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Intelligent Design

Hatta (162192) writes | more than 8 years ago

User Journal 2

Whew, long topic on ID. While reading through it, I was reminded of a passage from an ecology book I once read. I paraphrased it from memory, I hope its relevance to ID is obvious:

Whew, long topic on ID. While reading through it, I was reminded of a passage from an ecology book I once read. I paraphrased it from memory, I hope its relevance to ID is obvious:

Let me tell you a little story about long shots and averages and how not understanding the two lead to an incorrect hypothesis. Some time ago ecologists were interested with the rate that trees would repopulate a volcano after an eruption. They observed the trees, and figured out the average distance that a seed would fall from the tree, and from that they calculated an expected movement of the treeline.

However this was wrong, the trees repopulated much more quickly than expected. While the ecologists had figured out the averages correctly, they failed to realize that a small proportion of seeds would be carried much further than the average. The seeds that came from these trees would have a head start and some small portion of the next generation would be carried even further.

Do you see what I'm getting at here? Are you sure that in your calculations of expected rate of evolutionary change you're not making the same mistake these ecologists did?

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Ahh (1)

nizo (81281) | more than 8 years ago | (#13990407)

So the seeds were carried further by an Intelligent Wind Blower. Got it :-)

Not So Complicated (1)

Libby Liberal (928336) | more than 8 years ago | (#13990435)

The biggest knowledge gap the anti-evolutionists have, in my experience, is a much simpler mathematical concept than that:

Really Big Numbers(TM)

After all, rate of change in humans is very, very slow, relatively speaking. We don't generally procreate until at the very least the early teens, and in most cases around the age of 18 to the mid 20s. When you consider that a human has to be around for upwards of 2 decades before it spawns a new generation, you are led to believe that evolution from bacteria up must be very slow.

Not so, of course, relatively speaking. After all, a bacterium need only be around a few minutes, generally only around a half an hour, before it's capable of reproducing. Nearly 100,000 generations can pass down from a single bacterium in the time it takes a single human to spawn one new generation.

The same concept applies to other lower lifeforms. Nearly all reptiles and mammals reproduce at a greater rate than humans. So, while it may take a long time to step from human to the next evolutionary rung, it wouldn't necessarily take anywhere near as long for bacteria to evolve into more and more complex life forms, and for mammals to evolve through the various intervening steps into homo sapien sapien.

And this, of course, is the problem with anti-evolutionary speculation. Most of the information they pass that isn't outright false relies entirely on misunderstanding of the processes and science itself. You can't just say "Well, it must not be true because I don't see how it could be" because, generally, that just means you don't know what you're talking about.
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