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Old 12-18-2005, 11:25 AM   #1
ShadowTemplar
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Evolution - and how we know it's right

I am sooo going to regret starting this thread. But Staffsaber has been prodding me about how wrong he thinks evolution is for the better part of the 403-3 thread, so I guess I'll go ahead and hear what he has to say.

So, bring it on. But beware. For the Talk.Origins Archive is my ally, and a powerful ally it is.

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Old 12-18-2005, 11:43 AM   #2
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Aside from the preponderance of evidence and predictions that have come from the theory of evolution, I can only say that there is no other demonstrable mechanism to explain our existence. The creation explanation can be immediately disgarded, since there are many hundreds of variations of these and none are testable.

But lets get a few conventions out of the way first:

1) We are discussing evolution, not the origin of the universe. These are two different concepts and deserve separate threads. Personally, I'll likely not post in the universe thread since I have limited education in astronomy and cosmology. I make the distinction because in nearly every evolution argument I've been in, within a few posts the opponent to the fact of evolution will bring up the beginning of the universe.

2) The word "theory" does not some how imply a hierarchy that evolution aspires to become, specifically moving on to be a "law." Theories and laws are two different, but related, things. Laws are generalizations, principles or pattersn in nature, while theories are the explanations of those generalizations. Theories in science are very different that the "theories" of colloquial speech in that they are based on one or more hypotheses that have been tested in some way.

But I can't imagine that anyone these days would dare challenge evolution as an explanation for life as we know it. There simply aren't any other viable explanations and the evolution explanation has far too much evidence supporting it. Okay... I'm trolling a little. But just a little


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Old 12-18-2005, 12:01 PM   #3
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Oh, hi Skin. Nice of you to chime in. True to the style of your comment, I'll lay down a convention and a warning as well.

The convention first: Don't bring up ethics as if ethical concerns somehow invalidates a theory. The ethical or philosophical implications of - say - nuclear fission are interesting. But that doesn't lead anyone to challenge the basic validity of the theory.

And now for the warning: With most arguments I'll go through the trouble of explaining why those arguments are invalid (or at least point you in the direction of a proper explanation). But if you start talking about the 2nd Law, I'll not bother, since it will then be painfully clear that you are rehashing arguments that you either do not understand and/or haven't bothered to even attempt to challenge.

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Old 12-19-2005, 06:19 AM   #4
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I was just thinking about this.

I read an opinion column by Pat Buchanan this morning on his personal theories on evolution. (Column here: http://www.theamericancause.org/a-pj...-darwinism.htm)
His basic postulation, that Darwinism has failed because it has yet to produce definitive proof in the limited amount of time that it has existed as a scientific theory shows an absolute misunderstanding about how science really works.
He thus concludes that all thinking, rational people will abandon the theory for a creationist point-of-view eventually.

Personally, I believe this goes a long was to show the absolute importance for a world-class science education for each and every person in this country. That this type of backwards warping of what the scientific method is and how it works can even exist in this day and age by someone who holds a somewhat influential position baffles my mind.


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Old 12-19-2005, 08:36 AM   #5
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Well i'm always amazed that in today's day and age so much of america still doesn't believe in evolution. But lets not go into that.

One of the major things that continues to convince me that it is true is that with every new discovery and new scientific method we develop we keep finding more and more evidence that supports it, and still haven;t found anything that disproves it.
Its a bit like a blurry image loading, we can see the overall picture from a distance, but each new development improves the clarity in a certain area.

Sometimes it doesn't turn out to be exactly what we were expecting and we have to readujst our viewpoint a little, but on the whole it all still fits together.

If anything was likely to blow evolution out of the water it was the recent advances in genetics. Suddenly we are able to look into the way things are acually made in so much more detail than we could before... and so this was a point where we could have looked in a new way and gone "oh heck, that doesn't do what i expected". But in actual fact the more we understand about the genetic makeup and connections of species the MORE it strengthens the case for evolution.

Its a bit "dumbed down", but the BBC programme Walking with beasts (follow up to walking with dinosaurs) gives a really nice view of how the changes in the earth's climate, the habitat and the evolution of other species affects the evolution of tiny organisms into mamals.
The timescales are mind boggling, but seeing it all occur in "fast forward mode" does really help visualise the process. Otherwise it can simply be a bit hard to imagine.



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Old 12-20-2005, 02:42 AM   #6
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To understand the anti-evolution crowd, you really have to look at their strategies and goals. There is the infamous "Wedge Strategy" of the mis-named Discovery Institute, which outlines very boldly some of these. We also get a look at some of the psychology involved with the anti-evolution movement.

I give you this essay for comment, but please forgive the length of the post.

The Wedge Strategy of Creationist Pseudoscience

The author of the Wedge Strategy (Johnson [alleged] ca. 1998) claims the creation of humans in the image of the Christian God to be the "bedrock principle" of Western civilization. This may be bedrock principle of Christianity, but Western civilization was built on the traditions of democracy, rule of law, and parliamentary procedure. Indeed, the very institutions in our own nation that are representative of these guiding principles reflect an architectural style of pre-Christian Greece, where much of our democratic tradition was born.

