TS: Offer your scientific theory of Intelligent Design before the scientific community (not before school children) and weʼll give it a hearing. Or, admit that you and your whole project and your silly syllogisms are deeply dishonest.
Edward: I appreciate the attempts at sarcasm and humor. My own view however is that there is plenty of evidence of things in nature that one might not expect a designer to design. I am not speaking of the argument from icky things, though there are enough of those to be sure, including the Designer not creating every newborn with equal genetic health, but sometimes with the nastiest of diseases, or even allowing something like 50-80% of all fertilized eggs in humans to simply die.
I am speaking firstly, about extinctions. Extinctions of species of early monkeys, early primates, early apes, even species of early humans. Even massive extinctions, of which there appears to have been six or seven, when the Designer simply cleared the earth of huge swaths of his creations that he supposedly took such care designing, just wiping them off the face of the earth en masse.
Secondly, the extinct critters often were less suited than modern day ones to their niches, or were halfway critters. Early flying reptiles were not well suited for flight in many ways that can be distinctly pointed out. The designer, if there was one, often took baby steps designing things, and left behind the many less suited species that became extinct.
On the genetic front, the designer also left behind evidence of genetic changes, like the human chromosome #2, that features a remnant second centromere and reversed telomeric region (inside the chromosome instead of at itʼs end where teleomeric regions are normally found), that together provide loud and clear evidence that a fusion of two primate chromosomes took place in the past. For instance, the chimp and human chromosomes all have distinctive bands that line up, chromosome for chromosome, but the chimp has one extra chromosome, while human chromosome #2 contains visible evidence of being the result of two chromosomes (from a common ancestor of chimp and human) that fused at some time in the past, because the elongated human chromosome has the remnants of such a fusion inside it, but also features the same banding pattern as found on the two chimp chromosomes that it resembles, when the two chimp chromosomes are placed alongside the longer human chromosome #2).
Thirdly, thereʼs the evidence of genetic differences (not just recombination, but different genes) between individual human beings. Most I.D.ists wouldnʼt consider such minor differences between individual human genomes as being due to design, but would probably be open to explaining them as a by-product of mutations, because everyone knows DNA never copies itself exactly from generation to generation. Differences accumulate.
Then thereʼs the larger genetic differences between chimps and humans, our closest living relatives. Again, mutations are likely to leave behind tell tale signs, like when chromosomes fuse and leave behind sloppy visible remnants inside them that they used to be two chromosomes where there is now a single chromosome. Mutations go hand in hand with that kind of evidence.
Then thereʼs the many species on earth that are similar, sometimes closely similar, like different species of zebra fish, but it was recently discovered that one such species of zebra fish has about twice as large a genome as another. The one with twice as large a genome also has many duplicate genes and near duplicates. It appears that the whole genome mutated and doubled in size. And then some of the duplicated genes got lost, while others mutated into near duplicates, some of them being genes that function. Hence new functional genes arose. But does one species that seems so close to the other, really need twice as much genetic material and some new genes? If itʼs a mutation, itʼs a humdinger, whole genome duplication, and it didnʼt kill the species, but added information. But if itʼs a designer that did the whole genome duplication, then why choose to duplicate an entire genome in two such closely related species? The species with the single genome is still getting along fine with just that. The zebra fish remain quite similar to each other. (It happens in plants too, whole genome duplication, and the species still go on, and even look like each other, though the duplicated genomes can lead to new genes that affect hardiness or size).
Apparently there is quite a lot that can happen to a genome and yet the species continues onward. Some species of insects that are closely related have undergone some substantial genetic changes and differences that are often only seen in a single closely related member. Yet there is no apparent reason why a designer would institute such changes since there are plenty of closely related species without such genetic changes that are doing quite well. I mean why is only a single species of bedbug able to stab its penis traumatically into the abdomen of another male of the species that has its own penis stabbed traumatically into the abdomen of a female, so that the male who is stab raping the other male, gets his seminal fluid into the female via the middle male? Itʼs all due apparently to nature finding ways around the vaginal plug of insects. But only one species of bedbug has males that stab rape other males.
Does I.D. make any predictions as to when genetic changes are mutations saved via natural selection and when they are not?
Thereʼs also the weird species that evolve only on islands in the ocean. The first animals of whatever species that reached those islands first, as soon after the islands formed far offshore, is predicted by evolution to diversify and fill unexpected niches, because there were no species there already ensconced and filling each niche. Thus such islands feature unusual species. Evolution via mutation? Hawaii is a good case in point, since the islands there are young, the oldest being only about five million years old. But thereʼs some unusual species of fruit flies, animals, and plants there with unusual behaviors.
The evidence of arms races in nature is also well attested. Changes of one species influence the other, especially in cases of predator and prey species. Even humans, being massive killers of species from bacterial germs to mosquitoes, has affected their evolution. The bacteria evolved resistance to antibiotics, while the insects evolved resistance to pesticides. Interestingly, thereʼs a wide variety of ways that a bacterium or insect can evolve resistance to such things. Sometimes a gene is omitted, and that protects them, sometimes a gene is duplicated, and that protects them. Closely related species may evolve completely different ways of combating the antibiotic or pesticide.
Nature appears flexible, intrinsically so. So much so, that it appears to me evolution is no more impossible than say, the ability of stars to produce every element in the periodic table from simply hydrogen atoms that continue fusing together into heavier and heavier atoms inside each star.
Also, there are quite a few Christian evolutionists out there who are not jumping aboard the I.D. bandwagon for the reasons given above.Labels:darwinism, evolution, genes, genome, intelligent design, naturalism
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