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Author Topic:   'the evolutionary scapegoat'
Andya Primanda
Inactive Member


Message 1 of 39 (13335)
07-11-2002 3:59 AM


The following is based from a discussion in The Book Nook, me & Philip,
Theologically, there is one feature of evolution which can be useful. It can be used as a scapegoat for flawed creations. For instance, many people die because of their appendix. So why blame God for putting it there? Blame evolution and God does not have to be guilty of putting things in the wrong place. Anyone with a particluar axe to grind can just point a flawed structure: wrongly-wired retina, lungs in a water mammal, etc. and say that God is evil/unjust because He puts handicaps in His creatures. However if evolution is held accountable for it, then we may retain the image of an all-merciful God.

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blitz77
Inactive Member


Message 2 of 39 (13347)
07-11-2002 6:52 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Andya Primanda
07-11-2002 3:59 AM


Appendix isn't a very good example. It serves in an immune system role in your body, with many lymphoid follicles. It manufactures serveral kinds of antibodies, such as IgA, IgM and IgG immunoglobulins. Studies have shown that its presence reduces the occurence of ulcers and bowel cancers in humans (I recall a study in which in a sample of people who had cancer of the intestines, 84% of them had their appendix removed, and in a control sample, only 24% had their appendix removed).

This message is a reply to:
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nator
Member (Idle past 2279 days)
Posts: 12961
From: Ann Arbor
Joined: 12-09-2001


Message 3 of 39 (13352)
07-11-2002 9:52 AM
Reply to: Message 2 by blitz77
07-11-2002 6:52 AM


quote:
Originally posted by blitz77:
Appendix isn't a very good example. It serves in an immune system role in your body, with many lymphoid follicles. It manufactures serveral kinds of antibodies, such as IgA, IgM and IgG immunoglobulins. Studies have shown that its presence reduces the occurence of ulcers and bowel cancers in humans (I recall a study in which in a sample of people who had cancer of the intestines, 84% of them had their appendix removed, and in a control sample, only 24% had their appendix removed).
OK, how about my favorite design flaw in humans; the crossover air/food pipes?
Many thousands every year choke to death because it is very easy for our air to be cut off.
God didn't do a very good job with this design at all.
Since Evolution predicts only good enough adaptation, this explanation makes better sense. Complex speech is possible with the crossover design, and the adaptive advantages (and there would be many) to being able to produce complex speech is greater than the disadvantage of an increased choking risk. Thus, the adaptation proliferates throughout the population, despite the potential risk.
If you must think of humans being specially created, and not having evolved, you are left with God being a poor designer.
I'll also throw out the poor, weak construction of our backs and knees. They are far from ideal for upright locomotion, which is why so many millions suffer with back pain and herniated disks, and why even a light blow to the side of the knee can produce big injuries.
Also, why do we have a sharp ridge on the inside of our skulls, which damages the brain if we hit our heads just so? If the skull is meant to protect our brains from injury, and God designed our skulls, then why did he put a sharp ridge in there? Makes no sense.

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John
Inactive Member


Message 4 of 39 (13353)
07-11-2002 10:13 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by nator
07-11-2002 9:52 AM


[QUOTE]Originally posted by schrafinator:
[b]I'll also throw out the poor, weak construction of our backs and knees. They are far from ideal for upright locomotion, which is why so many millions suffer with back pain and herniated disks, and why even a light blow to the side of the knee can produce big injuries.[/QUOTE]
[/b]
Yep.... because our backs and knees are still mostly built for walking on all fours like decent mammals.
Our upright stance also makes us prone to hernia as standing stretches those tummy muscles and forces them to cover more area makng them weaker-- more prone to injury.
Standing upright also forces a remodel of the pelvis-- center of gravity, balance that sort of thing. In females, this remodel results in the birth canal being only just big enough-- no room for error-- making childbirth painful and dangerous relative to other mammals.
------------------
www.hells-handmaiden.com

