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Was Darwin Wrong? - National Geographic Article

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Was Darwin Wrong? - National Geographic Article

Old 10-26-04, 09:49 AM
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Was Darwin Wrong? - National Geographic Article

Just got this in the mail yesterday and it had a lot of good information, so I thought we might be able to have an intelligent discussion on the subject. The title of the thread is the teaser on the cover of the magazine, and when you turn to the story you get.... NO.

Anyway, let's go over a few points in the article. According to a Gallup poll in 2001, 45% of Americans agreed with "God created human being pretty much in their present form at one time withing the last 10,000 years or so." 37% said it was a God/Evolution combo, which some people call theistic evolution. Only 12% believe that humans evolved from other life forms without any involvement from God. Those stats amaze me. Also, those figures are essentially unchanged from 1982,, '92, '97, and '99 using the exact same wording in the poll.

NG makes a great observation. We tend to marginalize those who do not believe in evolution as pretty kooky creationists types who believe that the universe is only 10,000 years old, think the Grand Canyon is a result of Noah's Flood, etc. But I think we all agree that there is not 44% of the population that believes this. NG knows that, and so they look for another explanation for that high number. Their conclusion? Honest confusion and misunderstanding. A stupid population. How else can you explain that we do not bow before a fact, as it surely can't be a weakness of the theory itself.

This is the most important paragraph. NG starts off the article like so many people here that would argue for evolution. First they must educate this stupid population on what a "theory" actually is. To bolster this idea, they go on to mention that the idea that the earth rotates around the sun is a theory. That gravity is a theory. That electricity is a theoretical contruct. General Relativity/Big Bang Cosmology is just a theory and so is quantum theory. So much of these things we know to be fact, yet this stupid population doesn't understand the difference when we use the term "theory". Sound familiar? Good. Because we need to dispose of this notion faster than a bag of exlax oreos through Rosie O'Donnell.

There is a huge difference between every other theory mentioned and the theory of evolution. Gravity, general relativity, quantum theory, etc. are all theories that we would call scientifically "rich". That is, they make highly predictive statements within the theory. For example, general relativity (and thus, Big Bang Cosmology) has passed over 20 specific predictions that arise from the theory. And most importantly, these are objective, mathmatically verifiable predictions. Gravity fits into a lot of math (forgetting genral relativity for a minute), and it has been used to "prove" the theory, to the degree than any theory can be. It is accepted as fact. Though people constantly look for other models of the universe, Big Bang Cosmology is generally accepted because it is the most verified theory ever. Verified through mathmatical equations, observations that confirm other math....math, math, math....numbers, numbers, numbers. Does that hit anything home? It is the ability of a theory to predict and have objectively confirmed predictions that make it "rich".

Evolution DOES NOT DO THIS!!! There are certainly predictions made, but the interpretation of the observations are always in dispute. That is one reason we have a group that beleives Dinos became birds, and another group that does not believe that, though both are confirmed evolutionists. There is no objective verifiable data for thoses things. To evolutions credit, their own worst enemy is other evolutionists, which is how any science should be. There are lots of highly educated people (I'm talking professors in biology, microbiology, etc.) that do not agree with evolution. We don't see such a thing with the other theories mentioned because of how rich they are. Sure there are some that look for alternative answers, but they will still say that Big Bang cosmology fits the evidence....but it doesn't hurt to look. Damn math freaks.

But just like people here that first want to define what a "theory" is when talking about evolution, National Geographic has misled everyone. I don't think it is intentional. I think to the author, Evolution is as much a fact as gravity, despite the lack of similar objective proof. But if you are going to compare the scientific essence of evolution with gravity or general relativity or big bang cosmology, it is far more accurate to drop the label "theory" as we think of it scientifically, and start to call it "The Concept of Evolution." Don't take that as a huge knock. There simply is no way to test much of evolution (from an "objective predictive" standpoint), so that it will never be as rich as many other theories. That simply is the reality. It's true of lots of other things as well, but it is also true of evolution.

