Where’s Evolution When You Need It Most?

Life on our planet is dying out. Species are becoming extinct at an alarming rate. Two recent articles highlight this fact …

Scientists alarmed by ocean dead-zone growth

David Perlman, Chronicle Science Editor

Friday, August 15, 2008

(08-14) 18:03 PDT SAN FRANCISCO — Dead zones where fish and most marine life can no longer survive are spreading across the continental shelves of the world’s oceans at an alarming rate as oxygen vanishes from coastal waters, scientists reported Thursday.

The scientists place the problem on runoff of chemical fertilizers in rivers and fallout from burning fossil fuels, and they estimate there are now more than 400 dead zones along 95,000 square miles of the seas – an area more than half the size of California.

The number of those areas has nearly doubled every decade since the 1960s, said Robert J. Diaz, a biological oceanographer at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science.

“Dead zones were once rare, but now they’re commonplace, and there are more of them in more places,” he said. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/08/15/MNLD12ADSN.DTL

And this on on amphibians …

Dying frogs sign of a biodiversity crisis

By Rachel Tompa, Media Relations | 12 August 2008

BERKELEY – Devastating declines of amphibian species around the world are a sign of a biodiversity disaster larger than just frogs, salamanders and their ilk, according to researchers from the University of California, Berkeley.

In an article published online this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers argue that substantial die-offs of amphibians and other plant and animal species add up to a new mass extinction facing the planet.

“There’s no question that we are in a mass extinction spasm right now,” said David Wake, professor of integrative biology at UC Berkeley. “Amphibians have been around for about 250 million years. They made it through when the dinosaurs didn’t. The fact that they’re cutting out now should be a lesson for us.” http://berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2008/08/12_extinction.shtml

So I say, “Where’s Evolution when you need it?” All the biology professors in all the major universities are saying that Evolution created all of life on Earth. Really? Then now would be a great time for some life creation, don’t you think? When everything is dying off? How about it boys? Can we please get a little Evolution going on out there?

Well the fact is … you CAN’T just get a little evolution going because Evolution DIDN’T create life on Earth. God did. Oh yes, species adapt and species change, but this is only because they are essentially programmable biological robots and they were programmed to adapt and change. And since God created life on Earth and since the Bible contains the most important information about life on Earth, let’s see what the Bible has to say about the future of life on Earth. It says this …

Romans 8:22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. Hebrews 1:10 And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: 11 They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment;

Not exactly encouraging words if you think that this earth is the only one that will ever be. Thankfully it’s not though. God has promised to make a New Heaven and a New Earth at some point in the future …

2 Peter 3:9 ¶ The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. 11 ¶ Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, 12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

16 Responses to “Where’s Evolution When You Need It Most?”

  1. lordkalvan says:

    Evolution is going on around you and me all the time; if ecological niches open as the result of the extinction of some species, other species – new or old – will fill them. This has nothing to do with abiogenesis per se and the apparent failing in evolutionary theory that you pose is s strawman of your own making. Forecasts of apocalyptic doom based on biblical revelation have for at least a thousand years been a refuge for those claiming to understand the word of God better than anyone else. This piece of aimless proselytising seems no different from many others.

  2. matthewackerman says:

    What is so interesting about your objection is that the environmental problems that you count as evidence against evolution are actually a result of it. Evolution has no goal of creating biodiversity, and no goal of preserving it. Instead, as the environment is changed, we see new niches created and old ones destroyed, we would expect to see a decrease in biodiversity. Hence the dead zones in the seas are a result of the massive fitness of a small community of bacteria and micro-organisms, which are so very evolutionarily successful that they are killing everything we consider alive off. (these dead zones could also be called super-live zones, just not for fish). The general crash of amphibians life I believe can be attributed to very similar mechanisms. Amphibian parasites are surviving certain phases of their life cycle at much higher rates than classically due to shifts in aquatic communities. (At least, that is what I have heard.)

