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Don't Believe In Evolution? Read This. - Page 6

post #201 of 522
groverat and hardeeharhar

Yes, it's a theory, and it's popular. But you need to believe the theory will pan out.

The credibility factor doubles back on 'belief': it can be argued in the cases like the Cambrian explosion, or [arguably] irreducibly complex systems, that [macro]Evolution doesn't fit the evidence. And you might disagree, but it's still a reasonable argument -- to the point of tipping people's beliefs.

This issue lays out in a grey area for too many people for one side to proclaim the evidence as 'overwhelming'. In the end, there are some very educated people on either side of this issue, and pretending that everyone on one side or the other is 'the devil', or 'stupid', 'brainwashed', etc., -- is more than a little screwy.

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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 #202 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by dmz

groverat and hardeeharhar

Yes, it's a theory, and it's popular. But you need to believe the theory will pan out.

The credibility factor doubles back on 'belief': it can be argued in the cases like the Cambrian explosion, or [arguably] irreducibly complex systems, that [macro]Evolution doesn't fit the evidence. And you might disagree, but it's still a reasonable argument -- to the point of tipping people's beliefs.

This issue lays out in a grey area for too many people for one side to proclaim the evidence as 'overwhelming'. In the end, there are some very educated people on either side of this issue, and pretending that everyone on one side or the other is 'the devil', or 'stupid', 'brainwashed', etc., -- is more than a little screwy.

There's no gray area at all.

If for example, there was ANY evidence contrary to evolution, then you might have a point. But as it stands, the best ID'ers have managed to come up with is "that seems implausible," when mathematically that's not the case.
post #203 of 522
dmz:

Quote:
The credibility factor doubles back on 'belief': it can be argued in the cases like the Cambrian explosion, or [arguably] irreducibly complex systems, that [macro]Evolution doesn't fit the evidence. And you might disagree, but it's still a reasonable argument -- to the point of tipping people's beliefs.

Do you have a point other than the idea that triggering the word "belief" imparts some kind of insight?

Quote:
This issue lays out in a grey area for too many people for one side to proclaim the evidence as 'overwhelming'.

The evidence is overwhelming and the grey area exists in the conflict between the evidence and people's religious beliefs. There is only evidence for one of these "sides" you discuss. Creationism has no evidence at all on its side

Quote:
In the end, there are some very educated people on either side of this issue, and pretending that everyone on one side or the other is 'the devil', or 'stupid', 'brainwashed', etc., -- is more than a little screwy.

Why is it "screwy"? Are you making an appeal to political correctness?

Beliefs without any backing evidence are considered delusional beliefs in many many cases. If I were to walk into my classroom and start telling students about a giant invisible wombat that talks to me, and I sincerely believed it, then I would be considered delusional (you would certainly consider me delusional). There is as much evidence for the invisible talking wombat as it is for your god, so the crux of being assigned the label "delusional" is social consent and the manner of communication (few (if any) religious believers claim that god literally talks to them as one person would another, and will openly speak of teir conversation with god consisting of their interpretation of life events or physiological phenomena).

"the devil"? I do not believe in the devil, so I do not know the criteria for that label.
"stupid"? I think this means a physical inability to process information. If that is the meaning, then there are many people who are too stupid to understand the concept of biological evolution.
"brainwashed"? This certainly applies to just about any thought any person could ever have about anything.
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post #204 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by groverat

The evidence is overwhelming and the grey area exists in the conflict between the evidence and people's religious beliefs. There is only evidence for one of these "sides" you discuss. Creationism has no evidence at all on its side.

That is where you go off the track. Leaving aside the self-conscious Creationists, you have a growing group of professionals looking at [macro]Evolution, and saying "Hey! this doesn't quite work." And as much as it bothers the establishment, they're going to have to deal with the problems sooner or later. Exploring [macro]Evolution's problems thoroughly shouldn't be seen as anything but helpful.

Quote:
Originally Posted by groverat

Beliefs without any backing evidence are considered delusional beliefs in many many cases. If I were to walk into my classroom and start telling students about a giant invisible wombat that talks to me, and I sincerely believed it, then I would be considered delusional (you would certainly consider me delusional). There is as much evidence for the invisible talking wombat as it is for your god, so the crux of being assigned the label "delusional" is social consent and the manner of communication (few (if any) religious believers claim that god literally talks to them as one person would another, and will openly speak of teir conversation with god consisting of their interpretation of life events or physiological phenomena).

Well, while 'evidence of God' is something of a misnomer, there are plenty of religious figures, and quite long trails of claimed revelation, miracles witnessed by large crowds -- for Islam Buddhism, Christianity, etc., -- some of it suspiciously coherent for the time spans involved. So there really is more evidence for those religious cants than the FSM or your wombat. Regardless, that's more out-and-out faith, than looking at the Cambrian explosion, and saying 'wait a minute...".

