How Crazy does Evolution Seem?

Creationism, Evolution, and other science issues

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How Crazy does Evolution Seem?

Post #1

Post by Purple Knight »

This is not a question of whether or not evolution is crazy, but how crazy it seems at first glance.

That is, when we discard our experiences and look at claims as if through new eyes, what do we find when we look at evolution? I Believe we can find a great deal of common ground with this question, because when I discard my experience as an animal breeder, when I discard my knowledge, and what I've been taught, I might look at evolution with the same skepticism as someone who has either never been taught anything about it, or someone who has been taught to distrust it.

Personally my mind goes to the keratinised spines on the tongues of cats. Yes, cats have fingernails growing out of their tongues! Gross, right? Well, these particular fingernails have evolved into perfect little brushes for the animal's fur. But I think of that first animal with a horrid growth of keratin on its poor tongue. The poor thing didn't die immediately, and this fits perfectly with what I said about two steps back paying for one forward. This detrimental mutation didn't hurt the animal enough for the hapless thing to die of it, but surely it caused some suffering. And persevering thing that he was, he reproduced despite his disability (probably in a time of plenty that allowed that). But did he have the growths anywhere else? It isn't beyond reason to think of them protruding from the corners of his eyes or caking up more and more on the palms of his hands. Perhaps he had them where his eyelashes were, and it hurt him to even blink. As disturbing as my mental picture is of this scenario, this sad creature isn't even as bad off as this boar, whose tusks grew up and curled until they punctured his brain.

Image

Image

This is a perfect example of a detrimental trait being preserved because it doesn't hurt the animal enough to kill it before it mates. So we don't have to jump right from benefit to benefit. The road to a new beneficial trait might be long, going backwards most of the way, and filled with a lot of stabbed brains and eyelids.

Walking backwards most of the time, uphill both ways, and across caltrops almost the entire trip?

I have to admit, thinking about walking along such a path sounds like, at very least, a very depressing way to get from A to B. I would hope there would be a better way.

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Re: How Crazy does Evolution Seem?

Post #311

Post by Sherlock Holmes »

alexxcJRO wrote: Thu Jan 27, 2022 11:21 am Q: What is the Creationists problem with Cambrien explosion?
Why do you think it is a problem only for "creationists"?
When one has eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.

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Re: How Crazy does Evolution Seem?

Post #312

Post by Jose Fly »

Sherlock Holmes wrote: Mon Jan 24, 2022 4:10 pm OK I read that and although it is not a set of terms that I'd agree to myself I can't honestly describe it as anti-scientific.
Honestly, I’m rather baffled at how you can say that. We have an organization that requires its employees to agree that any data or other information they come across that even appears to contradict the Bible will automatically be deemed “invalid”. They even declare that it’s impossible for such data to exist at all, and you don’t see that as anti-scientific?

I honestly don’t know how to respond to that. From my perspective, this is no different than if you told me black is white and up is down. However, I will note that this does serve as an indication of bias on your part.
As they say on that same page, evidence and claims of evidence are always a matter of interpretation. If I present anything to you regarding biology then you would interpret it within an evolutionary context, you value, place epistemological importance on that context, it frames how you will perceive the data. This is clearly seen in this forum whan whatever is presented to the atheist they insist that it is consistent with evolution, even if something seems to be at odds it will be declared that nevertheless it really is but we need more time, more data, conformity with evolution is an expectation for you.
First, you’re conflating two entirely different things. This is like a flat-earth organization declaring that they will reject any and all data that conflicts with flat-earthism, and you trying to equate that with people “interpreting data” within a spherical earth framework. But I suspect that the reason you’re engaging in apologetics for AiG is because you’re at least somewhat sympathetic to them.

