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 #241

Post by Jose Fly »

DrNoGods wrote: Fri Jan 21, 2022 9:43 pmI agree and mentioned that it is faith-based only (ie. not science), but it remains the dominant alternative for people who don't believe in evolution and/or science.
The good thing is, ID creationism is effectively dead. The Discovery Institute stopped trying to get it into schools after the Dover trial and they shut down their sham of a "research arm" a few years ago. Now it's similar to other forms of creationism in that it's mostly just something a few people argue about on the internet, but has no real world impact.
Purple Knight is asking for more options apart from ID or evolution and proposed an entropy alternative. That faces the same hurdle any other alternative hypothesis would in that it has to be supported sufficiently to displace the current scientific consensus (evolution), or to convince the nonscientific but somehow still wildly popular ID crowd that they are wrong.
Well one of the fundamental rules of being a scientist is....ya gotta do the work (and you have to show your work). Ideas can be fun to toss around and talk about, but in the end.....ya gotta do the work.
I doubt the ID crowd could ever be convinced of any alternative given that the overwhelming evidence for evolution has not fazed them one bit after 150+ years.
Since it's mostly just a means to believe that their religion is supported by science, your assessment is likely correct.
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Re: How Crazy does Evolution Seem?

Post #242

Post by Jose Fly »

Purple Knight wrote: Fri Jan 21, 2022 5:42 pmNo. I believe most scientists, in fact the vast, vast majority of people who have the inclination to become scientists, want to seek truth. The problem is that seeking truth is not rewarded and getting the desired result is, so there's a skew in that direction, and that's borne out by the replicability crisis.
Well all I can is that I've never seen that sort of thing. I've seen one colleague try to manipulate things to get the answer he wanted, but that was pretty much the end of his career. I also fund a lot of projects and help lots of colleagues get other funding and again, I've never seen any pressure to produce specific answers over others. In fact, something like that would instantly be a major scandal and would probably wind up in the media.

Now, I'm not saying that sort of thing never happens. Maybe my specific field is unique, or maybe I'm just fortunate and work with an unusually ethical group of peers.
Of course not. Again, you're the one who started talking about scientists. And I've got a bug up my butt about the replicability crisis so I responded in kind even though I just meant people who believe in evolution are motivated to defend it. Not solely scientists.
Okay, thanks for explaining.
But there is a problem with replicability. To me it seems like people are welcome to fudge and make up as much data as they please as long as they get the correct result, because the field is dominated by one ideology. The fact that it's the correct ideology makes no difference; it's still bad for science.
My recollection is that the "replicability crisis" was mostly within medical research. That's not my field, so I can't really speak to it.
Sure. The first thing that came to my mind is that we're entropy's order siphons, and we develop to be the best order siphons we can be in the current biological metagame, driving apparent evolution.

Why is a river shaped as it is? Because it is the most efficient path for the water to flow. Why are we shaped as we are? Because we are the most efficient destroyers of order, absorbers of resources, and breakers down of other orderly things, though we are orderly ourselves, we create net disorder so that we may maintain that.
That's interesting. Do you think natural selection selects for effects to entropy, rather than for fitness?
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Re: How Crazy does Evolution Seem?

Post #243

Post by Jose Fly »

Purple Knight wrote: Fri Jan 21, 2022 10:13 pm
Jose Fly wrote: Fri Jan 21, 2022 3:57 pmOTOH, people who work for legitimate science orgs and do legitimate science, I do tend to assume they're working in good faith.
A person working in good faith has no problem with being assumed to work in bad faith, because he welcomes scrutiny.

A person actually working in bad faith becomes immediately offended and demands trust, because he abhors scrutiny.

Therefore trust none and scrutinise all.


- Me
Not sure what that has to do with what I wrote, since I wasn't talking about any sort of demands from scientists.
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Re: How Crazy does Evolution Seem?

Post #244

Post by Jose Fly »

Sherlock Holmes wrote: Sat Jan 22, 2022 11:52 amSo making claims in the name of science is valid, legitimate except when those making the claims have agreed to some preconditions that might limit what they can say.
I think you missed the point. The "statements of faith" requirement isn't about what they can or can't say, it's about how they have to go about doing their work. They are literally required to reject any and all data, analyses, and conclusions that even appear to conflict with a literal reading of the Bible.

Not only is that not scientific, it's decidedly anti-scientific.
Consider then:
Other courts have similarly found that teachers do not have a First Amendment right to trump school district decisions regarding the curriculum (Clark v. Holmes, 7th Cir. 1972, Webster v. New Lenox School Dist. No. 122, 7th Cir. 1990). One court wrote: “the First Amendment has never required school districts to abdicate control over public school curricula to the unfettered discretion of individual teachers.” (Kirkland v. Northside Independent School Dist., 5th Cir. 1989)
So to be a teacher of biology means that one is unable to voice criticisms of anything that contradicts the stated curriculum.

