Is Evolutionary Theory Undermined by Creationist Claims?

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In summary, your friend sent you an article from the website drdino.com, claiming that it disproves the theory of evolution. However, after researching and reading responses from other biologists, you discovered that the claims made in the article have been refuted by evolutionists. You also found that the article confuses the theory of evolution with the origin of life, which are two separate concepts. Furthermore, you explained that Louis Pasteur's experiments did not test the origin of life, but rather showed that microorganisms in the air can contaminate sterile solutions. The validity of the theory of evolution is not dependent on man's ability to create living cells, and the Miller-Urey experiment has also been refuted. In addition, you
  • #106
aPhilosopher said:
I think that wofsy is barking up the wrong tree here too but comparing it to a flat Earth argument is more than a little too harsh. Strictly speaking, my computer is intelligently designed so the statement that intelligent design exists in the universe is 100% correct.

Right.. NO one disagrees that humans and many other species are intelligent. I'm disagreeing 100% that just because there is intelligence it doesn't PROVE intelligent design as a theory.

That is, after all what this discussion is about :)

Hopefully no one else is thinking I'm debating intelligence and design by themselves. I'm debating using the statement that just because there are smart people in the universe that means intelligent design theory is proven. That very same conjecture is the same stuff that had people believing the Earth was flat.
 
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  • #107
aPhilosopher said:
I think that wofsy is barking up the wrong tree here too but comparing it to a flat Earth argument is more than a little too harsh. Strictly speaking, my computer is intelligently designed so the statement that intelligent design exists in the universe is 100% correct.

@wofsy, It might help you to watch http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcnCJqDa1us" videos. It's Richard Dawkins and Randolph Nesse discussing all sorts of aspects of biology that discredit the notion of intelligent design. It might either convince you that it's a dead end or at least give you some examples of what we would expect from a designer.

thanks for the references. I have read Dawkin's book on atheism. His points are strong but I do not think he would deny that it would be possible to construct a test for design. He denies - and he is very specific about this - the restricted notion of a deity as a valid explanation of evolution or of any phenomena at all. I agree with all of his arguments except where he sarcastically tries to explain belief as the product of natural selection. I think that stuff is dogmatic and arrogant.

But I am trying to go a step further, really just to stimulate discussion, to throw ideas around, to chew the fat. I am not trying to justify Creationism and with respect for the rules of this forum I will not go into my attitude towards it. i am a little disappointed that people don't want to explore this idea and see where it takes us. I have discussed it with biologists and they have found it more interesting than this forum does. Also AI people find this subject interesting. Physicists who are atheists often remark that the notion of design has never been needed in physical theories and that this is strong indication that it is not a useful concept in science. I agree totally with this. But even they would change their minds if it became necessary to explain certain data.
 
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  • #108
wofsy said:
thanks for the references. I have read Dawkin's book on atheism. ... I agree with all of his arguments except where he sarcastically tries to explain belief as the product of natural selection. I think that stuff is dogmatic and arrogant.

If you really want to get into it, try "The Extended Phenotype." It is a masterful exposition of evolution. I read his book on atheism as well and didn't really like it. That's coming from an atheist! Try Dennet for an explanation of religion as a product of natural selection. He's not nearly as sharp and sarcastic as Dawkins.

wofsy said:
But I am trying to go a step further, really just to stimulate discussion, to throw ideas around, to chew the fat. I am not trying to justify Creationism and with respect for the rules of this forum I will not go into my attitude towards it. i am a little disappointed that people don't want to explore this idea and see where it takes us.

I'm more than willing to entertain any ideas for ancillary processes of evolution. I have honestly never considered the idea of testing for design before but am keeping it in the back of my head. I am of course, as an atheist, coming at it from the other angle, that is I want to falsify design, but we both want an honest test of it.

On the whole though, I think that a lot of the resistance might be that it would be incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to cook up an objective test for it and if you don't believe that it's there anyways, than it seems like a waste from that perspective.
 
  • #109
wofsy said:
But I am trying to go a step further, really just to stimulate discussion, to throw ideas around, to chew the fat. I am not trying to justify Creationism and with respect for the rules of this forum I will not go into my attitude towards it. i am a little disappointed that people don't want to explore this idea and see where it takes us. I have discussed it with biologists and they have found it more interesting than this forum does. Also AI people find this subject interesting. Physicists who are atheists often remark that the notion of design has never been needed in physical theories and that this is strong indication that it is not a useful concept in science. I agree totally with this. But even they would change their minds if it became necessary to explain certain data.

