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Evolution...and Then... "something" Happened!


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#1 usafjay1976

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 11:37 AM

I find it interesting that while reading information regarding evolution, there are many 'mights, coulds, somethings' in regards to how evolution occurred. Bolded parts in quotes are mine.

For example, a recent article by palaeobiologist Kevin Peterson says,

If it turns out that the traditional mammal tree is right, Peterson won’t see that result as a defeat for microRNAs. It would just mean that something odd happened…he says.


An April 2012 University of Wisconsin-Madison press release says that “something happened” regarding the cryptic Cambrian explosion:

The oceans teemed with life 600 million years ago, but the simple, soft-bodied creatures would have been hardly recognizable as the ancestors of nearly all animals on Earth today. Then something happened…a burst of evolution led to a flurry of diversification and increasing complexity, including the expansion of multicellular organisms and the appearance of the first shells and skeletons.


From a text book called Integraded Principles of Zoology, we have this statement:

Sometime, somewhere in the Precambrian era, a major milestone occurred in the evolution of life on earth


This is from a short article called "Evolution: It Just Happened" and can be read here:

http://www.icr.org/article/7059/

So something happened... that explains it! No evidence, no proof, no idea what happened but...something did... so it happened...

Definitely no design behind life though. I mean, something happened. Maybe aliens. SOMETHING happened. Just chance though. Luck of the draw. Evolution 'knew' what every creature in this universe needed to survive. How to fend for itself. How to love, communicate, reproduce, survive, etc... and every organ, every nerve, every muscle, every thought, anything and everything related to this amazing thing we call life is thanks to evolution! But it can't be explained. But it happened.

Something came from nothing.... zero evidence.

Something went "boom"... somehow... zero evidence.

Boom! Life formed!! Zero evidence.

But the fossils! The many, many that have been found but are virtually unchanged over a supposedly millions of years? The ones you don't see at museums? The ones that lack proof of evolution? Yeah... they are observed. Maybe minor differences in the animals found. Nothing that screams evolution. But hey! Something happened so we evolved...

Everything around us is optimal for life. Thank goodness evolution got it right! The moon, the sun, gravity, etc. But again, evolution is something else because it knew we needed a sun so it made one! And thank goodness for gravity or I'd need some heavy boots. Or maybe the opposite if gravity was weaker. But it's just right. Thank goodness something happened when gravity came about and it's jussssssssst right or we'd be in trouble. And that ozone layer??? Good thing evolution made that!!

Okay, so enough sarcasm for now. Just wanted to share some of the uncertainties that are floating around out there in the evolutionary field.

I'm sure there are more. Share away if you have them and let's see how solid this theory is.

#2 aelyn

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 11:49 AM

usafjay, do you believe that people can either know everything, or know nothing ? Do you think it's possible to know some things (for a non-absolute value of "know" of course, i.e. a level of confidence high enough for most purposes) and not know others ?

#3 usafjay1976

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 12:43 PM

Hi aelyn,

I don't want to turn this into a philsophical thread. People can't know everything. But many other fields, if perhaps all others (except evolution) can be backed by empirical fact, tested with the scientific method, etc. Evolution, of course, is exempt from this.

Evolution is touted as fact by the so called evidence that has been found. Or it's called the most probable theory. Why is God unlikely? I don't know but evolutionists will come up with anything to try and prove evolution even when their own theories constantly fail them. Aliens? Sure. But not God!

Where did the star, rock, asteroid, or whatever it was, come from that eventually exploded and made earth?
What conditions were present to make life possible?
Where is the evidence that animal 'A' turned into animal 'B' which then turned into 'C', and then 'D', and so on and so forth?

There are mutliple problems with dating methods which I'm sure you've read either on here or elsewhere.
Fossils don't prove evolution.
Life coming from non life has never been observed.
How life originated is not explained with fact.

Evolution is taught in public schools across America. It is taught as either 'best theory' or 'fact' or something along those lines. No mention of ID though! But even though evolution is full of problems, guesses, etc. it is taught as science. A science that should not be argued, because if it is challenged by others (especially creationists) we are mocked. Even though our points are valid, we get scoffed.

Please don't let this come across as sounding harsh. As I read this prior to posting, I can see where it might sound abrasive but that's not how I am trying to come across.

#4 Xanifred

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 01:32 PM

Hi aelyn, I don't want to turn this into a philsophical thread. People can't know everything. But many other fields, if perhaps all others (except evolution) can be backed by empirical fact, tested with the scientific method, etc. Evolution, of course, is exempt from this.


This is completely untrue. The Theory of Evolution is every bit as subject to the Scientific Method as any other scientific theory. And in every single scientific field of inquiry, there are areas about which the researchers can only say "something happened here, and we're not sure what," or "some unknown mechanism is responsible for this phenomenon." Research is all about trying to figure out the unknowns, and to fill in more gaps in our understanding.


