Understanding through Discussion


Welcome! You are not logged in. [ Login ]
EvC Forum active members: 85 (8914 total)
Current session began: 
Page Loaded: 06-26-2019 2:40 PM
28 online now:
dwise1, edge, JonF, PaulK, RAZD, ringo, Tangle, Theodoric (8 members, 20 visitors)
Chatting now:  Chat room empty
Newest Member: 4petdinos
Upcoming Birthdays: ooh-child
Post Volume:
Total: 854,830 Year: 9,866/19,786 Month: 2,288/2,119 Week: 324/724 Day: 49/114 Hour: 1/3


Thread  Details

Email This Thread
Newer Topic | Older Topic
  
1
23456
...
11NextFF
Author Topic:   Does it take faith to accept evolution as truth?
commike37
Inactive Member


Message 1 of 161 (176323)
01-12-2005 6:10 PM


Although evolution is one of the most widely accepted theories of the origin of life, it certainly isn't perfect. Now my point isn't to go into detail about perceived problems with evolution, but to establish that evolution is still a theory, not a law, and, scientifically speaking, it isn't perfect. This creates a gap between evolution as truth and evolution in reality. To cross this gap and believe evolution as truth despite its perceived flaws, wouldn't one have to take a leap of faith?
Replies to this message:
 Message 3 by Percy, posted 01-12-2005 8:49 PM commike37 has not yet responded
 Message 4 by jar, posted 01-12-2005 8:53 PM commike37 has not yet responded
 Message 6 by crashfrog, posted 01-12-2005 9:50 PM commike37 has responded
 Message 11 by CK, posted 01-13-2005 7:20 AM commike37 has not yet responded
 Message 15 by DrJones*, posted 01-13-2005 12:32 PM commike37 has not yet responded

  
AdminAsgara
Administrator (Idle past 475 days)
Posts: 2073
From: The Universe
Joined: 10-11-2003


Message 2 of 161 (176360)
01-12-2005 8:14 PM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.
Replies to this message:
 Message 5 by RAZD, posted 01-12-2005 8:58 PM AdminAsgara has not yet responded

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


Message 3 of 161 (176370)
01-12-2005 8:49 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by commike37
01-12-2005 6:10 PM


Hi Commike37,

I think most evolutionists would agree with what you say. Let me explain why.

commike37 writes:

Now my point isn't to go into detail about perceived problems with evolution, but to establish that evolution is still a theory, not a law,...

The "law versus theory" issue was addressed recently in another thread. There is really no difference between a law and a theory, and the question in that thread was why some theories are called theories while other theories are called laws. Several valid factors were mentioned, but the most significant reason is that in the 18th and 19th centuries it was the custom to call a theory a law, and the name has stuck. Hence, we have Newton's Laws of Motion instead of the Newton's Theories of Motion, and we have Boyle's Gas Law instead of Boyle's Gas Theory, and we have the Thermodynamic Laws instead of the Thermodynamic Theories, and so on.

We no longer use "law" to name new theories, and probably few evolutionists believe that the theory of evolution should be called the law of evolution.

... and, scientifically speaking, it isn't perfect.

I think most evolutionists would agree that the theory of evolution isn't perfect. It is, after all, a scientific theory that is tentative, and so open to change or even falsification in light of new information or improved insight.

This creates a gap between evolution as truth and evolution in reality.

Few scientists think of theories as truth, so I think most here would agree with you, though they wouldn't express it quite as you have. They would say that a theory is our best attempt at modelling reality - they wouldn't call a theory truth.

To cross this gap and believe evolution as truth despite its perceived flaws, wouldn't one have to take a leap of faith?

It would most certainly be a leap of faith. It sure wouldn't be a leap of science.

But the theory of evolution is still the best explanation we have for the diversity of life on earth.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by commike37, posted 01-12-2005 6:10 PM commike37 has not yet responded

    
jar
Member
Posts: 30997
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 4.2


Message 4 of 161 (176371)
01-12-2005 8:53 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by commike37
01-12-2005 6:10 PM


No, it takes no faith.

I don't think there is any doubt that evolution took place. There is simply way too much evidence out there.

Now that's evolution.

Let me try to deal with the Theory of Evolution. That's a second story. It is a theory to explain the facts that we see. As a theory is is certainly subject to change and revision as we discover new data.

