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Don't Believe In Evolution? Read This. - Page 5

post #161 of 522
Reading Darwin himself is fairly pointless as far as understanding evolution. I read it merely for my own interest and entertainment. Modern evolutionary work is far more interesting, involved, and complete.

Quote:
This adaptation never stops. There is no limit, unless IDers think that there is a limit being imposed by the supernatural.

You hit the key, they place an arbitrary stop there and micro/macro-evolution is a nice semantic way to firm it up.
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post #162 of 522
Ok so I thought I would ask a few questions:

First off the big one.. For those of you all who deny a creator and believe in "evolution" Did all of creation progress and evolve from one singular "common ancestor"?

If you believe yes then please identify the name of this original life form.

2nd: Please explain the process of the conversion of non-living matter into the "living" original ancestor which spawned all life that we see today.

3rdly: Please explain how you are certain that all life originated from a "common ancestor" For the sake of saying that we believe in evolution how can we be sure that there may not have been 2 original lineages or perhapse 3 or perhapse 100, or 99,000?

Was there just one common ancestor or untold thousands and how do you know????

What is your basis and how do you prove it?

The next question is where is the map of this evolution?

What was bermuda grass before it was bermuda grass?

What was a Lucy before she was Lucy?

What was a butterfly before it was a butterfly?

Come on your logic will serve you will it not?

Now... if you able, answer any three of the above questions with the correct and accurate answers.

If you are extremely gifted with the ability to use resources answer all of my questions with the correct accurate answers.

If you can not answer and support with a reasonable basis even one of my questions then I would suggest to you that you take inventory of your beliefs before you come on here and talk down to Believers of a creator who created all of creation.

I can't wait to see all of your answers / basis / evidence.

I can't wait.

Fellowship
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post #163 of 522
Fellowship, all you're doing is replacing the phrase "I don't know" with "God did it", as pointed out much earlier in this thread.

Just because we don't know something, now, doesn't mean that's proof of God, sorry.
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post #164 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kickaha

Fellowship, all you're doing is replacing the phrase "I don't know" with "God did it", as pointed out much earlier in this thread.

Just because we don't know something, now, doesn't mean that's proof of God, sorry.

You are right indeed.

I have always maintained that my beliefs are just that beliefs.

The other side has never been so humble. They go around claiming they know everything in the name of Science. In some cases saying evolution is fact.

Now who is being reasonable here and who is not?

And I welcome you to answer all of the questions I gave.

I mean if these answers were clear and proven heck even yours truly would say "ya know,, Evolution is just a fact like gravity". But at the moment this is not the case.

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post #165 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by Outsider


What I don't understand about people who believe micro-evolution happens but macro does not is if micro-evolution happens enough, the cumulative effects of micro- would end up being an instance of macro-evolution.

You just gave the reason I don't make a distinction between the two. Evolution is evolution in my view. Yet, there are things about going from one species to another that make it far more difficult, or less probable -- for example, a land species turning into a bird. Many things must happen before an animal can fly, and each of these makes it more difficult for the animal to survive on land. How can such a population live in the wild before getting to the point where they can fly away from danger? Even if we assume punctuated equilibrium we are talking about 50,000 years or so. Since we do have birds, the evidence, how do we explain their existence by the relatively slow evolutionary process? I'm sure it can be done, but it likely takes a very special set of circumstances.

I realize it is these kinds of examples in nature that seem to antagonize those who are convinced that evolution accounts for all life on Earth. Yet I have not really heard good explanations for them.

So while I'm on the subject, let's take the other side of the coin. There are a few examples in nature that seem to show the opposite, that evolution must be true. However, these are rarer than those like my first example. Take the Panda's thumb. The argument goes that it is useless to the Panda, so it must have evolved. Since the thumb did not hinder the Panda's survival, it was carried on generation after generation, doing nothing. How do evolution's critics explain that?

Disregarding the fact that someone finally figured out a use for the thumb, let's look at this example another way. Useless baggage that does not hinder an animal's survival can propagate, just as beneficial changes do. It is only the bad changes that do not make it through the 'survival of the fittest' filter. To me, this view is a real problem for the theory of evolution. The changes are said to be random and the filter removes the bad ones. If true, would we not see more of these useless appendages that do not hinder survival? If the changes or mutations are truly random, we should see more useless changes than either the good or bad changes. All creature should be walking and swimming around with useless baggage. (Well, they actually are, but that is getting into dietary concerns, not evolution.)

Just a little food for thought and discussion.

post #166 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fellowship

You are right indeed.

I have always maintained that my beliefs are just that beliefs.

The other side has never been so humble. They go around claiming they know everything in the name of Science. In some cases saying evolution is fact.

"The other side" "They"

Absolutist, much?

The evolutionary process, specifically the adaptation of organisms to their environment through genetic change *IS* fact. dmz would call this micro-evolution. Many examples have been given in this thread already.

Who are these 'they' you speak of, who claim they know everything? No scientist worth anything does that. Science is about asking questions *because* we don't know everything. That's rather the entire point.

