Evidence For And Against Evolution

Creationism, Evolution, and other science issues

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Miles
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Evidence For And Against Evolution

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Post by Miles »

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Came across this little gem a bit ago and thought I'd share.

Image


Thoughts?

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Re: Evidence For And Against Evolution

Post #321

Post by Dimmesdale »

Tcg wrote: Mon May 03, 2021 11:48 pm
Dimmesdale wrote: Mon May 03, 2021 11:09 pm Perhaps it would make more sense to ask: is the data featured "good" or "bad" evidence? Is it slanted as I believe it is?
Great. Now all you have to do is provide evidence that it is slanted. As you certainly know, simply stating your belief is not a logically sound argument.

I'll look forward to logical support for your belief.

Tcg
And how am I supposed to do that? I can hardly even read the small type. I doubt most anyone can. It seems to me this is a picture aiming at nothing but propaganda for the very fact that the majority of people don't even understand the technicalities it is trying to communicate! Actually, the only think it succeeds at communicating is its own self-importance!

What a poor, ineffective piece of Darwinist propaganda. Now, if it had tried to make an actual argument that was discernible, that would be something. But I am expecting way too much I'm afraid.
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough." - Albert Einstein

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Re: Evidence For And Against Evolution

Post #322

Post by DrNoGods »

[Replying to Dimmesdale in post #321]
If I or society don't have to accept it then why is the scientific establishment trying to sell it as fact in the public schools?
Sell it as fact? I think the idea is to teach it as the current best explanation of how life diversified on this planet once it got started (and evolution says nothing about the mechanism of how that may have occurred). Do you have any alternative explanation with anywhere near as much physical evidence to support it? Nothing else so far has even come close, so it is perfectly reasonable to teach ToE in public schools as the current best scientific explanation.

If public schools want to also expose students to alternative explanations such as religious creationism, or some other ideas, they should explain that these are not supported by any scientific evidence and derive only from holy books, or other sources. ToE isn't taught as some brainwashing or antireligious exercise ... it is taught because it is the current best explanation for how life diversified on this planet, and this includes what you call "macroevolution." There is simply too much actual evidence to support it (whether you personally believe that or not is irrelevant ... consensus of the scientific community carries far more weight on these types of things).

Do you not believe that amphibians evolved from fish, that reptiles evolved from amphibians , and that humans evolved from the great apes (examples of "macroevolution')? If not, how did these transitions happen when they happened, and what alternative explanation do you have that is supported by any evidence whatsoever?
But the fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright Brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown..
Carl Sagan

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Re: Evidence For And Against Evolution

Post #323

Post by Diagoras »

Dimmesdale wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 12:08 am
Diagoras wrote: Mon May 03, 2021 11:43 pmAll I can do is suggest exploring other worldviews.
Since I am already convinced I am right on this issue, for me that would be largely a waste of time.


For us both, then. I'm happy to bow out if there's nothing more to be gained by either side.

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Re: Evidence For And Against Evolution

Post #324

Post by Dimmesdale »

Diagoras wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 2:49 am
Dimmesdale wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 12:08 am
Diagoras wrote: Mon May 03, 2021 11:43 pmAll I can do is suggest exploring other worldviews.
Since I am already convinced I am right on this issue, for me that would be largely a waste of time.


For us both, then. I'm happy to bow out if there's nothing more to be gained by either side.
I'm happy not to bow out for the fact that I am an activist on this issue raising awareness. Proponents of evolution simply think it is obvious it is true. It isn't. You can be rational and not believe it. Regardless of what that rhetorical meme may insist.

