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Offline SolitaryDisciple

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Can a Christian support evolution?
« on: November 25, 2011, 05:06:03 PM »
I posted this question here because there isn't a specific one for science. I would like to see a forum started on science here. That would be fantastic.

I think that there are certain elements of evolution that may be true. Natural selection is one. But I question macroevolution. I know that there is a lot of evidence to support the idea of humans and apes sharing a common ancestor, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the conclusion that humans and apes MUST have evolved from the same group is inescapable.

Minor changes like Darwin's finches and their beaks is one thing. Sure, I believe that happens. But people coming from other primates? I highly doubt this.

What do you think?

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Can a Christian support evolution?
« on: November 25, 2011, 05:06:03 PM »

Offline fcadcock

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Re: Can a Christian support evolution?
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2011, 01:36:37 AM »
I agree.  To an extent, evolution does happen.  Over time, species do adapt to new environmental challenges.

But as far as if humans and monkeys shared a common ancestor, I really can't give an answer other than God's plan was fulfilled.  If in our creation, he took a shortcut and caused us to evolve from primates, then that's fine by me.  I'm here today, and God is the reason.  The truth is that there is no surviving evidence from that time which has ever been found, so we will most likely never know.


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Re: Can a Christian support evolution?
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2011, 01:36:37 AM »

Offline Akaroa

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Re: Can a Christian support evolution?
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2012, 03:01:50 AM »
A messageboard that gets right into this topic with rip-roaring debates between Christians and athiests over evolution is [link deleted]. Look under 'communities' for the New Age and Spirituality messageboard. There are tons of threads on this topic.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2012, 04:11:46 PM by Wycliffes_Shillelagh »

Offline Victor08

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Re: Can a Christian support evolution?
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2012, 12:16:15 AM »
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/evolution-fact.html
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One of the best introductory books on evolution (as opposed to introductory biology) is that by Douglas J. Futuyma, and he makes the following comment:

A few words need to be said about the "theory of evolution," which most people take to mean the proposition that organisms have evolved from common ancestors. In everyday speech, "theory" often means a hypothesis or even a mere speculation. But in science, "theory" means "a statement of what are held to be the general laws, principles, or causes of something known or observed." as the Oxford English Dictionary defines it. The theory of evolution is a body of interconnected statements about natural selection and the other processes that are thought to cause evolution, just as the atomic theory of chemistry and the Newtonian theory of mechanics are bodies of statements that describe causes of chemical and physical phenomena. In contrast, the statement that organisms have descended with modifications from common ancestors--the historical reality of evolution--is not a theory. It is a fact, as fully as the fact of the earth's revolution about the sun. Like the heliocentric solar system, evolution began as a hypothesis, and achieved "facthood" as the evidence in its favor became so strong that no knowledgeable and unbiased person could deny its reality. No biologist today would think of submitting a paper entitled "New evidence for evolution;" it simply has not been an issue for a century.

- Douglas J. Futuyma, Evolutionary Biology, 2nd ed., 1986, Sinauer Associates, p. 15

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Re: Can a Christian support evolution?
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2012, 12:16:15 AM »

Faith.Man

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Re: Can a Christian support evolution?
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2012, 07:25:20 PM »
As a man of science (mechanical engineer), I would also like to see a science sub-forum where some of the issues of science (evolution, age of the earth/universe, etc), could be discussed.  It would need to be closely monitored though, as such discussions quickly become heated.  

There are many self-described Christians who believe in evolution.  I am not one of them.  There is a way to reconcile science and Genesis without treating Genesis in an allegorical manner.   As a Fundamentalist Christian, I believe the Bible should be taken literally, unless it is obvious it should be taken another way.  I believe in the Ruin-Reconstruction Theory (aka Gap Theory) of interpreting Genesis 1:1-1:3.  This makes sense to me.

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Re: Can a Christian support evolution?
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2012, 07:25:20 PM »



Offline Cally

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Re: Can a Christian support evolution?
« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2012, 09:15:56 PM »
As a man of science (mechanical engineer), I would also like to see a science sub-forum where some of the issues of science (evolution, age of the earth/universe, etc), could be discussed.  It would need to be closely monitored though, as such discussions quickly become heated.  

There are many self-described Christians who believe in evolution.  I am not one of them.  There is a way to reconcile science and Genesis without treating Genesis in an allegorical manner.   As a Fundamentalist Christian, I believe the Bible should be taken literally, unless it is obvious it should be taken another way.  I believe in the Ruin-Reconstruction Theory (aka Gap Theory) of interpreting Genesis 1:1-1:3.  This makes sense to me.


I think is just a logically-foolish theory. If some Christians believe it and reconcile it with the fact that God created all living things. . . I'm not sure I'd say it says anything about their faith.

Offline wonby1

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Re: Can a Christian support evolution?
« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2013, 10:03:31 PM »
The reason it's an issue is because many in the church come out and say that you can't be a Christian and believe in any part of evolution.  Then you have those in science saying the exact same thing, all because of how they interpret Genesis.

It reminds me of the time of Galileo.  The church insisted that his findings were heretical to the teachings of the Bible.  Although we scoff at this notion today, back then it almost cost the man his life.

For many, the realy problem lies with the age of the earth.  Anyone who knows much about science can tell you that there are three different ways to verify the age of the universe as billions of years old.  This means that if you can undermine a method such as carbon dating, there are other methods to come to the same conclusion from other areas of science.

