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 Post subject: Re: Is Texas going back to the cavemen era?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 07, 2010 3:51 pm 
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flapane wrote:
I've just read an article about the incredible decisions in the Texan board of education (the article is written in Italian so I don't bother pasting it here, I'm sure you already know what I'm talking about).
It really scares me, I wish it was a joke.
What the...
I mean, rewriting the story reminds me of fascism and nazi era, I've read about changes on Slave trade, B.C/A.D, T. Jefferson, an alcoholic Wisconsin senator, the meaning of the words "republic", "democracy" and "capitalism", the separation of State and Church, biblical values of the Constitution (lol? Washington was a mason, not really a good Christian).
I've even read that last year they changed the science curriculum to exclude the teaching of evolution and the Big Bang theory.
Quite worrying... Texas has never been a so called "dem" State, but rewriting the story doesn't belong to Western emisphere. :oops:

Either you can't read, or the article was a lie. They don't forbid the teaching of evolution or the big bang in Texas (besides, I thought the big bang was in Genesis?). Anyway, the State Board of Education has almost no control over local school districts and what they actually teach, other than approving certain textbooks (which in the age of the internet is easy to supplement with other material).

The claim that Texas was never a Dem state is laughable. LBJ was the Democratic Senate Majority Leader in the US Senate before becoming VP and President of the US, Lloyd Bentsen (VP candidate with Dukakis) was a US senator from Texas, and Ann Richards was a Governor or Texas (succeeded by George Bush II). The Democratic Party was dominant in Texas until the about 1980, and was still quite strong in Texas until the mid 1990's.

One can see who are the real fascists here. As the Nazi Party always teaches, if you repeat lies often enough, people will believe them.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 08, 2010 6:49 am 
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N7SC wrote:
"Is Texas going back to the caveman era?"

The flaw in your reasoning and question is that Texas can not go "back" to something that it never evolved out of in the first place.

Ok, well you're right, it's not old enough to be part of that era. But then again, you can say the same about all countries in the world too.
But we've ALL evolved from the caveman era, and I don't think people in Texas is an exception. Or is that something you teach your kids? :shock: :wink:


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 08, 2010 5:28 pm 
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If evolution is not true, then how did we get "superweeds" in about 12 years, that are immune to RoundUp? (Look it up.)

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 08, 2010 6:13 pm 
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NeilBlanchard wrote:
If evolution is not true, then how did we get "superweeds" in about 12 years, that are immune to RoundUp? (Look it up.)

Who said evolution is not true? But when you say true, do you mean completely random mutations, or could it be that evolution is an intelligent force within the universe, rather than being completely random.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 09, 2010 2:04 am 
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Many people in this country feel that the Theory of Evolution is not how things work. They do not believe that it is "settled science" (to mix my metaphors). They believe in God as a literal creator, and this is one of the things the textbook fight is about.

How did numerous "weeds" mutate within 10-12 years to become immune to RoundUp? They did it about as fast as the genetic engineers made RoundUp immune soybeans, corn, etc.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 09, 2010 5:26 am 
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NeilBlanchard wrote:
Many people in this country feel that the Theory of Evolution is not how things work. They do not believe that it is "settled science" (to mix my metaphors). They believe in God as a literal creator, and this is one of the things the textbook fight is about.

How did numerous "weeds" mutate within 10-12 years to become immune to RoundUp? They did it about as fast as the genetic engineers made RoundUp immune soybeans, corn, etc.

Many people think Oswald did not shoot JFK, or that there were other gunman. Some believe Elvis is alive. Some people even think Folding is a great idea (most real scientists don't believe that). People think all kinds of things, even in Massachusetts.

Most people, even most religious people, understand that there is some kind of evolution that is a force in the universe. Not everyone believes that all evolution is random, but that is slightly different argument. IMO, there is no conflict between evolution and religion, unless one happens to hold believe that the English translation of the Bible is literally true (not me).

Anyway, there is no law in Texas prohibiting the teaching of evolution. Any claims that this is the case is demagoguery.

