Is the theory of evolution true?

Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by PetriFB, Jul 10, 2006.

  1. Oniw17 ascetic, sage, diogenes, bum? Valued Senior Member

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    Evolution is a fact, the ways to explain it seem pretty accurate aswell. Relativity is a theory, and is most-likely a fact. Evolution is definitely a fact, it can't be refuted. Look at the resembelace between the black leopard and the black mountain lion(both labled as panthers by the ignorant). We have an almost complete understanding of evolution because we have minipulated it on many levels.
     
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  3. mountainhare Banned Banned

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    Geoff:
    There is the fact of evolution, and the theory of evolution. The fact of evolution is essentially the observation of evolution in the past, present and future. The theory of evolution describes the mechanisms by which evolution occurs.

    It's true that the Law of Segregation and the Law of Independent Assortment are laws. But I was taught that an evolutionary process may consist of far more than that, such as genetic drift, geographical separation, etc.
     
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  5. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

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    "Concision"? Now there's a word you don't see every day. Something else you don't see every day: your point.

    Still, we're in agreement up to here: evolution is, indeed, specifically defined as a change in allele frequencies. If you accept that there are changes in allele frequencies, then it instantly follows that there some of these alleles are at loci coding for phenotype. I apologize if that's a little too obvious for you to follow.

    And what evidence, precisely, is going to overturn it, pray tell? We about to stumble on the remains of Adam and Eve? Is Jesus coming back? Do you have any evidence that the Hidden Imam is springing up from his well soon? Will this evidence destroy evolution, or merely change our expectations of it? Let me know when you've got it out in Nat Gen, all right?

    Ophiolite - tell me. Were we really placed here by aliens?

    But of course evolution could be overturned. It has every bit as much likelihood of being overturned as gravity does. Hold on to your couch and pick up a copy of Kimura or something. I'll keep you updated on this whole "universal physics" thing. The amusing thing is that you seem to require some kind of monstrous naivety to suppose that gravity, a simple mathematical construct, is somehow cast in iron while evolution, based on another simple mathematical construct, isn't. Ludicrous. And you decry my common sense?

    Great Darwin - did I circle the fucking arguments? Did I rail in syllogy? Now facts, once they become facts, aren't proofs? Did I say that there could never have been evolutionary theory?

    Great. So now I'm John Scopes? Tell you what: inherit my wind, and tell me what it smells like. I didn't eliminate science, I illustrated that we located a bloody answer to life. Imagine my amazement to think that all those mounds of articles cluttering up my place, those endless series of pdf docs, those gigantic piles of money on genes responsible for everything from male pattern baldness to bloody onion farts - those are just lucky guesses, right? A general pattern equivocal to general gravitation, based in standard laws of inheritance and reassortment? Course we don't have one of those! Never you mind that we have all the evidence we need of a generalized law (or, hell, even that we actually have TWO Mendelian laws on narrow-scope inheritance/reassortment), and that refutation at this point would require something on the order of God appearing, nudging us and saying "You know, the formamide in your loading buffer isn't deionized" to refute this 'theory' of ours: no, no, you're dead on. Let's just keep on mindlessly collecting evidence without ever just finally standing up and admitting to the world and ourselves that this is more than a theory now.

    Even bloody Popper would have shot his nut at this point.

    It is utter sophistry. "Well, we have more evidence in support of a generalized evolutionary theory than there is of the Earth going round the sun; yet, let's go on telling ourselves that, really, it's refutable in some way that doesn't require the divine intervention of a non-existent deity. Tradition counts for something, you know!" Right. Balls to that.

    So: you're welcome to your apparent opinion on my "common sense", as am I that your education is lacking.
     
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  7. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

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    Ah. The Holocaust denier and failed expert in medical diagnosis presumes to try to teach me my own field.

    Sorry: no, theory as being applied here refers at this point solely to the concept of descent with modification, or of the nature of the action of the basic mechanics of evolution - segregation, reassortment. The latter are not in any question whatever, except as to the details of the coefficients in specific cases.

    Well that's odd: weren't you also taught that the Holocaust was real? Because you don't seem to have that attitude now. Seems to be some selective retention of your education, I see. What would the good folks at the Western Onion say?

    At any rate, I would imagine that even you would be able to piece together that so long as the original two laws hold, they hold in a generalistic sense even if the coefficients associated with their local expression are modified by local conditions.

    Now what does that sound like...why, gravity! Say, that's a law...innit?
     
