Talk:Theory of evolution/Archive 12

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(In response to archived replies) Oh my, this is getting way out of hand. I'll try to respond to you point by point, while trying to be concise.

I simply agreed that according to the article provided by Conservative, the Greeks had an alter to "the unknown". I provided justification earlier when I first responded to the unknown alter - "I'm not familiar with the unknown God - but if the Greeks had it, then they had the right idea!! They accept that their religion is not explanation for everything, while Abrahimic religions simply states "this is the truth, there is no more to it". Because of the inherent unknowns of the universe, I am very hesitant to say "this is it" (about anything, science, religion or otherwise)." Further explanation of my viewpoint is evident throughout my paragraphs. If you want to be hypothetical - why not in the case all religion is wrong? That is not a solid argument!! No one would use that in court. "What if I'm right?"

Here I think there's a partial breakdown in semantics. A viewpoint is more like a methodology, an operating procedure to handle truths - which are facts, what one considers as undeniable and cannot be altered. You're still comparing apples and oranges here! You say my viewpoint is "never take anything as the one and only, undeniable truth", and that's correct. My viewpoint is not a "fact", or a "truth", and the case is same vice-versa. Later you say my fixed view is that I cannot have a fixed view - a distortion of my idea. One can have a fixed view, but if that view says "Take A as fact, everything else is wrong", then that is a view I reject! My rejection criterion is solely based on "truths", not the actual "view" itself. You can draw a perfect analogy between my viewpoint and truths to the scientific method and theories. It's two different objects we're dealing with here. I hope this clears up my argument. Truths and viewpoints are two different things, and you cannot use them interchangeably. You will find that my viewpoint is deeply rooted in the scientific method, and understanding of one should lead to understanding of the other.

In regards to "survival of the fittest". You're trying to force a new theory into an old mold. You have to understand that theories change - amendments are added and changes are made as new evidence come into light. Darwin's simple idea of survival of the fittest (and "non-survival of the lest fit") is old stuff! One cannot take old theories at face value!! The definition of "fitness" has evolved greatly since Darwin's days, and I've addressed that point earlier with my simplified jumping/eating example. If a single criterion (jumping) is considered, then you can say that the less fit is the one who jumps the shortest distance. When we increase the number of variables, you would find "fitness" is now a composite score! What I tried to emphasis earlier is that no one is good at everything, and that's why the term "fitness" can no longer retain the old, simple meaning! If specimen A is mediocre at every indicator of fitness, he might have a higher overall "fitness" score than specimen B, who's only good at jumping, but disastrous at all other areas of life. So if you only look at the jumping score, surely A is inferior to B; but plug them in a real life situation (say, in the wild for a month), you will find that A is superior to B because his other scores are counted now!

In reference to "greater good", I thought it was intuitively obvious that survival of an individual is good. Greater good means more people think they have a higher personal chance of survival - which means it is still rooted in personal gain. The "collective" increase in personal gains is a beneficial side-effect of co-operation - and that's why it was accepted. Win-win situation is better than win-lose.

I'm not quite sure what you're referring to here, by "working together". I'm simply confused by your convoluted phrasing, and I could only respond to what I think you meant. I believe you're referring to co-operation. Your accusations of my preconception clouding my judgement can be applied to you as well. Bias in inherent in any debate, and such accusations could only waste time and space - that's why I've try to avoid it all together! Each person of course believes that they're non-biased, while the other will beg to differ. It goes nowhere. Based on the evidence, I see that co-operation between individuals suggests it may have evolutionary roots. It may also be because God designed it that way, but because of absence of physical evidence that God designed co-operation between men, the former explanation is more likely.

I wasn't aware that the books of the Bible were written by a divine hand. I thought each of them has a mortal author (Luke, etc.). A) You say that my statement was contrary to the Bible's own claim - but that's just like an article referencing itself as proof of its correctness! It does not stand under my viewpoint (and the scientific method, because it is not peer-reviewed). Any self-referencing is disallowed as proof, otherwise anyone can say anything. I can write that water boils at 0 degrees C, then cite my own work stating that - it does not make it true! Is there a third party "reference point" that points at the authorship of God? B) If my statement is contrary to Christian belief, then of course, it will not make sense to a Christian. To a non-Christian, however, this argument does not stand. Christianity is a point of contention in this debate. C) and D) Alright, you don't agree and it's not self-evident; I thought it was. Drawing from the article on Acts, isn't it written by the same author who wrote the Gospel of Luke?

