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de_skudd

Is The Un-falsifiability Doctrine An Evolutionist Ploy?

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Real science accounts for and conforms to reality. The phony kind tries to escape from reality and substitute fantasy for fact.

 

What use is a "philosophy" that can't be used in the real world? It is a vain waste of time.

 

Who cares that I cannot prove anything to the standard of convincing someone who's determined not to confess truth to voluntarily change his mind? That's a bogus standard. Even if one met it, there'd still be a question of dedication on the part of the individual subject.

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I suppose that all depends upon your perception of reality CTD.

 

I teach adult learning theory, and there are certain fundamental standards that must be met to assure learning is happening. I wonder what my students would do if I told them my standards are different every day, depending upon my perceptions that day?

 

Or, if I had to tell one of them they failed, and they said “not by my perceptionâ€ÂÂ. Do you think they’d still expect to graduate? Or, if they didn’t, their perspective would make a Diploma appear on their wall?

 

 

I bestow upon you perceived Blessings!

 

Ron

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Guest Overture

I am by no means trying to argue that one should attempt to live an existence based on a rigid form of solipsism. I am simply saying that it's not possible to argue against the philosophy with pure logic and reason. All arguments against solipsism rely on plausibility and believability.

 

Is it plausible that you are all figments of my imagination, that I am some kind of cosmic experiment dreaming this reality? Not very.

 

But it's not impossible and it's impossible to prove that this is not the case.

 

Therefore, nothing can be proven with certainty. We can only accept that what we perceive will be consistent from one observation to the next.

 

But thank you all for arguing the case for materialism most eloquently.

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Guest Keith C

Theories like the first law of thermodynamic, classical physics and quantum physics are testable and have a predictive element to them.  We can set an experiment that either proves or disproves the theory.

 

I think there is an earlier phase of science which needs to be considered before jumping to theories etc.

The basis of science is that there is some type of objective reality 'out there' and another person can check by repeating the procedure or experiment which you have performed. Only when there are a number of such observations, and most observers agree on the objective reality, then, and only then, is theory possible and productive.

 

Contrast this with Greek Science, which argued about whether matter consisted of discrete atoms of elements or was some form of continuous fluid. Not much more productive than arguing how many angels could dance on the point of a pin.

 

The nature of the world also imposes limitations on what can be achieved by a theory. For instance in physics it is possible to measure rates of radio-active decay and determine half-lives. However, it is completely impossible to predict when a particular atom will disintegrate. In some cases, the problem may be that we have not been smart enough to find the true theory, but in quantum physics there is good reason to think there are inherent limitations to what theory can predict.

Why should evolution escape this problem?

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I am by no means trying to argue that one should attempt to live an existence based on a rigid form of solipsism. I am simply saying that it's not possible to argue against the philosophy with pure logic and reason. All arguments against solipsism rely on plausibility and believability.

 

Is it plausible that you are all figments of my imagination, that I am some kind of cosmic experiment dreaming this reality? Not very.

 

But it's not impossible and it's impossible to prove that this is not the case.

 

Therefore, nothing can be proven with certainty. We can only accept that what we perceive will be consistent from one observation to the next.

 

But thank you all for arguing the case for materialism most eloquently.

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You argue against your own argument with your possibilities and impossibilities, and therefore lose yourself in your own arguments. Circular arguments will never set you free; they will only entangle you in your own tautologies.

 

It is possible that we are all figments of your imagination, but it is not plausible. And it is possible and plausible for things to be proven with certainty. I guarantee you, if you perform the experiment De_skudd provided for you earlier, you would soon come to that conclusion in stark fashion. You called it juvenile, and yet it was only simplistic in that manner to provide you awareness in your folly.

 

But if you continue to hide yourself in a tangled web of illogical self deceit, your denial will be your only logic.

 

You said earlier that you could debate philosophy, but if you’re going to use other than the laws of logic to do so, you will surely fail at your endeavor. So good luck with future debates and arguments.

