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Life – how did it get here?

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Quote mining within the book: "Life - How did it get here? By evolution or by creation?

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Life – how did it get here?

  1. 1. “ Life – How did it get here? By evolution or by creation?” A brief critique.
  2. 2. Quote mining <ul><li>The practice of quoting out of context, sometimes referred to as &quot;contextomy&quot; or &quot;quote mining&quot;, is a logical fallacy and type of false attribution in which a passage is removed from its surrounding matter in such a way as to distort its intended meaning. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Examples of quote mining within the book. <ul><li>Text used in “ Life… ” book will be indicated by black text </li></ul><ul><li>Actual quotation in context will be indicated by grey text </li></ul><ul><li>Insertions to the quote will be indicated by red text </li></ul>
  4. 4. Page 15 – Discover magazine <ul><li>“ Evolution ... is not only under attack by fundamentalist Christians, but is also being questioned by reputable scientists. Among paleontologists, scientists who study the fossil record, there is growing dissent from the prevailing view of Darwinism” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Charles Darwin's brilliant theory of evolution, published in 1859, had a stunning impact on scientific and religious thought and forever changed man's perception of himself. Now that hallowed theory is not only under attack by fundamentalist Christians, but is also being questioned by reputable scientists. Among paleontologists, scientists who study the fossil record, there is growing dissent from the prevailing view of Darwinism… Most of the debate will centre on one key question: Does the three billion-year-old process of evolution creep at a steady pace, or is it marked by long periods of inactivity punctuated by short bursts of rapid change? Is Evolution a Tortoise or a hare? Darwin's widely accepted view – that evolution proceeds steadily, at a crawl – favours the tortoise. But two paleontologists, Niles Eldredge of the American Museum of Natural History and Stephen Jay Gould of Harvard, are putting their bets on the hare.” </li></ul>
  5. 5. Page 15 – Francis Hitching <ul><li>“ For all its acceptance in the scientific world as the great unifying principle of biology, Darwinism, after a century and a quarter, is in a surprising amount of trouble.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ For all its acceptance in the scientific world as the great unifying principle of biology, Darwinism, after a century and a quarter, is in a surprising amount of trouble. Evolution and Darwinism are often taken to mean the same thing. But they don't. Evolution of life over a very long period of time is a fact, if we are to believe evidence gathered during the last two centuries from geology, paleontology, molecular biology and many other scientific disciplines. Despite the many believers in Divine creation who dispute this ..., the probability that evolution has occurred approaches certainty in scientific terms....” </li></ul>
  6. 6. Page 15 – New York Times article <ul><li>“ [Evolution] is undergoing its broadest and deepest revolution in nearly 50 years…Exactly how evolution happened is now a matter of great controversy among biologists…No clear resolution of the controversies was in sight.” </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;Biology's understanding of how evolution works, which has long postulated a gradual process of Darwinian natural selection acting on genetic mutations, is undergoing its broadest and deepest revolution in nearly 50 years. At the heart of the revolution is something that might seem a paradox. Recent discoveries have only strengthened Darwin's epochal conclusion that all forms of life evolved from a common ancestor. Genetic analysis, for example, has shown that every organism is governed by the same genetic code controlling the same biochemical processes. At the same time, however, many studies suggest that the origin of species was not the way Darwin suggested or even the way most evolutionists thought after the 1930s and 1940s, when Darwin's ideas were fused with the rediscovered genetics of Gregor Mendel. Exactly how evolution happened is now a matter of great controversy among biologists. Although the debate has been under way for several years, it reached a crescendo last month, as some 150 scientists specializing in evolutionary studies met for four days in Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History to thrash out a variety of new hypotheses that are challenging older ideas. The meeting, which was closed to all but a few observers, included nearly all the leading evolutionists in paleontology, population genetics, taxonomy and related fields. No clear resolution of the controversies was in sight. This fact has often been exploited by religious fundamentalists who misunderstood it to suggest weakness in the fact of evolution rather than the perceived mechanism. Actually, it reflects significant progress toward a much deeper understanding of the history of life on Earth.&quot; </li></ul>
