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Does Natural Selection Really Work

Discussion in 'Creation vs. Evolution' started by Dwayne McDowell, Aug 25, 2020.

  1. Dwayne McDowell

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    Darwin gave us the first detailed explanation for how living things change. Though he knew nothing about genetics he was able to breed pigeons for specific traits and extrapolate those changes into the origin of entirely new species. The question is, is that extrapolation warranted based on what we know now?

    The concept is based on the idea that random changes will occasionally be beneficial and can become permanent to the species, and eventually enough advantageous changes will accumulate so that an entirely new species will develop. So, what do we actually know to be true?

    1. Even evolutionists admit that this process, if it actually works, is too slow for any human observer to see. Doesn't that, by definition, make it an unscientific concept? Science is the objective, systematic analysis of observable, repeatable processes. This was John Whitcombs' definition, only that I have added the word "objective", for surely objectivity is necessary to avoid error and chaos.

    2. Random changes to human DNA have led us to the place where we now have upwards of 4000 diseases that can be inherited, and some say the number is double that.

    3. There is a concept called "Error Catastrophe", at which point a species' DNA becomes so corrupted by mutations that extinction is unavoidable. Some scientists believe that for humans that state would be reached in no more than 100,000 years.

    4. Even evolutionists admit that only one of about 20,000 mutations is beneficial to the creature in question. Is it rational to insist that life progresses with one step forward and 19,999 going sideways or backward. Surely many of those non-beneficial changes will prove to be fatal to the organism. Two of the examples that evolutionists offer as proof that some mutations are actually beneficial are sickle cell anemia, and the four-winged fruit fly. Sickle disease kills 25% of those who inherit it, and the rest struggle with the effects of the disease their whole lives. And the four-winged fruit fly can't fly. Is this the best they can find? Apparently.

    5. Finally, there are genetic time-clocks. Researchers measured the amount of genetic changes that occurred in human families, spanning four generations. These studies, conducted by both Creationist scientists and secular scientists, determined that those families studied had accumulated about 6,000 years worth of mutations. Researchers then used the same methodology on 100,000 different animal species and found that 90% of those revealed a 6,000 year history.

    So, is it reasonable to conclude that the only explanations for the great variety of life-forms that we find all around us must include evolution? If the scientific evidence has religious implications why shouldn't we accept that? Atheistic evolutionism has religious implications too. So, what do you think?
     
  2. church mouse guy

    church mouse guy Well-Known Member
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    I think that mutations are always a loss of information and I think that scientists are abandoning Darwin once and for all because DNA is so complicated that it requires intense mathematical precision to describe the DNA of any DNA bearing thing. If a mutation is always a loss then, then it leads to death and extinction not a new species or a new kind. As you wrote, Darwin did not know anything about genetics.

    I have an article and a video of Darwin's shortcomings as a scientist and the impossibility of evolution linked in my signature. I might add that almost all Baptists are old earthers.
     
    #2 church mouse guy, Aug 26, 2020
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2020
  3. Dwayne McDowell

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    Dwayne: Thanks for the links. I haven't finished the article yet, but I have been a fan of Stephen Meyer since "Signature in the Cell" came out in 2009. I am a Young Earth Creationist and always will be. And I don't agree that the Bible contains two different Creation accounts, but an overview followed by a detailed description of the Creation of Man on the sixth day. Intelligent Design doesn't deny the Biblical account of the Creation, but attempts to refute evolution on strictly scientific grounds - which it does beautifully. The end point obviously is that life can only come from God.

    Thanks again for the links. I will have more on the subject of natural selection later.
     
  4. Dwayne McDowell

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    OK, let's get back to Natural Selection (NS). A fundamental concept of biology is that all life depends on information. All living things have DNA which contains the necessary information for the synthesis of proteins that are required by every cell for metabolic functions. Even the simplest life-form known to man requires about 450 different proteins, each one with highly specific amino acid sequences. In humans, proteins vary from 44 amino acids to more than 34,000. Now, while the bases in DNA specify exactly which amino acid is to be used at each position in a protein sequence, it is very difficult to imagine how this arrangement got started. DNA is a library, and proteins are the readers. So, it takes proteins to make proteins. Which came first, the instructions for protein synthesis, or the proteins necessary to read the instructions? Neither one can function without the other, and so mutation and selection is a non-starter. An evolutionist that I debated years ago admitted that Natural Selection cannot work unless living cells capable of reproduction already exist. So, until the matter of the origin of life is resolved Darwinism is dead in the water. It is not surprising that most evolutionists don't want to talk about origins.

