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The W - Current Events & Politics - Evolution and public schools (Page 2)
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WyldeWolf1
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Since: 20.6.02
From: Florida

Since last post: 4249 days
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#21 Posted on
As both a Christian (a preacher's kid at that) and a biology student fresh out of an Evolution course, I'd like to give my perspective.

First, microevolution (eg natural selection/survival of the fittest) does not conflict with the Bible. It is also most definitely science. You can measure it, there is ample evidence, and it just agrees with common sense.

Second, macroevolution does conflict with Genesis. To those who automatically claim it is metaphorical, remember that the Bible claims God is omnipotent, and it would be no more fantastic to create light with a spoken word in one day or a thousand years. If you're thinking of the "a thousand years is as a day" to God verse, it also says "a day is as a thousand years" to God. In other words, he is eternal, not insistent on calling a thousand years one 24 hour period.

My next comment is not intended to sound patronizing, just a sincere request: please read the Bible (or at least the pertinent passage) before you comment on it. It's just good practice to get a passage (of anything, not just the Bible) right before using it as an argument.

Third point: though macroevolution has wide acceptance in the biological community, it is not as widely accepted among scientists in general. In fact, I have a hard time finding a chemist who is not harshly critical of it. This should tell you something about how credible the theory is within the framework of the scientific method. For instance, transition species just don't exist. Sometimes they'll drag out Archaeopteryx, but I'd be willing to challenge their conclusions any day. Same goes for vestial organs, etc. (I'll spare it here since this is already long.)

This is the big point: the question of origins should not be taught in schools because the government does not have the right to attempt to persuade your child to believe in something in conflict with the norms you are trying to instill in them. Private institutions and individuals can advocate this theory all they want, but not the government.

I would be happy to discuss this further with any Weiner or chicken who would care to do so. Just get my e-mail from my profile. There's obviously a lot of sharp minds in this thread alone, and I'm always open to intelligent conversations.



"My doctor says my nose would stop bleeding if I'd just keep my darn finger out of there!"
"Me fail English? That's un-possible!"
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Since: 9.12.01
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#22 Posted on
Anyone interested in this discussion should read through the talk.origins archive. Here's a sample...

From: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/evolution-fact.html

The Talk.Origins Archive

Evolution is a Fact and a Theory
Copyright 1993-1997 by Laurence Moran
[Last Update: January 22, 1993]

When non-biologists talk about biological evolution they often confuse two different aspects of the definition. On the one hand there is the question of whether or not modern organisms have evolved from older ancestral organisms or whether modern species are continuing to change over time. On the other hand there are questions about the mechanism of the observed changes... how did evolution occur? Biologists consider the existence of biological evolution to be a fact. It can be demonstrated today and the historical evidence for its occurrence in the past is overwhelming. However, biologists readily admit that they are less certain of the exact mechanism of evolution; there are several theories of the mechanism of evolution. Stephen J. Gould has put this as well as anyone else:

In the American vernacular, "theory" often means "imperfect fact" - part of a hierarchy of confidence running downhill from fact to theory to hypothesis to guess. Thus the power of the creationist argument: evolution is "only" a theory and intense debate now rages about many aspects of the theory. If evolution is worse than a fact, and scientists can't even make up their minds about the theory, then what confidence can we have in it? Indeed, President Reagan echoed this argument before an evangelical group in Dallas when he said (in what I devoutly hope was campaign rhetoric): "Well, it is a theory. It is a scientific theory only, and it has in recent years been challenged in the world of science - that is, not believed in the scientific community to be as infallible as it once was."

Well evolution is a theory. It is also a fact. And facts and theories are different things, not rungs in a hierarchy of increasing certainty. Facts are the world's data. Theories are structures of ideas that explain and interpret facts. Facts don't go away when scientists debate rival theories to explain them. Einstein's theory of gravitation replaced Newton's in this century, but apples didn't suspend themselves in midair, pending the outcome. And humans evolved from ape-like ancestors whether they did so by Darwin's proposed mechanism or by some other yet to be discovered.

Moreover, "fact" doesn't mean "absolute certainty"; there ain't no such animal in an exciting and complex world. The final proofs of logic and mathematics flow deductively from stated premises and achieve certainty only because they are NOT about the empirical world. Evolutionists make no claim for perpetual truth, though creationists often do (and then attack us falsely for a style of argument that they themselves favor). In science "fact" can only mean "confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional consent." I suppose that apples might start to rise tomorrow, but the possibility does not merit equal time in physics classrooms.

Evolutionists have been very clear about this distinction of fact and theory from the very beginning, if only because we have always acknowledged how far we are from completely understanding the mechanisms (theory) by which evolution (fact) occurred. Darwin continually emphasized the difference between his two great and separate accomplishments: establishing the fact of evolution, and proposing a theory - natural selection - to explain the mechanism of evolution.

- Stephen J. Gould, "Evolution as Fact and Theory"; Discover, May 1981

Gould is stating the prevailing view of the scientific community. In other words, the experts on evolution consider it to be a fact. This is not an idea that originated with Gould as the following quotations indicate:

Let me try to make crystal clear what is established beyond reasonable doubt, and what needs further study, about evolution. Evolution as a process that has always gone on in the history of the earth can be doubted only by those who are ignorant of the evidence or are resistant to evidence, owing to emotional blocks or to plain bigotry. By contrast, the mechanisms that bring evolution about certainly need study and clarification. There are no alternatives to evolution as history that can withstand critical examination. Yet we are constantly learning new and important facts about evolutionary mechanisms.

- Theodosius Dobzhansky "Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution", American Biology Teacher vol.35 (March 1973) reprinted in Evolution versus Creationism, J. Peter Zetterberg ed., ORYX Press, Phoenix AZ 1983

Also:

It is time for students of the evolutionary process, especially those who have been misquoted and used by the creationists, to state clearly that evolution is a FACT, not theory, and that what is at issue within biology are questions of details of the process and the relative importance of different mechanisms of evolution. It is a FACT that the earth with liquid water, is more than 3.6 billion years old. It is a FACT that cellular life has been around for at least half of that period and that organized multicellular life is at least 800 million years old. It is a FACT that major life forms now on earth were not at all represented in the past. There were no birds or mammals 250 million years ago. It is a FACT that major life forms of the past are no longer living. There used to be dinosaurs and Pithecanthropus, and there are none now. It is a FACT that all living forms come from previous living forms. Therefore, all present forms of life arose from ancestral forms that were different. Birds arose from nonbirds and humans from nonhumans. No person who pretends to any understanding of the natural world can deny these facts any more than she or he can deny that the earth is round, rotates on its axis, and revolves around the sun.

The controversies about evolution lie in the realm of the relative importance of various forces in molding evolution.

- R. C. Lewontin "Evolution/Creation Debate: A Time for Truth" Bioscience 31, 559 (1981) reprinted in Evolution versus Creationism, op cit.

This concept is also explained in introductory biology books that are used in colleges and universities (and in some of the better high schools). For example, in some of the best such textbooks we find:

Today, nearly all biologists acknowledge that evolution is a fact. The term THEORY is no longer appropriate except when referring to the various models that attempt to explain HOW life evolves... it is important to understand that the current questions about how life evolves in no way implies any disagreement over the fact of evolution.

- Neil A. Campbell, Biology 2nd ed., 1990, Benjamin/Cummings, p.434

Also:

Since Darwin's time, massive additional evidence has accumulated supporting the fact of evolution - that all living organisms present on earth today have arisen from earlier forms in the course of earth's long history. Indeed, all of modern biology is an affirmation of this relatedness of the many species of living things and of their gradual divergence from one another over the course of time. Since the publication of The Origin of Species, the important question, scientifically speaking, about evolution has not been whether it has taken place. That is no longer an issue among the vast majority of modern biologists. Today, the central and still fascinating questions for biologists concern the mechanisms by which evolution occurs.

