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

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 #221

Post by JoeyKnothead »

Jose Fly wrote: Thu Jan 20, 2022 5:12 pm
Miles wrote: Thu Jan 20, 2022 4:04 pmWhat 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. ;)
Oh I can't tell you how many times I've seen people start "make a positive case for creation" threads, only to have the creationists ignore the request and just use them to post a bunch of old anti-evolution talking points.

In the Kitzmiller-Dover intelligent design trial, the judge referred to this tactic as "contrived dualism", and the fact that the ID creationists invoked the tactic in the same way as their Biblical creationist predecessors was one of the pieces of evidence used to show that "intelligent design" is a form of creationism.
For those interested who might notta seen it...




It's weird how some promoters of TRUTH(tm) act so dishonestly to do it.
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Re: How Crazy does Evolution Seem?

Post #222

Post by Jose Fly »

JoeyKnothead wrote: Fri Jan 21, 2022 12:50 pm It's weird how some promoters of TRUTH(tm) act so dishonestly to do it.
That's always been one of the most striking things about this topic....how often those claiming to be on the side of God and truth engage in blatant dishonesty.
Being apathetic is great....or not. I don't really care.

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Re: How Crazy does Evolution Seem?

Post #223

Post by Sherlock Holmes »

Jose Fly wrote: Fri Jan 21, 2022 12:31 pm
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?
I think we'd make much more rapid progress if you were able to present what you regard as actual fossil evidence for the evolution of some organism, perhaps a trilobite say or a horse or something like that, then I could examine it and either accept it or critique it.

Give the purported wealth of fossil evidence that's routinely claimed, this should be a pretty straightforward thing for you, yes?

Just to be clear too, my contention is that you cannot because there is none.
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 #224

Post by Sherlock Holmes »

Jose Fly wrote: Fri Jan 21, 2022 12:53 pm
JoeyKnothead wrote: Fri Jan 21, 2022 12:50 pm It's weird how some promoters of TRUTH(tm) act so dishonestly to do it.
That's always been one of the most striking things about this topic....how often those claiming to be on the side of God and truth engage in blatant dishonesty.
Is your position that theists are more likely to be dishonest than are atheists? That's a serious thing to claim and I'd very much expect you to have supporting data for this belief you seem to harbor.
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Re: How Crazy does Evolution Seem?

Post #225

Post by Sherlock Holmes »

Jose Fly wrote: Fri Jan 21, 2022 12:41 pm
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.
Would you extend the same courtesy, praise of honest neutrality, open mindedness etc, to scientists (biologists, biochemists, molecular biologists etc.) that dispute evolution? or do you regard that as an oxymoron? much like the "No true Scotsman" fallacy?
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 #226

Post by JoeyKnothead »

Sherlock Holmes wrote: Fri Jan 21, 2022 1:47 pm
Jose Fly wrote: Fri Jan 21, 2022 12:53 pm
JoeyKnothead wrote: Fri Jan 21, 2022 12:50 pm It's weird how some promoters of TRUTH(tm) act so dishonestly to do it.
That's always been one of the most striking things about this topic....how often those claiming to be on the side of God and truth engage in blatant dishonesty.
Is your position that theists are more likely to be dishonest than are atheists? That's a serious thing to claim and I'd very much expect you to have supporting data for this belief you seem to harbor.
As for me, I specifically said "some". I also linked to the Kitzmiller vs Dover saga, where a judge stated or implied there was perjury involved on the part of the ID bunch.
Discovery is finding things that exist.
Invention is using things discovered.

Create that path and engineer a metamorphosis.

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Re: How Crazy does Evolution Seem?

Post #227

Post by Purple Knight »

Jose Fly wrote: Fri Jan 21, 2022 12:41 pm
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.
I call BS. Scientists absolutely get into ruts assuming their pet theories are correct. This is a well-known phenomenon. And I didn't even say scientists. I meant people who believe in evolution.

