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Passions in Poetry

Evolution: Fact and Theory

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berengar
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since 01-02-2004
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25 posted 01-08-2004 03:49 AM       View Profile for berengar   Email berengar   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for berengar

Two things I'd like to see discussed on this forum;

1) If natural selection follows its own self-consistent algorithm, whither comes the design parameters??

2) If natural selection has many problematic features, is there any other scientific theory out there that can explain biodiversity just as well, or better?

Have a nice day, everyone.
Brad
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since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


26 posted 01-08-2004 05:17 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Jim said:

quote:
Evolution is more accurately a historical theory involving an interpretation of various facts, including intra-specie evolution and the apparent progression in the complexity of organisms in the fossil record.


We have observed evolution happening in our lifetimes. Again, the only distinction between micro and macro-evolution is that of our observing times.

quote:
Until we actually observe an organism evolve into a distinct specie, macro-evolution will retain its uncertainty.


What remains uncertain is the actual, individual 'just-so' stories of many current species. I also am pretty confident that we've gotten some of these wrong. But I fail to see, how evolutionary processes differ in fact in any way from geological of cosmological processes.

quote:
Absent the intervention of a Creator, the historical theory of evolution may be the best explanation we have now, but if we allow that a Creator could have used evolution as His chosen vehicle, we must also be open to the possibility that He created everything more or less the way it is.


It is a logical possibility, yes. But nothing points in that direction. If you start from that assumption, you have to explain anomaly after anomaly. If you start from an evolutionary perspective, they start to make sense.

quote:
Or perhaps mice contracted with an alien race in order to determine the question that rounds out the answer to life, the universe, and everything.


And so, perhaps they did. Again, a logical possibility but one that doesn't defeat evolutionary processes.  

quote:
At any rate, the pragmatist in me can think of better ways to apply our growing knowledge of the genetic biology than trying to unravel the origin of species.


And yet the evidence for evolution, with the reintroduction of Mendelian genetics, the discovery of homologs in the genome, the use of the same genetic alphabet in all species today, all of these point to evolution.

The reason why I want to push evolution as a fact is simply that it does happen. Even in our own lifetimes, we've seen significant changes in successive generations to warrant the idea. No one disagrees that we've, in fact, directed evolution in some species for several thousand years. We've changed species and made some go extinct. Does the fact that we've directed, consciously or unconsciously, evolution somehow, negate the fact of evolution?

I don't see how.

Again, evolution is a fact, natural selection is the theory of a non-random force that shapes evolution.

Which brings me to berengar's second point:

quote:
2) If natural selection has many problematic features, is there any other scientific theory out there that can explain biodiversity just as well, or better?


I don't think so, but it strikes me that many don't want it to be explained. As it comes to the burden of proof, again I see no mechanism to differentiate between micro and macro-evolution, it's the same thing. If you want to make a distinction there, I really think you have to do a little better than, "We can't see the kind of change happening in the world today in our lifetimes, how could it happen in a million, ten million, or a hundred million years?"

On the other hand, is part of the problem the difficulty in understanding 'jumping' evolution and accumulated evolution? Is that where the incredulity comes into play?

quote:
1) If natural selection follows its own self-consistent algorithm, whither comes the design parameters??


The laws of physics, the diverse spectrum of natural organisms, and number crunching. Where do these come from, I don't know.


Local Rebel
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since 12-21-1999
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Southern Abstentia


27 posted 01-08-2004 07:49 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

Um, I think you would mean to ask where the laws of physics -- for this universe -- came from...?

Heisenberg... of course

Which is really just a function of the topic.. or the other way around.

Good thread -- haven't been ignoring it -- nobody seems to need any help raising the issues though.
Stephanos
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28 posted 01-09-2004 02:12 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
We have observed evolution happening in our lifetimes. Again, the only distinction between micro and macro-evolution is that of our observing times.



Brad, you're doing it again ... minimizing the difference between a finch's beak changing size, and a light sensitive spot becoming a seeing eye.  It's explaining the crossing of a canyon, by illustrating the hopping over a mud puddle ... conveniently sidestepping the benefit of an explanatory bridge.  I'm not saying it's impossible ... I'm saying that from a biochemical standpoint, it is astronomically unlikely, and therefore quite far from escaping it's theoretical status.


quote:
It is a logical possibility, yes. But nothing points in that direction.



Nothing points in that direction ... of design?  You are in disgreement with a multitude who have "inferred" design.  Don't complain too much about the invalidity of inference, if it is after all acceptable enough to make macro-evolution credible without the scientific rigors which provide unambiguous models.  


quote:
If you start from that assumption, you have to explain anomaly after anomaly. If you start from an evolutionary perspective, they start to make sense.



If you start from the assuption of evolution, you have to explain apparant intentionality and artifact after artifact.  If you start from a design perspective, they start to make sense.


quote:
The reason why I want to push evolution as a fact is simply that it does happen. Even in our own lifetimes, we've seen significant changes in successive generations to warrant the idea.


No one denies that change happens.  The question is what can Darwin's mechanism do?  Yes you are right the idea is warranted ... but not the fact.


quote:
No one disagrees that we've, in fact, directed evolution in some species for several thousand years. We've changed species and made some go extinct. Does the fact that we've directed, consciously or unconsciously, evolution somehow, negate the fact of evolution?



Are you suggesting that genetic manipulation by intelligent humans provides proof for evolution?  That's a quite different situation than random mutation and natural selection.  We could just as easily use such examples as proof for design.


