Evolution - True Or False

Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by darksidZz, Feb 10, 2007.

?

It's

Poll closed Feb 25, 2007.
  1. False

    2.3%
  2. True

    88.4%
  3. Other; Comment

    9.3%
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  1. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

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    Why make a decision if you don't have all of the evidence? Why rush to conclusions? As far as I know, there's no emergency to rush to judgement. Why not just wait a few million years for all the evidence, then make the decisons?

    And more to the point, why not admit that you don't really know? And, of course, why continue to denigrate those who believe differently?

    Exactly. And yet y'all seem to feel that you DO know ...which drives me somewhat crazy! And worse, most of y'all are so quick to denigrate those who are religious, with different views about evolution and life. If ya' don't know, then why pour forth the venom in such copious quantities? Just say, "Gee, I don't know."

    God might well be guiding every single step in all of this ...including watching y'all make such major decisions without enough evidence, and laughing at how you denigrate the religious people.

    Huh? Which theory did I present??? I've been saying all along that I don't know ....and I've been asking y'all about it ...those of you who claim to know. Yet every time I ask a question, all anyone can do is say the same old, tired things ....none of which prove anything.

    Baron Max
     
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  3. Nickelodeon Banned Banned

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    Which religion says God is directing evolution?
     
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  5. BenTheMan Dr. of Physics, Prof. of Love Valued Senior Member

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    We will never have all of the evidence, and I don't think that anyone will ever know for sure. The overwhelming amount of evidence points towards evolution, so evolution is the theory that we believe. If someone comes up with a more efficient way to scientifically explain the diversity in biological systems that we observe today, then scientists will eventually adopt the new paradigm.

    We do know that most evidence points to evolution.

    This is a point where you and I have some common ground---it isn't very proifessional to do such things. But I can tell you that, as someone who has spent about four years of my adult life studying a very small piece of physics, I get insulted when some layperson comes along and says "I don't understand [quantum mechanics, general relativity, etc.] so it must be wrong." In some cases, I have been the denigrator. Now imagine someone who has spent their whole life studying this problem, and some housewife on a school board in Kansas says "Well, my minister said that Intelligent Design was science, so we should vote for that because I won't go to Hell."

    I have seen YOU as the denigrator in other threads, when someone expresses some bleeding heart liberal view that you don't agree with. (Not a personal attack, just an example!)

    And this can never be proved or disproved, so long as God cannot be observed. But if this is the case, then humans can never know. (I had this conversation with my girlfriend last night, who is much more religious than me.) In the theory you described, God acts like a random number generator. God may perfectly well know what number he is going to think of next, but WE can never know. And if we can never know, we cannot use that knowledge to predict anything. Suppose God says---"I want this inferior fish to die, and this superior one to learn to walk". Well, we see a line of fossil fish with fins turing into legs. We think "Aha! Evolution!" But you say "Well, God decided that fish should live."

    There is no difference between the two points of view. The two questions cannot interfere with one another. One question is an observational question: "Does evolution occur?" Clearly the evidence says yes. The philosophical question is "Does God cause it." This is unaddressed by any scientific or logical experiment.

    You can have your God Baron. Just don't try to teach it to my kids in school!

    First of all, this is your theory :

    Call it a thought if you like. That's just semantics!

    In my first (long) post, I pointed out that it is perfectly acceptable to hold this view, so long as you accept the fact that it implies that you accept certain other contentions to have a consistent philosophy. This is a philosophical question, and no scientist can test this opinion.
     
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  7. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

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    Don't jump to conclusions, Nick. Read my post again. "God might well be guiding every single step in all of this ..."

    Now where did you get the idea that that's a particular religion?

    Baron Max
     
  8. swivel Sci-Fi Author Valued Senior Member

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    BenTheMan, your posts in this thread are excellent. I admire the way you comport yourself.


