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Creationists V Darwinists


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Guest anorthosite
Research happens every day, all around us but the text-book, simplified view that most people hold doesn't tend to reflect recent developments. All's I'm saying is through the education system/in the media etc. things get simplified to put them in a way the public can understand - and sometimes that's akin to misinformation. A lot of people get too attached to these simple explanations. Sometimes a text book isn't too far from the bible...

I agree that when the media bridges the gap between scientists and the public everything goes pear shaped - just look at health advice and climate change.

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It's a shame this isn't a non-issue in this day and age. I don't know why, as individuals, we don't simply let the strength of our beliefs and convictions be based upon the quality and/or quantity of the evidence available.

What's wrong with:

  • Feeling sure about things for which there is proof or strong evidence,
  • Tending to believe in things for which there is reasonable evidence and that seem plausible, and
  • Not wasting time on believing things for which we know of little or no evidence?

I would also assert that 'I don't know' is a perfectly reasonable and serviceable stance to take on specific issues where you don't have sufficient evidence either way. If you don't know, then be content not to know -- and if you really don't like not knowing what you feel about something, then, rather than allowing yourself to simply latch onto the first possibility that comes to mind (or, for example, what you were taught as an impressionable child in Sunday School or equivalent), do what you can to find or produce the best evidence to form the basis of your opinion.

Given the acceptability of 'I don't know', I don't think there's any excuse for just believing something arbitrary for the sake of having something to believe.

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Can't stand Richard Dawkins. Not a great advert for the objective, reasoned scientific community.

Firstly, I am an atheist.

However I can see where you`re coming from there. There is something about his manner that is slightly irritating. His main saving grace is that he talks quietly, whereas most of the god botherers you tend to see are very very SHOUTY .

I suppose the extra noise is to make up for the weak argument.

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Guest anorthosite
Can't stand Richard Dawkins. Not a great advert for the objective, reasoned scientific community.

He can be a bit annoying sometimes, I'll grant you that, but its nice to see someone of his standing coming out with some of the things he does - openly describing the religious indoctrination of children as child abuse for example.

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Yes, and if its not good enough they die. It called survival of the fittest.

After thousands of years of civilisation, this rule doesn't seem to apply to Humans.

When was the last time you heard someone calling off an engagement, once they found out that their fiance/fiancee had a family history of cancer/downs etc.

Male birds for example will compete for mates, and all females will choose the strongest, most healthy and virile. The others loose out.

Most Women all like tall dark and handsome types. Yet there's plenty of the contary walking about.

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Guest AuntJess
Partly, you've hit the nail on the head and partly, you've missed the point.

The PROCESS of scientific discovery is what leads us to greater knowledge. The problem is when current scientific understanding becomes dogma - that's where I and others see it as the opposite of religion.

The specific details of Darwinism have gone relatively unchallenged for too long - IMO. Principle is good, but mixed up with too many unchallenged assumptions and simplifications. What we need to do is start to ask the questions and turn it on it's head.

BTW creationism isn't the answer. That's the problem - we always see black or white, Darwinism or Creationism - what we need to consider is "Other", or "What else".

As you say, science becomes dogma and starts to believe in itself as 'the only way to fly'. In my specialism,there were better methods - proven so incidentally! - to treat mentally disordered people, but once science got a toe-hold on that ladder, EVERYthing was reduced to pills or surgery.

Once a discipline starts to use the " one size fits all" principle, it is dead in the water. :(

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Guest anorthosite
After thousands of years of civilisation, this rule doesn't seem to apply to Humans.

When was the last time you heard someone calling off an engagement, once they found out that their fiance/fiancee had a family history of cancer/downs etc.

Male birds for example will compete for mates, and all females will choose the strongest, most healthy and virile. The others loose out.

Most Women all like tall dark and handsome types. Yet there's plenty of the contary walking about.

The fitness function has changed. Now fat, ugly and stupid people are breeding more than the intelligent good looking people. The fitness function isn't logical, its just what works. In some mammals, having thicker skull plates make you more successful at the expense of a bigger brain, so the males can smack their heads together to compete for mates. Stupid by our standards, but it works for them

Healthy, sexy and smart doesn't make someone biologically successful.

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Guest Skint Academic
Evolution depends on theory of random precision. Yet Conways Game Of Life both proved and disproved this.

Sorry I am not sure what you mean by this. (I'm very familiar with Cellular Automata and Conway's Game of Life btw).

