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  Topic: Media Alerts and Destroying Evolution, Discussion from PT "Media Alerts" thread< Next Oldest | Next Newest >  
stevestory



Posts: 10127
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: June 14 2006,18:46   

A brilliant creationist, Randy Magruder, showed up at Panda's Thumb and easily destroyed the so-called 'theory of evolution'. Here's a sample of his brilliant argumentation:

Quote
I can produce the equations for gravity, run the numbers, and then easily reproduce the calculated behavior in a lab. I may have missed it in the scientific journals, but where precisely, are evolution’s equations? Where, precisely, has macro-evolution been done in a lab (in the sense that nature didn’t ‘fight back’ when you were done meddling and revert to the original species). I’m open minded enough to check into this if you’ll provide me with hard science instead of just giving me whatever currently passes for ‘popular consensus’.
...
I enjoy pure, objective science. A shame so few in the biology field practice it anymore.


Since such rarefied genius is hard to find, I'm inviting him to make his creationist arguments right mheah.

   
Occam's Aftershave



Posts: 1773
Joined: Feb. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 14 2006,18:54   

This just in: Vegas giving 3 to 2 odds that he's ex-Air Force, or at least a pilot.   ;)

--------------
"Science is what got us to the humble place we’re at, and what hard-won progress we might realize comes from science, with ID completely flaccid, religious apologetics bitching from the sidelines." - Eigenstate at UD

  
Richardthughes



Posts: 10756
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 14 2006,18:56   

I'll see your "pilot" and raise you "engineer".

--------------
"Richardthughes, you magnificent bastard, I stand in awe of you..." : Arden Chatfield
"You magnificent bastard! " : Louis
"ATBC poster child", "I have to agree with Rich.." : DaveTard
"I bow to your superior skills" : deadman_932
"...it was Richardthughes making me lie in bed.." : Kristine

  
stevestory



Posts: 10127
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: June 14 2006,18:57   

I'm giving 5/2 he's an engineer.

   
rmagruder



Posts: 20
Joined: June 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 14 2006,18:59   

That was a pretty classless thing to do.

I made an argument on another board and you proceed to paste it here -- without my permission -- dripping with sarcasm, put my full name in the subject (thus making it personal rather than a discussion about a SUBJECT), on a clearly hostile board, and basically say to the people here "sic im'.

Yeah, I'm going to take THAT bait.  

But thanks for showing me how you operate.  Lesson learned.

Randy

  
Richardthughes



Posts: 10756
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 14 2006,19:04   

Yes.. fancy using words from a public message board. Shame on you, Steve!


Randy.. at least please tell us about the insights engineering gives you, before you return to your thread derailing?

--------------
"Richardthughes, you magnificent bastard, I stand in awe of you..." : Arden Chatfield
"You magnificent bastard! " : Louis
"ATBC poster child", "I have to agree with Rich.." : DaveTard
"I bow to your superior skills" : deadman_932
"...it was Richardthughes making me lie in bed.." : Kristine

  
stevestory



Posts: 10127
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: June 14 2006,19:05   

Randy, the point of this site is for the people of Panda's Thumb to have discussions which don't exactly relate to the ones on Panda's Thumb. That's why it was started and maintained by the same people who do PT. It's not just some 'other board'.

   
Richardthughes



Posts: 10756
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 14 2006,19:07   

It does in fact say "from the panda's thumb" on here somewhere.

--------------
"Richardthughes, you magnificent bastard, I stand in awe of you..." : Arden Chatfield
"You magnificent bastard! " : Louis
"ATBC poster child", "I have to agree with Rich.." : DaveTard
"I bow to your superior skills" : deadman_932
"...it was Richardthughes making me lie in bed.." : Kristine

  
stevestory



Posts: 10127
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: June 14 2006,19:12   

Awww, he's chickening out.

Quote
Comment #105767

Posted by Randy Magruder on June 15, 2006 12:10 AM (e) | kill

I can see how this thread could just get started going in circles.

I could respond to your long answer with my long answer, to which you could respond to your long answer….ad infinitum.

Any chance we’ll meet anywhere reasonable? Or will it just degenerate into a flame war with personal invective? I’m all too aware that I’m on enemy territory and highly outnumbered. I’m not sure what madness possessed me to write in here in the first place. I guess I sometimes forget that this is not a subject that can be discussed without a lot of name calling going on.

I’ve been on this trip before. Especially when a discussion is done in a public forum, it turns into a giant pissing contest becuase no one wants to be seen as backing down.

Nonetheless, it’s late and I’m tired. I shouldn’t have posted here at all. If you think that my unwillingness to let this thread get even further out of control is a sign of cowardice, think what you will. I’ve already had my name plastered on a topic in another forum without my consent or permission, with basically the invitation sent out to the natives to go ahead and attack me there (and it’s already beginning). I’m not taking the bait there, either.

I can see that this is how you respond to anyone questioning you…and that’s a shame. Hardly worthy of associating the word ‘science’ with any of this. It’s nothing but personal invective.

Randy


http://www.pandasthumb.org/archive....-105767

What a shame.

   
Richardthughes



Posts: 10756
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 14 2006,19:17   

*sigh*


Maybe he has an early flight / preflight check tomorrow. :(

--------------
"Richardthughes, you magnificent bastard, I stand in awe of you..." : Arden Chatfield
"You magnificent bastard! " : Louis
"ATBC poster child", "I have to agree with Rich.." : DaveTard
"I bow to your superior skills" : deadman_932
"...it was Richardthughes making me lie in bed.." : Kristine

  
rmagruder



Posts: 20
Joined: June 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 14 2006,19:17   

My final post:

As I just joined this forum, and got a copy of the board rules, which say:

"Messages which insult or attack an individual are not appropriate. As those messages should be regarded as inappropriate, it is also inappropriate to follow up such a message with a reply. Use email for such correspondence, or to register a complaint with the moderator(s). "

This thread was personal from its conception, and I'm not going to feed it anymore.  

bye all.

Randy

  
stevestory



Posts: 10127
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: June 14 2006,19:20   

Well, if you think you can make a scientific case, we'll be here.

   
Occam's Aftershave



Posts: 1773
Joined: Feb. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 14 2006,19:21   

Bye Randy, it was 'real'.  Don't let the door knob hit you in the ass on the way out.

--------------
"Science is what got us to the humble place we’re at, and what hard-won progress we might realize comes from science, with ID completely flaccid, religious apologetics bitching from the sidelines." - Eigenstate at UD

  
stevestory



Posts: 10127
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: June 14 2006,19:23   

Personal attack?!?! I called this Randy Magruder Destroys Evolution. You could at least destroy it. You made a liar out of me, Randy.

My reputation will take a serious hit.

   
blipey



Posts: 2061
Joined: June 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 14 2006,19:29   

Don't worry Steve, your ability to successfully read an entire first- and surname, and bring it whole to another forum will soon be the stuff of legend.  We will chant your name for generations to come...if you give us permission, that is.  :O

--------------
But I get the trick question- there isn't any such thing as one molecule of water. -JoeG

And scientists rarely test theories. -Gary Gaulin

   
Ichthyic



Posts: 3325
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 14 2006,19:31   

Quote
It’s great how you guys prove Ann had you guys pegged. Darwinism *is* the Catholic Church of the 21st century. Either subscribe to it’s laughable concept of science (I particularly love the attempts to equate evolution with gravity), or be subjected to a witch hunt.


not much of a witchunter, is he?

I saw more of the  "you guys are big meanies, so just shut up!" argument than I did any of the so called wonderful arguments from Coulter that Randy seems so hot about.

Randy:

If you think Coulter gives you wet dreams, you're welcome to explain why here.  Nobody is stopping you, but we all think you're simply afraid to see the truth.

why is that?

what do you have to be afraid of, but literally fear itself?

Witchhunters are supposed to track down magic users, aren't they?

come back and we'll show you who is really putting on the magic show.

--------------
"And the sea will grant each man new hope..."

-CC

  
stevestory



Posts: 10127
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: June 14 2006,19:32   

Quote
Don't worry Steve, your ability to successfully read an entire first- and surname, and bring it whole to another forum will soon be the stuff of legend.  We will chant your name for generations to come...if you give us permission, that is.


I give you permission to leave. -dt

   
Aardvark



Posts: 134
Joined: Feb. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 14 2006,19:34   

Don't be sad for our friend Randy.  I'm sure our comrades over at UD will give a nice big snuggly welcome.  Maybe even posting rights in the near future?

:p

  
Richardthughes



Posts: 10756
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 14 2006,20:09   

My next album will be called:

"Randy Magruder Destroys Evolution"

--------------
"Richardthughes, you magnificent bastard, I stand in awe of you..." : Arden Chatfield
"You magnificent bastard! " : Louis
"ATBC poster child", "I have to agree with Rich.." : DaveTard
"I bow to your superior skills" : deadman_932
"...it was Richardthughes making me lie in bed.." : Kristine

  
guthrie



Posts: 696
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,01:49   

Judging by his recognition that he is in enemy territory, and outnumbered, perhaps he might like to nominate neutral territory somewhere?  

After all, we all want to know why his definition of science is so narrow as to exclude nearly as much science as a creationist.  
Indeed, I would like him to explain why all other religions have trouble producing scientific evidence to back up their claims, whereas evolutionary biology does not.

  
guthrie



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Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,01:57   

"Brave sir Robin..."

  
Flint



Posts: 478
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,02:55   

The thread title is a misnomer. As far as I can tell, Magruder hasn't the first clue what evolution is. He doesn't destroy it, he's not in the right time zone.

But hey, it's a rare individual who both understands AND rejects evolution. Maybe Kurt Wise comprises that entire set. And Kurt Wise doesn't try to rationalize his rejection by misrepresenting or distorting evolution and then attacking the straw man. He upfront admits that evolution is far and away the best possible explanation for the currently available evidence - but evidence is not relevant.

Randy doesn't seem to do either of these. No misrepresentation, no reliance on faith. His technique is to take potshots and then act insulted. Maybe he just finished reading "Rejecting the Uncomfortable, for the Complete Idiot."

  
Wesley R. Elsberry



Posts: 4807
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,04:02   

Randy does have a point about the topic title. Fixed that. I would appreciate somewhat more decorum, too, in the comments.

On the other hand, I see no merit in the notion that things offered for public discussion should be off-limits for comment elsewhere.

--------------
"You can't teach an old dogma new tricks." - Dorothy Parker

    
Renier



Posts: 276
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,04:15   

hhmmm. I think this Randy bloke might be bit smarter than Afdave. I mean, Afdave came here claiming he will destroy evolution. The only thing he DID destroy was his reputation, if he had any. Another reason I think Randy is smarter than Afdave is that if Randy had ANYTHING he thought he could "destroy" evolution with, he would still be here spilling the beans and slaying the evil minions with his holy words. On the other hand, Afdave thought his holy words would do the slaying, and are still trying to figure out what went wrong, because he must have been sure that God told him to oppose us in here. However, I am sure Afdave came to the conclusion that we are all lost to salvation, else we would have heeded his Godly words.

In the end, we must be suckers, because we are still waiting on Afdave to produce his evidence, although I think Afdave actually meant "faith" and not evidence. It's was just a little typo but he is too proud to admit it.

Come back here Randy and show us what you got. Are you afraid? We promise we will not call anyone who is not an idiot, an idiot. Deal? Don't be scared, we don't bite, although RGD might have fangs :p

  
Renier



Posts: 276
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,04:21   

Quote
Don't be sad for our friend Randy.  I'm sure our comrades over at UD will give a nice big snuggly welcome.  Maybe even posting rights in the near future?


Yeah, untill DaveScot feels slighted and threatens to pay him a personal visit and beat him up, just like DaveScot  threatend to do to JAD.

I'll beat you up on your way outta here! - dt

  
stevestory



Posts: 10127
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,04:21   

Quote
Randy does have a point about the topic title. Fixed that. I would appreciate somewhat more decorum, too, in the comments.


But I was sure he was going to destroy evolution.

Every day brings us closer to our Overdue Waterloo, Wes.

:-)

   
rmagruder



Posts: 20
Joined: June 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,04:28   

okay, I glanced at the messages here ...

I did pick up the topic title change.  Thanks.

As far as whether its okay to move someone's comments from one board to another and effectively say 'let's fight'....

the problem is one of multiple fronts.  Let's say I took someone's post, copied it, pasted the guy's name and quote on every forum I could, and challenged him on all those forums.  Now anyone (at least, anyone with a life), is not going to be able to go to every forum where he's been quoted and challenged and put his dukes.... so the people on those forums say "Ha! Whattsa matta??? Too CHICKEN?!".  You're basically saying: "You not only have to continue THIS thread, but I've challenged you over on THIS thread, too...."  You win by swarming, no other reason.

The way this topic was set up was akin to being directed down a dark alley and "pay no attention to the men with the brick bats".  And then if I don't wander in, I get to be called names.  Well, from what I can see, the insults would be coming either way.  If I come in and chat, I get insults.  If I don't come in and chat, I get.....insults.

So what do I possibly have to gain from being here?  Zip.

Now, if we're past all that, and someone wants to actually make the topic of discussion the evidence for and against evolution that's certainly great news.  If *I* am to be the topic of discussion, then I'm not going to waste my time.

