technically equally valid, as they are both argument from ignorance."

I hope this was a good answer...
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13462 Posts

Posted - 08/22/2010 :  11:07:30   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Ha! I just added more... And yeah, good answer. He will no doubt come back at you with more questions, and more baloney.

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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Ricky
SFN Die Hard

USA
4907 Posts

Posted - 08/22/2010 :  11:19:03   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Ricky an AOL message Send Ricky a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The first half of your response was good. The point of the video was not to provide evidence for evolution, it was to correct a misconception in what evolution states happened with human ancestry. Dawkins also missed the opportunity to correct a false paradox: If A descended from B, why is B still around? The answer to this is the same reason why Americans descended from Europeans, but there are still Europeans around.

Don't forget that science is always self-correcting, that's why Evolution Theory is called theory, even though it is considered a fact as it fits with the evidence and mechanisms and laws of natural selection. It's only considered a theory in the scientific definition, to keep it open for more data and a better theory to arise. Gravitation Theory, Newtonian Theory, Theory of Relative is all considered a fact, but it stays a theory for more evidence to find a better one.


This however is incorrect. A theory is not "a fact that can change". But a central fact can manifest itself into a theory. For example:

Evolution: Gene frequency changes over time in a population.

As a fact: We've directly observed populations do this (i.e. Darwin's Finches).
As a theory: This change in frequency, with the help of other biological phenomena, lead to the diversity of life that we see today. Virtually all life is related by a common ancestor (allowing the possibility for multiple abiogenesis events).

Gravity: Matter is attracted to matter proportional to their masses and inversely proportional to the square of their distance.

As a fact: Many, many measurements.
As a theory: Matter warps space-time so that an object traveling in a straight line in space-time appears to be "attracted" to matter to us.

So while evolution is a fact and a theory, evolution as a fact is much different than evolution as a theory. Same with gravity.

Why continue? Because we must. Because we have the call. Because it is nobler to fight for rationality without winning than to give up in the face of continued defeats. Because whatever true progress humanity makes is through the rationality of the occasional individual and because any one individual we may win for the cause may do more for humanity than a hundred thousand who hug their superstitions to their breast.
- Isaac Asimov
Edited by - Ricky on 08/22/2010 11:21:42
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kytheskeptic
New Member

USA
25 Posts

Posted - 08/22/2010 :  11:35:49   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit kytheskeptic's Homepage  Send kytheskeptic an AOL message Send kytheskeptic a Private Message  Reply with Quote
By Golly, you are right Ricky!!!

I forgot that scientific theories incorporate facts, laws, inferences, and tested hypothesis, and explain how the laws work. Bleh... I let my emotions get to me, that I forgot that theories are explanations of how things work with laws and facts.

Thanks for the correction. Much appreciated!
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R.Wreck
SFN Regular

USA
1191 Posts

Posted - 08/22/2010 :  14:19:46   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send R.Wreck a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Good luck with your creationist friend, Ky. As a creationist, his mind has been addled by his religion. He likes his explanations simple and easily digestible, and will accept only those that comport with his beliefs. Odds are that no amount of evidence or reason will sway him.

Anyway, here's Dawkins' The Blind Watchmaker in pdf format. It's a good read, and you don't need to be an expert in biology to understand it.

This book is written in the conviction that our own existence once
presented the greatest of all mysteries, but that it is a mystery no
longer because it is solved. Darwin and Wallace solved it, though we
shall continue to add footnotes to their solution for a while yet. I wrote
the book because I was surprised that so many people seemed not only
unaware of the elegant and beautiful solution to this deepest of
problems but, incredibly, in many cases actually unaware that there
was a problem in the first place!
The problem is that of complex design. The computer on which I am
writing these words has an information storage capacity of about 64
kilobytes (one byte is used to hold each character of text). The
computer was consciously designed and deliberately manufactured.
The brain with which you are understanding my words is an array of
some ten million kiloneurones. Many of these billions of nerve cells
have each more than a thousand 'electric wires' connecting them to
other neurones. Moreover, at the molecular genetic level, every single
one of more than a trillion cells in the body contains about a thousand
times as much precisely-coded digital information as my entire
computer. The complexity of living organisms is matched by the
elegant efficiency of their apparent design. If anyone doesn't agree that
this amount of complex design cries out for an explanation, I give up.
No, on second thoughts I don't give up, because one of my aims in the
book is to convey something of the sheer wonder of biological
complexity to those whose eyes have not been opened to it. But having
built up the mystery, my other main aim is to remove it again by
explaining the solution.