    So life is evolving, and that is the problem. We are changing the environment in such a way as to favor micro-organism, which adapt much faster to environmental changes, over macro-organisms. This is not surprising since almost ANY environmental change will likely favor micro-organisms because of their enormous heterogeneity of environmental tolerance. Perhaps in 100,000 years macro-organisms will catch back up and biodiversity will return to approximately current levels, but that is a rather long time frame to live in a boring mud pit.

    But please, carry on in your counter-factual beliefs, since truth doesn’t matter anyway, right? ;)

  3. dhawkinsmo says:

    It seems to me that if microorganisms are the ultimate victors in the evolutionary race as you say, then how did macro-organisms ever evolve in the first place? The obvious answer: they didn’t. They were created.

  4. matthewackerman says:

    I didn’t say microorganisms are the ultimate victors, merely that microorganisms more readily adapt to a changing environment. The explanation for the existence of macro-organisms would then be that the earths environment must have been relatively stable for a long period. Of course, absolute stability is not necessary, since we have records of previous mass extinctions.

    C.S. Lewis observes that it is “difficult … to grasp or retain the substance of [and argument] one finds antipathetic”, so I do not think you are purposefully being ignorant, but merely allowing your emotions to interfere with your judgment.

    Your obvious answer has an even more obvious response: If organisms were created, then why does all the evidence point to a common ancestor in the past? For instance, mitochondria are very clear evidence of common descent.

    So when were how were the same lineage of bacteria placed in every cell of every ‘kind’, and when did this event occur?

    Independent creation of organisms is a non-starter of a scientific concept for the eminently simple reason that it simply did not occur.

    But please, don’t allow me to force you to consider observable reality when forming your opinions.

  5. matthewackerman says:

    Ah, I see you are a young earth creationist. I don’t wish to be confrontational, but:

    1) radio isotope dating of rocks clearly points to an ancient earth.
    2) We know that the rate of nucleon decay in the past must have been very similar to the current rate, since we can measure the strength of all the forces involved by measuring the fine structure constant of starlight, and observing it is identical to the fine structure constant of present.
    3) Furthermore, all of the forces involved except the strong force have been unified in a single force in modern physics, and it would be impossible to change the strength of the interaction if all the electro-weak force can be unified with the strong force.

    This is more or less the most rigorous evidence that science can provide for the occurrence of any event. One of two things must be true: either every theoretical physicist is a knuckle dragging moron, or you are ignorant of physics, and simply choose to believe what conforms to your preconceptions.

    I know which answer seems more parsimonious to me.

  6. matthewackerman says:

    I’d also like to take time to reflect that there is growing consensus to label YEC as part of an anti-science movement.

    That there exists an anti-science movement should come as no surprise. Scientist have special privilege when determining questions of fact. When scientist determine that some particular group of facts are simply incorect, a certain percentage of the population unsurprisingly becomes resentful of science and attack its foundations.

    In the church such anti-science rhetoric is fairly common. Most baptist preachers I have listened to have taken a swing at those hell-bound, atheistic, arrogant, ignorant scientists.

    A brief inspection of the rhetoric employed by the ID movement (the legal face of creationisms) uncovers a large amount of rhetoric attacking the scientific endeavor.

    For instance, an increasingly popular argument is that the theory of evolution exist as a result of the inherit naturalisms of the scientific endeavor.

    This argument is anti-scientific because it implicitly asserts that it is impossible to determine empirically the validity of a theory, and that the acceptance of some theories depends entirely on philosophical positions.

    So you get statements like “the same facts, different interpretation.” But science is fundamentally built on the assumption that now two meaningful interpretations can be perfectly equivalent in empirical support. In other words, since there is a fundamental unity of truth, it cannot be the case that two mutually exclusive statements are both true. But, in regards to empirical evidence, this is exactly the anti-scientific stance YEC take.

