Five points

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There are at least five – (probably more) assumptions made by evolutionists that cannot be proven. The whole theory rests upon these assumptions.
1. Life from non-life.
2. ALL varieties from a single cell.
3. Time – Billions of Years.
4. Physical Universe (where did matter itself come from ?)
5. Order in the Universe from Chaos.

Now, I’m not necessarily answering this because it’s easy (even though it is) but because the person who said this had read the Uber Rant of Death and thought that it meant I couldn’t defend any positions – and then thus went on to write the above quote, proving that, as I said in that rant, creationists aren’t terribly bright, nor particularly original in their thinking. I’ll put the kettle on, and I bet I’ll get this finished by the time it takes me to have one cup of NATO standard.

1. Life from non-life.

This is real easy. The trouble is that “life” isn’t some magic thing. There are a lot of properties common to what we might call “alive” that aren’t shared with things that are “dead” (or “not alive”) but the actual category has very, very fuzzy edges. The reason we think it’s a real thing is because the rough category is extremely useful to us – it splits the world neatly into things we can eat or could eat us, and things that don’t. “Life” used like this is a fallacy of compression, not a real argument that makes sense in the context of abiogenesis.

The rough edges come in the form of degrees of what we might call “life”. For instance, we can class replicating polymers as “alive” thanks to their ability to undergo descent with modification – i.e., exactly what DNA does in living organisms. Or there are viruses, prions and independent mitochondria that blur the edges even more. And that goes all the way up to the emergent properties that form a consciousness.

But, in short, the origin of life is not a magic, single-stage event. It’s a process. At one end we have “not alive” chemicals, and at the other end we have “alive” highly organised chemicals. There is no single point where a magic spark occurs to create life from not-life. Given this approach and the evidence used to back it up, there’s neither a great logical nor physical leap that “life” can spawn, eventually, from “non-life” – material in the universe can easily creep from one to the other by degrees.

2. ALL varieties from a single cell.

Not entirely sure what this means but I assume it means common descent from only a single-celled organism. I don’t see how this is an assumption. Barring the discovery of a second genesis any time soon,  the fact that all life runs on the same chemicals and same basic cellular structure is pretty strong evidence for a single ancestor of all life. We can see varieties of bacteria emerge and evolve from single cells quite reliably, just as we see varieties diverge from larger organisms.

I really, really don’t see how this is an assumption. It’s logically inferred from evidence.

Though, I do want to point out that this loose and poorly defined use of “varieties” here is pretty much a standard creationist talking point. They get to hide behind their lack of detail.

3. Time – Billions of Years.

If I’ve missed anything else out, it’s probably on this list. Seriously, unless you’re going to propose Last Thursdayism, this is a fact. There’s really no getting around it. We don’t “assume” the world is old enough for this to occur, we damn well know it.

Though, amusingly the rate of evolution required by baraminology (the YEC equivalent of taxonomy) would be able to get around this. Seriously, creationists believe in a type of Super Evolution that, if true, would be demonstrable by all sorts of monkey-giving-birth-to-zebras weirdness that we don’t actually see. The irony of this is that many really crappy creationist arguments involve saying evolution involve straw man monkey-giving-birth-to-zebras weirdness and admit that this doesn’t happen. Yes, they claim they have evidence against evolution and evidence for baraminology – but present evidence for evolution and against baraminology in its place. And people still wonder why creationists get called idiots…

4. Physical Universe (where did matter itself come from ?)

This is just a case of “back at ya”, really. Ex nihilo (“from nothing”) creation is actually most commonly found in supernatural, creationist proposals for the beginning of the universe. It’s not necessarily a proposal common to modern cosmology, which proposes an ex materia (from existing material) creation based on a singularity.

Ex nihilo creation is also not particularly logical. It would require “something” acting upon literally nothing (and I’ve yet to find a coherent argument for why this isn’t semantically identical to “taking no action”) to create everything. That alone breaks the concept of causality and sort of wrecks the idea of a “creator”, because you can’t have a creator without cause-and-effect to identify the cause.

I find that to be slightly more interesting than the common case of replying to it with the more usual response that “the origins of the universe have no bearing on evolution”. This much is true, though. We could have been sparked into life by a wizard fidgeting with a magic field and it would literally not change the physical laws that govern descent with modification and natural selection. Once those laws are in place, they operate as they operate; their origins don’t particularly matter because the operation and nature of those laws are what we can see now, independent of their origin. So, I’m going to have to have a hell of a lot more detail about why it should.

5. Order in the Universe from Chaos.

Now, this is interesting. Because, actually, order is something of an illusion here. The order that life creates is, in fact, very localised. Order isn’t coming from chaos, and in fact, disorder is constantly increasing. This is simple thermodynamics. But before the creationists start thinking that this is some tacit admission that evolution is impossible (or whatever) they need to realise that this isn’t actually a problem. Indeed, it’s really a benefit and what makes it possible.