- Helena Curtis and N. Sue Barnes, Biology 5th ed. 1989, Worth Publishers, p.972

One of the best introductory books on evolution (as opposed to introductory biology) is that by Douglas J. Futuyma, and he makes the following comment:

A few words need to be said about the "theory of evolution," which most people take to mean the proposition that organisms have evolved from common ancestors. In everyday speech, "theory" often means a hypothesis or even a mere speculation. But in science, "theory" means "a statement of what are held to be the general laws, principles, or causes of something known or observed", as the Oxford English Dictionary defines it. The theory of evolution is a body of interconnected statements about natural selection and the other processes that are thought to cause evolution, just as the atomic theory of chemistry and the Newtonian theory of mechanics are bodies of statements that describe causes of chemical and physical phenomena. In contrast, the statement that organisms have descended with modifications from common ancestors - the historical reality of evolution - is not a theory. It is a fact, as fully as the fact of the earth's revolution about the sun. Like the heliocentric solar system, evolution began as a hypothesis, and achieved "facthood" as the evidence in its favor became so strong that no knowledgeable and unbiased person could deny its reality. No biologist today would think of submitting a paper entitled "New evidence for evolution"; it simply has not been an issue for a century.

- Douglas J. Futuyma, op. cit., p.15

There are readers of these newsgroups who reject evolution for religious reasons. In general these readers oppose both the fact of evolution and theories of mechanisms, although some anti-evolutionists have come to realize that there is a difference between the two concepts. That is why we see some leading anti-evolutionists admitting to the fact of "microevolution" - they know that evolution can be demonstrated. These readers will not be convinced of the "facthood" of (macro)evolution by any logical argument and it is a waste of time to make the attempt. The best that we can hope for is that they understand the argument that they oppose. Even this simple hope is rarely fulfilled.

There are some readers who are not anti-evolutionist but still claim that evolution is "only" a theory which can't be proven. This group needs to distinguish between the fact that evolution occurs and the theory of the mechanism of evolution.

We also need to distinguish between facts that are easy to demonstrate and those that are more circumstantial. Examples of evolution that are readily apparent include the fact that modern populations are evolving and the fact that two closely related species share a common ancestor. The evidence that Homo sapiens and chimpanzees share a recent common ancestor falls into this category. There is so much evidence in support of this aspect of primate evolution that it qualifies as a fact by any common definition of the word "fact".

In other cases the available evidence is less strong. For example, the relationships of some of the major phyla are still being worked out. Also, the statement that all organisms have descended from a single common ancestor is strongly supported by the available evidence, and there is no opposing evidence. However, it is not yet appropriate to call this a "fact" since there are reasonable alternatives.

Finally, there is an epistemological argument against evolution as fact. Some readers of these newsgroups point out that nothing in science can ever be "proven" and this includes evolution. According to this argument, the probability that evolution is the correct explanation of life as we know it may approach 99.9999...9% but it will never be 100%. Thus evolution cannot be a fact. This kind of argument might be appropriate in a philosophy class (it is essentially correct) but it won't do in the real world. A "fact", as Stephen J. Gould pointed out (see above), means something that is so highly probable that it would be silly not to accept it. This point has also been made by others who contest the nit-picking epistemologists.

The honest scientist, like the philosopher, will tell you that nothing whatever can be or has been proved with fully 100% certainty, not even that you or I exist, nor anyone except himself, since he might be dreaming the whole thing. Thus there is no sharp line between speculation, hypothesis, theory, principle, and fact, but only a difference along a sliding scale, in the degree of probability of the idea. When we say a thing is a fact, then, we only mean that its probability is an extremely high one: so high that we are not bothered by doubt about it and are ready to act accordingly. Now in this use of the term fact, the only proper one, evolution is a fact. For the evidence in favor of it is as voluminous, diverse, and convincing as in the case of any other well established fact of science concerning the existence of things that cannot be directly seen, such as atoms, neutrons, or solar gravitation ....

So enormous, ramifying, and consistent has the evidence for evolution become that if anyone could now disprove it, I should have my conception of the orderliness of the universe so shaken as to lead me to doubt even my own existence. If you like, then, I will grant you that in an absolute sense evolution is not a fact, or rather, that it is no more a fact than that you are hearing or reading these words.

- H. J. Muller, "One Hundred Years Without Darwin Are Enough" School Science and Mathematics 59, 304-305. (1959) reprinted in Evolution versus Creationism op cit.

In any meaningful sense evolution is a fact, but there are various theories concerning the mechanism of evolution.



(edited by Guru Zim on 23.8.02 2047)


Your a retarted looser.
WyldeWolf1
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Since: 20.6.02
From: Florida

Since last post: 4249 days
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#23 Posted on
I don't want to go to much more into this here since I already extended the invitation to take this to e-mail, but I want to comment on the rhetoric of the above article.

First, notice that anyone who does not believe in evolution as stated by Theodosius Dobzhansky are called "resistant" or "just plain bigots". Why do I believe in micro- but not macro- evolution? I find the evidence for the former convincing but that of the latter sorely lacking (esp in the case of transition species). Most proponents of general evolution are every bit as dogmatic as a right-wing southern Baptist convention member. The same is true in other scientific fields. My physics professors loved Big Bang theory; my organic chemistry professors laugh at them. I even heard them argue once, and it sounded like rabbis arguing over some obscure part of the Talmud. Want to really ruffle the feathers of a physicist? Tell him the Higg's Boson doesn't exist. It's the sub-particle they say gives everything mass. Unfortunately, after decades of trying, they can't find any evidence for it. Their current equations tell them it should be there, so they'll tell you it's a fact until they're blue in the face without an empirical leg to stand on.

Second is the question of evidence. This is what really frustrated me. We've been trained to think of this as a point system. Fossils are a point for the evolutionists, the fact that the "missing link" is still missing is a point for the creationists...whoever ends up with the most wins, right? Wrong. Think of evidence in a court case. Do the defense and prosecution have different sets of evidence? No. Neither do creationists and evolutionists. Rather, they arrange the same evidence in different ways, sometimes challenging the credibility of certain pieces, and the jury decides which makes more sense.

So if you're a creationist, you need to decide how and if dinosaurs fit into your interpretation of the evidence. If you're an general evolutionist, you need to determine why the missing links can't be found or why the strata don't appear in the right order all the time.

If you're honest about this, odds are your beliefs are going to change one way or the other. Every time you learn something new, step back and examine the big picture to see if it still makes sense. If it doesn't, change the big picture. My current beliefs have taken me a long way from where I started, and it's been a very fulfilling journey.



"My doctor says my nose would stop bleeding if I'd just keep my darn finger out of there!"
"Me fail English? That's un-possible!"
--Ralph Wiggums
DMC
Liverwurst








Since: 8.1.02
From: Modesto, CA

Since last post: 3293 days
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#24 Posted on
Well, looks like we have everyone represented here. The young earth creationist, the old earth creationist, and the evolutionist. So now we're done with roll call.
So much that could be said, so I'll keep it to one thing on the evidence. I think it is a bit misleading to talk about the need for a "missing link". It makes it sound like if only one more fossil creature was found, then evolution would be proven. (I know WydleWolf used the more correct "transitional forms" in his first post, I just want to make this point.) The question is not *can a number of supposedly transitional forms and lines of descent be pointed to in support of macroevolution*? Obviously there are, from Archaeopteryx to the ape-man ancestor species. The issue is not can confirming examples be pointed to, but what does the fossil record in general say? And all agree, including Gould himself, that the majority of the time the record shows *sudden appearance* of species, and *stasis* of that species unto extinction. Clear, gradual lines of descent, where you can no doubt see one creature changing into another, are just not to be found.

Now, one can put evolutionary spins on that like Gould would, and talk about "punctuated eqilibrium" where species change "quickly" in isolated populations and thus the changes to not make the geological record. That's fine, and it MAY be true. But one just has to logically ask at that point: how do we KNOW that is true? If the fossils don't come right out and tell us in the first place that macroevolution happened, then how do we know it ever happened? Of course this kind of question is anathema to a Darwinist, cause, well, we just KNOW evolution had to have happened, it is an absolute fact, as Guru was pointing out, cause God couldn't possibly be in our picture. Do you see where the assumption of naturalism comes in here? Sure you can try to point to other evidence for macroevolution, but if it is just as inconclusive/disconfirming as the fossil evidence is, then what makes the evolutionist believe it is an absolute fact? The point that Johnson labors at in his book is that it is a fact because there is no other way things could have possibly happened for the evolutionist. It just HAS to be a natural explanation because the supernatural is silly and ignorant, and since evolution is the best naturalistic theory we have, it just has got to be true.

