Sunday, December 10, 2006

Evolution - Is it true? (A continuation from the last topic which "evolved" into a discussion of this subject, so I'd advise a view of comments there)

People are faced with a lot of claims that we evolved from apes, and that there has been an evolutionary creation over an enormous period of time. This would also propose a continued evolutionary process.
The claim of millions of years is brought into scriptural conflict by D&C 77:6 "... the hidden things of his economy concerning this earth during the seven thousand years of its continuance, or its temporal existence." This is proposing that the only period that the earth will spend in a temporal existence (where things live and die) is 7 thousand years. This is also expressed in D&C 77:12 " ...even so, in the beginning of the seventh thousand years will the Lord God sanctify the earth, and complete the salvation of man..."
The millenium is also referred to as the time for the earth to rest (being a sabbath rest). The millenium is a thousand years. So if it is a sabbath rest then that also points to only 6 thousand years as coming before it.

The question also is one of whether evolution is a sound scientific principle as so many believe it to be?


Rob Osborn said...

I just got done watching a program on the National Geographic channel on sattelite called- Naked Science "Was Darwin Wrong". This is already in contnuation and light of their massive article put forth in their magazine which also had the same title.

After watching the show, it is easy to understand why so many wish to believe in evolution. It is the very pinnacle of man's search for knowledge whereby man himself can explain his very being in purely natural and scientific means. The problem with it though, as the show also brought out, was that man must either choose to believe in a creator or choose to believe in their research and funding that would exclude God from the picture.

The show went on to try to explain some of evolutions criticisms. These included- the development of an eye using cardboard and golf balls, a peacocks feathers through sexual survival, & a fish/amphibian fossil to show how "all of Darwins predictions have been proven correctly", therefor evolution is fact! I am not kidding, watch the show for yourself.

The show also got into a little discussion on genetics at the end saying that we have evolved through "genetic errors". Now comes the paradox- If evolution is true as the show says it is and that Darwins own theory of natural selection and survival of the fittest is correct, then the very biological method proposed of random genetic errors in the duplication of genes themselves does not fit, and yet they say because of this, Darwin was correct.

So let me get this straight- It is through an endless random process of trial and error of which it cannot control itself, nature has evolved into the vast and meticulously controlled environment we now enjoy. So how does this random state of chaos even exist?

In the show I especially liked how they very scientifically stated that because of the facts and predictions which have now been established, many scientists no longer regard evolution as theory but as fact. Let me just say this- If we are trying to prove how the eye might of evolved and calling it factual- please use something other than cardboard and golf balls!

It's also funny to me that us "creationists" as they like to call us (why is there a label for every idea anyway?) use the word "theory" out of context. What context is there? Until we can prove without doubt with real biological evidence that every aspect of the theory is correct, it, by scientific terms is still just a "theory". It is a shame that The heirarchy of National Geographic itself have misused the very language they are fighting so desperatly to hang on to. But then again it doesn't surprise me why either. If you literally spend hundreds of millions of dollars in research, by golly- you better get something in return or you will look mighty stupid on the world stage. But even then they got us hoodwinked- they will just continue to blindly and blatently lead us on with phrases like- "If it takes 6 years to find one intermediate fossil, how long will it take to find the hudreds of millions out there"? Or even better- "As scientist are finding out evolutions predictions now in the lab, we are just around the corner to finding it's next missing link.

Why is everything such a prediction in evolution? Does merely predicting nature prove that an obscure idea is correct? If I predicted that it would both snow tomorrow and then after that the end of the world, does this mean I am correct if it starts snowing tomorrow morning? Anyone with any kind of brain can put together and predict that the stronger in nature will always survive to pass along their genes- Just look at the great black athletes in our country and others- If I made the prediction that if I played basketball and my son did and so on for millions of years, that at some point my future generations will grow better knees to withstand injury- maybe even a hybrid leg or even more legs that it's sole purpose being to jump higher. Wow! I just made an evolutionary prediction that must be correct- let's make note of it so that a million years from now they will look back and say wow, that primitive was on to something....only..what's a basketball?

For evolution to be correct according to Darwin, every other aspect of science is drawn in to the picture- everything from geology to phsycology. Maybe that is why these godless organizations push evolution so much....hum.... yea! They want to control all of scientific reasoning by removing God from the picture!

Lunar Quaker said...

That's it, isn't it? Evolutionary theory is an atheistic doctrine that is carefully promulgated by an elite group of godless scientists funded by secular government agencies and other organizations with an anti-God agenda. It's just one big secret combination, right?