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I think there is an earlier phase of science which needs to be considered before jumping to theories etc.

The basis of science is that there is some type of objective reality 'out there' and another person can check by repeating the procedure or experiment which you have performed.  Only when there are a number of such observations, and most observers agree on the objective reality, then, and only then, is theory possible and productive.

 

Contrast this with Greek Science, which argued about whether matter consisted of discrete atoms of elements or was some form of continuous fluid.  Not much more productive than arguing how many angels could dance on the point of a pin.

 

The nature of the world also imposes limitations on what can be achieved by a theory.  For instance in physics it is possible to measure rates of radio-active decay and determine half-lives.  However, it is completely impossible to predict when a particular atom will disintegrate.  In some cases, the problem may be that we have not been smart enough to find the true theory, but in quantum physics there is good reason to think there are inherent limitations to what theory can predict.

Why should evolution escape this problem?

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And yet, as this thread suggests, science can indeed prove facts. I just wanted to make sure we stayed on topic. :mellow:

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I suppose that all depends upon your perception of reality CTD.

 

I teach adult learning theory, and there are certain fundamental standards that must be met to assure learning is happening. I wonder what my students would do if I told them my standards are different every day, depending upon my perceptions that day?

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Bah! Why waste our time with such claims? Knowledge cannot exist. The most one can obtain, if one is lucky and lacking in dedication is vague hunches and suspicions. Knowledge itself is unattainable. Thus both learning and teaching are purely illusory activities. If you think you can successfully impart that which cannot exist, you deceive your students, and everyone here, and yourself (which is a most commendable endeavour, but that's beside the point because I desire it to be so).

 

Do not ask how this wisdom itself spreads from one individual to another. No answer exists. The answer would be knowledge, and knowledge does not exist. Even to ask implies a desire to learn, and indicates a weakness of willpower.

 

Or, if I had to tell one of them they failed, and they said “not by my perceptionâ€ÂÂ. Do you think they’d still expect to graduate? Or, if they didn’t, their perspective would make a Diploma appear on their wall?

I bestow upon you perceived Blessings!

 

Ron

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LOL! I see you're not learning anything at all from this discussion. Learning is failure! At least learning anything one does not already desire to imagine. That's definitely failure.

 

Imagining one has learned what one desires to learn is the only possible way to succeed. Believe me - I sort of desire to think I might I imagine I know!

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Bah! Why waste our time with such claims? Knowledge cannot exist. The most one can obtain, if one is lucky and lacking in dedication is vague hunches and suspicions. Knowledge itself is unattainable. Thus both learning and teaching are purely illusory activities. If you think you can successfully impart that which cannot exist, you deceive your students, and everyone here, and yourself (which is a most commendable endeavour, but that's beside the point because I desire it to be so).

 

Do not ask how this wisdom itself spreads from one individual to another. No answer exists. The answer would be knowledge, and knowledge does not exist. Even to ask implies a desire to learn, and indicates a weakness of willpower.

LOL! I see you're not learning anything at all from this discussion.  Learning is failure! At least learning anything one does not already desire to imagine. That's definitely failure.

 

Imagining one has learned what one desires to learn is the only possible way to succeed. Believe me - I sort of desire to think I might I imagine I know!

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Excuse me, did you say something? I didn't even notice you were there because you aren't a part of my reality. I doubt you’re even a part of my imaginary pre-matrix cortexial innerfram-a-stant gonculator.

 

I think therefore you aren’t!

 

/////////////////////////////////////////

 

The above was an exercise in futility. What if we all went around life as though no one else truly existed? As if we could ignore truth to satisfy some innate desire to live in a fantasy land of denial.

 

What kind of life is that?

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What kind of life is that?

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We see people kidding themselves, trying to live it, all around us.

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Guest Keith C

And yet, as this thread suggests, science can indeed prove facts. I just wanted to make sure we stayed on topic.  :D

 

I think a more accurate statement is that science begins with objectively verifiable facts ie other observers have to be able to observe the same or similar event.