Creationism and Intelligent Design is NOT about science.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wedge_strategy

Creationism: "To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God""

That is why most people don't give it the light of day and may entertain wild theories about in heated debate but find it ironic that anyone would consider it science at all.
 
  • #110
aPhilosopher said:
If you really want to get into it, try "The Extended Phenotype." It is a masterful exposition of evolution. I read his book on atheism as well and didn't really like it. That's coming from an atheist! Try Dennet for an explanation of religion as a product of natural selection. He's not nearly as sharp and sarcastic as Dawkins.



I'm more than willing to entertain any ideas for ancillary processes of evolution. I have honestly never considered the idea of testing for design before but am keeping it in the back of my head. I am of course, as an atheist, coming at it from the other angle, that is I want to falsify design, but we both want an honest test of it.

On the whole though, I think that a lot of the resistance might be that it would be incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to cook up an objective test for it and if you don't believe that it's there anyways, than it seems like a waste from that perspective.

points well taken and I agree that it would be really hard - maybe impossible.
 
  • #111
byronm said:
Creationism and Intelligent Design is NOT about science.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wedge_strategy

Creationism: "To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God""

That is why most people don't give it the light of day and may entertain wild theories about in heated debate but find it ironic that anyone would consider it science at all.

You are right.
 
  • #112
arunma said:
Don't mean to burst any bubbles, but there's already insurmountable evidence indicating the the universe is more than 6,000 years old. We have records of civilizations that existed before 4000 BC. The young Earth creationists are able to dismiss even this evidence. I doubt they'll change their minds over one more civilization that appears to be more than 6,000 years of age.

Back in the day when they went on crusades, when the Romans invaded egypt, when the Spanish concurred the Mayans, etc. They always deliberately burned most of mans ancient history. For example, the Romans are said to have "accidentally" burned down the Library of Alexandria. The Spanish deliberately destroyed most Mayan text.

At this time, there wasn't evidence of pre 6000 yo civilizations in Rome, Spain, or France.

"The Spanish Church and government officials destroyed Maya texts and with it the knowledge of Maya writing but by chance three of the pre-Columbian books dated to the post classic period have been preserved."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maya_civilization

There is a whole lot of history that Christian Churches of the world have deliberately destroyed.
 
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  • #113
wofsy said:
You are right.

I wasn't looking to be right.. i do like to push buttons and see why people are trying to give credit to ID.. maybe they're on to something but more often then not its not really a scientific discovery that they have but a re-framing of the words, terminology and definition of things to make it appear that way.

Thats what drives me nuts, sorry if i took it out on you hehe :)
 
  • #114
byronm said:
I wasn't looking to be right.. i do like to push buttons and see why people are trying to give credit to ID.. maybe they're on to something but more often then not its not really a scientific discovery that they have but a re-framing of the words, terminology and definition of things to make it appear that way.

Thats what drives me nuts, sorry if i took it out on you hehe :)

That's fine - no offense taken. By agreeing with you I was just trying to emphasize that I am not trying to defend Creationism.
 
  • #115
jreelawg said:
Back in the day when they went on crusades, when the Romans invaded egypt, when the Spanish concurred the Mayans, etc. They always deliberately burned most of mans ancient history. For example, the Romans are said to have "accidentally" burned down the Library of Alexandria. The Spanish deliberately destroyed most Mayan text.

At this time, there wasn't evidence of pre 6000 yo civilizations in Rome, Spain, or France.

"The Spanish Church and government officials destroyed Maya texts and with it the knowledge of Maya writing but by chance three of the pre-Columbian books dated to the post classic period have been preserved."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maya_civilization

There is a whole lot of history that Christian Churches of the world have deliberately destroyed.

OK, this is the sort of vitriolic response I'm trying to avoid. I don't mean any offense, but,

1.) I don't understand how a tour through Catholic European history pertains to our discussion of evolution and creationism.

2.) Ascribing guilt to all Christian churches for the destruction of various cultural and religious artifacts is a major logical fallacy. You might as well call all Republicans racist because the KKK supports the Republican party (not that I like Republicans). One can't blame modern American fundamentalists for various acts committed by people a thousand years ago. If you wish, you can certainly argue that such deeds result from the same type of thinking that results in fundamentalism, but I don't think that this was what you were trying to say.

Calling the creationists crusading inquisitors isn't going to accomplish anything. Scientific truth does a fairly good job of standing on its own merit. Why not simply present the facts about evolution and cosmology, and leave it at that?
 