People believe in evolution because it better explains the origin of life on earth than do mythical creation stories such as the one found in Genesis. And what makes the Genesis story more likely than, say, the Popol Vuh of the Maya? No matter which way you slice it, your arguments boil down to the claim that you have felt the Holy Ghost tell you that Joseph Smith was a prophet, and you therefore think that the world was created in six days by Elohim, Jehovah, and Michael. Your whole worldview rests on some experience with the Holy Ghost, something completely subjective.

One of the basic assumptions of science that natural phenomena occur by naturalistic means, and not supernatural means. You see this as a weakness in science, because it supposedly takes God out of the picture. But this assumption is science's greatest strength. Without it, human beings would still be relying on mythical explanations for natural phenomena, and this would have seriously hampered our ability to acquire new knowledge.

Doug Towers said...

It is interesting how conclusions can be drawn from evidence. We had the dark ages. So called because of enormous ignorance in regard anything beyond the most obvious. So what happened to make us come out of the dark ages? Scientists would claim that science did. That in spite of constant attack the continual advance of scientific fact made man move ahead. This claim could be proven by evidence. As scientific knowledge advanced so civilisations have found more peaceful solutions (generally speaking). We have a more confortable lifestyle etc. All because of the advance of science. Or so it could appear.
But what other possibilities are there? It's obvious, isn't it? It must be science.

During the dark ages only priests could read the scriptures. And they interpreted them to the people as they chose. Spiritual ignorance was at a maximum. But then came Martin Luther who translated the scriptures (or a part thereof) into a common language. Then others started to get away with printing bits of the set we call the Bible, in other lands. More and more people became able to read scripture and more and more reform took place. During this process other areas of truth began to prosper as a result. At the time of Joseph Smith great truth was restored. Look at the scientific advancement since.

So we have demonstrated proof that science was the cause of the end of the dark ages. And we have demonstrated proof that scripture being available was the cause. If we sat around thinking about it long enough we could probably come up with an endless list of proven theories as to why it happened.
The reality is that there is no normal way that we can determine the truth of any concept presented where we can't take the theories and demonstrate them.
Rob hasn't just presented religious argument. And neither have I. If there is a conspiracy or even if there isn't doesn't change the fundamental problem science has in this area _ It can demonstrate that certain chemicals mixed produce a chemical reaction. It can demonstrate propulsion. But it is unable to show by demonstration that apes turn into humans.

Rob Osborn said...


I never said anything about elite groups being part of a secret combination, I never said that. What I did say, which of coarse cannot be denied, was that groups such as the NGS see everything from a godless view when it comes to evolution. It drives them absolutely crazy to know that the majority of Americans still reject evolution and support special creation.

This simply tells me that Americans are still for the majority bound to good sound reason and logic. Were not going to be easily duped by ill-fated expeditions to Africa in search of the next missing link!

Where is your faith? Is it in the "mythical" bible as you say? Do you believe in the resurrection? Or do you believe that the bible and it's prophecies of miracles both past and future are just allegorical and created by man as a philisophical ficticious journal handed down from generation to generation?

I think it is at this point- when we talk of our own futuristic hopes that spirits really do exist and have form, and that the resurrection must certainly be true that we find ourselves separating our beliefs in what we want science to explain and on the other side we want God to be true in that lively hope for things that science has already stated is not possible.

There are many good Christian believers out there that so desperatly want to know that evolution is true and claim any tangible fossil for their proof because they think they need that proof, yet on the other hand they also believe in Christ and the resurrection and need no proof for it! It sounds to me like this-

Most people know that God exists- that is a fact. They do not need tangible actual evidence for that knowledge. But when it comes to our origins, people do not hold on to blind faith and where it is heading very well. I mean really- some people are so worried that evolution really might be false, that they desperately throw money and time in a direction that continues to bring unprofitable results, yet they claim they are Christian! Go figure. How can one be so enthronged in a godless principle and yet want to be siding with godlike principles?

The way I see it is that there is really no room for Christian evolutionists. I don't mean to be blunt, but why fight for a theory that goes against every principle of godliness? Why have women? If God just uses his lab and nature to create life and there are no such things as spirits and there is no hope for resurrection, then why would there even need to be such a thing as God? Prove that what I am getting at doesn't make sense. Prove to me that evolution is a divine godly principle and law.

But you might think I am getting off into theological/ philisophical issues and not science. But let me remind you that there are some of us who feel that scientific evolution is nothing more than an engine for the atheistic movement.

