Not a Poll: Do you accept the theory of evolution?

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Not a Poll: Do you accept the theory of evolution?

Postby yovargas » Fri Sep 21, 2001 12:34 pm

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http://forums.tolkienonline.com/viewtopic.php?p=2998411&sid=b5422d9204b8425517bce083c7a2a81f#2998411

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Specifically, do you accept the notion that humans evolved from simple, single-celled organisms?<BR><BR>Just a simple yes or no answer will suffice. No need for debates or defenses.<BR><BR>My answer: No.<BR><BR>yovargas<BR><BR>********************<BR><BR>Edit on March 8, 2004:<BR><BR>In case anybody actually decides to get into this debate again, I am reposting Lone_Ranger's post from Oct/10/2002 here and on the frontpage. Anybody who wants to get into this discussion is required to read this post. It is very long, but if you want to say something intelligently on the subject, make sure you understand what Lone_Ranger is saying. <BR><BR>*******************************<BR><BR>Oh my goodness. Where to start?<BR><BR>Evolution and Origins:<BR><BR>Since somebody inevitably says “evolution can’t explain the origin of life” every time the page turns over, or so it seems. We’ll start here.<BR><BR>Evolutionary theory presupposes the existence of life. Therefore, the origin(s) of life lie completely outside the realm of evolutionary theory. The claim that evolution is a flawed theory because it cannot explain the origin(s) of life is no more logical than would be the claim that quantum mechanics is a flawed theory because it doesn’t explain why some genes are dominant and others are recessive.<BR><BR>The field of science that deals with how life may have arisen is known as “abiogenesis.” Obviously, abiogenesis is relevant to evolutionary biology, since life must exist in order for it to evolve. Knowing more about how life may have arisen would also be quite useful to biologists, since it could very likely give us clues as to the chemical idiosyncracies displayed by living organisms. [Why do all living organisms use the same 20 amino acids, for example? Are these the “best” combination of amino acids for building proteins, or is it just chance that these were the ones that the first living organisms used?]<BR><BR>In any event, it’s unlikely that we’ll ever know for sure how life originated on the early Earth. Is there any reason to expect that it couldn’t have arisen through purely natural processes? No. Biochemists have repeatedly shown that the basic components of living cells can – and do – form spontaneously under conditions similar to those that are thought to have prevailed early in the Earth’s history. Indeed, coacervates and microspheres are easily formed in the lab – sometimes by accident – and they look and behave so much like living cells that even experienced microbiologists sometimes mistake them for cells. It’s still a long way from proteinoid microspheres to what would unquestioningly be called a living cell, but there’s no evidence to suggest that life arose through anything other than natural processes.<BR><BR>Regardless of how life arose, though, that is a subject which lies outside the domain of evolutionary biology. So, we’ll move on.<BR><BR><BR>What is Science, and is Evolution a Legitimate Scientific Theory?:<BR><BR>Without going into all the gory details, working scientists are more or less in universal agreement that any legitimate scientific theory must satisfy three criteria:<BR><BR><BR>1. the theory must be, in principle, falsifiable – that is, it must be possible to prove the theory wrong<BR><BR>2. the theory must be testable by observation and experimentation<BR><BR>3. the theory must make predictions which can be evaluated<BR><BR><BR><BR><BR>So, how does evolutionary theory hold up as a scientific theory? Is it falsifiable? Of course it is. It would be ridiculously easy to falsify evolution as a theory. For example, as soon as it was discovered in the 1950s that DNA encodes genetic traits, it was predicted by biologists that there would be a correlation between how closely-related organisms appeared to be, and the similarity of their DNA. Specifically, it was predicted that those organisms which comparative anatomy, the fossil record, and comparative behavior suggested were close relatives would share very similar DNA, while organisms which appeared to be very different would have dissimilar DNA. Exactly as predicted, molecular analyses showed beyond any doubt that those organisms which independent lines of evidence suggested were closely-related were closely-related, according to the DNA evidence. Had the DNA turned out otherwise, this would have been a deathblow to evolutionary theory. We would have had to go back to the drawing board.<BR><BR>Another very easy way to falsify evolutionary theory would be to find fossils where they couldn’t possibly exist, according to the theory. The existence of fossils of modern mammals in preCambrian sediments, for example, would immediately falsify evolutionary theory. Interestingly, no such “out of place” fossils have ever been found, despite decades of diligent searching.<BR><BR>Is evolutionary theory testable? Again, of course it is. The discovery of DNA and its use to test specific predictions of evolutionary theory provides a perfect example of how it can be – and has been – tested. Had the theory failed the test, we would have had to scrap it (or at the very least, heavily modify it) and start over.<BR><BR>Does evolutionary theory make predictions, and do those predictions hold up? Again, yes. The DNA example cited above is but one example of a prediction made by evolutionary theory which was completely borne out by the data. For a more prosaic example, consider the moth Xanthopan morgani praedicta. Darwin himself used evolutionary theory to predict the existence and properties of this moth species, which is why it’s name includes the term “praedicta.” The moth was discovered and named some 40 years after Darwin’s prediction, and it had exactly the properties that Darwin had predicted.<BR><BR>Maybe these predictions are less than convincing, so here’s a really good one. If it’s true that extant species are the result of common descent (as opposed to special creation), then it should be true that independent methods of deriving phylogenetic trees to show the relationships between organisms should come up with the same results. If species are not related by common descent, there should be no correlation between independently-derived phylogenetic trees. Okay, here are some numbers to think about – the number of possible phylogenetic trees for just 20 species is 8,200,794,532,637,891,559,375. I think that any reasonable person would agree with the conclusion that two independent methods of deriving phylogenetic trees would never produce the same tree twice, even if the researcher in question spent every waking moment of his or her life doing these trees with the fastest computers imaginable – if the trees did not indicate real relationships, that is.