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(Wired)   Famed microbiologist on teaching evolution: don't start until college. Billy Joel is not gonna like this   (blog.wired.com) divider line 200
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2240 clicks; posted to Geek » on 23 Feb 2008 at 12:42 AM (6 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2008-02-23 03:00:58 AM
shrapnil77: Oh dear. Atheist Fark circle-stroke in -127, -128, -129. . .

That's what you get when a bunch of backwoods theocratic nuts want to inject priitive mythology into our science classrooms. Believe it or not, when they try to pull that garbage, it upsets those of use who don't believe the world was sneezed into being by some ancient tribe's war god.

We'll continue to assert outselves until the theist goons get the point that they don't get to tell science teachers how to teach science.
 
2008-02-23 03:04:10 AM
CaptainJuan:
Irreducible Complexity. If it could be found, it would be evidence contrary to the theory of evolution. However, no example of irreducible complexity in nature has been found to date.


To do that, you need a proof positive that a structure is in fact irreducible.

Impossible burden of proof.
 
2008-02-23 03:06:03 AM
NetOwl:

That's what you get when a bunch of backwoods theocratic nuts want to inject priitive mythology into our science classrooms. Believe it or not, when they try to pull that garbage, it upsets those of use who don't believe the world was sneezed into being by some ancient tribe's war god.

We'll continue to assert outselves until the theist goons get the point that they don't get to tell science teachers how to teach science.


Thuggee. It's only OK when we do it!
 
2008-02-23 03:09:46 AM
CaptainJuan: shrapnil77: Inside the known laws of the universe, what would constitute disproof of/ evidence contrary to evolution?

Irreducible Complexity. If it could be found, it would be evidence contrary to the theory of evolution. However, no example of irreducible complexity in nature has been found to date.


"Irreducible Complexity" is just code for "giving up and saying a wizard did it."

Proving evolution didn't happen would be like proving the sun didn't rise yesterday; it HAPPENED. The question to answer is how and/or why. Natural selection may not account for everything we ever discover (and it probably doesn't), but that doesn't mean we won't find more mechanisms for evolution.

Furthermore, evolution is so well established that finding one issue that would be hard to dissect using only our known methods would NOT mean throwing the theory out the window. It would just mean we'd have to refine it to account for the new data point.

Why? Because evolution is something we have seen more and more of, every year, for over a century. Nearly everything we discover sheds more light on it, and its empirical and theoretical foundations are solid enough that doubting it is silly.

Any talk of "well, what do we need to find in order to disprove this?" is driven by politics, because it's roughly the equivalent of being passionately interested in disproving gravity. Even if we learn more about it and have to twea some of the theoretical underpinnings, the result of these processes still happened/happens. Things still fall, and living things still evolve.
 
2008-02-23 03:16:27 AM
shrapnil77: NetOwl:
We'll continue to assert outselves until the theist goons get the point that they don't get to tell science teachers how to teach science.

Thuggee. It's only OK when we do it!


Yeah, it is okay for those who have built up over a century's worth of solid theory and observation to have more say in how science is taught than those whose first principles come from and old religious book.

I'm not saying I am qualified to write an evolution textbook, but I do have a pretty good idea of who is and who isn't, based on what I know about science and how science is done, as well as what I know about how religion works.

More to the point, though, is that there is no reason this should be a religious issue at all. Plenty of scientific discoveries have prompted religion to reevaluate itself. Only with evolution (these days, anyway) is there such a concerted effort to beat back discoveries and attempt to retain the relevance of the outdated religious view. I suspect this is because Darwin utterly destroyed one of the three "great" arguments for God's existence, but that's debatable.

What's not is that evolution is part of science, not part of religion, and those who teach it shouldn't have have to give the time of day to a movement that rejects the philosophical foundations of science (and has nothing to show for doing so).
 
2008-02-23 03:16:28 AM
NetOwl:

"Irreducible Complexity" is just code for "giving up and saying a wizard did it."

Proving evolution didn't happen would be like proving the sun didn't rise yesterday; it HAPPENED. The question to answer is how and/or why. Natural selection may not account for everything we ever discover (and it probably doesn't), but that doesn't mean we won't find more mechanisms for evolution.

Furthermore, evolution is so well established that finding one issue that would be hard to dissect using only our known methods would NOT mean throwing the theory out the window. It would just mean we'd have to refine it to account for the new data point.

Why? Because evolution is something we have seen more and more of, every year, for over a century. Nearly everything we discover sheds more light on it, and its empirical and theoretical foundations are solid enough that doubting it is silly.

Any talk of "well, what do we need to find in order to disprove this?" is driven by politics, because it's roughly the equivalent of being passionately interested in disproving gravity. Even if we learn more about it and have to twea some of the theoretical underpinnings, the result of these processes still happened/happens. Things still fall, and living things still evolve.


Now do you see what the problem is?
 
2008-02-23 03:20:41 AM
shrapnil77: >NetOwl:
Now do you see what the problem is?


The problem is that it will take a hell of a lot more than a single example of something we can't easily explain with current models to overturn over a hundred years' worth of data from all other fields of biology, corroborated ridiculously strongly by genetics and biochemistry and archaeology and even mathematics.

Not that "irreducible compexity" could ever be demonstrated.
 
2008-02-23 03:24:13 AM
img182.imageshack.us
 
2008-02-23 03:24:31 AM
Etchy333: You don't teach quantum mechanics in the grade schools.

True, but you also need to learn basic math before you can even approach quantum mechanics.


And you need more advanced math, which is built on basic math. TFA fails because QM is basically impossible to teach to people without a strong background in linear algebra and differential equations, even at the most basic level.

Evolution gets into some pretty neat mathematics when studied in depth (involving fun uses of topology and dynamics and other cool stuff), but at its most basic, it requires no math that high schoolers shouldn't already know.
 
2008-02-23 03:24:31 AM
NetOwl: shrapnil77: >NetOwl:
Now do you see what the problem is?

The problem is that it will take a hell of a lot more than a single example of something we can't easily explain with current models to overturn over a hundred years' worth of data from all other fields of biology, corroborated ridiculously strongly by genetics and biochemistry and archaeology and even mathematics.

Not that "irreducible compexity" could ever be demonstrated.


I was thinking more of the big picture.
 
2008-02-23 03:29:12 AM
shrapnil77: NetOwl:

I was thinking more of the big picture.


As far as I can tell, there are two big picture issues.

1) The creationists are arguing against a fact by trying to claim that the explanation for the fact is deficient, with some of them retreating to attacking merely the explanation for the fact and saying it needs more magic.

2) It's hard, though not impossible, to convince those who believe preachers know more about science than scientists do. It's even more frustrating when a few of those hoodwinked while young grow up and try to shoehorn their religious beliefs into legitimate science, resulting in trainwrecks like ID.

Then again, I'm a bit tired and cranky, so I could be overlooking something.

/sleep is for the weak, and I have simulations to run while Farking
 
2008-02-23 03:34:18 AM
NetOwl: shrapnil77: NetOwl:

I was thinking more of the big picture.

