evolution, Darwin, religion, other musings

Discussion in 'Science & Society' started by EmptyForceOfChi, Jul 9, 2007.

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  1. is the theory of evolution a true theory that we can study and observe or is it still a scientific model?

  2. Avatar

    Avatar smoking revolver

    You can observe and study evolution.
  3. like darwin did? or like the moths that we say evolve due to the tree bark? that tree thing was a sham though.

    edit: remember when those scientists done the study on a certain species of moth? they said the moths evolved to escape predators and changed colour to match the colour of the tree bark. and those that adapted survived. see now what they left out was a mention of how they glued the moths to the tree bark lol. because that species of moth doesent even land on the trees during daylight where the colour makes a difference to its survival.

    bats dont hunt in day and they hunt with sonar so the colour is not even an issue witht hat predator. and other hunters of the moths hunt during the day. and the moths have never been recorded to rest on that type of tree during dayligh. so the people conducting the test put glue on the moths and took pictures of them to show how they evolve and escape predators.

    wich was quite lame of them.


    Last edited: Jul 9, 2007
  4. I'm not aware of any scientist claiming evolution as fact. Although its as near as you can get to fact without being there throughout I would say.

    Theory and model .
  5. i think i have seen some people on this board claim that evolution has been proven and is a fact.

  6. Avatar

    Avatar smoking revolver

    Well, it has been proven the same way gravity has been proven.
    Whether gravity is a fact, you choose.
  7. That's extremely vague and a pointless comparison.
  8. Well scientists dont like to use words like proven or fact for the simple reason that science is an ongoing process and altered all the time. No science is ever going to completely overturn evolution though.
  9. Pandaemoni

    Pandaemoni Valued Senior Member

    Evolution can be generally directly, experimentally, observed only in microorganisms, since they go through various generations so rapidly.

    See, for example, http://www.oeb.harvard.edu/faculty/marx/Manuscripts/Elena-Lenski-2003.pdf

    There have also been cases of macroscopic species evolving in modern times,though not under direct, controlled conditions. See, for example here , citing a few examples, notably:
  10. pjdude1219

    pjdude1219 troaty mouth best song ever

    it is a scientific theory
  11. BangBangYou'reDead

    BangBangYou'reDead New Member

    Theory my science teacher does not agree with Darwins solutions to things
  12. iceaura

    iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Evolution - the existence of a sequence of non-cyclical changes in the nature of the living beings on the surface of the planet over time (3 billion years) coordinated and exemplified in space (by continent, say) - is a "fact", unless you deny the generally established age of the earth and the ordinary findings of astronomy, geology, physics, and chemistry.

    To the extent that we have scientific facts, the evolution of life on earth is one of them. All scientific facts are uncertain, of course.

    There have been various theories advanced to explain this fact. The modern Darwinian Theory, as modified by the discovery of DNA etc, is the only one now generally accepted by professional researchers. They have various (pretty hot) arguments about some important details (the role of large-scale chance events vs small scale incremental pressures, the mechanisms of stability, etc) but all of them depend on acceptance of the larger framework of the theory.

    From a philosophical point of view, theory and fact are defined in relationship: the physicists have a theory about how uranium decays, and that establishes the fact of the age of a particular rock formation, say. So facts depend on various assumptions and theories, and theories are created to explain facts in turn, and a fact at one level is a theory at another, and so forth.

    But you want to be clear about just what you are denying - which theories and assumptions you are throwing out - before you decide to do that. If you want to claim that the physicists are wrong in their theories about radioactive decay, for example, you need to face the extent of the body of knowledge you have decided is hooey. The theories of radioactive decay have been investigated with great intensity and diligence.

    If you want to claim that life on earth did not in fact evolve, change sequentially in space and time over continents and eons, so that there is no need for a Theory of Evolution, you have to throw out most of modern science - not just a few ad hoc assumptions of some biologists. If you just want to establish a different theory than the Darwinian one, that might be easier - good luck. Yours wouldn't be the first attempt.
  13. Jeff 152

    Jeff 152 Registered Senior Member

    It is very clear and very relevant to the discussion. Gravity is a theory. It is not proven that it will always cause a ball to fall to the ground when dropped. It is merely a theory, which is based on observation. From the beginning of observation, the ball has always fallen, but is not certain, rather only extremely probable, that the ball will fall the next time.