I often struggled with this topic until I read "Genesis and the Big Bang" by Dr. Gerald Schroeder.  He is both scientist and theologian.  After all, to marry both fields one must have knowledge in both to make correlations.  In the book he cited ancient rabbis who came to the conclusion that the earth was much older than 6 thousand years.  They reasoned this merely from the Hebrew terms used to describe morning and evening which were translated as meaning "disorder" and "order" by the rabbis. 

It is an interesting book for those interested in Old Earth Creationist views.

All that I know is that the majority of our origins is a mystery, yet some proclaim to have all the answers.  In reality, we are just like Job.  We don't know all the answers but are surrounded by those who would judge us and tell us they do know all the answers.

Offline BF

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Re: Can a Christian support evolution?
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2013, 09:39:31 AM »
The reason it's an issue is because many in the church come out and say that you can't be a Christian and believe in any part of evolution.  Then you have those in science saying the exact same thing, all because of how they interpret Genesis.

It reminds me of the time of Galileo.  The church insisted that his findings were heretical to the teachings of the Bible.  Although we scoff at this notion today, back then it almost cost the man his life.

For many, the realy problem lies with the age of the earth.  Anyone who knows much about science can tell you that there are three different ways to verify the age of the universe as billions of years old.  This means that if you can undermine a method such as carbon dating, there are other methods to come to the same conclusion from other areas of science.

I often struggled with this topic until I read "Genesis and the Big Bang" by Dr. Gerald Schroeder.  He is both scientist and theologian.  After all, to marry both fields one must have knowledge in both to make correlations.  In the book he cited ancient rabbis who came to the conclusion that the earth was much older than 6 thousand years.  They reasoned this merely from the Hebrew terms used to describe morning and evening which were translated as meaning "disorder" and "order" by the rabbis. 

It is an interesting book for those interested in Old Earth Creationist views.

All that I know is that the majority of our origins is a mystery, yet some proclaim to have all the answers.  In reality, we are just like Job.  We don't know all the answers but are surrounded by those who would judge us and tell us they do know all the answers.
 

Last paragraph is so true.  I grew up indoctrinated in creationist views.  It's blasphemy to suggest anything else to my 80 year old pastor father.  He even had a Creationist scientist visit the church to talk. 

Dr. Francis Collins does not let his evolutionary beliefs stand in the way of his faith.  Being open minded is such a fear for some.  As an adult, I realize my faith is strong and I'm not afraid to consider new findings in any area.  If aliens landed tomorrow, it would not shake my faith. Ha-it would only make me question how I understood it.  It would just give me new insight to God's mind and ways.  People get so defensive about things God didn't assign us to defend.  I think the basis is fear, the way a toddler throws a tantrum if you try to take their pacifier or security blanket or panics when you turn the corner into the other room.  I know God is God and all will be well, regardless of new discoveries

Offline The Society

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Re: Can a Christian support evolution?
« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2013, 10:10:06 AM »
It really comes down to how you interpret the first chapter in Genesis.  A lot of people believe that when it says day the Bible means 24 hours.  If this is the case than evolution is impossible because it would take tons of years for the process to be complete.

On the other hand some regard the "day" in Genesis as more of a period of time - several thousand years possibly.  If this is the case than there is certainly room for evolution to exist.

The next thought then is, what does it mean when it says that God created man?  This could still be evolution.  Buuuuuut what about woman?  She was made from Adam's rib.  This doesn't fit into the evolutionary scene as far as I can tell.

That's my 2 cents

Offline SoylentGreen

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Re: Can a Christian support evolution?
« Reply #9 on: July 03, 2013, 04:54:38 AM »
This is my first post as a new member here and the topic is of interest to me.  I've just submitted an essay to the "Philosophical Review," called the "Effect for Cause, or What for Why Fallacy, A Critical Response to Richard Dawkins."  In the essay I've quoted from Darwin's "Origin of Species" from the section where he explains the process of natural selection.  The claim is put forth that natural selection acts as a causal agency.

Some scientists are now debating more causal agencies apart from natural selection, but my interest is with those who argue that natural selection should and can be treated as an effect that is itself in need of an explanation.  What brought about this agency of natural selection?  Conor Cunningham mentions this in his book "Darwin's Pious Idea."  I've also quoted Cunningham in my essay and have had some email correspondence back and forth with him.

My essay argues that natural selection is an explanation of what happens in nature, it is not an explanation (except in a limited sense) of why what happens in nature, happens.  It's the explanation of a process that takes place.  It describes this process, but it does not go to the extent of explaining why all of this change that happens, happens.  There is a critical difference between explaining something that has happened, and explaining why this something has happened.  This explains the title for my essay.  What Dawkins and many other scientists are doing, along with many philosophers, is that they are confounding the explanation of an effect for an explanation of a cause, or the explanation of a what for an explanation of a why.

In the essay I've also mentioned a field study in Davis California, around Telegraph Hill, where some researches studied a group of feral pigeons.  Some of the pigeons studied were found to have a distinctive white patch at the base of their tail feathers.  Researches found that these pigeons escape capture by their predators (Peregrine falcons) more often than pigeons without this marking.  They are ten times less likely to be captured.  The researches went so far as to clip these white feathers from some of those pigeons born with this adaptation, and transferred these onto pigeons without this adaptation.  They found that the capture rate of these pigeons that were given these feathers declined ten fold while those pigeons deprived of these feathers increased ten fold.

In a book called "The Making of the Fittest" the author, Sean B. Carroll, cites this study and claims that it proves that these pigeons are evolving under natural selection.

My argument is that the field study is only an explanation of something that has happened in nature.  It does not amount to an explanation of why this something has happened.  Carroll is making a fallacious causal claim in other words.   

