Conservapedia talk:Counterexamples to Evolution

From RationalWiki
Jump to: navigation, search

I'm considering making a sarcastic version, with disparaging comments regarding the writers of these counterexamples' intelligence. Anyone interested? --My cat is smarter than Andrew Schafly RA harass stalk 03:30, 16 December 2007 (EST)

It's all about meeeeeee![edit]

As with so many things, don marquis (or rather, archy) has the definitive word. It seems CP is a collection of such toads, which should come as a surprise to no one. --Kels 12:45, 16 December 2007 (EST)

I love you, RationalWiki[edit]

I must say, I love how all of you fly out of the woodwork to edit away whenever I make an article. That would never happen on Uncyclopedia. It does wonders for my hubris. I think that's part of what makes RationalWiki so special. Much love, --My cat is smarter than Andrew Schafly RA harass stalk 05:22, 17 December 2007 (EST)

Commentary[edit]

I've moved this off of the main page to here because 1) there's way too many ad hominems, among an article that had otherwise stayed away from them, 2) at the time it was posted, there was not just one "the author"... the document had been put together by multiple people, and 3) if you're going to use an individual voice and stake your statements on your reputation, at least sign the thing. --Toiretni 15:31, 15 August 2008 (EDT)


(after putting forth several clarifications) Y'know what? I am getting tired of this. Author, you must be an eight-year-old child because these arguments in defense of evolution are ignorant, uncreative, misinformed and tiresome. You know nothing of what you are talking about, on any level, and instead are simply parroting what you have been told. You show no insight, understanding, independent thought, or capability for analysis. You are WORSE than a 'Fundie' because, although a 'Fundie's arguments are based in religious beliefs, they will concede that the source of their beliefs are based in these beliefs. You, on the other hand, are treating evolution as your own 'religion', because you do not question these ideas, you use no independent methods of analysis, and are, instead, asking people to take what you are saying simply on your word. You are asking them to have 'faith' that you know what you are talking about and you most definitely do not. You are a preacher claiming to be a scientist.

I have studied genetics in top universities for over ten years, been published multiple times, and even found evidence for evolutionary processes and theories on my own (I use insect models, if you could not tell), and even I concede that 'Fundies' have some persuasive arguments. Genetics is an extremely complex system and the way evolutionary supporters use this 'magic wand' to explain these changes in morphology as natural and uncomplicated is frustrating.

Before you open your mouth, open a f*ckin book. You are an embarrassment to evolutionary scientists. --66.65.82.212, 1 August 2008.

(two years later, but still) BoN, as another honest-to-goodness published biologist, I would think you would be able to know the difference between professional research articles and little summary blurbs on a wiki. One of the key points in ALL writing is (now get a pen and paper): write for your venue and your audience. Research articles are the place for in-depth analysis of new data and formulating theories, but a brief blurb on a public wiki to counter another briefer blurb on an ignorant wiki is not the place for a dissertation or reevaluation of entire fields of scientific research. Maybe the authors aren't scientists, specifically evolutionary biologists, but simply writing about science doesn't mean they are claiming to be. How can they be an embarrassment to a group they aren't in? Do you want a full, original literature review for every item on this list? Were your early undergraduate classes any different from what you so vigorously whine about here?
Now, speaking also as a published educator, you made at least three additional mistakes: 1) long diatribes don't work, 2) ad hominem attacks are disgustingly juvenile, and 3) bragging about your listed credentials is arrogant and unimpressive. In fact, your "experience" is completely unverifiable. Rather than proving it you
  • "...are, instead, asking people to take what you are saying simply on your word. You are asking them to have 'faith' that you know what you are talking about..."
It would not have been terribly unreasonable to continue that quote but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt.
Rather than jumping so self-righteously upon your high horse to take down the little man, consider that education within science and education about science are dramatically different endeavors. The way many scientists with no educational experience zealously dump mass quantities of data and technical verbosity on laypeople thinking it will be a 'magic wand' to explain anything to anyone, which instead only results in further alienating the scientific community from the public, is frustrating.
Before you open your mouth, try doing some real education outside the ivory tower. You are an embarrassment to science educators. But how can you be an embarrassment to a group you so obviously aren't in? Kalliumtalk 06:04, 3 August 2010 (UTC)

CP namespace?[edit]

24.141.252.243 22:03, 26 October 2008 (EDT)

I was hesitant to relocate it there because that would make the title even more convoluted. Oh, well... Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 22:35, 26 October 2008 (EDT)

Countercountercounter[edit]