The author attributes most, "if not all," Western achievements in democracy, human rights, free enterprise, and progress in arts and sciences to the Christian concept of God and religion, which is simply not the case. While a significant amount of art is influenced by the world's religions, the Christian God's impact on achievements of democracy, human rights, and free enterprise is minimal, especially with regard to the most significant advances in these areas. Indeed some of these achievements occurred in spite of Christian principles, most notably achievements in science! That's not to imply that religions –Christian or otherwise- haven't been positive influences in society or have not done their share of good. However, it would be incorrect to assert that Western society would be amiss without Christianity's input. Certainly the point is arguable, but the assertion that Western society is the result of the Christian God's influence on humanity is a bold claim, and, at best, it can only be demonstrated that it is the belief in this God that may have some minimal influence.

Undoubtedly, this is the sort of dismissive tone that the Wedge author would cite as an example of a "wholesale attack" that is being carried out by intellectuals in the name of science, and it is this "wholesale attack" that the author presents as a major, if not the primary, concern for him. In the Wedge, careful word-play neatly sandwiches Karl Marx between Charles Darwin and Sigmund Freud -three obvious nemeses of Christian fundamentalism: Marx accused religion of being the "opium of the people;" Darwin demonstrated that environment influences speciation; and Freud slapped Christianity in the face with the hypothesis that Moses was an Egyptian in the grain of the monotheistic Akhenaton and that religion is an infantile obsession with the Father figure (God). The Wedge author's use of these figures is to villainize them, and those like them, for portraying humans "not as moral and spiritual beings, but as animals or machines," subject to the physical laws of the universe and nature.

The main fallacy of this is, of course, a non-sequitur. It does not follow that being an animal –we're certainly not plants- or being allegorically compared to machinery means that morality and spirituality are absent. It is, in fact, very obviously a part of humanity to be moral, since moral codes or laws exist in all cultures, regardless of whether or not they have a god or gods. So, too, is spirituality very obvious to anyone who has studied non-Christian cultures. The traditional Navajo, for instance, are deeply spiritual and hold that the land is sacred and live their lives accordingly.

The Wedge author goes on to deride all that do not conform to his narrow worldview with labels such as "materialist." The use of this label suggests that the physical world is somehow secondary to the metaphysical –and it may be. But the problem is that the metaphysical, by its nature, is unverifiable, un-testable, and eludes any consistency –even among individual believers who describe it.

The physical or the material, however, is measurable and observable. From it, we can draw conclusions and inferences and, occasionally, make predictions. Hope and belief are comforting, and one cannot disparage those for whom religion works. But these are not tenable methods of science. That the author of the Wedge is Phillip E. Johnson may or may not be true, but other works of Johnson are consistent with this document. The overall tone and accusatory nature that exists in the Wedge is present in his other works as well. Throughout several articles published in National Review, Commonweal, and The Chronicle of Higher Education, Johnson uses terms such as "materialistic science," "scientific materialism," "philosophical materialism," "Darwinism," "neo-Darwinist," and "scientific atheism." The idea is clearly to paint the picture that there is an establishment of science, or at least a faction of science, that has some vested interest in abolishing religion and religious beliefs, most specifically, Protestant Christianity.

In The Religious Implications of Teaching Evolution (Johnson 1999), he writes the following.

"Real education requires that students be exposed to dissenting views about evolution in their strongest form, rather than merely to some caricature written by a scientific materialist."

There is no more valid a dissenting view of evolution than there is of gravity. And this is where the proponents of creationist rhetoric like "intelligent" design have failed with regard to the goals and objectives established in the Wedge Strategy. The strategy's author includes three phases of action, the first being "scientific research, writing & publication;" the second, "publicity & opinion making;" and the third, "cultural confrontation & renewal."

Among their goals for Phase-One, the Discovery Institute's Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture (CRSC) initially sought to establish research and scholarship that would stand on its own and provide evidence for the creationist point of view. The Wedge author stated, "Without solid scholarship, research and argument, the project would be just another attempt to indoctrinate instead of persuade," and this is supported later by the CRSC (West 2004) with an opinion that the "materialistic world-view" has dominated Western society and needs to be defeated. The CRSC says, "[m]aterialism is a dehumanizing philosophy that has been used to justify genocide, infanticide and eugenics, among other evils. We want to see it discredited." Not only has the CRSC failed to produce any testable hypotheses in support of the creationist view point; not only have they ignored the preponderance of evidence that biology, geology, and anthropology have produced that not only verify past predictions regarding evolution but make new ones; but the creationists at CRSC continue with derisive labels like "materialism" as if this were a legitimate argument.