Randy

  
rmagruder



Posts: 20
Joined: June 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,04:30   

one more thing - I do have a day job...so I may not respond til this evening...don't read anything into that please.

Randy

  
JMX



Posts: 27
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,04:31   

So then, what's "your evidence"?

  
Renier



Posts: 276
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,04:36   

Well Randy, it's not THAT bad being called names. Overall, I think there is good humour in here.

Quote
Now, if we're past all that, and someone wants to actually make the topic of discussion the evidence for and against evolution that's certainly great news.  If *I* am to be the topic of discussion, then I'm not going to waste my time.


Well, you aqre a free man in here, and can even open a topic yourself! My I suggest for starters, you evidence against evolution. The evidence for evolution is a lot longer discussion, and could be the main course.

Also, take note. We want evidence. Not faith, not hand waiving, not quote mining. If you are honest about this, then please, feel free and fire away.

  
GCT



Posts: 1001
Joined: Aug. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,04:38   

Quote (rmagruder @ June 15 2006,09:28)
Now, if we're past all that, and someone wants to actually make the topic of discussion the evidence for and against evolution that's certainly great news.  If *I* am to be the topic of discussion, then I'm not going to waste my time.

You have that ability.  Anyone can start a thread.

  
rmagruder



Posts: 20
Joined: June 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,04:52   

Let me get this straight.

I counted more than 10 different people responding to this thread.  So basically for every post I make, there's going to be a large amount of piling on, and I'm going to have to respond to each and every one. (And that's assuming no one else joins the dogpile, right?)

I did, by the way, follow the link to the whole AFDave thread and now I see where the engineer and pilot insults came from -- I didn't know where that was coming from until I followed the link.  

So just how crazy do I have to be to mix it up with you guys when every bullet I fire is going to be answered with a hailstorm of gunfire?

Hmmm  I've got to decide whether I actually care enough about this subject to do this...

Randy

  
stevestory



Posts: 10127
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,04:53   

Quote
okay, I glanced at the messages here ...

I did pick up the topic title change.  Thanks.

As far as whether its okay to move someone's comments from one board to another and effectively say 'let's fight'....

the problem is one of multiple fronts.  Let's say I took someone's post, copied it, pasted the guy's name and quote on every forum I could, and challenged him on all those forums.  Now anyone (at least, anyone with a life), is not going to be able to go to every forum where he's been quoted and challenged and put his dukes.... so the people on those forums say "Ha! Whattsa matta??? Too CHICKEN?!".  You're basically saying: "You not only have to continue THIS thread, but I've challenged you over on THIS thread, too...."  You win by swarming, no other reason.

The purpose of ATBC is for PT people to chat about off-topic threads. You're not seeming to get that. I guessed that since much of the content in your posts were not directly about Ann Coulter being on tv, yours would get moved to the off-topic section here. It was just a guess. There's no consistent behavior. Some PT authors move comments, some let anything go.
Quote

The way this topic was set up was akin to being directed down a dark alley and "pay no attention to the men with the brick bats".  And then if I don't wander in, I get to be called names.  Well, from what I can see, the insults would be coming either way.  If I come in and chat, I get insults.  If I don't come in and chat, I get.....insults.
You started with the insults from the beginning. "laughable concept of science" sound familiar? Start making some detailed scientific claims and we'll argue those. If you want to sit around and trade insults, there are people here who will oblige that too.
Quote


So what do I possibly have to gain from being here?  Zip.

Now, if we're past all that, and someone wants to actually make the topic of discussion the evidence for and against evolution that's certainly great news.  If *I* am to be the topic of discussion, then I'm not going to waste my time.

Randy

Start making some scientific arguments and we'll be off to the races.

   
rmagruder



Posts: 20
Joined: June 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,05:15   

Yeah, I will admit I started off defensive, mainly because as I read the thread regarding Ann, all I saw were insults not so much aimed at her, but anyone who might agree with her.

I have the all too common weakness of sometimes diving into the mud myself when I feel attacked.

I shouldn't.  I know I shouldn't.  And yet sometimes I still do.    It's that pesky thing called emotion that kicks in some times when you feel that people are dealing with differences by simply dismissing anyone who disagrees with them as clueless, scientifically stupid, etc, and effectively including you in that group which is so beneath contempt.  What can I say, get me in the right mood, I'm easily baited.  It was also around midnight and I was tired, so there you have it - recipe for gettin' a little hostile.

The main difference, I guess, is that the thing just turned into a dogpile...and having to fend off a dozen different people all hurling insults is a losing proposition.

Let me also clarify a big misunderstanding from the outset.  I expressed my opinion in the other thread, gave an example of something I don't agree with (the gravity = evolution thing), and this was construed as "hey he wants to destroy evolution - let's give him a thread and let him go at it").  I never said I wanted to enter a long drawn out debate on every scientific front by a dozen or so opponents who have demonstrated on several occassions that they are interested in nothing more than a public lynching.

I did not move the thread here and start a topic, and I did not indicate a desire to get into an involved debate.  All of this was ASSUMED, and now I can see that any attempt by me to say "whoa" is going to be met by "see he wanted a fight and now he got cold feet".  

So, I'll tolerate the inevitable cheap shots that are on the way for saying I don't particularly want to go down this road right now.  

If we can get past that for a moment, I am ALWAYS interested in reading literature that disagrees with what I think.  The biggest problem, as a working parent, is time.  So, I'd be interested in hearing recommendations on books that you guys currently deem to be your best summary of evidence for evolution.  Preferably up to date, preferably not loaded with ad hominen attacks.  Just plain and simple: "here's our case for evolution".  I don't mind buying a few books from amazon and doing some reading to catch up with what's currently popular in these circles.

If I have questions or comments, I certainly know where to come for my abuse...

Thanks,

Randy

  
Arden Chatfield



Posts: 6657
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,05:21   

Sounds to me like you have no evidence and can't prove anything, and so now you're complaining of being 'persecuted', and trying to back out by copping an attitude that you're the only 'mature' one. That pretty much describe it?

--------------
"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  
rmagruder



Posts: 20
Joined: June 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,05:23   

Cheap shot #1.  noted.

My money is on at least 3 shots before someone actually moves on and gives me some good book recommendations.

Takers?

Randy

  
JMX



Posts: 27
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,05:30   

Ernst Mayr - This is Evolution What Evolution Is

You lost  :D

edit: Got the title wrong (probably because I read it in German), thx for the heads-up.

  
Flint



Posts: 478
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,05:31   

Don't take this as an insult, but your grasp of what evolution IS sounds questionable. Whether you intend this or not, you come across as someone who "knows" evolution is wrong without feeling the need to understand what it is.

So you might wish to start with Ernst Mayr's "What Evolution Is", a book that's reasonably short, clear, and accessible to the layman.

Incidentally, what bothers people about Coulter is that her claims are largely incorrect, dishonest, misleading, and buried in an agenda so divorced from how science works as to be nearly impenetrable. As is true of many if not most of her persuasion, her arguments aren't based on the evidence; instead, evidence is fabricated or twisted as necessary to fit religious doctrine. That may satisfy Coulter's soul, but it's not science.

  
Arden Chatfield



Posts: 6657
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,05:33   

Quote (rmagruder @ June 15 2006,10:23)
Cheap shot #1.  noted.

My money is on at least 3 shots before someone actually moves on and gives me some good book recommendations.

Takers?

Randy

I'll take that as a 'yes'.

Seriously, do you actually have any proof, or are we 'abusing' you by asking that?

You seem to dislike evolution an awful lot, and yet so far you've shown no real knowledge of it, and spend all your time compensating for this by insulting scientists, as tho this will hide your ignorance. In fact, the only 'counterevidence' to evolution I've seen from you is "Piltdown man was wrong, therefore evolution is wrong!"

If all you're going to do here is whine about how awful scientists are and how mean people are to Ann Coulter, it's going to get old fast.

If you're not in fact as ignorant as you seem, I would invite you to show it. And insulting 'evolutionists' won't accomplish that.

--------------
"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  
Alan Fox



Posts: 1391
Joined: Aug. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,05:35   

Try "The Ancestor's Tale" by Richard Dawkins. You can skip the ad hominem arguments if you find any. I didn't notice any, myself.

  
Chris Hyland



Posts: 705
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,05:37   

Quote
So, I'd be interested in hearing recommendations on books that you guys currently deem to be your best summary of evidence for evolution.  Preferably up to date
Unfortuantely books tend not to be that up to date on the current evidence as the field moves quite fast. Im told What Evolution Is by Ernst Mayr is pretty good.

Regarding comparing evolution to gravity I think in many ways the comparison is pretty solid. The theory of gravity is not a theory that things will fall, it is the theory that trys to explain the forces that cause them to fall. Similarly the theory of evolution trys to explain the diversity of life. We cant really 'see' gravity so we make predicitons to test our theory, just like evolution.

  
rmagruder



Posts: 20
Joined: June 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,05:44   

You're right.  I still got the 3, but not all before the book recommendation! Point conceded.

The attempts to bait me into 'opening the door' and demonstrating that I know what evolution is are being resisted on purpose.  Because I recognize a gravity well when I get near one.  As soon as I get started, I'll get suctioned in (much as I already have....I really MUST get some work done today! ARGH!;).  

Anyway, I'll look into getting "What Evolution Is".  As far as Dawkins book...he's a pretty big lightning rod in this debate.  Do the majority of you guys consider him to be the best authority?

Randy

  
Wesley R. Elsberry



Posts: 4807
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,05:45   

Douglas Futuyma's college textbook, "Evolutionary Biology", is likely the way to go for a summary.

--------------
"You can't teach an old dogma new tricks." - Dorothy Parker

    
rmagruder



Posts: 20
Joined: June 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,05:50   

Gads...is it PRICED like a textbook? (bad memories of college bookstore shopping...ouch).

Randy

  
stevestory



Posts: 10127
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,05:53   

In terms of subfields of evolution, this book about the relatively new science of evo-devo is good: Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of Evo Devo and the Making of the Animal Kingdom

http://www.amazon.com/gp....=283155

The Mayr book is highly recommended.

Here's a long list by biologist PZ Myers. Pick one or two of the more general ones, would be my suggestion:

   
Quote
For the grown-up layman:

Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of Evo Devo and the Making of the Animal Kingdom(amzn/b&n/abe/pwll). Sean Carroll. A phenomenal book; if there's one book you should pick up for an introduction to evo-devo, this is the one.

Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters(amzn/b&n/abe/pwll). Matt Ridley. Orac says, "It's a downright poetic look at each of the 23 chromosomes and what sorts of biological and disease processes genes from each of them are involved in, along with a nice dollop of evolution of the genome."

Finding Darwin's God: A Scientist's Search for Common Ground Between God and Evolution(amzn/b&n/abe/pwll). Kenneth Miller. Danny Boy says, "A Christian debunks creationism and shows how evolution can be compatible with Christianity."

Charles Darwin: Voyaging(amzn/b&n/abe/pwll) and Charles Darwin : The Power of Place(amzn/b&n/abe/pwll). Janet Browne. This is the best biography of Darwin out there.

Science As a Way of Knowing: The Foundations of Modern Biology(amzn/b&n/abe/pwll). John A. Moore. This is part history book, part philosophy of science book; if you know someone who doesn't understand the scientific method, this one will straighten him out.

The Darwin Wars(amzn/b&n/abe/pwll). Andrew Brown. Much as we aspire to the pure search for knowledge, scientists can be testy and political and vicious, too—this is a study of the sociology of evolutionary biology.

Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea(amzn/b&n/abe/pwll). Carl Zimmer. If you want a general survey of the history and ideas of evolutionary biology that isn't written like a textbook, this is the one you want.

At the Water's Edge: Fish With Fingers, Whales With Legs, and How Life Came Ashore but Then Went Back to Sea(amzn/b&n/abe/pwll). Carl Zimmer. The focus in this one is on macroevolution of tetrapods and cetaceans. Excellently written, with a very thorough overview of the evidence.

Trilobite: Eyewitness to Evolution(amzn/b&n/abe/pwll). Richard Fortey. Everything you need to know about the basics of trilobytes, with a chatty and often amusing introduction to the world of paleontologists.

The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in Our Time(amzn/b&n/abe/pwll). Jonathan Weiner. A Pulitzer-winning account of the work of Peter and Rosemary Grant in documenting the evolutionary changes occurring in Darwin's finches in the Galapagos right now.

Taking Wing: Archaeopteryx and the evolution of bird flight(amzn/b&n/abe/pwll). Pat Shipman. Chris Clarke says, "an excellent and readable treatment of current thinking at printing on bird evolution and the evolution of that instance of powered flight."

The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design(amzn/b&n/abe/pwll). Richard Dawkins. Mrs Tilton says, "both as a general explanation of evolution and as a particular refutation of what has come to be known as intelligent design."

The Ancestor's Tale : A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution(amzn/b&n/abe/pwll). Richard Dawkins. A step-by-step account of human evolution, working backwards through time.

What Evolution Is(amzn/b&n/abe/pwll). Ernst Mayr. A survey of the theory by an opinionated master.

Evolutionary Biology(amzn/b&n/abe/pwll). Douglas J. Futuyma. If you don't mind reading a textbook, this is one of the best and most popular texts on the subject.