I know it well. When you start to make that connection it's a rush. You want to be correct.

That's aside from the fact that in a competitive society, correct gets you published. Correct keeps you in the field. There's enough dirty motivation here to cause a replicability crisis.

I absolutely affirm that evolution happens. I have seen it. I'm still worried because in the whole world, scientists included, it's just, evolution or intelligent design, and nobody seems to believe in any third parties. This is a bad, bad metagame.

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Re: How Crazy does Evolution Seem?

Post #228

Post by Jose Fly »

Sherlock Holmes wrote: Fri Jan 21, 2022 1:37 pm I think we'd make much more rapid progress if you were able to present what you regard as actual fossil evidence for the evolution of some organism, perhaps a trilobite say or a horse or something like that, then I could examine it and either accept it or critique it.
Like I said, I've done this sort of thing and seen the creationists respond the same way so many times before, I'm not inclined to do it again.

A common example is when a creationist will claim that no new species has ever been observed to evolve, and when I show them an example of the evolution of a new species of fruit fly, they'll wave it away with something like "it didn't turn into a cat". Or more akin to this situation, they'll make a claim about "continuity in the fossil record" but never clearly define what would constitute "continuity", which allows them to wave away whatever data is presented as not really exhibiting "continuity"....because they say so.

That's why it's crucial for you to specify what criteria you would apply to determine whether a set of fossils show "continuity" or not. If you can't tell me, that makes me wonder.....is it because you don't know? If that's the case, then there's no point in showing you any data is there? You wouldn't be able to tell if it had "continuity" anyways! Or is it because you're playing the game I described above? If that's the case, then again there's no point in showing you anything. Of course if you're operating in good faith and will objectively examine the data, then you'll be transparent about the standards by which you're evaluating the data.

So again, what characteristics would make you conclude that a fossil record exhibited "continuity"? What would make you conclude that it didn't and instead showed "discontinuity"?
Just to be clear too, my contention is that you cannot because there is none.
Right, and that's the basis for the creationist game I described above. When a creationist tells me "there are no transitional fossils", that's usually because the creationist firmly believes that they can't exist, because their religious beliefs don't allow for them. Thus, no matter what specimen they're shown they'll just deny that they're transitional no matter what, because they have to.

That's why I asked you what your position on an evolutionary history for life on earth is. It would really help if you could answer. So again, 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)?
Being apathetic is great....or not. I don't really care.

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Re: How Crazy does Evolution Seem?

Post #229

Post by Jose Fly »

Sherlock Holmes wrote: Fri Jan 21, 2022 1:47 pmIs your position that theists are more likely to be dishonest than are atheists?
No.
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Re: How Crazy does Evolution Seem?

Post #230

Post by JoeyKnothead »

Sherlock Holmes wrote: Fri Jan 21, 2022 1:37 pm ...
I think we'd make much more rapid progress if you were able to present what you regard as actual fossil evidence for the evolution of some organism, perhaps a trilobite say or a horse or something like that, then I could examine it and either accept it or critique it.

Give the purported wealth of fossil evidence that's routinely claimed, this should be a pretty straightforward thing for you, yes?

Just to be clear too, my contention is that you cannot because there is none.
I've often said it's plenty fair to question the real or perceived gaps in the fossil record. Here though, we can think of tiktaalik, a 'design' predicted by evolutionary theory, for just one example. There's just no getting around the idea that gaps may yet to be discovered - and how the "gaps in the record" argument might seem so compelling.

Yet beyond that, the fossil record is not the only set of data involved. There's genetic evidence, observed speciation evidence, just a whole bunch of different kinds of it.

So that from these different and varied sources, the most reasonable and logical conclusion to be drawn is that evolution is just as much a fact as the pretty thing won't let me put my feet up on the coffee table.
Discovery is finding things that exist.
Invention is using things discovered.

Create that path and engineer a metamorphosis.

- William

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