Richard Lewontin has a great quote on this from the *New York Review of Books* a few years ago, where he flatly enjoys the fact that naturalistic ideas are assumed *a priori* in logic that is "mystifying to the uninitiated" "because we cannot allow a Divine foot in the door." And yes, his statement ends with that phrase, and a period. If that is what evolution ultimately comes down to, then you have to start questioning how much philosophy you are getting in biology class.

DMC





"Do you not think there are things in this universe which you do not understand and yet which are true?" -Abraham VanHelsing
Guru Zim
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Since: 9.12.01
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#25 Posted on
WyldeWolf -

It is a common misconception that there are not transitional fossils. Every day the fossil record grows as more and more species are identified and catalogued. Many creationists quote data from studies from the 1940s and 1950s to state that there are no transitional forms. This is, simply put, patently untrue.

Please read the following FAQ from Talk Origins:

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-misconceptions.html#proof

A large part of the reason why Creationist arguments against evolution can sound so persuasive is because they don't address evolution, but rather argue against a set of misunderstandings that people are right to consider ludicrous. The Creationists wrongly believe that their understanding of evolution is what the theory of evolution really says, and declare evolution banished. In fact, they haven't even addressed the topic of evolution. (The situation isn't helped by poor science education generally. Even most beginning college biology students don't understand the theory of evolution.)

The five propositions below seem to be the most common misconceptions based on a Creationist straw-man version of evolution. If you hear anyone making any of them, chances are excellent that they don't know enough about the real theory of evolution to make informed opinions about it.

* Evolution has never been observed.
* Evolution violates the 2nd law of thermodynamics.
* There are no transitional fossils.
* The theory of evolution says that life originated, and evolution proceeds, by random chance.
* Evolution is only a theory; it hasn't been proved.

Explanations of why these statements are wrong are given below. They are brief and therefore somewhat simplified; consult the references at the end for more thorough explanations.


"Evolution has never been observed."

Biologists define evolution as a change in the gene pool of a population over time. One example is insects developing a resistance to pesticides over the period of a few years. Even most Creationists recognize that evolution at this level is a fact. What they don't appreciate is that this rate of evolution is all that is required to produce the diversity of all living things from a common ancestor.

The origin of new species by evolution has also been observed, both in the laboratory and in the wild. See, for example, (Weinberg, J.R., V.R. Starczak, and D. Jorg, 1992, "Evidence for rapid speciation following a founder event in the laboratory." Evolution 46: 1214-1220). The "Observed Instances of Speciation" FAQ in the talk.origins archives gives several additional examples.

Even without these direct observations, it would be wrong to say that evolution hasn't been observed. Evidence isn't limited to seeing something happen before your eyes. Evolution makes predictions about what we would expect to see in the fossil record, comparative anatomy, genetic sequences, geographical distribution of species, etc., and these predictions have been verified many times over. The number of observations supporting evolution is overwhelming.

What hasn't been observed is one animal abruptly changing into a radically different one, such as a frog changing into a cow. This is not a problem for evolution because evolution doesn't propose occurrences even remotely like that. In fact, if we ever observed a frog turn into a cow, it would be very strong evidence against evolution.


"Evolution violates the 2nd law of thermodynamics."

This shows more a misconception about thermodynamics than about evolution. The second law of thermodynamics says, "No process is possible in which the sole result is the transfer of energy from a cooler to a hotter body." [Atkins, 1984, The Second Law, pg. 25] Now you may be scratching your head wondering what this has to do with evolution. The confusion arises when the 2nd law is phrased in another equivalent way, "The entropy of a closed system cannot decrease." Entropy is an indication of unusable energy and often (but not always!) corresponds to intuitive notions of disorder or randomness. Creationists thus misinterpret the 2nd law to say that things invariably progress from order to disorder.

However, they neglect the fact that life is not a closed system. The sun provides more than enough energy to drive things. If a mature tomato plant can have more usable energy than the seed it grew from, why should anyone expect that the next generation of tomatoes can't have more usable energy still? Creationists sometimes try to get around this by claiming that the information carried by living things lets them create order. However, not only is life irrelevant to the 2nd law, but order from disorder is common in nonliving systems, too. Snowflakes, sand dunes, tornadoes, stalactites, graded river beds, and lightning are just a few examples of order coming from disorder in nature; none require an intelligent program to achieve that order. In any nontrivial system with lots of energy flowing through it, you are almost certain to find order arising somewhere in the system. If order from disorder is supposed to violate the 2nd law of thermodynamics, why is it ubiquitous in nature?

The thermodynamics argument against evolution displays a misconception about evolution as well as about thermodynamics, since a clear understanding of how evolution works should reveal major flaws in the argument. Evolution says that organisms reproduce with only small changes between generations (after their own kind, so to speak). For example, animals might have appendages which are longer or shorter, thicker or flatter, lighter or darker than their parents. Occasionally, a change might be on the order of having four or six fingers instead of five. Once the differences appear, the theory of evolution calls for differential reproductive success. For example, maybe the animals with longer appendages survive to have more offspring than short-appendaged ones. All of these processes can be observed today. They obviously don't violate any physical laws.


"There are no transitional fossils."

A transitional fossil is one that looks like it's from an organism intermediate between two lineages, meaning it has some characteristics of lineage A, some characteristics of lineage B, and probably some characteristics part way between the two. Transitional fossils can occur between groups of any taxonomic level, such as between species, between orders, etc. Ideally, the transitional fossil should be found stratigraphically between the first occurrence of the ancestral lineage and the first occurrence of the descendent lineage, but evolution also predicts the occurrence of some fossils with transitional morphology that occur after both lineages. There's nothing in the theory of evolution which says an intermediate form (or any organism, for that matter) can have only one line of descendents, or that the intermediate form itself has to go extinct when a line of descendents evolves.

To say there are no transitional fossils is simply false. Paleontology has progressed a bit since Origin of Species was published, uncovering thousands of transitional fossils, by both the temporally restrictive and the less restrictive definitions. The fossil record is still spotty and always will be; erosion and the rarity of conditions favorable to fossilization make that inevitable. Also, transitions may occur in a small population, in a small area, and/or in a relatively short amount of time; when any of these conditions hold, the chances of finding the transitional fossils goes down. Still, there are still many instances where excellent sequences of transitional fossils exist. Some notable examples are the transitions from reptile to mammal, from land animal to early whale, and from early ape to human. For many more examples, see the transitional fossils FAQ in the talk.origins archive, and see http://www.geo.ucalgary.ca/~macrae/talk_origins.html for sample images for some invertebrate groups.

The misconception about the lack of transitional fossils is perpetuated in part by a common way of thinking about categories. When people think about a category like "dog" or "ant," they often subconsciously believe that there is a well-defined boundary around the category, or that there is some eternal ideal form (for philosophers, the Platonic idea) which defines the category. This kind of thinking leads people to declare that Archaeopteryx is "100% bird," when it is clearly a mix of bird and reptile features (with more reptile than bird features, in fact). In truth, categories are man-made and artificial. Nature is not constrained to follow them, and it doesn't.

Some Creationists claim that the hypothesis of punctuated equilibrium was proposed (by Eldredge and Gould) to explain gaps in the fossil record. Actually, it was proposed to explain the relative rarity of transitional forms, not their total absence, and to explain why speciation appears to happen relatively quickly in some cases, gradually in others, and not at all during some periods for some species. In no way does it deny that transitional sequences exist. In fact, both Gould and Eldredge are outspoken opponents of Creationism.

"But paleontologists have discovered several superb examples of intermediary forms and sequences, more than enough to convince any fair-minded skeptic about the reality of life's physical genealogy." - Stephen Jay Gould, Natural History, May 1994


"The theory of evolution says that life originated, and evolution proceeds, by random chance."

