Evolution belief in America

Discussion in 'Science & Society' started by James R, Sep 12, 2007.

?

What do you believe?

Poll closed Oct 12, 2007.
  1. God created humans pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years.

    6 vote(s)
    11.8%
  2. Human beings evolved from less advanced forms of life, with God helping or guiding the process.

    4 vote(s)
    7.8%
  3. Human beings evolved from less advanced forms of life, and God played no part in the process.

    36 vote(s)
    70.6%
  4. No opinion.

    5 vote(s)
    9.8%
  1. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    22,087
    Advanced? You assume we are at the evolutionary endpoint? Humanity is merely a passing fad.

    Anyway, that's absolutely the theistic view. (Except for Myuunitarianism, of course.)
     
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  3. spuriousmonkey Banned Banned

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    The poll assumes it Geoff.
     
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  5. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

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    Yes but I assumed that was a brainfart, or a hand-waving to indicate "isolate evolutionary line". There's no such thing as an "advanced" species; merely one more derived from other evolutionary lines.
     
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  7. spuriousmonkey Banned Banned

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    therefore the poll is completey theistic.
     
  8. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

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    Hmm. I dunno; could be worded better.
     
  9. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

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    All polls are fucked up, it's just a matter of degree! Anyone who believes polls is an idiot or worse.

    Baron Max
     
  10. spuriousmonkey Banned Banned

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    As in: it should have been worded differently. But the words have been chosen for a purpose. Because they fit the theistic belief in the American society (and others) that man is the endstate of evolution.
     
  11. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    24,460
    If a common origin of several improbable events will do, why assume anything else ? But the common origin is not in fact assumed yet - versions of it have been hypothesized, and a great deal of evidence and argument mustered in favor, but it is a very tricky concept. It's not a simple idea, in the case of abiogenesis. For one thing, you would have to specify the "origin", and in something like a cell - the fundamental unit, as far as we know, of what we normally call "life" - the "origin" might be difficult to specify even if all relevant facts were known.

    For example, it's perfectly possible for there to have been several kinds of somewhat-alive, cell-like things floating around at one time, the products of several different RNA lineages and lipid bilayer self-organizations, the cell we know today being the product of several mergers and acquisitions and winnowings at various times in various ways. We have the same problem - in much simpler form - finding the origins of rivers; we name the Missouri differently, and put the origin of the Mississippi in Minnesota, on essentially arbitrary grounds. We could have named St Louis the origin point of the Mississippi, where the Minnohio and the Missouri Rivers join.

    Now once well past abiogenesis, and for clarity in the realm of complex multicellular organisms, simple common origin becomes the default explanation on probability grounds - the kinds of mergers and acquisitions and winnowings that are likely in merely a few billion years are trivial compared with the complexity of the existing organisms. If a virus-infected bacterium adds genetic material to a human lineage, we call that evolution of the human lineage, not a merger of the virus, bacterium, and human. So all insects, say, are deduced to have had a common ancestor by reasonable definition of ancestor and reasonable probability of event. By the time we hit insects, we're way too far down the river, and the river is too big, to rename it after every little tributary.
    It depends on the probability of the structure, and the nature of the similarity involved. It becomes increasingly likely as the similarities depend less on common physical law, and the structure becomes more complex.

    At some point - a judgment call - it becomes the default assumption that requires extraordinary evidence to reconsider. That point seems to be passing, with life entire as we know it, given the similarities in complex structure we are discovering. For example, the differences in DNA coding and role and transcription mechanism between the recently discovered undersea vent life - including archaea, a third fundamental lineage - and a lilac hedge full of sparrows, are apparently trivial compared with their similarities. One river, apparently.

    Now why is this viewpoint so difficult to sell to an American? One obvious pattern is that this viewpoint is often comparatively difficult to sell to theists, and more Americans are actual theists living in actively theistic communities - that's the pattern we get from asking Americans what's wrong with the viewpoint, and hearing what they say, and comparing it with what theists elsewhere say. The explanation of "why" might naturally have something to do with this obvious pattern.
     