As far as I can tell, there are two big picture issues.

1) The creationists are arguing against a fact by trying to claim that the explanation for the fact is deficient, with some of them retreating to attacking merely the explanation for the fact and saying it needs more magic.

2) It's hard, though not impossible, to convince those who believe preachers know more about science than scientists do. It's even more frustrating when a few of those hoodwinked while young grow up and try to shoehorn their religious beliefs into legitimate science, resulting in trainwrecks like ID.

Then again, I'm a bit tired and cranky, so I could be overlooking something.

/sleep is for the weak, and I have simulations to run while Farking


Bigger than that even.

Namely, that the people you're against believe as hard and are as willing to brook opinions to the contrary as you are. While you're going after their sky wizard, they're rolling their eyes at your old fart. In the end, all you have is two sides childishly screaming, "but I'm right!"

"There's no way to disprove it because it happened" (evolution) is just as much an article of faith as, well . . . "there's no way to disprove it because it happened." (creation.)

\Has an official stance of not giving a shiat.
\\It's the only thing that's really worked for me :/
 
2008-02-23 03:51:03 AM
shrapnil77: "There's no way to disprove it because it happened" (evolution) is just as much an article of faith as, well . . . "there's no way to disprove it because it happened." (creation.)

That's really a fallacical comparison to make, unfortunately.

Evolution isn't an article of faith - it can be, and is tested on a regular basis. While more is added to the volume of knowledge that makes up Evolution every day, it cannot all be disproven without ignoring easily observable evidence.

ID is an article of faith at it's core, because there are no tenets that can be tested empirically (even though Empirical testing supposedly makes up one of the bases of Intelligent Design). Proof denies Faith. Since ID cannot be proved, all it can be is Faith (I know that's an incredible over-simplification of the issue, but not too far from the truth).

My personal belief is that the surge in Intelligent Design is nothing more than a mechanism of control. Church leaders saw that people were moving away from the church for whatever reason, and they brought up this new battle to "galvanize" them. This isn't the first time it's happened, hell, it's not even the first time in the last 100 years. Perfect example - up until the mid-1900s, the idea that being a good person was enough to get you into heaven was pretty well-believed. However, that tenet was changed to "By Faith Alone". Know what that means? You could be the best non-believer on the planet and go to Hell, while the worst person who can call themselves a Christian will go to heaven (confessing on their deathbed and all that jazz).

Oh, and Bevets?

Evolutionism is the tinfoil hat atheists wear to keep God out of their brainwaves. fake, made-up word that Intelligent Design proponents use to make sure that everyone knows that they're complete and utter fools.


FTFY

/incredibly, monumentally embarassed Christian
 
2008-02-23 03:55:42 AM
jekostas: shrapnil77: "There's no way to disprove it because it happened" (evolution) is just as much an article of faith as, well . . . "there's no way to disprove it because it happened." (creation.)

That's really a fallacical comparison to make, unfortunately.

Evolution isn't an article of faith - it can be, and is tested on a regular basis. While more is added to the volume of knowledge that makes up Evolution every day, it cannot all be disproven without ignoring easily observable evidence.

ID is an article of faith at it's core, because there are no tenets that can be tested empirically (even though Empirical testing supposedly makes up one of the bases of Intelligent Design). Proof denies Faith. Since ID cannot be proved, all it can be is Faith (I know that's an incredible over-simplification of the issue, but not too far from the truth).


This.

The creationists can say I'm merely stating an article of faith, but "faith" in evolution having happened is merely faith that our senses were not completely and systematically foiled in the countless observations that have been made through the years.
 
2008-02-23 04:01:07 AM
jekostas: shrapnil77: "There's no way to disprove it because it happened" (evolution) is just as much an article of faith as, well . . . "there's no way to disprove it because it happened." (creation.)

That's really a fallacical comparison to make, unfortunately.

Evolution isn't an article of faith - it can be, and is tested on a regular basis. While more is added to the volume of knowledge that makes up Evolution every day, it cannot all be disproven without ignoring easily observable evidence.


There's the problem: when something becomes regarded as undisproveable, it ceases to be science and becomes faith. I'm not saying that it's an invalid theory or anything of the kind; rather, I'm saying that real, rational science doesn't allow for dogma, however attractive it appears at the time. Abiogenesis was scientific "fact" for centuries until greater (and previously unthought of) understanding came along.

The trouble with being on the side of science is that you have to be scientific, I'm afraid, which allows for the possibility of error and previously unexplored explanations.
 
2008-02-23 04:07:26 AM
shrapnil77: jekostas: shrapnil77: "There's no way to disprove it because it happened" (evolution) is just as much an article of faith as, well . . . "there's no way to disprove it because it happened." (creation.)

That's really a fallacical comparison to make, unfortunately.

Evolution isn't an article of faith - it can be, and is tested on a regular basis. While more is added to the volume of knowledge that makes up Evolution every day, it cannot all be disproven without ignoring easily observable evidence.

There's the problem: when something becomes regarded as undisproveable, it ceases to be science and becomes faith. I'm not saying that it's an invalid theory or anything of the kind; rather, I'm saying that real, rational science doesn't allow for dogma, however attractive it appears at the time. Abiogenesis was scientific "fact" for centuries until greater (and previously unthought of) understanding came along.


I'd argue that the sort of abiogenesis you mention was not scientific at all, since actual scientific method was pretty rare back in those days. We're much more critical now.

And I disagree about things being "faith" just because they'd be really hard to disprove. Observations, the data themselves, only require faith in the extreme skepticist sense, in that we see them and have no reason to pretend they aren't there. It's hard to prove evolution doesn't happen (when we can see it) just like it's hard to prove that the world isn't round, and for the same reason.

Evolution could have turned out to be wrong, but after countless tests, it didn't. It's not dogma, it's just well-established. And it's telling that the opposition to it only applies this same sort of scrutiny to evolution, not to other branches of science that are less well-founded. This, I suspect, has to do with them wanting to hold onto religious doctrines.


The trouble with being on the side of science is that you have to be scientific, I'm afraid, which allows for the possibility of error and previously unexplored explanations.


Unexplored explanations, yes. But those explanations have to square with the observations that have already been made, including observations of evolution. This is what is meant by evolution being a fact distinct from the theory of evolution (the explanation for how it happened). The theory is always being modified in its finer points, but the basics have stood the test of time and scrutiny, so I don't see why some people still insist on doubting. (Actually, I do see why.)
 
2008-02-23 04:10:11 AM
Clearly this man is not a scientist. If he was, he'd agree to the Ptolemic System Copernican System, Newtonian Mechanics General Relativity Quantum Mechanics, and Darwinism Environment-Driven Evolution.

See, science is just a fact which does not change, and this guy deviates from whatever it is today, so he can't be scientific. What a moran.
 
