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December 21, 2007

Body’s evolution

Anyone wondering why American students are falling behind in science proficiency need look no further than Darline Metsker’s letter “God’s design for women” (12/17). Just because she finds a holy book’s explanation of women’s appearance “easier” does not mean that it’s the correct one.

Did it occur to her that she simply lacks the scientific understanding to grasp the concept of evolution?

Many people once found it easier to believe that the Earth was at the center of the universe, and that the sun revolved around it.

I ask Darline and millions of other scientifically illiterate Americans how evident God’s special creation is in the appendix, which, absent the free inquiry that leads to surgical intervention, would be killing thousands of people and written off by the faithful as “the will of God.”

Mark Puglisi Jr., MD
Kansas City

The letter by Darline Metsker (12/17), in which she is critical of evolution, is a good example of someone who did not have a good science teacher.

She attempts to tell us that all of the credit for a woman’s body is due solely to the Creator. The truth is, evolution does not conflict with the creation of life at all. Evolution is an academic endeavor by man in which he tries to discover the changes that occur as time passes.

Since man was not on the Earth when it was first created, he does not have firsthand knowledge. He can only rely on his skill of investigating his environment by careful observation and record keeping.

Creation gave us the universe, evolution attempts to understand it.

Clarence Edmondson Jr.
Kansas City

Comments

JUNGLEJACK

"Evolution is happening right now, as viruses and diseases evolve to fight against vaccinations."

... or could THIS be the truth:

"Some colonies of bacteria develop a resistance to an antibiotic resulting from a mutation that simplifies the bacteria's DNA instructions. This allows the bacteria to eat more types of food, including the antibiotic which previously would have killed them. While this is a helpful mutation for bacteria developing in the presence of antibiotics, placed in normal environments these bacteria are less viable than those without the mutation. The mutation subtracts rather than adding to the information content of the DNA of a bacterium and is not a step toward its becoming a frog, a prince or an elephant, but a step toward a more simple bacterium."

"Evolution is the best explanation for how we have evolved, because it is something we can see first hand. There are thousand of fossils showing this. To say that there aren't is dishonest, when we have all seen them. "Tiktaalik" is one of them.
Zenozac and I have had several disagreements's on this very fossil, but among scientist's there are none."

... well, here's ONE scientist who is less than impressed:

"Tiktaalik’s fin was not connected to the main skeleton, so could not have supported its weight on land. The discoverers claim that this could have helped to prop up the body as the fish moved along a water bottom,3 but evolutionists had similar high hopes for the coelacanth fin. However, when a living coelacanth (Latimeria chalumnae) was discovered in 1938, the fins turned out not to be used for walking but for deft manœuvering when swimming."

ksskidude

Sorry I am a little late to the debate.
I just don't understand how believers can so easily disregard science.

Why does lightning strike? Why does the earth shake? What are stars? Why does the earth appear to be the center of universe? Why do people die? Why do animals eat each other while still alive?
Just an example of questions man has been pondering for eon's.
For thousands of years no one knew the answers to these questions, so they made them up. There must be a god that is responsible. Yet as science has slowly chipped away at the questions, many still cling on to the very few that are left. Why did it all start? This will never change, as so much as we as human beings will never be able to know every answer to every question.
WHY? Just because we don't know yet, doesn't mean that god is the reason.
Honestly it doesn't bother a believer in god when they see the brutality of nature? It bothers me terribly. The fact that god allows and actually planned that animals would eat each other in horrific and violent ways. That doesn't seem like a good plan in my opinion. Obviously there are herbivore's. So it could have been designed for animals to only eat plants.
Evolution is the best explanation for how we have evolved, because it is something we can see first hand. There are thousand of fossils showing this. To say that there aren't is dishonest, when we have all seen them. "Tiktaalik" is one of them.

Zenozac and I have had several disagreements's on this very fossil, but among scientist's there are none.

My point is, science has answered the questions that "the god of the gaps" used to answer. Evolution is happening right now, as viruses and diseases evolve to fight against vaccinations.

If I believed in the divinity of Jesus, which I do not, but if I did, I have no doubt that Jesus himself would agree with Darwin, and his theory of Evolution.

Dan Beyer

Hey "Doctor" could you show us even one piece of evidence proving Darwin's theory of (macro)evolution?

zenozac

There is no god. What's the big to-do?

Posted by: pabulum | Dec 22, 2007 7:09:31 PM
Thanks for sharing. BTW, there is no Pabulum.

solstice

There is no god. What's the big to-do?

JUNGLEJACK

Actually, Engineer, there have been many scientific theories as to how species would develop the dramatic changes in characteristics you describe - unfortunately they have all been debunked by what we now know about DNA and inherited genes.

I believe the current theory that all of evolution hangs on is that some members of a species were victims of random mutations that proved to be the stepping stone to the next transition for that particular life form.
Somehow the affected organism found a way to pass on this new piece of its DNA by finding another member of the species that was also singularly affected. And then somehow the mutation was so dominant that it overwhelmed generations of written DNA and became the norm for the species.
What causes the beneficial mutations, how they happen to be an advantage, and the overwhelming number of them required to work in consort with each other just to produce something like a bloodstream or a pair of lungs is never explained.

Engineer

JJ & devin
This is al very difficult for one who regards the Genesis as an allegory and who thinks that The Theory Of Evolution, so far as facts are concerned, is limited to a record of fossils. No explanation is presented as to how life started or as to how single celled life evolved to multicelled life or multicelled to invertebrates or invertebrates to vertebrates, etc. Darwin's findings concerned only minor changes within a species. So far as I am aware no one has ever produced evidence of a change from one species to another or even a theory, other than "survival of the fittest" or random change, as to how this would occur.