I also personally know that when God is included in the scientific process that miraculous marks are achieved in the scientific world in technology, medicine, transportation and the like. Is God connected with what we call the supernatural or phenomena in nature? Of coarse- he's the very author. And wouldn't all of us like to know how this universe really is upheld? All we have to do is knock and the author will tell us. But he isn't going to let just anyone in on his secrets, especially those who work so feverishly to remove any mention of his holy name from public society, and I believe, that evolution and it's driving source is already firmly planted in opposition to his (God) holy work and purpose to bring about the immortality and eternal life of man.

Equality said...

I think we're covering some of the same ground that was covered in the other thread here. I will address one issue raised by Doug in this new post: the idea that evolution directly contradicts the Doctrine and Covenants on the age of the earth. I think Doug is right; there is a definite contradiction. Science says one thing; the prophet Joseph Smith (and other prophets and apostles such as Joseph Fielding Smith and Bruce R. McConkie) say something else. I think Doug is right that one cannot believe both in the inspiration of D&C 77 (at least not in a literal reading of it; and unlike the creation accounts of Genesis, the context argues against a metaphorical interpretation of D&C 77--the Prophet is supposed to be giving the literal interpretation of metaphorical language used in the Bible) and in evolution science. There is a direct conflict.

This is a great challenge to Mormon intellectuals and apologists who want to appear as rational educated people: how to reconcile these irreconcilable positions? Lunar uaker and I have chosen to accept the voice of science on this matter. We think it more probable that the collective wisdom of scientists gleaned over many years of rigorous exeprimentation and observation is right about the age of the earth than the pronouncement of a "prophet" whose ideas on many other issues have proved unreliable and whose ideas are not supported by the evidence.

Doug Towers said...

My reason for making this second thread was that I felt there would be people who, coming to the site, wouldn't realise that the previous thread had focused on evolution. So I thought it best to move it to a subject of its own.

While I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet I also accept the humanity of Joseph Smith. God at times gave him revelations telling him to get his act together, so obviously he wasn't flawless. God also told him to write some things while he was in the process of the revelation so that he wouldn't get them wrong. And having received many revelations myself, and having misunderstood some of them, I fully appreciate the principle. Misinterpretations come from additional ideas we impose after being inspired. John 11:47-53 shows a classic case of this, where Caiphas prophesies that Jesus will die for the nation. And so he concludes that this was to let him know that it was his responsibility to make sure it happens. However these revelations in D&C 77 seem fairly specific to me: Not an additional concept. Additionally this has been set forth as scriputure because of its consistency with the proven method for accepting a piece as scripture. Prophets have laid down the way to know when a prophet (or anyone for that matter) is correct in a principle, and that is to use the Holy Ghost. I can't say with certainty that I have been inspired that the earth took 7 thousand years in the process of creation. However, to me, it gets back to my original point that unless science can give me lab proof (and I mean proof) of their claims, I am left to accept the message these scriptures appear to present, along with common sense. Then there is the fact that I KNOW that all things are born of heavenly parents originally. All intelligences occupying any body have parents.
But I have mostly left unproveable spiritual concepts out of this conversation. However I have presented a few proven concepts to you that you haven't answered. One big one being that people are capable of telepathy. I have communicated with several people just using our minds. Sometimes over long distances. I have seen the spirit of the person communicating with me right next to me. How does this fit with a "no spirit" concept? And if we have spirits how does this fit in with evolution? I have used my spirit to do many things that happened in REAL situations. This makes them scienctific from my point of view. Any test that can be consistently used and produce the same result is a scientifically proven concept.

Equality said...

Telepathy has been scientifically tested numerous times in many studies and has not been proven. Your personal testimony that you are telpathic does not "prove" that telepathy exists. And if it did, it would not prove that we have sprits, or that those spirits are eternal, or that those spirits are born of heavenly divinities. All of those are assumptions and inferences that you draw from your unproven assertion about telepathy.

Doug Towers said...