 

I think it is interesting if religion were restricted to facts which most observers could agree on. I suspect that would reduce the number of sects dramatically.

 

There is definite value in requiring falsifiability of any theological claims.

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I think a more accurate statement is that science begins with objectively verifiable facts  ie other observers have to be able to observe the same or similar event.

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I can agree with this to a point. But the problem we run into is when those who haven’t observed a phenomenon that was objectively verified by others, they rule it out simply based on their worldview.

 

For example: The apostles objectively verifying the miracles of Jesus during His life and ministry. Now, there are conspiracy theorists who attempt to reject these empirical findings outright. And yet they cannot falsify what they weren’t there firsthand to disprove. This is not unlike the conspiracy theorists who want to falsify man’s first landing on the moon.

 

 

 

I think it is interesting if religion were restricted to facts which most observers could agree on.  I suspect that would reduce the number of sects dramatically.

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I think you are making the mistake of thinking that what the majority believes has to be true. I had a sibling who was miraculously healed of cancer after praying and being prayed over for healing. She was supposed to die within weeks (this was in the late sixties) but is alive today with six grandchildren. The Doctor listed “miraculous” as one of the reasons for the healing.

 

Now, the skeptic/agnostic/atheist would attempt to deny the healing as miraculous by saying it MUST have been something natural (etc… Yadda-Yadda-Yadda), although this healing was witnessed by “objective” witnesses. And, empirically, test after test shows there is no more cancer. How do I know this? Because, during this time I was an atheist and denied the obvious truth/evidence and facts as well.

 

Many observers will deny facts to protect their worldview and naturalistic religion.

 

 

There is definite value in requiring falsifiability of any theological claims.

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There may be some value in falsifiability, but there is greater value in things you cannot falsify due to facts, evidence and truth.

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There may be some value in falsifiability, but there is greater value in things you cannot falsify due to facts, evidence and truth.

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"Falsifiability" doesn't have much role to play when an event has been established by proper investigation. Discover, verify, reconcile. Once those things are accomplished, what's left to falsify? Only things which are not well-established can be expected to be subject to falsification.

 

I don't think any rule can even be formulated which would apply universally. An imagined event is easily falsified by actual evidence turning up. An event which has evidence of having actually occurred? Well, how much evidence are we talking about? "Falsifiability" is pretty much a red herring in this context.

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Guest Keith C

I can agree with this to a point. But the problem we run into is when those who haven’t observed a phenomenon that was objectively verified by others, they rule it out simply based on their worldview.

 

For example: The apostles objectively verifying the miracles of Jesus during His life and ministry. Now, there are conspiracy theorists who attempt to reject these empirical findings outright. And yet they cannot falsify what they weren’t there firsthand to disprove. This is not unlike the conspiracy theorists who want to falsify man’s first landing on the moon.

 

One of the difficulties with your example is that standards of evidence have changed with time. When the gospels were written, there seems to have been a general view that miracles did happen and eye witnesses were always to be believed. We certainly do not have notarized statements, taken immediately after the events, from disinterested observers.

 

In cases like this, I do not think the only choices are true or false.

I think the Scots verdict of 'not proven' is very useful, perhaps with some qualification as to probability.

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One of the difficulties with your example is that standards of evidence have changed with time.  When the gospels were written, there seems to have been a general view that miracles did happen and eye witnesses were always to be believed.  We certainly do not have notarized statements, taken immediately after the events, from disinterested observers.

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That is incorrect Keith, the standards of evidence haven’t changed, but the standards of truth have. The standards of evidence are still two or more witnesses. Only one witness is a “he said/she said” and then falls to additional evidences or fails into mitigating circumstances or dismissal all together.

 

It (the standards of truth) then has a trickle down affect on everything else. When you lower the bar, you just grease the slope more.