Second, are you equating evolution with atheism?
I don't know of any explicit rules as such, but I can look perhaps.
So as it stands, no scientific organization has a requirement of their employees that’s similar to AiG’s.
It might be of some help yes but as to it being neccesary, I don't think so.
I think it is vital for those who want to change science curricula to at least understand how such curricula are set. I find it odd that anyone would think otherwise.
Yes, so most of the general public who defend evolution do so on the basis of arguments from authority rather than their own exploration and study.
Yep, as it is with most subjects (especially science-related ones).
Let me ask then, is the data that we have from the fossil record, of the Cambrian explosion, is that data consistent with an almost instaneous emergence of complex life? If that life had just appeared, suddenly, would the evidence from the Cambrian explosion look like it does look? I'm not asking you to agree that it did in fact emerge that way, just that if it had done so, would the fossil record (of the Cambrian) look like it does look to us today?
Hard to say until you define what you mean by “almost instantaneous” and “suddenly”. Once you clear that up I’ll be better able to answer.
Right but that's a kind of censorship, you restricting their knowledge to what you think is appropriate.
Well if that’s the case, then it’s “censorship” that we “restrict” kids from learning about flat-earthism, storks bringing babies, reptilian aliens running our government, etc.

But then, I thought you said earlier that you weren’t in favor of an anything goes approach to education, yet here you are referring to not allowing anything and everything in classrooms as “censorship”. Like I said, you’re kinda all over the map on this.
If a kid did wonder about those things, then what harm is that? they might learn unexpected things about geography, map making or the Nazi party, the nature of the history of WW2 and so on. You seem to be worried that only bad consequences can arise and discount any possibility of a good.
Again, students can ask whatever questions they want…no one is saying otherwise. What we’re talking about is the actual curriculum (i.e., what teachers are required to teach).
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Re: How Crazy does Evolution Seem?

Post #313

Post by William »

[Replying to Jose Fly in post #312]
Well if that’s the case, then it’s “censorship” that we “restrict” kids from learning about flat-earthism, storks bringing babies, reptilian aliens running our government, etc.
I can agree with your first 2 examples, but watch out for other things being attached to these, which to my knowledge have not been shown to be incontrovertable...as is the case with "reptilian aliens running our government"...one must take care not to jump to conclusions which lack the backing of incontrovertible evidence through grouping the "hard to believe" in with "that which is proven to be false".

Steady as she goes....

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Re: How Crazy does Evolution Seem?

Post #314

Post by Jose Fly »

Sherlock Holmes wrote: Thu Jan 27, 2022 10:59 amI think there's a thin line between teaching science and teaching truth, this is the crux of my point. We should encourage students to not regard scientific theories as absolute truths, we should remind them - and often - that these are all models, human crafted models that could be wrong despite any strong correlation with observation.
Do you have any specific information showing that are doing otherwise?
I'd introduce Philosophy as a core subject as is done in many parts of Europe.
That's it? All this talk and complaining about science teachers being "censored" and the like, but when asked what specifically you'd change you reply with "require philosophy class"? Okay then.
Well I don't know if that would happen, I mean were talking about a discipline where the literature is filled with "evolution is a fact" either explicitly or implicitly
Again, evolution is a fact. We've seen populations evolve new traits, abilities, genetic sequences, and species. We both exploit (domestication) and fight against (bacterial resistance) evolution all the time. If you're having trouble coming to terms with that, I have to ask.....why?
this tells me that the subject itself takes a very defensive position, almost intolerant of hard criticism, that doesn't inspire me with confidence. Those challenging it or challenging aspects of it are routinely disparaged, one need only call them "creationists" and the ridicule begins, then its a simple matter to dismiss their arguments as the ranting of a "Bible thumpers" and so on.
Well given the history of this subject, isn't that at least a somewhat reasonable assumption? Pretty much every anti-evolution organization that's existed has had an overt religious motive.

What specifically is your motivation on this? Are you a Christian? If so, how do you interpret the Genesis creation account? Are you a young-earth creationist? Old-earth creationist? Something else?
Sure, the list Dissent from Darwin with over a thousand signatures of professors, teachers, researchers is one such I suppose.
Um....first of all, the list is not an organization (which is what I asked for). So I'll take that as a tacit admission that there are no scientific organizations that disagree with the others regarding evolution.

Second, the "Dissent from Darwin" statement merely says, "We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged."

