Understanding through Discussion


Welcome! You are not logged in. [ Login ]
EvC Forum active members: 83 (8942 total)
34 online now:
14174dm, DrJones*, ICANT, ringo, Tangle, Theodoric (6 members, 28 visitors)
Newest Member: John Sullivan
Post Volume: Total: 863,715 Year: 18,751/19,786 Month: 1,171/1,705 Week: 423/518 Day: 41/58 Hour: 0/8


Thread  Details

Email This Thread
Newer Topic | Older Topic
  
Author Topic:   The Nature of Scientific Inquiry; Is Evolution Science?
nator
Member (Idle past 458 days)
Posts: 12961
From: Ann Arbor
Joined: 12-09-2001


Message 1 of 86 (195303)
03-29-2005 7:00 PM


The thread containing this post from Faith was closed, so...

I think it should go in "Is it Science?"

Faith writes:

quote:
You guys are a riot. What a joke. By your standards nothing whatever is proof EXCEPT your own sometimes somewhat scientific guesses extrapolated from the present to the distant past which can't be tested, proved, replicated or falsified.

Faith, this is a very false statement.

I am going to start a new thread regarding the nature of scientific inquiry in order to help you understand that the ToE is, indeed, quite falsifiable, it's observations can be replicated, and is testable, contrary to your bald, baseless assertions that it cannot and is not.

If you decide to not join me at this thread, I'd like you to write, for the entire board to see, that you believe that the hundreds of thousands of scientists who have studied Evolution over the last 150 years are a bunch of moronic dunderheads that have been getting everything completely wrong in all of their millions of manhours of work over the decades.

You do realize that you are doing this when you make such statements, don't you?

You do understand how wildly arrogant you sound when you do so, don't you?


Replies to this message:
 Message 3 by Arkansas Banana Boy, posted 03-30-2005 12:20 AM nator has not yet responded
 Message 5 by nator, posted 03-30-2005 7:08 AM nator has not yet responded
 Message 7 by Faith, posted 03-30-2005 12:00 PM nator has responded

    
AdminNosy
Administrator
Posts: 4754
From: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Joined: 11-11-2003


Message 2 of 86 (195312)
03-29-2005 7:37 PM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.

  
Arkansas Banana Boy
Inactive Member


Message 3 of 86 (195350)
03-30-2005 12:20 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by nator
03-29-2005 7:00 PM


Thats why Faith's beginning posts on previous threads considering sedimentation were disingenuous... she tried to argue evidence and then denied its importance by 1)a foregone theological conclusion, and 2) the supposed invalid nature of historical evidence that wasn't written down.

This form of argument can be very appealing. For any subject that is historical or open to interpretation you can say I don't know and you CAN'T know. And the beauty is that one doesn't have to know anything of the subject at hand.

Investigation in historical science will go on despite the objections of Faith et al. That Faith is denying the validity of historical investigation is a bid to short circuit the argument to ultimate belief in revealed word and enough scientists to keep us full of cars and TV's and nothing more.

And like birds seeking the highest dinosaur in a flood, it seems the last bastion for Faith in her GD with Jazzns. Facts about rocks are not her friends so she seeks to invalidate the facts themselves.

Perhaps here we can begin with Faith's education in the philosophy of science and use of the scientific method. Here or in the GD, the argument seems headed this way and away from geology.

ABB


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by nator, posted 03-29-2005 7:00 PM nator has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 4 by Silent H, posted 03-30-2005 5:33 AM Arkansas Banana Boy has not yet responded

  
Silent H
Member (Idle past 4107 days)
Posts: 7405
From: satellite of love
Joined: 12-11-2002


Message 4 of 86 (195370)
03-30-2005 5:33 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by Arkansas Banana Boy
03-30-2005 12:20 AM


And like birds seeking the highest dinosaur in a flood

Maybe we should begin to theorize that tall dinosaurs went extinct because they were all crushed to death by all the birds standing on them.