  8. spuriousmonkey Banned Banned

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    This is new to me? Has natural selection already been replaced as the major 'driving force'?

    I am under the impression that the basics remained rather the same, but that some large amount of details have been filled in. On major change was that we now now more of the mechanism on a molecular level. But I can't really name that many other radical changes.

    You notice it when you read 'on the origin of species' now. Most of the stuff inside is still valid. It's just that Darwin was totally wrong on inheritance, because he just couldn't know about DNA.

    Or are we talking about something else?
     
  9. imaplanck. Banned Banned

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    Are we talking Punctuated Equilibria by any chance?
     
  10. mountainhare Banned Banned

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    Geoff:
    1. Appeal to authority on your behalf. The fact of the matter is that you have a degree (from what I am aware) in population genetics. That doesn't immediately make you an authority in this matter.

    2. Don't bring past arguments into this. I was polite when I objected to your statement. I'm a staunch supporter of evolution. We're merely disagreeing over technicalities, so perhaps you should just lay off the pedantic bullshit.

    But I wasn't referring to segregation and reassortment. I recognize that those are laws. However, the evolutionary process consists of far more than that on a larger time scale. One simple example is the continuing controversy over the extent to which punctuated equilibrium and gradualism contribute to the evolutionary process.

    However, merely because there are questions about the fine details of HOW evolution proceeds, does not mean that evolution and common descent are not fact.

    Interestingly, Stephen Gould, a famous evolutionary biologist, and a staunch supporter of punctuated equilibrium, actually wrote a nice little essay explaining why evolution was both a fact and a theory.
    http://www.stephenjaygould.org/library/gould_fact-and-theory.html

    And you still think that laws, theories and facts are mutually exclusive. They are not. They often compliment each other.

    Gravity is a fact, a law, and a theory. Type 'Gravitional Theory' into Google, and tell me what you get.
     
  11. Ophiolite Valued Senior Member

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    We are talking punctuated equlibria. And I am a disciple of Gould, considering his "The Structure of Evolution" to be a wholly remarkable work. In it he argues convincingly, for me at least, that radical changes have been made to the theory. I am sure, Spurious, you are familiar with this work. The arguments are expressed there with greater clarity and elegance than I could ever hope to achieve.
     
  12. spuriousmonkey Banned Banned

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    when the whole notion of puctuated equilibrium was brought to my attention I was actually doing some History of science and approached this topic from this perspective.

    Darwin emphasized the gradual because of the other contempary ideas he was fighting which were not gradual.

    Punctuated equilibrium came so much later in a new era. I never really saw the fuzz about the argument. Because the essence of what Darwin proposed never changed.

    Evolution still works with baby-steps and not with sky-hooks. Whether is goes faster at one point or another doesn't really diminish that aspect.

    Nowadays we know more on why evolution can suddenly seem to progress so rapidly. However, it still progresses with babysteps. Sometimes the babysteps are invisible. Changes accumulate before they show phenotypically. But still small logical steps.

    Hence I never really gotten into the whole punctuated equilibrium debate. Especially since I am forced to approach evolution from the developmental perspective.

    In conclusion, I never saw punctuated equilibrium as radical. And I doubt it is, other than that a whole group of people in the biological sciences lost perspective at one point and needed readjusting to the obvious.
     
  13. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

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    Regrettably for your arguments, it really kind of does. However, I was more referring to the fact that you haven't won an argument yet on matters evolutionary with me. I also add that your treatment of those who merely disagree with evolution is far, far more insulting than what I just dealt you.

    Well, aside from commenting on your lifting the word "pedant" from my earlier post, perhaps I should make myself more clear: I do not treat politely with Holocaust deniers. Nor Nazis, fascists, totalitarians, or othersuch idiots.

    The good "Hercules Rockefeller" has no compunctions about attacking my arguments with a thin smear of rationality over his ad hominem, and I could be described at worst as more in the camp of Israel than not. What treatment, then, does a Holocaust denier deserve on this forum?

    As for your being a staunch supporter of evolution, please: don't help my side any more than you have to, ok? We have problems enough, thanks.

    Guess what? I was. Even if you weren't, all higher-order complexities of evolution may be ultimately reduced to coefficient categories or applications of those two original laws.

    You have hit on the reality of the argument - evolution is fact. It does not need to be hesitatingly described as a theory any longer. I do not say that there is no such thing as "evolutionary theory", but rather, that evolution as a force no longer is merely theory. The only thing remaining to debate are the details of "evolutionary theory" - unless you think gravity is also due for imminent repeal?

