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Author Topic:   Creationism in the Philippines?
Aximili23
Inactive Member


Message 1 of 29 (187184)
02-21-2005 9:57 AM


(formerly "Should I be worried?")
For the most part, the controversy regarding evolution and creation has largely been confined to the United States. In my own predominantly Catholic country, I suspect that a large proportion of people believe in a literal Genesis, but this is probably due to the ignorance that arises from poverty, rather than any active creationist movement. After all, my own high school education (in a private Catholic school) has not been lacking in teaching evolutionary theory, and I have never heard of any attempt to introduce creationism or intelligent design in high school science classrooms.

Until today. My younger sister, a high school sophomore also in a Catholic private school, showed me a copy of S&T Digest, a magazine for young people approved by our Department of Education as a supplementary material for science and technology education, and distributed to high school students. The cover story was entitled "Challenging Darwin", and it read as follows:

quote:
(Cover Page)
Challenging Darwin
Evolution is a central and unifying idea in biology as relativity is to physics and the periodic table is to chemistry. Learn about new theories and findings that challenge Darwin's theory of evolution.

(Article)
Charles Darwin never really said that humans descended from apes. What the English naturalist actually said was that today's plants and animals all came from earlier and simpler kinds of life. According to him, all species inhabiting Earth are a result of repeated "branching" from common ancestors. This process, which came to be called evolution, took millions of years to happen, during which every single species went through many changes.

A shocking idea

The ideas of Darwin shocked society when they were published in his book The Origin of Species in 1859. Before his book, people had other thoughts about how living this started. Many people believed that God or a "supreme being," made each kind of plants and animals. Until today, many cultures around the world have some kind of creation story that describes how the universe was made and how all living things were created.

Nearly one and a half centuries since Darwin's "theory of evolution" came out, it is surprising that many people remain unpersuaded by his ideas. To say the least, while evolution has become one of the most important concepts in the study of life science, is still widely misunderstood.

A survey in the United States (U.S.) conducted in 2001 showed that no less than 45% of responding adults agreed that "God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10 000 years or so." They believed evolution played no role in shaping the world. For 37% of the respondents, divine initiative got things started, with no evolution as the creative means, thereby allowing both room for God and Darwin. Only 12% totally subscibed to Darwin's ideas.

If the evolution-creation debate matters at all, it is because in recent years, the origin of life has become a delicate subject in the U.S. as educators wrestled with what to teach their students. While evolution has been generally included in textbooks for many years, the teaching of alternative concepts such as creationism and intelligent design is now gaining wider support.

Small changes, big changes

Essentially, the theory of evolution can be divided into two parts: micro-evolution and macro-evolution. Micro-evolution means small changes take place within a species to make that species better suited to its environment. This concept, called natural selection, suggets that the best adapted organisms are selected to pass on their charachteristics to the next generation. This idea is called "survival of the fittest."

On the other hand, macro-evolution claims that major changes in the genes of organisms take place over a long period of time, allowing one species to evolve into another. This means some fish could evolve into insects, birds and mammals.

Of the two ideas, the former has been well-supported with scientific evidence. The latter, however, has become hotly debatable. Fossil records, which provide evidence for evolution, have fallen short of showing life evolving from one species to another. All they have shown are similarities of anatomy that led scientists to discern mysterious patterns among what Darwin called "closely allied" species, that is, similar creatures sharing rouighly the same body plans.

This is the reason for the association of apes with humans. Paleontologists, however, have failed to dig up any fossils of species at intermediate stages of evolution and this problem has been known as the "missing link."

Evolution vs. creation

Today, biologists see it neccessary to defend the thoery of evolution as advocates of a new concept called intelligent design (ID) claim that the latter should be taught in the science classroom as an alternative to the controversial ideas of Darwin.

Not quite far removed from creationism, ID claims that intelligent causes are responsible for the origin of the universe and of life in all its diversity. it holds that certain things are best explained by an intelligent cause rather than an undirected process such as natural selection. The ID movement includes a scientific research program for investigaing such intelligent causes and challenging naturalistic explanations of origins.