What I love is that none of this would explain the extinction and "sorting" of aquatic birds, nor aquatic dinosaurs.

Perhaps here we can begin with Faith's education in the philosophy of science and use of the scientific method. Here or in the GD, the argument seems headed this way and away from geology.

Exactly.

I believe the end analysis is that Faith has no interest in science or philosophy, just speculation and sophistry. Otherwise there could have been some ground gained in discussions somewhere.


holmes
"...what a fool believes he sees, no wise man has the power to reason away.."(D. Bros)

This message is a reply to:
 Message 3 by Arkansas Banana Boy, posted 03-30-2005 12:20 AM Arkansas Banana Boy has not yet responded

    
nator
Member (Idle past 458 days)
Posts: 12961
From: Ann Arbor
Joined: 12-09-2001


Message 5 of 86 (195379)
03-30-2005 7:08 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by nator
03-29-2005 7:00 PM


OK Faith, so how about it?
Let's see, where to start?

Why don't we begin with defining Evolution itself?

This way, we can be sure we are talking about the same thing.

I consider a good definition of what evolution is to be the following. There is a very good short essay at this site that explains things a bit more, and I advise you to read it:

What is Evolution?

Biological evolution ... is change in the properties of populations of organisms that transcend the lifetime of a single individual. The ontogeny of an individual is not considered evolution; individual organisms do not evolve. The changes in populations that are considered evolutionary are those that are inheritable via the genetic material from one generation to the next. Biological evolution may be slight or substantial; it embraces everything from slight changes in the proportion of different alleles within a population (such as those determining blood types) to the successive alterations that led from the earliest protoorganism to snails, bees, giraffes, and dandelions."

- Douglas J. Futuyma in Evolutionary Biology, Sinauer Associates 1986

Are you in agreement with this definition, as it is the one scientists use?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by nator, posted 03-29-2005 7:00 PM nator has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 6 by Faith, posted 03-30-2005 11:47 AM nator has not yet responded

    
Faith
Member
Posts: 33310
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001
Member Rating: 1.2


Message 6 of 86 (195424)
03-30-2005 11:47 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by nator
03-30-2005 7:08 AM


Re: OK Faith, so how about it?
Biological evolution may be slight or substantial; it embraces everything from slight changes in the proportion of different alleles within a population (such as those determining blood types) to the successive alterations that led from the earliest protoorganism to snails, bees, giraffes, and dandelions."

That appears to be the usual definition of evolution and I dispute that there is any proof of such changes beyond the observable variations that occur within species, that is, I dispute that there is any proof that "biological evolution may be...substantial" in the sense that a protoorganism evolved to a snail, to a bee etc. What is considered to be proof is not proof.

This message has been edited by Faith, 03-30-2005 11:48 AM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 5 by nator, posted 03-30-2005 7:08 AM nator has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 12 by mark24, posted 03-30-2005 4:26 PM Faith has responded
 Message 25 by mark24, posted 04-01-2005 4:33 AM Faith has responded

    
Faith
Member
Posts: 33310
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001
Member Rating: 1.2


Message 7 of 86 (195426)
03-30-2005 12:00 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by nator
03-29-2005 7:00 PM


quote:
If you decide to not join me at this thread, I'd like you to write, for the entire board to see, that you believe that the hundreds of thousands of scientists who have studied Evolution over the last 150 years are a bunch of moronic dunderheads that have been getting everything completely wrong in all of their millions of manhours of work over the decades.

Speaking of arrogant, ordering another person around as so many seem to like to do here, certainly is arrogant.

I've also said many times, though perhaps you haven't seen those posts, that I consider most scientists to be doing valid science IN SPITE OF the theory they are laboring under. The dunderhead part is the theory, and since everybody accepts it and thinks their observations into it I don't consider the scientists themselves to be dunderheads at all, merely the victims of this theory which is unquestionable, not subject to proof or disproof, testing, falsification or replicability. Remember it is the THEORY that I'm saying does not meet these normal standards of scientific method, not any given scientific observation.