There is probably no other statement which is a better indication that the arguer doesn't understand evolution. Chance certainly plays a large part in evolution, but this argument completely ignores the fundamental role of natural selection, and selection is the very opposite of chance. Chance, in the form of mutations, provides genetic variation, which is the raw material that natural selection has to work with. From there, natural selection sorts out certain variations. Those variations which give greater reproductive success to their possessors (and chance ensures that such beneficial mutations will be inevitable) are retained, and less successful variations are weeded out. When the environment changes, or when organisms move to a different environment, different variations are selected, leading eventually to different species. Harmful mutations usually die out quickly, so they don't interfere with the process of beneficial mutations accumulating.

Nor is abiogenesis (the origin of the first life) due purely to chance. Atoms and molecules arrange themselves not purely randomly, but according to their chemical properties. In the case of carbon atoms especially, this means complex molecules are sure to form spontaneously, and these complex molecules can influence each other to create even more complex molecules. Once a molecule forms that is approximately self-replicating, natural selection will guide the formation of ever more efficient replicators. The first self-replicating object didn't need to be as complex as a modern cell or even a strand of DNA. Some self-replicating molecules are not really all that complex (as organic molecules go).

Some people still argue that it is wildly improbable for a given self-replicating molecule to form at a given point (although they usually don't state the "givens," but leave them implicit in their calculations). This is true, but there were oceans of molecules working on the problem, and no one knows how many possible self-replicating molecules could have served as the first one. A calculation of the odds of abiogenesis is worthless unless it recognizes the immense range of starting materials that the first replicator might have formed from, the probably innumerable different forms that the first replicator might have taken, and the fact that much of the construction of the replicating molecule would have been non-random to start with.

(One should also note that the theory of evolution doesn't depend on how the first life began. The truth or falsity of any theory of abiogenesis wouldn't affect evolution in the least.)


"Evolution is only a theory; it hasn't been proved."

First, we should clarify what "evolution" means. Like so many other words, it has more than one meaning. Its strict biological definition is "a change in allele frequencies over time." By that definition, evolution is an indisputable fact. Most people seem to associate the word "evolution" mainly with common descent, the theory that all life arose from one common ancestor. Many people believe that there is enough evidence to call this a fact, too. However, common descent is still not the theory of evolution, but just a fraction of it (and a part of several quite different theories as well). The theory of evolution not only says that life evolved, it also includes mechanisms, like mutations, natural selection, and genetic drift, which go a long way towards explaining how life evolved.

Calling the theory of evolution "only a theory" is, strictly speaking, true, but the idea it tries to convey is completely wrong. The argument rests on a confusion between what "theory" means in informal usage and in a scientific context. A theory, in the scientific sense, is "a coherent group of general propositions used as principles of explanation for a class of phenomena" [Random House American College Dictionary]. The term does not imply tentativeness or lack of certainty. Generally speaking, scientific theories differ from scientific laws only in that laws can be expressed more tersely. Being a theory implies self-consistency, agreement with observations, and usefulness. (Creationism fails to be a theory mainly because of the last point; it makes few or no specific claims about what we would expect to find, so it can't be used for anything. When it does make falsifiable predictions, they prove to be false.)

Lack of proof isn't a weakness, either. On the contrary, claiming infallibility for one's conclusions is a sign of hubris. Nothing in the real world has ever been rigorously proved, or ever will be. Proof, in the mathematical sense, is possible only if you have the luxury of defining the universe you're operating in. In the real world, we must deal with levels of certainty based on observed evidence. The more and better evidence we have for something, the more certainty we assign to it; when there is enough evidence, we label the something a fact, even though it still isn't 100% certain.

What evolution has is what any good scientific claim has--evidence, and lots of it. Evolution is supported by a wide range of observations throughout the fields of genetics, anatomy, ecology, animal behavior, paleontology, and others. If you wish to challenge the theory of evolution, you must address that evidence. You must show that the evidence is either wrong or irrelevant or that it fits another theory better. Of course, to do this, you must know both the theory and the evidence.


Conclusion

These are not the only misconceptions about evolution by any means. Other common misunderstandings include how geological dating techniques work, implications to morality and religion, the meaning of "uniformitarianism," and many more. To address all these objections here would be impossible.

But consider: About a hundred years ago, scientists, who were then mostly creationists, looked at the world to figure out how God did things. These creationists came to the conclusions of an old earth and species originating by evolution. Since then, thousands of scientists have been studying evolution with increasingly more sophisticated tools. Many of these scientists have excellent understandings of the laws of thermodynamics, how fossil finds are interpreted, etc., and finding a better alternative to evolution would win them fame and fortune. Sometimes their work has changed our understanding of significant details of how evolution operates, but the theory of evolution still has essentially unanimous agreement from the people who work on it.


Further Reading

The "FAQ" files listed below are available on World Wide Web via http://www.talkorigins.org/. They are also available via ftp at ics.uci.edu, directory /pub/origins. Messages with more information on how to access them are posted regularly to talk.origins. The archive also contains many other files which may be of interest.

For what evolution means, how it works, and the evidence for it:
Colby, Chris. faq-intro-to-biology: Introduction to Evolutionary Biology
Mayr, Ernst. 1991. One Long Argument
Darwin, Charles. 1859. On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection
For issues and evidence of speciation:
Boxhorn, Joseph. faq-speciation: Observed Instances of Speciation
Weiner, Jonathan. 1994. The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in Our Time
For explanations of how randomness can lead to design:
Dawkins, Richard. 1986. The Blind Watchmaker
Bonner, John T. 1988. The Evolution of Complexity by Means of Natural Selection
Kauffman, Stuart A. 1993. The Origins of Order: Self-Organization and Selection in Evolution [very technical]
For a readable introduction to the 2nd law of thermodynamics:
Atkins, Peter W. 1984. The Second Law
For transitional fossils and the fossil record:
Colbert, Edwin H. 1991. Evolution of the Vertebrates, 4th ed.
Hunt, Kathleen. faq-transitional: Transitional Fossils
For a fairly comprehensive response to many Creationist claims:
Strahler, Arthur. 1987. Science and Earth History
Meritt, Jim. faq-meritt: Jim Meritt's general anti-creationism FAQ



Your a retarted looser.
DMC
Liverwurst








Since: 8.1.02
From: Modesto, CA

Since last post: 3293 days
Last activity: 3287 days
#26 Posted on
"Nor is abiogenesis (the origin of the first life) due purely to chance. Atoms and molecules arrange themselves not purely randomly, but according to their chemical properties. In the case of carbon atoms especially, this means complex molecules are sure to form spontaneously, and these complex molecules can influence each other to create even more complex molecules. Once a molecule forms that is approximately self-replicating, natural selection will guide the formation of ever more efficient replicators. The first self-replicating object didn't need to be as complex as a modern cell or even a strand of DNA. Some self-replicating molecules are not really all that complex (as organic molecules go)."

This is silly. The reactions of *atoms* and *molecules* are one thing, and they may combine in ways that are not necessairly "random" (although one may want to question how the strict chemical and physical laws which govern all this came about; but that is design at another level) but *biological systems* coming about through mutation and selection are entirely different. This *is* a random process, because there is nothing which tells the molecules to form in one direction or another. Either the early parts of a wing come about, or they don't, either it gives the creature a selective advantage, or it doesn't, either other parts come about the fill out the organ, or they don't. To be true evolution, the creation of complex organs and organisms has to consist of *unguided*, chance events; otherwise you get into some type of theistic evolution, which, for someone like Gould, is just as bad as 7 day creationism. This whole "it's not really random!" thing is just plain lying, and is just an attempt by evolutionists to soothe the emotional burdens involved in accepting evolution.

"(One should also note that the theory of evolution doesn't depend on how the first life began. The truth or falsity of any theory of abiogenesis wouldn't affect evolution in the least.)"

Oh really? Then why do evolutionists continue to make ridiculous arguments about how matter supposedly has "self-organizing properities" to form itself into complex biological structures? Could it be because something as complicated as DNA in the most simple organism sends shivers down their spine and almost literally cries out for an intelligent designer?