 

The bottom line is, when there are that many credible witnesses, denial of the truth is just a cheap way out for a weakling. Miracles are the same today as they were yesterday. You can witness them, and still deny them to the god of your worldview. You do not need “notarized statements, taken immediately after the events” when the evidences are so overpowering.

 

In cases like this, I do not think the only choices are true or false.

I think the Scots verdict of 'not proven' is very useful, perhaps with some qualification as to probability.

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The probability weighs heavily against the non-believer and conspiracy theorists in the face of overwhelming evidence and facts.

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I don't believe I've ever seen too many cases of "notarized statements, taken immediately after the events".

 

The only things that come to mind are creationist digs, and absolutely no amount of evidence will get evolutionists to admit that what's unearthed was legitimately found where everyone knows it was found.

 

They'd have us believe all such efforts are pure futility, but it'll all wash out come Judgement Day.

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I don't believe I've ever seen too many cases of "notarized statements, taken immediately after the events".

 

The only things that come to mind are creationist digs, and absolutely no amount of evidence will get evolutionists to admit that what's unearthed was legitimately found where everyone knows it was found.

 

They'd have us believe all such efforts are pure futility, but it'll all wash out come Judgement Day.

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After that whole exchange I have become curious just how many notary-public's there were back then :lol:

 

Testimonies have not changed at all over the centuries. Only the length at which truth can be impugned to lower the level of one's hard fought character has. :(

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When trying to prove their theory, evolutionists often use circular reasoning. Here's a simple example. In his book The Making of the Fittest, Sean Carroll writes "the degree of similarity in DNA is an index of the [evolutionary] relatedness of species." [98] This can only make sense if we first assume evolution is true. But Carroll's book is a defense of evolution, intended to demonstrate to skeptics that the theory is true. He seeks to prove evolution is true, but he begins with evolutionary reasoning and interpretations. That is circular reasoning. Unfortunately such circular reasoning is a common motif in the evolution genre.

 

In recent years the genomes of various species have been decoded. It is an avalanche of disparate data, as genomes can contain a variety of types of messages. For evolutionists, these messages hold many secrets of evolutionary history. If the species share common ancestors, then the contents of their genomes should help decipher that evolutionary history.

 

For instance, mobile genetic elements are genome segments that can move about, inserting themselves at various locations within the genome. These insertions, according to evolutionists, are a random affair. After all, evolutionists assume that life is a fluke, and biology is one big kludge.

 

A few years back evolutionists claimed that retroviruses found in primate genomes proved common descent. The retroviruses, it was said, were the perfect evolutionary sign post. They were assumed to insert randomly into the genome and once inserted to stay put. Therefore, if two cousin species shared a similar pattern of retroviruses, then those retroviruses must have been inherited from a common ancestor. It would be too great of a coincidence for the retroviruses to have independently inserted into the two genomes (notice the circular reasoning).

 

These assumptions are routinely revised. Retroviruses patterns were found that cannot be explained by common descent (e.g., same pattern in only two of three cousin species). Apparently the retroviruses were not such perfect evolutionary sign posts as had been assumed. But evolutionists viewed such cases as anomalies, and rationalized them using ad hoc explanations. In fact I recently received a challenge to find a retrovirus that violates the evolutionary expectation. That's easy. Such falsifiers have long since been discovered. They are just not advertised.

 

This dynamic has repeated itself with other types of genetic messages, such as pseudogenes and interspersed elements. Here is what Carroll had to say about the latter:

 

    These landmarks are produced by accidental insertions of junk DNA sequences near genes. ... Once [an interspersed element] is inserted, there is no active mechanism for removing it. The insertion of these elements marks a gene in a species, and is then inherited by all species descended from it. They are really perfect tracers of genealogy. [99]

 

 

Except, that is, when they aren't. Like retroviruses, and pseudogenes, interspersed elements occasionally violate the evolutionary pattern. Apparently they are not quite such "perfect tracers of genealogy." To be sure, such outliers are unusual, but if they can be explained by mechanism (rather than inheritance), then so can the others. Carroll concludes that the interspersed elements:

 

    can be explained only by the species sharing a common ancestor. ... biologists have sufficient forensic evidence to determine species' kinship beyond any doubt. [99]

 

 

This is, of course, false. In fact, interspersed elements patterns are explained without resorting to a common ancestor and the tremendous problems with such an explanation.