2008-02-23 04:12:12 AM
shrapnil77: There's the problem: when something becomes regarded as undisproveable, it ceases to be science and becomes faith. I'm not saying that it's an invalid theory or anything of the kind; rather, I'm saying that real, rational science doesn't allow for dogma, however attractive it appears at the time. Abiogenesis was scientific "fact" for centuries until greater (and previously unthought of) understanding came along.

While I would agree with the gist of what you're saying, you can't attribute that argument to Evolution.

The argument is not that "Evolution is dogma, there's no way it could be false", the argument is "Evolution is the theory that most fits with the current knowledge and testing ability". Big, BIG difference. And before anyone jumps on this, I'm taking "theory" in the Scientific meaning - that is, it can posit testable hypotheses that can be shown to be true repeatedly through empirical data gathering.

It may be shown in the future that Evolutionary Theory is wrong. Awesome. But that knowledge will come from the continued testing of the tenets of Evolutionary Theory, not from untestable beliefs that predate scientific methods of testing by thousands of years.
Intelligent Design uses falsehoods, lies and logical fallacies based on outdated knowledge, theistic dogma and willful ignorance of the world around us.

It is NOT science. It is NOT logical. It is THEISM. Belief in God is NOT a bad thing, and science does not seek to disprove the existence of God (that's a branch of Philosophy). Intelligent Design proponents regularly bring that argument up because it's galvanizing and it tends to blind people to the truth of their motives.
 
2008-02-23 04:20:18 AM
xkillyourfacex: Clearly this man is not a scientist. If he was, he'd agree to the Ptolemic System Copernican System, Newtonian Mechanics General Relativity Quantum Mechanics, and Darwinism Environment-Driven Evolution.

See, science is just a fact which does not change, and this guy deviates from whatever it is today, so he can't be scientific. What a moran.



If he were advocating some offbeat "theory" that the solar system is really square, and insisting that this be taught in science classrooms despite it having no support from any actual astrophysicists, you would be right with the scientists in calling him a crank.

Our current model works quite well for both physics and biology, so our goal is to make those models better. We can't assume that we'll throw them out someday, since it's likely that we've hit upon a pretty good approximation from all the careful study we've done in the last couple centuries.

This is why we do teach Newtonian mechanics in school, since it works in the vast majority of situations to within a negligible margin of error, hence our airplanes flying and our bridges standing up.

The only reason people are calling for radical skepticism is because they dislike "coming from monkeys" (even though that's not really a good way of describing the theory), and it contradicts some religious teachings. Name one other subject that has parents banging down the doors to try to get it removed from school (other than sex ed).
 
2008-02-23 04:23:48 AM
NetOwl:

I'd argue that the sort of abiogenesis you mention was not scientific at all, since actual scientific method was pretty rare back in those days. We're much more critical now.


By our standards. We're always doing everything right by our own standards. If you'd questioned them back in the day, they'd have held the notion that they were unscientific patently absurd.

And I disagree about things being "faith" just because they'd be really hard to disprove. Observations, the data themselves, only require faith in the extreme skepticist sense, in that we see them and have no reason to pretend they aren't there. It's hard to prove evolution doesn't happen (when we can see it) just like it's hard to prove that the world isn't round, and for the same reason.

This is true. However, when you go from "this is what the data tells us happened" to "this is what happened!" that's when the transition is made. It's not that the world can't be flat, but rather no good description exists that exhibits the behavior we observe.

Evolution could have turned out to be wrong, but after countless tests, it didn't. It's not dogma, it's just well-established.

So, what's the lifespan on this process? If a theory isn't credibly challenged after years, it's true? (Past tense isn't helping.)

And it's telling that the opposition to it only applies this same sort of scrutiny to evolution, not to other branches of science that are less well-founded. This, I suspect, has to do with them wanting to hold onto religious doctrines.

Not an area I'm familiar with, I'm afraid, so I'll rub my chin, quirk my eyebrows, and make general agreeing-type noises.

Unexplored explanations, yes. But those explanations have to square with the observations that have already been made, including observations of evolution. This is what is meant by evolution being a fact distinct from the theory of evolution (the explanation for how it happened). The theory is always being modified in its finer points, but the basics have stood the test of time and scrutiny, so I don't see why some people still insist on doubting. (Actually, I do see why.)

I actually have a long and complicated theory about people (especially ones who know better) go to the trouble of denying, but I won't burden everyone with that. I just think that the scientific stance is, unfortunately, the inherently weaker one, because to stay internally consistent it has to allow for doubt and distention. Dogmatism has no such rules attached.
 
2008-02-23 04:29:42 AM
jekostas: shrapnil77: There's the problem: when something becomes regarded as undisproveable, it ceases to be science and becomes faith. I'm not saying that it's an invalid theory or anything of the kind; rather, I'm saying that real, rational science doesn't allow for dogma, however attractive it appears at the time. Abiogenesis was scientific "fact" for centuries until greater (and previously unthought of) understanding came along.

While I would agree with the gist of what you're saying, you can't attribute that argument to Evolution.

The argument is not that "Evolution is dogma, there's no way it could be false", the argument is "Evolution is the theory that most fits with the current knowledge and testing ability". Big, BIG difference. And before anyone jumps on this, I'm taking "theory" in the Scientific meaning - that is, it can posit testable hypotheses that can be shown to be true repeatedly through empirical data gathering.


Well NetOwl said:
"Proving evolution didn't happen would be like proving the sun didn't rise yesterday; it HAPPENED."

Looked pretty dogmatic to me- I was going after that specifically.

Also, I'm worried that the contrary pressure has caused the scientific community to dig it's heels in when that's exactly what they shouldn't be doing- can't be doing, in fact, if they want to remain internally consistent.
 
2008-02-23 04:39:08 AM
shrapnil77: That's a personal belief of NetOwl, not the argument being made against ID in the scientific community. There's no refusal to empirically test the tenets of Evolutionary Theory.

The argument is that Intelligent Design is untestable, and therefore not Science.

You really need to dissociate the two, because it's not part of the argument being made.
 
2008-02-23 04:41:22 AM
shrapnil77: NetOwl:

By our standards. We're always doing everything right by our own standards. If you'd questioned them back in the day, they'd have held the notion that they were unscientific patently absurd.


But our standards are better than theirs, since theirs never required a simple test that anyone could on in their backyard that would shed serious doubt on their hypothesis.

We now come up with ideas that are disprovable, and then we try extremely hard to disprove them. Back then, not so much.



This is true. However, when you go from "this is what the data tells us happened" to "this is what happened!" that's when the transition is made. It's not that the world can't be flat, but rather no good description exists that exhibits the behavior we observe.


But in a certain sense, the data we look at are examples of evolution, and denying that would require rejecting a whole lot of observations that we have no reason to reject.

No one calls evolution dogma because we conceivably could come across something that overturns it all, but right now it reall, really looks like we're not going to, at least not completely.

Anymore, evolution is not just some sort of vague idea about what happened. It's something we can do rigorous experiments on, and we can apply higher math to sophisticated models of it, and then we can check those against observations made in a lab or in the field. It's one thing to say that the model requires a little faith (even though some of these have been extremely fine-tuned), but it's another to say that the whole subject is on ground that is at all shaky. I can look directly at evolution, and there is no reason whatsoever to doubt that I am looking directly at evolution, yet some still think there is reasonable doubt.