That sort of blanket statement is just ludicrous, Fellowship, and shows an extreme lack of understanding. I've had a lot of respect for you and your beliefs until this, but I'm sad to say that this is shocking. I think it's time for me to bow out again. This thread just went from entertaining to saddening for me.
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post #167 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kickaha

"The other side" "They"

Absolutist, much?

The evolutionary process, specifically the adaptation of organisms to their environment through genetic change *IS* fact. dmz would call this micro-evolution. Many examples have been given in this thread already.

Who are these 'they' you speak of, who claim they know everything? No scientist worth anything does that. Science is about asking questions *because* we don't know everything. That's rather the entire point.

That sort of blanket statement is just ludicrous, Fellowship, and shows an extreme lack of understanding. I've had a lot of respect for you and your beliefs until this, but I'm sad to say that this is shocking. I think it's time for me to bow out again. This thread just went from entertaining to saddening for me.

If you truly can not deal with my silly post which raises valid points then maybe you should go get some fresh air and sunlight.

You have got to be pulling my leg to contend that my comments make you sad.

BE HONEST for God's sake.

You have to understand that I really don't care or mind if someone is a democrat or a republican. If they believe in God or not. I am a pluralist and live and let live. What I have a problem with are people who insist that you take as fact something which is not.

To get those who believe in Macro-evolution to answer my questions in my introductory post is always a challenge. And it is these very people who go around poking at those who believe in Creation who insist that evolution is fact.

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post #168 of 522
Thread Starter 
I actually got depressed by your blanket statements about "know-it-all" scientists also, Fellowship. Science is the complete opposite of "know-it-all"! It's about discovering it all. Also, just a reminder. The name of this thread is "Don't Believe In Evolution?...". I don't claim to have all the answers, but all evidence points to evolution, and the evidence continues to mount.

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post #169 of 522
No, I'm not pulling your leg. You're demonstrating a level of, well, 'ignorance' for lack of a better word that I thought you were above. I find this actually saddening.

Your points are not valid, because all you're doing is effectively saying "If science doesn't know ALL the answers, then it's not worth anything," when the entire point of science is to *FIND* those answers. We don't know everything, and we're continually learning more. Just because 300 years ago we had no concept of gravity as a natural force doesn't mean it didn't exist. Just because 3000 years ago, lightning was thought to be from Zeus doesn't mean that the flow of electrons didn't have a perfectly reasonable explanation.

The supernatural is an attempt to replace "I don't know" with something else, is all. As those gaps are filled in, those who adhere most strongly to the supernatural beliefs feel threatened, and... lash out.

You're asking for absolutist proof for questions for which there are not, and may never be, absolute answers... but that in no way invalidates the process by which those answers are searched for. If you wish to continue discussing this, please PM me.
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post #170 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kickaha

No, I'm not pulling your leg. You're demonstrating a level of, well, 'ignorance' for lack of a better word that I thought you were above. I find this actually saddening.

Your points are not valid, because all you're doing is effectively saying "If science doesn't know ALL the answers, then it's not worth anything," when the entire point of science is to *FIND* those answers. We don't know everything, and we're continually learning more. Just because 300 years ago we had no concept of gravity as a natural force doesn't mean it didn't exist. Just because 3000 years ago, lightning was thought to be from Zeus doesn't mean that the flow of electrons didn't have a perfectly reasonable explanation.

The supernatural is an attempt to replace "I don't know" with something else, is all. As those gaps are filled in, those who adhere most strongly to the supernatural beliefs feel threatened, and... lash out.

You're asking for absolutist proof for questions for which there are not, and may never be, absolute answers... but that in no way invalidates the process by which those answers are searched for. If you wish to continue discussing this, please PM me.


I do place great stock in the different branches of science and technology. I do believe there are some unknowns. These unknowns do not mean that "God did it" nor is that what I am saying.

These unknowns do need to be investigated however before students are shoved evolution as fact.

This is what I am trying to say.

I have also said that I have always maintained that my beliefs are just that. NEVER claimed them to be FACT.

To do that would be worrysome. But that is what many who hide behind the mommy's skirt of Science which is 99.9999% good, progressive and accurate do when proclaiming a certain theory as fact.

They mandate that you either take it as fact, as science or you are against all of science. ((Sort of how some in the Bush admin. suggest that either you are FOR THE WAR or you against AMERICA)) SORRY.... FALSE

To even suggest such a thing is intellectualy dishonest.

Fellowship
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post #171 of 522
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fellowship

To do that would be worrysome. But that is what many who hide behind the mommy's skirt of Science which is 99.9999% good, progressive and accurate do when proclaiming a certain theory as fact.

I don't even know how to respond this, without insulting anyone's more closely held beliefs. I'm out of this discussion.

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post #172 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich

I don't even know how to respond this, without insulting anyone's more closely held beliefs. I'm out of this discussion.


I am out of this discussion as well because NOBODY has ever answered the questions I raise but they get all offended when the tactics they use are brought to light.

There is a reason these answers can not be answered. Because there is such a thing as unknowns in this world of ours as BR will tell you.

Some of us can deal with that and some can not and have to resort to claiming unknowns as facts.

