Jump to content

Are There Atheists Who Find Darwinism Unconvincing?


Guest Tyler
 Share

Recommended Posts

This may seem like somewhat of a weird question, but are there any other atheists who find Darwinism, more specifically,Neo-Darwinism unconvincing? I for one am an individual who believes the Earth to be billions of years old, but at the same time, I have several

problems with Evolution. First of all, I don't doubt that natural selection plays an extremely important role in the diversity and beauty of life on Earth.

At the same time, I find it extremely difficult to believe that such complicated systems as the

anatomy of a human being are merely the result of the natrual selection of random mutations over millions of years. If this were true, we would see these kinds of mutations occurring all the time, but yet, this is not the case. For natural selection to "design" such complex systems as the human anatomy and all the intricate connections that make it function would require billions upon billions upon billions of such beneficial mutations, yet, today we hardly see anything of the sort. And don't simply refer me overtalkorigins.org. I've read almost everything on that site, and all they give are a couple of vague examples of here and therethroughout the diversity of life of Earth, but for random mutations to account for the apparent design of, say, the human body, would require countlessbenficial mutations coupled with very delicate natural selection of these mutations. Yet, today, it appears as though these mutations have ceased to exist.

 

Another problem I've always had with Evolution by natural selection is the mystery of the Cambrian Explosion. The fact remains that the event is as much a mystery inhistory of life as anything. Even Biology textbooks are forced to admit that the fossil evidence does not support Darwin's gradualistic explaination. In truth, it appears as though the major animal phyla all appeared suddenly. One interesting quote I found in my copy of Cambell's Biology:

 

"On the scale of geologic time, animals diversified so rapidly that is is difficult from the fossil record to sort out the sequence of branching in animal phylogeny." pg. 643 on the Cambrian Explosion"

 

Another interesting quote I found on the next page:

 

"Apparently, by the end of the Cambrian radiation, the animal phyla were locked into developmental patterns that constrained evoltion enough that no additional phya evolved after that

period" pg. 644

 

Despite all this, I find the idea of having to resort to superstitious explainations such as creationism or ID totally preposterous and an insult to human intelligence.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i think there are, because so many scientists are still arguing about Darwin or about the mechanisms of evolution. S.J. Gould, for instance, doesn't like the general slow Darwinian progression. He insists instead that evolution happened through a series of quick bursts in pre-history... "macro-evolution." But even dissenters like Gould are still called "neo-Darwinians."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Another problem I've always had with Evolution by natural selection is the mystery of the Cambrian Explosion. The fact remains that the event is as much a mystery inhistory of life as anything. Even Biology textbooks are forced to admit that the fossil evidence does not support Darwin's gradualistic explaination. In truth, it appears as though the major animal phyla all appeared suddenly. One interesting quote I found in my copy of Cambell's Biology:

 

"On the scale of geologic time, animals diversified so rapidly that is is difficult from the fossil record to sort out the sequence of branching in animal phylogeny." pg. 643 on the Cambrian Explosion"

 

Another interesting quote I found on the next page:

 

"Apparently, by the end of the Cambrian radiation, the animal phyla were locked into developmental patterns that constrained evoltion enough that no additional phya evolved after that

period" pg. 644

 

Despite all this, I find the idea of having to resort to superstitious explainations such as creationism or ID totally preposterous and an insult to human intelligence.

 

I WOULD actually refer you to TalkOrigins about this. The Cambrian Explosion occured in a period where earth was very much unpopulated and as such a enormous amount of ecological niches existed for new life to captalize on, which allowed for a great deal of divergence. Once these niches were filled, speciation slowed down.

 

It should also be noted that it's not as if there was scant life before the Cambrian Explosion. During the Precambrian era there was probably a great deal of life, but due to them having soft, squishy bodies they didn't fossilize well. Once exoskeletons developed, a new selective pressure fell into place where predators had to quickly evolve harder teeth and such, which in return caused prey to quickly evolve better armor.

 

Not at all mysterious.

 

And I dunno why evolution of complex organisms would be an issue for someone well-versed in the biology. If you've got a progressive pattern of development over a long period of time, you're bound to get to humans eventually. :shrug:

 

Oh, and mutations DO still occur in the human genome. Humans on average carry about 2 mutant genes per generation, if I recall correctly.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't think there is a sufficient amount of data, considering what little evidence and data they do have was rare and hard to find. It's a testimony to science what has been deduced from what little we have.

