Tuesday, December 09, 2014

20 Questions to Ask Your Evolution Professor - Who Can’t Explain Intelligent Design

This is a reply to a blog post by Dr. Richard Ruhling.

I have answered the questions the the best of my ability. But here are a couple of notes.

Many of these questions are not questions that should be asked of an evolution professor as they are not questions about evolution. I have mentioned the field(s) of study under each question.

It is important to define what evolution is and what it is not.

It is the explanation for the diversity of life.

It is not the big bang. It is not accretion of the planets and it is not abiogenesis.

So here are the questions/

How did we get such nicely rounded spheres from a Big Bang that should have given jagged rocks?

Cosmology, not evolution.

The simple answer is gravity. Planets are not perfectly spherical for 2 reasons. 1. They are generally oblate spheroids. 2. They aren't perfectly smooth (think Everest and Mariana's Trench).

How did all the planets come into orbit after such an explosion?

Cosmology, not evolution

Again, the simple answer is gravity. I think you may be confusing the big bang and accretion.

The big bang is the idea that the universe came from a single point at some point in the past (around 14,5 Billion years). The motion of the galaxies tell us this in precisely the same way you can predict where a ball will land and catch it. The big bang made a prediction. That there should be background radiation in the universe. We looked. There is and you can see it in the static on your television set when it isn't tuned into a channel. N.B. The big bang was neither big, nor was it a bang.

Accretion is the formation of solar systems and their planets. Gravity is what causes the formation of the planets.The dust from an exploded star moves outwards from where the star exploded but the force from the explosion is taken over by the gravity of the dust left over.

Why do the planets vary in distance from the sun so greatly, and still stay in orbit?

Cosmology, not evolution.

Again the simple answer is gravity. Different sized planets,different speeds mean different orbits.

Here's a short video explaining orbits.

With more than 100 moons for the planets (Jupiter having 63), how did they come to orbit planets if they didn’t explode from them, and what evidence would we have that our moon exploded from earth, or where did it come from? Can we see significance to its orbit giving us our months?

Cosmolgy, not evolution.

I'm not entirely sure where you heard that moons "exploded from their planets". They are generally formed when 2 objects in orbit around the sun collide or when one object is captures by the gravity of the other.

Isn’t it strange that these huge heavenly bodies don’t collide, and that we can set our time by them?

Cosmology not evolution.

They do, That's how moons are sometimes formed. Comets crash into the planets on a fairly regular basis and we are bombarded by hundreds of meteorites every day. However, 2 objects in a stable orbit around each other will never collide until their speeds drops to a point where they will (which, given there's no friction in space, means millions of years at least).

How did earth develop its rotation so that we have day and night, and don’t fry on one side or freeze on the other?

Cosmology, not evolution.

Earth got it's rotation from the initial movement of the dust and gasses rotating in the solar system when it formed (see accretion above).

Was it just chance that earth has all the ingredients necessary for life?

Cosmology and chemistry, not evolution.

Given the number of planets in the universe (the estimated number is at least in the trillions) it's almost inevitable that some planets are going to contain what we call "life". It's quite likely that at least 1 other body in our solar system alone will have life of a basic form. (Mars and Europa are 2 possibilities).

If we exploded off the sun, where did we get our atmosphere that was needed to support life?

Cosmology and chemistry, not evolution.

We didn't "explode off the sun". A dying star exploded and over billions of years the chemical rich cloud from that explosion settled (again see accretion above) coalesced through gravity to form the sun and the planets.

How would an explosion from the sun give us all the elements we see on the atomic chart?

Cosmology and chemistry, not evolution.

Again, the simple answer is gravity. That's what suns do. It's how they work. It's called fusion. Gravity at the centre of a sun is so massive that elements like hydrogen fuse together to form helium and the larger elements.

What would be the mathematical probability of an explosion in a junk yard giving us a jumbo jet? (That would be far easier than an explosion giving us any form of life)

Probability, statistics, physics, chemistry and abiogenesis, not evolution.

The chances of an explosion in a junk yard forming a jumbo jet are so close to zero as to be practically impossible on the timescale of our universe. (Your analogy gives away your non-scientific sources).

Life doesn't form via one sudden explosion. Your jumbo jet analogy is a false one. Over billions of years, the earth settled to a stable orbit and relatively stable tectonic plates and atmosphere. The energy from the sun and other sources like lightning, volcanoes, earthquakes etc... allowed atoms to overcome the activation energies that normally prevent them from reacting with other chemicals. which led to the formation of more complex molecules.