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Jonathan
Inactive Member


Message 5 of 39 (13510)
07-14-2002 8:22 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by nator
07-11-2002 9:52 AM


quote:
Originally posted by schrafinator:
[b] OK, how about my favorite design flaw in humans; the crossover air/food pipes? Many thousands every year choke to death because it is very easy for our air to be cut off.[/QUOTE]
Millions of people die in car wrecks does that mean the cars are defective? No. Just a lot of bad drivers. If you chew your food you wont choke.
quote:
God didn't do a very good job with this design at all.
Yes he did, we just did a poor job of chewing. Does it mean he did a poor job of designing the skin because we can be sunburned? You could also say he did a poor job of creating eyes and ears because we cant hear and see as well as dogs or cats. Surely this extra hearing would be benificial to survival. Why didnt we adapt?
quote:
Since Evolution predicts only good enough adaptation, this explanation makes better sense. Complex speech is possible with the crossover design, and the adaptive advantages (and there would be many) to being able to produce complex speech is greater than the disadvantage of an increased choking risk. Thus, the adaptation proliferates throughout the population, despite the potential risk.
Sounds like day dreaming to me.
quote:
If you must think of humans being specially created, and not having evolved, you are left with God being a poor designer.
Does that mean that the body is a bad design? There are millions of ingenious mechanisms in the body. Reguardless of who made it, I beleive that it is a beautiful design.
Do you think you could do any better?
quote:
I'll also throw out the poor, weak construction of our backs and knees. They are far from ideal for upright locomotion, which is why so many millions suffer with back pain and herniated disks, and why even a light blow to the side of the knee can produce big injuries.
How did the body adapt the protective ridges on the back of the vertebra? How does it know it needs that extra protection? If the knees and back are not ideal then what would be a better design?
quote:
Also, why do we have a sharp ridge on the inside of our skulls, which damages the brain if we hit our heads just so?
You have to hit it pretty hard. Not "just so". Very few people will be hit that hard in their life time.
[QUOTE]If the skull is meant to protect our brains from injury, and God designed our skulls, then why did he put a sharp ridge in there? Makes no sense.
[/b]
That sharp ridge makes plenty of sense its for structrial reinforcement. A uniformly smooth curve with no reinforcement is very weak. Like an egg shell.
If evolution and natural selection were responsable for creating us and relied on variations that were just "good enough" then why dont we still have all of the variations that are totally useless and non life threatning? Like an extra ear on our back that doesnt work. Its not life threatning so natural selection wouldnt eliminate it. But still our bodies only have the minimal necessities to allow us to function.
[This message has been edited by Jonathan, 07-14-2002]

This message is a reply to:
 Message 3 by nator, posted 07-11-2002 9:52 AM nator has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 6 by gene90, posted 07-14-2002 9:10 PM Jonathan has replied
 Message 12 by nator, posted 07-15-2002 2:18 PM Jonathan has replied

  
gene90
Member (Idle past 3933 days)
Posts: 1610
Joined: 12-25-2000


Message 6 of 39 (13511)
07-14-2002 9:10 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by Jonathan
07-14-2002 8:22 PM


[QUOTE][b]Its not life threatning so natural selection wouldnt eliminate it. But still our bodies only have the minimal necessities to allow us to function.[/QUOTE]
[/b]
Adaptations that serve no purpose tend to be removed from the population. This is why cavefish and similar organisms tend to lack pigments (and vision).

This message is a reply to:
 Message 5 by Jonathan, posted 07-14-2002 8:22 PM Jonathan has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 7 by Jonathan, posted 07-14-2002 10:43 PM gene90 has replied

  
Jonathan
Inactive Member


Message 7 of 39 (13522)
07-14-2002 10:43 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by gene90
07-14-2002 9:10 PM


What determines what is necessary and what is not?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 6 by gene90, posted 07-14-2002 9:10 PM gene90 has replied

Replies to this message:
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Tranquility Base
Inactive Member


Message 8 of 39 (13525)
07-14-2002 11:05 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Andya Primanda
07-11-2002 3:59 AM