In this instance, as in many others, the mistake that scientists are making is that they are confounding two different sorts of explanations.  They are confounding an explanation of something that has happened with an explanation of why that something, has happened.

The same holds true for Darwin's explanation of the causal agency of natural selection.  It's the explanation of something that has happened.  It is not an explanation that helps us to understand why this something that has happened, has happened.

The philosophers David Hume, Immanuel Kant, and even earlier, the philosopher Socrates, pointed out the critical difference between explaining an effect and explaining a cause.  Hume points the distinction out in his "Treatise Concerning Human Nature," Kant points out the same distinction in his "Critique of Pure Reason," and "Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics," and Plato has Socrates mentioning the same critical difference in the "Phaedo" of his "The Last Days of Socrates."  Socrates dismissed the claim of Anaxagoras made in this same regard.  Socrates explains that all Anaxagoras offers is an explanation of something that has happened.  He does not offer us an explanation of why this something that has happened, has happened.

I cite all the relevant statements by all three in my essay.

As a Christian, I see no problem with accepting the fact that the Earth is 4.6 billion years old, or that a progressive emergence of change has swept over the Earth over this course of time.  But evolutionary theory does not explain why this process of emergent change has taken place.  This is where a vast majority of Christians seem lost.  They, just as evolutionists, cannot seem to grasp the crucial critical difference between explaining an effect and explaining a cause, or explaining a what and explaining a why.  But there is a crucial, critical difference whether they care to see it or not, or whether they are able to see it, or not.

I could go on some more, but I think this is enough for now.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2013, 05:19:49 AM by SoylentGreen »

Offline SwordMaster

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Re: Can a Christian support evolution?
« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2013, 03:55:18 PM »
I posted this question here because there isn't a specific one for science. I would like to see a forum started on science here. That would be fantastic.

I think that there are certain elements of evolution that may be true. Natural selection is one. But I question macroevolution. I know that there is a lot of evidence to support the idea of humans and apes sharing a common ancestor, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the conclusion that humans and apes MUST have evolved from the same group is inescapable.

Minor changes like Darwin's finches and their beaks is one thing. Sure, I believe that happens. But people coming from other primates? I highly doubt this.

What do you think?


SD...we need to clarify terminology.

Evolution has four different meanings which evolutionists speed-shift through in order to confuse the issue and eventually force one to concede that evolution (man from amoeba) is truth. First, ADAPTATION is NOT evolution...if we take the basic form of the definition of evolution (change), then yes, life and organisms do change, but this is not "microevolution," this is adaptation, and to call them one and the same is the first step in leading into TOEist's definition trap.

Adaptation is mediated by genetic mechanisms that God has already built into organisms at creation, and only await signalling into expression via environmental cues. This throws evolutionary nonsense out the window, and destroys evolutionary population genetics and other "what-if" explanations that are today taught in our schools as facts when they are nothing more than assumptions based upon unwarranted and illegitimate suppositions (The Assumptions Behind The Theory of Evolution, Authorhouse Publications).

PM me for more info.

Offline SwordMaster

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Re: Can a Christian support evolution?
« Reply #11 on: September 16, 2013, 04:01:28 PM »
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/evolution-fact.html
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One of the best introductory books on evolution (as opposed to introductory biology) is that by Douglas J. Futuyma, and he makes the following comment:

A few words need to be said about the "theory of evolution," which most people take to mean the proposition that organisms have evolved from common ancestors. In everyday speech, "theory" often means a hypothesis or even a mere speculation. But in science, "theory" means "a statement of what are held to be the general laws, principles, or causes of something known or observed." as the Oxford English Dictionary defines it. The theory of evolution is a body of interconnected statements about natural selection and the other processes that are thought to cause evolution, just as the atomic theory of chemistry and the Newtonian theory of mechanics are bodies of statements that describe causes of chemical and physical phenomena. In contrast, the statement that organisms have descended with modifications from common ancestors--the historical reality of evolution--is not a theory. It is a fact, as fully as the fact of the earth's revolution about the sun. Like the heliocentric solar system, evolution began as a hypothesis, and achieved "facthood" as the evidence in its favor became so strong that no knowledgeable and unbiased person could deny its reality. No biologist today would think of submitting a paper entitled "New evidence for evolution;" it simply has not been an issue for a century.

- Douglas J. Futuyma, Evolutionary Biology, 2nd ed., 1986, Sinauer Associates, p. 15



The problem here with Victor is that he is an ardent believer in TOE, even though he has been shown the evidence...because he, like other evolutionists, choose to ignore all of the facts and choose to keep believing what he has been taught. Futuyma is dead wrong in his statement, and he is wrong because the facts (when not doctored by unwarranted and illegitimate assumptions) do not support his claim. When we take the facts of nature at face value, and do not add such unwarranted and illegitimate assumptions to them, they support special creation, not TOE.

Futuyma uses the same battle tactics as all his predesessors - bullying..."the evidence in its favor became so strong that no knowledgeable and unbiased person could deny its reality." At least he is not as bold and engrated as others, calling non-believers in TOE complete idiots, nevertheless, his statements which Victor copies here are demonstrated by pure natural facts, as being out in left field as far as reality goes.

Blessings!

Offline Helen

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Re: Can a Christian support evolution?
« Reply #12 on: September 16, 2013, 04:07:08 PM »
Evolution attempts to stand on four legs, none of which can hold it up, singly or together.  They are time, chance, mutations, and natural selection.  Let’s look at them one at a time, but without spending too much time on any one of them.

