Monday, June 9, 2014

Evolution destroyed in three minutes?

There's a video making the rounds by Joshua Feuerstein. A rather poor, video in which he claims to destroy evolution in just three minutes. The sad thing is that his video has been shared so much, but disproves nothing. The only thing it really does is to prove to the informed that Joshua has no idea what he's talking about...
This is obviously the face of a
great thinker...
Dear mister atheist, evolution is not a science. Never has, and never will be. Why? It was never observed. That's why it's not science. That's why it's called the 'theory' of evolution. One man's theory.
Oh dear ceiling cat... This is going to be one very frustrating video. I can tell that already.

Evolution absolutely is science. Evolution has been and is regularly observed.  It has been observed in laboratory experiments, and in the wild as well. Our own selective breeding practices are also examples of observed evolution.

 Lenski ran a long term test in which e coli was shown to evolve the ability to begin metabolizing citrate. In the wild there are salamanders in California that evolving toward being separate species. We've observed species evolve to adapt to life in eternal darkness in caves. Some lizards have even evolved away from egg laying and instead toward live birth! Evolution is even observed in the fact that you need a different flu shot every year. The list goes on and on. Add to that, the fact that evolution regularly been observed indirectly as well and it is clear that evolution has absolutely been observed on a massive scale.

Ah, the tired 'evolution is only a theory' statement... Theory is not being used in the typical, 'just a guess' way that Joshua thinks. This is what theory means in science:

A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on a body of facts that have been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experiment. Such fact-supported theories are not "guesses" but reliable accounts of the real world.

In short, a theory is sciences version of a fact! Nothing like the 'evolution is only a guess' statement that he is making. Rather, evolution is a scientific theory that has stood up to the test and passed with flying colors. Evolution is a theory in the same sense as gravitational theory, germ theory, atomic theory, the theory of relativity, etc...

And evolution was not just one man's 'theory'! Charles Darwin did become famous for his work on evolution, but when he began work on On the Origin of Species, the idea of evolution was already a question that was being aired. But there was a huge problem... There was no mechanism anyone could think of to drive such a process.

What Darwin is known for is his discovery of the process of natural selection. And Darwin was not alone. While he was writing his seminal work, Alfred Russell Wallace independently came to the same conclusion as Darwin. On the Origin of Species was published, it was tested, and having passed every test, evolution by way of natural selection is an understood fact.
You want me to believe that in some accidental cosmic bang, out of that was created one cell, and out of that one cell all life springs. Every plant, every animal, every single human being.
Does he not realize that the first two points here are not evolution? Point one is the Big Bang theory, which has to do with the birth of the universe. The second is abiogenesis, which has to do with the emergence of life. Both are questions separate from evolution. Evolution deals with how species change over time, and how we've come to have such a grand diversity of life.