  • #116
arunma said:
Scientific truth does a fairly good job of standing on its own merit. Why not simply present the facts about evolution and cosmology, and leave it at that?

I agree with pretty much every thing that I didn't quote. I have to take difference with this though.

Creationists will distort facts to an extent that a rational person would never consider possible. Couple this with the fact that most 'educated' people can't tell you the difference between a gene and an allele and have no idea what the genetic code is or what it even does and you have a recipe for a susceptibility to bad arguments based on bad science inevitably ending in "It's just a theory, right?" I have seen these people crawl out from under a rug as soon as the light goes out, try to take advantage of peoples pains, doubts and suffering to sell some false idea of salvation that depends upon a literal interpretation of the bible and outright deny evolution. It happens. Then as soon as you shine a little light on the situation, they either scurry back under the rug or try to make your head exlode with a string of irrational arguments, artfully constructed metaphors that only capture one level of causality, etc. I'm not joking. I've seen them say that the human genome is constructed with a different genetic base than other animals.

Couple that with the fact that they try to get this filth taught it schools every chance that they get and you have a need to do a little more than simply present facts. We must educate.

It honestly breaks my heart that some of these people are actually parents, and as such, have the primary responsibility for the education of a child. It's beyond the pale.
 
  • #117
byronm said:
Creationism and Intelligent Design is NOT about science.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wedge_strategy

Creationism: "To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God""

That is why most people don't give it the light of day and may entertain wild theories about in heated debate but find it ironic that anyone would consider it science at all.

Absolutely correct and no, by its very nature it isn't science! Why it rankles so many is because the classroom is not the place to indoctrinate a child but to teach a child. If parents wants to teach a child 'creationism' then they are perfectly free to send their child to an appropriate religious private school or teach them at home. Personally, I can't see what the big deal is.

We have a body of knowledge which points to the origins of our species which is directly in conflict with that of creationism if one takes the literal sense from 'creationism' in the time frame man has occupied the planet. The diversity of religions requires that classrooms approach must come from a body of knowledge rather than that of theistic beliefs which vary greatly. To attempt to do otherwise is disrespectful not only to those of other belief systems but also disrespectful of science, the dedication and work required necessary for discovery and knowledge.

Creationism seeks to explain as fact what is not knowable or measurable, to date. Faith is a personal belief and belief system, it should be kept that way so we can all live and work together without it as the cause of bitterness, contempt or hate towards one another. Our world has grown much smaller, no longer are communities separate from others of vastly different cultures. It is mandatory that respect of people and their common needs and threads are emphasized, that begins in the classroom.
 
  • #118
arunma said:
OK, this is the sort of vitriolic response I'm trying to avoid. I don't mean any offense, but,

1.) I don't understand how a tour through Catholic European history pertains to our discussion of evolution and creationism.

2.) Ascribing guilt to all Christian churches for the destruction of various cultural and religious artifacts is a major logical fallacy. You might as well call all Republicans racist because the KKK supports the Republican party (not that I like Republicans). One can't blame modern American fundamentalists for various acts committed by people a thousand years ago. If you wish, you can certainly argue that such deeds result from the same type of thinking that results in fundamentalism, but I don't think that this was what you were trying to say.

Calling the creationists crusading inquisitors isn't going to accomplish anything. Scientific truth does a fairly good job of standing on its own merit. Why not simply present the facts about evolution and cosmology, and leave it at that?

I didn't mean to offend anybody, it is just an interesting fact that we should consider in the field of history. Much of it has been intentionally destroyed and a lot of it is fiction. This is a side effect of literal interpretations of the bible being enforced. The destruction of history is an example, and so is the attack on science. It is a conflict between academics and religion that has gone on for many centuries.

I would like to just say though, that I don't mean insult to christians as individuals. I am talking about organized religion and how it has been and is in some forms corrupted. It is man, who is behind this, not god. Man, for many many years has used the bible for various evils. Claiming white people are inferior, claiming black people are inferior, claiming jews are inferior. Calling for war, calling for murder, torture, burning people alive, oppressing women, excusing destruction of the environment, excusing pollution. The bible, nor God, ask this of us, it is preached from the pulpit by man. This is the control over people that religions can hold, and a loss of this power is often protected against when necessary, not by the will of god, but the will of man.

Another example of this is the amount of child abuse and molestation we find amongst priests. People will become a priest so that they can prey on people. This is predictable, but what is also disturbing, is that often the church, will try and cover it up to avoid public scrutiny.