Evolution is touted as fact by the so called evidence that has been found. Or it's called the most probable theory.

Technically, it is the most robust theory.

Why is God unlikely?

Two reasons: Occam's Razor, and the Scientific Method.

Let's review the Scientific Method. In school, most of us learn that the Scientific Method consists of 5 basic steps: Observation, Hypothesis, Testing, Conclusion, and Replication. At least, that's how I learned it - YMMV. Here's the way it's supposed to work:

Observation - we see some phenomenon in the natural world which raises a question. Let's say we come across a tree that has fallen down in the forest, and we wonder what caused it to fall down.

Hypothesis - we come up with proposals about why the tree fell. I say "maybe it was an invisible tree-hating elf that pushed it over!" You reply "I don't believe in tree-hating elves. Besides, my hypothesis is that it was cut down."

Testing - this is the part that a lot of people don't understand. When we hear about testing a theory, we tend to envision a laboratory with test-tubes, or a particle accelerator, or lab rats, or some other bit of equipment. But these are only a handful of ways that scientists test hypotheses and theories. In order to understand the basis of scientific testing, you need to grasp a very basic but very essential concept: Predictive Power.

Without predictive power, a hypothesis or theory is untestable. Predictive power sounds a lot cooler than it is, unfortunately - all it really means is that we can take a hypothesis and ask "what would we expect to see if this hypothesis were true?" - and to give an accurate answer. For example, if the hypothesis "the tree was cut down" were true, we would expect to see the marks left by a saw or axe on the tree.

In this hypothetical case, we examine the tree and discover that it does, in fact, bear the unmistakeable marks of a chainsaw.

Conclusion - we conclude, based on the results of our test, that the tree was cut down by a chainsaw.

Replication - we write up our findings in a long-winded article and submit it to the Journal of Fallen Objects, inviting other researchers to examine the tree and subject it to their own tests. They do so, and conclude that the tree was, in fact, cut down by a chainsaw.

Now, this is a deliberate simplification, but it provides some important information. First of all, it demonstrates that testing a hypothesis or theory can be done by making a prediction - "what would we expect to see under condition X if hypothesis Y were true" - and then creating or seeking out condition X to see if, in fact, we see what the hypothesis predicts. Secondly, it answers the question 'why doesn't science take the possibility of God into account?' The answer is simple: creationists have provided no predictive model which we can test. We have no way of proceeding beyond the hypothesis stage, so nothing can be determined one way or another.

By the way, the primary difference between a hypothesis and a theory is this: A theory is a hypothesis which has been tested in numerous ways by numerous people, and found to be an accurate predictor of results (or phenomena). The reason science has accepted the Theory of Evolution as a robust theory is that it has accurately predicted what we would find on the cellular level, the social level, the phenotypic level, and in the wider biosphere. Evolution predicted feathered dinosaurs decades before we found dino fossils with feathers. It predicted that we would see evidence of a land-based mammalian ancestor of whales and dolphins decades before the fossils of those ancestors were discovered. Predictions made by the Theory of Evolution have enabled countless scientific breakthroughs, including many which are used in hospitals and clinics around the world. It has proven, over the past century and a half, to be an incredibly powerful tool for everything from the development of new vaccines to AI computer programs. It's accepted because it works.

And evolution doesn't mean that the Bible is wrong, or God doesn't exist. It merely means that humans are fallible, and that a strict literal interpretation of scripture is the wrong approach.

#5 usafjay1976

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 01:57 PM

This is completely untrue. The Theory of Evolution is every bit as subject to the Scientific Method as any other scientific theory. And in every single scientific field of inquiry, there are areas about which the researchers can only say "something happened here, and we're not sure what," or "some unknown mechanism is responsible for this phenomenon." Research is all about trying to figure out the unknowns, and to fill in more gaps in our understanding.


Here is the scientific method. If evolution is subject to it, give me one of the many examples of evolution and use this method to show me how it works.

Posted Image


What have we tested in evolution that has proven evolution?

Show me dinosaurs with feathers. And if they are dinosaurs with feathers, show me with the scientific method how it was proved they were dinosaurs with feathers.

Show me fossils of these mammalian ancestors of whales and dolphins by using the scientific method to prove they evolved.

Lastly, I disagree with your statement of:

And evolution doesn't mean that the Bible is wrong, or God doesn't exist. It merely means that humans are fallible, and that a strict literal interpretation of scripture is the wrong approach.


But that's a different topic, if you wish to discuss, you should start a thread. You might be pretty surprised on the evidence that proves how historically accurate the Bible really is.