<BR><BR>Guess what? When independent methods are used to derive phylogenetic trees, they almost always produce the exact same trees. The odds that these trees should be produced by chance, and that they don’t indicate real relationships are literally astronomical.<BR><BR><BR>“Evolution is ‘Only a Theory™’”:<BR><BR>(I trademarked the phrase because it’s so common, and because it reflects such a complete misunderstanding of basic science. I want a dime every time some Creationist utters the phrase from now on. I should be able to retire soon on the proceeds.)<BR><BR>People often use the word “theory” to mean a “guess.” This is not what the word means within the sciences. A scientific theory is a thoroughly-tested and well-supported explanation for some observed phenomenon. It is not a guess. It is (in principle) falsifiable, but has not yet been falsified. It is testable and has been thoroughly tested, but has not yet failed the tests. It is predictive, and its key predictions have not been found to be false.<BR><BR>Anyone who claims that evolution is “only a theory,” as if this was somehow evidence that it’s not correct is demonstrating complete ignorance of what the word “theory” means in the sciences. It is, after all, “only a theory” that the Earth is a planet that orbits a star we call the Sun. It is a very well-supported theory, however. So is the theory of evolution – indeed, with the possible exception of quantum mechanics, it is the most thoroughly-tested and well-supported theory in any of the branches of science.<BR><BR><BR><BR>Evolution as Fact and Theory:<BR><BR>When discussing the subject of biological evolution, we must distinguish between the fact of evolution and the theory of evolution.<BR><BR>“Evolution” refers to genetic changes in populations of organisms over time. That this occurs is a fact. Biological evolution also refers to the common descent of living organisms from common ancestors. Common descent has been so thoroughly-documented through molecular biology, comparative anatomy, the fossil record, comparative behavior, etc. that it is considered to be an undisputed fact within the biological community. Note that any one of these fields could easily have disproved common descent, yet every one of them provides overwhelming and mutually consistent evidence for common descent. Within the biological community, common descent is considered to be a fact, demonstrated beyond any reasonable doubt.<BR><BR>The theory of evolution deals with the various mechanisms which cause evolution. Chief among these mechanisms are natural selection and genetic drift. Other mechanisms, such as autopolyploidy play an important but less-common role. In other words, evolutionary theory is how we interpret the fact that living organisms evolve, and have been doing so for quite some time.<BR><BR><BR>Evolutionary Theory in a Nutshell:<BR><BR>Observation Number 1:<BR>All organisms have the capacity to reproduce at such a rate that they would eventually run out of the resources that they need in order to survive, if such unrestricted reproduction were to go on for enough time.<BR><BR>There is no question whatsoever that this is true; it is a mathematical necessity. The world is necessarily limited; this means that the resources organisms require are necessarily limited as well.<BR><BR>Observation Number 2:<BR>In the real world, resources are necessarily limited in supply, which means that unrestricted reproduction cannot continue indefinitely. (See comments above.)<BR><BR>Conclusion Number 1:<BR>Since resources are necessarily limited, there must be competition within populations for these resources – otherwise, the populations would grow forever, which clearly does not happen.<BR><BR>Observation Number 3:<BR>Organisms within a population are variable, and some of these variations will happen to be advantageous to their bearers, while some variations will be disadvantageous to their bearers (most will probably have no effect at all).<BR><BR>Conclusion Number 2:<BR>Those varieties who happen to have traits which make them better-suited to their environment are more likely to survive and reproduce than those who have traits that are less well-suited to the environment. This process is called natural selection.<BR><BR>Natural selection is not just a logical inevitability, given the conditions listed above, but that it occurs in real-world populations is very well-documented.<BR><BR>Observation Number 4:<BR>Traits can be passed on (more or less) intact from parents to offspring. Obviously, the ones who are most likely to survive and reproduce (because they’re best-suited to their environment) are the ones who are most likely to pass their traits on to offspring.<BR><BR>Conclusion Number 3:<BR>Since those individuals in a population who are best-suited to their environment will pass on more genes (on average) than those who are less-suited to their environment, the population’s genetic makeup will inevitably change over time. This phenomenon is called evolution.<BR><BR>Not only is the evolution of populations a logical inevitability, it has been repeatedly observed in the real world.<BR><BR><BR><BR>But how do you know Evolution is True?:<BR><BR>Comparative Anatomy:<BR>When we compare organisms, we find curious similarities of structure. By a truly astonishing coincidence, organisms that other lines of evidence (molecular data, for example) suggest are closely-related, show a lot of very similar anatomical structures. Interestingly, the more closely-related they are, according to their DNA, the more such similar structures they share.<BR><BR>All mammals, for instance, have the same arrangement of bones in their forelimbs. This arrangement holds true for all mammals, despite widely divergent lifestyles. Now, this is exactly what you would expect if all mammals are descended from a common ancestor, from which they inherited a common anatomy, but it’s rather odd, to say the least, if each species were separately created. Why, for example, do bats, humans, and whales all have exactly the same number and arrangement of bones in their forelimbs, despite the fact that the bones have been heavily modified to perform very different functions? Wouldn’t it make a lot more sense to re-design the forelimb for each function, rather than to use the same basic design? (After all, this constant reuse of existing designs turns out to be very inefficient in many cases. More on that later.)