"This report makes it clear that great wrong and hurt were caused to some of the most vulnerable children in our society," he said.
"It documents a shameful catalogue of cruelty: neglect, physical, sexual and emotional abuse, perpetrated against children."
The five-volume study concluded that church officials encouraged ritual beatings and consistently shielded their orders' paedophiles from arrest amid a "culture of self-serving secrecy".

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8059826.stm
 
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  • #119
Nan said:
Absolutely correct and no, by its very nature it isn't science! Why it rankles so many is because the classroom is not the place to indoctrinate a child but to teach a child. If parents wants to teach a child 'creationism' then they are perfectly free to send their child to an appropriate religious private school or teach them at home. Personally, I can't see what the big deal is.

We have a body of knowledge which points to the origins of our species which is directly in conflict with that of creationism if one takes the literal sense from 'creationism' in the time frame man has occupied the planet. The diversity of religions requires that classrooms approach must come from a body of knowledge rather than that of theistic beliefs which vary greatly. To attempt to do otherwise is disrespectful not only to those of other belief systems but also disrespectful of science, the dedication and work required necessary for discovery and knowledge.

Creationism seeks to explain as fact what is not knowable or measurable, to date. Faith is a personal belief and belief system, it should be kept that way so we can all live and work together without it as the cause of bitterness, contempt or hate towards one another. Our world has grown much smaller, no longer are communities separate from others of vastly different cultures. It is mandatory that respect of people and their common needs and threads are emphasized, that begins in the classroom.

I watched a lecture by Ken Miller on YouTube the other night. He observed that during the Dover vs. Kitzmiller trial Michael Behe was forced to admit on the stand that a definition of "science" that was sufficiently broad to include ID also included astrology. :biggrin:

For me the dividing line between ideas people are entitled to believe and crackpottery is when people are prepared to change their beliefs in the face of new evidence. Religious people will cite aesthetic beauty and the existence of love and morality in defense of their worldview; atheists will cite AIDS, earthquakes and ichneumon wasps. But on a point like evolution, there's no rational, educated argument to be found against it. You're either convinced by the evidence or you refuse to allow it to affect your thinking.

I also think it's more than just an academic question. I think it's incredibly dangerous for people to think they're entitled to believe what they want without regard for anyone else's opinion or material facts. People on Dragon's Den [do you have that show in America? The format is that people appeal to a regular panel of successful multimillionaires for investment in their product or business] will stand there and tell "the dragons" that they are wrong, and that their solar-powered cuckoo clock (with a built-in orange press) will soon be found in every home in the civillised world. If someone tells you that they believe homosexuality is evil, you're probably naturally inclined to tell them they're simply wrong; the word "homophobic" is testament to the fact that it's recognised as an irrational prejudice. But if someone says "homosexuality is against my religious beliefs", the idea that that prejudice has somehow become legititimately immune to criticism is a ridiculous one. A young child who ignores everything their parents tell them is a tragedy waiting to happen.
 
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  • #120
jreelawg said:
I didn't mean to offend anybody, it is just an interesting fact that we should consider in the field of history. Much of it has been intentionally destroyed and a lot of it is fiction. This is a side effect of literal interpretations of the bible being enforced. The destruction of history is an example, and so is the attack on science. It is a conflict between academics and religion that has gone on for many centuries.

Thank you for clarifying. I do think that your take on history is worthy of further discussion though.

First of all, the conflict between religion and academics, while certainly an undeniable problem, seems to be vastly overblown here. I'm sure that religions have been used to justify the destruction of information. Then again, religions have also been responsible for the accumulation of information and the practice of academics. Court astrologers in Christian Europe laid much of the seminal work for astronomy. Galileo is among this bunch. The guy who created the taxonomic structure that is today used in biology did so "for the greater glory of God." To say that any major religion has done more harm than good to academics is a bit one-sided, don't you think?

Secondly, the ill-effects of religions are likewise overblown. Far fewer people were killed in the crusades and inquisitions than many conflicts one could name that had nothing to do with religion. People love to talk about the crusades, but I wonder why no one has anything to say about the Peloponnesian War. What was that? Secularism at its worst? I think that too many conclusions are being drawn from too few data points.

