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Old 02-26-2013, 09:20 PM   #121
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I agree. But if we ever do hit upon fact, would we recognize it as fact? I know that can go both ways, but I think there are very few things we can know for certain. And like you said, it's never a fact that we will wake up tomorrow or gravity will cease as a force. We can only trust that tomorrow will be much like today in those respects, that's all.

Personally, I don't find a distinction between teaching creationism as fact and teaching evolution as fact. By this, I'm just simply saying that both are teaching something we believe on faith as fact. We can trust that evolution is true, based on evidence, just as we trust that we will wake up tomorrow morning. I'm all for teaching evolution over creationism in schools, only because it has the greater amount of scientific evidence to support it, and so it's the model upon what most legitimate scientists in the field would base their conclusions. If you like the idea of a "tweaking of a lens," sure. But does absolute clarity exist, at least by limited human capacity?
Not only greater evidence, but the only one with evidence. I get where you're coming from though. It might be more a philosophical question. With all the strangeness that happens on the quantum level, you could certainly say we're limited by the human experience as to finding absolute fact. But I'd say that for our reality, there are certain things we can hold as fact to within a small fraction of a percent of absolute. It's certainly an interesting thought though... and one that could probably drive you mad for thinking about too much
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Old 02-26-2013, 09:23 PM   #122
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But see, to you there was no goal, to me there is one.

And regardless of outcome, the inciting incident is steeped in unlikelihood, and yet.
Well, yes. And that's where faith and science have to agree to disagree. It's only when the pseudo-scientists bring that up as a hole in evolution that it needs to be politely blown to smithereens

What do you mean by the last bit?
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Old 02-26-2013, 09:30 PM   #123
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and one that could probably drive you mad for thinking about too much
Aren't we all?
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Old 02-27-2013, 02:30 AM   #124
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I just wanted to use this wonderful thread as an opportunity to state my love for a creationist book about dinosaurs that I had as a kid. Although I don't approve of creationism being taught in schools, or dogmatic beliefs infiltrating any field in which rationalism and objectivism are necessary, I do think that creationist books about dinosaurs should be available in every single building in the world, because the pictures are ridiculously awesome.
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Old 02-27-2013, 07:05 AM   #125
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I just don't like the mindset that seems to be prevalent "I can't fathom life beginning from a single cell or evolved, so I pick an even more complex theory that there is a creator".

Your assumption is that there is just one creator. Why not two? Why not five? And yet science gets questioned because well "how did this all happen? Why?" And yet a believer doesn't want to answer any questions about its creator "who created the creator?" Or how do you know you're worshipping the right God ( there are about 3000 to choose from). Of course the answer is usually "the bible" which isn't the proof, it's merely the claim (same as Koran etc). It's no more proof of god existing than a comic book proves Spider-Man.

We have mountains of evidence for evolution. Are there links or some gaps? Yes, but the great thing about science is that it keeps testing. IT CAN BE WRONG! Tell me the last time religious dogma has come out and said "we are incorrect". The cop out is believers can keep pointing to the gaps in our knowledge and place their god there. The issue for them is that these gaps keep getting smaller and smaller. For when a unexplained occurrence is explained, god is removed from the equation.

And I don't understand why meaning of life is used as an answer. I do get that it is a bit cold to think life happened not because of some grand plan, but over a series of small changes and even luck. This is no way should devalue your life or take meaning away. If you cannot find any sort of meaning or comfort in the life you have right now, knowing you have family, friends, hobbies, food, travel....and just the thirst for more knowledge, then I do feel some pity.

Again, if a belief in something more, some sort of cosmic force or creator gives you this same feeling, go for it. But please limit it to yourself or places of worship. Most of us wouldn't want Scientology taught to our kids or sponsored by our gov at every freaking speech, so why would your belief be any different (other than popularity)
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Old 02-27-2013, 03:23 PM   #126
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Personally, I don't find a distinction between teaching creationism as fact and teaching evolution as fact. By this, I'm just simply saying that both are teaching something we believe on faith as fact. We can trust that evolution is true, based on evidence, just as we trust that we will wake up tomorrow morning. I'm all for teaching evolution over creationism in schools, only because it has the greater amount of scientific evidence to support it, and so it's the model upon what most legitimate scientists in the field would base their conclusions. If you like the idea of a "tweaking of a lens," sure. But does absolute clarity exist, at least by limited human capacity?
I respectfully disagree. I didn't want to wade further into this debate but I think it's an important and fascinating subject for those that understand well enough to understand they don't know everything. But we DO know some things. Such as Evolution being a fact. With that said, Evolution and the idea of a Creator do not have to be mutually exclusive. So because of all the rest, I don't see any kind of philosophical argument on these grounds.

