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Islamist Creationist Claims

Hey guys!

I have a quick question. An Islamic Creationist asked me how it is possible for an organism with more chromosomes than the ones around it to survive as animals with different number of chromosomes produce infertile offspring. So for the sake of an example, lets say that a primitive human, with 46 chromosomes is born through mutation. How would it mate with the apes that it came from?

Also another claim,that all athiests do (yes he has confused athiesm with evolution) when digging for fossils is reinterpretting after the fact. So, according to him, what athiests (I guess he got paleontologists mixed up) do is find an animal that exists today and then look for another animal that went extinct and looks like it. For example, the mammoth and the elephant. He also used the example of if horses and deer went extinct today, athiests would dig up the bones a hundred years later and claim on evolved from the other.

Any help here? These guys try the shotgun approach, that is just throwing claim after claim out there, and it is hard to try to refute them because they are so ridiculous.

Diem said, "I have a quick question. An Islamic Creationist asked me how it is possible for an organism with more chromosomes than the ones around it to survive as animals with different number of chromosomes produce infertile offspring. So for the sake of an example, lets say that a primitive human, with 46 chromosomes is born through mutation. How would it mate with the apes that it came from?"

Linda Answer: It is not a question that has a quick answer if you want real proof of what is being said, but if you don't like to read, I could just tell you we didn't come from apes. But that doesn't prove anything. That's why I explain the answers. Man did not evolve from an ape or a monkey. We have a common ancestor with apes. It wasn't that humans were apes and then evolved to humans. Evolutionary science describes how complex life has developed through a process of natural selection acting on random mutations; it asserts that all species of life on this planet, including humans, are products of this process. It is also now known that humans share 98 percent of our genetic code with the bonobo (officially classified as Pan paniscus), 90 percent with mice, 21 percent with roundworms, and fully 7 percent with the bacterium E. coli. This scientific perspective is quite different from that of most theistic religions.

In 2001 the Human Genome was Mapped (ge·nome - one haploid set of chromosomes with the genes they contain; the full DNA sequence of an organism.) The human genome mapping provides indisputable proof that Darwin was right. Mankind evolved over a long period of time from primitive ancestors.

Diem said, "Also another claim,that all athiests do (yes he has confused athiesm with evolution) when digging for fossils is reinterpretting after the fact. So, according to him, what athiests (I guess he got paleontologists mixed up) do is find an animal that exists today and then look for another animal that went extinct and looks like it. For example, the mammoth and the elephant. He also used the example of if horses and deer went extinct today, athiests would dig up the bones a hundred years later and claim on evolved from the other."

Linda Answer: "DNA would have falsified evolution - instead it has confirmed it. Scientists have proven that there is no "abrupt appearance" we know this from the transitional fossil record. There are all sorts of findings and experiments that could have falsified evolution. In the century-and-a-half since Darwin published his theory, not one has. If something is science, hypotheses or theory it makes predictions that could be wrong. If so it will be possible to falsify these ideas. What is found with the progression over time seen in the millions of fossils unearthed around the world is exactly what evolutionary theory predicts. Unicellular organisms appear before multicellular ones. Jawless fish precede jawed fish. Lunged fish precede amphibians. Amphibians precede reptiles. Reptiles with scales precede mammals and birds with modified scales (fur and feathers). Apes precede humans. All it would take is one or two exceptions to seriously challenge the theory. No such exceptions have ever been found anywhere. There have been a few claims to this effect, of course, but even most creationists admit that these claims are fraudulent.

The prolonged action of 'natural selection' can be expected to leave traces behind in the structure of modern organisms. And when scientists go looking for those traces they invariably find them in droves. Natural selection operates by preserving small, favorable variations that occur naturally in any population of organisms. Over time these variations accumulate to the point that large-scale change is the result. This implies that natural selection works by modifying structures already present in the organism. It does not craft new, complex systems from scratch. This observation is crucial in distinguishing between those systems that could have been crafted by selection and those that could not have been. If we find that a particular organism possesses a complex system made from parts wholly distinct from anything to be found in the organism's closest evolutionary cousins it will be difficult to explain that system via selection. But if we find that the system appears to be cobbled together from parts that were readily available, then natural selection remains a strong candidate. Charles Darwin employed this principle in his studies of the complex systems used by orchids to attract pollinating insects. He discovered that these contrivances, as he called them, were indeed fashioned out of modified versions of parts present in closely related flowers.

Diem said, "Any help here? These guys try the shotgun approach, that is just throwing claim after claim out there, and it is hard to try to refute them because they are so ridiculous."

Linda Answer: Well just tell them that you want to read Darwin's the 'Origin of the Species' and then discuss it when they read it too.