You cannot prove anything that happened in the past {Edit: without some kind of witness corroboration from that time}. The best you can do is make educated guesses. That's been my contention, and it would be easier to argue this in relation to the Geological Column {Edit: that is, to the Geological Timeframe which is built upon an ideaolized Geological Column }which I've also said does not meet these standards, than the ToE, but I'll do what I can with that if that is what you prefer.

This message has been edited by Faith, 03-30-2005 12:08 PM

This message has been edited by Faith, 03-30-2005 12:11 PM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by nator, posted 03-29-2005 7:00 PM nator has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 8 by sfs, posted 03-30-2005 2:24 PM Faith has responded
 Message 10 by LinearAq, posted 03-30-2005 3:49 PM Faith has responded
 Message 14 by nator, posted 03-31-2005 1:39 AM Faith has responded

    
sfs
Member (Idle past 821 days)
Posts: 464
From: Cambridge, MA USA
Joined: 08-27-2003


Message 8 of 86 (195468)
03-30-2005 2:24 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by Faith
03-30-2005 12:00 PM


quote:
I've also said many times, though perhaps you haven't seen those posts, that I consider most scientists to be doing valid science IN SPITE OF the theory they are laboring under. The dunderhead part is the theory, and since everybody accepts it and thinks their observations into it I don't consider the scientists themselves to be dunderheads at all, merely the victims of this theory which is unquestionable, not subject to proof or disproof, testing, falsification or replicability. Remember it is the THEORY that I'm saying does not meet these normal standards of scientific method, not any given scientific observation.

I know you're trying to avoid condemning scientists here, but it just doesn't wash. If biologists (and geologists and astronomers) have been blundering ahead for generations, never noticing that the basic framework they're using is completely wrong, then yes, they are dunderheads. Or I should say "we", since I'm one of them.

quote:
You cannot prove anything that happened in the past {Edit: without some kind of witness corroboration from that time}. The best you can do is make educated guesses. That's been my contention

Science does not care whether an event is in the past or not. All it cares is whether you can formulate hypotheses and test them. Evolution (and geology and astronomy) formulates testable hypotheses. Things like, if humans and chimpanzees share a common ancestor, then we should see the following when we compare their genes. Scientists continue to accept and use evolution because it works. It permits them to generate hypotheses that they can test, and that confirm the basic soundness of the theory. It also serves as a foundation for understanding lots of other phenomena. Scientists will continue to use evolution as long as it works and as long as there is no other alternative. And make no mistake, there is no other alternative: creationist theories can't remotely begin to explain the range of data that scientists encounter. Few creationists even bother trying.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by Faith, posted 03-30-2005 12:00 PM Faith has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 9 by Faith, posted 03-30-2005 3:41 PM sfs has responded

    
Faith
Member
Posts: 33310
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001
Member Rating: 1.2


Message 9 of 86 (195497)
03-30-2005 3:41 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by sfs
03-30-2005 2:24 PM


I know you're trying to avoid condemning scientists here, but it just doesn't wash. If biologists (and geologists and astronomers) have been blundering ahead for generations, never noticing that the basic framework they're using is completely wrong, then yes, they are dunderheads. Or I should say "we", since I'm one of them.

I'm only talking about extrapolations about the past, and these are not falsifiable as well as being built on years of mutually confirmed plausibilities and affirmation by the scientific community, and scientists are preoccupied with their own specialties more than the theory itself, all combining together to prevent its being challenged from within the community. Besides which, creationists are The Enemy and nobody would want to give a moment's credence to Them. Lots of reasons things stay as they are.

You cannot prove anything that happened in the past {Edit: without some kind of witness corroboration from that time}. The best you can do is make educated guesses. That's been my contention

quote:
Science does not care whether an event is in the past or not. All it cares is whether you can formulate hypotheses and test them.

Yes, and my point is that testing that could lead to falsification cannot be done with events in the past. I was thinking of the Geologic timeframe, the idea that rock layers are from ancient time periods, and that ancient scenarios built upon all this cannot be tested because the past cannot be replicated.