Just looking at one subject at a time, as the first is rather large.
A friend of mine with whom I converse telepathically has read at least one of those studies. She said that they took people with no telepathic experience and did some tests with varying results.
The official stance is one of being inconclusive. They are very unlikely to report the existence of telepathy for several reasons. Firstly people who are telepathic don't want people knowing. People would feel constantly uneasy in their presence. In saying this let me say that the only time I have heard other people's thoughts has been romantic situations where a female has opened up to me. I am not interested in other people's thoughts. Those who come to me have their thoughts open to me, as they are listening to mine. I have nothing to hide, so have no problem with this. Secondly anyone telepathic wouldn't like to be put on display and treated like a guinea pig. Thirdly the governments don't want people knowing that they can hire people to read people's thoughts. Fourthly it would create enormous panic and paranoia.
In regard spirits what I was presenting is that I saw some of these people's spirits coming to me and while there. This is scientific to me as it was evidence for the existence of spirits and evidence of spirits communicating to me. Several of these people who's spirits have come to me, have admitted having come to me on the occasions that I have seen them, and other times. We have discussed the conversation done by telepathy. How much more evidence would I need? You have presented conclusions made from tests of which you were not present to see. Yet you believe these results. The reason you present for this faith is numbers: Lots of them say it, so it must be right. Yet having travelled in the circles I do, I have lots of telepaths listening to me. I can think of 34 over the last 8 years without thinking too deeply. Then there are those who just happened to be standing there that have heard my thoughts when I had strong emotions about something. I think if you examine your life you will see that you have used telepathy also. Haven't you thought strongly on some female, and she sensed you looking? Or visa-versa? Read "The Power of Positive Thinking" by Norman Vincent Peale. He discusses this in some detail with examples also.

Equality said...

Have you ever seen the movie A Beautiful Mind?

Doug Towers said...

A good argument. And done on one line. Gave me a good laugh too.

Even though they claim no absolute proof I think you should read

It was the first site that came up in a Yahoo search. I have only just read it myself. But it reflects some of the points I have mentioned. And it appears to be done from an unbiased point of view.

Rob Osborn said...

Heres a little tidbit also from section 77. According to the revelation it is confirmed that Adam was created from the dust of the ground on the seventh day and not the sixth. The implications of this is that this would thus put Adam before any of the animals! So much for animals being older than man!

Also we are told that God will reveal "all mysteries" of the earth during it's temporal existance of 6000 years, not millions of years.

Doug Towers said...

I agree with you, Rob, about the creation. Moses disguised the truth in the Genesis chapter 1 version of the creation. I don't know if you have noticed but the Abraham chapter 4 version explains what Genesis chapter 1 should have said. Genesis chapter 2 supports the Abraham version. As does the version in Moses chapter 3. I was sitting reading Abraham on my mission, and suddenly the Holy Ghost just opened the whole thing up to me. It is amazing how you can read things, but not realise what you have just read, because of preconceived ideas.

So, as you say, if the man came first so much for evolving.
It is just a matter of logic to me. God presents ideas that work always. What is more is he doesn't make excuses that he needs to modify them. Man presents ideas that very rarely are right the first time; and are lucky to ever become right in the vast majority of cases.
So who should I put my trust in if an apparent conflict arises?

Rob Osborn said...

Well it can certainly be stated that if we leave it to science on whether Mormonism passes the ok, well then we are for sure doomed. I have checked out all of the various creation accounts and they are quite intriguing.

Also, I have posted on this before but also there is the whole process of the earth being sanctified on the seventh day before the placing of actual life on the earth. There are two kind of hazy definitions of the word "sanctified". The one that most fits the creation account is that the earth had to be sanctified -or set apart for holy use, which in this case is the sanctity of life itself. One could strongly argue from this viewpoint alone that the earth after it was created and formed had to be sanctified for it's ultimate purpose- that of life itself. This is also an analogy of creating or building a temple and then setting it apart for it's holy purpose (to sanctify).

Pops said...

I'm going to delurk and add a few thoughts. Kick me out if it pleases you all.

There is no such thing as "irrefutable evidence". Not of anything. Everything we claim to know is really a belief. We assign different names to our beliefs depending on our evaluation of the quality of evidence supporting the belief. This is equally true of both science and religion, to a large degree.

Example: I believe the moon orbits the earth. I can't really "know" that in the strictest sense without somehow directly sensing the universe with my mind -- maybe grokking it. But I can't do that, so I rely on evidence to draw a conclusion. So, what is the evidence? I can see certain things, and I've developed pretty good trust in my eyes. Others have done research, made conclusions, and published them -- and they're pretty credible people. And so on. The evidence is really good, so I'll give it a 99.999% chance of being correct. We call that "knowledge", disregarding the fact that we really haven't achieved certainty, which is theoretically impossible. And that's okay, because we can't sit and quibble about 0.0001 uncertainty -- that would be a waste of time.

(The purist would note that the earth and the moon form a binary system in which each affects the motion of the other. The "moon orbits the earth" is a simplification that is good for most purposes.)