And I think that might have something to do with the numbers that the survey gets. Most of the other theories get more and more questions answered as time goes on. The Big Bang is far more verified today than it was even 5 years ago. In fact, scientifically, the confidence level in the past 5 years has more than doubled. You can't say that about evolution. In fact, what you can say, is that as time goes on, evolution answers very few questions, but seems to only find more.

One of these questions is convergence. For those who don't know, that simply means similar features that evolve independantly. The eye in an octopus and a human would be an example. Our common ancestor didn't have eyes, yet we both developed them. That is convergence. But that is an obvious one. One that NG brings up is astonding. The short legs of a Jamaican twig anole (a bug) "strikingly resemble" those of the Puerto Rican twig anole and the Hispaniolan twig anole. Any big suprise there? Nope. Except that DNA based studies show all of these evolved independently. (as a side note, that makes me wonder how many things in the "specie tree" are incorrect simply because we see and interpret similar features as something they might not be.)

One of the best known evolutionists, Stephen Jay Gould, always seemed to have a problem with convergence. If evolution is a true "random mutation" then the idea that you would somehow randomly ever get similar things evolving independently is, ironically, a miracle. Especially given the incredible number of examples.

Okay, I will quit now. I have probably made this too long for most to read already. But I couldn't sleep, and thought I'd share.
Old 10-26-04, 10:11 AM
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I don't see why people cannot believe that both God created the world yet allowed for evolution to proceed for billions of years.
Old 10-26-04, 10:13 AM
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Originally posted by weargle
I don't see why people cannot believe that both God created the world yet allowed for evolution to proceed for billions of years.
I would think this to be the majority view, but the 37% figure from the poll surprised me.
Old 10-26-04, 10:18 AM
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Originally posted by weargle
I don't see why people cannot believe that both God created the world yet allowed for evolution to proceed for billions of years.
I think it is because it is contradictory to what the bible teaches.
Old 10-26-04, 10:18 AM
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Darwin was wrong, Gould is right. Punctuated equilibrium, not Dawinian evolution is probably more accurate.

I call bullshit on that 45% number. Maybe in rural Mississippi that's true, but in the country as a whole, it has to be less than 1/10th of that.
Old 10-26-04, 10:22 AM
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So, I guess I'm a proponent of "theistic evolution". I've always believed that science and religion are not mutually exclusive, that laws on one side support laws on the other.

The phrase "God works in mysterious ways." Why couldn't he use evolution? Sure, God could say it and it is so. But who's to say that dinosaurs and the asteroid weren't God's version of an ant hill and a magnifying glass. Only God can say, and he's too busy sending death threats to evangelists with demands for money.
Old 10-26-04, 10:24 AM
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Originally posted by jaelliot
I think it is because it is contradictory to what the bible teaches.
Jesus taught with parables and stories, yet the beginning of Genesis must be absolutely exact? That's not what I get out of it, sorry.
Old 10-26-04, 10:27 AM
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I think kvr has posted enough on the religion vs. science topic to be considered an "otter expert."

Old 10-26-04, 10:29 AM
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Originally posted by Hiro11
I call bullshit on that 45% number. Maybe in rural Mississippi that's true, but in the country as a whole, it has to be less than 1/10th of that.
This is because you live in a major northern urban area. There's a whole big country out there and some very "interesting" views out there as well.

Last edited by VinVega; 10-26-04 at 10:33 AM.
Old 10-26-04, 10:31 AM
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Though people constantly look for other models of the universe, Big Bang Cosmology is generally accepted because it is the most verified theory ever. Verified through mathmatical equations, observations that confirm other math....math, math, math....numbers, numbers, numbers.

but they make up the math. dark matter, dark energy, etc. they fit the math and model to make the original idea work.
Old 10-26-04, 10:32 AM
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uh oh.....
Old 10-26-04, 10:32 AM
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Originally posted by Venusian
but they make up the math. dark matter, dark energy, etc. they fit the math and model to make the original idea work.
Do you have some examples of this? I ask mostly because I'm too lazy to look for them.
Old 10-26-04, 10:33 AM
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Originally posted by weargle
Jesus taught with parables and stories, yet the beginning of Genesis must be absolutely exact? That's not what I get out of it, sorry.
I was speculating on why people refuse to believe in evolution, not defending a position.
Old 10-26-04, 10:34 AM
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Originally posted by jaelliot
I think it is because it is contradictory to what the bible teaches.
the Bible says that God created the world in six days, right?