DMC



"Do you not think there are things in this universe which you do not understand and yet which are true?" -Abraham VanHelsing
Guru Zim
SQL Dejection
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Since: 9.12.01
From: Bay City, OR

Since last post: 6 days
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#27 Posted on

    "(One should also note that the theory of evolution doesn't depend on how the first life began. The truth or falsity of any theory of abiogenesis wouldn't affect evolution in the least.)"

    Oh really? Then why do evolutionists continue to make ridiculous arguments about how matter supposedly has "self-organizing properities" to form itself into complex biological structures? Could it be because something as complicated as DNA in the most simple organism sends shivers down their spine and almost literally cries out for an intelligent designer?


You miss the entire point, and then make an off the cuff stupid comment. Listen, I could fire back after every one of your commments with "Why is this? Because something so simple as a basic scientifc fact sends shivers down their spine since they know every Theist philosophy they have is a lie?"

Leave the smart ass stuff out of this.

Here's the point you don't understand from above: No one is arguing that evolution = life started in a pond of goo. Think of evolution as stage 4 in the process

Step 1) Universe is created
Step 2) Earth is created
Step 3) Some form of life is creaated
Step 4) Life evolves

Evolution talks about step 4. It's not the Big Bang, small bang, etc. It's the fact that alleles change through mutation and Natural Selection. Even if you invalidate all of the related research up until the point that life started (steps 1 - 3) you don't invalidate Evolution.

"Could it be because something as complicated as DNA in the most simple organism sends shivers down their spine and almost literally cries out for an intelligent designer?"

Just because you are credulous and can't see how messenger RNA, transfer RNA and DNA all work together and could have been the result of slow improvements over time doesn't mean that it didn't happen, and it doesn't prove anything. Really, this is one of the weakest statements I've seen in this thread. Should I start attributing emotions to the people that hold your views? I don't have to because unlike you I have facts to turn to instead of misrepresenting the feeelings of the other camp. I'm surprised you didn't work a NAZI reference in yet.

For the record, DNA does not send shivers down my spine or cause me to believe that the world was created by great gods that could turn into goats and have sex with women, or giant animal men that ride the back of the turtle that the world lives on, or goddess spirits, or alien beings, or Allah, or the Yahweh, or the Christian God.

Richard Dawkins gives an example in The Blind Watchmaker which describes the photo chemical Fixer, which will stay in a liquid state until a single crystal is introduced into it, at which point crystals will begin to form. All that Fixer needs is the crystal to start it - the "blueprint" as it were. You can see this every day... why is it so hard to believe that there was a process like this which caused chemicals to originally combine and cause life?

I can't tell you what the difference is between the simplest organism and a beaker full of the same chemicals which make it up, nor can I tell you how it happened. This doesn't prove your argument though, it simply shows that we don't claim to have the answer when we don't have all of the facts. There is something that is as of yet unknown that differentiates life from non-life, but that doesn't have to be a soul - it could simply be a process which we don't currently have the means to monitor.

You keep arguing about Step 3 which is where life begins. At this point, since no one can reproduce the process in the lab, I don't think people that say Evolution happened would try to tell you they know exactly what happened. They will tell you that once it did though, the fossil record backs Evolution as a truth.

Please stop redefining what Evolutionsts think so that you can try to prove your argument. I could posit any number of rediculous and stupid ideas that a creationist *might* say - so let's just stick with the ones that are actually said, ok?

BTW in case you don't get where I was going with this: I don't care how the world was created, I do care that the things that we can prove show that life evolved. Intelligent Design Creationism, however, DOES care about how life was created, and in that position it is contrary to the facts about evolution. This is why the facts invalidate your argument.

While I personally don't believe in God, Evolution isn't about that. God could have simply created the first pattern in the pool of fixer. Maybe that's why we can't find how that happened. Evolution does not disprove God.

It does, however, invalidate your view of God and how things happened. This is why it is something that people still argue. I'm just trying to clear up the issue.





Your a retarted looser.
DMC
Liverwurst








Since: 8.1.02
From: Modesto, CA

Since last post: 3293 days
Last activity: 3287 days
#28 Posted on
"Richard Dawkins gives an example in The Blind Watchmaker which describes the photo chemical Fixer, which will stay in a liquid state until a single crystal is introduced into it, at which point crystals will begin to form. All that Fixer needs is the crystal to start it - the "blueprint" as it were. You can see this every day... why is it so hard to believe that there was a process like this which caused chemicals to originally combine and cause life"

Because crystal patterns forming is one thing, but chemicals coming together to produce complex biological *information* in DNA is something totally different. We always hear how DNA is akin to encyclopedias full of specified information, data which guides all processes of our bodies and life in general. I am not the first to be taken back by its existence within cells--how did this information get there? Evolutionists would have us believe that if given enough time, that a tornado whipping through a junkyard would assemble a 747 (to use Frederick Hoyle's famous line, an evolutionist who explored other theories on the origin of life, namely the "life from space" theory). Or, if given enough time, a monkey sitting at a typewriter pounding away at keys randomly would write *Hamlet*. I know, you're thinking "Cute little false analogies," but the fact is that they speak to the issue very clearly. Random processes will never get you this type of specific and complex information, not if you give them all the time in the universe and all the SPACE in the universe to acomplish it.

The existence of DNA, abiogenesis, etc. IS something which evolution must deal with, because it is purporting to be a naturalistic theory which totally answers all questions about origins. And if an intelligent designer is required at the beginning, then maybe He/She/It is required at other stages as well. You can't escape the importance of this issue and the obvious weakness in the evolutionary answers by making rhetorical quips about goats having sex with women.

As far as the fossils go, I have already commented on them. I will stand by those comments.

DMC

(edited by DMC on 24.8.02 2135)


"Do you not think there are things in this universe which you do not understand and yet which are true?" -Abraham VanHelsing
Guru Zim
SQL Dejection
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Since: 9.12.01
From: Bay City, OR

Since last post: 6 days
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#29 Posted on

    Because crystal patterns forming is one thing, but chemicals coming together to produce complex biological *information* in DNA is something totally different. We always hear how DNA is akin to encyclopedias full of specified information, data which guides all processes of our bodies and life in general. I am not the first to be taken back by its existence within cells--how did this information get there? Evolutionists would have us believe that if given enough time, that a tornado whipping through a junkyard would assemble a 747 (to use Frederick Hoyle's famous line, an evolutionist who explored other theories on the origin of life, namely the "life from space" theory). Or, if given enough time, a monkey sitting at a typewriter pounding away at keys randomly would write *Hamlet*. I know, you're thinking "Cute little false analogies," but the fact is that they speak to the issue very clearly. Random processes will never get you this type of specific and complex information, not if you give them all the time in the universe and all the SPACE in the universe to acomplish it.


No, Dammit. You are completely misstating the facts again.

Do you do this on purpose?

Let's break down the infinite monkeys argument. An infinite number of monkeys could very easily come up with the following sentence "DMC is misstating evolution" assuming that Natural selection was taking place. You have to realize how evolution works though.

No one is contending that if the monkeys start over from scratch every single time that it is a very likely event to see. The thing is, evolution is the change of alleles in an environment and the effect of Natural Selection on it. The real anology would be that monkey always type the same thing, but some monkeys randomly introduce an error in their typing. After each iteration, the "healthiest" output is the monkey that types again. Over time, it is much easier to get from "DMD is misstating evolution" to "DMC is misstating evolution. You can move backwards, one step at a time until you get to the original state which may have been at random, it may not have been. It doesn't matter - there is a process that can explain how you would get from A-Z and it works, and is backed up by the evidence.

NATURAL SELECTION IS NOT FUCKING RANDOM. You really need to try to understand this point, because you keep misstating the argument for evolution. I know - your apologetics books constantly tell you what to say to an argument that no one is making - but you really should pay attention to the facts at hand.