This too then seems - based on what you have said - to also be "a fundamentally non-scientific and dishonest framework".
First, that has nothing to do with how employees at creationist organizations do their work, and how they agree up front to operate via a overtly anti-scientific framework. Second, the ruling makes sense. After all, it's about what gets taught in public schools and you don't want a geography teacher deviating from the curriculum and teaching that the earth is flat, or a biology teacher teaching racist ideas, or a history teacher teaching that the holocaust never happened.

So anyways.....have you come up with criteria for when a fossil record exhibits "continuity"?
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Re: How Crazy does Evolution Seem?

Post #245

Post by Sherlock Holmes »

Jose Fly wrote: Sat Jan 22, 2022 2:10 pm
Sherlock Holmes wrote: Sat Jan 22, 2022 11:52 amSo making claims in the name of science is valid, legitimate except when those making the claims have agreed to some preconditions that might limit what they can say.
I think you missed the point. The "statements of faith" requirement isn't about what they can or can't say, it's about how they have to go about doing their work. They are literally required to reject any and all data, analyses, and conclusions that even appear to conflict with a literal reading of the Bible.
Very well, so perhaps some examples might help me here.
Jose Fly wrote: Sat Jan 22, 2022 2:10 pm Not only is that not scientific, it's decidedly anti-scientific.
As is preventing free expression of unpopular opinions.
Jose Fly wrote: Sat Jan 22, 2022 2:10 pm
Consider then:
Other courts have similarly found that teachers do not have a First Amendment right to trump school district decisions regarding the curriculum (Clark v. Holmes, 7th Cir. 1972, Webster v. New Lenox School Dist. No. 122, 7th Cir. 1990). One court wrote: “the First Amendment has never required school districts to abdicate control over public school curricula to the unfettered discretion of individual teachers.” (Kirkland v. Northside Independent School Dist., 5th Cir. 1989)
So to be a teacher of biology means that one is unable to voice criticisms of anything that contradicts the stated curriculum.

This too then seems - based on what you have said - to also be "a fundamentally non-scientific and dishonest framework".
First, that has nothing to do with how employees at creationist organizations do their work, and how they agree up front to operate via a overtly anti-scientific framework.
Can you define for me "creationist organization"? and more about this "up front" agreement?

Would you agree then, that scientists who question evolution's efficacy and who have not signed such contracts, should be regarded with the same degree of competence as those who do not question evolution's efficacy?
Jose Fly wrote: Sat Jan 22, 2022 2:10 pm Second, the ruling makes sense. After all, it's about what gets taught in public schools and you don't want a geography teacher deviating from the curriculum and teaching that the earth is flat, or a biology teacher teaching racist ideas, or a history teacher teaching that the holocaust never happened.
Right, so you do believe there's a justification for creating an official "truth"? a doctrine as it were that can never be challenged or questioned? Much like the ministry of truth say, as described in Orwell's novel 1984?
Jose Fly wrote: Sat Jan 22, 2022 2:10 pm So anyways.....have you come up with criteria for when a fossil record exhibits "continuity"?
Yes, my personal judgment, this is what I rely on so far as is possible when making any decisions about what I do or do not believe. I and I alone must decide what I believe and who I believe and I am confident of my abilities when it comes to such questions.

But permit me to counter, if you believe that the fossil record does not exhibit discontinuity, then can you shed light on how you reached that conclusion? Perhaps you'll be able to convince me that I'm wrong?
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Re: How Crazy does Evolution Seem?

Post #246

Post by JoeyKnothead »

Sherlock Holmes wrote: Sat Jan 22, 2022 12:28 pm So what's wrong with asking the question "Was X designed"?
It presupposes a designer.

...
Another important point here is that questioning evolution does no societal material harm to anyone anywhere, absolutely no harm yet is treated by some as if it were Fascism or slavery or child labor.
It can, however, allow for folks to promote anti-science as legitimate. See Kitzmiller vs. Dover.
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Invention is using things discovered.

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Re: How Crazy does Evolution Seem?

Post #247

Post by Sherlock Holmes »

JoeyKnothead wrote: Sat Jan 22, 2022 2:58 pm
Sherlock Holmes wrote: Sat Jan 22, 2022 12:28 pm So what's wrong with asking the question "Was X designed"?
It presupposes a designer.
No it is not presupposing a designer any more than asking did life evolve presupposes evolution.