Defenders of the evolutionary theory maintain that evolution in action can be proven. They reason that evolution proceeds slowly -- too slowly to be observed by a single scientist within a research lifetime. Scientists could spend decades where Charles Darwin spent weeks. Science chronicler David Quammen who did an in-depth feature entitled "Was Darwin Wrong?" for the National Geographic sums it up, echoing Darwin when he wrote: "This is how science is supposed to work. Ideas come and go, but the fittest survive."


Naturally, I was horrified to see that this American anomaly has invaded my side of the globe. To other evolutionists in this forum, what is your opinion of this article? I certainly don't think it correctly portrays the issue, but would any of you perceive this as a deliberate attempt to promote creationism or ID? Or would you say the writer has only been fooled by the incessant promotions of the American creationist/ID movement? Should I be worried about the status of my country's already inferior science education? What do you suggest I do about this?

This message has been edited by AdminNosy, 02-21-2005 10:43 AM

This message has been edited by Aximili23, 02-25-2005 04:48 AM


Replies to this message:
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Adminnemooseus
Administrator
Posts: 3959
Joined: 09-26-2002


Message 10 of 29 (188328)
02-25-2005 1:35 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Aximili23
02-21-2005 9:57 AM


This topic went through a bunch of confusion, in the topic promotion process. All the messages between message 1 and this message had to do with the promotion procedure and procedure confusion.

After posting this message, I am going to delete all the messages between message 1 and this one.

Normally we don't have message number gaps in topics, but this topic is an exception to the rule.

Adminnemooseus

Added by edit: For the record, this topic, complete with the deleted messages, can be found here in the "Topic Proposals Archive".

This message has been edited by Adminnemooseus, 02-25-2005 01:45 AM


This message is a reply to:
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coffee_addict
Member
Posts: 3645
From: Indianapolis, IN
Joined: 03-29-2004


Message 11 of 29 (188340)
02-25-2005 2:36 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Aximili23
02-21-2005 9:57 AM


quote:
A survey in the United States (U.S.) conducted in 2001 showed that no less than 45% of responding adults agreed that "God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10 000 years or so." They believed evolution played no role in shaping the world. For 37% of the respondents, divine initiative got things started, with no evolution as the creative means, thereby allowing both room for God and Darwin. Only 12% totally subscibed to Darwin's ideas.

While I do not know if this is true or not, I wouldn't be surprised. The theory of evolution is something that takes many years of education for a person to grasp. Unfortunately, most people do not spend the time to investigate, learn, and do what it takes to really understand the theory. Unfortunately, people like to think that they know everything they need to know about a scientific theory by knowing the laymen's terms.

Take quantum mechanics, for example. A few days ago I was debating with an English major. He claimed to know enough about quantum mechanics to know that it's "bullshit". It turned out that he didn't even know schrodinger's equation or what a wave function was. It would seem that arrogance out of ignorance aren't limited to non-college bound people.

quote:
On the other hand, macro-evolution claims that major changes in the genes of organisms take place over a long period of time, allowing one species to evolve into another. This means some fish could evolve into insects, birds and mammals.

While this statement isn't wrong, I personally think it is somewhat deceptive, whether the author intended for it to be or not.

The most common misconception of the term macro-evolution is that a fish grows 4 legs and becomes a reptile overnight. Macro-evolution describes the result of micro-evolution over long periods of time. We can think of micro-evolution as taking a walk to the house next door and macro-evolution as taking a walk to the house 5 blocks away while stopping at every house.

Now, my problem with that statement is when it says "macro-evolution claims that major changes in the genes of organisms take place over a long period of time...." Because it doesn't include the fact that major changes in the genes are a result a whole lot of little changes in the genes, this statement gives the false impression to your typical uneducated person that a fish could really become a reptile overnight.

quote:
Of the two ideas, the former has been well-supported with scientific evidence. The latter, however, has become hotly debatable. Fossil records, which provide evidence for evolution, have fallen short of showing life evolving from one species to another. All they have shown are similarities of anatomy that led scientists to discern mysterious patterns among what Darwin called "closely allied" species, that is, similar creatures sharing rouighly the same body plans.