Check out the following link on the evolution of the eye: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/01/1/l_011_01.html


    Here's how some scientists think some eyes may have evolved: The simple light-sensitive spot on the skin of some ancestral creature gave it some tiny survival advantage, perhaps allowing it to evade a predator. Random changes then created a depression in the light-sensitive patch, a deepening pit that made "vision" a little sharper. At the same time, the pit's opening gradually narrowed, so light entered through a small aperture, like a pinhole camera.

    Every change had to confer a survival advantage, no matter how slight. Eventually, the light-sensitive spot evolved into a retina, the layer of cells and pigment at the back of the human eye. Over time a lens formed at the front of the eye. It could have arisen as a double-layered transparent tissue containing increasing amounts of liquid that gave it the convex curvature of the human eye.

    In fact, eyes corresponding to every stage in this sequence have been found in existing living species. The existence of this range of less complex light-sensitive structures supports scientists' hypotheses about how complex eyes like ours could evolve. The first animals with anything resembling an eye lived about 550 million years ago. And, according to one scientist's calculations, only 364,000 years would have been needed for a camera-like eye to evolve from a light-sensitive patch.


You continue on with...


    The existence of DNA, abiogenesis, etc. IS something which evolution must deal with, because it is purporting to be a naturalistic theory which totally answers all questions about origins. And if an intelligent designer is required at the beginning, then maybe He/She/It is required at other stages as well. You can't escape the importance of this issue and the obvious weakness in the evolutionary answers by making rhetorical quips about goats having sex with women.


No, I don't have to. It is NOT purporting to be a naturalistic theory which totally answers all questions. Not just because you said so. Again, you are misstating the facts to make your point valid.

Scientists don't know how life started just yet. They will figure it out eventually. I can't prove that it didn't take a God to do, but that doesn't make your scenario more probable. It just means it can't be ruled out. Hey, just because two different things could happen, there is no way you have to weight them 50/50.

None of that invalidates the FACTS that can be OBSERVED. It doesn't matter how you get to the point where evolution occurred - it did. That's like trying to deny that I went to 7-11 today to buy a lotto ticket, even though a) someone saw me there b) I admit to it c) I have the ticket still d) there is a record on the 7-11 video camera because we disagree about how I got to San Diego in the first place. At some point I got here, and we can prove using facts many events after that point without having any idea how the state that we are looking at initially happened.

It is so simple. The problem is, you want to jump from nothing to everything. That's just not how it happened. Nothing went from a pool of chemicals to a giraffe, just like it didn't happen that every form of life just popped up on earth at the same timew 6000 years ago. You need to understand that it is your failure to grasp the concept that is at fault though, not the evolutionsts facts.

Here's a summary

a-b-c-d-e-f-g-h-i-j-k-l-m-n-o-p

You see a and p and say "Impossible, P is so complex that it couldn't have come randomly from a".

Evolution says:

There could have been many different divergent strains between a and p. b was ultimately better at surviving than a so it became the norm. c was better than b, etc. This is how p happened. Each set of changes was cumulative.

This wouldn't be so difficult if you didn't keep trying to say what evolutionists think, because you keep getting it dead wrong. Argue your point with facts, don't argue against "my" point unless I say it.

(edited by Guru Zim on 24.8.02 2229)


Your a retarted looser.
Jubuki
Kolbasz








Since: 16.7.02

Since last post: 4210 days
Last activity: 4193 days
#30 Posted on
Maybe I just need to give up my copy of Blind Watchmaker to anyone in this thread who wants it. I already got my A out of it, so I don't need it anymore, and it sure seems like it'd help. Aaron's knocking out most of the major points, but Dawkins does a solid job of slugging the "crystal patterns can't end up resulting in information passed along" bit. There was an entire chapter of the book devoted to that, and the majority of the presentation I gave centered on that. If this board and/or thread had been around 18 months ago, I could have added more than I have. As it is, I'd just recommend reading what Dawkins had to say.

But, if my copy of the book would help anyone, I will put it in the mail...

(edited by Jubuki on 25.8.02 1807)


Chris
The AIR RAID CRASH
Bizzle Izzle
Bockwurst








Since: 26.6.02
From: New Jersey, USA

Since last post: 64 days
Last activity: 63 days
#31 Posted on
Let me throw some more ingredients into the pot here:

Some scientists recently created a polio virus that worked and killed mice. I guess there's a debate among scientists as to whether a virus is actual life or not. But if it is a very simple lifeform, then mankind (not mrs. foley's little boy) has created life for the first time. If mankind could eventually create a single celled organism that is alive without debate, how will that factor in to the various creationist/ID/evolution arguments?

Also, if NASA ever manages to land a craft on mars and find some microbes, how does that fit into the arguments as well?

My original point of the thread was to really see what people thought about it in schools. I guess the issue goes beyond merely what is taught since there are a lot of people who feel strongly on the different sides of the argument. But I'm glad to see the different arguments on both sides. Since no one I know in real life seems to give a darn about issues like this, it's nice to see what the different point of views are around the country.




Maiden RULES!!!
DMC
Liverwurst








Since: 8.1.02
From: Modesto, CA

Since last post: 3293 days
Last activity: 3287 days
#32 Posted on
First, I did not say anything about an infinite number of monkeys. Whether the universe is infinite or finite is another issue; my guess is that it's finite. Maybe you are the one who needs to stop mis-stating things your opponents have said Guru, cause you've already done it twice in one thread (and in past threads on this topic).

The fact is that if we have a finite amount of space and time, you will never get complex and specified *information* from random chance processes, or whatever you wish to call them. If I am so ignorant about these processes Guru, then please enlighten me--if natural selection is not guided by chance, then what IS it guided by?

"Scientists don't know how life started just yet. They will figure it out eventually. I can't prove that it didn't take a God to do, but that doesn't make your scenario more probable."

Why not? If the odds are astronomically against abiogenesis, why doesn't that make the other theory more probable? You can say "Science *might* find an anwer someday," but does it not take a whole lot of faith to say science *absolutely will*? Can't you at least consider the possibility that naturalistic science may never find an answer because the competing theory may very well be true?

"a-b-c-d-e-f-g-h-i-j-k-l-m-n-o-p

You see a and p and say "Impossible, P is so complex that it couldn't have come randomly from a".

Evolution says:

There could have been many different divergent strains between a and p. b was ultimately better at surviving than a so it became the norm. c was better than b, etc. This is how p happened. Each set of changes was cumulative"

DUDE--This is your pal Richard here, listen to me--I've already explained in one way or another that I UNDERSTAND THAT! I understand that descent with modification may possibly get something from a to p, that is is what evolution *says*. What I and other critics are simply asking for is solid evidence for the trail of B through O! You see, this is a common ploy used by evolutionists--you can't just STATE something and expect it to be so. You can't just say "You just don't understand evolution, this is what we are talking about." Ok, that's nice, but how do I know what you are talking about *is true*? Just because hip professors who currently inhabit scientific departments at major universities say something doesn't make it true. I think you already realize that, but I hope you'll at least see why this kind of response to what I'm saying is really no response at all.

Look, I'm not talking about thumping people over the head with Genesis. If I haven't made it clear enough in the past, I do not accept the 24 hour creation-day model. All I am saying is that I think that criticisms of evolution and presentations of intelligent design are valid and should be taking place in classrooms. The problem is that the biased, fire-breathing atheistic evolutionists want none of this, so they try to protect their theory with blanket statements like "That is not science." All I am doing for my part is to at LEAST get people to be more open-minded and less dogmatic about the topic, whether they be an evolutionist or a young-earth creationist. If I have failed, I'm sorry. But I will let this conversation end for now and if anyone is interesting in learning any more on the issue from other perspectives (or in carrying on this debate with me), I would be glad to take it up in private message.

DMC









"Do you not think there are things in this universe which you do not understand and yet which are true?" -Abraham VanHelsing
Guru Zim
SQL Dejection
Administrator








Since: 9.12.01
From: Bay City, OR

Since last post: 6 days
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#33 Posted on

    Or, if given enough time, a monkey sitting at a typewriter pounding away at keys randomly would write *Hamlet*.


There is the reason for the monkey comments.


    The fact is that if we have a finite amount of space and time, you will never get complex and specified *information* from random chance processes, or whatever you wish to call them. If I am so ignorant about these processes Guru, then please enlighten me--if natural selection is not guided by chance, then what IS it guided by?