    Baron, you are too smart a person to let your childhood brainwashing sessions and current ideology blind you to such a wonderful field of study. You really should pick up several books on evolution and see what the fuss is all about. I recommend "The Red Queen", "The Ancestors Tale", and "The Selfish Gene". Gould's books are nice too, check out the "Panda's Thumb".

    If nothing else, you will at least understand the theory well enough to argue with its points, rather than dismissing it with the usual pat-phrases of the religious. I promise you that god will not damn your soul to hell for an eternity for questioning the way he created all life on this planet.
     
  9. Nickelodeon Banned Banned

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    Well you stated that people "denigrate the religious people" over this issue. Even if God directs evolution, I know of no religion that actually says this.

    Basically the disagreement is with those religious people who say that say evolution is false (becasue it conflicts with what the bible or other book tells them).
     
  10. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

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    23,053
    Why believe something for which you admit that you don't have all of the evidence for it? It makes no sense to "believe" something just for the fuckin' fun of it, does it? Again, ....why BELIEVE? Why not just say, "I don't know."?

    Would you like to be on trial for murder and the prosecutor using that very argument so as to send you to the gallows? I'll bet you'd rather have a jury who was willing to say, "Gee, I don't know ...maybe we don't have enough evidence to hang the bastard."

    But in the meantime, you'll hang on doggedly to the theory that seems most useful to you at the present? Even if there's no logical reason for believing in evolution or not? I mean, your life doesn't depend on it, does it? If not, then why not say, "I don't know."?

    Interesting. And ain't that exactly what others are saying to you about teaching evolution to their kids? Hmm?

    No! My "theory" is to say, "I don't fuckin' know, so why should I make some major decision when it's not necessary to do so?" Why rush to judgement?

    Consistent philosophy? And yet you've essentially adopted a theory with the very idea of changing it if something else comes along that's better! And you call that "consistent"??

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    I don't know. It's really as plain as that. But what amazes me is that many of y'all hold fervent, even fanatical, belief in something that you've all basically admitted is not fully proven nor has complete evidence been presented to you. How and why do you do that? Why not just say, "I don't know."??

    Baron Max
     
  11. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

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    23,053
    I'm not arguing for or against the theory or any of it's points. I'm simply wondering why y'all "believe" in something so fervently even that you can't fully prove. And at the same time, denigrate those who "believe" in something different.

    Baron Max
     
  12. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

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    23,053
    Where do you get the idea that we're even discussing, much less arguing, about any particular religiion?????

    This is about the theory of evolution, and what some believe and what others do not believe. Ain't got jack-shit to do with any religion! So please ....just fuck off with that idea, okay?

    Baron Max
     
  13. Nickelodeon Banned Banned

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    God doesnt have jack-shit to do with any religion? LOL
     
  14. swivel Sci-Fi Author Valued Senior Member

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    Same reason I believe in gravity, even though we haven't found a graviton, and the speeding up of the expansion of the universe posses problems for the theory. It is the best thing we have right now.

    A deity creating us all does not explain observations as well as the idea that we are built up from simple chemical processes that become biological processes. We have fossils that show a gradual shift from one body plan to another in thousands of species. We find that the oldest organisms are the simplest, with increased complexity over time. We find that the building-blocks for life are found in meteorites, interstellar dust clouds, deep thermal vents, just about anywhere we look. Evolution is an observational fact, and Natural Selection is a brilliant theory that has made testable predictions in many fields that have all buttressed the theory. There have been innumerable attempts to break this theory down, even from within the biological community. That is what scientists do, they look to improve our understanding. Darwin's ideas have withstood the most rigorous examinations of any theory that I am aware of, and it stands strong.

    To not accept this as the current best explanation for life is to allow ancient superstition to dictate your epistemology. If this is true, you should at least embrace it, and be honest about it. Tell us that you will not accept evolution because you are scared of your god, and would be embarrassed before your family and peers. Don't do it because you are pretending to be a good scientist, withholding judgment until the evidence is in. Because the evidence is very much in, Baron. And you refuse to even glance at it.