#6 Xanifred

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 02:41 PM

Here is the scientific method. If evolution is subject to it, give me one of the many examples of evolution and use this method to show me how it works. Posted Image What have we tested in evolution that has proven evolution?


First of all, "proof" belongs in mathematics. All other branches of science use the Scientific Method to examine the robustness of the predictive power of a theoretical model. Science uses words like "indications" and "reinforcing theoretical models" and so on. That science seeks "proof" is a layman's misunderstanding.

As to the various ways that we have tested the Theory of Evolution, I already gave you a couple. Let's look at those:

Show me dinosaurs with feathers.


OK. Microraptor:

Posted Image



And if they are dinosaurs with feathers, show me with the scientific method how it was proved they were dinosaurs with feathers.

Again, "proved" is the wrong word. The conclusion that these are the fossils of feathered dinosaurs fits the evidence better than any other hypothesis.

Question: What is this fossilized animal?
Background Research: Where was it found; how does it compare to other fossilized animals; what other fossils were found near it, etc. (Answer: China; it shares multiple characteristic with other dino fossils; it was found alongside dinosaur fossils)
Construct Hypothesis; This is the fossil of a dinosaur with feathers.
Test: What would we expect if this is actually a dinosaur with feathers? Does the fossil meet all those expectations? (answer: yes)
Analyze results, draw conclusion: Yep, it's a dino with feathers, all right!
Hypothesis is true.
Report results - done.

BTW, when these fossils were first discovered, paleontologists were extremely skeptical, suspecting fraud. However, when more and more fossil evidence of feathered dinos began to emerge (just as a predictive model built on the hypothesis says they would), it was eventually accepted that feathered dinosaurs existed. Today it is considered an established scientific fact.

Show me fossils of these mammalian ancestors of whales and dolphins by using the scientific method to prove they evolved.

Here's an article on the subject, if you're interested. But you are clearly confused about the relevance of the fossil record with regard to whale evolution. The fossils are the 'proof' of evolution - they are, in fact, the results of the experiment. Remember? An experiment takes a predictive model (if X is true, then we will observe Y under circumstance Z) and then tests to see if it is true. In the case of evolution, if whales evolved then we should see a gradual fossil shift from their land-based ancestors to their present form in an area which was ideal for the formation of fossils.

For many, many years, this prediction was unfulfilled. Nobody had been able to find an area where the circumstances were ideal for the formation of whale-ancestor's fossils, so the test could not be done. In fact, creationists used to use the lack of land-based whale ancestors in the fossil record as evidence that evolution was wrong. It was only very recently that an area in the Egyptian desert was discovered, which holds a treasure-trove of proto-whale fossils.

Now, why do you think that creationists would use the lack of a particular predicted set of fossils as evidence against evolution, but will not accept that the discovery of precisely that set of fossils is evidence for evolution?

You might be pretty surprised on the evidence that proves how historically accurate the Bible really is.

I doubt it. I lived in Israel for 7 years, studying Hebrew and talking to all sorts of interesting Biblical scholars, including Biblical archaeologists. I am well aware of both the historical accuracy and the historical inaccuracy of the Bible.

#7 aelyn

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 03:41 PM

@usafjay : Your first post seemed to be criticizing biology, geology and astronomy for claiming to know some things but being uncertain about others. Given I consider that to be a pretty normal state of affairs I was surprised... I didn't think it was particularly harsh though so no worries ^^ As for all of your questions, each one of them could be its own thread - or its own hundred threads, for some of them, I don't know why you ask them all like that when you know perfectly well they'd take pages to answer, and you already have disagreements with the answers you know you'll get (you've even pre-emptively given some of them, but in such vague terms that it would take pages even to address those !) Those kinds of questions just make me want to refer you to the Wikipedia page for Abiogenesis or evolution, or to the Talk Origins page "29+ evidences for macroevolution" so you can actually see what scientists claim the evidence for evolution is, and then you can come back with specific objections to those things.

I will address one of them however because it seems you don't know what science says on that subject :

Where did the star, rock, asteroid, or whatever it was, come from that eventually exploded and made earth?

Are you talking about the Big Bang, accretion, or the fact that the Solar System was formed from a molecular cloud that resulted from one or several supernovae ?
The Big Bang wasn't an explosion, I explained that in another of your threads I don't know if you saw my response there. The formation of the Earth didn't involve explosions either. The closest thing to an explosion would be the Solar System being a third-or-so-generation system, formed from gases expelled after older stars had gone nova, hence the presence of heavy elements in our system. The first generation of stars formed from gas clouds as well, it's just that those only contained lighter elements that formed early in the history of the Universe, when it was hot and dense enough for fusion to happen everywhere and not just in the core of stars. (for that you're just as well off looking at "Big Bang nucleosynthesis" on Wikipedia as asking me because I don't know that much about advanced particle physics)