For the final time, and I swear I will close the thread if you don't understand it after this last explanation:

NATURAL SELECTION IS GUIDED BY THE SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST.

That is not random. If I have two arms and you have none, it is more probable that I will be the fitter of the two of us, and I will survive. THIS IS WHAT DRIVES THE PROCESS.

NATURAL SELECTION IS NOT FUCKING RANDOM. I CANNOT spell it out for you any clearer than this. Mutation is random, but NATURAL SELECTION is what determines what lives on and propagates in a species.

Listen, no one would argue that species randomly occur. That would be like expecting your wife to deliver a baby goat, because ANYTHING could happen. That's rediculous.

ID and Creationism should NOT be taught simply because they contain tenets which have been proven to be wrong. It's the same reason we don't teach kids about Lamarck's theory that acquired characteristics are passed are inherited (although technically we do teach it, but to show that it is wrong).

In short:

There is a fossil record.
There are transitional species
Evolution has been observed in a limited time frame

The truth is easily found in 10 minutes on Google. This is why I'm against teaching it. It's simply not backed up by the facts, so it shouldn't be taught. It's that simple.

It's the same reason you don't want American Indian creation myth taught equally with ID or creationism.

(edited by Guru Zim on 25.8.02 1558)


Your a retarted looser.
Jubuki
Kolbasz








Since: 16.7.02

Since last post: 4210 days
Last activity: 4193 days
#34 Posted on
A few things.

Bizzle: It's widely agreed upon that viruses aren't alive. There really isn't anything to them that gives them characteristics of being alive, except that they have DNA or RNA and can propagate. No true growth and development, no consumption of fuel sources, no elimination of waste, no senescence or death. They're inert, immobile, useless until injected/entered into some system they react with. Imagine a big chunk of copper wire jutting out of an electrical outlet - it's perfectly harmless until you walk up and grab it. Same with viruses, except they work on the inside of your body.

Other than that, let's count the red herrings:

"Why not? If the odds are astronomically against abiogenesis, why doesn't that make the other theory more probable?"

Because there's no direct relation between the two. It isn't a "you're either a Democrat or Republican" kind of issue - decreasing the chance of one doesn't make another more likely. One.

"You can say "Science *might* find an anwer someday," but does it not take a whole lot of faith to say science *absolutely will*?"

What does his faith have to do with this? If his belief that science will find an answer is based upon a gut feeling as much as empirical evidence, so be it. Trying to shoot HIM down doesn't do jack to a theory that's been postulated, gone over, refined, and retold by thousands of people. Ad hominem comment. Two.

"What I and other critics are simply asking for is solid evidence for the trail of B through O!"

It was there at some point. Ever paid much attention to how things decay? How things age? Do you think that maybe, in 15,000 years, others might be having this argument and someone might point out, "Hey, there's no fossil record for Animal X from 75 million years ago" when, in fact, we've burned it up in our cars or by heating our homes? Or that there's less than a complete record because the dead organisms fed bacteria growth, and those bacteria traveled and died and fed into something else, etc? There's likely never going to be a *complete* fossil record, at least not something as hit-over-the-head obvious as dinosaur bones hanging in a museum, because time wears away too much.

However, the fossil record we do have is enough to augment what we've OBSERVED IN RECENT HISTORY: the Galapagos turtles Darwin observed, dark-colored moths predominating areas where the Industrial Revolution had made the color an advantage during the IR's early days, sickle cell anemia carriers being protected against malaria while non-carriers get sick, bacteria gaining resistance to poorly-used and distributed antibiotics, etc. It isn't as as though the lack of fossil records somehow invalidates modern-day evidence of evolution taking place before our eyes; in fact, the evidence we've seen right in front of us is just as powerful as a complete fossil record would be, as long as you understand what you're looking at. We're getting to watch A go to B, or B go to C; it's not going to hit P in our lifetimes, but, over a long enough period of time, someone will be able to connect all the dots and show A to P, as it were. Failing to understand (or purposely ignoring) evidence that is a perfectly good substitute for the evidence one wants to see: three.

"You see, this is a common ploy used by evolutionists--you can't just STATE something and expect it to be so."

And your unwillingness to examine these things more closely doesn't mean it isn't so, either.

"You can't just say "You just don't understand evolution, this is what we are talking about." Ok, that's nice, but how do I know what you are talking about *is true*?"

Well, as long as you DON'T understand what's being discussed, you won't have much of an open mind. I have to ask: how many books that argue for evolution & natural selection have you read? Have you explicitly gone out of your way to see where the other side comes from, or are these little jousts the extent of your experience with it? I've been on both sides of this particular table for long periods of time, and I had a chance to get acquainted with the arguments & evidence that are usually presented. I kid you not, I will send you my book if you'd read it and come back here in a couple months to talk about this again. As well as Aaron's done to cover the topic, Dawkins does a much more thorough job of evolving the book itself, starting at step one and working through the various points he has to make to ensure that they don't overwhelm skeptics or end up written off entirely.



Chris
The AIR RAID CRASH
DMC
Liverwurst








Since: 8.1.02
From: Modesto, CA

Since last post: 3293 days
Last activity: 3287 days
#35 Posted on
Jubuki, I think what you've said deserves at least one response. After this, I will let you have the last word and I promise to drop this topic.

"Because there's no direct relation between the two. It isn't a "you're either a Democrat or Republican" kind of issue - decreasing the chance of one doesn't make another more likely. One."

Sure it does. Providing evidence that complex organs and organisms arrive through natural, unguided processes would seem to eliminate the idea that it took an intelligent interventor to craft the life in question. Likewise, saying it is more reasonable that life arose through intelligent design rules out the notion that life evolved by chance. While finding solid reasons to doubt the evidence of one theory does not automaticaly prove the other, it does give reason to ponder the possibility that the other (or some other unconsidered theory) may be true. There is a very powerful link between the two, which is why you often see fellows like Richard Dawkins make the "God wouldn't have done it that way" argument in support of evolution (one which always falls flat on its face, mind you, but we could get more into that later).

"What does his faith have to do with this? If his belief that science will find an answer is based upon a gut feeling as much as empirical evidence, so be it. Trying to shoot HIM down doesn't do jack to a theory that's been postulated, gone over, refined, and retold by thousands of people. Ad hominem comment. Two"

The whole point of critics is that naturalistic wishes are *not* based upon the empirical evidence, they are based upon a prior assumption of naturalism. This has nothing to do with shooting Guru down. He's a friend and I try to stay away from using ad hominems against friends (actually, most of my friends don't know what ad hominem means, so maybe I'll give it a try).

"However, the fossil record we do have is enough to augment what we've OBSERVED IN RECENT HISTORY: the Galapagos turtles Darwin observed, dark-colored moths predominating areas where the Industrial Revolution had made the color an advantage during the IR's early days, sickle cell anemia carriers being protected against malaria while non-carriers get sick, bacteria gaining resistance to poorly-used and distributed antibiotics, etc."

The problem with these evidences of natural selection is that we have no reason to believe why the same processes which allow for dark colored moths to dominate a population also caused the moths to come into existence in the first place. Again, what we see is *micro* evolution, not the production of new types of creatures. This is why we would have to go to the fossils to supposedly see these gradual lines of descent emerge. Notice I did not say "species", however, because the term can be used in a very technical sense to refer simply to populations which can no longer reproduce with original groups. I believe this has been done in experiments with certain *fruitfiles* if I'm not mistaken. The issue that evolutionists seem to miss when this is discussed, however, is that this did not happen in the wild--it happened because intelligent experimentors intervened and forced a change upon the creatures, and a very trivial one at that! What remains to be seen is if the same processes can make a fruitfly change into bumble bee, for it is these types of dramatic morphological changes which evolution is claiming occured. (And no, I am not expecting a fruitfly egg to hatch and have a bee fly out. What I am saying is that these evidences of natural selection do not prove macroevolution, and that one has to look at other areas of evidence.)