<BR><BR><BR>Vestigial Structures:<BR>Vestigial structures are rudimentary structures which typically have no obvious function, and appear to be evolutionary remnants. For instance, modern whales retain hips and the bones of the hind legs, though the leg bones are completely encased within the whales’ bodies. Why would whales have leg bones which serve no function, if they didn’t inherit them from ancestors? In many plant-eating primate species, there is an enlarged pouch leading off from the intestine, called the cecum. The cecum is used in the digestion of fibrous plant matter. Humans have a cecum too, except that it is very small, and does not appear to have any function – it’s called the appendix. Why do we have an organ which is structurally identical to the cecum, but performs no obvious function, and is prone to get infected and kill us? The obvious answer is that we inherited it from our non-human ancestors.<BR><BR>Many cave-dwelling animals have lost the use of their eyes. For example, the Texas blind salamander (Eurycea rathbuni) has lost most of the structural elements of its eyes. All that are left are two tiny, non-functional eyespots. Why do these salamanders have the neural attachments and lens elements for eyes which do not function?<BR><BR><BR>Comparative Embryology:<BR>If organisms are related through common descent, we would expect the developmental processes of related organisms to be quite similar, and the developmental processes of unrelated organisms to be quite dissimilar. This is exactly what we see.<BR><BR>For example, in all vertebrate animals, pharyngeal gill slits form in the throat region during early development. In the fishes, these structures form the supporting elements for the gills, so their function is rather obvious. In air-breathing vertebrates such as reptiles, birds, and mammals, the pharyngeal gill slits close over, and serve no such respiratory function. (The presence of these gill slits has some rather interesting consequences for the development of air-breathing vertebrates, which I’ll discuss in a moment.) Why do air-breathing vertebrates have gill slits early in development which serve no purpose, unless they’re descended from water-breathing ancestors?<BR><BR>During the development of birds, there is a stage when the young bird – still in the egg – has teeth. These teeth obviously serve no function, and are reabsorbed before the young bird even hatches. No living bird has teeth as an adult, yet birds have teeth while in the egg. Why would birds possess such utterly useless features unless they’re descended from ancestors with teeth? [Hint: Early birds, such as Archaeopteryx and Hesperornis did have teeth.]<BR><BR><BR>The Fossil Record:<BR>If it is true that species have evolved over time, then we would expect older sediments to show fossils of creatures that look less like modern organisms, and more recent sediments to show fossils of creatures that look more like modern organisms. This is precisely the pattern we see. So far, not even one example of an “out of place” fossil has been documented.<BR><BR>Why is it that the oldest rocks with fossils of vertebrates contain only fish fossils, for example? Why don’t they contain amphibians, or aquatic reptiles or aquatic mammals? Why is it that the oldest rocks with fossils of land-living vertebrates contain only amphibian fossils? Why no fossils of reptiles or birds or mammals? Why do 200 million year-old rocks contain fossils of ferns, but never of flowering plants? Why do billion year-old rocks never contain fossils of animals or plants at all – only bacteria and protists?<BR><BR><BR>Biogeography:<BR>Biogeography is the study of where organisms live, and why they live where they do. Interestingly enough, organisms which appear to be closely-related tend to live in the same regions. This is exactly what you would expect from evolutionary theory, but not what you would expect if species were separately-created. Why, for example, do cacti live only in the deserts of the Americas? Why aren’t they native to the deserts of Africa or Australia? (They can certainly grow there – where cacti have been introduced to Australia by humans, they have thrived.) Why are there numerous species of finches living on the Galàpagos Islands that appear to be closely-related to each other, and more distantly related to those on the mainland?<BR><BR><BR>Molecular Biology:<BR>All organisms share the same genetic code, and use the same 20 amino acids to build their proteins. An amazing coincidence, no? When we compare the similarity of organisms’ DNA and proteins, we find that those organisms who appear to be similar due to anatomical, morphological, and biogeographical characteristics also show very similar DNA and proteins. Another amazing coincidence, no? Moreover, as has been pointed out above, when independent lines of genetic and/or protein analyses are used to determine the phylogenetic relationships between organisms, they agree with each other to an extent that is literally astronomically improbable to be due to anything other than shared ancestry.<BR><BR><BR>Bad Design:<BR>Natural selection can only work with whatever variety happens to exist in organisms. New genes arise through mutation, but this is a comparatively rare process, and a single genetic mutation rarely has a very great effect (there are exceptions, however). So, organisms evolve through modification of pre-existing structures, for the most part. This often produces some very inelegant and inefficient designs – designs that no competent engineer would have come up with.<BR><BR>For example, the eyes of vertebrate animals are wired “backwards.” The nerve fibers which carry impulses from the retina to the optic nerve and ultimately to the brain are in front of the photoreceptors. This means that the nerve fibers must pass through the retina to get to the brain, producing a blind spot in each eye. A much more sensible design would be to place the photoreceptors in front of the neural fibers; thus there would be no need for a blind spot in each eye. Interestingly, this is exactly how the eyes of squid and octopi are arranged.<BR><BR>All mammals have a tidal respiratory system, even whales and bats. At best, a human can exchange only about 20 percent of the air in his or her lungs with a breath. This means there’s a lot of “dead space” in the respiratory system, which severely impacts the efficiency with which we can breathe. By contrast, birds have a flow-through respiratory system, and can exchange 100 percent of the air in their respiratory systems with each breath. Needless to say, this makes for far more efficient respiration.