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Didymus

Must Evolution [read: abiogenesis] and the Big Bang be taken on faith?

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The cornerstone of the problem is the definitions. The problem most here have with religion is that people accept an idea on faith. Folks may have personal experiences that lead them to believe in a higher power... But this is not repeatable at will, falsifiable, verifiable, etc. Thus, a matter of "faith" which, by definition, is not reasonable. Because there is no objective evidence for it.

 

That being said.... Almost everyone here puts faith in something supernatural for which they have no tangible evidence, but which they believe is perfectly rational. How could a singularity with literally infinite gravity (at the very least, the combined masses of all black holes in existence) explode in a big bang? We don't know.... But it's taken on faith that it did. In spite of the fact that we have no functional idea how that happened.... It's still preached and defended with religious fervor.

 

Likewise, how did evolution begin? In our best experiments, we can barely produce s fraction of a protein... And only under perfect conditions... Usually mutually exclusive conditions.... I.e. there must have been an atmosphere to block out the sun, yet there could have been no oxygen or other gases that would have destroyed the proteins. ...yet, it's taken on faith that it must have happened without so much as a theory, let alone evidence for that theory.... Let alone repeatable verifiable falsifiable evidence.

 

Yet, these people's chosen religion is considered perfectly reasonable.... Even something to be preached in schools on tax money to snuff out any opposing religious ideas.... Yet denying that those ideas are religous themselves.

 

The only way to avoid faith is to not even wonder about anything for which you don't already have evidence. This would yield a sad and sterile world.

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That being said.... Almost everyone here puts faith in something supernatural for which they have no tangible evidence, but which they believe is perfectly rational. How could a singularity with literally infinite gravity (at the very least, the combined masses of all black holes in existence) explode in a big bang? We don't know.... But it's taken on faith that it did. In spite of the fact that we have no functional idea how that happened.... It's still preached and defended with religious fervor.

 

No, if you think this is a matter of faith, then you haven't studied it enough. There is a point when you work backwards towards the actual moment of expansion where the math can't help (yet), but none of it is taken on "faith". When you have as much supportive evidence for an explanation as the Big Bang does, it's intellectually dishonest to compare it with blind, wishful "faith" that has NOTHING to support it scientifically.

 

Likewise, how did evolution begin? In our best experiments, we can barely produce s fraction of a protein... And only under perfect conditions... Usually mutually exclusive conditions.... I.e. there must have been an atmosphere to block out the sun, yet there could have been no oxygen or other gases that would have destroyed the proteins. ...yet, it's taken on faith that it must have happened without so much as a theory, let alone evidence for that theory.... Let alone repeatable verifiable falsifiable evidence.

 

Yet, these people's chosen religion is considered perfectly reasonable.... Even something to be preached in schools on tax money to snuff out any opposing religious ideas.... Yet denying that those ideas are religous themselves.

 

The only way to avoid faith is to not even wonder about anything for which you don't already have evidence. This would yield a sad and sterile world.

 

Evolution is a process, not an event, and as such has no beginning. It requires only life. You have misunderstood it and conflated it with abiogenesis, a typical creationist mistake.

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No, if you think this is a matter of faith, then you haven't studied it enough. There is a point when you work backwards towards the actual moment of expansion where the math can't help (yet), but none of it is taken on "faith". When you have as much supportive evidence for an explanation as the Big Bang does, it's intellectually dishonest to compare it with blind, wishful "faith" that has NOTHING to support it scientifically.

Do you honestly believe this logic is rational? Let's apply the same logic to the counterpoint:

 

If you think Christian creationism is matter of faith, Then you haven't studied it enough. Disagreeing can only mean you need to read more books that agree with my logic. When you accept it as fact, you'll understand it. Until then, the only rational explanation for you to disagree with me is because you need to read more books until you agree. True, God hasn't visibly revealed himself (recently), but none of it is taken on "faith." With so much supportive evidence for Christian creation that it would be intellectually dishonest not to believe it as fact regardless of our current lack of evidence.