JUNGLEJACK

"Why do you think the majority of the people that believe in evolution today believe. Because of their research and study....?"

...obviously a "blind faith" in those they choose to trust.

Devin - you've got the argument all wrong. Nowhere in The Bible does it claim that the creation account is to be taken "by faith".
If creation is true - then unbiased science should back it up. I would never ask anyone to doubt a proven scientific certainty - but we're finding more and more examples of blind faith being placed wrongly at the alter of science.

"Look at the progress we've gained in understanding the world in just a few centuries of widely employing the scientific method. In all the history of mankind before the scientific method, we'd made almost no progress at all."

I think the great minds who were responsible for the building of the ancient Egyptian empire or the Aztecs would argue that they had a far better understanding of the world around them than we could fathom. Many of the feats they accomplished continue to baffle modern scientists who are brainwashed into believing that early = primitive.
It appears that man may have been more advanced in the past - and now we're seeing the effects of a depleted gene pool. Take fred Phelps (please) as an example.

zenozac

Devin I find your "only alternative" interesting. I believe you said you were in minstry for years. Do I remember that correctly? So why the lying assertion (yes I said lying) that the only alternative is either trust science or trust somebodies revelation. Becuase that way you get to position the arguement, science vs. nutjobs. Yet you know that is not what most christians are saying. Sure there are extremes on both sides.
(side note) I once read an article by a nutjob that said we should wait until kids are 5 or so before determining whether or not to abort them. If in an arguement about abortion I presented that as the alternative, people would have scream bloody murder as they should. But I hear this in regard to science vs. religion from your side all the time. (BTW, you missed a great opportunity to mention the dark ages!)
it is not science vs. religion. One or the other no in between. Nut as you aluded to earlier science makes mistakes and moves on. Real up close easy to see mistakes. (like the stuff on aplles supposedly "killing the children" in the 80's saga. Then later oops, bad research. Sorry about your bad luck apple industry.
So when I question such highly suspect and undeniably complex theories of different forms of evolution, get a grip. And yet there are people who will come on here will very little knowledge and proclaim it hands down, no question, 100% truth. Now as i say, that is faith! And you want dogmatic, raise a question or two about there faith and then duck for cover, cause it gets ugly.
But then I am the closed minded one. Yet as I told KDUDE earlier I used to think just like them. Then started looking at and thinking about what I believed and WHY I believed it, and it did not add up.

Let me ask you this, as it is always said somewhere in one of these discussion that christians believe on "blind faith" because they were indoctrinated early in life. Why do you think the majority of the people that believe in evolution today believe. Because of their research and study....?

devin

Yes, science gets things wrong. And it's unfortunate this doctor isn't aware of the most recent research on the function of the appendix in less industrialized societies. (Not altogether surprising, though, given the patient load of most doctors, that they don't have time to read every new article that's published...)

The real issue, however, is that science admits when it's wrong. Over time, as evidence mounts, we are able to learn things and advance our knowledge. Sometimes we advance down blind alleys and have to take several steps back. But because in science we have to acknowledge our mistakes, progress can be made.

The only alternative is to trust the "revelations" of anybody who claims to be a prophet. The problem is this faith-based approach offers no method for determining truth from error. Some say the Bible is the final authority, some the Koran, and the madman on the street corner says his own proclamations are the final authority. But there's no way in the world of faith to examine one claim against another. And because faith never has to admit error, progress becomes impossible.

Look at the progress we've gained in understanding the world in just a few centuries of widely employing the scientific method. In all the history of mankind before the scientific method, we'd made almost no progress at all.

Faith is a great tool for dealing with issues in our personal lives. It is not, however, a great tool for understanding the world in an objective sense. If you disagree, then I suggest you stop seeing doctors at all and just have a priest pray for you any time you get sick. Doctors clearly can't help you since all they use is science.

JUNGLEJACK

Kate - excellent post!
Some physicians are now finding that the appendix may help ward of some infections - and the unnecessary removal of it while performing other invasive surgeries in the same region has become a thing of the past.

WOW! For decades the best minds of the scientific world had it all wrong. And I'm sure all their findings were peer reviewed.

stone

Kate-
I had actually already read that article and was thinking the same thing! What is going on here? I am agreeing with people I shouldn't be agreeing with.....gotta lay off the crack pipe I guess....

Anyways, in regards to the rest of the content, may I be the first to say,
LET THE GAMES BEGIN!!!!
I'll see you in a few hours, Sol, Ksskidude, Zac, JJ, Jim, Buddy and whoever else wants to join in on the fun!

Kate

“I ask Darline and millions of other scientifically illiterate Americans how evident God’s special creation is in the appendix” Dr. Puglisi

Some scientists think they have figured out the real job of the appendix:

“The appendix "acts as a good safe house for bacteria," said Duke surgery professor Bill Parker, a study co-author. Its location - just below the normal one-way flow of food and germs in the large intestine in a sort of gut cul-de-sac -- helps support the theory, he said. Also, the worm-shaped organ outgrowth acts like a bacteria factory, cultivating the good germs, Parker said.”

“That use is not needed in a modern industrialized society, Parker said. If a person's gut flora dies, it can usually be repopulated easily with germs they pick up from other people, he said. But before dense populations in modern times and during epidemics of cholera that affected a whole region, it wasn't as easy to grow back that bacteria and the appendix came in handy.
In less developed countries, where the appendix may be still useful, the rate of appendicitis is lower than in the U.S., other studies have shown, Parker said. He said the appendix may be another case of an overly hygienic society triggering an overreaction by the body's immune system.” http://www.cnn.com/2007/HEALTH/10/05/appendix.purpose.ap/index.html

Note to self: When searching for a new physician, be sure he is at least as up to date with recent findings as CNN’s reporters are.

 
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