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In Response to: "Did We Evolve from Single Cell Organisms?"

In Response to: "Did We Evolve from Single Cell Organisms?" 

(Click here Doug Apple's original article on Wakulla.com; August 19, 2008)

Editor: 

Hi Doug.  I'm sure I'm not going to convince you of much, but I can't bear to see someone argue publicly by lack of personal credulity.

First, the title is awfully anthropocentric.  "We", humans, did.  As did oak trees.  And mold.

But, if you mean "we", living stuff, then no -- most of everything alive today ("most" measured by all of by-count and by-volume and by-weight) are still single-cell organisms.  In fact, as an example, inside your body you have about ten times the number of single-cell "germ" organisms as you have human cells.  Most are in your gut area.  They are of course miniature Chihuaua-sized, relative to the plump house-sized human cells.

First of all, it’s amazing that we have taste buds and actually enjoy food so much.  Second of all, it’s amazing that our bodies take that food and use it for energy.  In addition to the pleasure, food literally keeps us alive.

Agreed it's great.  Some large people-like organisms don't taste the way we do.  Consider cats -- they can't taste sweet or sour, but they can taste fat-like stuff.  (We call this taste "umami", and humans have it too.  Thus our like for meats and cheeses and foods with MSG artificially added.)  If cats were hominid and didn't have the tools to hunt and could live off of apples (ha), then eventually the ones who mutated the equipment to discern the difference between rotten apples (which might kill you 1% of the time) and fresh apples (always good), would live longer and raise more kittens that share their genetic "defect" of taste.
 
Humans who can't tell the difference between poison and sustinance are likely to die from eating the wrong thing.  Those who can, are far more likely to pass on their genes to lots of copies of themselves.
 
And you’re trying to tell me that just sort of happened randomly, a really lucky accident?  Think of the odds of that happening.  A mouth develops on its own?  A mouth that eats and tastes?  And it just so happens that it eats things that energize the body?  The odds are so staggering that it’s actually impossible.  It is impossible that such a thing happened without a creator.

There are about a dozen discrete factors, here, and each of them gives benefit, and all of them can occur naturally.
 
Mutations happen all the time.  The biggest misunderstanding creationists have is thinking that mutations are goal-driven.  They're not.  Every new offspring has a chance of having some birth defect.  Almost all of them are fatal, and the offspring dies in development in the womb and is miscarried.  For the ones that survive birth, almost all of them are crippled in some way.  Think of cleft palates, or albinoism, or deafness, or spina bifida, ...  I could go on for pages. 

There are plenty of ways to be alive, but *vastly more* ways to be dead. 

Almost everything that mutates is dead.  In the one-in-several-million where a mutation makes the offspring better able to cope with the environment, be healthier, and have more children, then that is an evolutionary step.  Some mutations don't affect anything at all, and we just carry them around; a good example in homo sapiens is attached earlobes.  Your genetics informed your children's earlobes and whether they are attached to the neck, or they dangle from the ear.

There is no goal in mutation.  Every so often, extremely rarely, something is useful, and offspring live better because of it.

Eating is very old.  Eating is older than bones are.  Eating predates multicellular organisms, depending on your definition of "eating".
 
When I think about such things, all I can do is look up and marvel at our great God.

Now try this.  Try slipping the Adam and Eve story in on your science teacher.  They will likely laugh you right out of the building.  But take a good, hard look at what they believe instead.

Let’s say by some miracle we did evolve from a single cell organism.  If so, how did they reproduce?  Oh, they just divided, you say.  They just multiplied.  Oh.  Okay.  Then let me ask you this.  If that system worked so well, why did it switch over to requiring two people to procreate?

Why did it switch?  Oh, that's easy.  It didn't -- you're simply wrong about that.

Sexuality isn't even exclusively multicellular.  The oft-cited flagellate, supposedly irreducably complex, has a previous history of being used to inject other germs with its DNA.  That counts as sex, I'd say.

Your continued use of "people" is endearingly and naïvely anthropocentric.  Most of the critters in the world still reproduce asexually.  It works just fine.

If you had an efficient system of procreating by simply multiplying yourself, why would it ever evolve into requiring two organisms?  And how did it make that leap?

Your underlying question is:  Why evolve sex?  The answer is that it makes mutations happen much more often, and that makes those critters better able to thrive and adapt, and grow to the size that Mr Apple can see them with his eyes and incorrectly conclude that they're the only thing around.

