Friday, October 13, 2006

No, Your Uncle Wasn't a Monkey...

How many times must a fundie be hit over the head with facts before they relinquish their hold on fairy tale? I know, now the commercial is stuck in my head too. ("Mr. Owl, how many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?" "Hmm, let's find out... One... Two... Three... Crack! Three.")

Please pay attention, and keep hands and feet in the vehicle at all times:

WE ARE NOT DESCENDED FROM MONKEYS.


Anyone need me to repeat that?

Evolution, for the record, does NOT state that we are descended from monkeys. I don't know what rock you claim to have found this "fact" under, but it is patently false. Evolution does state that we, as are most primates, descended from a common ancestor. If one is to take an objective, hard look at the fossil record and archeological sites and records, man's history throughout the ages has never been a simple: "And once there was a monkey who stood up one day, shaved off his fur, and became a man." It took millions of years a lot of adaptation along with natural selection and microevolution to get to where we are today.

Let me explain the three key tenets of evolutionary theory, and then I'll attempt to reasonably explain the use of the word "theory" as it pertains to science, okay?
  1. The first tenet is microevolution, when mutations occur (whether through external or internal factors) in the genetic sequence of an organism. Mutations are random and occur naturally through errors in the reproductive process or through environmental impacts such as chemicals or radiation, or both.
  2. The second tenet of evolution is natural selection. Natural selection is a process by which the fittest members of a species live to pass on their DNA, and the weaker ones die because they are unable to compete in the wild. Sometimes called "survival of the fittest" or "elimination of the weakest."
  3. The third tenet is speciation, which occurs when a species mutates to the point where they can no longer breed with other members of the same species. (Science has already proven that this happens quite frequently.) The new population becomes a reproductively isolated community that is unable to breed with its former community. Through speciation, the genes of the new population become isolated from the previous group.
Read it again if you need to. There's no shame in that.

I once explained it on another website (God Vs. Darwin) like this on this post:

Of course all change is within a species... that's how it happens. There's a fish. That fish learns that the bugs that live above the water are better. Gradually, as the fish tries to reach these insects on the banks of the river, the ones with fins better adapted (whether through muscle structure or bone structure through mutation in small bone and muscle genes) are the ones that survive and breeding continues with small mutations over many years until, if you go back and look at this fish compared with the other fish that didn't try to reach bank insects and instead preyed on smaller fish or underwater life; they don't even look the same and can no longer interbreed because the changes are now too drastic at this point (like a tiger and a lion--their genetic offspring is still a cat, but cannot produce offspring of its own; as opposed to wolves and chiuhuas, which, while both still dogs, cannot interbreed at all and produce no offspring). Soon these fish that have developed stronger fins to flop on land to catch the bugs develop other mutations, small, minor ones that make their front fins a bit stronger, maybe a little bent. Given another few hundred to thousand years (barring any major genetic mutations or leaps), that fin is no longer recognizable as a fin, but a leg. But the "fish," while no longer a fish, hasn't changed "species" per se. It is still the creature it was but has so adapted to its environment, that, while we as people categorize it has having changed species (as we like to categorize things: i.e., find design and categories where none exists in reality), it hasn't really--it's just an adapted creature. Same creature, but looking very very different after a few thousand years...
Now this is a major simplification of all the ramifications that go into evolution as a whole, but nonetheless still true. Some examples that we know of that show a bit of this process that are still alive today are the lungfish, the Walking Catfish, and the more recently discovered Walking Shark.

Now, a common argument is that "there are huge gaps in the fossil record that cannot be explained by science." A semi-valid point. Do you know how many conditions need to be in place for something to fosilize or mummify? Of course not everything is going to leave behind a nicely preserved skeleton or impression, and living things, when they die, typically decay. The fact that we can even find as many fossils and artifacts as we have is amazing in and of itself! But when one looks at the evidence, there is little wiggle room for not holding to evolution, as it is our best working model that can be tested, retested, measured, and recorded. So-called "missing links" are everywhere if you know how the dots are connected, but I'll digress for the time being (unless some of you really feel the need to push the issue... and I know some of you will...) Simply because all the supposed "gaps" haven't been filled is no reason to claim "It must be God! It must be God! Evolution is bunk!" Believe it or not, just because you haven't yet figured out the answer to something is in no way a road to attributing it to something supernatural. Lack of evidence in no way equals concrete evidence for the workings of a god--it simply means we need to keep looking, and if it leads to concrete proof in a god (i.e., not faith, but facts), than you may have something...