Did OJ kill Nicole and Ron? I peg the evidence at about 85% that he did. Others come up with 35%, some with 50% (i.e., they can't say either way). So, let's call that belief.

Is the earth flat? It sure looks pretty flat from here. But I've seen pictures (allegedly) from space, traveled, seen things drop below the horizon, etc. So I give that 0.0000001% chance of being correct -- it's a myth or a fairy tale, and I label anyone who believes it a lunatic.

What about evolution? That's a big subject that perhaps ought to be dismantled into its component parts for the purpose of discussion. But if someone says, "It's established fact" I'm pretty sure they're exaggerating. They may peg it at 90%, but that's not the same thing as 100%, which isn't achievable.

A reasonable scientist will include some confidence level with their assessment of things. Those who don't or won't arouse suspicion in me. Dawkins bothers me because he's "absolutely certain" about things that he can't possibly know at even a 90% level.

So I consider statements like "irrefutable evidence" and "consensus" to be irrational at their core. I prefer to consider evidence and draw my own conclusions rather be swayed by a statement that "everybody believes it".

Pops said...

Soon you will all wish I would go away...

I don't thing Behe and the other ID folks get a fair shake. I suppose if you read them with an axe to grind, you'll just grind your axe. But I think they have something to say that's worth saying.

First off, it's unfortunate that their body of work is called "Intelligent Design", because that's not really the heart of what they have to contribute, in my view. Many have latched onto that and use it as justification for calling them creationists pretending at science.

Their main point is that the genetic distance between viable organisms is much greater than popularly thought. The greater the genetic distance, the less likely it is that a random mutation will achieve viability.

An additional factor that nobody seems to pick up on is that genetic codes are quantized (digital, if you will), not continuous, and so the signal to noise ratio is far higher than if it were continuous. Darwin probably thought it was continuous -- quantized systems weren't really in vogue back in his day. His assessment of gradual change producing useful organisms doesn't work nearly as well in the context of quantized genetics and the very large genetic distances between viable organisms.

So, quantized genetics requires discrete steps instead of gradual and continuous changes -- the probability goes down significantly. Now we learn that steps don't work, we need giant leaps in order to produce viability. The probability, which was close to zero, now is so small as to be indistinguishable from zero.

Which means that the probability that it doesn't happen that way is 99.9999999999...%. But we latch onto that tiny sliver of probability and call it "irrefutable" because science has no other answer.

Pops said...

Oh, and one other thing. Evolution invokes two competing mechanisms to create new viable organisms. Random mutations produce test cases, and nature kills the ones it doesn't like. According to darwinists, mutations have the upper hand. But based on the extinction rate we observe, it seems reasonable to conclude that nature is vastly more adept at destroying than creating.

Doug Towers said...

Some interesting stuff there, pops. You seem to have explained yourself well enough, but I would just like to be sure of what you are saying. Because genes are quantized it takes a large leap to create an evolution. And then this evolution isn't really likely to be sustained. Is that what you have said?
Your statements are fascinating in that we always hear only one side of the argument in regard genes. I figured that sooner or later we would find the other side coming out.
Thanks for your comments.

Pops said...

What I'm talking about is the probability of a random genetic mutation creating a viable organism.

The more things that have to change simultaneously, the less likely it is for a random mutation to create anything useful. That's what I call genetic distance, and that's really the message of Intelligent Design.

The quantization of genetics means that a gene can't change an eensy teensy bit each generation -- it has to change at least one thing completely. One reason we like digital recordings over analog recordings is because they are more immune to noise -- it takes a really big change to produce noise in a digital recording, whereas in an analog recording any change at all is, by definition, noise.

In other words the structure of genetic material is biased very much against random mutations creating viable organisms -- so much so that I'm skeptical that could possibly have created life as we know it.

Doug Towers said...

Thanks for clarifying that.
In regard what you have said, do you have an internet address for a deeper reading of the subject?

pops said...

Sorry, I'm not aware of anything on the internet that follows specifically this line of thought.

If some spare time were to mysteriously appear on my schedule, it might be fun to do some back-of-the-envelope probability calculations, but it won't happen anytime soon.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Pops, some very good stuff there, dealing with the discussion as originally presented.
Yes; very good ... the use of discrete , defined steps as opposed to some undefined opaque merging continuum.

I always knew that genetics, seen in its real light, would begin to close the claims of evolution.
I think that as we discover more and more empirical concepts in science - that is, those which can clearly be observed and quantified, I am sure more and more, that evolution will be proven to be one of the truly HUGE Hoaxes of all time!!