Testing, replication with the possibility of falsification can only be done with things you can actually work with, can see, can measure. When it comes to the past all you can do is infer, extrapolate, guess, deduce, and you can never prove your conclusion by scientific method. It always remains a guess, hopefully the best but still a guess and unprovable. To the extent that scenarios of biological evolution are built on such reasoning they too are not testable or falsifiable. There is no way to prove, test, replicate, falsify, for instance, that birds descended from dinosaurs just from the fossil record and the appearance of similar design factors.

However, your following scenario DOES work with testable things:

Evolution (and geology and astronomy) formulates testable hypotheses. Things like, if humans and chimpanzees share a common ancestor, then we should see the following when we compare their genes.

I agree, that's a scientifically formulated question and it should have scientific proof one way or another, as both human and chimpanzee DNA is available for study and there's every reason to suppose genetics always operates by predictable knowable laws, even if they aren't all known yet (unlike radiometric dating which could only be proved valid for ancient ages by KNOWING the age of some ancient rocks already, which can't be known without a reliable dating scheme that's not just extrapolations from extrapolations, and there we are going around in circles).

Do I need to know more than basic genetics to follow the necessary chain of reasoning? Are you good at explaining such things in clear terms? If so, proceed and show me how well scientists have proved or disproved that humans and chimpanzees share a common ancestor.

Scientists continue to accept and use evolution because it works. It permits them to generate hypotheses that they can test, and that confirm the basic soundness of the theory. It also serves as a foundation for understanding lots of other phenomena. Scientists will continue to use evolution as long as it works and as long as there is no other alternative. And make no mistake, there is no other alternative: creationist theories can't remotely begin to explain the range of data that scientists encounter. Few creationists even bother trying.

Well, I can't answer a generalization like this and I probably can't follow too far into genetics either. This generalization is basically your credo as I have given mine, so it is what we'd need to prove or disprove if it is possible to set up the conditions for that given all the limitations.

And may I ask a related question of you since you are apparently a biologist of some kind?

I understand that bottlenecks and other events studied in population genetics can be seen somehow in the genetic code? What kind of evidence is this? That is, what does it look like in the genes and chromosomes? It being the case that there's pretty good evidence fo such events in the genome, what would you expect to see in the genetic code for such a bottleneck as the reduction of the human race to Noah and family in the Flood?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 8 by sfs, posted 03-30-2005 2:24 PM sfs has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 11 by Parasomnium, posted 03-30-2005 3:56 PM Faith has responded
 Message 13 by sfs, posted 03-30-2005 4:27 PM Faith has responded

    
LinearAq
Member (Idle past 2964 days)
Posts: 598
From: Pocomoke City, MD
Joined: 11-03-2004


Message 10 of 86 (195501)
03-30-2005 3:49 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by Faith
03-30-2005 12:00 PM


Your Thoughts?
Faith writes:

I don't consider the scientists themselves to be dunderheads at all, merely the victims of this theory which is unquestionable, not subject to proof or disproof, testing, falsification or replicability. Remember it is the THEORY that I'm saying does not meet these normal standards of scientific method, not any given scientific observation.

For this THEORY, could you show any specific part that cannot be falsified?

What part is not subject to testing?

What, as you understand it, constitutes replicability as far as this theory is concerned?

Faith also writes:

You cannot prove anything that happened in the past {Edit: without some kind of witness corroboration from that time}.

I agree that you can't PROVE anything that happened in the past except I would go so far as to say that even witness corroboration can be considered suspect.