While you keep saying "evolution" is the fact ... I would still say you are merely restating the fact of change in biology ... without knowing to what degree, or from what sources exactly.  Biodiversity itself is the absolute fact or condition of the world.  Neo-Darwinian evolution is still absolutely theory.


Stephen.  
  

  
berengar
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since 01-02-2004
Posts 61


29 posted 01-09-2004 04:44 AM       View Profile for berengar   Email berengar   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for berengar

Stephen, I have enjoyed reading your replies to Brad.  What I note is that Brad offers a scientifc theory that is open to critiques, whereas I am mystified over what your own theory is.  May I ask for your explanation of current biodiversity?  
Have a nice day.
Brad
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since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


30 posted 01-09-2004 05:12 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

quote:
Brad, you're doing it again ... minimizing the difference between a finch's beak changing size, and a light sensitive spot becoming a seeing eye.


Well, you're doing it again too. What I'm comparing is the slight difference in a finch's beak size to a slightly more sensitive 'light spot'. Over time, say two or three million years, these processes can turn into the beak of a giant moa or the eye of a fish.

Here's a quick summary of the intermediate stages for a fish eye:
http://www.cs.colorado.edu/~lindsay/creation/eye_stages.html

quote:
It's explaining the crossing of a canyon, by illustrating the hopping over a mud puddle ... conveniently sidestepping the benefit of an explanatory bridge.  I'm not saying it's impossible ... I'm saying that from a biochemical standpoint, it is astronomically unlikely, and therefore quite far from escaping it's theoretical status.


Randomly, you are correct, but the theory of natural selection is not random. Again, the metaphor of jumping and of canyons, but on evolutionary scales canyons weren't there that are there now. Again, the confusion of time scales.

quote:
Nothing points in that direction ... of design?  You are in disgreement with a multitude who have "inferred" design.  Don't complain too much about the invalidity of inference, if it is after all acceptable enough to make macro-evolution credible without the scientific rigors which provide unambiguous models.


I mean that we haven't found any evidence to indicate a designer, a design signature if you will. Believe it or not, design companies have started putting their own design signatures into their genetic codes. Why not this designer? Have we found a quote from the Bible, say in Hebrew, in any naturally floating DNA? Not yet.

quote:
If you start from the assuption of evolution, you have to explain apparant intentionality and artifact after artifact.  If you start from a design perspective, they start to make sense.


We see intentionality because we are intentional creatures. Doesn't that make sense? But we have plenty of examples of elegant 'design' resulting from a few well placed instructions. Migrating birds, for example, don't intentionally make that beautiful 'V' shape, they follow a few simple rules that results in a 'V' shape. During the summer, something like five to ten thousand birds (I think they were swallows) perched on the telephone and electrical wires just outside my house, they were beautifully symmetrical. Design? Nah, they had an instinctive space mechanism that didn't allow them to get too close to each other (and indeed they often fought each other over this space).  The appearance of design was just that, appearance.  

quote:
No one denies that change happens.  The question is what can Darwin's mechanism do?  Yes you are right the idea is warranted ... but not the fact.


Hmmm, maybe we can make some progress here.

I said Darwin's mechanism was a theory for the fact of evolution. Now, I've attempted to defend both, but in the back of my head, this distinction has always been clear. Behe himself says, I think the term he uses is 'fairly convinced,' of common descent. That is, he doesn't dispute that evolution happened, but that the mechanism of natural selection doesn't cover everything. My point is that, even if true, you still don't throw out the baby with the bathwater (as many on your side of this debate seem desperately at pains to do -- not you personally of course).

What seems to happen, then, is the eternal search for the smoking gun, the one knock down argument that proves evolution wrong. But there is no smoking gun, there just isn't one argument that will dislodge it. Take the genetic signature, for example. Let's say you find it in one place, what you then have to do is find it everywhere. This will take time, at least as much time as it has to amass the evidence for evolution.

Why?

I said:

quote:
No one disagrees that we've, in fact, directed evolution in some species for several thousand years. We've changed species and made some go extinct. Does the fact that we've directed, consciously or unconsciously, evolution somehow, negate the fact of evolution?


And you responded:

quote:
Are you suggesting that genetic manipulation by intelligent humans provides proof for evolution?  That's a quite different situation than random mutation and natural selection.  We could just as easily use such examples as proof for design.


But this is a misinterpretation. What I meant was that directed evolution does not in and of itself disprove evolution through natural selection. We already have evidence for both. We're the directors.

quote:
While you keep saying "evolution" is the fact ... I would still say you are merely restating the fact of change in biology ... without knowing to what degree, or from what sources exactly.  Biodiversity itself is the absolute fact or condition of the world.  Neo-Darwinian evolution is still absolutely theory.


Evolution is the process of small changes becoming big changes over time. That's a fact. The Darwinian theory of evolution is that this is accomplished through natural selection. There's a huge amount of evidence to support this theory. Is it complete? Of course not, we have a lot more work to do. If evolution is not all encompassing, if natural selection doesn't fit every situation (and, as I've said, we already know it doesn't), I suspect that it will be those who do the work in evolution that will show this.

Let's let them do the work and see what happens.

Now, I want to end with a return to berengar's point about Design Theory. If we concede a designer, shouldn't we then ask how he or she did it?
Local Rebel
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since 12-21-1999
Posts 5742
Southern Abstentia


31 posted 02-05-2006 02:55 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel



Thought the previous discussions could use some review in light of the recent alley thread...
 
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