• Welcome to Christian Forums
  1. Welcome to Christian Forums, a forum to discuss Christianity in a friendly surrounding.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to be able to join in fellowship with Christians all over the world.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon and God Bless!

  2. The forums in the Christian Congregations category are now open only to Christian members. Please review our current Faith Groups list for information on which faith groups are considered to be Christian faiths. Christian members please remember to read the Statement of Purpose threads for each forum within Christian Congregations before posting in the forum.

For Rize - the evidence

Discussion in 'Creation & Evolution' started by Jerry Smith, Jan 18, 2003.

  1. RufusAtticus

    RufusAtticus PopGen Grad Student

    +9
    Its not scripture that can't be reconciled with science, it's your interpretion of scripture and how it relates to your faith that can't be reconciled. Theology isn't about defending biblical mythology or understanding nature; it's about understanding the nature of man's relationship with God.

    If it doesn't matter to you, why then do you keep having a problem reconciling scripture with science.
     
  2. Rize

    Rize Well-Known Member

    +13
    Atheist
    US-Libertarian
    "My new position on evolution is that I don't know for certain and it doesn't matter to me."

    If there is some way to reconcile evolution to the Bible, great.  But I don't believe there is at the moment.  However, it doesn't matter to me either way.  It never did, so I suppose it isn't so much a new position as an assertion of my original position.  I'm going to believe in God regardless of what scientists know or think they know about evolution and the earth's history.

    What has changed is my willingness to argue about the evidence.  Creationists evidence is just as subject to revision and incorrect interpretation as creationists believe evolutionary evidence is so I don't see the point anymore (especially since I'm far from an expert in these matters).

    *bows* :wave:

    Have a good day.
     
  3. Jerry Smith

    Jerry Smith Fish out of water

    +9
    This is the next post of evidence for Rize. This is where I will talk about the genetic evidence for the common descent of humans and modern apes from an ape-like ancestor.

    To recap where we are so far: We have seen that unless we throw out the standard geological dating techniques, we must conclude that humans are a very recent arrival on Earth, slightly more recent than the broader group of "apes". We have seen that a separate creation for humans violates an observed law of nature (biogenesis), and that evolution is the only known means of making the recent appearance of humans on earth consistent with this law. We have seen an almost linear progression of skull size over time in fossil organisms that are morphologically similar to both apes and humans and that appear in the fossil record between the oldest apes and the first Homo sapiens. We would not have expected to find this fossil data if special creation were true, but we must expect to find them if evolution is true. We have seen that creationists have difficulties in finding alternative explanation for this fossil data. And now, we move on to the genetic.

    Most everyone who has debated creationism is aware of fact one:
    Humans and chimpanzees share 98% of their DNA sequences. Of course if humans and apes must each carry much of the DNA of their ancestors (all that has not been lost or changed). Finding such similar DNA patterns can easily be interpreted as evidence for evolution. Creationists have an alternate explanation. They explain this as a result of "similar structures for similar functions," then go another step to explain that similar DNA is used to build similar structures. On the surface, this explanation works. It does leave some questions open about why, exactly, God would want His "prized creation" to have so much in common (function-wise) with His "lesser" creations, but that can be chalked up to God working in mysterious ways. On a deeper examination, this explanation doesn't work on a large subset of DNA homologies (similarities).

    Creationists are also apt to point out that 2% of DNA sequence dissimilarity represents a very large number of nucleotides, and potentially a large number of genes. In other words, they point out that 2% is quite a lot of DNA. The fact is, that 2% is still a very small minority. It takes a very long strand of DNA to make a gene, and it usually takes several genes to make a significant difference in the gross morphology of an organism.

    It should also be noted that the majority of differences in chimp and human DNA lie in the non-coding regions. When we look only at the coding regions of DNA, humans and chimps are much more similar.