You don't need faith, at all, of any kind, to understand the science of Evolution. All you need is objective data and evidence to put through the rigors of examination. Creationism has none of that. For over a century every creationist scientist that has ever lived has probably sought to shoot holes in Evolution. And all that keeps happening, even with 21st century technology, is that we keep seeing that it is more and more and more true. Scientific theory moves precisely where the evidence tells it to go. Whereas creationism seeks out a specific end result. They are not remotely comparable in this sense.

Also, Evolution has a "greater amount of scientific evidence to support it", relative to creationism, much in the same way Earth has a greater amount of scientific evidence of humans as compared to Mars or anywhere else.

And I am not saying this as some snarky staunch atheist or (worse) an anti-theist. I am content to be firmly agnostic. Although not agnostic towards anything concerning man-made religion. "God" if it exists, is likely something we simply cannot understand.

But with that said, Evolution is fact. This is not debatable unless you want to argue that we were tricked by the devil or something. Otherwise, it is the absolute truth. And when explained well, it is very easy to understand (even birds = dinosaurs). And it does not have to be at odds with creation or notions about "God" outside of believing the literal myths. Evolution (or any scientific theory) predicts things like transitional species and then scientists go out an dig in eons-old mudholes and find transitional fossils. It's not like they find them and then force-fit them into the idea. It's the same principle with the Higgs Boson, which was predicted...and then found decades later...and then the Big Bang was proved. And speaking of why would the Big Bang (existence from a single origin) be at odds with notions of a creator? It wouldn't.

Even if we discovered things about Evolution that we do not currently understand, there is still plenty of evidence that can't be refuted. In other words, if the Theory of Relativity were called into question by some incredible discovery at the quantum level (probably about gravity) and we had to re-write it in order to reconcile a Theory of Everything, it still likely wouldn't change our understanding of spacetime, for one. It would accommodate all the facts. Some of these facts will never change. They may look slightly different but they won't fundamentally change.

But speaking of, this subject is not the same as understanding (or not) the fabric of our reality. Hence, part of the reason I am agnostic.

It is a weird Universe. Dark matter, dark energy, holographic principle...the entire bizarre quantum world, M-theory (ELEVEN dimensions?)...it's fascinating and thought-provoking stuff. But human life on Earth? It's not really weird at all. Human behavior? Yes, it is weird. But not the biology. We understand most everything outside of certain DNA and brain function (AFAIK), and we are getting there fast on those grounds. With that said, consciousness is another factor. But consciousness and the...potential 'spirit world' (if you will), wouldn't have much of anything to do with Evolution.
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Old 02-27-2013, 05:47 PM   #127
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Well, yes. And that's where faith and science have to agree to disagree. It's only when the pseudo-scientists bring that up as a hole in evolution that it needs to be politely blown to smithereens

What do you mean by the last bit?
Sorry, that was a horrible sentence. I meant something along the lines of: Even if you believe it's all random coincidence, it's an amazing coincidence. Better?
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Old 02-27-2013, 06:30 PM   #128
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Please stop fighting, guyz.

Please, guyz.

Please, let's talk, guyz.

Please, guyz.
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Old 02-27-2013, 06:32 PM   #129
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I respectfully disagree. I didn't want to wade further into this debate but I think it's an important and fascinating subject for those that understand well enough to understand they don't know everything. But we DO know some things. Such as Evolution being a fact. With that said, Evolution and the idea of a Creator do not have to be mutually exclusive. So because of all the rest, I don't see any kind of philosophical argument on these grounds.

You don't need faith, at all, of any kind, to understand the science of Evolution. All you need is objective data and evidence to put through the rigors of examination. Creationism has none of that. For over a century every creationist scientist that has ever lived has probably sought to shoot holes in Evolution. And all that keeps happening, even with 21st century technology, is that we keep seeing that it is more and more and more true. Scientific theory moves precisely where the evidence tells it to go. Whereas creationism seeks out a specific end result. They are not remotely comparable in this sense.

Also, Evolution has a "greater amount of scientific evidence to support it", relative to creationism, much in the same way Earth has a greater amount of scientific evidence of humans as compared to Mars or anywhere else.

And I am not saying this as some snarky staunch atheist or (worse) an anti-theist. I am content to be firmly agnostic. Although not agnostic towards anything concerning man-made religion. "God" if it exists, is likely something we simply cannot understand.