Now, on to scientific jargon:
Scientific Law: This is a statement of fact to explain an action or set of actions. It is accepted to be true and universal, and can be expressed in terms of a single mathematical equation. They don't really need any complex external proofs; they are accepted at face value based upon the fact that they have always been observed to be true. Examples: Law of gravity, the law of thermodynamics, and Hook's law of elasticity.

Hypothesis: This is an educated guess based upon observations made. It is a rational, logical explanation of a single event or phenomenon based upon what has been observed, but not been proved. Almost all hypotheses can be supported or refuted by experimentation and continued observation.

Theory: A theory is an explanation of a set of related observations or events based upon proven hypotheses and verified multiple times by detached groups of researchers. One scientist cannot create a theory; he can only create a hypothesis.

In general, both a scientific theory and a scientific law are accepted to be true by the scientific community as a whole. Both are used to make predictions of events. Both are used to advance technology.

The biggest difference between a law and a theory is that a theory is much more complex and dynamic. A law governs a single action, whereas a theory explains a whole series of related phenomena.

Any questions at all?

Now, on to man's and ape's common ancestors:

To see a relatively user-friendly map of man's evolution, click here.

To discover what separates primates from other branches of the evolution tree, click here.

To see a nice visual of the primate family tree, click here.

I'd actually like to go into this more in the future, but for now, just leave your thoughts or arguments or whatever have you. I'll be out of town for the next three days, but didn't want to leave you guys totally hanging out with nothing to discuss... :)

I'll pick this thread back up in the future, though, and go into more depth about our evolution as humans, what all was entailed, how it happened as best I can discover, and so on....

Hope you all have a great weekend! Oh, and Happy Friday the 13th!

22 comments:

FCSuper said...

I know that in a technical sense, humans didn't evolve from monkeys. However, I feel that this technicality is more harmful to setting thangs straight about evolution than helpful.
The fact is that we do have a common ancestor as monkeys, and it can be said that this ancestor was itself a monkey (or proto-monkey?). I don't have any issue with saying that we evolved from monkeys or apes. Just like I wouldn't have an issue that it be said we evolved from fish, because we did evolve from fish (and not some common ancestor with fish). By contrast, we didn't evolve from fungi, but we did evolve from a common ancestor with fungi.
I personally feel it's better to just say it to challenge or open people's minds, rather than getting technical.

Anonymous said...

Jesus is coming back AND SOON! Get over all this monkey stuff and read what God says about the last days before Christ's return - who cares about monkeys - time is short and you better be concerned about your soul's condition rather than going on and on about useless subjects - read the news and read the Bible (http://raptureready.com/rapnews_db.php) - monkeys dont matter, but your salvation from death and hell does. Dogs, monkeys, bad days at work? Come on, those things mean nothing in the scheme of life. What matters is that you admit your sin and turn from it before its too late.

Jason Hughes said...

This just in: BREAKING NEWS: JESUS COMING BACK; STORY AT ELEVEN follwed by your 7 day forcast!

Let's see, Jesus has been coming back, for what, a little over two thousand years now? Yawn.

He needs a new pulicist...

FCSuper: Yeah, it does kind of come down to semantics, but then I read some of these conservatives sites and they're trying to draw a very bad correlation from being taught "we come from monkeys" to "school shootings." They never get into the details, and hence, never understand, and relegate it to fairy tale duty... It's very sad when people remain willfully, perhaps naively, ignorant and instead choose a "reality" of stories...