This is an interesting article and shows the circular reasoning of evolutionist.

 

1. Assume evolution is true and all we need to do is prove it:

2. Interpret all information as if evolution were true;

3. Disregard information that contradicts evolution or put it in a category of "we haven't figured that out yet"

4. Disregard competing theories or alternatives;

5. State boldly your findings prove evolution.

 

Evolution is proven because it is assumed to be true from the start. All facts are interpreted based on evolution being true. It is circular reasoning.

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This is an interesting article and shows the circular reasoning of evolutionist.

 

1.  Assume evolution is true and all we need to do is prove it:

2.  Interpret all information as if evolution were true;

3.  Disregard information that contradicts evolution or put it in a category of "we haven't figured that out yet"

4. Disregard competing theories or alternatives;

5. State boldly your findings prove evolution.

 

Evolution is proven because it is assumed to be true from the start. All facts are interpreted based on evolution being true.  It is circular reasoning.

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I enjoyed that read Bruce, thanks for the link I found it instructional.

 

Did you happen to check the "Survey of failed evolutionary predictions" at:

http://www.darwinspredictions.com/

 

in the upper right hand corner of that page? :angry:

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I enjoyed that read Bruce, thanks for the link I found it instructional.

 

Did you happen to check the "Survey of failed evolutionary predictions" at:

http://www.darwinspredictions.com/

 

in the upper right hand corner of that page?  :D

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It looks like a long read but it isn't. The summary puts it together differently than I would have:

 

 

Many predictions of evolution have been falsified, including foundational expectations. Evolutionists have added explanations to their theory to account for these problematic findings. The drawback is that this greatly complicates the theory. Scientific theories are supposed to be parsimonious, explaining future findings with simple explanations rather than explaining past findings with complicated explanations.

 

Therefore evolutionists are faced with a accuracy-versus-parsimony tradeoff. The scientific findings make their original theory inaccurate. That is, the theory does not fit the empirical evidence well. The only way to increase evolution’s accuracy is to complicate the theory tremendously and sacrifice parsimony. Evolutionists have consistently preferred low parsimony over low accuracy.

 

The theory of evolution has consistently failed and as a consequence it has grown far more complex than anything Darwin ever envisioned. Therefore evolution is not a good scientific theory and in this sense it is comparable to geocentrism. Both theories grew more complicated in response to the evidences of the natural world, requiring many epicycles.

 

In stark contrast to these evidential problems, evolutionists believe that their theory is a fact. Evolution is a fact, they say, just as gravity is fact. This remarkable claim is an indicator that there is more to evolution than merely a scientific theory. In light of the scientific evidence, the claim that evolution is a fact may seem to be absurd. But it is not.

 

The fact of evolution is a necessary consequence of the metaphysical assumptions evolutionists make. Metaphysical assumptions are assumptions that do not derive from science. They are made independent of science. These metaphysical assumptions that evolutionists make would be difficult to defend as necessarily true outside of evolutionary circles, but within evolution their truth is not controversial. All of this means that the scientific problems with evolution are relegated to questions of how evolution occurred. The science cannot bear on questions of whether or not evolution occurred.

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Guest Keith C

Part of Bruce's past reads:-

"These assumptions are routinely revised. Retroviruses patterns were found that cannot be explained by common descent (e.g., same pattern in only two of three cousin species). Apparently the retroviruses were not such perfect evolutionary sign posts as had been assumed. But evolutionists viewed such cases as anomalies, and rationalized them using ad hoc explanations. In fact I recently received a challenge to find a retrovirus that violates the evolutionary expectation. That's easy. Such falsifiers have long since been discovered. They are just not advertised."