  12. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    iceaura:thanks for your explanation.

    My own opinion is that there were probably monocellular organisms that developed separately and then engaged in symbiotic relationships that become more complex as they became more sustainable.
     
  13. guthrie paradox generator Registered Senior Member

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    Really? But you have no maths behind it, so here are operating on personal assumptions, thus, unscientific. Please go and bother somewhere else


    So would you care to explain to us how what is commonly called the muslim world lost its lead in early science and technology to the west? Perhaps they went all materialistic?

    Nope, again you are showing your beliefs here. Besides, morality does not necessarily have anything to do with religion.
     
  14. guthrie paradox generator Registered Senior Member

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    4,089
    Sure, the evil westerners colonised Persia and Iran and Egypt in the 11th century...

    No, the West imported much useful knowledge from the arabs, moslems and what have you back in the 12th and 13th centuries. However it seems that in terms of material achievement, the moslem states fell behind, can you explain how this is? Given also that Western europe espoused a great deal of religion all through this period, as did the East, yet it was the west that made much material progress.
     
  15. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

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    22,087
    Guh. Anyway, we're getting off target. The weight of thought from the international posters on the site is on evolution without deific involvement. There's a fair degree of proof that humans evolved naturally; supernatural involvement cannot be proved or disproved.
     
  16. guthrie paradox generator Registered Senior Member

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    Perhaps you would like to re-state your original conjecture?
     
  17. guthrie paradox generator Registered Senior Member

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    Indeed. Oddly enough ID'ists and Creationists don't seem to grasp this fact.
     
  18. spuriousmonkey Banned Banned

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    To be honest. I still don't know what you people are discussing. That means you are probably discussing nothing.
     
  19. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    Yeah all those secular countries trying hard to liberate the er, cotton? silk? spices?
     
  20. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

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    It's true. It all signifies nothing.
     
  21. spuriousmonkey Banned Banned

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    24,066
    it would be more meaningful to discuss East Korea.
     
  22. guthrie paradox generator Registered Senior Member

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    4,089

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    Sure...

    I thought the point was obvious- the muslim world was way ahead of western europe in terms of material research and understanding, and it got overtaken and fell behind. Now, I don't recall the crusaders taking over the entire middle east, in fact the reality was a bit different. Although obviously Ghengis Khan didn't help the preservation of science, but the question remains, why was western europe able to outpace the middle east in terms of material technology all through the past 1,000 years?
     
  23. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Messages:
    24,690
    Our closest cousins, the gorillas and chimps, care about their offspring, who have lengthy childhoods and require considerable effort. They do not have the language and body of philosophy to entertain the concept of "leaving the world a better place," but nonetheless they instinctively try to maintain a community and an environment in which their bloodline will survive and prosper. We have the instinct to do the same thing, but we can no longer live by pure instinct because civilization requires us to interpret that instinct and apply it to an environment that transcends the one it evolved for. We have to be conscious of the fact that children in another city are our responsibility as well as those in our immediate family because we don't "know" that by instinct. But it is an augmentation of instinct rather than a contradiction of it, and the basic pack-social instinct continues to serve us well without the need for superstition to frighten us into behaving morally. When the food on your table comes from Chile, you don't have to be Mother Theresa to take an interest in the welfare of the ChileƱos.
    Chimpanzees commit murder only on members of other tribes. They are images of ourselves in the Mesolithic Era: The pack-social instinct only applies to their own tribe.
    I'm only really talking about chimps, bonobos and gorillas because they are our closest relatives and studying them can give us some insight into ourselves. I'm not aware of infanticide of one's own progeny being performed by those three species of great apes. But in any case it is practiced by many animal species, or at least the allowing of smaller, weaker, or excess babies to die from neglect. This seems cruel and heartless to us, but the average songbird doesn't have the option of taking a second job or getting a home-equity loan in order to raise a larger family than the local ecosystem will support. Reducing the size of the brood to one that is sustainable certainly qualifes as "leaving the world a better place" for the survivors and helping the bloodline prosper.
     

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