Rather than admit that human nature could possibly be responsible for atrocities like genocide or infanticide, or even acknowledge that religions, especially Christianity, have been driving forces behind such nonsense, CRSC issues a clearly biased rhetoric. It is also clear that the CRSC really means "the United States of America" when it refers to Western civilization and not the largely secular Western Europe, as Scandinavians, Germans, and Brits routinely laugh at the ignorance present in the so-called Superpower. So it would not be out of place to point out that all cases of genocide and infanticide in the U.S. appear to have more Christian influence than that of the so-called "materialist" science. That is, unless the U.S. Cavalry had naturalists in place of chaplains as it systematically wiped out thousands of Native American men, women, and children at places like Wounded Knee. Or perhaps it was physicists and geologists who organized lynch mobs to adorn Georgia peach trees with the "strange fruit" of black men, women, and children by their necks.

To conclude, the CRSC appears to have completely by-passed Phase-One of the Wedge Strategy, opting to pursue Phases-Two and –Three instead. The publications that have been produced consist only of apologetic books. Nothing substantial has been published by the so-called "intelligent" design proponents in peer reviewed journals such as Nature that provides any testable hypotheses or verifies any predictions of "intelligent" design. Indeed, the proponents of creationism clearly avoid peer-review and, instead, choose to appeal to the public directly with seminars, popular media, and books. Robert Park, author of Voodoo Science, reminds us in an article that ran in the Chronicle of Higher Education (2003) that pitching "the claim directly to the media" is the first warning sign of bogus science.





References

Johnson, P. E. (1999, 12/11/99). The Religious Implications of Teaching Evolution. Chronicle of Higher Education, 46(12), B9.

Johnson, P. E. [alleged]. (ca. 1998). The Wedge Strategy: Center for the Renewal of Science & Culture. Discovery Institute (alleged), ca. 1998 (Features). Retrieved 151205, from Antievolution.org: http://www.antievolution.org/features/Wedge.html.

Park, R. L. (2003, 31/1). The seven warning signs of bogus science. Chronical of Higher Education, 49(21), B20.

West, J. (2004, 8/1). The "Wedge Document": "So What?" Retrieved 181205, from The Discovery Institute: http://www.discovery.org/scripts/vie...oad.php?id=349.


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Old 12-20-2005, 07:14 AM   #7
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He thus concludes that all thinking, rational people will abandon the theory for a creationist point-of-view eventually.
But of course, with the tonnes of evidence that supports it! How can I resist?!

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The main fallacy of this is, of course, a non-sequitur. It does not follow that being an animal –we're certainly not plants- or being allegorically compared to machinery means that morality and spirituality are absent.
Roses are on the way .

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Old 12-20-2005, 08:07 AM   #8
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I was kinda hoping that we'd get Saber in here, though. This thread was started because of his comments after all...

And while making fun of creationists is always - well fun - let's not forget that it's not all that - ah - sporting.

“Making fun of born-again Christians is like hunting dairy cows with a high powered rifle and scope.”

- P.J. O’Rourke (1947- )

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Old 12-20-2005, 02:04 PM   #9
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http://today.reuters.com/news/newsar...-EVOLUTION.xml

It's related to this topic, I guess. But it seems like Intellegent Design is against the Constitution as ruled by a federal judge in America.



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Old 12-20-2005, 02:06 PM   #10
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Aye, that's been covered pretty extesively over at the 'Thumb

The short version is that the only Intelligent Design Creationist in the Dover Panda Trial who didn't seriously perjure himself was Mike Behe - and he was absolutely eviscerated on the stand. Apparently Intelligent Design is - according to Behe's testemony - on par with Astrology when it comes to scientific quality.

Even the Templeton Foundation - who are none too shy about funding inane projects - recoil from Intelligent Design Creationism.

Judge Jones' ruling is available here.

The short version is that he sustains all charges. Intelligent Design Creationism is a religious cult and the Dover School Board knowingly pushed it despite the self-evident violation of the Edwards vs. Aguillard precedent. The DASD science standards thus failed two prongs of the Lemon test and were declared unconstitutional.

It was, indeed, a Waterloo in Dover.


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Old 12-20-2005, 04:09 PM   #11
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"And when you consider the clocklike precision of the planets in their orbits about the sun ... does that seem to you like the result of random selection or the product of intelligent design?"

I'm going to have to go with gravity on this one.

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Old 12-20-2005, 04:26 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Tyrion
http://today.reuters.com/news/newsar...-EVOLUTION.xml

It's related to this topic, I guess. But it seems like Intellegent Design is against the Constitution as ruled by a federal judge in America.
And can you believe that that judge was actually appointed by Bush?
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Old 12-21-2005, 07:26 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by RoxStar
"And when you consider the clocklike precision of the planets in their orbits about the sun ... does that seem to you like the result of random selection or the product of intelligent design?"

I'm going to have to go with gravity on this one.
Indeed. In fact it is the product of quasi-random selection in a fashion that the guy who wrote it (properly attributing quotes is a Good Thing, BTW) could ever appreciate.

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Old 12-21-2005, 07:06 PM   #14
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One reason why proponents of creationist nonsense will purposely avoid this thread is because they simply will not be able to argue against the evidence.