That's not exactly a controversial statement. It presents only mutation and selection as mechanisms of evolution, which is rather weird. It also references "Darwinian theory", which depending on the audience can mean very different things, but there's no indication of which one the statement is referring to. Is it speciation via anagenesis? Gradualism? Pan-selectionism? Something else?

So if you're trying to put this list on the same level the world's national academies of science, I'm not sure what to say other than that's rather absurd.
Jose Fly wrote: Mon Jan 24, 2022 3:15 pm I think we need to clear this up. Do you believe that no population has ever evolved? Not one has ever evolved a new trait, ability, or genetic sequence? Not one new species has ever been observed to evolve?
Sherlock Holmes wrote:I do not know
Um......since you claim to have done all sorts of research into evolutionary biology, how can you not have ever come across any papers that describe the evolution of new traits, abilities, genetic sequences, or species? I hope you realize how this calls your claim into question. It's like someone claiming to have read the Bible but they don't know if there was someone named Jesus Christ in it.
that change takes place is inarguable given the mechanism of genetics; that we can infer that all life is the result of that starting with say bacteria, is a different claim altogether
Are you then okay with the concept of populations evolving over time, but you object to the concept of universal common ancestry?
That right there is evidence not of evolution though. Most of the phyla we see today appear more or less simultaneously, already differentiated from one another with still no trace of common ancestry, that right there is evidence that something other than evolution caused these things to exist.
What you're referring to is "universal common ancestry", i.e., the theory that all life on earth shares a common ancestry.
Why, tell me why, I should believe each of the phyla had an ancestry, that any pair of phyla had a common ancestor when there is no trace of them? Isn't it the atheist who refuses to believe without evidence? well they contentedly believe without evidence all the time it seems to me!
First, I have to ask again....are you equating evolution with atheism? Second, IMO it's important to first understand your beliefs about this issue, so if you could answer the questions I asked above that'd help a lot.
Let me also emphasize something it is paleontologists who label this an "explosion" not just skeptics, in their eyes this appears to have been a dramatic sudden event, that is what "the scientific community" says.
And "sudden" is used in relative (i.e., geologic) terms, correct?
Jose Fly wrote: Mon Jan 24, 2022 3:15 pm Also, what exactly are you referring to when you use the term "evolution"? For clarity's sake, I'm using the term as it is commonly used in biology, i.e., as a reference to changes in allele frequencies in populations over time.
="Sherlock Holmes"]I'm referring to the hypothesis that life can increase in sophistication and function due to random mutation and natural selection operating over great lengths of time. That in principle a bacteria colony could - in time - give rise to fish say.
Where did you get that definition?
Yes I have read several of those reviews, many of them were rebutted by Meyer.
And none of it has had any impact on the actual science of evolutionary biology, has it?
If a culture has been subliminally taught that "evolution is a fact" that those who question it are "creationists" (with all the connotations that carries these days) then is it any surprise that you'll see only a small number of scientists considering the book with an open mind? basically the evolution lobby has succeeded in discrediting critics simply on the basis that they are critics, what they have to say or argue is routinely dismissed as this and similar forums prove.
Do you see that as a deliberate, coordinated conspiracy?
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Re: How Crazy does Evolution Seem?

Post #315

Post by Jose Fly »

William wrote: Thu Jan 27, 2022 2:13 pm [Replying to Jose Fly in post #312]
Well if that’s the case, then it’s “censorship” that we “restrict” kids from learning about flat-earthism, storks bringing babies, reptilian aliens running our government, etc.
I can agree with your first 2 examples, but watch out for other things being attached to these, which to my knowledge have not been shown to be incontrovertable...as is the case with "reptilian aliens running our government"...one must take care not to jump to conclusions which lack the backing of incontrovertible evidence through grouping the "hard to believe" in with "that which is proven to be false".

Steady as she goes....
Are you implying that reptilian aliens running our government might be true?
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Re: How Crazy does Evolution Seem?