And if a gaint, invisible wombat approaches you I'd show that puppy some respect!

**zips it till tomorrow**

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. --...

Reply

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 #205 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by dmz

you have a growing group of professionals looking at [macro]Evolution, and saying "Hey! this doesn't quite work."

My sense is that they're saying "We know this works, but we can't explain how yet."
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post #206 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'.

The concept of irreducible complexity is an interesting one and has led to some fascinating discussions of the origin of some systems, such as the bacterial flagellum and the eye, to name two; so I give credit to Behe for making me aware of these. However, this does not disprove evolution and certainly does not necessitate a designer. As for his credibility among his peers, the following is a statement from his own Biology Department at Lehigh University:

Quote:
Department Position on Evolution and "Intelligent Design"

The faculty in the Department of Biological Sciences is committed to the highest standards of scientific integrity and academic function. This commitment carries with it unwavering support for academic freedom and the free exchange of ideas. It also demands the utmost respect for the scientific method, integrity in the conduct of research, and recognition that the validity of any scientific model comes only as a result of rational hypothesis testing, sound experimentation, and findings that can be replicated by others.

The department faculty, then, are unequivocal in their support of evolutionary theory, which has its roots in the seminal work of Charles Darwin and has been supported by findings accumulated over 140 years. The sole dissenter from this position, Prof. Michael Behe, is a well-known proponent of "intelligent design." While we respect Prof. Behe's right to express his views, they are his alone and are in no way endorsed by the department. It is our collective position that intelligent design has no basis in science, has not been tested experimentally, and should not be regarded as scientific.

http://www.lehigh.edu/~inbios/news/evolution.htm

Here are some TalkOrigins links pertaining to irreducible complexity:

Irreducible Complexity
Bacterial flagella
Blood Clotting

As for the "Cambrian Explosion" that you mentioned in another post, here is some information and links about it.

I don't pretend to be a biologist (my background is in Physics/Astronomy/Electrical Engineering), but I am fascinated by evolutionary biology (my wife is a microbiologist) and I learned a lot by reading those entries in Talk Origins. That is a very good place to get a surface-level understanding of evolution.
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post #207 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by dmz

That is where you go off the track. Leaving aside the self-conscious Creationists, you have a growing group of professionals looking at [macro]Evolution, and saying "Hey! this doesn't quite work." And as much as it bothers the establishment, they're going to have to deal with the problems sooner or later. Exploring [macro]Evolution's problems thoroughly shouldn't be seen as anything but helpful.

Here are some examples of speciation that are known to have occurred.

This link describes macroevolution:
http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB901.html
Formerly gEEk

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post #208 of 522
dmz:

Quote:
That is where you go off the track. Leaving aside the self-conscious Creationists, you have a growing group of professionals looking at [macro]Evolution, and saying "Hey! this doesn't quite work." And as much as it bothers the establishment, they're going to have to deal with the problems sooner or later. Exploring [macro]Evolution's problems thoroughly shouldn't be seen as anything but helpful.

No one explores evolution's problems more than evolutionary biologists.

Of all the various hoaxes trotted out over the years (especially the missing links): Who exposed them? Not preachers. Not clergymen. But scientists.

Your assertion that there is an establishment of science that does not think critically about evolutionary theory is not only incorrect, it is completely without basis.
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post #209 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kickaha

Oooooh, were you a JW too? Man, they can screw you up.

Fortunately not, although I don't know if mine was worse. JWs seem to be proud of their faith whereas the people in my church were mostly embarassed about their faith and seemed to want to just shut themselves off from the world and because they were much older, could do that more easily. When you are younger and are the only one out of 1500 school kids who goes to church and are coerced into behaving a certain way, it's awkward. Fortunately I was open-minded or it could have been worse.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kickaha

Always be skeptical, but trust that others are skeptical too, and are watching your back. Don't believe everything, take everything with a small grain of salt, and always be looking for the flaws and thinking 'what if...'... but don't discount everything you can't individually recreate.

Yeah, I agree. Just like driving my car, I probably couldn't build one on my own but I trust that the people who built it did so in a way that will reliably take me from one place to another.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kickaha

Recent work in Italy found a common link not in homosexual men, but in their mothers. Apparently mothers who are 'ultrafertile' start having male children with a MUCH higher rate of homosexuality after a few kids. It's built-in population control... something that is quite important in *species* survival, if not individual. Nice piece of work.

That is actually quite interesting. I never thought of it that way. It's actually a concept I agree with. I know this may seem like what happened during the war when Nazi Germany was in place but I don't think that culling the weakest of the species is a bad thing to do (not calling homos weak btw, although nature is, I mean it in a general sense).