    This leads us to the types of DNA homology that will not answer to "similar design for similar function". Generally, I am talking about non-coding DNA. Estimates of the percentage of our genome that codes for proteins have fallen recently from about 10 % to about 2%. But, whether 10% or 2% code for proteins, the majority of our DNA does not. The majority of our DNA is involved in regulatory or structural function, or has no function at all. There are segments of DNA that are involved in regulating the expression of genes, and these may (to the best of my knowledge) require certain sequences for their function. Non-coding regulatory DNA is only one of many types of DNA sequence that do not code for proteins, and it is the only one where the DNA sequence could possibly relate to its function. I should qualify this: some non-coding DNA may have a function only in an evolutionary context - in being available for "back-mutations" (that restore a previous functionality) or to provide the basis for future mutations that may yield new genes with new functions. Nevertheless, for expression of phenotype (that is, the anatomical and physiological characteristics of an organism), the majority of DNA has no purpose, or works independently of the nucleotide sequence. Bear in mind that when we are talking about DNA homology (or similarity), we are talking about nucleotide sequence. For genes that are expressed, it is the nucleotide sequence that governs what proteins are made, and how they are assembled in the cell. When there is DNA homology in the non-coding DNA, we are talking about similarities that cannot simply be explained by "similar DNA for similar structures for similar functions," because the sequence (the part that is similar) has no bearing on the development of structures or physiological function.

    Non-coding DNA comes in many forms. There are repeating line segments (bits of DNA that have been copied and inserted repeatedly into the genome). There are retroviral insertions (bits of DNA that were insterted by a virus that incorporated part of its own DNA into the germ-line DNA of one of our ancestors). There are transposons (bits of DNA that were lifted from one gene, and set down unceremoniously in the middle of another). And then there are pseudogenes: bits of DNA very similar to a gene that codes for a protein, but that have mutations that interfere with the protein synthesis either because they have "stop" codons that prematurely terminate transcription, or because they have accumulated mutations that make the protein itself unviable.
    "Similar structure for similar function" does not account for shared pseudogenes. I will be pointing out two specific pseudogenes that are shared between humans and other primates, one of which is shared nearly identically, and the other of which accounts for an obvious maladaption that we share with primates. After that, I will be pointing out a piece of genetic evidence that does not have to do specifically with sequence similarity.

    The first pseudogene that I will point out is the urate oxidase pseudogene (thanks, chickenman!).

    chickenman started a thread about this and discussed it in depth. His thread is here. He points out that the transcription of this gene is terminated prematurely by a stop codon. (It actually has more than one premature stop codon). Now, looking at the sequence, I might have missed one or two, but I was only able to find three nucleotide differences between our copy of the pseudogene and the chimpanzee's. The premature stop codon that terminates transcription is in exactly the same place in humans, chimpanzees, and orangatans. Without these premature stops, this DNA would code for the urate oxydase enzyme. You will notice that there is significant homology (though not nearly as complete) between the primate pseudogenes and the working gene found in the owlmonkey. As evolution predicts, the pseudogene is more similar to the apes' (our near cousins) than the monkeys (our more distant cousins).

    Creationists cannot account for this with "similar genes for similar organisms," because this gene doesn't work. The alternative interpretation is usually that the gene was broken after the fall. This leaves unexplained why the gene the stop codon that makes the gene non-functional occurs in exactly the same place and in exactly the same way in both chimpanzees and humans. The odds of this occuring by chance are extremely low.


    The next psuedogene is the human LGGLO gene. It codes for a L-gulono-gamma-lactone oxidase, a key enzyme used in the synthesis of vitamin C. That's right, with a working copy of LGGLO, humans would never get scurvy, because they could manufacture their own vitamin C like most other organisms can. Other primates share this disadvantage, and a broken gene with close homology to that of humans. The only non-primate that shares it is the guineau pig, whose broken gene is not broken by the same mutations as the primate version.

    Now, if God had designed humans and other primates to require vitamin C from their food, he could just as well have left out this gene (and others involved in the synthesis of vit C). Clearly, similar genes for similar functions fails the creationist on this count. But! We could rescue the idea by postulating that God created humans and apes and all the other critters with a functioning LGGLO gene and, due to the curse, humans became vulnerable to mutations that damaged that gene. And so did apes. But monkeys didn't. And neither did mice. And neither did goldfish. Or orange trees. Etc., etc., etc. Coincidentally it was only apes and humans that lost function by the same mutations in this gene, and only apes, humans and one other species that lost this function by mutations to this gene at all. The weakness of the explanation that this genetic trait was a similar design that was later broken explanation should be obvious.

    I have one or two other genetic examples to add to this before I finish. I will wait until my next post to once again add up the points of the cumulative case.
     
  4. kaotic

    kaotic Learn physics

    +3
    Agnostic
    US-Democrat
    Jerry, I was going to start a thread with all the evidence of evolution that I can find. You have done a better job then I think I could have done. :)
     
  5. Jerry Smith

    Jerry Smith Fish out of water

    +9
    That's nice of you to say. Of course, anyone is welcome to pitch in. There are certainly many more qualified than I am, and I depend on the research done by others to do my little part. I think it does pay to stay focused on the evidence, even when there are philosophical differences to be worked out in other threads.
     