<BR><BR>Remember the fact that all vertebrates have pharyngeal gill slits as embryos? During development, the nerves in the neck region must be routed around these gill slits. In air-breathing mammals such as ourselves, this leads to the spectacularly inefficient “design” of the Recurrent Laryngeal Nerve. This nerve branches off the Vagus nerve in the neck and goes to the larynx, only a few inches away. But first, it goes all the way down to the heart, loops around the aorta, then back up the neck to the larynx. This makes the nerve much longer than it has to be, and is an extraordinarily bad design. In giraffes, the nerve is more than 10 feet longer than it has to be. Because of its length and positioning, it is often damaged during the birthing process. Wouldn’t a competent designer have just made the nerve go straight from the Vagus to the larynx, without such a lengthy and completely unnecessary detour? Given that we’re descended from ancestors who had gills, the nature of the recurrent laryngeal nerve makes perfect sense, but it certainly doesn’t make much sense from the perspective of special creation.<BR><BR><BR>Field Studies:<BR>That populations in the real world do, in fact, evolve is extremely well-documented. Any journal of population genetics will list dozens of examples in every issue. A good and well-known example is a study of the evolution of wild guppies by David Reznick and his colleagues in Trinidad. Another well-know example is the more than 25-year study of the evolution of the finches on the Galàpagos Islands by Peter and Rosemary Grant.<BR><BR>Frequently, these field studies document rates of evolution that are hundreds or even thousands of times faster than are necessary to explain the observed rate of change from the fossil record.<BR><BR>Now then, that evolution occurs in the real world is a proven fact. That it occurs at rates which are more than adequate to explain the rates of change documented by the fossil record is also a proven fact. Geneticists have demonstrated repeatedly that the genetic variation which distinguishes different varieties of organisms is no different from the genetic variation which distinguishes different species of organisms. In other words, it is demonstrably true that there are no “genetic barriers” which would somehow prevent one organism from evolving into another. In any event, the actual evolution of one species into another has been observed, both in the field and in the laboratory.<BR><BR>At no point does faith enter into this. These are observed facts. [By all means, go to the library and check for yourself, if you doubt any of this.]<BR><BR>The Earth is over 4.5 billion years old, as is established beyond any doubt by geology and astronomy. That life has existed for at least 3.8 billion years has been demonstrated beyond any reasonable doubt by paleontology and molecular biology. Comparative anatomy, molecular biology, paleontology, biogeography and numerous other lines of evidence provide overwhelming and mutually consistent evidence that all life on Earth is the result of some 4 billion years of biological evolution.<BR><BR><BR><BR><BR>Why does it Matter?:<BR><BR>First of all, I think that it should be perfectly obvious that we shouldn’t be teaching as “science” claims which are completely unscientific in nature, and which are supported by no evidence or logic. Furthermore, it is dishonest to say that evolution is a “controversial theory” (it is not), or that the question of whether or not life has evolved is unsettled (as far as the scientific community is concerned, the question is settled – all objections to evolution are motivated by politics, religion, or ignorance, and have no place within a science class).<BR><BR>No honest teacher can say that there are any “alternate theories” to evolution when it comes to explaining the diversity of life. At the moment, evolution is the only scientific theory which explains the diversity of life on Earth. Until and unless someone does come up with a viable alternate theory, then to say otherwise is simply to lie. Neither Creationism nor Intelligent Design fulfill any of the requirements of a legitmate scientific theory; therefore, they cannot be introduced into science classrooms by any competent and honest teacher.<BR><BR>Evolution forms the foundation of all modern biology. One can no more hope to understand modern biology without an appreciation of the principles of evolutionary theory than one can hope to understand modern chemistry without an appreciation of the atomic theory of matter.<BR><BR>Because living things do evolve, an appreciation for the principles of evolutionary theory is of great practical utility. The application of evolutionary theory to the study of how disease organisms spread throughout populations has revolutionized the science of epidemiology, for example, and saves thousands of lives every year. The use of evolutionary theory to improve the stocks of domestic plants and animals is another example of how evolutionary biology provides tremendous benefits to us all.<BR><BR><BR><BR>But what about God?:<BR><BR>That evolution occurs is a fact. That it has been occuring for a very long time is also a fact, established beyond any reasonable doubt. This is a problem only for someone who insists upon a literalist interpretation of religious doctrine. Many evolutionary biologists are religious believers themselves, and see evolution as God’s “method of operation.” Regardless, how you choose to integrate the fact of evolution with your religious beliefs is a personal matter.<BR><BR><BR><BR>Miscellaneous Stuff:<BR><BR><BR><BR><< I believe in SCIENCE 100% but believe that Science has little to do with Evolution and vice versa. Evolution ignores science on so many points that to believe in both is more absurd that to reject evolution. It's like trying to mix oil and water, you may get them both in the same glass but they still wont blend. >><BR><BR><BR><BR>As noted above, evolution fulfills every requirement of a legitimate scientific theory. Not only is it a legitimate scientific theory, but it is very possibly the best-supported scientific theory in existence. I’d suggest a perusal of the talkorigins.org website for a thorough discussion of the scientific merits of evolutionary theory.<BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><< The passionate and vehement way in which evolutionists defend their *theory* serves nothing but to convince me that it is no more than a religion, with it's own set of laws, prophets and scriptures. >><BR><BR><BR><BR>Please read up on what a “theory” is in the sciences. It doesn’t mean what you seem to think. In any event, as an evolutionary biologist, I have to deal with the fact that hardly a week goes by in which the local papers don’t contain at least one letter to the editor in which someone claims that “evilution” is a “conspiracy” by “evil atheistic scientists” who are serving “Satan’s agenda.” I’m supposed to be pleased by this? Sometimes, local churches recruit college-age students and enroll them in biology classes for the express purpose of disrupting the class whenever the subject of evolution comes up.