The foundation of morality is to . . . give up pretending to believe that for which there is no evidence, and repeating unintelligible propositions about things beyond the possibliities of knowledge.
T. H. Huxley

The Cattle Prod of Enlightened Compassion
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Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9675 Posts

Posted - 08/22/2010 :  15:01:16   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by kytheskeptic's friend:


"Ok Ky, I understand that you have taken this stance, but even you must admit that this video provided no evidence for any of the statements made within it.

The video is less than 2 minutes. If you want to examine the evidence for the statements in the video (including understanding each step of the chain of evidence), we're talking more in the scale of 2 semesters at the university.
Richard Dawkin's answer to the chimpanzee-question is not given in a knowledge-vacuum, but presumes basic biological knowledge that every 9th-grader should have.


If you are stating that you come from a system of rational thought, logic and science why is everything that Dawkins points to does not currently find any definition of existence?
This sentence does not parse for me. English is a second language to me, perhaps I'm not reading it right?



Seriously, he is now having to address that we aren't decedents, which I agree with, but he conveniently has no evidence of what he is stating, I'm not trying to frustrate, insult, or anger you or Dawkins, I think Dawkins is a very intelligent man.

Well, at least the "Dawkins is a very intelligent man" is correct. The rest is false. And insulting, because to say "[he] has no evidence" is to be untruthful.


There is a convenient lack of both fossil record, and scientific evidence to produce this specific conclusion.
This is patently false. It is however part of the classic modus operandi of Creationists to deny there is any evidence (even though there is).

Kil has already given you a couple of great links.
If your creationist friend is fairly well versed in on-line debating against evolution, and/or not really honestly interested in "the facts", he may be put off by any references to Talk-Origins. He might be anyway, if his minister or other theist authority-figure have warned him that Talk-Origins is the Devil's work and nothing but lies.

My suggestion is to read the information you find in Talk-Origins, and use that information without actually mentioning Talk-Origins. If he sees you linking to it he may simply choose to ignore anything and everything coming from there. (We have seen that happen before). The information contained in Talk-Origins is copyrighted, so you shouldn't copy-and-paste material indiscriminately, but think of it as an opportunity to learn as you read and then re-write in your own words the salient points in replies to the creationists.



Originally posted by kytheskeptic
I know that the relation of common ancestors are from DNA, but I can't find a great resource showing the percent difference and whatnot... Hoping for a biologist to let me know, because I don't have great knowledge on DNA, and I don't want to bring up stuff that's misinterpreted, or not true.

A few years back, a member of SFN agreed to debate a creationist on a creationism-friendly forum called Skeptic Times if I recall correctly. Part of the preparation for that debate was done here on SFN. Here's a link to one of those threads.
The debate ended in a walk-over, as the creationist bailed from the debate. The original Skeptic Times website and forum is now defunct.

Anyway, the "Skeptic Times" debate touched two very relevant points:
1) HERV: Human retroviruses and their footprints in the DNA, providing extra-ordinary evidence of the relations between the Greater Apes.
2) The Nylon-digesting bug: Countering the creationist claim that "information in DNA cannot increase". The nylon bug is the extra-ordinary evidence that a single mutation can completely change the metabolism of a bacteria to abandon an old food source for a new and different source. An artificial one that didn't even exist in nature until the 1950s.


Dr. Mabuse - "When the going gets tough, the tough get Duct-tape..."
Dr. Mabuse whisper.mp3

"Equivocation is not just a job, for a creationist it's a way of life..." Dr. Mabuse

Support American Troops in Iraq:
Send them unarmed civilians for target practice..
Collateralmurder.
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kytheskeptic
New Member

