Author Topic: just wanna know  (Read 2890 times)

bmxrider724

  • Beginning to See the Wedge
  • *
  • Posts: 19
just wanna know
« on: November 08, 2006, 03:31:15 AM »
if the process of evolution is random, unguided and un patterned, then how do we get laws of nature slash things in the world that are patterned, isnt that kinda like picking numbers out of a hat without looking and getting a pattern like 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10, in order. to me that seems improbable, and ironicly illogical.

secondly how come there are not any transition fossils out of millions of fossils found? i mean if you claim to have found a couple that deosnt do much considering that there are millions of regular fossils, and since the changes in evolution are very slow and over a very good amount of time, woudnt that mean there would be a surplus of fossils in stages not fully developed?

thirdly about the laws of entropy and the law of biogenesis, as i understand the law of entropy states that things usualy tend to go from a state of organization to a state of disorder, and not as evolution suggests as us going from disorganized as in complexity and just society in general, to more complex and more order. and if im not mistaken this law applies to most things, even evolution.

now for biogenesis, the law that states that life only arises from life. as i understand it the big bang theory states that we came from a big explosion. which created life. obviously this cant make sense considering that you cant make life from no life.

and if evolution is true that means that we have yet still to evolve, woudnt you say so, i mean what if aliens are really in the future and are only evolved humans, that would be wierd. i dont realy belive that but i just think thats a wierd thought. so can someone please answer my questions. please use as many lamens terms as you can, because i am not stupid i just dont understand alot of the words you college guys and higher use. me being 15 and all.

and i would love to take questions critisisms of God slash protestant religion, because belive me i have a beef with catholics. aka i dont agree with most of their policys, but just make it easy to reply, point it or put it in para graph. ps i put mine in paragraph form so it would be easyer to read and reply to.
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 AM by bmxrider724 »

donkeyhoty

  • Knows What LætusAtheos Means
  • **
  • Posts: 378
(No subject)
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2006, 05:10:39 AM »
Firstly, evolution is not random, unguided, and unpatterned.  There's something called "natural selection" that has nothing to do with random.  

Although, mutations may be considered as random.  I don't know enough about molecular biology to debate mutations.  But, I do know that not all mutations help a species to survive.  It may, in fact, cause it to die out in a changing environment thus showing that the "1,2,3, etc." that you refer to is a fallacy.  The random aspect of mutations is not always useful.

Secondly, once again I'm not a Paleontologist, but fossils are quite rare.  Despite the numbers we have, billions perhaps even trillions of organisms have died without leaving a fossil.

There are several concepts regarding entropy, most of them really complicated.  Your defintion is only partially entropy.  What it is refering to has to do with order in thermodynamic system.  In layman's terms, entropy deals with equilibrium in a system.  If one system's entropy is lowered(coming close to equilibrium) then another is raised(more disorder).  If that doesn't make sense, well, entropy is complicated.  Some of it I don't understand, nor would most laypeople.

Also with biogenesis, that is basically what the law states, but experiments with early earth conditions(water, hydrogen, ammonia, methane, lightning) showed that simple organic compounds could form(amino acids) in this way.  Not exactly from nothing, but not exactly life from life either.

I don't know what the aliens in the future have to do with anything, unless you are suggesting time travel.
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 AM by donkeyhoty »
"Feminism encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians."  - Pat Robertson

Whitney

  • Global Moderator
  • Don't Pray in My School, and I Won't Think in Your Church
  • *****
  • Posts: 7358
  • Gender: Female
  • Mysteriously Absent - Like God
    • http://fellowshipoffreethought.org
(No subject)
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2006, 05:39:55 AM »
I'm not feeling that great today so let me know if I don't explain this far enough or if it doesn't make sense:

Evolution isn't random.  Mutations are random but there is more to evolution than mutation.  Natural selection is basically what you could consider the guiding force for evolution (even though it's not a force like gravity or pushing on a wall).  Natural selection is a process through which organisms with favorable traits are more likely to survive to be able to reproduce than those organisms with traits less favorable to their environment.  Mutation, environment, and sexual preferances (ie being more attracted to shorter tails than longer tails) of organisms combine to essentially select those individuals who are more fit.

