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Guest Skint Academic
********. 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.

Questioning is good if you want to know more and find out the truth of the matter. Questioning something without wanting to find out the answers because you are just wanting to dismiss something for personal reasons is bad. Regardless of what you believe in, you can find out for yourself whether evolution exists. You may have to spend twenty years of your life measuring bird beaks on the galapagos islands, trawling around fossil records reconstructing phylogenetic trees or cutting up the brains of animals and examining the evolutionary changes that have taken place. But you can do it. Or you can just read the research from other scientists who have already done this and documented their observations.

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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).

I don't deny the fossil records exist, why would I? However, I don't accept that the fossil records prove the theory of evolution. They don't they merely tell us about species which have died out. They don't explain to us how existing species are descended from those fossil records, nor do they explain how those fossils where descended from anything else.

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Guest anorthosite
I don't deny the fossil records exist, why would I? However, I don't accept that the fossil records prove the theory of evolution. They don't they merely tell us about species which have died out. They don't explain to us how existing species are descended from those fossil records, nor do they explain how those fossils where descended from anything else.

Do you concede that at the very least we can see the process happening in the fossil record but without understanding it?

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Questioning is good if you want to know more and find out the truth of the matter. Questioning something without wanting to find out the answers because you are just wanting to dismiss something for personal reasons is bad. Regardless of what you believe in, you can find out for yourself whether evolution exists. You may have to spend twenty years of your life measuring bird beaks on the galapagos islands, trawling around fossil records reconstructing phylogenetic trees or cutting up the brains of animals and examining the evolutionary changes that have taken place. But you can do it. Or you can just read the research from other scientists who have already done this and documented their observations.

You are suggesting I want to dismiss things for personal reasons? What personal reasons would these be then?

Your first statement is where you should have stopped. I'm interested in the truth and I refuse to believe in a theory.

I'm a scientist (and published lead-author of several scientific papers in reputable journals) - I'm not some nut-job "the world is 8000 years old" creationist.

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Guest Skint Academic
They don't explain to us how existing species are descended from those fossil records, nor do they explain how those fossils where descended from anything else.

But fossil records show us that these different species have descended from previous species. We see a progression. We can reconstruct evolutionary trees. That's the fact part. The theory part is understanding how this happened. Something which we continue to research, namely by observation of other facts such reproduction, inherited traits and DNA. The more we can do this the more we can refine our theories.

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Guest Skint Academic
I'm interested in the truth and I refuse to believe in a theory.

Good. I reckon a good scientist shouldn't believe in anything. The evidence should speak for itself.

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

There was an excellent program on TV a few years ago that touched this very subject. The game of life was featured.

The simulation proved how 'organisims' can adapt, thrive in environments (so long as population was not too sparse/condensed etc). Yet even successful sims were short lived, and still couldn't explain intellegent life or what sparks it in the first place.

Seems like the conditions for human/animal life are too perfect to be the result of random precision. The conclusion of the program was that evolution can't happen without intelligent design and vice versa, (?) erm thanks for that conclusion.

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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?

Because we would now be living in a world were everyone had perfect eyesight, no genetic disorders, no obesity and everyone 6ft tall.

That is natural selection is it not?

And yes, fat chavs are the main breeders in this country at the moment, which reinforces my argument.

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Guest anorthosite
Because we would now be living in a world were everyone had perfect eyesight, no genetic disorders, no obesity and everyone 6ft tall.

That is natural selection is it not?

No, its not

And yes, fat chavs are the main breeders in this country at the moment, which reinforces my argument.

Fitness function changes. For example in the UK teenage girls who get pregnant get benefits and houses thrown at them. So the ugly stupid people with no other abilities in life are biologically more successful than intelligent people who want to get on in life and "put off having kids", risking dying in an accident or of a disease before then.

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Guest Skint Academic
There was an excellent program on TV a few years ago that touched this very subject. The game of life was featured.

The simulation proved how 'organisims' can adapt, thrive in environments (so long as population was not too sparse/condensed etc). Yet even successful sims were short lived, and still couldn't explain intellegent life or what sparks it in the first place.

Seems like the conditions for human/animal life are too perfect to be the result of random precision. The conclusion of the program was that evolution can't happen without intelligent design and vice versa, (?) erm thanks for that conclusion.

Well not having seen the programme I can't specifically comment on it, but without wanting to be too harsh, what you have told me is complete nads.

Conways Game of life is not a simulation, it's a game, it's a cellular automata. It It is an interesting mathematical model to explore complexity and self organisation. It is not based on the laws of physics. For example, matter cannot be created out of nothing and then suddenly be destroyed again as happens in the automata. Nor does it have a concept of energy in it either. Doing a quick google for the rules I find this:

http://www.bitstorm.org/gameoflife/

For a space that is 'populated':

Each cell with one or no neighbors dies, as if by loneliness.

Each cell with four or more neighbors dies, as if by overpopulation.

Each cell with two or three neighbors survives.

For a space that is 'empty' or 'unpopulated'

Each cell with three neighbors becomes populated.

Not being based on reality, no one would rightly expect it to show how intelligent life came about or how the first reproducing cell emerged from long chain molecules.

