A debate on evolution – brought to you by YouTube


An interesting “debate” is unfolding on YouTube under a certain video in the comment sections and I had the privilege to take part in it. Actually, I’ve written some very long comments in response to one of the users there, and I did not want all this to disappear into the nothingness of the YouTube comment sections, so I figured I would just copy-paste those comments – in fact, the whole dialogue – here so that anyone interested can have a look at them. Be warned, the responses are really quite long an tedious… but it’s all for the sake of science 😉

Horace Ball

If I unscrewed your bedroom off its hinges, and laid the door and screws next tot he door frame…..do you think nature could lift that door and insert the screws back in…I will give nature 674 trillion years to do so…would it? Could it?

Of course not…likewise nature can not make a cell or an eye.”

Gergő Hahn

What does a door and your bedroom have to do with evolution? Of course it can’t be put back together like that, because evolution and nature does not work like that… you clearly don’t understand the basics of the theory of evolution and you clearly do not understand how the world actually works on a very, very long time scale. Actually it’s more simple than you would ever imagine, you just have to be open-minden to take it in.

We don’t have to talk about the Big Bang and how it happened because no one knows at the moment. Just accept that it happened, and what it produced was an awful amount of very small things called particles. Actually those are only small in our comprehension, back in that time, of course, they were the only things in existence, that was the size of everything. Anyway, let’s say that only one type of partice existed, but these particles had certain attitudes that made them able to fuse with other particles and to combine with them, etc. Actually rather quickly these particles began to spread out from the Big Bang into the sphere of space-time, as they spread they bumped into each other and spread even further and two things happened very quickly: “matter” (all the particles) spread out, became less simple, if you like. As you would spread out water on a surface, you had a bowl of water in your hand but now it’s all over the floor creating all sorts of patterns. Once again, this is just a metaphor, of course water does not have anything to do with how the Big Bang works (just like your bedroom and door metaphor does not have anything to do with how nature works).

So, on one hand, matter spread out became “thinner and thinner” and also particles began to collide and started to make up electrons and protons and neutrons and atoms. It’s all made up of the same thing but since you have different amounts of the same thing in different “positions” and order, etc., it makes up all sorts of different, new particles. What you have to understand is that it all began from one single thing that if re-ordered in different ways makes up new particles, atoms, etc. But it’s all from the same thing.

THEN when matter spread out and heat went down gradually, as a result we had a universe with matter in it. Now gravity started to work properly, there was a lot of matter and what does a lot of stuff in one place create? Gravity, I’m sure you know that. Now it’s AUTOMATIC that gravity starts to work and starts to pull matter together. Going back to the water metaphor, we have distant patches of water all over the floor but there are huge bodies, now imagine those huge bodies of water pulling “themselves” together. That’s gravity for you. From the matter, from atoms that were made up of those starting particles, huge balls of matter started to form. Why balls, why spheres? Because the Universe works in every direction, it IS in every direction, all forces like gravity work everywhere and a Universe without a floor and a direction is a universal place where the only acceptable form of existence is to exist as a shpere. I guess this is obvious. You can’t have cubes or pyramids, because of the universal nature of forces everything becomes a ball. So does matter that is affected by gravity, these huge bodies of matter started to gravitate into balls, and if there was a REALLY, really big amount of matter, it became such an enormous ball of matter that in the very centre of it the pressure was big enough to create great heat, and heat created “fire” (just to make it easy to imagine), and it started to burn from the inside and after a while the whole thing started to burn – and viola, you have a star. A fiery ball made up of nothing else but one type of atom (hydrogen). Well, at least in the start it’s only hydrogen. But at great temperatures atoms do uncanny things like fusion and stuff and in the heart of stars other atoms are starting to pop up thanks to natural forces and fusion. More interestingly, if a star explodes these other, very rare atoms that would NEVER be able to be made anywhere else other than inside stars, spread out to the universe! Now after millions and millions (even billions) of years a lot of stars have exploded, the Universe already has a huge amount of all sorts of atoms scattered all over the place!

Actually planets are formed almost exactly like this, but of course they don’t turn into a huge burning ball of hell, they become (through different processes) gas or earthly planets, it all depends on several criteria.

The main thing is there is a pattern. If you have an infinite (or insanely big) space and a lot of the SAME things in it (like, the same particles or the same atoms), and they can freely move around, then they WILL move around freely. Why? Because of the forces of nature, because of gravity, because of motion forces, etc. they bounce around and move around. From order (a lot of matter spread out in a big space homogenously) you get chaos (matter collapsing into stars thanks to gravity, stars exploding, ex-star matter collapsing into planets, etc.). It’s like if you had a fine layer of sand on the floor but it won’t stay like that and it started to form funny objects and little things. It’s exactly the same. This happens because You. Cannot. Stop. The. Forces. Of. The. Universe. From. Being. Active. They are active all the time, and matter has to obey them because matter doesn’t have a mind or a will – it’s just particles. It obeys the laws of the universe.

