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Author Topic:   Key points of Evolution
Percy
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Posts: 19627
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.5


Message 27 of 356 (464061)
04-23-2008 8:16 AM
Reply to: Message 23 by platypus
04-22-2008 9:32 PM


platypus writes:

First, why should these points be taught in school? Because they are correct.

Actually, since all scientific theories are tentative and can be falsified, they should be taught in science class not because they're correct, since that ain't necessarily so, but because a scientific consensus has formed around them and so they are currently accepted by the scientific community. What we like to say about scientific consensus is not that a theory is true because it is accepted, but that it is accepted because it is likely true, and this has to do with the supporting evidence and the strength of coherence with related fields that makes it persuasive to the greater proportion of scientists.

--Percy


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 Message 23 by platypus, posted 04-22-2008 9:32 PM platypus has not yet responded

Percy
Member
Posts: 19627
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.5


Message 75 of 356 (464773)
04-29-2008 9:00 AM
Reply to: Message 68 by Wumpini
04-29-2008 5:05 AM


Re: What do scientists believe?
Wumpini writes:

It appears to be an independent survey of scientists based upon Gallup Poll questions that were asked to a sample of all Americans about their views on evolution.

Polls based upon self-selection are notoriously unreliable, and raw poll results are notoriously difficult to interpret and analyze properly. It was conducted not by polling professionals but by "a reporter for the Washington Times and...a historian of science." Maybe we can trust this survey, maybe not.

But for the sake of discussion just accepting the poll results described in the article, it doesn't support your claim that many scientists do not accept evolution as a sufficient explanation for the diversity of life. Right at the beginning of the 2nd paragraph of the article quotes a South Carolina mathematician saying:

"I believe God could work through evolution..."

This contradicts your assertion that many scientists share your view that evolution is insufficient to explain the diversity of life. Another quote from the article from Duncan Porter says this:

"I am surprised to find that so many are theistic evolutionists."

A theistic evolutionist is someone who believes that God works through evolution, not someone who believes evolution is insufficient to explain the diversity of life.

If you're looking for evidence that many scientists believe as you do, you haven't found it yet. And you won't. The vast majority of scientists, perhaps as many as 99%, accept evolutionary theory as the explanation for life's diversity. And in science class we teach the theories accepted by scientists.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
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 Message 76 by Wumpini, posted 04-29-2008 9:10 AM Percy has responded

Percy
Member
Posts: 19627
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.5


Message 77 of 356 (464782)
04-29-2008 9:47 AM
Reply to: Message 76 by Wumpini
04-29-2008 9:10 AM


Re: Source of statistics
I wasn't citing any specific study. It was more than sufficient that the survey you cited says that most scientists accept evolution as the explanation for life's diversity.

Your study said that 55% "hold a naturalistic and atheistic position on the origins of man", while 40% are theistic evolutionists. That means that 95% of scientists accept evolution as the explanation for life's diversity. If you want to discard my "perhaps as many as 99%" claim and go with the 95% figure from your study, I have no problem with that. Though I can support the 99% figure, the difference between 95% and 99% isn't worth quibbling about.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 76 by Wumpini, posted 04-29-2008 9:10 AM Wumpini has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 81 by Wumpini, posted 04-29-2008 1:56 PM Percy has responded

Percy
Member
Posts: 19627
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.5


Message 83 of 356 (464812)
04-29-2008 2:27 PM
Reply to: Message 81 by Wumpini
04-29-2008 1:56 PM


Re: Your misquoting the study
Wumpini writes:

One of these individuals said, and I once again quote the article:

quote:
"I believe God could work through evolution," a South Carolina mathematician wrote in a marginal note on the survey "Bell shaped curves describe how characteristics are distributed.. . so I think that God uses what we perceive to be 'random processes.'"

What did this man say? God uses what we perceive to be "random processes." If God is using these processes, then it is not natural. It is supernatural by definition. We only perceive it to be natural.

I think this interpretation is certainly the way some theistic evolutionists view things. But how do you tell the difference between something natural versus something supernatural that "we only perceive to be natural"? That's a rhetorical question because the only answer is that there is no difference. That God is behind the process of evolution and all else in the universe is a position taken on faith and not a denial that evolution explains the diversity of life.

Many theistic evolutionists also believe that God guides all the physical laws of the universe, but this would never be construed as a claim that, for example, gravity is insufficient to explain the orbits of the planets.

Then you started inventing facts like you did with the your 99% statistic.

...

How do I know that? Because you have 7,187 posts.

If you have not learned that by now, then you never will.

