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Author Topic:   What is evolution?
Percy
Member
Posts: 18498
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.9


Message 10 of 122 (456239)
02-16-2008 2:10 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by Hill Billy
02-16-2008 12:40 PM


Re: Whats the difference between a duck?
Interesting. You open with a rational and mostly correct paragraph, then close with mostly wrong one.

I'm not going to comment on the first paragraph, because if I'm correct in my understanding of what you were trying to say then it is fine.

About the last paragraph:

Hill Billy writes:

Some of the things being preached are that this theory proves conclusively that every living thing originated with one single living thing which originated with no living thing and that relatively simple things can become extremely complex things just by reproducing.

What happened to the selection part of the process ("certain types of critters will be unable to reproduce") that you mentioned in the first paragraph? You can't claim that selection is part of the process, and that reproduction comprises the entire process - that's a contradiction, and the second paragraph is wrong.

It is also being preached that all this living originated with nothing living and to ask how is a nonsense question.

Evolution and abiogenesis are both areas of study within biology. No one would ever say that abiogenesis is a nonsense question, but they will tell you that abiogenesis and evolution are separate areas of study. And they are.

If someone were to claim that Christians say that the life that ended at the resurrection began with the virgin birth but that to ask how is a nonsense question, you'd consider that a pretty gross distortion, right?

I'm reserving my right to moderate this thread. This is a science thread. Any descent into wise-guy mode will bring an instant suspension.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 6 by Hill Billy, posted 02-16-2008 12:40 PM Hill Billy has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 11 by Hill Billy, posted 02-16-2008 2:41 PM Percy has not yet responded

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 18498
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.9


Message 30 of 122 (456291)
02-16-2008 9:09 PM
Reply to: Message 23 by Hill Billy
02-16-2008 7:25 PM


Re: Getting on Topic
Hi Hill Billy,

The questions you raise indicate that Subbie's question about what is being preached about evolution may have some ambiguity. I assumed he was talking about what the people familiar with evolutionary theory say about it, but you're assuming that it's what the common everyday person thinks evolution is. I come to my interpretation because preaching isn't what you get in normal conversation with friends and colleagues, it's what you get from a person in a position of religious authority, such as someone on the pulpit. I assume Subbie was asking about the views of evolution you've received from people who might actually know what evolution really is.

Hopefully Subbie will clarify soon, but I'm going to run with my own interpretation for now, because it is popular misunderstandings of evolution we're striving to overcome, not promulgate. If you tell us that your views are just those you hear from people you come in contact with in your personal life, I think the typical response from evolutionists would be, "Yeah, we know, the public understanding of science in this country is pretty poor, and when it comes to misunderstandings of evolution creationists must accept the biggest share of responsibility because they've done the most to reduce treatments of evolution in textbooks and classrooms. Given that the average student spends less than a day out of all his years in school learning about evolution it's no wonder so many end up knowing so little about it."

In other words, I wouldn't call the misinformed people you described evolutionists. I would just call them misinformed. It's interesting that they accept the theory of evolution without understanding it, but that doesn't make them evolutionists. It would be like someone calling himself a Christian without knowing anything about the virgin birth, the ministry, the last supper, or the resurrection.

Your own description of evolution was conflicted. In your first paragraph you provided a definition that was was pretty good, I think most people could tell pretty much what you were trying to say, but your closing paragraph reflected popular misconceptions. This tells me that you know what evolution really is, but you choose to instead direct your criticisms at the misconceived version.

There seems little point to criticizing an incorrect definition of evolution. For example, you said that evolutionists claim that questions about life's origins are nonsense, but no evolutionist would ever say that. But when someone says, "Evolution is wrong because life cannot come from non-life," then an evolutionist can only point out what is actually true, which is that evolution does not include the origin of life.

The origin of life is called abiogenesis, and just like evolution is an area of study within biology, abiogenesis is just another area of study within biology, . The study of the origin of life is not nonsense, but saying that evolution is wrong because life can't come from non-life *is* nonsense. It would be like saying that Jesus couldn't have been resurrected because virgins can't have babies - one has almost nothing to do with the other. The events are inextricably linked through the life of Jesus, but they're not directly related to one another. In the same way, abiogenesis and evolution are inextricably linked because non-life did eventually become life that evolved, but they're not directly related to one another.

--Percy

Edited by Percy, : Grammar.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 23 by Hill Billy, posted 02-16-2008 7:25 PM Hill Billy has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 31 by subbie, posted 02-16-2008 10:02 PM Percy has not yet responded
 Message 32 by ICANT, posted 02-17-2008 9:27 PM Percy has not yet responded

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 18498
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.9


Message 37 of 122 (456462)
02-18-2008 8:02 AM
Reply to: Message 34 by ICANT
02-18-2008 12:10 AM


Re: Trying to Get on Topic
At least you're giving up on the cosmological claims and are in the field of biology now, so go for it.

But you might want to read the part in my previous post where I said that abiogenesis and evolution are inextricably linked. A seed is not a tree, but one can ask at what point does a seed become a tree? There's an ambiguous period of transition about which people could disagree. In the same way, non-life is not life, but at what point does non-life become life? There's an ambiguous period of transition about which people could disagree.

But there is absolutely no doubt that the theory of evolution first proposed by Darwin applies to all life today, to all life during the period of the dinosaurs, to all life during the age of reptiles, to all life during the age of fishes, and to all life when there were nothing but single-celled organisms. Only somewhere around 3.8 billion years ago, give or take a few hundred million years, is there an ambiguous period where there could be widespread disagreement about whether it was life or not.

In a universe full of ambiguities, the transition period from non-life to life is not a very large one and forms just a tiny, tiny period of the total time of billions of years when the principles of evolution have been operating on the lifeforms of this planet. It is these principles of evolution that operate on actual already-existing life that subbie is asking about.

There's another point to be made. There are thousands and thousands and thousands of scientists out there. I'm sure you won't have any trouble finding one somewhere who wrote something sufficiently misworded as to be interpreted as saying that evolution includes abiogenesis. That's not really what you want. You also don't want the pronouncements of some kook.

Some huge percentage of biologists are very clear about the fact that abiogenesis and evolution are separate though related areas of study, so what point is served by seeking dissenting views far outside the consensus. It would be like saying, "I want to learn about Christianity, so I think I'll go read the Book of Mormon." I mean, sometimes it's like creationists are working as hard as they can to acquire misinformation. We're trying to debate the actual, for-real theory of evolution as formulated by actual biologists, so that's what you should be trying to learn about.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 34 by ICANT, posted 02-18-2008 12:10 AM ICANT has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
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