When one sinks to the level of policing what questions can even be asked, then one has abandoned all pretense of honesty.
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 #248

Post by Jose Fly »

Sherlock Holmes wrote: Sat Jan 22, 2022 2:32 pmVery well, so perhaps some examples might help me here.
Examples of what specifically?
As is preventing free expression of unpopular opinions.
FYI, "expressing opinions" isn't doing science. A middle school teacher giving a lecture on evolution isn't doing science. And if you are advocating for public school teachers to be free to teach whatever they want, regardless of the set curricula, I have to wonder just what you think education is.
Can you define for me "creationist organization"? and more about this "up front" agreement?
A creationist organization is an institution or group that advocates for creationism, such as Answers in Genesis. Their statement of faith can be seen here: https://answersingenesis.org/about/faith/ and includes this anti-scientific requirement...

"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."
Would you agree then, that scientists who question evolution's efficacy and who have not signed such contracts, should be regarded with the same degree of competence as those who do not question evolution's efficacy?
It depends. And really, their competence isn't the issue. Rather, the main focus should be on merits of the case they make.
Right, so you do believe there's a justification for creating an official "truth"? a doctrine as it were that can never be challenged or questioned? Much like the ministry of truth say, as described in Orwell's novel 1984?
LOL....no. It's odd that you equate having a set curriculum with having "an official truth that can never be questioned". Again that makes me wonder just how you think education should work. Do you want every classroom to be a free-for-all, where teachers can teach anything and everything they personally want?

Also, yes a teacher can question or challenge something from science.....but the classroom isn't the place to do it. If the teacher feels they truly have a legitimate case to make, they must make it to the relevant scientific community first. Then if they're successful in convincing the scientists, it will become part of the standard curriculum.
Yes, my personal judgment, this is what I rely on so far as is possible when making any decisions about what I do or do not believe. I and I alone must decide what I believe and who I believe and I am confident of my abilities when it comes to such questions.
So it's a subjective determination, based solely on your own personal views. That's why I asked you earlier (and you didn't answer) whether your view on an evolutionary history for life on earth is that it can't be true, or if it's that it isn't true but you're willing to consider that it could be.

IOW, is your approach to this similar to that of Answers in Genesis, where if something conflicts with the Bible then it can't be true?
But permit me to counter, if you believe that the fossil record does not exhibit discontinuity, then can you shed light on how you reached that conclusion? Perhaps you'll be able to convince me that I'm wrong?
Well, seeing as how you can't provide any criteria for what constitutes "continuity" other than your "personal judgement", it's not really a meaningful question.
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Re: How Crazy does Evolution Seem?

Post #249

Post by Difflugia »

Sherlock Holmes wrote: Sat Jan 22, 2022 11:52 amSo making claims in the name of science is valid, legitimate except when those making the claims have agreed to some preconditions that might limit what they can say.
Yes.
Sherlock Holmes wrote: Sat Jan 22, 2022 11:52 amSo to be a teacher of biology means that one is unable to voice criticisms of anything that contradicts the stated curriculum.

This too then seems - based on what you have said - to also be "a fundamentally non-scientific and dishonest framework".
Being a teacher at the primary or secondary level isn't being a scientist. A teacher's job is to teach the curriculum. A teacher that isn't teaching the curriculum isn't doing their job.

At the university level, where being a teacher and being a scientist often are the same thing, a tenured professor can teach whatever they want. That's the whole point of tenure, in fact.

That ax you're grinding isn't getting any sharper.
Sherlock Holmes wrote: Sat Jan 22, 2022 12:28 pmSo what's wrong with asking the question "Was X designed"?

Answer: Nothing, absolutely nothing, asking questions underpins science, the freedom to ask any question and question any dogma, underpins scientific inquiry.
That's right. Nothing's wrong with the question. We keep getting the same answer, though, and the answer is no. The problem is people with a religious ax to grind keep ignoring the answer and asking the same question over and over. "If we squint real hard at this thing over here, maybe we'll get a different answer this time." No, cdesign proponentsists, we won't.
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Re: How Crazy does Evolution Seem?

Post #250

Post by Sherlock Holmes »

Jose Fly wrote: Sat Jan 22, 2022 3:13 pm
Sherlock Holmes wrote: Sat Jan 22, 2022 2:32 pmVery well, so perhaps some examples might help me here.
Examples of what specifically?
Scientists who express skepticism about evolution and have also signed some form of contract agreeing to work, study in some specific way.
Jose Fly wrote: Sat Jan 22, 2022 3:13 pm
As is preventing free expression of unpopular opinions.
FYI, "expressing opinions" isn't doing science. A middle school teacher giving a lecture on evolution isn't doing science. And if you are advocating for public school teachers to be free to teach whatever they want, regardless of the set curricula, I have to wonder just what you think education is.
Scientific inquiry involves speculation, suggesting possibilities, considering alternative models and so on, all of these and more are neccesary for an intellectually healthy pursuit of science to understand the natural world.