I simply claim that I hold some beliefs which are just that and not fact and it offends others who want me to believe an unknown as fact.

Well I am sorry I am not a pushover.

It is not your fault, It is just life.

Fellowship
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post #173 of 522
You're not listening. No one *can* answer those questions. But to claim that that invalidates all of the theory of evolution is just inane. We don't know *why* gravity works, but we're pretty certain it does. We can model it, predict effects, and check against observations. Can we create a mass exceeding the Chandreskhar limit and form an extrasolar black hole? Of course not. But we see them, and their effects. No experimentation, just observation matching prediction.

Just like the theory of evolution. It models, it predicts, and, based in some cases on observation alone, those predictions are validated.

Or are you saying that gravity can't possibly be true because we only have theories on how it works?


You claim that science is "99.9999% good, progressive and accurate", and yet the very same procedures, methodologies and approaches that produced that vast body of work you accept cannot *POSSIBLY* be true in this one, singular case, because it goes against your personal beliefs? I would ask that you consider that. Something doesn't match.

I'm being as polite as I can about this, Fellowship, because in the past I have respected you and your beliefs, but frankly, I'm just... well... enjoy the thread.
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post #174 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kickaha

You're not listening. No one *can* answer those questions. But to claim that that invalidates all of the theory of evolution is just inane. We don't know *why* gravity works, but we're pretty certain it does. We can model it, predict effects, and check against observations. Can we create a mass exceeding the Chandreskhar limit and form an extrasolar black hole? Of course not. But we see them, and their effects. No experimentation, just observation matching prediction.

Just like the theory of evolution. It models, it predicts, and, based in some cases on observation alone, those predictions are validated.

Or are you saying that gravity can't possibly be true because we only have theories on how it works?


You claim that science is "99.9999% good, progressive and accurate", and yet the very same procedures, methodologies and approaches that produced that vast body of work you accept cannot *POSSIBLY* be true in this one, singular case, because it goes against your personal beliefs? I would ask that you consider that. Something doesn't match.

I am sorry but we do know why gravity works.

We do know many things. What we do not know is that all creation descended from a common ancestor.

If we do know this I ask anyone to please share and provide the basis.

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post #175 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kickaha


I'm being as polite as I can about this, Fellowship, because in the past I have respected you and your beliefs, but frankly, I'm just... well... enjoy the thread.


I just want to say that I like you Kickaha and I know you are a VERY intelligent being.

I enjoy your imput on the boards and I do not think ill of you in any way.

But this said I still have my opinions and I hope you can respect that I have an opinion.

I still would say that there is something to be said for anyone who can downshift a gear and be humble enough to classify their ideas and views as opinions and beliefs as opposed to FACT.

Do you get what I am saying with this classification issue of opinion / belief vs. fact?

I think this is the crux of a big problem with any attempt to discuss this matter of origins.

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post #176 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fellowship

I am sorry but we do know why gravity works.

No, Fellowship, we don't. I'm sorry. We have models that predict, but we do not know what *causes* gravity. We model it as a curvature of space, but that doesn't mean that's what's happening 'for real'. There has never been found a particle to carry gravity between masses, there has never been a gravity 'wave' detected. Gravity is the one force that sits outside the other three (strong, weak, electromagnetic) as unique and unknown.

Those models are how we can predict the effects of gravity, but they are still just models, and that's all. Very *good* models, but still just a big guess as to how it works.

Take if from someone with a physics degree, we don't know why gravity works... but in the end, does it matter?

We can predict, we can observe, we can even experiment in some cases, and all (well, most) results validate the models. Where they don't, questions remain, and theories are put forth to refine the models. But we still don't know *for sure* what's going on.

Rather like evolutionary theory.
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post #177 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kickaha

No, Fellowship, we don't. I'm sorry. We have models that predict, but we do not know what *causes* gravity. We model it as a curvature of space, but that doesn't mean that's what's happening 'for real'. There has never been found a particle to carry gravity between masses, there has never been a gravity 'wave' detected. Gravity is the one force that sits outside the other three (strong, weak, electromagnetic) as unique and unknown.

Those models are how we can predict the effects of gravity, but they are still just models, and that's all. Very *good* models, but still just a big guess as to how it works.

Take if from someone with a physics degree, we don't know why gravity works... but in the end, does it matter?

We can predict, we can observe, we can even experiment in some cases, and all (well, most) results validate the models. Where they don't, questions remain, and theories are put forth to refine the models. But we still don't know *for sure* what's going on.

Rather like evolutionary theory.

At least I will not be like some and say.... "ohhh so you believe in something you can not see? So you believe in the tooth fairy as well I suppose?"

You see I have never said something this rude and condescending but be honest and tell me indeed some over the past threads which cover this subject who do suggest and toss out such rude and condescending comments to those who profess a belief (just a mere belief) that a creator may have created all creation.

I just find that there is a double standard of critique applied and I try to bring this to light and it is taken as offense.

Respectfully

Fellowship
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post #178 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fellowship

I just want to say that I like you Kickaha and I know you are a VERY intelligent being.