I say that if one insists on trumpeting the problem of induction, one must reject all of science, not just the sexy parts. Of course, that becomes problematic when we see just how well much of science works in the practical engineering world.


Evolution could have turned out to be wrong, but after countless tests, it didn't. It's not dogma, it's just well-established.

So, what's the lifespan on this process? If a theory isn't credibly challenged after years, it's true? (Past tense isn't helping.)


Does it matter? We've had over a hundred years of extremely critical analysis. It's not just that our findings don't contradict evolution; it's that entire new branches of biology make it even more obvious. If we were to make a 2-d graph of time versus the likelihood of evolution having happened, we don't just have a large Y-value right now; we have a large first and second derivative of the function.


Not an area I'm familiar with, I'm afraid, so I'll rub my chin, quirk my eyebrows, and make general agreeing-type noises.


The point is that you only hear this sort of extreme skepticism with regard to theories that make people uncomfortable. The opposition is founded on that, not on whether or not any of it has scientific merit, and that's not a good way to choose a high school curriculum.

Unexplored explanations, yes. But those explanations have to square with the observations that have already been made, including observations of evolution. This is what is meant by evolution being a fact distinct from the theory of evolution (the explanation for how it happened). The theory is always being modified in its finer points, but the basics have stood the test of time and scrutiny, so I don't see why some people still insist on doubting. (Actually, I do see why.)

I actually have a long and complicated theory about people (especially ones who know better) go to the trouble of denying, but I won't burden everyone with that. I just think that the scientific stance is, unfortunately, the inherently weaker one, because to stay internally consistent it has to allow for doubt and distention. Dogmatism has no such rules attached.


Weaker in the sense that it allows itself to be modified when and if a good reason comes up. In the long run, though, it makes the scientific method the stronger way to come up with good ideas, since it bends the theory to fit the facts rather than the other way around.

Faith in dogma may produce strong beliefs, but it does not produce certainty, since there is essentially no connection between the facts and the theories.
 
2008-02-23 04:41:59 AM
jekostas: shrapnil77: That's a personal belief of NetOwl, not the argument being made against ID in the scientific community. There's no refusal to empirically test the tenets of Evolutionary Theory.

The argument is that Intelligent Design is untestable, and therefore not Science.

You really need to dissociate the two, because it's not part of the argument being made.


Who's arguing ID? People keep bringing it up, but it wasn't in TFA. . .

\confuzzled
\\still wondering what would constitute contrary evidence
 
2008-02-23 04:51:42 AM
shrapnil77: Okay, let's forget the ID bit for a second.

Contrary evidence would include:
1. Irreducible Complexity (ie. some sort of complex structure that performs at least a single task that does not have components that can be simplified, either biologically or chemically). Imagine a functioning battery made of a single material. The commonly brought up analogy, gears of a watch, doesn't work here because the gears do nothing on their own - they function only in conjunction with other parts.
2. Creatures that thrive with either no adaptations to their environment or adaptations that would be contrary to their environment.
3. Irrefutable proof that creatures with greater adaptations to their environment are LESS successful than creatures without adaptations.


Just to name a few.
 
2008-02-23 04:51:58 AM
jekostas: shrapnil77: That's a personal belief of NetOwl, not the argument being made against ID in the scientific community. There's no refusal to empirically test the tenets of Evolutionary Theory.

The argument is that Intelligent Design is untestable, and therefore not Science.

You really need to dissociate the two, because it's not part of the argument being made.


It's not so much an argument being made against the IDers as an everyday fact for those working in evolutionary biology. The evolutionary biologists I see day to day don't sit around wondering if evolution really happened or not, since it's not really controversial anymore.

It's not the argument against ID, since the ID people accept some evolution but merely want to insert some magic into it via their unscientific ideas.

TFA, however, asserts that all of evolution should be discarded from high school. My argument is that there is absolutely no reason to do that other than politics, whether the politics of fanaticism or the politics of appeasement.

shrapnil77
Looked pretty dogmatic to me- I was going after that specifically.

Also, I'm worried that the contrary pressure has caused the scientific community to dig it's heels in when that's exactly what they shouldn't be doing- can't be doing, in fact, if they want to remain internally consistent.


Define dogma, then.

If you would define "the world is round" as dogma because we don't bother debating that anymore, then it seems to me that the label is unnecessarily harsh. Evolution is the same way. There is no reason to give it a special "unproven" label unless you give that label to EVERYTHING, because the evidence for it is overwhelming, and we can actually observe it pretty well (not just infer it).
 
2008-02-23 04:53:39 AM
Etchy333: Kids are curious and you do them no service by hiding facts from them.

FTW!

FTFA: You have to go to the higest levels to find people with an understanding.

What an asshole elitist this guy is. Seriously. An understanding of evolution can come from looking at microbes for farks sake, or breeding dogs.
 
2008-02-23 04:57:45 AM
NetOwl:

But our standards are better than theirs, since theirs never required a simple test that anyone could on in their backyard that would shed serious doubt on their hypothesis.

We now come up with ideas that are disprovable, and then we try extremely hard to disprove them. Back then, not so much.


And do you think that in a hundred years, our standards won't have had mothra-sized holes drilled in them?

But in a certain sense, the data we look at are examples of evolution, and denying that would require rejecting a whole lot of observations that we have no reason to reject.

No one calls evolution dogma because we conceivably could come across something that overturns it all, but right now it reall, really looks like we're not going to, at least not completely.


Well, I asked about that earlier and still havn't gotten an answer: what would constitute contrary evidence?

I say that if one insists on trumpeting the problem of induction, one must reject all of science, not just the sexy parts. Of course, that becomes problematic when we see just how well much of science works in the practical engineering world.

I think we're talking cross-purposes now. People are always finding better ways to do things in engineering. Are people fighting about the scientific validity of the I-beam?

My point was more philisophical.

Does it matter? We've had over a hundred years of extremely critical analysis. It's not just that our findings don't contradict evolution; it's that entire new branches of biology make it even more obvious. If we were to make a 2-d graph of time versus the likelihood of evolution having happened, we don't just have a large Y-value right now; we have a large first and second derivative of the function.

Of course it matters. Aristotle was held up as an oracle for centuries until we figured out, oops, he was full of shiat.


The point is that you only hear this sort of extreme skepticism with regard to theories that make people uncomfortable. The opposition is founded on that, not on whether or not any of it has scientific merit, and that's not a good way to choose a high school curriculum.

To be fair, I'm this way about famine in the third world too: "what's in it for us?" But people look at me funny when I talk about it.

Unexplored explanations, yes. But those explanations have to square with the observations that have already been made, including observations of evolution. This is what is meant by evolution being a fact distinct from the theory of evolution (the explanation for how it happened). The theory is always being modified in its finer points, but the basics have stood the test of time and scrutiny, so I don't see why some people still insist on doubting. (Actually, I do see why.)