Time:  evolution demands an enormous amount of time, for it is claiming that all life we know on earth descended from a common ancestor.  That common ancestor is usually identified as being some kind of one-celled organism.  The earth is said to be about 4.5 billion years old – and right now, for the sake of this argument we are going to go with that idea in terms of orbital, regular years as you and I know them.  The first single-celled organisms were not around until about 3.5 billion years ago.  It took them, from what we read, about another billion years to become multi-celled organisms with cells that had differentiation.  Let’s look at just that for a moment. 

First, a definition.  Generation time is the time it takes the adult of one type of organism to propagate and the progeny to mature enough to propagate themselves.  A generation time for humans would be about thirteen years minimum, but we sure hope our kids wait longer than that!  Apes are between ten and fifteen years.  A lot of animals are about one year.  Rodents are a matter of weeks or months. 

The little E.coli bacteria is twenty minutes.  That’s how we can get so sick so fast, by the way.  Bacteria can replicate at an enormous speed.  For the sake of the argument, and to give every possible advantage to evolution, let’s give our first single-celled organism a generation time of one hour.  And maybe only during daylight hours.  That’s approximately twelve generations in a day.  That’s 4,380 generations in a year. 

Multiply that by a billion years.  That is 4,380,000,000,000 generations.  If a fish were to change to an amphibian, and then to a mammal, and then to us, how many generations would that take?  Now think of the generation times of the larger animals.  Even if we averaged out generation times to one year for all, that means we would need over a thousand times the amount of years the evolutionists say the earth has been in existence to get even the simplest evolutionary changes made.   But we only have 2.5 billion years to get it all done after the first  multicelled organisms appeared.  Evolution does not have enough time if you think about generation times instead of simply years.

Chance:  Evolution depends on beneficial mutations being selected for in a breeding population and also building on one another to produce new forms and functions.  We have not discussed mutations yet, but let’s presume we can get definitely beneficial mutations at this point.  They have two hurdles to cross. 

First, a beneficial mutation must be selected for.   It helps a lot if this mutation, then, is dominant and not recessive.  The only way a recessive mutation can exert its influence is when both parents have it, thus guaranteeing at least some of the progeny will also have it.  This can and does happen, but for a mutation to be selected for, it does help if it is dominant.  Then only one parent need have it.  But that is a minor hurdle compared to what must happen next.

Most mutations are called ‘unexpressed,’ meaning they do not show any effect in the body of the organism – or at least anything we are aware of as yet!  Mutations whose effect can be seen are called expressed mutations.  Expressed mutations run, conservatively, a thousand to one deleterious to possibly beneficial.   There is something else important to understand.  The only mutations we can consider in this argument are called heritable mutations, or those which are passed down from  parent to progeny.  These mutations are carried, in humans for example, in the sperm and egg cells.  We have a lot of other mutations in our bodies, but they aren’t passed down to our children.

Now, if, in any given population, there is one or more than one new negative heritable mutation in each generation, that population is on the way to extinction.  There’s no way around that. It is called "error catastrophe." 

So we have to have less than one negative mutation showing up per generation.  This means you need over a thousand generations to get that beneficial mutation.  Can’t you have more than one positive mutation show up in any generation or every few generations?  There are, after all, probably thousands of animals in one gene pool.  Yes, there are, but if you have two beneficial mutations show up in one generation, then what happened in terms of the multitude of negative mutations which complete the picture? 

And despite the rarity of these beneficial mutations, one must build on another, and then on another, and so on to turn a fish into a frog.  How many generations would it take for the several hundred, or thousand mutations necessary for this to happen?  And what are the chances of that second mutation being just the right sort to not only be selected for but to be in the right place in the genetic package to build on to the first one? 

Mathematically, the chances of it happening are zero.  There is no chance at all that beneficial mutations could accumulate in any population in such a way.  There is a lot more to this argument which absolutely destroys the concept of evolution, but that is enough to try to deal with at first.

So what about mutations?   Mutations are little changes in the genes or other parts of the chromosomes.  Mutations can happen in what appear to be spontaneous ways.  That is just our way of saying, however, that we have not identified all the causes.  We have identified some:  radiation and some chemicals, for example.  When something is known to cause a mutation, it is called a mutagent. 

One of the favorite creation arguments against mutations doing anything beneficial is to say they decrease information.  That is not a good argument unless you take the time to define ‘information.’  There are two distinct types:  stochastic and meaningful.  If I write “aa aba aa” that contains seven bits of information using the stochastic definition.  If I add some ‘c’s so it becomes “aaa ccc baa aa,” then I have added information.  But it means nothing.  However, if I say “do hit me,” there are seven bits of stochastic information that carry meaning.  So that is meaningful information.  If I add three more bits: “do not hit me,” I have added exactly the same number of bits I did before, but I have changed the meaning entirely.    So if you want to talk about mutations changing information, or deleting it, be prepared to define your terms carefully. The cell has to be able to understand the meaning in the mutation. 

What we can say about mutations, though, is that all of them appear to decrease specificity.  Consider a protein.  Here is a rendition of one:

protein

http://caml.inria.fr/pub/old_caml_site/icfp00-contest/images/protein.jpeg



 In a protein, chains of amino acids fold into specific shapes, according to which amino acids are used, the timing of the folding, the temperature involved, and some other variables.  Each protein’s shape determines its use – how it locks on to other parts of the cell to do what it is supposed to do.  When a mutation happens, the protein affected then folds a little bit less specifically.  This usually means something cannot lock on to it effectively or it cannot lock on where it is supposed to.  What a cell usually does with defective proteins is simply take them apart and use the amino acids all over again.  However if the instructions regarding the building of that protein are where the mutation has occurred, then a defective protein will continue being the result. 