 

... I'm not saying the ideas that have gone into that theory are useless... But if we're basing everything on this singularity exploding.... We should define what it is that exploded and how it could exist without being "in" space or time and how literally infinite gravity could be escaped, etc. .... This isn't just nitpicking until I find some minor thing that isn't absolutely understood yet.... This is the basis of the explosion.... Yet science has no explanation for this, yet has the arrogance to assume they can calculate the exact temperature millionths of a second after the explosion? No idea what fueled it or in what state the energy/matter was in or forces necessary to decompress material from a state of infinite compression.... Yet we assume we've "verified" so many details?

 

Sorry to be the one to tell you this.... But that's more magical than any sky fairy explanation I've seen.

 

 

Evolution is a process, not an event, and as such has no beginning. It requires only life. You have misunderstood it and conflated it with abiogenesis, a typical creationist mistake.

I specified that at the beginning. You won't win any debates when you avoid all questions by ignorantly assuming your opponent's ignorance. Disagreeing with the popular opinion isn't the same as not understanding it. People who assume their theories are unquestionable only prove that they've failed to ask a sufficient amount of questions.

 

 

Note... Typed on a cell phone that keeps shifting into Spanish and has a TINY screen. Blame typos on that.

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If you think Christian creationism is matter of faith, Then you haven't studied it enough. Disagreeing can only mean you need to read more books that agree with my logic. When you accept it as fact, you'll understand it. Until then, the only rational explanation for you to disagree with me is because you need to read more books until you agree.

 

Wow, thank you for that!

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Do you honestly believe this logic is rational? Let's apply the same logic to the counterpoint:

 

If you think Christian creationism is matter of faith, Then you haven't studied it enough. Disagreeing can only mean you need to read more books that agree with my logic. When you accept it as fact, you'll understand it. Until then, the only rational explanation for you to disagree with me is because you need to read more books until you agree. True, God hasn't visibly revealed himself (recently), but none of it is taken on "faith."

You know that's a false analogy, right? The story in which a claim appears is not the same as evidence for that claim. A claim is not evidence for itself. The Big Bang has mountains of evidence. Care to try again?

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You won't win any debates when you avoid all questions by ignorantly assuming your opponent's ignorance.

He didn't assume your ignorance. He demonstrated it.

Care to guess how many debates you will win by not understanding that difference?

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If you think Christian creationism is matter of faith, Then you haven't studied it enough. Disagreeing can only mean you need to read more books that agree with my logic. When you accept it as fact, you'll understand it. Until then, the only rational explanation for you to disagree with me is because you need to read more books until you agree. True, God hasn't visibly revealed himself (recently), but none of it is taken on "faith." With so much supportive evidence for Christian creation that it would be intellectually dishonest not to believe it as fact regardless of our current lack of evidence.

 

I lol'd.

 

Nice logic.

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You know that's a false analogy, right? The story in which a claim appears is not the same as evidence for that claim. A claim is not evidence for itself. The Big Bang has mountains of evidence. Care to try again?

Care to explain? Yes, it's satire to illustrate how ridiculous a claim it is to suggest that people who believe in one creative event under very specific conditions that can't be described are foolish.... While people who believe in a more popular creative event under specific conditions that can't be describedibed are perfectly logical because the other person's beliefs are based on an event that lacks verifiable, falsifiable, repeatable empirical evidence.

 

More importantly, the backlash against people who would think critically and challenge the obvious holes combined with obvious efforts to silence opposing theories clearly demonstrates which side has less intellectual honesty.

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Care to explain? Yes, it's satire to illustrate how ridiculous a claim it is to suggest that people who believe in one creative event under very specific conditions that can't be described are foolish.... While people who believe in a more popular creative event under specific conditions that can't be describedibed are perfectly logical because the other person's beliefs are based on an event that lacks verifiable, falsifiable, repeatable empirical evidence.

How about the fact that those very specific conditions were created not because they were the best choice to create the wanted molecules, but because those conditions are what Earth would have been like for protolife. So it was testing the idea that life could develop in those conditions, not whether or not we could make them. IIRC, we can make a fairly functional cell if we chose the conditions, so your analogy was false because it was based on a false premise. The specific conditions weren't created to show that we could make protolife, the conditions were what it would have been like for protolife. His argument of you needing to study more is based on your misunderstanding of the entirety of the field you are critiquing, yours is based on. . . nothing?

