Someone, please help me stand up for Darwin

Phil jorge2 at earthlink.net
Fri Apr 3 22:04:58 EST 1998


Ingvald Straume wrote:
> 
> Hi, some of you experts out there!
> 
> I'm a Norwegian secondary school teacher. I'm teaching biology and
> physics at my school.
> 
> Now, some of my pupils are being feeded with creationistic ideas by some
> 
> pseudo-scientists who have been visiting their local christian
> community. The problem is that I am not able to defend the
> evolution-theory on scientific basis. My knowledge is to short. And
> these crazy ideas are starting to spread among the pupils, and also it
> seems that some some of my colleagues are getting to rely on some of
> this creationistic propaganda stuff. I fear that I, and also biological
> science itself are being brought to discredit.
> 
> The arguments that I am not able to stand up against are as follows:
> 
> 1) "Even thoug micro-evolution has been proved by Darwin and many times
> since, there is no prove what so ever to the existance of
> macro-evolution. Macro-evolution is an erroneous interference, and there
> 
> is no scientiffic reason to assume a correlation between micro- and
> macro-evolution."
> 
> 2) "Evolution contradicts the second law of thermodynamics."
> 
> 3) "It is very unlikely (impossible) that complex stereo-isomeric
> molecules in nature arise from non-organic material by accident."
> 
> 4) "According to information-theory, information (as in our genes)
> cannot increase itself or derive itself from nothing."
> 
> It is asserted that this makes evolution from lower species to higher
> specises impossible.
> 
> 5) "Birds could not have evoluted from reptils. Because their presumed
> ancestor, with wings by wich they yet not could fly, would not be fit in
> 
> the struggle for existance."
> 
> (Some of my pupils have humiliated me with this and many other similar
> examples, and I have not been able to refute them.)
> 
> Please, somone, help me! Give me some good scientiffic arguments that
> will prove to the contrary  these allegations .
> 
> Ingvald Straume
> (modestly desperate secondary school teacher)


Ingvolde:


I'll offer my perspective in the following.  I mean no insult, but am
surprised that a person so unfamiliar with this subject is teaching
biology.  I suggest that you not argue with those who oppose evolution
but merely teach it (and I hope you work for a better understanding) as
a theory well accepted by the scientific community. 

Good luck, Phil

1) Darwin did not prove evolution.  Evolution is a theory.  Based on a
number of lines of scientific investigation beyond what can be offered
here, both Darwin and most modern scientists feel evolution is a
reasonable basis for what you call macroevolution.

2) The second law only applies to closed systems, not to systems into
which energy is imported, as we have in our complex system heated by the
sun.

3) Many things are very unlikely in a limited time scale - over eons
with countless natural experiments, it is not unlikely that they would
have arisen.

4) I'm not familar with the "information theory" you cite but it sounds
like a derivation of #2 above.  It certainly is a widely held biological
theory under this terminology and likely would not apply to a system
fueled by an exterior source of energy to drive diversification and
complexity. 

6) Flightless birds exist now.



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