Be that as it may, I suspect that you are saying that we can't even make come up with anything close to the truth about what happened in the past. Does this mean that we should not consider forensic evidence or conclusions when bringing someone to trial?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by Faith, posted 03-30-2005 12:00 PM Faith has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 43 by Faith, posted 04-10-2005 1:30 AM LinearAq has not yet responded

    
Parasomnium
Member (Idle past 984 days)
Posts: 2191
Joined: 07-15-2003


Message 11 of 86 (195505)
03-30-2005 3:56 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by Faith
03-30-2005 3:41 PM


Faith writes:

my point is that testing that could lead to falsification cannot be done with events in the past

Crime: Victim was raped and murdered - an event in the past.
Hypothesis: Suspect A did the deed.
Evidence: semen found on the body of the victim.
Test: DNA of the semen is compared with that of the suspect.
Outcome: there is no correspondence between the samples.
Conclusion: the hypothesis that A did the deed is falsified.

We have an event in the past, a test, and a falsification.


We are all atheists about most of the gods that humanity has ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further. - Richard Dawkins

This message is a reply to:
 Message 9 by Faith, posted 03-30-2005 3:41 PM Faith has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 16 by gengar, posted 03-31-2005 3:37 AM Parasomnium has not yet responded
 Message 27 by Faith, posted 04-01-2005 4:51 AM Parasomnium has responded

  
mark24
Member (Idle past 3483 days)
Posts: 3857
From: UK
Joined: 12-01-2001


Message 12 of 86 (195514)
03-30-2005 4:26 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by Faith
03-30-2005 11:47 AM


Re: OK Faith, so how about it?
Hi Faith,

I have generally followed threads you have been involved in, but decided not to post, too many of us piling it on wouldn't really help you deal with the points raised. But since this is a new thread I'll wade right in. I'd like to tackle two points, the "what is science" bit, then evidence of macroevolution if I may.

Science is simply a logical methodological construct that allows hypotheses to be supported or falsified. Data that becomes available that supports a hypothesis is by definition evidence for it, & vice versa.

You cannot prove anything that happened in the past

Science doesn't "prove" anything, it simply piles on the evidence to such a point that it would be foolish to deny the theories veracity. In order to be scientific, a theory must be open to revision in the face of new data, yes? Not even creationists deny that. If this is the case then it therefore obvious that one cannot prove a theory to the point where you can state it with absolute 100% certainty. If you do, then you are stating that no new data could possibly be considered, which is of course contradictory, & no scientific theory would or could be held in this regard & still be considered scientific.

If a theory hypothesises that something happened in such a way in the past, & data supports that theory, then that data is evidence of it, by definition. It matters not one iota whether that data supports a real-time experiment in a lab, or a hypothesis that Egyptians preserved their nobility for an alleged afterlife by embalming them. Nowhere, & I mean nowhere, in any scientific or philosophical literature does it state that past events cannot be inferred. This notion is simply an illogical tactic invoked by creationists so they don't have to consider data. It is of course ridiculous that creationists insist that data in support of a theory isn't evidence of it, but there you go!

Now, on to the juicy stuff. This is technical, but I hope I've done a reasonable job in simplifying the concepts.

Cladistics is a method by which we look at as many characters as possible in a given species, & compare them to other species. In such a way we can assess similarities between species & more easily classify them. The result is a diagram like this...

You may note that the most similar organisms are likely to be the most related, according to evolutionary theory. Therefore, the resulting cladogram, as well as being an objective method of classification, also shows us relationships between taxa if evolution is indicative of reality. If so, we can think of a cladogram as being akin to an evolutionary tree.

A very big "if", I hear you say! How can we test the assumption that relationships between organisms on a cladogram are evolutionary in origin? Two ways, take different data sets & see if the cladograms broadly match (they do), or test the cladograms order of divergence (the point where lineages diverge are called "nodes" on a cladogram) & see how well it matches the rocks. This is the beautiful bit, at a stroke it shows the geologic column to be indicative of reality, as well as evolutionary principles. The matches aren't perfect by any stretch, but when taken en mass, they show a correlation that far, far exceeds what would be expected by chance alone.

We have our data that supports evolution.

Take a deep breath for more detail, showing the extent & quality of the evidence......Here goes.....