Christian Apologist or creationists use these very same arguments. None of the arguments against evolution has been proven. They recently announced that evolution is a theory and a fact. The only reason they call it a theory is because it could be improved upon - any theory can be improved - but this theory is as sound as any theory will ever be.

Also read about the Fossil Ida: extraordinary find is 'missing link' in human evolution. Perfectly preserved fossil Ida, unveiled in New York, provides unprecedented insight into our ancestry. Ida, is one of the most complete primate fossils ever found, a 47-million-year-old human ancestor. This just happened a few months ago.

Beliefs are not scientific and they are not proof of anything. To really answer questions about scientific theories (especially one as difficult as Evolution) it would take reading and studying many books over a long period of time, and only then could you come to an educated conclusion. I can believe something is true but if it can not be proven then it isn't the truth.

Thanks Linda!

Sorry if just missed this Linda, but I didn't really see an answer to the question concerning chromosomes. Don't get me wrong I do believe in evolution and I am not trying to disprove anything, but that question did get me wondering. At some point in time several million years ago our decedents branched off from the rest of the primate family that is alive today. The difference we see is the human chromosome #2 between us and the rest of the great ape family. I will freely admit I don't have any college level training. All that I know comes from what I read and watched for fun. So, back to the question, how did that first mutated primate with 46 instead of 48 chromosomes produce offspring that led to us having this chat? I know that offspring can sometimes be produced from different chromosome count animals(i.e. mules and hinnies)but these result in sterile offspring. So, what would your thoughts be on how that bridge was crossed?

You have to have some knowledge of biology and genetics to understand common descent. Ring species go a long way to proving the Darwinian mechanic. Some anti-evolutionists argue that it doesn't convincingly explain the origin of new species. They say that members of one species couldn't become so different from other individuals through natural variation that they would become two separate non-interbreeding species.

One of the most powerful counters to that argument is the phenomenon known as "ring species." This occurs when a single species becomes geographically distributed in a circular pattern over a large area. Immediately adjacent or neighboring populations of the species vary slightly but can interbreed. But at the extremes of the distribution - the opposite ends of the pattern that link to form a circle - natural variation has produced so much difference between the populations that they function as though they were two separate, non-interbreeding species. The red panda was the original panda and was discovered before the giant panda. Both share a common ancestry, as indicated by shared derived characters to three different groups of animals that include skunks, weasels and raccoons. DNA hybridization studies suggest the giant panda is in the bear clade, while the red panda is in the raccoon clade. Both shares a common ancestry as indicated by shared derived characters, followed by convergent evolution of other characters.

Common descent is a general descriptive theory that concerns the genetic origins of living organisms. The theory specifically postulates that all of the earth's known biota's are genealogically related, much in the same way that siblings or cousins are related to one another. Macroevolutionary history and processes necessarily entail the transformation of one species into another and, as a result, the origin of higher taxa. Because it is so well supported scientifically, common descent is often called the "fact of evolution" by biologists. That is why Intelligent Design and Creation advocates dispute macroevolutionary.

Macroevolutionary theory explains common descent, makes testable predictions, is falsifiable, and has been scientifically demonstrated.

Macroevolution is evolution on a grand scale that takes a very long period of time resulting in the origin of higher taxa. In evolutionary theory it entails common ancestry, descent with modification, speciation, the genealogical relatedness of all life, transformation of species, and large-scale functional and structural changes of populations through time, all at or above the species level.

Macroevolution: one species can evolve into something else. That is the theory of common descent, which is a central tenet of evolutionary theory. The anti-evolutionists either don't understand the theory, or they don't want to. This is one of the main reasons for the misconceptions about evolution.

There are many species that can interbreed and produce fertile offspring. The level of viability (how often a live birth happens in these cross breeding situations) and level of fertility (how often the offspring are fertile) are an indication of common descent. The longer ago the common ancestor (in genetic change timeframe) the less viable and fertile the offspring become. Species with a recent common ancestor have a high fertility rate. Species with older (in genetic change terms) common ancestors the fertility rate starts dropping and the viability rate starts dropping.

Equus caballus (domestic horse) have 64 chromosome Equus Przewalski (Przewalski Horse) has 66 chromosomes. These 2 species can interbreed with very high fertility and viability rates. There is some debate if the Equus caballus was derived from the Equus Przewalski line (that Equus caballus branched off this line). This doesn't mean that the Equus Przewalski has not changed genetically in the time since the divergence. Other speculations put them as descendants of Equus ferus. These 2 species are different genetically but interbreed very well. Equus Asinus (donkeys ) have a 62 chromosome and show common ancestor much further back. The viability rate of Equus caballus/Equus asinus hybrids is fairly high while fertility is very low. Equus Heionus (Asian donkeys) have chromosome counts in the 50s dependant of the specific species you are looking at. Viability rates are good but fertility rates are not known. Equus Grevi have 46 chromosomes, Equus Burchellii have 44 chromosomes and Equus Zebra have 32. It has been noticed that the genetic changes get more dramatic when you look at them geographically from where the ancient migration route came from the north and migrated south. Grevi and Burchellii territory overlap yet natural interbreeding is not known to occur. The Equus Zebra is very geographically isolated in the southern portions of Africa they are also the most different genetically from the domesticated horse. All of these species can interbreed and their viability and fertility rates are what you would expect of common descent. If you took a population of any one of these species and isolated them from their parent species for a few million years you would see a new species slowly emerge. There isn't any line where a species is suddenly another. With genome sequencing we will start to see more and more evidence of how species are related. Some reclassification might occur with regard to species but this will mostly occur within genus, species and subspecies.