 

To shorten that, one 'belief' is based on evidence gathered from multiple fields of inquiry and the other is based on little to nothing. So false analogy.

 

More importantly, the backlash against people who would think critically and challenge the obvious holes combined with obvious efforts to silence opposing theories clearly demonstrates which side has less intellectual honesty.

Anyone can spot holes in an idea that no body holds. When the obvious holes are shown to have been tested, and retested, and the idea is shown to be solid further study is needed to make an argument against a stance. So since the holes you point out are misunderstandings or plain wrong you need to actually learn the material you're critiquing.

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Cool.

 

A: I was talking about the big bang rather than biogenisis... But, we can roll with that.

 

Since your premise is that your belief in that theory takes nothing on faith... I assume you can cite a reference for a particular successful experiment where a viable cell spontaneously formed under the environment we believe the earth had at that point?

 

What details of that study satisfied every possible variable you could think of? .... Since you didn't simply accept on faith that people in labs are inherently smart, so what they claim must be accurate.

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Cool.

 

A: I was talking about the big bang rather than biogenisis... But, we can roll with that.

 

Since your premise is that your belief in that theory takes nothing on faith... I assume you can cite a reference for a particular successful experiment where a viable cell spontaneously formed under the environment we believe the earth had at that point?

 

What details of that study satisfied every possible variable you could think of? .... Since you didn't simply accept on faith that people in labs are inherently smart, so what they claim must be accurate.

You know making a straw-man, shifting the burden of proof, and changing the goal posts are fallacious arguing techniques and makes it seem you are less interested in honest discussion and more interested in trying to muddy the conversion so you can say you win.

 

If you read my post, or others posts, you'll notice that I never said we've had a cell spontaneously form under that environment. That would take incredible amount of time. We did say that abiogenesis and the big bang are based on multiple lines of evidence. You'll also notice that the formation of the cell as we know it now would be post abiogenesis, so not the topic of this discussion. Also, there is no one study that shows everything for anything. Science doesn't work like that, thinking again shows you should really study up on the things you are critiquing. I'll give you a jump start:

 

http://www.sciencemag.org/content/314/5805/1558.full?maxtoshow=&HITS=10&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&fulltext=irene+chen&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=0&resourcetype=HWCIT

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This already looks like it is going to be a mixture of typical creationist semantics and cries of "persecution! persecution!" whenever the OP is challenged. If that is how this thread proceeds it will be closed. That particular brand of creation verses evolution argument has been dead for a long time, and it was without merit when it was alive.

 

@Didymus, if that is not the case then it looks like you may have made the (minor) error of conflating the understanding possessed by researchers in academic fields, with the general acceptance by the public etc that that understanding is "correct".

 

For example, when you said "How could a singularity with literally infinite gravity (at the very least, the combined masses of all black holes in existence) explode in a big bang? We don't know.... But it's taken on faith that it did. In spite of the fact that we have no functional idea how that happened.... It's still preached and defended with religious fervor."

 

Maybe "we" don't know, but the physicists studying it can show with statistically validated confidence that their model has explanatory power for the available data, and is - at least so far - not falsified. If you had a good grounding in scientific rigour you would realise that that's about as close to "certain knowledge" as humans are ever going to get.

For the rest of us, that "we" you mentioned, it's not really a matter of faith so much as generally accepting that the people devoting all of their life and resources to finding stuff out are probably getting somewhere. Our civilisation works by co-operation and division of labour.

 

People in the street do not have "faith" in evolution or abiogenesis or cosmology in the same way that you might have faith in a religious doctrine. The analogy falls down because the structure of the methodologies are different:

  1. A person must have faith in a supernatural claim in a religious text, because it cannot be evidenced.
  2. A person need not have faith in a scientific claim, because the evidence is there to be tested by anyone.

The fact that people rely on what experts say for (2) is not to do with the quality or credibility of that evidence. It's simply because the investigation of the big questions usually requires a great deal of prior study, co-operation, and money, and people who have not devoted their adult lives (as well as, no doubt, their best teenager years) to placing themselves in that position rarely have a clue where to start or the inclination to find out.