So there is no leap of faith or faith involved.


Aslan is not a Tame Lion
This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by commike37, posted 01-12-2005 6:10 PM commike37 has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 22 by joshua221, posted 01-13-2005 6:05 PM jar has responded

  
RAZD
Member
Posts: 19890
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 5.5


Message 5 of 161 (176375)
01-12-2005 8:58 PM
Reply to: Message 2 by AdminAsgara
01-12-2005 8:14 PM


do we really need this tired old worn-out ignorant argument ... again?
This message is a reply to:
 Message 2 by AdminAsgara, posted 01-12-2005 8:14 PM AdminAsgara has not yet responded

  
crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 6 of 161 (176386)
01-12-2005 9:50 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by commike37
01-12-2005 6:10 PM


This creates a gap between evolution as truth and evolution in reality.

If you mean "there's a gap between what really happened and what we know about what really happened", yes, of course. If there wasn't we could close the schools.

Evolution is currently the best model that describes the history of life on Earth. It doesn't take any faith at all to know that it's the best theory. And better yet, it isn't perfect, so there's still so much to find out. Nobody says that the theory of evolution, as it is now, is the ultimate truth or that it's perfect. There's much to discover. But just because we don't know everything, doesn't mean we can't be pretty sure we're on the right track.

We may not know everything about cancer either, for instance, but the proper response to that is not to close the hospitals but to build more schools. There's much to be done in the field of evolution, even though it's already the best explanation of the history of life that has ever been devised.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by commike37, posted 01-12-2005 6:10 PM commike37 has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 7 by commike37, posted 01-12-2005 11:00 PM crashfrog has responded

  
commike37
Inactive Member


Message 7 of 161 (176402)
01-12-2005 11:00 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by crashfrog
01-12-2005 9:50 PM


crashfrog writes:

Evolution is currently the best model that describes the history of life on Earth. It doesn't take any faith at all to know that it's the best theory.


Not all agree that evolution is the best theory. Some people would subscribe to intelligent design as the best theory. I believe that in Kansas the schools teach only intelligent design. So to assume the theory of evolution as the best theory is taking your own leap of faith.

crashfrog writes:

Nobody says that the theory of evolution, as it is now, is the ultimate truth or that it's perfect. There's much to discover. But just because we don't know everything, doesn't mean we can't be pretty sure we're on the right track.


Notice the phrase "pretty sure." The question is, how sure is pretty sure? On what foundation have we considered evolution to be the right track? The philosopher Descartes (sometimes known as the founder of Modern Philosophy) opens Meditation I of Meditations on the First Philosophy with the following words
Of the things which may be brought within the sphere of the doubtful
It is now some years since I detected how many were the false beliefs that I had from my earliest youth admitted as true, and how doubtful was everything I had since constructed on this basis; and from that time I was convinced that I must once for all seriously undertake to rid myself of all the opinions which I had formerly accepted, and commence to build anew from the foundation, if I wanted to establish any firm and permanent structure in the sciences.

Descartes does an excellent job of establishing doubt as a way to remove any pre-conceived assumptions. Now he goes a lot deeper in his doubt than we ever will, but he nonetheless demonstrates the importance of doubt and questioning that which was taught as true. Another thing is that a lot of effort and research goes into evolution, so in this way there is much power behind evolution. But of what nature is power in relation to the sciences? Are we using power as a means to critically analyze evolution, or is power simply a means of giving power to the theory of evolution?
This message is a reply to:
 Message 6 by crashfrog, posted 01-12-2005 9:50 PM crashfrog has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 8 by crashfrog, posted 01-13-2005 12:24 AM commike37 has responded
 Message 9 by PaulK, posted 01-13-2005 2:29 AM commike37 has not yet responded
 Message 10 by Dr Jack, posted 01-13-2005 7:09 AM commike37 has responded
 Message 12 by RAZD, posted 01-13-2005 7:58 AM commike37 has not yet responded
 Message 13 by FliesOnly, posted 01-13-2005 8:42 AM commike37 has responded
 Message 14 by Percy, posted 01-13-2005 9:05 AM commike37 has responded

  
crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 8 of 161 (176425)
01-13-2005 12:24 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by commike37
01-12-2005 11:00 PM


Not all agree that evolution is the best theory.

