Jump to content

Sign in to follow this  
vejlin

Happy Darwin Day!!!

Recommended Posts

Gimp, variations on an organism is evolution. You're not going to have a fruit fly turn into a beaver (or the "Crocoduck" as Kirk Cameron used as an example). Fruit flies are going to speciate into two different species of fruit flies; they're going to have a large amount of genetic information be the same, but when they can no longer interbreed to produce offspring, tadah, it's a new species. Follow the link I posted earlier to Talk Origins where you can find multiple, cited occurances of speciation that has been observed, repeated, and held up to rigorous testing. I think where you said "identifiable" is where a lot of people make mis-steps when it comes to Evolution, as two different species can be visibly similar. By scientific definition, the criteria for a new species is an ability to mate and produce viable offspring within itself but not with other creatures; nothing says they have to have visible differences.

 

Natural Selection and Evolution weren't tied to politics, they were tied by Darwin himself. Evolution is the diversification of life, and Natural Selection the process he postulated as to how it happens. For a really bad analogy, pretend we couldn't open up the hoods of cars to see inside them. Evolution would be the cars (the facts) and Natural Selection would be the engines (the theory part). Modern biology considers Evolution to be a fact; positive verification via the fossil record, DNA (both predicted by Darwin's theories and subsequent knowledge of it), and the fact speciation has visibly been observed and verified, all in such quantities as to make the majority of scientists and biologists sure that it has happened. In Science the debate on the engine of change is rampant, but in the face of the amount of evidence that's come to the fore it's not a political issue that makes science believe in evolution, it's the overwhelming evidence.

 

If someone could come up with a competing scientific theory to supplant the theory of evolution they'd be as famous as our Einsteins, Newtons, and Galileo's. Both opponents and supporters of the Theory of Evolution have put it through every wringer possible, and so far it's passed all tests or been modified to accept data that doesn't fit the scope (as all good theories are).

 

I'm curious as to why you used the bombardier beetle as an example, Gimp, as I believe it was shown to be easily explainable as early as the early 80's (article here). Irreducible complexity is often used to say that some systems simply could not have evolved, but science has shown not only how it could have happened, but often times evidence in both the fossil record and across living species today (such as eye formation, flagella, etc).

 

Quick edit: I'm not pickin' on ya or anything, Gimp, I like your responses and attitude towards the discussion and I'm just addressing you directly, as opposed to making generalizations. I thought this would be on the fast track to Beekeepers, much as I've seen discussions on other boards derail quickly, and am stoked there's been counterpoints posed without the thread going down in flames ::D:.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Evolution also doesn't cover humanity, reasoning, spirit, will, justice, and most importantly, morality. Evolution and survival of the fittest is always embraced more tightly, and perverted into pseudo-science, by those wanting to justify mass murder.

 

The eugenics of killing whomever one deems to be an idiot may actually weaken the gene pool in ways we can't even see.

 

 

While it is true Social Darwinism has been used in this fashion, One of its earliest intentions was to justify why some businesses flourished, and others failed during the Industrial Revolution. In other words why it's ok for the "strong" to eat the "weak", and why failing businesses deserve to be destroyed. Guys like Rockefeller ate this kind of theory up! Knowing that, how many Social Darwinists do we have here who want to see those weak American motor companies get theirs ! See, some of you are social Darwinists and you didnt even know it. :blush:

 

You have failed to differentiate between Social Darwinism (which usually means eugenics) and a free economy. How is allowing a business to fail (a position which predates Darwin by about oh, the invention of trade) equal forcible sterilisation and or state-sanctioned murder?

 

As far as it goes, and I'm an avowed theist, Christian, by the way, "The survival of the fittest" in its purest sense is merely an attempt to explain observed phenomena: some flourish, others don't. In that sense it is as valuable a lesson for business as for any other field, since it raises the question "Why do some flourish? Why do some fail?" which itself is quantitative and useful.

 

The hope is therefor to see those weak American motor companies get their self-examination and requisite change, and if that is impossible, to allow their resources to be reassigned in an efficient manner- hopefully thus preserving their knowledge base and the jobs of their workers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ah, oh, I'd argue that Evolution is the overarching theory and Natural Selection was the observable part.

 

One problem with all of this whole debate is that we really need to talk about philosophy and even religion at the same time as science. Unfortunately when this happens it is usually to lump almost the entire history of human thought into a basket labeled "junk" and then to claim a shining halo for everything we can cram under the label "science":

 

We have Science (1), by which we mean the philosophical position that empirical knowledge, preferably mathematically assessed, is considered superior.

 

We have Science (2), by which me mean the Scientific Method, which is a way of finding things out.