    I did not specify that they were mutually exclusive. I said that evolution no longer needed to be described only in terms of a theoretical existence. It is a fact; as no one of you opposing me has yet to contradict me on, implying tacit agreement.

    Now - off to StormFront with you.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2006
  14. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

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    Regrettably, none of this constitutes deviation from the core mechanics of the two Mendelian laws. Punctuation, slow transit to novel forms, or a lucky brainfart that manages to crank out a bizarre epistatic 'hopeful monster' all implicitly involve the underlying issues of segregation and reassortment (to which one might add recombination). That is to say: allelic mechanics, and no different from the mathematical description of any other naturalistic event, save that random error is probably higher. Or not. Whatever.

    A "disciple" of Gould? I imagine Ophiolite wandering the campus in a knitted sweater and a baseball cap, preaching NOMA to the heathen molecularists. I feel the concepts in "The Structure of Evolution" - while a very great work, and while I appreciate Gould's work as a rule, and read many of his books - represents not a categorical separation, but merely an alteration of surface parameters over the - again - core structure of evolution: Mendelian Law.
     
  15. mountainhare Banned Banned

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    Geoff:
    Since when have we had a debate on matters evolutionary? Are you talking about where I humilated the so-called Jewish community by pointing out the myth of an origin in Israel?

    1. Highly debatable.

    2. Tu quoque logic fallacy on your behalf, something you (falsely) love to accuse me of. But then again, I've come to expect no better from you.

    So merely because you used the word 'pedantic' in a previous post, and then I do so, means that I 'lifted' the word? Give me a break. Since when did you claim ownership of a word?

    Not even when attempting to have an argument about a totally unrelated topic? I see. Your behaviour here merely displays to me your lacks of professionalism and backbone. Now I understand why you don't have anything beyond a degree.

    Boo hoo hoo, waa waa waa. Typical bullshit from Geoff. "Other posters treat me bad, so that justifies my right to treat you bad, despite the fact that you didn't even engage in one personal attack."

    Whatever, Geoff. You really are a living joke. You're an example of why so many people were happy to kick the Jews out of country after country. No doubt that the next diaspora will be out of sciforums.

    What treatment does a Zionist piece of filth deserve, I wonder? Been stomping on any sand castles built by Arab children lately? Did you use American taxpayer money to buy nice Nike shoes to deliver your stomping? Why are you here talking to Goyim? Shouldn't you be out pushing your propaganda in the Politics forum?

    You're a presumptious cock to assume that I'm 'siding' with you. I'm not attempting to support your weak, irrelevant red herrings and distortions of the scientific method. I'm merely pointing out that ironically, we both agree that evolution is a fact, even though we disagree on whether a theory of evolution still exists. So there is no need to get your balls in a twist (although I'm making quite an assumption when I conjecture that you have balls).

    I trust you can cite a supporting scientific article that only those two laws come into play? Oh sorry, I forgot, I'm dealing with Geoff the Zionist. Since when did he require any shred of evidence to support his argumentation? I mean, various other posters have mentioned mechanisms of evolution which are still in controversy, yet Geoff ignores them. I post an article by Stephen, and the kid ignores that too.

    And you continue to think that a fact and a theory can't compliment each other. It can be described as a fact, a law, and a theory.

    Come back when you've learn a little about the scientific method.

    Perhaps your centre of learning should rescind your degree.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2006
  16. Ophiolite Valued Senior Member

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    So, you have a limited vocabulary and an even more limited understanding of meaning. That was already apparent. There was no need to rub it in.
    Obvious, perhaps. Relevant, hardly.

    When I entered into this thread I had thought you were an individual who was merely having some difficulties with the distinction between fact and theory. Now I begin to suspect you have little understanding of the nature of science, despite your purported qualifications and interest in it. If I knew the nature of the evidence, dumb shit, then the evidence would already be evident, and the theory would already have been overturned. Retard.
    Nowhere in my last post, or any other of the 3,500+ posts I have made on this forum do I suggest, implicitly or explicitly, that we were placed here by aliens. Suggesting that I have suggested that is not only a blatant form of specious debating, but it is also so ineffective as to be expected only from the terminally foolish. No surprise there then.
    You see you are at it again, showing no awareness of the distinction between the fact of evolution and the fact of gravity, versus the theory of evolution and the theory of gravity. That is the central issue here. I must, at least, admire your consistent blindness.
    Now I begin to understand the pathology of your ignorance. You have zero conception of the existence of emergent properties, or of complexity. What a vast chasm for you to fall into.