    So what is the likelihood that living cells arose without the benefit of NS? Many years ago Sir Fred Hoyle calculated that the probability of the chance formation of the necessary proteins for a simple single-celled life-form was 1 chance in 10 *40,000th. More recent calculations have concluded that 10 *41,000th is more likely. Keep in mind that there is an unimaginable space between the right collection of proteins and a living cell, like a cell-wall capable of admitting nutrients and not toxins, DNA that not only has the information for protein synthesis, but for all the necessary metabolic functions of the cell - including reproduction and development. So, where did all that coded information in DNA come from? That information had to arise without the benefit of NS's trial and error methodology. And how did it come to exist in the form of a code that proteins magically knew how to read? The very idea of the chance formation of a complex code stretching into billions of units of information is laughable. And the suggestion that random changes to that code could make the information content even better is irrational.

    Try a simple experiment. Ask a couple of friends to help - ask the first one to provide you with a list of 30 random numbers between 1 and 200. Ask the other to give you a random list of 30 alphabetic characters and/or punctuation marks. Don't tell either friend what you will be doing with the lists. Now, select a paragraph from a book, any book, and at the numbered locations from the first list insert the characters from the second list. Now, read the paragraph again and see if its' information content has increased or decreased. Do this experiment as many times as you like, but you will quickly learn that random changes to highly ordered systems never produce more or better information, but lead unavoidably to disintegration and collapse. NS is based on the idea that random changes to DNA can lead to new and improved life-forms. Next I will explore the probabilities of just one average protein forming by chance.
     
  5. church mouse guy

    church mouse guy Well-Known Member
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    You are saying the same thing as Yale Professor David Gelernter. Are those your words or do you have a link?
     
  6. Dwayne McDowell

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    Dwayne: All of the words are my own. I have seen Gelernters' name somewhere recently, but I am not familiar with his work or reputation. My first exposure to Creation Science was two evening lectures by John Whitcomb, and then "The Genesis Flood" and "The Modern Creation Trilogy". Growing up I was a theistic evolutionist, but like Paul, when I became a man I put away childish things. I believe in science, and I believe that science followed without bias can lead a man to God and the Bible. I believe that most evolutionary scientists today are honest observers who have been taught that there is no place for God in the lab, and that their religious beliefs must be left at the door. I have a brother-in-law who was a NASA scientist for many years, and a believer, and yet he will not discuss Creationism with me. I have also read Darwin, Dawkins and Dembski, but the Word of God is final truth.
     
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  7. Dwayne McDowell

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    It wasn't until I went back and finished the article that you provided a link for, that I realized that that was where I saw the name Gelernter. I had only read the first part of the article until just now. As soon as I have time to print and re-read it I will post again, as I believe that the chance formation of life and evolution are vastly more improbable than even he suggests.
     
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  8. church mouse guy

    church mouse guy Well-Known Member
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    I think that he uses the same mathematics as you.
     
  9. church mouse guy

    church mouse guy Well-Known Member
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    How lucky you are to have met Dr. Whitcomb. He passed away recently here in Indianapolis.
     
  10. Marooncat79

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  11. Dwayne McDowell

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    Dwayne: Meyer, Axe and Gelernter have all concluded that it is essentially impossible that random changes to genes can make significant improvements by creating novel proteins, and I completely agree. But their math only defeats Darwinism, when the same methodology applied to origin of life prevents Darwinism from ever being an issue. Their math is based on the random selection of the correct amino acid from the 20 that DNA approves, but this is only a factor after a living cell exists and is capable of reproduction. For random action to produce a 150 unit polypeptide before then, without the benefit of NS, the probability is based on selecting the correct amino acid from at least 500 naturally occurring acids. So, correctly selecting 150 amino acids from the 20 (1 in 10 to the 195th) is insignificant compared to selecting 150 correctly when there are 500 to chose from. And for that first cell to form by chance this this miracle would have to occur hundreds of times at the same time and at the same place in the universe.
     
  12. church mouse guy

    church mouse guy Well-Known Member
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    I don't know but I think that they were talking about Darwin and evolution and not origins. David Gelernter is the leading computer mathematical expert in the world as far as I know. The other Professor is David Berlinski, who in expert in many fields. Meyer is a Presbyterian they tell me here on the Baptist Board. I don't follow the ID movement too much because it is sometimes non-Christian.
     
