RationalWiki's 2020 Fundraiser

There is no RationalWiki without you. We are a small non-profit with no staff – we are hundreds of volunteers who document pseudoscience and crankery around the world every day. We will never allow ads because we must remain independent. We cannot rely on big donors with corresponding big agendas. We are not the largest website around, but we believe we play an important role in defending truth and objectivity.

If everyone who saw this today donated $5, we would meet our goal for 2021.

Fighting pseudoscience isn't free.
We are 100% user-supported! Help and donate $5, $20 or whatever you can today with PayPal Logo.png!

Donations so far: $2120Goal: $3500

Talk:Question Evolution

From RationalWiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Icon creation.svg

This creationism related article has been awarded BRONZE status for quality. It's getting there, but could be better with improvement. See RationalWiki:Article rating for more information.


Alternative reading of Question Evolution - how science/'big questions' develop (eg why this Mac keyboard has symbols all in the wrong places'(. (talk) 18:12, 9 June 2011 (UTC)

Section 13[edit]

I've been trying to track down the quote mine from Dr Marc Kirschner in section 13 but without much luck. AIG themselves link it here but that's not very informative as it's behind a paywall. It's pretty obvious that Kirschner isn't a creationist of any stripe though. It looks like it was said at the Dover trial but I've not been able to chase it down further. Anybody got any ideas?BobSpring is sprung! 12:10, 10 June 2011 (UTC)

Section one. Organic matter[edit]

We have a paragraph which states:

  • "Even when they know better, many creationist still insist that evolution necessarily requires the godless origin of life from inorganic matter. This is simply not true; for one thing, all the building blocks of life were already organic long before the first organism, before anything could be considered alive. We’ve even detected vast amounts of organic matter in deep space."

While I understand that a chemist could call virtually any carbon-containing compound "organic matter" the phrase also has the meaning of "living, or come from living things". I can't help feel that we could be accused of somehow switching between these meanings of "organic" here. Or have I misunderstood the thrust of the paragraph?BobSpring is sprung! 14:51, 10 June 2011 (UTC)

OK, I've cut it. The whole cut section is:
  • "Even when they know better, many creationists still insist that evolution necessarily requires the godless origin of life from inorganic matter. This is simply not true; for one thing, all the building blocks of life were already organic long before the first organism, before anything could be considered alive. We’ve even detected vast amounts of organic matter in deep space."
BobSpring is sprung! 19:47, 12 June 2011 (UTC)

Refs in text[edit]

Could someone supply the complete references that are given in the text? steriletalk 23:58, 10 June 2011 (UTC)

Be afraid[edit]

Philip's going to PWN us. And here, too. steriletalk 17:50, 12 June 2011 (UTC)

You can try to redefine evolution all you want, Philip, except you still can't distinguish as to when adaptation (microevolution) ends and macroevolution begins. steriletalk 16:30, 13 June 2011 (UTC)
Bullshit, Philip. CMI just moved the goalpost from macro- vs. microevolution into a more vague "information" which only increases when creationists say it will, but with no objective criteria for doing so in a biological system. You said yourself, "Genetically meaningful information will produce biological functions ..., but they are not the same thing," and you've failed at simple DNA sequence comparisons to specify which as more information. Hence, why you still have never been able to define it in anything but analogies, which are not definitions. steriletalk 23:24, 14 June 2011 (UTC)
When he blocks his playmates he's reduced to red telephones. How fun. Nutty Rouxnever mind 00:03, 15 June 2011 (UTC)
It's an interesting contradiction that CMI can say "Creationists believe in microevolution but not macroevolution," is an argument not to use,[1] and yet have an article that states, "The fact that scientists can significantly alter the body plan does not prove macro-evolution nor does it refute creation.... Therefore, changes in body plan—no matter how dramatic—do not automatically prove macro-evolution." [2] Even if coached in terms of "information," why bring up macro-evolution at all if it's not what it's about? And you do "believe" in adapation which is microevolution. But then again, I expect nothing less from them. steriletalk 23:56, 16 June 2011 (UTC)

Question 2[edit]

As an answer to question 2 we say:

  • Evolution is about gradual changes to species, not the DNA that underlies them.