But with that said, Evolution is fact. This is not debatable unless you want to argue that we were tricked by the devil or something. Otherwise, it is the absolute truth. And when explained well, it is very easy to understand (even birds = dinosaurs). And it does not have to be at odds with creation or notions about "God" outside of believing the literal myths. Evolution (or any scientific theory) predicts things like transitional species and then scientists go out an dig in eons-old mudholes and find transitional fossils. It's not like they find them and then force-fit them into the idea. It's the same principle with the Higgs Boson, which was predicted...and then found decades later...and then the Big Bang was proved. And speaking of why would the Big Bang (existence from a single origin) be at odds with notions of a creator? It wouldn't.

Even if we discovered things about Evolution that we do not currently understand, there is still plenty of evidence that can't be refuted. In other words, if the Theory of Relativity were called into question by some incredible discovery at the quantum level (probably about gravity) and we had to re-write it in order to reconcile a Theory of Everything, it still likely wouldn't change our understanding of spacetime, for one. It would accommodate all the facts. Some of these facts will never change. They may look slightly different but they won't fundamentally change.

But speaking of, this subject is not the same as understanding (or not) the fabric of our reality. Hence, part of the reason I am agnostic.

It is a weird Universe. Dark matter, dark energy, holographic principle...the entire bizarre quantum world, M-theory (ELEVEN dimensions?)...it's fascinating and thought-provoking stuff. But human life on Earth? It's not really weird at all. Human behavior? Yes, it is weird. But not the biology. We understand most everything outside of certain DNA and brain function (AFAIK), and we are getting there fast on those grounds. With that said, consciousness is another factor. But consciousness and the...potential 'spirit world' (if you will), wouldn't have much of anything to do with Evolution.
Good points to consider. But when you say, "evolution is fact," what exactly do you mean by that? Are you referring to the entire field of study, evolutionary biology? Because, as a field of science, it constantly, well, evolves. The main ideas have been kept more or less the same, I think, since the initial acceptance of Darwin. But new ideas within this field have been introduced, and other, older ideas have been ousted or altered. I doubt you'd accept every single one of those ideas as they come. But okay, I'll admit that this is another point where creationism fails, the lack of room for flexibility.

Of course, I assume you are referring to the concept that is made up of the original Darwinian laws (you know - evolution as such, common descent, multiplication of species, gradualism, natural selection), and you take as fact the entire package. And yes, there is an overwhelming amount of evidence for these. We have observed evolution as such in the small scale, such as within populations. Natural selection seems to account for evolution, and we can run computer simulations and perform lab experiments to show this. But as for the other three, we have mostly fossils to draw from. What if some scientist invented or discovered an explanation that, while not completely replacing these laws (I can't fathom that, though there's nothing that says that can't happen), at least altered them significantly and better explained what we have observed? Would you still believe in the old five laws as they were?

It's dangerous to accept any human explanation for a set of observations as complete, incontrovertible fact. Because they are likely to change as we add new observations and as scientists consider the sum total of these observations from different angles. If you were to accept this as fact, I can compare that to what I have just considered above to be creationism's own weakness. Now, we can trust in evolution to explain what we have seen and use it as a model to explain further observations. But we must also make room for possible adjustments to the theory. You can't talk about the concept of evolution as an indivisible entity (and so is hard to change) because it's really a set of ideas. Any one of these, while, I admit, unlikely, may fall apart at any time.
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Old 02-27-2013, 09:50 PM   #130
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Of course, I assume you are referring to the concept that is made up of the original Darwinian laws (you know - evolution as such, common descent, multiplication of species, gradualism, natural selection), and you take as fact the entire package. And yes, there is an overwhelming amount of evidence for these. We have observed evolution as such in the small scale, such as within populations. Natural selection seems to account for evolution, and we can run computer simulations and perform lab experiments to show this. But as for the other three, we have mostly fossils to draw from.
We have DNA which wasn't even imaginable in Darwin's time. Yet when it was revealed to us (rather accidentally) and we came to understand what it was and how if functioned, it solidified what we already highly suspected of our common ancestry. That in itself should be the deathblow to any doubts. Anyone who can hear the information being put forth in this video and can do anything besides sit in awe at how the evidence always falls perfectly into place.. well, I don't know what more they could possibly want (not saying you're one of them)

Ken Miller on Human Evolution - YouTube

I still remember the huge grin I had on my face after first hearing this
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Old 02-27-2013, 11:03 PM   #131
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We have DNA which wasn't even imaginable in Darwin's time. Yet when it was revealed to us (rather accidentally) and we came to understand what it was and how if functioned, it solidified what we already highly suspected of our common ancestry. That in itself should be the deathblow to any doubts. Anyone who can hear the information being put forth in this video and can do anything besides sit in awe at how the evidence always falls perfectly into place.. well, I don't know what more they could possibly want (not saying you're one of them)

