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Do you believe in evolution?

Discussion in 'Science & Technology' started by God, May 4, 2007.

  1. God

    God New Member

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  2. Dave

    Dave New Member

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    I believe in evolution to an extent. There are still a lot of holes in it. I think it is beyond coincidence that all mammals with the exception of hooved animals have the same bones in their hands, but there are a ton of "missing links" out there. It is well known that there is a big gap in human history where evolution took a huge jump that hasn't really been explained. What most people forget is that this gap is present in a lot of the animals we see today. Evolution has yet to show any process that changed the arms of a bat into wings. We have the skeletons of primative rodents, and then we have bats. Nothing in between. The same could be said for giraffes, there are normal size necks, and then there are very long necks without any long term growth process in the species. Like I said, I do believe that evolution has done a lot to shape the developement of species, but there are some questions it has yet to come close to answering.
     
  3. palerider

    palerider Well-Known Member

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    Microevolution, yes. There is ample evidence of it and we can actually see it at work today. Macroevolution, however, not a chance. In a hundred and fifty years of fossil collection and analysis, we haven't seen a single fossil that evidences one species evolving into another.
     
  4. 9sublime

    9sublime Active Member

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    I knew you wouldn't be able to accept you evolved from a monkey.
     
  5. palerider

    palerider Well-Known Member

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    Show me some evidence. There have been no transitional fossils found of the ancient hominids that suggest that we came from them. They are distinct species. There are not even any transitional fossils to suggest that they came from each other. Each appears to be distinct. A creature that was there, lived for a while and died out.
     
  6. 9sublime

    9sublime Active Member

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    How can you accept microevolution but not macroevolution? If a species develops and develops, soon it will bear no resemblance to what it was originally.
     
  7. Coyote

    Coyote Active Member

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    That is incorrect.

    First off - homosapiens did not evolve from "monkeys' - we, and they evolved from a common apelike ancester. There are many transitional fossils - each a seperate species - that shows the development from these ancestral forms to modern homosapiens. You can clearly see gradations of change from one to the other.

    The other method of measuring relatedness to species is through DNA research and mapping. I'm afraid the records are pretty clear there.
     
  8. Coyote

    Coyote Active Member

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    I should add - evolution is pretty much accepted scientific fact. Where there is uncertainty or dissention is in the exact mechanims.
     
  9. vyo476

    vyo476 Active Member

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    No, it is still a theory. A widely-accepted and highly probable theory, but a theory, because it is not fully provable as "fact."
     
  10. Dave

    Dave New Member

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    As I mentioned earlier, the transitional fossils are there for some evolutionary moves, but abscent from others. A lot of species on the earth today have some sort of missing link where there was a huge unexplained jump in the evolutionary process.
     
  11. Coyote

    Coyote Active Member

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    Do you realize how very few creatures ever become fossils though? In terms of numbers - it's a very very rare process.

    Here is an article that might shed some light on the issue of transitional fossils: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-misconceptions.html

    "There are no transitional fossils."

    A transitional fossil is one that looks like it's from an organism intermediate between two lineages, meaning it has some characteristics of lineage A, some characteristics of lineage B, and probably some characteristics part way between the two. Transitional fossils can occur between groups of any taxonomic level, such as between species, between orders, etc. Ideally, the transitional fossil should be found stratigraphically between the first occurrence of the ancestral lineage and the first occurrence of the descendent lineage, but evolution also predicts the occurrence of some fossils with transitional morphology that occur after both lineages. There's nothing in the theory of evolution which says an intermediate form (or any organism, for that matter) can have only one line of descendents, or that the intermediate form itself has to go extinct when a line of descendents evolves.

    To say there are no transitional fossils is simply false. Paleontology has progressed a bit since Origin of Species was published, uncovering thousands of transitional fossils, by both the temporally restrictive and the less restrictive definitions. The fossil record is still spotty and always will be; erosion and the rarity of conditions favorable to fossilization make that inevitable. Also, transitions may occur in a small population, in a small area, and/or in a relatively short amount of time; when any of these conditions hold, the chances of finding the transitional fossils goes down. Still, there are still many instances where excellent sequences of transitional fossils exist. Some notable examples are the transitions from reptile to mammal, from land animal to early whale, and from early ape to human. For many more examples, see the transitional fossils FAQ in the talk.origins archive, and see http://www.geo.ucalgary.ca/~macrae/talk_origins.html for sample images for some invertebrate groups.

