Evolution is not an opinion

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steven lloyd
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Re: Evolution is not an opinion

Post by steven lloyd »

lulwut wrote:The religious fundamentalists already know evolution kicks their butt every time. That’s why they invented Intelligent design arguments.


Actually, religious fundamentalists don't believe "evolution kicks their butt every time" and dismiss the idea of evidence-supported evolution pretty much completely. As far as intelligent design arguments go, there is a vast spectrum of beliefs that include those of some of the world's most prominent physicists, astro-physicists, evolutionary biologists, anthropologists and a myriad of other scientists. They can’t prove or disprove the idea either way (and neither can you), and no real scientist would make such a claim. Thankfully, real scientists remain open in their thinking and that’s why people can engage in this discussion via the internet.
And then there is our resident right-wing troll who tells us name calling is childish.
The hypocrisy is just pitiful and way off the charts and so very strong in this one.
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Re: Evolution is not an opinion

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Mr. Personality wrote:Evolution seems to be the best theory so far, I'll admit.
Still seems like it's more an "all signs point to" than an absolute proven fact, though.


Ugh! Yes....first time I've ever ventured into this forum...PLEASE tell me this isn't representative of the depth of reasoning here....but sigh...I know it is...same people from the other forums...

Without even getting deep into epistemology, the original poster clearly shows that she does not even know what a "fact" is, in terms of science. Most unfortuante, that the most vocal proponents of evolution or creationism are often the least qualified to make any sound judgements on the matter, but instead parrot, and often, mangle, what they hear from others....
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Re: Evolution is not an opinion

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My first post was a report on Richard Dawkins and his new book The Greatest Story Ever Told (subtitled The Evidence for Evolution). I'm only into Chapter 3 so far but it is rock solid with facts. I may not be qualified to say what a scientific fact is but he certainly is (as well as most biologists).

One of the things that really stuck out to me is with the genetic mapping. There is a family tree being revealed there with similar animals sharing the exact same strains of code. As we learn to read it we will be able to backtrack through the course of evolution.

If we look at how much humans have successfully changed a wolf into domestic dogs of various shapes and sizes in a relatively short span of time, it is not a far stretch to see what could occur over millions and billions of years.
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Re: Evolution is not an opinion

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quietlywatching84
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Re: Evolution is not an opinion

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Without even getting deep into epistemology, the original poster clearly shows that she does not even know what a "fact" is, in terms of science. Most unfortuante, that the most vocal proponents of evolution or creationism are often the least qualified to make any sound judgements on the matter, but instead parrot, and often, mangle, what they hear from others....


LOL, Plato and Socrates both bluntly said that there is no such thing as an absolute truth thousands of years ago, but the journey to get as close as we can is a worthy one. So there are no facts, who cares. If you want to be the guy that jumps of a 10 story building to make the point that the theory of gravity is "just" a theory, then by all means, don't let us stop you...
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Tumult
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Re: Evolution is not an opinion

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Actually, gravity is one of the very few things science can still get away with calling a "Law". I don't think there is really much argument against evolutionary fact, the argument is which theory correctly explains how evolution works.
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Re: Evolution is not an opinion

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steven lloyd wrote:
lulwut wrote:The religious fundamentalists already know evolution kicks their butt every time. That’s why they invented Intelligent design arguments.


Actually, religious fundamentalists don't believe "evolution kicks their butt every time" and dismiss the idea of evidence-supported evolution pretty much completely. As far as intelligent design arguments go, there is a vast spectrum of beliefs that include those of some of the world's most prominent physicists, astro-physicists, evolutionary biologists, anthropologists and a myriad of other scientists. They can’t prove or disprove the idea either way (and neither can you), and no real scientist would make such a claim. Thankfully, real scientists remain open in their thinking and that’s why people can engage in this discussion via the internet.


Would it be a fair statement steven to point out that not all "religious" folk are "fundamentalists". From my perspective these discussions tend toward too much generalization regarding "religion".

It has been my personal experience that the vast majority are not fundamentalists. True religious fundamentalists are to me very much a minority and, IMO, often very close minded and uneducated to boot. Then again, much the same could be said about many anti-religion folk too, no? After all it doesn't take much to become a parrot of some specific ideology or theory it seems, particularly if one is easily influenced or lead in an effort to "fit in" or have meaning and avoids facts.

I think it is very important to recognize that fact if generally true, since many (most?) religious folk I know are quite comfortable acknowledging evolution as a reality, along with a billion year old or more earth, even if the theory continues to be scientifically incomplete. Some I know do question however just at what point on the evolutionary scale humans became "human" and if "God" had a hand in that switch (and when). They see "the Bible" much differently than the "strict interpreters" do, whether those "strict interpreters" are pro or anti religion.

Heck, I learned about the reality of evolution in the 1950's in grade school and high school as did most of my generation. I am quite surprised it continues to be such a debateable issue among some mainstream folk, religious or otherwise.