It is this decrease in specificity which allows some bacteria, for example, to become antibiotic resistant.  Bacteria can easily mutate back and forth in ‘hot spot’ areas.  These mutations are “A/non-A” mutations.  They simply go back and forth, not on and on and on into different new mutations.  In any bacteria population, then, there will be a variety of ‘types’ – and some of them will have a less specific folding in the area where antibacterial agents are designed to lock on to in order to disable the bacterial.  If the agents cannot lock on, the bacteria survives.  This is how the ‘super bugs’ happen in hospitals which can make people so sick – all the normal bacteria have been wiped out and the super bugs are left to propagate.  The mutations which made them ‘super’ have decreased the specificity of their protein folding and so the antibacterial agents are ineffective with them.  What is interesting, though, is that when these ‘super bugs’ are put back into a wild population of bacteria of their own type, they are quickly wiped out.  That is because, in reality, they are not as robust as the normal bacteria.

That is a long explanation, but that is what mutations do.  They decrease specificity in one way or another, be it with proteins or something else.   

So what would a beneficial mutation be?  It would be something where a loss of specificity of one kind or another yielded some kind of benefit to the organism.  For the bacteria, it means being anti-biotic resistant.  Yet these are not as robust as the general population.  In humans a famous example of a ‘benefical’ mutation is the one which provides resistance to malaria.  This mutation is not as terrific as evolutionists want us to suppose, though, for not only is it recessive, but when both the mother and the father have it, their children are at high risk for sickle cell anemia, which is lethal.  This lack of specificity in making the red blood cell does provide some malarial resistance.  It also brings death to the children when both parents have this recessive gene. 

Beneficial mutations, evolutionarily, are supposed to not only confer advantage, but be able to build upon one another to provide new form and function, so that first cell could, given enough mutations through enough years, become the fern, the hippopotamus, the butterfly.   This is not what we see mutations do, however.  It is far more along the lines of wishful thinking on the part of the evolutionists.

Natural selection:  this is the ‘big gun’ of evolution.  This is what the theory absolutely depends on.  According to evolution ideas, natural selection is what happens when some part of any population is at a disadvantage when the population is under pressure and that disadvantaged section is either killed or simply not able to breed.  This leaves the more advantages section of the population to continue.  The evolutionary idea is that this then leads to a strongly adapted population which has also been helped along by various beneficial mutations which have been naturally selected through time.

Let’s take a look at what actually happens in natural selection – what we have seen happen.  First of all, every population has a variety in its members.  This will be easiest to see using mammals.  Whether it is cats, dogs, horses, or whatever, we see quite a variety in any given population, whether wild or domestic.  Let’s take a hypothetical population of wild horses in Asia.  Some are a little shorter, some a little taller.  Some a little more muscled, some a little less.  Some a little smarter, some a little less.  You get the idea.  Now, let’s put this population under pressure.  Some speedy predators have moved into the territory and the horses with the longer, faster legs are much more likely to survive, right?  Sure.  The horses that don’t survive so well are the ones with the shorter legs. 

But the shorter legs are also the legs which are, biologically, usually a little thicker-boned.  Those thick bones don’t break as easily as thinner, longer bones do.  However, if enough of those shorter-legged horses are killed by our new predators, that particular horse population has just lost a little of their ability to produce the variation of short legged members.   This is natural selection.  It deletes.  It does not add.  Nor can mutations make up the difference.  Even if there were some truly beneficial mutations available to this horse population, they could not build up fast enough to make up for the losses that happen with natural selection.

So what is the final, real result of natural selection?  Endangered species.  Species which are so specialized in the environment in which they live that they are unable to produce enough variety in their members to allow any portion of their population to survive outside of that specific ecological niche.  You simply cannot keep deleting sections of a population due to natural selection and have a population remain robust, able to diversify.  It is that precise genetic diversification which is reduced in natural selection.

We can see what happens on a much faster time scale when we consider breeding our domesticated animals.  When we wanted Thoroughbred race horses, we bred OUT the shorter legs.  When we wanted St. Bernard dogs, we bred OUT the smaller dogs with the lighter coats.  No breeding program can invent something not present in the population being worked with.  We can only breed away from the traits we don’t want.  The result?  The same, in its own way, as endangered species.  The inbreeding in German shepherds, for example, leads to hip dysplasia.  The inbreeding of Dalmations has led to a high incidence of deafness.  In speeding up selection on a domestic basis, we have shown that deleting the ability to vary in a species produces some very undesirable results.   So whether it is natural selection or breeding selection, we get individuals and populations which are not as robust and varied as the originals.

And this takes us straight back to the truth of Genesis 1.  The truth of what we know in genetics points out that, first, older populations were more robust, with greater variation available to any group.  Second, variation becomes limited through time due to natural selection.  Thus, logically, variation potential must have been greatest in the earliest populations.  Genesis says God created these original populations with the built-in instructions that all propagation was to be by kind.  Think of kind along the lines of what we would call family or sub-family in our taxonomic system today:  feline, canine, bovine, equine, etc.  The fact that we can breed donkeys and zebras together, for example, is a strong indication that they were originally from a single parent population.  But that is as far as we can go genetically.  There is no known way for any feline to develop from a non-feline or to become a non-feline.  God said “according to kind” and He meant it.

There is an interesting list which appeared in National Geographic of October 1999.  On page 51 was the following list of problems associated with mutations in the human genome.  If any evolutionist has some similar list of beneficial mutations, we would really appreciate knowing about it.  Please keep in mind, as you read this list, that one of the evolutionary claims is that natural selection weeds out bad mutations….