There are a lot of transitional fossils.  One thing to keep in mind when looking at fossils is if we find one missing transition then two more are created:

fossils of species A -----> missing link----->fossil of species B
we find the missing link between A and B and call it AB
now we have
A---->missing link----->AB------>missing link------>B
Since evolution doesn't occur in extremely drastic changes then there will always be room to claim a missing transition between any two transitional fossils.

Here's a list of some (but not all) known transitional fossils:
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-transitional.html

I just noticed donkey touched upon your entropy question so I'll skip that....Let us know if more needs to be said about it.

The basic building blocks of life here on earth may have extraterestrial (not like E.T. or little grey men) origins:  http://www.newscientistspace.com/channe ... ids/dn7895

It may be true that life can't come from non-life in the conditions currently seen on Earth, but conditions just after the big bang were different and a good explaination of how it would be possible exceeds my abilities since I haven't studied it enough to memorize terms.  I found a book by Richard Dawkins called "The Blind Watchmaker" to be a rather convincing argument for abiogenisis.  The Miller_Urey experiment is also something to look at:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miller-Urey_experiment

Evolution is an ongoing process....which has no end goal.  So it dosn't really make sense to say we have yet to evolve...we are evolving and life after us will continue to be evolving until at some point all life in the universe ceases to exist.
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 AM by Whitney »

bmxrider724

  • Beginning to See the Wedge
  • *
  • Posts: 19
(No subject)
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2006, 06:19:17 PM »
evolution is unguided, who is to say what will be best for an animal, i cant see such a complex thing such as evolution as being unguided. its stupid, ignorant. its not about all that mumbo jumbo i just think that it makes logical sense to say that something created us, not by some process thats im personal.
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 AM by bmxrider724 »

Whitney

  • Global Moderator
  • Don't Pray in My School, and I Won't Think in Your Church
  • *****
  • Posts: 7358
  • Gender: Female
  • Mysteriously Absent - Like God
    • http://fellowshipoffreethought.org
(No subject)
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2006, 08:19:14 PM »
I don't see evolution as being complex, maybe understanding how it is possible can become complex (especially when studying it on a genetic level), but the process of natural selection seems rather straightforward.  Natural selection "says" what is better fit...it's guided, I just don't see a reason to have to include a being behind the guiding since the whole process can be explained naturally.

You can probably agree that species undergo adaptations which make them better fit for their environment....that's actually evolution at work.  Hmm...I'm really not sure where to start with an explanation since I don't know how much you already know about evolution.  Would it be possible for you to describe how you understand evolution, even if you think it doesn't make sense?

One of the most common misunderstandings of evolution among theists is that it somehow negates the possibility of a god...this isn't so.  In fact, my mom is a Christian evolutionist.  I also use to be a Christian and viewed evolution as an expression of God's complexity and intelligence...it's a lot easier to poof things into existence than to devise a system in which creatures evolve to better fit their environment.
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 AM by Whitney »

Squid

  • Guest
(No subject)
« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2006, 03:41:30 AM »
Quote from: "bmxrider724"
evolution is unguided, who is to say what will be best for an animal, i cant see such a complex thing such as evolution as being unguided. its stupid, ignorant. its not about all that mumbo jumbo i just think that it makes logical sense to say that something created us, not by some process thats im personal.


Evolution is unguided in the sense that there is no entity guiding the process - there is no prestated "goal" to which evolution works towards.  It is the consequence of interactions of organisms and their environment.  Many people often think of it backwards in teleological terms - which is incorrect.

The inability to understand how something "complex" has come to be as the result of natural causes is indeed a fallacy - personal incredulity if I remember correctly.

It is not "stupid" and "ignorant" - it complex and well substantiated.

