Evolution for Dummies

Eric Hovind of Creation Today offers 10 Questions to Ask Evolutionists. I’m going to answer them.

1. Where did the space for the universe come from?

This question has nothing to do with evolution. Rather, it’s one of cosmology. The answer is “we don’t know”. Creationists will at this point say “gotcha”. Wrong. “We don’t know” is the reason we have science. We don’t make up answers, though we may conjecture or hypothesize.

2. Where did matter come from?

See my previous answer.

3. Where did the laws of the universe come from (gravity, inertia, etc.)?

They are emergent properties. Not everything needs a cause. The weak anthropic principle adequately explains them.

4. How did matter get so perfectly organized?

Physics, geology, chemistry, biochemistry, and biology are the sciences that explain this phenomenon. It’s hard to give a quick explanation of such a huge body of science.

5. Where did the energy come from to do all the organizing?

Energy is matter (E = mc2). See question 2.

6. When, where, why, and how did life come from non-living matter?

Roughly 4 billion years ago, biotic life evolved. Given the amount of change that has occurred in the Earth since then, it’s amazing that we even know this. Currently, there are only hypotheses as to how this life came about.

7. When, where, why, and how did life learn to reproduce itself?

The ability to reproduce evolved more than 4 billion years ago.

8. With what did the first cell capable of sexual reproduction reproduce?

Sexual reproduction is merely a more reliable method of gene exchange. Even viruses have the ability to exchange genes. Life that evolved sexual reproduction probably did so after evolving the ability to reproduce from a combination of the genetic material of two asexual individuals.

9. Why would any plant or animal want to reproduce more of its kind since this would only make more mouths to feed and decrease the chances of survival? (Does the individual have a drive to survive, or the species? How do you explain the origin of reproduction?)

Clearly the individual has the drive to reproduce. A species whose individuals lose the drive to reproduce will die off. Most animals are unable to reason to the level that allows them to stop reproducing when resources are scare, but it is not uncommon in nature. For example, female rabbits will (unconsciously) reabsorb their young when resources are scarce.

How can mutations (recombining of the genetic code) create any new, improved varieties? (Recombining English letters will never produce Chinese books.)

If you generated a large set of random letters and spaces, and asked a Chinese speaker to choose the half of the sample that were most like Chinese, and then took the survivors and paired them up, then generated two random combinations of the “words” in each, while randomly mutating the words at a low rate, and you repeated this process millions of times, eventually, you would be producing Chinese. This is known as a genetic algorithm.

About jimbelton

I'm a software developer, and a writer of both fiction and non-fiction, and I blog about movies, books, and philosophy. My interest in religious philosophy and the search for the truth inspires much of my writing.
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