Date: Sun, 18 Jan 1998 22:31:27 -0800
To: Andrew Arensburger <arensb@cfar.umd.edu>
From: David McDougall
Subject: Re: Darwin Fish 

Hi Andrew, 

PART I:

At 02:19 AM 1/14/98 -0500, Andrew Arensburger wrote:
>	First of all, disproving evolution is *not* the same as
>proving creation. If you prove conclusively that my shirt isn't white,
>that doesn't automatically mean that it's red.

You are correct, however, given that there are only two explanations and one
has been falsified, then the other is at least ~left~ if not proven.  With
the established integrity of the bible, given its prophecies and (now)
historic fulfillments, it would be hard to reject anything preserved
therein.  There simply is no information source that compares to it.... but
now we are going into "non-evolution/creation" discussion.

>	For example, there's the theory that all of this is just the
>hallucinations of my demented mind (solipsism), as well as Last
>Tuesdayism, which says that the world appeared last Tuesday, exactly
>as we remember it, with people and erosion and memories and such.
>	Even if you say that evolution and creation are the only
>theories that anyone talks about with any conviction these days, that
>still doesn't get you very far: as far as I've been able to ascertain,
>there is no single coherent "Theory of Creation." It is, at best, a
>whole cluster of mutually-exclusive theories.

I think the mutually-exclusive aspect can be removed, although there is a
point where we have to put our trust in the info with the most evidence to
back it up.  What we are talking about is still faith in something that
nobody alive actually saw; regardless of the "theory."  The other theories
you mentioned fall into the category of pure psycho-babbel in my book and I
would hope could be easily rejected from a purely scientific vantage point.
Those are non-testable theories that can only result in your truth/my truth
syndrome and clearly, what is, is.  Perhaps this is the reasons that God
told Moses that His name was I Am;  "I Am that I Am," to be exact... and
nobody can change what is...

Of course, the same thing can be said with regard to philosophy about many
things that Jesus taught and validated, but there is every reason to believe
that He was/is who He said/says based on His own knowledge and abiblity to
command the universe and its elements and on the facts regarding His life
and resurrection and the fulfillment of thousands of years of prophecy that
are seen in Him without exception.  The evidence is overwhelming where He is
concerned and would have to be in order for a thinking person to accept by
faith the things which He revealed that we can not see.

I trust that you are willing to admit that we are actually here.(?)  So lets
try and agree that we either evolved from nothing or we were created... we
are here and there is evidence of our material presence.  Once we can agree
on an infallible information source with regard to the things we ~can~ know,
then we would have a basis for faith in those ~non-testable~ things that
can't be seen.... presently.  I'm not sure that evolution/creation is the
best place to start with that, but objective discussion will lead us to the
same place if we are willing to let the evidence speak for itself.  If
creation is true as it is presented in the Bible, then macro-evolution can
not be true also.

>	Assuming that you have a particular theory in mind, however,
>let me ask some questions about it:
>	- What are its basic premises? What does it attempt to
>explain?

In a nutshell, I believe in a young earth.  It would not be necessary for me
to believe so since the Bible makes no claims as to the actual beginning
"date," although there is a chronology intact which ~suggests~ a 6,000 year
existance (roughly) to date.  A young or old earth is not paramount to the
Christian Faith.  The scientific evidence, however, does not remotely
suggest anything beyond 30,000 years with far less time probable, (willing
to expand if interested).  Of course, if this is true, then there would not
be enough time to support the evolutionary philosophy.  If we have no faith
that the earth was created..... or we have no faith that it evolved, we can
only objectively search out the evidence and see which of the two models are
falsified.  If one is falsified and only one is left, then pure science
indicates that the survivor lives on alone;  natural selection, if you
please.<g>  Of course, if the evidence supports what one would expect to
find considering the biblical account, then there is every reason to accept
its divine origin and truth.

Have you ever considered the evidence of the Bible itself?  When I was in
sixth grade or so, we did the whisper test.  The first student had a word
whispered in his ear by a teacher.  Each student turned to his neighbor and
passed on the word in the same fashion.  By the time it got to the last
student and was repeated out loud, it was nothing like the word that
originated.  This is what we would expect, (and do), see with the work of
men.  Many contradictions, changes and biases are typical.  This is not what
we see with the Bible and considering all of the men and years that were
necessary to preserve it, (and archaeology has proven more than once that
the info has been kept intact almost to the letter, but certainly to the
word).  This runs contrary to logic and what we experience with every other
work of man.  There is no other source of information like it in any regard.

>	- When did creation start? When did it end? How do we know?

Don't know exactly.  Six days later.  Because the evidence of science,
history, and incredible, unfalsifiable prophecy and fulfillment all support
the divine integrity of the compiled data found in the Bible; faith based on
evidence.

>	- Who did the creating? How many creators are/were there?

God.  Three in one.

>	- Where did the creator(s) come from?

Eternity.

>	- Are the creators intelligent?