Christianity has no problem with literal creaiton and lack of perfection at the same time. The fall of man descibed in early Genesis documents the biological 'cursing' of both man and his land due to sin.
Christianity is a little yin/yang in that sense. Strength from weakenss via the cross of Christ is one of the most central, confounding and yet profound features of Christianity.
I am unaware of the importance/existance of 'the fall' in Islam.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Andya Primanda, posted 07-11-2002 3:59 AM Andya Primanda has replied

Replies to this message:
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Tranquility Base
Inactive Member


Message 9 of 39 (13526)
07-14-2002 11:13 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by Jonathan
07-14-2002 10:43 PM


What is needed to work! Organisms are machines. Mutated organisms that still work can pass their genes on. Ones that don't can't. As simple as that.
[This message has been edited by Tranquility Base, 07-14-2002]

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Andya Primanda
Inactive Member


Message 10 of 39 (13549)
07-15-2002 4:48 AM
Reply to: Message 8 by Tranquility Base
07-14-2002 11:05 PM


Islam has no concept of original sin or fall of mankind. Adam & Eve were banished out of paradise, but their sins are forgiven. And conscious humans are ordered to rule the Earth by God's laws. I think that is the main reason of human existence in Islam.

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gene90
Member (Idle past 3933 days)
Posts: 1610
Joined: 12-25-2000


Message 11 of 39 (13560)
07-15-2002 11:22 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by Jonathan
07-14-2002 10:43 PM


If the absence of a feature does not reduce probability of survival and production of offspring, it is not needed.

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nator
Member (Idle past 2279 days)
Posts: 12961
From: Ann Arbor
Joined: 12-09-2001


Message 12 of 39 (13572)
07-15-2002 2:18 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by Jonathan
07-14-2002 8:22 PM