Since I have said that I agree that evolution happens, I don't know why you keep asking me questions about weeds. I am not a botanist.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 14, 2010 10:26 am 
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Well, I'm not that much into the topic, as you see I don't live in Texas, I was just shocked when I saw these news, so I'll try to judge from what I can see from here.
The matter about evolution theory could be a lie, a misunderstanding, (googling "texas teach theory of evolution" gives some interesting results... I'm sure they all lie and I'd better check Fox News but I probably won't do it, I don't even watch local tv news because NO tv network in the world will give you a fair point of view, so I prefer googling and building my own toughts), but for what I can see, there is a serious debate over evolution theory in Texas. Seems like some years ago they already tried to force the teachers to teach the weaknesses and strenghts of the evolution (can you see a better backdoor for creationists? I mean, creationism in a (public) school? in 2010?).
As for Big Bang, I don't know if it's already in the Genesis.
In some way (if I can recall it), it deals with "something" that happens and creates everything (in 7 days). Seriously, I'd teach young kids that this ISN'T the Big Bang but it's only something written ages ago by so-called "prophets" and translated in a lot of languages (sanscryt-> greek-> latin and so on, can you wonder how much of the original meaning has been lost in the meanwhile?) over the centuries.
I believe in God (in my way), but don't mess with science.
Kids must learn that Big Bang is what happend at the very beginning of the "movie". Kids must learn that Big Bang can be spotted by the cold radiation that still exists in the deepest space. Kids must learn that looking at the furthest stars (even at the 5 billion light years stars, in the future) means watching what happend just after the Big Bang. There is no space for God, imho.
Creationism and such matters can be taught in the religion class (if any) or in the Church on sundays.
Kids must learn that the man is a result of a very long evolution started from simple mono-cellular beings, gone trough cavemen, and ended (maybe) with the homo sapiens-sapiens.
No weakness, no debates, this is a widely accepted theory in the scientific community, let's avoid to go back in the past, we must...evolute :)

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 14, 2010 10:52 am 
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flapane wrote:
Well, I'm not that much into the topic, as you see I don't live in Texas, I was just shocked when I saw these news, so I'll try to judge from what I can see from here.
The matter about evolution theory could be a lie, a misunderstanding, (googling "texas teach theory of evolution" gives some interesting results... I'm sure they all lie and I'd better check Fox News but I probably won't do it, I don't even watch local tv news because NO tv network in the world will give you a fair point of view, so I prefer googling and building my own toughts), but for what I can see, there is a serious debate over evolution theory in Texas. Seems like some years ago they already tried to force the teachers to teach the weaknesses and strenghts of the evolution (can you see a better backdoor for creationists? I mean, creationism in a (public) school? in 2010?).
As for Big Bang, I don't know if it's already in the Genesis.
In some way (if I can recall it), it deals with "something" that happens and creates everything (in 7 days). Seriously, I'd teach young kids that this ISN'T the Big Bang but it's only something written ages ago by so-called "prophets" and translated in a lot of languages (sanscryt-> greek-> latin and so on, can you wonder how much of the original meaning has been lost in the meanwhile?) over the centuries.
I believe in God (in my way), but don't mess with science.
Kids must learn that Big Bang is what happend at the very beginning of the "movie". Kids must learn that Big Bang can be spotted by the cold radiation that still exists in the deepest space. Kids must learn that looking at the furthest stars (even at the 5 billion light years stars, in the future) means watching what happend just after the Big Bang. There is no space for God, imho.
Creationism and such matters can be taught in the religion class (if any) or in the Church on sundays.
Kids must learn that the man is a result of a very long evolution started from simple mono-cellular beings, gone trough cavemen, and ended (maybe) with the homo sapiens-sapiens.
No weakness, no debates, this is a widely accepted theory in the scientific community, let's avoid to go back in the past, we must...evolute.

What the Texas State Board of Education proposed is that Intelligent Design be taught along with Darwinism. Intelligent Design is the antithesis of Creationism (which believes that the not only was the world created in a big bang, but it was created with humans already developed).

Intelligent Design on the other hand believes that evolution is obviously true, but the force behind evolution is not random mutations (as true Darwinist's believe), but rather a evolutionary force in the universe.