Post #316

Post by William »

Jose Fly wrote: Thu Jan 27, 2022 2:31 pm
William wrote: Thu Jan 27, 2022 2:13 pm [Replying to Jose Fly in post #312]
Well if that’s the case, then it’s “censorship” that we “restrict” kids from learning about flat-earthism, storks bringing babies, reptilian aliens running our government, etc.
I can agree with your first 2 examples, but watch out for other things being attached to these, which to my knowledge have not been shown to be incontrovertable...as is the case with "reptilian aliens running our government"...one must take care not to jump to conclusions which lack the backing of incontrovertible evidence through grouping the "hard to believe" in with "that which is proven to be false".

Steady as she goes....
Are you implying that reptilian aliens running our government might be true?
No. I am saying that what you wrote specifically implies that reptilian aliens running our government is untrue. [false]

As such, and because no supporting evidence has accompanied your implication that this is true, I cannot accept it as true.

I am open to viewing any such supporting evidence which would change my current inability to accept such as true.

If no such evidence is forthcoming [or until such evidence is forthcoming] the statement is not true, and needn't be included with the other statements.

...one must take care not to jump to conclusions which lack the backing of incontrovertible evidence through grouping the "hard to believe" in with "that which is proven to be false".

Steady as she goes....

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Re: How Crazy does Evolution Seem?

Post #317

Post by Jose Fly »

William wrote: Thu Jan 27, 2022 2:39 pm
Jose Fly wrote: Thu Jan 27, 2022 2:31 pm
William wrote: Thu Jan 27, 2022 2:13 pm [Replying to Jose Fly in post #312]
Well if that’s the case, then it’s “censorship” that we “restrict” kids from learning about flat-earthism, storks bringing babies, reptilian aliens running our government, etc.
I can agree with your first 2 examples, but watch out for other things being attached to these, which to my knowledge have not been shown to be incontrovertable...as is the case with "reptilian aliens running our government"...one must take care not to jump to conclusions which lack the backing of incontrovertible evidence through grouping the "hard to believe" in with "that which is proven to be false".

Steady as she goes....
Are you implying that reptilian aliens running our government might be true?
No. I am saying that what you wrote specifically implies that reptilian aliens running our government is untrue. [false]

As such, and because no supporting evidence has accompanied your implication that this is true, I cannot accept it as true.

I am open to viewing any such supporting evidence which would change my current inability to accept such as true.

If no such evidence is forthcoming [or until such evidence is forthcoming] the statement is not true, and needn't be included with the other statements.

...one must take care not to jump to conclusions which lack the backing of incontrovertible evidence through grouping the "hard to believe" in with "that which is proven to be false".

Steady as she goes....
Okay, thanks for your input.
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Re: How Crazy does Evolution Seem?

Post #318

Post by William »

[Replying to Jose Fly in post #317]
Okay, thanks for your input.
Not a problem.
Hopefully it will assist you with future expressions. :)

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Re: How Crazy does Evolution Seem?

Post #319

Post by Sherlock Holmes »

Jose Fly wrote: Thu Jan 27, 2022 1:46 pm
Sherlock Holmes wrote: Mon Jan 24, 2022 4:10 pm OK I read that and although it is not a set of terms that I'd agree to myself I can't honestly describe it as anti-scientific.
Honestly, I’m rather baffled at how you can say that. We have an organization that requires its employees to agree that any data or other information they come across that even appears to contradict the Bible will automatically be deemed “invalid”. They even declare that it’s impossible for such data to exist at all, and you don’t see that as anti-scientific?

I honestly don’t know how to respond to that. From my perspective, this is no different than if you told me black is white and up is down. However, I will note that this does serve as an indication of bias on your part.
As they say on that same page, evidence and claims of evidence are always a matter of interpretation. If I present anything to you regarding biology then you would interpret it within an evolutionary context, you value, place epistemological importance on that context, it frames how you will perceive the data. This is clearly seen in this forum whan whatever is presented to the atheist they insist that it is consistent with evolution, even if something seems to be at odds it will be declared that nevertheless it really is but we need more time, more data, conformity with evolution is an expectation for you.
First, you’re conflating two entirely different things. This is like a flat-earth organization declaring that they will reject any and all data that conflicts with flat-earthism, and you trying to equate that with people “interpreting data” within a spherical earth framework. But I suspect that the reason you’re engaging in apologetics for AiG is because you’re at least somewhat sympathetic to them.
Lets abandon the flat-earth "analogy" shall we, it isn't helpful here.