    If you PM me your street address, I will send you some books. I am very much interested in you taking the time to study biology that I have spent studying religion and the Bible in particular. At least then we can have a rational discussion about the topic.
     
  15. BenTheMan Dr. of Physics, Prof. of Love Valued Senior Member

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    In this sense, then, we shouldn't believe anything.

    This is exactly how courtrooms work! I, sitting on the jury, have seen the evidence and said "There is enough evidence so that I believe evolution." You are not so quick to jump to conclusions, and (in my opinion) have an unreasonable expectation of the power of scientific observation. In this thread, and in America (at least), the jury is still hung. The judge directs the jury to decide "beyond a reasonable doubt". What is reasonable---this is for the jury to decide on a case by case basis.

    I am a physicist, not a biologist, and will defer to their expertise. I would rather explain gravity than evolution, so no theory is particularly useful to me. The only point that I want to make in all of this is that people (perhaps people like you perhaps not) have an unreasonable expectation of science when it comes to evolution because it challenges whatever cultural mores they were brought up with.

    The two questions are different---one is a question about science and one is a question about philosophy. Strictly, there is nothing wrong with believing that God guided evolution. This doesn't change the fact that evolution occured. If you teach your childeren that God made fish walk, and I teach mine that natural selection and competition made fish walk, what is the difference? Does this change the fact that we're all really walking fish?

    Ok fair enough. I took the statement in your first post as a statement of position, and not a counter example. You may feel free to cut and paste "Your counter-example" over "your theory" in all of my past posts...it's just semantics.

    [Q?UOTE]Consistent philosophy? And yet you've essentially adopted a theory with the very idea of changing it if something else comes along that's better! And you call that "consistent"?? [/QUOTE]

    From a standpoint of scientific inquiry, it is infinitely more consistent that postulating that some God exists who makes all of the choices.

    In my mind, you are placing unreasonable demands on the theory of evolution. Evolution can never explain why it occured (biologists can correct me), it can only propose mechanisms whereby such changes can occur. If you want to explain the reason that evolution occured as God, then fine. This is for you to decide, with the realization that this statement cannot be proven (even a little!). If scientists placed the requirements on their theories that you demand, we would be able to explain very little of the natural world. (Scientists have no idea how high temperature superconductors work, but engineers still use the technology to build the fastest trains in the world.)

    No tests can be conducted to decide if God exists. No human logic could ever understand God. Scientists are in the business of applying human logic to human observation---God cannot be observed and is outside the realm of human logic, therefore scientists shouldn't be in the business of talking about God. Specifically, the theory of evolution is not inconsistent with a God directing all of the choices---as per your original post. You must realize that this is a philosophical question, and not a scientific one.
     
  16. BenTheMan Dr. of Physics, Prof. of Love Valued Senior Member

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    I think in your original post, you mentioned something about God and were labeled. This happens in debates about evolution---someone even thinks about God and they get labeled as a creationist or an intelligent designer. This is the reason many are denegrated, as you put it. Those who bring God into these discussions are generally those have some pet theory to pimp, like ID.

    The point remains, though, that you are placing unreasonable demands on evolution. These are not the same demands that you would place on, as swivel pointed out, the theory of gravity, for example. (It is hard to draw comparisons between evolution (which is qualitative in nature) and most other theories, which are quantitative in nature.)
     
  17. swivel Sci-Fi Author Valued Senior Member

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    Another good example is Plate Tectonics. We can't actually "see" the plates moving. We see magma upwelling at mid-ocean rifts. We observe earthquakes, which could be random movement in any order. We see folded mountains in the right spot. We see island chains formed in a certain direction, consistent across an entire plate. We see how coastlines would match up. We find similar fossils on both sides of now-disjointed plates. We observe a paltry number of really-old rock formations. From these inconclusive observations we deduce the theory of Plate Tectonics. And this theory went through an even rougher ordeal in the scientific community. While most scientists were quick to support Natural Selection, Plate Tectonics (especially in America) had a very difficult birth.

