e-mail - December 2000

Rigorous Logic

Subject: evolution is against science?
Date: Fri, 09 Jun 2000 09:12:30 -0600
From: phillip
To: do_while@ridgecrest.ca.us

Your arguments against evolution lack logical rigor:

About spontaneous life you argue:

1. evolution says dead things come to life
2. this has never been observed

conclusion: anything never observed cannot happen.

This is an unsupported conclusion. It may be unlikely that something which
has never been seen occurs, but it is not a impossibility.

About mutation you argue:

1. evoluation relies on beneficial mutation
2. most mutations are harmful

conclusion: evolution cannot occur

If assumption 1 were true you might have something, but it isn't. Evolution
is not based on mutation, it is based on the variance of traits in a
population. The environment favors some traits, and not others. This
variance can be observed in populations; you may have noticed not all humans
have the same skin color.

Your argument about time is also based on the spurious assumption 1 above,
and some ill-thought out "observations" about volcanic rock.

In short, your whole thesis seems to argue for the logical reduction that
science = observation.  Observation is certainly one tool for the discovery
of truth, but there are others, like deduction.

You guys aren't really rigorous enough to prove or disprove anything.


Our first conclusion is not, “anything never observed cannot happen.” Our conclusion is that it unscientific to say that something that has never been observed must be true. Nobody has ever observed an alchemist turn lead into gold. Our conclusion is that it is unscientific to believe that lead can be turned into gold without evidence (and that it is foolish to invest in any process that claims to be able to do it). But, there were people who really wanted to believe that lead could be turned into gold, so much so that they actually bought machines that supposedly did so. There are also people who really want to believe that inanimate material can come to life all by itself. They cling to that belief, even though (as Phillip admits) it has never been observed.

Phillip says, “Evolution is not based on mutation, it is based on the variance of traits in a population.” That statement is true, as far as it goes. Microevolution, of which variation in skin color is an excellent example, is variation that results from favorable combinations of existing genes.

But for that to happen, the genes have to exist in the first place. Evolution depends upon mutations that produce genes with new, useful genetic information. Mutations don’t create new, useful information. Mutations cause information to be lost. Our second conclusion is that mutations cannot be the origin of more complex organisms. Mutations can only be the origin of less-complete organisms (like blind fish or wingless insects). Mutations can cause a species to devolve, but not evolve.

Our “whole thesis” is that science depends upon observation. Beliefs that are not supported by observation, and are actually contradicted by observation, are not scientific.

Deduction is not as reliable as observation. Deduction is the result of imperfect human interpretation of facts, often biased by emotion or prejudice. When deduction conflicts with observation, we will choose observation over deduction every time.

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