 

We have Science (3), by which we mean the body of knowledge mostly considered authoritative by most scientists (this includes things from 1 and 2 and also theories we will later discard and sometimes discard + revile, misperceptions of another's field, and outdated knowledge)

 

We have Science (4), anything said by a scientist we personally agree with.

 

We have Science (5), that which the media calls "science", unrelated to all the above.

 

And we have "Science" (6), the label we stick on any opinion we wish to promote, just as religious orthodoxy was once (and is still) used, or as any positive label might be used to obliquely but effectively smear the integrity or virtue of anyone who dares gainsay us.

 

Personally I think that Science (1) and (2) are being eroded and tainted by the continual, shrill, and often unquestioned use of (4) and (5) but most especially (6). More broadly, the overall approach of which (6) is a mere subspecies has become the basis of all public discourse.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wouldn't argue Science, I'd go with how it's defined: Merriam-Webster

 

I think what's frustrating on all sides of debates like this is various sides using differing definitions of things, then using fallacious arguments or straw men to attack other parts further. It's completely unnecessary; there's a wealth of information readily available out there.

 

And while you and I could discuss whether or not Evolution is fact, Scientific Theory, or false, Smokingwreckage, scientists aren't, which is my point. Using the exact same methodologies and procedures as any other walk of science, Evolution's been put through the wringer so much and had such a collection of proof built up for it that, in the scientific community, it's seen as fact. The Discovery Institute, the institute that funds and is pushing many of the drives for ID in schools, published a response to "Project Steve" (a tongue-in-cheek response to the Discovery Institute's list of scientists who believe in Creationism over Evolution) (quote taken from their website, discovery.org)

If Project Steve was meant to show that a considerable majority of the scientific community accepts a naturalistic conception of evolution, then the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) could have saved its energies -- that fact was never in question. The more interesting question was whether any serious scientists reject a naturalistic conception of evolution -- that fact has been in question, especially by the NCSE. That it is now a known fact can be credited to Seattle's Discovery Institute, whose list of scientists questioning Darwinian evolution was the impetus for Project Steve. Interestingly, the NCSE has on numerous occasions stressed that science is not decided at the ballot box. If the NCSE still holds that position, then Project Steve is not only a proof of the obvious but also an exercise in irrelevance.

 

It's true that a large percentage of Americans believe in Creationism over Evolution, and that's fine, as it's everyone's right in this country to believe what they want. Where I worry, though, is when public opinion tries to override established science fact. Take Pluto, for instance; when it was "downgraded" from a planet to a Van Kuiper Belt object (I think I spelled that wrong) petitions in every form were sent forward to "keep" it as a planet. While it doesn't matter what we call it in the grand sense, as it's going to continue existing and circling the sun regardless, I think it's distressing to force exceptions into the scientific process of finding out more about the natural world.

 

Same for ID vs Evolution in schools. ID has no scientific backing; there is no scientific proof for or against it, but it cannot provide hypotheses for further advancement, and it cannot explain why the Theory of Evolution fits all of the evidence amassed so far for it while simultaneously providing tests that prove it and disprove Evolution. So, for all the criteria of a competing, scientific theory, it fails.

 

Now, philosophically, there's huge arguments to be made for all sorts of cases, and that's fine; that's what philosophy is there for. However, in a Science classroom, I think it should just be science that's taught.

 

If there's no scientific basis for ID, yet it's pushed into school curriculum, where does it stop? Would teachers, after demonstrating and providing all the knowledge we have on Newtonian physics, have to also present that the earth is also flat? What about the theory that the earth started smaller and is growing in size? Should other religious views be brought in as well, so that the possibility it's being carried on the backs of elephants who are riding on a giant turtle? How much time do we devote to the other sides of things? Do we start taking Census data to figure out what percentage of time to devote to Christian, Muslim, and other beliefs? Would we also have to start dividing the Christian time by denomination, and teach what percentages of which faiths believe in Literal Creationism vs God-Guided Evolution?

 

To phrase how I feel another way, what value is teaching the scientific method to children if we then turn around and refute it?

 

Another thing I don't understand is why is Evolution itself considered so dangerous? I don't think I've met anyone who's told me they used to be religious, yet stopped Believing because of Evolution, or any other part of science for that matter (Theory of Gravity, Theory of Light, etc.) that does against literal interpretations of their religious texts of choice. I know I've seen websites and heard lectures that claim Evolution is evil, but no actual, logical arguments that show how Evolution, or Science in general, is a threat to religions of all types.