Weaker in the sense that it allows itself to be modified when and if a good reason comes up. In the long run, though, it makes the scientific method the stronger way to come up with good ideas, since it bends the theory to fit the facts rather than the other way around.

Faith in dogma may produce strong beliefs, but it does not produce certainty, since there is essentially no connection between the facts and the theories.

Personal opinion here, but I'm going to have to disagree with you. You'll never get absolute certianty or, where you can, either can produce it. Yes, a scientific theory may seem well-established, but to the true skeptic there will always be the nagging doubt as to whether they're just buying into an updated version of cold fusion, just like the nagging doubts about God. True Believers, meanwhile, come in all stripes and colors.

Meanwhile, science is permitted- in fact, obliged- to second-guess and work on contrary paths. This makes it much easier to turn on itself and hence, weaker.
 
2008-02-23 04:58:27 AM
jekostas: shrapnil77: Okay, let's forget the ID bit for a second.

Contrary evidence would include:
1. Irreducible Complexity (ie. some sort of complex structure that performs at least a single task that does not have components that can be simplified, either biologically or chemically). Imagine a functioning battery made of a single material. The commonly brought up analogy, gears of a watch, doesn't work here because the gears do nothing on their own - they function only in conjunction with other parts.
2. Creatures that thrive with either no adaptations to their environment or adaptations that would be contrary to their environment.
3. Irrefutable proof that creatures with greater adaptations to their environment are LESS successful than creatures without adaptations.
Just to name a few.


I think #2 there could also be explained by a species migrating to a new place, like the polar bears on Lost.

If I could somehow prove #3, I'd probably become world-famous. Disproving a basic notion would throw everyone else's models out of whack and make me the founder of a new branch of science. That would be cool.
I assume by an adaptation, though, you mean a beneficial mutation, so I'm not so sure it isn't ruled out by definition.


If I wanted to name some observations that could disprove evolution, I'd probably come up with a tendency for genetic histories not to line up with taxonomy (e.g. no similar DNA between similarly classified species), lack of shared genes and chromosomes, etc.
 
2008-02-23 05:09:54 AM
jekostas: shrapnil77: Okay, let's forget the ID bit for a second.

Contrary evidence would include:
1. Irreducible Complexity (ie. some sort of complex structure that performs at least a single task that does not have components that can be simplified, either biologically or chemically). Imagine a functioning battery made of a single material. The commonly brought up analogy, gears of a watch, doesn't work here because the gears do nothing on their own - they function only in conjunction with other parts.


Impossible burden of proof. In order to call a design "irreducible," you have to demonstrate that it's irreducibility.

2. Creatures that thrive with either no adaptations to their environment or adaptations that would be contrary to their environment.

Ah, but would that be described as "contra-evolution" or "evolution we don't understand yet?"

3. Irrefutable proof that creatures with greater adaptations to their environment are LESS successful than creatures without adaptations.

See #2.
I'm not worried about evolution; I came to terms with the fact that we used to be monkeys a long time ago. I'm questioning whether the evidence is being evaluated by the standards of the King of Hearts.

NetOwl:
Define dogma, then.


"An authoritative principle, belief, or statement of opinion, especially one considered to be absolutely true."

If you would define "the world is round" as dogma because we don't bother debating that anymore, then it seems to me that the label is unnecessarily harsh. Evolution is the same way. There is no reason to give it a special "unproven" label unless you give that label to EVERYTHING, because the evidence for it is overwhelming, and we can actually observe it pretty well (not just infer it).

I'm not worrying about the evidence; it's there, it's good, we both know it. I'm worried about the foaming at the mouth that you see in these kinds of threads. Suppose a scientist were to come up with a totally valid objection to the current theories. Would they have any incentive to air their results in the current climate, or would they bury their results for fear of becoming a leper?
 
2008-02-23 05:18:28 AM
shrapnil77: NetOwl:

And do you think that in a hundred years, our standards won't have had mothra-sized holes drilled in them?


Probably not. It's not like we've had waves and waves of revisions to the scientific method. It pretty much only took one bit of serious thought about how to analyze things before we figured out how to do science, and now we can do all sorts of fancy things with our findings. I suppose it'd be possible to calculate the probability that all of our observations could just be fluke after fluke after fluke, but it'd be a small number.

Maybe things will change drastically, but there is no real reason to believe that the future will be an overhaul of current methods rather than a refinement, and until a revolution happens, there's really no reason to hold current mainstream thought out of schools.



Well, I asked about that earlier and still havn't gotten an answer: what would constitute contrary evidence?


I can guess, but I'm not really sure. If I knew of something likely to disprove it, I'd be out trying that instead of tinkering with arcane technical aspects of some theory that sorta borders evolution in some areas. There'd be a lot more money in that.

However, we can test evolution by asking that it corroborate a hundred years' worth of data, and it always passes those tests. In fact, it gets stronger every time we devise a new test. So, next time we discover a whole new branch of biology (like genetics was recently), we can require that it fits with evolution. On the off chance that it doesn't, we'll have some revising to do.

We could say the same about every body of knowledge ever invented, though. Why, then, does evolution have to be the one on the cutting board?


I say that if one insists on trumpeting the problem of induction, one must reject all of science, not just the sexy parts. Of course, that becomes problematic when we see just how well much of science works in the practical engineering world.

I think we're talking cross-purposes now. People are always finding better ways to do things in engineering. Are people fighting about the scientific validity of the I-beam?

My point was more philisophical.


I don't think it's a particularly fearsome philosophical challenge, since no one has worried about the problem of induction in quite a while, at least that I know of.

And I still don't see why this philosophical point should be used as a criticism of evolution, as opposed to a criticism of EVERYTHING. I know why it is, but I don't see why it should be.



Of course it matters. Aristotle was held up as an oracle for centuries until we figured out, oops, he was full of shiat.


But modern investigation is based on looking at the real world and reporting what we see. Aristotle was based on making shiat up. It didn't take much actual investigation to overturn him; it just took people deciding they weren't going to rely on authority so much as observations.

As the old anecdote goes, when one wanted to know how many teeth a horse had back in the day, one didn't look at a horse; one looked instead at Aristotle.

He survived so long because he was unquestioned. Scientific findings today get the heck questioned out of them from the very start, so they have to be stronger than Aristotelian philosophy to be taken seriously.



Personal opinion here, but I'm going to have to disagree with you. You'll never get absolute certianty or, where you can, either can produce it. Yes, a scientific theory may seem well-established, but to the true skeptic there will always be the nagging doubt as to whether they're just buying into an updated version of cold fusion, just like the nagging doubts about God. True Believers, meanwhile, come in all stripes and colors.


Why is false certainty stronger than provisional acceptance of findings?


Meanwhile, science is permitted- in fact, obliged- to second-guess and work on contrary paths. This makes it much easier to turn on itself and hence, weaker.


Again, I say that makes it stronger, since it prunes branches that don't bear fruit, usually quite quickly.
 