To quote Melaine Phillips on this subject:

"The fact is that Intelligent Design not only does not come out of Creationism but stands against it. This is because Creationism comes out of religion while Intelligent Design comes out of science. Creationism, whose proponents are Bible literalists, is a specific doctrine which holds that the earth was literally created in six days. Intelligent Design, whose proponents are mainly scientists, holds that the complexity of science suggests that there must have been a governing intelligence behind the origin of matter, which could not have developed spontaneously from nothing."
http://www.spectator.co.uk/melaniephill ... ence.thtml

It is quite convenient these days to claim that Texans or conservatives belief xyz, and to lambast them for that, but upon closer examination it is often the case that what one thinks they believe, and what one thinks they are saying, is completely untrue. Now, since these critics "claim" to be sceintifically and factually inclined, one would think this would not happen, but apparently these champions of "science" have swallowed their own religious pill that does not require accurate reporting of their adversaries.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:34 am 
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I'm still not sure why politicians are allowed to stick their noses in science or religious text books... since they're politicians, they should only be allowed to only have a say in politics books. (this is really what bothers me the most about this whole thing, more than the evolution thing)
How to prove evolution is (not) random ? good question !!!! hard to answer since the failures of evolution are, well, failures... ie they disappear from this world forever.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 14, 2010 12:06 pm 
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frenchie wrote:
I'm still not sure why politicians are allowed to stick their noses in science or religious text books... since they're politicians, they should only be allowed to only have a say in politics books. (this is really what bothers me the most about this whole thing, more than the evolution thing)
How to prove evolution is (not) random ? good question !!!! hard to answer since the failures of evolution are, well, failures... ie they disappear from this world forever.

They are not politicians. The State Board of Education tries to come up with a standard set of textbooks for everyone in the state so they can save money on textbook purchases, rather than each school district (more than 1000 school districts in Texas, each district with many schools, not even counting private schools) trying to negotiate book content and prices by themselves.

Another thing that is misunderstood, is that despite what is in the textbooks (which I never read when I was in high school), each local school district makes their own decisions on these matters, and usually teachers have wide latitude, so this whole subject is much ado about nothing.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 14, 2010 3:36 pm 
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Intelligent Design is not science. It is religious, because it depends on the omnipotent "Intelligent Designer" to answer questions with unknown answers.

Science thrives on the questions we don't know the answer to -- this is the reason that scientists do what they do! Scientists are not threatened by questions we do not yet know the answer to -- they seek them out.

Plus, show me the tests and peer reviews on the existence of the "Intelligent Designer".

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 14, 2010 4:29 pm 
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NeilBlanchard wrote:
Intelligent Design is not science. It is religious, because it depends on the omnipotent "Intelligent Designer" to answer questions with unknown answers.

Science thrives on the questions we don't know the answer to -- this is the reason that scientists do what they do! Scientists are not threatened by questions we do not yet know the answer to -- they seek them out.

Plus, show me the tests and peer reviews on the existence of the "Intelligent Designer".

In one sense you are correct, however:

1. Intelligent Design is in no way in conflict with evolution (as many would have us believe).

2. Although evolution has been proven to be true, Darwinism (that all evolution is the result of random mutations) is a theory that has not been proven. In fact, the evidence to support such a theory, or the theory that the world was created "out of nothing," has not been proven (to put it mildly).

3. The idea that science can answer all questions related to the existence and creation of the universe, and of being, is itself a religion (of science) that is unproven. Therefore, trying to subject every single question to the scientific method is a self-fulling prophesy that co-opts any possibility of knowledge that that exists outside of the realm of science.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 15, 2010 12:40 am 
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m0002a wrote:
3. The idea that science can answer all questions related to the existence and creation of the universe, and of being, is itself a religion (of science) that is unproven.


Ok, but the main point is that science can indagate further (and that's why scientists exist), while religion assumes the so called dogmas. Science may prove, at that point, that Big Bang happened because [...], that Darwinism (still widely accepted as today) is valid because [...].
I can't accept dogmas in 2010, and I can't accept Intelligent Design (read: no random evolutionism) as this would be in contrast with the free will given by God (that's a thing I really believe in), a free will given to ANY living being that equals to a right to evolute without any external (intelligent) help.
Why God should elect human beings to be the BEST living things? I can see him in front of his TV, billions years ago, watching the evolution and placing bets on which would have been the winner, without doing anything. This is fair. This can agree with a theory in which God created the Big bang and then let the things happen without any external help.
I can't see why natural selection couldn't be accepted by the religion, however... What if men wouldn't have been the winners of the evolution? I'm afraid that it could be in contrast with Jesus and all that stuff (can you wonder Jesus in form of a rob or a dolphin?), so they want to be sure that a "helping hand" helped men to win in the evolutional rush.