  7. 7. Page 15-16 – Niles Eldredge <ul><li>“ The doubt that has infiltrated the previous, smugly confident certitude of evolutionary biology’s last twenty years has inflamed passions.” He spoke of the “lack of agreement even within warring camps,” and added “things really are in an uproar these days…Sometimes it seems as if there are as many variations on each [evolutionary] theme as there are individual biologists.&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>“ ...the doubt that has infiltrated the previous, smugly confident certitude of evolutionary biology's last twenty years has inflamed passions and provoked some very interesting thought and research.” “I mention this only to illustrate the lack of agreement even within warring camps: things are really in uproar these days, and each of the &quot;basic&quot; ways of looking at evolutionary biology has its minor variants. Sometimes it seems as if there are as many variations on each evolutionary theme as there are individual biologists. But that's the way it should be; this is how science is supposed to operate.” …“When they [creationists] misrepresent the exuberant, creative doubt and controversy permeating evolutionary biology these days, they are actively promoting scientific illiteracy.” </li></ul>
  8. 8. Page 18 – Charles Darwin <ul><li>“ To suppose that the eye…could have been formed by [evolution], seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of Spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree. When it was first said that the sun stood still and the world turned round, the common sense of mankind declared the doctrine false; but the old saying of Vox populi, vox Dei [&quot;the voice of the people = the voice of God &quot;], as every philosopher knows, cannot be trusted in science. Reason tells me, that if numerous gradations from a simple and imperfect eye to one complex and perfect can be shown to exist, each grade being useful to its possessor, as is certain the case; if further, the eye ever varies and the variations be inherited, as is likewise certainly the case; and if such variations should be useful to any animal under changing conditions of life, then the difficulty of believing that a perfect and complex eye could be formed by natural selection, should not be considered as subversive of the theory.” </li></ul>
  9. 9. Page 39 – Richard Dawkins <ul><li>At this point a reader may begin to understand Dawkins' comment in the preface to his book: “This book should be read almost as though it were science fiction.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ This book should be read almost as though it were science fiction. It is designed to appeal to the imagination. But it is not science fiction: it is science. Cliché or not, &quot;stranger than fiction&quot; expresses exactly how I feel about the truth.” </li></ul>
  10. 10. Page 52 – Francis Crick <ul><li>“ An honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that, in some sense, the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle . ” </li></ul><ul><li>“ An honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that, in some sense, the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions which would have had to have been satisfied to get it going. But this should not be taken to imply that there are good reasons to believe that it could not have started on the earth by a perfectly reasonable sequence of fairly ordinary chemical reactions. The plain fact is that the time available was too long, the many microenvironments on the earth's surface too diverse, the various chemical possibilities too numerous and our own knowledge and imagination too feeble to allow us to be able to unravel exactly how it might or might not have happened such a long time ago, especially as we have no experimental evidence from that era to check our ideas against.” </li></ul>
  11. 11. Page 53 – Robert Jastrow <ul><li>“ Scientists have no proof that life was not the result of an act of creation . ” </li></ul><ul><li>Scientists have no proof that life was not the result of an act of creation, but they are driven by the nature of their profession to seek explanations for the origin of life that lie within the boundaries of natural law. They ask themselves, &quot;How did life arise out of inanimate matter? And what is the probability of that happening?