You may think I am closed-minded. In a sense I am, but not close-minded against truth. I simply am beholden to work from the axiom that I work from. I can still look at other worldviews filtered through that of my own. My own is primary. That doesn't mean I can't take what is valuable from the other side.
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Re: Evidence For And Against Evolution

Post #325

Post by benchwarmer »

Dimmesdale wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 12:08 am
Diagoras wrote: Mon May 03, 2021 11:43 pmThey can’t on any timescale close to a human lifespan. And it’s impossible for any individual of a species to ‘evolve’ into another species on its own. But fossil records provide solid (heh) evidence that such changes have occurred.
Because I haven't observed it, know no one who has observed it, and recognize no legitimate authority that I accept accept it, I don't buy it (for all those reasons).
First, a given organism becomes a 'new' species when the taxonomists decide the current attributes it has are different enough to warrant a new name. In other words, it's a naming exercise. Technically any organism is still whatever any parent in it's lineage was. The only difference is that at some point someone named it something new to differentiate it with all the other living organisms. If we didn't do this, we would all be very confused trying to talk about lifeforms. i.e. not only would everything taste like chicken it would be chicken (insert favorite animal name for chicken).

The ToE does NOT imply that any current species can become any other current species. If THAT happened and it was shown to be true, the theory would be broken and they would have to come up with a new theory that explains all the data.

The other major point here is that the ToE is currently the best theory to explain all current data, HOWEVER, if some data comes along that does not fit into the theory, the theory must be updated. To date that has not happened in any major way. The more we learn, the more solid it becomes.

This is completely opposite to the evolution deniers view. They will claim an unobserved god "did it". With absolutely zero data for this god or any god. That's not following any data, but simply making stuff up and hoping it's true.

Even IF there is a god, it appears that it has guided the current set of life on this planet using the mechanism described by the ToE. Many evolution deniers continue to make the mistake that the ToE has anything whatsoever to do with how life began. Whether it was pure natural processes, a god, three angry pixes, 4 unicorns and a goblin, 12 other universes collapsing into ours, etc. it makes NO difference. The ToE is simply an explanation of the data we have thus far observed for how life evolves from generation to generation.

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Re: Evidence For And Against Evolution

Post #326

Post by Difflugia »

I think that there are good answers to your objections and I'll try to address them, or at least identify how they need to be addressed in a more detailed format. Part of the problem is that the dataset for evolution is big and it is (as you've mentioned) difficult to look at all at once, but that really is the strength of evolution as a hypothesis; many, many lines of evidence all converge toward the same conclusion. Perhaps I'm tilting at windmills here, but I'd like to convince you that they do.

I've tried to find all of your individual objections. They're not in chronological order, but I've tried to arrange them in a way that makes sense of them as a synthesis.
Dimmesdale wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 12:08 amYou think all these separate avenues are converging upon the one single truth of evolution, I understand that. But I think that's an illusion. Like I mentioned in the court case example, many prosecutorial factors may converge in giving the appearance that a criminal is guilty. Past history, circumstantial evidence, etc. But one solid alibi can blow all that to pieces. I have my alibi, and I plan on sticking to it.
As far as your analogy to your court case goes, I think you're spot-on.

As a methodological point, a "solid alibi" would be one that either fits with all of the other facts of the case in a way that it explains them or its source is so reliable that it falsifies on its own strength any contradictory evidence.

I'll come back to this multiple times, but my position in general is that though creationist apologetics presents "alibis" for lots of the evidence for evolution, each consistently fails one of the two prongs that I just asserted. For the first prong, they either don't falsify the hypothesis (like being someplace at five o'clock isn't a convincing alibi against being next-door at four o'clock) or they don't actually support the alternative explanation (like that being one place at four o'clock and next-door at five o'clock isn't convincing evidence of owning a car). For the reliability prong, if a creationist is making a scientific argument, the data should come from a scientifically reliable source. The equivalent in a court case is the difference between a friend claiming I was at home at five o'clock versus a bank security camera showing me in a bank vault holding bags with dollar signs on them.
Dimmesdale wrote: Mon May 03, 2021 11:09 pmI can rattle off all sorts of red herrings in support of my position, pretend that they are actually in support of my thesis, whereas they only function if I am working on the assumption that the theory is right in light of them.
Aside from the "red herring" accusation (which I'll get to in a bit), that's actually a description of what we're trying to do here. Evolution is the hypothesis, so we assume the hypothesis apply the data to it to see if the hypothesis holds up. The "assumption" accusation often gets thrown around by Answers in Genesis and their ilk when scientists accept evolution while doing related research. In those cases, the scientists are only "assuming" evolution because, by their lights, it's already been proven. That's not what's going on here, though. We're "assuming" evolution in the sense of the hypothesis in question and showing the many, many data that fit the assumption perfectly, while no data have been brought forth that contradict the assumption. Such a contradiction would be the best possible form of "alibi" for creationists. Enough "alibis" together could weave enough of a creationist cloth to either disprove the evolutionary hypothesis (best case) or at least give creationism equal footing, but what happens in practice is that creationist alibis often contradict one another.