USA
25 Posts

Posted - 08/22/2010 :  15:27:42   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit kytheskeptic's Homepage  Send kytheskeptic an AOL message Send kytheskeptic a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Okay so... this is his reply
"Im glad to see you have done your homework, but, the retroviris theory provides no evidence, it is being imposed onto an ancestor that there is no evidence of. The fact remains that the fossil record is filled with more gaps now than weve e...ver seen before,and we are discovering more and more distinct species with no transitional phases. The lacking transitional forms of both fossils and dna is quite interesting. But even still, if you were to use the retrovirus argument there are serious issues with it. In order for it to stand gorillas, chimps, and humans should all have similar forms of the same virus, yet there are viruses found in apes, chimps, and gorillas that are not found in human dna, such as pterv1. Since this is the case, the retroviris argument cannot be used for such a conclusion as a common ancestor. The absence of evidence is still there in this case. The "missing link" is still a smoking gun that has yet to be discovered, and while we are on a similar subject, id like to point out that natural selection is only a
mechanism for sustaining a lifeform, not
"inventing" it, therefore it could be used as an agent for micro-evolution,but not macro. Information (dna) does not come from nowhere. So the argument for having a substantiated mechanism for the causation of life is still undefined."



I'm thinking of replying with:
"Umm... You do know there's more than one retrovirus, right?... There actually has been a retrovirus that is shared in humans and apes per link below.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC251152/

The thing is that after we diverged, that's when the pterv1 came in to the chimps. That's why we don't have the retrovirus.

Think of it this way... (FYI this is an oversimplified example, and I'm dumbing it down. If you want more detail on it, email Zachary Moore at zach@drzach.net)
Chimps DNA 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9
Human DNA 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9

Chimps and humans 8 and 9 DNA have a different retrovirus. When we go back in time through the genome, losing the infection of the retrovirus 8 and 9, we then share the retrovirus 7, and etc., leading to a common ancestor, as the DNA and retrovirus are identical.
If you want specific details on this email zach@drzach.net for questions because he's an expert on this.

And on fossils you can check these links below
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/homs/
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/homs/species.html

or email Eugenie C. Scott at scott@ncse.com"

Let me know what I should take out, add on, and whatnot....
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26004 Posts

Posted - 08/22/2010 :  15:46:40   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
He thinks that people are still looking for a "missing link?" Ask him at what point in time he thinks this "missing link" might exist.

Oh, and remind him that to the biologists, every fossil we have of a hominid species that no longer exists is transitional.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13462 Posts

Posted - 08/22/2010 :  16:42:22   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
What the hell should a missing link look like? Lucy, (Australopithecus afarensis) like every other pre-sapien hominid, has traits that are both modern (not found in apes) and primitive (meaning more apelike.) Simply denying that every single hominid is not transitional is ridiculous, because the progression toward modernity is clear.

Tell him if he is waiting for every single gap in our knowledge to be filled, he is setting the bar higher than he sets it for any other science. Why would he do that?

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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kytheskeptic
New Member

USA
25 Posts

Posted - 08/22/2010 :  16:48:50   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit kytheskeptic's Homepage  Send kytheskeptic an AOL message Send kytheskeptic a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Who wants to add me on facebook and reply to him lol

http://www.facebook.com/randomky

I'm still going to reply back to him, with what I've got, but we'll see what happens lol
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13462 Posts

Posted - 08/22/2010 :  17:17:09   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by kytheskeptic

Who wants to add me on facebook and reply to him lol

http://www.facebook.com/randomky

I'm still going to reply back to him, with what I've got, but we'll see what happens lol
Okay. I'll probably be sorry for this but I have entered into the debate.

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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kytheskeptic
New Member

USA
25 Posts

Posted - 08/22/2010 :  17:23:38   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit kytheskeptic's Homepage  Send kytheskeptic an AOL message Send kytheskeptic a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well, my friend is just using all the old creation/intelligent design rhetoric. A lot of the things he brings up are fallacies I've heard of on the Atheist Experience show and what not. I just can't recall most of the counter arguments, like the the one where he states
"information (DNA) doesn't come from nowhere."

That would be an argument from ignorance if he implies a creator, without providing evidence that links it to a specific creator.
Edited by - kytheskeptic on 08/22/2010 17:27:34
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26004 Posts

Posted - 08/22/2010 :  18:15:34   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by kytheskeptic

I just can't recall most of the counter arguments, like the the one where he states
"information (DNA) doesn't come from nowhere."
That would be an argument from ignorance if he implies a creator, without providing evidence that links it to a specific creator.
Your friend thinks that evolutionary theory insists that biological information comes from nowhere, which is false. Natural selection (in particular) transfers information from the environment into genomes.

Just ask him where information (any information) comes from, if it has to come from somewhere.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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