Like old people. They should be killed if they live past 80. It seems harsh but people that old are just left to crumble and I think that's far worse. Just inject them when they are asleep.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shetline

An ID-er who naively looks at a strand of DNA or protein in isolation, treats the problem of creating this molecule as if evolution means you get one single out-of-the-blue shot at coming with that specific molecular sequence, dismissing all iterative and self-organizing processes from his calculations, neglecting the issue of there being multiple final molecules which could serve identical purposes, and then declares odds like 10^500 for evolution creating this molecule "by chance"... does not a mathematician make.

It also doesn't consider the possibly infinite amount of time available for such an event to occur, which would no doubt make it a certainty. Although even the assertion that there was a finite probability of the components required for evolution makes the assumption that evolution is how we got here.

But that's one thing that bothers me about evolution. Scientists throw billions of years around like they are meaningless. I think the age of the universe is very important and more important what happened before it was here, where everything appeared from suddenly and why.

I realise scientists are interested in how we got here but I'm more concerned about why. Perhaps one will answer the other but I can never see evolution answering it because it seems to ignore beyond there being something to evolve from. Not only that but why evolution started. If there was a pile of goo then why did it bother to change and not remain as a pile of goo?

Quote:
Originally Posted by shetline

Assigning responsibility to God for the performance of all things in the universe one currently can't otherwise explain is nothing more than a ridiculously dressed-up way of saying "I don't know" without admitting that you don't know.

Not really, it's an alternative explanation. Some scientists really go out of their way to make sure anything relating to a God does not exist in any form and so dream up ideas of how something can appear from nothing without intervention despite the laws stating that energy cannot be created or destroyed but transformed between states.

One irony is that the search for extra-terrestrial life seems to be perfectly acceptable. Perhaps we need a definition of what God really is. I believe in God in so much that I believe in a higher order, whether this be the forces of a natural order, extra-terrestrial beings or a human-like intelligent creator. There is a control over this universe that is not my own and I accept it. People should realise that science can only understand this controlling force, never dismiss its existence by defining it in terms comprehensible to the human mind. Defining the process by which evolution succeeds as "natural selection" doesn't make it any less significant. That term is merely a description of a process whose ultimate motivation hasn't been determined.

Quote:
Originally Posted by groverat

You are making it seem as if a chimp gave birth to a human one day

Yup July 6th, 1946.

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.

Not necessarily. There may be parts that cannot be changed from one form to another. For example, let's say gills can never transform into lungs in which case humans could never evolve from fish.

Quote:
Originally Posted by groverat

You hit the key, they place an arbitrary stop there and micro/macro-evolution is a nice semantic way to firm it up.

God is not an arbitrary element to tie up the loose ends just like you can't arbitrarily say that something that somehow appeared just changed into everything by observing small changes that happen due to environmental adaptation. Both sides start with a small idea that they can verify to themselves and then extrapolate it to deny everything the other party says and it creates an argument no one can win and as mentioned no one has to.

I'll read pages 5 and 6 of this thread later.
post #210 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin

Like old people. They should be killed if they live past 80. It seems harsh but people that old are just left to crumble and I think that's far worse. Just inject them when they are asleep.

If this is supposed to be a joke it's not very obvious. Maybe you were testing to see what the response would be? My grandfather is 85, thinks calculus is fun, and not too long ago emailed me asking for advice on a good BASIC compiler for a microwave calculation program he'd written but couldn't run. He takes a lot of naps and doesn't get around as well as he once did, but he's not exactly crumbling. His wife is in finer health at the same age. They have less and less friends around these days, but they're not alone.

You might also be careful with tossing around "culling the species" in relation to humans, in the same sentence with "homos" and "Nazi Germany" without being pretty explicit about your intended meaning.
post #211 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin

Quote:
Originally Posted by shetline

Assigning responsibility to God for the performance of all things in the universe one currently can't otherwise explain is nothing more than a ridiculously dressed-up way of saying "I don't know" without admitting that you don't know.

Not really, it's an alternative explanation. Some scientists really go out of their way to make sure anything relating to a God does not exist in any form and so dream up ideas of how something can appear from nothing without intervention despite the laws stating that energy cannot be created or destroyed but transformed between states.

The reason that God is not useful in scientific theory is that God would then be the immediate and correct answer to every unknown. If that sounds promising, it shouldn't, because the answer "Because of God" does not contain useful information!

If God were literally, factually, indisputably proven to and accepted by every sentient being in the universe tomorrow at noon (GMT), we would still have reason to continue scientific research under the same non-God-citing principles. Unless God opened up a free answer service for all our questions, we would still need verifiable answers to them.

If all the scientists who believed in God had given in when the going got hard, giving up with "Well it could've just been ol' God up to his clever tricks again", our body of scientific knowledge would be in a sorry state today. If they stood firm, but added a God Footnote every time it might've applied, they'd have run out of ink.
post #212 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin

I realise scientists are interested in how we got here but I'm more concerned about why.

BING BING BING! Two different questions!