The 99% figure is not an invention, and I have 7,187 posts because I'm member #2 (member #1 is reserved for initial software installation) and have been here a long time, virtually since day minus 10 or so when I first began shaking down the software before unleashing it on the Internet in January of 2001. One thing I have learned is how to moderate a discussion board, and letting discussion become personal is a big bugaboo. See the Forum Guidelines, rule 10. Basically it says to be civil and address your criticisms toward the position and not the person.

--Percy

Edited by Percy, : Grammer.


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Percy
Member
Posts: 19627
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.5


Message 106 of 356 (464945)
05-01-2008 9:13 AM
Reply to: Message 102 by Wumpini
04-30-2008 10:44 PM


Re: Are scientists divided over whether God exists and His involvement in man's origin?
Wumpini writes:

40% believe "Man has developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided this process, including man's creation."

You have to understand that when these scientists say they believe that God guided evolution they mean he did so in the same way that God guides gravity or that God guides the behavior of subatomic particles. They believe that God is behind everything in the universe, and this is what I believe, too, but that he does so in a way indistinguishable from completely natural processes.

Were it actually the case that these 40% of scientists believe what you think they believe, that there are detectable forces beyond evolution at work and that evolution is an insufficient explanation for the diversity of life, then because 40% is such a huge proportion evolution could no longer be considered an accepted theory within science, and the scientific literature (and the textbooks) would reflect this. But they don't reflect any such thing, because at least 95% of scientists accept that evolution is not merely a sufficient explanation for the diversity of life, it is wonderfully exquisite, beautiful and elegant, too. So much so that a significant number believe that only God could have come up with it.

--Percy


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 Message 112 by Wumpini, posted 05-01-2008 5:03 PM Percy has not yet responded

Percy
Member
Posts: 19627
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.5


Message 209 of 356 (465767)
05-10-2008 7:46 AM
Reply to: Message 208 by Taz
05-10-2008 2:53 AM


Re: Objective of School
Thank you for providing those videos. I assume many of us have the same reactions to them. One would be how sad it is that people can be taken in by such obvious frauds, but another would be, "Boy could I make a lot of money if I just didn't have a conscience!"

In other words, not only is this style of evangelizing fraudulent, the crime is committed upon the most sincere and unsuspecting among us by the worst kind of people. The deeply religious just don't realize what sitting ducks they are, and the fundamental reason is that a significant portion of their world view is not based upon reality.

--Percy

Edited by Percy, : Grammar.


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 Message 208 by Taz, posted 05-10-2008 2:53 AM Taz has responded

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Percy
Member
Posts: 19627
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.5


Message 248 of 356 (466288)
05-14-2008 8:22 AM
Reply to: Message 244 by Wumpini
05-14-2008 4:19 AM


Re: A jumbled up mess
Evolutionary Analysis assumes a deep understanding of evolution and proceeds to illustrate how evolutionary scientists conduct research. You can't use it as an introduction to evolutionary concepts.

You also listed Life Science or Biology, which doesn't sound like the title of a real book. Did you mean Life: The Science of Biology? If so, this is the book you should start with. If you have time, read the whole thing all the way through. If you're short of time, read Part 5, The Patterns and Processes of Evolution.

You say your Internet access is unreliable, but there are plenty of places on the web that introduce evolutionary concepts, let us know if you want links.

--Percy


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Percy
Member
Posts: 19627
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.5


Message 264 of 356 (466880)
05-18-2008 7:56 AM
Reply to: Message 262 by Wumpini
05-17-2008 2:50 PM


Re: Scientific Tentativity
Wumpini writes:

If I understand you correctly then you are telling me that the theories that scientists have about these “evolutionary events” that have occurred in the past based upon observable scientific evidence (from the past) are tentative.

All scientific theories are tentative, not just evolution.

In other words, they are uncertain, or not fully worked out or agreed upon.

When applied to scientific theory, the word tentative doesn't mean "uncertain" or "not fully worked out", and it doesn't imply disagreement within the scientific community.

Tentative only means a theory is open to change in light of new evidence or improved insight.

Therefore, they are not facts! They are only hypotheses (educated guesses) with some “degree of reliability (as you say).”

You are correct to say that theories are not facts, and hopefully no one has said otherwise. But theories are not hypotheses, either.

Science begins with a hypothesis, and then proposes tests of that hypothesis. Scientists become persuaded of the accuracy of a hypothesis as a representation of the real world when it passes the tests and the inevitable challenges. A scientific consensus forms when a preponderance of scientists in the relevant field become persuaded by the evidence and the successful tests, and the hypothesis then becomes an accepted theory.