    Semantic content zero.
    Yes. You do seem to be wrapped in a Popperesque world view. Just as well that some of us value Khun.

    Fortunately I don't require approval from you for my views. Please don't feel any need to educate me further. I am now fairly sure you have nothing worth teaching.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2006
  17. Oniw17 ascetic, sage, diogenes, bum? Valued Senior Member

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    What?!? Is the argument here against evolution, or just the duality of evolution as theory and fact? Because I would cry if somehow( by some horrible reverse-miracle) evolution were proven to be false.
     
  18. spuriousmonkey Banned Banned

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    Is evolution a fact?

    Well, it could of course be that we are currently living in the matrix and reality is not reality. Or that I am just having a bad dream. Or that the great Invisible Pink Unicorn has brainwashed us all by planting evidence. Or that we are just really dumb apes.

    But otherwise...yes, it is a fact. There is factual evidence that suggests that species are all related and evolved from a common ancestor.

    Is it a theory? Yes, the theory of how species originate from previous species by means of a natural process. The mechanism that drives evolution.
     
  19. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

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    First, we never discussed evolution, then we did. Oy vay! Incidentally: population genetics? Based in Mendelian Law. Evolution in the classic sense. Drive on; nothing for you here.

    Anyway, leaving aside the anti-semitic drivel; no, I was referring to the one where you tried to insinuate that Ashkenazim Jews were not related genetically to Occidentals, a thesis that I refuted quite handily and which you did a runner on. Better check the wear on those sneakers: you got out of town pretty quick.

    Not really. Aside from Foley, you're about the most insulting poster here. You seem to try to lord it on high, relying on invective and spite. Fine stuff when you're just a kid; not really up to speed for the highway. (Note: see also below.)

    As the Americans say: natch. My ancestors would have said something more along the lines of "thankee". It's hard to believe I actually gave you a chance earlier, DD.

    How the spit flies! Hehe - couldn't care too much less, but I was amused to see that my phrases stick so readily in your mind. Writing's darkest on a blank page, eh?

    I have to admit I laughed out loud on this one. People around the lab thought I was on YouTube or something. Anyway: my word! Were we having a "professional" debate? Are you on the departmental debating circuit out our way? I'd like to see how I fail your "backbone" challenge, of course. And what the hell is "you don't have anything beyond a degree"? Ahhh - I've missed your invective, truly I have. Do you mean to say I don't have anything beyond my PhD, like maybe blinding hatred for the state of Israel and all things Jewish? I confess: indeed I do not have such feelings. Was that what you were referring to, from the deep and honest goodness of your Holocaust-denying heart? Touched; truly.

    Merely pointing out your hypocrisy; don't blame me if the glass slipper fits, CinderFella.

    WHOOOOOAAA! Easy there, Heinrich! Now, I don't know what they teach down Monash way, and I've never even been to a meeting of your collective, but I'm fairly certain that what you just posted counts as "anti-Semitism". I think your friends would be a little disappointed; or maybe not. I'm not up to date on what passes for "leftism" these days. But if you'd care to come and try to kick me out of Philly, please do give it a shot.

    Does it matter that I'm not Jewish, though? Let me know. Hate to think I'd be getting special treatment, or not.

    [I'm not Zionist but this was too funny.]

    Yes, I have. Then, I sell their body parts. Just like in all the best conspiracy theories.

    [Gasp! He knows! Tal: get the electrodes warmed up.]

    I'm touched and honoured that you would think I were Jewish; regrettably, I cannot say that I am, although I like lox. Does that count? I'm sure there's some bizarre "Goyim Gone Wild" rule in Deuterotomy that rubber-stamps an auto-conversion: "Let he who eat of the salty fish also be of the people of Jehovah; let him dance with rigid hips and wear JC Penny."

    Please, mountain: my axe doesn't swing that way. Let's keep your emotional issues out of it, all rightie?

    ????

    No, no: you're right, mountain. Once you cross the boundary from single-locus to more complex systems with multiple loci, epistasis and cytonuclear interaction, all of Mendelian Law is nullified and instead we invoke Diadic Intercellular Chromatid Kinetochore Heteroduplex Expression in Anaphase Dyads, or: DICKHEAD.

