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15 November 2005

Comments

Agagooga

Do tell us if it's approved.

budak

ST just sent me the rejection letter. But if it's because someone else made a better case than me, I am happy.

noself

Gabriel, are you going to post your letter to your blog? I don't have a response from ST yet whatever that might mean.

ivan

Seriously?

Good grief, they publish a trainee medical officer like Andrew Loke's dribble and reject yours?

Now you know why I don't post articles from ST.

Agagooga

Shaun's letter got published, as did someone else's. I didn't write one - attempting to study for exams lah ;)

Andrew Loke

Evolution a fact, not fiction

Dear "Budak " ,

I read your letter " Reply to Dr Andrew Loke " on the web a few days ago . This is my reply .

You mentioned " Dr. Loke calls evolution highly debatable. In truth, only a tiny, vocal minority of theistically-motivated researchers (especially those linked to the Discovery Institute) dispute the fact of evolution. " I wonder what Dr Michael Denton would think of this , since he is an agnostic , and certainly not theistically motivated .

You wrote " Furthermore, the Discovery Institute’s list posits a misleading claim, as the belief that natural selection and random selection are insufficient to explain evolution does not necessarily imply that one supports the creationist version of origins." Now nowhere in the list of 100 scientists was it claimed that doubt concerning Darwinism imply support for creationism , so your accusation that the list posit a misleading claim is false. Also , my citation of the list in my letter was just to show that macro-evolution is not a proven fact of science , and that not all prominent scientists believe in macro-evolution . I did not claim that all those scientist support creationism .Indeed , the list of 100 scientists who doubted macro-evolution refute your claim that "no serious researcher (despite claims by creationists to the contrary) doubts the phenotypic roads enshrined in fossil beds and corroborated by prevailing observations of ecology, biogeography and species distribution around the world " .

You wrote " In response, the US National Center for Science Education has received at least 600 signatories for its Project Steve that garners support for evolution only from scientists named “Steve.” But the point is , numbers don't matter in a scientific debate but strength of theories and evidence do . After all , many scientific theories which we accepted nowadays started off as the view of a minority .

You wrote that the intelligent design advocates have " ignored the manifold refutations of their so-called problems with evolution such as ‘irreducible complexity’. " This is simply not true as many of them have actually published articles that refute those " refutations " . You can check out the book " Debating Design ", published by the Cambridge University Press in 2004 for some examples of these . You suggested the websites http://talkorigins.org/origins/faqs-evolution.html and www.pandasthumb.org, but I have visited these websites before and find the arguments there unconvincing .

You wrote " Contrary to his claim that ‘gaps’ in the fossil record disprove evolution, the fossil record, even with its meagre volume given the sheer age of the earth and geological changes, already demonstrates the way phyla have evolved and the diversified paths of species radiation over time. The emergence of mammals and birds from reptilian ancestors (including the relict evidence of egg-bearing mammals and marsupials in isolated Australia), the uncanny morphological and biochemical homologies and atavisms within phyla " But I want to point out to you the " Cambrian explosion " , which refers to the geological sudden appearance of many new body plans supposedly " 530 million years ago " . At this time , at least 19 and perhaps as many as 35 of the 40 total phyla made their first appearance on earth . In almost all cases , the Cambrian animals have no clear morphological antecendants .

You wrote " The sad case is that many false avenues (e.g. the Piltdown Man) that evolutionary biologists have clearly rejected without these instances casting doubt on evolution itself are still cited by writers such as Dr. Well as strawmen to convince fellow creationists " Now I did not attack the Piltdown man and claiming that the present day evolutionary biologist still believe in the Piltdown man ,so therefore it is not a strawman argument. My citation of the Piltdown man was for the fact that so many scientists in the past did accepted and believed that the Piltdown Man was true , and they wrote 500+ books about it. In the end it is all proven to be a hoax. This should caution us in accepting what pro-evolutionists claim to be facts for their fossil records .