Perhaps they'll draw some new conclusions, perhaps they won't (See Anon's comments for proof on this last), buit at least a nugget of truth has been planted, and perhaps it may sprout in the future when they realize that God has put them on hold (again) as he's too busy being concerned with whether or not he's a republican or an independant...

:)

Thanks for stopping by, both of you!

Darkmind said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Jason and Darkmind, have you ever entertained the thought you might be wrong? Think for just a minute what would happen if I am right about this and you arent. Hell is hot - I mean really hot. It lasts forever and there is no end to it. It isnt that God wants you to go there - just the opposite, He wants you in heaven with Him. You have a free will and the choice is yours. I happen to believe your position on this is totally wrong.......I know you think I am wrong, but if I am wrong, what happens to me when I die? Nothing......I go into oblivion. If I am right, what happens to you when you die? Hell. That, my friend, would be a chance I would not want to bet on.

Jason Hughes said...

Anon: You said: "That, my friend, would be a chance I would not want to bet on."

So it all boils down to fire insurnace? Your whole life, all of yoru choices, everythign you do and say has boiled down to headging a bet on the off-chance that perhaps there may be (for which there is no reason other than tradition) a hell?

I value what little time I have on this planet than to cater to the wishes of a sky god, and live in fear of "eternal damnation" for a life I never asked him for, and for which I owe him nothing.

So you live in the comfort that, you may be wrong, but just in case you won't burn, and I'll learn in the comfort of knowing I don't know, have a hard time caring, and have no worries about this non-existant afterlife of which you've dedicated yourself...

I hope it works out for you (in that, I hope your life doesn't ultimately prove to be pointless and that there actually is something afterwards for you to say "Aha! Yeah!" about, but that, my friend, isn't something I would bet on.

mom said...

heavens jason what a blog!! i tried reading it and understanding it but after i read it the way you think we all came about is no worse or better than believing that God made us all. i still say and i will always say till the day i drop no one had any pictures of any of the creation thing and until you can show me actual footage of the whole thing i will believe that the God i worship can make us out of fish if He wanted or He could of made us and everything else the way He made us. but your thinking explains alot why some family trees seems to have a lack of branching off the main tree! :) another thing about believing in the second coming and believing that when i die i will live in heaven does bring me some comfort. i felt the comfort in the bad times in my life and after reading your answer to anon. i have wonder how you deal with the up and downs i know you go through and the things that might happen that might not be easy. (we all do have those times like it or not.) i know alot of my stuff i go through is base on faith and the hope of a better life when i die but living that way down here i feel makes me stronger for it all. God never ask anything of us that would hurt us living the way He lays it all out. my living the way i feel He wants me to live does bring me a peace that i can't explain. also, whenever He does decide to come back i feel i am ready and i don't worry about the whole thing or what lines up with what since God is the one that will decide when. i am just supposed to live the way He wants and to love and tell others about what i found in living my life for Him. so with all that i will go since i have a project to do before i pick up your dear dad. i do love you jason very much and praying for you since what i want most in my whole life to live with all my kids and grandchildren and friends in heaven!! i do confess i don't understand how you all can live without the insurance you can have with God since its FREE and really what harm does it do to live that way? and one more thing isn't it all called theory all this stuff where we came from and all that other stuff? (hows that for a technical question? :) ) well, now i am going. my brain has been used up. and darkmind i will get to you when my projects calm down. i would love to bring cinnamon spice to your blog!! :) love and prayers

Anonymous said...

No such thing as fire insurance when it comes to God - its either all or nothing, but I am sure you know that as your mom is a believer. My point is simply this : You can either bow to God now becaue you choose to accept that He is real or you will bow later when its too late. Your mother is obviously concerned for you - she wants her kid in heaven - and I am sure it is a source of worry for her that you are so anti-God. Faith is key - I pray that you will find some soon. I know it is easy for you and Darkmind to make fun of the signs of the second coming, but they are real, yes there have always been earthquakes, but not as many as we are seeing now. The countries that are talked about in the end times in the Bible are key players in the world drama today. There are so many signs that are not "new", but more intense - the Bible calls them birth pains. You know how birth pains escalate? Really quick - Jesus is coming - really quick. Make fun of me, tell your mother she is wrong, makes jokes about God, but rest assured that the day is coming when you will be proven wrong. I pray for you (and your mother) that you will come to your senses before Jesus comes back.