The Mousetrap

By John Allen Paulos

The theory of intelligent design, the purportedly more scientific descendant of creation science, rejects Darwin's theory of evolution as being unable to explain the complexity of life. How, ask its supporters, can biological phenomena such as the clotting of blood have arisen just by chance? A key supporter likens the "irreducible complexity" of such phenomena to the irreducible complexity of a mousetrap. If one piece is missing - spring, metal platform or board - it is useless. The implicit suggestion is that all the parts of a mousetrap would have had to come into being at once, an impossibility unless there were an intelligent designer. Design proponents argue that what's true for the mousetrap is all the more true for complex biological phenomena. If any of the 20 or so proteins involved in blood clotting is absent, clotting doesn't occur. So, the creationist argument goes, these proteins must have all been brought into being at once by a designer. But the theory of evolution does explain the evolution of complex biological organisms and phenomena, and the argument from design, which dates from the 18th century, has been decisively refuted. Rehashing the refutation is not my goal. Those who reject evolution are usually immune to such arguments.

To Read More of This Article Visit: http://www.csicop.org/intelligentdesignwatch/


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Old 12-22-2005, 04:00 PM   #15
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Sorry, been sick as a dog. And the last thing you do when you have a splitting headache is debate. Looks like a lot has happened.

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Aside from the preponderance of evidence and predictions that have come from the theory of evolution, I can only say that there is no other demonstrable mechanism to explain our existence. The creation explanation can be immediately disgarded, since there are many hundreds of variations of these and none are testable.
That so? I've only heard one. Please tell me what variations you have heard. Also, how can you get evidence from a theory? I suppose you can get evidence for a theory, but a theory is not absolute.

Quote:
1) We are discussing evolution, not the origin of the universe. These are two different concepts and deserve separate threads. Personally, I'll likely not post in the universe thread since I have limited education in astronomy and cosmology. I make the distinction because in nearly every evolution argument I've been in, within a few posts the opponent to the fact of evolution will bring up the beginning of the universe.
Rather than just bring up the beginning of the universe, I will at least humor you enough to explain how they're related. If we evolved, then we must have a beginning, something to evolve from, do we not? And of course, we must have a place to evolve. Does our world have no beginning, always here, or did it evolve as well? Nowhere did this thread say it was only human evolution.

But don't worry. I'll touch on the universe only when necessary, and I'll focus on humans as much as possible.

Quote:
2) The word "theory" does not some how imply a hierarchy that evolution aspires to become, specifically moving on to be a "law." Theories and laws are two different, but related, things. Laws are generalizations, principles or pattersn in nature, while theories are the explanations of those generalizations. Theories in science are very different that the "theories" of colloquial speech in that they are based on one or more hypotheses that have been tested in some way.
Whoa, evolution has been tested? If you can show where evolution was tested, I'll back down now.

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But I can't imagine that anyone these days would dare challenge evolution as an explanation for life as we know it. There simply aren't any other viable explanations and the evolution explanation has far too much evidence supporting it. Okay... I'm trolling a little. But just a little
Not only are you trolling there, you are dead wrong.

Quote:
His basic postulation, that Darwinism has failed because it has yet to produce definitive proof in the limited amount of time that it has existed as a scientific theory shows an absolute misunderstanding about how science really works.
He thus concludes that all thinking, rational people will abandon the theory for a creationist point-of-view eventually.

Personally, I believe this goes a long was to show the absolute importance for a world-class science education for each and every person in this country. That this type of backwards warping of what the scientific method is and how it works can even exist in this day and age by someone who holds a somewhat influential position baffles my mind.
When I saw your avvy and recognized it from the political threads, I felt that I was about to have a huge brawl with you. But no, I actually agree with you. It appears that science of today is, "let's create a theory and find evidence to back it up". Whether it's for one side or the other, that's pathetic. I say, educate us on all the facts, and then let us choose. That would be Fox's goal, too bad they son't succeed.

Quote:
One of the major things that continues to convince me that it is true is that with every new discovery and new scientific method we develop we keep finding more and more evidence that supports it, and still haven't found anything that disproves it
I haven't found anything that supports it. It may be a "blinding flash of the obvious" to you guys, but the obviosity eludes me. Where is the evidence it exists? Provide sources! Show me all sides of every shred of evidence! Not all at once if you can't, but a bit at a time is enough. I'd like to see what the scientists are saying today. I tend to mentally block off this kind of thing if I see it on TV, because it is presented as fact and not theory.

Now, I am not able to get through the entire thread and reply to it all. (Sorry to disappoint you, ShadowTemplar.) I'll be back in a bit. But let me make something perfectly clear:

AS TO THE AGE OF THE EARTH

Carbon dating is perfectly accurate, IMO. The Earth is a few billion years old. You see, there is religious grounding in that. According to the Bible, to God a thousand years is to a day as a day is to a thousand years. So when he says 'day' in Genesis, He may have meant it to symbolize an epoch. Or not, but that's my interperentation, anyhow.