No one here is denying that ID and creationism (if indeed there is any difference at all) are pseudoscience. But I think it's quite a leap to make too many conclusions about any religion on the basis of the negative role it plays in certain modern sciences.

aPhilosopher: I certainly recognize the truth of what you're saying about many so-called creation scientists. I too have met people who make grossly illogical statements about science in order to support their theories. Some of these people will even become violent in order to support their beliefs. Therefore it seems all the more important that we not use the same tactics or engage in their verbal mudslinging. As you yourself seem to recognize, they will always win at the game of mudslinging. Our advantage is that modern science can be supported by empirical observations. Therefore, we ought to capitalize on this and present scientific fact without any of the emotionally-charged rhetoric.
 
  • #121
arunma said:
Thank you for clarifying. I do think that your take on history is worthy of further discussion though.

First of all, the conflict between religion and academics, while certainly an undeniable problem, seems to be vastly overblown here. I'm sure that religions have been used to justify the destruction of information. Then again, religions have also been responsible for the accumulation of information and the practice of academics. Court astrologers in Christian Europe laid much of the seminal work for astronomy. Galileo is among this bunch. The guy who created the taxonomic structure that is today used in biology did so "for the greater glory of God." To say that any major religion has done more harm than good to academics is a bit one-sided, don't you think?

Secondly, the ill-effects of religions are likewise overblown. Far fewer people were killed in the crusades and inquisitions than many conflicts one could name that had nothing to do with religion. People love to talk about the crusades, but I wonder why no one has anything to say about the Peloponnesian War.

Yes, but when science was in conflict of faith, it was not sponsored by the church. The same goes with all forms of academics. If we let creationists take over science, they wouldn't stop watching the stars, they would just limit the acceptable conclusions one could make about them.

It is a fact that a whole lot of information was destroyed at the order of the church's. Why they wanted the information destroyed isn't certain. But you could imagine that a library of dated scrolls documenting ancient civilizations, historical records predating genesis, would be as good of a reason you could get. I'm not saying they found this, but they destroyed many of the places you would expect to find it (library of alexandria for example), mayan texts. I think it is very logical to assume that they would have ordered this kind of documentation destroyed. But it could be that they just wanted everything destroyed, culture religion, heritage, science etc. Perhaps so that they have no competition when it comes to dictating academics.
 
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  • #122
byronm said:
Show me proof of creationism, show me experimentation of creationism, show my the science of creationism. THERE IS *NONE*.
"Only a Sith speaks in absolutes."

There are multiple witnesses and documented accounts.

True, we don't consider them reputable sources and thus are invalid as evidence, but that's more a matter of degree.
 
  • #123
arunma said:
Therefore it seems all the more important that we not use the same tactics or engage in their verbal mudslinging. As you yourself seem to recognize, they will always win at the game of mudslinging. Our advantage is that modern science can be supported by empirical observations. Therefore, we ought to capitalize on this and present scientific fact without any of the emotionally-charged rhetoric.

Have you had any success whatsoever in trying to persuade creationists using scientific facts? If you haven't, your experience is typical. I'd rather speak the truth than hide the "rhetoric" in hopes of increasing my persuasiveness. If you think it's best to be as persuasive as possible, I've no grudge against that, but I do think it's hopeless.
 
  • #124
aPhilosopher said:
I have seen these people crawl out from under a rug as soon as the light goes out, try to take advantage of peoples pains, doubts and suffering to sell some false idea of salvation that depends upon a literal interpretation of the bible and outright deny evolution. It happens. Then as soon as you shine a little light on the situation, they either scurry back under the rug or try to make your head exlode with a string of irrational arguments, artfully constructed metaphors that only capture one level of causality, etc.

I'm been a victim of this, and I feel betrayed by the person I once thought was a friend. It's part of the reason that creationist material enrages me every time I read it. I know this attitude isn't conducive to logical thinking, but when you see the same boneheaded arguments in every single piece of propaganda every year without any mention on the rebuttals against them, it takes enormous willpower to persuade myself to soothe my anger.
 
  • #125
I know the feeling. I've spent too much time this week getting embroiled in arguments with creationists on youtube. When it becomes apparent that you know more about something than they do they move sideways. I'm rapidly forming the conclusion that they don't want to believe it, and you can argue with them until you're blue in the face and they will make no effort to comprehend what you're saying. I saw Kent Hovind, for example, asking "why don't monkeys give birth to humans?". Think about how many times he must have had the theory's actual claims explained to him, and he still asks a dumb question like that. For me, the only worthwhile battle is somewhere where people who genuinely want to know the truth are at risk of being memetically infected by that garbage without reply from people who have even the most passing familiarity with science and the lies of creationists.
 