Quote:
Perhaps one will answer the other

Nope. Which is why trying to muddle science and religion is a lost cause, and worse, a fundamentally dishonest one. Two separate questions are being answered, and the two domains are quite distinct.

Quote:
Not really, it's an alternative explanation. Some scientists really go out of their way to make sure anything relating to a God does not exist in any form and so dream up ideas of how something can appear from nothing without intervention despite the laws stating that energy cannot be created or destroyed but transformed between states.

The reason that God has no place in science is because, by definition, God is unknowable and unfathomable. God is the ultimate expression of the *SUPER*natural, while science is concerned solely with the natural. It isn't atheism, it isn't anti-God, it's because it is correctly recognized (by most) that there are two different realms here... the how, and the why. Trying to apply the possible answer to why to the question of how is meaningless, just as the vice versa is.

"How did the vase get broken?" "Because it was curious what was on the table."
"Why did the cat jump up there and break the vase?" "The cat did it."

See the problem?
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post #213 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by groverat


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

I can see the advantage of flying. Wish I could at times, without the burden of an airplane. It's not that it could not happen so much as it seems difficult to survive during the evolutionary transition. Maybe someone will find fossil evidence of how it happened someday, and it will seem so simple we will say, "Why didn't anyone think of that?" Right now, it is hard to imagine. Brittle bones for lightness, slow speed on the ground, no defensive mechanism but for a beak. Perfect prey for hungry cats.

post #214 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by midwinter

My sense is that they're saying "We know this works, but we can't explain how yet."

Now isn't that interesting. That seems to suggest adherence to a dogmatic position.
post #215 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Cuilla

Now isn't that interesting. That seems to suggest adherence to a dogmatic position.

Indeed. Sort of like how we know gravity works but aren't quite sure how to explain it. Dogma, I tell you! It's DOGMA! How do we know that objects don't fall to the earth because of LOVE?! Hmmmmmm?
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post #216 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Cuilla

Now isn't that interesting. That seems to suggest adherence to a dogmatic position.

What's dogmatic about that? For a long time, know one knew how aspirin worked. But that it did work could easily be verified by double-blind clinical tries showing aspirin as being more effective than a placebo in reducing pain. It's of course better to understand how the drug does what it does (I believe the chemical pathways have been uncovered), but not knowing that in no way, shape, or form would made saying "aspirin works" a dogmatic position.
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post #217 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by shetline

What's dogmatic about that? For a long time, know one knew how aspirin worked. But that it did work could easily be verified by double-blind clinical tries showing aspirin as being more effective than a placebo in reducing pain. It's of course better to understand how the drug does what it does (I believe the chemical pathways have been uncovered), but not knowing that in no way, shape, or form would made saying "aspirin works" a dogmatic position.

Interesting. I'd be interested in hearing BRussell on this, but isn't that the same thing as with lots of our meds these days? We don't really understand HOW Prozac helps people with clinical depression, but we know that it does. Does anyone know if my sense of this is accurate?
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post #218 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by midwinter

Indeed. Sort of like how we know gravity works but aren't quite sure how to explain it. Dogma, I tell you! It's DOGMA! How do we know that objects don't fall to the earth because of LOVE?! Hmmmmmm?

No, it's even worse. By Chris's logic, we don't even know that objects fall to the earth at all. Since we can't completely explain how this so-called "gravity" thing works, believing that gravity exists at all is "clearly" a dogmatic position.
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post #219 of 522
Hi,

I'm someone who avoided life sciences most of my life, but it has become more and more interesting to me. I think some of the ideas in ID are interesting too, as well as evolution. ID folks are likely laying low for a while, rethinking their theory and trying to learn from what happened. Obviously they got a few things wrong, but not everything I suspect.

I don't view the set back in ID as the collapse of ID however, as some do. This happens all the time in science. Someone has a theory and it's proven wrong. So what? Better luck next time. ID covers a lot of territory, not just the few examples of irreducible complexity that were shown to be not irreducible after all.

Okay, that is just an introduction. I'm not posting it for debate. Rather, I'd like to get some opinions from those who didn't avoid biology classes about an idea that borders on ID. We see evidence of evolution in rapidly proliferating species, like bacteria, and can study it. Also we learn from Stephen Jay Gould and Niles Eldredge that species tend to not evolve, unless there is a reason to, and when they do, it evolves relatively quickly. Just my own interpretation of what I have read. The merit of this punctuated equilibrium theory is that it seems to match the evidence more closely than a slower and continuous, or gradual, evolution as Darwin proposed.

My question is this, why does evolution only occur when it is needed? It is as though the evolutionary process is itself a defensive mechanism, a way to help a species survive. No? To me, this suggest some form of intelligence. A mechanism that triggers evolution for survival, just as the instinct to fight or flight is triggered in the presence of immediate danger.

