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The Steven J Thread

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The Steven J Thread

Postby Quasar » Thu Sep 03, 2009 2:59 am

Steven J's sheer maximum levels of awesomeness which are far greater than nine thousand needs to be highlighted more often. He's a brilliant educator, and a powerful communicator of science. Could we turn this into a sticky for replicating Steven J posts?

2rd September, 2009

The Chosen One, Steven J wrote:Ray Comfort said:

regarding //scienceblogs.com/loom/2008/06/02/a_new_step_in_evolution.php/

These are still bacteria. Nothing has changed. There has been no "evolution" at all. This experiment has nothing to do with Darwinian evolution.

Evolution is change in the frequency of inheritable traits in a population over time.

Yes, Lenski's E. coli are still bacteria. And you're still an ape, a anthropoid, a primate, a eutherian, a mammal, an amniote, a tetrapod, etc. These E. coli differ more, genetically and metabolically, from other E. coli than you differ from a baboon.

What do you want of "Darwinian evolution," Ray? The appearance of new traits, new genes, and new abilities? These bacteria demonstrate it. The appearance of new limbs and organs? These bacteria don't, but then, you don't have, yourself, any limbs or organs a tree shrew doesn't possess, and evolution had a lot more than 44,000 generations to produce animals, and then animals with limbs.

If you are a believer in this stuff, please rethink where you are placing your faith. It is a tragedy beyond words when any human being rejects the gospel because he believes that evolution has irrefutable evidence.

I think very few if any human beings reject the gospel because they think that evolution has irrefutable proof; they reject the gospel because they think the gospel lacks sufficient evidence to warrant accepting it, or because they feel that some other sort of evidence (e.g. natural disasters, and the whole "problem of natural evil") is incompatible with a loving and interventionist God. There are plenty of people who accept evolution and still accept Christianity; there are also plenty of creationists who don't think that Jesus Christ is the Creator incarnate.

It doesn’t have any at all. All the "evidence" is as flimsy as this bacteria.

The bacteria illustrate the mechanisms of evolution -- mutation, natural selection, and drift. Other evidence, such as shared ERVs and pseudogenes, the nested hierarchy of species, fossils that straddle boundaries between "kinds," provide evidence for the common ancestry of the species you find more interesting than E. coli

Don’t take anything at face value. Question it. Probe it. And make sure you probe your own presuppositions that have been shaped by a godless worldview.

Oddly, when we do that with respect to your own assertions, we're told that our love of sin lies behind our impertinent and irrelevant inquiries. And the "presuppositions shaped by a godless worldview" would that the world is intelligible and coherent, and that evidence matters. [all emphasis in original]

I like what he said about the E-coli being more genetically removed than we are from baboons.
Last edited by Quasar on Thu Sep 03, 2009 4:31 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The Steven J Thread

Postby Quasar » Thu Sep 03, 2009 3:03 am

2nd September, 2009 (continued)

Buckyball replied to Ray:

fwiw, I have The Origin of Species on order from the library.

Out of idle curiousity, why? Since evolutionary theory is not a religion or political ideology, and since Darwin is not its prophet nor his writings its inerrant and unalterable scriptures, would it not make more sense to get something written since, say, the discovery of genes?

I don't know if your local library has Coyne's Why Evolution is True or Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea by Carl Zimmer, either of which makes up in being up-to-date what they lack in originality. I'm pretty sure it doesn't have Zimmer's new The Tangled Bank: An Introduction to Evolution, since it won't be out for another month and a half. I've heard very good things about it, though (admittedly, many of them from Carl Zimmer, who perhaps is not an entirely unbiased collector of reviews).

Although, I once read somewhere that "there is no theory of evolution. Just a list of creatures Chuck Norris has allowed to live."

Chuck Norris is a selective pressure, not an alternative to evolutionary theory.

:lol:

KnightRider said:

It is a great pity that natural selection is sometimes referred to as "micro-evolution", implying (falsely) that the proposed "evolution" of more complex forms of life from simpler ones is just an extention of the same processes.

"Microevolution" is change in the frequency of traits in a population that does not result in speciation. Evolution, whether micro- or macro-, is not the same thing as natural selection; natural selection (different levels of reproductive success depending on differences between individuals in the population) is a mechanism or cause of evolution.

To be sure, most studies of microevolution focus on adaptive changes, and adaptive changes are thought to be the result of natural selection, so natural selection accounts for most of the microevolution that gets written about. However, genetic drift -- random changes in gene frequencies that don't affect fitness -- is also a cause of microevolution.

In fact, so-called "micro-evolution" isn't "evolution" at all - it is a process of "selection" or "filtering" of desireable characteristics in a species from the less desireable ones. Natural selection is an undeniable process, but it has nothing whatever to do with evolution and cannot be used as evidence for it - it should not be referred to as "micro-evolutuion".

Mutation, which introduces new alleles and even new genes into the population, is also a part of microevolution. Every human being born has, on average, over 100 mutations (mostly to non-coding DNA, but occasionally to genes or regulatory regions) that differentiate him from either of his parents. Mutations have resulted in novel abilities (e.g. the ability of the bacteria in the article cited to digest citrate) or traits (e.g. denser bones or reduced vulnerability to atherosclerosis in humans).

The term "evolution" implies increasing functional complexity, ie the origin of NEW useful genetic information. No evidence exists for such a process. Whether you believe evolution or not, to claim that there is evidence for it is simply an uninformed point of view and serves only to deceive the general population into believing that the theory is supported by scientific evidence - it simply is not.

Biologists define "evolution" to mean change in the frequency of inherited traits in a population. "New useful genetic information" is creationist bafflegab: they can claim that such things don't happen because they either don't define "information" or use multiple mutually-contradictory explanations. One might suppose that if the phrase meant anything, it would include, e.g. the ability of bacteria to digest novel substrates (like citrate, or nylon) or to resist novel poisons.
Last edited by Quasar on Thu Sep 03, 2009 4:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Stephen J Thread

Postby BathTub » Thu Sep 03, 2009 4:02 am

*cough*steven*cough*
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Re: The Steven J Thread

Postby Quasar » Thu Sep 03, 2009 4:30 am

BathTub wrote:*cough*steven*cough*

I'm suuure I don't know what you're talking about. [Mysterious changes to entire thread notwithstanding]
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Re: The Steven J Thread

Postby Whateverman » Thu Sep 03, 2009 6:11 am

Steven J is one of the few reasons I go back to the swamp...
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Re: The Steven J Thread

Postby ExPatMatt » Thu Sep 03, 2009 2:28 pm

Chuck Norris is a selective pressure, not an alternative to evolutionary theory.


That's the winner right there.
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Re: The Steven J Thread

Postby E-lad » Thu Sep 03, 2009 2:39 pm

:idea:

We could archive SJ's comments here and publish them as a book and make $$$ for a hauge SMRT party. Y*:YARR!
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Re: The Steven J Thread

Postby Personal Failure » Thu Sep 03, 2009 2:46 pm

E-lad wrote::idea:

We could archive SJ's comments here and publish them as a book and make $$$ for a hauge SMRT party. Y*:YARR!


hey, i'm all for that.
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Re: The Steven J Thread

Postby BeamStalk » Thu Sep 03, 2009 3:00 pm

E-lad wrote::idea:

We could archive SJ's comments here and publish them as a book and make $$$ for a hauge SMRT party. Y*:YARR!


The money will be used for booze and hookers correct?
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Re: The Steven J Thread

Postby Happy Humanist » Thu Sep 03, 2009 3:11 pm

Steven J. makes me think too hard. Too bad he doesn't have the same effect on Ray. :lol:
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