The thing people have to understand about the fossil record is that it is nothing more than a collection of snapshots in time.

Referring back to my walking from house to house example, a fossil is like taking a photo of yourself at house 11. Another photo might show you at house 46. If there are 200 houses, and you stopped at everyone of them, fossilization is like taking only 20 photos at random houses from house 1 to house 200.

People have to understand that fossilization is a rare process. Only a small number of species, compared to all the species that ever existed, made it to the fossil record.

We know that the dodo once existed, and yet we don't have a single fossil of them.

quote:
This is the reason for the association of apes with humans. Paleontologists, however, have failed to dig up any fossils of species at intermediate stages of evolution and this problem has been known as the "missing link."

What about the australopithecine?

quote:
Not quite far removed from creationism, ID claims that intelligent causes are responsible for the origin of the universe and of life in all its diversity. it holds that certain things are best explained by an intelligent cause rather than an undirected process such as natural selection. The ID movement includes a scientific research program for investigaing such intelligent causes and challenging naturalistic explanations of origins.

In another thread, I mentioned sleep paralysis and how it used to be a supernatural phenomenon. Just because we can't explain something using naturalistic explanation doesn't mean we should label it as supernatural.

My problem with the statement is that it makes ID seem like a valid scientific discipline, which it is not. Science is all about objectivity. Ask any scientist, in this case evolutionist, if he is willing to reject the theory of evolution, or at least natural selection, if tomorrow we find a true altruistic species and he will answer "yes". Ask an IDist if he is willing to reject ID if we find some kind of evidence that disproves ID and see how he answers you.

Another thing about ID that makes it unscientific is that IDists have failed to lay out a set of theoretical evidence that if found would disprove the "theory".

I can sight other examples of why ID is not a valid scientific theory, but you get the idea.

And lastly...

quote:
Defenders of the evolutionary theory maintain that evolution in action can be proven. They reason that evolution proceeds slowly -- too slowly to be observed by a single scientist within a research lifetime.

Again, this statement isn't wrong but it isn't completely accurate. Scientists have observed many instances of speciation, both in plants and animal, in both laboratories and the wild. Evolution is not just proven, it is a fact.

Having spent some time working in a genetics lab, I have observed evolution happening right in front of my eyes.

The author makes it seem like the theory of evolution is something that scientists are unsure of. I also have a feeling, after reading it, that the author seemed to have hinted that the theory is faith-based.

The author could have made it more clear that the theory of evolution is a well established scientific theory. Would people challenge the theory of gravity, germ theory of disease, or the theory of relativity? (Sometimes I wonder why not a single creo have challenged any of the other theories.)The author could have made it more clear that, just like every other theory in science, evolution has mountains of evidence that will require much more than a few finger-poking to discredit.

Perhaps the author could have been a little more specific.


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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custard
Inactive Member


Message 12 of 29 (188354)
02-25-2005 3:42 AM
Reply to: Message 11 by coffee_addict
02-25-2005 2:36 AM


comments
Lam/Hector/Jacen,

Greekslayer writes:

We can think of micro-evolution as taking a walk to the house next door and macro-evolution as taking a walk to the house 5 blocks away while stopping at every house.

I keep hearing that analogy, but my growing concern with this is that it implies orthogenesis. Unfortunately I'm not sure I can think of an alternative which is as easy to explain.

Now, my problem with that statement is when it says "macro-evolution claims that major changes in the genes of organisms take place over a long period of time...." Because it doesn't include the fact that major changes in the genes are a result a whole lot of little changes in the genes, this statement gives the false impression to your typical uneducated person that a fish could really become a reptile overnight.