#8 rico

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 05:05 PM

@usafjay : Your first post seemed to be criticizing biology, geology and astronomy for claiming to know some things but being uncertain about others. Given I consider that to be a pretty normal state of affairs I was surprised... I didn't think it was particularly harsh though so no worries ^^ As for all of your questions, each one of them could be its own thread - or its own hundred threads, for some of them, I don't know why you ask them all like that when you know perfectly well they'd take pages to answer, and you already have disagreements with the answers you know you'll get (you've even pre-emptively given some of them, but in such vague terms that it would take pages even to address those !) Those kinds of questions just make me want to refer you to the Wikipedia page for Abiogenesis or evolution, or to the Talk Origins page "29+ evidences for macroevolution" so you can actually see what scientists claim the evidence for evolution is, and then you can come back with specific objections to those things.


knowledge (science) and belief (trust) Empirical science is said to be observable, testable, and repeatable.... I think his post shows where your faith (trust) is.
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#9 gilbo12345

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 10:44 PM

knowledge (science) and belief (trust) Empirical science is said to be observable, testable, and repeatable.... I think his post shows where your faith (trust) is.


Faith very much is trust... Much like how scientists have faith in their own capability of reasoning in order to believe their conclusions are true. Its becoming apparant that atheists like to redefine terminology of words much like here

http://freethoughtblogs.com/aronra/2012/09/15/offerings-to-the-atheist-dictionary/


Here is aron ra's version


Faith: A firm, stoic, and sacred conviction which is both adopted and maintained independent of physical evidence or logical proof.



Here is the actual dictionary version

faith

/feɪθ/ Show Spelled [feyth] Show IPA

noun
1.
confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another's ability.
2.
belief that is not based on proof: He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact.
3.
belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion: the firm faith of the Pilgrims.
4.
belief in anything, as a code of ethics, standards of merit, etc.: to be of the same faith with someone concerning honesty.
5.
a system of religious belief: the Christian faith; the Jewish faith.

http://dictionary.re...rowse/faith?s=t

#10 gilbo12345

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 10:57 PM

. As to the various ways that we have tested the Theory of Evolution, I already gave you a couple. Let's look at those:


Firstly, just fossil evidence is not "various ways" that have tested the "theory" of evolution.... Ways implies more than one, you're just stating such to give more percieved authority to your claims.

Now regarding the scientific method, what experiments were done on the fossils to demonstrate that the similarities we see are in fact a product of an evolutionary cause? Merely observing the fossil does nothing since when you look at the scientific method, what comes after observation? HYPOTHESIS... Ergo claiming evolution as the cause of similarities is merely a hypothesis what do we do with hypothesises? We test them, thus going back to my first question about what experiments supports the hypothesis of evolution.

This logic can apply to all other percieved "evidences" of evolution... Which correctly identifies them as untested hypothesises rather than evidence? What does this do to the "theory" well for certain it does entail that evolution isn't a "theory" since its not based on evidence... Rather its just a proposed model.

Until there is scientific experimentation to corroborate that evolution is the cause then you're just claiming "evolution did it"

#11 Xanifred

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 09:59 AM

Firstly, just fossil evidence is not "various ways" that have tested the "theory" of evolution.... Ways implies more than one, you're just stating such to give more percieved authority to your claims. Now regarding the scientific method, what experiments were done on the fossils to demonstrate that the similarities we see are in fact a product of an evolutionary cause? Merely observing the fossil does nothing since when you look at the scientific method, what comes after observation? HYPOTHESIS... Ergo claiming evolution as the cause of similarities is merely a hypothesis what do we do with hypothesises? We test them, thus going back to my first question about what experiments supports the hypothesis of evolution. This logic can apply to all other percieved "evidences" of evolution... Which correctly identifies them as untested hypothesises rather than evidence? What does this do to the "theory" well for certain it does entail that evolution isn't a "theory" since its not based on evidence... Rather its just a proposed model. Until there is scientific experimentation to corroborate that evolution is the cause then you're just claiming "evolution did it"

Again, you appear to misunderstand what is meant by "testing" in science.

Let's move to the area of astrophysics. In recent years, the hypothesis that there are planets orbiting other stars has been proved. How? By asking the question "what would we expect to see if planets were orbiting other stars?" and then searching for those phenomena. Also by asking the corollary "how might we disprove the existence of planets orbiting other stars?" and looking for phenomena which fit those criteria (falsifiability).

Nobody has flown to these other planets, or experimented on them in a lab. The 'experiment' was purely mathematical and observational. That's how a huge number of hypotheses are either confirmed or discarded.

The same holds true for experiments which have revealed the nature of our own Sun and sister planets. The vast majority of them have been merely observational, yet they have yielded a huge amount of information.