  6. Jerry Smith

    Jerry Smith Fish out of water

    +9
    I have one more example to give, that does not bear directly on sequence homology at all. But the genetic discussion on sequence homology would not be complete without mentioning endogenous retrovira. Since there are too many of them that have to be looked at together, and since I cannot summarize and present this info nearly as well as Dr. Douglas Theobald, I will have to just post a link:
    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/section4.html#retroviruses

    Obviously the "similar genes for similar functions" argument cannot stand to this. No one believes that God created humans or any other animal with the copies of RNA viruses already embedded in their genomes. These viruses must have been inserted at some point after the oldest of the ancestors of these humans and other animals were already living on earth.

    The only explanation for their identical placement in the genomes of the organisms that share them is wild blind chance: loads of it!

    Yet this still does not explain why the different insertions, when used to construct a phylogeny of relationships among humans and other primates, yields exactly the same family tree as the fossil evidence and the anatomical evidence!

    Notice that some ERV's are shared between all primates, then a few just among apes (including humans) and old world monkeys, some exclusive to apes, some exclusive to apes, but omitting gibbons, then some that only humans, chimpanzees, and gorillas share.

    Why not at least one exclusive to both humans and new world monkeys? Because the ape/human line derived from the old world monkeys after the new world monkeys split, any retrovirus insertion we share with new world monkeys must come from before that split and must therefore be carried by all descendants of the pre-split ancestors.

    Why not one shared by chimps, orangatans, and gibbons but lacking in humans? Same answer. Humans are descended from the same common ancestor of gibbons and orangatans that originally bore the insertion.

    The only other possible explanation is pure, blind chance, and I will leave it to the technical types to compute those odds.

    After one more post, on the "chromosome challenge" that has changed so many minds before, I will be done with the genetic evidence, & will sum up.

     
     
  7. Jerry Smith

    Jerry Smith Fish out of water

    +9
    As promised, here is the last installment in the "genetic evidence". Rufus hinted at this, and chickenman linked to a thread on another board where it is discussed, but I'd like to bring a little bit of it right here.

    I am borrowing heavily from the information as presented on this page:
    http://www.gate.net/~rwms/hum_ape_chrom.html

    What we are going to be looking at is g-banding patterns in human chromosome 2, and in two chromosomes each from chimps, gorillas, and orangatans. You will be curious to know what g-banding is. The answer comes from NDI's terminology page
    The patterns created in g-bands are unique to each chromosome, and are used extensively in karyotyping.

    Why two chromosomes each from the apes? The answer to this question lies in another question - a puzzle of sorts. You are likely aware that humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes. You may not be aware that all the apes have 24 pairs of chromosomes. So, if humans share a common ancestor with apes, where did that other pair of chromosomes go? The first hint of the answer can be found by looking at the human chromosome 2, lined up next to two ape chromosomes. Here is what the picture looks like:
    [​IMG]

    Notice that the human banding patterns in the "top" part of chromosome 2 are nearly identical to the banding patterns in one of the chromosomes from each ape. Then, the banding patterns in the "bottom" part of chromosome are nearly identical to those of another chromosome from each ape.

    Where did the other chromosome go? Nowhere - it is still there, but fused end to end with one of the others. Why can't we say that the apes' chromosome 2 broke apart instead?

    According to the phylogenies from other data, humans are most closely related to the chimpanzees, and split off from them after gorillas and organgatans already split. That means that if the split occurred in the common ancestor of gorillas, chimps, and orangatans, then it must also have occurred in the human ancestor, since they are the same. A fusion (combination) of the chromosomes in the human line could have happened after humans and chimpanzees split, and therefore only be in the human line.

    Or maybe (just maybe), there was no fusion or fission (breaking apart) - maybe we were just created with similar DNA for similar functions, but God decided to put more of it together on one chromosome for us. So, is there anything else we can look at to compare the merits of our two explanations?

    Yes. Telomeres and centromeres. Telomeres are the "ends" of a chromosome, and "centromeres" are part of the chromosome near the middle that are involved in meiosis. Telomeres and centromeres have a distinct nucleotide sequence. You may read the article for more details about what these sequences are, and how they are recognized, but for us it is enough to know that they exist.

    Now, if the fusion explanaiton was true, then you would expect to find that human chromosome 2 has two telomeres in the middle, and has two centromeric regions, each lining up with the telomeres and the centromeres of the ape chromosomes. In other words, you would expect to find all the "parts" of two chromosomes in this single one.