All a mathematical program like this does is to explore the logical consequences of certain assumptions. I am personally working on a program to explore what conditions are necessary for free moving particles that can form bonds and break apart again to create interesting self organising structures. Even if I managed to have reproducing cells self organise in front of me it would prove nothing about the real world. Instead, it would give me clues as to what I should be looking for.

I don't know what you mean by "random precision". Please define it. I can't argue about a phrase I have never heard before and which on the face of it is nonsensical.

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Guest Skint Academic
No, its not

Fitness function changes. For example in the UK teenage girls who get pregnant get benefits and houses thrown at them. So the ugly stupid people with no other abilities in life are biologically more successful than intelligent people who want to get on in life and "put off having kids", risking dying in an accident or of a disease before then.

Wot he sayz.

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The theory of evolution is exactly that - a theory. And there are some holes in it.

Creationism is absolute tosh to anyone who looks for evidence as opposed to starting with faith and trying to fit the facts to suit.

The whole debate is a great example of the simplified, dualistic thinking that most of us fall prey to. Evolution has some holes, so the 2000 year-old word of God MUST be true - wrong. Biblical explanations are rubbish, so Darwinism MUST be right - rubbish.

Picking holes in Darwinism is absolutely a valid thing to do, but let's try and find a better answer rather than using it as a smoke-screen to re-introduce the ridiculous, out-dated platitudes of religion and myth.

As to why this is all rearing it's head now? Don't know. Maybe the world's too complex - much more reassuring to fall back on religion or 'accepted science' rather than trying to figure out what's really going on...

Brilliant post totally agree. Darwin's theory falls spectacularly short of answering the question of how we got here. It is a flawed theory. I am suprised no one has come up with anything better.

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Guest anorthosite
Brilliant post totally agree. Darwin's theory falls spectacularly short of answering the question of how we got here. It is a flawed theory. I am suprised no one has come up with anything better.

Please provide evidence to back up your statement.

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Guest anorthosite
Where's the scientific research that backs this up as an example of natural selection?

Its an observation. If you get pregnant at a younger age then you're usually more successful biologically speaking. Therefore if society is set up to reward you if get pregnant at a young age then people who are able to take advantage of this environmental niche (those that want to sit at home and not better themselves getting paid to raise kids) will be succesful.

So breed quickly - more successful. Put off having kids in favour of a career - less successful.

Sorry chaps (SkintAcademic also), you are trying to defend a position and twisting the facts to suit - exactly what I mean when I talk about Dogma.

I utterly refute that claim. What facts have we twisted and how has it helped us defend our position?

I don't even understand why? People here aren't trying to destroy the theory, or framework, of darwinism and they aren't trying to argue for Creationism. Just saying question the bits that don't add up. Stop trying to defend something that doesn't need defending.

Evolution is under a huge attack from the religious right both in this country and around the world. We've had people on this thread supporting intelligent design and saying evolution is "just a theory" so I disagree - it needs defended, and urgently.

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Guest Skint Academic
Its an observation. If you get pregnant at a younger age then you're usually more successful biologically speaking. Therefore if society is set up to reward you if get pregnant at a young age then people who are able to take advantage of this environmental niche (those that want to sit at home and not better themselves getting paid to raise kids) will be succesful.

So breed quickly - more successful. Put off having kids in favour of a career - less successful.

For example look around at the chavvy grandmothers around the age of 32 sitting with their daughter and granddaughter on the bus. Now look at those you know who went off to university and tried to make a career for themselves. If they're going to have children it's normally by the same age that that the chavs have become grandmothers (or great grandmothers at 46!). And more of these children and grandchildren will be breeding at a young age as well. It's just a case of maths.

Now don't get me wrong. I am not claiming that this has drastically changed the course of human evolution. After all, my mother who is now approaching retirement age had her first of two children at the age of 20. But then in those days you could afford to have one parent at home and still buy a house. Nor did you need a university degree just to get a bog standard job. And I am sure it will probably turn back to those times again. But the above example of the chavvy grandmother does provide a good illustration of how the fitness function changes and doesn't necessarily select for perfect eye sight and perfect health.

Take for example the peacock's tail. This is an example of evolution gone off on a tangent. For the individual peacock, the one with the largest tail is most likely to get the bird (ahem!), but as a species it's costly. Add a predator into the mix and you will find that the advantage of having a smaller duller tail that allows the peacock to hide and run away far outweighs the advantages of being sexually attractive. But alongside this, the female birds that find smaller duller tails sexually attractive will also be fitter because their offspring are more likely to survive. Think of it like an asset bubble. People invest in property because prices are going up, which pushes prices up which means more people invest in property etc.

Getting back to the argument about why we don't all have perfect eyesight and perfect health. Well it's all relative isn't it! Some of us are going to be less fit than others. As the saying going, half the population are below average intelligence. You could argue that we all have relatively perfect eyesight and health compared to our ancestors from hundreds of thousands of years ago. Nor does evolution ever finish (and why would you assume we were the final result of an evolutionary run even if it did?).