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Old 12-22-2005, 05:16 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by StaffSaberist
That so? I've only heard one. Please tell me what variations [of creation stories]you have heard.
You're kidding right? There are creation stories for nearly every culture past and present: Egyptian, Native American, Maya (popohl vuh), Asian, etc, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by StaffSaberist
Also, how can you get evidence from a theory? I suppose you can get evidence for a theory, but a theory is not absolute.
Nothing in science is 'absolute,' and everything in science is provisional. That having been said, a theory provides an explanation and offers the ability to infer, deduce, and/or make predictions. Many predictions have been made from the theory of evolution and these have been born out as true, thus adding to the overall preponderance of evidence.

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Originally Posted by StaffSaberist
Whoa, evolution has been tested? If you can show where evolution was tested, I'll back down now.
The theory of evolution states that life on this planet is the result of gradual changes over time. If so, then we would expect to see progressive changes in morphology that reflect the adaptation of species to their environments. This is exactly what is noted in the fossil record. The test in this case is this: if the theory is correct, the gradual progression in morphology must be present. It is.

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Originally Posted by StaffSaberist
Nice link to the world's religious breakdown. But it doesn't provide any viable explanations to life on the planet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by StaffSaberist
AS TO THE AGE OF THE EARTH

Carbon dating is perfectly accurate, IMO. The Earth is a few billion years old.
4.6 billion to be more precise, but this age is not determined from radiocarbon dating. This form of dating is only relevant for up to 80,000 years (depending on the methodology).


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Old 12-22-2005, 05:34 PM   #17
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Another good thread on evolution: http://www.gamingforums.com/showthre...50#post2514650.

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4.6 billion to be more precise, but this age is not determined from radiocarbon dating. This form of dating is only relevant for up to 80,000 years (depending on the methodology).
And at least a 1000 years, I seem to recall.

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Not only are you trolling there, you are dead wrong.
Religious creation myths aren't "viable" like evolution is viable.

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Old 12-22-2005, 05:44 PM   #18
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What I was saying was that the vast majority of world populace does not believe in evolution.



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Old 12-22-2005, 05:50 PM   #19
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Well i'm always amazed that in today's day and age so much of america still doesn't believe in evolution. But lets not go into that.
Heh heh... I'm always amazed that we're still not on the metric system here in this day and age... but there you go. I feel that's rather telling of our national distrust and casual rejection of all things scientific. But let's not go into that either...


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Old 12-22-2005, 05:54 PM   #20
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Heh heh... I'm always amazed that we're still not on the metric system here in this day and age... but there you go. I feel that's rather telling of our national distrust and casual rejection of all things scientific. But let's not go into that either...
Supposedly changing our standards of measurement would incur costs to companies of some amount. I don't see the problem though, as we're taught both in schools.

That, and the metric system just doesn't sound as good in casual speech in my opinion.


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Old 12-22-2005, 06:03 PM   #21
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What I was saying was that the vast majority of world populace does not believe in evolution.

That graph of the world's religions doesn't say that. In fact, evolution gets along quite well with religion as far as I can tell.


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Old 12-22-2005, 06:10 PM   #22
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Yeah really. I don't buy the bull**** that evolution is against faith. Hell, I'd think it was MORE flattering that God or whoever came up with something like that. It's a self-sustaining system.


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Old 12-22-2005, 07:00 PM   #23
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*sigh* You do understand the book of Genesis, correct? I cannot answer for all religions, but I can safely say that Christianity (and Catholicism), and Judaism, and I believe Islam, three major religions, have Creation.

I see, LV. Got anything better than flames? I think I shall simply return to issues that can be debated civilly. I have yet to see flames posted against me in the 403-3 thread, and it is a model debate as far as the post content goes. But I refuse to debate with the mediablitz type:

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YAWN

i'm mediablitz, you're wrong, I'm right.

wasn't that easier than making a long post?
I might tolerate that if this issue were less personal, but calling my faith bullsh!t is not something I am prepared to give merit. Let's leave it at that.



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Old 12-22-2005, 07:39 PM   #24
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I think if you were to go back and read LV's comments a little more carefully, you'd note that he said it was "that evolution is against faith" is what was "bullsh**t." Not your faith. If memory serves me correctly from past threads here, LV has the same faith as you.

That having been said, I disagree that we cannot criticize religions. This isn't the thread for it, but why is it that we cannot argue or debate the merits of someone's religion. We debate and argue the politics of others. We debate and argue the legal positions others take on issues like marriage, executions, border security, immigration and the like. But somehow we've all agreed to respect the beliefs of others no matter how irrational they are. But I digress... this is, perhaps, another thread.

Regardless, LV wasn't attacking your faith. Only the notion that your faith cannot co-exist with evolution. Personally, I'm more than willing to attack anyone's faith.


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Old 12-22-2005, 07:46 PM   #25
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Look... At this point, even the Catholic Church has acknowledged evolution as what is actively going on, with the Book of Genesis becoming what essentially amounts to a giant metaphor. I mean, damn, if those old geezers at the Vatican figured it is probably right, it's likely not against any form of monotheistic (and it was NEVER against polytheistic) faith.