2008-02-23 05:28:19 AM
shrapnil77:
I'm not worrying about the evidence; it's there, it's good, we both know it. I'm worried about the foaming at the mouth that you see in these kinds of threads. Suppose a scientist were to come up with a totally valid objection to the current theories. Would they have any incentive to air their results in the current climate, or would they bury their results for fear of becoming a leper?


Interesting point, though from what I've seen of scientists, they'd be more than happy to pursue some controversial new angle were there any merit to it (read: were there any opportunities for grants).

I occasionally worry a bit that the creationist movement will make it more difficult to accomplish a revolution in evolutionary biology if one is needed, but I'm not sold on that being certain. Plenty of people have published stuff that might have looked like creationist bait at first glance (e.g Gould and his puncutated equilibrium), and that stuff was pretty exciting at the time.

While some might cave to pressure, I certainly can't see anyone I've ever met in person doing so, and I would think the challenging new ideas would eventually get out if they went through the proper channels (i.e. validation through experiments or simulations, not through the Discovery Institute).

I think the creationist movement has hurt itself, from this angle, by becoming a sort of brand. Accepting something from that brand is like importing a toy from a country you know contaminates its toys with lead, so you're likely to be suspicious.

But, by virtue of this, I think the honest scientists who might overturn things would therefore have a sort of safe haven from knee-jerk criticism by virtue of not being a part of that brand. Thus, they could hatch their plans and see if evolution holds up to the new discoveries separate from the crowd that wants to ruin high school education.



I definitely think your point has merit, though, and it's not what I intend to argue against. My main point is that it's just silly to keep evolution out of schools for no good reason.
 
2008-02-23 05:40:54 AM
NetOwl: I suppose it'd be possible to calculate the probability that all of our observations could just be fluke after fluke after fluke, but it'd be a small number.

Maybe things will change drastically, but there is no real reason to believe that the future will be an overhaul of current methods rather than a refinement, and until a revolution happens, there's really no reason to hold current mainstream thought out of schools.


Agreed. Like I've said, I'm just worried that the pressure is causing the scientific community to prove Nietzsche right and start to become faith in their attempts to combat it.

I can guess, but I'm not really sure. If I knew of something likely to disprove it, I'd be out trying that instead of tinkering with arcane technical aspects of some theory that sorta borders evolution in some areas. There'd be a lot more money in that.

However, we can test evolution by asking that it corroborate a hundred years' worth of data, and it always passes those tests. In fact, it gets stronger every time we devise a new test. So, next time we discover a whole new branch of biology (like genetics was recently), we can require that it fits with evolution. On the off chance that it doesn't, we'll have some revising to do.


Bolded for problem.

We could say the same about every body of knowledge ever invented, though. Why, then, does evolution have to be the one on the cutting board?

Eh. Search me. It's an area that's much less applied than most, I think- when you have an engineer, the proof is that the buildings they construct don't fall down. With astronomy, the objects in the sky are where the astronomer says when he says. Meanwhile, evolution's a bit trickier- you can show someone a goldfish and you can show them a lungfish, but it's tricky to show them how to make a goldfish evolve a lung given the time constraints involved. It's much less visible than most other sciences.

I don't think it's a particularly fearsome philosophical challenge, since no one has worried about the problem of induction in quite a while, at least that I know of.

Evolution is simply much less demonstrable than most other sciences. For the others, the results are plain to see.

And I still don't see why this philosophical point should be used as a criticism of evolution, as opposed to a criticism of EVERYTHING. I know why it is, but I don't see why it should be.

Because evolution's the thing that people are attacking and, as a response, people are digging their heels in to defend. Just like it shouldn't be rejected out of hand because it makes people uncomfortable, questioning it should also not become taboo.

Why is false certainty stronger than provisional acceptance of findings?

Ever dated anyone who believed in astrology? It's like that: it doesn't matter whether or not it's actually true, it matters whether they believe it's true. Because of their belief, they will act as if it's true regardless of the objective reality. Certainty, true or false, is a much more powerful motivator than "provisional acceptance."

Again, I say that makes it stronger, since it prunes branches that don't bear fruit, usually ...

And each time it does so, it demonstrates it's own fallibility.
 
2008-02-23 05:46:26 AM
Btw... here is a paper from the guy...

http://mmbr.asm.org/cgi/content/full/68/2/173

Enjoy... :)


Michael

//waiting for a IDer to misquote his paper(s)
 
2008-02-23 05:58:55 AM
shrapnil77:
Agreed. Like I've said, I'm just worried that the pressure is causing the scientific community to prove Nietzsche right and start to become faith in their attempts to combat it.


I'd like to think that isn't likely, since the scientists I've known have all been nice, honest people.


However, we can test evolution by asking that it corroborate a hundred years' worth of data, and it always passes those tests. In fact, it gets stronger every time we devise a new test. So, next time we discover a whole new branch of biology (like genetics was recently), we can require that it fits with evolution. On the off chance that it doesn't, we'll have some revising to do.

Bolded for problem.


I stated that ambiguously. I should have said, "We look to see if the new field and evolution agree, and if we don't, we ask where the problem is. Or, if we're physicists, we keep arguing about it for the next hundred years and hope someone makes a breakthrough."

I think physics is a good example, because we all agree that Relativity and QM are "true" in some sense, even though they appear to be inconsistent. This is the sense in which the theory of evolution is "true" (aside from observations of evolution), by my reckoning. It's not perfect, but it's a pretty good picture of the real world that has room for improvement. We know QM physics works because our radios and computers work, and we know Relativity works because our particle accelerators tell us so. Neither has to be perfect to be, in my view, "true enough to be valuable."


Eh. Search me. It's an area that's much less applied than most, I think- when you have an engineer, the proof is that the buildings they construct don't fall down. With astronomy, the objects in the sky are where the astronomer says when he says. Meanwhile, evolution's a bit trickier- you can show someone a goldfish and you can show them a lungfish, but it's tricky to show them how to make a goldfish evolve a lung given the time constraints involved. It's much less visible than most other sciences.


In the end, I don't think it's much less visible than most of physics and chemistry, with mathematical models tested time and again against new data.

It's hard to show a fish population changing into something entirely different (though it's not that hard with insects, and it's incredibly easy with anything with a short lifecycle), but is that any harder to see than an atom splitting?


Evolution is simply much less demonstrable than most other sciences. For the others, the results are plain to see.


Perhaps that's because it's a process rather than a picture, so it's harder to illustrate, and it's harder to come up with an intuitive way to view it. With atomic physics, on the other hand, we can make pretty pictures and exaggerate their connection to the real world.


And I still don't see why this philosophical point should be used as a criticism of evolution, as opposed to a criticism of EVERYTHING. I know why it is, but I don't see why it should be.

Because evolution's the thing that people are attacking and, as a response, people are digging their heels in to defend. Just like it shouldn't be rejected out of hand because it makes people uncomfortable, questioning it should also not become taboo.


Eh, but the attacks are all weaksauce, at least the political/religious attacks.