I enjoy your imput on the boards and I do not think ill of you in any way.

But this said I still have my opinions and I hope you can respect that I have an opinion.

I appreciate that, and I do respect that you have your opinions. I just think that in this case your opinion is based on some poor assumptions. I'd rather clarify them if I could, but that can't happen if you're going to start from a confrontational stance of "Ah-HA! GOTCHA!". It just won't work.

Quote:
I still would say that there is something to be said for anyone who can downshift a gear and be humble enough to classify their ideas and views as opinions and beliefs as opposed to FACT.

Do you get what I am saying with this classification issue of opinion / belief vs. fact?

Absolutely.

However, between pure fact and pure belief is an area called scientific theory. That's the sticking point. It isn't fact or fiction, it's a theory based on hard evidence that can be validated by further observation (or, if you're lucky, experimentation), that does not yet have demonstrative *proof* for all time. I get the feeling you're trying to force a fact-or-fiction model on evolution, when that is not, and never has been, the reality.

Quote:
I think this is the crux of a big problem with any attempt to discuss this matter of origins.

As do I, but we see it the actual crux differently. As I see it, scientists (I don't mean laypeople who are misinformed, I mean actual, honest-to-god scientists) are the ones willing to say "I don't know... but it's a good question, and we'll work on it" and the staunch religious believers are the ones demanding hard proof before believing any aspect of the theory. As soon as "I don't know" is uttered by a scientist, the religious believer will shout "Ah-HA! GOTCHA!" and that's it, game over, ears and mind are closed to further discussion.

It's not about evolution per se, it's about a fundamental misunderstanding of the basics of science, the scientific process, and what constitutes a scientific theory.
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post #179 of 522
To that very fair and good post I want to say I agree with you and I give you credit for the well worded reply.

I do not say evolution is false.

I find the theory of evolution to be just that a theory.

I think we are on the same page.

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post #180 of 522
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post #181 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fellowship

At least I will not be like some and say.... "ohhh so you believe in something you can not see? So you believe in the tooth fairy as well I suppose?"

You see I have never said something this rude and condescending but be honest and tell me indeed some over the past threads which cover this subject who do suggest and toss out such rude and condescending comments to those who profess a belief (just a mere belief) that a creator may have created all creation.

I just find that there is a double standard of critique applied and I try to bring this to light and it is taken as offense.

You're right, it is rude and condescending. It is also, in my opinion, a *logical* response, if not a particularly civil one. It's not one I trot out, because it does no good to a conversation, but it's a conclusion I can't argue with.

I have zero problems with a person's religious beliefs, even if I don't agree with them, as long as they don't affect my life. I'm not a Dawkins, I'm willing to be tolerant of things that I see as, well, wacky. Live and let live, blah, blah, blah.

What I have a problem with is when said beliefs shape public issues such as education, and, because of a fundamental misunderstanding of science in general, foment an increasing destruction of the education of same, creating a cycle of ignorance.

ID, creationism, whatever you want to call it, has no place in a science or biology classroom. Religious studies? Sure! Absolutely! Hell, I think more schools would benefit from investigative and comparative classes in that. It's fascinating, and a large part of our history has been shaped by it.

But science classes should not be.
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post #182 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fellowship

Ok so I thought I would ask a few questions:

Kickaha is right that you're basically playing the game of pretending that knocking evolution down (and not doing it very effectively) leaves "God did it!" as a better answer than "I don't know," which it doesn't. But I will respond to some of your questions anyway...

Quote:
First off the big one.. For those of you all who deny a creator and believe in "evolution" Did all of creation progress and evolve from one singular "common ancestor"?

Should I take it from the way you phrased this that you think that to believe in evolution one must deny the existence of God, or is it that you only want to hear responses from atheist evolutionists at the moment?

Quote:
If you believe yes then please identify the name of this original life form.

I'll answer this and the above with an analogy from current events: Police in Britain right now are looking for a serial killer responsible for the deaths of a number of prostitutes. They currently have no idea who this would be, but the evidence they've seen leads them to believe that these killings are all linked and most likely the work of one person.

They could be wrong (or only mostly right -- for instance, someone other than the main culprit might take this as an opportunity to kill someone, hoping to divert blame), but for now it makes the most sense to proceed with a single killer as the leading theory.

Are they automatically wrong to suspect a single killer simply because they don't know his identity yet?

A single common ancestor for life is simply the most economical explanation to explain the available data. Identifying that common ancestor would be wonderful, but it's far from necessary. Do you honestly think you're posing such a "stumper" here that evolutionists should hang their heads in shame for not providing you with an answer?

Quote:
2nd: Please explain the process of the conversion of non-living matter into the "living" original ancestor which spawned all life that we see today.

What does this have to do with evolution of species? Why would "God did it!" be a better answer here than "I don't know", should the relevant science be lacking? Why are you apparently coming from the angle that knowing how something happened (say the specific weapon used in a murder) is a necessary part of knowing that something did happen (dead body found amidst signs of violence)?