I am not at all sure this is true. Changes to species are driven to changes to the DNA - after all that is what mutations are. I understand that some scientists are interested is species level changes and others are more interested in genetic level changes but I feel the statement "as is" is wrong. I think the thrust of the answer is correct however as evolution is not (especially) concerned with either the origin of DNA or life. I would change it, but I'd like some other comments first.--BobSpring is sprung! 17:30, 25 June 2011 (UTC)

I think the issue is that "dna" itself does not change, but our particular code of dna does. that is, once "living" things got DNA it's been the same 4 codons since. The code the genome changes of course...--Sun mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 17:52, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
The point of the sentence is that the ToE isn't concerned with origins, thus the question "How did the DNA code originate?" is irrelevant to the merits of the theory. I'd correct the sentence to say "Evolution is about gradual changes to species, not the origin of the DNA that underlies them. ..." but it's still a pretty crummy basic description and the argument from ignorance inherent in the underlying claim that the ToE is a bogus theory because it can't adequately explain something that it's not concerned with gets dealt with re: Question 1. I think the answer to Question 2 need merely give a bit of insight into some current scientific thinking on the origins of DNA and refer to the larger point dealt with in answer to Question 1 that the ToE isn't concerned with origins. Nutty Rouxnever mind 18:24, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
DNA is not the only thing that produces a phenotype either. Actually DNA likely emerged relatively late in the phylogenetic process. RNA was probably the first storage units. But regardless, there are plenty of epigenetic processes for heritable traits that can be selected upon. Uh, where was I going with this? Tmtoulouse (talk) 18:35, 25 June 2011 (UTC)

OK - I've changed it to:

  • Evolution is about gradual changes to species, not about the initial origin of DNA. --BobSpring is sprung! 20:09, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
Trent - can you take a run at adding something on this or pointing me to where it's addressed on the wiki or elsewhere? Nutty Rouxnever mind 21:31, 25 June 2011 (UTC)

To all of you that wrote this...[edit]

...absolutely awesome and impressive work. Respect. So now there's this project of sneaking a link to this article into CP without getting banned into oblivion. Ah. I'll see what I can do. -- Sunny256| 20:16, 25 June 2011 (UTC)

somebody took care of it, using tinyurl--User:Brxbrx/sig 20:27, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
Haha, great. Do you know the address, or is there a WIGO:CP about it? Have searched, but didn't find anything. Just wondering how many minutes went by before they started burning evidence. -- Sunny256| 21:49, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
[3]You can make the WIGO. I need to clean my apartment and eat. Clean my apartment first because I've eaten very little these past few days because my dirty apartment cut my appetite (plumbing issues, since resolved- now comes the cleanup)--User:Brxbrx/sig 21:56, 25 June 2011 (UTC)

Excellent article[edit]

Just want to echo Sunny above, this article is excellent and thank you to everyone who contributed. RatMaster háblame 00:44, 27 June 2011 (UTC)

Is Talk Origins copyrighted?[edit]

Some of this is taken verbatim from Talk Origins: [4] [5] [6], for example, and hence the funny refs. Is it copyrighted? How to fix? steriletalk 02:51, 27 June 2011 (UTC)

What would Jesus do?--Tolerance (talk) 14:56, 12 August 2011 (UTC)
I doubt Jesus cited sources, but I did indeed put in all the citations. steriletalk 16:20, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
He quoted His Dad a bit. Although looking at the differences in tone between the Old and New Testaments, He was probably quote-mining the Old Man to forward His Holy Liberal Agenda. Ajkgordon (talk) 13:20, 15 August 2011 (UTC)

Rebuttals to the question[edit]

I'm not sure if it is fair to call them rebuttals, as they seem to pick and choose what rebuttals to respond to, but there has at least been a "second round" to rebut the questions asked.

http://creation.com/15-questions-responses-1 http://creation.com/15-questions-responses-2

Some of them come down to simple logical indecencies (Objection 1 Question 1, even though it is not a rebuttal I would use, the creation.com site ignores advances in number theory (we can know things to be true, while not being able to prove them, or we know the what, not the how), or just general knowledge that, as an example, we know gravity isn't caused by midgets humping sheep.)