Dar said...

I'd like to know why someone would anonymously praise their lord. You should reveal yourself so that your god will see your work lest you miss out on some heavenly brownie points.

Darkmind said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Steve said...

You Go, Jason’s Mom!! Ooops, sorry Jason, didn't mean to get in the middle of the family discussion. Forgive me, please.
If I may post the links here, please take a moment to read Jack Kinsella's article "Thy Word IS Truth". He makes some interesting points concerning what several of the world's most prominent scientists have to say about God.
The link the article is here.
Or find it through my blog here.
Thanks for letting me comment.
-Steve

PS
Jason’s Mom,
Keep praying…nothing is too hard for God.

Steve said...

Hey Dar,
Since this isn't the most Christian "friendly" blog on the net, I can understand why someone might not want to post information about who they really are.
But let me assure you, God knows who he or she is and rest assured, the "heavenly brownie points" will flow.
It's a shame your "heavenly brownie points" remain close to if not at zero.
God Bless!!
-Steve

Jason Hughes said...

Um, Steve, you may always post links, but about the one who "makes interesting points": All he's basically saying is "these popular scientists believed in god." Big whoop. He also says "atheists use these scientists to point out a believability in no god." I have never heard anyone anywhere claim that science disproves god, or even uses scientists to claim there is no god... Maybe I just go in different circles, but I think you'd be hard-pressed to find a scientists who didn't believe in something whether it's your brand of god or whatever...

Interesting links, nonetheless, though.

And when was the last time I hunted down and killed an Anonymous and hung their head over my mantle? You guys are sometimes just to chicken-shit to put a name behind your words... Which is fine (or else I'd place a "no anonymous comments" block on the blog... but it's still chicken-shitty...

to Anonymous: "I pray for you (and your mother) that you will come to your senses before Jesus comes back."

Let's see... carry the one... that only gives me eternity! Heavens to Betsy! I'd better get crackin'! Anyone have a cliff notes?

I never turn away prayers (how would I stop you anyway?) but rest assurred that nothing will change in my life unless I decide to change it...

to Mom: You ask an interesting question" How does one deal with the bumpy road of life without a god to look to and for strength? I will post abotu it sometime soon, I promise... :D

Darkimd: How dare you use logic!! Bad, bad Darkmind! Everyone knows that with todays media and world-fast traveling of news that there are more earthquakes and tornadoes! Of course, in the past, because we didn't hear about an earthquake in Pakistan or a Tsunami in Japan, it never happened! Duh! :D

Thanks all for your comments...

Ergo said...

Oh, anonymous's "bet" argument is nothing but a variation of Pascal's wager... a centuries old argument that has been decimated to shreds so long ago that I'm actually surprised to see someone bring that up in today's times! Gawd, how backward!

Anyway, the basic problem with Pascal's wager argument is that it assumes too many things for its own good. First, it assumes that God (if He exists) would infact prefer to have the religious believer in heaven and send all the atheists and/or agnostics to hell. That assumption is easily challenged by raising the point that maybe God infact values an honest person's search for the truth using the god-given faculties of reason, etc., instead of prefering a person who is religious solely because of blind-faith, coercion, fear, or parental upbringing.
Maybe God hates cowardly believers more than he hates atheists! In that case, the religious believer would get sent to hell despite his belief because he did not value the importance of intelligence and rationality (God's gifts especially to human beings).
An atheists who has made the honest effort to search for the truth is merely mistaken in his conclusion that God does not exist. This mistake is much excusable given the atheist's ruthless honesty to facts in reality. In contrast, a religious person motivated by fear, blind belief, lack of reason, guilt, etc. is hardly an exemplar of heaven-worthy specimens!