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steven lloyd
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Re: Evolution is not an opinion

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Nabcom wrote: Would it be a fair statement steven to point out that not all "religious" folk are "fundamentalists". From my perspective these discussions tend toward too much generalization regarding "religion". Nab


I would readily agree that would be an obvious assumption Nabs. The use of stereotypical generalization is usually quite generous in these discussions and often discredits what would otherwise be some pretty good points made by certain posters. Such posters go to great length to exhibit such a high degree of intellectualism yet lose all their credibility by the use of clichéd generality. Blaming religion for war and pedophilia are just two obvious examples that come to mind. Too bad. Thus endith the hope for what could otherwise be an intelligent discussion.


See ya.
And then there is our resident right-wing troll who tells us name calling is childish.
The hypocrisy is just pitiful and way off the charts and so very strong in this one.
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Re: Evolution is not an opinion

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Tumult wrote:Actually, gravity is one of the very few things science can still get away with calling a "Law". I don't think there is really much argument against evolutionary fact, the argument is which theory correctly explains how evolution works.


Newton's "Law of Gravity" has been superseded by the "General Theory of Relativity" for almost 100 years (Popular for 50-60 years).

Evolution is a Theory, largely because it's impossible to watch something evolve in a controlled environment for millions of years. Further, we only have guesses as to the mechanisms involved. We have seen large amounts of "circumstantial" (a better word escapes me atm) evidence of evolution and have significant correlations that further strengthen the theory of evolution.

While I have changed my brought up world-view significantly over the past 2 years (most significantly the last 6 months), I still think Richard Dawkins is a dick (not meant to be a pun, but it was unavoidable). He does the exact same things he professes to abhor about "Intelligent Design"Theorists by trivializing their theories and making it appear absurd. I don't personally like either side of this debate, since both sides seem mostly concerned about finding the holes in the other side's theories.

I like the scientists who find things out and publish them and explain them without a vendetta and don't care which "side" their findings fall on.
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Re: Evolution is not an opinion

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Yes, while Newton's law of universal gravitation has been superseded by general relativity as an explanation of the mechanics of how gravity works, that each object in the universe attracts each other body is "law".

In the American vernacular, "theory" often means "imperfect fact"--part of a hierarchy of confidence running downhill from fact to theory to hypothesis to guess. Thus the power of the creationist argument: evolution is "only" a theory and intense debate now rages about many aspects of the theory. If evolution is worse than a fact, and scientists can't even make up their minds about the theory, then what confidence can we have in it? Indeed, President Reagan echoed this argument before an evangelical group in Dallas when he said (in what I devoutly hope was campaign rhetoric): "Well, it is a theory. It is a scientific theory only, and it has in recent years been challenged in the world of science--that is, not believed in the scientific community to be as infallible as it once was."
Well evolution is a theory. It is also a fact. And facts and theories are different things, not rungs in a hierarchy of increasing certainty. Facts are the world's data. Theories are structures of ideas that explain and interpret facts. Facts don't go away when scientists debate rival theories to explain them. Einstein's theory of gravitation replaced Newton's in this century, but apples didn't suspend themselves in midair, pending the outcome. And humans evolved from ape-like ancestors whether they did so by Darwin's proposed mechanism or by some other yet to be discovered.

Moreover, "fact" doesn't mean "absolute certainty"; there ain't no such animal in an exciting and complex world. The final proofs of logic and mathematics flow deductively from stated premises and achieve certainty only because they are not about the empirical world. Evolutionists make no claim for perpetual truth, though creationists often do (and then attack us falsely for a style of argument that they themselves favor). In science "fact" can only mean "confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional consent." I suppose that apples might start to rise tomorrow, but the possibility does not merit equal time in physics classrooms.

Evolutionists have been very clear about this distinction of fact and theory from the very beginning, if only because we have always acknowledged how far we are from completely understanding the mechanisms (theory) by which evolution (fact) occurred. Darwin continually emphasized the difference between his two great and separate accomplishments: establishing the fact of evolution, and proposing a theory--natural selection--to explain the mechanism of evolution.

- Stephen J. Gould, " Evolution as Fact and Theory"; Discover, May 1981

[emphasis added]

This quote taken from: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/evolution-fact.html

I don't care for Dawkins either or his global "battle against religion".
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Re: Evolution is not an opinion

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FunkyBunch wrote:Evolution is a Theory, largely because it's impossible to watch something evolve in a controlled environment for millions of years. Further, we only have guesses as to the mechanisms involved. We have seen large amounts of "circumstantial" (a better word escapes me atm) evidence of evolution and have significant correlations that further strengthen the theory of evolution.

While I have changed my brought up world-view significantly over the past 2 years (most significantly the last 6 months), I still think Richard Dawkins is a dick (not meant to be a pun, but it was unavoidable). He does the exact same things he professes to abhor about "Intelligent Design"Theorists by trivializing their theories and making it appear absurd. I don't personally like either side of this debate, since both sides seem mostly concerned about finding the holes in the other side's theories.