Cognitive biases have led you to your decision, not logic.  Based upon your other posts upon this subject, I think you have a distorted and inaccurate idea of what evolution is.  I'm sure if you'd actually like to understand this theory, with which many millions of believers in God(s) have found to be non-conflictual with their beliefs (if that counts for anything) - just to show there isn't a false dichotomy of conclusions, then I'm sure the fine people of this board would have no problem in aiding you.
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 AM by Squid »

Big Mac

  • Buddies With Uncle Bert
  • ****
  • Posts: 1226
(No subject)
« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2006, 05:40:55 AM »
I've talked to this guy on AIM. He's a 15 year old kid who thinks every idea is valid. And he bothered me while I was watching the simpsons....how am I going to record around the commercials?! And I highly doubt a field of science where thousands of really smart people have devoted their lives to is "stupid" and "ignorant".
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 AM by Big Mac »
Quote from: "PoopShoot"
And what if pigs shit candy?

McQ

  • Administrator
  • Has an Invisible Dragon in Their Garage
  • *****
  • Posts: 3672
  • Foolproof and capable of terror.
(No subject)
« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2006, 01:25:05 PM »
If I get some time I'll try to answer some of these questions. Some of the answers you've been given are incorrect. I wish I had more time than five minutes at a shot in this and other forums though. Here are some links to help you get some answers to your questions for now.

http://www.talkorigins.org/

http://evolvethought.blogspot.com/2005/ ... ution.html

http://www.literature.org/authors/darwi ... f-species/
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 AM by McQ »
Elvis didn't do no drugs!
--Penn Jillette

Whitney

  • Global Moderator
  • Don't Pray in My School, and I Won't Think in Your Church
  • *****
  • Posts: 7358
  • Gender: Female
  • Mysteriously Absent - Like God
    • http://fellowshipoffreethought.org
(No subject)
« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2006, 04:43:24 AM »
Quote from: "McQ"
Some of the answers you've been given are incorrect.


Crap, was it some of mine?  I don't like to be wrong but would also like to fix any mistakes I made in the explanation.
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 AM by Whitney »

Squid

  • Guest
(No subject)
« Reply #9 on: November 10, 2006, 01:06:34 PM »
I've got some time this afternoon, I'll see if I can adequately tackle those questions.
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 AM by Squid »

McQ

  • Administrator
  • Has an Invisible Dragon in Their Garage
  • *****
  • Posts: 3672
  • Foolproof and capable of terror.
(No subject)
« Reply #10 on: November 10, 2006, 09:21:29 PM »
Quote from: "laetusatheos"
Quote from: "McQ"
Some of the answers you've been given are incorrect.

Crap, was it some of mine?  I don't like to be wrong but would also like to fix any mistakes I made in the explanation.


Well, not exactly, but some of the wording can be more accurate. To say that evolution isn't random isn't really the whole story. It essentially is random, in being unguided. You went on to explain how  mutations are random, and then talked about natural selection as the guiding force behind evolution. Then in a later post mentioned that species undergo adaptations which make them better fit for their environment.

It is more accurate to say that species simply undergo mutations. Those mutations which end up benefiting the species in some way are kept by having those individuals survive, and the mutations that don't benefit allow for the extinction of an individual species. It's kind of a weird but important distinction. The danger in wording comes when natural selection is explained by having it appear to be a product of the environment (like saying, "It's freezing cold in the arctic, so the bears grew more white fur and developed extra fat. Therefore they survived.")

Certain bears did grow more fur (actually were born with it via mutation) and some bears did develop greater capacity for fat storage (via mutations) but they didn't do it because it was cold. They just did it, and as it turns out, those that did so and lived in colder climates were able to thrive, procreate, and push on.

Make sense?

Lots and lots of mutations have led to extinction of species too, just not always in the first go-round. Even now, species like sharks, which are undeniably champs when it comes to evolving and surviving, could develop, or may have already developed mutations which benefit them now, but will be a detriment in the future, if something like the salinity of the oceans changes.