On a side note, I do not subscribe to any form of organized faith that I know of, unless you want to count agnostic...


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Old 12-22-2005, 09:18 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by StaffSaberist
I cannot answer for all religions, but I can safely say that Christianity (and Catholicism), and Judaism, and I believe Islam, three major religions, have Creation.
Not each and every every believer of those religions subscribe to the creation myths, however. There are many that follow the moral and ethical guidelines of a religion without having to believe a word for word accounting of the tales told about creation of the universe and man.
By the same measure not all Darwinists and evolutionists are atheists as well... there's a lot of grey areas and crossover points.

Even within the Christian faith, you can find many variations on the tale of creation itself as you go from denomination to denomination, and even from congregation to congregation: From 7 literal 24-hour periods about 6000 years ago, to the Catholic church's guideline that a Darwinistic process of natural selection doesn't necessarily conflict with the spiritual mission of the church. Most seem to fall somewhere in the middle: that the universe and Earth was created many millions (or billions) of years ago, but that mankind was created with Adam. Or if not crated with Adam,.. then Adam was the first true human that God started working with, and the first with human intelligence and a spirit that could recognize God.


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Old 12-22-2005, 09:41 PM   #27
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This just dawned on me:
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Originally Posted by staffsaberist
I cannot answer for all religions, but I can safely say that Christianity (and Catholicism),
Isn't that a bit like saying, "I can safely say that meat (and beef)...?" After all, Catholics are Christian.


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Old 12-23-2005, 10:37 AM   #28
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You forget that several fundamentalist groups continue to assert that we're not!

But that's another topic for another thread...

I was about to correct Staff's statement about Catholicism but it was corrected. The Catholic church teaches "creation" only in the sense that "God Created the Universe" but not that it opposes evolutionary theory to explain the origin of species, etc. Not Creationism (Young Earth or some variant thereof). There was some debate recently over whether the RCC taught Intelligent Design instead. While this idea is certain believed by some prominent clergymen (a recent statement by that one cardinal sounds very much like ID), it's not the official teaching of the magisterium.

Lath made a statement about polytheistic creeds never having a problem with evolutionary theory. And while I haven't heard anyone publically rail against evolutionary theory on religious terms and not use some strain of Christianity as the basis, I would argue that there are plenty of polytheistic creation stories, that if taken as literally as certain Christian groups take Genesis, they'd have the exact same problems.

And I really hate to say "literally" because it's so easily misinterpreted (nobody takes the entire Bible "literally" even those who claim to)... but I think you guys know what I mean. If people say they take creation out of the Bible you should really ask them "which creation story" since there are several variations. Most churches favor allegorical or other "non-literal" interpretations of of the creation accounts in the Hebrew Scriptures today. That doesn't mean they all accept Darwinism or Neo-Darwinism (which aren't or shouldn't be perjorative terms, they're just accurate statements of evolutionary theories), but still. This is literally one of those debates where there aren't just two sides (and no, it's not just three sides either, throwing in ID).

And despite my respect for many of Mr. Buchanan's other ideas, that opinion piece by him on evolution sounds like he really hasn't studied the issue much beyond the headlines. It's one thing to assert that Darwinism has "failed" in the court of public opinion, but to equate it to a political (rather than scientific) theory like Marxist-Leninism and thus assert its falsehood is a problematic analogy.

PS: Freud's mythmaking on religion is fun to read, but hardly provable anymore than certain feminist theories of a golden age of matriarchy. Makes for breathtaking political rhetoric, but nothing really substantial in evidence. He may be a favorite whipping boy though so that's all I'm going to say on him.


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Old 12-24-2005, 02:08 PM   #29
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I don't consider Catholicism a seperate religion. That's why I put it in these: () They are slightly different. But only slightly.



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Old 12-24-2005, 10:39 PM   #30
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I don't consider Catholicism a seperate religion. That's why I put it in these: () They are slightly different. But only slightly.
Huh? They're both Christian, they're just different Sects...

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Old 12-26-2005, 03:46 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by SkinWalker
That having been said, I disagree that we cannot criticize religions. This isn't the thread for it, but why is it that we cannot argue or debate the merits of someone's religion. We debate and argue the politics of others. We debate and argue the legal positions others take on issues like marriage, executions, border security, immigration and the like. But somehow we've all agreed to respect the beliefs of others no matter how irrational they are. But I digress... this is, perhaps, another thread.
I agree, though for a different reason than yourself. It is necessary for someone who believes something to question it in order to understand their own position fully (and makes that belief stronger if it is well placed).

Doing so happens helps out in forum discussions too.


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Old 12-27-2005, 11:04 AM   #32
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Also, how can you get evidence from a theory? I suppose you can get evidence for a theory, but a theory is not absolute.
Ah, the vagarities of grammar. The 'from' refers to the 'predictions' part, not the 'evidence' part.