The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics says the energy systems tend to run down unless acted upon by an outside source. What is the Source that keeps our universe from becoming like a city dump?

Cosmology and physics, not evolution.

The second law of thermodynamics refers to closed system, You are right that the universe is a closed system. However, their is nothing that prevents a decrease in entropy in local systems. The earth is a local system and has vast amounts of energy pumped into it from an external source. The sun.

Darwin assumed that future discoveries would reveal “missing links” in the evolutionary chain, but after 150 years, we are still waiting. Where are the missing links, or could Darwin have been wrong?

Finally, a question relating to evolution

I'm not entirely sure what you mean by the term "missing link". Missing between what and what? In biology, there is a term "transitional fossil" of which we have millions. That's because every fossil is transitional (as is every living organism). Life is a tree, not a chain.

There is no direct link between currently living organisms, so there will be no missing link. Currently living organisms are related to each other as cousins and not as descendants of one another.

Living organisms have systems intricately complex and dependent on all parts to be functioning as a whole. Did they all evolve simultaneously?

Good, another question about evolution.

The systems organisms have are currently interdependent but haven't always been. Complex systems come from simpler ones. They can't come from more complex ones as that would be begging the question.

Here is evangelical christian and molecular biologist Ken Miller demonstrating that irreducible complexity (the argument you are using) is not a valid one and is nothing more than an argument from incredulity.

Wouldn’t primitive man have bled to death from a cut without the blood clotting mechanism with its cascade of reactions working from the beginning?


Blood clotting factors evolved way before primitive man. All mammals have similar blood clotting factors and all vertebrates have some from of blood clotting systems. Some of them much simpler that for humans.

Here is a presentation on the evolution of blood clotting.

Did mammals all evolve into male and female simultaneously so that after billions of years, they both arrived on the scene at the same time and could reproduce?


Mammals didn't evolve into males and females. Male and female evolved long before even blood clotting did. It's not something I know a lot about but it happened when  our ancestors were single-cellular or basic multi-cellular organisms.

Here is a link to over 2 million scholarly articles on the topic.

With water so essential to life, how did earth get its vast supply if we exploded off the sun?

Cosmology, not evolution.

Again, we didn't "explode off the sun". Most of the water from comets that collided with us (we're talking millions and millions of comets). You can get an idea from the moon just how many times we have been struck by such objects.

As the latest ESA Philae Lander mission to land on a comet has confirmed, comets are largely water.

With atomic nuclei having protons of positive charge, what keeps them from repelling each other?

Chemistry and nuclear physics, not evolution. 

The strong nuclear force holds the nucleus of an atom together.

Did everything in the universe come from nothing, or how did it all happen?

Cosmology and philosophy, not evolution.

No-one knows. There is no way for anyone to know given the extent of human knowledge. What happened "before" the big bang is unknown and may be forever unknowable. "Before" might not even be a valid word in that context.

Comparing tiny atoms with our gigantic solar systems, each with orbiting electrons or planets, it is not difficult to see similarity or design. Dare we say Intelligent Design?

Nuclear physics,cosmology.

Despite the name, electrons don't orbit nucleus like planets orbit the sun. Electrons are a cloud of negative electrical charge. Our knowledge of the shape of that cloud is based on the probability of finding the electron at a particular point.

If we tore 100 pages out of a book and scrambled them, wouldn’t the chance of our picking them up in order blind-folded be better than all of the above happening by chance?


Yes, the chances of picking up all the letters in the right order would be quite small. But the analogy is wrong.

Here's a better one. Imagine you had 100 dice. You can roll them as many times as you like. How many times would you have to roll them to get 100 sixes? A huge number of times, right? In fact about 6x6 ... 100 times. Which turns out to be a number with 77 zeros.

However, that analogy misses out natural selection. Imagine now, that you are allowed to roll the dice as many times as you want but after each roll you get to set aside any sixes that are rolled. That vastly reduces the odds. In fact, you can probably get 100 sixes in less than 100 rolls of the dice.

Each generation in evolution is not a brand new roll of the dice. Each generation works with what it has inherited from their parents plus a few variations. Those offspring most suited to the environment are more likely to survive to pass on their particular variations.

I hope these answers help.

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