Chromosome 1

1.Malignant melanoma
2.Prostate cancer
3.Deafness

Chromosome 2

1.Congenital hypothyroidism
2.Colorectal cancer

Chromosome 3

1.Susceptibility to HIV infection
2.Small-cell lung cancer
3.Dementia

Chromosome 4

1.Huntington’s Disease
2.Polycystic kidney disease

Chromosome 5

1.Spinal muscular atrophy
2.Endometrial carcinoma

Chromosome 6

1.Hemochronatosis
2.Dyslexia
3.Schizophrenia
4.Myoclonus epilepsy
5.Estrogen resistance

Chromosome 7

1.Growth hormone deficient dwarfism
2.Pregnancy-induced hypertension
3.Cystic fibrosis
4.Severe obesity

Chromosome 8

1.Hemolytic anemia
2.Burkitt’s lymphoma

Chromosome 9

1.Dilated cardiomyopathy
2.Fructose intolerance

Chromosome 10

1.Congenital cataracts
2.Late onset cockayne syndrome

Chromosome 11

1.Sickle cell anemia
2.Albinism

Chromosome 12

1.Inflammatory bowel disease
2.Rickets

Chromosome 13

1.Breast cancer, early onset
2.Retinoblastoma
3.Pancreatic cancer

Chromosome 14

1.Leukemia/T-cell lymphoma
2.Goiter

Chromosome 15

1.Marfan’s syndrome
2.Juvenile epilepsy

Chromosome 16

1.Polycystic kidney disease
2.Familial gastric cancer
3.Tuberous sclerosis-2

Chromosome 17 (NG did this in detail as an example)

1.RP13 – retinitis pigmentosa
2.CTAA2 – cataract
3.SLC2A4 – diabetes susceptibility
4.TP53 – cancer
5.MYO15 – deafness
6.PMP22 – Charcot-Marie-Tooth neuropathy
7.COL1A1 – osteogenesis imperfecta; osteoporosis
8.SLC6A4 – anxiety-related personality traits
9.BLMH – Alzheimer’s disease susceptibility
10.NF1 – neurofibromatosis
11.RARA – leukemia
12.MAPT – dementia
13.SGCA – muscular dystrophy
14.BRCA1 – breast cancer; ovarian cancer
15.PRKCA – pituitary tumor
16.MPO – yeast infection susceptibility
17.GH1 – growth hormone deficiency
18.DCP1 – myocardian infarction susceptibility
19.SSTR2 – small-lung cell cancer

Chromosome 18

1.Diabetes mellitus
2.Familial carpal tunnel syndrome

Chromosome 19

1.Myotonic dystrophy
2.Malignant hyperthermia

Chromosome 20

1.Isolated growth hormone deficiency
2.Fatal familial insomnia
3.Creutzfeldt-Jakob’s disease

Chromosome 21

1.Autoimmune polyglandular disease
2.Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Chromosome 22

1.Ewing’s sarcoma
2.Giant-cell fibroblastoma

X Chromosome

1.Color blindness
2.Mental retardation
3.Gout
4.Hemophilia
5.Male pseudohemaphroditism

Y Chromosome

1.Gonadal dysgenesis

Mitochondrial DNA

1.Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy
2.Diabetes and deafness
3.Myopathy and cardomyopathy
4.Dystonia

The beginning was the best – before mutations, and when so much variety was built into each original population that diversification would be the norm.   This is what the Bible tells us was the true origin of the species.

Offline SwordMaster

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Re: Can a Christian support evolution?
« Reply #13 on: September 16, 2013, 04:16:55 PM »
Quote
Some scientists are now debating more causal agencies apart from natural selection, but my interest is with those who argue that natural selection should and can be treated as an effect that is itself in need of an explanation.  What brought about this agency of natural selection?


I studied natural selection for five years, in an effort to try and get a natural understanding of what Darwin and others were trying to convince us of...and the conclusion that I came to is that there is a natural selection, but it does not operate in the metaphysical way that evolutionists want it to.

As a word picture, if we take a 10 gallon fish tank complete with fish, rocks at the bottom, plastic water plants, filled with water, etc., natural selection is represented by the rocks at the bottom of the tank, and the water which surrounds everything in the tank represents chance.

Natural selection does NOT weed out the inferior within a population, it weeds out "whoever gets killed" and that's it...the antelope that is running from the lion, gets a speck of dust that is flying around the air from the chase into his eye, he can't see the hole that he steps into, snapping his leg in two...the next thing he knows, the fangs of the lion sink into his throat. Nothing to do with being weak, sickly, or inferior - and everything to do with chance.

The tiny krill floating through the ocean currents, inhaled by a whale as it passes this way...nothing to do with being weak, sickly, or inferior...just chance.

We could go on and on...and in every scenario, chance rules. But...you can't make an evolutionary theory of nature creating all living things around you according to natural chance, so we have to look at something else and assign to mother nature the metaphysical powers of culling and directing the evolution of organisms. Anyone with half a brain, that will sit down and read the explanations that TOEists try desperately to make natural selection sound like real science, and then ask the hard questions that TOE can't answer, will see the truth of it.

Evolutionary theory belongs in the trash can, because it is a cumulative, explanatory collection of lies promulgated by men who desired to be free of God. And if any true Christian is caught up in those lies, once the facts of science are shown to them outside of the unwarranted and illegitimate assumptions TOEists attach to them, I am sure they will change their minds.

Blessings!

 ::preachit::

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Re: Can a Christian support evolution?
« Reply #14 on: September 16, 2013, 04:26:53 PM »
Here is a paper I have on the subject of mutations, it was reviewed and approved by Dr. Berry Hall, who is quoted and referenced several times.