Pretty much every biologist does. I hate to come right out and say it but the scientists who don't accept evolution are a vast, vast minority. To the degree that mainstream science can act as a unit, as a unit it supports evolution as the best theory.

Some people would subscribe to intelligent design as the best theory.

Unfortunately intelligent design isn't even a theory, so it can't even compete with evolution. Those people who believe it is a better theory are simply mistaken, because it isn't a theory at all.

So to assume the theory of evolution as the best theory is taking your own leap of faith.

Not in the least. It's demonstratable that evolution is the superior theory in regards to living things on Earth. In fact at this point it's pretty much the only theory.

Notice the phrase "pretty sure." The question is, how sure is pretty sure?

Sure enough. See, unlike you I guess, I'm comfortable with a certain degree of uncertainty. Hence, I need have no faith. On the other hand people like you, who need to have their truth be certain, have to take things on faith.

Not everybody is like you. It's entirely possible, and common, to come to conclusions about the universe that you're not entirely certain of. No faith is needed to do so.

Are we using power as a means to critically analyze evolution, or is power simply a means of giving power to the theory of evolution?

Neither. Evolution is a theory of biology that works; it provides successful explanitory frameworks and makes accurate predictions. It does so better than any competing theory. Therefore we're going to stick with it until it starts to not work. That's not faith; that's how we find out about things here in the real world.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by commike37, posted 01-12-2005 11:00 PM commike37 has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 18 by commike37, posted 01-13-2005 5:50 PM crashfrog has responded

  
PaulK
Member
Posts: 15084
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 3.3


Message 9 of 161 (176465)
01-13-2005 2:29 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by commike37
01-12-2005 11:00 PM


No, as a matter of objective fact "intelligent design" is a worse explanation than evolution. At present it only represents the speculation that there are some aspects of the development of life on earth that cannot be accounted for by theories that do not invoke an intelligent designer. However it has yet to solidly identify even one case. Worse it refuses to go beyond the claim of design - it does not provide anything that might be called a theory which would let u make useful predictions. So at best it would be a sterile ad hoc explanation if it were even needed - which it isn't.

And let me point out that Cartesian doubt leaves us with NOTHING beyond our own personal existence that we can call certain. Applying skepticism to that level is hardly appropriate in most situations. And igf you want to suggest that it reduces all beliefs to the same level don't forget that it includes the belief that you are reading this message right now - which is placed on the same level as the idea that you are simply hallucinating and there is no message at all.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by commike37, posted 01-12-2005 11:00 PM commike37 has not yet responded

    
Dr Jack
Member (Idle past 278 days)
Posts: 3507
From: Leicester, England
Joined: 07-14-2003


Message 10 of 161 (176475)
01-13-2005 7:09 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by commike37
01-12-2005 11:00 PM


Descartes does an excellent job of establishing doubt as a way to remove any pre-conceived assumptions.

Descartes is like Freud, of great historical interest but basically wrong. Kant does a far better job of establishingly the limits of human knowledge in a logically secure manner.

That aside, yes, it takes faith to accept evolution as truth. But the faith involved is very different from the kind of faith that is involved in religious belief. It is, in fact, the very same faith that leads me to believe that the chair I'm sitting on is real and is there. I cannot (as Kant ably demonstrates) know1 that the chair is there and real but there is no rational and reasonable way of going through my life without thinking that it is.

1In the specific sense of Philosophical Certainty.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by commike37, posted 01-12-2005 11:00 PM commike37 has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 39 by commike37, posted 01-13-2005 7:19 PM Dr Jack has responded

  
CK
Member (Idle past 2300 days)
Posts: 3221
Joined: 07-04-2004


Message 11 of 161 (176477)
01-13-2005 7:20 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by commike37
01-12-2005 6:10 PM


I think we are going to have to take this nice and slow.

quote:
but to establish that evolution is still a theory, not a law

Do you understand from the replies already given why the theory of evolution would never become the Law of evolution? Or do we need to explain it in further detail?

quote:
scientifically speaking, it isn't perfect

The implication being that there are some theories that ARE perfect - could you give us an example?

Do you understand the idea of falsification in science and the ramifications of this concept?