I think it's quite an assumption to believe that 1 "God day" is the same as one "human day."
Old 10-26-04, 10:34 AM
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You're wrong, freak!

Just kidding. Why does 45% of the population believe in the Biblical account of the origin of life? Because they can't taste, touch, or see evolution, they can't use products made from it. Most importantly, it contradicts (in their mind) the Bible, so who are they going to believe, God or some nerdy scientist who thinks he knows better than God? Also, it's not like 45% take the time to understand the particulars of the theory. If the Bible was in contradiction to, say, relativity, how many people would reject that, too?

Regarding convergence, the most obvious answer to me is that in millions of lifeforms, you're going to have similar qualities develop in similar animals in similar environments. The most "macro" of these environments is the visible world -- sight is useful to the survival of almost every animal who has eyes, except those that live in caves or at the bottom of the ocean where there is no light. And often eyes vary wildly between genera, or even species.

Last edited by Breakfast with Girls; 10-26-04 at 10:36 AM.
Old 10-26-04, 10:37 AM
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Re: Was Darwin Wrong? - National Geographic Article

Originally posted by kvrdave
A stupid population. How else can you explain that we do not bow before a fact, as it surely can't be a weakness of the theory itself.

Science is not democratic. The opinions of those who have not studied the available evidence thoroughly doesn't count.

One of these questions is convergence. For those who don't know, that simply means similar features that evolve independantly. The eye in an octopus and a human would be an example. Our common ancestor didn't have eyes, yet we both developed them. That is convergence. But that is an obvious one. One that NG brings up is astonding. The short legs of a Jamaican twig anole (a bug) "strikingly resemble" those of the Puerto Rican twig anole and the Hispaniolan twig anole. Any big suprise there? Nope. Except that DNA based studies show all of these evolved independently. (as a side note, that makes me wonder how many things in the "specie tree" are incorrect simply because we see and interpret similar features as something they might not be.)

One of the best known evolutionists, Stephen Jay Gould, always seemed to have a problem with convergence. If evolution is a true "random mutation" then the idea that you would somehow randomly ever get similar things evolving independently is, ironically, a miracle. Especially given the incredible number of examples.
1. Mutation is random, selection is not. Given enough time, it seems to me that such an obviously beneficial characteristic as a visual sensory organ would make a creature more likely to survive.
2. Your example implies that an octopus eye is the same as a human eye. While the basic working is somewhat the same, the retinas of an octopus are oriented in the opposite direction from human eyes.

For those others not buying the 45% number - the 45% was number of people that believe humans were created in the last 10,000 years, not the Earth itself. Big difference. Still wrong, according to our current scientific knowledge, but not as bad as thinking the entire universe was created last Wednesday.
Old 10-26-04, 10:39 AM
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Re: Re: Was Darwin Wrong? - National Geographic Article

Originally posted by Duran
Still wrong, according to our current scientific knowledge, but not as bad as thinking the entire universe was created last Wednesday.
I assert that the entire universe WAS created last Wednesday. I defy anybody to prove me wrong.

Last edited by Groucho; 10-26-04 at 10:47 AM.
Old 10-26-04, 10:43 AM
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We have a fossil record which indicates evolution, and seems to verify transitional species. However, the fossil record must be understood in context to know empirically what it proves. Since the animals in question died 65 million years ago, we can NEVER know the proper context that generated the fossil record. Even Darwin himself had serious doubts about what the fossil record actually proved.

Here is what I mean by context. In our time, we have donkeys (equis asinus), mules, and horses (equis caballus). We know empirically that donkeys and horses are different species of the genus Equidae. Mules are the offspring of the pairing of a donkey and a horse. If one were to look at the skeleton of a donkey, mule, and horse without the modern context of being 3 independent species, one could reasonably assume that the donkey evolved into a mule, which in turn evolved into a horse. One would then make the determination that a mule is a transitional species between a donkey and a horse. But in context we know that is not true.

