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11/4/09

Richard Dawkins Rules Out Abiogenesis, part 1 of 2

Please note that this essay has been moved to True Freethinker where it was posted at this link.

13 comments:

  1. I'll attempt to respond to some of Mariano's misunderstandings.

    The theory of evolution by natural selection does not depend on abiogenesis. It may be the case that a god created early life. But what we know for sure from Darwin's theory and the 150 years of biology research that followed it is that all life today is descended from that early life and the diversity of species is the result of evolution by natural selection. Refuting abiogenesis does no damage to evolution.

    We also know from developmental biology that a fertilized egg develops into a complete organism via local chemical interactions, as opposed to a global computer reading the instructions on the DNA like a blueprint. Bird flocking was presented as an illustrative example of this kind of emergent behavior.

    We also know from the field of epigenetics that phenotype (appearance) is not 100% determined by DNA. So while you won't get a chinchilla by moving human DNA around, you might get a slightly different human in a different environment. One should also be aware of the presupposition of essentialism when talking about things like "human DNA", which is in reality a distribution of unique instances rather than deviations from a Platonic form.

    Finally, the common ancestry stories "concocted" by scientists are not generated to mollify nor do they go unchallenged within the scientific community. The field of phylogenetics is concerned with constructing the tree of life. What should give any evolution-denier pause is how the trees constructed from DNA alone match those constructed independently from the fossil record and indepently from morphology-based taxonomy.

    Dawkins is absolutely correct that evolution is a fact, even while to details of the mechanisms of evolution are still being worked out. This point is well-supported by his book. I encourage everyone to read it for themselves.

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  2. I don't encourage anyone to read it unless you want to misunderstand evolution. He fails to note for one in his chapter on dogs, regarding their domestication that it, that it was partially (or mostly) directed by humans. Most modern breeds of dogs come from this human interaction and direction in their gene-pools. We also have humans to thank for the modern foods we enjoy. To say that is was all done blindly is just foolish.

    Also I wish we could drop this common ancestor tripe. There is no evidence of it nor is it a viable theory!

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  3. "We don’t need fossils – the case for evolution is watertight without them."

    Gee, last time I checked, the fossil record was the main evidence for evolution. Now an infamous biologist claims that the main evidence for evolution is superflous. -_-!

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  4. Sad isn't it? Why do people listen to him again?

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  5. @Anonymous

    Did you not even make it to page 27 of the book?

    "...by wielding the toolbox of selective breeding techniques, horticulturalists have sculpted this rather nondescript plant into vegetables as strikingly different from each other and from the wild ancestor as broccoli, cauliflower, kohlrabi,kale,..." (pg. 27)

    "Breeders are almost like modellers with endlessly malleable clay, or like sculptors wielding chisels, carving dogs or horses or cows or cabbages, to their whim." (pg. 28)

    You fail.

    Common descent is not a viable theory? What planet are you living on? Even Michael Behe accepts common descent. Common descent is supported by mountains of fossil, genetic, and biogeographic evidence. If you had read Dawkins' book instead of just pretending like you had, then you'd be aware of the evidence.

    @BlameThe1st

    The fossil evidence is completely consistent with evolution, but I wouldn't say it's the "main evidence" for it. It's one of many types of evidence. Dawkins' point was that the non-fossil evidence, such as genetics and biogeography of modern species, is strong enough to stand on its own.

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  6. Sad isn't it? Why do people listen to him again?

    People listen to him because he is not only a well-respected scientist who has contributed influential research to biology and zoology, but he is also a prolific and accessible popularizer of science. As someone without a deep education in biology, I have learned so much from reading his books like the Selfish Gene and The Greatest Show on Earth. I'm sorry if "The God Delusion" pissed you off, but if your skin is thick enough to take a jab at religion here and there, then his biology books are well worth your time. I encourage everyone, including the anonymous troll here, to read Dawkins' science books, such just Mariano's ill-informed and agenda-ridden critiques.

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  7. The theory of evolution by natural selection does not depend on abiogenesis.

    It's amazing how often that comes up.
    People really need to stop making stuff up about what they "think" scientific theories are about and actually read a book or two.
    Abiogenesis does not equal Theory of Evolution.
    Theory of Evolution does not equal Abiogenesis.
    They are...different.

    Even Michael Behe accepts common descent.

    Indeed he does.

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  8. Wow!
    Cedric, you have a YouTube response for everything! I love it.

    Hey, can you recommend a YouTube clip that respond's to my wife's obvious miss-understanding of my need for a new 'Vette?

    Thanks,

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  9. HeyYouGuys:

    Not really. Im just pointing out his striking lack of realization that evolution is not driven completely by chance ;) Or maybe you missed that? Would you also like to to say that luck had nothing to do with it as well? Or maybe I could give out a better definition of "evolution" other than the convienient broad stroke term that Dawkins is so fond of using.

    Or maybe I could just strike those examples off the list and take them out of the theory of evolution and call it "selectuve breeding"? That might work better for him.

    The book gets worse right after the first page when he says Creationists are a well funded government backed group with massive support. Last I checked there had been no "Creationist" (Or whatever Dawkins like to call them such as Holocaust deniers and biologists who don't agree with him) has ever been able to get creationism passed in a respectable university nor have they won a courtcase so they can teach on a broad scale.

    As for common descent, well i'll be thrilled when you find a turnip with legs so we can back up Dawkins statement regarding how your evil if you don't believe that we are somehow descendants of vegatibles :)

    Until next time!

    Signed "that anonymous troll" ;)

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  10. Cedric, you have a YouTube response for everything! I love it.

    Well, you have to admit it saves a LOT of time.
    ;)
    After having done this for a while, you just get a little jaded having to respond to the same old talking points again and again and again and again. and again. Livening things up with a well-made video can sometimes cut through the clutter.

    ...he says Creationists are a well funded government backed group with massive support. ...no "Creationist"(...) has ever been able to get creationism passed in a respectable university nor have they won a courtcase so they can teach on a broad scale.

    Non Sequitur.
    Did it ever occur to you that Creationism has not won a court case or been accepted by any resepectable university DESPITE it being very well funded and having serious political support? Three in ten raised their hands. Sad.

    ...i'll be thrilled when you find a turnip with legs...

    Wow. Hmm.
    Okeydokey.
    I'll see your "turnip with legs" and raise you the famous "Crocoduck"

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  11. Ahh Cedric and your Youtube videos.

    As to your claim, where is Creationism heavily funded or endorsed outside of the US? And better yet where does most of the funding come from? Im a Canadian and can tell you we don't have any major creationist type things here. Nor do we have politicias who endorse it. (Out of curiosity what political groups do fund these things the most?)

    Despite heavy funding? Oh please you can't seriously believe that. God thats just atheist propaganda crap at its best.

    As for the cute little video. Thank you for the video that i've been shown twice before that had no context to what I was talking about (nor do you seem to understand what an exaggeration is).

    But anyway until next time.

    signed "that anonymous troll" ;)

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  12. god is an asshole if god is good why the hell did he create disabilites? ,shemales? so he is a bloody asshole not a good person

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  13. in the bible he have said that if a mother forgets her own child but he wont forget....that means a mother would like to create her child as disability and a shemale? no god jesus christ is a bastard.....a bad asshole

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