Once again, I find myself with little time, and hope I haven't just muddied this up.
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 AM by McQ »
Elvis didn't do no drugs!
--Penn Jillette

bmxrider724

  • Beginning to See the Wedge
  • *
  • Posts: 19
(No subject)
« Reply #11 on: November 10, 2006, 10:59:36 PM »
as i understand, evolution is evolving of animals outside of their species to create new ones, of course over billions of years and through small increments. i still have one question, if its been billions of years since the world was started, then woudnt we have found as much transitional fossils as we have found regular? i mean i understand about how you say once you find the missing link then you look for the missing link between them, but have we found a bird with reptilesct features? i dont know what animals can breed together but you get my point. i still dont understand that. also we assume things to be made my humans, thus created by a power smarter then itself, so why dont we assume that with evolution?
also isnt it rational to think that we are not the finished product, so that means that we still have as many years of evolving as we do years on this earth. i will ask more questions later i gotta go
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 AM by bmxrider724 »

Whitney

  • Global Moderator
  • Don't Pray in My School, and I Won't Think in Your Church
  • *****
  • Posts: 7358
  • Gender: Female
  • Mysteriously Absent - Like God
    • http://fellowshipoffreethought.org
(No subject)
« Reply #12 on: November 10, 2006, 11:14:13 PM »
McQ, thanks for clearing up my wording.  I probably shouldn't try to answer questions like this while on medication. :oops:
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 AM by Whitney »

Squid

  • Guest
(No subject)
« Reply #13 on: November 11, 2006, 12:11:28 AM »
I’m going to try and answer your questions as best I can.  If you don’t quite understand something I’ve written or find it a bit too technical, let me know and I’ll see if I can simplify it for you.

Quote
if the process of evolution is random, unguided and un patterned, then how do we get laws of nature slash things in the world that are patterned, isnt that kinda like picking numbers out of a hat without looking and getting a pattern like 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10, in order. to me that seems improbable, and ironicly illogical.

Evolution is a process that is not “guided” by some sentient entity.  Evolution is a consequence of interactions and it is not a completely random happening.  Completely random means that everything is just pure chance – there is no rhyme or reason in anything that happens and will be completely unpredictable, this is not so in evolution.  While chance and randomness do play a large part in evolution – which has been mentioned in regards to mutations -  it is not the whole of the process.

For instance, natural selection is the driving force of evolutionary change and it is not purely random.  

Let me give you a bit of information on natural selection.  Natural selection is defined by Audesirk, Audesirk and Byers (2002) as:

Quote
the unequal survival and reproduction of organisms due to environmental forces, resulting in the preservation of favorable adaptations. Usually, natural selection refers specifically to differential survival and reproduction on the basis of genetic differences among individuals. (pp. G-16)

Natural selection is one of the most important if not the most important item in describing and researching into evolution. It is also probably the least well understood concept by the general public. People are fired at with phrases like "survival of the fittest" which was first coined by Herbert Spencer in support for his Social Darwinism which is a social theory and NOT a biological model for evolution.

Jurmain et al. (2000) describe natural selection in action by telling about the peppered moth:

Quote
A well-documented case of natural selection acting in modern populations concerns changes in pigmentation among peppered moths near Manchester, England.



Before the nineteenth century, the common variety of moth was a mottled gray color. This light, mottled coloration provided extremely effective camouflage against lichen-covered tree trunks. Also present, though less common, was a dark variety of the same species. While resting on light, lichen-covered trees, the dark, uncamouflaged moths were more visible to birds and were therefore eaten more often.

Thus in the end, the dark moths produced fewer offspring than the light, camouflaged moths. Yet, by the end of the nineteenth century, the common gray form had been almost completely replaced by the black variety.

What brought about this rapid change? The answer lies in the rapidly changing environment of industrialized nineteenth-century England. Coal dust in the area settled on trees, killing the lichen and turning the bark a dark color. Moths continued to rest on trees, but the gray (light) variety was increasingly conspicuous as the trees became darker. Consequently, they began to be preyed on more frequently by birds and contributed fewer genes to the next generation.