I like the scientists who find things out and publish them and explain them without a vendetta and don't care which "side" their findings fall on.


Excellent post FunkyBunch. I too find Dawkins sheer hypocrisy rather off-putting, he has either become as an extreme a zealot as any one will find, or simply loves to play it up for publicity/notariety (which in itself is part of the game of academia and modern culture), either way, he certainly is far from the ideal front-man to present the case.

The former certainly seems to be the case in that Dawkins himself has drawn some rather irrational and contardictory conclusions when he starts to delve into deeper interpretations of philosophical issues. All this while openly mocking arguments others have presented and/or dishonestly simplifying/misrepresenting them (as you point out). When that happens, it simply becomes rather questionable whether Dawkins should ever be used as a source of information. Certainly I would suggest that many others present far more balanced and sound arguments.


You're also dead-on when it comes to your statements about evolutionary theory. Again, great post.
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Re: Evolution is not an opinion

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quietlywatching84 wrote:
Without even getting deep into epistemology, the original poster clearly shows that she does not even know what a "fact" is, in terms of science. Most unfortuante, that the most vocal proponents of evolution or creationism are often the least qualified to make any sound judgements on the matter, but instead parrot, and often, mangle, what they hear from others....


LOL, Plato and Socrates both bluntly said that there is no such thing as an absolute truth thousands of years ago, but the journey to get as close as we can is a worthy one. So there are no facts, who cares. If you want to be the guy that jumps of a 10 story building to make the point that the theory of gravity is "just" a theory, then by all means, don't let us stop you...


Well not exactly. Certainly one could argue on many levels about "facts"....thus my reference to epistemology. But even disregarding such "deeper" theoretical discussions, even in contemporary science usage, the term "fact" would not apply well in this usage, strictly speaking. Now, if it's meant more colloquially, then no problem ACCEPT that it looks rather asinine to lecture people about science, scientific method, and rationality while simultaneously displaying blatant errors in your own usage/reasoning. More to the point, it makes the poster appear, rather overbearing, somewhat ignorant, and, perhaps worst, puts an end to any intelligent discussion on the issue. If one wants to simply make overbearing statements on a issue (regardless of viewpoint), it renders honest dialogue on the issue nearly impossible. Sad to see, and troubling, if that is the extent of the analysis, but I am glad to see some follow-ups which indicate that indeed, many here are thinking about the issues with more rigour!
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Re: Evolution is not an opinion

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jennylives wrote:My first post was a report on Richard Dawkins and his new book The Greatest Story Ever Told (subtitled The Evidence for Evolution). I'm only into Chapter 3 so far but it is rock solid with facts. I may not be qualified to say what a scientific fact is but he certainly is (as well as most biologists).

One of the things that really stuck out to me is with the genetic mapping. There is a family tree being revealed there with similar animals sharing the exact same strains of code. As we learn to read it we will be able to backtrack through the course of evolution.

If we look at how much humans have successfully changed a wolf into domestic dogs of various shapes and sizes in a relatively short span of time, it is not a far stretch to see what could occur over millions and billions of years.


I am glad you're enjoyign the book. I have not read it, so I won't go into specific argument, HOWEVER, I strongly suggest you read it with a CRITICAL mind and not assume that facts should be dicated based only on his presumed authority. (the fact that you also proclaim 'most biologists" as sources of an unquestioned appeal to authority is equally troubling).

Dawkins has repeatedly shown himself to be extremely close-minded and polarized in his views of science and religion. He is particularly weak at any time he starts arguing his own ideas to extend past empirical findings to argue his own atheist platform. Here, many contradictions and implausible conclusions can be found. Though I have heard that some believe he is now clearly moderating his position, particularly in this book (and his promotion of it), from his previous dogma.

As to animals sharing segments of code, I'm surprised you are excited by this since it is hardly new(they were teachign this in high-schools decades ago), but that is great! There are some deeper issues/arguments about interpretion fo such findings which I would be curious to see if Dawkins addreses but nonetheless, it is certainly intriguing.


Your last paragraph is certainly troubling. I hope you can see that innumerable assumptions are being implied there. I wouldn't even know where to begin...again, I would caution you, or anyone to be an independent CRITICAL thinker. Not simply accept what somebody has written. Think about the assumption you are making in every statement you make or read. If you don't thnk things through thoroughly...with due diligence, thenyour knowledge is no more sound than simple arbitrary faith.
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Re: Evolution is not an opinion

Post by normaM »

last time I said anything negative about Mr Dawkins I was nearly drawn and quartered. It is nice to see discussion happening rather than the all too often " you're an idiot" " no you're the idiot"
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Re: Evolution is not an opinion

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dcipher wrote:I would caution you, or anyone to be an independent CRITICAL thinker. Not simply accept what somebody has written.

That is exactly what atheists have been trying to tell religous people. You hit the nail on the head.

Somehow I doubt Dawkins would care one iota if anyone read his book critically. However, the same cannot be said for the other side, since their beliefs preclude critical thinking.
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