Any worthwhile scientific hypothesis must contain both predictive power and falsifiability. That is to say, it must be possible to accurately predict what will happen if the hypothesis is true, and to devise ways to determine whether the hypothesis is false. Disproving a hypothesis can be just as valuable as proving one. But only in a very limited subset of science do these experiments take place in a laboratory. In most cases, the optimal circumstances for testing hypotheses exist in the natural world, and we are merely devising ways to observe more accurately.

#12 aelyn

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 10:32 AM

Again, you appear to misunderstand what is meant by "testing" in science. Let's move to the area of astrophysics. In recent years, the hypothesis that there are planets orbiting other stars has been proved. How? By asking the question "what would we expect to see if planets were orbiting other stars?" and then searching for those phenomena. Also by asking the corollary "how might we disprove the existence of planets orbiting other stars?" and looking for phenomena which fit those criteria (falsifiability). Nobody has flown to these other planets, or experimented on them in a lab. The 'experiment' was purely mathematical and observational. That's how a huge number of hypotheses are either confirmed or discarded. The same holds true for experiments which have revealed the nature of our own Sun and sister planets. The vast majority of them have been merely observational, yet they have yielded a huge amount of information. Any worthwhile scientific hypothesis must contain both predictive power and falsifiability. That is to say, it must be possible to accurately predict what will happen if the hypothesis is true, and to devise ways to determine whether the hypothesis is false. Disproving a hypothesis can be just as valuable as proving one. But only in a very limited subset of science do these experiments take place in a laboratory. In most cases, the optimal circumstances for testing hypotheses exist in the natural world, and we are merely devising ways to observe more accurately.


It's not even modern astrophysics - astronomy has always been completely unable to do direct experiments on its subject matter, yet it's considered the oldest of sciences. I'd like to know what experiments people would expect Newton to perform to demonstrate that the same force is responsible for apples falling and for planets going around the Sun. (aside from, you know, making predictions of where we'd observe planets to be at any given point if the theory were correct and observing in those places to see whether the prediction was borne out).

#13 gilbo12345

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 12:51 PM

1. Again,

2. you appear to misunderstand what is meant by "testing" in science.

3. Let's move to the area of astrophysics.

4. In recent years, the hypothesis that there are planets orbiting other stars has been proved.

5. How?

6. By asking the question "what would we expect to see if planets were orbiting other stars?" and then searching for those phenomena.

7. Also by asking the corollary "how might we disprove the existence of planets orbiting other stars?" and looking for phenomena which fit those criteria (falsifiability).

8. Nobody has flown to these other planets, or experimented on them in a lab.

9. The 'experiment' was purely mathematical and observational.

10. That's how a huge number of hypotheses are either confirmed or discarded.

11. Any worthwhile scientific hypothesis must contain both predictive power and falsifiability.

12. That is to say, it must be possible to accurately predict what will happen if the hypothesis is true, and to devise ways to determine whether the hypothesis is false.

13. Disproving a hypothesis can be just as valuable as proving one. But only in a very limited subset of science do these experiments take place in a laboratory. In most cases, the optimal circumstances for testing hypotheses exist in the natural world, and we are merely devising ways to observe more accurately.


1. When was the first time? Implying that you've already demonstrated this to me elsewhere on this thread when you haven't is bordering on dishonest as its implying that you've already won this elsewhere, thus giving (undeserved) percieved authority. I ask you to quote where I got this "wrong" before, considering this is your first reply to me on this thread that seems quite unlikely....

2. Really, lets see shall we..

3. Evolution is (claimed to be) BIOLOGY lets stick to that shall we.

4. Umm did you not say this?

"First of all, "proof" belongs in mathematics. "- post #6

At least try and be consistent within your own definitions of what science is capable of....

5. Yes, how, when as you claimed science doesn't deal with proofs

6. Yet how can such be falsified, (which is my main beef here)

7. How would one seek to disprove the existence of other planets... This will be very interesting. (Just you claiming something doesn't make it true, 99% of the evolutionists I chat to seem to think that whatever they say just the very act of them saying it makes it true. In other words you're going to need to support your claim here and demonstrate how the existence of other planets can fit the criteria of falsifiable.

8. Nobody is asking them to, since to build a lab which could house a planet is absurd... (I had thought this was a given... I assumed wrong).

9. The mathematics provide some form of "experimentation" or at least falsifiability. In that using mathematics a prediction could be made and then AFTER the prediction it can be tested via REAL TIME observation. These things are missing with evolution whereby the "predictions" are made ad hoc, for example microRNA is now being claimed to have evolved... AFTER it was discovered. Additionally the observations are made after the fact meaning its not even an actual observation of the phenomena. What maths support evolution if you feel that observations and maths is all is needed.