Quote:
3rdly: Please explain how you are certain that all life originated from a "common ancestor" For the sake of saying that we believe in evolution how can we be sure that there may not have been 2 original lineages or perhapse 3 or perhapse 100, or 99,000?

Was there just one common ancestor or untold thousands and how do you know????

How do you know that, when you came home last night and found everything exactly the way you remembered leaving it that someone didn't break into your house, steal everything, and replace all of it with exact duplicates?

There's just so much in common between living organisms that a common ancestry is the simplest explanation for what we see. Yes, you could also say those similarities are due to having a common "designer", but unless that explanation truly provides more explanatory power than invoking a new entity (Occam's razor: entities should not be needlessly multiplied), it's better science to invoke a tentatively explained or unknown natural process (the natural world already being an established entity in the problem at hand), and simply say "I don't know" beyond that.

Besides, your Creator would have to have a very perverse sense of humor and some weird desire to trick scientists into believing evolution happened, because, for some strange reason, the "designed" morphological and genetic patterns we find fit horribly with the concept of deliberate design and wonderfully with the explanation of common ancestry with mutations along the way.

It's pretty clear, even if you don't rate the odds as low as creationists are prone to do, that it's going to take a lot of trial and error chemistry in the pre-biotic world for the first proto-life to emerge, and that, just like it's terribly unlikely for 20,000 people to pick the same winning number in a lottery, it's terribly unlikely for multiple potential ancestors of modern life to arise all at once, especially all at once and using very similar biochemistry. Once some single simple form of life was able to establish itself, it would quickly dominate the organic resources from which other forms of life might emerge.

Everything I've just said is very speculative, of course, but that's not such a big problem as you'd probably like to make it out to be. I'll return to a murder mystery analogy: You have evidence that points you to a particular suspect. You don't know exactly how he might have killed your victim, you might be missing many big pieces of the whole picture, but everything that you do know fits a pattern that points to this one suspect. All you need to know is that it's plausible for your suspect to have committed the crime -- and speculating about possible ways he could have done it, even if you can't prove any one of them -- is part of the logical process of establishing probable guilt.

If you can't imagine a single way for your prime suspect to have committed the crime, your case against him is in big trouble. If you can imagine some way, even if your imagined scenario is wrong, that's certainly good enough, if the rest of your evidence is solid, to proceed with arrest, trial, and likely a fair conviction, even if you never figure out some of the particulars.

Quote:
What is your basis and how do you prove it?

The next question is where is the map of this evolution?

What was bermuda grass before it was bermuda grass?

What was a Lucy before she was Lucy?

What was a butterfly before it was a butterfly?

I'll can come back to some of these questions later if you wish, if you aren't yet seeing the problem with your questions themselves, and the implied concept that you're asking questions that require definitive answers in order for evolution to be considered well supported.

Quote:
If you can not answer and support with a reasonable basis even one of my questions then I would suggest to you that you take inventory of your beliefs before you come on here and talk down to Believers of a creator who created all of creation.

The whole problem is that you think your particular questions are more important and salient than they really are, and that you aren't coming to terms with the fact that "God did it!", even if evolutionary theory falls completely apart, is a non-explanatory explanation which gains nothing in scientific value from any alleged scientific failings of a competing idea.
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post #183 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kickaha

You're right, it is rude and condescending. It is also, in my opinion, a *logical* response, if not a particularly civil one. It's not one I trot out, because it does no good to a conversation, but it's a conclusion I can't argue with.

I have zero problems with a person's religious beliefs, even if I don't agree with them, as long as they don't affect my life. I'm not a Dawkins, I'm willing to be tolerant of things that I see as, well, wacky. Live and let live, blah, blah, blah.

What I have a problem with is when said beliefs shape public issues such as education, and, because of a fundamental misunderstanding of science in general, foment an increasing destruction of the education of same, creating a cycle of ignorance.

ID, creationism, whatever you want to call it, has no place in a science or biology classroom. Religious studies? Sure! Absolutely! Hell, I think more schools would benefit from investigative and comparative classes in that. It's fascinating, and a large part of our history has been shaped by it.

But science classes should not be.

I agree 100%

I do not want any religion shoved on the population.

I also want science class to be just that. Not religious class.

I also suggest that evolution be taught as a theory not fact.

Let individuals make up their minds with the evidence they are given.

Fellowship
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post #184 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fellowship

To that very fair and good post I want to say I agree with you and I give you credit for the well worded reply.

I do not say evolution is false.

I find the theory of evolution to be just that a theory.

I think we are on the same page.

Well, the same chapter at least.

Yeah, evolution is a theory, but so is most of the rest of modern science. If it wasn't, we could stop *doing* science.

I think the biggest problem is that most people *don't* understand science, or scientific theory... but further diluting science classes by introducing something that is very much distinctly *NOT* science is the wrong direction.

There seems to be an equality set among a lot of people between the generic word 'theory' and 'scientific theory' when the two are *NOT* the same. They hear "theory of evolution" and it triggers the "Ah-HA!" reflex at the word "theory", as in 'unproven', 'wild conjecture', 'sheer speculation', when that isn't the case at all.

Open questions are what *define* science, not invalidate it.