quote:
quote
riginally posted by schrafinator:
OK, how about my favorite design flaw in humans; the crossover air/food pipes? Many thousands every year choke to death because it is very easy for our air to be cut off.
Millions of people die in car wrecks does that mean the cars are defective? No. Just a lot of bad drivers. If you chew your food you wont choke.
You are missing the point. You said that the design of the human body was pretty much perfect.
I am simply pointing out examples of where it is far from perfect, and in fact, the design is the cause of many injuries.
The point is, God could have truly made a perfect being, with zero weaknesses, such as our propensities for choking. Our throats don't have to be designed that way, but they are. Why would God compromose like that?
quote:
quote:God didn't do a very good job with this design at all.
Yes he did, we just did a poor job of chewing.
No, it isn't good design, because little children without teeth yet choke on small objects because God made them with a strong propensity to put things in their mouths.
Why did God make so many of us poor chewers, then?
quote:
Does it mean he did a poor job of designing the skin because we can be sunburned?
Well, yes, by your logic, it does mean that God did a poor design job of some people's skin.
quote:
You could also say he did a poor job of creating eyes and ears because we cant hear and see as well as dogs or cats. Surely this extra hearing would be benificial to survival. Why didnt we adapt?
We see "better" than dogs already, and we see with much better acuity than cats because they are adapted to night vision and therefore don't see much detail.
We did adapt by becoming able to use technology, such as weapons, to hunt our prey, rather than big teeth. We also became more intelligent by being able to plan far into the future, so we were able to think about setting traps, or we figured out that if we ran a herd of some animal off a cliff, they would fall to their deaths and we could eat them.
quote:
quote:Since Evolution predicts only good enough adaptation, this explanation makes better sense. Complex speech is possible with the crossover design, and the adaptive advantages (and there would be many) to being able to produce complex speech is greater than the disadvantage of an increased choking risk. Thus, the adaptation proliferates throughout the population, despite the potential risk.
Sounds like day dreaming to me.
Wow, what a devastating counterargument.
quote:
quote:If you must think of humans being specially created, and not having evolved, you are left with God being a poor designer.
Does that mean that the body is a bad design?
Some parts of it are far from optimal, yes. It is good-enough design.
quote:
There are millions of ingenious mechanisms in the body. Reguardless of who made it, I beleive that it is a beautiful design.
Nature made our bodies, and I also think it is amazing and beautiful, despite all of it's shorcomings.
quote:
Do you think you could do any better?
The point is not if I could do any better. The point is that you made the claim that the human body is clearly designed by God because it is do perfect. I am simply pointing out that the human body has many design flaws which are explained very well by the good-enough adaptation scenario put forth by the Theory of Evolution, and not so well by the "the human body is perfect and is therefore a sign of God's designing us" argument.
quote:
quote: I'll also throw out the poor, weak construction of our backs and knees. They are far from ideal for upright locomotion, which is why so many millions suffer with back pain and herniated disks, and why even a light blow to the side of the knee can produce big injuries.
How did the body adapt the protective ridges on the back of the vertebra? How does it know it needs that extra protection?
A body doesn't "know" it needs extra protection. Variation exists within a population already, unless they are all clones. If an individual (or several) posesses a trait which makes it possible, in the current environment, to be more sucessful at reproducing itself than others in the population which do not have this trait, the trait will therefore be more likely to be present in the more numerous offspring of the individual that has the trait.
In other words, natural selection resulted in greater reproductive success to those individuals in a population of early humans which had those protective ridges on their spinal columns.
quote:
If the knees and back are not ideal then what would be a better design?
The back would be straighter, not curved, and the disks between them would be much more thick and provide for more shock absorption. The abdominal muscles and lower back muscles would be much larger to stabilize the back, and we wouldn't have to exercise them so much to keep them strong. No one would ever have to be taught good posture, because perfect posture would be natural to us. Poor posture and lack of fit back and abdominal muscles is the source of much back pain.
The knee joints should be larger, and the system of tendons and ligaments are not adequate to prevent pretty severe injury even by a light blow or a slight twist. The whole thing should have been designed to be much more stable and strong.
quote:
quote:Also, why do we have a sharp ridge on the inside of our skulls, which damages the brain if we hit our heads just so?
You have to hit it pretty hard. Not "just so". Very few people will be hit that hard in their life time.
Actually, you can get this injury from whiplash, too, not just a blow to the head. And you don't have to hit your head all that hard to get a concussion or some injury to the brain.
quote:
quote: If the skull is meant to protect our brains from injury, and God designed our skulls, then why did he put a sharp ridge in there? Makes no sense.
That sharp ridge makes plenty of sense its for structrial reinforcement. A uniformly smooth curve with no reinforcement is very weak. Like an egg shell.
No, a thicker skull or even a smooth ridge might make sense, but why a sharp ridge?
quote:
If evolution and natural selection were responsable for creating us and relied on variations that were just "good enough" then why dont we still have all of the variations that are totally useless and non life threatning? Like an extra ear on our back that doesnt work. Its not life threatning so natural selection wouldnt eliminate it.
Well, it is unlikely that we ever had an extra ear on our backs that didn't work, so I am not sure why you use this as an example.
The ToE doesn't predict that once a variation becomes obsolete it will immediately be selected against, it's true. If, like you say, it isn't life-threatening, then it might persist in a population for a very long time because the environment isn't selecting against those individuals which possess the trait.
However, we still have the "goose bumps" response, which is a vestigial response to fluffing up our long-gone fur when we were cold.
On the other hand, I was born with a variation to my wisdom teeth in that I only have the top ones. The bottom ones don't exist.
If you understand this, then I am not sure why you are having a hard time accepting that the human body isn't designed perfectly.
quote:
But still our bodies only have the minimal necessities to allow us to function.
Right. This is what the ToE predicts.
------------------
"We will still have perfect freedom to hold contrary views of our own, but to simply
close our minds to the knowledge painstakingly accumulated by hundreds of thousands
of scientists over long centuries is to deliberately decide to be ignorant and narrow-
minded."
-Steve Allen, from "Dumbth"
[This message has been edited by schrafinator, 07-15-2002]

This message is a reply to:
 Message 5 by Jonathan, posted 07-14-2002 8:22 PM Jonathan has replied

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Jonathan
Inactive Member


Message 13 of 39 (13610)
07-16-2002 12:40 AM
Reply to: Message 12 by nator
07-15-2002 2:18 PM