    Similarly, evolution is supported by many observations, but to "prove" is a vague word.

    Also, are we speaking of micro or macro evolution?
  14. Just comparing to gravity is vague because although a ball will always fall to the ground the unification of gravity and it's quanta are furthest from our grasp.

    :) I just meant he should be more specific.
  15. Fraggle Rocker

    Fraggle Rocker Moderator

    Scientists avoid using the word "true." They only use the word "false." One of the cornerstones of the scientific method is that scientific theories can never be proven true. They can only be proven false.

    All science is ultimately based upon observation. (This is what distinguishes science from mathematics, which is a tool of science, not a science unto itself.) Reasoning is applied to those observations and a theory is developed that is consistent with these observations--as well as with all other existing theories which are likewise based on observations.

    Therefore, the scientific theories that laymen talk about as being "true" are simply the theories that have withstood a great deal of testing and peer review, and have not been proven false. This is as true of gravity and electricity as it is of relativity and evolution.

    However, outside the halls of science one needs "truth" upon which to base decisions, not "theory." I have never heard anyone else discuss scientific theories from the following standpoint, but I do and I think it helps bridge the gap between scientists and laymen.

    Think about what we consider "true" in non-scientific discussions. In particular, think about the legal definition in the American jurisprudence system, a definition so important that it is used for determining verdicts that can set a man free or send him to the gas chamber. That definition is based on the condition, "beyond a reasonable doubt."

    So when we let laymen talk about gravity or evolution being "true," we are doing this because these theories satisfy their lay definition of "true beyond a reasonable doubt." Scientists can never be certain that any particular theory will never be disproven. However, because of the validity of the scientific method, they are certain that only a very small number will be disproven, such a small number that their invalidation will not rock the foundations of science and require all textbooks to be rewritten. In other words, the probability of any one accepted theory being disproven is unreasonably small, to the point that we can go on about our business and not worry about it.

    That is the status of the theory of evolution. There exists a faint chance that one day an observation will be made that proves it false. But no competent scientist with training in the field of evolutionary biology can imagine what that would be, since the theory has been consistent with every single piece of reliable evidence that has ever been found. The theory has been refined since Darwin because so much has been discovered, such as DNA and genetic drift. But the theory stands.

    We don't call evolution "true," because to us that means 100%, like 1+1=2 is true. (Again, this is why mathematics is not science. Its theories are true, period, because they're based on reasoning rather than observation.) But we don't complain when laymen call it "true," because their definition is different. Evolution is true beyond a reasonable doubt and that is all laymen need.

  16. so if somebody for example were to say. "it is proven to be true" or "it is a fact" or "we have proof its true" thats not correct to say such things?

  17. Saquist

    Saquist Banned

    There are some factors to consider in this question. One is the original premise of the question and was it satisfied.

    Facts will tell you Darwin made a prediction. That a hundred years after his observance those famed finches on an isolated island that a new speices of bird would develop upsurping the previous in what he called natural selection.

    More than a hundred years later not only have no new bird arose but the birds return to there original state. apparently unchanaged.

    The second thing to consider is that the defintion of "evolution" is perhaps the most obscure to define. Many scientist have different definition of what is evolution. Not only that but there is also problems deciphering exactly what constitutes a NEW spiecies.

    Inherent to the problem of evolution which none have addressed directly is the improbablity of it's begin, and process as well what drives evolution, which there is no consensus.

    Truely as long as there is such conflicts in the theory it really does not warrant "theory". It has yet to set it's self aside from it's original hypothesis.

    I could not put any faith in the theory. It would be as believing in magic.
  18. Oli

    Oli Heute der Enteteich...

  19. scorpius

    scorpius a realist

    evolution is a fact how it happens is a theory
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