 

How about giving the actual examples which are so easy to find.

 

I know of 2 possible explanations.

1. Some transposons retain the ability to cut themselves from the genome and insert somewhere else. Perhaps this happened in one of the species.

2. The section of DNA into which the original insertion occurred was deleted by an un-related mutation.

 

I think you (or the sites you paste from) are misguided in blaming evolutionfor the advances in genetics and genomics etc.

As we learn more about the various mechanisms operating in our cells, the explanations must get more detailed and complex. They are still neatly summarized by Darwin - useful changes are preserved.

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I think you (or the sites you paste from) are misguided in blaming evolutionfor the advances in genetics and genomics etc.

As we learn more about the various mechanisms operating in our cells, the explanations must get more detailed and complex.  They are still neatly summarized by Darwin - useful changes are preserved.

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OR retroviruses were not such perfect evolutionary sign posts as had been assumed. AND evolutionists viewed such cases as anomalies, AND rationalized them using ad hoc explanations. Because “One problem with evolution is its strong bias toward viewing everything in biology as a kludge. When a newly discovered structure is examined, evolutionists take one look and conclude it is leftover junk. After all, blind, unguided mutations and other processes just happened to produce everything we see. The evolutionist’s going in position is that biology is a fluke. We’re lucky anything works.â€ÂÂ

 

 

 

 

 

Mechanisms denote design. :D

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Part of Bruce's past reads:-

"These assumptions are routinely revised. Retroviruses patterns were found that cannot be explained by common descent (e.g., same pattern in only two of three cousin species). Apparently the retroviruses were not such perfect evolutionary sign posts as had been assumed. But evolutionists viewed such cases as anomalies, and rationalized them using ad hoc explanations. In fact I recently received a challenge to find a retrovirus that violates the evolutionary expectation. That's easy. Such falsifiers have long since been discovered. They are just not advertised."

 

How about giving the actual examples which are so easy to find.

 

I know of 2 possible explanations.

1.  Some transposons retain the ability to cut themselves from the genome and insert somewhere else.  Perhaps this happened in one of the species.

2.  The section of DNA into which the original insertion occurred was deleted by an un-related mutation.

 

I think you (or the sites you paste from) are misguided in blaming evolutionfor the advances in genetics and genomics etc.

As we learn more about the various mechanisms operating in our cells, the explanations must get more detailed and complex.  They are still neatly summarized by Darwin - useful changes are preserved.

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Hi Kieth,

 

The evolution model is indeed getting more complex. Dr Carrol and the other evo-devos have proposed several interesting alternatives to one mutation at a time. You have mentioned some of them (off the top of my head):

 

1. Mutation at the embryonic level. Early mutations are more significant and can affect body plans:

2. Mutation at a switch: That way whole gene clusters are affected by one mutation;

3. Mutations in the unused part of DNA: That way mutations can grow into something meaningful without disrupting functioning DNA;

4. Horizontal Gene transfer: Viruses, for example, can insert foreign DNA into ours.

5. Gene Duplication or Polyploidy: Again mutations of duplicate DNA occurs building something significant. This, in theory, leaves fully functioning DNA to do its normal job.

 

 

These theories are all interesting. So you are right that we need investigate further.

 

I believe these new theories are being created because the NDET has not worked and has not been proven. Insertions, deletions, transpositions... are all interesting and they occur often. Yet they have never been proven to increase the information in DNA. That is generate any morphological advancements: like new systems, functions, useful body parts .. So it is fine to discuss and investigate new theories but don't state them as fact as Dr. Carrol has.

 

Mr (or Dr. ?) Hunter quoted Dr. Carrol being dogmatic about evolution. For example,

 

can be explained only by the species sharing a common ancestor. ... biologists have sufficient forensic evidence to determine species' kinship beyond any doubt.