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Guest anorthosite
Nothing to do with evolution on an observable long-term level.

But everything to do with evolution on an observable short-term level. Who said evolution only took place on a long term basis?

All this rubbish about chav's and how it relates to natural selection - you're taking two things - today's social problems and scientific theory of evolution - and trying to put them in the same context. You are barking up the wrong tree. Stick to fossils, you're on safer ground.

I disagree. I think it illustrates an example of how the fitness function changes. Its an excellent example and one people can see all around us.

Maybe I missed some of the thread, but I haven't seen a single person trying to defend the current position on Creationism/ Intelligent Design. Just people saying there is more to life than current framework of Darwinism can succesfully explain.

Bloodsucked made an allusion to it. Edit: So did Oracle.

Maybe that's the problem - you're reacting against Creationism and it's forcing you to get too entrenched on the existing framework of Darwinism. That's Dogma. And it's why I f*cking hate Richard Dawkins!

I'm not a huge fan of Richard Dawkins either but not liking him doesn't make him wrong.

Look outside the box - there are more than two alternative answers to any question.

Evolution is more of an observation than a question. "How does it happen?" is the question we're still in the process of answering.

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Maybe I missed some of the thread, but I haven't seen a single person trying to defend the current position on Creationism/ Intelligent Design. Just people saying there is more to life than current framework of Darwinism can succesfully explain.

Exactly, but apparently it is heretical to question Darwinian evolution and we will all be burnt at the stake.

Ah the smell of burning flesh ... almost smells of religion.

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Guest anorthosite
Exactly, but apparently it is heretical to question Darwinian evolution and we will all be burnt at the stake.

Ah the smell of burning flesh ... almost smells of religion.

I invite anyone to present evidence against it. I will welcome it.

Got any?

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Guest anorthosite
I'm a scientist (and published lead-author of several scientific papers in reputable journals) - I'm not some nut-job "the world is 8000 years old" creationist.

So what's your field anyway?

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Guest Skint Academic
Exactly, but apparently it is heretical to question Darwinian evolution and we will all be burnt at the stake.

If you want I can go through my posts and show you all the times that I said that it is good to question and to refine theories and how the scientific method relies upon this in order to improve. If you can genuinely find holes in a scientific theory then most scientists will be grateful as they will ultimately benefit from it.

Ah the smell of burning flesh ... almost smells of religion.

No scientist ever strapped on a bomb, walked into a crowded shopping mall and shouted "For chemical chance!!!" :)

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Guest anorthosite
Yes it does. Every scientist, every theory in our current understanding is wrong to a greater or lesser degree.

No it doesn't. I said "not liking him doesn't make him wrong". Not "the inherent uncertainty of all science makes him wrong."

Darwinism is a useful model, but as soon as you start to claim it's unassailable you are not practising science anymore.

Stop putting words in my mouth. I am not saying its unassailable. I'm saying evolution is an observed phenomenon of which much of the details of are not understood. What's wrong with that? Can't you understand the difference between an observation and a theory?

I've been strangely drawn to this debate like a moth because I just don't understand what you're trying to defend so vehemently. But I honestly can't see what useful point you;re trying to make.

Then don't waste your time here.

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Guest anorthosite
STOP WITH THIS SH*T ALREADY!!

Why are you pitting science against terrorism? You are muddying the argument. And you know what? I bet you three semi-detached houses in Bangor I can find you an example of a scientist comitting a violent or terrorist act in the name of science.

It was a joke I think. The smiley gave it away.

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I invite anyone to present evidence against it. I will welcome it.

Got any?

It is unnecessary to provide evidence against a theory which has not yet been fully proved. Don't you get it? You are the one with something to prove. I don't need to disprove anything. You need to convince me that the theory explains everything and is beyond doubt.

To answer your other question molecular microbiology/genetics.

Edit to add: I find myself on Paulokes side of the fence here. The premise of this thread was false as it falsely pitted creationism against Darwinian theory. I stated my position on creationism quite clearly (I believe I called them nut-jobs). My position on Darwinian theory is that it remains a theory and that too many people are adopting it as "the truth" blindly and without questioning. Certain sections of the scientific community are religious in their zeal ... and I do use the word religious on purpose.

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Guest Skint Academic

Basically you're right in that no model is exactly right. There will always be holes that can be refined. Has anyone denied this? I don't think so. But you can have a model that still needs to be right but which fundamentally is still correct. For example, we may still be questioning how altruism can be evolved. Is it a case of kin selection or is it a case of gaining favour from people within your tribe? But the fact that we still haven't ascertained this answer doesn't mean to say that the whole idea that DNA encodes information, passes it on through generations and is optimised over time is wrong as a result.

But that's what people on this thread are basically saying. "Oh there's gaping holes in it therefore the whole thing is in doubt." That's one thing that is being argued. Another is to try and correct people's assumptions about what darwinian evolution actually is. There's been people getting confused by the use of the word "fitness". It has been repeatedly said how this is not the case. Basically, if you're going to damn Darwinian evolution then at least damn it for the right reasons, not out of ignorance.

And personally, I'm quite calm about all of this. I don't feel under threat from anything said on here.

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