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  1. A few comments:

    Of course, one can always point out differences in an argument from analogy. Atomic theory is not a theory of origins. It is not unreasonable to look to something like evolution going on in the origins of life. And there are people who are willing to speculate on the origins of life.

    Most mutations have no appreciable effect.

    Creationists noways accept the reality of small-scale evolution, even to the natural origin of species and genera or so. This does not commit them to a theory of other origins (no more than it commits “evolutionists” to a theory of origins of life).

    Young Earth Creationism demands that the physics of radioisotope dating operate at more than 100,000 times the measured rate (4 billion / 10 thousand = 400,000), not “almost 1000 fold faster”. (Did you mean to say “almost a million fold faster”?)

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    • It is not unreasonable to look to something like evolution going on in the origins of life” I largely disagree. Evolution in the biological sense,whether random drift or selection-driven, is, technically, change in allele frequency, and it makes no sense to speak of evolution in this sense until you have a feature that can be inherited with variations. Indeed, “able to undergo Darwinian selection” has been proposed (by Jerry Joyce, no less, IIRC) as a definition of life.

      “And there are people who are willing to speculate on the origins of life.”Indeed. During the last part of my formal career, I was one of them.

      Which specific posting are yuo talking about? I need to correct that arithmetic

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  2. A fine response. I would only add that those who selectively breed or consume plants and animals provide the ‘natural environment pressures’ that steer the development of those species. The strangeness of humans is part of the natural environment as much as the predators that steer the development of the patterns on the wings of butterflies, or the insects that define the colouring of wild flowers.

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  3. Check out this Paul and please, please reply to it.
    http://www.hebrides-news.com/evolution_dispute_17913.html

    If you would be interested in a public debate with this man I would happily organise it for you.

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    • I don’t debate creationists. It gives them a platform, reinforces their self-importance, and looks better on their CVs than mine (I know, I am not the first to say all this). I have replied to the Rev Blunt’s letter as follows, and would appreciate knowing if Hebrides News publishes it:

      To pretend that biological evolution has to include an explanation of the origins of life is at best mistaken, at worst dishonest. Consider that before the 1950s, we did not know the origin of atoms. Nonetheless, atomic theory had been the central concept of chemistry since before the 1820s. Similarly, we do not know the origins of life, but evolution has been the central concept of biology since before the 1870s.

      No one doubts that most mutations are harmful. A few of them do increase fitness. Harmful mutations are bred out, while fitness-enhancing mutations spread. It’s really that simple. Indeed, the whole of plant and animal breeding is one vast demonstration of evolution, albeit evolution directed by us rather than by the pressures of the natural environment. The Rev Blunt admits the occurrence of evolution under the pressure of artificial selection. How then can he claim that it is in principle impossible under natural selection, or that evolution has never been verified?

      Museums are full of intermediate forms, if not the great-great-grandparents of living species, then at any rate their great-uncles. If the Rev cares to visit http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs12052-009-0135-2 (free article) he will find a whole series of intermediates between land mammals and present-day whales. If he visits the Smithsonian museum’s site at http://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence/human-fossils/species, he will find out about over a dozen extinct species intermediate between apes and modern humans. If evolution is not true, why were these intermediates ever created?

      The age of the Earth is dated at over 4 billion years using some half-dozen different radiometric techniques. These the Rev Blunt will find explained, by an evangelical Christian, at “Radiometric Dating – A Christian Perspective”, http://www.asa3.org/ASA/resources/wiens.html. We have known since 1928 that radioactive decay rates depend on the general laws of physics. If these had been different 4 billion years ago, the rocks wouldn’t have formed in the first place. If they had been almost 1000 fold faster in the past, as Young Earth creationists must claim, the rocks would have been melted by the heat produced.

      I conclude by pointing out that the fossil record clearly shows that whales are descended from land mammals. Yet Genesis states that whales were created on Day 5, and land mammals on Day 6. One of two things follows. Either Genesis is not, and was never meant to be, a science textbook. Or God has deliberately deceived us by creating a highly detailed but totally misleading fossil record.

      This is a choice that each of us has to make in our own way. There are no alternatives.

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