A quick study of ancient mythologies, and examination of each of the deities, will show that they were in fact made up. That's what "history" tells us. You may argue that this does not apply to Christianity, but it's perfectly acceptable practice to draw parallels between past and current events. Once again you used points A) - D), and I understand why you used them, but put yourself in my shoes. What you perceived as intuitively obvious, from a Christian's standpoint, is not from an agnostic standpoint. That's why I tried to explain my viewpoints, instead of saying "this is contrary to agnostic believes", then leave it at that. We're discussing issues so much deeper than your four points! We're discussing what stand beneath your four points - the foundation on which the points were built! That's why I attempt to use common ground - and I thought the scientific method, and the use of physical evidence is the agreed rules of the debate. Maybe that's why there's such divide! Religion is incompatible with the scientific method!

Yes, you cannot "fully" understand God (or me), and that is the limiting factor! That's why trying to attribute motive in a court case is so difficult - because it's hard to get inside someone's mind. You may "get" me, but you cannot explain every little action that I do. This issue is exacerbated by the introduction of a divine being - because omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence is even harder to comprehend by men. Often times I hear that you cannot apply a human mentality behind God's mind, and that's why we cannot explain why God did this or that. How do you explain stillbirths? If the parents are bad people, then yes, it's easy to justify that by saying God is trying to punish them. If the parents are good Christians, who try their hardest not to sin? How do we explain that? Do we just say "God works in mysterious ways"? Basically, it's irresponsible to attribute something to God if we only have a partial understanding of it - because if we find out something that seems to go against the nature of God (the part we know anyways), we can always attribute that to the part of God we don't understand.

The proof of miracles that I ask is anthropological, scientific proof. The fact that I exist, you argue, is proof of God - but it could be proof of a million other things. Why isn't my existence the proof of Hindu Gods? Allah? How about extraterrestrial aliens who brought life to Earth? One could just as easily say my existence is proof of evolution! This is why my existence isn't proof of ANYTHING! When I isolate the miracles and demand proof, I'm responding to the article posted by Conservative. The article establishes Acts as a historic account, and my argument is that the evidence provided only supported the setting and some of the events described in there. If I right about events A, B, and C in a book, then provide historical proof that A and B occurred, would you simply believe that C occurred as well? To me, the miracles described in the book are the "C", and its historical evidence is missing. An argument by continual existence is as weak as it sounds - would you say that Scientology is true because it's still existent today? I will peruse the page you've provided when I have time, and write up an appropriate response.

Actually, I've never explicitly stated what my Mr. Good/Bad book was going to be published as. If I published it as history, 2000 years later one cannot see the difference! Furthermore, my intention was that the book was written NOW, not 2000 years later. The examination of the work is what occurs in 2 millennia. I ask you, how can witnesses today refute my book? I've added no additional physical events, so one cannot know if it was God who actually created Katrina. And if I wrote that Mr. Bad visited Bin Laden in a dream? Can you refute that? Think about the ancient times, when news travel slowly, and do so by word of mouth. Errors will occur, people hear different stories from one another. These books cannot be effectively refuted by the masses, because they don't have the information highway that we do today. Further more, these witnesses were also recorded, so we may never know for sure about every detail regarding these witnesses, and a witness testimony can easily be altered, either by human error or deliberate editing. This could clearly be demonstrated by recent accounts relying heavily on witnesses, then later witnesses were proven wrong by science, such as the crash of TWA Flight 800.

You say proof of God is in the Bible, while I disagree that the Bible is a factual account of history in all aspects. This further demonstrates why I am rejecting Christianity - the proof is in the Bible, but my questions regarding the authenticity of the Bible is not satisfactorily answered!! So much relies on these books, how could one not question the accuracy of information contained within? And since I've repeated stated my distrust of the Bible, why use it as an argument when you know it wouldn't stand from my viewpoint?