A lot of the examples here have a counter to the CP argument, then a counter to that argument (which generally consists of "but it needs more than one change to make it work!", and which were apparently written by a geneticist who has never heard of suppressed mutations or non-genetic morphological changes. Can we tidy this up? Wazza (Not Wazzock, Wazza)Approach the Presence 02:02, 27 October 2008 (EDT)

Actually, I don't quite get what the "counters" are. They appear to be on the same side, but showing a different route to get there. Despite the name. It's kinda weird. Kirkburn  talk  contr   03:06, 27 October 2008 (EDT)

No, if you read them, they're rubbishing the idea that these things could really have evolved. I think. Certainly I've found lots of gaps in the logic and such... but I don't want to write a "counter" to them or we'll be drowning in it. Wazza (Not Wazzock, Wazza)Approach the Presence 03:28, 27 October 2008 (EDT)

I'd say move the lot of them to the talk page, since most of them (demands for citations, commentary, and outright insults) don't belong on the actual project page anyway. I also note that they (or somebody) linked "evolutionist" to the "fascist" article, although I didn't go back far enough in history to see if it was the same person. --Kels 14:04, 27 October 2008 (EDT)
Taking a closer look, all the "counters to the counters to the counters" are by one anonymous IP who only ever made that one edit. I'm gonna move them to the talk page, and if there's anything worthwhile in any of them, they can be used to improve the article itself, instead of cluttering it up with commentary. --Kels 14:17, 27 October 2008 (EDT)
The thing about counter-counter-counter-counters with this kind of thing is that once you get beyond just one level, you start digging up the same thing again and just proving that you haven't understood it. Take Schlafly's recent defence against Ace's sock where he brought him up on the "foliage is beauftiful, evolution is wrong QED" thing. Andy countered it, with THE SAME arguement AGAIN and it went nowhere. ArmondikoVpathetic 14:20, 27 October 2008 (EDT)

Counter-counters[edit]

(All moved from project page, discuss as necessary)

Autumn Foliage[edit]

Counter - The point of foliage changing color as a couterexample of evolution has nothing at all to do with how appealing it is to humanity. The leaf, once the photosynthetic process halts in preparation for winter, continues to consume sugars and other resources although it provides no feasible advantage to the organism. The leaves, for all intents and purposes, seem to become parasitic. The fact that they are pretty is a notable side-bar to this process, not the core of the argument. One would argue that, if a plant has evolved to improve efficiency and conserve resources, why would a plant continue to maintain a part of itself when it no longer served a purpose? And why would a plant continue to do this year after year? Beauty in the world is not the argument against evolution, but specific processes that are inefficient and serve no purpose is the argument. The fact that some of these processes are beautiful is a notable coincidence.

Whale Ancestry[edit]

Counter - What is the source for these arguments? Citations? Or do is this just make this up? I have never heard this argument and I find it difficult that someone who disbelieves in evolution would use a process of evolution as an argument against evolution.

Eye Development[edit]

Counter - "...failure of imagination and knowledge of the animal world". This is a gross misunderstanding of biology and physics. A planeria, a small worm which has one of the simplest nervous systems and are routinely experimented upon, have primitive eyespots that are capable of light detection only. The idea behind evolution is that, over time, these organs 'became' more complex through natural selection. The complex, vertebrate eye was the natural progression and ultimate achievement of this process.

The problem is two-fold. One; the theory supposes that the eye spots developed into eye cups. The eye cups added the ability for directional light source determination. The directional light source capability developed into focused light gathering with a primitive lens, then image quality improves, then a flexible lens develops, then, after millenia, we have the ultimate achievement... the complex vertabrate eye (I realize I am skipping steps, but for the sake of brevity, you'll have to bear with me).

The process supposes that a change in the conformation, or shape, of the eyespot (i.e. into a cup shape) would immediately add an advantage over the flat eyespot of its brethren. This, in turn, adds a mating advantage and the gene is passed on, becoming dominant within a given population. What the above fails to realize is that a change in conformation does not mean the change can be utilized. A simple analogy would be a third arm for humans. Just imagine how much faster you would be able to type, to manipulate objects, to use tools, etc. But a third arm alone is not enough. You would need to change the systems involved in control and feedback as well as the third arm. So, although an eye cup would be advantageous, it does not suggest that the entire nervous system of the organism would be able to interpret this new format of information. And, unless the systems are in place to understand that shadows on an eyespot, due to the cup shape, correlate to a more specific trajectory of light, the organism would instead have a diminished light sensitivity due to all the shadows created by the cup shape. In order for the cup shape to become advantageous, the systems to interpret the new data would have to PRECEDE the change in conformation - almost as if the organism KNEW the change was going to come and prepared for it. This, of course, is implausible. The second possibility is that the cup shape arose again and again until, by chance, a new nervous system developed in conjunction with the shape change. This, as well, is implausible.