What do you think? Some intelligence triggers a species into the evolutionary mode of operation. I do not mean an all knowing, supernatural intelligence, but an intelligence built into the species itself. How many things take place in our body that are controlled by a form of intelligence. We do not have to think about them. Maybe these are a low level of intelligence, but certainly our bodies know when there is food coming and how to digest it. Maybe it is more like AI and a computer. And maybe one such low level of intelligence is the evolutionary response, ready to operate when necessary.

post #220 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by snoopy

I'm someone who avoided life sciences most of my life

...

My question is this, why does evolution only occur when it is needed? It is as though the evolutionary process is itself a defensive mechanism, a way to help a species survive. No? To me, this suggest some form of intelligence.

I honestly don't know what to say other than you should ask a triceratops or Cro-Magnon Man how intelligent it was.
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post #221 of 522
Actually what's needed here is a biology class.

What snoopy is talking about is already covered by the very basics of natural selection and Mendelian genetics.

Organisms don't evolve consciously.
post #222 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by AsLan^

Actually what's needed here is a biology class.

What snoopy is talking about is already covered by the very basics of natural selection and Mendelian genetics.

Organisms don't evolve consciously.

Well, and a class in post hoc, ergo propter hoc fallacies.
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post #223 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by midwinter

Well, and a class in post hoc, ergo propter hoc fallacies.

You know, I could have used your help dealing with Chris a little while ago
post #224 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by snoopy

Hi,

I'm someone who avoided life sciences most of my life, but it has become more and more interesting to me. I think some of the ideas in ID are interesting too, as well as evolution. ID folks are likely laying low for a while, rethinking their theory and trying to learn from what happened. Obviously they got a few things wrong, but not everything I suspect.

*snip*


If you are really interested in learning here is a good place to start:

Into to Biology

The part on Natural Selection is relevant to what you were talking about but it help if you understood the concepts that come before it such as genetic variation.

My apologies for being rude earlier.
post #225 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by AsLan^


If you are really interested in learning here is a good place to start:

Into to Biology

The part on Natural Selection is relevant to what you were talking about but it help if you understood the concepts that come before it such as genetic variation.

My apologies for being rude earlier.

Thanks, I'll check it out. And I really don't remember you being rude at all.

post #226 of 522
So...

When comparing the "Theory of Evolution" to the "Theory of Creationism" and the "Theory of Intelligent Design" and the "Raelian Theory", which theory has more practicable, useful, productive applicability in today's world?

I suggest that whichever one that is, should get a higher profile presentation in education.
post #227 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by AsLan^

Actually what's needed here is a biology class.

What snoopy is talking about is already covered by the very basics of natural selection and Mendelian genetics.

Organisms don't evolve consciously.

You make Lamark want to cry
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post #228 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by AsLan^

Into to Biology

Quote:
Evolution can be divided into microevolution and macroevolution. The kind of evolution documented above is microevolution. Larger changes, such as when a new species is formed, are called macroevolution. Some biologists feel the mechanisms of macroevolution are different from those of microevolutionary change. Others think the distinction between the two is arbitrary -- macroevolution is cumulative microevolution.

Interesting. I thought the distinction between micro and macro was an arbitrary thing fabricated by creationists (or is the term anti-evolutionists now?)
post #229 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Cuilla

Interesting. I thought the distinction between micro and macro was and arbitrary thing fabricated by creationists (or is the term anti-evolutionists now?)



No, they're PROCREATIONIST!

Every eye fixed itself upon him; with parted lips and bated breath the audience hung upon his words, taking no note of time, rapt in the ghastly fascinations of the tale. NOT!
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post #230 of 522
Snoopy:

You have a lot of good questions, and I will happily answer any that I can for you. I am a teacher by trade.

Quote:
Right now, it is hard to imagine. Brittle bones for lightness, slow speed on the ground, no defensive mechanism but for a beak. Perfect prey for hungry cats.

Bird bones are not brittle, they are hollow. The bones of a flying mammal (let’s say, a bat) are not hollow at all (nor are they brittle).

Hollow bones are not a requirement of flight, although they certainly do help to some extent.

The bones of a “flying” (gliding) squirrel are not hollow, either, and their ability to cover long distances between trees in the air provides a tremendous advantage for avoiding on-the-ground predators (and also for surprising their own prey). Full flight would be nice, but there are trade-offs involved with full flight that would reduce their mobility on solid ground (and in the canopy of trees where they live). The compromise between the two and evolution has selected for that animal a nice balance between flight and flightlessness.

When it comes to flying creatures, we do not even really need to look back in the fossil record to see how “transition” (there is no such thing, really, as a “transition”, because evolution has no logical endpoint to judge from) pieces work with regards to flight. We have flightless mammals, gliding mammals, and flying mammals. We have flightless birds, gliding birds, and flying birds.