Given that the cladograms under study are independent of stratigraphy, it is possible to compare the two to see how well they match. There are two main reasons for disagreement. 1/ The cladogram is wrong, & 2/ the fossil record is so poor that the daughter species is found in older rock than the parent. Given that this is the case, we should expect a very low SCI (SCI is the ratio of stratigraphic consistent to inconsistent nodes in a cladogram) value if evolution were not indicative of reality. ie. Nodes (in complex cladograms) match by chance rather than signal. In other words, the null hypothesis is that the SCI value will be a low value.

Assessing Congruence Between Cladistic and Stratigraphic Data

Stratigraphic Consistency Index

"The SCI metric may also be summarized either as a mean value for each taxonomic group or as a proportion of cladograms that score SCI values of 0.500 or more, an indication that half, or more, of the branches are consistent with stratigraphic evidence. By both measures, fishes and echinoderms score better than tetrapods. Mean SCI values are: echinoderms (0.773), fishes (0.757), and tetrapods (0.701). Proportions of cladograms with SCI values $0.500 are tetrapods (100%), echinoderms (94%), and fishes (93%). For both measures, values for all three groups are indistinguishable according to binomial error bars (Fig. 3).

Within the sample of echinoderm cladograms, nonechinoids show somewhat better results than echinoids but not significantly so (Fig. 3). The mean SCI value for echinoids is 0.724, and for nonechinoids 0.849; moreover, 90%of echinoid cladograms have SCI values $ 0.500,compared with 100% for nonechinoids.

SCI values for fish groups are variable but not significantly different (Fig. 3). For mean SCI values, the order is as follows: sarcopterygians (0.904), teleosts (0.744), placoderms(0.741), agnathans (0.733), and actinopterygians (0.722). In all cases, all sampled cladograms show SCI values > 0.500. The rankings of tetrapod groups by both aspects of the SCI metric are comparable. Mean SCI values give this sequence: mammals (0.837), “mammallike reptiles” (0.729), lepidosauromorphs (0.714), dinosaurs (0.698), archosauromorphs (0.660), and turtles (0.586). The low value for turtles is significantly lower than the high values for synapsids, mammals, and “mammallike reptiles”. Proportions of cladograms with SCI values $ 0.500 give this sequence: mammals (100%), “mammallike reptiles” (100%), lepidosauromorphs (100%), turtles (100%), dinosaurs (86%), and archosauromorphs (78%)."
Why is the SCI so high? Why do cladograms & stratigraphy match on the whole if evolution is not indicative of reality? Given that cladograms & stratigraphy match relatively well, how do you explain this significant correlation?"

Given there is a clear signal of "evolution" in the rock stratigraphy & morphology combined, it therefore stands to reason that where these phylogenies would infer large scale morphological change (Cetaceans, basal tetrapoda, & basal amniotes, for example), evolution can be reliably inferred. Even more reliably than phylogenetic analyses, cladistics & stratigraphy on their own, that is.

(Thanks to Rrhain for the maths help.)

The average cladogram has six taxa, meaning five nodes. Giving you the benefit of the doubt for ease of calculation we’ll assume only 60% (average) nodes (rather than ~75%) corroborate.

C(n,k) * r! * {1 - [1 - 1/2! + 1/3! - 1/4! + ... + (-1)^(r+1)*1/r!]} / n!

n= total no. of nodes
K= correct nodes
r= n-k= incorrect no. of nodes

C(5,3) * 2! * [1 - (1 - 1/2!)] / 5!
10 * 2 * (1/2) / 120
10/120
1/12

There is a 12:1 chance of getting the average cladogram to match stratigraphy as well as it does. There is therefore a 12^300:1 chance of getting 300 cladograms to match stratigraphy in this way.

5.68*10^323:1

568,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 : 1 chance of 300 cladograms enjoying a 60% corroboration with stratigraphy.

As can be seen, the evidence piles up when more & more cladograms are considered.