As for the third point... Josh doesn't seem to understand evolution. We aren't necessarily talking about one cell and only one cell arising to start to long evolutionary train. Every single living being isn't necessarily descended to the same primordial cell. The chemical beginnings of life may have started with a small colony of life, not just a single individual. But today, we are all related through ancestory. We are closely related to chimps, less closely related to other mammals, less closely related to reptiles and amphibians, less closely related to fish, and even the plants. If you go back far enough in time you will find a common ancestor. An ancestor that is related to many future species evolution's many branched tree of life.
That somewhere along the way after years and years we mysteriously and magically all developed different wills, and we all developed different characteristics and traits. 
Magically? No, not at all. We developed as we are for several reasons. We are social creatures that have crafted societies and innovated due to our wonderful brains. But yes, traits and characteristics definitely evolved over time. Anyone with even a remedial understanding of evolution understands how natural selection drives change and divergence in traits and characteristics within a population. Evolution by way of natural selection is not mysterious at all. Individuals that are best suited for their environment are more likely to pass on their genes. As this continues and time passes, those genes slowly become more and more prevalent in the gene pool. Eventually, that adaptation become the norm. This continues with various adaptations which compound, and the population changes more and more after each generation.
All because we willed it in our head. 
No. Evolution has never said anything like that. But believers sometimes think that by simply talking to God in their head will actually cause changes. So is calling that crazy really in his best interest?
I mean you really believe that everything came from one single cell? 
It wasn't necessarily just one cell. But since we all came from one cell, I don't really see the problem. Consider this. Every person begins as a singe cell. They grow up and reproduce. Those offspring do the same, their offspring do the same, so on and so forth. Eventually you have one million offspring. All from one cell.Would Josh claim that this is impossible or takes faith?
How much faith does that take? 
Absolutely none at all. You see, evolution is supported by mountains of evidence. Faith is belief without evidence. So by definition, evolution requires no faith at all.
I realize that you say that evolution is science. And yet if we go back to science, the one thing that science demands, if maybe you've heard of the law of thermodynamics. Which means that chaos can never produce order.
Not quite. The second law of thermodynamics states that inside a closed system, entropy (disorder) can never decrease. But there's one huge problem with Josh's argument (and he even ironically mentions this problem later in his claim). The problem is that the Earth is not a closed system. The Sun is endlessly pouring energy into the Earth. Thus, evolution on Earth does not violate the second law, since the Earth is not a closed system.
 Look at the world that we live in. The sun goes up.  The moon comes out. We travel around the sun. 
Yes, I'm well aware of how gravity works. But what does the physics of the Earth's have to do with evolution?
We have years, we have days. 
Days and years are but ways we've created for tracking the passage of time, and the Earth's motion around the Sun. What does this have to do with evolution?
We have seasons. 
So? Even if there was no life on Earth, it would still have seasons. Hell, seasons are far from unique to Earth. Mars has seasons too. Just as other planets do.
The tide comes in and out. 
I see that someone's been watching their Fox News. But I must ask... What does the Moon causing tides on Earth have to do with disproving evolution?
Everything works like a clock. 
Everything that Josh just mentioned also works just like a clock on dead planets. But wait a minute... Had Earth not been involved in an impact that tilted it's axis, our seasons would not be as they now are. If not for another impact, we would not have our Moon. The Earth we see is not as it's always been. 350 million years ago, a day was less than 23 hours. 620 million years ago, a day was 21.9 hours. A clock that endlessly and irreversibly gets more and more 'off' doesn't make sense for a supposedly perfect creation, but it does when looked at as a natural occurrence that adheres to the laws of nature.
It has order. And yet you can not argue that a world that has order came out of an accident. Because it defies the very logic and laws of science.
Actually, everything mentioned here does follow the natural laws. None of the laws or logic of science are defied at all. This is all supported by evidence. Something that science demands. So please, tell me where the supposed conflict is, because I don't see it.

You see, you think it takes a lot of faith for me to believe in a god that created this world, the god that created order.
Yes, because no theist in the history of the world has ever been able to produce that this god exists, or any evidence that backs up the claims of his supposed acts.
The full tree of life is far more complicated than even this
visualization shows!
What if I were to tell you that a tornado went through a junkyard and on the other end of that junk pile it magically produces a perfectly red shiny and working Lamborghini? You would tell me I was nuts. You would tell me I had lost it. You would probably try to admit me into a psychiatric ward. Why? Because that is absolutely stupid. I mean, how much faith would it really take to believe something as idiotic as that? 
What would I tell you? I'd probably tell you that you just presented an old and tired straw-man argument, and then inform you that what Josh just described is not what evolution describes. Evolution does not happen by random chance. Mutations are random, but natural selection is anything but! Natural selection carefully 'selects' for traits that are beneficial, and against those that are harmful. This discerning process is simple and elegant, not just random chance.

Also, evolution doesn't go from 'junk' to 'working car' all in one step. Evolution involves many many intermediate steps. All the while altering and improving. Nothing crazy or idiotic about it!
And yet that's exactly what science believes. 
Wait... First he says that evolution isn't science. And now he's saying it is...?
Science believes that in this accident came this perfectly working Earth, with human life, people and animals and plants and seasons and days and hours and rotates, and... atmosphere... everything. Earth was created perfectly and I'm telling you, that couldn't ever happen through an accident.
Human life and people are listed separately?  But seriously... Someone is putting the cart before the horse. The point Josh is driving at it that Earth is just so perfect for us, so it must be for us. The thing he fails to realize is that the Earth is not a product of us, but we are a product of the Earth. Remember, evolution adapts life for their environment. Earth was once more oxygen rich than it is now. At that time, insects grew as sizable as large dogs. They would probably say that the Earth was perfectly fitted for them. The dinosaurs would claim the same during their epoch.

You see, the reason we (and all other life) seems so well suited to the Earth is because we all evolved to be best suited and take advantage of the conditions of our version of Earth, just as those giant arthropods did. If Earth was a little different, life would have evolved a bit differently. A thicker atmosphere would probably result in thicker limbs. A colder earth would favor those that can best conserve their body heat. The possibilities for life are endless!
It had to by intelligent design. 
And your proof is...?
So dear mister atheist, who really has to have a lot of faith today to believe in their theory? 
The believer requires more faith... Actually, he's the only one that requires any faith since there is no evidence for a created world, but there is for evolution and the other scientific theories.
I believe in God because I have experience him. I felt him. 
And a Hindu, Muslim, Norse, Buddhist, or Wiccan will claim the same of their deity/deities. Why should I take one unevidenced belief claim any more seriously than another?
But most of all, while driving through Yosemite, Yellowstone, and Montana. So many of these natural reserves this week, and looking at animals and looking at life...
And if you look to your left, you'll see the argument from beauty/complexity. I hope you're all having fun on our Fallacy Fun Land safari.