An Introduction to Biological Evolution(amzn/b&n/abe/pwll). Kenneth Kardong. Another textbook, but less weighty and less expensive then Futuyma's; a book I'd use in a freshman non-majors course.

For the more advanced/specialized reader:

From So Simple a Beginning: Darwin's Four Great Books (Voyage of the H.M.S. Beagle, The Origin of Species, The Descent of Man, The Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals) (amzn/b&n/abe/pwll). Charles Darwin, Edward O. Wilson (Editor). I've read these books, but I don't own this edition…so this is one I'll be hinting to my wife might make a nice present. It collects the four in one volume, with introductions by Wilson, so if every you've wanted these seminal works for your bookshelf, here they are in an inexpensive edition.

On Growth and Form(amzn/b&n/abe/pwll). D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson. I'm afraid no developmental biologist can list important books without mentioning this one.

From DNA to Diversity: Molecular Genetics and the Evolution of Animal Design(amzn/b&n/abe/pwll). Sean B. Carroll, Jennifer K. Grenier, Scott D. Weatherbee. Like it says…molecular genetics, evolution, developmental biology. A good textbook describing the new cutting edge of evolutionary biology.

Shaking the Tree : Readings from Nature in the History of Life(amzn/b&n/abe/pwll). Henry Gee. GirlScientist says, "This is a collection of scientific papers that were influential in the field for one reason or another." (I don't think she intended that her recommendation come out sounding so tepid.)

Extinction: Bad Genes or Bad Luck?(amzn/b&n/abe/pwll). David M. Raup. A little statistics, a lot of paleontology, a good introduction to how we try to puzzle out what the world was like from a sparse data set.

The Structure of Evolutionary Theory(amzn/b&n/abe/pwll). Stephen J. Gould. Massive. Indulgently written. But full of interesting ideas.

Developmental Plasticity and Evolution(amzn/b&n/abe/pwll). Mary Jane West-Eberhard. Also massive. If you're already comfortable with the conventional perspective on evolutionary theory, though, this one twists it around and comes at it from the point of view of a developmental biologist.

Biased Embryos and Evolution(amzn/b&n/abe/pwll). Wallace Arthur. A slim and readable book about evo-devo.

The Triple Helix: Gene, Organism, and Environment(amzn/b&n/abe/pwll). Richard Lewontin. A slender book that lucidly summarizes the non-reductionist position on modern biology; it's a call for greater breadth in science.

The Shape of Life : Genes, Development, and the Evolution of Animal Form(amzn/b&n/abe/pwll). Rudy Raff. Hardcore evo-devo. A little out of date, but very influential.

If you want to know what I think the most appropriate book for you would be from that list, I'd say it's definitely Futuyma's textbook Evolutionary Biology.

   
improvius



Posts: 807
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,05:56   

Quote
You're right.  I still got the 3, but not all before the book recommendation! Point conceded.


Curious - what exactly did you perceive as a "cheap shot" by either Wesley, Chris, Alan, Flint, or JMX?

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Quote (afdave @ Oct. 02 2006,18:37)
Many Jews were in comfortable oblivion about Hitler ... until it was too late.
Many scientists will persist in comfortable oblivion about their Creator ... until it is too late.

  
stevestory



Posts: 10127
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,05:57   

Yeah, it's priced like a textbook, but you can find used copies. Here's one for $52

http://www.amazon.com/gp....on=used

and I bet if you look you can find maybe a slightly older edition for like $20 or so

   
ericmurphy



Posts: 2460
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,05:58   

Quote (Renier @ June 15 2006,09:36)
Well, you aqre a free man in here, and can even open a topic yourself! My I suggest for starters, your evidence against evolution. The evidence for evolution is a lot longer discussion, and could be the main course.

I have a better idea: how about evidence for creationism? I realize that might be an extremely short thread, but since AF Dave shows no sign of admitting defeat yet, we'll still have plenty of material from creationists to respond to.

--------------
2006 MVD award for most dogged defense of scientific sanity

"Atheism is a religion the same way NOT collecting stamps is a hobby." —Scott Adams

  
Faid



Posts: 1143
Joined: Mar. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,06:02   

Quote (rmagruder @ June 15 2006,09:52)
So just how crazy do I have to be to mix it up with you guys when every bullet I fire is going to be answered with a hailstorm of gunfire?

How crazy, I dunno- Do you intend to scientifically prove that the Earth is 6000 years old?  :)

 
Quote
The attempts to bait me into 'opening the door' and demonstrating that I know what evolution is are being resisted on purpose.  Because I recognize a gravity well when I get near one.  As soon as I get started, I'll get suctioned in (much as I already have....I really MUST get some work done today! ARGH!.


I see... OK, that's understandable. Unlike W.A.Dembski, you seem to have a life; so it's normal to hesitate to "match our pathetic level of detail" (WAD's words).
But you could, you know, give us a small summary of what you think is wrong with the way ToE explains the diversity of life, and we could talk about that? Just a thought.

Anyway, you've seen afdave, and you've seen sceptic's posts, so I guess you must know by now exactly what's frowned upon here...

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A look into DAVE HAWKINS' sense of honesty:

"The truth is that ALL mutations REDUCE information"

"...mutations can add information to a genome.  And remember, I have never said that this is not possible."

  
rmagruder



Posts: 20
Joined: June 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,06:04   

Cheap shot (and I should know because I'm guilty of taking them myself, as has been pointed out), is trying to assume you understand my motives, draw perjorative conclusions from such, use words I didn't use, etc.  There's no redeeming value in that kind of post.  So yeah, I'd say the attempts to make the topic a referendum on ME and what a backward hick I must be not to agree with you....is pretty cheap.

But again, struggling to move on...

I added Ernst's book to my amazon cart.  Here's another question. This one should challenge you.

What is the best book you've ever read that CHALLENGES  the validity of evolution?  It's pretty easy to say "Oh that Behe, he's just a pseudoscientist (does that mean he got a 'pseudo-degree' in biochemistry? <G>)', etc etc.  So, have you ever read a book that you feel did a good job in challenging the theory of evolution?  Or are you convinced that there is no such scientist, no such book, and that it's just a bunch religious zealots trying to push creation into the classroom?  I'd be interested in seeing where YOU think the theory has been most capably challenged, and by whom?

Randy

  
stevestory



Posts: 10127
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,06:06   

We at least have to credit rm for being willing to read some books. That's more effort than many creationists are willing to give. Remember how AFDave came in here? "Prove evolution to me in 5 sentences in your own words." Followed by 65 pages of "Nuh uh"s.

Quote
What is the best book you've ever read that CHALLENGES  the validity of evolution?  It's pretty easy to say "Oh that Behe, he's just a pseudoscientist (does that mean he got a 'pseudo-degree' in biochemistry? <G>)', etc etc.  So, have you ever read a book that you feel did a good job in challenging the theory of evolution?  Or are you convinced that there is no such scientist, no such book, and that it's just a bunch religious zealots trying to push creation into the classroom?  I'd be interested in seeing where YOU think the theory has been most capably challenged, and by whom?

Randy


The scientific literature is where evolution gets seriously challenged. There are two things. There's the fact of evolution, which is the phenomena that we've overwhelmingly witnessed, and there's the theory of evolution, which is an evolving model which explains the fact. Since you mentioned gravity earlier, I'll explain in those terms. There's the fact of gravity--planets moving in orbits, books falling when you drop them, all the measurements pertaining to those phenomena. Then there's the theory of gravity, which used to be F=G(m1)(m2)r / r^2, and is now Einstein's general relativity, but still the first part for most common uses. Just as scientists argue about how to further adapt the theory of gravity to explain the fact of gravity, scientists argue about how to adapt the theory of evolution to explain the fact of evolution. So if you look in all the journals of evolutionary biology, you'll find people arguing for modifications of evolutionary theory, people saying this or that kind of speciation is more important, or just how important sexual selection is, or what the constraints are on protein function. These are all attacks on evolution, in the sense that they seek to alter the theory in some way, which is to say, they argue that the current theory is defective in some way.

As far as if you mean, what's the best case that evolution does not exist, you won't find anybody making a decent case for that, in the same way you won't find anybody making a decent case for gravity not existing.

   
Arden Chatfield



Posts: 6657
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,06:09   

Quote (rmagruder @ June 15 2006,11:04)
What is the best book you've ever read that CHALLENGES  the validity of evolution?  It's pretty easy to say "Oh that Behe, he's just a pseudoscientist (does that mean he got a 'pseudo-degree' in biochemistry? <G>)', etc etc.  So, have you ever read a book that you feel did a good job in challenging the theory of evolution?  Or are you convinced that there is no such scientist, no such book, and that it's just a bunch religious zealots trying to push creation into the classroom?  I'd be interested in seeing where YOU think the theory has been most capably challenged, and by whom?

I dunno, this paragraph makes it look like he's already backpedalling on his offer to actually read any real science books.

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"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  
JMX



Posts: 27
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,06:16   

Randy, you'll need to have at least some basic understanding of evolution before you can assess any criticism thereof.

Like Miles Davis said (I paraphrase): "You gotta know the rules before you can break 'em"

So read at least one of the recommended books and then you can go for the "controversy".

Babysteps, y'know?

  
Flint



Posts: 478
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,06:19   

Quote
So, have you ever read a book that you feel did a good job in challenging the theory of evolution?  Or are you convinced that there is no such scientist, no such book, and that it's just a bunch religious zealots trying to push creation into the classroom?  I'd be interested in seeing where YOU think the theory has been most capably challenged, and by whom?

Well, I'll take a crack at this, because it's chock full of questionable assumptions and can't be answered directly.

The fact of evolution (that life forms change over time for some reason) is not subject to rational debate. It happens. The *theory* of evolution, which proposes testable mechanisms by which such changes occur, is pretty well nailed down in large-scale terms, which is to be expected after tens of thousands of scientists have been adding mountains of corroborating evidence over 150 years or so. So when you speak of challenges to this or any other well-established scientific theory (and evolution is probably the most solid, best-attested theory science has ever produced), hopefully you aren't talking about challenges to the fact of evolution itself. Life forms DO change over time. The theory is only concerned with how and why this happens.

And as with any scientific theory, there are always items of debate at the forefront. With respect to evolutionary theory, there are quite a few. How important is genetic drift? Are mutations always random with respect to fitness? Does selection happen at levels above (species) or below (cells) the level of the organism? I'm not a biologist; I'm sure someone more knowledgeable can add to this list a great deal.

But note that such debates and targets of current research are not creationist-class broadsides against the fact of evolution. If that's what you're asking for, sorry, evolution is as established as gravity. There is no longer any informed debate about this. There is a great deal of debate at the margin, about the details of the mechanisms. Which is what you'd expect of such a mature theory.

  
rmagruder



Posts: 20
Joined: June 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,06:20   

>> How crazy, I dunno- Do you intend to scientifically prove that the Earth is 6000 years old?  :)

Okay, so just to try to make sure I'm not stereotyped, I'll just summarize my position:

Yes, I'm a creationist, and by creationist I mean that I believe the universe was brought into being by a divine intelligence.  Do I believe that the earth is 6,000 years old?  I tend not to.  I've become fairly satisfied that the time scales are much, much greater.  Exactly how long, I'm not sure (and I think the degree of exactitude anyone can reach drops the further you go back).  

Do I believe that evolution could have happened under divine guidance?  I believe it's the only way evolution COULD have happened, at least if we are to bet on the odds and what we know about nature.  I do not believe that naturalistic forces alone can get life from non-life, nor do I believe that random mutations get us from chemical soup to sentient beings.  I think the odds are just too long.  There are basically two issues in play for me.  1) That evolution could happen and 2) That it did happen.  

I'd also like to hear whether people feel that a scientific theory can be disproven in order to make it legitimate science.  Can evolution be disproven (even theoretically).  What would it take to disprove it?  What would it take to actually change anyone's mind about it?

I don't claim to have all the answers.  I write software for a living, and my thinking TENDS to be logical (note I didn't say ALWAYS...I'm human, too).  My educational background is in physics and chemistry in college.  (I love numbers <G>).

So there you are.  I'm not thumping Genesis in anyone's face.  Just consider me a skeptic who reads a lot.  Regarding Ann's book, I tend to read her stuff more for political than scientific content.  I also agree she crosses lines that I would not cross.  I found her book interesting mainly because it led me to jump to the footnotes on events and issues I had not been following, then go read about them.  For example, in the case of the Dawkins eye simulation, I read what she cited, then read Dawkins' rebuttal, the scientists' responses, etc.  "Quote mining" as you call it, to me is just a pointer to go check somethng out.  I don't mind it.  As long as it's in context (and all sides like to yank them out of context to buttress their arguments).    Given the constraints on my time, I find it rather nice to be able to go to talkorigins.org, wikipedia, and various online resources to read up on the issues in question.    

So no, I'm not here to 'disprove' evolution.  I'm not here to attack people who believe it.  I'm here because I want to catch up on some reading, see what the current best arguments are, ask some questions, and see what's going on.  I don't have the time or energy to get sucked into the name-calling quagmire...so I'm trying hard to get out of that.

