Response #5 to Pastor Al
By Merle Hertzler
Here is the next comment posted to me by Pastor Alfredo Martinez Jr. at my blog.
Here is my response:
I see you write once more objecting to evolution, but you have put nothing in its place. Why not? You have referred to "creation" but that explains nothing. Some people believe that the way God created was by winding up the process of evolution and letting it go. You apparently disagree with those particular creationists. Fine. But what do you propose as an alternate to evolution? I have asked you that before, but so far you have presented nothing. How did new species come into existence?
How, for instance, do you think the first zebra came into existence? Mainstream science has shown conclusively that the modern horse and zebra evolved from a small animal similar to a fox. Do you agree with them? If not, where do you think the first zebra came from? Did it suddenly pop into existence out of nowhere? Were there other animals in existence for hundreds of millions of years before the first zebra, as the fossil record clearly shows? Were there other members of the horse family that lived millions of years before the first zebra? Please answer these questions.
I now respond to some of your comments below:
Your word for "evidence" should actually be called assumptions or reasons and not evidence. The word evidence misleads people.
I use the word "evidence" because that is what it is. I mentioned, for instance, the web page 29+ evidences for evolution, and you have not responded to that reference. Does it not list the evidence? For instance, how would you respond to the nested hierarchy of species? Species always fall into nested patterns of families and groups of families. This fits right in with the theory of evolution, which says that related species are distant cousins of each other. But how can you explain these nested patterns? No other parts of nature fall so easily into distinct nested hierarchies. One cannot unambiguously classify rocks, mountains, planets, or stars that way. Yes, one can artificially classify such things, but each person's classification would be different. The classification of living things, however, are clearly defined, with all cats, for instance, fitting into the cat family and all bats in the bat group. And all cats, bats, and pigs are clearly in the mammal group. Every member of a group meets the distinct diagnostic criteria for that group, and those outside the group do not. Why do living things fall into this obvious nested hierarchy of relationships, but rocks and planets do not? My explanation for this is simple: Rocks and planets did not evolve from common ancestors, but all living things did. What is your explanation?
How, for instance, can you explain that only birds have feathers? Feathers are very valuable as insulation. Many animals could use feathers. But only birds have feathers. Even the ostrich has feathers, which it uses for insulation, even though it does not fly. If God invented feathers, and they are so useful, why didn't he use them where he could? The explanation seems simple. All birds descended from a common ancestor that had feathers. Other animals descended from other ancestors that did not have feathers. Do you have any explanation for this at all?
And telling us that it just so happens that birds have feathers and other do not, and that life has the exact nested hierarchy structure that evolution predicts is not an answer. Why does your God choose to constrain creation in such a way that it fits exactly what evolution predicts?
Many lay people continually speak of overwhelming evidence and mountains of evidence. However, you will not hear scientists or biologists or geologists speak in those terms especially after 1980.
I am sorry, but you seem to be completely unaware of what scientists actually say. For instance, take a look at the site Science and Creationism, by the National Academy of Sciences. That site declares, "Scientists no longer question whether descent with modification occurred because the evidence supporting the idea is so strong." That site also states, "The scientific consensus around evolution is overwhelming." Okay? The evidence is overwhelming: That is what scientists say.
And that document was written in 1999. It was reviewed by many leading scientists. It represents the position of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences. It declares that evolution is a fact, that it is supported by overwhelming evidence, and that there is an overwhelming consensus within science backing evolution.
And somehow you claim that only lay people speak of this overwhelming evidence? Really? Can you name one prestigious mainstream science organization that declares that evolution is not supported by overwhelming evidence? Then how can you possibly make the statement you made above?
Many real things can be proven. The earth being round is not a theory, it is a fact. Any satellite can take a picture and there is your proof. It is a weak analogy used by evolutionists to compare the theory of evolution with other theories. The so called evidence for evolution can be observed many ways, however, we are biased and we choose to observe the "evidence" through our own perspective.
I certainly agree that the earth is round, but somebody could think of alternate interpretations of the photographic evidence. They could tell you that all such pictures of the earth are an illusion or a fake, or they could tell you that God just so happened to make reality in such a way that the flat earth looks round whenever we take a picture. But if we reject those ridiculous proposals, then we know the earth is round.
Mainstream scientists do not accept the answer that says, "The photographic evidence just so happens to be such that the flat earth looks round." Neither do they accept the answer that says, "The nested hierarchy evidence just so happens to be such that non-evolved creatures appear to be related to each other." Why exactly do animal relationships make it look like animals evolved from common ancestors?