This is part I


Delineation of Current Terminology: Confusion of the Mutation Issue
D. A. Schoch (2011)


ABSTRACT

     WITHIN the last few decades, awareness has developed in the world of genetics having to do with the nature of genetic change. According to classical thought, DNA damaging events and mutations occur randomly throughout the genome of organisms purely by accident. However, a growing body of evidence demonstrates that some genetic change occurs in non-replication, non-random events. The literature gives evidence of two distinct categories of genetic change addressed by the single term “mutation.” These two categories consist of (1) replication-dependent, random chance genetic changes, and (2) non-random chance genetic adaptive change that originate as non-replication dependent changes. Logically, failure to distinguish between these two processes by separate terminology may have caused problems in understanding genetic systems. This paper aims to examine and make delineation between these two phenomena, so further research can proceed with improved knowledge and understanding of genomic processes, which require clear differentiation. Reasonable misunderstanding of many issues concerning heritability, variation, adaptation, and especially mutation, appear as potentially misleading factors without such demarcation. This has the potential of directly affecting cancer research, as well as other pertinent medical fields dealing with genetic diseases.


Keywords: mutation, genetic changes, VGC’s, adaptation, biotic entropy.


INTRODUCTION

     WHY do we observe some mutations arriving on the scene exactly when needed for the survival of organisms? If mutations do indeed exist as random, undirected events, why do some demonstrate initiation by genetic mechanisms of the organism? How can mutations exist as both random and non-random genetic events at the same time? Have we discovered a paradox in the nature of genetic change, or are we observing two different phenomena at work? This paper addresses the subject of genetic change. Current belief concerning the nature of mutations has them occurring as random genetic changes with respect to timing and placement within the genome (Elson et al. 2001; Clancy 2008; Hall 1990). In other words, they can hit the genome of an organism whenever and wherever chance might take opportunity. The many causes of mutation, while important depending upon the nature of the topic, are not discussed in this paper. However, it is acknowledged that mutagens can change nucleotides either before, or during, the copying of a gene and if correction enzymes do not catch and rectify these mistakes, the mutation can potentially effect the gene product, which can prospectively effect the health of the organism.
     The term “mutation,” as currently used, denotes the accidental, random chance (ARC) copy error events that take place (or solidified by the failure of correction mechanisms) either before or after genetic replication, and has become plastic to the point of including any and all genetic change. Today, most scientists in the disparate fields of biology hold to this definition. However, the latest data demonstrates this view to be in error and in need of revision. For the purpose of clarity, this paper holds the definition of the word “mutation” as strictly ARC replication-dependent errors.
     From review of the literature, it is a well attested to fact that some genetic change occurring in organisms are not due to ARC replication-dependent copy errors or DNA damaging events. In the papers on the subject, these genetic changes have been called “adaptive” mutations and “Cairnsian” mutations (in any event, they are still called “mutations”). For the purpose of clarity, it is suggested that these “adaptive” changes be called Variational Genetic Changes (VGC’s), which this paper will adopt throughout the remainder of the discussion. This acronym is suggested because, unlike ARC replication-dependent genetic changes, adaptational and variational genetic changes exist as non-ARC changes that originate from allelic material already defined within the organism’s genome. In short, these variation-dependent genetic changes, rather than replication-dependent genetic changes, are mediated by the organism’s genomic mechanisms.
     This paper argues that differential classification and terminology between these two phenomena needs adopting, particularly regarding the observation in the literature that both types of genetic changes have differing mechanisms of origin. This paper demonstrates that two entirely different phenomena exists and argues that the traditionally held view of the definition of mutation subsists in opposition to the evidence in the literature. Because the findings of the data, in which the literature reveals two discrete phenomena rather than only one, go against traditionally held views of the biological community, they have become the seeds of controversy.


DISCUSSION

     Mutations (replication-dependent, ARC genetic changes), as noted earlier, have a variety of causes, both extra-cellular (such environmental agents as radiation, X-rays, gamma rays, and chemical mutagens) as well as intra-cellular (such as normal metabolic processes, methylation, replication errors, and free radical agents). These DNA damaging events fall into several categories, such as oxidation, thermal disruption, methylation, mismatched bases, deamination, depyrimidination, and depurination. These can all cause various types of accidental random changes, such as substitutions, insertions, deletions, inversions, duplications, translocations, frameshifts, transitions, transversions, CPD’s and PPS’s. All of these can lead to serious defects within the organism incurring them, if they are not arrested by the various repair mechanisms found within cells. Such repair mechanisms as nucleotide excision repair (NER), photoreactivation, base excision repair (BER), nonhomologous end joining (NHEJ), homologous recombination repair (HRR), proofreading enzymes, mismatch repair (MMR), microhomology-mediated end joining (MMEJ), translesion synthesis, DNA damage checkpoints, SOS response, and if necessary, apoptosis.
     An organism’s DNA remains in constant exposure to a variety of mutagens that threaten to damage it, therefore, mutations are a part of life. Once the damage occurs, if not repaired, it can lead to mutation. Mutations can lead to hundreds of genetic illnesses and diseases (such as SCA, cancers, and tumors) that seriously hamper the health and well-being of the organism affected, to the point of suffering a painful and early death. Damage to DNA can come from many different sources, both before or during, cellular replication. If correcting mechanisms do not rectify the damage before replication occurs, or immediately afterwards by cellular proofreading enzymes, then from that point forward, the damage will become a replication-dependent mutation. Once the mutation becomes established in the cell (if missed by these correction mechanisms), the cell will no longer recognize it as an error, it will now be considered “fixed” within the DNA.
     The term “mutation” has become extremely plastic in definition, and has the potential to produce major concern. The nature of mutations (ARC genetic change) is degenerative and has entropic effects (the inevitable and steady deterioration of physical systems) upon the genome, which I call “biotic entropy” (BE). The concept of entropy (as it has to do with different fields of biology) has been discussed several times in the literature in different contexts and applications (Barton and de Vladar 2009; Iwasa 1988; Xia et al. 2002). BE is accurately compared to the entropy (measurement of “noise” or degradation) in a system of information (Gray 2009), and DNA is indeed a system of information within the organism. Mutation (ARC, replication-dependent genetic change) introduces random “static” or “noise” in the information contained within the genome that, if not arrested by correction mechanisms, can result in catastrophic illnesses and diseases. However, BE is held at bay, normally, by the cellular repair mechanisms working for the survival of the cell, and ultimately, for the survival of the organism.
     Since the advent of genetics, we have discovered many things about the genome, even more so now that the Human Genome Project has been initiated and completed. We have learned that DNA is divided up into chromosomes, and further divided into genes. We have learned much concerning the genomic processes that take place through the ancient art of animal husbandry, where skillful hands of animal breeders can bring out and sculpt beautiful variations of animals and birds. We have learned about variations of genes (alleles) and even greater – we are learning about how the genome stores these variant alleles, unexpressed, for future need.