Randy

  
Rilke's Granddaughter



Posts: 311
Joined: Jan. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,06:20   

Randy said,
Quote
What is the best book you've ever read that CHALLENGES  the validity of evolution?
I have yet to read a book that actually challenges evolution using real data and sound arguments.  I have read pretty much everything the ID advocates have published, and a bunch of old 'creation science' works (such as the Genesis Flood).
Quote
It's pretty easy to say "Oh that Behe, he's just a pseudoscientist (does that mean he got a 'pseudo-degree' in biochemistry? <G>)', etc etc.
Except that we do not do that.  Behe's work has been rejected because the arguments are poor and inadequate, not because we feel that Behe has an agenda.  We recognize that the existence of an agenda on Behe's part may, to some extent, explain the nature of his arguments, but we are not engaged in ad hominems.  If you read our responses to AFDave, you will note that our initial response was to deal with his arguments (or lack thereof).  It was only when he demonstrated that he was incapable of understanding or reacting to criticism that we found him amusing.
Quote
So, have you ever read a book that you feel did a good job in challenging the theory of evolution?
No.  See above.[/quote]Or are you convinced that there is no such scientist, no such book, and that it's just a bunch religious zealots trying to push creation into the classroom?[/quote] You have now offered a false dichotomy; simply because I have not seen any valid counter-arguments does not mean that I am convinced that someone could not present one.  Just that I've never seen one.
Quote
 I'd be interested in seeing where YOU think the theory has been most capably challenged, and by whom?
It hasn't.  As yet.  I encourage you, if you feel you have a valid counter-argument, to make it.

But we see a great many strawmen, logical fallacies, special pleading, etc. so we are sensitive to those.

  
ericmurphy



Posts: 2460
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,06:21   

Quote (rmagruder @ June 15 2006,10:15)
Yeah, I will admit I started off defensive, mainly because as I read the thread regarding Ann, all I saw were insults not so much aimed at her, but anyone who might agree with her.

I have the all too common weakness of sometimes diving into the mud myself when I feel attacked.

I shouldn't.  I know I shouldn't.  And yet sometimes I still do.    It's that pesky thing called emotion that kicks in some times when you feel that people are dealing with differences by simply dismissing anyone who disagrees with them as clueless, scientifically stupid, etc, and effectively including you in that group which is so beneath contempt.  What can I say, get me in the right mood, I'm easily baited.  It was also around midnight and I was tired, so there you have it - recipe for gettin' a little hostile.

Here's the deal, Randy. Many of the posters here are professional scientists, and a significant fraction of those work in the life sciences. As you may have noticed, Americans who believe in evolution are in the distinct minority, so while they may be most of the people here, it isn't hard to understand why they might feel a bit persecuted.

So when someone (not necessarily you) comes by saying things like "laugably weak arguments for evolution" and "pathetic level of detail," they tend to get a bit irritated. Especially when nine times out of ten those statements come from people (William Dembski comes immediately to mind) who know little or nothing about evolutionary theory.

So they get tired of having their lives' work insulted, belittled, and denigrated by people who don't have the knowledge or the credibility to make the criticisms in the first place. But, being scientists, they're open-minded and willing to hear your criticisms. But, since you're on their home turf (and no one is forcing you to make your criticisms), you'd best be prepared to defend your opinions. It's part of a scientist's professional life to have to defend his or her positions on things, so they're pretty good at it. If you are really interested in criticizing evolutionary theory, you'd best be prepared for a fight. If you want to see what happens to creationist arguments around here, have a look at AF Dave's threads.

Yes, tempers do flare, but in many cases I believe it's justified. When you have a character like AF Dave, whose ignorance of basic science is breathtaking, still claiming victory in dispute after dispute despite having had his arguments obliterated, people do tend to get testy. Can you blame them?

--------------
2006 MVD award for most dogged defense of scientific sanity

"Atheism is a religion the same way NOT collecting stamps is a hobby." —Scott Adams

  
Occam's Aftershave



Posts: 1773
Joined: Feb. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,06:22   

Quote
What is the best book you've ever read that CHALLENGES  the validity of evolution?  

There is no 'best book', only a pile of pseudo-science dribble filled ones with some that suck less than others.
     
Quote
It's pretty easy to say "Oh that Behe, he's just a pseudoscientist (does that mean he got a 'pseudo-degree' in biochemistry? <G>)', etc etc.

No, it means he totally abandoned the scientific method, including peer review of his work, to push his religion-based anti-science claims.
     
Quote
So, have you ever read a book that you feel did a good job in challenging the theory of evolution?

Nope.  No such book exists. And I have read most all of the popular creationist and ID diatribes.
     
Quote
Or are you convinced that there is no such scientist, no such book, and that it's just a bunch religious zealots trying to push creation into the classroom?

That sums it up nicely
     
Quote
I'd be interested in seeing where YOU think the theory has been most capably challenged, and by whom?

The overarching ToE hasn't been seriously challenged for over a hundred years.  The fine details of certain areas have certainly been challenged and modified as new data comes in - that's the way good science works - but no capable challenges to the overall theory have been raised.

--------------
"Science is what got us to the humble place we’re at, and what hard-won progress we might realize comes from science, with ID completely flaccid, religious apologetics bitching from the sidelines." - Eigenstate at UD

  
rmagruder



Posts: 20
Joined: June 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,06:27   

I have some concerns about the current state of peer-reviewed science.

Is it really a 'victors make the rules' place?

I ask because (and no I haven't researched this so I'm admitting up front I only have one side of the story).  There was an incident with regards to, I think it was Smithsonian magazine engaging in a so-called witch hunt on someone because they allowed to be published a paper that DID pass peer review, but seemed to call into question some tenets of evolutionary thought.  There were references to an investigation, and an investigation OF the investiga  This was alluded to in Coulter's book and I hadn't seen it elsewhere.

Is anyone familiar with this issue and can point me to 'the other side' of that one?

Randy

  
Rilke's Granddaughter



Posts: 311
Joined: Jan. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,06:28   

Randy said,
Quote
I'd also like to hear whether people feel that a scientific theory can be disproven in order to make it legitimate science.
That doesn't appear to make sense; could you clarify?  If we disprove a theory, then it's not legitimate science.  If you are asking whether a theory must be falsifiable to make it legitimate science, then I can agree that it must be.
Quote
Can evolution be disproven (even theoretically).
Which part?  Remember that evolution is an entire collection of mechanisms, and the proposal that those mechanisms operated over a historical period to produce the current biodiversity.

A rabbit in pre-Cambrian strata would be a good sign that something is wrong, for example.  The continued persistence of a phenotypic feature that decreased reproductive success, for example.

Part of the problem with evolution is that we've been doing experiments for 150 years and have found nothing that contradicts that evolution happens - though we've found data that makes us think about the contributory factors and priorities of various evolutionary mechanisms.

Quote
What would it take to disprove it?
See above.
Quote
What would it take to actually change anyone's mind about it?
Valid counter-arguments based on actual data.  Just like any other science.  There's nothing special about evolutionary theory.

  
Rilke's Granddaughter



Posts: 311
Joined: Jan. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,06:36   

Quote (rmagruder @ June 15 2006,11:27)
I have some concerns about the current state of peer-reviewed science.

Is it really a 'victors make the rules' place?

I ask because (and no I haven't researched this so I'm admitting up front I only have one side of the story).  There was an incident with regards to, I think it was Smithsonian magazine engaging in a so-called witch hunt on someone because they allowed to be published a paper that DID pass peer review, but seemed to call into question some tenets of evolutionary thought.  There were references to an investigation, and an investigation OF the investiga  This was alluded to in Coulter's book and I hadn't seen it elsewhere.

Is anyone familiar with this issue and can point me to 'the other side' of that one?

Randy

For the whole Smithsonian thing, start here.

And what do you mean by 'the victors make the rules'?

Science is the process of investigating those things which can be investigated.  When it proposes a hypothesis, that hypothesis must be testable not because the various members of the EAC sit around in a room and define it that way, but purely because that's what five hundred years of experience have taught us is the best way to find explanations that everyone can agree on.

Science is, in an interesting way, is intensely pragmatic discipline.  The whole "ivory tower" image is fostered by those who aren't scientists (or who work for the federal government.   :p )

  
stevestory



Posts: 10127
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,06:41   

I'm glad to see that everybody seems to be calming down on the insults and such and that we're turning to the issues. The AFDave quagmire just had everybody's blood angered up.

   
rmagruder



Posts: 20
Joined: June 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,06:41   

So evolution is falsifiable?  Hmm..I always thought it wasn't.

I want to clarify my previous point about peer review.  I've become far more skeptical of 'consensus science' because of the global warming debate.  Far more so than evolution.  You start following the grant money on both sides and things get really dicey.  Then you start seeing grandiose claims that "all scientists agree".  You can find people with all the right letters and doctorates after their name disagreeing with 'consensus science'.  So anyway, my issues with peer reviewed science are more concerned with climatology than evolutionary biology.  Several scientists (again, they have all the right letters after their names) have said Al Gore goes WAYYYY too far and defies scientific reason in his latest movie...(but I see here I'm danger of thread drift, so I'll move on - I just wanted to clarify the background of my previous remark).

The biggest problem in discussing this issue, in my opinion, is that it's very hard for any layperson (or even a fairly scientific literate person in another specialty) to be in any kind of position to debate some of these areas.  I saw in the amazon reviews of Ernst Mayr's book some criticisms that if you didn't have a big background in biology, you'd be lost.  We are like the crowd in the arena watching our teams go at it and cheering for 'our side'.  But just because we can Monday Morning quarterback doesn't mean we are qualified to strap on the helmet ourselves.  

The theme seems to be: "we've spent x years in school, then graduate, then post doctorate on this. Either match my level of education, or just take my word that I'm smart and you're dumb and that I know what's best for you".  Then you get someone else saying "He's not smart.  I have the same degree and the first guy is full of it".  How can you possibly, even with reasonably good faculties of reason, evaluate the claims and counterclaims of two (or more) people who all have respected degrees and hold respected positions in their fields?  You can't.  You can't rewind the clock and spend your life getting the same degree they have.  So you are forced to pick the side that either a) has the most adherents, or b) makes the best argument, from your limited vantage point.

I'm uncomfortable with both options.  A is the appeal to consensus science and the infallibility of popular opinion (which doesn't have the greatest track record).  B is the somewhat egotistical idea that I can read two books from two PhD's in Biology or Biochemistry or whatever, and, without having their level of education, deduce which of them is right and which of them is wrong.  

It's a source of endless frustration. Accusations here that they are practicing pseudo-science or have 'abandoned scientific method' fall generally flat on me.  I mean, what else would I *expect* to be said here?  Of COURSE you're going to say that!  Do I have the the background to either bash or verify the claims Behe makes?  Or Dawkins?  Or anyone else?

Sorry, maybe I'm just getting cynical here, but it seems that the academics on both sides are just saying: "either get my degree and debate me, or take my word for it".

Sorry if I'm unhappy with those options.

Randy

  
stevestory



Posts: 10127
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,06:53   

RM, here's a hypothetical situation. Say there's a technical dispute which is full of jargon and yeah, it's just one of those things where you need some advanced understanding of several technical fields to evaluate the arguments yourself. And say you find out that side A consists of 99% of the experts, and they're publishing 10,000 papers a year on the details of the topic, and side B consists of 1% of the experts, and they publish no papers at all, they just say the other side's got it all wrong.

Imagine that's all you know about the debate. What's your opinion of the situation?

   
Richardthughes



Posts: 10756
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,06:59   

A mermaid or a centaur would faslify Evolution.

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Rilke's Granddaughter



Posts: 311
Joined: Jan. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,06:59   

Randy said,
Quote
So evolution is falsifiable?  Hmm..I always thought it wasn't.
You were mistaken.  All scientific theories are falsifiable.  That's why I don't consider string theory to be a valid scientific theory (as yet).

Quote
I want to clarify my previous point about peer review.  I've become far more skeptical of 'consensus science' because of the global warming debate.  Far more so than evolution.  You start following the grant money on both sides and things get really dicey.  Then you start seeing grandiose claims that "all scientists agree".  You can find people with all the right letters and doctorates after their name disagreeing with 'consensus science'.  So anyway, my issues with peer reviewed science are more concerned with climatology than evolutionary biology.  Several scientists (again, they have all the right letters after their names) have said Al Gore goes WAYYYY too far and defies scientific reason in his latest movie...(but I see here I'm danger of thread drift, so I'll move on - I just wanted to clarify the background of my previous remark).
Yes, this is irrelevant to the discussion of evolution.  The biggest problem with the climate data is that there is so little of it, and the models are very, very poor.

Quote
The biggest problem in discussing this issue, in my opinion, is that it's very hard for any layperson (or even a fairly scientific literate person in another specialty) to be in any kind of position to debate some of these areas.
Not at all.  What you need to make sure that you do is leave your agenda (if any) at the door.  That's what AFDave can't do - everything has to conform to the literal reading of the Bible for it to be valid, so of course he has to discard any rational argument that is made that contradicts it.  Even a layman can get the basics and gist of the science in evolutionary theory fairly quickly - enough to discuss it intelligently.