The most common example of tentativity is Newton's laws of motion. A scientific law is the same thing as a scientific theory. There used to be a tendency within science to call well established principles laws. While this is not a common practice today, theories that were originally called laws are still called laws.

Anyway, Newton's laws of motion are tentative, just like all scientific theories are tentative, and a good thing, too, because Einstein came along and showed that Newton's laws, while an excellent approximation for slow moving objects and not very massive objects, are inaccurate at speeds that are an appreciable proportion of the speed of light or at masses greater than the mass of Jupiter.

So theories cannot be immutable facts, because that would mean they couldn't change when we discovered something new. Scientific theories have to be considered tentative so they can be updated to reflect new knowledge and understanding.

The status of theory is the highest honor that science can confer upon a hypothesis, because it means that hypothesis has been rigorously tested and has passed those tests with sufficiently flying colors as to persuade most scientists. While that doesn't mean that an accepted scientific theory is the last and final word, it does mean that it would take very, very strong and persuasive evidence, at least as strong and persuasive as the original evidence, to call it into question.

--Percy


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Replies to this message:
 Message 266 by Wumpini, posted 05-18-2008 4:39 PM Percy has responded

Percy
Member
Posts: 19627
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.5


Message 269 of 356 (466975)
05-18-2008 9:36 PM
Reply to: Message 266 by Wumpini
05-18-2008 4:39 PM


Re: Facts and Theories
Wumpini writes:

Maybe you can help me to understand what is meant by "evolution is a fact."

This is a tough one. Most people would agree that a simple observation is a fact. You look at a car and observing its color say, "The car is red." Everyone would agree you've just stated a fact.

Now you stick a thermometer in a glass of water and observing the thermometer reading say, "The temperature of the water is 72.4oF." Everyone would again agree that you've just stated a fact.

But there's something very interesting about considering the measured temperature of the water to be a fact, and that's that though we take the measurement of temperature for granted, our ability to measure temperature actually depends upon a number of other facts. First there's the observation that most materials, including mercury, expand with increasing temperature. Second, there are the observations that water freezes and boils at certain fixed temperatures (32oF and 212oF respectively) that provided us the Fahrenheit temperature scale. And then there was the discovery that open thermometers were also sensitive to air pressure, so sealed thermometers were developed.

So you can see that even your simple observation of temperature, this simple fact, is actually based upon a number of other facts.

Evolution is similar in that the conclusion that evolution actually played the major role in the history of life on this planet depends upon a number of simpler facts, and literally millions of observations. The three most significant facts are:

  1. The deeper you dig, the greater the difference form modern forms of the fossils.

  2. The observations of Darwin concerning breeding and natural selection that result in the conclusion of the relatedness of all life.

  3. Genetic observations that confirm Darwin's conclusions about relatedness. The less related two lifeforms are, the more different their DNA.

From all these facts it is concluded as an inescapable fact that evolution happened on this planet. A lot!

The theory of evolution attempts to explain the mechanisms behind the evolution that we observe in the fossil record, in the diversity and relatedness of life, and in the genetic record.

So now that you understand that facts can depend upon other facts, I'll answer your fact/theory questions.

Is it a fact or a theory that the earth is 3.6 billion years old?

The earth is thought to be 4.56 billion years old. That the earth is billions of years old is a fact. That it's precisely 4.56 billion years old is less certain, and I wouldn't call it a fact. It would be like saying about your car that it's a fact that the gasoline tank holds less than 20 gallons, but whether it's an actual fact that the tank holds precisely 16.3 gallons as the owner's manual states is less certain.

Is it a fact or a theory that cellular life has been around for half of that time?

The evidence suggests that cellular life has been around for at least 3.5 billion years, and less convincing evidence exists for 3.8 billion years.

Is it a fact or a theory that multi-cellular life is at least 800 million years old?

That multicellular life is at least 535 million years old is certain enough to be considered a fact, but the further back in time the claim, the less certain that claim can be. We do not know with any degree of precision whatsoever precisely when multicellular life began, and most likely there was an ambiguous period of time where arguments could be made either way for a collection of cells being simply a colony of single celled lifeforms versus an actual multicellular lifeform.

Is it a fact or a theory that major life forms now on earth were not at all represented in the past?

This is one of the strongest facts of all within the field of evolution, and has also had a very strong influence on geology in the past by dating layers through indicator fossils (fossils unique to certain layers).

Is it a fact or a theory that there were no birds or mammals 250 million years ago?

That would be considered a fact by most scientists.

