Saturday, May 26, 2007

A cross shaped straw man, MUST WATCH!

Robert T

A couple of other things that the video didn't point out:

At about the 30 minute mark, the college student is asked how the "first" land-dwelling animal was able to reproduce if it was all alone, and she replied that maybe it reproduced asexually by splitting in two. This is of course not how this animal would have reproduced. There would have been plenty of members of its own species with whom it could reproduce. Comfort tries to instill the idea that there was a "first" land-dwelling animal who was the only member of its species, but of course in actuality, there no such thing as a "first" member of a species. All animals that have ever lived have belonged to the same species as their parents. This might sound counter-intuitive at first, but remember that species change gradually, one mutation at a time. It is a continuous process rather than an incremental one.

At about the 19 minute mark, Kirk Cameron tries to explain the similarities between humans and other apes by using the analogy that biplanes and 747's also have similarities, but that this is not indicative of common descent, but rather of a common designer. It's irrelevant to point out that airplanes DID in a sense evolve, and it's also irrelevant to point out that living creatures replicate but that airplanes don't. The purpose of kirk Cameron's analogy is to show that there are other explanations for why two things might seem similar. And he's right. Many things are similar without being related. The important thing to note about homologous structures is that similarities are only half the story. The differences between animals are just as important. When we take into account all of the similarities AND differences between species and then try to group them accordingly, we notice a nested hierarchy (a branching tree) on which all organisms can be neatly placed. This sort of organized nested hierarchy is not something we should expect to find if we try to group all vehicles (for example) according to similarities and differences. The fact that ALL organisms have a place on this nested hierarchy is indicative of common descent. It is NOT indicative of a common designer, because while one could argue that the similarities between humans and chimpanzees are due to their having been designed off of the same blue print, the same logic could be used to make the argument that sea urchins and starfish must have a radically different designer. The issue becomes even more complicated when looking at something like a shark, which is clearly quite different from humans and chimpanzees but still much more similar to them than it is to an octopus. Are we to assume that a different designer was responsible for the shark but that he received some ideas from the designer who did the primates?

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