    Look: maybe you should stick to bad diagnosis, without getting into bad science too.

    Stephen! Are you on a first name basis with him? Wow. I've read about half his books and been to two of his talks - I even spoke with him once - and yet even I don't get to call him Stephen. You two must be very close. Did his death about four years back affect you?

    Other "mechanisms of evolution"...so presumably these don't involve Mendelian Law? Oh joy! Evolution without alleles! Woo hoo!

    Of course, if you're going to dump core allelic theory, maybe you should read up on Lamarck. He had a theory outside of an allelic basis also. Funnily, although he's been dead for over a hundred years, he still gets pilloried for it.

    But is a fact. Evolutionary theory does not go away: but evolution itself is a fact. At least you've admitted - in some contradiction to your whinier points - that evolution is in fact a law. I think that about rounds up my supporters on the thread.

    This from a guy who apparently thinks evolutionary theory doesn't require allelic inheritance.

    You know, this last post of yours was so bad, I begin to wonder whether you're not my sock puppet.
     
  20. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

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    Of course there was: amusement. Why else do you think I'm arguing with you?

    Comments on the mentally disabled aside - I think it would be reasonable to ask such a learned individual what precise kind of evidence would be required to overturn evolution, and precisely how likely you think that evidence would be to occur. Someone who understood evolution might be able to help you out.

    Oooh! Oooh! Lil' argument from authority there. 3500 posts on an electronic forum must make your mom proud.

    Well, I suggest implicitly that you were.

    Anyway, if you can't imagine some kind of evidence that would refute evolution, then perhaps you should say so and be done with it. Perhaps now it's I expecting too much from you?

    Amazing - so first they're so all-incorporate that I'm not permitted to say "evolution is factual, not merely possible", and then theory and fact are so distinct and uniquely beautiful that anyone who doesn't accept their separation is some kind of renegade.

    Kudos! You have in the space of three posts created the Holy Duality of Darwinian Science. Will you and the other disciples be carrying your message to all the labs of the world? What are your plans for the non-believer? I think there is some precedent for the use of boiling oil.

    Laughable. My work is specifically in genomic complexity, so don't presume to preach to me. You appear to have absolutely no concept that higher-order modifications of base evolutionary theory are merely extensions of core Mendelian Law - unless you are scribbling hard away at some new basis that jumps the concept of an allele? The entire process of evolution must seem like a magical journey to you. While I'm glad of your joyful ignorance, I pity your educational institution.

    Oh, my. Yes, of course: right merely being right and wrong merely being wrong are just not good enough. Heavens, no! We must redigest, and excrete, and vomit up again and again until true enlightenment is revealed in a blinding flash of intellectual hypoglycemia. And we should call it: Kuhn.

    Never mind that someone with a real commitment to truth and some kind of decent education - not you, clearly - would subsume all of Kuhn's longwinded complaints into the deliberate, conscious failure of bias in individual perspective. No no: it's more important to write books that make a lot of money by saying the same thing in 400 pages that could be said in about thirty or so words, especially if anyone with half a brain was already intricately aware of the concepts of pre-existing tendency and canalized focus.

    Honestly, I ask you, O' philosopher: what the hell could you possibly think to gain from reading hundreds of pages of re-hash of the phrase "intellectual honesty"? Ah, wait: self-righteousness. Now I understand. And to think I just said reading Kuhn was good for nothing! Silly me.
     
  21. sniffy Banned Banned

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    Ladies, ladies handbags at dawn? You might as well compare penis size. This argument is personal and is adding nothing to conversations about evolution. A theory, in whatever field, is a theory until someone comes up with some observable evidence to prove its truth or falsity. I think there may be a growing body of evidence to suggest that evolutionary theory is more than just a theory.
     
  22. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

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    "Handbags at dawn"?

    Hangbags at any time: I am not afraid to take a Givency to the head for the cause of the advancement of human knowledge. March on, comrades! You have nothing to lose but your shabby accoutrementage. And some skin, maybe.
     
  23. mathman Valued Senior Member

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    All science consists of theories. There are no absolute truths (only religion has such things). Theories are good if they satisfy two criteria, (1) they are consistent with observation and (2) there exists the possibility that they can be shown to be wrong.

    Creationists can cook up a theory satisfying (1) but not (2). For example, the world including everyone living or dead was created yesterday with all the artifacts and memories implanted.
     

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