"Well, as long as you DON'T understand what's being discussed, you won't have much of an open mind. I have to ask: how many books that argue for evolution & natural selection have you read? Have you explicitly gone out of your way to see where the other side comes from, or are these little jousts the extent of your experience with it?"

(I could very easily cry "ad hominem!" myself here but I won't.) I have read some from Gould, a little of Phillip Kitcher. I've taken classes on physical anthropology and watched some documentaries. I'll be the first to admit that I have never poured over massive amounts of texts from pro-evolutionists, but I'd like to see what any of that really proves. If I am so wrong in what I'm talking about, show me. Don't give me the "If you would only read, you would believe, brother!" line. That's very Mormon.

DMC




"Do you not think there are things in this universe which you do not understand and yet which are true?" -Abraham VanHelsing
Guru Zim
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Since: 9.12.01
From: Bay City, OR

Since last post: 6 days
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AIM:  
#36 Posted on

    Sure it does. Providing evidence that complex organs and organisms arrive through natural, unguided processes would seem to eliminate the idea that it took an intelligent interventor to craft the life in question.



    Here, again, you are tailoring your argument so that it is almost impossible to disprove what you want to think.

    Fact: The fossil record quite clearly demonstrates, in many cases, evolution of vertebrates.

    Oversimplification: Hard bits form fossil, squishy bits are broken down. This is why we trace vertebrates rather than invertebrates or bacteria. It is much easier to compare skulls across time than it is to compare eyes across time, simply because there are more data points.

    Fact: Go read the eye article I linked from PBS about 3 posts ago. That shows you what we can show you now - that each step that you would expect to find in the evolution of an eye is still out there in the world today. Lacking a time machine, this is the best evidence you are going to see. You can see complex, semi-complex, and simple organs. Each one has a path that can take it from one to the next.


      The problem with these evidences of natural selection is that we have no reason to believe why the same processes which allow for dark colored moths to dominate a population also caused the moths to come into existence in the first place.


    Yes we do! Evolution (the thing you just agreed is happening) is guided by Natural Selection and mutation. There was no intelligent creator that made the moths dark - they evolved. Guess what - if we started looking at the moths now - under the rules of intelligent design we would be assuming that the end product we see now (dark moths) was the intelligent design.

    It's like you are trying to have it both ways. You want to admit that micro-evolution works because there is a proponderance of evidence that says it does, and yet you want some concept of macro-evolution to exist that needs a completely different mechanism. There is no such distinction! If we had 10 billion years to watch, we could see these same processes unfold if we knew where to look. Would this just lead to a further refinement to explain creationism? I swear, I'm going to hear by the time that I die a theory that God finished everything he was going to design by 1750, then he implemented a maintenance plan of evolution since science was evolving.

    We have evidence that Natural Selection and random mutation cause species to change over time. That's all that evolution needs as a proof. It's that simple. There is no other argument - nothing about "Hip professors" or any other name-calling that can change that fact.

    That's all the proof that you need. And with that last word, I invite anyone who wants to continue this discussion to read the Talk Origins website because just about every argument you could have about evolution or creationism is covered there.

    Seriously - this is a wrestling discussion board. This has moved beyond the point of being useful.


    (edited by Guru Zim on 26.8.02 0058)

    Your a retarted looser.
Grimis
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Since: 11.7.02
From: MD

Since last post: 1087 days
Last activity: 884 days
#37 Posted on | Instant Rating: 2.09
I know now what it would've been like to attend the Scopes Monekey Trial, had it been on the internet and with the occasional cursing...
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Blutwurst








Since: 27.1.02

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#38 Posted on
GZ- Great supporting documentation. The talkorigins site is interesting, and I plan to look up some of the other sources you mentioned.

DMC- Seriously, if you have some links or book titles to suggest, it would only help flesh out your argument. I know I'd be interested in seeing them.




Everything I touch, starts to melt in my clutch........
I'm too much!
DMC
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Since: 8.1.02
From: Modesto, CA

Since last post: 3293 days
Last activity: 3287 days
#39 Posted on
http://www.arn.org/johnson/johome.htm. An archive of Phillip Johnson articles.

http://www.trueorigin.org/behe08.asp. ID theorist Michael Behe responds to his critics. The response to Ken Miller is what I have followed most recently and find it very interesting. A bit technical for myself as a non-scientist, but still understandable.

http://www.reasons.org/. Old-earth creationist Hugh Ross' web-site. I tend to come down close to him on most positions.

As far as printed material I would recommend, I have already referenced Johnson's main book *Darwin On Trial*. (Try to get the most recent edition from a new bookstore, as it contains his responses to critics of the first edition.) As I said earlier in this thread I have yet to read any of the major works from the ID camp, so I would just recommend any of Ross' books. (Behe's now well-known book is titled *Darwin's Black Box* if you're interested in looking into it.) Ross' *The Fingerprint of God* covers a lot of bases, mainly in cosmology (he is an astronomer) but I think he also touches on the creation-evolution debate in there. The most recent thing from him I've read is *Creation and Time*, a response to young-earth creationists. Interesting read if you are thinking about creationism but find the ideas of many creationists too troublesome. Ross himself has caught a lot of flack in the evangelical community over the years for his positions, even being labeled a closet evolutionist.

Any of these sources would give you reference for many others. Have fun!

DMC



"Do you not think there are things in this universe which you do not understand and yet which are true?" -Abraham VanHelsing
Stephanie
Landjager








Since: 2.1.02
From: Madison, WI

Since last post: 338 days
Last activity: 3 days
#40 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.22
    Originally posted by Grimis
    Additionally, things that were taken as scientific fact 500+ years ago(such as the earth being flat) were taken as such without any proof. Thus the fact was taken on faith...


500 years ago, religion dominated all aspects of daily life, including what passed for "science" at that time. Anyone who promoted a different viewpoint - e.g., a round Earth - was labelled a heretic and forced to recant their views, typically with promised or actual pain to help loosen the tongue.


    Originally posted by Guru Zim
    NATURAL SELECTION IS GUIDED BY THE SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST.


Agreed. The initial alteration may be random, but the process that proceeds from it - aka "natural selection" - is *not* random. If the alteration is favorable, those with it survive; if it is not favorable, those with it disappear.

The big problem here is that NOBODY EASILY CONTACTED - creationists, evolutionists, or ID disciples included - WAS THERE AT THE ORIGIN OF THE UNIVERSE.

Genesis - like most creationist concepts - was written by an ancient travelling culture in an attempt to answer the question, "Whay are we here?" Having no means to show how old Earth was, no idea of other regions besides their own domain, and no ancient elder who had been watching the generations pass from his tent at the center of the camp, they promoted the concept of an all-powerful God who created all in existence. I believe most cultures have a concept like this - all independently-constructed, with references that would make sense to the culture that promoted it.

Creationists claim true authority for their concept based on written texts, such as the Judeo-Christian Bible. However, the authority of those texts comes from a time when religion dominated their culture, and that religious text was used as a managing principle for that culture. (Consider: if some book of myths and fables had been chosen instead, the Bible may not enjoy the authority in the Western world that it does today.) The text often provides no concrete proof for its' concepts, and can often be shown to be faulty by pure science; however, proponents can always say, "It's an issue of faith" and silence the argument (at least for the moment).

Since the ID movement also relies on faith in an unseen, but omnipotent, "designer", I see it as just a subset of the creationist viewpoint.

The evolutionist viewpoint does a good job of explaining what's happened recently (in relative terms). However, trying to extrapolate the evolutionist concept to explain the origins of the universe runs into a large problem - nobody has the evidence to prove that extrapolation is following the proper course. There may have been a bend in the road - so to speak - for which straight-line extrapolation would not have allowed.

The end result? Regardless of which camp we're in, we are all just guessing at the origin of the universe. Nobody knows for sure - NOBODY. As soon as an independent, ageless party can be consulted to provide a true account of what happened, we will know the truth. For the moment, we're all just studying relics from the past (of one form or another) and trying to make sense of it all in light of what we see today.

Steph

P.S. Perhaps it had something to do with a mysterious blue box...

(edited by Stephanie on 26.8.02 1352)


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