Alright, let me try to (again) summarize my views. The Bible states God created everything (including the Bible). This self-referencing is suspicious. Further exploration for direct physical evidence yields inconclusive proof of God's existence - everything is by subjective inference. The physical evidence does not stand, and the self-referencing, circular logic of the Bible also doesn't stand on its own - but let's explore further. The believes of Christianity (and religion) inherently dismisses all other believes without reason. This is an obvious ploy to ensure continual perpetuation of the religion, and it's also why it is so enticing and easy to believe. Because of the lack of conclusive proof of God outside the Bible, and the suspicious "Bible as the proof of itself" circular logic, I reject Christianity as a logical, reasonable, and scientifically correct viewpoint to take on.

The whole point of this is simply to explain my viewpoint. I truly believe that religion is created as a "God of the gaps", to explain the unexplained. As we make further progress in the quest for knowledge, the gap of the unknown gets smaller and smaller. Christianity may satisfy the people of past times, when there is considerably less understanding of the physical world; it will no longer appeal to the increasingly educated populous - at least when the stories of the Bible is interpreted literally. Already, young-earth creationism, as told by the Bible, is doubted by the majority. The other Christian adaptation, intelligent design, is still powerful, and very popular (I even said in one of my first posts I rank it a close second); only time will tell if it will persist, but I believe that as the gap of knowledge closes, it will die out as well.

ATang 15:37, 21 August 2007 (EDT)

Despite your many words above, I don't believe you addressed the archeological evidence that I cited in regards to the book of Acts and its implications in regards to its author being a careful historian:
Conservative 15:59, 21 August 2007 (EDT)
I've responded to your article earlier in an archived response in three main points. This long, unstructured response is a result of by-paragraph writing to Philip's post (also archived). I apologize for the lack of structure and, I guess in many places, lack of coherent flow of logic.
ATang 11:47, 22 August 2007 (EDT)

Statistics for the TOE article

Total number of edits - 1383

Edits made by User:Conservative to TOE article - 1012 (73%)

Jallen talk 18:57, 21 August 2007 (EDT)

Punctuated equilibrium

Punctuated equilibrium is pretty much universally accepted as the "correct" interpretation of evolution by the evolutionist community, gradualism is pretty much dead. For that reason, I'm not sure it's wise to keep the "Lack of transitional fossils" segment in the article, as it addresses an outdated issue. ShiningMod 16:41, 22 August 2007 (EDT)

As I understand it, this is simply not true. I gather that gradualism is more widely accepted than PE, although there's probably quite a few that go for a mixture of the two. I believe that Dawkins is very much a gradualist.
Furthermore, I don't really consider an evolutionary claim to be able to explain the lack of fossil evidence for evolution as a good reason to drop it as a criticism of evolution. The fact remains, as Kitts (quoted in the article) said, that evolution requires transitional forms (whether many or few), and palaeontology doesn't provide them.
Philip J. Rayment 23:36, 22 August 2007 (EDT)
ShiningMod, you gave no citations for your contention regarding PE. Please do two things: 1) Show that PE is pretty much universally accepted giving an authorative source(s). 2)Please give 10 prominent evolutionary biologist who believe that PE is true. I doubt you can even give one that has the prominence of John Maynard Smith who expressed his anti-PE sentiments. Conservative 17:02, 24 August 2007 (EDT)

arguments against Evolution

Most of the main parts of this article are, it seems, actually arguments against evolution and and it does not really state what the theory of evolution is all about. This, I think is a moajor problem with the arcticle. Also, it gives insignificant facts as arguments: the article states that most supporters of naturalistic evolution are atheists. Well, duh. Many of this site's articles use "atheist" as a bad word, as if simply because an idea was thought up by an atheist makes it wrong by default. Also in the first part of the article it is stated that a majority of americans do not believe in evolution. I'm not completley sure why this is even there. Just because people do not believe in something does not mean it is untrue. Finally I will say this: if the theory of evolution is false, what are fossils? As the comedian Lewis Black says: "when somebody tries to tell me that god created the world in seven days, I reach for a fossil and hold it up and say 'Fossil'." —The preceding unsigned comment was added by CBarber (talk)

By the same token, just because most believe in something doesn't make it true, yet evolutionists frequently argue that evolution is true because most scientists believe it. It is therefore pertinent to point out that the acceptance is not as great as one might think.
Fossils are the remains of once-living things. There is nothing in that definition that requires evolution. Does that quote indicate the level of logic that we should expect from an evolutionary comedian?
Philip J. Rayment 22:02, 23 August 2007 (EDT)
Comedians aren't usually the best people to quote in arguments like these. Bohdan 22:08, 23 August 2007 (EDT)

