I think it’s time for a little game. The game is called ‘Let’s Pretend’. I’m sure you’ve heard of it.
We are going to pretend, just for the sake of this little exercise, the evolution is a proven fact, and that there is not only wide-spread agreement, but general consensus, even among the former denialists. So I’m going to pose some questions to the learned gentleman who so helpfully advise us that evolution is true and God unnecessary.
Professor Alan Carter, of the University of Glasgow, has this to say: Genuine altruism would appear to be incompatible with evolutionary theory. And yet altruistic behaviour would seem to occur, at least on occasion. This article first considers a game-theoretical attempt at solving this seeming paradox, before considering a ‘group selectionist’ approach. Neither approach, as they stand, would seem to render genuine, as opposed to reciprocal, altruism compatible with the theory of evolution.
Is he wrong, and if so, why?
Why is there a lack of a viable mechanisms for producing high levels of complex and specified information? Related to this are problems with the Darwinian mechanism producing irreducibly complex features, and the problems of non-functional or deleterious intermediate stages.
‘The absence of fossil evidence for intermediary stages between major transitions in organic design, indeed our inability, even in our imagination, to construct functional intermediates in many cases, has been a persistent and nagging problem for gradualistic accounts of evolution.’
‘The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology. The evolutionary trees that adorn our textbooks have data only at the tips and nodes of their branches; the rest is inference, however reasonable, not the evidence of fossil.’ Steven J Gould
‘Palaeobiologists flocked to these scientific visions of a world in a constant state of flux and admixture. But instead of finding the slow, smooth and progressive changes Lyell and Darwin had expected, they saw in the fossil records rapid bursts of change, new species appearing seemingly out of nowhere and then remaining unchanged for millions of years-patterns hauntingly reminiscent of creation.’ Mark Pagel, Oxford University 1999
Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is the DNA located in organelles called mitochondria. Most other DNA present in eukaryotic organisms is found in the nucleus. Nuclear and mitochondrial DNA are thought to be of separate evolutionary origin, with the mtDNA being derived from the circular genomes of the bacteria that were engulfed by the early ancestors of today's eukaryotic cells. In the cells of current organisms, the vast majority of the proteins present in the mitochondria (numbering approximately 1500 different types in mammals) are coded for by nuclear DNA, but the genes for some of them, if not most, are thought to have originally been of bacterial origin, having since been transferred to the eukaryotic nucleus during evolution. In mammals, all mtDNA in a zygote is inherited solely from the mother, and this holds true for most other organisms as well.
Unlike nuclear DNA, whose genes are rearranged in the process of recombination, there is usually no change in mtDNA from parent to offspring. Because of this, and the fact that the mutation rate of mtDNA is higher than that of nuclear DNA and is easily measured, mtDNA is a powerful tool for tracking matrilineage, and has been used in this role for tracking the ancestry of many species back hundreds of generations. Human mtDNA can also be used to identify individuals.
Now the cell cannot function without both nuclear DNA and mitochondrial DNA, and yet it is claimed they evolved separately. How can this possibly be? There would be no need for either if there were no host cell, and the cell cannot function without both of them, so why would they evolve at all? What purpose did they serve?
We won’t even go to the fossil record, because we know it’s incomplete, but here another interesting question: Hundreds of locations are known where the order of the systems identified by geologists does not match the order of the geologic column. Strata systems are believed in some places to be inverted, repeated, or inserted where they do not belong. Overturning, overthrust faulting, or landsliding are frequently maintained as disrupting the order. In some locations such structural changes can be supported by physical evidence while elsewhere physical evidence of the disruption may be lacking and special pleading may be required using fossils or radiometric dating.
This is a geological question but, seeing as the two disciplines are so interlocked, it would be interesting to hear the answer.
The other question is this: we know there is no God; you’ve said so numerous times. Please explain abiogenesis to me. It’s something I can’t get my head around. Maybe it’s because I’ve been lying about everything for so long that I cannot see the truth when it’s staring me in the face, but I really need help with this.
We know, as well as we can know anything that happened as long ago as it did, the Big Bang occurred about 13.8 billion years ago and that the Singularity was so small it could not have been measured by any instruments we have today. In fact, it was less than a Planck Length in size. We have no idea how long it existed all on its own, but we do know that it expanded (exploded?) very suddenly and ferociously, to grow the about the size of Arctarus in about three and a quarter minutes, reaching temperatures of 3 000 000 Kelvin and, within three weeks, had grown to about ninety-eight percent of its present size and has been expanding ever since.
This is nothing new: what I would like to know is, how did it happen? In what was the singularity contained? What existed before the singularity?
I look forward to your answers.
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