<BR><BR>Because schools across the country are afraid of all the “controversy” that it will create, they fail to properly teach evolutionary theory. As a result, students come to college and university woefully unprepared to understand modern biology; as a result, college instructors have to waste a tremendous amount of time getting these poor, mis-educated kids to un-learn the lies they’ve been fed by the Creationists.<BR><BR>There are plenty of what I like to call “professional Creationists” out there who write plenty of books and give lots of lectures which are long on rhetoric and devoid of facts. They accuse “evilutionists” of being idiots and liars and in collusion with Satan. They do tremendous damage to the American educational system in the process.<BR><BR>I do not take kindly to them lying about me and my profession, and I don’t think that any honest person should condone their tactics. I have a duty as a scientist and an educator to point out their dishonesty.<BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><< Science is in the BUSINESS of proving the last theory wrong. If anything in science ever becomes so sacred that to call it wrong is equivalent to blasphemy then that has become religion and is no longer science which CAN INDEED stand up to scrutenty, disbelief, and change! >><BR><BR><BR><BR>That’s exactly the point! Don’t you think that it’s telling that thousands of biologists have spent the past 150 years or so trying to disprove evolution, and have failed? Evolutionary theory is hardly an unchanging dogma; the theory has had to be extensively modified since the days of Darwin and Wallace, as new evidence forced us to reconsider what we thought we understood about the process of evolution. But so far, no evidence whatsoever has surfaced which contradicts the conclusion that evolution can and does occur, and that it has been going on for a very long time.<BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><< The problem with that stance is that it makes scientists automatically discount *any* evidence against evolution and automatically accept *anything* that would seem to prove it. >><BR><BR><BR><BR>We’ll be happy to evaluate the evidence – just as soon as somebody provides it. The quickest way to success in the sciences is to disprove a standing theory. I guarantee that if anyone can produce evidence to disprove evolutionary theory, that person will be instantly wealthy and famous.<BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><< First of all, fossils are dated by what rock strata they are found in, BASED ON A FAULTY ASSUMPTION that a lower rock strata is always older than those found above. Fautly because of OBSERVED uphevals in rock durring such short-term events as earthquakes, and such long-term events as the collision of continents and the creation of mountain ranges. These are just some of the acts that can turn rock strata on their sides and even flip them over alltogether. Therefor it is a faulty asumption to say that lower strata is always older. >><BR><BR><BR><BR>You don’t seriously think that paleontologists and biologists are unaware of the fact that strata can be folded or even inverted do you? If so, you’re saying that we’re all a bunch of complete idiots. Here’s a hint: this is not how fossils are dated. The Law of Superposition is a good starting point, but it’s hardly inviolate. In any event, when millions of tons of rock are folded or inverted, it’s not as if there isn’t plenty of evidence. Geologists and paleontologists are well-aware of what to look for.<BR><BR><BR><BR><< Second, the strata were not only age-dated by their verticle position, but later when the above mentioned problems with entire sections containing many layers were overturned, then rather than re-examine their first theory, they simply identified what they refer to as "index fossils", such that if a rock layer contains a certain "index fossil" that rock layer must be X number of years old. Again, this is faulty since you can not have a rock layer dated by a fossil that was ORIGINALLY dated by a rock layer!! blatant circular logic. >><BR><BR><BR><BR>Actually, the age of strata and their fossils are dated by various means, including radiometric methods. Index fossils can provide a useful approximation, but that’s not how strata are dated. Ask any geologist.<BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><< Now, rock layers are also CURRENTLY OBSERVED to at times be layed down quite rapidly, usually durring floods which naturally separate rock and silt types into layers, whereas the "geologic column" never takes that observed fact into account. They assume that all rock layers must have been layed down slowly over many hundreds or thousands of years. >><BR><BR><BR><BR>Do you think that geologists, paleontologists, and biologists have never noticed such events as mudslides and volcanic eruptions? Such rapid depositional events are well-known, and geologists know how to spot evidence of such events.<BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><< Also, taking into account the rate of erosion that effects the earth, and the rate at which continents both create mountain ridges and fault lines where one plate is sliding under another, there is absolutely no way that any fossils that are "millions of years old" would still be around today! They would have either been sucked under a continental plate or eroded away. >><BR><BR><BR><BR>Actually, continental crusts are mostly granitic rocks. Oceanic crusts are made up mostly of basaltic rocks. The continental rocks are relatively light, and “float” on the mantle. There are very few places where subduction of continental crust occurs at all. Erosion can be a very slow process. Since rocks that are dated at well over a billion years old are found in such places as Greenland and Australia, the claim that fossils could not exist for millions of years without being destroyed by erosion is hogwash.<BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><< Also oil reserves which are tapped today could in no way have been formed more than just 15 or 20 *thousand* years ago because of the intense geologic pressure they are under. GEOLOGISTS claim that the pressure from the oil and natural gas pockets would have cracked the rock to releive the pressure. Therefore, it is painfully obvious that science is not even able to discern the difference between oil created at the time of the dinosaurs and oil created 15 thousand years ago, since scientists still insist that the oil we have today was created some millions of years ago. >><BR><BR><BR><BR>Evidence, please? I know of no geologists who make such a claim. There is some evidence that not all oil deposits are necessarily ancient. This is, at the moment, a highly controversial and poorly-supported claim, however. No one in the geological community is claiming that this is true of all oil deposits, to my knowledge. References from the scientific literature would be most appreciated.<BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><< There are also fossil records of dinosaur and HUMAN footprints side by side, layed down in the same soft river-bank mud. Science must decide to look at this objectively and rationally and stops saying that some massive extiction wiped out all these animals millions of years ago. I believe that the reason almost every ancient culture has stories of dragons is because dragons ARE dinosaurs. Just as Rhinos are the basis for the mythical unicorns, dinosaurs are no doubt the basis for the dragons, who may not have truly breathed fire or been capable of flight, but certainly did exist in some form. >><BR><BR><BR><BR>Ah, the infamous Paluxy dinosaur tracks. You are aware that these are known fakes, right? Some of the “human” tracks are those of small theropod dinosaurs, which Creationist apologists carefully filled with sand, so as to obscure the claw marks and make them look more human. Others were carved into the rocks with chisels. Even most of the Creationist sources (such as the Institute for Creation Research) admit that these tracks are fakes.<BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><< There are MANY animals that have been found alive and well today that scientists had claimed had gone extinct millions of years ago. Some of these animals are the "supposed" ancestors of modern animals. Well that ruins that theory now dont it? There is an animal that scientists use as an INDEX FOSSILS that has been found alive and well in the deep oceans of the southern Atlantic! Similar to a trilobyte but I'm at a loss as to the name at the moment. >><BR><BR><BR><BR>“Many” is rather a stretch. In any event, you seem to be somewhat confused on the issue. First of all, just because a lineage gives rise to another evolutionary lineage is no reason that it should die out. Did your grandfather drop dead just as soon as he sired your mother? There’s no reason that an ancestral lineage need go extinct after producing descendent species.<BR><BR>I would guess that your example of a “problem” animal is a fish called the coelacanth (Latimeria chalumnae). This fish belongs to a group known as the lobe-finned fishes, which dominated the seas some 400 million years ago, according to the fossil record. Fossils of fishes closely-related to the modern coelacanth are known up until about 80 million years ago. It was assumed that this particular lineage had gone extinct, but living coelacanths were discovered in 1938.<BR><BR>The short response is: so? Modern coelacanths are not the ancestors of land-living vertebrates; they are simply survivors of an ancient lineage from which land-living vertebrates apparently evolved. (Incidentally, not only do the fossil record and comparative anatomy support this conclusion, so do studies of the genetics of living coelacanths.) Since living coelacanths have been found only in deep ocean waters, it’s hardly surprising that they’ve managed to escape notice for so long. If, as the fossil record suggests, lobe-finned fishes became much less common some 80 million years ago (for whatever reason), and the few surviving species lived in deep oceanic waters (where we don’t exactly collect many fossils), it’s hardly surprising that we’ve found no fossils of them.<BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><< As for the changing in forms, there is NO fossil evidence whatsoever that animals have changed form over long periods of time from one distict genus to another. >><BR><BR><BR><BR>Riiight. Pick up any textbook of paleontology, and skim through it. You’ll see plenty of evidence.<BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><< Speciation has occured. THAT is scientific. That is observed. Changes in KINGDOM has never been observed in life or in fossil evidence. There is no evidence that a posie evolved into a dog. Changes in PHYLUM, CLASS, ORDER, FAMILY... there is NO evidence of this whatsoever. >><BR><BR><BR><BR>What do you expect? Do you expect a worm to turn into a fish overnight or something? In any event, organisms are descended from common ancestry. Animals did not evolve from plants. I can’t believe you seriously believe that biologists think this. You are joking, right? Please tell me this is a joke.<BR><BR>Plants and animals are descended from common ancestors. In this case, given the great differences between the organisms in question, that common ancestor lived a very long time ago (more than half a billion years ago, actually), and would not have resembled either a plant or an animal very much. The common ancestor of all animals lived rather more recently. The common ancestor of all mammals lived more recently still. The common ancestor of all primates lived even more recently. And so forth.<BR><BR>Actually, the fossil record documents many species that were clearly transitional between major taxa. Consider the species Archaeopteryx lithographica, which most everyone is familiar with. Is it a BIRD or is it a REPTILE? Let’s see. Interestingly, Archaeopteryx’s anatomy is far closer to that of dinosaurs than it is to that of modern birds. Indeed, at least one specimen of Archaeopteryx was mistakenly classified as a small dinosaur in the genus Compsagnathus for years before someone happened to look at in the right light and realized that it was surrounded by the impressions of flight feathers. The skeleton of Archaeopteryx is bone-for-bone the same as that of dromaeosaurid dinosaurs, and the only distinctly avian feature is that it had feathers which were clearly adapted for flight. Even the feathers cannot be said to be unique, because recent fossil discoveries in China seem to show that some small dinosaurs that clearly were not adapted for flight had feathers too.<BR><BR>The evolutionary transition from reptiles to mammals is even better-documented. The fossil record clearly shows synapsid reptiles evolving from the pelycosaurs (these included such creatures as the sail-backed Dimetrodon, which is often mis-identified as a dinosaur, but was actually much more closely-related to mammals), to therapsids, to cynodonts, to primitive mammals, to modern mammals. A beautiful sequence of fossils showing this transition has been discovered, and the line over when to stop calling the animals “reptiles” and to start calling them “mammals” is entirely arbitrary. (Because, of course, the transition is so gradual that there’s no point in the fossil series where you can definitively say that “this is a mammal, but the previous species is a reptile.”)
Last edited by yovargas on Sun Nov 14, 2004 9:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Khajran » Fri Sep 21, 2001 2:31 pm