It is the job of science to call out dogmatic statements when they are found. Evolution isn't a scientific law. It hasn't proven much and yet claims to be on par with the theory of Gravity. The hubris of evolutionist needs to be called out in the name of good science.

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The evolution model is indeed getting more complex.  Dr Carrol and the other evo-devos have proposed several interesting alternatives to one mutation at a time.  You have mentioned some of them (off the top of my head):

 

1. Mutation at the embryonic level.  Early mutations are more significant and can affect body plans:

2. Mutation at a switch: That way whole gene clusters are affected by one mutation;

3. Mutations in the unused part of DNA:  That way mutations can grow into something meaningful without disrupting functioning DNA;

4.  Horizontal Gene transfer:   Viruses, for example, can insert foreign DNA into ours. 

5.  Gene Duplication or Polyploidy:  Again mutations of duplicate DNA occurs building something significant.  This, in theory,  leaves fully functioning DNA to do its normal job.

These theories are all interesting.  So you are right that we need investigate further.

 

I believe these new theories are being created because the NDET has not worked and has not been proven.  Insertions, deletions, transpositions...  are all interesting and they occur often. 

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Hi Bruce,

I am trying to understand your logic regarding what you think is the alternative to the evolutionary model. Most of the examples you give apply perfectly well to micro-evolution and since everyone here seems to accept micro-evolution, let's keep it simple and discuss only that to begin.

 

1. Micro-evolution is a fact. Yes? Lots of variations in dogs can be created by selective breeding

2. Even though micro-evolution may be a fact, the theory of micro-evolution is relatively complex and the subject of considerable research. You have provided five good examples of complications in our theory of how micro-evolution works.

3. This theory of micro-evolution is the most parsimonious known theory to explain the basic facts of micro-evolution.

 

You may complain that this theory of micro-evolution is now more complicated than that suggested by Darwin, and that is true. But does that make it false? Many aspects of micro-evolutionary theory have been falsified, through genetic testing etc. You are certainly welcome to come up with a more parsimonious theory if you think you can. Scientists like Sean Carrol are working hard to do just that. And this has led to ideas like epigenetics, gene transfer, jumping genes etc.

 

And what is the alternative?

 

Now there is a separate question of how this applies to macro-evolution. For most of the scientists working in the field, the theory of macro-evolution is about 99% similar to the theory of micro-evolution (except it takes a long longer). However, that is a separate issue. If you do not like the theory of macro-evolution for the reasons you listed, then you will certainly not like the theory of micro-evolution.

 

So what is your alternative?

 

James

 

p.s. pretty busy lately, so I may be slow to respond. But always fun to debate with you.

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Hi Bruce,

    I am trying to understand your logic regarding what you think is the alternative to the evolutionary model. Most of the examples you give apply perfectly well to micro-evolution and since everyone here seems to accept micro-evolution, let's keep it simple and discuss only that to begin.

 

1. Micro-evolution is a fact. Yes? Lots of variations in dogs can be created by selective breeding

2. Even though micro-evolution may be a fact, the theory of micro-evolution is relatively complex and the subject of considerable research. You have provided five good examples of complications in our theory of how micro-evolution works.

3. This theory of micro-evolution is the most parsimonious known theory to explain the basic facts of micro-evolution.

 

You may complain that this theory of micro-evolution is now more complicated than that suggested by Darwin, and that is true. But does that make it false? Many aspects of micro-evolutionary theory have been falsified, through genetic testing etc. You are certainly welcome to come up with a more parsimonious theory if you think you can. Scientists like Sean Carrol are working hard to do just that. And this has led to ideas like epigenetics, gene transfer, jumping genes etc.

 

And what is the alternative? 

 

Now there is a separate question of how this applies to macro-evolution. For most of the scientists working in the field, the theory of macro-evolution is about 99% similar to the theory of micro-evolution (except it takes a long longer). However, that is a separate issue. If you do not like the theory of macro-evolution for the reasons you listed, then you will certainly not like the theory of micro-evolution.