Can any organized system or organism (even the root of this scientific word
used to describe even the simplest cell suggests organization/intelligence),
exist without intelligence?  Obviously, we must agree that intelligence is
present in the creator(s).  Intelligence is found in each organism which, in
turn, could not exist without it.  Clearly and scientifically, intelligence
came first, not the other way around.

>	- What are the creators like? Where are they? What do they
>look like?

Righteous, holy, merciful and almighty.  In heaven.... and omnipresent.
Nobody knows.... yet.

>	Another slightly subtle point: evolution has nothing to do
>with the origin of life. That is more properly the domain of
>abiogenesis. The Theory of Evolution does not concern itself with
>where life came from; it assumes that there already are living beings,
>and talks about what happens to them.

Andrew, "creationism" does explain our origin.  Evolution does contradict
creationism.  The books still show the chimp "turning" into a man, though
the fossil evidence does not support it.

>	An analogy: modern theories of economics talk about how money
>moves around. They do not ask where money came from in the first place
>(except as an interesting historical sidebar), because it's
>irrelevant.
>	Similarly, no matter how life came about, you can have
>evolution. It's a fascinating, but separate and irrelevant question.

As a theory, I understand.  However, "if" you can't have evolution without
contradicting the word of God, then it's highly relevant.  I believe that
this is what it comes down to.  Either way, the evidence does not support
evolution.

>> is that God created plants and pairs of creatures that
>> could produce "after their own kind."
>
>	What's a kind? I've heard this term used, but I've never seen
>a good definition of it. This is strange, because the person who uses
>it usually also claims that there is a finite number of immutable
>"kinds." Presumably, it should be fairly easy to come up with a list
>of kinds, and which species comprise each, but I've never seen such a
>list, either. So I'll ask you: what's a kind? And if I showed you two
>living beings, how would you determine whether they're of the same
>kind or not?

Can they mate and make babies?  Then they're of one kind.  I think the
problem with terms is that they are used interchangeably between unrelated
subjects, one to "prove" the other.  A "species" is a subset of a "kind" or
"family."  Scientists that support evolution often speak of species within a
subset and suddenly switch over to a "kind" or "family" useage of the word
in their unfounded conclusions.  The word "evolution" is similarly misused,
but I'm sure that you are aware of the micro vs macro discussions.  In a
nutshell, we see variations in a family of related species, with regard to
either environmental adaptation or interbreeding of previously established
species.  We never see a new family "evolving" from the mingled seed of two
disimilar families.  This is testable science.  Does it falsify evolution or
creation?

>For that matter, what do you mean by
>a god? What properties does he/she/it possess (e.g., location, size,
>mass, color, electrical charge, breakfast food preference, etc.)?

I could ask you the same questions regarding the beginning conditions of the
universe.  Since neither can be seen, we can only go by the evidence.  Life
comes from life.  We've never seen it happen any other way.  That's science.

>	For that matter, you seem to be saying that God exists, and
>that this fact is central to your theory. If so, could you please
>provide evidence for this claim? (That is, how do you know that God
>exists? If you don't, then how would you find out?).

It essentially comes down to faith, as does the evolutionary philosophy.
The only thing we have to go on is evidence.  The evidence supports an
intelligent creator who has the ability to rapidly organize complex, self
sustaining, systemic, living organisms.  The evidence (entropy) falsifies
any such thing taking place over any period of time.  There is no living
organism that does not rely on codependant, complex systems to sustain its
life.  The reason evolution assumes an old age of the earth is because it is
the only possible way the impossible odds could be beaten for the accidental
development of the simplest cell structure... never mind the complex and
ordered universe that we see.

>	It seems as if you're saying the following:
>
>	We observe a pack of wild dogs (or dog-like creatures).
>	Then an ice age comes, and we go away.
>	When we come back five or ten thousand years later, we find
>that the dogs have much longer hair, on average, than they used to
>have.
>
>	If so, then you're saying that (little-e) evolution
>happens/has happened. By "little-e evolution," I simply mean "change
>in allele frequency over time," or, basically, "change."
>	What I call "big-E Evolution," on the other hand, is a theory
>that explains how and why the change occurred. There are several
>possible explanations:

The text books teach that "big-E" is the change from one "type" of creature
to another in an unrelated family.  You just demonstrated environmental
adaptation and said that it "proved" evolution of one genetic family to another.

>	a) The dogs that happened to have longer hair stopped dying of
>heat prostration; at the same time, the dogs that happened to have
>shorter hair started freezing to death, so that now there are only
>long-haired dogs (and maybe a few short-haired freaks that die in
>infancy).

>	Big-E Evolution, or The Theory of Evolution by Natural
>Selection, says that a) happened.

EXACTLY!  It does not "say," however, that the dog started walking on hind
legs and building walled cities.  Why then does "big evolution" even exist
as a theory?  The only thing you have proven here (again) is "little-e."
Big-E as it is taught in the textbooks is that man evolved from a lower form
of animal life.  You have presented nothing in your observations so far that
warrants such a "leap of faith."

>	You're saying that two species don't merge to make a third. No
>one's arguing with that. (Well, I suppose someone might bring up
>hinnies, or various plant grafts or something, but those are
>exceptions, not the rule.)