Another rebuttal they give contradicts other posts they make, etc.

Does anyone want to try and refute some of these explanations? If I was an evolution researcher, I'd probably do it myself, but alas, my biology knowledge is horrific and I will lean on the geniuses here to help me. — Unsigned, by: Devex3 / talk / contribs

YouTube campaign[edit]

There's apparently an organised set of responses on PooTube, here's no.5, which I only know about because dprjones mirrored it, but I find the description of how wrong the question itself is highly amusing. ADK...I'll baste your leukemia! 17:32, 29 September 2011 (UTC)

VERY well made video. I vote that everyone on RW should take bits from this entire video series into this article, it will be our form of the ripple effect against creationist censors. Feredir28 (talk) 20:37, 30 September 2011 (UTC)

Lack of citations before Question 7[edit]

Impressive article overall but the responses don't start including citations until question 7. Reasonable (talk) 04:12, 2 November 2011 (UTC)

Citations meaning footnotes? Because I count about 8 footnotes in responses 1-6. Sam Tally-ho! 04:24, 2 November 2011 (UTC)

Can somebody knowledeagble reword the answer to question number ten?[edit]

The grammar is incomprehensible and I'm too unfamiliar with the subject to dare fix it myself. Thank you.--User:Brxbrx/sig 04:58, 9 December 2011 (UTC)

Question 1[edit]

Small nitpick:

"It is also predicated on the logically unsound premise that highly improbable events do not occur, which we know is false."

It is rather predicated on the Bayesianly unsound premise that posterior probabilities are equal to likelihoods. In reality, the best possible theory to explain a certain set of events is the one that has maximal posterior probability conditioned on these events, i.e. max over Theory of P(Theory|Observations). What creationists do is that they claim that P(Life|Evolution) is extremely small, and combined with the implicit understanding that P(Life|God) is very high (or 100%), they claim that goddidit.

That is, they are not really saying that highly improbable events do not occur, but rather that the God explanation makes these events probable, and therefore it is preferable. In other words, they compare likelihoods. They are completely wrong, of course, but for a more subtle reason than what is presented here. In reality, what they need to compare are the posteriors P(Evolution|Life) and P(God|Life). This can only be done using estimates for the prior probabilities P(Evolution) and P(God), and most sensible schemes will actually assign P(Evolution) >>>> P(God) as a sort of probabilistic Occam's razor.

Of course, they also underestimate the likelihood of life given evolution, and overestimate the likelihood of God creating life. They only consider two explanations, which is a false dichotomy (especially since you can very easily rig an infinity of bogus theories that create life every time but involve no gods). Technically, the definition of God also shifts along with evidence, making it unsuitable to any kind of analysis or comparison. Problems galore, really...

I'd do the edit myself, but it's hard to explain this succinctly, and it's minor anyway. I just like to run a tight ship when I argue against creationism ;) — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs 2011-12-27T12:11:00

I love a good nitpick as much as the next pedant, but that one is well beyond the scope of the article. Creationist assertions aren't usually presented in a Bayesian framework so going into it is a unneeded deviation. Scarlet A.pngmoral 22:21, 27 December 2011 (UTC)

Abiogenesis 'Questions'[edit]

Somebody should make a set of answers for these. Flitzertalk to me :D|see my shit 02:28, 6 January 2012 (UTC)