What about stem cells research in Texas? Do you know that the Pope has a great influence over stem cells in Italy? Is it fair?!? Is it a science or church matter? Why don't they go (even the Pope) in the streets to really help poor peolpe rather than speaking from their rich buildings, in their rich dresses?

I think that religious matters should be only treated in Churches. Bringing any form of religious beliefs in the institutional buildings, in schools, and so on means being like Iran.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 15, 2010 1:46 am 
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Quote:
1. Intelligent Design is in no way in conflict with evolution (as many would have us believe).


This is silly -- ID is being "sold" as an alternative to the Theory of Evolution, and is in direct conflict with Evolution -- if it had any substance; which it does not. ID is not science, it is not scientific theory, and it was cooked up by a few frustrated Creationists.

Quote:
2. Although evolution has been proven to be true, Darwinism (that all evolution is the result of random mutations) is a theory that has not been proven. In fact, the evidence to support such a theory, or the theory that the world was created "out of nothing," has not been proven (to put it mildly).


The Theory of Evolution is based on random mutations, and it is proven every day, in virtually every field of science.

Quote:
3. The idea that science can answer all questions related to the existence and creation of the universe, and of being, is itself a religion (of science) that is unproven. Therefore, trying to subject every single question to the scientific method is a self-fulling prophesy that co-opts any possibility of knowledge that that exists outside of the realm of science.


Science answers the questions that it can, and tests these questions constantly. Scientists thrive on mystery, and love solving what they can. Science is both empowering and humbling -- we will never know everything, and it is pure hubris to think that we could know everything.

The minute you think you know the answers to everything, you're dead or fooling yourself.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 15, 2010 9:58 am 
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flapane wrote:
Ok, but the main point is that science can indagate further (and that's why scientists exist), while religion assumes the so called dogmas. Science may prove, at that point, that Big Bang happened because [...], that Darwinism (still widely accepted as today) is valid because [...].
I can't accept dogmas in 2010, and I can't accept Intelligent Design (read: no random evolutionism) as this would be in contrast with the free will given by God (that's a thing I really believe in), a free will given to ANY living being that equals to a right to evolute without any external (intelligent) help.
Why God should elect human beings to be the BEST living things? I can see him in front of his TV, billions years ago, watching the evolution and placing bets on which would have been the winner, without doing anything. This is fair. This can agree with a theory in which God created the Big bang and then let the things happen without any external help.
I can't see why natural selection couldn't be accepted by the religion, however... What if men wouldn't have been the winners of the evolution? I'm afraid that it could be in contrast with Jesus and all that stuff (can you wonder Jesus in form of a rob or a dolphin?), so they want to be sure that a "helping hand" helped men to win in the evolutional rush.

What about stem cells research in Texas? Do you know that the Pope has a great influence over stem cells in Italy? Is it fair?!? Is it a science or church matter? Why don't they go (even the Pope) in the streets to really help poor peolpe rather than speaking from their rich buildings, in their rich dresses?

I think that religious matters should be only treated in Churches. Bringing any form of religious beliefs in the institutional buildings, in schools, and so on means being like Iran.

1. You are treating organized religion as the same as Intelligent Design. If Intelligent Design exists, it existed back when the the only life form on earth was a single cell amoeba, well before any higher life forms existed (much less humans). Therefore, human religions are irrelevant to this discussion. So let's keep Jesus, the Pope, and stem cell research out this discussion.

2. What many scientists actually believe is that, although evolution is settled science, there is no proof of, or even any serious evidence to support, the theory (dogma, if you will) of random mutations being the sole force driving of evolutionary change.

3. You are correct about natural selection and Intelligent Design in that they are compatible. Yes, natural selection plays a part (even in Intelligent Design), but natural selection is not what causes evolutionary change in the first place. It only plays a part in which evolutionary changes stay around.

3. Random mutations are not the same as Free Will. In fact, it is the antithesis of that. Although we call them random mutations, scientists who believe in such things think it can (or could be) explained by science, whereas Free Will cannot be explained by science (if it is in fact Free).

4. So what we are left with is the following:

- A theory of evolution which has been proven.
- A theory of natural selection which has (more or less) been proven.
- A theory of random mutations for which there is almost no evidence whatsoever, other than the religious belief (which one that must accept on faith) that Intelligent Design cannot be true.
- A theory of Intelligent Design that also (like random mutations) has not been proven.