  • #126
Evolution violates the laws of science...for example law of thermodyanmics...honestly people don't know for fact where everything came from..thats a much more sensible explanation
 
  • #127
evoboy3 said:
evolution violates the laws of science...for example law of thermodyanmics...honestly people don't know for fact where everything came from..thats a much more sensible explanation

o rly?
 
  • #128
Sorry! said:
o rly?

Srsly? :biggrin:
Kthanxbai
 
  • #129
muppet said:
I know the feeling. I've spent too much time this week getting embroiled in arguments with creationists on youtube. When it becomes apparent that you know more about something than they do they move sideways. I'm rapidly forming the conclusion that they don't want to believe it, and you can argue with them until you're blue in the face and they will make no effort to comprehend what you're saying. I saw Kent Hovind, for example, asking "why don't monkeys give birth to humans?". Think about how many times he must have had the theory's actual claims explained to him, and he still asks a dumb question like that. For me, the only worthwhile battle is somewhere where people who genuinely want to know the truth are at risk of being memetically infected by that garbage without reply from people who have even the most passing familiarity with science and the lies of creationists.

Bingo, muppet! It's futile arguing religious beliefs.

Full disclosure: I have to remind myself of that often (I've even found myself sucked into such discussions here on PF :blushing:, much to my chagrin).
 
  • #130
evoboy3 said:
Evolution violates the laws of science...for example law of thermodyanmics...honestly people don't know for fact where everything came from..thats a much more sensible explanation
That is such a tired and utterly false argument. Let me predict what comes next: "If humans evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys around?"

Regarding the thermodynamics argument: It is utterly false. The second law of thermodynamics does not say that entropy of every single thing in the universe is increasing. It says that the total entropy of a isolated system is increasing. It does not say that the entropy of a non-isolated system increases. Good thing that, because my air conditioner "violates" this naive (and wrong) interpretation of the second law of thermodynamics all summer long. What the second law of thermodynamics does do is to place a lower limit on the amount of energy my air conditioner needs to reduce the entropy inside my house. It does not say that my house cannot be cooled. That would be stupid, because my house can be cooled.

Saying that evolution violates the second law of thermodynamics is exactly the same as saying that an air conditioner violates the second law of thermodynamics.
 
  • #131
[STRIKE]inb4 moore's law reference[/STRIKE]

inb4 Poe's Law reference

Too many laws to keep track of...:blushing:
 
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  • #132
arunma said:
OK, this is the sort of vitriolic response I'm trying to avoid. I don't mean any offense, but,

1.) I don't understand how a tour through Catholic European history pertains to our discussion of evolution and creationism.

2.) Ascribing guilt to all Christian churches for the destruction of various cultural and religious artifacts is a major logical fallacy. You might as well call all Republicans racist because the KKK supports the Republican party (not that I like Republicans). One can't blame modern American fundamentalists for various acts committed by people a thousand years ago. If you wish, you can certainly argue that such deeds result from the same type of thinking that results in fundamentalism, but I don't think that this was what you were trying to say.

Calling the creationists crusading inquisitors isn't going to accomplish anything. Scientific truth does a fairly good job of standing on its own merit. Why not simply present the facts about evolution and cosmology, and leave it at that?

well put. I think a lot of people think that irrationalist belief naturally leads to oppression. So everything gets lumped into the same basket and people who have done nothing are grouped with the Inquisitors.
 
  • #133
byronm said:
Can you show me one paper where ID doesn't not require nor infer a creator? There are people who do take ID seriously however ID *IS* Only a re-imagination of Creationism. That is the truth.
I am sure you have heard the term "Blind Watchmaker" before yes? Do you know how old that argument is? The concept of intelligent design is quite old and there are many variations on it just as the concept of religion is very old and there are many variations on it.

Byronm said:
I would really like to see some proof here and someone step out and define "design" without re-writing the definition of design itself. For "Intelligence" of any sorts INFERS A GREATER BEING.
If an neural network evolved a better means of solving a problem would you not consider the resultant product a 'design'? And really what other sort of design is there in anything that a human produces? Its all a collection of mostly minor adjustments and improvements made by multiple people over a period of time that was eventually pieced together to create this new 'design'. Also I was unaware that science had come up with a conclusive definition of 'intelligence' and that it only applied to "A GREATER BEING", what ever that is.