    You won't be suprised at this point to learn that that is exactly what is found.

    I have never seen a creationist who is not at a loss to explain this away.

    There is little more for me to say, but I beg you to read the article that I borrowed this from, and check out the references for yourself. There is more information in there on how humans' other chromosomes line up against the apes', and if I'm not mistaken there is a brief explanation of how those early hominids carrying the fused chromosome could have mated successfully with others who did not carry it.

    Telomeres and centromeres have long been understood, and they don't occur at random throughout a chromosome. There is no way to explain the telomeric regions and the double centromeric regions in the human chromosome without a chromosome fusion event having occurred in the past. That gives strong confirmation to the fusion hypothesis which explains the way human chromosome 2 lines up with the apes separate chromosomes. Clearly, the standard creationist interpretation of genetic evidence (similar genes for similar function) does not wash.

    It does not wash for this. It does not wash for retroviral insertions, or non-coding pseudogenes. All of these point exclusively to evolution, and they can (at best) be dismissed by creationists. The fossil record confirms humans descent from apes by showing numerous fossil organisms that carry some traits that are very similar to humans and some very similar to apes, with the balance moving more toward human traits as the fossils are dated by independent methods closer to the present. Humans appear late in the fossil record by standard dating methods - after their potential ape ancestors. In order to dismiss this, we must throw out standard dating methods. In order to accept special creation over evolution, we must assume that the natural law of biogenesis was (at least once) violated.

    The creationist explanations for the evidence in this thread just do not work. The evidence for evolution is very strong, and even though each piece is independent of every other piece, they all give the same answer.

    We started this discussion because someone led you to believe that there was "no evidence" for the evolution of man from an ape-like ancestor. Whether you ever change your mind about creationism or not, you will never again be fooled into thinking that evolution lacks evidence, or that the creationist explanation for the evidence is equally valid. There is simply no comparison.
     
  8. kaotic

    kaotic Learn physics

    +3
    Agnostic
    US-Democrat
    [​IMG]

    I love this it's one of my favs.
     
  9. RufusAtticus

    RufusAtticus PopGen Grad Student

    +9
    I guess scigirl doesn't need to write up her challenge anymore, Jerry already did it. :)
     
  10. kaotic

    kaotic Learn physics

    +3
    Agnostic
    US-Democrat
    lol
     
  11. Jerry Smith

    Jerry Smith Fish out of water

    +9
    And shame on me for not giving her due credit in my post!!!!

    Thanks scigirl!
     
  12. lucaspa

    lucaspa Legend

    +373
    Methodist
    Private
    Rize says he rejects mainstream Christian thinking.

    Rize's apostasy comes not from rejecting evolution, but from his reasons for doing so.  Rize sets up his interpretation of the Bible above what God left in His Creation. Remember, if Christians are correct and God created the universe (by whatever means), then everything in it was placed there by God.  That makes the universe also a Book of God.  This is also mainstream Christian theology.

    By setting his interpretation above the second Book of God, Rize is setting himself up as a god.  It is Rize that gets to tell God how He created.  Not Rize listening to God tell him from what God left in  Creation.  Setting yourself up as a god or above God is apostasy.

    It was claiming to be the "I am" in John that got Yeshu nearly stoned for apostasy on two occasions.  The Midrash says Yeshu was stoned for apostasy.  Lucky for Rize this isn't done anymore.
     
  13. lucaspa

    lucaspa Legend

    +373
    Methodist
    Private
    This isn't about believing in God.  Science has not told you to stop believing in God.  There are some evolutionists who are atheists, but evolution doesn't justify their atheism any more than it justifies theism. Evolution is neutral in regard to belief in deity.  You have to separate the atheism of some evolutionists from the science.

    "It should come as no surprise that many individual scientists, such as Provine, extrapolate from hard evidence and, as part of their private world view, apply the rules of their profession to reach metaphysical conclusions about what kinds of things do or do not exist.  Provine is obvously impressed with the explanatory power of evolutionary theory and sees no justification for invoking surpernatural concepts. ...But there are no generally accepted criteria for when an explanation should be felt to be adequate [emphasis in original]  We have no alternative but to consign such judgements to the private world view of each individual. Johnson is right to challenge scientists who, in speaking to the public, fail to distinguish between well-documentd conclusions of science and their own metaphysical extrapolations."  K.D Fezer, Is Science's Naturalism Metaphysical or Methodological? in Creation/Evolution, vol 39, pp31-33, 1996.
     