This message has been edited by Charles Knight, 01-13-2005 07:41 AM

This message has been edited by Charles Knight, 01-13-2005 07:47 AM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by commike37, posted 01-12-2005 6:10 PM commike37 has not yet responded

  
RAZD
Member
Posts: 19890
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 5.5


Message 12 of 161 (176480)
01-13-2005 7:58 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by commike37
01-12-2005 11:00 PM


two theory or not too theory
commike37 in msg #1 writes:

...perceived problems with evolution, but to establish that evolution is still a theory, not a law...

commike37 in msg #7 writes:

Not all agree that evolution is the best theory. Some people would subscribe to intelligent design as the best theory.

Scientific Theory:
from
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory

In sciences, a theory is a model or framework for understanding. In physics, the term theory generally is taken to mean mathematical framework derived from a small set of basic principles capable of producing experimental predictions for a given category of physical systems.

For a given body of theory to be considered part of established knowledge, it is usually necessary for the theory to characterize a critical experiment, that is, an experimental result which cannot be predicted by any (other) established theory.

The theories in the field of evolution fit those descriptions. The concepts of ID do not. The concepts of creationism do not.

further down in the same source there is Further explanation of a scientific theory:

In common usage a theory is often viewed as little more than a guess or a hypothesis. But in science and generally in academic usage, a theory is much more than that. A theory is an established paradigm that explains all or many of the data we have and offers valid predictions that can be tested. In science, a theory can never be proven true, because we can never assume we know all there is to know. Instead, theories remain standing until they are disproven, at which point they are thrown out altogether or modified slightly.

And again, the theories in the field of evolution fit those descriptions while the concepts of ID and creationism do not. It is that simple, why one is science and the others are not.

And the Wikipedia article goes on to discuss all the relevant errors in the phrase "it is just a theory" ... see Characteristics ... as I said this argument is so {old\bad\wrong} that it shouldn't even need response other than to point the person to a source of enlightenment. Wikipedia is one of these. I suggest you read the whole page on Theory before making more {erroneous\ignorant} statements.

Note also from
http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=theory

the·o·ry n. pl. the·o·ries
1. A set of statements or principles devised to explain a group of facts or phenomena, especially one that has been repeatedly tested or is widely accepted and can be used to make predictions about natural phenomena.
2. The branch of a science or art consisting of its explanatory statements, accepted principles, and methods of analysis, as opposed to practice: a fine musician who had never studied theory.
3. A set of theorems that constitute a systematic view of a branch of mathematics.
4. Abstract reasoning; speculation: a decision based on experience rather than theory.
5. A belief or principle that guides action or assists comprehension or judgment: staked out the house on the theory that criminals usually return to the scene of the crime.
6. An assumption based on limited information or knowledge; a conjecture.

There is a world of difference between definitions #1&2 (as used in science) and definitions #5&6 (as used by common talk and creationists, especially IDists).

There is a world of difference between science and pseudoscience.

Enjoy.

ps -- Kansas teaches evolution. Not that the decisions of school board members is any judgment on scientific validity ... for they are rarely scientists or even knowledgeable in the specific fields. This is one reason I think High School should be the responsibility (funding and curriculum) of the state rather than localities.


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand

RebelAAmerican.Zen[Deist
{{{Buddha walks off laughing with joy}}}


This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by commike37, posted 01-12-2005 11:00 PM commike37 has not yet responded

  
FliesOnly
Member (Idle past 2318 days)
Posts: 797
From: Michigan
Joined: 12-01-2003


Message 13 of 161 (176491)
01-13-2005 8:42 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by commike37
01-12-2005 11:00 PM


What Theory?
Hi again commike37

First off, I’m just a bit curious….ya ever gonna address my comments in this thread?: www.evcforum.net/cgi-bin/dm.cgi?action=msg&f=6&t=404&m=118 -->www.evcforum.net/cgi-bin/dm.cgi?action=msg&f=6&t=404&m=118">http://www.evcforum.net/cgi-bin/dm.cgi?action=msg&f=6&t=404&m=118 (Specifically reply no. 118. Sorry if I linked this incorrectly...I've never tried this before).