Byronm said:
Honestly.. if it isn't a "god" then the onus of ID supporters is to show me the high intelligence that created everything and prove that god doesn't/didn't exist and this new intelligence does and then show me how that new intelligence created everything without it in and of itself evolving from something. In other words, if ID isn't God, its still a catch-22 because even something had to create the intelligence that supposedly created us.
See above and please pay attention to my original post where I give an example of a possible intelligence other than man, aliens, or god.


Note please that I do not support ID. I just think people need to be informed about the ideas they are attempting to refute. If you were to discuss ID with someone who believes in ID but is not christian your insistence that it is only rebranded creationism would likely insult them and turn them off from any argument you have no matter how well reasoned.
 
  • #134
TheStatutoryApe said:
See above and please pay attention to my original post where I give an example of a possible intelligence other than man, aliens, or god.

You said:

I have in fact seen versions of ID that suggest an intelligence inherent in the system, something like an organic neural net process which actively seeks to adapt and improve itself. Some people see horizontal gene swapping as possible evidence of this, or at least that there are possibly other factors which have been involved in evolution other than just natural selection.

The "system" being an ecosystem, it does not make sense for an ecosystem to be a neural net. Also, a neural network is not an example of an intelligence. Although our brains do have a neural network, there is obviously a distinction because artificial neural networks possesses none of the qualities one would refer to as intelligent.
 
  • #135
evoboy3 said:
Evolution violates the laws of science...for example law of thermodyanmics...honestly people don't know for fact where everything came from..thats a much more sensible explanation

Since your username is evoboy, I've no idea whether you're mocking creationists or supporting them. In case it's the former, this type of thing is exactly what I was thinking of when I typed:

you see the same boneheaded arguments in every single piece of propaganda every year without any mention on the rebuttals against them

Exactly! This being the Physics Forums and thermodynamics being part of physics, I had precisely this argument in mind. Most of the users here are physics people, and I assume it's always interesting for us when somebody with no knowledge of physics tries to announce to the world what physics does or does not say.
 
  • #136
one argument in favor of design that I don't know how to address is a negative argument that piggy backs off of the theory of punctuated equilibrium of Gould and Eldridge.

I think the argument goes something like this.

Random catastrophes such as the great extinctions wipe out any gradual drift of traits. Worse during periods of stasis - little evolution occurs. The fossil record shows that evolution is rapid and happens right after an extinction event. the idea that a slow selection process for advantageous mutations that over vast time spans generates new genuses and phyla does not fit the geological evidence and because of extinctions could only have happened at random - a near impossibility.
 
  • #137
junglebeast said:
The "system" being an ecosystem, it does not make sense for an ecosystem to be a neural net. Also, a neural network is not an example of an intelligence. Although our brains do have a neural network, there is obviously a distinction because artificial neural networks possesses none of the qualities one would refer to as intelligent.

There are hypotheses describing ecosystems as having attributes similar to neural nets. I am not saying that they are very compelling, only that they exist.

And if you want to dispute the accuracy of the use of the term 'intelligent' to describe neural net like processes, then please provide a concise definition of the term 'intelligent'.

Again, I am not agreeing with ID. I am only pointing out that there are variations on it that simply saying it is a rebranded version of creationism does not address. Whether or not they are at all compelling, scientific, or well described by the term 'intelligent design' is not my point.
 
  • #138
TheStatutoryApe said:
There are hypotheses describing ecosystems as having attributes similar to neural nets. I am not saying that they are very compelling, only that they exist.

And if you want to dispute the accuracy of the use of the term 'intelligent' to describe neural net like processes, then please provide a concise definition of the term 'intelligent'.

Again, I am not agreeing with ID. I am only pointing out that there are variations on it that simply saying it is a rebranded version of creationism does not address. Whether or not they are at all compelling, scientific, or well described by the term 'intelligent design' is not my point.

So can you elaborate on these examples a little bit?
 
  • #139
wofsy said:
Random catastrophes such as the great extinctions wipe out any gradual drift of traits. Worse during periods of stasis - little evolution occurs. The fossil record shows that evolution is rapid and happens right after an extinction event. the idea that a slow selection process for advantageous mutations that over vast time spans generates new genuses and phyla does not fit the geological evidence and because of extinctions could only have happened at random - a near impossibility.
Just because you do not understand evolution does not mean that punctuated equilibrium is "a near impossibility" without a designer.