 

The fact that things we make descriptive models about so frequently work with the predicted accuracy speaks volumes on this discussion.

 

 

Incidentally (well not really incidentally, it's kind of the crux of it all), when you mention evolution in a post like this there are two possible readings of it:

  1. Evolution as an ongoing natural process.
  2. Evolution as a theoretical framework, the academic description of (1).

If you don't make it clear which you are talking about, in a discussion like this, you will basically invite people to assume you are denying (1) occurs. Naturally that is going to affect the direction of the thread quite a bit!

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The cornerstone of the problem is the definitions.

 

 

Yes, and you've provided a perfect example. Abiogenesis IS NOT evolution and vice versa so don't try to define either in terms of the other. Your attempt to do so is a common creationist mistake.

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It seems that a phrase wasn't communicated clearly enough.

 

This thread was split off from another, where the original poster essentially asked of science would be open to religion or faith of any sort. My response was that it already does. I agree that the extent to which evolution has been observed, it's rational and verifiable, however great faith is placed in the foundation of evolution, which is biogenisis. Just because a person relates the two does not mean that person doesn't understand the differences. In fact, that's the entire point. I agree that genetic traits are selectively passed down as this has been observed. Darwin saw a bunch of finches and believed that they had a common bird ancestor. This is a logical step. To extend this to stating that the finch shares a common ancestor with the tree it sits on.... Is a leap in faith that has never been verified and can not be supported no matter how many studies show the relationship between different breeds of dogs or corn.

 

A similar step is to ask, if we all came from a single cell.... How did that cell get here? Yes, that's the start of a separate theory, but a related one. One that has no direct evidnce, yet is accepted on faith.

 

If anyone has found or read about direct evidence supporting biogenisis.... I'd like to see it. Any who accept a theory for which they have seen no evidence... Are taking part in the "faith" machine they seem to be so vocal against.

 

I'm not "crying persecution"... I understand my limitations. I'm simply pointing out the logical blasphamy of telling people how foolish it is to have faith in (something other than what you have faith in).

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There is quite a difference, though. In religious faith you have to accept a (often complex) doctrine at face value and never question it.

In biology you do not have faith in abiogenesis. Instead there ware some fundamental aspects that all evidence point to. The first is that all organisms are related. Considering what we do know about evolution there is strong evidence that we therefore have to have a common ancestor of sorts (there may have been more, but if they existed they vanished without leaving identifiable traces).The question is now how did the original organims develop, the core of abiogenesis, if you will. The whole discussion is based on known (or newly identified) molecular processes that may pertain to that (such as enzymatic functions and replicating abilities in very simple molecules). There is no complete doctrine given at face value that you will have to subscribe to, as in a religious context.

Instead, we have questions. Lots of them. Nothing is dependent on faith.

Why then are religious theories mostly not considered? Well, based on our biochemical knowledge highly complex structures can arise from very simple molecules (remember, every whale was a single cell once). So the hypothesis that some analogous may have led to the first cell is something that you can investigate and test. On the other hand, assuming it just appeared supernaturally is not testable and therefore requires a leap of faith to fully accept it.

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How could a singularity with literally infinite gravity (at the very least, the combined masses of all black holes in existence) explode in a big bang?

There is no evidence that such a thing happened and therefore no reason to believe it happened. It appears you don't know what the big bang theory says. It has nothing to do with "creation" or explosions. It is simply a description of the evolution of the universe from an earlier hot dense state, based on the available evidence. I don't see where faith comes into it.

 

 

Likewise, how did evolution begin? In our best experiments, we can barely produce s fraction of a protein... And only under perfect conditions... Usually mutually exclusive conditions.... I.e. there must have been an atmosphere to block out the sun, yet there could have been no oxygen or other gases that would have destroyed the proteins. ...yet, it's taken on faith that it must have happened without so much as a theory, let alone evidence for that theory.... Let alone repeatable verifiable falsifiable evidence.

There are a number of hypotheses for the origin of life based on the currently available evidence. There are a great many unanswered questions still. So what? I fail to see where faith comes into it.

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To extend this to stating that the finch shares a common ancestor with the tree it sits on.... Is a leap in faith that has never been verified and can not be supported no matter how many studies show the relationship between different breeds of dogs or corn.