Starting this Question Evolution:abiogenesis. Feel free to chime in. --Pink mowse.pngGodotDear god, fucking grow up 03:03, 6 January 2012 (UTC)
Sarfati is a waste of an education. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 04:44, 6 January 2012 (UTC)
I love the first line. "miller uray (sp?) didn't use the current model of teh planet to do their experiments. They used teh one that was thought correct at the time. Therefore, all modern experiments must also use that old model." How do you get a PhD, and hold these kinds of views?Pink mowse.pngGodotDear god, fucking grow up 04:46, 6 January 2012 (UTC)
What's his PhD in? That might be the clue. PeterQuasniki 2012!Flag of the United States (Pantone).svg 04:48, 6 January 2012 (UTC)
I doubt you need to know much about this subject to do a PhD on "A Spectroscopic Study of some Chalcogenide Ring and Cage Molecules" if it comes down to it. A lot about spectroscopy, yes. PeterQuasniki 2012!Flag of the United States (Pantone).svg 04:52, 6 January 2012 (UTC)

Multicellular life[edit]

In response to question 7, it may be interesting to point out Dicty and its kin, which fascinatingly blur the distinction between uni- and multicellular life. -- (talk) 17:29, 29 January 2012 (UTC)

Why has science never come to the conclusion "It must have been a miracle"?[edit]

Pushing a "god of the gaps" type argument how about the above? Upon investigation all phenomena which were previously thought to be miraculous have turned out to have natural causes. Earthquakes, lightning, rain or whatever. The answerer has never been "it must have been a miracle". What should we assume that any currently open scientific questions should have miraculous causes when every previous issue has been shown to have a naturalistic explanation?--BobSpring is sprung! 18:08, 29 January 2012 (UTC)


Given that the questions are now considerably shorter than the answers, SBS isn't particularly appropriate. Instead, I propose to use {{quotebox}} at the top of a section and then answer in underneath. Objections? Scarlet A.pngd hominem 12:53, 16 June 2012 (UTC)

If anyone objects, rollback is there for you. Scarlet A.pngsshole 13:03, 16 June 2012 (UTC)

Facebook Etc[edit]

I find no mention of the Fb page, the webshite or the 12th Feb 2013 (whatever that's about). Are they on some other page? Scream!! (talk) 04:28, 2 January 2013 (UTC)

Question categories[edit]

Rather than mess up someone else's work, I'm sandboxing a potential improvement to the first table. I can't at the moment see any need for more than three categories.

Questions that are already comprehensively answered by the theory of evolution. Questions 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 13, 14
Questions that explicitly misrepresent the evidence and/or conclusions associated with the theory of evolution. Questions 1, 4, 6, 9, 11, 12, 14, 15
Questions that are wholly unrelated to the scientific claim that "the theory of evolution adequately explains the diversity of life on Earth". Questions 1, 2, 11, 12, 13
Questions that indicate a fundamental lack of understanding about science in general. Questions 2, 6, 9, 13, 14, 15

I found the previous version to be cluttered, and the latter categories to not really shed any further light. But I'm open to discussion. VOXHUMANA 04:48, 12 March 2013 (UTC)

Where would you includes Q2 and Q3 Bevo74 (talk) 18:26, 12 March 2013 (UTC)

What you're proposing is too simplistic an approach. I don't have any pride of ownership over this but I fail to see how making fewer distinctions that are key to understanding the deep gulf between creationist and scientific reasoning is helpful. The table is a roadmap. If anything, the concepts identified need to be more robustly wikilinked as they appear. Ghostface Editah (talk) 19:54, 12 March 2013 (UTC)
I've modified it to include a additional category, and covered Bevo74's observation. Any better? VOXHUMANA 23:49, 12 March 2013 (UTC)

CMI Rebuttal[edit]


Thanks, but people here would rather talk about work than do it.

