For some reason, most of the non-published comments this week came from evolution deniers, although, as usual, a few trickled in from outraged citizens of Lebanon, Missouri. Here’s a selection of four that didn’t make it to prime time.
Reader “Jimmy” comments on “Baleen whales: a lovely transitional form“:
What a load of old cods!!! With this kind of logic anything can be advertised as transitional, absolute rubbish! There should be literally millions of transitional forms if Evolution is true, why do we not find them? If you cant get past the basic start of life ie life from non-life why do you carry on with this fantasy? Life cannot start with Oxygen present, Life cannot exist with Oxygen present, sort that out! Dont bother replying I will be out back digging up some extinct creature and passing it off as a transitional form somewhat smarter than the average member of the Evolution Church!!
We have gazillions of transitional forms; are they all to be ignored or discounted? But really, what is this talk about “old cods” (I suppose he means “codswallop“): claiming that life cannot exist with oxygen present? How does that discount that life started in an anaerobic (oxygen-free) environment and, after evolved forms produced oxygen, had to subsequently evolve in that new environment. Does this person not know about adaptation to environmental change.
This kind of willful ignorance—and it is willful since the evidence is readily available—is what we’re up against in the U.S. I could show Jimmy hundreds of transitional forms, including the feathered dinosaur I highlighted a few days ago—and he’d still reject them all. Any bets on whether he’s religious?
Reader “tom” comments on “What would disprove evolution?”
The tree of life is a tidy little concept,intuitive, reasonable,rational, it fully satisfies anyone who has no real interest in thinking much less in verification of fact. In reality there is not even a sniff of proof of any component of the evolution hypothesis. On the other hand anyone who tries to comprehend the sheer statistical probability that a strand of RNA can randomly arrange itself in such a manner as to contain information to build a protein soon comes face to face with cold reality. Ribose is a sugar, an organic molecule which can only be produced by photosynthesis. All attempts to artificially induce its formation have met with failure. To assume this can be realized randomly in pond water is the zenith of stupidity. No attempt to synthesize or induce such synthesis have ever succeeded for any complex molecule associated with creation of a living cell or organism. So given the absence of the most basic components of even RNA, how can a reasonable mind mind conclude it could ever appear via abiogenesis?
Our current understanding of the universe is embryonic at this stage and for people to force fraudulent claims on others as proven science, is a dissevrice to science,and humanity.
Again, we see a flat denial here of evolution—by the same people who gladly take antibiotics whose efficacy is supported by the same kind and degree of scientific evidence that evolution occurred. There’s also the willful and pervasive misunderstanding that the primordial replicating molecule (possibly RNA) “randomly arranged itself.” Of course that wasn’t random: even the original molecules, as Addy Pross shows in his nice book What is Life? How Chemistry Becomes Biology, natural selection had to act on those early precursors, which means that they weren’t assembled “randomly.”
One of the most common tropes of creationists is this: “you haven’t yet created life in the lab yet, and have no idea how it happened.” And yes, that’s a puzzle for the time being.
But I’m pretty sure we’ll be able to create replicating molecules in the lab under primitive Earth-like conditions within a century. What will they say then? Probably this: “Well, you don’t know that it happened that way!” And yes, we won’t, but it doesn’t matter. If we can show that life originated under purely naturalistic conditions, that destroys the creationist argument for God based on the fact that life couldn’t have originated naturalistically.
And beyond that, of course, once it did originate, we have tons of evidence for evolution once early organisms were present. I believe I wrote a book on that evidence. How do creationists deal with that? I suppose they’d say, “Well, yes, evolution might have occurred after God created the first living thing, but that first thing had to be created.” But no creationist says that, not even advocates of Intelligent Design. They fall back on our present ignorance of how life began only because we have so much evidence that once it did begin, it evolved. In other words, they’re using the origin of life as a god-of-the-gaps argument.
Reader “Brent Dawes” comments on “OMG: a three-ton wombat!”
Why Evolution is True?
You have presented Diprotodon as being a giant marsupial wombat the biggest marsupial to inhabit our planet. And yet it’s “descendants” appear to have lost information to the point where they are less than 100cm long. This happened right across Australia where the megafauna mammals were giant compared to their contemporaries today. Overall a loss in genetic information and no proof of evolution what so ever. The same goes for the whole evolutionary “theory” which has revealed no examples of any evolution amongst species ever, only wishful thinking and speculation by “scientists” who are looking in the wrong direction, down, when they should be looking up.
Now there’s a new one one me: a reduction in body size represents a loss of information!? Well, what about those creatures that got larger, like nearly all mammals compared to the early ones? But leaving that aside, I’m not sure how a reduction of body size clearly represents a “loss of genetic information.” It represents a loss of mass. But that loss could It could epresent a gain of information, if a reduction in body size came from the acquisition of new genes.
The canard that evolution has given no evidence for “new genetic information” is, of course, dead wrong, for we have examples of both new genetic information originating in real time (see here for some of that), as well as of historical evidence based on gene duplication, whereby duplicated genes diverge in function and assume new functions. Our different kinds of hemoglobin genes (alpha, beta, gamma, and so on) all do different things, yet all descended from one ancestral gene. There are many such gene families, all descended from a common ancestor and all diverging after duplication to do different things. If that’s not “the origination of new genetic information,” I don’t know what is. We also have the work of my colleague Manyuan Long here at Chicago, and of David Begun at the University of California at Davis, showing that in the fruit fly Drosophila new genes doing new things originate very quickly, and those genes are often cobbled together from other genes scattered throughout the genome. Evolution can do strange things!
And finally we hear this cry from Mr Dawes, equivalent to his saying proudly, “I am ignorant!”: “The same goes for the whole evolutionary ‘theory’ which has revealed no examples of any evolution amongst species ever, only wishful thinking and speculation by ‘scientists.’” (Why is “scientists” in scare quotes? Don’t we exist?) This isn’t the nice kind of ignorance which simply reflects lack of acquaintance with the evidence, but the deliberate and dark kind of ignorance: ignoring the mountain of existing evidence for evolution. It’s not stupidity, but intellectual malfeasance.
Finally, reader “Diest” (somehow I think it’s supposed to be “Deist”) comments on “A warning to Lebanon, Missouri: another state high school successfully sued for promoting religion“:
Why do you even care about what was said? I just want to know how you can you hate God/Gods a different religion so much if you dont believe is true.. If you agree disagree or think God exists or doesnt how can you hate it…. If you dont believe its real or anything is true, how can you disagree with something you dont believe even exists to begin with?
1. Why do I care? Because of the Constitution.
2. I don’t hate God, because you can’t hate something that doesn’t exist. I dislike the idea of God because it’s deceived so many people and thereby promoted a lot of bad things on our planet.
That comment shows that people like “Diest” don’t have the slightest notion of what atheism really is.