I am beginning to question this argument as well because of the persistent lack of evidence for this type of gradualism in the fossil record.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 11 by coffee_addict, posted 02-25-2005 2:36 AM coffee_addict has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 13 by coffee_addict, posted 02-25-2005 4:06 AM custard has replied

  
coffee_addict
Member
Posts: 3645
From: Indianapolis, IN
Joined: 03-29-2004


Message 13 of 29 (188359)
02-25-2005 4:06 AM
Reply to: Message 12 by custard
02-25-2005 3:42 AM


Re: comments
custard writes:

I keep hearing that analogy, but my growing concern with this is that it implies orthogenesis. Unfortunately I'm not sure I can think of an alternative which is as easy to explain.


And I agree completely. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to think of a better easy-to-digest explanation for beginner either.

How about this.

I take a walk in a random direction and constantly changing my random direction. If I have a camera with me, I'll take random snapshots from where I started to where I end up at 10 years from now. After I am dead, others can look at my photos and try to determine where I had been. The more photos they find, the more accurate their map will be.

Better?

I am beginning to question this argument as well because of the persistent lack of evidence for this type of gradualism in the fossil record.

The better question is why not? If you keep having mutations after mutations after mutations over many many generations, what's to keep the future population from being so different than the original population that a rep from the original population wouldn't be able to reproduce an offspring with a rep of the same population in a distant future?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 12 by custard, posted 02-25-2005 3:42 AM custard has replied

Replies to this message:
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custard
Inactive Member


Message 14 of 29 (188361)
02-25-2005 4:24 AM
Reply to: Message 13 by coffee_addict
02-25-2005 4:06 AM


Re: comments
How about this.

I take a walk in a random direction and constantly changing my random direction. If I have a camera with me, I'll take random snapshots from where I started to where I end up at 10 years from now. After I am dead, others can look at my photos and try to determine where I had been. The more photos they find, the more accurate their map will be.

Better?

Nice job. I was thinking along those lines exactly, but was having difficulty putting it into words without getting to technical.

The better question is why not? If you keep having mutations after mutations after mutations over many many generations, what's to keep the future population from being so different than the original population that a rep from the original population wouldn't be able to reproduce an offspring with a rep of the same population in a distant future?

Well the original populations very existence would prevent the future population from ever completely evolving into some sort of daughter species because they'd be continually interacting with each other.

Wouldn't it take some event, like geographic isolation, to allow the 'future' pop to evolve into a seperate species?

That's where the natural selection argument starts to seem thin to me: if the 'future' pop has some sort of advantage due to mutation, why doesn't it overwhelm or replace the parent pop without such a drastic event occurring?

The genes just seem too stable over long periods of time. Take sharks or crocodiles, pretty much the same organisms, if not exactly the same, for eons. Why aren't they eventually displaced by a daughter species that has developed some sort of competitive advantage. Isn't that how NS is supposed to work?

This message has been edited by custard, 02-25-2005 04:25 AM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 13 by coffee_addict, posted 02-25-2005 4:06 AM coffee_addict has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 15 by coffee_addict, posted 02-25-2005 4:40 AM custard has replied
 Message 17 by Wounded King, posted 02-25-2005 4:53 AM custard has replied

  
coffee_addict
Member
Posts: 3645
From: Indianapolis, IN
Joined: 03-29-2004


Message 15 of 29 (188368)
02-25-2005 4:40 AM
Reply to: Message 14 by custard
02-25-2005 4:24 AM


Re: comments
custard writes:

Wouldn't it take some event, like geographic isolation, to allow the 'future' pop to evolve into a seperate species?


That's one way, yes.

That's where the natural selection argument starts to seem thin to me: if the 'future' pop has some sort of advantage due to mutation, why doesn't it overwhelm or replace the parent pop without such a drastic event occurring?

First of all, just because a pop evolves doesn't mean the future pop has an advantage over the old pop. It just means it is different.

You are still thinking in short term evolutionary events. Try to think broader.

If creature D has a mutation that gives him the instinct to go around killing babies of the other creatures within his own population, how long do you think his own genes will start flooding the population?