Moreover, what if God chooses to punish the believers and send them to hell because their main reason for "believing" in a God is nothing more than a faith in probabilities. The anonymous person decides to be a believer because it is a "safer bet," not because he is genuinely motivated by the love of God. Hence, seeing this, God may as well foil his bet and send the poor dude to hell.

Finally, the wager also assumes that God is infact an intelligent and caring God. However, as I am amply noted, an intelligent God is a contradiciton of terms.

Oh well. Anyway, if all we need is a supernatural being to feel secure with in our times of trouble and worries, why not take recourse with Batman! He's a true superhero and he does in fact exist! There're innumerable written and illustrated scriptures that chronicle Batman's birth, life, miracles, wonders, and existence in this world. I challenge anybody to PROVE to me that Batman does not exist. And in the end, it all boils down to faith: I believe Batman exists and he gives me the strength to carry on. I can only pray to him that one day you too may come to realize the power of BATMAN!

mom said...

hello jason again!! :) ha ha you can't stop my praying for you but i do know it is your choice and that is the beauty of God. He loves us to let us have our minds and hearts to find Him when we seek Him out. He does not tackle us down and since He did make us He knows us far better than we know us. i do love God with all my heart. a daily walk with Him was a choice i had to do on my own not because of someone or something. when i choose to live the way God wants me to live there was a understanding on so much i cannont explain and i really don't expect all you people to understand it unless they make the choice. i do respect you all for your belief and i do think that we do seem to hear more of the rotton things that go on in the world because of the better media we do have but since we do have better media maybe thats what God meant at the end times we will hear more of it. ?? i will go back and say thats in His hands. well, it is an heartache for me as your mom but as long as you are alive and kicking there is always a chance you might try out God! :) and to ergo, i didn't know batman had a son who died and rose again. my belief on God and His Son who died for me and the world and rose again is the reason i follow God. its the love i see in that and the power God had to brake the chains of death. the reason i know i will see my dad again and my mother-in-law and my grandparents on both sides of my family!! :) you saying that we can just have a belief in batman is fine but there isn't the power that is there when you come to the understanding what you are without God and His love for us. to have a daily walk with God is a choice and if you can find that in following batman well go on. no one is stopping you. well, jason, again you have your blog a buzzing!! :) you do a good job on your writing and i do appreciate you being honest. being honest is a good thing! :) no matter what. you still have to measure your windows for me!! stop writing and measure!! :) love and prayers ps jason, i am making a curtain now to go with my shower curtain. you have to see it. it does not have any blue in it. :) :) and dad got alot of the staining done and it looks so good!! i think its worth all the mess that is in my living room. :) its hard on us 'monk' like people putting up with a mess. also, we decided to go plain paint not a wash like we were talking about. its the same color we are using for the trim of the house. the fawn color. well, anyway, just had to say all that since i am excited!! :) :)

FCSuper said...

Wow, what a chain.

Anon, the Universe is not so simple as what is suggested by ancient bible writers. No one gets an away with thangs being as easy as simply going to a hell. Trust me, the reality is much harder than any ol' hell could possibly be. Each of us is truly responsible for our own actions. Only each individual can pay for their own transgressions. Ancient texts don't cover the list of "sins" all that accurately....going on as they do about haircuts, blood sacrifices, origin myths, sex, harvest cycles and other ultimately unimportant thangs (and their punishments which are often way out of portion). They do get one thang right (and hence the only redeeming value): Be caring for others; do what is right in your own eyes for yourself, but don't judge others; etc. Anyways, Christ can guide you, but he can't save you. He was just a human, like you and me with no more right to cover over your sins than to claim he was God (which he never did actually do, BTW).

Darkmind said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

FC - thangs?

Dar - cyborgs?