&quot; And to their chagrin they have no clear-cut answer, because chemists have never succeeded in reproducing nature's experiments on the creation of life out of nonliving matter. Scientists do not know how that happened, and, furthermore, they do not know the chance of its happening. Perhaps the chance is very small, and the appearance of life on a planet is an event of miraculously low probability. Perhaps life on the earth is unique in this Universe. No scientific evidence precludes that possibility. But while scientists must accept the possibility that life may be an improbable event, they have some tentative reasons for thinking that its appearance on earthlike planets is, in fact, fairly commonplace. These reasons do not constitute proof, but they are suggestive. Laboratory experiments show that certain molecules, which are the building blocks of living matter, are formed in great abundance under conditions resembling those on the earth four billion years ago, when it was a young planet. Furthermore, those molecular building blocks of life appear in living organisms today in just about the same relative amounts with which they appear in the laboratory experiments. It is as if nature, in fashioning the first forms of life, used the ingredients at hand and in just the proportions in which they were present. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Page 54 – G. L. Stebbins <ul><li>To be sure, no biologist has actually seen the origin by evolution of a major group of organisms. </li></ul><ul><li>At the outset we should realize that the great majority of biologists accept as demonstrated the fact that organisms have evolved. To be sure, no biologist has actually seen the origin by evolution of a major group of organisms. Nevertheless, races and species have been produced by duplicating in the laboratory and garden some of the evolutionary processes known to take place in nature. The reason that major steps in evolution have never been observed is that they require millions of years to be completed. The evolutionary processes which gave rise to major groups of organisms, such as genera and families, took place in the remote past, long before there were people to observe them. Nevertheless, the facts which we know about these origins, some of which will be discussed in Chapter 7, provide very strong circumstantial evidence to indicate that the processes which brought them about were very similar to those found in modern groups of animals and plants which are evolving all around us today. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Page 54 – Charles Darwin <ul><li>And Charles Darwin conceded that “the distinctness of specific [living] forms and their not being blended together by innumerable transitional links, is a very obvious difficultly.” </li></ul><ul><li>In the sixth chapter I enumerated the chief objections which might be justly urged against the views maintained in this volume. Most of them have now been discussed. One, namely the distinctness of specific forms, and their not being blended together by innumerable transitional links, is a very obvious difficulty. I assigned reasons why such links do not commonly occur at the present day, under the circumstances apparently most favourable for their presence, namely on an extensive and continuous area with graduated physical conditions. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Page 57 – Charles Darwin <ul><li>Why then is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links? Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely-graduated organic chain; and this, perhaps, is the most obvious and serious objection which can be urged against the theory. </li></ul><ul><li>Why then is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links? Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely-graduated organic chain; and this, perhaps, is the most obvious and serious objection which can be urged against the theory. The explanation lies, as I believe, in the extreme imperfection of the geological record. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Im up to page 58
  16. 16. Sources <ul><li>Slide 4 - James Gorman, &quot;The Tortoise or the Hare?&quot;, Discover, October 1980, p 88 </li></ul><ul><li>Slide 5 - The Neck of the Giraffe , Ticknor & Fields, New Haven, Connecticut, 1982, p. 12 (p. 4, paperback) </li></ul><ul><li>Slide 6 - New York Times , November 5, 1980. </li></ul><ul><li>Slide 7 - Natural History; Evolutionary Housecleaning ; Feb 1982; pg. 78-81 </li></ul><ul><li>Slide 8 - Darwin, C. 1872. The Origin of Species , 6th ed. London: Senate, chpt. 6 ( http://www.literature.org/authors/darwin-charles/the-origin-of-species/chapter-06.html ) </li></ul><ul><li>Slide 9 - Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene , 1976, p. ix </li></ul><ul><li>Slide 10 - Francis Crick, Life Itself, Its Origin and Nature , 1981, p. 88 </li></ul><ul><li>Slide 11 - Jastrow, Robert, The Enchanted Loom: Mind In the Universe , 1981, p. 19 </li></ul><ul><li>Slide 12 - G. Ledyard Stebbins, Processes of Organic Evolution, 2nd edition (Prentice-Hall, 1971) </li></ul><ul><li>Slide 13 - Darwin, C. 1872. The Origin of Species , 6th ed. London: Senate, chpt. 9 ( http://www.literature.org/authors/darwin-charles/the-origin-of-species/chapter-09.html ) </li></ul><ul><li>Slide 14 - Darwin, C. 1872. The Origin of Species , 6th ed. London: Senate, chpt. 9 ( http://www.literature.org/authors/darwin-charles/the-origin-of-species/chapter-09.html ) </li></ul>

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