So I don't see the problem with people in Texas saying that:

A. Evolution is proven science

B. There are theories about the cause of evolutionary change, which includes several unproven theories such as random mutations, Intelligent Design, aliens visiting the earth and leaving new life forms (some atheists and scientists believe this), etc. Period, end of story.

I don't see any harm in this. And I agree with you that any further discussion of Intelligent Design should be taken up outside the purview of science classes.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 15, 2010 10:45 am 
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NeilBlanchard wrote:
This is silly -- ID is being "sold" as an alternative to the Theory of Evolution, and is in direct conflict with Evolution -- if it had any substance; which it does not. ID is not science, it is not scientific theory, and it was cooked up by a few frustrated Creationists.

Is is only being sold as an alternative to the Theory of Evolution by evolutionists so they can easily dismiss ID. I provided you with a link to a reputable source who explained what ID is, so let's cast off your previous religious dogma about ID and deal with it by itself, without someone who doesn't even believe in it telling you what ID is about.

Granted that there are Creationists who don't believe in evolution, and there are scientists (many of them well known) who believe that life forms were planted on this planet by aliens, but let's focus on those who take ID seriously as a adjunct to, and not a rebuttal of, evolution. These would be the neo-cons, as you would put it.

NeilBlanchard wrote:
The Theory of Evolution is based on random mutations, and it is proven every day, in virtually every field of science.

That is not correct. One can accept evolution as settled science and at the same time understand the theory that random mutations (like the theories of ID, aliens, etc) is unproven. And even when random mutations are claimed to have occurred, there is no proof whatsoever as to why they occur (the "randomness" is just a theory).

Quote:
Science answers the questions that it can, and tests these questions constantly. Scientists thrive on mystery, and love solving what they can. Science is both empowering and humbling -- we will never know everything, and it is pure hubris to think that we could know everything.

The minute you think you know the answers to everything, you're dead or fooling yourself.

I would agree with you on that one. But I would also add that perhaps science cannot, because of the limitations of human reason itself, completely understand that which is not presented to it in a form available for suitable scientific observation.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 15, 2010 5:11 pm 
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Can you define a scientific theory, please?

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 15, 2010 7:40 pm 
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NeilBlanchard wrote:
Can you define a scientific theory, please?

All science is theory, or starts out that way. A theory is proposed, and then tests are conducted to determine if the theory is accurate. Science has advanced in lockstep with man's ability to make more precise instruments or devices to measure or test things, and then test the validity of the scientific theory that has been proposed.

So the scientific process almost always starts with the assumption (conditional faith) that a theory is correct (or has at least a very good chance of being correct) before it is even tested. Many scientific theories are proposed without any scientific proof whatsoever many years in advance of science being able to prove or disprove them via experimentation.

Although theories about what has already happened, or what will happen in the future, can often be tested via scientific experiments, scientific theories about why something happened (or why it will happen) are not so easy to prove, and sometimes science doesn't help much. That is why universities (even in Massachusetts) have Departments of Philosophy.

So when I say that the theory of what caused evolution to happen (random mutations, ID, aliens, etc) and to progress from single cell microorganisms to humans and other advanced life forms, is still just a theory, I mean that this portion of evolutionary theory has not ever been proven, and may never be, even though the fact of evolution itself is proven science.

My own thinking on evolution is that, although mutations happen (some people are born with more or less toes than normal), that probably does not account for life being able to progress from microorganisms to humans, as we know was the case. Most of the random types of mutations (such as cancer cells which grow out of control) don't really seem to advance the species. So I think there is likely some of other reason or life force in effect besides random mutations that caused the evolution and advancement of life forms (even if some random mutations have occurred along the way). But that is just my best guess based on the evidence I have seen. Clearly, none of this has been proven.

The other question is: What caused life to be created in the first place out the primordial inorganic soup that was the earth in its infancy? I don't believe that evolution or Darwinism addresses that question, but it may (or may not) be a related issue depending on ones point of view.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 16, 2010 3:48 am 
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Interesting thoughts !
Here is an interesting article about the basic soup and how it might have evolved : http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/e ... gins.shtml (yes I know, this is theory, but it shows it is possible ; on the other hand, ID is not something anyone has proved to be possible yet, it's only a belief so far).