Actually evolution and the Nature of Earth is surprisingly similar in a way to how the Universe works and how it was formed. You get simple molecules in the ancient oceans of our planet and they start to move around thanks to currents and they meet up and collide and after a while they combine and they form new molecules. These are just chemical reactions, I’m sure you can understand that. But after a while suddenly, as a “miracle” (although I think this expression is very unscientific) a molecule pops up that is able to recreate itself, to COPY itself. It happened, yes. It was very, very unlikely to happen. It was highly improbable. But after millions and maybe even billions of years there was enough variation of molecules to have ONLY one that is able to somehow build up it’s own copy. It’s not magic, it’s pure chemistry. Ask a chemist, he will tell you that it is possible. And that is the starting point of life.

Evolution DOES NOT SAY that if you have doors in a bedroom it will screw itself to the wall after enough time. It’s like saying that if you have a human eye and a skull, after enough amount of time the eye will crawl into the skull. It just bloody won’t because eyes cannot walk!! Just like doors!! But what evolution is REALLY SAYING that if you have a huge amount of molecules of THE SAME KIND after hundreds of millions of years they will DEFINITELY turn into something new, something you haven’t seen before. Because molecules cannot move, but they are rather moved around by the FORCES OF NATURE. It’s all an accident, something nobody asked for. It’s like mold growing in your bathroom, you don’t want it there, it’s not the purpose of your bathroom, but it’s there as a side-effect.

Life is just a side-effect of this universe. But in order for life to be able to exist there has to be certain criteria to be met. Just like in your bathroom, it has to be wet all the time and watery. Then mold pops up. It’s one lucky mold because it started to exist in a bathroom that was perfect for it. And we are one lucky people because our Universe JUST happens to be able to suit life. It’s a fucking huge coincidence and an insanely lucky thing, but here we are nevertheless!

What you need to understand is that you can’t prove or disprove the existence of God. How this all happened, how the Big Bang happened and why is the Universe so finely tuned to life? Maybe it was God who did it. We cannot disprove (or prove) it. It can very well be that God set up everything for this perfect Universe. But what he certainly NEVER did was to create living things. He never started evolution, never took part in it, and never took part in the creation of planets and stars and galaxies, because it all happened on it’s own. God may very well exist and be the designer who set up the Big Bang, but beyond that – he certainly didn’t do anything. So we, and other creatures, are not designed, other than being designed by nature. But that was a blind design. We were most definitely NOT designed by God, if he ever designed anything it was the Big Bang. Although I don’t even believe that, to be honest. But I cannot disprove it, that’s the only thing.

You have to see, we were born through evolution which is an automated process. Just as the formation of the Universe was (and is) an automated process. You. Have. To. Accept. That.

Horace Ball

Very nice response.

My question on the door was a simple yes or no…but obviously you get the point. I will give nature 242 million years….it will never lift up a door, line up the hinges and insert the screws. Since we know that, why would a person of intelligence, like you, think nature can make an elbow, a knee, an eye, a brain…I am certain you get my point.

You claim I do not understand the TOE (theory of evolution) but I do! I have studied your beloved theory for 21 years and debated your best and brightest. My hope is you will present facts and not attacks.

I read your entire post….good work…but have a question….you addressed eyes…please tell me the mechanistic step by step procedure that resulted in eyes….the rods, cones, cornea, lens, iris, eye lids, tear ducts, optic nerve, visual cortex….please tell me how they all “evolved.”

Thank you!

Gergő Hahn

I think you really did not understood the core of what I was saying, because you’re still sticking to the door example. Which is a completely un-evolutionary example. Evolution won’t affect everything. Evolution won’t affect a door, because that door wasn’t part of evolution in the first place. Science isn’t saying that after 500 million years a human-built house could build up on its own, no, evolution deals with organisms. And yes, after 500 million years evolution could turn a species into something else radically, in fact, it WILL do that, it isn’t an option.

I will try to explain the eye for you, though. What you’re missing is that the human eye is a result of hundreds of millions of years of evolution, if not more. It’s nearly impossible to explain the whole thing here in the comment sections so that you will deem it satisfactory. Still, I will do my best.

What natural selection is saying that if you have your offspring born it very well may be that it will have some interesting mutations in its body. That mutation will be there because your genes, when “creating” your newborn, made some mistakes in the copying process. They did not copy themselves perfectly: the copy of your genes, just some of them, maybe even just one of them, turned out to be a little bit different from the original. That can have several results. These results can be put in three main categories:

Mutation category 1: there’s a mutation in your child that you won’t even realize is there because it creates no effect. It’s like saying that one of your tiny bones in your feet has a slightly different shape from what is expected in humans, but it has no effect whatsoever on your child’s life and will not have an effect ever in upcoming generations.