Ken Miller on Human Evolution - YouTube

I still remember the huge grin I had on my face after first hearing this
I know I'm grasping at straws when I say that evolution on the whole as we tend to think of it cannot be said to be fact. Yes, sometimes evolution predicts the results of hypotheses a priori, as in the video you posted. Some of Darwin's ideas weren't immediately accepted until the rediscovery of Mendel's work in the early 20th century, and it was only then that they realized the compatibility of the two sets of observations. Darwin himself didn't know about Mendel. But I also know that we can't expect evolution as we think of it now to work every time; there have been many changes throughout the 20th century up until now to the theory - plenty of additions and some alterations, though the basic ideas have been more or less constant, I think. I simply advocate for any and all changes necessary to better fit observations as they come. Sometimes the observations fit, and sometimes not quite. As I said, evolution as it is is a pretty good explanation for what we have seen, but it should be open to changes. Two hundred years from now, I'm not so sure if you and I would be able to recognize the theory, if it's still around at all. Maybe, maybe not. I'd allow for new possibilities to open up. Yes, evolution as such is as real as anything else; we have observed it. For what we don't know (e.g., common descent), we have only fit the evidence to the hypothesis, and new evidence as in the video only further supports the hypothesis. When the evidence doesn't, then we have a problem. I doubt we'd find evidence that doesn't, but we can't say that it's not possible.

(The video is interesting. I'm not making this a point of anything but am only asking out of curiosity, if you know, does that imply that all humans descended from a single ancestor with fused chromosomes? That's kind of hard to imagine; I assumed gradual changes. I don't think fused chromosomes suddenly appeared in multiple places over time; the chances of that are slim, and mating different numbers of chromosomes anyway doesn't work. But then, a single individual with fused chromosomes wouldn't be able to mate anyway. Huh, I'm confusing myself...)
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Old 02-27-2013, 11:37 PM   #132
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(The video is interesting. I'm not making this a point of anything but am only asking out of curiosity, if you know, does that imply that all humans descended from a single ancestor with fused chromosomes? That's kind of hard to imagine; I assumed gradual changes. I don't think fused chromosomes suddenly appeared in multiple places over time; the chances of that are slim, and mating different numbers of chromosomes anyway doesn't work. But then, a single individual with fused chromosomes wouldn't be able to mate anyway. Huh, I'm confusing myself...)

It would imply that we're descended from a single ancestor with fused chromosomes, but that shouldn't come as a surprise as any mutation is the result of only one single ancestor that then passes the mutation on to future generations. The probability of the exact same mutation occuring independently in more than one individual is zero. It's the basis of descent with modification. There was apparently some great benefit to having the chromosomes fused. But then you're right, you might get the whole donkey/mule chromosome problem. I'm going to look into that. I suppose that, since all the information is still there and in the same sequence, incompatibility might not be a huge issue

On a side not, it's actually assumed Darwin did know of Mendel and Mendel of Darwin. All the more curious that their discoveries sat on the shelf for so long without either one of them realizing what the other's work meant to their own.
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Old 02-28-2013, 12:04 AM   #133
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After having a look, it appears that chromosomal inconsistencies with viable offspring isn't all that uncommon. And example I found was the Przewalski's Wild Horse (66 chromosomes) and the domesticated horse (64 chromosomes) which were able to breed successfully and produce viable offspring.
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Old 02-28-2013, 12:04 AM   #134
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It would imply that we're descended from a single ancestor with fused chromosomes, but that shouldn't come as a surprise as any mutation is the result of only one single ancestor that then passes the mutation on to future generations. The probability of the exact same mutation occuring independently in more than one individual is zero. It's the basis of descent with modification. There was apparently some great benefit to having the chromosomes fused. But then you're right, you might get the whole donkey/mule chromosome problem. I'm going to look into that. I suppose that, since all the information is still there and in the same sequence, incompatibility might not be a huge issue

On a side not, it's actually assumed Darwin did know of Mendel and Mendel of Darwin. All the more curious that their discoveries sat on the shelf for so long without either one of them realizing what the other's work meant to their own.
The telomeres are relatively noncoding regions, so people can have fused chromosomes and be totally unaffected. When that person passes on the fused chromosome, the embryo could end up with an unbalanced number of chromosomes which is lethal except in rare cases.

One cause of Down Syndrome, in fact, is from a parent who passes on a fused Chromosome 21. This is important to identify because the recurrence rate is essentially 100%.
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Old 02-28-2013, 12:22 AM   #135
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Thanks, Danny Boy. Went a little further and found this article which explains everything with great clarity. FlyontheHorizon, you'll probably find it interesting

Basics: How can chromosome numbers change? – Pharyngula

So while I was basically right to assume that since all the info is still there, in sequence, and only really presented in a new way, it was wrong to assume the new arrangement must be beneficial. Apparently it can just be
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