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Seattle Bubble Forum Archive • View topic - Theory of Evolution Cage Match

Theory of Evolution Cage Match

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Theory of Evolution Cage Match

Postby Alan » Sun Jun 29, 2008 4:35 pm

Have at it.

May the fittest theory survive.
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Re: Theory of Evolution Cage Match

Postby rose-colored-coolaid » Sun Jun 29, 2008 8:01 pm

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Re: Theory of Evolution Cage Match

Postby Lake Hills Renter » Mon Jun 30, 2008 8:27 am

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Re: Theory of Evolution Cage Match

Postby Notabull » Mon Jun 30, 2008 4:12 pm

I guess what bothers me about a lot of the "intelligent design" and "evolution is nonsense" crew is that they discard a MASSIVE body of scientific evidence because it doesn't fit with their own personal beliefs. Then, when something very occasionally comes along that happens to agree with their beliefs it's immediately grabbed and held up high as the correct approach.

That's not how science works. You don't get to decide which papers or theories to "agree" with based on your own beliefs. That's one of the points of the scientific method - to reduce the effects of personal bias through peer review and other mechanisms.

As has already been mentioned, 99% of scientists are fully on-board with evolution and the main components of it. They're not idiots, and they're not on-board with it because of their own personal beliefs.

While I'm on the topic, the whole "hey, evolution is just a *theory*" thing needs a bullet put through it. There are two practical definitions of the word "theory" in use, and the common use is different to the scientific use.

Theory:
(Scientific) a coherent group of general propositions used as principles of explanation for a class of phenomena: Einstein's theory of relativity.
(Common usage) contemplation or speculation, guess or conjecture.

So when people say the "theory of evolution", it's not just a guess. Someone didn't wake up, brush their teeth, and guess about the origin of life on earth on the way to work.

I swear, if Einstein's theory of relativity disagreed with a mainstream church's supernatural beliefs or teachings from an old book, we'd have "Intelligent Gravity" as a competing theory in schools. I'm grateful that Thermodynamics has "laws" and not theories because otherwise we'd be pushing god in there too. :)
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Re: Theory of Evolution Cage Match

Postby Alan » Mon Jun 30, 2008 4:32 pm

Prove to me that gravity isn't caused by the hand of God operating in a way that agrees with the theory of relativity. We have no experimental evidence for the cause of gravitational attraction so it must be God acting directly in the world.
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Re: Theory of Evolution Cage Match

Postby Notabull » Mon Jun 30, 2008 5:32 pm

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Re: Theory of Evolution Cage Match

Postby Alan » Mon Jun 30, 2008 5:56 pm

There are theories that try to explain why something happens and theories that try to explain how something behaves. The "theory of gravity" is predicts how a particular object will behave in the future. But it doesn't attempt to explain the mechanism by which gravity occurs. In that respect the theory of gravity and the theory of intelligent attraction are not incompatible.

Evolution gets a little fuzzy in this respect. The theory of evolution predicts that lifeforms will adapt to their environment, but it doesn't do a very good job of predicting exactly what form that adaptation will take. It also tries to explain why adaptation occurs -- mutations/crossover create variation in a species and natural selection carries the best variations to the next generation. The theory of evolution is pretty "hand wavy" when it comes to the details of this process. Still, progress seems to made in this area.

Theology used to deny evolution in favor of creation: "All life on Earth was created whole cloth out of dirt by God. The idea that a cow could be created from algea using small incremental changes is patently ridiculous."

As the theory of evolution was improved, this argument turned to intelligent design: "God's hand made small incremental changes in organisms to cause something that looks an awful lot like evolution to occur. The idea that algae could randomly evolve into a cow is patently ridiculous."

As experiments continue surrounding evolution, I predict will we build strong statistical models demonstrating how the algae to cow metamorphisis is possible. At that point, the influence of God will be pushed to a new area of non-understanding. Perhaps God will be credited for creating randomness itself. In any case, there will still be people who claim that God guided the random process to produce humans in the image of God. Randomly we could have ended up looking like anything, but since we are in the image of God then he must have guided it.

I believe that argument to be circular, but I've found that people who use circular reasoning to be very difficult to argue with. I've also found that they often accuse science of being circular. Participating in such arguments can be fun but it is not very useful.

For me, usefulness is the real test of any theory. Otherwise, who cares?
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Re: Theory of Evolution Cage Match

Postby rose-colored-coolaid » Mon Jun 30, 2008 7:59 pm

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Re: Theory of Evolution Cage Match

Postby rose-colored-coolaid » Mon Jun 30, 2008 8:03 pm

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Re: Theory of Evolution Cage Match

Postby Alan » Mon Jun 30, 2008 9:45 pm

"How" wasn't the best word. By "how" I meant "in what manner". Falling bodies follow a predictable trajectory. That doesn't say anything about why gravity operates the way it does.

God could have created the universe "whole cloth" with photons that seemed to be coming from stars light years away magically coming into existence in the middle of space.

Such a theory is not particularly useful.
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Re: Theory of Evolution Cage Match

Postby Notabull » Tue Jul 01, 2008 7:03 am

On a related topic, I'm simply amazed that there are people out there, even "scientists", that believe the earth is only 6000-10000 years old.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Young_Earth_creationism

The level to which some people will go to try and support their illogical beliefs and literal interpretation of an old book is simply amazing. There are well funded groups that exist to support these crazy 18th century beliefs.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Institute_ ... n_Research

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_M._Morris

Interesting quote from Henry Morris:

""The fact is that evolutionists believe in evolution because they want to. It is their desire at all costs to explain the origin of everything without a Creator. Evolutionism is thus intrinsically an atheistic religion.""
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Re: Theory of Evolution Cage Match

Postby rose-colored-coolaid » Tue Jul 01, 2008 8:17 am

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Re: Theory of Evolution Cage Match

Postby WestSideBilly » Tue Jul 01, 2008 9:49 am

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Re: Theory of Evolution Cage Match

Postby Lake Hills Renter » Tue Jul 01, 2008 10:27 am

I don't really have anything to add here, I just wanted to give a big thumbs up to this discussion, and to say I agree 100% with Notabull's first post.
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Re: Theory of Evolution Cage Match

Postby jon » Tue Jul 01, 2008 10:56 am

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