Building Critical Thinkers What Is Evolution? Mike Riddle www.CreationTraining.org
Topics • Critical thinking questions • Critical thinking and evolution • Words have meaning (fuzzy words and magic words) • Analyzing the evidence: asking questions
Three Critical Thinking Questions How do you know it is true? Has it ever been observed? Are you making any assumptions?
One More Question- Fossils How much of the fossil was actually found and how much was added (assumed)?
“For instance, modern whales are the descendants of four-legged land animals…” Biology: Visualizing Life, Holt, Rinehart, Winston, 1998, p. 177.
Deception Only the shaded portions of the skull were found Pakicetus: a candidate for whale evolution? Artist reconstruction
The Real Pakicetus A wolf-like land mammal, with legs capable of running
Be weary of arguments based on: Logical fallacies False assumptions Misinformation Evolution
Critical Thinking4 Components Analysis Inference Interpretation Deductive reasoning
Analysis • Determine the credibility of the evidence. • Are there any assumptions? • Are there any logical fallacies? Ad Hominem – Name calling Equivocation - Different meanings Bifurcation – Either or fallacy Strawman – Distorting the position
Analysis Inference • What elements are needed to draw the conclusion? • We need to query the evidence: ask questions
Analysis Inference Interpretation • Decode the argument • Clarify the argument • What is the real issue? (presuppositional)
Analysis Inference Interpretation Deductive Reasoning • What does the premise really allow us to conclude? • Draw a logical conclusion based on the evidence presented in the argument.
Critical Thinking and Evolution Biological Evolution The Mechanism for Change TOOLS 3 critical thinking questions Fossil question 4 components of critical thinking
How Evolution Happens? Millions of years of mutations add new information Selection Process Amoeba Man
Critical Thinking Will millions of years of mutations and natural selection allow for amoeba to man evolution? 3 Questions Fossil Question 4 Components TOOL Box
Critical Thinking In science definitions must be clear and precise. • No ambiguity • State exactly what is included and what is not included in the definition domain Evolution
Evolution Requires the addition of new genetic Information Upward progression
Analyzing Popular Definitions of Evolution Evolution is change over time. (valid / not valid) Genetic change in a species over time (valid / not valid) Any change in the relative frequencies of alleles in the gene pool of a population (valid / not valid)
Challenging Question What is a good definition of Darwinian evolution? • _________________ • _________________ • _________________ • _________________ • _________________ Random mutation Beneficial Add new information Must survive Reproduce more offspring
Analyzing the Mechanisms for Evolution Mutations Natural Selection
Mutations Detrimental Detrimental Detrimental Neutral Neutral Beneficial Neutral Beneficial Disease Add information No change Information No evolution No evolution Produce more offspring that survive
Natural Selection What is it?
What Is Natural Selection?Charles Darwin “It may be said that natural selection is daily and hourly scrutinising, throughout the world, every variation, even the slightest; rejecting that which is bad, preserving and adding up all that is good; silently and insensibly working, whenever and wherever opportunity offers.” Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life, 1859, p. 84.
Three Assumptions about Natural Selection • Assume natural selection is responsible for appearance of design and complexity. • Assume an external source as the source of design. Assume natural selection has the capability to choose beneficial mutations (intelligence).
Critical Thinking and Natural Selection Natural Selection Caused by nature (natural processes) Selector (Intelligence)
Natural Selection Environment Exposure interface Pre-programmed information
3 Questions About Natural Selection • What is it that natural selection actually does and how does it work? • Selection implies intelligence. Who or what is actually doing or causing the selection?
Since selection does not address the origin of information, and mutations are known to cause a loss of information or function, is there any observational evidence for where the vast amount of information in DNA came from?
What Is Natural Selection? It is an artificial mechanism devised by man to replace the power and intelligence of God.
A Lesson in Reading Words have meaning Critical Thinking Fuzzy Words Magic Words
Fuzzy Words No observable evidence What Happened • We believe • We think • Must have • Could have • Might have • Our opinion is • We guess • Over millions of years
Biology, Miller and Levine, 2002, p. 426. “Those life forms must have evolved in the absence of oxygen,…” Fuzzy Words
Life Science, Prentice Hall (Grade 7), 2002, p. 410. “Paleontologist think that Archaeopteryx and today’s birds descended from some kind of reptile, possibly from a dinosaur.”
April 21, 2010, http://www.physorg.com “Scientists are reporting discovery of what may be the "ancestral Eve" crystal that billions of years ago gave life on Earth its curious and exclusive preference for so-called left-handed amino acids. .”
Biology: Visualizing Life, Holt, Rinehart, Winston, 1998, p. 193. RNA was probably the first genetic molecule.”
Joseph Silk, Ph.D. Astronomy, The Big Bang, 2001, p. 170. “Imagine that infinitesimal fluctuations in density were present in the early universe…. The expansion of the universe must have exerted a stabilizing influence on such irregularities. The expanding universe has the effect of greatly impeding what otherwise might have been catastrophic forces…. Nevertheless, the process of growth of fluctuations went on for a very long time,…”
Prentice Hall, Science Explorer: Life Science, 2002, p. 46. “The first cells could not have needed oxygen to survive. They probably were heterotrophs that used the chemicals in their surroundings for energy….. At some point, some of the cells may have developed the ability to make their own food.”
Magic Words Appeared Emerged Arose Gave rise to Was on the way to becoming Burst onto the scene Evolved itself Was making a transition to How It Happened
USA Today, “Why did bugs grow wings to fly?”, Mar 29, 2010. “Evo-devo proposes that genes involved in cobbling together flesh and bone during early growth were repurposed to develop new structures throughout evolution's history, by combining their functions in new ways.”
National Geographic, January 1993, p. 12. “All [dinosaurs] probably evolved from a scurrying, bipedal, pheasant-size reptile.”
The Complete Dinosaur, Edited by James O. Farlow and M. K. Brett-Surman, 1997, p. 204. “Into this world came the dinosaurs, initially small bipedal carnivores, and they rose to dominance at some point during the Triassic.”
Critical Thinking Asking Questions
Asking Questions Life originated about 3.7 billion years ago in a pool of chemicals.
Asking Questions “About 6 million years ago, the hominoid line gave rise to a branch that ultimately led to the ancestors and closest relatives of modern humans.” - Biology, Miller and Levine, 2002, p. 835.
Asking Questions “The different species of finches on the Galapagos islands, now known as Darwin’s finches, have different-sized beaks that have evolved to take advantage of distinct food types.” NAS, Science and Creationism, 1999, p. 11 Finches: Different beak shapes
Asking Questions Normal fruit fly Orange-eyed fruit fly Short-winged fruit fly Curly-winged fruit fly White-eyed fruit fly Yellow fruit fly Eyeless fruit fly
Asking Questions Caterpillar to butterfly Eyeless fish Wingless beetle
Asking Questions What questions could I ask? Dinosaurs evolved into birds.
Asking Questions What questions could I ask? Natural selection is one of the basic mechanisms of evolution.