But seriously... Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. What one finds beauty in, another may not. Also, while there is much beauty in the world, there is also just as much that is ugly or disturbing. I do find nature to be breathtakingly beautiful, and I actually find it even more beautiful now that I am no longer a believer. All of this makes total sense in an evolutionary driven natural world.

As far as complexity goes, to feel that these things are too complex to have evolved shows a staggeringly poor grasp of evolution and how it works. Remember, evolution works in steps. It can start with the simple and make it progressively more complex.
I don't know. I just can't look at all of that creation and say that it was an accident. I have to say that creation has a creator.
Shouldn't you first, I don't know... Maybe show that the Earth/universe is a 'creation'. That is, something that requires being created by an intermediary? You can think that all you want, but I prefer to follow the evidence that the universe, Earth, and life didn't require a supernatural creation.
And one final thought. The word universe... You believe in a Big Bang, but when I look at the word universe it means 'una' which is one, or singular. That's Latin. 'Una-Verse'. 'Verse' means a spoken statement. So universe is one single spoken statement. 
Um... Someone better see if they can get a refund on their Latin dictionary. Universe is a word made by the combination of the Latin 'uni', which does mean 'one', and 'versus/versum' which means 'turn/rotate/change'. So if we are looking for a literal translation of the Latin, 'universe' actually means 'everything rotated as one', rather than 'one spoken statement'. I know entomology can get tricky, but 30 seconds on google is all it takes to correct such a glaring error.

And let's pretend that Josh's definition was correct. How would that matter at all? People name things what they do for all kinds of reasons. If they named the universe that without knowing what we do today, does it really matter? Most of the days of the week and months are named for Pagan gods, goddesses, and festivals. Does Thursday being named for Thor somehow make Thor more real?
I dare you to read Genesis 1. And in the beginning God said let there be. All God had to do was speak one single spoken statement, and boom... The universe. 
Genesis 1:1 or all of Genesis 1:1-31? Because Genesis 1:1 only says "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." It isn't until 1:3 that he says anything, when he says “Let there be light". He then makes several other 'let there be' statements. But two thing clear after reading Geneses 1 again. 1) God didn't even create the universe in just one spoken statement. 2) The creation story and order is so ridiculous and mixed up, I can't understand how anyone can believe it literally.
Why do we let evolutionary quote unquote, science work it's way into middle-schools and preschools, and colleges, and universities around the world? That's nonsense, it takes too much faith to believe that junk.
I don't know... Maybe because it is proven science. Evolution is taught in science classes because it is a scientific fact. It is backed up by the evidence of observation, fossil evidence, distribution of life evidence, DNA evidence, vestigial trait evidence, homologous structures, though the evidence of our own selective breeding, through experimentation, the many adaptations we see every day, the intermediate forms that we have found in fossils and those that are still present today... The list goes on and on. Evolution is a scientific fact, that's why it's in schools.

I must make an aside to mention it's odd that Josh mentioned preschool and not high school though. I don't think any preschool is teaching anything as advanced as evolution. As far as I know, preschool is more about playing with blocks and nap time.

And no, acceptance of evolution does not take faith, nor is it junk, The staggering evidence in it's favor take care of both those statements.
And yet I say it's time to believe in intelligent design and believe in God.
You know what? If Josh wants to believe in God and intelligent design, he can. If he wants to continue ignoring reality, he can go right ahead. But if he wants to yammer on about a topic he obviously doesn't understand, he should expect a response. The fact is that there was nothing original in the video. It was a rehash of the same old tired arguments that were debunked long ago. Yet people still cling to them... Yes, he can believe as he wishes, but don't you dare try to force evolution out of schools, or intelligent design in. Do that and there will be a problem.

The theory of evolution, like the theory of gravity...
We need to be teaching our children facts, and evolution is just that... A fact! It is supported by all the evidence, and is thusly taught as the scientific truth it is. Intelligent design however, has no more than an unsubstantiated claim. That is not science, that isn't a scientific theory, I dare say it doesn't even qualify as much of a hypothesis. If we were to teach that in school, we might as well teach that the Earth sits upon a giant turtle as well.

So Josh (and those feverishly sharing his video), please learn a little about something before making a fool of yourself on film.

-Brain Hulk

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