I understand your reaction to what I'm saying but I think there's more to this than you might think.

You are paraphrasing too "agree that any data or other information they come across that even appears to contradict the Bible will automatically be deemed 'invalid'". But that isn't what's written there, you already did quote it earlier, so here it is again with an additional sentence included:
No apparent, perceived, or claimed evidence in any field of study, including science, history, and chronology, can be valid if it contradicts the clear teaching of Scripture obtained by historical-grammatical interpretation. Of primary importance is the fact that evidence is always subject to interpretation by fallible people who do not possess all information
That amounts to them saying that there is no observation that contradicts (what they refer to as) "the clear teaching of Scripture obtained by historical-grammatical interpretation". They're also saying that if someone claims that there is, then that someone is in error, there's a misunderstanding, the issue is only an apparent issue not a real one.

They are focusing on claims that evidence is counter to scripture and regard these as only apparent not real, it's not data that they'd deem invalid but the interpretation of it, the inferences from it.

I don't regard that as anti-science at all, for centuries science progressed in leaps and bounds by people who like held the same or similar views of scripture. A good example would be Galileo who did not for one second think that the Bible was wrong, he argued that the Church had misconstrued, his position was very similar, if science appears to contradict scripture then it is us who are in error not scripture, are you going to label Galileo as anti-scientific?
Jose Fly wrote: Thu Jan 27, 2022 1:46 pm Second, are you equating evolution with atheism?
I don't mean to, but most evolutionists here do very quickly resort to labelling me a "creationist" when I critique evolution or the Cambrian explosion. This happens often, and most of the time I've made no mention of God, creation, the Bible. I often begin and focus wholly on the data, evidence, record, etc. It is a means of attacking me, that to disagree with the prevailing view is justification for calling me a "creationist" this is all part of the problem, the very idea that a person could disagree with some claims of evolution means that must be a "creationist".
Jose Fly wrote: Thu Jan 27, 2022 1:46 pm
I don't know of any explicit rules as such, but I can look perhaps.
So as it stands, no scientific organization has a requirement of their employees that’s similar to AiG’s.
I can't agree, you are implying that any organization that today has those rules is by definition not a scientific organization but why? this sounds like a No True Scotsman argument.
Jose Fly wrote: Thu Jan 27, 2022 1:46 pm
It might be of some help yes but as to it being neccesary, I don't think so.
I think it is vital for those who want to change science curricula to at least understand how such curricula are set. I find it odd that anyone would think otherwise.
Perhaps but this is an informal discussion about general aspects of education, facts, truth, theories etc I don't think I need to be a pilot to discuss aspects of flight or a expert in ancient Greek to comment on the Bible.
Jose Fly wrote: Thu Jan 27, 2022 1:46 pm
Yes, so most of the general public who defend evolution do so on the basis of arguments from authority rather than their own exploration and study.
Yep, as it is with most subjects (especially science-related ones).
Right so popularity is a factor, peer pressure more so than informed understanding. People don't want to be called names like "creationist" or "Bible thumper" or any of the other often disparaging terms so anyone on the fence will likely just shrug their shoulders and think "OK, I might as well go with Darwin, sounds reasonable to me" and that is true of most of the general public who are passive with respect to science.
Jose Fly wrote: Thu Jan 27, 2022 1:46 pm
Let me ask then, is the data that we have from the fossil record, of the Cambrian explosion, is that data consistent with an almost instantaneous emergence of complex life? If that life had just appeared, suddenly, would the evidence from the Cambrian explosion look like it does look? I'm not asking you to agree that it did in fact emerge that way, just that if it had done so, would the fossil record (of the Cambrian) look like it does look to us today?
Hard to say until you define what you mean by “almost instantaneous” and “suddenly”. Once you clear that up I’ll be better able to answer.
I see well if its hard to say how can you hold the position that it was not instantaneous? that the umpteen already differentiated phyla suddenly appeared? are you admitting that it could have been?
Jose Fly wrote: Thu Jan 27, 2022 1:46 pm
Right but that's a kind of censorship, you restricting their knowledge to what you think is appropriate.
Well if that’s the case, then it’s “censorship” that we “restrict” kids from learning about flat-earthism, storks bringing babies, reptilian aliens running our government, etc.
Why? did you not read about Chomsky and the Holocaust "denier"? It's a matter of labels and definitions, I mean what is "flat earthism" anyway? what is a "holocaust denier"?