You wrote " the increasingly well-documented journey from ape to early man offer substantiated arguments for the veracity of evolution" . However , the views and sources which I cited in my letter show that the links between apes and humans are not convincing at all. And those sources do contain the opinion of paleoanthropologists , people specialising in the study of fossils, a field which form the basis for evolutionary biology .And paleoanthropologists themselves have admitted that their work in their field is highly subjective . For example , paleoanthropologist Misia Landau wrote that "many classic texts in the field were determined as much by traditional narrative frameworks as by material evidence " and that the themes " far exceed what can be studied from the fossils alone." (Narratives of Human Evolution ) . With regards to forming the narratives of evolution from fossils , paleoanthropologist Ian Tattersall admitted that the process is "both political and subjective " such that " paleoanthropology has the form but not the substance of science ". And evolutionary biologist Clark Howell had conceded that " There is no encompassing theory of human evolution...Alas,there never really has been." (" Paleoanthropology and Preconception " Meike et.al Contemporary issues in human evolution Memoir 21.) .

You wrote " The only point that may be conceded is the ultimate origin of life and its genetic transmission system itself. Various hypotheses exist as to how this occurred, but to resort to using theological claims to answer the question is both unscientific and self-defeating, for such claims are unprovable . "

Now I want to remind you that the claim of macro-evolution is also "unprovable" in the same sense the " intelligent designer " explaination is " unprovable " . Both explanations concern about an event that happened in the past , and therefore neither can be proven by experiments . Nevertheless, the view of " intelligent design " belongs to exactly the same branch of scienfic inquiry as the theory of naturalistic macro-evolution . We must note here that the issue does not lie within the branch of experimental science, because neither the macro-evolutionist explanation nor the Creationist explanation of what happened in the past can be confirmed in a lab. The conflict between naturalistic macro-evolution and creationism legitimately lies within the branch of science which operates on principles similar to FORENSIC science . It is not " science versus religion " , as many suppose, but rather which explanation for an event that has happened in the past is more probable .We are like detectives coming to the scene , looking at the life we see now and asking ourselves " which explanation is more reasonable ? " Did life comes from non- life naturalistically ? Did man come from apes ? " " Science" , says Linus Pauling , " is the search for the truth , " and we are concerned about the truth here . And the truth of the matter is that intelligence as a causal agency for life and man should not be ruled out a priori . In fact it should at least be considered as a possibility , as the principles of forensic science clearly recognises events caused by intelligence apart from events caused naturalistically . And that is how murders are determined apart from naturalistic accidents. And just as a forensic scientist will reasonably believe that a code found on the wall to be caused by an intelligent agency , it is more reasonable to believe that the origin of the first genetic code is caused by an intelligence rather than by naturalistic processes . No doubt the explanation that the causal agency for life and man is an intelligent agency will have religious connotations , but this connotation does not imply that the explanation itself is not true .

The process from molecules to life to simple organisms to apes to man is so complex that scientists had postulated that millions of years is necessary for even the most basic DNA and RNA to form . And the protective environment of the modern day laboratory was obviously not available for the first life to form naturalistically. Indeed , unpredictable destructive forces can happen all the time in the harsh ,unprotected natural environment. A volcano eruption , for example , would have instantaneously wipe out all traces of life in the " warm little pond " which had painstakingly taken millions of years to form. And somehow all the steps along the process from molecules to man must be protected from destructive forces and many possible detrimental chemical reactions , for millions of years ! Is it reasonable to believe that all these had happened naturalistically ?

An observation of the complexity of life and a reflection on how it can originate is indeed inconsistent with naturalistic explanations . Even one of the leading atheists and naturalist in the world, Anthony Flew, while still a non -Christian because of his misconceptions about Christianity, has now repudiated his long-cherished atheism as he now believed that an intelligence must have been involved in the origin of life , because that is the only explanation that is consistent with observation . As Plato had said , " We must follow where the evidence leads " .

Finally, you wrote " In short, whereas evolution is a matter of fact, the notion of divine creation is a matter of faith, and when has faith ever required evidence, since it is by definition a belief that defies the need for proof? " This is certainly erroneous theologically. The Bible states " For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse -- Romans 1 :20 . What this verse clearly means is that the proof for God can be seen in what has been created , so that man has no reasonable excuse for not believing in Him. So true faith in the Christian context is based on proof .

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