In the late twentieth century, increasing control of pollutants allowed trees to return to their lighter, lichen-covered, pre-industrial condition. As would be expected, the black variety of moth is now being supplanted by the gray. (pp. 35-36)

What may incur a benefit to a species at one point in time may become a detriment later.

Let me give you another example of natural selection from an article I wrote on natural selection:

Quote
Let's say we have an island and on this island is a type of bird that feeds primarily on hard shelled nuts from a certain tree. This tree is plentiful and these birds have large, stout beaks to smash the nuts open. Thos with smaller beaks have a hard time finding food and may go malnourished and even die prematurely. After a long drought, these nut bearing trees all but die off. The food is less plentiful. However some of these birds have smaller beaks that they can use to route for small grubs in trees and logs. The larger beaked birds have a harder time getting to the grubs who have become the more plentiful food source. Because of their obvious disadvantage, the larger beaked birds have a hard time finding food and begin to die off prematurely. Those smaller beaked birds have no problem finding sustaining food and live to reproduce successfully. Over time (assuming that the environment doesn't have another significant change) the smaller beaked birds will become the majority of the population and their genetics will be perpetuated.

This story attempts to illustrate how natural selection might work on our little imaginary island. In fact, part of Darwin's observations and a large part of helping him formulate his theory was observing the different beaks of finches on the Galapagos Islands.

Another example of selection from the real world would be that of snail shells in the genus Cepaea. The shells show up with several different colors in one species and this has been a trait for over 10,000 years which is found in the fossil record. Curtis and Barnes tell the snail's tale:

"Studies among English colonies of Cepaea have revealed some of the selective forces at work on the snails, which occupy a variety of habitats. The snails are preyed upon by birds, among which are song thrushes. Song thrushes select snails from the colonies and take them to nearby rocks, where they break them open, eat the soft parts, and leave the shells.

In habitats, such as bogs, where the background is fairly uniform, unbanded snails blend in and are less likely to be preyed upon than banded ones. Conversely, in habitats, such as woodlands, where the backgrounds are mottled, unbanded snails are more likely to be victims. (Curtis and Barnes, 1994, pp. 336)"

For some, the idea that fitness equals "power" or "being bigger and stronger" is inescapable and promotes the misunderstanding of natural selection.

Drickamer et al. (2002) comments on this:

Quote
...the adaptive value of certain genes or genotypes depends on existing environmental conditions. A genotype may have high fitness in one environment, but low fitness in another. Fitness is therefore not an unchanging characteristic of an organism, such as eye color, but is determined by both the organism's characteristics and the environment.

How should fitness be measured...We generally test our hypotheses about fitness of different genotypes and phenotypes by measuring the reproductive success of the organisms in question. Reproductive success is a measure of an organism's production of offspring. It may be measured in several ways, including the number of offspring born, the number that survive to weaning, or the number that survive to mating.

Fitness is a property of traits or genotypes, while reproductive success is a property of individuals. (pp. 48)

Drickamer's last note points out another area of ignorance about natural selection. Natural selection works upon individuals BUT it is populations that evolve.

Natural selection is also evident in strains of bacteria that become resistant to antibiotics.  If you’ve ever taken antibiotics, you will find that the doctor will tell you to take all the pills until they’re all gone even if what was bothering you clears up.  This is to make sure that as many bacteria are taken care of as possible.  If you stop taking the pills, what you have left are the stronger bacteria which have been able to hold out.  These will reproduce and suddenly you’re worse off then before with an infection by a population of even stronger bacteria.

Also, natural selection should not be confused with artificial selection. Artificial selection is evident in domestic dog breeding. Alters (2000) comments on this:

Quote
Artificial selection is based on the natural variation all organisms exhibit.