    The misconception about the lack of transitional fossils is perpetuated in part by a common way of thinking about categories. When people think about a category like "dog" or "ant," they often subconsciously believe that there is a well-defined boundary around the category, or that there is some eternal ideal form (for philosophers, the Platonic idea) which defines the category. This kind of thinking leads people to declare that Archaeopteryx is "100% bird," when it is clearly a mix of bird and reptile features (with more reptile than bird features, in fact). In truth, categories are man-made and artificial. Nature is not constrained to follow them, and it doesn't.

    Some Creationists claim that the hypothesis of punctuated equilibrium was proposed (by Eldredge and Gould) to explain gaps in the fossil record. Actually, it was proposed to explain the relative rarity of transitional forms, not their total absence, and to explain why speciation appears to happen relatively quickly in some cases, gradually in others, and not at all during some periods for some species. In no way does it deny that transitional sequences exist. In fact, both Gould and Eldredge are outspoken opponents of Creationism.

    "But paleontologists have discovered several superb examples of intermediary forms and sequences, more than enough to convince any fair-minded skeptic about the reality of life's physical genealogy." - Stephen Jay Gould, Natural History, May 1994
     
  12. Coyote

    Coyote Active Member

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    I think you misunderstand what a scientific theory is - it is not Just a "theory".


    from http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-misconceptions.html

    "Evolution is only a theory; it hasn't been proved."

    First, we should clarify what "evolution" means. Like so many other words, it has more than one meaning. Its strict biological definition is "a change in allele frequencies over time." By that definition, evolution is an indisputable fact. Most people seem to associate the word "evolution" mainly with common descent, the theory that all life arose from one common ancestor. Many people believe that there is enough evidence to call this a fact, too. However, common descent is still not the theory of evolution, but just a fraction of it (and a part of several quite different theories as well). The theory of evolution not only says that life evolved, it also includes mechanisms, like mutations, natural selection, and genetic drift, which go a long way towards explaining how life evolved.

    Calling the theory of evolution "only a theory" is, strictly speaking, true, but the idea it tries to convey is completely wrong. The argument rests on a confusion between what "theory" means in informal usage and in a scientific context. A theory, in the scientific sense, is "a coherent group of general propositions used as principles of explanation for a class of phenomena" [Random House American College Dictionary]. The term does not imply tentativeness or lack of certainty. Generally speaking, scientific theories differ from scientific laws only in that laws can be expressed more tersely. Being a theory implies self-consistency, agreement with observations, and usefulness. (Creationism fails to be a theory mainly because of the last point; it makes few or no specific claims about what we would expect to find, so it can't be used for anything. When it does make falsifiable predictions, they prove to be false.)

    Lack of proof isn't a weakness, either. On the contrary, claiming infallibility for one's conclusions is a sign of hubris. Nothing in the real world has ever been rigorously proved, or ever will be. Proof, in the mathematical sense, is possible only if you have the luxury of defining the universe you're operating in. In the real world, we must deal with levels of certainty based on observed evidence. The more and better evidence we have for something, the more certainty we assign to it; when there is enough evidence, we label the something a fact, even though it still isn't 100% certain.

    What evolution has is what any good scientific claim has--evidence, and lots of it. Evolution is supported by a wide range of observations throughout the fields of genetics, anatomy, ecology, animal behavior, paleontology, and others. If you wish to challenge the theory of evolution, you must address that evidence. You must show that the evidence is either wrong or irrelevant or that it fits another theory better. Of course, to do this, you must know both the theory and the evidence.
     
  13. Dave

    Dave New Member

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    There was a huge jump from homo erectus to homo sapien in an extremely short time. In fact, many scientists are now claiming that they lived at the same time along side each other. The only way that can happen is if they are different species that shared a common ancestor, which would throw out a lot of what we think we know about human evolution. It would also mean that the evolutionary jump that created homo sapiens would be even bigger. Evolution is based on the theory that changes occur over extremely long periods of time, but archeology is showing that while this is the case most of the time, there are times when really big changes take place over a very short period of time.
     
  14. 9sublime

    9sublime Active Member

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    Evolution has a lot of very good evidence for it, creationism only has the gaps in evolution as its ground to stand on, and that is not evidence. Until someone comes up with something conclusive about creationism rather than picking holes in evolution, it has no evidence.
     
  15. palerider

    palerider Well-Known Member

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    'Maybe I didn't make myself clear enough. I have already posted this on another thread and rather than type it all out again, I am going to just bring it here if you don't mind.

    "Evolution, that is macro evolution, is hardly a provable science. In fact, Sir Arthur Keith, he man who wrote the foreward for the 100th edition of Origin of the Species said: "Evolution is unproved and unprovable."