Also, the fact that you cannot see evolution happen is a proof that it works with trial and error. If it succeeded everytime on the first try, it would happen too fast !!! Saying that people with 6 toes or cancers do not advance the species is just wrong. Come back in 500 000 years and check out how many people have (don't have) 6 toes or have (don't have) cancer : that will be a valid fact to be considered on the scale of evolution.

The only thing that bothers me about your points (once again very interesting to read) is that even if science is based on theories, even if those theories have not yet been totally proven, there are valid experimentations that tend to show those theories are right. (did you ever do those experimentations in bio class in high school with those little flies and their genes ? that's a very easy proof that evolution does happen.)
On the other hand, with ID, it's just assumptions, without a single valid experimentation that I know of. So, if I understand what you said earlier, the only way to ever proove that ID is real is to interview the intelligent force driving it, or to proove random evolution is not random.
I don't have a problem with ID being taught in schools, it just should not be taught in science class. (like love for example : teach it in philosophy, not in science class)

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 16, 2010 5:03 am 
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frenchie wrote:
Interesting thoughts !
Here is an interesting article about the basic soup and how it might have evolved : http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/e ... gins.shtml (yes I know, this is theory, but it shows it is possible ; on the other hand, ID is not something anyone has proved to be possible yet, it's only a belief so far).

Also, the fact that you cannot see evolution happen is a proof that it works with trial and error. If it succeeded everytime on the first try, it would happen too fast !!! Saying that people with 6 toes or cancers do not advance the species is just wrong. Come back in 500 000 years and check out how many people have (don't have) 6 toes or have (don't have) cancer : that will be a valid fact to be considered on the scale of evolution.

The only thing that bothers me about your points (once again very interesting to read) is that even if science is based on theories, even if those theories have not yet been totally proven, there are valid experimentations that tend to show those theories are right. (did you ever do those experimentations in bio class in high school with those little flies and their genes ? that's a very easy proof that evolution does happen.)
On the other hand, with ID, it's just assumptions, without a single valid experimentation that I know of. So, if I understand what you said earlier, the only way to ever proove that ID is real is to interview the intelligent force driving it, or to proove random evolution is not random.
I don't have a problem with ID being taught in schools, it just should not be taught in science class. (like love for example : teach it in philosophy, not in science class)

Taking the last point first, ID is not being "taught" in Texas public schools. It is being offered as one possible explanation for the force behind evolution in addition to the theory of random mutations. The actual length of such discussion in the textbook is probably one or two sentences (a paragraph at most), and I doubt it gets more than a quick mention in any classroom, if it is even discussed at all (I would guess that most teachers don't really want to get into this kind of argument).

Although one can find evidence of mutations, how do you know they are random? When we cut our finger, and the wound heals and skin grows back, we know there is some genetic code within the our body that assists in this, but such healing is not a random event. Likewise, we can see mutations that may happen to advance the species, or make it more likely to survive (via a defensive mechanism in our genetic code) but these are not random either (at least, not in my opinion). If mutations were random, the odds of the species regressing, rather than progressing, would be the same, and we don't see the regression as much (although we do see it in cancer, which is a form of random mutation).

It just seems to me that the complexities required to go from a micro-organism to a human being require many, many orders of magnitude of complexity and sophistication that would not occur randomly. It just seems to me that mutations that advance the species "may" involve some other evolutionary force or overall design behind them besides just randomness. Coupled with that is the fact that there is no real evidence that these mutations are random. I doubt that this could be scientifically proved one way or the other.

Whatever causes evolution to advance forward, it seems quite complex, like many of the other laws of the universe, and one wonders where such laws came from and how they came into existence (at least some people have wondered about these things throughout human history).


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 16, 2010 7:37 am 
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I seem to be the only person who has noticed this repeated and bizarre trend of referring to "evolution" as "random".

I can only assume that either people dont understand evolution (quite likely as there are many parts to evolution that can be very confusing), or people dont want to understand.

Evolution is NOT primarily random. Yes there are random components (mutation for example), but although evolution may look random to those who dont understand its workings, its is mostly "Natural Selection" which is NOT random.

This gives a brief overview, with the obvious links to more detail.

