How Crazy does Evolution Seem?

Creationism, Evolution, and other science issues

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Purple Knight
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How Crazy does Evolution Seem?

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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

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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 #211

Post by Difflugia »

Purple Knight wrote: Thu Jan 20, 2022 9:23 pmI don't know how you'd falsify intelligent design, though. It's (conveniently, one could say) formed in such a way that all the observable bits already happened. People may say this or that is evidence against intelligent design, mosquitos being high on the list, but nothing really serves that purpose since the designer being crazy or sadistic doesn't preclude intelligent design being true. No matter what that thing is, the designer might have wanted that thing.
You can't falsify any possible designer for the exact reasons you've given, but I think we can falsify a designer that people actually believe in. Traditional creationism can't be falsified, either, if we allow that God created everything with artificial age. Light with artificial redshift from galaxies more than 6000 light years away isn't falsifiable, but most actual creationists don't actually believe that. Similarly, if the intelligent designer created organisms with an artificial pattern of descent such that the "design" is indistinguishable from evolution, but few people believe that's what their favorite idea of a designer would do.
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Re: How Crazy does Evolution Seem?

Post #212

Post by Miles »

Purple Knight wrote: Thu Jan 20, 2022 4:22 pm
Miles wrote: Thu Jan 20, 2022 4:04 pm What has always amused me is that creationists, lacking any compelling evidence for their position, seldom, if ever, try to prove creationism, but instead try to disprove evolution-----Not at all surprising, just amusing. ;)
This is how falsifiability works, though. You don't prove anything; you just test everything, blow it all up, as hard as you can, hit it with everything you've got, and whatever falls to the ground intact we say is probably, tentatively true.
Gotta disagree. As you no doubt know, proving X (evolution in this case) is wrong does not prove Y (creationism in this case) is right. Something creationists do not, or pretend not, to know. So no true investigator worthy of the name would bother to use falsifiability to show a competing position is wrong; it would be a waste of time. But when your back is up against the wall and you're unable to make a case for your side, and people don't know any better, as a last resort trying to prove you're right by playing to the ignorance of your audience is the way to go.


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Re: How Crazy does Evolution Seem?

Post #213

Post by Purple Knight »

Difflugia wrote: Thu Jan 20, 2022 11:15 pm
Purple Knight wrote: Thu Jan 20, 2022 9:23 pmI don't know how you'd falsify intelligent design, though. It's (conveniently, one could say) formed in such a way that all the observable bits already happened. People may say this or that is evidence against intelligent design, mosquitos being high on the list, but nothing really serves that purpose since the designer being crazy or sadistic doesn't preclude intelligent design being true. No matter what that thing is, the designer might have wanted that thing.
You can't falsify any possible designer for the exact reasons you've given, but I think we can falsify a designer that people actually believe in. Traditional creationism can't be falsified, either, if we allow that God created everything with artificial age. Light with artificial redshift from galaxies more than 6000 light years away isn't falsifiable, but most actual creationists don't actually believe that. Similarly, if the intelligent designer created organisms with an artificial pattern of descent such that the "design" is indistinguishable from evolution, but few people believe that's what their favorite idea of a designer would do.
It's more consistent with the God actually written in the Bible, though, the deceiver and tricker. I would expect this God to plant fossils, get offended that people dare believe they were once actual animals, punish them to Hell for all eternity for not having enough faith, and then laugh about it. Perhaps his own People would be in on the joke, and given some special information so they would not be deceived, as per his usual racist M.O.

I've reversed my opinion and decided that this actually counts as racism, because racism is about power, and it's not as if the world God wants merely stops at equality for his own kind; he blatantly wants them to have privilege and grants it to them at every opportunity. In the real world, the potentially fictional Abrahamic God is not racist, because his kind lacks the power necessary to be racist. But it's unfair on all fronts to splice fiction and reality like this. In the world where everything in the Bible is true, and God's People have had nothing but favouritism and the only god that exists constantly punishing their enemies, this is racism. So basically, you decide. If God is real and all that favouritism and power is real, he's as racist as the KKK. If he's fictional and represents a revenge fantasy for an underprivileged People, this is not only non-racist, it's antiracist, healthy, and positive, because it's punching up instead of punching down.
Miles wrote: Fri Jan 21, 2022 1:58 am
Purple Knight wrote: Thu Jan 20, 2022 4:22 pm
This is how falsifiability works, though. You don't prove anything; you just test everything, blow it all up, as hard as you can, hit it with everything you've got, and whatever falls to the ground intact we say is probably, tentatively true.
Gotta disagree. As you no doubt know, proving X (evolution in this case) is wrong does not prove Y (creationism in this case) is right. Something creationists do not, or pretend not, to know.
Attacking just one of only two proposed theories when there are lots of unexplored alternatives definitely doesn't do much to help the other side of this false dichotomy.