Though, your point is a good reason why these political/religious attacks need to be shot down, so they don't drown out more legitimate criticisms. While I doubt the whole field will ever be turned on its head, I suppose there is still room for change. I am confident that the loonies aren't going to drown out real research, though, and I hope my confidence is well-founded.


Why is false certainty stronger than provisional acceptance of findings?

Ever dated anyone who believed in astrology? It's like that: it doesn't matter whether or not it's actually true, it matters whether they believe it's true. Because of their belief, they will act as if it's true regardless of the objective reality. Certainty, true or false, is a much more powerful motivator than "provisional acceptance."


Okay, so strong as in influential. I see. I mean "strong" in a different sense, as in the ability to endure honest criticism. (Actually, I think we're using opposite definitions of "strong.")


Again, I say that makes it stronger, since it prunes branches that don't bear fruit, usually ...

And each time it does so, it demonstrates it's own fallibility.


Yep, I can never claim absolute truth, but at the same time, that means I'm less at risk for believing something that has already been disproven. I guess.


I don't think we really disagree on this; I'm pretty sure we're attacking different positions. However, it's not almost 5 am, so I'm not going to be able to keep this up unless I want to sleep clear through Saturday.

But hey, an evolution thread with actual discussion instead of wild insults and Bevets spam. Neat-o.
 
2008-02-23 06:15:40 AM
NetOwl:

I'd like to think that isn't likely, since the scientists I've known have all been nice, honest people.


So. . . people with deeply-held faith can't be nice or honest?
\Not touching that one either way, just pointing out that being nice/honest/faithful isn't really their job.

I think physics is a good example, because we all agree that Relativity and QM are "true" in some sense, even though they appear to be inconsistent. This is the sense in which the theory of evolution is "true" (aside from observations of evolution), by my reckoning. It's not perfect, but it's a pretty good picture of the real world that has room for improvement. We know QM physics works because our radios and computers work, and we know Relativity works because our particle accelerators tell us so. Neither has to be perfect to be, in my view, "true enough to be valuable."

I honestly don't think enough people know (or care) enough about quantum physics for it ever to be a real subject of controversy.

In the end, I don't think it's much less visible than most of physics and chemistry, with mathematical models tested time and again against new data.

It's hard to show a fish population changing into something entirely different (though it's not that hard with insects, and it's incredibly easy with anything with a short lifecycle), but is that any harder to see than an atom splitting?


The problem is that complexity of the change tends to be inversely proportional to the time it takes to produce it. Anyone can see small changes- hell, they can produce them themselves by standing out in the sun too long. (Not "evolution" per se, but close enough in most people's minds.) When evolution starts being used to create radical new things as opposed to just explain old and existing ones, it will gain a lot more popular acceptance.

As far as splitting the atom goes- when two major cities in Japan disappear, that's a fairly adequate demonstration that whatever they did worked.

While I doubt the whole field will ever be turned on its head, I suppose there is still room for change. I am confident that the loonies aren't going to drown out real research, though, and I hope my confidence is well-founded.

I hope your confidence is well-founded as well. I don't share it. Humans are too naturally drawn to power to resist the temptation of creating a dogma instead of simply laying out the facts.

Okay, so strong as in influential. I see. I mean "strong" in a different sense, as in the ability to endure honest criticism. (Actually, I think we're using opposite definitions of "strong.")

Ya. By "strong" I mean powerful, as in having power over people, controlling them.

Yep, I can never claim absolute truth, but at the same time, that means I'm less at risk for believing something that has already been disproven. I guess.

Science today can never offer true certainty; it's own nature betrays that. Faith, on the other hand is. . . faith. It IS certainty, to an extent.

I don't think we really disagree on this; I'm pretty sure we're attacking different positions. However, it's not almost 5 am, so I'm not going to be able to keep this up unless I want to sleep clear through Saturday.

I don't think we do either; I've already stated my main concern and . . . holy shiat, it IS early.

But hey, an evolution thread with actual discussion instead of wild insults and Bevets spam. Neat-o.

Yay us!
 
hej
2008-02-23 06:45:14 AM
I would agree that it's counter productive to try and teach advanced science to school kids, but that doesn't mean you can't teach the fundamentals. But explaining the most common examples like what natural selection is, how different species have similiarities to one another, and showing the whole progression of neanderthals to modern man aren't going to cause any kids' heads to explode.

If his argument is that we shouldn't teach things that are too complicated for kids to understand, and also shouldn't teach things that are boring and repetitive, that pretty much excludes everything.
 
2008-02-23 06:55:36 AM
burndtdan
by the way, i was a physics nerd in high school... we learned newton in 10th grade physical science. we didn't learn einstein til senior year.


Kids should be learning ABOUT that stuff right around HS freshman year. This isn't find the rotational moments of inertia and Euler's equations for a rotating disc nor is it calculate the Ricci tensor for a given body in a gravity field- for that you would need the accompanying vector cal, diff eq. and classical mechanics coursework prescribed in freshman (yes, freshamn) college courses. I'm talking about basic, basic concepts of Einstein thought experiments and the Newtonian revolution. These shouln't be too hard to wrap their little heads around.. then again..

and people wonder why American schoolchildren lag the world in science ed.

/no child left behind
//utter fail
 
2008-02-23 07:31:16 AM
shrapnil77: Evolution is simply much less demonstrable than most other sciences. For the others, the results are plain to see.


http://www.pdrhealth.com/drugs/rx/rx-mono.aspx?contentFileName=Cip1082.html&cont entName=Cipro&contentId=121

"Your doctor will only prescribe Cipro to treat a bacterial infection; it will not cure a viral infection, such as the common cold. It's important to take the full dosage schedule of Cipro, even if you're feeling better in a few days. Not completing the full dosage schedule may decrease the drug's effectiveness and increase the chances that the bacteria may become resistant to Cipro and similar antibiotics."

Evolution explains why you take your full course of antibiotics...

If you have an alternate explanation, I'd love to hear it.
 
2008-02-23 07:37:23 AM
matt2891

I could have sworn it was because, to date, evolution is the only sound scientific theory to explain how life works on this planet. As has been repeated over and over again in many many fark evolution threads: evolution is the only truly scientific theory out there, the only other alternatives being offered at the moment are creationism and creationism-lite (otherwise known as Intelligent Design). Both of which are demonstratably non-scientific, based off the fact that both hinge on the existence of a supreme being, something that cannot be tested scientifically. Therefore neither of these 'theories' can be considered scientific in nature. Which automatically excludes them from being a part of any science curriculum. To put it in perspective, keeping creationism out of biology class is no more political than keeping alchemy out of a chemistry class. Its nothing more than keeping non-science out of a science classroom. Now, when the day comes when there is an opposing view that is truly scientific, peer reviewed, demonstratable and sound, then by all means teach it side by side with evolution.