    Natural Selection has hundreds of times the evidence that Plate Tectonics has. Hundreds of times. But old religious books don't offer dogmatic theories on geology the way they do on the creation of life, so nobody objects too much.
     
  18. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

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    No, it's not so simple. You mentioned gravity ....see, we have to believe the theory of gravity because it directly affects our everyday life. The theory of evolution has no such direct effects on us in our lives ...one way or the other. So ....why should I or anyone be forced to make a decision about it?

    I make no demands on it at all, period. It has virtually no effect on my life at all, in any way. I don't give one rat's ass whether it's all perfectly true or not.

    You, and the others, however, ARE making unreasonable demands ....in trying to force others to believe something for which you don't have sufficient evidence. And you even admit it!

    I believe in the theory of adaptation of species. What I find lacking is the that a fish decides one day to flop out onto the land and start walkin' around enjoying the fresh air! ...LOL!

    Yes, yes, I know ....that's a bit silly. But y'all just ain't got any valid evidence of the trail of that fish changing ever-so-slowling into a human. Just ain't there! And if you "believe" it, then your "belief" is nothing different to how religious people might "believe". See what I mean????

    No tests can be conducted to decide that a fish can become a human ...even in billions of years. Y'all extrapolate meager data and make major conclusive judgements, then y'all begin to "worship" your "beliefs".

    And at the same time, you denigrate others who "believe" differently than you do.

    Baron Max
     
  19. swivel Sci-Fi Author Valued Senior Member

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    Baron, if you want to see a fish turn into a human, watch a fetus grow. It is a re-creation of our evolutionary development.

    Gills turn into lungs, tails are formed then go away, flippers and webbed hands separate into fingers.

    Natural Selection explains this process neatly, in fact, it would predict it. Species don't evolve perfectly, and they must retain previous adaptations and build on them. That is also why the brain has developed like an onion, with the primal modules deep in the middle, and the newer ones on the outside.

    It is also why we all have a blind-spot in our vision, because the nerves happened to be on the wrong side of the cells. Not all eyes are like this, in fact we know that many eyes have evolved separate from one another.

    You pretend that Natural Selection is heavily in doubt, but I have a hard time thinking of a theory that is more ironclad and supported by as much evidence. It is easily one of the most powerful theories we have, right up there with Gravity, Electromagnetic Theory, QED, and Plate Tectonics.
     
  20. BenTheMan Dr. of Physics, Prof. of Love Valued Senior Member

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    Clearly you haven't met Zanket yet:
    http://www.sciforums.com/showthread.php?t=63374

    No---I have simply defined what is science and what is not. Despite whatever Creationist website you have been digging through, there is sufficient evidence to convince us that evolution happens. I posted links in a post a while back, and you can just go to Wikipedia and see the pictures there. You are free to refute my distinction between science and religion---if you are to attack my position I would suggest you start here.

    Have you ever seen the fossil record of dinosaurs turning into birds? Very cool stuff. If it will convince you that evolution is correct, then:

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  21. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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  22. swivel Sci-Fi Author Valued Senior Member

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    I'm not referring to those theories that take it literally, I'm just pointing to the similarities. Gills, webbed hands, etc... These are things that don't make sense if a deity is in charge, but perfect sense if Natural Selection is.
     
  23. BenTheMan Dr. of Physics, Prof. of Love Valued Senior Member

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    I desagree for several reasons.

    First, if there is a God, then we are really in no position to second guess his work. Maybe he found some humor in making us lose our tails in the womb. Or maybe he lost a bet.

    Second, if you believe that salvation can only be attained through faith in God and not some sort of predestination, then God has every reason to make Evolution look convincing---it is the ultimate test of faith for some people---we see natural selection and conclude that we don't need God. Only the faithful will ignore scientific reason and all human logic. Of course, if you believe that salvation can only be attained by faith, then you also must believe that God is tricking most of the people into going to Hell

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