Questions Regarding the Article

Hello, as my name suggests I am a student at the university of malta studying Chemistry and Biology. I am a firm believer in evolution along with most educated people in europe. That said I am also interested in alternative theories which, though I don't agree with them I would like to find out more about. Regarding the bible being correct on the matters of how lions kill and snakes hear could you please give me a quote from the bible? I think it would be a good idea to also put this in the article. Rather than saying a bold statement please present evidence. Also I would like to know what the incorrect theory proposed by scientists was on these topics. Also I do not believe it is a good arguement against evolution to state that Hitler believed in evolution. This is just an attempt to discredit the theory by pointing fingers at who believes in this. I think this statement should be removed as it is out of point with what the article is about. Yours --StudentinMalta 12:20, 27 August 2007 (EDT)

Hello, friend. I don't have answers to your questions above -- I agree with you that the Hitler comment is poor, ad hominem argument, and I am unaware of any scientific or biblical basis for the statements about lions and snakes. I think this article is a relatively poor representation of the Creationist viewpoint. If you are interested in understanding the creationist viewpoint better, I think you may find a much better representation at[1], and the articles that link to it. Ungtss 12:41, 27 August 2007 (EDT)
Thanks for your quick reply. The first thing I came accross though when I entered that site regarded cohabitation between humans and dinosaurs, the possibility of dinosaurs still being alive today and the implication that the world was created recently and had not existed for billions of years. I found these claims startling especially the bible being included in quoted evidence. The genesis which was written millenia ago cannot be taken as evidence that is no basis for scientific arguements. Most christians in Malta (one of the most christian countries in the world over 90% of the population being christian) have accepted evolution as a natural process which is some say perhaps guided by God (though I do not believe this to be true) The genesis is widely regarded as being metaphorical ie: Adam and Eve refering to a race of people who lived in the caucasus mountains from whom caucasians are decended. There is so much evidence pointing to an "old earth" that I find these claims ignorant, belligerent and stuborn. As to dinosaurs living among humans, show me evidence of a human fossil which can be carbon dated to over 50 million years and then I will accept it. Yours --StudentinMalta 13:09, 27 August 2007 (EDT)
The Bible is a holy book, so it should always be capitalized regardless of your personal beliefs. Bohdan 13:18, 27 August 2007 (EDT)
Response to the Student in Malta: No problem, friend -- a couple thoughts:
There is so much evidence pointing to an "old earth" that I find these claims ignorant, belligerent and stuborn. As to dinosaurs living among humans, show me evidence of a human fossil which can be carbon dated to over 50 million years and then I will accept it.
1) Carbon dating is ineffective going back 50 million years - it maxes out about 10k years (because of the relatively short half-life of C-14)
2) All radiometric dating methods are flawed in that they assume the original isotope ratio in the rock, which is not observed. K-Ar dating, for instance, is based on the assumption that there is no Argon in rocks when they first form. However, excess Argon has been repeatedly observed in newly formed rocks.[2], leading to observably false results. In reality, this "evidence" for old rocks is not evidence at all. That is not to say that there is any positive evidence that the Earth is young -- only to say that there is no positive evidence that the Earth is particularly old.
As to your concerns about dinosaurs, again, the dating methods used to assess the age of fossils are absolutely meaningless; on the other hand, hundreds of ancient histories describe humans and "dragons" (which bear a striking resemblance to dinosaurs), as well as pictures of the two. Given ancient histories telling of coexistence and no meaningful evidence that the dinosaurs are millions of years gone, I give more credence to the former. Ungtss 13:20, 27 August 2007 (EDT)
Bohdan, I find it interesting that you first state the Bible as a "holy" book ("holy" being the part some people don't believe in), then say it should be capitalized regardless of personal beliefs. That's forcing your beliefs onto others.
A more logical argument would be that it is a literary work and deserves the proper noun.
Ungtss, what's your reference to C-14 dating maxing out about 10k years? Conservapedia's own article on carbon dating gives the figure of 50,000-60,000 years as a "known limit." ATang 13:48, 27 August 2007 (EDT)