What is your reason for wanting to prevent a biology teacher from bringing alternative views to the attention of students?
Jose Fly wrote: Sat Jan 22, 2022 3:13 pm
Can you define for me "creationist organization"? and more about this "up front" agreement?
A creationist organization is an institution or group that advocates for creationism, such as Answers in Genesis. Their statement of faith can be seen here: https://answersingenesis.org/about/faith/ and includes this anti-scientific requirement...

"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."
So a "creationist organization" is simply a collective that advocates that the universe was created? or does your definition require that it also has some statement of beliefs too?
Jose Fly wrote: Sat Jan 22, 2022 3:13 pm
Would you agree then, that scientists who question evolution's efficacy and who have not signed such contracts, should be regarded with the same degree of competence as those who do not question evolution's efficacy?
It depends. And really, their competence isn't the issue. Rather, the main focus should be on merits of the case they make.
Indeed, rather than on whether they have or have not agreed to some statement of beliefs, the merits of their cases is the only thing that matters, agreed?
Jose Fly wrote: Sat Jan 22, 2022 3:13 pm
Right, so you do believe there's a justification for creating an official "truth"? a doctrine as it were that can never be challenged or questioned? Much like the ministry of truth say, as described in Orwell's novel 1984?
LOL....no. It's odd that you equate having a set curriculum with having "an official truth that can never be questioned". Again that makes me wonder just how you think education should work. Do you want every classroom to be a free-for-all, where teachers can teach anything and everything they personally want?
No, and I never suggested that. I asked if you think there should be some official definition of what is truth when it comes to science and that questioning that truth should be discouraged. I do not see how encouraging questions can be equated to a "free-for-all, where teachers can teach anything and everything they personally want".
Jose Fly wrote: Sat Jan 22, 2022 3:13 pm Also, yes a teacher can question or challenge something from science.....but the classroom isn't the place to do it. If the teacher feels they truly have a legitimate case to make, they must make it to the relevant scientific community first. Then if they're successful in convincing the scientists, it will become part of the standard curriculum.
I think that it is the place do it, how else can students get familiarized with what it means to think, to question authority, to probe and challenge.

Tell me what do you mean by "convincing the scientists" when the teachers might themselves be scientists?
Jose Fly wrote: Sat Jan 22, 2022 3:13 pm
Yes, my personal judgment, this is what I rely on so far as is possible when making any decisions about what I do or do not believe. I and I alone must decide what I believe and who I believe and I am confident of my abilities when it comes to such questions.
So it's a subjective determination, based solely on your own personal views. That's why I asked you earlier (and you didn't answer) whether your view on an evolutionary history for life on earth is that it can't be true, or if it's that it isn't true but you're willing to consider that it could be.
Of course it's subjective, everything I experience is subjective and this is true for all of us, all our experiences are subjective and we must rely on our own reasoning and knowledge to make decisions including decisions as to who we agree or disagree with, I do not delegate my decision making to others, if I am going to believe some proposition is true then I am the one forming that belief not someone else, not some book, not some authority and not some pop-scientist.
Jose Fly wrote: Sat Jan 22, 2022 3:13 pm IOW, is your approach to this similar to that of Answers in Genesis, where if something conflicts with the Bible then it can't be true?
I don't know the answer to that question.
Jose Fly wrote: Sat Jan 22, 2022 3:13 pm
But permit me to counter, if you believe that the fossil record does not exhibit discontinuity, then can you shed light on how you reached that conclusion? Perhaps you'll be able to convince me that I'm wrong?
Well, seeing as how you can't provide any criteria for what constitutes "continuity" other than your "personal judgement", it's not really a meaningful question.
There is no continuity, only claims that the fossil record is evidence of evolution. I've looked at these claims for decades and I do not see the evidence, I have no reason whatsoever for example to believe that Anomalocaris or Trilobites actually had ancestors, or common ancestry.

Anomalocaris had a complicated compound eye, as complicated as any organism that lives today and there is no fossil evidence whatsoever that the structure "evolved". This is just one of many claims made by evolution advocates.

If you'd like to learn more about the magnitude of this glaring problem with the fossil record I'd encourage to read Darwin's Doubt by Stephen Meyer, that has a wealth of scientific detail and scholarship that you can scrutinize.

Image

I am of the view the fossil record is evidence of discontinuity not continuity, the abrupt appearance in the fossil record of fully formed, already "evolved" organisms with mineralized shells, compound eyes, brains, limbs etc actually typifies the fossil record, it is not the exception. The fossil record looks exactly as one would expect it to look if these animals had not evolved, this is the point so many are missing or even unaware of.
When one has eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.

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