Thanks for the discussion, glad I stuck around.
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post #185 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by shetline

...

I appreciate your reply and again shetline you are an individual which I admire here at AI for many reasons not least of which is your ability to expand your mind and evaluate many many vantage points of a subject matter which is evidenced by your doccumented trips across the planet and creativity which is always in sight for even the least of the attentive to see clearly.

Alright, now that I have kissed your well um

I just want to say that I am not saying "God did it"

I am saying that if there are unknowns we need to work harder before we proclaim something as Fact.

If something is a working theory I am all for that if that is how it is given context.

I may not subscribe to parts of a given theory for differing reasons with basis but who the bloody heck am I to frown on a "working theory". It is just a theory right?

On the other side of the coin let us be careful to pronounce certain things as Fact and if one does not agree they are against science.

Again let me not drag out the analogy of the Bush admin (( If you are against the war you are against America )).

Respectfully

Fellows
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post #186 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kickaha


We have models that predict, but we do not know what *causes* gravity. . . There has never been found a particle to carry gravity between masses, there has never been a gravity 'wave' detected. Gravity is the one force that sits outside the other three (strong, weak, electromagnetic) as unique and unknown.

Well, we know that mass causes gravity, just as charged particles cause electrostatic fields and rotating charge causes magnetic fields, and protons and neutrons cause strong nuclear forces and so on. There are no detectable particles for gravity, electrostatic, magnetic, or nuclear forces. Just how does gravity differ? I must have been asleep during that lecture.

post #187 of 522
Er... I think you slept through the other lectures too. Particles associated with carrying forces:

EM: photon
strong: gluon
weak: W and Z bosons
gravity: ??

The graviton has been tossed out there as a possible name, but the characteristics of what it may be like are pretty bloody vague at the moment.
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post #188 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kickaha


Particles associated with carrying forces:

EM: photon
strong: gluon
weak: W and Z bosons
gravity: ??

The graviton has been tossed out there as a possible name, but the characteristics of what it may be like are pretty bloody vague at the moment.


It may be that I am dating myself. Electromagnetic forces were mostly treated as wave and we had Maxwell equations. We discussed photons as the smallest amount of EM force, I believe, and this gets into quantum mechanics, no? I realize there is the dichotomy of, "Is it waves or particles," since it can be described either way. Particles works better at the very low level, if I remember correctly. Most of my work has been large scale, and it is all wave theory.

I really did take those courses and got good grades, nothing lower than B. Honest.

One more question. What about pure electrostatic attraction, and magnetic attraction? Particles too? BTW, I made a mistake in my previous post. Magnetism is produced by moving charged particles, not just rotating. I realize you know that too.

post #189 of 522
Yup, particles. The wave/particle duality is definitely a fun piece of QM, but it isn't a distinction relevant to this particular (ouch) discussion.

The thing is... three of the four known basic forces in the universe have detectable quanta/particles, but the most common, pervasive, and longest range one is a big "dunno". But that's the fun part - we'll figure it out some day.

The point was... the lack of understanding on what is *actually* happening in no way seriously affects our ability to make predictions and validate them. We don't know for *sure* that's what's going on, but it certainly seems to work so far as a model.

So far, evolution, while having open questions (thank god, it'd be boring if it didn't), allows us to predict and validate based on observation (not experimentation, observation) pretty blasted well. Saying that because we don't know *for sure* means that it couldn't have happened (as some hardliner fundamentalists will do), is like saying that gravity can't exist, because we don't know *for sure* what's going on, really, and it's all just theory and models.

Same methodologies, same approaches, same reasoning, led to both situations. If one is acceptable (gravity), then the other should be too, by all accounts and reason.

Our models are not reality, but they're the best we have, and either you accept that the scientific process works, in which case both gravitational theory and evolutionary theory should be equally acceptable, or you don't, in which case neither should be.

And yes, there are people for whom science is simply not acceptable as a methodology, but what's even more frightening, to me, are the rather large numbers who accept theories ala carte, and don't realize there's an underlying basic flaw in their reasoning.
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post #190 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fellowship

I just want to say that I am not saying "God did it"

Fair enough. Quite a bit of this thread had flown by where you'd made your stance here more clear, while I was composing my long-winded diatribe, so I apologize.

Quote:
I am saying that if there are unknowns we need to work harder before we proclaim something as Fact.

I won't, as some have done here, shy away from saying that I believe evolution is a fact. The word "fact" does not mean 100% unassailable truth, however, or at the very least, that's not a very useful definition for the word since nothing a human being knows or claims to know is 100% rock-solid and absolute.

I also have to add, however, that the fact of evolution, and the theory of evolution are two different things. I think that there's a false, um, let's call it "hierarchy of truthiness" afoot here, with "fact" at the top, "theory" somewhere below that, and, going down the line from there I imagine you could put, perhaps, "educated guess", "wild-assed guess", "long shot", and "dead wrong."