What we see far too often in boards such as this are morons like Dave who are incapable of learning, and incapable of critical thinking.  If you've got those skills, you'll do fine.
Quote
I saw in the amazon reviews of Ernst Mayr's book some criticisms that if you didn't have a big background in biology, you'd be lost.  We are like the crowd in the arena watching our teams go at it and cheering for 'our side'.  But just because we can Monday Morning quarterback doesn't mean we are qualified to strap on the helmet ourselves.
The interesting thing is that the usual counter-arguments offered by fundie's like Dave are invalid considered as arguments.  They're pretty much at the level of "Well, the Bible was written in Swahili, so that means that John the Baptist was the man who murdered Moses' children".

They really are that bad.  You don't need to be a Biblical scholar to dismantle arguments like that.

Quote
The theme seems to be: "we've spent x years in school, then graduate, then post doctorate on this. Either match my level of education, or just take my word that I'm smart and you're dumb and that I know what's best for you".
Nope.  I promise we don't do that.  And if you can find an example, then draw our attention to it.
Quote
 Then you get someone else saying "He's not smart.  I have the same degree and the first guy is full of it".  How can you possibly, even with reasonably good faculties of reason, evaluate the claims and counterclaims of two (or more) people who all have respected degrees and hold respected positions in their fields?  You can't.  You can't rewind the clock and spend your life getting the same degree they have.  So you are forced to pick the side that either a) has the most adherents, or b) makes the best argument, from your limited vantage point.
The main point is to examine the arguments, not necessarily the details of the biology.  Most creationist arguments fail because they are bad arguments and secondarily because they're ignorant of biology.

Quote
I'm uncomfortable with both options.  A is the appeal to consensus science and the infallibility of popular opinion (which doesn't have the greatest track record).  B is the somewhat egotistical idea that I can read two books from two PhD's in Biology or Biochemistry or whatever, and, without having their level of education, deduce which of them is right and which of them is wrong.
You probably can't just by reading the books.  Discussing the content is usually helpful, too.

Remember: check your agenda at the door; examine the arguments for logic errors; admit only valid data.


Quote
It's a source of endless frustration. Accusations here that they are practicing pseudo-science or have 'abandoned scientific method' fall generally flat on me.
But we can, and often do, demonstrate that they have abandoned the scientific method.

Let's take a trivial example from Behe:

Behe says that IC structures can't evolve.  But in the same book, he also admits that IC structures can evolve, it's just not probable.  But he never provides any probability estimates.

Even someone without much understanding of biology and evolution can see that is a flawed argument; and it has nothing to do with his religious convictions.
Quote
I mean, what else would I *expect* to be said here?  Of COURSE you're going to say that!  Do I have the the background to either bash or verify the claims Behe makes?  Or Dawkins?  Or anyone else?
Yes.  Any intelligent, rational adult who's willing to expend a little study can distinguish between 'good' arguments and 'bad' arguments.

Quote
Sorry, maybe I'm just getting cynical here, but it seems that the academics on both sides are just saying: "either get my degree and debate me, or take my word for it".
 Try us and see.  We're mostly polite (except for AFDave, but then, he's technically on your side.  We won't hold that against you, though.   :p  )

  
Mr_Christopher



Posts: 1238
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,08:21   

Quote (rmagruder @ June 15 2006,11:04)
What is the best book you've ever read that CHALLENGES  the validity of evolution?  It's pretty easy to say "Oh that Behe, he's just a pseudoscientist (does that mean he got a 'pseudo-degree' in biochemistry? <G>)', etc etc.  So, have you ever read a book that you feel did a good job in challenging the theory of evolution?  

Randy

Randy, just an FYI, that's like asking are there any good books that challenge the Apollo 11 moon landing or are there any good books that challenge the notion that Elvis is really dead.  

Your time would be better spent reading legitimate science books on subjects within the ToE such as the realtionship between reptiles and birds and such versus books that claim evolution is "only a theory".

Also, read some of the posts here, there is a long rich history of ignorant creationists who have not a scientific clue creeping in here pretending to have an interest in this"evolution thing" only to quickly start trying to teach legitimate, trained scientists that everything they know is wrong.  Often they move on to encouraging people here to find jesus "before it is too late"  AFDAVE is one such tard/case.  

They bring up long, tired, wrong arguments popularized by garbage organizations like AIG and the Dishonesty Institute while ignoring all the verifiable evidence and facts presented to them.  

Whether right or wrong, because of jerk creationists  guys like you get knee jerk reactions in this forum.  

Also, you wrote

Quote
I have some concerns about the current state of peer-reviewed science.

Is it really a 'victors make the rules' place?


Actually it is he who backs up his claims is the one who wins the credible science award.  That's why the IDC crowd continues to lose at every turn, they have yet to provide a shred of evidence for a designer (space alien, tiem traveler, god, etc).  Meanwhile they whine and moan about not being allowed in public science class yet what they are proposing is clearly not science.  They are also pathologically dishonest which does not help their cause either.

If you want to learn more about science and the ToE you are at the right place.  

Chris

--------------
Uncommon Descent is a moral cesspool, a festering intellectual ghetto that intoxicates and degrades its inhabitants - Stephen Matheson

  
awhite



Posts: 8
Joined: June 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,08:30   

Quote (rmagruder @ June 15 2006,11:41)
So evolution is falsifiable?  Hmm..I always thought it wasn't.


In addition to it being a great introduction to evolution for a layperson like myself, I'd like to point out that the "Evidences for Evolution" essay at TalkOrigins includes potential falsifications for just about every independent line of evidence it presents.  And while the essay may not be as complete as the books recommended here, it has the advantages of being free and readily available.

http://talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/

  
Mr_Christopher



Posts: 1238
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,08:33   

I don't have a link handy so could someone post the link for the most common creationist arguments at the talk origins site?  

That would give Randy visibility to the very "best" arguements from the creationist (anti-evolutionist) side he's looking for as well as the scientific rebuttal.  

In the meantime here are the Talk Origin "must reads" for you, Randy

http://talkorigins.org/origins/faqs-mustread.html


Chris

--------------
Uncommon Descent is a moral cesspool, a festering intellectual ghetto that intoxicates and degrades its inhabitants - Stephen Matheson

  
Richardthughes



Posts: 10756
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,08:51   

Let's not make this a AIG vs Creationist claims linkfest.

First, let's welcome Randy. :) We invited him here, so let's be good hosts. I welcome him challenging my views, because if it wont stand up to scrutiny, it's not worth a having. We should drill down to the core issues and work from there.

Evidence for / evidence against seems the startingpoint - although evidence against sometimes equals 'incomplete evidence for'.

--------------
"Richardthughes, you magnificent bastard, I stand in awe of you..." : Arden Chatfield
"You magnificent bastard! " : Louis
"ATBC poster child", "I have to agree with Rich.." : DaveTard
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"...it was Richardthughes making me lie in bed.." : Kristine

  
Flint



Posts: 478
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,09:17   

Randy:

After reading through this discussion, I have two points I think should be highlighted and addressed directly:

1) When you speak of evolution, are you talking about the fact or the theory of evolution? The fact of evolution consists of a very very large number of interrelated observations. These are the raw data. The theory of evolution (theories, more correctly. There are differences of opinion here) is a proposed explanation of the observations.

When you ask if evolution is falsifiable, it sounds a great deal like you are asking if it's possible that evolution itself did not happen. No, this is not possible. Evolution has always happened, and happens today. If you are asking if our explanations of the mechanisms by which evolution happens are falsifiable, I'd go further and say they are almost surely false in some way - incomplete, only partially correct, etc. But science ALWAYS assumes that EVERY theory can be improved.

2) Abiogenesis (the emergence of life from non-life) is NOT evolution, and really has little to do with evolution. Evolution as we're using it here is the study of how existing life forms change over time to become somewhat different life forms. How life got started in the first place is a distinctly different topic.

I think the conflation of these two different fields derives not from scientific confusion but rather from creationist doctrine. That doctrine says that abiogenesis and evolution are the *same thing* - that God poofed life into existence as we see it today (with minor unimportant variations), and thus abiogenesis and evolution are both buzzwords denoting the very same act of divine creation. But science sees them as very different.

  
rmagruder



Posts: 20
Joined: June 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,09:30   

Honestly, I don't even know where to start.

I feel like I should just blurt out "42" and be done with it! :) (and you doggoned well better know where THAT reference is from).

I agree with the notion that we shouldn't turn this into a 'linkfest', because honestly, on a clear day you can link forever.    Personally, I don't mind going and reading a link, and then a rebuttal to that link and then a rebuttal to that rebuttal.  But they always end up in a stalemate, with each side thinking they won, the other guy lost, and is complete imbecile.

After having reviewed the thread here, and over at PT, the sheer tone is daunting.  I've been called an IDiot, a complete moron, ignorant, clueless, etc.  I plead guilty to having brought some of this down on myself, but I suppose

There are people on both sides of this debate that are far more knowledgeable than me.  I don't presume to debate fossils with any of the scientists list here or on AIG or anyone (and yes they have a scientist list that includes biologists, biochemists, physicists and mathematicians, unless they are lying about the degrees they hold ..).  

I think rather than tread down roads that we've all been down a 1000 times (does it really stay entertaining?), I'm more interested in some of the human factors.

E.g. Given the level of putdowns I've seen thrown at anyone on the other side of this debate, what is a layperson supposed to conclude when they see a list of degreed/published scientists who disagree with Darwinian orthodoxy on this issue.  Does their disagreement with orthodoxy mean they are lesser scientists?  Even if they are actively working and publishing in their fields of biology, mathematics, chemistry, etc?  

It was stated that even a layperson can deduce between illogical or unreasonable arguments, whatever the level of education they have vs. the person making the arguments.

It is also interesting to see the "close minded" charge thrown around.  And yet, I see here and in other articles and reviews that "evolution is a fact and cannot be questioned by any rational person".  It was compared to someone trying to prove that Apollo 11 didn't happen, for example.  

The problem with the above approach is first, that it appeals to an attempt to humiliate an opponent rather than reason with them, and secondly, that the conclusion is assumed to be true from the outset.  How would someone distinguish a 'close minded creationist' from a 'close minded evolutionist' in this case.  Both are firmly convinced that they have exclusive ownership of 'fact'.  Both claim that the other has not proven its case or disproven its own.

I am greatly disappointed by tactic of "debate by putdown" exhibited here.  I'm not holding myself up here as above it.  I engaged in it and got trashed as I probably deserved.  But it doesn't seem to be improving with time.  I've tried to back off from being incendiary, but I still see a fair amount of flame being sent my way.  Some people are unwilling, or unable, to move past it.  So they continue to debate by putdown and contempt.  

How does one even BEGIN a discussion built upon that foundation.  It's pretty obvious to me that the people calling me closed minded have pretty much closed their own minds.  They've got all the evidence they feel they need to warrant doing so (and by itself that's not saying a lot.  If I want to prove the Illuminati is trying to take over the world, there's no end of resources on the Internet I can find to back up that claim).

So, what this long post is driving at really is this...is there any way the 'game' can be played without it getting personal?  Or do we simply concede that there's no way to avoid terms like "IDiots", "Clueless", "ignorant", "Scientifically illiterate", "Moronic" etc. when confronted with someone who doesn't see eye to eye with you?  Is that what this debate has ultimately become?

Randy

  
Ichthyic



Posts: 3325
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,09:41   

Quote
It was compared to someone trying to prove that Apollo 11 didn't happen, for example.  

The problem with the above approach is first, that it appeals to an attempt to humiliate an opponent rather than reason with them, and secondly, that the conclusion is assumed to be true from the outset.  How would someone distinguish a 'close minded creationist' from a 'close minded evolutionist' in this case.  Both are firmly convinced that they have exclusive ownership of 'fact'.  Both claim that the other has not proven its case or disproven its own.


you've got to try to understand that many of the people who post here have post graduate experience in biology, and some even ARE practicing evolutionary biologists.

What happens is that those of us who are in that boat have seen the evidence for the ToE up close and personal.  We've either read thousands of studies that test some aspect of the theory in the lab or the field, or we actually do these experiments ourselves.

To us, based on the evidence we have seen and the experiments we've participated in, the bulk of the current ToE IS as obvious as the Apollo 11 mission.

Try to picture it like this:

Say you've been a building contractor for 40 years.  You've done or seen just about everything regarding construction.

Then a car salesman walk up to you on a build site and tries to tell you that you're doing it all wrong.

How would you expect the building contractor to react?

Why would the car salesman have grounds to think he knew more about construction than the building contractor?

Quote
The biggest problem in discussing this issue, in my opinion, is that it's very hard for any layperson (or even a fairly scientific literate person in another specialty) to be in any kind of position to debate some of these areas.


this is EXACTLY the point.  so why do you think Coulter feels qualified to "debate" the issue?

Is she a biologist?

no.

Is she a scientist of ANY kind?

nope.

Do you think she really has read and understood any of Dawkins works, or read any basic text on evolution like the Futuyma one?

that said, you've spent several posts whining about your mistreatment.

enough already.

get over it and get to your point, or go and read the recommended references.

also check out the links on the front of the Panda's Thumb for some great references online.

so, bottom line...

Quote
any way the 'game' can be played without it getting personal?  


sure.  understand the material before you begin.

very simple, really.

Want to argue with a building contractor about construction?  maybe you'd be best off learning something about construction first, eh?

--------------
"And the sea will grant each man new hope..."