Question_Evolution!_-_CMI's_Rebuttals_to_Responses_to_Questions_1_through_3 Question_Evolution!_-_CMI's_Rebuttals_to_Responses_to_Questions_4_through_8 Question_Evolution!_-_CMI's_Rebuttals_to_Responses_to_Questions_9_through_15 Question_Evolution!_-_CMI's_Rebuttals_to_General_Objections_to_the_15_Questions

Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 13:16, 4 May 2013 (UTC)

I have this from a while ago, but the only traction it got in the SB was someone saying it was "kinda boring" to do. The colour-coding doesn't necessarily work, but it is succinct. Scarlet A.pngpathetic 11:10, 5 May 2013 (UTC)
Yar. Is good! I'll get on that when I'm back at a computer. Thanks!Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 15:22, 5 May 2013 (UTC)


So i just started here, but Ive been spending time harassing the QE blog for a lil while now, and well i must have gotten At least a lil under his skin, http://questionevolution.blogspot.com/2013/05/drunken-atheist-trekkie-makes-bigger.html , granted while harassing him i had the backing of my aunt who is a nun, and a close friend who is a priest both who understand my dis belief, and both of them expressed horror at someone preaching the word of god with such vulgarity, and agreed with his sinfulness. But he responded with even more of what to a believer such as him should be seen as sinful. His references to me being a drunken trekkie come directly from my posts on this site and from my drunken reactions to my user page being filled with a retarded and anti-Semitic rant...somehow.SmittyGreen (talk) 05:21, 15 May 2013 (UTC)

Btw, i figured this would be the best place to put things related to the QE blog, but if I'm wrong feel free to move it and bitch slap me to correct me, ill be house trained soon i swearSmittyGreen (talk) 05:24, 15 May 2013 (UTC)

Yes of course he's "sinful." All people are according to fundies. Ken's problem is that his zealotry has turned him into an animal over the last few years. You're doing a good job of wasting his time, if that's what you're after. I just hope it's worth it. Otherwise, interacting with him is pointless even if your goal is just to further shame him with his own weird behavior - he has no conscience and is incapable of self reflection. Like the Sensuous Curmudgeon says, there's no teaching someone once he's past school age. Have fun. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 07:18, 15 May 2013 (UTC)
Ken is weird and stupid. I think it is time cut him off. His behaviour is getting more and more pathetic as years go by. When he doesn't get the attention he desires he starts making bizarre statements about long haired creationist woman. Time to cut the fucker off. Turn him loose. Acei9 09:09, 15 May 2013 (UTC)

Yeah, thats pretty much where I'm at now. I discovered CP, and QE about six months ago and decided to have some fun with them, quoting bible verses and what not at them, like i said i have a bit of a religious back round and am actually quite close to people with in the catholic church so i have a fair amount of knowledge on the subject, and i had a vacation so that gave me time to waste. Now that im back to work, i think its time to move on to more pressing things, meh it was fun while it lasted hahahSmittyGreen (talk) 01:12, 24 May 2013 (UTC)

Ah, Ken looks down on Catholics - despite sucking on the teat of Conservapedia funded by Andy Schlafly - only evangelical protestants are the true believers. Redchuck.gif ГенгисOur ignorance is God; what we know is science.Moderator 01:21, 24 May 2013 (UTC)

This sentence isn't exactly well-written[edit]

In Question 14, we have "Creationists ask for evidence that we descended from apes - when the most obvious evidence for this is that we are, in fact, apes." The problem with that is we classified ourselves as apes ex post - our existence precedes the invention of cladistics or biological classification so it would have some appearance of circularity. Perhaps some rephrasing would be required. Thieh"6+18=24" 01:58, 9 June 2014 (UTC)

Might be nit-picky, but...[edit]

The size given for the amoeba proteus seems to come from a deprecated study (Fritz, 1968). This source gives the oddly-named Gonyaulax polyedra as the largest genomed protozoan at 98.7 billion base pairs. Any real biologists around? (talk) 06:53, 12 August 2014 (UTC)