 

All known extant (surviving) organisms are based on the same biochemical processes: genetic information encoded as nucleic acid (DNA, or RNA for many viruses), transcribed into RNA, then translated into proteins (that is, polymers of amino acids) by highly conserved ribosomes. Perhaps most tellingly, the Genetic Code (the "translation table" between DNA and amino acids) is the same for almost every organism, meaning that a piece of DNA in a bacterium codes for the same amino acid as in a human cell. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evidence_of_common_descent

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One cell hooked up with chloroplasts, another with mitochondria. From them we got the tree and the finch.

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There is quite a difference, though. In religious faith you have to accept a (often complex) doctrine at face value and never question it.

If you think a requirement of theology is that it's accepted without question... You've never adequately researched religion. Some require that it is constantly questioned.

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If you think a requirement of theology is that it's accepted without question... You've never adequately researched religion. Some require that it is constantly questioned.

 

Can you describe which religion you are arguing for? I was a hard studying christian for 14 years spending many, many hours of my day to study and prayer. The more I actually studied the bible the more I was compelled to abandon Christianity. If you are indeed christian then we are talking about a religion which indeed does require you to take everything on faith... otherwise you will burn in hell for eternity.

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If the longer you study, the less questions you want to ask... You haven't been studying correctly from the start. If you studied with someone pressuring you to question things less, this person wasn't qualified to begin with.

 

Similarly, when an idea is presented that requires a person to simply accept that it's the way things are and you need to simply accept it without bothering to see the evidence for yourself.... That's a symptom of an idea that begs the most scrutiny.

 

Those who attack others for questioning what they haven't questioned themselves are only doing themselves a disservice.

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If you think a requirement of theology is that it's accepted without question... You've never adequately researched religion. Some require that it is constantly questioned.

 

He was talking about having religious faith, not the academic practice of theology.

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Darwin saw a bunch of finches and believed that they had a common bird ancestor. This is a logical step. To extend this to stating that the finch shares a common ancestor with the tree it sits on.... Is a leap in faith that has never been verified and can not be supported no matter how many studies show the relationship between different breeds of dogs or corn.

 

This is simply an argument from ignorance.

 

Common ancestry between vertebrates and plants is supported by multiple lines of evidence, e.g.:

 

- Phylogenetic analysis supports common ancestry.

- Biogeographic studies support common ancestry.

- Common developmental processes across eukaryotes support common ancestry.

- Common cellular structures across Eukaryota (e.g., cytoskeleton, endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi bodies, vacuoles, lysosomes, peroxisomes, the nuclear envelope) supports common ancestry

- Conserved cytogenetic structure (i.e., a genome consisting of multiple linear chromosomes) supports common ancestry.

-The common presence of mitochondria supports common ancestry.

- Common translational machinery (i.e., 80S ribosomes) supports common ancestry.

- The orthology of the bulk of eukaryotic genomes strongly supports common ancestry.

 

To name a few.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evidence_of_common_descent

 

Inferring common ancestry across the tree of life is the most parsimonious way to explain all of the observational data, gathered from a diverse range of sources we have. It is not a blind leap of faith - characterizing it as such would suggest that the multiple lines of supporting evidence have not been considered.

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He was talking about having religious faith, not the academic practice of theology.

 

And, from what he communicated, it seemed that his objection to that faith was that it had to be accepted without question (I'd assume certain individuals were also taking advantage of the unquestioning faith they required). I have no reason to call into question the honesty of his faith or his intent or any of that... but if someone pushed a theory inappropriately (by demanding unquestioning acceptance)... try keeping the theory, but questioning every aspect of it... rather than agreeing not to question it, but throwing the theory out on the basis of it not being questioned. The fact that he left, thinking that in order for a person to be religious, they must not question it demonstrates he never gave it a fair shake from the beginning because (by the fault of those teaching him), he never learned the theory to begin with, no matter how long he sat patiently waiting to believe it. The bible refers to such empty faith as a "dead faith." It's not the fault of the person or the faith itself... but the fact that the faith wasn't "used."

 

It's like having a gym membership... but never getting any stronger... because no matter how long you own a gym membership, if you don't go and work out... you'll never improve.