Reading an apologist's explanation of evolution really does not require any scientific knowledge; it is pseudo-science, and does not explain anything scientific. Your premise is based on pseudo-science and has nothing to do with the theory of common descent; it is not the way it works. Say 50 million years ago a mutation occurred in a population. As that population diverged into many species we would expect all of the species to have that mutations until it was altered by another mutation. It is predictions like this that are being proven true by genome sequencing. If there were a "designer" his work could not be finished in a week.

Raptorex is a new species of meat-eating dinosaur, discovered in northwest China by Paul Sereno from the University of Chicago. The specimen is a young adult, but it wouldn't have grown to more than 3 meters in length. It stood about as tall as a human, and wouldn't have weighed much more. And yet Raptorex looked very much like a scaled-down version of its giant future relatives. All the features that made tyrannosaurs so recognizable and such efficient killers (except their enormous size) were present in this animal. It really is a transitional fossil. Sereno says, "Raptorex really is a pivotal moment in the history of the group where most of the biologically meaningful features of tyrannosaurs came into being, and the surprising thing is that they came into being in such a small animal." Raptorex clearly shows that natural selection initially honed the distinct body shape of these giant predators at a 1/100th scale. This design was then scaled up with remarkably few modifications.

The gradual increase from the few thousand genes in a bacterium to the tens of thousands of genes in a person came primarily through genome- and gene-duplication events, which created extra sets of genes free to evolve new sequences and new functions. Much of this duplication happened long before humans evolved; though some duplication occurred in the human lineage to create exclusively human twins of existing genes. But in 2006, geneticists showed for the first time that they could identify truly novel genes. In fruit flies, they came across five young genes that were derived from non-coding DNA between existing genes and not from pre-existing genes. As a result, other researchers started looking for novel genes in other species. Meanwhile, while looking for gene duplications in humans, geneticists Aoife McLysaght and David Knowles of Trinity College Dublin kept coming across genes that seemed to have no counterparts in other primates, suggesting that new genes arose in us as well.

Common descent is the hypothesis that all living organisms are genealogically related. All existing species originated gradually by biological, reproductive processes on a geological time scale. Modern organisms are the genetic descendants of one original species or communal gene pool. Genetically "gradualness", a misunderstood term, is a mode of biological change that is dependent on population phenomena; it is not a statement about the rate or tempo of evolution. Truly genetically gradual events are changes within the range of biological variation expected between two consecutive generations.

Common Descent Can Be Tested Independently of Mechanistic Theories. Microevolutionary theories are gradualistic explanatory mechanisms that biologists use to account for the origin and evolution of macroevolutionary adaptations.

Experimental testing against physical observations validates scientific theories. Theories are not judged simply by their logical compatibility with the available data. Independent empirical testability is the hallmark of science. An explanation must not only be compatible with the observed data; it must be testable. "Testable" means that the hypothesis makes predictions about what observable evidence would be consistent and what would be incompatible with the hypothesis. Simple compatibility, in itself, is insufficient as scientific evidence, because all physical observations are consistent with an infinite number of unscientific conjectures. A scientific explanation makes predictions that other theories can't make - if the theory is correct. There is no theory based on an Intelligent Designer or Creator that meets any of the criteria to be considered a scientific theory, and it has never produced anything that could be used in scientific research. Evolution is the basis for all of the science concerning the origin of the Universe and life in that universe. If we had to rely on the "god did it" for scientific research it would become obvious "scientific evidence", "falsification", and "testability" are not possible.

Universal common descent makes many specific predictions about what should and what should not be observed in the biological world, and it has done well against empirically obtained observations for the past 150 years of intense scientific investigation. The theory of universal common descent, combined with modern biological knowledge, is used to deduce predictions. These predictions are then compared to the real world in order see how the theory fares in light of the observable evidence. In every example, it is quite possible that the empirical evidence could contradict the predictions. In fact, if universal common descent were not accurate, it is highly probable that these predictions would fail. These empirically validated predictions present very strong evidence for common descent.

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