Yes.<BR><BR>--k
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Postby Nerdanel » Fri Sep 21, 2001 2:34 pm

Yes.
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Postby TolkienLover » Fri Sep 21, 2001 2:39 pm

Yes - I think it's evolution or something along those lines.
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Postby Ayslhyn » Fri Sep 21, 2001 2:42 pm

Yes
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Postby Haldad » Fri Sep 21, 2001 2:50 pm

No.
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Postby Telemachos » Fri Sep 21, 2001 3:32 pm

Yep.
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Postby Khamul'sshadow » Fri Sep 21, 2001 4:30 pm

Concerning man and the universe, most definitely yes. Yovargas, this<BR>thread makes a nice change of pace. Perhaps we could have some debate<BR>on the matter after a certain point ? <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0>
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Postby Mr.bunny » Fri Sep 21, 2001 5:00 pm

Yes<BR><BR>Only a couple of posts, and this thread is already getting boring. <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-tongue.gif"border=0>
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Postby yovargas » Fri Sep 21, 2001 5:36 pm

Well, jeez guys. I said you don't NEED to debate. I didn't say I FORBID debate. <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0> Frankly, I'm surprised at the number of yesses and would love to jump into a debate. I'd rather wait for a few more opinions but ya'll feel free to debate all you want!! <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0><BR><BR>yovargas
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Postby bornilon » Fri Sep 21, 2001 8:44 pm

A 'simple' yes or no? Well, as opposed to what? Being slapped together like a mud pie by the Supreme Deity? Or bioengineered by incomprehensibly superior beings from another galaxy? <BR><BR>Yes, as theories go, I like evolution...not that I think we've got the whole story yet, of course... <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0>
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Postby Machu » Fri Sep 21, 2001 10:00 pm

No.
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Postby Vegan » Fri Sep 21, 2001 10:51 pm

Accept it? I'm living proof, baby!
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Postby Democritus » Fri Sep 21, 2001 10:53 pm

Yes
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Postby Vercelestarrioler » Sat Sep 22, 2001 2:07 am

Ja.<BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR>Lord V.
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Postby TheEllipticalDisillusion » Sat Sep 22, 2001 3:16 am

Well as it stands for now I agree with the theory of evolution. Eventhough it's hard to fathom such an idea that we, such complex beings, could have started off as single celled organisms, it doesn't make it untrue. Of course it doesn't make it complete truth either. I believe that evolution is a good theory and gives a pretty good understanding of one possibility of our creation and our commonalities with other species and other species with other species. To me evolution is simply one scientific theory which seems to work well. If another came along that made more sense and sounded much more logical that evolution who knows maybe I would agree with that, that's the beauty of theory, nothing concrete and easily changed. Would someone like to give their reasons why they don't agree with evolution. This has been kind of a boring thread with the simple 'yes' and 'no'.
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Postby Fatty_Bolger » Sat Sep 22, 2001 4:31 am

Yes<BR><BR>Why are you surprised by the number of yes? It's quite obvious that the majority of people in Western nations think so. Perhaps not in your direct neighbourhood, or even in your State, depending where you live, but overall most people will say yes than no.<BR><BR>Which leaves the real question: Should we bomb single-cell organisms back to stone age?
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Postby Epor » Sat Sep 22, 2001 5:43 am

Yes, and it continues to amaze me that there actually are people who don't...
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Postby dillene » Sat Sep 22, 2001 7:10 am

Yes- and I think we're still evolving.
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Postby Khamul'sshadow » Sat Sep 22, 2001 7:22 am

It's a landslide, yovargas ! <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-tongue.gif"border=0> Defend yourself.
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Postby Stybba » Sat Sep 22, 2001 9:13 am

Yes. And I'd love a debate, one of my favorite things to argue about!! And it's a nice change too.
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Postby yovargas » Sat Sep 22, 2001 9:20 am

Wow. Well, I'm surprised by the number of yesses, not just because I was expecting more Creationists to come in here but because I thought the notion of us coming from the "proverbial ooze" was more widely contested. <BR><BR>I wanted to ask something. Are most of you who are saying 'yes' like TED, who simply thinks of it as the best avaliable scientific theory? Or are you like Epor who seems (correct me if I'm wrong) to view it as a scientific fact? <BR><BR>I'll share my problems with you here and see what kind of responses I get, where I think evolution is insufficient on its own. I claim, by no means, to be an expert on the subject. But I've taken a couple of biology classes in my university which I think has given me a firm grasp on the basis of the theory. Sorry if this gets a bit 'scientific', but it's a scientific topic. I'll try to explain the terminology.<BR><BR>Problem #1: Development of eukaryotic cells.<BR>Problem #2: Development of diecious organisms. <BR>Problem #3: The lack of missing links.<BR>Problem #4: Development of metazoans. <BR><BR>I'll define these terms as I go along.<BR><BR>#1 - Bacteria are called 'prokaryotic' cells. 'Eukaryotic' cells are non-bacterial cells. For example, our cells are eukaryotic. The primary distinction, iirc, is that eukaryotic cells have a nucleus which contains the DNA (and I think RNA) of the cell. The evolutionary mechanisms of natural selection + random mutations do not seem sufficient enough to me to explain how cells would develop a nucleus and the various other mechanisms in eukaryotic cells.<BR><BR>#2 - Diecious organisms are sexually reproductive organisms with two distinct, seperate sexes. We are diecious. The other options are monecious (hermaphroditic organisms) or reproduction through asexual means (cell division, budding). Asexual reproduction is absolutely required for life to get started at all, so that's no surprise. And the evolution of hermaphroditic organisms capable of self-feltilization isn't <i>too</i> far of a stretch. But the evolution of species that have only diecious, sexual reproduction just doesn't seem possible. Neither gradual mutation nor random mutation explain how a species with two distinct and seperate sexes could arise. How could two distinct sexes evolve from a single asexual or even hermaphroditic organism?<BR><BR>#3 - Missing links, a significant hole in evolution. And I'm not just talking about the ape-to-human link either. I'm talking about the link between every species. Their should be hordes upon hordes of examples, both living and in the fossil record, of animals who are clearly in between (evolutionarily speaking) two other species. Where is the link from sponges to jellyfish? Where is the link from lobsters to dragonflies? Where is the link from lizards to hummingbirds? I've never heard an explanation for where these "half-evolved" animals go.<BR><BR>#4 - But my biggest problem with the notion of us evolving from simple, single-celled organisms is the metazoans, otherwise known as multi-cellular organisms. How in the world would a organism with multiple, interdependent cells evolve from a single-celled bacteria? The notion of such a thing happening seems genetically impossible. The simplest metazoan that I know of is the sponges and even they have specialized cells that are necessary for the organism's survival. How would specialized cells, specifically designed for AND totally dependant on other cells, evolve from non-specialized and non-dependant cells? Given what we currently know about genetics, the notion seems absurd to me.<BR><BR>So there you go Khamul, I have defended myself. Was that good enough for ya? <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0> I would love to know if anybody has any answers to these problems, or perhaps some other problems of their own. <BR><BR>yovargas<BR>
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Postby Gamgee Wench » Sat Sep 22, 2001 10:46 am