    Those who make the claim that evolution is a fact are speaking from a terribly misinformed position. If you believe that you can prove evolution to be a fact, I can direct you to several places that have prizes upto a quarter of a million dollars available to anyone who can prove the theory of evolution to be fact.

    In the broadest sense, evolution simply means change. The and animals that we see around us didn't always exist and some that used to exist no longer exist. In that sense, evolution is true and I can't think of any religious person who would disagree. That is not the sort of evolution that is the topic of this discussion though, is it?

    A second, and more narrow meaning of evolution would be the idea that all living things decended over a long period of time from one, or a very few common ancestors. Any "evidence" for common ancestry is much more debatable than evidence for simple change. Even this more narrow meaning of evolution does not create an insurmountable problem for most religious people as intelligent design fits very nicely within these boundries.

    Evolution with a capital "E" however, the evolution that some demand be taught in school as if it were a fact is the notion that species evolve over time through random variations and natural selection. Darwin cited domestic breeding as an example of evolution. Modifications in domestic crops or livestock can be produced by appropriately selecting small variations. Since about 1859 scientists have observed a similar process in the wild. For example, when mosquitoes are exposed to insecticides, subsequent generations become more resistant to the insecticide as the more susceptible organisms die off, when moths are exposed to predatory birds, subsequent generations tend to be better camouflaged as the more visible ones are eaten. There is a considerable body of evidence that supports the idea that change occurs through the natural selection of random variations.

    But how much change? In Darwin's examples no new species appear and no new features appear within the species that are changing. Domestic breeding can't turn a sheep into a goat, much less a lizzard or a fish. And bird predation does not change moths into butterflies. Biologists have long recognized a distinction between relatively minor changes within a species, which is defined as "microevolution," and the much larger changes necessary to produce significant new features or entirely new species which they call "macroevolution." It is entirely possible and even probable that evolution in its third sense (change through random variations and natural selection) is true when it is applied to microevolution, but completely untrue when it is applied to macroevolution.

    So evolution in the broadest sense, that being, change over time is a fact. We can see it if we look around the world. Evolution in the second sense, that being, decendency from common ancestors is thoroughly debatable and evolution in the third sense, that being change due to random variations and natural selection is a fact when applied to microevolution, but what about macro evolution which lies at the heart of this debate?

    As molecular biologist Michael Denton wrote in 1985, "However attractive the extrapolation, it does not follow that, because a certain degree of evolution has been shown to occur, therefore any degree of evolution is possible."

    In fact, not one single empirical discovery or scientific advance since 1859 has validated the idea of macro evolution. In other words, of the several different meanings of "evolution," Darwinian macroevolution is the least supported by the evidence.

    Those who adhere to the theory of evolution say very passionately that the evidence for evolution is overwhelming and it is, if by evolution, you mean change over time. But if you mean macro evolution via natural selection and random variation, then the body of evidence that you have to present is underwhelming at best.

    Fossils establish beyond a reasonable doubt that change has happened over time, but the fossil record is an embarrassment to anyone who is attempting to use it to support the Darwinian theory of macroevolution. It is possilble to directly observe microevolution through random variations and natural selection but that observation shows that such change occurs rather gradually and there are no radical discontinuities from one generation to the next. Darwin acknowledged that if his theory were true, then one would expect to find any number of transitional forms of any animal in the fossil record. Such is not the case.

    Over a century and a half of fossil-collecting has happened since Darwin, and it has become painfully clear that fossil species tend to appear suddenly and exist essentially unchanged for long periods of time before they go extinct. These sudden appearances and disappearances, separated by absence of change, have been termed "punctuated equilibria" Punctuated equilibria are most evident where the fossil record is the most complete. Marine invertebrates for example. The most striking example of punctuated equilibria is the geological period known as the Cambrian. It is conspicuously marked by the rather sudden appearance of all the basic forms of animals now in existence. There are no transitional forms between them, and no new basic forms have appeared since then.

    The fossil record of sudden appearances supports the idea of intelligent design far better than the painfully underwhelming evidence for macro evolution. Even the few examples of transitional fossils don't support Darwinian macro evolution because it simply can't be demonstrated that the transitions were the result of random variation and natural selection.

    The fields of molecular biology and biochemistry are producing scientists that say simply that Darwin's mechanism is simply incapable of producing the mechanisms by which organisms would use energy, move around, detect light, heal wounds, etc. The theory of macro evolution becomes less supportable the more we learn about the "biomechanical machinery" of living cells. "


    Apologies for any information that doesn't apply to this discussion.
     
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