Quote:
My question is this, why does evolution only occur when it is needed? It is as though the evolutionary process is itself a defensive mechanism, a way to help a species survive. No? To me, this suggest some form of intelligence. A mechanism that triggers evolution for survival, just as the instinct to fight or flight is triggered in the presence of immediate danger.

Evolution does not occur when needed, it occurs when circumstances favor natural selection. Extinctions occur constantly, because a species cannot adapt to changes and simply dies off. Sometimes the changes in environment are gradual (or minor) enough that species can very slowly adapt to those changes. It is vital to remember: Evolutionary change is not a conscious process. Animals do not think, “You know, it is getting colder every year, I had better grow some fur.”

A slow migration to a colder climate (either chronologically or geographically) would merely lead to reproductive selection favoring those with a better ability to adapt to cold (hairy individuals versus hairless individuals, as an example). Over long tracts of time (hundreds of thousands of years to millions of years) these changes compound.

Secondly, there is no genetic magic that makes the evolution of hair growth any more likely or unlikely than the evolution of reproductive cells. Genes are genes and DNA is DNA. Does hair growth have more fault tolerance? Absolutely, but it is important to recognize that hang-ups on reproduction selectivity are not given too much credence.
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post #231 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by groverat

Snoopy:

Bird bones are not brittle, they are hollow. The bones of a flying mammal (lets say, a bat) are not hollow at all (nor are they brittle).

Interesting. I actually knew bird bones were hollow, but jumped to the conclusion it makes their bone weak, like a hollow steel tube is weaker than a solid steel bar of the same diameter. Thinking about it, I now realize that the center of our bones is marrow, which may not contribute to their strength.


Quote:

Evolution does not occur when needed, it occurs when circumstances favor natural selection.

So, the change process is continuous and ongoing, but the environmental conditions normally do not favor, say, characteristic X. Therefore X continues to be a minor trait in the species. If the environment becomes harsh to other characteristics, say Y and Z, and these members have a poor survival rate, then X will become more dominant. Okay, I see what you are saying.


Quote:

It is vital to remember: Evolutionary change is not a conscious process. Animals do not think, You know, it is getting colder every year, I had better grow some fur.

That one is pretty obvious. I was thinking it was more like the autonomic system, a built-in low level intelligence that we have little or no control over, like digesting food.

post #232 of 522
the forces of astrological sunworship literalist stupidity are gathering...

http://www.newscientist.com/channel/...mg19225824.000
post #233 of 522
An interesting take on evolution is how humans are the first species on earth to be in a position to control their own evolution.

Stem cells, drugs, bionic parts, medicine, space travel, etc....

And that sort of puts a big spin on natural selection, no?
post #234 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacRR

An interesting take on evolution is how humans are the first species on earth to be in a position to control their own evolution.

Stem cells, drugs, bionic parts, medicine, space travel, etc....

And that sort of puts a big spin on natural selection, no?

yep, we need to find the 'stupid' gene rather quickly, unless ofcourse being irreducibly stupid is by intelligent design...
post #235 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by snoopy

I don't view the set back in ID as the collapse of ID however, as some do. This happens all the time in science. Someone has a theory and it's proven wrong. So what? Better luck next time. ID covers a lot of territory, not just the few examples of irreducible complexity that were shown to be not irreducible after all.

Okay, that is just an introduction. I'm not posting it for debate.

Tough. You'll get debate on it anyway! (I'll at least get to another question of yours later too, to make up for this. )

I'll give ID a little credit for coming up with a couple of thought-provoking ideas -- trying to codify how one recognizes an intelligently designed artifact vs. an undesigned thing, and the spin-off idea of irreducible complexity.

But they haven't gotten anywhere with these ideas, they're just clever philosophical baubles right now, and there's no sign they'll ever be more than that. As far as I'm concerned, the IDers attempts to use information theory are fatally flawed, because they only get what little distance they've gone by conflating the idea of information with purpose. When you aren't diligently careful about your use of that word -- and the IDers aren't -- the idea "purpose" becomes the idea of a conscious, willful desire to achieve a particular goal. If you're assuming a conscious, willful desire to achieve goals then you are essentially making the assumption of the very thing you are supposed to proving, not assuming -- intelligence.

If I want to "prove" that the moon is made of green cheese, and you let me get away with assuming the moon is made of green cheese as my starting point, it's little wonder that I can make such a startling success (in my own mind, at least) of that venture.

The IDers haven't come up with any useful procedures to test their own ideas either. If you look at something like the good ol' bacterial flagellum, and declare it "irreducibly complex", how do you actually prove that the structure is truly irreducibly complex, and that you aren't simply suffering from a failure of imagination to see useful partial steps towards the final structure in question?

There's an old joke in cryptography that anyone can come up with an encoding scheme so clever that he or she can't imagine how someone else would break it. People like Behe are guilty of looking at structures like the flagellum and declaring them irreducibly complex simply because they can't imagine the iterative steps which could produce these things.