The point is, you can't prove evolution. Evolutionist have tried but still, there is no observable macro-evolution and there will not be any. Therefore, you need faith to believe that natural selection or mutation caused all species in the world. Because I am here, there that proves evolution or we don't want any morals imposed on us by a higher being therefore we rather lean towards the "evidence" that confirm evolution.
What about ring species? These consist of a ring of creatures that extend around the earth or a physical feature of the earth. Where the two ends of the ring meet, the two different extremes of creatures function as two completely different species. But as one travels around the ring, one can see each stage of intermediate from one end to the other, with each intermediate creature able to breed with the ones close to it. Now how did that ring species come into existence? I propose that all creatures in the ring species descended from common ancestors, and that they evolved into different forms including the equivalent of two different species at the extremes of the ring. What is your explanation?
You do not need to take it by faith that ring species exist. Just look at the evidence. (see Claim CB910.)
Huh? I gave you a link to 29 evidences for evolution. You ignore that list, and make up 31 straw-man arguments for my position? The arguments you list are not the arguments I make! Why don't you read the arguments actually made by mainstream scientists? Why do you pretend that the arguments you list are what mainstream scientists are saying?
QUOTE: "THE DRIVING FORCE BEHIND EVOLUTION WAS NATURAL SELECTION." This is a huge statement. Do you know how natural selection works? Or, anybody for that matter? I can make clever assumption but does that prove it really happened? Natural selection? Who selected what? Nature or time?
Yes, we know how natural selection works. It works similar to the selection that people used to create the various dog breeds. People continually selected dogs that best matched the characteristics they wanted. Over time, dogs evolved into the breeds that people wanted in a particular area. And so we now have Pointers and Setters, Poodles and Collies, Great Danes and Chihuahuas. Natural selection works in the same way. The forces of nature allow some creatures to survive and pass their genes to the next generation. Animals then tend to evolve in the direction that allows best survival of their species.
Can natural selection or time have the wisdom or capacity to create life? Does sand and water have the wisdom to develop a living cell? If brainless matter as water and sand can develop a living organism, surely we can also, why then haven't we?
Now you are talking about the origin of life? I thought we were talking about biological evolution, which is a completely different subject. So which do you want to talk about? Origin-of-life or biological evolution?
The origination of life required millions of years. That is why humans have not been able to duplicate it.
Scientist are beginning to realize how complicated a living cell truly is. Here are what experts, professionals and scientists are saying:
So now you are going to turn to a bunch of quotes to prove your case? Have you ever read a scientific journal? Have you ever noticed the almost total absence of quotes in such journals? That is because science is based on facts, not on quotes. Quotes out of context mean little. Quoting an authority is even regarded as a logical fallacy. And yet you turn to quotes to prove your point? I prefer facts, not quotes.
Nevertheless, I will humor you and look at your quotes.
"The Darwinian theory of descent has not a single fact to confirm it in the realm of nature. It is not the result of scientific research, but purely the product of imagination." Dr. Albert Fleischman
Fleischman was a Creationist of the early 20th century. So what does this prove? Yes, we know there were Creationists that denied evolution. They may claim the scientific evidence is purely imaginary, but the facts show otherwise.
"It is almost invariably assumed that animals with bodies composed of a single cell represent the primitive animals from which all others derived. They are commonly supposed to have preceded all other animal types in their appearance. There is not the slightest basis for this assumption." Austin Clark, the new evolution (1930) PP.235-236
I find it very interesting that you must go back to 1930 to find a source. Has it not occurred to you that science has advanced since 1930?
Clark seems to be denying only one aspect of evolution, the evolution from single cells to multi-cellular life. He seems to be wondering where the Cambrian explosion, with all of its complex life, came from. I don't think he denied all of evolution.
While there was not much evidence on the emergence of multi-cellular life before 1930, science has come a long way since then.
"The hypotheses that life has developed from inorganic matter is, at present, still an article of faith." J.W.N. Sullivan, The Limitations of Science (1933) P95
Now you turn back to the origin of life issue again? I thought we were talking about biological evolution? Pick a subject, please, and stick with it.
And you turn back to 1933 for your source? You might want to study the modern findings into the origins of life.
"In fact, evolution became in a sense a scientific religion; almost all scientists have accepted it and many are prepared to 'bend' their observations to fit in with it." H. Lipson, "A Physicist looks at Evolution." (1980) p 138
Okay, so now you quote someone who says many scientists are liars who bend their findings if needed? I am sorry, I have found science to be very reliable. Science is based on finding the truth, not in bending the truth. If you want to prove to me that most scientists bend their observations to fit in with preconceived ideas of evolution, prove it. Just quoting one person who makes the accusation does not prove a point.