 

Geology plays a big role here too, but it gets under played in evolution. Giving the way rocks form and move it's a miracle that any fossils survived. What's even more amazing is given all the geoligical evidence for the earths age people still insist that it's 6,000 years old.

 

Edit: Oh to answer your question, I am an atheist and I am not a 100% believer in the current theory of evolution, but I don't have anything greater (ID or creationism don't stand up) so I go with the best I have.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I will remain firmly convinced until such time that an alternate theory explains more phenomena or the same phenomena in simpler terms, with valid data to back it up.

 

In answer to your question, there are -I have yet to see a single one of them offer aforementioned alternative.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Praise Jebus

I've often looked into the theory, and in my deconversion stage, I was actully more accepting of it then I am now. One must remember that becuase it is a scientific theory, its bound to have holes in it. As time goes by, It will be perfected and become more and more clear as to how it actully unfolded. Unless the IDs Ban it from being futher studied, and that seems like something they would do.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Though I've recommended the book before, I'll do it again. Check out Richard Dawkins' The Blind Watchmaker. It's about how mutation coupled with natural selection can account for the diversity and complexity of life, all in a very eloquent and readable form. Also, there's another good book, though it can be somewhat technical, by Sean Carroll called Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of Evo-Devo, and it talks about how the recent science of "evo-devo" (evolutionary development) is helping to explain the endless phenotypic diversity now present, through the genetics of "tool-kit" or homeotic genes. It has a chapter devoted to the Cambrian Explosion, and how small changes in these powerful genes can lead to big changes in form and function. Also, keep in mind that when speaking of mutations, the term "beneficial" is relative. What may be deleterious in one environment or situation may not be in another. Anyway, welcome to the site!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"On the scale of geologic time, animals diversified so rapidly that is is difficult from the fossil record to sort out the sequence of branching in animal phylogeny." pg. 643 on the Cambrian Explosion"
Don't forget that we're talking about 10 million years here. Prior to the cambrian explosion animals didn't have hard parts that could be easily fossilized. So it appears that there is a sudden increase in animals, but it may have simply been a result of them being able to fossilize easier.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Step 1: Evolution.

 

Step 2: ???

 

Step 3: Profit.

 

:lmao::lmao: :lmao:

 

Seriously, the theory of evolution is not disputed amongst scientists. Even creationists have had to grudgingly admit to some type of evolutionary process. So no, I'm definitely not an atheist who finds evolution unconvincing.

 

Is it the unified theory of the creation of all life? No - but I agree w/jjacksonRIAB: until such time as a better theory comes along with a ton of evidence, I'll stick w/Darwinism.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

At the same time, I find it extremely difficult to believe that such complicated systems as the

anatomy of a human being are merely the result of the natrual selection of random mutations over millions of years. ...but for random mutations to account for the apparent design of, say, the human body, would require countlessbenficial mutations coupled with very delicate natural selection of these mutations.

 

How about "such complicated systems as the anatomy of a" Chimpanzee instead ?

 

Think about the simple morphing necessary to change one skeleton to the other.

 

And consider this, not all biological mutations are "random mutations".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Look into the C Vitamine Gene that most animals have functional, except Humans, primates and guinea pigs. It is there in our DNA but non functional. It has been established pretty clear that it is a damaged gene, and humans and primates share the same damaged copy. The only explanation is that we share the same mutation.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Look into the C Vitamine Gene that most animals have functional, except Humans, primates and guinea pigs. It is there in our DNA but non functional. It has been established pretty clear that it is a damaged gene, and humans and primates share the same damaged copy. The only explanation is that we share the same mutation.

 

http://www.reverendatheistar.com/macroevolution2.htm

 

Prediction 2.3: Molecular vestigial characters

 

Vestigial characters should also be found at the molecular level. Humans do not have the capability to synthesize ascorbic acid (otherwise known as Vitamin C), and the unfortunate consequence can be the nutritional deficiency called scurvy. However, the predicted ancestors of humans had this function (as do most other animals except primates and guinea pigs). Therefore, we predict that humans, other primates, and guinea pigs should carry evidence of this lost function as a molecular vestigial character (nota bene: this very prediction was explicitly made by Nishikimi and others and was the impetus for the research detailed below) (Nishikimi et al. 1992; Nishikimi et al. 1994).