Read the transcripts of the Kitzmiller v. Dover case. Behe, supposedly one of the leading lights of this "theory" (I'm using scare quotes because ID isn't really good enough to be considered more than conjecture) and others, given ample opportunity to make their best case for ID, made a rather poor showing of themselves, and ended up having to admit to a number of fairly damning weaknesses in ID.

One of the pro-ID witnesses was essentially saying, "Yeah, we know that there isn't very much to ID right now, it isn't very strong yet, but gosh darn it, we think it has great potential. If you let us use the public schools to recruit a new generation of ID researchers, I'm sure we can impress you later!"

Look at the ID research program -- if you can find one to look at, that is. Nearly all of the money going into places like the Discovery Institute has been spent on PR activities and legal challenges, not research. They simply don't have any clear direction to go for research, nor seemingly much desire to get down to doing research either. The closest thing I've heard someone like Behe propose as an actual experiment, which has never been carried out, was something that wouldn't even help prove ID. It only had a small potential for detracting from evolution, even if one bought into the questionable validity of the experiment.

Is the best thing that someone can say about ID is that "evolution isn't good enough, we're the only other game left in town, so we win"?

The biggest problem is that ID doesn't actually solve any problems for you, it just moves the same problem one step further away. That's fine and dandy if you have a good reason for thinking the answer is one further step away -- suppose for instance, aliens from another planet were responsible, completely or in part, for life on Earth. If that's the truth, that's the truth, and it's best that we find the truth whatever it is. But then, of course, you'd have the new question of how the aliens themselves came to be.

If you really think you're finding an ultimate answer to how the complexity of life arose, and don't have any good rationale for pushing the answer you're looking for one step further away -- in terms of Occam's Razor, introducing a new entity -- you're just deluding yourself with ID. If you're motivated to seek a creator intelligence simply because you think life is too complex to have arisen by chance, all your "creator" becomes is a black box which you allow, by definition, to be the source of the complexity you can't otherwise figure out.

If you're going to allow that something, anything at all, is capable of being a source of complexity and intelligence without itself needing a creator to exist, why not attribute that capability to the physical universe as we see it, instead of needlessly introducing a new actor on the scene -- especially one that you're tempted to dress up with cultural baggage, with characteristics totally unrelated to the mystery you're trying to solve, oh, like having a Plan of Salvation for you?

Quote:
My question is this, why does evolution only occur when it is needed? It is as though the evolutionary process is itself a defensive mechanism, a way to help a species survive. No? To me, this suggest some form of intelligence. A mechanism that triggers evolution for survival, just as the instinct to fight or flight is triggered in the presence of immediate danger.

I think groverat did a very good job of answering this, but I'd like to add a little more to this myself. I've taken so long writing the first part of this post, however, that I'll have to get back to what I'd like to say here in another post later.
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We were once so close to heaven
Peter came out and gave us medals
Declaring us the nicest of the damned -- They Might Be Giants          See the stars at skyviewcafe.com
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post #236 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacRR

An interesting take on evolution is how humans are the first species on earth to be in a position to control their own evolution.

Stem cells, drugs, bionic parts, medicine, space travel, etc....

Don't we call that design?
post #237 of 522
Lol- yea, and it's obvious we exist as well. we are our own god- i mean, isn't that part of fanatical religious outcry?

Thus opposition to stem cell research.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Cuilla

Don't we call that design?
post #238 of 522
snoopy:

Quote:
Interesting. I actually knew bird bones were hollow, but jumped to the conclusion it makes their bone weak, like a hollow steel tube is weaker than a solid steel bar of the same diameter. Thinking about it, I now realize that the center of our bones is marrow, which may not contribute to their strength.

Hollow bones are certainly weaker than solid ("solid") bones, but they are not brittle. Brittle is a concept that has to do with the makeup of the structure of something, not that structure's overall strength. It's a technical point, but an important one.

Marrow does not help with strength, but mammal bones are (generally) much thicker than bird bones. Of course, if you look at the bones of an ostrich you will see much more thickness than in the bones of a raven. Animals are quite a diverse group.

Quote:
So, the change process is continuous and ongoing, but the environmental conditions normally do not favor, say, characteristic X. Therefore X continues to be a minor trait in the species. If the environment becomes harsh to other characteristics, say Y and Z, and these members have a poor survival rate, then X will become more dominant. Okay, I see what you are saying.

Exactly. X can exist even if it is not beneficial, so long as it is not deleterious to the reproductive success of the animal (see: vestigial organs like your appendix). However, if an environmental change occurs whereby we need a heavy cellulose diet again, then those with more functional appendix(es?) will be favored. Evolution can be (and often is) cyclical, because it is not a conscious, linear process.

I think what you will find, eventually, is that evolution is actually quite boring in its simplicity and power. All it discusses are the physical changes within and between species.