-CC

  
rmagruder



Posts: 20
Joined: June 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,10:02   

>> you've got to try to understand that many of the people who post here have post graduate experience in biology, and some even ARE practicing evolutionary biologists.>>

None have identified themselves as such...so I have no idea how much of the abuse is being hurled from the heights of academia or from main st. usa.

>> What happens is that those of us who are in that boat have seen the evidence for the ToE up close and personal.  We've either read thousands of studies that test some aspect of the theory in the lab or the field, or we actually do these experiments ourselves.>>

So what is the response when someone who meets that same critiera disputes their view of the evidence?  Trying hard to put my finger on it, but it seems like the problem is that there is a bit of circular logic going on:

   - Sci #1 says A = B
   - Sci #2 says A <> B
   - Sci #1 says Sci #2 is a quack pseudoscientist

   Why?
  Because Sci #2 says A <> B

> To us, based on the evidence we have seen and the experiments we've participated in, the bulk of the current ToE IS as obvious as the Apollo 11 mission.>

Yeah, but there are people in the field who don't agree.  I see terms like "no legitimate scientist disagrees".  E.g. if you disagree you are not a legitimate science, whatever your degree.  I'm just trying to understand how you can justify the smears of any scientist who fails to reach the same conclusion?

> Say you've been a building contractor for 40 years.  You've done or seen just about everything regarding construction. Then car salesman walk up to you on a build site and tries to tell you that you're doing it all wrong.>

Perhaps.  But what if another building contractor who builds houses across town walks up and says you're doing it all wrong.  Do you say "well, no legitimate contractor disagrees with me, therefore you have nothing to say about it and your a rube"


It just seems to me (correct me if I'm wrong), that the first line of attack is "no scientist doubts the ToE", and if a scientist is brought forward who may have won a Nobel prize, or even just be a degreed and qualified researcher, you say "okay, no LEGITIMATE scientist doubts the ToE".  Instead of a debate, it's a smear.  You "win" the debate simply by tarring the opponent personally and everything they've ever done.  

As an aside, I will add something else...

I see a fair amount of handwringing on your side of the fence to the effect that, "how sad it is that these guys are good at sound bites and in sucking in the illiterate, stupid nonscientists out there into believing their crap - that's why their books sell so well."

Someone remarked that only a minority of people in this country believe in evolution.

Might I suggest, that history has shown that you cannot browbeat people into accepting your ideas when you clearly hold those people in contempt?  Rather than attempting to persuade from the ivory tower, I see a lot of rocks being hurled down on people, calling them every name in the book, calling them religious fanatics, etc.  People aren't persuaded by contempt.  They can't be mocked into submission.  And certainly you won't dislodge people's deeply held faith by insulting the intelligence of anyone who steps forward and says they disagree.  Perhaps if science has all the answers, it needs to learn to evangelize, pardon the term.  

I see the constant fighting about what should be taught in school, and our kids are caught in the crossfire.  The evolutionary side argues it's the 'thin end of the wedge' to get Creation taught in school again.  And therefore, every possible means must be made to ensure that not even the tiniest sliver of doubt or questioning be allowed in the public school system.  The issue with the 'evolution is a theory, be open minded and critical'  (or words to that effect) sticker on the textbooks was a good example of that.  By itself, there was no mention of ID or creaiton there, but there was a lawsuit to get those stickers removed.  It's behavior like that that makes me wonder why the evolutionary side is so insecure?  It's the slippery slope argument I guess ("If today we let them question, tomorrow they'll be thumpin' bibles").   So, there's no room for doubt, no room for questioning, no room for personal decision making after weighing evidence.  There's just...dogma.    The sheer insistence that every child be forced to attend public school and every child be taught evolution as fact is what, I think, drives the wedge deeper.  Instead of persuading, you're antagonizing.  Instead of leaving room for a healthy debate, you're squashing it.  

Many of my comments made about 'darwinism being religion' come from these kinds of incidents, where I seem to be seeing many forms of coercion, retaliation, and retribution aimed at FORCING My child to swallow something they can't avoid being exposed to (unless I have the $ for private school, of course, and sometimes not even then).  

Far from wanting creation to be taught in the class room, I want my child to learn how to think, not WHAT to think.  If the case for evolution is so open and shut, this should not be a problem.  There are many parents in the same boat as me.  But rather than engage us, you antagonize us.  You attempt to humiliate and condescend towards us.  And I'm not an idiot.  As I mentioned somewhere before, I took a lot of physics and chemistry (emphasizing organic chemistry).  I've forgotten a lot of it, of course, but I DID learn it, and got good grades in it, so I dare say I don't believe I'm a backward scientifically ignorant hick the way I've been portrayed.

But the bottom line is, you'll never get #1 best sellers on amazon or persuade the vast majority of Americans to rally to your side until you adopt the art of persuasion, not condescension.

That's my 2 cents worth on the public debate issue. I've tried hard to be thoughtful and honest in this post.  I wonder what kind of reaction it will provoke.

Randy

  
Arden Chatfield



Posts: 6657
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,10:03   

Quote
any way the 'game' can be played without it getting personal?  


Sigh...

Okay, some examples of magruder's high standards of debate:

Scientific debate is a 'witch hunt':

 
Quote
It’s great how you guys prove Ann had you guys pegged. Darwinism *is* the Catholic Church of the 21st century. Either subscribe to it’s laughable concept of science (I particularly love the attempts to equate evolution with gravity), or be subjected to a witch hunt.


Evolutionists censor opposing views and therby constitute a 'religion':

 
Quote
Usually you can tell how religious and fanatical a belief is by their attempts to censor opposing thought. Darwinism has definitely become quite the religious faith.


Biologists aren't 'real scientists':

 
Quote

I enjoy pure, objective science. A shame so few in the biology field practice it anymore.


People who believe in evolution aren't capable of 'rational debate':

 
Quote
I gotta say, I smile at what passes for debate around here by supposedly rational people.


Evolutionists want to throw all religious people into concentration camps:

 
Quote
I went to the link of the guy who ‘reviewed’ Ann’s book and thought it was enlightening that his most recently read book was “End of Faith”, a book that basically blames religion for all the evil in this world, even from ‘moderates’. I guess we should take all them religious people and do unto them as Stalin did (religious guy that he was). Or maybe the ‘re-education’ camps of the Chinese.


Evolutionists don't really believe in science, they just hate God:

 
Quote
My point in this, is that the debate isn’t really about science. Most of the people who are such avid evolutionists could see God’s autograph in a fossil saying “I MADE THIS!” and still not believe, simply because they NEED for there to be a naturalistic phenomenon that explains their existence. I realize I am throwing stones from a glass house here. The main difference is, I’ll admit that my beliefs involve a certain amount of faith. A few promininent evolutionists have acknowledge the naturalistic/atheistic/materialistic NEED for evolution to be true, but all too many deny this very human trait, as if they are some how ‘above’ us mere humans.


'You scientists are nothing but a big bunch of weenies':

 
Quote

I can see that this is how you respond to anyone questioning you…and that’s a shame. Hardly worthy of associating the word ‘science’ with any of this. It’s nothing but personal invective.


And finally, scientific discussion of evolution is nothing but an 'echo chamber':

 
Quote
quite the echo chamber you guys have built here. Great furniture.


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"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  
rmagruder



Posts: 20
Joined: June 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,10:07   

Perhaps you missed the several posts in which I ADMITTED jumping into the mud and hurling a few myself.

But if you feel the need to beat that horse, you beat it...

Randy

  
Ichthyic



Posts: 3325
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,10:10   

Quote
So what is the response when someone who meets that same critiera disputes their view of the evidence?  


answer:

I don't know, I've never met one, online or off.

anybody else here?

so when you say:

Quote
Yeah, but there are people in the field who don't agree.


you should probably back that up with specifics, as I sure can't think of any evolutionary biologists who reject evolutionary theory.

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rmagruder



Posts: 20
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(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,10:11   

So no one with a degree in biology disputes the ToE?

Randy

  
Arden Chatfield



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(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,10:15   

Quote
So no one with a degree in biology disputes the ToE?


That's not what he said. Look closer.

By the way:

 
Quote
But the bottom line is, you'll never get #1 best sellers on amazon or persuade the vast majority of Americans to rally to your side until you adopt the art of persuasion, not condescension.


While it would be nice to live in a world where Ann Coulter was treated as the sociopath she is and not a 'political thinker' whose books sell lots of copies, I do hope you understand that popularity polls do not determine what is or is not valid science, right?

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"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  
stevestory



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(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,10:16   

About 1% do, from the looks of it. But if you want to start talking about the evidence, please do so, let's not spend forever on the social psychology of everyone.

   
Ichthyic



Posts: 3325
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,10:18   

you need to provide specifics, Randy.

I've certainly never met one, and the popular anti-evo icons are:

Behe - biochemist (not biologist)

Dembski- degree in mathematics (not even a practicing mathematician, let alone a biologist).

Nelson - Isn't he a lawyer?

so who did you have in mind, exactly?

what's remarkable is that there are actually VERY few biologists of any stripe who reject the soundness and credibility of the evidence supporting the ToE.

There are those that like to say that supports the "religion" idea, but then take a look at whatever religion you can think of and see if the same pattern holds.

How many religions are there?  tens of thousands?

obviously you can't say that there is the same level of consistency within "theologists" about which evidence supports which religion, can you?

but, you can easily see this for yourself, rather than continuing in your ignorance, by reading some basic background text, and then examing the evidence yourself.

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"And the sea will grant each man new hope..."

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stevestory



Posts: 10127
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(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,10:22   

Nelson's a philosopher. Johnson's a Lawyer. Meyer's a philosopher. I think West is in PoliSci?

Anyway, the general point is, as long as creationists have been accumulating lists of people who dispute evolution, I think they've gotten about 150 biologists.

   
Mr_Christopher



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(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,10:22   

Quote
It was compared to someone trying to prove that Apollo 11 didn't happen, for example.  

The problem with the above approach is first, that it appeals to an attempt to humiliate an opponent rather than reason with them


Not true, my intent was not to humiliate you but rather point out how naive your request was (and not in a sarcastic way).  You were/are asking for the best arguements against known, scientific facts.  

Keep in mind that not every comment here is an attempt to persecute you and that although sticks and stones can break bones, ascii characters are harmless.

Chris

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Uncommon Descent is a moral cesspool, a festering intellectual ghetto that intoxicates and degrades its inhabitants - Stephen Matheson

  
stevestory



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(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,10:26   

RM doesn't seem to be a dumb guy, but you can tell from things like "I thought evolution wasn't falsifiable" that he's been soaked in pseudoscience for some time.

   
rmagruder



Posts: 20
Joined: June 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,10:28   

Actually, ASCII characters are why I've gotten so dang little work done today.  It's gonna be a late night I can see.

I've gotten the recommendations for a couple of books, which I will order.  In the meantime, I really need to put this discussion on hiatus.

I have a mountain of source code to debug and I've put my own projects on hold too (Trying to work on asp.net and learn Web development with Ruby on Rails at the same time...crikey!;).

Anyway, don't read anything into it, please.  I knew I was starting something I probably couldn't invest enough time into finishing.  The mountain to climb is really big, and I just can't spare more time for it without falling really behind schedule.

If you wish to take it as cowardice, go ahead..can't stop you.  But I really, really am getting ansy about my workload and my apparent inability to keep myself out of these threads..

I wish you all well, and I'll come back hopefully when I've done some more reading and can actually spend the time needed to do justice to the subject.

Randy

  
Arden Chatfield



Posts: 6657
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(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,10:28   

Quote (stevestory @ June 15 2006,15:26)
RM doesn't seem to be a dumb guy, but you can tell from things like "I thought evolution wasn't falsifiable" that he's been soaked in pseudoscience for some time.

My tipoff to that was his eagerness to invoke Piltdown Man as an argument against evolution.

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"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  
Flint



Posts: 478
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,10:29   

Quote
So no one with a degree in biology disputes the ToE?

This question is based on an assumption that makes a yes or no answer misleading. The ToE is, as has been said repeatedly, not a perfected product. At the margin, the edge of current research, there is a great deal of dispute. With the overall concepts (natural selection, genetic drift) there is no dispute.

Please understand that this is true of any and every scientific theory by definition, and always will be in order to be science in the first place. People learn a little. Based on that little, they learn a little more. Based on the little more, they learn more still. Scientific knowledge is cumulative.

So in broad terms, the ToE has been established beyond reasonable doubt. This is what happens when tens of thousands of scientists spend a century and a half studying something.

In detailed terms, the more we know, the more questions we think of to ask. Research (in the sense that those doing it do not know the answers) is happening on a great many fronts. Research involves disuptes: Is what we see, being caused more by THIS, or more by THAT. One researcher thinks THIS, one thinks THAT, they construct distinguishing experiments, and it's back to work.

Quote
So what is the response when someone who meets that same critiera disputes their view of the evidence?  Trying hard to put my finger on it, but it seems like the problem is that there is a bit of circular logic going on:

  - Sci #1 says A = B
  - Sci #2 says A <> B
  - Sci #1 says Sci #2 is a quack pseudoscientist


No, this is how *religion* works. In science, both #1 and #2 construct experiments to distinguish between A and B, in such a way that if the experiments fail, the two are the same and can't be distinguished. Then they test. The test determines who is correct. Both of them then agree (because the evidence always rules), and go on to the next thing.