 

Confirmation:

 

Recently, the L-gulano-g-lactone oxidase gene, the gene required for Vitamin C synthesis, was found in humans and guinea pigs (Nishikimi et al. 1992; Nishikimi et al. 1994). It exists as a pseudogene, present but incapable of functioning (see prediction 4.4 for more about pseudogenes). In fact, since this was originally written the vitamin C pseudogene has been found in other primates, exactly as predicted by evolutionary theory. We now have the DNA sequences for this broken gene in chimpanzees, orangutans, and macaques (Ohta and Nishikimi 1999). And, as predicted, the malfunctioning human and chimpanzee pseudogenes are the most similar, followed by the human and orangutan genes, followed by the human and macaque genes, precisely as predicted by evolutionary theory. Furthermore, all of these genes have accumulated mutations at the exact rate predicted (the background rate of mutation for neutral DNA regions like pseudogenes) (Ohta and Nishikimi 1999).

 

There are several other examples of vestigial human genes, including multiple odorant receptor genes (Rouquier et al. 2000), the RT6 protein gene (Haag et al. 1994), the galactosyl transferase gene (Galili and Swanson 1991), and the tyrosinase-related gene (TYRL) (Oetting et al. 1993).

 

Our odorant receptor (OR) genes once coded for proteins involved in now lost olfactory functions. Our predicted ancestors, like other mammals, had a more acute sense of smell than we do now; humans have >99 odorant receptor genes, of which ~70% are pseudogenes. Many other mammals, such as mice and marmosets, have many of the same OR genes as us, but all of theirs actually work. An extreme case is the dolphin, which is the descendant of land mammals. It no longer has any need to smell volatile odorants, yet it contains many OR genes, of which none are functional – they are all pseudogenes (Freitag et al. 1998).

 

The RT6 protein is expressed on the surface of T lymphocytes in other mammals, but not on ours. The galactosyl transferase gene is involved in making a certain carbohydrate found on the cell membranes of other mammals. Tyrosinase is the major enzyme responsible for melanin pigment in all animals. TYRL is a pseudogene of tyrosinase.

 

It is satisfying to note that we share these vestigial genes with other primates, and that the mutations that destroyed the ability of these genes perform their metabolic functions are also shared with several other primates (see predictions 4.3-4.5 for more about shared pseudogenes).

 

Potential Falsification:

 

It would be very puzzling if we had not found the L-gulano-g-lactone oxidase pseudogene or the other vestigial genes mentioned. In addition, we can predict that we will never find vestigial chloroplast genes in any metazoans (i.e. animals) (Li 1997, pp. 284-286, 348-354).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"How about "such complicated systems as the anatomy of a" Chimpanzee instead ?"

 

You missed my point. My point was that I find it difficult to believe that that the natural selection of beneficial mutations is the mechanism by which complex systems such as the anatomy of ANY animal (not just a human) have evolved. I just can't conceive how it could be done. This is not to say I don't understand natural selection. It's merely the survival of heritable characteristics in response to the environment, simple enough concept. Nor is this is not to say I am denying evolution, but rather evoution by means of natural selection AKA Darwinism. And like I said, if this mechanism of evolution were true, it would require billions of trial and error processes of beneficial mutations, and yet, we hardly see such mutations today, and talkorigins.org may give a few examples here and there, but that's hardly sufficient to say that any animal is the result of a collection of beneficial mutations; I just think there must be something else going on, but, as an atheist, I know its not some supernatural entity.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My point was that I find it difficult to believe that that the natural selection of beneficial mutations is the mechanism by which complex systems such as the anatomy of ANY animal (not just a human) have evolved.

 

Why not? What's wrong with natural selection?

 

And like I said, if this mechanism of evolution were true, it would require billions of trial and error processes of beneficial mutations, and yet, we hardly see such mutations today, and talkorigins.org may give a few examples here and there, but that's hardly sufficient to say that any animal is the result of a collection of beneficial mutations;

 

Have their not been billions of processes throughout history of animals living and dying and passing on their genes?

 

I just think there must be something else going on, but, as an atheist, I know its not some supernatural entity.