The genes just seem too stable over long periods of time. Take sharks or crocodiles, pretty much the same organisms, if not exactly the same, for eons. Why aren't they eventually displaced by a daughter species that has developed some sort of competitive advantage. Isn't that how NS is supposed to work?

Nope.

If the daughter species has an advantage over the parent species in the same niche, then yes chances are that the parent will be outcompeted. But we have to remember that things don't have to change. If they are perfectly adapted for their environment, why must they change? This is IFF a mutation occurs at all that gives certain individuals a clear competitive advantage over others.

How about you name some examples of some daughter species with a competitive advantage over the parent species that live in the same niche and we can go from there.

This message has been edited by Resurrected Hector, 02-25-2005 04:49 AM


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custard
Inactive Member


Message 16 of 29 (188372)
02-25-2005 4:48 AM
Reply to: Message 15 by coffee_addict
02-25-2005 4:40 AM


Re: comments
But we have to remember that things don't have to change. If they are perfectly adapted for their environment, why must they change?

See, that's where I get confused. Aren't species undergoing change via mutation every time they produce new offspring?

If a species is undergoing constant change due to mutation, and eventually some mutations will be beneficial, why don't we see more daughter species outcompeting their parents?

It seems you are stating that an organism can reach a state of equilibrium with its environment: essentially no new change could ever allow its offspring to be more competitive in the same niche.

Isn't that paradoxical to the argument you made that species accumulate millions of minute changes until one day, voila! new species?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 15 by coffee_addict, posted 02-25-2005 4:40 AM coffee_addict has replied

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Wounded King
Member (Idle past 3370 days)
Posts: 4149
From: Edinburgh, Scotland
Joined: 04-09-2003


Message 17 of 29 (188373)
02-25-2005 4:53 AM
Reply to: Message 14 by custard
02-25-2005 4:24 AM


Re: comments
The genes just seem too stable over long periods of time. Take sharks or crocodiles, pretty much the same organisms, if not exactly the same, for eons. Why aren't they eventually displaced by a daughter species that has developed some sort of competitive advantage. Isn't that how NS is supposed to work?

For all we know this has already happened. Morphology is not a good indicator of reproductive isolation. The fact that modern Crocodilia resemble their fossil ancestors does not neccessarily mean that they would be interfertile. Large scale morphological changes are the crudest and largest scale effects of genetic change, there is a vast ocean of molecular evolution that we may never be able to properly explore and any number of physiological rather than morphological factors that might lead to reproductive isolation between two crocodiles millions of years apart.

The accumulation of mutations will not suddenly lead to the animals being a new species in one leap overnight when they reach some critical point, but they will be a new species in relation to their ancestor of million of years before.

TTFN,

WK

This message has been edited by Wounded King, 02-25-2005 04:57 AM


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Aximili23
Inactive Member


Message 18 of 29 (188374)
02-25-2005 4:55 AM
Reply to: Message 15 by coffee_addict
02-25-2005 4:40 AM


please stay on topic
RH, custard,

Thanks for your participation in this thread, but I think you've gone fairly off-track...


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coffee_addict
Member
Posts: 3645
From: Indianapolis, IN
Joined: 03-29-2004


Message 19 of 29 (188376)
02-25-2005 4:56 AM
Reply to: Message 16 by custard
02-25-2005 4:48 AM


Re: comments
custard writes:

See, that's where I get confused. Aren't species undergoing change via mutation every time they produce new offspring?


Yes, but most of which are neutral. We call them pseudogenes.

If a species is undergoing constant change due to mutation, and eventually some mutations will be beneficial, why don't we see more daughter species outcompeting their parents?

Hang on a second. Where did I, or anyone else, say that a species is undergoing constant change? Neutral mutations are neutral mutations, period.

It seems you are stating that an organism can reach a state of equilibrium with its environment: essentially no new change could ever allow its offspring to be more competitive in the same niche.