Mark


There are 10 kinds of people in this world; those that understand binary, & those that don't

This message is a reply to:
 Message 6 by Faith, posted 03-30-2005 11:47 AM Faith has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 46 by Faith, posted 04-10-2005 3:46 AM mark24 has responded

    
sfs
Member (Idle past 821 days)
Posts: 464
From: Cambridge, MA USA
Joined: 08-27-2003


Message 13 of 86 (195516)
03-30-2005 4:27 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by Faith
03-30-2005 3:41 PM


quote:

I'm only talking about extrapolations about the past, and these are not falsifiable

As has already been pointed out, this is wrong. Some events don't leave any trace behind, but lots of events do. If you visit a dormant volcano, observe the cooled lava flows and see the remains of thousands of trees, all broken and lying pointing away from the crater and covered in ash, you have a pretty good idea that the volcano erupted at some point in the past don't you? That's all science does when it comes to past events: look at the traces left behind and infer what happened.

quote:
as well as being built on years of mutually confirmed plausibilities and affirmation by the scientific community, and scientists are preoccupied with their own specialties more than the theory itself, all combining together to prevent its being challenged from within the community. Besides which, creationists are The Enemy and nobody would want to give a moment's credence to Them. Lots of reasons things stay as they are.

To be blunt, you are like someone coming up to a bunch of electricians and telling them that they only think electricity flows through wires -- really, it's water that's goes through wires, and they only think electricity is involved because they all assume it and aren't concerned about the theory itself. The electricians would, rightly, think that the person was nuts. Scientists really would have noticed if their most basic theory was completely wrong.

quote:
I agree, that's a scientifically formulated question and it should have scientific proof one way or another, as both human and chimpanzee DNA is available for study and there's every reason to suppose genetics always operates by predictable knowable laws, even if they aren't all known yet

Excellent. We're in agreement on this basic point. But, contrary to your statement elsewhere, this is exactly the same kind of reasoning that is applied to any other part of evolutionary biology. Some ideas can be tested with great precision, some with less. Some can't be tested at all, and can never be more than speculation. The parts that science has reached conclusions about all fall into the testable category, however.

quote:

(unlike radiometric dating which could only be proved valid for ancient ages by KNOWING the age of some ancient rocks already, which can't be known without a reliable dating scheme that's not just extrapolations from extrapolations, and there we are going around in circles).

Huh? Radiometric dating, at least in its more sophisticated forms, depends on knowing how physics works, and doesn't depend at all on having some sample whose date you know. As we DNA, we have the isotopes, and we know the processes that are involved in radioactive decay, so we can make valid inferences about how long the rock has been accumulating decay products.

quote:
Do I need to know more than basic genetics to follow the necessary chain of reasoning? Are you good at explaining such things in clear terms? If so, proceed and show me how well scientists have proved or disproved that humans and chimpanzees share a common ancestor.

It's a web of interrelated observations. Some are fairly simple to understand, some aren't. Let me look around to see if I have any old posts on the subject.

quote:
Well, I can't answer a generalization like this and I probably can't follow too far into genetics either. This generalization is basically your credo as I have given mine, so it is what we'd need to prove or disprove if it is possible to set up the conditions for that given all the limitations.

I don't think that's a fair characterization. My comments come from my professional experience with genetic data; I've seen the utility of evolution in practice. I've tried (for years) to think of ways of getting them to fit a YEC scenario, and I can't come up with one. Your comments, on the other hand, are something you came up with based on no first-hand experience with science, aren't they?

[more later -- gotta get some work done here]


This message is a reply to:
 Message 9 by Faith, posted 03-30-2005 3:41 PM Faith has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 44 by Faith, posted 04-10-2005 2:10 AM sfs has responded

    
nator
Member (Idle past 458 days)
Posts: 12961
From: Ann Arbor
Joined: 12-09-2001


Message 14 of 86 (195618)
03-31-2005 1:39 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by Faith
03-30-2005 12:00 PM


quote:
I've also said many times, though perhaps you haven't seen those posts, that I consider most scientists to be doing valid science IN SPITE OF the theory they are laboring under.