This is actually one of the biggest problems that creationism has. There's this sort of idea that because there are so many "alibis" that are individually weak, they must nevertheless somehow combine into a synthesis that is strong. No creationist that I'm aware of has ever come up with such a synthesis, though. They always end the argument on the promise (or at least implication) that each "alibi" is just a small piece of a larger puzzle. Every attempt to construct the puzzle, though, seems to show that no combination of pieces ever comes together to be even the sum of its parts.
Dimmesdale wrote: Mon May 03, 2021 11:09 pmStill not impressed with the pic. It doesn't go into any detail whatsoever in proving its thesis. All it is is mockery. And that is not evidence.
You mentioned this a few times and it seems to be a sticking point for you. As far as the picture itself, you're right. That picture wasn't made to show what the evidence is, but to make two points: first, that there is are many converging lines of data and second, that when all else fails, creationists retreat to the Bible itself as their "alibi" against evolution. It mocks creationists that either ignore the data supporting evolution or don't know about it in the first place. If one is going to argue against evolution, I think it's a reasonable expectation that they at least know what it is they're arguing against.
Dimmesdale wrote: Mon May 03, 2021 8:07 pmEvolution however has never been observed in any significant way (in my view), so it is far less than even that. It is, once more, jumping the gun. Radically so.
Dimmesdale wrote: Mon May 03, 2021 10:59 pmIf it were possible to observe macroevolution, that would be a different kettle of fish. But that's just not the case.
If this is your actual standard of evidence, then we can simply chalk it up to disagreement. The process of science doesn't limit its ability to draw conclusions to those things that can be directly witnessed and I doubt that you do. Do you think that scientists are "jumping the gun" when they claim that the atmosphere of the Sun contains helium or that the core of the Earth is predominantly iron? Both of those are scientific inferences that are certain enough to colloquially be referred to as fact, but for what should be obvious reasons, have never been directly observed. If those conclusions are valid in a scientific sense, then the inability to directly witness some aspect of evolution is no problem. One may attempt to argue that there is insufficient evidence, but there's nothing philosophically wrong with a conclusion based on sufficient evidence, but lacking direct, observational confirmation.
Dimmesdale wrote: Mon May 03, 2021 11:09 pmIs it slanted as I believe it is? If so, then that's bad evidence and a bit of a red herring, no?
Dimmesdale wrote: Mon May 03, 2021 11:09 pmIt seems to me a form of cherry-picking.
A "red herring" implies that the data shown aren't actually evidence for evolution. "Cherry picking" would imply that the picture isn't representative and there's some sort of disconfirming evidence that isn't being shown. As far as I can see, neither of those is true. Your right that most of the text is too small to read, but I recognize most of the diagrams on the image, at least in a broad sense. Here's a list of the topics shown, roughly left-to-right, top-to-bottom:
  • Structural Homology There are several pictures showing how different animals use modifications of the same structures for the same things. Wings, legs, flippers, and hands are all fashioned from the same bones. Gills are homologous with tetrapod pharyngeal arches. We can see that they derive from the same embryonic structures. Primate hands are all obviously similar.
  • Darwin's finches Many different bird species in the Galapagos islands are identifiably finches, despite having adapted to a variety of ecological niches.
  • Drosophila genetic assortment There's a diagram showing how a mutant gene spreads through a fruit fly population.
  • Molecular phylogeny The top right is an overview of a molecular phylogeny representing all life on Earth. There's an interactive one at onezoom.org.
  • Primate/hominid evolution There are five different pictures that include human skulls along with either other hominids specifically or a wider representation of primates.
  • Geographical distribution of related organisms It's really more of an argument for plate tectonics, but we find related organisms on both halves of what were originally connected landmasses. South American llamas and African camels are a well-known example, but there are many, less-spectacular examples of both animals and plants.
  • Horse evolution Though there's only a few extant Equus species, we have fossil representatives of a number of extinct species showing a variety of intermediate traits.
  • Eye evolution Shown are four extant examples of eyes that represent various stages of evolution from a light-sensitive "eyespot" to an enclosed, fluid-filled eyeball.
  • Chromosome homology Chromosomes themselves have shifted in number and organization, but similarities and differences between apparently related species match patterns from fossil and genomic data.
  • Geologic Time Scale Young-Earth creationists think everything happened within the last ten thousand years. Scientists disagree.
  • Tetrapod evolution One diagram represents tetrapod evolution as a tree showing the phylogenetic relationship between tetrapods, jawed fish, jawless fish, and other chordates (like sea squirts).
  • Flagellum morphology Michael Behe famously said that flagella are irreducibly complex. Many of his colleagues have since explained that though they are complex, they're quite reducible.
  • A platypus Monotremes are intermediate between reptiles and more derived mammals. They're poisonous, lay eggs, and have an intermediate form of lactation.
There are a number of pictures that are variations of one of these (leg homology, homology of molluscan eyes) and several that I couldn't quite make out what was going on. One looks like a macaque reading a newspaper ("Checkmate, creationists!").