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Guest Skint Academic
Nope. When animals can't attract a suitable mate, they die without passing on their genes.

Humans, to be blunt, make do with what they can get.

Generally only female animals die without passing on their genes when they can't find a suitable mate. It's too costly to give birth for the sake of it. For the male of the species all it takes is a bit of blood flow and some happy humping.

Any reason why you believe that humans make do with what they get and why humans aren't also animals?

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Would people please stop confusing the process of natural selection for the "theory of evolution".

Just because there is a grain of truth at the centre of evolutionary theory does not mean that the rest of the theory suddenly becomes fact.

Please note: I have not mentioned creationism (literal biblical creationists are nutters).

Natural selection is fact, "evolution" is theory.

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Guest Skint Academic
The fitness function has changed. Now fat, ugly and stupid people are breeding more than the intelligent good looking people. The fitness function isn't logical, its just what works. In some mammals, having thicker skull plates make you more successful at the expense of a bigger brain, so the males can smack their heads together to compete for mates. Stupid by our standards, but it works for them

Healthy, sexy and smart doesn't make someone biologically successful.

Exactly as I said earlier. If you want to understand evolution then you need to understand how the environment changes. If you're willing to live off benefits and become a baby making machine for example then in today's climate you are fitter by Darwinian standards (even if you're nowhere near 'fit' in terms of how healthy or sexy you may be). On the other hand if you fall into the trap of wanting the latest gadgets, status and nice belongings, get heavily into debt and negative equity and find that you cannot afford to have any or many children, then you are not so fit.

Compare this to a couple of hundred years ago when there was a high infant mortality rate and working hard probably meant that your children were more likely to survive. Compare this to thousands of years ago when we lived in small villages and tribes and status was far more important for a man as it meant you were more likely to breed with the females.

Times change and so does our environment.

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Guest Skint Academic
Would people please stop confusing the process of natural selection for the "theory of evolution".

Natural selection is fact, "evolution" is theory.

I never understood this statement.

Natural selection happens as part of Darwinian evolution, but it also happens in many other circumstances. Take a large jar, fill it with sand and stones of differing sizes and shake it for a long while. Eventually it will sort itself out so that the pebbles and grains continue to fall through increasingly smaller holes until they are too large to continue. That is an example of natural selection that has nothing to do with Darwinian evolution. Both this and Darwinian evolution are observed phenomena yet one is easier to understand.

They both can be understood as following the same principles of self organising by minimising the flow of free-energy within an open space-time system.

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Guest Skint Academic
As you say, science becomes dogma and starts to believe in itself as 'the only way to fly'. In my specialism,there were better methods - proven so incidentally! - to treat mentally disordered people, but once science got a toe-hold on that ladder, EVERYthing was reduced to pills or surgery.

Once a discipline starts to use the " one size fits all" principle, it is dead in the water. :(

That's an example of how science is used, or in this case misused, rather than a criticism of the scientific method.

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Guest anorthosite
In my specialism,there were better methods - proven so incidentally! -

Probably proven through research & testing - in other words using the scientific method!

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Guest AuntJess
Probably proven through research & testing - in other words using the scientific method!

Well nope. Just one man's insights really. Philippe Pinel tried summat new.See below

Moral Treatment was an approach to mental disorder based on humane psychosocial care or moral discipline that emerged in the 18th century and came to the fore for much of the 19th century, deriving partly from psychiatry or psychology and partly from religion or moral concerns. The movement is particularly associated with reform and development of the asylum system in Western Europe at that time. It fell in to decline as a distinct method by the 20th century, however, due to overcrowding and misuse of asylums and the predominance of biomedical methods. The movement is widely seen as influencing certain areas of psychiatric practice up to the present day. There has been criticism that the approach blamed or oppressed patients according to the standards of a particular social class or religion.

//

I have had an increasing wariness for medical science - a term which I see as an oxymoron. The scientific method/ hypothetico deductive reasoning - n'est pas? does not seem to be applied as oft as it should. These days, they get a bee in their bonnet and hare off after it, looking neither to left nor right. The trial and error method, they have used over and over - on human guinea pigs. Hardly a scientific approach.

The rise of the medical model in treating emotional disorders came as a result of the discovery that Schizophrenia had a biological basis. From then on medication( mind-altering drugs) or surgery(lobotomy or ECT)) seemed to be the chosen method. A kind of snobbish exclusivity, really, when you consider that Pinel's methods had a 70% success rate, which has never been equalled since by the medical fraternity, in its approach to all things psychological. :rolleyes:

Ever seen " one flew over the cuckoo's nest"? that is a prime example of mindless medication.