Genes in storage waiting for expression

     Research is uncovering the mechanisms of adaptation and gene storage previously hidden. For example, what previously had been thought of as “junk” DNA has been discovered to code for certain RNA sequences, as well as other gene products (Crosio et al. 1996; Huang et al. 2005) in a very highly regulated mechanism of information storage. Most of these sections of DNA that were previously thought of as non-coding regions are introns. Preventing accidental expression of genes when they are not needed is one possible reason genes are broken up by introns, while introns themselves have been discovered to be coding sections in their own right. These are not cases of mutation because they are not DNA injuries or damages, nor are they sought out by repair mechanisms for correction, nor are they replication-dependent changes. On the contrary, they are mediated by genomic mechanisms and carried out with extreme precision and accuracy. It appears that introns themselves are a part of the genomic storage mechanisms that keep unexpressed alleles for future use as the organism may require.
     Genes, having formerly been viewed as linear strings of nucleotide bases found in only one place within the genome, have now been demonstrated to sometimes be scattered in pieces (in trans) throughout the chromosomes like data sets on a computer hard drive. The discovery that genes act like computer data sets that can be reunited with each other and activated for expression is giving scientists in genomic studies an entirely different feel for how the genome works from what has been previously believed. Such trans-mediated gene products have been identified in the Drosophila genes mdg4 (Labrador 2001; Dorn et al. 2001) and lola (Horiuchi et al. 2003), and in the C. elegans genes eri-6 and eri-7 (Fischer et al. 2008). It is reported that genes eri-6 and eri-7 produce separate pre-messenger RNA’s that are trans-spliced together to generate a functional mRNA, eri-6/7. One question brought out by this discovery is: will there be proteins found such as eri-6 and eri-7 that are functional in and of themselves, that are also functional when trans-spliced together into a third functional product? It seems this could be a very real possibility. The main concern for this paper, however, is that trans-spliced genes are being labeled as replication-dependent ARC mutations when they are put back together for expression. The question remains, why are they being called mutations when they are obviously directed by the organism’s genomic mechanisms.
     What’s more, it has been reported by Chung et al. (2007) that there are reading frames in mammalian genomes that are dual-coding. The authors go on to describe three examples of how human genes (GNAS1, XBP1, and INK4a) are dual-coded, so that there are actually two products coded for within one reading frame, or that reading frames overlap one another, producing two different products. Exactly how much of the human genome has dual-coding within reading frames of genes are unknown at this point in time, however these authors have identified forty so far. How many more mechanisms of allelic storage might be found by future research?
     Some of these storage mechanisms have been demonstrated to be mediated by recombination and genomic rearrangements (Foster 2000, 1998; Harris et al. 1996) after being broken apart, presumably to keep them safely inexpressible until needed. Such trans-mediated genes are then spliced together again for expression via recombination or rearrangement mechanisms. Bull et al. (2000) records that recombination-dependent stationary-phase genetic changes take place at multiple sites within the genome. Hall (1998) lists several mechanisms and pathways for these adaptational genetic changes, including base substitutions, frameshifts, excision of mobile elements, and insertion of mobile elements – all mediated by the organism’s genomic mechanisms. Schneider and Lenski (2004) identify insertion sequence (IS) elements mediated by genomic mechanisms that both inactivate genes as well reactivate them when IS elements are excised by those same mechanisms. Schneider et al. (2004) goes on to say that “IS elements are also recognized by the recombination machinery of the cell, leading to complex rearrangements.” IS elements have been demonstrated to be a factor contributing significantly to genetic variability.
     McKenzie et al. (2000) have identified such adaptive changes that are controlled by the SOS response system, as well as adaptive changes that require specific recombination proteins. These events are not ARC mutational changes, they are being specifically managed by specific genomic mechanisms under the control of genetic processes. These authors conclude their paper by stating that, “Understanding the regulation of all of the different adaptive or stationary-phase mutation mechanisms will illuminate when, how, and whether cells adjust their mutation rates and mechanisms, thereby inducing heritable changes, and presumably increasing their options for survival.” Since this paper was published, the answer to the mutation rate has been answered, and will be addressed shortly.




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