 

On a different argument completely, the philosophical one stating "Isn't it better we teach children to keep open minds about everything," I agree with ensuring anything taught in the sciences should be presented as not being 100% rock-solid. However, it shouldn't just be for Evolution; gravity, molecular theory, atom-centric chemistry models, biology, etc. should all have the same stipulations put forth, that there are differences of opinion about the validity of all of them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Another thing I don't understand is why is Evolution itself considered so dangerous? I don't think I've met anyone who's told me they used to be religious, yet stopped Believing because of Evolution, or any other part of science for that matter (Theory of Gravity, Theory of Light, etc.) that does against literal interpretations of their religious texts of choice. I know I've seen websites and heard lectures that claim Evolution is evil, but no actual, logical arguments that show how Evolution, or Science in general, is a threat to religions of all types.

 

I think the answer to that would be obvious. If you fervently believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible (ignoring the idea that God meets us at a level we are capable of understanding...imagine God trying to explain Evolution to a bunch of Hebrew sheep-herders circa 1000bc?) then Evolution represents a direct threat to that understanding.

 

On a different argument completely, the philosophical one stating "Isn't it better we teach children to keep open minds about everything," I agree with ensuring anything taught in the sciences should be presented as not being 100% rock-solid. However, it shouldn't just be for Evolution; gravity, molecular theory, atom-centric chemistry models, biology, etc. should all have the same stipulations put forth, that there are differences of opinion about the validity of all of them.

 

Saying "keep an open mind" is not the same as teaching them to analyze and weigh evidence either. No, teach them methodology and the ability to interpret evidence. An "open mind" will naturally come. Without this, then they'd have to see the Flying Spaghetti Monster as an equally valid theory as ID, God, Evolution, or whatever.

 

Damon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think the answer to that would be obvious. If you fervently believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible (ignoring the idea that God meets us at a level we are capable of understanding...imagine God trying to explain Evolution to a bunch of Hebrew sheep-herders circa 1000bc?) then Evolution represents a direct threat to that understanding.

 

Well, right, but my point is there's things like the Heliocentric view of the Solar System that goes against a literal interpretation as well, yet there's not as much of a clamor to teach Flat Earth Theory in schools, so what's the difference? Is it just the fact it's easy to see the Earth is a big, round globe due to our space missions (unless you think they're all faked, of course), and the evidence for Evolution isn't as easily digestible? Just as disproving one small part of a scientific theory doesn't negate it (in actuality it's the non-fitting criteria that drives the refinement/replacement process) I personally don't think having a small part of any religious text shown to be out of sync with emerging natural world views negates it either.

 

So, if anyone can illuminate the rational for why Evolution itself is being targeted out of everything else, or point me to something I can read on it, I'm all ears. Er, well, eyes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
...(unless you think they're all faked, of course)...

 

You mean, they weren't faked?!?! :unsure:

 

Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!! My world is crumbling around me!!

 

:lol:

 

Heck, didn't the Mythbusters prove they were fake or something? :devil:

 

:lol:

 

Wild Bill :blues:

 

P.S. Oh yeah, Viva La Evolution! ::D:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On Darwin Day, I was listening to NPR (yes, I'm *that* kind of person) and they hosted a similar discussion about the validity of the theory of evolution and ID and all that. Frankly, being very non-religious (but still theistic), I've never understood the big deal about the the theory of evolution. Seems logical to me. Why do people get so excited about arguing that it's not true?

 

One of the speakers in the program, though, brought up a point that made me understand why the proponents of ID, or believers of certain religions, are so adamant about refuting the ToE: It's that the ToE posits that humans are evolved animals.

 

This goes against the grain of many religious ideas, where humans were made specially by a Creator, or even in his own image. While it's not the case the the ToE says that our ancestors were monkeys, as some people mistakenly believe, putting humans in the same class (even at the top of the class) as "lower order animals" is distasteful to some people, and goes against everything that they were taught.

 

So, even if I disagree with the proponents of Intelligent Design, I have a new understanding as to why they find Evolution so distasteful.

 

Personally, I think that considering humans as just more self-aware animals puts an interesting spin on things. And who know where this self awareness came from? Until we understand it better, I'm willing to entertain the idea that it was the hand of God. ::):

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Happy Darwin day (I visited his house as a child - very interesting). As to what to do to celebrate Darwin day - I was going to suggest a debate on the Theory of Evolution and it's alternatives, but you've all beaten me to it. However, on reflection a debate about the theory of evolution would be a pointless waste of time because it's actually a fact of science and the opposing argument (IDT) just sucks. Debate over - let's get on with the breading part, that sounds like much more fun!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I thought this would be on the fast track to Beekeepers, much as I've seen discussions on other boards derail quickly, and am stoked there's been counterpoints posed without the thread going down in flames ::D:.