By choosing organisms that naturally exhibit a particular trait and then breeding that organism with another of the same species exhibiting the same trait, breeders are able (over successive breedings) to produce animals or plants having a desired, inherited trait. (pp. 534)

Here are a couple of webpages to better help you understand natural selection and how it works:

Natural Selection

How Natural Selection Works

http://anthro.palomar.edu/evolve/evolve_2.htm

Now, to address your question about patterns – it would depend on what your concept of patterns is – how you have operationalized the term and use it here.  That is, what is the definition you are using when you use the word “patterned”.  If you are referring to something such as body symmetry and wonder “why do cows have four legs and not three?” or “why are both sides of our bodies the same?” then this is easily explainable.  Body symmetry (or sometimes you’ll see ‘bilateral’ symmetry) is a trait that has been around a very, very long time.  It can be seen back millions and millions of years in the fossil record along with another type of symmetry called radial symmetry.  Let me give you some examples of what I’m talking about.  Bilateral symmetry means you can draw a line down the middle of an organism and the two halves will look similar – you can see what I’m talking about by looking at the lobster in the picture.  The polyp shows radial symmetry:



So, you’re probably thinking, why would evolution select for such a thing?  Simple, it helped organisms which exhibited that trait to survive and outlive similar non-symmetrical organisms in the same environment.  One example of body symmetry affecting mating can be seen in a study by Moller (1992) which showed that female swallows have a preference for symmetrical male feather ornaments:

Quote
Male swallows with elongated, symmetric tails mated earlier, and enjoyed larger annual reproductive success than did males with shortened tails and increased asymmetry. Females therefore prefer large as well as symmetric ornaments, which suggests that females in their mate choice use ornament asymmetry and size as reliable indicators of male quality. (pp. 238)

That is just one example.  Other studies have shown that human women prefer a man (and vice-versa) who is more symmetrical in body shape.  It is thought to be a way to select a mate with “high quality” genes.  Dr. Mario Livio talks about symmetry in more than just a biological context which makes for good reading and helps provide some background as to why symmetry would be important in organisms:

http://plus.maths.org/issue38/features/livio/index.html

Don’t forget that we do see organisms which don’t exhibit symmetry – the coral sponge would be one example:



See, so when you consider the mechanisms of evolution and how they work, you can see that it isn’t something that is purely random.

Quote
secondly how come there are not any transition fossils out of millions of fossils found? i mean if you claim to have found a couple that deosnt do much considering that there are millions of regular fossils, and since the changes in evolution are very slow and over a very good amount of time, woudnt that mean there would be a surplus of fossils in stages not fully developed?

First you have to understand what the term transitional fossil actually is and how you’re using that term.  As has been explained before, you can get into a sort of Zeno's Paradox of Motion if you take the wrong view of what it means to be a transitional fossil.

Evolution is best thought of as a continuum rather than a jump from key fossil to key fossil.  In essence, every fossil that is found represents a “transition” organisms are not static, the populations are always changing over time.  Now, with regards to the fossil record we can say that we find transitional fossils between two specimens we already have discovered and would expect to find.  One excellent example of this was the find of the specimen Tiktaalik roseae.



 It is an example of a transition in one of the finest senses, not only between two already discovered fossils but one which supports an inferred evolutionary lineage between tetrapods and fish – an evolution which took some 20 million years or so to take place.

As far as “transitions” such as this, which is closer to what you are probably thinking of, there are many that have been documented and are found in the fossil record.

Also, the idea many creationists put forth like “not fully developed” is incorrect.  Every organism that reaches developmental maturity is “fully developed”.  Using this phrase in talking about evolutionary lineages is just wrong.  It views evolution as being progressive toward some predestined goal, it’s not.  Those that use such arguments attack evolution and they don’t even understand it.

Fossilization is also a process which seems to hinder people’s understanding as well.  So I’ll go a bit into fossilization itself.

Fossilization is not a guaranteed process.  Just because and organism dies does not mean its remains will become fossilized.  Tarbuck and Lutgens (2002) define fossils as, "the remains or traces of prehistoric life" (pp. 182).  Fossilization isn’t a snap process that occurs easily.  Fossilization starts with burial and then goes through mineralization where the organism's remains are replaced by minerals. (Abedon, 2005). Because of what is involved in the formation of fossils, it is actually, truly amazing the detail of the fossil record and shows the dedication and hardwork of many scientists and their colleauges of the span of many years.  