It is hard to see how anything like a reasonably serious dispute about what is and isn't science could be settled just by appealing to a definition. One thinks this would work only if the original query were really a verbal question -- a question like: Is the English word 'science' properly applicable to a hypothesis that makes reference to God? But that wasn't the question. The question is instead: Could a hypothesis that makes reference to God be part of science? That question can't be answered just by citing a definition. ~ Alvin Plantinga

But even if it were true by definition that a scientific hypothesis could involve no reference to God, nothing of much interest would follow. The Augustines and Kuypers of this world would then be obliged to concede that they had made a mistake: but the mistake would be no more than a verbal mistake. They would have to concede that they can't properly use the term 'science' in stating their view or asking their question; they would have to use some other term, such as 'sience' (pronounced like 'science'); the definition of 'sience' results from that of 'science' by deleting from the latter the clause proscribing hypotheses that include reference to God (i.e., by removing from the definition of 'science' Ruse seems to be endorsing, the clause according to which science deals only with what is natural). Their mistake would not be in what they proposed to say, but rather in how they proposed to say it. ~ Alvin Plantinga

shrapnil77

Inside the known laws of the universe, what would constitute disproof of/ evidence contrary to evolution?


CaptainJuan

Irreducible Complexity. If it could be found, it would be evidence contrary to the theory of evolution. However, no example of irreducible complexity in nature has been found to date.

shrapnil77

To do that, you need a proof positive that a structure is in fact irreducible.

Impossible burden of proof.


jekostas

Evolutionism is the tinfoil hat atheists wear to keep God out of their brainwaves. fake, made-up word that Intelligent Design proponents use to make sure that everyone knows that they're complete and utter fools.

FTFY

/incredibly, monumentally embarassed Christian


It remains that I should put before you what I understand to be the third phase of geological speculation -- namely EVOLUTIONISM. ~ Thomas Huxley
 
2008-02-23 08:07:04 AM
i224.photobucket.com
 
2008-02-23 09:11:34 AM
Dan the Schman: /this is fun.
//I assumed this was the inspiration behind the Billies.


Actually, it was the accidental posting in

burndtdan [TotalFark] Quote 2008-02-21 07:55:27 PM
http://forums.fark.com/cgi/fark/comments.pl?IDLink=3416592 (new window)

The link you gave was cool. However, even before I read it, it seemed natural for me to do
i135.photobucket.com

I've never witnessed the birth of a meme before... So beautiful... Sniff...
 
2008-02-23 09:27:19 AM
Why is it that the people nitpicking evolution under the guise of open-mindedness are always the people who want to replace it with magic? Of course science changes with time, but that doesn't mean we're never right. We were right about the shape of the earth. When we found out it was a squashed spheroid instead of a perfect sphere, was it a total upset or a clarification? Do current models of evolution completely overturn darwinian evolution, or merely clarify it?

More importantly, why are you acting as though theism is some "cutting-edge scientific idea that science will one day acknowledge as correct"? It isn't, it's a primitive idea from back before we had any means of discovering real facts, a superstition that we have long since discredited to the greatest extent that any such notion ever can be. Why do you cling to this even though you're surrounded by practical proofs of the efficacy of science? Why is it that you suspiciously attack only those fields of research which conflict with your ancient, backwards beliefs? Why can't you step back and realize how absurd you're being for believing in magic in the 21st farking century?

Primitive ideas for primitive minds, I suppose.
 
2008-02-23 09:33:56 AM
i135.photobucket.com
 
2008-02-23 10:00:03 AM
shrapnil77: Inside the known laws of the universe, what would constitute disproof of/ evidence contrary to evolution?

Well, when DNA was discovered it didn't ave to work at all like evolution theorized it would. It could have shown evidence of Lamarckian evolution, as an example. But it supported the Darwinian theory.

When we recently looked for the base pair in humans (who have 23 base pairs of chromosomes, while other apes have 24) which showed evidence of being "fused" from two other chromosomes, we didn't have to find it. Finding it (chromosome 2) is further evidence to show that we all came from a common ancestor. If we didn't find it, that would mean current evolutionary theory was wrong.

When we predict a certain transitional form will be found somewhere in the fossil record, finding it (for example) in an entirely different rock strata would really throw things for a loop. But we do find transitional forms pretty much right where we expect to.
 
2008-02-23 10:02:43 AM
You know... part of me agrees with the guy because evolution can be quite a difficult concept. But then there's another part of me that remembers that the bread and butter of biological sciences is evolution, and to avoid teaching that until college waters down the material even more and is a greater insult to the students. Plus, the rest of the f*cking industrialized world manages to teach it in middle and high school and not have a f*cking problem.

How about this: We hire science teachers who have a strong f*cking background in science so that they themselves understand evolution. Then, once we have competent teachers, and not just people who got a Bachelor's degree in Education and have no mastery over any real subject (seriously, folks - if you want to get a degree in education, double major with something else), we have them teach science in science class. Evolution can be difficult, but it isn't impossible to teach. Hire teachers who know the science, and the material will get taught and (most) students will learn.
 
2008-02-23 10:06:53 AM
shrapnil77: "Inside the known laws of the universe, what would constitute disproof of/ evidence contrary to evolution?"

I'm glad you asked. The difference in the number of chromosomes between humans and modern chimpanzees had the very real potential to disprove common ancestry. To continue regarding it as a theory, we must be able to confirm evolution by prediction, and evolution would have us predict that one set of our chromosomes must have fused into a single one, corresponding to an un-fused pair in chimps.

And guess what? That's exactly what we found. Here's a Catholic explaining it, in case you'll only listen to theists.
 
2008-02-23 10:18:39 AM
Bevets: Irreducible Complexity

Just because tree is big, doesn't mean it wasn't once a sapling.
 
2008-02-23 10:29:53 AM
This part of TFA just hit me:

[Mainstream neo-Darwinian evolution] doesn't begin to talk about the evolution of the brain, and I think that's what the whole difference is. Man is working now on a higher level of organization than you can get form any other biological organization on the planet, and it doesn't do you a damn bit of good to say that the complex brain was a product of natural selection. It just doesn't help you.

What? That's just not true. There's a lot of people who have researched and are still researching the evolution of the brain. Hell, a good deal of what I know about cognitive rehabilitation depends on "exploiting" (for lack of a better term) brain evolution.

Paul MacLean, Dean Falk, Leda Cosmides, John Tooby, David Buss, Steven Pinker and dozens of others have made significant contributions to understanding human brain evolution, in terms of both its physical and functional evolution.

That particular area of research is still quite contentious, but there are plenty of people talking about it.
 
2008-02-23 11:01:33 AM
lake_huron: Dan the Schman: /this is fun.
//I assumed this was the inspiration behind the Billies.

Actually, it was the accidental posting in

burndtdan [TotalFark] Quote 2008-02-21 07:55:27 PM
http://forums.fark.com/cgi/fark/comments.pl?IDLink=3416592 (new window)

The link you gave was cool. However, even before I read it, it seemed natural for me to do


I've never witnessed the birth of a meme before... So beautiful... Sniff...


I know that's the thread where it started. I posted in that thread.
 
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