 

No doubt...I was thinking along the same lines you were. "Guys in funny suits with smoking cans are coming!! RUNNNNN!!!" :lol:

 

But, seriously, this has been a really GOOD discussion. The links that people have posted have been good to look at (for me, anyways ^_^). ::):

 

My only real concern remaining with the ToE is the creation of life on Earth wayyyyyyy back when. I'm not talking just about humans. I'm talking about ALL life. I read somewhere that the odds of just the right protein chains lining up to form that first ameba of life are so small that I have a better chance of getting Salma Hayek to divorce her billionaire husband and marry me instead! :lol: I just don't buy the theory that the 1 in megagazillion chance life just happened to start from some icky ooze. I admit I am not a research scientist, nor have I delved horribly deeply into this issue either. Does this mean some higher being (like God) pointed his finger and commaned "Let there be life!" instead? No, it doesn't. I'm just sayin'...:poke:

 

Wild Bill :blues:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Silly Wildbill, ToE doesn't concern itself at all with how life got started, just how it diversified.

 

As far as I'm concerned, forget life; the more we delve into matter at the quantum level it's amazing we even have stable matter and energy at all. It makes the randomness of life starting comparatively have about the same chance of me waking up with hairy feet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's some food for thought:

 

1. The statement: that "God made man in His own image." What does that mean? Really mean?

 

2. Statistically, as unlikely an event is, the longer the timeframe you examine, the more likely it becomes.

 

Damon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Gimp, variations on an organism is evolution. You're not going to have a fruit fly turn into a beaver (or the "Crocoduck" as Kirk Cameron used as an example). Fruit flies are going to speciate into two different species of fruit flies; they're going to have a large amount of genetic information be the same, but when they can no longer interbreed to produce offspring, tadah, it's a new species. Follow the link I posted earlier to Talk Origins where you can find multiple, cited occurances of speciation that has been observed, repeated, and held up to rigorous testing. I think where you said "identifiable" is where a lot of people make mis-steps when it comes to Evolution, as two different species can be visibly similar. By scientific definition, the criteria for a new species is an ability to mate and produce viable offspring within itself but not with other creatures; nothing says they have to have visible differences.

I always heard the additional posit that they could not breed back with the original, but had to be able to breed, or they were simply a non-viable mutation. I haven't heard of them progressing beyond mutated fruit flies that were still fruit flies that could breed with other fruit flies. I haven't been keeping track of evolutionary theory and science, but most of my instructors expected there to be a big deal made if they succeeded in that.

 

Natural Selection and Evolution weren't tied to politics, they were tied by Darwin himself. Evolution is the diversification of life, and Natural Selection the process he postulated as to how it happens. For a really bad analogy, pretend we couldn't open up the hoods of cars to see inside them. Evolution would be the cars (the facts) and Natural Selection would be the engines (the theory part). Modern biology considers Evolution to be a fact; positive verification via the fossil record, DNA (both predicted by Darwin's theories and subsequent knowledge of it), and the fact speciation has visibly been observed and verified, all in such quantities as to make the majority of scientists and biologists sure that it has happened. In Science the debate on the engine of change is rampant, but in the face of the amount of evidence that's come to the fore it's not a political issue that makes science believe in evolution, it's the overwhelming evidence.

I oversimplified. Natural selection was Darwins, and he postulated evolution being influenced by it. My point was that natural selection is a proven observable concept, but that it became inextricably entwined with evolution for many people through the influence of non-scientific people, largely using it for political ends. Evolution posits natural selection as a tool used in evolution, but natural selection should be allowed to exist separately from evolution.

 

If someone could come up with a competing scientific theory to supplant the theory of evolution they'd be as famous as our Einsteins, Newtons, and Galileo's. Both opponents and supporters of the Theory of Evolution have put it through every wringer possible, and so far it's passed all tests or been modified to accept data that doesn't fit the scope (as all good theories are).

 

I'm curious as to why you used the bombardier beetle as an example, Gimp, as I believe it was shown to be easily explainable as early as the early 80's (article here). Irreducible complexity is often used to say that some systems simply could not have evolved, but science has shown not only how it could have happened, but often times evidence in both the fossil record and across living species today (such as eye formation, flagella, etc).

 

Quick edit: I'm not pickin' on ya or anything, Gimp, I like your responses and attitude towards the discussion and I'm just addressing you directly, as opposed to making generalizations. I thought this would be on the fast track to Beekeepers, much as I've seen discussions on other boards derail quickly, and am stoked there's been counterpoints posed without the thread going down in flames ::D:.

The questions I'd heard about the bombadier beetle were not related to the old exploding beetle issues, but rather tied to natural selection, and whether the posited changes that could lead to an evolutionary bombadier beetle would be superior options that would allow the process to continue. Natural selection favors the most efficient, which is not always the most complex.

 

I don't feel picked on, by the way. I'm in a minority opinion, and am trying to give functional discourse, so it's logical that my thoughts are being addressed. I'm out of touch on many matters biological, however, simply because it is not my major area of interest. It has been an interesting discussion, that's helping bring me somewhere closer to up to speed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×