Mutation category 2: there’s a mutation in your child that kills your child. Maybe it’s an inherited, fatal disease, or just a very small change, but sooner or later it will have your offspring killed. Maybe the mutation caused a bone to grow in your child’s eye so that it’s born blind – it’s a bad thing, understandably. The “good thing” is that thus this very, very bad mutation will never happen again because the mutated gene dies with your child. Hurray, natural selection saves the day!

Mutation category 3: there’s a mutation in your child that makes your child even better than you and every one of your ancestors were. Imagine a mutation in a gene that makes your child, I don’t know, allergic to too much sugar consumption. I just made this up. Thus your child probably never becomes obese and will never eat too much harmful sugar and he will live for 110 years. In that time he creates a lot of offsprings of his own that HAVE this very beneficial mutated gene in them so every one of his children will live for 110 years and have that many children as well.

I’m sure you understand this, but I needed to point it out. Imagine being a blind, primitive sea creature and having a child that, because of a genetic mutation, has a very weird thing on his head. It’s the simplest mutation you can imagine: your child grew some sort of a tumour on his head. You would think it’s a bad thing, but this tumour for whatever evolutionary reason is made up of very weird cells. Those cells are just like your body cells except that they, very luckily, can absorb light. Because this tumour is on the head of your child, it is connected through other body cells directly to your primitive, primordial brain or nervous system. What this creates is that your child, automatically, starts to actually feel and know where light is coming from. He cannot see light, his body just knows. AND in the meantime several other primitive sea creature offsprings grew other types of tumours on their heads, but they weren’t as effective as this one with the light absorbing ability. It’s really like a mutant power, and only he has this. What I’m trying to prove is that there ARE tons of mutations and only 1 in 1000, or 1 000 000 or 1 000 000 000 has to be a good one. It’s blind (haha) luck, but it’s there. Chance and luck is part of evolution, but the unimaginable improbability of chance is reduced by the amount of time available to evolution (hundreds of millions of years) and the number of living organisms (millions to billions). It’s chance, but not that improbable after all.

Now you have this weird creature with the light detector tumour on its head. After a million generations (and because these primitive organisms don’t live that long, maybe not even for a single year, a million generations is not that much of a time), a new mutation arises. This tumour is growing and the light detecting cells in them grew more sensitive! Incidentally, some other mutations occur where the light cells in these sea creatures grow LESS sensitive. You know what happens after this? The ones who have the more sensitive tumour (MST) start to catch the others with the less sensitive tumour (LST) more easily. Because MSTs can detect light and shades better. You have to be reminded, MSTs and LSTs as well did very well before the time of the tumours. They existed and they produced offsprings, but the ones with the tumours started to be better at eating and hunting others, etc., thus the number of sea creatures with the tumours started to grow. This is natural selection for you.

So, now we have MSTs and LSTs and naturally MSTs start to outgrow LSTs in number. Once again, natural selection is at work, so this is automatic. And after a million generations passing new mutations arise. Now the tumour grow even MORE sensitive (EMST) and now EMSTs start to outgrow MSTs, who were very successful survivors before but now they are losing to EMSTs!

And realize that two million generations ago you had completely blind sea creatures, but now you have sea creatures with very sensitive light detecting tumours on their heads.

I won’t go on forever with this, but you see how gradual steps can create something that seemed to be impossible to be created in the first place from the point of view of populations at the starting point of evolution. Just to go on with this example very briefly, after billions of generations and a lot of milestone mutations the tumour actually functioned as a perfect light and shade detecting device. It was so sensitive they could actually see the perfect outlines of other creatures and surfaces. After trillions of generations and very many evolutionary steps it was so sensitive towards light that with the tumour you could actually see COLORS! Not particularly real colors, but there were lights and shades with different colors, doesn’t matter if it was the real color of the objects, what matters is that you could see the difference between a lot of lights. After quintillions of generations another tumour of the same kind grew on the other side of your head, and creatures with two of those great light detecting tumours could see much much better than the ones with only one of these tumours.

And I will end this story here. You have to see that it is possible that after an infinite number of generations from simple light detecting cells the human eye arose. Every compound of it came up through evolution but even with only a few compounds of the final, human eye, you do much better at survival than someone who doesn’t have an eye at all and is completely blind.

I fear this won’t be satisfactory for you because I did not go on with this example in every detail until we all arrived at modern, human eyes. But it’s impossible to do that because we don’t have the time or virtual space here, and we don’t even have all the factual steps in that process. But you have to have JUST enough pieces of a puzzle in order to realize what the final picture will be, and you know it’s true. You don’t have to have every single step of processes like this, mainly because it’s just impossible to comprehend 4 billion years of evolution in all the detail, and also because just a few steps of evolution makes us understand the whole process. And the process is consistent and working. Even without all the details. Still, I just outlined the basics for you, and I hope it is at least somewhat helpful.

The “debate” ends here for now, but I will update this post if new responses come up! 🙂

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