Monroe and Wincander (2001) comment on the formation of fossils stating, "Dissolved minerals can be precipitated in the pores of bones, teeth, and shells or can fill the spaces within cells of wood. Wood may be preserved by silica replacing the woody tissues; it then is referred to as petrified, a term that means "to become stone". Silicon dioxice (SiO2) or iron sulfide (FeS2) can completely replace the calcium carbonate (CaCO3). Insects and the leaves, stems, and roots of plants are commonly preserved as thin carbon films that show the details of the original organism." (pp. 178-179).

Tarbuck and Lutgens (2002) note the chances of an organism becoming fossilized are not in the middle of the curve – "only a tiny fraction of organisms that lived during the geologic past have been preserved as fossils.  Normally, the remains of an animal or plant are totally destroyed." (183).  This is one large hindrance to having a fossil record full of "transitions" or some ideal, smooth linear progression.

Among fossils we have two major groups, body and trace fossils.  Bunch and Tesar (2003) comment on these two groups stating, "Body fossils are either actual remains of organisms in which the original chemicals have been replaced by other chemicals, thus retaining the original shape but not the organic chemistry. Bones, teeth, and shells are the most common animal body fossils. Petrified wood is a common plant body fossil. Softer tissues, such as those that compose worms and leaves are less apt to be preserved; they are more likely to have been eaten or broken down by decomposers (bacteria, etc.).

Trace fossils include imprints, tracks, burrows, feces, and chemical traces. They can be very informative about the habits and habitats of their creators. They also may tell us something about the organisms’ anatomy. For example, footprint size and the distance between prints in a track provide clues to the size and weight of the animal that made the track." (pp. 211).

Geological events such as erosion also play a large role in the finding of complete fossil "chains" as well as being able to find perfectly stratified sediment as well.  Many variables work against piecing together a complete fossil record.  The work that has been completely thus far is fairly amazing in what scientists have put together over the years and continue to do so.

Quote
thirdly about the laws of entropy and the law of biogenesis, as i understand the law of entropy states that things usualy tend to go from a state of organization to a state of disorder, and not as evolution suggests as us going from disorganized as in complexity and just society in general, to more complex and more order. and if im not mistaken this law applies to most things, even evolution.

No and no.  Entropy as it is used to argue against evolution is from thermodynamics.  It usually refers to the second law of thermodynamics which states that – “The entropy of an isolated system not at equilibrium will tend to increase over time, approaching a maximum value.” (Clausius, 1865).  One thing to note first off is what exactly entropy is.  Entropy is defined by Ebbing (1996) as “a thermodynamic quantity that is a measure of the randomness or disorder in a system” (pp. 752).

Okay, so we have what the second law is and what entropy is.  Now, back to the argument that evolution somehow violates this law – long story, short it doesn’t.  Why? Because an organism, a population of organisms and the entire earth are not closed systems.  The whole idea behind thermodynamics is energy change and transfer.  Basically, the earth and all life on it are not closed systems since there is energy transfer occurring.  Because of the misunderstanding, again, of what the second law is and how it relates to biological systems – you’ve fallen victim to one of the oldest, most refuted and ridiculous creationist arguments against evolution there is.

Quote
now for biogenesis, the law that states that life only arises from life. as i understand it the big bang theory states that we came from a big explosion. which created life. obviously this cant make sense considering that you cant make life from no life.

The thing about this “law” is that it another misunderstood item in biology.  This relates only to life as is observed in modern biology, which is that life is perpetuated by other life.  This is that life isn’t just spontaneous popping up out of nowhere – the idea of spontaneous generation that Pasteur disproved.  This does not, however, rail against a model whereby chemical precursors can form into macromolecules which exhibit the traits of what we call life.  