  13. Dwayne McDowell

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    Dwayne: Individuals in the ID movement attempt to deal with origins and Darwinism from a strictly secular perspective to avoid being seen as religious fanatics. After all, modern science does not allow the supernatural to be considered in any respect. So, if the debate can be won on purely secular grounds, despite having religious implications, there is a chance that the truth will prevail.

    I have yet to meet an evolutionist that actually wants to discuss origins, but if we can show that science is opposed to the idea of the chance formation of life then the debate over evolution is mute. Along those lines I was reminded of an argument Meyer makes from calculations that were made by Wm. Dembski. The approximate number of elementary particles in the visible universe is 10*80th, the maximum number of physical interactions between any two elementary particles per second is 10*43rd, and the maximum number of seconds since the Big Bang is 10*17th. So, the maximum number of physical reactions that could have occurred in all of time and space is 10*140th, and yet the maximum number of ways that you can arrange 150 amino acids is 10*164th. There hasn't been enough time for chance to sample all the possible ways there are to form a single, modest length protein - much less hundreds of different proteins all at the same time and at the same place in the universe (or at least close enough in proximity to be significant). Since there is no chance that life began without a Creator, why do we need to disprove Darwinism? I think that these calculations are based on the assumption that only left-handed alpha amino acids are available for chance to work on, so they are extraordinarily conservative numbers, favoring chance. But in fact, given that most of the matter in the universe is confined in stars, and not available for protein synthesis, the probabilities are actually much, much worse.
     
  14. church mouse guy

    church mouse guy Well-Known Member
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    I don't think that you can count on non-Christians for much if anything. However, in this case Gelernter is a non-believing Jew who destroyed evolution with mathematics. Berlinski is also Jewish. However, Gelernter and the others all say that evolution is a religious type belief so I don't think that there will be any persuasion. It is an embarrassment that American science is so backward. But to reiterate, I don't pay any attention to the ID movement much because they are not often Christian. We got in this mess in the first place by signing on to the Enlightenment and ignoring Scripture. There is no neutral ground as the atheists have claimed because they have their bias and it defines their science on the questions of evolution, origins, and deep time. So you may call me a presuppositionalist as the majority of Americans probably are evolutionists and almost all subscribe to deep time.
     
  15. Dwayne McDowell

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    Dwayne: I don't consider myself an ID advocate, although when dealing with evolutionists I take the same approach as they do and address the subject of scientific facts and not the forensics. If I can establish a point of doubt in their minds then I change to a Biblical approach, showing that science is in agreement with Scripture. When I teach seminars on Creation Science, it is entirely a Biblical framework supported by science. The Bible is the focus; first, last and always. I consider myself to be a Biblical literalist, and I agree that non-believers ideas should always be suspect. But sometimes they provide us with really good arguments, even though they don't intend to. It is sad, what science has become, but what can you expect from a fallen world. In his book "Rethinking Radiometric Dating" Vernon Cupps quotes Plato, 427 BC: "Strange times are these in which we live when old and young are taught falsehoods in school. And the person who dares to tell the truth is called at once a lunatic and a fool." Sound familiar?
     
  16. church mouse guy

    church mouse guy Well-Known Member
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    Psalms 119:99 (KJV) I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies [are] my meditation.
     
  17. Dwayne McDowell

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    Amen and amen!
     
  18. Dwayne McDowell

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    Dwayne: An evolutionist that I debated years ago made one very profound and logical admission, that there is no possibility for natural selection to work until there is at least one life-form capable of reproduction. Unless, and until, there is a functioning cell with the ability to replicate its' proteins and transmit the information necessary to do that to the next generation, than any function that those proteins have will be lost when that primordial cell dies. So, while deep time may be universally believed by evolutionists, theistic or otherwise, is there enough time for abiogenesis? If life from non-life cannot be shown to have occurred, than discussing NS is rather a waste of time. So, how much time would it take for random chemical reactions to produce a replicating life-form? Evolutionists have locked themselves into a window of about 10 billion years, but based on the mathematical probabilities that isn't going to work.