Convergent Evolution came about AFTER observing contradicting evidence concerning similar traits in different lineages, Regressive evolution came about AFTER it was observed that some species actually lost functions rather than gained them (thus going against the evolutionary trend). These are ad hoc hypothesises, which are normally associated with pseudo-science...

10. Such as? (see point 7 about supporting your claims)

11. Yes that is my main contention with evolution in that it lacks falsifiability, (as can be seen by the ad hoc hypothesises used to cover up flaws).

12. A hypothesis can only be supported, not true. (the same as the "proof" thing before)

13. So what are the falsifiability criteria?


Then again I don't see why you're not using examples from BIOLOGY since that is what evolution is claimed to be, correct? Perhaps give some examples of this in Biology.



Aelyn: Did Newton claim it was a fact? Or was he postulating a model...

#14 aelyn

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 01:57 PM

Aelyn: Did Newton claim it was a fact? Or was he postulating a model...

Of course he claimed it as a fact, people didn't really talk in terms of "models" at the time. Actually as far as I can tell from the bits of "Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy" I've read it looks like he claimed it as a theorem, but that may just be because it was a maths book.
That's an interesting question though, do you think he shouldn't have claimed it as a fact ? And if so, do you think people should be claiming it as a fact now ? If so, what's the clinching experiment that made the difference ?

#15 gilbo12345

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 10:30 PM

Of course he claimed it as a fact, people didn't really talk in terms of "models" at the time. Actually as far as I can tell from the bits of "Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy" I've read it looks like he claimed it as a theorem, but that may just be because it was a maths book. That's an interesting question though, do you think he shouldn't have claimed it as a fact ? And if so, do you think people should be claiming it as a fact now ? If so, what's the clinching experiment that made the difference ?


Honestly I wouldn't know what specific experiment. I am a Biologist so I have a layman knowledge of physics. Perhaps we should still be considering it as only a possibility rather than actual fact since it cannot really be definitively confirmed. Perhaps we all just assume its true.

The title of the book tells me that it wasn't proclaimed as actual fact, the terms principles and philosophy kinda stick out to me. Though I've never read it so cannot quote Newton on the matter.

#16 aelyn

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 11:53 PM

Honestly I wouldn't know what specific experiment. I am a Biologist so I have a layman knowledge of physics. Perhaps we should still be considering it as only a possibility rather than actual fact since it cannot really be definitively confirmed. Perhaps we all just assume its true. The title of the book tells me that it wasn't proclaimed as actual fact, the terms principles and philosophy kinda stick out to me. Though I've never read it so cannot quote Newton on the matter.

"Natural philosophy" is what they called science back in the day. And I've never read it either, I looked it up on Google books and read a few paragraphs to see how he talked about the "principles" he was laying out. It is so easy to look stuff up and educate oneself in this day and age.

It is fascinating that you think Newton's theory of gravity might be something we all just assume is true and that should be only considered a possibility. This makes me even more curious. How about atomic theory ? It was developed in the 19th century by looking at how chemicals reacted with each other; what experiment do you do in the 19th century to show that all matter is made of tiny particles nobody can see ?

#17 gilbo12345

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 03:18 AM

No you said as per using Newtons theory in light of planets, that is what I mean as only a possibility, since we cannot test it to be sure, its merely taken on faith.

As per gravity on Earth, we can test it via experiment by dropping something, though that isn't to test the cause itself, merely to test the phenomena.

As per atomic theory, I am sure that no-one in the 19th century were going around calling it a fact and then using it as a basis to try and destroy Religion (as what Dawkins claims).


My main point I want to make is that evolution has no criteria of falsifiability and when something is observed that defies it an ad hoc hypothesis is added in place, this is the root of my problem with evolution. Another example of an ad hoc hypothesis is the model of punctuated equilibrium (a rehash of the debunked "hopeful monster"), this was made due to no actual verified intermediate fossils. It was claimed that the changes took place so rapidly that there was no fossil evidence to find for such..... Yet how would one KNOW that these changes occured at all if there is no definitive evidence left behind? Its merely making a hypothesis in light of the absence of evidence... Which is not even logical.

#18 aelyn

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 04:15 AM

No you said as per using Newtons theory in light of planets, that is what I mean as only a possibility, since we cannot test it to be sure, its merely taken on faith. As per gravity on Earth, we can test it via experiment by dropping something, though that isn't to test the cause itself, merely to test the phenomena.