Also, this is not an argument against evolution.  Evolution ONLY deals with life, not it’s origins or how the universe originated either.  Here’s a brief definition of evolution for you:

Quote
the descent of modern organisms with modification from preexisting life-forms; strictly speaking, any change in the proportions of different genotypes in a population from one generation to the next (Audesirk et al., 2002)

Your argument would be better directed toward models explaining the origin of life as we have defined it.  The general theory is called abiogenesis.  The big bang is a cosmological theory – not evolution.



How life originated is still being researched and has many questions still left to answer.  The research area is still in it’s infancy and does not have a huge number of researchers dedicated to studying it.  Nevertheless, many great strides have been made in coming closer to a good coherent model.  It also gets extremely complex to understand this area of inquiry – lots of chemistry, biochemistry, physics, theoretical biology and so forth.

So you have to realize that the theory of evolution makes no claims into the origin of life or the universe so attacking those areas means you aren’t criticizing evolution at all.

Quote
and if evolution is true that means that we have yet still to evolve, woudnt you say so, i mean what if aliens are really in the future and are only evolved humans, that would be wierd. i dont realy belive that but i just think thats a wierd thought. so can someone please answer my questions. please use as many lamens terms as you can, because i am not stupid i just dont understand alot of the words you college guys and higher use. me being 15 and all.


Yes, we are still evolving.  Some research has even shown empirically that we are still evolving – check out this article in PLoS Biology (a scientific journal):

http://biology.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371/journal.pbio.0040072

PLoS have several journals and is open access which means that anyone can access the information without having to buy a subscription.
If you have any trouble understanding anything I’ve posted, please let me know and I’ll be happy to explain it more to you.  I can get a bit wordy sometimes.  And if you’re interested in learning more about evolution or just science in general, I can tell you more about that too.

References:

Abedon, S. (2005). Fossilization. Retrieved June 2, 2006 from http://www.mansfield.ohio-state.edu/~sabedon/biol1520.htm#fossilization.

Audesirk, T., Audesirk, G. and Byers, B. (2002). Biology: Life on Earth. (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall.

Alters, S. (2000). Biology: Understanding life. (3rd ed.). Sudbury: Jones and Bartlett.

Bunch, B. and Tesar, J. (2003). Discover Science Almanac.  New York: Hyperion.

Clausius, R. (1865). The Mechanical Theory of Heat – with its Applications to the Steam Engine and to Physical Properties of Bodies. London: John van Voorst, 1 Paternoster Row.

Curtis, H. and Barnes, N. (1994). Invitation to Biology. (5th ed.). New York: Worth Publishers. Quoted in Overby (2006) Evolution Part II: Natural Selection. Retrieved November, 2006 from http://www.atheistcoalition.com/naturalselection.htm.

Drickamer, L., Vessey, S. & Jakob, E. (2002). Animal behavior: Mechanisms, ecology, evolution. (5th ed.). New York: McGraw Hill.

Ebbing, D. (1996). General Chemistry. (5th ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co.

Jurmain, R., Nelson, H., Kilgore, L. & Trevathan, W. (2000). Introduction to physical anthropology. (8th ed.). Stamford: Wadsworth/Thomson.

Moller, A. (1992). Female swallow preference for symmetrical male sexual ornaments. Nature, 357, 238 – 240.

Monroe, J. & Wicander, R. (2001). Physical geology: Exploring the earth. (4th ed.).Pacific Grove: Brooks/Cole.

Tarbuck, E. and Lutgens, F. (2002). Earth: An Introduction to Physical Geology. (7th ed.). Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2006, 05:02:46 PM by Squid »

McQ

  • Administrator
  • Has an Invisible Dragon in Their Garage
  • *****
  • Posts: 3672
  • Foolproof and capable of terror.
(No subject)
« Reply #14 on: November 11, 2006, 03:50:28 PM »
Thanks, Squid! I'm glad you had the time and took the time to do that for bmxrider.
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 AM by McQ »
Elvis didn't do no drugs!
--Penn Jillette