Thanks for the detailed reply, Rory.
Your description of the I-ther sounds similar to my general thoughts on the universe and existence, so I wonâ€™t go into that until Iâ€™ve read more (apart from to say that Iâ€™d question whether the word â€œintelligenceâ€ is the right term to use).
I am going to address some of your points about evolution though.
Rory wrote:For examples I would start with Prokaryotes - single celled bacteria with no nucleus. These were around on this planet about 4 billion years ago with no changes at all until many years later came Eukaryotes - single celled bacteria with a nucleus. If evolution were entirely responsible it created what was an enormous change very quickly.
1. The fossil record only records morphology. It doesnâ€™t record biochemistry. Evolution could have been happening by changes in DNA resulting in purely biochemical changes that canâ€™t be seen in the fossil record. Then all it needs is one more mutation to happen and the morphology flips and changes. Thatâ€™s one reason why the fossil record isnâ€™t necessarily a good record of evolution.
2. Who knows what was happening to those prokaryotes 4 billion years ago to get them to develop a nucleus. One theory about how eukaryotes developed is that one kind of prokaryote ate another and they developed a symbiotic relationship â€“ that is one of the theories for how mitochondria came about. A similar kind of process could have resulted in the development of a nucleus. A big evolutionary leap isnâ€™t necessarily required.
Rory wrote:Throughout the geological history we see explosive events of evolution with huge divergencies of species occurring rapidly and the strange thing is that these times occur after extinction events. In fact in the stable times, there is very little species divergence. This is not evolution by way of gradualism as Darwinists teach, but a form of punctured evolution.
Punctuated evolution isnâ€™t strange at all â€“ it makes perfect sense. Remember, evolution isnâ€™t just about random changes in genetic structure. It is as much about how the environment selects for those changes. The environment changes, existing species either adapt (evolve) or die off. Thereâ€™s a whole new set of evolutionary pressures that select different characteristics. Of course you are going to get evolutionary leaps.
Rory wrote:Another example is that Humans have 46 Chromosomes and Primates have 48. If we have solely evolved without any intervention, then we lost loads of DNA when we lost those two Chromosomes and yet we have developed more advanced functionality.
Why is it surprising that losing chromosomes makes an organism more advanced? What do you mean by advanced functionality anyway? Our brains might be more advanced than other apes, but our bodies arenâ€™t necessarily.
Rory wrote:Geneticists showed recently that Humans were around 200,000 years old by Mitochondrial DNA testing. Paleontologists previously though Humans were around 5 million years old. This again indicates insufficient time for Micro evolution to explain all the changes we now see.
Define â€œhumansâ€. From my understanding, *hominids* are thought to be around 5 million years old, but these are still a long way from modern humans. I think the 200 000 year old human origin you refer to is â€œmitochondrial eveâ€. Iâ€™ve just read the Wikipedia article on it, which is interesting. I donâ€™t see the point you are trying to make though. Firstly, mitochondrial eve is a maternal common ancestor to all humans and doesnâ€™t necessarily represent the origins of modern humans. According to Wikipedia, anatomically human fossils first appear around 130 thousand years ago. Which bit are you saying is too short for evolution to take place and why?
Rory wrote:There is also a real absence of transition species - something you perhaps would not find if there was some form of intervention.
Just because they havenâ€™t been found yet doesnâ€™t mean they didnâ€™t exist. Fossils only preserve in exceptional circumstances. Then it takes exceptional circumstances for those fossils to be found. Anyway, which big leaps are missing a major transition species at the moment?
Rory wrote:All domestic plants appeared around 10,000 - 5,000 years ago and there is no obvious common precursor, As of yet no Botanists are able to explain how wild plants gave rise to domesticated ones. Wild Grasses has 7 chromosomes, whilst domestic wheat and oats have 42. Wild sugar can has 10, but domesticated 80. All attempts to domesticate wild grasses have failed in the laboratory. All these changes also occurred as the human population began to build.
I read an article about wheat domestication and I have to say, my limited knowledge of it so far is the most compelling â€œevidenceâ€ pointing towards ID. However, why would a designer give us plants that are basically poisonous for so many humans? (wheat and gluten intolerance. I donâ€™t believe that it is a purely modern construct). Also, domestication in the laboratory hardly replicates real-life conditions 10 000 years ago. You had major climate change with the end of the ice age and the domestication process probably took place over hundreds of years. What if there was a wild grass that had a mutant version with its extra chromosomes, but in the cold climate the mutant couldnâ€™t reproduce. Ice sheets melt, climate gets warmer and the mutant one is able to reproduce. It gets exploited by the humans who are learning about breeding plants, therefore it is selected for and domestication happens. You meaningfully correlate human expansion with domestication of grasses â€“ maybe the only reason humans started farming so were able to expand is because the grasses evolved to become domesticatable? Thatâ€™s how ecosystems work.
Sorry this is so long, btw.
Edited by I.P. - 2.10.08 - put Rory's quotes in markup for clarity