  7. matthewackerman says:

    I also reflect with some bemusement that for all the confidence YEC have in their opinions (since God gave them their opinions, right?), I’m actually right, and I hold my opinions much more tentatively. A grain of truly solid evidence would easily change my opinion, for instance: a raccoon, in the Cambrian. It of course ultimately makes sense that those who base their opinions on empirical evidence, and hence hold their opinions tentatively, would ultimately stand a greater chance of being correct then those who inherit their opinions from their parents and defend them despite the inevitable cognitive dissonance created by believing in something they are intelligent enough to subconsciously understand as incorrect.

  8. matthewackerman says:

    In other news, I like abusing the English language. Sentences have no need of endings, right?

  9. matthewackerman says:

    In concrusion, *ehem* I mean conclusion, if you have any questions about any topic of science, please direct your queries to me at matthew.s.ackerman at gmail.com and I will gladly explain to you why the Copenhagen interpretation of QM is both non-local and non-counter-factually-real, how the elector-weak force cause radioactivity, how fossilization works, why blood clots, evolutionary spandrels, what tensors are, matrix algebra, some practicalities of differential equations . . . invariance . . . whatever. (of course, any of my answerers could be wrong, and I would greatly appreciate any corrections.)

  10. matthewackerman says:

    By golly I’ve worked hard to get edumacated and it is high time somebody started using my edumacation for their own erudation.

  11. dhawkinsmo says:

    Matthew asked … “Your obvious answer has an even more obvious response: If organisms were created, then why does all the evidence point to a common ancestor in the past?”

    Answer: The evidence does NOT point to a single common ancestor. It points to multiple, separately created, archetypal ‘kinds’ as common ancestors of modern species. It also points to a Common Designer for all of them. Furthermore, recent genetic studies have revealed a recent (<5000 ya) bottleneck in animals which would have been on Noah’s Ark. This is what we would expect to find in our genetics studies if the Ark and Global Flood story were true.

  12. dhawkinsmo says:

    The study of radioisotopes in rocks clearly indicates that radioactive decay has occurred. But since discordance of dates is the rule, not the exception, we cannot correlate this decay with absolute age. Therefore, there must have been some processes which occurred in the past which are not occurring today to account for the evidence we see today. These processes are being actively investigated by creationist scientists.

  13. matthewackerman says:

    Lies: Discordance of dates is not the rule, it is quite uncommon, and it is very useful. You are either making stuff up, or being lied to.

    Anyway, you clearly have no interest in the truth, and wish to spread demon-inspired lies. Enjoy.

  14. lordkalvan says:

    I am surprised to read your claim that there is evidence that points to separately created ‘kinds’. I would be very interested to see this evidence. I would also be interested in seeing a detailed description of what constitutes a ‘kind’, which those ‘archetypal kinds’ are that you refer to, and how they are identified.

    I would also be interested in specific references for the ‘recent genetic studies’ that point to a 5000 year genetic bottleneck in the Noah’s Ark animals, especially as this bottleneck would have to be identifiable in all such animals. How was the bottleneck dated and in which animals was it identified? A few minutes’ research amongst my own small library quickly identified three bottlenecks: at 70,000-100,000 years ago for humans; at 88,000 ago years for Galapagos giant tortoises; and at 10,000 years ago for cheetahs. These do not support your argument in any way as all three species would have had to be present on the Ark and should therefore demonstrate evidence of the bottleneck you allege has been identified.

    Furthermore, to suggest RM dating is in error by the enormous orders of magnitude required to be bent to YEC needs is wishful thinking. RM dating is largely consilient with a range of other dating metrics that all converge on an age for Earth, the Solar System and the Universe that are wholly at variance with the requirements of a YEC chronology. I have to agree with MW on this.

  15. lordkalvan says:

    I would have been interested in your replies to my requests for further information and to the questions I posed, but as none has been forthcoming I can only assume it is because you have none.

  16. Chanda says:

    I’m extremely impressed with your writing skills and also with
    the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself?
    Anyway keep up the nice quality writing, it is rare to see a great blog like this
    one nowadays.

    Visit my homepage :: Chanda