Now on to the current discussion.

commike37 writes:

Not all agree that evolution is the best theory. Some people would subscribe to intelligent design as the best theory. I believe that in Kansas the schools teach only intelligent design. So to assume the theory of evolution as the best theory is taking your own leap of faith.

Look, we’ve been over this before but let’s try it again. In science we have a set of “rules” we must follow called the Scientific Method. Included is the idea that we must have testable hypotheses. Intelligent Design has no such component. Why can’t you grasp this concept? You cannot even claim ID as a science unless you at least state some sort of testable hypothesis. What is it commike37? What hypothesis has any proponent of ID ever stated AND tested? You see, that’s another component of the scientific method. The hypotheses must be testable. That is to say, you must design a repeatable experiment based on the hypotheses (including the null) and see if your idea is supported, or if it shown to be false. (And also keep in mind that we do not refer to something as a theory after a few simple experiments, even if they do support our hypotheses. There are a couple of other threads that address the concept of “Theory” that perhaps you should read).

Go for it commike37, be the first to propose a testable hypothesis for intelligent design. Then design an experiment to test this idea (remember it must be repeatable), analyze your results and tell us what you get. Good luck.

I have a question completely unrelated to this thread, but is something that I’ve been wondering for quite some time and am not sure where to find the answer. What do the red, and green, and yellow, and orange lines (with the letters "AM" in front of them) under the thread titles represent? (sorry…but it’s driving me nuts :)).


This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by commike37, posted 01-12-2005 11:00 PM commike37 has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 37 by commike37, posted 01-13-2005 7:15 PM FliesOnly has responded

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


Message 14 of 161 (176502)
01-13-2005 9:05 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by commike37
01-12-2005 11:00 PM


Hi Commike37,

Intelligent Design and education in Kansas have been discussed in other threads, and it would seem a shame for this thread to drift off its original topic, so I'm not going to address that part of your post.

Notice the phrase "pretty sure." The question is, how sure is pretty sure? On what foundation have we considered evolution to be the right track?

Your opening post raised the issue of whether the theory of evolution could be considered truth, and I and several others explained that it could not. Now you're raising a different issue concerning our degree of confidence in the theory of evolution and the evidence supporting it. The answer has already been given, but to repeat it, all scientific theories are tentative, imperfect if you prefer, and are therefore open to revision or even rejection in light of new evidence or improved understanding.

Concerning your Descartes quote, he is speaking of individuals and the folly of youth, not fields of study engaged in by large groups. Even if we were talking about individuals, the Descartes quote applies as well to you as to anyone else, and in fact, if you're a young person, even better to you.

Descartes does an excellent job of establishing doubt as a way to remove any pre-conceived assumptions.

Modern science embraces this viewpoint. What you call doubt is embodied in the tentative quality of scientific theories. Tentative theories are falsifiable, and an important component of new science is to work as hard as possible to falsify your own findings.

Replicability is another key component of science. Once one scientist or team of scientists announces a result, other scientists will attempt to replicate it. If replication is successful the finding will become accepted by the relevant scientific community.

As I said in my earlier post, I really don't think evolutionists would find much to disagree with in what you say. I think you have a perception that scientists consider the theory of evolution to be an eternal and unchanging truth, but that is not the case. What the theory of evolution has going for it is mountains of evidence gathered over the past couple hundred years, and at an increasing rate. While this doesn't turn evolution into an eternal and unchanging truth, it *does* make it a theory in which we have a great degree of confidence.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by commike37, posted 01-12-2005 11:00 PM commike37 has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 16 by commike37, posted 01-13-2005 5:38 PM Percy has responded

    
DrJones*
Member
Posts: 1868
From: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Joined: 08-19-2004
Member Rating: 4.9


Message 15 of 161 (176549)
01-13-2005 12:32 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by commike37
01-12-2005 6:10 PM


Although evolution is one of the most widely accepted theories of the origin of life

Evolution has nothing to do with the origin of life. Evolution is cooncerned with how organisms change.


*not an actual doctor
This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by commike37, posted 01-12-2005 6:10 PM commike37 has not yet responded

  
1
23456
...
11NextFF
Newer Topic | Older Topic
Jump to:


Copyright 2001-2018 by EvC Forum, All Rights Reserved

™ Version 4.0 Beta
Innovative software from Qwixotic © 2019