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


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 16, 2010 8:27 am 
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This thread started as an objection to Intelligent Design (ID) being associated with evolution, or taught as an alternative to evolution. But it has already been shown that ID is not an alternative to evolution, since it agrees that evolution is settled science. The question then becomes, what causes evolution to happen? Is it merely by chance, or random mutations that humans evolved from micro-organisms, or is there some intelligence in the universe behind the evolutionary force we observe.

Obviously (as you have surmised by now), I don't think evolution is random (or that most evolutionary mutations are random) since I think ID is a likely explanation for why evolution exists. Others object to ID and say that these mutations can exist without any design or intelligence (apparently), or why else would they bristle at the suggestion that ID be even mentioned in schools. The only rational explanation for their objection is that they think these evolutionary changes are the result of random mutations and they claim that the "radomness" is settled science (even though it is not). Thus the association of randomness of mutations with evolution, even though they are two separate subjects (although related).

Therefore the point raised about evolution not depending on a belief in random mutations is correct. But there definitely are some scientists and others who want to use evolution as proof that no intelligence was necessary in the universe in order to explain the fact of evolution, and if they claim that, they must believe that the mutations themselves have no intelligent design and are random. Remember that these people specifically object to associating the term "intelligent design" with evolution.

But if evolutionary mutations are not random, then I think that some intelligence must have designed them or have some control over them that existed a priori to the thing itself (such as the lifeform itself before it mutated). That is all that ID suggests.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 16, 2010 9:58 am 
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andyb wrote:
I seem to be the only person who has noticed this repeated and bizarre trend of referring to "evolution" as "random".


No, you're not the only person to notice this. Indeed as far as I can tell it's this trend that underpins the confusion that leads to people concluding that there must be some super-natural guiding force involved.

It's because evolution doesn't look random that the problem arises amongst people who don't/won't/can't understand evolution, or are being deliberately misled. If you are told about the random bits (genetic mutation) but not told about the non-random bits (natural selection) then it is quite understandable that you might think there's something fishy. The results of evolution don't look random. So if you're told evolution is random, and the results don't look random, evolution must be wrong, right?! It's the natural selection bit which was Darwin's genius don't forget, he knew nothing about genes and genetic mutation, so if you ignore/aren't told about natural selection you're likely to end up with as wrong/confused as someone living before Darwin.

What's interesting to me is that we're seeing a rear-guard action now from the IDealists, who insist that rather than the mix of random genetic mutation + unguided natural selection that what's happening is random genetic mutation + guided unnatural selection. In other words, the intelligence is in the selection, not the mutation.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 16, 2010 12:18 pm 
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nutball wrote:
No, you're not the only person to notice this. Indeed as far as I can tell it's this trend that underpins the confusion that leads to people concluding that there must be some super-natural guiding force involved.

It's because evolution doesn't look random that the problem arises amongst people who don't/won't/can't understand evolution, or are being deliberately misled. If you are told about the random bits (genetic mutation) but not told about the non-random bits (natural selection) then it is quite understandable that you might think there's something fishy. The results of evolution don't look random. So if you're told evolution is random, and the results don't look random, evolution must be wrong, right?! It's the natural selection bit which was Darwin's genius don't forget, he knew nothing about genes and genetic mutation, so if you ignore/aren't told about natural selection you're likely to end up with as wrong/confused as someone living before Darwin.

What's interesting to me is that we're seeing a rear-guard action now from the IDealists, who insist that rather than the mix of random genetic mutation + unguided natural selection that what's happening is random genetic mutation + guided unnatural selection. In other words, the intelligence is in the selection, not the mutation.

Not quite.

One can accept that natural selection plays a role in which mutations survive and which die off, and still not accept the idea the mutations themselves are created as the results of random genetic mutations.

The point is that, even though evolution has huge amounts of evidence to support it, and is therefore proven, the way in which mutations happen (random genetic mutations or mutations that are influenced by some intelligence) is still just a theory.

So I agree that one should separate the part that is decided science (evolution of micro-organisms into advanced life forms like humans) from the part that is still theory (how the mutations happen that advance evolution into such complex life forms). The first is proven, and second part is theory.

Therefore when discussing evolution it is only proper to note that there are several theories about how mutations happen in such a way as to build such complex structures, one of which is random mutations and the other is mutations guided by some sort of intelligent design. There are many prominent evolutionists (who usually happen to be atheists or agnostics) who actually have proposed that it is possible that aliens may have deposited life forms on earth to advance the species, so this is even another theory.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 16, 2010 1:18 pm 
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No, you have defined an hypothesis.