That's why it bothers me that we really only have these two alternatives and nothing else is ever even considered. That's why I made a thread to discuss other alternatives besides intelligent design or evolution and it turns out people on both sides are so stuck in their ruts that they legitimately can't even think of anything.

This actually bothers me immensely because in a situation like this I would say it's frighteningly likely that everyone is wrong. I'm actually not saying we can measure the likelihood that we're all wrong; I'm saying we can't because alternatives aren't explored and tested. That's why it's frightening.

At very very least, if there were some mechanism working in tandem with evolution, we wouldn't know about it because evolutionists only care about proving evolution and creationists only care about proving intelligent design. This ain't how science works. This is more like the polarisation, tribalism, and mudslinging typically exemplified in politics. And we see what happens there; we get two retch-inducingly terrible ways of doing things and whichever one can make itself look slightly less terrible, wins. We could have good systems competing against better ones, but people won't vote their consciences, thereby choosing the worst possible metagame for everyone. They would rather their individual vote "counts" (when it doesn't anyway) than to have the best candidate actually win. If we've chosen this same selfish and destructive metagame for how we view the emergence and development of life, of which we are a part, then we're pretty much the saddest cosmic joke sacks in the universe.

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Re: How Crazy does Evolution Seem?

Post #214

Post by DrNoGods »

[Replying to Purple Knight in post #215]
That's why it bothers me that we really only have these two alternatives and nothing else is ever even considered. That's why I made a thread to discuss other alternatives besides intelligent design or evolution and it turns out people on both sides are so stuck in their ruts that they legitimately can't even think of anything.
Is it that they are so stuck in their ruts that they can't think of alternatives, or is it that viable alternatives have proven hard to come up with that can stand up to scrutiny? The most prevalent ID propositions discussed today were thought of something like 3000 years ago, and back then gods were needed to explain just about everything that wasn't obvious. It was only about 150 years ago that evolution was proposed, and people have been busy since then trying to confirm the details (and genetics work over the last 40 years or so has supplemented to fossil record to further support evolution).

I'm sure there must be alternatives presented every now and then, but so far none seem to be as plausible as evolution as far as a scientific explanation. ID isn't scientific and must be believed on faith alone as there is no concrete evidence for it. It seems to me that these two options are just what's left until some smart person comes up with a better idea that can be tested and shown to be viable.
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Re: How Crazy does Evolution Seem?

Post #215

Post by Sherlock Holmes »

Jose Fly wrote: Thu Jan 20, 2022 5:14 pm
Sherlock Holmes wrote: Thu Jan 20, 2022 4:07 pmIt is indeed simple, your posts amount to nothing more than an ad-hominem attack, attacking me the person and not anything I actually wrote, a logical fallacy that might fool some people some of the time.

In future, if you wish to engage me then attack something I've actually written rather than something imagined, something you wish I had written.

All you're doing is attacking what you perceive as "creationism" some phantom of your own making, some idea or concept that you disapprove of, that's not a very impressive way to debate someone and I won't fall for or tolerate such trickery.

Unless and until you state clearly what it is I've written that you take issue with (i.e. quote me) then I'll likely have very little to say to you.
You're still dodging my question. You made a claim about there being no "continuity in the fossil record". I'm trying to get you to explain what that means by asking: Would a complete fossil record of a taxonomic order, showing hundreds of speciation events, and with no "missing links" constitute "continuity"? If not, why?
It is discontinuous because there are no examples where we have two disparate morphologies serving as endpoints and a multitude of intermediate fossils each differing minutely from their predecessor or successors or equally meaningful, two disparate morphologies purportedly arising from a common ancestor when we have no fossil evidence of the bifurcation.

As for your question the answer is I do not know and that's because there are vague terms like "hundreds of speciation events" and "complete" this is why I reserve judgement on whether something is or is not evidence until I can inspect it.

If I were to answer "yes" to your question then you could claim the record is continuous if you show what you consider a "complete fossil record" and "hundreds of speciation events" when I might not see the data that way myself.

The fossil record is in fact evidence of evolution if and only if we assume evolution caused the fossil record.

Why should I believe that things we do not find and have never found actually existed? isn't it the atheist that decries such a belief? belief without evidence?
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Re: How Crazy does Evolution Seem?

Post #216

Post by Purple Knight »

DrNoGods wrote: Fri Jan 21, 2022 11:19 amIs it that they are so stuck in their ruts that they can't think of alternatives, or is it that viable alternatives have proven hard to come up with that can stand up to scrutiny?
I didn't ask for scrutiny. I said give me crazy and everybody basically went, "uuuuhhh...."