One of you watches too much Star Trek

I am not going to try to change your mind on things of God - only He can do that

Darkmind said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
FCSuper said...

anon, Just for the record, it was God that did change my mind about Him. LOL Just cuz he hadn't talked to you yet doesn't mean you can't open your mind on your own. ;)

mom said...

hello jason again!! :) ha ha you can't stop my praying for you but i do know it is your choice and that is the beauty of God. He loves us to let us have our minds and hearts to find Him when we seek Him out. He does not tackle us down and since He did make us He knows us far better than we know us. i do love God with all my heart. a daily walk with Him was a choice i had to do on my own not because of someone or something. when i choose to live the way God wants me to live there was a understanding on so much i cannont explain and i really don't expect all you people to understand it unless they make the choice. i do respect you all for your belief and i do think that we do seem to hear more of the rotton things that go on in the world because of the better media we do have but since we do have better media maybe thats what God meant at the end times we will hear more of it. ?? i will go back and say thats in His hands. well, it is an heartache for me as your mom but as long as you are alive and kicking there is always a chance you might try out God! :) and to ergo, i didn't know batman had a son who died and rose again. my belief on God and His Son who died for me and the world and rose again is the reason i follow God. its the love i see in that and the power God had to brake the chains of death. the reason i know i will see my dad again and my mother-in-law and my grandparents on both sides of my family!! :) you saying that we can just have a belief in batman is fine but there isn't the power that is there when you come to the understanding what you are without God and His love for us. to have a daily walk with God is a choice and if you can find that in following batman well go on. no one is stopping you. well, jason, again you have your blog a buzzing!! :) you do a good job on your writing and i do appreciate you being honest. being honest is a good thing! :) no matter what. you still have to measure your windows for me!! stop writing and measure!! :) love and prayers ps jason, i am making a curtain now to go with my shower curtain. you have to see it. it does not have any blue in it. :) :) and dad got alot of the staining done and it looks so good!! i think its worth all the mess that is in my living room. :) its hard on us 'monk' like people putting up with a mess. also, we decided to go plain paint not a wash like we were talking about. its the same color we are using for the trim of the house. the fawn color. well, anyway, just had to say all that since i am excited!! :) :)

Ergo said...

Oh, anonymous's "bet" argument is nothing but a variation of Pascal's wager... a centuries old argument that has been decimated to shreds so long ago that I'm actually surprised to see someone bring that up in today's times! Gawd, how backward!

Anyway, the basic problem with Pascal's wager argument is that it assumes too many things for its own good. First, it assumes that God (if He exists) would infact prefer to have the religious believer in heaven and send all the atheists and/or agnostics to hell. That assumption is easily challenged by raising the point that maybe God infact values an honest person's search for the truth using the god-given faculties of reason, etc., instead of prefering a person who is religious solely because of blind-faith, coercion, fear, or parental upbringing.
Maybe God hates cowardly believers more than he hates atheists! In that case, the religious believer would get sent to hell despite his belief because he did not value the importance of intelligence and rationality (God's gifts especially to human beings).
An atheists who has made the honest effort to search for the truth is merely mistaken in his conclusion that God does not exist. This mistake is much excusable given the atheist's ruthless honesty to facts in reality. In contrast, a religious person motivated by fear, blind belief, lack of reason, guilt, etc. is hardly an exemplar of heaven-worthy specimens!

Moreover, what if God chooses to punish the believers and send them to hell because their main reason for "believing" in a God is nothing more than a faith in probabilities. The anonymous person decides to be a believer because it is a "safer bet," not because he is genuinely motivated by the love of God. Hence, seeing this, God may as well foil his bet and send the poor dude to hell.

Finally, the wager also assumes that God is infact an intelligent and caring God. However, as I am amply noted, an intelligent God is a contradiciton of terms.

Oh well. Anyway, if all we need is a supernatural being to feel secure with in our times of trouble and worries, why not take recourse with Batman! He's a true superhero and he does in fact exist! There're innumerable written and illustrated scriptures that chronicle Batman's birth, life, miracles, wonders, and existence in this world. I challenge anybody to PROVE to me that Batman does not exist. And in the end, it all boils down to faith: I believe Batman exists and he gives me the strength to carry on. I can only pray to him that one day you too may come to realize the power of BATMAN!