Is it a fact or a theory that all living forms come from previous living forms?

Excepting the origin of life, that's a fact.

Is it a fact or a theory that birds arose from non-birds?

Of course. Just as you rose from non-you, species of one type arise from species of not that type.

Is it a fact or a theory that humans arose from non-humans?

A fact.

--Percy


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Percy
Member
Posts: 19627
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.5


Message 303 of 356 (500736)
03-02-2009 9:22 AM
Reply to: Message 299 by alaninnont
03-01-2009 10:03 PM


alaninnont writes:

Evolution is an increase in complexity and organization through incremental change leading from one species to another.

While there's more than one way to define evolution, this isn't one of them. Evolution does not require an increase in complexity or organization. All it requires is change over time.

--Percy


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 Message 299 by alaninnont, posted 03-01-2009 10:03 PM alaninnont has not yet responded

Percy
Member
Posts: 19627
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.5


Message 306 of 356 (500856)
03-02-2009 6:20 PM
Reply to: Message 304 by alaninnont
03-02-2009 5:42 PM


alaninnont writes:

Here is the dictionary definition;
"A gradual process in which something changes into a different and usually more complex or better form."

Dictionaries have a number of definitions of evolution, and you've managed to choose one of the ones that is not the definition of biological evolution. If you look at Merriam-Webster's definition of evolution you'll see that they include the correct definition of evolution when used in a biological context:

  1. a : the historical development of a biological group (as a race or species) : phylogeny;
    b : a theory that the various types of animals and plants have their origin in other preexisting types and that the distinguishable differences are due to modifications in successive generations ; also : the process described by this theory

Darwin defined the process as a combination of descent with modification and natural selection. A more precise modern definition is the change in allele frequency of a population over time.

--Percy


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 Message 304 by alaninnont, posted 03-02-2009 5:42 PM alaninnont has not yet responded

Percy
Member
Posts: 19627
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.5


Message 315 of 356 (501108)
03-04-2009 10:33 AM
Reply to: Message 312 by alaninnont
03-03-2009 10:22 PM


alaninnont writes:

Looking at valiant efforts of evolutionists trying to reproduce the first cell and the second law of thermodynamics where in an open or closed system, all things tend toward entropy, not increasing complexity, I'd say it is more probable that a creator was involved.

You're barking up one of the more ridiculous creationist trees.

Speaking of trees, huge trees of great complexity and organization manage to grow from tiny seeds without any help from a "creator". How do you reconcile this with your rule of "all things tend toward entropy." Hint: it has something to do with the snowflakes and other things it was suggested you think about.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 312 by alaninnont, posted 03-03-2009 10:22 PM alaninnont has not yet responded

Percy
Member
Posts: 19627
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.5


Message 321 of 356 (501154)
03-04-2009 5:28 PM
Reply to: Message 317 by alaninnont
03-04-2009 4:09 PM


Hi Alaninnont,

You're drawing the types of responses you are because you're pushing one of the more simple-minded creationist fallacies. If you want some original answers then show some original effort, like actually thinking about how the order of a snowflake or a tree emerges without creative guidance. What you're pushing here we've seen literally a hundred times before, and that's just here at this one discussion board.

And some honesty would be nice, too, rather than obvious dissembling like this:

I have been avoiding creationist websites...

Sure you have. You're only pushing one of the oldest and most fallacious creationist misconceptions by sheer happenstance.

I think if you're honest about where you're drawing your ideas from people will take you more seriously. So far you're just repeating standard creationist nonsense about 2LOT that makes it clear how little you understand about thermodynamics.

Though it's a common enough analogy, 2LOT and entropy is not about the kind of order and disorder that most people think it is. Cleaning your closet does not lower the entropy of the closet. Order and disorder is just the way 2LOT is often explained to laypeople, leading people like yourself to draw erroneous conclusions like that only intelligence can produce order, or that in the absence of intelligence disorder can only increase.

All 2LOT really says is that the entropy of a system can never decrease, which I think you said yourself at one point, and if you had stuck with that you would have done fine. But 2LOT says nothing about the distribution of entropy within the system, and the application of work can change that distribution. For example, the work done by energy from the sun can decrease the entropy of life on Earth.

Besides, don't you think that if evolution really violated 2LOT that the chemists and physicists would have called this to the attention of biologists by now?

The fact of the matter is that the creationist 2LOT argument has staying power because it is so simple and plausible-sounding that it easily convinces trusting people like yourself, who then march to the slaughter at discussion boards like this one. Welcome aboard! :D

--Percy

Edited by Percy, : Grammar.


This message is a reply to:
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