The second issue is, "...leading to the evolution of the eye as we know it". This is an example of, to quote the above, "...the abject hubris of your standard (evolutionist)". The idea that the ultimate achievement of vision is the complex, vertebrate eye, is presumptuous hubris in and of itself. The vertebrate eye is suited for a particular nervous system and anatomy. It has, however, severe limitations that other, simpler, eye designs do not.

An insect eye, as an example, is exceptional at detection of motion, can see in the UV spectrum (a significant advantage for night vision), has the capability of replacing lost lenses due to damage, and can see almost 360 degrees. This design, as well, has many of the capabilities of the vertebrate eye; can focus on a given object, determine color and shape, has depth perception, etc. One could easily argue that the insect eye is far superior to the vertebrate eye, yet is commonly considered to be 'simple'. Suggesting that the vertebrate eye is the ultimate achievement of evolution in vision is an example of the arrogance common with 'evolutionists'.

Blood Clotting[edit]

Counter - This is an example of misunderstanding evolution and misunderstanding biochemistry.

The point of blood clotting is to create a blockage of blood flow as a result of some insult or injury, while maintaining normal blood flow within the organism. The ability of the blood to 'gel-ify' is not enough - in the same way an eyecup alone is not enough. It has to 'gel-ify' under the right circumstances or the blood will continue to flow out of the wound or, worse yet, the blood will 'gel-ify' within the organism. So the question is, what is the trigger to 'gel-ify' the blood?

With blood carrying all the same gases from the environment into the organism, what, exactly, is the trigger that determines whether to clot or not? Is it the oxygen? Well, oxygen is in the blood as well as the water around it. Is it the nitrogen? Again, the nitrogen is in the water as well as in the blood. We cannot suggest that the blood 'dried-out' to form the clot because evolution supposes that life started in water... so there would be no 'drying-out'. As well, if it was oxygen or nitrogen, then the organism would have nothing but 'gel-ified' blood because the 'gel-ify-ing' process would not know it the oxygen atoms were from the environment or from the body.

As an actual, for real, biologist, I can say with authority that, as complex as our own clotting mechanisms are, making the decision between 'in' and 'out' is still extremely sensitive and prone to failure. Hemophilia, spontaneous blood clots, strokes... these are all examples of failures in the blood's ability to know if it is inside the body or outside of it. Some organisms, like many insects, do not even have clotting capability and instead rely on rapid wound closure.

"The sea-slug has a blood clotting mechanism in which the blood sort of oozes over the wound, not solidifying very much. However, since the organism has very low blood pressure, this suits it just fine." This, again, is ignorance. The fact that the sea-slug only quazi-solidifies it's blood does not at all suggest that the process, on a biochemical level, is any less complicated than our own clotting mechanism. Some sea slugs, just as a basis of comparison, can eat plants and become photosynthetic for short periods of time. Just because the organisms seems simple, it does not at all suggest that it is.

Giraffe Necks[edit]

Counter - A longer neck alone does not imply that it will work. If you look at the giraffe anatomy, you will see that it has a heart that is ... well, it is absolutely massive. The two had to evolve together but even a two inch increase in height, over time, becomes...

=Bats and sonar[edit]

This has some interesting stuff on humans who taught themselves echolocation.

Arguments from ignorance[edit]

It's amazing how many arguments from ignorance there are here... Sterilesnore! 16:54, 27 October 2008 (EDT)

"Junk DNA"[edit]

Is it worth pointing out introns and exons in DNA / RNA as an example of how our genome contains quite a lot of junk? CrundyTalk nerdy to me 21:15, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

My curiosity is piqued. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 02:37, 8 December 2009 (UTC)

Self-awareness 40k years old?[edit]

"Modern humans are around 200,000 years old in the history of life, but self-awareness only appears to go back about 40,000 years."

... what? Citation please! - David Gerard (talk) 19:24, 29 June 2010 (UTC)

Wording?[edit]

It seems odd a little odd to say "the author has confused this-with-that" or "that author seems to think" etc. when many of the so-called counterexamples were likely added by parodists with the specific intent of sounding utterly ridiculous to anyone with the slightest critical thinking ability. Some have such a high density of wrongness that they could not have arisen by chance- they must have been intelligently designed to be so. It's like when Peter Griffin tried CPR: I think the writers actually looked at a CPR protocol so they could make his actions as wrong as possible (they did a good job). The more telling thing isn't how ignorant the authors may or may not have been, but the tacit approval of the statements by His Highness the Expert of Everything himself. Kalliumtalk 05:14, 3 August 2010 (UTC)