You interprit these "design flaws" as evidence of an imperfect design. I see them as misuse of their original intended purpose. God did not design us to sit at a computer all day and eat doughnuts. Therefore we have weak muscles which lead to unnecessary injuries.
If God were to make an infallible human then he would never choke, never get angry, make a mistake, trip, fall or bump our head. Is it Gods fault that I stubbed my toe? Was it because of his poor design that I miss calculated my foot step? No. I run my own life and make my own decisions. Its not Gods responsibility to babysit me and make sure I dont have an accident. God didnt make us poor chewers we did. Pointing out that the human body is accident prone as evidence for the non-existence of God is a weak arguement.
[quote]quote originally posted by shrafinator:
A body doesn't "know" it needs extra protection. Variation exists within a population already, unless they are all clones. If an individual (or several) posesses a trait which makes it possible, in the current environment, to be more sucessful at reproducing itself
than others in the population which do not have this trait, the trait will therefore be more likely to be present in the more numerous offspring of the individual that has the trait.
In other words, natural selection resulted in greater reproductive success to those individuals in a population of early humans which had those protective ridges on their spinal columns. [quote] This is where I have a BIG problem with the TOE and natural selection. Traits like the spinal ridges, eye brows, mens nipples all have little to no effect in increasing the possibility of reproduction yet every single human has them. Theses traits have zero influence on increasing our chances of reproduction, so why are they all here. And on every single human. Why arent there cultures in which some of these traits are absent?
Every arguement in the creation vs evolution debate can be distorted to support both sides equally. . You see it as a "good enough" adaptation. I see it as misused from Gods intended purpose. Its all in how you look at it

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 Message 14 by John, posted 07-16-2002 11:21 AM Jonathan has replied

  
John
Inactive Member


Message 14 of 39 (13627)
07-16-2002 11:21 AM
Reply to: Message 13 by Jonathan
07-16-2002 12:40 AM


quote:
Originally posted by Jonathan:
You interprit these "design flaws" as evidence of an imperfect design. I see them as misuse of their original intended purpose. God did not design us to sit at a computer all day and eat doughnuts. Therefore we have weak muscles which lead to unnecessary injuries.
First, sitting at a desk is not the reason we have weak abdominal muscles. Those muscles are weak because they are stretched to twice the length they are in other mammals. This is do to our standing upright.
Granted, sloth and donuts don't help.
Secondly, God didn't have the forsight to design our bodies for sitting at a desk.
Third, this seems to imply that we should still be nomadic herders.
quote:
If God were to make an infallible human then he would never choke, never get angry, make a mistake, trip, fall or bump our head. Is it Gods fault that I stubbed my toe? Was it because of his poor design that I miss calculated my foot step?
But this is not a design issue. It isn't Ford's fault if people drive poorly. It is Ford's fault if the brakes are substandard.
quote:
This is where I have a BIG problem with the TOE and natural selection. Traits like the spinal ridges, eye brows, mens nipples all have little to no effect in increasing the possibility of reproduction yet every single human has them.
Schraf just explained the spinal ridges to you. How exactly is it that you know that eyebrows serve no purpose? Actually they do. Look it up on Google.
Male and female embryos are the same, the female develops functional breasts the male doesn't but still has the features that developed before the sexes diverge.
------------------
www.hells-handmaiden.com

This message is a reply to:
 Message 13 by Jonathan, posted 07-16-2002 12:40 AM Jonathan has replied

Replies to this message:
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Jonathan
Inactive Member


Message 15 of 39 (13629)
07-16-2002 11:50 AM
Reply to: Message 14 by John
07-16-2002 11:21 AM


Your missing my point. These traits have virtually no effect in increasing the probability of reproduction. I know they serve an important purpose but they dont increase the probability of reproduction so how can they increase reproductive success?
I think if you were to apply the body to a "garden of Eden" lifestyle it may me more than sufficient.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 14 by John, posted 07-16-2002 11:21 AM John has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 16 by gene90, posted 07-16-2002 12:04 PM Jonathan has replied
 Message 19 by John, posted 07-16-2002 2:58 PM Jonathan has replied

  
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