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Rather than just bring up the beginning of the universe, I will at least humor you enough to explain how they're related. If we evolved, then we must have a beginning, something to evolve from, do we not? And of course, we must have a place to evolve. Does our world have no beginning, always here, or did it evolve as well? Nowhere did this thread say it was only human evolution.
No, but Skin limited it to exclusively biological evolution. Haring off on cosmology trips would be both beyond the scope of this thread and, frankly, venture into theories far less substantiated than the theory of (biological) evolution (actually most theories short of gravity and quantum mechanics are less substantiated than the ToE).

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Whoa, evolution has been tested? If you can show where evolution was tested, I'll back down now.
http://talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/

It's long and it's complicated. And, no, nobody expects you to read and respond to it all. But science is long and complicated, and you asked for evidence.

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But no, I actually agree with you. It appears that science of today is, "let's create a theory and find evidence to back it up". Whether it's for one side or the other, that's pathetic.
Yes and no. There are two main avenues available for scientific progress: One is drawing inferences from already established theories. This can lead in radically new directions - as indeed it did when Maxwell proposed his correction of Biot Savart's Law. The other way new theories can grow out of old ones is through an abundance of experimental evidence revealing flaws in old theories - as was what happened through much of Quantum Mechanics' early years. Discrediting either of those approaches would hamstring science for no good reason.

The last way to increase scientific knowledge is the revolutionary leap of genius, where a theory is proposed on the basis of flimsy evidence and has little connection with previous theories - its only justification being that it 'feels right'. That has happened in the past (the theory whose centennial we're celebrating this year is one example). And it will undoubtedly happen in the future as well. But that is very, very rare.

And evolution is not such a theory. In fact, evolution is a straight-line generalisation of Malthus' population models, much the same way Maxwell's equations grow naturally out of classical electrodynamics.

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Now, I am not able to get through the entire thread and reply to it all. (Sorry to disappoint you, ShadowTemplar.)
Actually, much of what's been said previously has been idle banter while we waited for you to show up. You didn't miss a lot. What I really inteded with this thread was a place for people like you to ask honest questions and present what they percieve as problems with evolution in a calm and civilised environment. I was hoping that we could then sort through them - or at the very least that Skin and I could point people in the direction of further reading.

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Carbon dating is perfectly accurate, IMO. The Earth is a few billion years old. You see, there is religious grounding in that. According to the Bible, to God a thousand years is to a day as a day is to a thousand years. So when he says 'day' in Genesis, He may have meant it to symbolize an epoch. Or not, but that's my interperentation, anyhow.
Funny. I seem to recall an AiG tract saying differently.

But theological discussions aside, carbon dating and dendrochronology go back only roughly .05 Myrs. Ar-K and U-U dating, OTOH...

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What I was saying was that the vast majority of world populace does not believe in evolution.
That's actually not quite correct... You don't have to be an atheist to value sound science. I can name several qualified biologists and physicists who'd be frankly insulted at the insinuation that they are somehow less christian because they acknowledge the validity of scientific theories.

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Lath made a statement about polytheistic creeds never having a problem with evolutionary theory. And while I haven't heard anyone publically rail against evolutionary theory on religious terms and not use some strain of Christianity as the basis, I would argue that there are plenty of polytheistic creation stories, that if taken as literally as certain Christian groups take Genesis, they'd have the exact same problems.
Indeed. In fact there are several fundie hindu groups who reject evolution - because according to their fundie view the world has always existed and has always been the same - so change is impossible and beginning is impossible. And while we don't hear as much about it in the West, Muslim creationism is also rampant in many parts of the world. Of course they buy into the rethoric and propaganda originating in the US, but that's probably only because the US creationist movements have rather a lot more funding than the Middle Eastern ones.

Quote:
PS: Freud's mythmaking on religion is fun to read, but hardly provable anymore than certain feminist theories of a golden age of matriarchy. Makes for breathtaking political rhetoric, but nothing really substantial in evidence.
Freud is a cheap hoax and a political pseudoscientist. His crap's so deep that he compares disfavorably with even the Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture.

But that's for another thread...


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Old 12-27-2005, 11:38 AM   #33
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Whoa, evolution has been tested? If you can show where evolution was tested, I'll back down now.
Every year there are viruses and bacteria that develop resistances and immunities to the treatments and antibiotics that had worked only months or weeks before. Think about the fact that the entire planet is currently tooling up to fight a bird-flu pandemic, despite the fact that it can't currently transmit from human-to-human yet, only bird-to-bird and bird-to-human.

So what's the panic all about? The fear is that the flu virus will develop a strain that will eventually transmit from human-to-human and will be incredibly had to fight.

But, if it's not currently a danger except for those that live and work around birds, how will it happen that it might become a danger for the general population?

Well, by the same processes that Darwin proposed so many years ago: Natural selection and random mutation that leads to evolutionary advantage. It's happening every day, all around us, just at the micro scale. Bacteria and viruses multiply so fast that we can actually see those processes in action.
Unfortunately, life on the macro scale takes so long to reproduce that it's impossible for us to see in real-time, and have no evidence that's the way it happened except by looking into the past. But why should we expect that the processes that work on very small, quick-lived life-forms on our planet are any different that the processes that affect the larger, slower-lived life forms? Especially when the fossil record and DNA evidence seems to indicate that's exactly how it happened.