A scientific theory is based on observations, and can be proven by the data. A scientific theory is as close to a conclusion as you can get in science.

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

The Theory of Evolution most definitely includes at it's very core random mutations:

Quote:
Natural selection occurs because only a few individuals in each generation will survive, since resources are limited and organisms produce many more offspring than their environment can support. Over many generations, mutations produce successive, small, random changes in traits, which are then filtered by natural selection and the beneficial changes retained. This adjusts traits so they become suited to an organism's environment: these adjustments are called adaptations.[7] Not every trait, however, is an adaptation. Another cause of evolution is genetic drift, which produces entirely random changes in how common traits are in a population. Genetic drift comes from the role that chance plays in whether a trait will be passed on to the next generation.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 16, 2010 1:32 pm 
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NeilBlanchard wrote:
No, you have defined an hypothesis.

A scientific theory is based on observations, and can be proven by the data. A scientific theory is as close to a conclusion as you can get in science.

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

The Theory of Evolution most definitely includes at it's very core random mutations:

Quote:
Natural selection occurs because only a few individuals in each generation will survive, since resources are limited and organisms produce many more offspring than their environment can support. Over many generations, mutations produce successive, small, random changes in traits, which are then filtered by natural selection and the beneficial changes retained. This adjusts traits so they become suited to an organism's environment: these adjustments are called adaptations.[7] Not every trait, however, is an adaptation. Another cause of evolution is genetic drift, which produces entirely random changes in how common traits are in a population. Genetic drift comes from the role that chance plays in whether a trait will be passed on to the next generation.

What I am saying is that the part about the random mutations is not proven science and is just a theory, even if evolution itself (the fact that lifeforms have evolved from micro-organisms into humans) has been established as settled science with evidence to back it up.

Certainly, there are some who wish to link the two ideas of evolution and random mutations (one proven, the other just a theory at this point) in order to "piggy-back' on the credibility of the former, but many other scientists do not agree and think these are separate ideas that need to be evaluated independently.

Anyone could have written (or edited) that Wikipedia article on evolution. I have edited a few Wikipedia articles myself.

BTW, natural selection is different than random mutations. Natural selection can work no matter how the mutations occur, either randomly or via mutations that occur as a result of some underlying design or principle that existing a priori to the thing that it has evolved into.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 16, 2010 2:17 pm 
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What part of "random changes are at the core of the theory of evolution" don't you understand?

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 16, 2010 3:24 pm 
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NeilBlanchard wrote:
What part of "random changes are at the core of the theory of evolution" don't you understand?

I understand what you claim, but I and many others don't agree (including many scientists). That is your definition of evolution, which is too broad IMO and includes some unproven ancillary theories (namely the randomness of mutations).

I think it is interesting that some claim that Texan's have gone back to the caveman era by implying that they don't believe that humans evolved from mircro-organisms, when in fact they do accept that as accepted science (along with natural selection), but believe that there are still some different and unproven theories about how the mutations occur.

This seems to me like some sort of intellectual totalitarianism on your part, whereby you claim that everyone who believes that humans evolved from micro-organisms and believe that natural selection has occured must also believe that all evolutionary mutations are random. What gives you the authority the enforce that mandatory association upon the rest of us?

By now, some are suspecting that maybe the Texas State Board of Education is not so backwards as claimed.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 16, 2010 3:41 pm 
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Can someone provide ANY kind of valid proof that random changes are NOT at the core of evolution ?
A link to a valid article is also valid :P

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frenchie wrote:
Can someone provide ANY kind of valid proof that random changes are NOT at the core of evolution ?
A link to a valid article is also valid :P

Not that I know of. But since one cannot prove that randomness is at the core of evolutionary changes, then it remains a theory.

One cannot say that something is scientifically proven just because no can prove it is incorrect. For example, can you prove that intelligent design is not the core of evolution?

Besides the theory of random mutations, and the theory of intelligent design, there is also the theory that aliens brought advanced life forms to earth as an explanation of evolutionary change. There is not much scientific proof to support any of these theories. Probably one of them is at least close to being the correct one, although I am sure some of us disagree which one that is.


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