Newton's theory is that all massive objects attract each other in proportion to their masses and in inverse proportion to the distance between them. All massive objects, including planets, every bit of matter that constitutes the planet, and apples. Or as he says in the book :

Proposition VII. Theorem VII.
That there is a power of gravity tending to all bodies, proportional to the several quantities of matter which they contain.
That all the planets mutually gravitate one towards anoter, we have proved before ; as well as that the force of gravity towards every one of them, considered apart, is reciprocally as the square of the distance of places from the centre of the planet. And thence (by prop. 69, book 1, and its corollaries) it follows, that the gravity tending towards all the planets is proportional to the matter which they contain.
Moreover, since all the parts of any planet A gravitate towards any other planet B ; and the gravity of every part is to the gravity of the whole as the matter of the part is to the matter of the whole ; and (by law 3) to every action corresponds an equal re-action ; therefore the planet B will, on the other hand, gravitate towards all the parts of the planet A ; and its gravity towards any one part will be to the gravity towards the whole as the matter of the part to the matter of the whole.
Q.E.D.
Cor. 1. Therefore the force of gravity towards any whole planet arises from, and is compounded of, the forces of gravity towards all its parts. Magnetic and electric attractions afford us examples of this; for all attraction towards the whole arises from the attractions towards the several parts. The thing may be easily understood in gravity, if we consider a greater planet, as formed of a number of lesser planets, meeting together in one globe ; for hence it would appear that the force of the whole must arise from the forces of the component parts. If it is objected, that, according to this law, all bodies with us must mutually gravitate one towards another, whereas no such gravitation any where appears, I answer, that since the gravitation towards these bodies is to the gravitation towards the whole earth as these bodies are to the whole earth, the gravitation towards them must be far less than to fall under the observation of our senses.


That is what the theory of gravity is. It's not "things fall when they're dropped". There is no need for a special scientific theory to notice that.

As per atomic theory, I am sure that no-one in the 19th century were going around calling it a fact and then using it as a basis to try and destroy Religion (as what Dawkins claims).

I'm talking about science, religion has nothing to do with it. And people in the 19th century absolutely did go around talking about atomic theory as fact. To quote from Dalton's "New System of Chemical Philosophy" from 1808, chapter II p. 141, also looked up via Wikipedia and Google Books :

There are three distinctions in the kinds of bodies, or three states, which have more especially claimed the attention of philosophical chemists; namely, those which are marked by the terms elastic fluids, liquids, and solids. A very familiar instance is exhibited to us is water, of a body, which, in certain circumstances, is capable of assuming all the three states. In steam we recognize a perfectly elastic fluid, in water, a perfect liquid, and in ice a complete solid. These observations have tacitly led to the conclusion which seems universally adopted, that all bodies of sensible magnitude, whether liquid or solid, are constituted of a vast number of extremely small particles, or atoms of matter bound together by a force of attraction, which is more or less powerful according to circumstances, and which as it endeavours to prevent their separation, is very properly called in that view, attraction of cohesion ; but as it collects them from a dispersed state (as from steam into water) it is called, attraction of aggregation, or more simply affinity. Whatever names it may go by, theys still signify one and the same power.
It is not my design to call in question this conclusion, which appears completely satisfactory ; but to shew that we have hitherto made no use of it, and that the consequence of the neglect, has been a very obscure view of chemical agency, which is daily growing more so in proportion to the new lights attempted to be thrown upon it.

(I'm stopping here because the quote is too long as it is, but the next paragraph is hilarious when you know about heavy water)

So anyway, can I add the fundamental unifying principle of chemistry to the fundamental unifying principle of biology and one of the fundamental unifying principles of physics to the list of things scientists claim are facts but are really just possibilities ?

My main point I want to make is that evolution has no criteria of falsifiability and when something is observed that defies it an ad hoc hypothesis is added in place, this is the root of my problem with evolution.

And most other scientific theories since the Enlightenment apparently.
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#19 Salsa

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 04:45 AM

First of all, "proof" belongs in mathematics. All other branches of science use the Scientific Method to examine the robustness of the predictive power of a theoretical model. Science uses words like "indications" and "reinforcing theoretical models" and so on. That science seeks "proof" is a layman's misunderstanding.


Like we haven't heard that lame excuse a million times...

.. well, maybe not a million.. but still...

OK. Microraptor...

Question: What is this fossilized animal?
Background Research: Where was it found; how does it compare to other fossilized animals; what other fossils were found near it, etc. (Answer: China; it shares multiple characteristic with other dino fossils; it was found alongside dinosaur fossils)
Construct Hypothesis; This is the fossil of a dinosaur with feathers.
Test: What would we expect if this is actually a dinosaur with feathers? Does the fossil meet all those expectations? (answer: yes)
Analyze results, draw conclusion: Yep, it's a dino with feathers, all right!
Hypothesis is true.
Report results - done.


So what method within the scientific community was used to determine that this was a dinosaur, (or an evolutionary relative of a dinosaur if you want), rather than just a rare kind of bird? And if the Microraptor was a transitional form between a dinosaur and a bird, then where are the transitional fossils of the birds found in the Microraptor's belly?

