If we came from monkeys? 7


Every time I see a TV program on PBS that references the ‘fact of evolution’ such and such, I wonder, when did it become a fact instead of ‘The Theory of Evolution’? Did I miss something, maybe while we were away during those 3 years we lived in China?

How can it be called a fact? If we came from monkeys, where did monkeys come from? And where did that come from and so on. Go all the way back to the big bang and help me understand where the big bang stuff came from that banged.

It’s a simple question, but no one that believes that evolution is in fact a fact has given me a serious answer. Just wondering you know. I know what theory I believe, but I’d like to hear from you. Where did it come from? Please comment below:

Me Monkeying Around

Me Monkeying Around

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  • Chris

    Ryan,

    I’m one of Mark’s friends with an interest in this subject. I was once very convinced of the Neo-Darwinist explanation for the development of life, but after taking an objective and in-depth look at the evidence became convinced that it is inadequate to explain much beyond small variations within species.

    With respect to your comment that, “We do, in fact, share a common ancestor with modern monkeys from millions of years ago. DNA analysis shows this to be true,” I would argue that you are leaping to a conclusion from evidence that can just as easily be used to support an inference of design based on a common prototype.

    For example, if a new version of a computer operating system is introduced that included 95% of the prior version’s code and 5% new code, no one would assume that the new code came about as the result of random insertions into and deletions of the original code with occasional screenings to determine if the changes increased or decreased the functionality of the original program. It is far more reasonable to assume that intelligent agents made premeditated changes with a specific functional enhancement in mind. That’s not to say that similarities in DNA sequences “prove” an intelligent designer, only that unless a purely materialistic mechanism can be shown to be capable of generating high levels of functional genetic and epigenetic information, it is not reasonable to rule out alternative explanations. The speed with which entirely new and highly complex morphological changes appear in the fossil record, especially during the Cambrian Explosion, are highly inconsistent with Darwinian theory (as Darwin himself admitted).

    Moreover, as the articles posted above indicate, similarity in DNA does not necessarily imply anything about ancestral relationships (see the similarities between daffodil and human DNA – no one is arguing that we share a common ancestor with daffodils).

    I appreciate your interest in the subject and would encourage you to take the time to listen to the best arguments (as opposed to straw-man arguments) that are made by competent and credentialed scientists who reject the purely materialistic explanation for the origin and development of not only life but also the universe itself. In my mind, there is no more important question and since our worldviews determine not only how we live each day but potentially how we will spend eternity, I hope you will keep an open mind.

    Best wishes,

    Chris

    • Mark E. Randall

      Hi Chris,
      Great to see you here! Thanks so much for taking your time to add your thoughts to this post. Thanks for the links as well. Interesting reading!
      Much appreciated,
      Mark

  • Chris
  • Ryan

    1. “Theory” in science is much different from the colloquial usage you’re putting into use. A scientific theory is:

    “A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on a body of facts that have been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experiment” -The American Association for the Advancement of Science (http://www.aaas.org/news/press_room/evolution/qanda.shtml)

    “a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that can incorporate facts, laws, inferences, and tested hypotheses.” -National Academies Press (http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=6024&page=2)

    As you can see, it is not a “hunch” or a “guess.” Scientific theories are *composed* of many facts, laws, etc.

    2. No competent/qualified scientist claims that we evolved from monkeys. This is a common misconception of evolution among creationists. First, even if we *had* evolved from monkeys, this would not exclude the possibility of monkeys still existing. When picturing the process of evolution, imagine a tree that branches off in different directions, rather than a line from one species to another.

    We do, in fact, share a common ancestor with modern monkeys from millions of years ago. DNA analysis shows this to be true.

    You move into a bit of an “infinite regress” with the remainder of this question – and conflate two very separate, distinct theories (biogenesis/abiogenesis & big bang theory) with evolution itself – but the short answer is that, eventually, if you were to walk along the “branches” of the phylogenetic tree all the way back, you would end at very basic, single-celled organisms.

    ***IMPORTANT: Evolution does NOT attempt to answer where/how these first living organisms came to be.***

    We’ll stick to evolution at this time, but if you care to discuss TBB and/or abiogenesis in further depth, I’m happy to do so to the best of my ability.

    So…..any questions?

    Regards,

    Ryan

    • Mark E. Randall

      Hi Ryan,

      Great to meet you and thank you for taking the time to comment! Great points and information you’ve shared. Much appreciated!

      You pointed out that evolution does not explain where those single celled organisms came from. And that question is the heart of my post. Where did the first living organisms come from?

      Mark

      • Ryan

        Hi Mark,

        First, let me say thanks for graciously opening the dialogue, and apologize for my antagonistic tweet about responding. I tend to deal with a lot of creationists online who are “less than honest” in similar situations, however, to paint you with such a brush without knowing you was inappropriate.

        At this time (to my knowledge) it is not known for certain. The best explanation at this time (until further information is brought to light), is abiogenesis. This is not to be confused with “Spontaneous Generation,” however.

        SG was a medieval idea that fully formed, multi-cellular organisms “appear” all the time from non-living matter – e.g. Maggots in rotting meat, frogs from mud, etc. As we know, this is not the case.

        Abiogenesis is (in my own, dumbed-down words, as I’m not an expert in the field by any means) the formation of the basic, building-block amino acids required for life from what’s often described as the early Earth’s “Primordial soup”. Many experiments (Miller-Urey, Orรณ, Bada & Cleaves, etc) show that these amino acids can & do generate and replicate given the right conditions. As far as I know, this is the best explanation available, given current evidence.

        There are hypotheses to compete with this idea: Panspermia (maybe living cells/organisms were brought here via meteor/asteroid impact or something similar) is one that some subscribe to, but it’s my understanding that this is not as widely-accepted or well-evidenced as abiogenesis.

        One important thing to remember is that scientists are not afraid to say “we don’t know….YET!” However, when positing a possible explanation, logic dictates that we follow the available evidence toward the best possible conclusion.

        Long story short: We don’t know for sure, but we think we have a pretty good idea, and there is some pretty good evidence (i.e. the studies/experiments mentioned earlier) supporting that idea.

        Thanks again, and please let me know (shoot me a tweet) if you have any other questions I can try to answer for you.

        Regards,

        Ryan

        • Mark E. Randall

          Hi Ryan,
          Thanks so much for your explanations and again for taking the time to write. I have friends that are very into this topic and know far more than me and I’ve seen some antagonistic online debates. That’s not me ๐Ÿ™‚ I appreciate your time and insights. It is a fascinating topic!
          Mark