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Guest Skint Academic
Simple! The point is that evolutionary theory is just that - theory. It should never be spoken of, or taught as, fact.

Well if you're going to be pedantic (which you are) then nothing should be taught as fact. Everything is just a theory. I have a theory that the world exists and that I am not in some Matrix style virtual reality for example. As far as I know this is correct and everything seems to suggest that it is, but I cannot prove that I am not being fed sensory signals directly into my brain by some futuristic super computer. The same goes for the theory of evolution. Which is why some people will be brave enough to use the word "fact". Scientists as a whole tend to always leave some wriggle room as they understand that the scientific method works by challenging assumptions and refining ideas. After a while though, for all intents and purposes, you have to just admit after looking at all the evidence that the basic model of Darwinian evolution is about as sure a thing as anything can be.

EDIT: And it's very BAD form to change what someone is supposed to have said ...

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Well if you're going to be pedantic (which you are) then nothing should be taught as fact. Everything is just a theory. I have a theory that the world exists and that I am not in some Matrix style virtual reality for example. As far as I know this is correct and everything seems to suggest that it is, but I cannot prove that I am not being fed sensory signals directly into my brain by some futuristic super computer. The same goes for the theory of evolution. Which is why some people will be brave enough to use the word "fact". Scientists as a whole tend to always leave some wriggle room as they understand that the scientific method works by challenging assumptions and refining ideas. After a while though, for all intents and purposes, you have to just admit after looking at all the evidence that

the basic model of Darwinian evolution is about as sure a thing as anything can be.

If I am being pedantic then you are being facetious. Your Matrix example is silly - unless you don't believe in the scientific method after all.

Bravery in science is going against the flow, not accepting the dogma of one colleagues. It certainly isn't saying that theory is fact without having proved it.

EDIT: And it's very BAD form to change what someone is supposed to have said ...

Sorry, that appeared wrong - I didn't mean it to look like you had written that. My apologies.

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Guest anorthosite
If I am being pedantic then you are being facetious. Your Matrix example is silly - unless you don't believe in the scientific method after all.

I'm with SK on this one - the Matrix analogy is a perfect example of the alternatives to evolution. Evolution is so well observed and back up with hard evidence it is as close to a fact as anything can be. I'd be delighted to look at evidence to the contrary, but I haven't yet seen any. People who say its just a theory are just giving food to the creationist/intelligent design loons.

Bravery in science is going against the flow, not accepting the dogma of one colleagues. It certainly isn't saying that theory is fact without having proved it.

What's your definition of "proved"? because I can't think of a more proved theory than evolution.

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Guest Skint Academic
If I am being pedantic then you are being facetious. Your Matrix example is silly - unless you don't believe in the scientific method after all.

Yes the Matrix example is silly, but then so is complaining about something that is so well observed as being called fact.

Yes we all know that science lessons are about teaching things as fact, but then you need to know the basic concepts before you can talk about the refinements. For example, you don't start off by teaching kids at school about the curvature of space-time, instead you tell them that gravity is an accelerating force. Eventually you learn enough and start to find the holes in the theories yourself.

Whether evolution happens or not is not dependent on whether we can understand it properly. We see Darwinian evolution happening. That is a fact as much as anything is a fact (unless you deny that fossil records exist for example). If you want you can test it out for yourself. No scientist would deny that we no longer need to refine our ideas because every scientist knows that you never stop refining your understanding. But we do know the fundamentals behind it in as much as we can know anything.

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I'm with SK on this one - the Matrix analogy is a perfect example of the alternatives to evolution. Evolution is so well observed and back up with hard evidence it is as close to a fact as anything can be. I'd be delighted to look at evidence to the contrary, but I haven't yet seen any. People who say its just a theory are just giving food to the creationist/intelligent design loons.

What's your definition of "proved"? because I can't think of a more proved theory than evolution.

********. Just because some people have stopped questioning a theory doesn't mean that those who do continue questioning it are giving weight to an alternative theory.

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Guest anorthosite
********. Just because some people have stopped questioning a theory doesn't mean that those who do continue questioning it are giving weight to an alternative theory.

Lets put this simply. If I drop a hammer on this planet it falls. We see it and so it is an observed fact. We might not understand how it happens, but we can see it happen. This is like evolution. It is a process we have observed. The hows and whys are a different matter, on which evolution receives ongoing research.

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