Religion is where #1 and #2 call each other names, because there IS NO ARBITER. No equivalent of the evidence. No higher authority than their own opinions.

  
Mr_Christopher



Posts: 1238
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,10:32   

Quote (Arden Chatfield @ June 15 2006,15:28)
Quote (stevestory @ June 15 2006,15:26)
RM doesn't seem to be a dumb guy, but you can tell from things like "I thought evolution wasn't falsifiable" that he's been soaked in pseudoscience for some time.

My tipoff to that was his eagerness to invoke Piltdown Man as an argument against evolution.

Piltdown man??  Are you serious?  I must have overlooked that one.  Oh man....

Chris

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Uncommon Descent is a moral cesspool, a festering intellectual ghetto that intoxicates and degrades its inhabitants - Stephen Matheson

  
Chris Hyland



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(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,10:33   

Quote
Darwinism has definitely become quite the religious faith.
What is your definition of Darwinism?

Quote
Yeah, but there are people in the field who don't agree.


A vanishingly small number, usually for religious reasons.

People shouldn't have to be qualified scientists to understand evolution. The problem is creationists demand a level of detailed explanation that requires advanced knowledge, becuase they assume that scientists are either incompetent or engaged in a conspiracy. To a creationist there is no book that proves evolution, and so at some point in the discussion the scientist will start on more advace topics and refer to specialist papers. It as usually at this point that they get called an arrogant elitist.

Quote
It's behavior like that that makes me wonder why the evolutionary side is so insecure?
Because they were specifically singling out evolution to give the impression that it is less supported than other scientific theories which it is not. I personally would welcome students being taught that all scientific theories are inferences from the evidence, should be critically considered etc etc. Singling out evolution in childrens minds is simply bad science, and scientists hate bad science.

Quote
So, there's no room for doubt, no room for questioning, no room for personal decision making after weighing evidence.  There's just...dogma.


I don't see how lying to students and saying evolution is less supported than it is helps either. It's a real shame that evolution is not covered as much in high school and that the textbooks tend to be behind current science. But again creationist parents will always say that their children are being indoctrinated not matter how much evidence is presented.

  
stevestory



Posts: 10127
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(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,10:33   

Quote

If you wish to take it as cowardice, go ahead..can't stop you.

Always with the persecution language.

You're not going to get allegations of cowardice because you have to go to work. One or two people might misfire, but it's an internet discussion board. Do what you have to do. But when you return, you might want to start talking about the evidence, instead of allegations of mistreatment and deception.

BTW, I encourage other people here to have some patience. I know he's repeating libels left and right, I know it's insulting, but try to wait that out and see if he wants to start talking about real data and theory.

   
Ichthyic



Posts: 3325
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,10:34   

Quote
Someone remarked that only a minority of people in this country believe in evolution.


you should adjust your approach along the lines of "understand and accept the evidence for" instead of "believe".

I never "believed" the ToE, I was convinced of its usefullness through evidence and practice.  got nothing to do with belief.

as to the minority issue...

How many folks in this country do you think "believe" in quantum theory?

pretty much a minority, I'd bet.

think that has anything to do with the evidence for the theories in question?

or does it have more to do with the very issue we raised here:

that most folks simply don't want to bother to examine how the theories were formed the evidence in support, and the thousands of tests performed on the predictions and assumptions of the theories?

which do you think more likely?

when we use the term "ignorant", it isn't meant as an insult, but as a description.

I'm as ignorant of the things that go into making a high-rise building as you are of the ToE.

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Rilke's Granddaughter



Posts: 311
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(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,10:36   

Randy, the only way to find out is just to start.

If you have a counter-argument against the theory of evolution being the best explanation for the history of evolution, then present it.

There is no other way to go about it.  And quite frankly, this is the way that scientists go about it.  Their discussions can get pretty darn heated (I know, I just defended... successfully!  Yay!;)  They argue; they bicker.

But they support their contentions with sound arguments, and actual facts.

I've already demonstrated why Behe's argument isn't valid (or sound, for that matter); and it's a demonstration that any layman can understand.

If you have an argument, present it.

If your argument is not valid, we'll tell you.  We won't simply say, "nah, nah - you're a poopy-head".  We'll explain.

If your argument is valid, then everyone will be very excited and happy.

Really!

  
rmagruder



Posts: 20
Joined: June 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,10:42   

Aw crap, sucked in again!

(there's gotta be an anti-"must-look-at-web-page" medicine somewhere I can take!;)..

Last night when I tried to bow out of this, I immediately was hammered with someone mocking me saying "I know my arguments will be beat by a drum, so I will just declare victory and leave".).  This behavior was repeated more than once.

I'm not claiming persecution, just trying to head off the inevitable...

Randy

  
Ichthyic



Posts: 3325
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(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,10:44   

Quote
I know, I just defended... successfully!  


WOOT!!!  congratulations!

wow, that's two thumbites who defended successfully this week.

now the serious question:

Why aren't you partying yourself comatose at this point, instead of posting here??

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"And the sea will grant each man new hope..."

-CC

  
Ichthyic



Posts: 3325
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,10:47   

Quote
(there's gotta be an anti-"must-look-at-web-page" medicine somewhere I can take!..


if you find some, let us know...

Quote
I'm not claiming persecution, just trying to head off the inevitable...


it's only as inevitable as you make it.

you know how to not make it so.

read, understand, present arguments based on evidence.

that simple.

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"And the sea will grant each man new hope..."

-CC

  
stevestory



Posts: 10127
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,10:53   

Go do your necessary work, Randy, nobody wants you to get fired, and then afterward, come back and talk about the evidence if you'd like.

Some suggested topics are

How do scientists know common descent is true?
What are some of the lines of evidence for 'macroevolution'?
What are neutral mutations?
Does evolution have a 'direction'?

   
Rilke's Granddaughter



Posts: 311
Joined: Jan. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,10:54   

Quote (Ichthyic @ June 15 2006,15:44)
Quote
I know, I just defended... successfully!  


WOOT!!!  congratulations!

wow, that's two thumbites who defended successfully this week.

now the serious question:

Why aren't you partying yourself comatose at this point, instead of posting here??

'cause you can really do a lot from a phone!  And 'cause my "drinking partner" hasn't shown up yet!

  
Ichthyic



Posts: 3325
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,11:00   

Quote
Some suggested topics are...


actually, I'd like to see Randy point out where Coulter is wrong in her claims himself.

so much of what coulter says is absolute BS to anybody who is conversant in even the most basic aspects of the ToE, it shouldn't be difficult at all.

after all, coulter's ranting is what lead him here in the fist place, right?

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stevestory



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(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,11:17   

I'd rather him start with scientific questions, rather than pseudoscientific nonsense, but either would be good if he'd switch to talking about science.

   
Ichthyic



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(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,11:21   

yeah, I'm already quite bored of the persecution complex content.

pretty much anything would be more interesting.

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AnthonyK



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(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,11:33   

Congratulations on realising that this topic is a) very simple and b) extremely complicated.  The fact of evolution is beyond doubt, but the evidence behind it can be technical and difficult to understand.  I've been fascinated by it since a religious friend for whom I had a great deal of intellectual respect opined that "Evolution was only a theory" and directed me to A J "monty" White's book "What about origins" (I think).  The arguments in it struck me as absurd so I began digging to find out why.
Now, I'm hooked - and I know why the arguments are absurd from a scientific point of view - or indeed any rationalist point of view.
The great problem with the evolution/creation debate is that nearly all of those who oppose evolution do so because they are religious and do not wish to believe that we are, in fact, animals.  They feel that Darwin's discovery negates their God idea and so their whole being and belief system.  Of course it does no such thing (though evolution, cosmology, physics, and pretty much every part of modern science does reject the literal truth of Genesis and other creation myths).  Science long ago gave up trying to prove or disprove the existence of God - indeed which God would we investigate if we could?  Darwin himself was probably an atheist (possibly following the death of his beloved daughter) but he never publicly expressed this or urged any rejection of religion.
But it is this which drives us absolutely mad.  How dare people who know nothing about science tell us what is real and what is not!  The assumption that scientists are atheists and that our (well I'm not a scientist, but I do have a degree in chemistry) agenda is a religious one, like theirs, is maddening and wrong. Science is completely unchanged by religious belief and does not depend on belief at all in order to function.  Evolution has stood the test of time and has led to countless useful consequences, and nothing we have encountered since Darwin (co)discovered the theory of evolution has changed that.
I would recommend a couple of books - "The Ancestor's Tale by Dawkins (long and very detailed, but fascinating) and another scarcely mentioned - E.O Wilson, the Harvard entemoligist's "The Diversity of Life" which, though not strictly about evolution per se is a beautifully written account of the earth's biological wonders (oh, and by the way that's "E.O", not "Edmund", Wilson who writes books of a very different kind, though just as offensive to creationists :p).
I hope that in coming to this site and discussing the issue with us ardent rationalists you will be inspired to at least understand why we believe what we do, and make the connection that the discoveries biologists have worked so hard to find are of a very different kind from the beliefs of creationists.  And, incidentally, you will be introduced to the real wonder of creation, not a simplistic fairy story immune, for all time, to revision.

  
BWE



Posts: 1898
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(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,11:50   

Quote
It just seems to me (correct me if I'm wrong), that the first line of attack is "no scientist doubts the ToE", and if a scientist is brought forward who may have won a Nobel prize, or even just be a degreed and qualified researcher, you say "okay, no LEGITIMATE scientist doubts the ToE".  Instead of a debate, it's a smear.  You "win" the debate simply by tarring the opponent personally and everything they've ever done.  


The reason that it seems that way is because of the way evidence and experiments work. Let's frame it in terms of religion: A christian says "you have to believe in god". "The bible says our god is the right god so that is why you should believe."

There is not one good argument that goes beyond that. I have read augustine, aquinas, pascal, and etc. and they all, with out one single exception, begin their arguments/treatises with the assumption that the bible is accurate to some degree.

Buddists claim that there is a spiritual experience that their methods can help you achieve. They ask you to perform the experiment yourself. In fact, they even go so far as to say that you can't get it without that.

That is overly simplified I know. Christians might claim spiritual experiences too but they attribute them to god with zero evidence. Buddist make claims of reincarnation which is entirely untestable. But, in the overview, Buddist thought makes verifiable claims and christian thought makes unverifiable claims.

When a scientist makes a claim, it is definitionally verifiable. When scientist B performs the experiment and gets different results, the experiment has at least cast doubt on the original assertion.

More scientists will then try to reproduce the original or the secondary results until there is enough data to make a new claim or to prove/ disprove the original claim.

So, if someone walks in and says "It ain't so". A lot of people ask why. If that person cant put up, they lose credibility.

With no exceptions to date, the idea that evolution is the mechanism for speciation and that the mechanism for evolution is some combination of random mutation and natural selection has not been challenged succsessfully.

And to top it off, most of the challengers who step outside the normal channels of peer revue make asses of themselves and get caught lying/fabricating/obfuscating/indoctrinating. I challenge you to find even one peer revued study that attempts to demonstrate that evolution is not the mechanism for speciation that hasn't been thoroughly discredited for bad science/deliberate falsehood/bad design of experiment.

I could save you time and let you know that you won't find any but please, if such a thing escaped my notice (and the notice of the editors of every news outlet in the world- it would be front page stuff you know) I would be very interested to see it.

I was fortunate enough not to have been dealt the vicious hand of religion when I was a child so I don't have to overcome the wasting damage it inflicts on so many. If you follow the evidence without preconcieved notions it is a lot easier to allow that your understanding of science is only as good as the best science available. It might need to change.

You see, if we found a rabbit in the precambrian strata or if god came down and performed some real kind of miracle that we could see, I at least, and I suspect most of the folks who post here would immediately assimilate the new data into their understanding of whatever. But ALL of the evidence points the other way. We keep trying new things and it keeps pointing the same way. ALWAYS. That is a word you should never use, right? But so far...

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Who said that ev'ry wish would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it
Look what it's done so far

The Daily Wingnut

   
Ichthyic



Posts: 3325
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(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,12:05   

Quote
(oh, and by the way that's "E.O", not "Edmund", Wilson who writes books of a very different kind, though just as offensive to creationists ).


well, E.O. also wrote a few treatises that also pissed off a lot of folks too.

Sociobiology comes to mind ;)

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"And the sea will grant each man new hope..."

-CC

  
rmagruder



Posts: 20
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(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,12:11   

Confession - I had never been to Dembki's site until someone here posted something to the effect of "if you think we're censoring, you should go over to Uncommon Descent".  I actually thought it was an evolutionist site til I clicked on it and saw it.  I was familiar with Dembski at a surface level, but haven't read any of his stuff.

So anyhoo...just clicking through the links, hopping back and forth between here and there, I feel like I just stepped into the middle of a giant shooting war armed with a pea shooter.

Man, there is some SERIOUS bad blood between PT and UD. (ahh, now I know what UD stands for .... another mystery solved!;).  

Lots of fun reading...but wow...

  
Ichthyic



Posts: 3325
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(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,12:23   

*yawwwwnnnn*

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awhite



Posts: 8
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(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,12:28   

Quote (rmagruder @ June 15 2006,17:11)
Man, there is some SERIOUS bad blood between PT and UD. (ahh, now I know what UD stands for .... another mystery solved!;).  