Just look at the example of gravity which has been brought up already, and I think it becomes clear that fact and theory are two different beasts, not different levels on the same scale. There is the fact of gravity, and the theory of gravity. You could argue theories of gravity all day long, they could all be full of holes, but none of that would make jumping out of a plane without a parachute a particularly good idea. The fact of gravity is something you have to deal with no matter what.

So, what do I take to be the fact, or some of the collection of facts, of evolution? That there has been life on this planet for billions of years. That there has been a succession of life forms and ecologies, with many species coming and going. That humans are very new on the scene given the time scale involved. That the morphology, apparent function, and placement in time for species revealed in the fossil record fits, very, very well with what one would expect from a pattern of branching descent.

For all practical intents and purposes, I think it's entirely fair, by any practical meaning of the word "fact", to call this overall story of life on Earth a fact. That we're missing lots of details, and probably have a few details of this story wrong, doesn't eliminate the fact of the basic evolutionary story, any more than a lack of knowledge about the name and rank of every single soldier, and even a few mistakes on the details of several battles or some confusion about why the war was fought, would alter the fact of the Peloponnessian War.

I would also add that, as a corollary to the above, I consider it a solid fact that the history of life on this planet was never anything at all like a literal reading of Genesis.

The theory of evolution is the explanatory framework -- and a damned good one -- for the fact of evolution, the best "why" and "how" we can currently come up with to explain life as we see it today, and life as revealed in the fossil record.

I have no problem with evolution being taught as a "theory" in public schools so long as (1) the fact side of evolution is not treated as some tentative bit of mere guesswork, (2) the scientific sense of the word "theory" is taught and clearly distinguished from the colloquial sense of the word, and (3) evolution is not singled out like some poor stepchild of science for warnings and disclaimers that it's "just" a theory when nothing else in science classes gets the same treatment.
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post #191 of 522
I didn't intent to get caught up in this conversation; I don't pretend to be as knowledgeable on this subject as many who have already contributed, but this exchange between Fellowship and Kickaha is interesting and reminded me of a book by Richard Feynman that I read many years ago. In it he remarked how science and religion view facts, theories and data very differently.

Many non-scientists have asked me if I "believe" in evolution, or how I can "believe in something that you cannot observe." (new species forming now, for example)

Part of this debate gets confused by language; an evolutionary biologist would not claim to "believe" in evolution. (S)he might respond that it is the best theory to explain the available data and that it has been a very useful predictive tool, etc. "Theory" also gets mangled in this debate, because many non-scientists use the word to mean an "educated guess"--"evolution is just a theory", for example. In scientific parlance, a theory is a useful framework that has withstood various tests, peer review and academic scrutiny and can make testable predictions. When the general public speaks of a theory, they are likely thinking of what a scientist would call a "hypothesis": an educated guess that has not yet been proven or subject to extensive scrutiny.

Where Feynman's ideas come into play is the topic of how data is treated. According to Feynman, religion is a "top down" framework, where science is more of a "bottom up" framework. Religion starts with a "Truth" (for Christianity, lets start with Genesis and God created the universe, Earth, and all living creatures). Any observations of the natural world must fit into this belief of the truth and are treated accordingly. If an observation seems contradictory to The Truth, the data is simply misunderstood. It would be inappropriate within religion to question The Truth, as this would be blasphemous.

Science takes the bottom up approach by starting with observations, creating a hypothesis, performing experiments, publishing results ... ... ... until an understanding of the subject is good enough to form a theory: something that is testable and has predictive power. When new data comes in that contradicts the theory, the data (once vetted) are not misunderstood--the theory requires adjustment or, complete rejection. Unlike in religion, it is absolutely appropriate to honestly question and challenge a theory.

(example: the Ptolemaic solar system, with its epicycles, deferents and Earth at the center, had great predictive power for determining the location of planets and was, but it ultimately was rejected when new observations--such as Galileo observing full phases of Venus--showed the theory to be impossible. The sun-centered uniform-circular-motion Copernican system was not as good at predictions because even though it was "more correct", it still didn't have elliptical orbits.)

This difference in how data are treated relative to a theory/The Truth contributes to the endlessness of debates like this. I personally think that more religiously-minded people, who's belief system is based on the more top-down approach transfer this notion to scientists and assume that they "believe" in this or that, but it is not the case.

There is no "belief" in evolution by scientists any more than there is "belief" in gravity; they are testable theories with predictive power. In the unlikely event that a scientist has a eureka moment and shows incontrovertibly that evolution-by natural-selection-from-a-common-ancestor is wrong, he or she would likely win the Nobel Prize!

Michael Behe may have been on the right track with Darwin's Black Box by demonstrating some mechanisms that he didn't believe were possible by evolution as currently understood. Questioning a scientific theory like this is not only appropriate; it is one way that theories can be improved. However, when his arguments were refuted, he didn't revise his theories, debate in journals or submit further work to peers, he just went on lecture tours (and appeared in the Kitzmiller trial) to promote his largely-discredited notion of "irreducible complexity". This is not how science works. Science is not a "grass roots" process. You can't promote an idea to a receptive public (thinking the ID proponents) and push a belief into the schools as "science"; to get into the textbooks requires years and years of peer-reviewed experimentation, data collection, analysis, etc. until a consensus is reached.