No, I am not. I am simply stating that perhaps there hasn't been any mutation worth crowning by SN in these species.

Isn't that paradoxical to the argument you made that species accumulate millions of minute changes until one day, voila! new species?

The problem is where do you draw the line between the old species and the new one? It's like trying to determine exactly where green is when you pour a yellow paint into a blue paint.

Here is how you should think of it. Closely related species can interbreed, but they often result in sterile offsprings (ex: mule). If the horse keep changing in one direction and the donkey another, perhaps we won't be seeing mules at all in a few million years.


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 Message 21 by Wounded King, posted 02-25-2005 5:00 AM coffee_addict has replied

  
custard
Inactive Member


Message 20 of 29 (188377)
02-25-2005 4:58 AM
Reply to: Message 17 by Wounded King
02-25-2005 4:53 AM


back on topic
wking writes:

For all we know this has already happened. Morphology is not a good indicator of reprodcutive isolation. The fact that modern Crocodilia resemble their fossil ancestors does not neccessarily mean that they would be interfertile.

Great point. But for all we know it has never happened. This is why I am beginning to have problems with the gradualism/accumulated mutations argument.

Sorry for the topic stray amix. I'll give it a rest. :)


This message is a reply to:
 Message 17 by Wounded King, posted 02-25-2005 4:53 AM Wounded King has taken no action

  
Wounded King
Member (Idle past 3370 days)
Posts: 4149
From: Edinburgh, Scotland
Joined: 04-09-2003


Message 21 of 29 (188378)
02-25-2005 5:00 AM
Reply to: Message 19 by coffee_addict
02-25-2005 4:56 AM


Re: comments
Yes, but most of which are neutral. We call them pseudogenes.

Umm, do we?

There are an awful lot of selectively neutral mutations that have absoloutely zip to do with pseudogenes. I don't think pseudogenes really have anything to do with what you are discussing.

TTFN,

WK


This message is a reply to:
 Message 19 by coffee_addict, posted 02-25-2005 4:56 AM coffee_addict has replied

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coffee_addict
Member
Posts: 3645
From: Indianapolis, IN
Joined: 03-29-2004


Message 22 of 29 (188379)
02-25-2005 5:03 AM
Reply to: Message 21 by Wounded King
02-25-2005 5:00 AM


Re: comments
Oops

This message is a reply to:
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Aximili23
Inactive Member


Message 23 of 29 (188380)
02-25-2005 5:09 AM


what do you think?
I particularly have problems with the following quotes.

quote:
Essentially, the theory of evolution can be divided into two parts: micro-evolution and macro-evolution.

Weren't the concepts of micro and macro-evolution invented by creationists? I've never heard of these terms being used in mainstream science, other than in the context of a debate with creationists. I thought these terms were only created so that creationists can attack large-scale evolution without being refuted by the fact that small-scale evolution has been repeatedly observed. But as I understand it, scientists don't normally find it necessary to make a distinction between the two. Right?

quote:
Fossil records, which provide evidence for evolution, have fallen short of showing life evolving from one species to another. All they have shown are similarities of anatomy that led scientists to discern mysterious patterns among what Darwin called "closely allied" species, that is, similar creatures sharing rouighly the same body plans.

Isn't this also completely inaccurate? Haven't plenty of fossil records demonstrated how life evolves from one species to another? And the term "mysterious patterns" sounds very misleading; I haven't heard of any repeated biological structures for which an evolutionary rationale could not be presented.

quote:
Paleontologists, however, have failed to dig up any fossils of species at intermediate stages of evolution and this problem has been known as the "missing link."

Isn't this also patently untrue? I'm not a paleontologist, but I thought Austrolepithecus was widely regarded as a missing link?

quote:
The ID movement includes a scientific research program for investigaing such intelligent causes and challenging naturalistic explanations of origins.

And finally, isn't this inaccurate in the sense that the so-called research done in ID isn't really scientific? After all, the Discovery Institute does more work in ID promotion than actual laboratory research.


Replies to this message:
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