My purpose for pointing this out is that this is testable science.  If, as
you say, "No one's arguing with that," then why is "someone" suggesting that
men evolved from apes?  All we observe are things producing "after their own
kind," as the Bible says.  How is it good science to suggest anything else?

>> A writer of poetry, a cinematographer, a literary author, a painter, a
>> sculpter, etc. are all examples of creators.  Those who study in these
>> fields can often recognize the work of a given creator by means of a
>> recognizable pattern unique to that creator.  Often, similar experiences,
>> interests or materials are incorporated by an "artist" to the extent that,
>> even in very diverse efforts, similarities in their creations can be
>> detected.  God is apparently no different, although He is obviously far less
>> limitted in experience, interest, material, intelligence, etc.
>
>	Except that recognizing someone's "style" is a rather
>subjective thing. I own several techno/rave albums, and it all sounds
>alike to me. Does that mean that there's only one band producing
>techno music?

I was offering an alternative solution to the conclusion that similarities
equal evolution.  Again, similarities in design by a common designer would
be expected.  If evolution is true, however, there ought to be only one
"kind" since all life, having a common origin, has been "evolving" for the
same period of time.  We certainly wouldn't expect to see so many different
families each producing after their own kind if all life were evolving from
a common origin.  
If natural selection were the case, then why/how have so many opposing life
forms developed since one would have to die in order for the other to exist?
Again, what does the evidence support?  A sudden, complex, diverse beginning
(like Gould says the fossil evidence shows) which is slowly dying out, or a
single life form which resulted in mass diversity and coexistance within an
ecosystem, (each of which is utterly contrary to natural selection)?

>	However, I was referring to similarities where you wouldn't
>necessarily expect to find them if all life was created by one or more
>intelligent, purposeful creators.
>	For instance, all living beings use RNA. Most of them also use
>DNA (which is basically two complementary strands of RNA, but with
>uracil replaced by thymine). Of all the possible ways of encoding
>genetic information (chickenwire meshes of benzene rings with
>different radicals hanging off of them, or complex sugars or esthers,
>for instance), why were none of them ever used?

I guess the intelligence that is required to amass such a complex cell
structure out of nothing also had a will of His own.  There certainly is no
scientific theory which would account for the accidental "starting point"
which you are arguing from above, let alone speculation on why one complex
structure was not manipulated in one fashion or another.

>	Furthermore, it is known that every codon (sequence of three
>nucleotides in DNA) map to an amino acid (of which proteins are
>composed). You can easily find a table that shows which codon maps to
>which amino acid. This table is the same for just about all living
>beings. Yet the table itself is fairly arbitrary (that is, a creator
>could have chosen a number of other maps that worked equally well).
>This looks like either gratuitous consistency (since there's no reason
>for all species to have the same map), or gratuitous inconsistency
>(since there _are_ a few oddball exceptions, but only a few).

I have seen outhouses and multi-million dollar estates built out of the same
brick.  Each builder wanted to use the best materials for his project... but
I have a better question.

If I toss enough bricks in the air to build an outhouse, how many
years/repetitions do you suppose it would take before they "randomly" fell
into position to form the actual creation thereof?  Is it conceivable that
this would ever occur?

>	Or consider the fact that all mammals have the same number of
>limbs. Couldn't cheetahs or rabbits have used an extra pair of legs?
>Certainly insects seem to do well with six legs, why not mice?
>	Getting more specific: all mammals have the same number of
>vertebrae, in corresponding places, even. Do whales really need all
>seven of their neck vertebrae? And couldn't giraffes use a few more?
>
>	Similarly, there are differences one might not expect: in
>humans, the eye is wired backwards. That is to say, the
>light-sensitive part of the cones and rods are at the *far* end of the
>eye (toward the head). This means that a photon enters the eye,
>_traverses the entire length of the cell_, is detected and triggers a
>nervous impulse; this impulse has to go back the entire length of the
>cell, and into a nerve inside the eye. All of these nerves bunch up
>where they leave the eye (think of a bundle of cables) and don't leave
>any room for light-sensitive cells. This is why we have a blind spot.
>	Octopi, on the other hand, don't have this problem. Their
>nerves go out the back and never get in the way of sight. I would have
>expected an intelligent designer to reuse the same good design.
>	In fact, it appears that there are about forty different types
>of eyes[1]. Presumably, an intelligent designer would have kept a
>handful of good ones and thrown out the rest.

:-)  I simply can't understand how you can recount such complexity and
obvious design and assert that it all happened by chance.  Oh, I know you
want to say "natural selection," but what is "natural?"  Doesn't that
suggest predicatbility and yet you say that no intelligence was needed for
these things to occur.  Obviously not all systems are exactly the same or
even similar enough to hint at a common gene pool, but that's what evolution
suggests.  On the other hand, the... well, creation of these things clearly
and without a rational doubt required pre-existing intelligence to organize
them.

Continued in PART II...

David McDougall

Chapter 4 | Chapter 6