The snails in your backyard are probably hemaphroditic, where two will fertilize each other or one will win a fight and literally emasculate the other and live to spread its genes around even more.

The world is bigger and stranger than your old-asexual -vs- new-sexual taxonomy can handle.  Sorry.
 
I’m telling you, asking these questions is like taking a machine gun to a football.  It rips it full of holes and lets all the air out.

Oh, but throw in millions of years.  That’s our answer to everything.  Gee, that’s a really long time.  I guess anything could happen if you give it a million years.

Or more.  We have something like 3 thousand of those millions of years to use.  And life isn't linear.  Most of these bits of progress, like the eye in reptiles, squids, fish -- happened in parallel.  There's no need to squander any of those three thousand millions.
 
Now let’s go back to that Adam and Eve story.  What an incredible and beautiful thing, this idea of a man and a woman.  Without them both, there is no procreation.  

Indeed, it's a nice story.  Except, who was the next generation?  Let's just ignore the implication of incest or spouses from civizilations who magically already exist over the horizon, eh?
 
One can’t produce babies without the other.  And it’s not some scientific duty.  The whole man/woman thing is an amazing cocktail of excitement and thrills.  Take a look at the internet.  What websites dominate?  Things having to do with men and women, everything from dating sites to sex sites to relationship advice, and on and on.  I’m not saying it’s all good.  I’m just saying it dominates the internet, showing how powerful the man/woman thing is.

Indeed.  Sex is really important to passing on one's genes.  Everyone who is genetically predisposed to be ambivalent about sex, doesn't have kids and pass on those genes that make you think sex is boring.  Score one for evolution, in making us want to make copies of ourselves.
 
Some will say that “evolution” gave us that great desire for one another in order to propagate the species.  Oh really?  Which came first, the desire or the mechanical ability to procreate together?  You know what?  It better have happened all on the same day!  Otherwise how would it have happened at all?

Oh, no.  Procreation came first.  By far.  Mold doesn't have desires.  It still procreates.

I’m telling you, it makes no sense.  It is impossible.  It couldn’t have slowly evolved from one thing to another.  It all had to happen at once, all of a sudden.  The mechanics.  The ability.  The desire.  The pleasure.  The results.

I know many otherwise intelligent people scoff at the idea of Adam and Eve, but to me it makes perfect sense.  All of the billions of wonderful details that had to be in place at the same time to make the whole man/woman thing work.  Again, I just look up toward heaven and say, “God, You are awesome!”

If you think Adam and Eve story, both accounts which happen to contradict each other, makes perfect sense, then your idea of sense is seriously deranged.
 
Now let me ask you, have you ever studied about the earth’s “magnetosphere”?  It’s a magnetic shield around the planet that protects the earth from the sun.  Now I’m no sun expert.  I just saw this on a DVD from the library.  But it pointed out how powerful the sun is (remember, they say at the core it’s like 27 million degrees Fahrenheit.)  It’s so powerful that it would hammer the earth – if it weren’t for that magnetic shield.

(Did they really use Fahrenheit instead of Celcius or Kelvin?  Must have been dumbed down a bit, eh?)
 
Now, are you going to try to tell me that we have evolution to thank for that shield?  

No.  It would be stupid to say that.
 
And evolution to thank for the sun?

No.

And, praise evolution, it all happened at once, because the sun sustains life on this planet, yet at the same time we must be shielded from the full affect of the sun.  

Explain the "yet" in that sentence?  You left a leg off your straw man.
 
It all had to happen at exactly the same time.  What are the odds of it happening by chance?  It’s impossible!
 
I find it amusing that you feint at odds and then say "impossible" instead of "improbable".

In any case, congratulations -- your "sun/magnetosphere" straw man is dead.  May I suggest tilting at windmills as a hobby?

There is only one way that we could have the infinite complexity of life we enjoy on planet Earth, with all these things clicking along simultaneously.  It could not possibly have happened by chance, and it could not have evolved from some simple organism.  It had to be designed and created and kicked off at the same time.

So, yes, many people scoff at the story in Genesis and the whole idea of God creating the world and Adam and Eve.  But all I can say is, compared to evolving from a primordial soup, the creation idea makes much better sense to me.

So of course your conclusions are wrong.

I hope this helps.

Chad Miller

This letter originally published on August 21, 2008.

Click here to discuss this article in our Online Discussion Forums.


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