Chemical reactions are driven by order turning to disorder. We call it entropy. Entropy is a property within thermodynamics that always increases, and never decreases. BUT, and this is a big all capital letters BUT, only within an enclosed system. The only truly enclosed system is the universe itself. Providing the overall entropy of the universe increases, a reaction is thermodynamically “legal”.

So, consider life – yes, yes, what our compression fallacy says is “life”.

It converts ordered molecules into heat. It slowly mashes up cells into waste. Protein folding is driven primarily by the increase in entropy of all the solvent molecules surrounding the unfolded protein suddenly being released. Even where it doesn’t balance, it’s caused by the energy input (in the form of heat and radiation) from the sun – which is caused by thermodynamically legal actions within the star itself. So there are no violations of this principle at all involved in evolutionary biology. Indeed, following this to the letter is what makes the system work.

And, as I figured, responded in a fairly short-and-sweet manner all in the space of a single up of tea (and yes, it was still warm at the end). It’s not difficult.

tea

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7 thoughts on “Five points

  1. Pingback: Honesty is the best policy | Spherical Bullshit

  2. I learn something new every time I visit here 🙂 When I was a fundie, creationism hadn’t quite picked up the in-group steam it has now nor taken over evangelicals’ minds to such a frightening degree. I guarantee none of us had ever even thought of the arguments creationists use today to prop up their failing sense of entitlement and privilege. What’s terrible, what’s so genuinely tragic, is that creationists treat challenges to their failed idea as a challenge to their entire religion, and consider the religion as hinging on the literal veracity of their translation of the Bible. The veracity of the Bible’s history is the least of its problems. One might even consider their treatment of the Bible as idolatry itself–putting it above the importance of the message it bears for them. But as long as Christians insist otherwise, they’re going to continue to hemorrhage members who learn the truth and must now decide between their allegiance to the truth and their integrity, or their religion’s lies and deceptions and their ingroup identification. That’s a cruel choice to force on someone, especially when it’s such a totally unnecessary choice, but it’s an increasingly common scenario. (I think this explains studies I’ve seen that reflect that Christianity as a whole is losing a great many people, but the percentage of those who remain is skewing toward the fundamentalist end of the scale–as literalism becomes increasingly seen as a badge of belonging, the people with more critical reasoning skills are getting weeded out.)

    Reply
  3. #1 could have been answered much more simply: The origin of life has nothing whatsoever to do with evolution. The end.

    Reply
  4. 4.I’m not sure if Stephen Hawkings actually responded to the idea that the universe is created from nothing ( or it was those 2 damn swedes scientists ), but there are a couple of articles on the internet that molds the idea that the universe is created from nothing and by the bizarre movement of nothing material forms, and even though this subject tends to comprehend me since I am just in a studying phase of all these, I tend to believe this theory just by looking “into the eyes of a black hole) 🙂

    I know for sure that Stephen Hawkings wrote a book titled : ” The universe doesn’t need God ”

    Oh boy all this thinking made me smell like fried potatoes :D.

    —-
    I’ll answer shortly to the next ones without going into a deep self philosophy or crazy demonstrations:

    1. illusion.
    2. Missunderstood ( I haven’t actually read the evolution Theory ), but a cell is quite to little to say, I think it’s a multitude of cells and natural compositions. There was a smart dude that shortly said : ” (…) we are just star stuff “, most likely you and your faithful readers know the quote much better than me. It might be that single bacteria that evolved… Well that single cell might mean life in it’s raw moments… not the conscious one.
    3. This one can get real cranky… I’ll just say that time is just fear of death, and the poor fools see it as that or maybe for them is just a measurement for the time they have left to spend on this wretched prison molded of earth and other shit…
    5. Well chaos is for the mind that doesn’t seem to see the “bigger picture” one might see chaos in the 3 o’clock rush hour but another can diligently see order 🙂

    Reply
    • The “star stuff” quote is Carl Sagan.

      I haven’t read Hawking’s most recent book where he went more explicitly atheistic, but I think he based his ideas on string theory – which is unfortunate because it’s likely that string theory will be thrown out as bollocks sometime soon. A lot of the alternatives are making more impressive waves in recent years.

      Reply
      • I made several faux pas in my previous comment mostly because of the translation issues, but the biggest was the book Hawking has wrote. After some digging regarding it’s name in english it’s called “The Divine Plan”. And it explains more about the big bang and why the universe or us don’t need a God, while the 2 swedes were speaking more regarding the movement of the matter, which probably reflects around the string theory, (I believe the article surfaced in 2010 or 2011, and they had more formulas that supported the theory. I am still old with news as I haven’t done more personal digging about it).

        As a side note the beauty about all these theories is the dueling to prove it, and the personal struggle to discard your own “god”/ideea (i hope my metaphor sounds good 😀 )

        Thanks for reading my monologues.

        Thanks for reading my wall of

        Reply

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