Now of course it is true that individual scientists have personal biases, and tend to interpret the evidence according to their biases. That is why we have the scientific method. It is designed specifically to overcome those biases, and to lead us to new knowledge in spite of human limitations. And so, although scientists were originally biased against accepting General Relativity or Quantum Mechanics, for instance, they quickly went against their biases and accepted these new views because of the conclusive findings of the scientific method. That is the way science works. So even if evolutionists are biased, one could quickly overcome their biases if one had evidence against evolution. The problem is the evidence.
And if almost all scientists bend their observations to fit their preconceived ideas, thus invalidating their work, do all observers of the earth bend their observations so that it makes the earth appear round when it isn't? If you are going to dismiss scientific studies by declaring that most scientists are liars, then you have no reason to trust any finding of science, not even the finding that the earth is round.
"With the failure of these many efforts, science was left in the somewhat embarrassing position of having to postulate theories of living origins which it could not demonstrate. After having chided the theologian for his reliance on myth and miracle, science found itself in the unenviable position of having to create a mythology of its own: Namely, the assumption that what, after long effort, could not be proved to take place today had, in truth, taken place in the primeval past." Loren Eisley, The Immense Journey, (1957) p199
Once again, you turn to origin of life, and a quote from the past. I thought we were discussing biological evolution, not origin-of-life. This quote has nothing to do with biological evolution.
If you want to hear what modern scientists say about the origin of life, you will need to get out of the 50's.
"My attempts to demonstrate evolution by an experiment carried on for more than 40 years have completely failed. At least I should hardly be accused of having started from any preconceived antievolutionary standpoint." H. Nilsson, Synthetic Speciation (1953) p31
1953? Okay, so we are still quote-mining from the 50's? Would you like to come back to the present, and talk about what scientists know today?
Exactly what was this experiment that failed? And how does that have any relevance to all of the vast validated findings of science? How exactly is it that one failed experiment would disprove all other experiments?
"It is therefore of immediate concern to both biologists and layman that Darwinism is under attack. The theory of life that undermined nineteenth-century religion has virtually become a religion itself and, in its turn, is being threatened by fresh ideas. The attacks are certainly not limited to those of the creationists and religious fundamentalists who deny Darwinism for political and moral reason. The main thrust of the criticism comes from with in science itself. The doubts about Darwinism represent a political revolt from within rather than a siege from without." -B. Leith, The Descent of Darwin: A Handbook of Doubts about Darwinism (1982) p11
A political revolt from within? Oh, please. How is it that you and Leith are so familiar with this revolt from within and the National Academy of Scientists is totally unaware of it? Can you name one organization that claims to represent mainstream science that agrees there is a political revolt within science on the subject of evolution?
Here are what few professionals are saying. Bottom line, you choose to believe in evolution rather than creation. It has nothing to do with facts or evidence because facts and evidence can be produced by both parties
But what about me? I switched to evolution because of the overwhelming evidence. Even if you could convince me that the decision of all others to accept evolution was not based on facts--a blind assertion you have not proven--you still have to deal with me. For I can tell you in all honesty that it is the facts that changed my mind. And I would be glad to discuss those facts with you.
You say there is evidence for both parties? Okay, to which other party do you refer? So far you haven't told us how you think creatures began, or when you think it happened. You have presented us with no alternative party. Please tell us how you think the first zebra, for instance, came into existence. And were there other creatures alive for millions of years before that first zebra? What evidence do you have that it happened the way that you say?
I see no need to leave the evolution party if you won't even tell me what this other party is about.
Why should I leave my faith to believe in your faith? If I am wrong and you are right, then it doesn't matter we will eventually die and everything ends? But if I am right and you are wrong, then you messed up big time for eternity.
So you turn to Pascal's Wager and the fear of hell? Is that what this is all about? Are you scaring others with stories of what might happen if they believe in evolution when they die, even though you yourself cannot prove to them that belief in evolution leads to eternal damnation? Do you close your eyes to the claims of the National Academy of Sciences, for fear that opening your eyes might divert you to hell? Or does your God allow you to honestly research such questions?
Suppose there was indeed overwhelming evidence for evolution, as the National Academy of Sciences claims. Would your God be upset with you if you looked at the data? Would he be upset if you believed overwhelming evidence? Would he tell you to force yourself to ignore the overwhelming evidence? I think not.
I look forward to reading your response. You can reply at the blog, or send me an email to post here on my site.