  14. Jerry Smith

    Jerry Smith Fish out of water

    +9
    I think you are making the same mistake that Rize is making. Rize is (in effect) making his interpretation of God's "first book" equivalent to God's message and you are making your interpretation of God's "second book" equivalent to God's message.

    The simple fact is that this is man's understanding of scripture vs man's understanding of nature. As such, making creationist mistakes does not amount to apostasy (they are contradicting man's views - not God's message). It is rather arrogant, though, for them to set themselves and their opinions up as the final arbiter of what God's word means.
     
  15. lucaspa

    lucaspa Legend

    +373
    Methodist
    Private
    "How then are we to understand the opening chapter of Genesis? A literal interpretation of the seven days would conflict with many fields of science, as we saw in chapter 1. The attempt to find scientific information in Genesis is dubious theology as well as dubious science. By treating it as if it were a book of science ahead of its times, we tend to neglect both the experiences that lie behind it and the theological affirmations it makes.

    I would list the human experiences that lie behind the idea of creation as follows: (1) a sense of dependence, finitude and contingency; (2) a response of wonder, trust, gratitude for life, and affirmation of the world; and (3) a recognition of interdependence, order, and beauty in the world. These were all part of the experience of the astronauts as they looked at the earth from the moon, and their reading of Genesis seems an appropriate expression of their response. The religious idea of creation starts from wonder and gratitude for life as a gift.

    What are the basic theological affirmations in that chapter of Genesis? I would list the following: (1) the world is essentially good, orderly, coherent, and intelligible; (2) the world is dependent on God; and (3) God is sovereign, free, transcendent, and characterized by purpose and will. Note that these are all assertions about characteristics of God and the world in every moment of time, not statements about an event in the past. They express ontological rather than temporal relationships (l7).  The intent of the story was not to exclude any scientific account but to exclude, in the first instance, the nature gods of the ancient world. In later history it stood against alternative philosophical schemes, such as pantheism, dualism, and the belief that the world and matter are either illusory or evil or ultimate. Against these alternatives it asserted that the created order is good, an interdependent whole, a community of being, but not the object of our worship. These theological affirmations were expressed in Genesis in terms of a prescientific cosmology that included a three-level universe and creation in seven days. But the affirmations are not dependent on that physical cosmology. Reform and Conservative Judaism, the Catholic Church, and most of the mainline Protestant denominations today maintain that we do not have to choose between theism and science. We can look on the Big Bang and subsequent evolution as God's way of creating."  RELIGION IN AN AGE. OF SCIENCE: The Clifford Lectures, 1989--1991, Volume 1. Copyright  1990 by Ian C. Barbour.  pp 130-133
     
  16. Rize

    Rize Well-Known Member

    +13
    Atheist
    US-Libertarian
    Quite humorous.

    The second book of God :D

    To a Christian who believes in the "first" book of God, knowledge about origins from nature is superfluous.  It has no bearing on the life of a Christian other than to make him wonder what the hell is going on in Genesis.

    You superficial knowledge of the Bible prevents you from understanding why I believe it says what it says.  As Jerry pointed out, you would have me do the exact opposite.  Put an interpretation of natural evidence over an interpretation of the Bible.

    Sorry, but that isn't going to happen.
     
  17. Jerry Smith

    Jerry Smith Fish out of water

    +9
    It already does. Remember the "floodgates" in the sky? That's one of many (many) passages that are interpreted non-literally without scriptural justification for doing so. Remember that God stopped the sun (not the earth)? There's no scriptural basis for interpreting that as metaphor rather than literal truth. You routinely put man's interpretation of nature ahead of Biblical literalism. Rightly so. The Bible doesn't even ask to be taken as a historical record (Once again, see 2 Timothy 3:16). You cannot complain of the approach of putting man's interpretation of nature over man's interpretation of the Bible until you stop doing it. If you are content to do it, there is every reason for you to do it in the case of an old earth with the common descent of life. Because man's best interpretation of nature is as certain about that as it is that the earth is round and that there are no gates in the sky.
     
  18. kaotic

    kaotic Learn physics

    +3
    Agnostic
    US-Democrat
    Jerry, I was wondering if you have seen this yet? I was looking on Phyiscspost.com (I haven't been there in a while) and they have a link called "Models of Evolution and Abiogenesis". I just thought you might like it if you haven't already seen it.

    http://physicspost.com/articles.php?articleId=95
     
Loading...