Um, how can their work be valid to you if their work is founded upon and deeply dependant upon a theory that you consider "dunderheaded"?

quote:
The dunderhead part is the theory, and since everybody accepts it and thinks their observations into it I don't consider the scientists themselves to be dunderheads at all, merely the victims of this theory which is unquestionable,

The Theory is certainly able to be questioned.

What do you think Gould and Eldredge did?

quote:
not subject to proof or disproof, testing, falsification or replicability.

False, false, false, false.

How can we test Evolutionary theory?

The same way we test any other scientific theory.

We make a prediction and then see if the evidence (all relevant evidence) observed confirms or falsifies our prediction.

It was predicted that genetic trees of life would have a high degree of similarity to morphologic trees of life. (remember that the discovery of DNA and the ability to map genes came along in the very recent past)

They do, thus our prediction is confirmed.

If we had not seen such a convergence, and there had been significant differences between the two trees, Evolutionary Theory would have been seriously compromised.

Do not confuse "unfalsified" with "unfalsifiable." The ToE is the former, not the latter.

We can replicate many, many observations regarding Evolutionary Theory, of course.

Remember, it's not the events which need to be replicated (although many experiments, such as gene sequencing, can be replicated), it's the observations that are replicated.

quote:
Remember it is the THEORY that I'm saying does not meet these normal standards of scientific method, not any given scientific observation.

So, are you saying that the hundreds of thousands of scientists over the last 150 years are complete dunderheads because they have never recognized that the underpinnings to their entire field of study was actually not scientific at all?

You see, no matter how you try to soften it, you are basically forced to portray these hundreds of thousands of scientists as being such knuckleheads that they didn't even know that their own theory wasn't even scientific!

What a bunch of idiots!

Especially those Geneticists who figured out that many people who have partial to full immunity to the AIDS virus can be traced to a particular village in Europe, a number of residents of which also survived the Black Plague. It turns out that the Plague survivors have a genetic mutation which made them immune to the Plague virus, and this mutation has been passed on to their descendents, which has rendered them immune (full mutation) or partially (half mutation) immune to the AIDS virus.

Clueless dupes, the lot, eh?!


This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by Faith, posted 03-30-2005 12:00 PM Faith has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 15 by Ben!, posted 03-31-2005 3:15 AM nator has responded
 Message 47 by Faith, posted 04-10-2005 5:12 AM nator has not yet responded

    
Ben!
Member (Idle past 1910 days)
Posts: 1154
From: San Diego, CA
Joined: 10-14-2004


Message 15 of 86 (195639)
03-31-2005 3:15 AM
Reply to: Message 14 by nator
03-31-2005 1:39 AM


So, are you saying that the hundreds of thousands of scientists over the last 150 years are complete dunderheads because they have never recognized that the underpinnings to their entire field of study was actually not scientific at all?

You see, no matter how you try to soften it, you are basically forced to portray these hundreds of thousands of scientists as being such knuckleheads that they didn't even know that their own theory wasn't even scientific!

What a bunch of idiots!

I'm sad to see people on this board continue to use this type of argument. This is a logical fallacy. A large number of people believing something does not make it true, false, likely to be true, likely to be false.

At least half the time on this board is spent discussing how the Bible and the God purported by Christian churches is not supportable. A whole lot more than 150,000 people believe in these things. Is truth a popularity contest?

By the way, hi schraf. Nice to write to you after reading so many of your posts. Sorry to choose this kind of post to say "hi" in, but... that's the way the cookie crumbles sometimes. See you around!


This message is a reply to:
 Message 14 by nator, posted 03-31-2005 1:39 AM nator has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 17 by nator, posted 03-31-2005 8:22 AM Ben! has responded
 Message 18 by JonF, posted 03-31-2005 8:25 AM Ben! has not yet responded

    
Newer Topic | Older Topic
Jump to:


Copyright 2001-2018 by EvC Forum, All Rights Reserved

™ Version 4.0 Beta
Innovative software from Qwixotic © 2019