    I argued with my evolutionist friend that Borels' Single Law of Chance suggested that any event whose probability is smaller than 1 in 10 to the 50th will never happen. His response, "Borel was an idiot". Really?!? Let's consider what the probabilities really were and see if Borel knew what he was talking about. Suffice it to say that no rational person, even an evolutionist, would bet his life savings on a lottery where the odds of winning was smaller that 1 in a trillion - no matter how big the pay out would be.

    So, if the first living cell had to have a suite of proteins in order to function, then they had to all exist before NS could improve them - they had to appear as functional items at the very beginning. And how probable is it that that could have happened? A small protein of 150 amino acids will serve as a good example, though the simplest life-form we know of, mycoplasma genitalia, only requires 482 different proteins. Evolutionists will, of course, argue that the first life was vastly simpler than extant form, but that is an argument based in ignorance and faith and not in demonstrable fact. According to Meyer in Signature in the Cell, scientists conducting minimal complexity experiments speculate that a proto-cell might have been able to survive with between 250 and 400 proteins.

    What then will have to happen for our one small protein to form? Four hurdles must be overcome. Bonding, chirality, sequence and function. The first two are easy to grasp. Amino acids, in order to form a protein, must join together by peptide bonds, although this happens in nature only about 50% of the time. To occur 150 times in a row is 1/2 to the 150th exponential power - or approximately 1 in 10 to the 45th. Already we are getting close to Borels' threshold. And, if the amino acids that we know are biologically useful reflect the nature of amino acids on the whole, then most of them exist in both D and L forms. Since only L forms will work in proteins, you have another selection issue - randomly selecting 150 L amino acids in a row is approximately the same probability as the bonding issue, 1 chance in 10 to the 45th. So, now the probability of getting 150 L-amino acids to bond together with only peptide bonds is 1 in 10 to the 90th. But, of course, not just any 150 L-amino acids will do. More than 90% of naturally occurring amino acids are toxic to protein formation, so we must choose the correct one for each position in the sequence. Even if "chance" only had access to the 20 alpha amino acids, the number of ways that you can arrange 150 is approximately 10 to the 195th. This is a probability that is absolutely crushing to the idea of a living cell forming by chance. And that would account for only one small protein - not the hundreds required.

    Then there is that last hurdle - function! A fully-formed polypeptide is useless by itself. Unless it performs a function, what good is it. And even if it could perform some function, if it could not replicate it would eventually disintegrate and be lost forever - back to the beginning. The bottom line is that there is no realistic possibility for chance to form a living cell. Even a full suite of proteins can't fill the bill without DNA and host of other molecular machines. "Chance" is DOA.
     
  19. church mouse guy

    church mouse guy Well-Known Member
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    I agree with you and I think that Gelernter is the leading computer science mathematician in the world and that the evolutionists have no one of his caliber. But wait, there's more. We also have the brilliant Berlinski as well as Meyer. So it is scientific to give up on Darwin and evolution. Darwin was a horrible racist. His racists notions and his eugenics are like something that you would find in Islam or in Germany.
     
  20. Dwayne McDowell

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    Dwayne: Not only do evolutionists not have a man of his caliber, but they have to ignore certain scientific facts in order to promote their ideology. I generally don't think that they are lying because I believe that most are sincere though mistaken. However, like Mormonism, I'm also sure that there are some at the top who know that their "doctrine" is wrong and unscientific but cling to it because it gives them power.

    A combination of factors makes the chance origin of life incredible. Planck time multiplied by Planck length multiplied by the number of atoms in the universe gives us the maximum number of chemical reactions that can occur in one second. That number times the number of seconds in 15 billion years is the maximum number of reactions that could have happened in all of (evolutionary) time and space, and it is fewer than the number of ways that you can arrange 150 amino acids. And the calculation of 10 to the 195th possible ways to arrange those amino acids is based on having only about 2% of naturally occurring acids to choose from. I'll look up the numbers if you would like. Then, compound that with the fact that most of the matter in the universe is bound up in the cores of stars and not available for the formation of biological molecules, then the probabilities grow far, far worse.

    I'm only familiar with Berlinski from a video called "Expelled" where he was interviewed by Ben Stein - worth watching. And he is one of the great thinkers of our time. And speaking of racism, most people don't know, or chose to ignore, that Margaret Sanger started "Planned Parenthood" in order to reduce the number of black children born in this country - an evil that truly defies my ability to comprehend. Have a great day, my friend and brother. I plan to start a new thread soon to consider scientific laws and the origins of the universe and life.
     
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