One way to look at evolution is that it is a local optimizer. In fact, evolution can often do quite a bit better than finding local optimum. To illustrate this, imagine that you are a mountain climber in a landscape peppered with somewhat isolated mountain peaks. Your goal as a mountain climber is to maximize your elevation. However, you do not have a terrain map on hand. Lacking such a map, you simply move in the direction of increasing elevation. You might eventually reach the top of Mount Everest if you are lucky. Much more likely however, you will reach the top of some unnamed hill. This is fairly lousy search technique called steepest ascent. This approach easily gets stuck at local maxima such as the top of this unnamed hill, even if a huge mountain lies just across the valley. Thanks to mutations, evolution can "leap" across valleys -- provided these valleys are narrow enough.

If an environment is stable for a long time, evolution will find a fairly good optimum. Once a population reaches such a point, mutations are almost always disadvantageous. The population will remain stable if the environment remains stable. Suppose that something drastic happens to the environment. Nasty predators from elsewhere might wander in, completely changing the ecology; a mountain range might arise due to plate tectonics, completely changes the local climate; a bunch of volcanos can erupt, completely changing the global climate; changes in Earth's orbit can trigger an ice age.

When catastrophe strikes evolution can proceed amazingly quickly. It is not "a near impossibility" and it does not require a designer. I used the analogy of a mountainous terrain earlier. I'll switch gears and use another analogy. Manly men like to collect tools. Their mantra: "He who dies with the most tools wins!" In evolution, those individuals who die with the most grandchildren win. No designer is needed. All that is needed is having your offspring survive long enough to reproduce.
 
  • #140
muppet said:
I watched a lecture by Ken Miller on YouTube the other night. He observed that during the Dover vs. Kitzmiller trial Michael Behe was forced to admit on the stand that a definition of "science" that was sufficiently broad to include ID also included astrology. :biggrin:

For me the dividing line between ideas people are entitled to believe and crackpottery is when people are prepared to change their beliefs in the face of new evidence. Religious people will cite aesthetic beauty and the existence of love and morality in defense of their worldview; atheists will cite AIDS, earthquakes and ichneumon wasps. But on a point like evolution, there's no rational, educated argument to be found against it. You're either convinced by the evidence or you refuse to allow it to affect your thinking.

I also think it's more than just an academic question. I think it's incredibly dangerous for people to think they're entitled to believe what they want without regard for anyone else's opinion or material facts. People on Dragon's Den [do you have that show in America? The format is that people appeal to a regular panel of successful multimillionaires for investment in their product or business] will stand there and tell "the dragons" that they are wrong, and that their solar-powered cuckoo clock (with a built-in orange press) will soon be found in every home in the civillised world. If someone tells you that they believe homosexuality is evil, you're probably naturally inclined to tell them they're simply wrong; the word "homophobic" is testament to the fact that it's recognised as an irrational prejudice. But if someone says "homosexuality is against my religious beliefs", the idea that that prejudice has somehow become legititimately immune to criticism is a ridiculous one. A young child who ignores everything their parents tell them is a tragedy waiting to happen.

That is positive ridiculous regarding astrology being sufficient and AI being sufficient to be included as a 'science'! I'm positively GOBSMACKED anyone would say that! (I just love that expression from the UK).

"[URL refers to a system of acquiring knowledge based on scientific method, and to the organized body of knowledge gained through such research
[/URL]

"[URL be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on gathering observable, empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning.[1] A scientific method consists of the collection of data through observation and experimentation, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses.[2] One of the first to clearly outline the specifics of a scientific method was John Stuart Mill.[3][4]
[/URL]
The scientific process cannot be polluted by 'beliefs', by predetermined and unproven thought. You can have an idea or a theory, but science requires hard proof and evidence that a 'theory' or 'idea' is indeed valid. It is why creationism and ID is and will remain an unknown. If in the scientific process your belief, idea or shall we say premise is false then the process will prove it to be. Mushy notions or arguments are not proof. Fact vs fiction is what we are talking about, with ID and creationism those supposed facts cannot be proven, the premise is unprovable as there is no means of proof through experimentation and therefore it cannot be classified as a science.

I worry greatly that popular culture and greed have polluted what science is and its processes that have improved the lives of everyone on the planet. Accepting as fact what a crackpot might say based on flawed data or data which has been cherry picked for the masses to consume is all too common. Also worrisome is without deductive reasoning and critical thought being taught, encouraged and applied EARLY in education, our ability to adapt and meet the challenges of the future will be in jeopardy. For individuals, it allows them to assess, determine what maybe false and what maybe true in their lives. Increasingly, it is that critical thought and deductive reasoning which is required daily to live successfully in our complex culture.
 
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