Therefore, regardless of the academic accumen of the scientific community making the observations and drawing the conclussions, the fact remains that they are in fact making assumtions based on an undefined premise, the premise being the context of the fossil record. So it is all subjective, there is nothing empirical about the conclussions that are drawn. Hence the wide discrepancies within the school of evolutionary thought. Does it disprove macro-evolution outright? Again, no it doesn't. It just means that unless someone builds a time machine to be able to observe the formation of the fossil record in context, we will never objectively know the truth.

I must now leave this thread.....
Old 10-26-04, 10:47 AM
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Originally posted by RoyalTea
the Bible says that God created the world in six days, right?

I think it's quite an assumption to believe that 1 "God day" is the same as one "human day."
Each day described in Genesis was actually more than what we would call a day, more like an age or epoch. You can trace back in Genesis to the Hebrew word and it is stated that the word used for day was "yom" and it could be used to refer to either a 24 hour period or an age.
Old 10-26-04, 10:47 AM
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Originally posted by Breakfast with Girls
You're wrong, freak!

Just kidding. Why does 45% of the population believe in the Biblical account of the origin of life? Because they can't taste, touch, or see evolution, they can't use products made from it. Most importantly, it contradicts (in their mind) the Bible, so who are they going to believe, God or some nerdy scientist who thinks he knows better than God? Also, it's not like 45% take the time to understand the particulars of the theory. If the Bible was in contradiction to, say, relativity, how many people would reject that, too?
Maybe it is because the NW is pretty secular, but I don't buy any of that. I don't believe 45% of the population takes the Bible literally like a "Grand canyon from Noah's Flood" would so why would they necessarily believe that God created man literally?

Hiro11 - If Gould was correct about punctuated equalibrium, I would expect it to be embraced more by the evolutionists. Ciertainly it has a following, but it is not universally accepted by any means. Much of the problem people seem to have with it is the mechanism by which it would work. But anyway, that is part of my point. To put Evolution "Theory" on par with other theories like the Big Bang, etc. is pure bunk given the evidence for each.

Venusian - They do make up some of the numbers, but not really like you think. Much more like a "solving for X" way. But it is probably that which allows people to continue to push for the various "Brane" universes, etc.
Old 10-26-04, 10:49 AM
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Originally posted by Minor Threat
Each day described in Genesis was actually more than what we would call a day, more like an age or epoch. You can trace back in Genesis to the Hebrew word and it is stated that the word used for day was "yom" and it could be used to refer to either a 24 hour period or an age.
You sound really smart. Will you be my friend?
Old 10-26-04, 10:50 AM
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Only if you can get more cowbell.....
Old 10-26-04, 10:52 AM
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I believe that animals, plants and people can adapt to their surroundings and situations. I do not support evolution at all.

Just me and my crazy opinion here.
Old 10-26-04, 10:54 AM
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Originally posted by Minor Threat

Therefore, regardless of the academic accumen of the scientific community making the observations and drawing the conclussions, the fact remains that they are in fact making assumtions based on an undefined premise, the premise being the context of the fossil record. So it is all subjective, there is nothing empirical about the conclussions that are drawn. Hence the wide discrepancies within the school of evolutionary thought. Does it disprove macro-evolution outright? Again, no it doesn't. It just means that unless someone builds a time machine to be able to observe the formation of the fossil record in context, we will never objectively know the truth.
This is absolutely correct, and I could not have said it any better. And this is also why it is a load of crap to say "The theory of Evolution is a 'theory' just like the theory of gravity, the theory of general relativity, etc." The theory of evolution is nothing like those others. Those that say it is are being dishonest (though I am sure unintentionally) about the strength of the theories and how they are confirmed.
Old 10-26-04, 10:55 AM
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Re: Re: Re: Was Darwin Wrong? - National Geographic Article

Originally posted by Groucho
I assert that the entire universe WAS created last Wednesday. I defy anybody to prove me wrong.
Big deal. You can't prove it wasn't created last Tuesday which I maintain.

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