Friday, September 21, 2012

Can't win a debate with a person who believes supernatural powers.

Today, I happen to talk about evolution of animals with one of my colleagues. He is a protestant Christian. I believe he has decent knowledge on other fields such as politics or living, but his religious belief seriously seemed to be disabling his otherwise clear thinking.

He said he did not believe in evolution at all. So, naturally, I told him many evidences of evolution, naïvely thinking that could at least make him re-consider his position on evolution.

A digest of the conversation

I: What about the countless intermediate fossils? There are lots of old, intermediate human species fossils that lead to the modern human.
He: They are all different animals. They exterminated because they could not survive, and all current animals are created in their current forms again by some Being, possibly from outer space. I think this re-creation happens from time to time.

I: Then, why all animals have similar features, as if they are related to each other?
He: Suppose you create animals, why would you start things from scratch? Wouldn't you reuse the same parts?
I: Why do all animals have so much DNA-similarity? For example bananas have 40% the same genes with us, why is that?
He: Again, the Being that created animals reused the modus operandi.

I: Evolution of bacteria can be confirmed within a man's lifetime. They develop different genes shortly, and diverse into different species.
He: That is just adaptation. Bacteria don't become animals like us.
I: If we give millions of years to the bacteria, they could evolve into a fish-like animal. Such big evolution doesn't happen in some tens of years but in millions or billions years.

I: Why do humans have 46 chromosomes and all other great apes have 47 chromosomes and one human chromosome has the shape of two merged chromosomes?
He: It just looks like that, but that's just the Being created humans that way.

I: Why do humans have so many DNA chunks of viruses in our DNA sequence, and why do Chimpanzees and humans have the same virus DNA chunk at the same location?
He: It just looks like that.

I was going to mention other evidences such as the development of embryos or behavioral similarities between human new-born babies and adolescent Chimpanzees, but time was up and I had to get back to work.

Wishful thinkings and resorting to supernatural things -- that's not science.

The problem of his way to thinking is that it is not backed up by evidences. It IS possible that the Being who created all animals just did things so that AS IF animals look evolved to us. But the probability is very very low. And there is no evidence. It is just "I think it is something like that, you cannot disprove it." An undisprovable hypothesis is not meaningful to science and it is only good for a  children's story. If scientists all think like that, and get satisfied such conclusions, there would be no advancements in science at all, or we may go backwards to the Dark Age.

Suppose that I claim a recent unsolved murder was committed by the evil sprit of Hitler back from the Hell. Here I go.
I: I know it is true. The sprit of Hitler killed him.
Sane person: Hitler is dead.
I: Yeah, but souls don't disappear. He was so bad, that he escaped from Hell.
Sane person: There is no such thing as a soul.
I: Oh yeah? Prove that souls don't exist!
Sane person: You prove that souls exist.
I: See, you can't disprove the existence of souls. They are real! And I can just feel it was the spirit of Hitler.
Sane person: But the person was murdered by a gunshot. Why did the sprit use a gun?
I: The spirit made it look like that, but he actually used his magic power to move the gun.
Sane person: What about the footprint of an intruder to the victim's house?
I: They were some other guy's. Probably a passer-by, enchanted by the power of the sprit,  walked into the house mindlessly then went out.
Sane person: How come it is possible?
I: Spirits have such a power to distract humans' minds. We all believe that. Disprove that it is wrong, then!
Sane person: That again?

And it goes round and round like that forever... Yes it COULD be possible, but the probability of such reality is so very very low than the chance of that the murder was committed by a human criminal. In fact, I can claim all crimes that have ever happened were done by mind-controlling evil sprits, but I have no evidence other than that I somehow strongly feel  my claim is right or that it certainly looks to me so. What a catastrophic world it will be, if majority of people think like this!

Things that look obvious to you at first, often are not true if you learn about them

It is very easy to think that all animals are created by some super being. Then, why do you think the absolute majority of biologist never doubt evolution? Because there are so many evidences and predictions match the phenomena so well.

You know that many people dreamed of flying. They all imagined something like giant wings as the apparatus to fly. Well, it must be looked so obvious to prehistoric man to think like "All flying animals have wings. Therefore, we must need wings to fly." If we go back to that time and tell them briefly like "No, you need big revolving metal fans and fire to heat the air!", they will probably scorn at us first. "Stupid men, metal is too heavy to fly with. it must be light like a wing of a bird." But if some of the prehistoric men were wise, they would listen to us. And, as they learn all the chemistry, physics, aerodynamics, mechanics and so on, they should reach to the understanding of what we meant.

Those who deny evolution are just like those prehistoric men above. If only they spend sometime on actually learning evolution, not on listening to each other!

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