Granted, one has to be able to recognize what these pictures represent to understand the overall point and anyone that does is already probably familiar with at least an overview of the evidence for evolution. You, however, claimed that the image represents both red herrings and cherry-picking and I don't see either.

Which of those topics are red herrings and don't actually represent evidence for evolution?

Which topics show a "slanted" view that, if represented more accurately, would show evidence for a special creation (or at least away from evolution)?

As far as my own view goes, I'm convinced that molecular phylogenies combined with cladistic data from living organisms and the chemistry of mutations are enough to be a slam-dunk for evolution. Everything else is gravy. Don't get me wrong; it's good gravy and I think a convincing case for evolution could still be made from the leftovers, but the genomic data stand nearly by themselves.

That said, what alibis do you think the creationists have here? As I said at the beginning, I suspect that they'll fail as either being irrelevant or unreliable. All of the ones I already know about do.
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Re: Evidence For And Against Evolution

Post #327

Post by Kenisaw »

[Replying to Dimmesdale in post #317]

Evolution is loaded with empirical data and evidence supporting the theory. Billions (with a B) of fossils have been collected and studied. Fields of study, from geology to morphology to paleontology to biology, have all studied the data within their respective fields and reached the same conclusion. A tree of life on how things are related was built from all that information.

If all that wasn't enough, along comes a brand new scientific field - genetics - which takes a look at evolution from an entirely new and fresh perspective, and proceeds to verify and validate the entire thing. ALL of it, the whole kit and caboodle. A complete independent field shows it all to be true a second time.

No one has "jumped the gun" on evolution. It is one of the most supported, tested, experimented theories that science has ever developed.

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Re: Evidence For And Against Evolution

Post #328

Post by EarthScienceguy »

[Replying to Diagoras in post #306]
Firstly, Clownboat was making a point about homosexuality not being a choice. It’s unclear in your example of the husband and wife whether the husband is actually supposed to be gay or not. If not, then the whole example isn’t really addressing the point Clownboat is making, and would be straw manning. However, if you are intending to make a point that a gay married man can - by his actions - choose to remain faithful, then the example still has problems. By the first quoted point you made above, the husband should have ‘chosen’ not to love his wife. His worldview (homosexual) is different from his wife’s, and presumably shouldn’t have entered into a commitment with her in the first place.
The husband is heterosexual going to a women's strip club. (on in which women are the ones on stage.) So he may be tempted to go but he can choose not to go. The same is true of someone that he gets along with very well, he must choose not to go out with that person.