Evolution has met this challenge. It is not a matter of "belief".

There is a very complete compilation of answers to common questions about evolution, as well as responses to its various challenges here:

http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/list.html

Here is also a good lecture by Ken Miller (also part of the Kitzmiller trial) that discusses Evolution and ID:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVRsWAjvQSg
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post #192 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fawkes

I didn't intent to get caught up in this conversation....

....

Where Feynman's ideas come into play is the topic of how data is treated. According to Feynman, religion is a "top down" framework, where science is more of a "bottom up" framework. Religion starts with a "Truth" (for Christianity, lets start with Genesis and God created the universe, Earth, and all living creatures). Any observations of the natural world must fit into this belief of the truth and are treated accordingly. If an observation seems contradictory to The Truth, the data is simply misunderstood. It would be inappropriate within religion to question The Truth, as this would be blasphemous.

...

Yes [macro]Evolution is 'belief' -- without the facts in hand you will fill in the rest with your presuppositions. In this case that is materialistic philosophy. Also, don't forget the Feynman quote: "If it disagrees with experiment it is wrong."

Also, Behe has not been 'largely discredited'.

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and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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post #193 of 522
Everyone keeps referring to "a creator"- well, the universe created all of us, earth- but does it have to be sentient in terms of human intelligence?

Apparently so. It's only acceptable if it's put into terms like a big man in the sky who judges everyone and then rewards you when you die.

First of all, we've only been around such a short time. The universe is beyond comprehension, and we know squat about it really. In fact, the human race is only recently starting to embark on understanding it.


At some point we'll look back on religion once we've gained enough knowledge and shrug about how cute it was save how much death and destruction it caused. And how much it crippled our enlightenment.

It's been human nature to try and explain the unknown with fairy tales since we came about, so this is no different until knowledge tackles the bigger questions and we can put the tall tales behind us.
post #194 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacRR

At some point we'll look back on religion once we've gained enough knowledge and shrug about how cute it was save how much death and destruction it caused. And how much it crippled our enlightenment.

It's been human nature to try and explain the unknown with fairy tales since we came about, so this is no different until knowledge tackles the bigger questions and we can put the tall tales behind us.

Cue someone bringing up that stupid (although somewhat funny) South Park episode about warring atheists.
post #195 of 522
Shetline, and Kickaha, I just wanted to say that each of your last posts were truly great, and and a pleasure to read
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post #196 of 522
Fellowship:

I think the problem you are having is that you are jumping into the deep end of the pool when you do not know how to swim. Let's take this slow and not overwhelm ourselves.

Quote:
I also suggest that evolution be taught as a theory not fact.

What do you mean by "theory"?


snoopy:

Quote:
Yet, there are things about going from one species to another that make it far more difficult, or less probable -- for example, a land species turning into a bird. Many things must happen before an animal can fly, and each of these makes it more difficult for the animal to survive on land. How can such a population live in the wild before getting to the point where they can fly away from danger?

There are land animals that glide. How can you not see the evolutionary advantaged to gradually moving from gliding to flying?



Outsider:

Quote:
Cue someone bringing up that stupid (although somewhat funny) South Park episode about warring atheists.

There is a tremendous irony in people acknowledging evolution and still clinging to a spiritual utopian ideal. We are animals and we will fight. Remove god from the equation and we will still fight. We have reasons to fight, and god is just one of the flags we wave in those battles.


dmz:

Quote:
Also, Behe has not been 'largely discredited'.

Really? How many peer-reviewed papers has Behe published that mention intelligent design or irreducible complexity? (0)

How many courtrooms has he been laughed out of (figuratively)? (At least 1)

Behe himself might not be discredited (I do not know what that means, he is a human, not a theory), but ID certainly is, and irreducible complexity is still nothing more than a way to get the religious to buy books and pay for speaking engagements.
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post #197 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by dmz

Yes [macro]Evolution is 'belief' -- without the facts in hand you will fill in the rest with your presuppositions. In this case that is materialistic philosophy. Also, don't forget the Feynman quote: "If it disagrees with experiment it is wrong."

Also, Behe has not been 'largely discredited'.

No, it's "theory." There's substantive evidence for it, and when you look for evidence against it, all you can find are crickets chirping.

And some crazy named dmz making up terms.
post #198 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by gregmightdothat

No, it's "theory." There's substantive evidence for it, and when you look for evidence against it, all you can find are crickets chirping.

And some crazy named dmz making up terms.

Either it agrees with experimentation/you can demonstrate it, or you're left with only the belief that it might happen.

Las Vegas thrives on exploiting this very principle.

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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post #199 of 522
True enough, but not all beliefs have equal basis for credibility. Probabilities for different things exist, and a mountain of evidence increases probability.
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post #200 of 522
Evolution is a theory that describes a process... It is a well established theory on how things DID happen. You can't reasonably expect anyone to prove conclusively that chimpanzees and humans evolved from a common ancestor, but you can expect there to be a great deal of evidence suggesting this (and there is)... Saying that the theory is well established does not constitute a belief.
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