I got three, one of them involved evolution, and one of the other two was mine.

That's troubling!
DrNoGods wrote: Fri Jan 21, 2022 11:19 amI'm sure there must be alternatives presented every now and then, but so far none seem to be as plausible as evolution as far as a scientific explanation.
I'm going to go back to my analogy about politics, and everyone selecting a really horrible, destructive, selfish two-party metagame.

Ideally, the best system wins. But selfish imbeciles are so selfish that they would rather their particular vote "count" than the best system winning, so we see a metagame where the two worst systems compete because the two systems that invested the most in shenanigans, cozying up to the big guys, and in tearing the other guys down, won.

So if we've got this same metagame developing here, not necessarily. People might be ignoring new, better alternatives simply because they're not motivated to defend them, or because (another layer of meta) nobody is motivated to defend them, so they "can't win".

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Re: How Crazy does Evolution Seem?

Post #217

Post by Difflugia »

Sherlock Holmes wrote: Fri Jan 21, 2022 11:26 amThe fossil record is in fact evidence of evolution if and only if we assume evolution caused the fossil record.
What does that even mean? That's like saying that a smoking gun is evidence that the gun was fired if and only if we assume that firing the gun caused it to smoke. There is certainly a discussion that can be had about the difference between evidence and proof, but what you've written doesn't make sense. There's a fundamental misunderstanding there of what the word evidence means, but without knowing what you think it means in the first place, it's impossible to correct. It's a classic example of "not even wrong."
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Re: How Crazy does Evolution Seem?

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Post by Jose Fly »

Sherlock Holmes wrote: Fri Jan 21, 2022 11:26 amIt is discontinuous because there are no examples where we have two disparate morphologies serving as endpoints and a multitude of intermediate fossils each differing minutely from their predecessor or successors or equally meaningful, two disparate morphologies purportedly arising from a common ancestor when we have no fossil evidence of the bifurcation.
What exactly do you mean by "disparate morphologies"? What are your criteria for determining whether two morphologies are different enough to qualify as "disparate"?
As for your question the answer is I do not know and that's because there are vague terms like "hundreds of speciation events"
A "speciation event" refers to the evolution of a new species.
and "complete" this is why I reserve judgement on whether something is or is not evidence until I can inspect it.
"Complete" means there are no missing specimens, i.e., no gaps in the fossil record of the organisms.
If I were to answer "yes" to your question then you could claim the record is continuous if you show what you consider a "complete fossil record" and "hundreds of speciation events" when I might not see the data that way myself.
That's a good point and leads me to ask....what is your position on an evolutionary history for life on earth? Is it something you'd be potentially open to if it were supported by evidence? Or is your position that it can't be true no matter what (e.g., because of what you believe about the Biblical narrative)?
The fossil record is in fact evidence of evolution if and only if we assume evolution caused the fossil record.
Well, the reality around us that we directly observe is that every new species, trait, ability, and genetic sequence we've seen arise has done so via evolutionary mechanisms. So why isn't it reasonable to conclude that the same is true of the past? We do that with other phenomena, such as volcanoes, and no one sees that as problematic.
Why should I believe that things we do not find and have never found actually existed? isn't it the atheist that decries such a belief? belief without evidence?
What things are you referring to?
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Re: How Crazy does Evolution Seem?

Post #219

Post by Jose Fly »

Purple Knight wrote: Fri Jan 21, 2022 7:53 amAt very very least, if there were some mechanism working in tandem with evolution, we wouldn't know about it because evolutionists only care about proving evolution and creationists only care about proving intelligent design. This ain't how science works.
I don't know if you actually work with evolutionary biologists, or other scientists in general, but I do and I've never encountered one that's anything like what you describe (FYI, I'm a biologist but not an evolutionary biologist). All the scientists I've ever worked with, for, and around have all generally operated in the same way....whatever the situation we're just trying to figure out what's going on. There's no "we must prove evolution" agenda at play at all. We're just doing our work, nothing more.
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Re: How Crazy does Evolution Seem?

Post #220

Post by Jose Fly »

DrNoGods wrote: Fri Jan 21, 2022 11:19 amI'm sure there must be alternatives presented every now and then, but so far none seem to be as plausible as evolution as far as a scientific explanation. ID isn't scientific and must be believed on faith alone as there is no concrete evidence for it. It seems to me that these two options are just what's left until some smart person comes up with a better idea that can be tested and shown to be viable.
"Intelligent design" never was an option in science. It was nothing more than a political/legal ploy to sneak creationism into public schools following a series of court rulings against teaching creationism, and the Dover trial put an end to that.

It is 100% scientifically irrelevant and always has been.
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