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Re: Evidence For And Against Evolution

Post #329

Post by Dimmesdale »

Difflugia wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 12:56 pm We're "assuming" evolution in the sense of the hypothesis in question and showing the many, many data that fit the assumption perfectly, while no data have been brought forth that contradict the assumption. Such a contradiction would be the best possible form of "alibi" for creationists. Enough "alibis" together could weave enough of a creationist cloth to either disprove the evolutionary hypothesis (best case) or at least give creationism equal footing, but what happens in practice is that creationist alibis often contradict one another.

This is actually one of the biggest problems that creationism has. There's this sort of idea that because there are so many "alibis" that are individually weak, they must nevertheless somehow combine into a synthesis that is strong. No creationist that I'm aware of has ever come up with such a synthesis, though. They always end the argument on the promise (or at least implication) that each "alibi" is just a small piece of a larger puzzle. Every attempt to construct the puzzle, though, seems to show that no combination of pieces ever comes together to be even the sum of its parts.
I actually have the synthesis you are looking for. The alibi that comprehensively explains why evolutionary theory rides on a false premise. I have been loath to mention it, because I do not want my religion to be ridiculed, but, I think, to avoid further confusion when it comes to my position, I will divulge it once at least.

In principle, it's very simple.

Here it is.

God, the Supreme Omnipotent Lord, Lied. As the Master of Illusion, He can put those He wants under Illusion. In the Christian or Abrahamic worldview, God may not be able to lie. But, in my worldview, He can. In fact, God is unparalleled in His Deceit. That's why there are so few loose threads in the fabric holding up the ToE. Except (in my opinion) things like common sense, say.

But, although God is the Greatest Cosmic Trickster of all, He is not malicious in the least. He respects our free will. In fact, the only reason we are put into illusion, is because we so desired to be put, per our karma.

So you see, I need not marshal any evidence to contradict evolution. My alibi is, paradoxically enough, that the illusion is pulled off with just such dashing finesse.
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough." - Albert Einstein

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Re: Evidence For And Against Evolution

Post #330

Post by Difflugia »

Dimmesdale wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 5:28 pmGod, the Supreme Omnipotent Lord, Lied. As the Master of Illusion, He can put those He wants under Illusion. In the Christian or Abrahamic worldview, God may not be able to lie. But, in my worldview, He can. In fact, God is unparalleled in His Deceit.
I'm a bit dumbfounded, particularly since you previously also said this:
Dimmesdale wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 7:07 amProponents of evolution simply think it is obvious it is true. It isn't. You can be rational and not believe it. Regardless of what that rhetorical meme may insist.
You are claiming that your position is exactly what the image is mocking, that divine revelation trumps all of the evidence.

The only thing that rescues you is a bit of a disclaimer:
Dimmesdale wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 5:28 pmThat's why there are so few loose threads in the fabric holding up the ToE. Except (in my opinion) things like common sense, say.
I take that to mean that you think there's another alibi somewhere. Unless your "common sense" would reject solid evidence, then you must think that there's something, somewhere that renders the evidence less than solid.

I might be mistaken about your position, though.
Dimmesdale wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 5:28 pmBut, although God is the Greatest Cosmic Trickster of all, He is not malicious in the least. He respects our free will. In fact, the only reason we are put into illusion, is because we so desired to be put, per our karma.

So you see, I need not marshal any evidence to contradict evolution. My alibi is, paradoxically enough, that the illusion is pulled off with just such dashing finesse.
How does one detect this? If one reads the data closely enough, did God leave a "wink" in there somewhere for those looking for it? If not, how do you justify that you're on the rational side of the line that you mentioned earlier?
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