In that case in the absence of conclusive evidence both must be regarded as theories, but I believe there is more evidence pointing at an old earth than a young one such as the distance to stars and the fact that their light has reached us? To clarify: the light from stars has been travelling to our planet for millions of years in some cases, therefore the stars must have existed millions of years ago for them to be visible. As to dragons isn't it also possible that fossils of dinosaurs were found rather than living dinosaurs coexisting among our ancestors. As to me not capitalizing the word Bible it was a typo not deliberate the bible is a name and capitalized not as a holy book but as a name similar to the book the Silmarillion(JJR Tolkien) out of respect I also capitalized God but I could have written god as it is used by christianity towards pagan false gods. Yours --StudentinMalta 13:51, 27 August 2007 (EDT)
Again, Christianity should be capitalized. I don't care about your beliefs and you shouldn't care about mine. I am concerned with proper spelling and grammar. Bohdan 13:58, 27 August 2007 (EDT)
Haha, Bohdan, I think some people just aren't sticklers of spelling and grammar like we are. ATang 14:17, 27 August 2007 (EDT)
I agree with you that both should be regarded as theories, and I can respect your interpretation of the facts. Young Earth Creationists simply interpret the facts differently, because they give great credibility to a literal interpretation of the first chapter of Genesis. However, there are Old Earth creationists as well, who believe that the Earth is old, but Genesis (at least from Genesis 2 forward) is historically accurate. Personally, I have no problem with the view that Genesis 1 is metaphorical -- it could easily be interpretted that way. But I do have a problem with interpretting the rest as Genesis as metaphorical. The story of Noah, for example, is written in very literal, historical terms. We are given specific dates and measurements of the boat. Genesis 5 recounts a genealogy from Adam to Abraham, with ages of each person. And the story flows right into the story of Abraham, and onward. In my opinion, the rest of Genesis is either history, a mistake, or a fraud -- but it is certainly not a metaphor. My interest is not in "God created light," which may mean any of a hundred things. My interest lies in the story of Noah, which I believe is either historically true or false.
On the other hand, I believe (and can discuss the evidence, if you like) that (whether or not the Earth and light are billions of years old) the theory of evolution as it is currently understood and taught is quite obviously false, based on the observable facts of the universe as we see it. The first chapter of Genesis may be a poem, or may be totally false -- but neo-Darwinian evolution is certainly and demonstrably false. Ungtss 14:13, 27 August 2007 (EDT)
Just so we are clear in this issue, Ungtss, which part of neo-Darwinian evolution is "certainly and demonstrably false"? I think you disagree with natural selection and speciation as a result of it, but other embedded theories such as changes in allele frequency and genetic mutation (independent of speciation) are regarded as true by medical researchers and scientists. One only need to glance at studies into genetic disorders to discover the impact of "neo-Darwinian evolution" in the development of these conditions. ATang 14:26, 27 August 2007 (EDT)
Thanks for the clarification -- I was sloppy with my language. I meant naturalistic abiogenesis and universal common ancestry. No problem with speciation (species are just arbitrary distinctions -- we create new species out of old subspecies every day), changes in allele frequency, or genetic mutations. Those are obvious. Ungtss 14:32, 27 August 2007 (EDT)
Studentinmalta, the article gives the footnotes in regards to lions/snakes/Bible so you can see what Bible verses are referred to. Here is what the article states: "For example, until the 1970's the scientific communities consensus on how lions killed their prey was in error and the Bible turned out to be right in this matter.[3] Also, for centuries the scientific community believed that snakes could not hear and the 1988 edition of The New Encyclopedia Britannica stated the snakes could not hear but that was mistaken and the Bible was correct in this matter.[4] " Lastly, the article did not say that the theory of evolution was wrong because Hitler believed in it. The article merely states the theory of evolution had social effects.Conservative 19:29, 27 August 2007 (EDT)
Thanks for clarifying, Conservative. However, in my opinion, all those arguments are poor, because they are ad hominem. The fact that Hitler was evolutionist is not a "social effect" of evolutionism any more than racism is a "social effect" of Christianity because there are some people out there claiming that God thinks one race is better than another. Same thing with the "Bible gets things right when scientists get things wrong" argument -- it says nothing about the matters at issue -- the reliability of Genesis ... plus the natural response of an evolutionist is, "That's why science is so great -- because science corrects itself." The arguments come off as heavy-handed ad hominem non sequitur and turn people off :( ... Ungtss 22:01, 27 August 2007 (EDT)