<BR>Depends. <BR><BR>Do I believe that things evolve (or adapt) over time...Yes. Science has proven that to me.<BR><BR>Do I believe that Humans evolved from an ooze souffle, or from apes....absolutely not. Science has not proven that to me.<BR><BR>I believe in a divine creator....but as for debating that, no thanks...been there, done that. Doesn't get anyone anywhere (at least on message boards), and I'm not in the mood to get flamed.
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Postby Khamul'sshadow » Sat Sep 22, 2001 10:47 am

A most interesting post, yovargas, and I appreciate it. I'm on no<BR>account any kind of expert on either biology or anthropology. I tend<BR>to think in terms of the "big picture", which in this case means<BR>cosmology. Unless our good scientists are completely mad, the universe<BR>is approxiamately 13 billion years old. Our star, Sol, is about 5<BR>billion years old. How we came to be here I don't know, but there's<BR>a hell of alot of time, in terms of astronomical understanding, for<BR>either some kind of divine intervention or evolution. I'd go with the<BR>latter.
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Postby yovargas » Sat Sep 22, 2001 1:35 pm

Khamul, one of the several reasons I did this thread is because as an atheist, I have often seen it presented that you either think God created everything OR we evolved from bacteria that coincidentally appeared a zillion years ago. This either/or mentality kind of bugs me but if this thread is any indication, it doesn't seem to be too far off. Those who don't buy Creationism, buy evolution. <BR><BR>My personal guess (and it's a total guess, of course) is that evolution had a significant part on getting this planet, including ourselves, to where it is right now, BUT there is SOME piece of the puzzle that is missing, SOME knowledge that we have not yet gained or have yet to understand. Evolution is almost certainly a big piece of the puzzle, but there is almost as certainly another piece missing necessary to put the whole thing together.<BR><BR>Btw, I'd still like for the poll to keep going, even if this turns into a big debate.<BR><BR>yovargas
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Postby TheEllipticalDisillusion » Sat Sep 22, 2001 1:47 pm

I'd like to say something since apparently it been voiced to me that I may be agreeing with evolution for all the wrong reasons. I don't accept much as scientific fact, I agree with various theories for lack of anything else to agree with. I am by no means religious as you all may or may not know so science is the next best to look to and I happen to agree with a lot of what science says. Either that or I could just make up theories. I don't take evolution as complete fact because there is no <i>hard</i> disprovable evidence to go on. There is always loops and holes in every scientific theory. The only scientific theory I completely agree with and that is because of provable evidence is gravity. But back to evolution. I haven't taken a biology class in a couple years, not since freshmen year of high school. As for the possiblity of random mutation, I do think that this world is random and I wouldn't rule out random mutation. If the earth is really 4.5 billion years old as scientists have said, then that does leave quite a long time for species to evolve and change even when the changes seem very unlikely. Species evolve to fit their surroundings, so if the surrounding needed a sexual organism rather than an asexual, I wouldn't rule out the possibility.<BR><BR>
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Postby Khamul'sshadow » Sat Sep 22, 2001 1:59 pm

Y : there are things we cannot comprehend scientifically as of yet.<BR>There is no doubt, I think, on this question. The foundational query<BR>though, I suppose, is how did we get here ? ( if you espouse that we<BR>are actually present). If it's not the principle of evolution, then<BR>what ? Could I hear a coherent thought on the alternative ?(any supernatural causes are censored due to my sensibilities <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-shocked.gif"border=0> <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif"border=0> }.
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Postby yovargas » Sat Sep 22, 2001 3:08 pm

"If it's not the principle of evolution, then<BR>what ? "<BR><BR>If I had an answer to that, I'd be famous. <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0> Seriously, 300 years ago they didn't even have the theory of evolution. I assume that back then the question was, if not the principle of creation by God, then what? Back then, the honest answer should simply be "I don't know". Imo, the same answer should be given now, unless the theory of evolution is more complete then what I have heard. Perhaps 300 years from now they'll have an answer as concrete as the orbit of the planets. For now, we do not. <BR><BR>In other words, I can't give you coherent alternatives. But I can give you wild, baseless speculations. <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0> If you ask me what I think most likely happened, I would say that I think life has always existed in one form or another as long as the universe has existed. It did not need creation any more than matter (or the God of the theists). It's just simply always been there. Through the random, wild, weirdness of the universe various lifeforms ended up on this planet and through evolution and Unknown Force X, life is as we know it now on earth.<BR><BR>There is yovargas' wild speculation of the day. Based on absolutely nothing except that I think it sounds cool and it doesn't sound completely insane. <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0><BR><BR>yovargas
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Postby undomiel » Sat Sep 22, 2001 11:48 pm

I think you would have to be crazy to accept evolution, given the suprisingly apalling lack of evidence there is. All rationally thinking people would have to question evolution just as much as any other theory. Just because a group of scientists who were eager to become famous claimed it was the only possible solution, that means that it must be truth?? No, I think it takes more faith to believe in evolution than in any other theory out there.
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Postby Gandalf'sMother » Sun Sep 23, 2001 1:12 am

Surprisingly appalling lack of evidence? What gave you that idea?<BR><BR>Yes I do accept the theory of evolution. I accept that it is a theory, and it may have minor flaws, but there is enough evidence supporting this theory to say with almosy absolute certainty that such a process of evolution has occurred and continues to occur.<BR><BR>-Mother Maiar
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