It's fine absolutely fine to disagree with the majority, to beg to differ from the prevailing views, when that is not tolerated, when people are persecuted or ostracized for that then we are - as Chomsky alluded to - adopting the very methods embraced by Stalinism, Nazism or Spanish Inquisition.

Is a person who question some claims about the Nazi extermination program a "holocaust denier"? This is the point Chomsky emphasized and despite himself being a Jew defended the right of the Prof. to express his opinion, share his views, not be silenced by some official ministry of truth.

I've never been a fan of knowledge suppression, sure I'm not saying we actively teach and instruct and test students on the idea the earth is flat but we should not hide it from them, it should be mentioned, there may well be some valuable lessons to be learned from it.

If someone advocates the earth is flat then why not ask the kids how we can decide? what do they think we could do to see if it is or is not? You might be surprised at how many things need to be assumed to show that the earth is not flat, there's some valuable lessons to be learned by being objective and unbiased when studying such claims. Someone might think the earth is flat and actually have a reasonable basis for that, it might not be their fault, they might genuinely have good reason to think its flat, not saying they are right only that they might have reasoned well but missed some detail perhaps.

I once knew a guy who would drop into a local pub that we computer programmers often hung out in in the early 1980s. We were mostly in our 20s and most of us were pretty bright and well versed in technical subjects. This guy was kind of famous in the pub for arguing that the earth was flat and I remember many an evening when some of us, me included would merrily "debate" with him as we supped our ale. He held his own, he'd often stump one or more of us not because we were idiots but because we were not mentally or epistemologically equipped to scientifically defend our belief in a globe. That was a valuable experience, I'd almost forgotten about it too, but the whole exercise was instructive, he knew the earth was not flat of course but man he could defend that it was pretty well.
Jose Fly wrote: Thu Jan 27, 2022 1:46 pm But then, I thought you said earlier that you weren’t in favor of an anything goes approach to education, yet here you are referring to not allowing anything and everything in classrooms as “censorship”. Like I said, you’re kinda all over the map on this.
Avoiding censorship, avoiding declaring unquestionable truths is not the same as having no structure or scope to a subject. Making kids aware that there are minority views, that not everybody shares the majority view, that there are examples where a majority may have been wrong, that there are examples where a minority turned out be right, etc., that's the kind of thing I'm talking about.
Jose Fly wrote: Thu Jan 27, 2022 1:46 pm
If a kid did wonder about those things, then what harm is that? they might learn unexpected things about geography, map making or the Nazi party, the nature of the history of WW2 and so on. You seem to be worried that only bad consequences can arise and discount any possibility of a good.
Again, students can ask whatever questions they want…no one is saying otherwise. What we’re talking about is the actual curriculum (i.e., what teachers are required to teach).
Are they required to teach "evolution is a fact"? because that right there is anti-science !
When one has eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.

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Re: How Crazy does Evolution Seem?

Post #320

Post by brunumb »

Sherlock Holmes wrote: Thu Jan 27, 2022 10:59 am I think there's a thin line between teaching science and teaching truth, this is the crux of my point. We should encourage students to not regard scientific theories as absolute truths, we should remind them - and often - that these are all models, human crafted models that could be wrong despite any strong correlation with observation.
And the level of support that we have for scientific theories takes us far closer to the truth than ancient, human crafted tales of gods and miracles.
Christianty: 2000 years of making it up as you go along.

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