Rian wrote:The real right to sigh belongs to the theists, who keep getting bombarded with the convoluted ways with which atheists try to twist a theist's statement to downplay the role of chance in evolution, and then include references to Natural Selection, like it was some amazing and complex scientific discovery instead of one of the most obvious and observable things in the universe, then follow it with the inevitable link to one of their high holy texts, TalkOrigins.
A "holy text" with links to the actual science, debates, evidence, tests, -- all of which you can, if you wish -- embrace yourself and do the work yourself. Which you won't of course, but it still remains a fact that you can TEST the evidence, which is why TalkOrigins.org is a reference site, and the bible is not. Unless you want to show us how to TEST for sin and heaven and hell?
Well, we know you will never admit the difference. Ever. Even though the very medical science that is giving you the best hope you have to conquer your illnesses exploded in knowledge because of the thing you denigrate, which is evolution and understanding genetics, biology, and how humans relate to animals -- all of it thanks to the Theory of Evolution and what it's been able to teach us. So go on, keep denigrating it. While you take full advantage of what it has to offer. At least you're lucky enough to be alive during a time when we do
have this technology to save lives.
But you know-- I often wonder... If evolution is just so much "blind faith", but your faith in god is so much more a foundation for your well being, why don't you abandon all medical treatment and rely on prayer-- ask Jesus to heal you, and do it in his name-- it cannot be denied you.
(Oh, never mind-- we know why you won't. You know why you won't too. And if there is a god -- he knows why you won't either.)
From TalkOrigins' "Five Major Misconceptions about Evolution"
"The theory of evolution says that life originated, and evolution proceeds, by random chance."
There is probably no other statement which is a better indication that the arguer doesn't understand evolution. Chance certainly plays a large part in evolution, but this argument completely ignores the fundamental role of natural selection, and selection is the very opposite of chance. Chance, in the form of mutations, provides genetic variation, which is the raw material that natural selection has to work with. From there, natural selection sorts out certain variations. Those variations which give greater reproductive success to their possessors (and chance ensures that such beneficial mutations will be inevitable) are retained, and less successful variations are weeded out. When the environment changes, or when organisms move to a different environment, different variations are selected, leading eventually to different species. Harmful mutations usually die out quickly, so they don't interfere with the process of beneficial mutations accumulating. ...
If evolution isn't driven by chance, then neither is, say, blackjack. I can take any of the supporting sentences in the TalkOrigins quote and use it to prove that blackjack isn't driven by chance, either. Yet I've never seen an atheist get all defensive about someone claiming that blackjack is driven by chance.
The simple fact is that it's perfectly valid to say that evolution is based on chance, like blackjack is. Of course, both of them have processes involved that aren't chance, but to try to deny that either one is strongly driven by chance is just head-in-the-sand denialism.
The above is proof that you still don't get it.
Chance is applied to any given individual
, just like it is to any individual play of the cards, but playing cards are not biological entities that reproduce and pass on the odds of winning. Each new game of blackjack is the odds ZEROED OUT, so new each game IS purely chance.
But animals are a culmination
of previous additions-- they inherit both wins and losses, add their own, and hand them off to the next generation. The difference between any living creature and a game of blackjack is so blindingly obvious that only people who don't get it would make this argument in the first place.
Evolution doesn't apply to just a single individual, but to the species as a whole and the lineage as a whole of that given individual-- even the "no longer existing" lineage that may end with the death of an individual (providing the death occurs BEFORE the individual reproduces itself).
This is why the link I posted clearly said "chance plays a role in evolution" and then went on to explain how. (See the red part that apparently swept by you).
Example: An animal with a genetically crippled leg runs across a street, and is killed by a car. This is a chance act. But the consequence
is that this genetically weaker animal DOES NOT LIVE TO REPRODUCE -- hence, the genetic mutation is ended (it may appear in others, but in this particular descendency, it dies).
Conversely, an animal that has a good gait makes it across the road, isn't killed. This is ALSO as much a "chance" as the one getting hit and killed, except chance in this case was in its favor (and thanks to better legs). So it lives to reproduce, and its offspring, unless they harbor a mutation -- gets those stronger legs as well. These are tiny incremental changes, pressured by certain chance events, but the overall development
of any species is not "just chance". It is a SELECTION process that rewards survival and literally ignores failure to survive (because it's not a conscious process).
And finally, while artificial selection (breeding) was known for centuries (millenia in fact), Darwin's achievement was to recognize that natural
selection not only also happens, but it can happen without directed intent or specific (like breeding does) but simply given enough time and the non-perfect process of reproduction. And that it can account for the broad diversity of life (as opposed to the laughable notion of a god creating 600,000 different species of beetles, or whatever the outlandish number of species of beetles is)
Denigrating Darwin is something the scientifically uneducated do -- because they think natural selection is obvious to their 20/20 hindsight, it's not any big achievement. Yet the same people never bother to denigrate Newton for "discovering" gravity. Which is also completely obvious, especially when you have the clarity of vision that comes from perfect hindsight.