 

Well, you're using the same fallacy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Is "Darwinism" actually a word? If so, what does it mean? Is it now a religion, or a belief system - to accept the ideas of Charles Darwin? I was not aware of that. I believe this may be spin, or a mild attack. The original poster may have gotten this idea from some person or group with a superstitious, anti-science agenda.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Is "Darwinism" actually a word? If so, what does it mean? Is it now a religion, or a belief system - to accept the ideas of Charles Darwin? I was not aware of that. I believe this may be spin, or a mild attack. The original poster may have gotten this idea from some person or group with a superstitious, anti-science agenda.

 

Yes, Darwinism is a word. It just refers to the Darwinian theory of evolution by natural selection, as opposed to other theories of evolution, e.g. the Lamarckian theory of evolution by acquired characteristics (which has been pretty soundly refuted).

 

 

Our odorant receptor (OR) genes once coded for proteins involved in now lost olfactory functions. Our predicted ancestors, like other mammals, had a more acute sense of smell than we do now; humans have >99 odorant receptor genes, of which ~70% are pseudogenes. Many other mammals, such as mice and marmosets, have many of the same OR genes as us, but all of theirs actually work. An extreme case is the dolphin, which is the descendant of land mammals. It no longer has any need to smell volatile odorants, yet it contains many OR genes, of which none are functional – they are all pseudogenes (Freitag et al. 1998).

 

 

How can they tell which genes are functional and which are pseudogenes?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How can they tell which genes are functional and which are pseudogenes?

 

Pseudogenes are copies of genes that have been mangled my mutations, pretty much to the point where they just don't code anything useful anymore, or that translation (the process of turning mRNA into protein) acutally stops because of a mutation that caused a "stop" codon to form where there wasn't one before (this can be done by all manner of mutations, with point mutations and insertions/deletions that lead to frame-shifts, to name a few). But anyway, pseudogenes usually retain some semblance of and are usually relatively close to the gene they came from, and we've only been able to find that out since the advent of gene sequencing. By comparing sequences of base-pairs, one can find stretches of DNA that are at least very similar (so similar that one can rule out the possibility of independent formation of these long stretches). If they're similar, you can find the differences, and reason how those differences got there (types of mutations) and how those differences affect the activity of the gene. If one variant codes for something useful while another variant codes for something useless/codes nothing at all, then you have a gene and a pseudogene. I'm sure there are tons of ways to go about doing all of this, but I'm pretty sure this is basically how it could be done.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, you're using the same fallacy.\

 

Whatever. Yes, my post may come off as sounding like a argument from incredulity, which is a logical fallacy. But the truth is I was just sharing my opinion and seeing I there were other atheists like myself who find it hard to believe that natural selection is the primary mechanism by which such biological systems as the anatomy of an animal, insect, or whatever, has formed and evolved from single celled organisms.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"How about "such complicated systems as the anatomy of a" Chimpanzee instead ?"

 

You missed my point. My point was that I find it difficult to believe that that the natural selection of beneficial mutations is the mechanism by which complex systems such as the anatomy of ANY animal (not just a human) have evolved. I just can't conceive how it could be done. This is not to say I don't understand natural selection. It's merely the survival of heritable characteristics in response to the environment, simple enough concept. Nor is this is not to say I am denying evolution, but rather evoution by means of natural selection AKA Darwinism. And like I said, if this mechanism of evolution were true, it would require billions of trial and error processes of beneficial mutations, and yet, we hardly see such mutations today, and talkorigins.org may give a few examples here and there, but that's hardly sufficient to say that any animal is the result of a collection of beneficial mutations; I just think there must be something else going on, but, as an atheist, I know its not some supernatural entity.

 

Well, beliefs aren't choices. You just haven't found the evidence concincing. Until you do, no belief in the power of natural selection. It's a good thing that the scientists who witness natural selection at work don't suffer from this barrier.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm all excited about biology. In fact the acceptance of evolution played a large part in my deconversion however many years ago. But I've come to realize that evoltion is not the whole story it doesn't explain everything there is to know about living systems. There are a great number of contemporary biologists who are even now engaged in discovering more of the mystery. I feel that if evolution is the Yang of biology then it is then Yin of biology that we have yet to discover.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, you're using the same fallacy.\

 

Whatever. Yes, my post may come off as sounding like a argument from incredulity, which is a logical fallacy. But the truth is I was just sharing my opinion and seeing I there were other atheists like myself who find it hard to believe that natural selection is the primary mechanism by which such biological systems as the anatomy of an animal, insect, or whatever, has formed and evolved from single celled organisms.

 

Yea, ok...but why do you find it hard to believe?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.