Quote:
That one is pretty obvious. I was thinking it was more like the autonomic system, a built-in low level intelligence that we have little or no control over, like digesting food.

Sure, but even then the trait must be heritable (i.e., passed down through the genes) to be meaningful in evolutionary terms. For instance, a man with an amputated leg is not more likely to sire children with missing limbs. I know you know that, but it can be helpful to make obvious analogies to better get a point across. So, if we have an organ that somehow adapts our body to new circumstances, then that is only useful as far as evolutionary change if that organ actually changes the DNA in our reproductive cells to reflect any changes it makes to the physiology of the original person (i.e., if a theoretical smart organ in my body decides that I get too much cholesterol and creates a new type of cholesterol fighter, my children will only get that cholesterol fighter if the smart organ that made it puts the code for the cholesterol fighter in the DNA my sperm carries. Otherwise, my child's smart organ will have to learn the hard way.)

This is actually quite an interesting conversation, and I think the question/answer dialogue is more fruitful than the abstract philosophical dialogue.
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post #239 of 522
Quote:
Originally Posted by kdraper

If this is supposed to be a joke it's not very obvious. Maybe you were testing to see what the response would be? My grandfather is 85, thinks calculus is fun, and not too long ago emailed me asking for advice on a good BASIC compiler for a microwave calculation program he'd written but couldn't run. He takes a lot of naps and doesn't get around as well as he once did, but he's not exactly crumbling. His wife is in finer health at the same age. They have less and less friends around these days, but they're not alone.

Not a joke, just my opinion. I don't mean that there necessarily has to be a time limit imposed on everyone because that would obviously panic people for no reason but human beings inevitably reach a state of utter uselessness and I think we should take steps to make sure they don't stay in a helpless state longer than necessary. I remember I used to have a dog that became so old it couldn't walk and it was in agony trying to move around. My dad killed it because it was the humane thing to do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MacRR

well, the universe created all of us, earth- but does it have to be sentient in terms of human intelligence?

It doesn't have to be but it doesn't have to not be either.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hardeharhar

You can't reasonably expect anyone to prove conclusively that chimpanzees and humans evolved from a common ancestor

Then how can you reasonably expect everyone to accept it? Can you imagine if our justice system was based on that kind of reasoning. Sure Michael Jackson may not be a pedophile but a lot of people believe he is and the evidence all points to it so let's just accept it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kdraper

The reason that God is not useful in scientific theory is that God would then be the immediate and correct answer to every unknown.

Not necessarily. A lot of the greatest scientists we've ever known had a firm belief in a higher power. Newton and Einstein being the classic examples. This may well have had a lot to do with their time period or upbringing but they would surely have shown some resistance to the idea if they had reason to. Since some of the greatest scientists can maintain such a belief then I don't see such an idea harming scientific progress. I agree that it shouldn't be used as a stop gap but nor should it be dismissed entirely to prevent it becoming that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kickaha

Nope. Which is why trying to muddle science and religion is a lost cause, and worse, a fundamentally dishonest one. Two separate questions are being answered, and the two domains are quite distinct.

I'm not sure. Science attempts to answer how, religion attempts to answer why as you've said. I don't see these as distinct. If we answer how then it may lead us to understanding more about why. For example, the fact that as human beings we are vulnerable and small in a vast universe gives us a different impression about our purpose than if we were say invincible and god-like.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kickaha

by definition, God is unknowable and unfathomable.

By biblical definitions perhaps but the nature of a creator can be seen in the creation just as handwriting can give an insight into someoone's personality. Maybe we need a new word instead of God to define a kind of generalisation of higher order entities. I think religions just try to impose their own personalities onto God for their own benefit. No doubt some feminists consider God to be a woman for example.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tonton

When comparing the "Theory of Evolution" to the "Theory of Creationism" and the "Theory of Intelligent Design" and the "Raelian Theory", which theory has more practicable, useful, productive applicability in today's world?

I suggest that whichever one that is, should get a higher profile presentation in education.

It depends on what you mean by useful. Is it more important that we know why we are here or how we got here? If you go on a trip, is it more important for you to know the exact road you took or the reason you went in the first place? If you don't know how you got there, you might never find your way back but if you don't know why you're there then you have no reason to be there in which case the journey itself was irrelevant.

The theory of evolution matters to evolutionists and those studying it so it should be taught. Philosophical theories like Intelligent design are important to everyone as everyone will try to find a purpose but these things have to be discovered by the individual and not impressed on anyone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MacRR

we are our own god

How can we be if we are subjected to forces beyond our control?
post #240 of 522
Man marvin- edit much?

Sheesh.

As far as intelligence- I think it's far too simplistic to think something as complex as the universe could be summed up in human intelligence. There's no reason to ever sum it up as intelligence. Humans are not the center of the universe.

As far as being our own god, please refer to the context I used in saying that.
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