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Old 12-27-2005, 11:43 AM   #34
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Unfortunately, life on the macro scale takes so long to reproduce that it's impossible for us to see in real-time, and have no evidence that's the way it happened except by looking into the past.
Not quite.

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Old 12-27-2005, 01:14 PM   #35
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Hmmm... interesting stuff. I stand corrected.

Still, until we can show real-time evidence of human evolution (which is, after all, what this entire debate is truly about, despite what some folks may claim) those that refuse to see the facts will find creative ways of explaining all of that away.


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Old 12-27-2005, 06:55 PM   #36
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Old 01-02-2006, 12:52 PM   #37
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That's actually not quite correct... You don't have to be an atheist to value sound science. I can name several qualified biologists and physicists who'd be frankly insulted at the insinuation that they are somehow less christian because they acknowledge the validity of scientific theories.
Right. I've had discussions with people who put up the false dilemma that you either accept the (Christian) Bible on faith as absolutely true, or you accept science (insinuating that science is only used as a substitute for religion by people who don't have God).

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Indeed. In fact there are several fundie hindu groups who reject evolution - because according to their fundie view the world has always existed and has always been the same - so change is impossible and beginning is impossible. And while we don't hear as much about it in the West, Muslim creationism is also rampant in many parts of the world. Of course they buy into the rethoric and propaganda originating in the US, but that's probably only because the US creationist movements have rather a lot more funding than the Middle Eastern ones.
Well said. I know of Hindus who have no trouble believing that we've been through a series of creations and destructions, so while the "cycle" might be eternal, the current earth/universe is not necessarily. Also I've read about Muslims who defend the Qu'ran as geling with science, in taking it symbolically to be parallel with modern science (rather than saying the science is wrong and needs to support a literal reading of the text).



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Freud is a cheap hoax and a political pseudoscientist. His crap's so deep that he compares disfavorably with even the Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture.

But that's for another thread...
Agreed. I know his other stuff is much disputed nowadays as well, I was merely referring to his "theories" on religion. Still, no matter how debunked some of his ideas have been, they still get brought up as fact by people every so often, usually without realizing who said them or why.

Also: I don't know if this has been said or not, but I've come to realize that many creationists do accept that some form of evolution takes place, but they still reject mainstream science about it. This may be because in the media it's depicted as "creationism vs. evolution" as if there were only two positions, and then it's often characterized as the irreligious vs. "the Christians" again as if there were only two views.


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Old 01-02-2006, 12:57 PM   #38
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Agreed. I know his other stuff is much disputed nowadays as well, I was merely referring to his "theories" on religion. Still, no matter how debunked some of his ideas have been, they still get brought up as fact by people every so often, usually without realizing who said them or why.
Tell me about it. Doesn't work wonders for the credibility of psychology to support quacks like Freud, Young, and Gardener.

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Old 01-02-2006, 01:00 PM   #39
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Huh? They're both Christian, they're just different Sects...
It may be that he isn't just confused about Catholicism, he may have a different "standard" of what "Christianity" is. Some evangelical Protestants for example feel that only certain Baptist, Lutheran and Pentecostal churches are "Christian" and all other self-idenfitied Christian churches are deviations, corruptions or heresies from it.

So he's free to confirm or deny if this is his personal belief.

I can handle it. After all there's plenty of Catholics past and present who feel we're the one, true church. However, I think the idea that these other groups are not Christians at all, just because they're not us, is a uniquely non-Catholic idea.


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Old 01-05-2006, 11:08 AM   #40
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I'm sure scientists recently observed the creation of a new species of butterfly.. i'll have a look for the link if i get time.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4708459.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/3790531.stm

Also, the church of england is, i think, both protestant, christian and supportive of evolution. I remember reading a survey where about 9/10 CoE priests said they believed in evolution... so its not like evolution and christianity (or any religion for that matter) are incompatible. Many scientist think that the more they uncover of the wonders of evolution the more majestic it appears.. so maybe there is a god behind it all... But the method he used is unquestionably evolution, not genesis, or any other of the lovely stories that abound.

Catholisism may be weird, but its by far the largest and most influential of the christian sects, and all the other sects (no matter how they may have diverged) are deeply rooted in early catholic teachings. As such they have contributed to the beliefs of pretty much all christians... even if some have now decided to become strangely selective in terms of the part of catholic teachings that they believe to be infallible, and the parts they believe to be wrong. You could probably argue that the bible itself is a creation of the catholic church.. so to challenge them on it seems odd.

As far as I can tell there has been no NEW EVIDENCE to support genesis, or the indian thunderbird myths, or any other creation story that isn't from the original source and time period. Evolution on the other hand has had new evidence upon new evidence discovered by scientists from all over the world over the past 100 years. All creationists can do is try to pick holes in other work, as they can't find anything new to support their own beliefs..



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