Ungtss, I believe you are putting word's in my mouth. I remain silent in the article on whether or not Hitler becoming an evolutionist was a social effect of the theory of evolution although I did mention Haeckel's efforts to promote his ideas in Germany. I did however state that Hitler was an evolutionist and included a Robert Hickman quote and also provided some resources in regards to Nazism and the theory of evolution. Also, I don't believe you successfully rebutted the social effects of the theory of evolution section. Conservative 22:09, 27 August 2007 (EDT)
I'm sorry if it seems like I'm putting words in your mouth -- perhaps you'd be willing to help me understand you better. What I gather from that section, entitled "Social effects of evolution," is that "evolution has been influential with regards to Nazism, etc." I don't think that's the case. I think that racial insecurities, bigotry, a desire to control others, and comon human hatred were the "influences" underlying Nazism. I think that the language of evolution was used as a rationalization for bigotries that already existed. The reason I think that is because evolution played only a minor role in Nazi literature -- the bulk of Hitler's arguments in Mein Kampf center around the injustices done to the Germans ... it seems to me that his hatred came from other places. Secondly, I think the language of great things is often used to justify the unconscionable -- people use the Bible to justify all sorts of stupidity, from flat-earthism to racism to slavery to oppression of women. That doesn't mean that the Bible "influences" those ideas -- it means that the Bible is misused to rationalize those bad ideas. But most importantly, I think that the "social effects" section of the article affects readers just like it affected our friend from Malta -- as an effort to associate evolution with something horrible, in order to make it look horrible -- and the connection is so tenuous and over the top that we lose a lot of credibility with the argument. Consider Godwin's law.[5] I think that the most persuasive approach is to stick to the issues of evolution, lay out the facts and the arguments side by side, honestly, accurately, and forthrightly, so that people of all sides can follow our reasoning as creationists, and see how it leaves evolutionism without a foot to stand on ... and I don't think it takes "Hitler comparisons" to do it. On the contrary, I think Hitler comparisons hurt us, as illustrated by our Maltese friend's reaction. Ungtss 01:13, 28 August 2007 (EDT)
Ungstss, I don't believe you layed out a compelling argument. Here is some material I recently found: I first cite the following from Mein Kempf: "The Germans were the higher race, destined for a glorious evolutionary future. For this reason it was essential that the Jews should be segregated, otherwise mixed marriages would take place. Were this to happen, all nature’s efforts “to establish an evolutionary higher stage of being may thus be rendered futile” (Mein Kampf).’" [6] I also cite: "Dr. Robert E.D. Clark has noted: “Adolf Hitler’s mind was captivated by evolutionary teaching—probably since the time he was a boy. Evolutionary ideas—quite undisguised—lie at the basis of all that is worst in Mein Kampf—and in his public speeches” (1967, p. 115).[7] Also, I cite: "Sir Arthur Keith was one of Great Britain’s leading evolutionary anthropologists in the mid-1900’s. In one of his popular books he conceded: “The German Fuhrer, as I have consistently maintained, is an evolutionist; he has consciously sought to make the practices of Germany conform to the theory of evolution” (1947, p. 230)."[8] Conservative 16:12, 28 August 2007 (EDT)conservative
I think Ungtss was trying to point out the lack of explanation of how evolution affected Hitler's thinking. All the quotes you listed establish that evolution influenced Hitler, yes, but in what way? And is it the right way? Does evolution actually promote that sort of thinking? Does the majority of evolutionists believe in ethnic cleansing? The failure of the article to address that this is a deviant product of evolution is what, I think, Ungtss is concentrating on. By simply drawing a casual link the article suggests that these two ideas go hand in hand, a view that Ungtss is opposed to. ATang 16:23, 28 August 2007 (EDT)
ATang, once again you offer a post which offers no compelling material in opposition to what you object to. However, the saving grace was it was not one of your monstrously long post. Conservative 16:29, 28 August 2007 (EDT)


OK the whole association with Hitler part is just the sort of thing that make it easy for people to poke fun at this site Libservative 10:50, 28 August 2007 (EDT)

Libservative, please come back when you have a more compelling argument. Conservative 16:06, 28 August 2007 (EDT)