The conclusion that these are the fossils of feathered dinosaurs fits the evidence better than any other hypothesis.


Really? Says who? Evolutionary scientists?

What about the hypothesis that the fossils are fake? China is known to have a fake fossil industry, and most of the recent feathered dinosaurs are ALL from China ..... as if they couldn't fly over the border!

BTW, when these fossils were first discovered, paleontologists were extremely skeptical, suspecting fraud. However, when more and more fossil evidence of feathered dinos began to emerge (just as a predictive model built on the hypothesis says they would), it was eventually accepted that feathered dinosaurs existed. Today it is considered an established scientific fact.


More and more fossils have begun to emerge???? Of the Microraptor fossils all but one was purchased from the same dealer. Fake fossils are a serious problem for scientists! But despite that you are willing to wager that fossils like these are "an established scientific fact".

They are??????

Do you mean "fact" as in "proven"???

No, of course you don't, because proof only exists in mathematics...

Oh the irony!

#20 Xanifred

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 09:29 AM

Like we haven't heard that lame excuse a million times... .. well, maybe not a million.. but still...

It's not an "excuse," it's an important distinction. If you do not even understand what it is that science looks for, how can you hope to understand what has been discovered?

So what method within the scientific community was used to determine that this was a dinosaur, (or an evolutionary relative of a dinosaur if you want), rather than just a rare kind of bird?

The same method used by paleontologists to determine what any remains are. The bones are studied and classified.

The skeleton of any animal contains a wealth of information about that animal. The age of the animal when it died, the gender of the animal, how the animal moved, and so on. Just as you can tell the skeleton of a cat from that of a dog, so those who work daily with fossil remains can tell the skeleton of a bird from that of a dinosaur. They look at things like the size and shape of the skull, pelvic bones, and so on.

As I said, when these feathered dinosaur fossils were first discovered, paleontologists thought they must be a hoax. Only upon stringent examination of multiple fossils were these accepted for what they are.

And if the Microraptor was a transitional form between a dinosaur and a bird, then where are the transitional fossils of the birds found in the Microraptor's belly?

What? I have no idea what you're asking here. Where did you read that there are birds in the belly of a microraptor skeleton?

Really? Says who? Evolutionary scientists? What about the hypothesis that the fossils are fake?

That was the original hypothesis. The fossils have been rigorously examined for many years now, and found to be real, by skeptics as well as those who wanted them to be real.

China is known to have a fake fossil industry, and most of the recent feathered dinosaurs are ALL from China

First feathered dinosaur fossils found in North America


..... as if they couldn't fly over the border!

Most feathered dinos could not fly. The feathers apparently served the same purpose as hair on mammals.

More and more fossils have begun to emerge???? Of the Microraptor fossils all but one was purchased from the same dealer.

This is patently untrue. The first fossils which emerged from China in the 1990s were all microraptors, and almost all from the same dealer, which was a HUGE part of the reason they were greeted with such skepticism from the scientific community. Creationists made a big deal of this at the time as well - and they were right to do so. But this information is now nearly 15 years out of date, and yet it is still being repeated in Creationist circles!

The truth is that, as of this writing, over 30 species of dinosaur have been found which had feathers, and they have been found in an ever-increasing range.

Fake fossils are a serious problem for scientists!

Not really. Fakes are sold by disreputable dealers, but they are eventually discovered to be fakes. Forgery exists in the art world as well, but this does not mean that museums have no way of knowing whether or not they have a genuine Rembrandt. Forgery has merely served to ensure that new discoveries are examined with a very critical eye, something which is good for science, not bad.

But despite that you are willing to wager that fossils like these are "an established scientific fact".

It's not a wager, it's a reality.

Saying that something is an "established scientific fact" does not mean that it's etched in stone and cannot possibly be incorrect. It means that it has been reinforced by so many experiments and observations over such a long period of time that scientists simply treat it as fact, unless and until some dramatic, revolutionary breakthrough turns "established fact" on its head. That's how science works. Nothing is unquestionable, but a number of things are "established facts," i.e. it is considered a waste of time to question them without a very, very good reason to do so.

Here's an example: For many years, it was "established fact" that nothing could be in two places at the same time. Then came quantum physics, and the two-slit-experiment, and everything was turned upside-down. It has now been established that sub-atomic particles can actually be in what it called "superposition," which is a way of saying that they are in two places at once.

Scientists love it when "established scientific facts" are overturned. Proving such a thing wrong is a surefire way to build one's reputation, and likely to win a Nobel prize. I apologize if the phrase "established scientific fact" confused you, I'm used to talking to people with some background in science who know what is meant by the phrase. I'll try to be clearer in the future.




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