 

 

And Arete... Yes... I know that people from different fields make supporting claims. Since we're pointing out fallacies, that's argumentum ad populum. Many people making weak claims... are still a bunch of weak claims. Honestly... Biogeographic studies? This would be like "Proving" the bible because you can prove that Israel exists. Yes, you can find similar species spread out around the environments.... Yes, this very well may support that those species came from a common species. That is absolutely no evidence to extend that two bears came from the same bear to suggesting that the bear shares an ancestor with a fish. Non Sequitur. (although, yes, you can also point out that I made a correlation. Any correlations that disagree with your viewpoint will be called strawman on the basis of it disagreeing with you and therefore you finding it illogical. That's not how fallacies work.)

 

The similarity between cell structures is also circumstantial. Yes, two different kinds will both have mitochondria and other basic parts of a cell. The number of similarities don't "negate" the dissimilarities. Yes, you have a pile of evidence. None of which is substantial under even basic scrutiny.

 

That doesn't negate the work. If we find a way to generate electricity from a lemon... and assume that lemons must have evolved from tiny suns because the sun has energy too.... that conclusion is entirely wrong. That doesn't negate the many uses of a lemon, including it's conductivity. Likewise, there is much we can learn from the functional uses of evolutionary theory. None of it supports the theory that Aerobic multicellular sexually reproducing organisms share an ancestor with anaerobic single cellular asexually reproducing organisms. ... even if some of their structure is comparable.

 

 

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And Arete... Yes... I know that people from different fields make supporting claims. Since we're pointing out fallacies, that's argumentum ad populum.

 

 

 

I'm not discussing claims. I am discussing evidence. data. observations. There is no appeal to popularity, there is appeal to multiple independent observations which support the same conclusion. In answer to the title of the thread: "Must evolution [and the big bang] be taken on faith?" has a clear answer - "No". There's multiple lines of evidence which are consistent with evolutionary theory.

 

 

 

Honestly... Biogeographic studies? This would be like "Proving" the bible because you can prove that Israel exists.

 

The analogy you suggest doesn't really make sense, and I fear suggests you're unfamiliar with what the field of biogeography encompasses. It is the study of the spatial and temporal distribution of organisms, and the process which drive the changes in distributions. Current and past distributions of organisms support common ancestry. For example, relationships between the biota of Africa, South America and the Antipodes are consistent with common ancestry of these organisms of the prehistoric super-continent Gondwana. http://www.sciencemag.org/content/294/5550/2348.short

 

 

 

That is absolutely no evidence to extend that two bears came from the same bear to suggesting that the bear shares an ancestor with a fish.

 

This is simply more argumentum ad ignoratum. You're saying that speciation can occur, but only if the morphology of the extant species isn't dissimilar enough to invoke your ridicule. It's an arbitrary line in the sand, similar to believing in weeks, but not years. It also ignores the multiple other lines of evidence which support common ancestry, especially of vertebrates.

 

 

 

Any correlations that disagree with your viewpoint will be called strawman on the basis of it disagreeing with you and therefore you finding it illogical.

 

Observations like what?

 

The similarity between cell structures is also circumstantial. Yes, two different kinds will both have mitochondria and other basic parts of a cell. The number of similarities don't "negate" the dissimilarities.

 

Negate? I'm confused here - eukaryotic cell structure and function is by and large common across the group. It's not cherry picking to point out the similarities - most of the structure and function of a eukaryotic cell is not different across the taxonomic kingdom. http://www.shmoop.com/biology-cells/most-eukaryotic-cells.html

 

This is not to mention the fact that the genomes of eukaryotic organisms are highly similar, even in large, non-coding regions. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S096098220300558X

 

Or that the morphology of extinct species is consistent with common ancestry http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v486/n7402/full/nature11080.html

 

etc.

 

As I stated at the beginning of this post - I'm discussing evidence, from multiple, independent sources which are consistent with common ancestry.

 

 

None of which is substantial under even basic scrutiny.

 

Then it should be simple to offer a rebuttal that doesn't rely on incredulity. Even an example of an observation inconsistent with common ancestry would be a starting point.

Edited by Arete

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