Lots of fun reading...but wow...

If you actually want to learn about evolution, I suggest spending more time on the basics, starting with some of the material suggested here, and less time on the shouting matches between discussion boards.  Thus far there has been a lot of talk about who is insulting who and very little about the evidence.

  
Rilke's Granddaughter



Posts: 311
Joined: Jan. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,12:30   

Randy, do you actually have any counter-arguments to evolution at the moment?  If so, why not post them.  If not, why complain about bias on our part?

Just puzzled.

  
stevestory



Posts: 10127
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,12:41   

If he's a programmer, he's probably on the west coast, and it's only 3:38 there so he might still be at work. I'll give him the rest of the night to start asking substantive questions about the evidence, rather than the social/political aspects of the situation.

   
ericmurphy



Posts: 2460
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,12:44   

Quote (rmagruder @ June 15 2006,11:20)
Okay, so just to try to make sure I'm not stereotyped, I'll just summarize my position:
Yes, I'm a creationist, and by creationist I mean that I believe the universe was brought into being by a divine intelligence.
 
Actually, this belief doesn't make you a creationist. Plenty of scientists who support evolution also believe that the universe is the product of a creative intelligence. Many scientists who do not believe in God will concede that the evidence either way is equivocal.

The general definition of a "creationist" is someone who does not believe that evolution (which is clearly a fact, as has been pointed out) cannot proceed without input from a creator god. If you don't believe this, you're not really a creationist.
Quote
Do I believe that evolution could have happened under divine guidance?  I believe it's the only way evolution COULD have happened, at least if we are to bet on the odds and what we know about nature.  I do not believe that naturalistic forces alone can get life from non-life, nor do I believe that random mutations get us from chemical soup to sentient beings.  I think the odds are just too long.

Okay, this statement makes you a creationist. But given that neither you nor anyone else has anything other than a hazy notion for the odds of life arising from non-life, this is at best a belief based on faith, not on science.
Quote
There are basically two issues in play for me.  1) That evolution could happen and 2) That it did happen.

Well, given that evolution definitely did happen (the evidence is utterly conclusive), I'm not sure what the issue  is with you. I suppose one could doubt that evolution happened without intelligent guidance, but it's absurd to doubt that evolution has happened. It clearly has.  

Quote
I'd also like to hear whether people feel that a scientific theory can be disproven in order to make it legitimate science.  Can evolution be disproven (even theoretically).  What would it take to disprove it?  What would it take to actually change anyone's mind about it?

Yes, the Theory of Evolution (not the fact of evolution) can be disproven. I believe it was J. B. Haldane who, when asked what would disprove the Theory of Evolution, growled, "Precambrian rabbits."

Quote
So there you are.  I'm not thumping Genesis in anyone's face.  Just consider me a skeptic who reads a lot.

Hmm. Sounds a lot like the last "skeptic" we had here. We haven't heard from him in a while. Could be because we gave him something to think about, but I'm guessing not. I'm guessing it was because he could tell he wasn't making any headway in his arguments against evolution.

Quote
So no, I'm not here to 'disprove' evolution.  I'm not here to attack people who believe it.  I'm here because I want to catch up on some reading, see what the current best arguments are, ask some questions, and see what's going on.  I don't have the time or energy to get sucked into the name-calling quagmire...so I'm trying hard to get out of that.

Randy


Well, if you're serious about learning more about evolution, I think you already know where to look. This site, for the most part, ain't it. As the title of the site indicates (Antievolution), this site is mostly for critiques of creationist arguments. AF Dave sure gives us plenty of fodder for that.

But when you start out saying "evolution is laughable," and "there's no evidence to support it," you should expect to get a little push-back, which is pretty much what you got. And when people say they think evolutionary theory is a joke, the first question they get here is, "okay, what's your evidence for creationism?"

So far, we've received mostly silence on that particular topic.

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2006 MVD award for most dogged defense of scientific sanity

"Atheism is a religion the same way NOT collecting stamps is a hobby." —Scott Adams

  
ericmurphy



Posts: 2460
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,12:50   

Quote (rmagruder @ June 15 2006,11:27)
I have some concerns about the current state of peer-reviewed science.
There was an incident with regards to, I think it was Smithsonian magazine engaging in a so-called witch hunt on someone because they allowed to be published a paper that DID pass peer review, but seemed to call into question some tenets of evolutionary thought.  There were references to an investigation, and an investigation OF the investiga  This was alluded to in Coulter's book and I hadn't seen it elsewhere.

Not positive, but I think you might be referring to Stephen Meyer's paper published in the Procedings of the Biological Society of Washington. A good summary of that whole debacle can be found right here.

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2006 MVD award for most dogged defense of scientific sanity

"Atheism is a religion the same way NOT collecting stamps is a hobby." —Scott Adams

  
Ichthyic



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(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,13:05   

yes it refers to the publication of meyers article, but of course the specific issue revolves more around the supposed "martyrdom" of Sternberg in that whole mess.

You know, the "anything to claim martyrdom" tactic of the IDiots?

If Randy is curious, here is some clarification here:

http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2005/02/a_second_dimens.html

Please note that regardless of the claims of Coulter that Sternberg was "martyred", he actually didn't lose his job.

there are some cases on the OTHER side of the issue that biologists could better claim as martyrdom, but we see little PR value in it, other than as contrast to the claims of Coulter and others ignorant to the real issues involved.

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"And the sea will grant each man new hope..."

-CC

  
ericmurphy



Posts: 2460
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,13:06   

Quote (rmagruder @ June 15 2006,11:41)
So evolution is falsifiable?  Hmm..I always thought it wasn't.

You need to refine your terms here, Randy. Can "evolution" be falsified? Not really. Can the "Theory of Evolution" be falsified? Definitely, although by now, the chances of that ever happening are about the same as the chances of the Theory of General Relativity or Quantum Theory being falsified. I.e., basically nil.

But yes, in principle, the Theory of Evolution can be falsified.

 
Quote
The biggest problem in discussing this issue, in my opinion, is that it's very hard for any layperson (or even a fairly scientific literate person in another specialty) to be in any kind of position to debate some of these areas.

Sorry, maybe I'm just getting cynical here, but it seems that the academics on both sides are just saying: "either get my degree and debate me, or take my word for it".

Sorry if I'm unhappy with those options.

Randy


Yep. You're right. It is hard. Especially for non-specialists like me. But it isn't impossible. It can be done, and it really comes down to credibility determinations. Imagine that you're a judge in a courtroom. Judges have to hear tesimony on subjects they know nothing about all the time. How many judges do you think are experts in, e.g., semiconductor fabrication technologies? But they still have to make credibility determinations in cases with tons of expert testimony, from experts on either side who know way more than the judges do.

But here's an example. Read some of Dembski's work on his Explanatory Filter, or Complex Specified Information. Both of these subjects involve information theory. Then read some critiques of Dembski's work by people who are experts in information theory. You'll find that Dembski makes some comical errors, like assuming that computational complexity is inversely proportional to information content (he's wrong; they're directly proportional). You'll also find that Dembski does not respond to critics' points, but rather either ignores them or mounts collateral attacks on peripheral issues. After you've read this stuff for a while, you can get a feel for who is credible and who isn't, even in areas you have no prior knowledge of.

It does take a lot of work, Randy, I'll grant you that. I've been at it for almost 30 years, completely as an avocation (i.e., I don't get paid for it). But if you're willing to spend the time on it, and view the evidence and arguments on both sides dispassionately, you can separate the wheat from the chaff.

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2006 MVD award for most dogged defense of scientific sanity

"Atheism is a religion the same way NOT collecting stamps is a hobby." —Scott Adams

  
Ichthyic



Posts: 3325
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,13:16   

Quote
It does take a lot of work, Randy, I'll grant you that. I've been at it for almost 30 years, completely as an avocation (i.e., I don't get paid for it). But if you're willing to spend the time on it, and view the evidence and arguments on both sides dispassionately, you can separate the wheat from the chaff.


there's also the possibility that Randy is perfectly happy to be used as a pawn by politicians relying on the vote of the religious right.

Randy, does the timing of the release of Coulters book before the midterm elections spark any ideas in your mind?

no?

how about the timing of the release of the book Coulter released before this one?

see a pattern yet?

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"And the sea will grant each man new hope..."

-CC

  
Crabby Appleton



Posts: 250
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 15 2006,21:29   

Quote (rmagruder @ June 15 2006,15:02)
None have identified themselves as such...so I have no idea how much of the abuse is being hurled from the heights of academia or from main st. usa.

Perhaps if science has all the answers, it needs to learn to evangelize, pardon the term.  

I see the constant fighting about what should be taught in school, and our kids are caught in the crossfire.  The evolutionary side argues it's the 'thin end of the wedge' to get Creation taught in school again.  And therefore, every possible means must be made to ensure that not even the tiniest sliver of doubt or questioning be allowed in the public school system.  The issue with the 'evolution is a theory, be open minded and critical'  (or words to that effect) sticker on the textbooks was a good example of that.  By itself, there was no mention of ID or creaiton there, but there was a lawsuit to get those stickers removed.  It's behavior like that that makes me wonder why the evolutionary side is so insecure?  It's the slippery slope argument I guess ("If today we let them question, tomorrow they'll be thumpin' bibles").   So, there's no room for doubt, no room for questioning, no room for personal decision making after weighing evidence.  There's just...dogma.    The sheer insistence that every child be forced to attend public school and every child be taught evolution as fact is what, I think, drives the wedge deeper.  Instead of persuading, you're antagonizing.  Instead of leaving room for a healthy debate, you're squashing it.  

Many of my comments made about 'darwinism being religion' come from these kinds of incidents, where I seem to be seeing many forms of coercion, retaliation, and retribution aimed at FORCING My child to swallow something they can't avoid being exposed to (unless I have the $ for private school, of course, and sometimes not even then).  

Far from wanting creation to be taught in the class room, I want my child to learn how to think, not WHAT to think.  If the case for evolution is so open and shut, this should not be a problem.  There are many parents in the same boat as me.  But rather than engage us, you antagonize us.  You attempt to humiliate and condescend towards us.  And I'm not an idiot.  As I mentioned somewhere before, I took a lot of physics and chemistry (emphasizing organic chemistry).  I've forgotten a lot of it, of course, but I DID learn it, and got good grades in it, so I dare say I don't believe I'm a backward scientifically ignorant hick the way I've been portrayed.

But the bottom line is, you'll never get #1 best sellers on amazon or persuade the vast majority of Americans to rally to your side until you adopt the art of persuasion, not condescension.

That's my 2 cents worth on the public debate issue. I've tried hard to be thoughtful and honest in this post.  I wonder what kind of reaction it will provoke.

Randy

Why do you assume that those who work at the "heights of academia" don't live on Main Street USA (or in Suburbia or down on the farm for that matter)?

Science doesn't pretend to have ALL the answers, Creationists/Fundamentalists DO. Evangelizing/proseltyizing is a religious obsession.

Teaching Creation is a Christian/Muslim Fundamentalist preoccupation that can and should be done in Saturday School (or Sunday School depending on your "flavor" of those religions according to DDTTD), NOT in Public Schools paid for with my tax dollars.

Those stickers ARE a wedge to discredit good science, nothing more.

The bottom line is science is driven by what we can test and replicate. If you want your child in a Public School to learn about Creation in a SCIENCE class then I INSIST you teach them the Earth Diver School of Creation along with your silly Genesis stuff and ALL the other Creation stories.

  
blipey



Posts: 2061
Joined: June 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 16 2006,03:46   

Randy,

Since you apparently paid attention to what I said when I gave you the link to UD, I'm going to ask you to do one more thing.

As others have done here at this forum--ad naseum--I ask you to start talking about the issue.

It surely must be apparent to you that the number one reason for many of us to not take any ID calim seriously is that none of its adherents EVER talk about the EVIDENCE and ARGUMENTS in a rational manner.

If you do not start to present  evidence and rational arguments that are on topic, you too will be lumped into this category.  It will be your own fault and nobody will feel  sorry for you.

You've been asked very kindly to stop crying and complaining--now it is time to do so...or accept the reasonable conclusion that you ARE, in fact, a baby that whines and complains and does little else.

If you think this is a personal attack on you, I cannot help this.  However, please note that I gave you a very easy out--PRESENT YOUR ARGUMENTS.  If you do this, you are not a baby.

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But I get the trick question- there isn't any such thing as one molecule of water. -JoeG

And scientists rarely test theories. -Gary Gaulin

   
stephenWells



Posts: 127
Joined: April 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 16 2006,07:39   

Quote (ericmurphy @ June 15 2006,18:06)
You need to refine your terms here, Randy. Can "evolution" be falsified? Not really. Can the "Theory of Evolution" be falsified? Definitely, although by now, the chances of that ever happening are about the same as the chances of the Theory of General Relativity or Quantum Theory being falsified. I.e., basically nil.

That's a rather good way of putting it. "Evolution" is like "gravity" - it's a phenomenon in the natural world. "Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection" is like "Newton's theory of universal gravitation"- it's a model which gives a very good description of the phenomenon. Falsifying a theory doesn't falsify the phenomenon, any more than falsifying Newton's theory (e.g. anomalous precession of the perihelion of Mercury) made gravity stop working.

  
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