 

So what is your alternative?

 

James

 

p.s. pretty busy lately, so I may be slow to respond. But always fun to debate with you.

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Hi James,

 

It is always good to here from you. Have you been on any successful fossil hunting trips lately?

 

This may be a discussion of semantics of what micro evolution is.

 

Gradualism:

It was Darwin who said that if any organ is shown to have formed not by small increments but by jumps, his theory would therefore be wrong.

 

So if the definition of evolution is characterized by mutation and natural selection that occurs gradually then I believe that that type of evolution is frustrating the modern day scientist. Under this definition variation of dogs is not evolution. The variation of dogs is accounted for by Mendelian variation. In other words dogs have the genetics for great diversity built in. Mutation and natural selection does not account for its variation we see in dogs via selective breeding.

 

Evolutionary biology This is a old term which is being used more often because it is more flexible. It can account for many of the new theories that Sean Carrol and other Evo-Devos have proposed. That evolution of one mutation at time needs to be adapted to include larger changes. Changes to the genetic regulatory system, epigenetics, horizontal gene transfer (HGT), DNA duplication.... are interesting and mostly view evolution as a batch process rather than one mutation at a time. The problem with changing the definition of evolution is that you have to question some of evolutions Icons. For example, Horizontal gene transfer changes homology and the TOL as we know it: The TOL looks like a bush rather that a tree. Debating such an adaptable definition can also be frustrating because you can never pin down evolution because it is always evolving. It is like nailing jello to wall.

 

You asked my alternative. I know that God did it but I don't know how. At some point intelligence was added and the diversity of life is accounted for by a Creator and not a random process. We should still investigate how God did it and we should welcome science. But not science that assumes that God does not exist or that he was silent in the process. Intelligent design looks beyond chemistry and physics looking for intelligence. Intelligence can be found scientifically IMO if it is not assumed away.

 

Bruce

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Guest Keith C

So if the definition of evolution is characterized by mutation and natural selection that occurs gradually then I believe that that type of evolution is frustrating the modern day scientist.  Under this definition variation of dogs is not evolution.  The variation of dogs is accounted for by Mendelian variation.  In other words dogs have the genetics for great diversity built in. Mutation and natural selection does not account for its variation we see in dogs via selective breeding.

 

Evolutionary biology  This is a old term which is being used more often because it is more flexible.  It can account for many of the new theories that Sean Carrol and other Evo-Devos have proposed.  That evolution of one mutation at time needs to be adapted to include larger changes.  Changes to the genetic regulatory system, epigenetics, horizontal gene transfer (HGT), DNA duplication....  are interesting and mostly view evolution as a batch process rather than one mutation at a time.  The problem with changing the definition of evolution is that you have to question some of evolutions Icons.  For example, Horizontal gene transfer changes homology and the TOL as we know it:  The TOL looks like a bush rather that a tree. Debating such an adaptable definition can also be frustrating because you can never pin down evolution because it is always evolving.  It is like nailing jello to wall.

 

You asked my alternative.  I know that God did it but I don't know how.

 

I am inclined to believe that it might be useful to define 'nano-evolution' as selection without mutation. Specifically, imagine a large natural population and sort by some characteristic, and then allow tall-tall and short-short mating, plus selecting additional tall and short individuals from matings of middle-sized individuals.

I think that over several generations this procedure would produce two subpopulation, one tall and one short, with many of the initial gene variants concentrated in one group or the other. However, the extent of change would be limited to the amount of variation which was present initially.

 

In real evolution there is no exclusion of mutation, but in any breeding program of animals over human timescales, mutations have a very small (or zero) impact.

As to how much mutation might account for the various dog breeds, I think that we ought to wait until we have the results of gene sequencing from a number of different breeds.

 

As to your second complaint copied above, I think you should be complaining about genetics, genomics and embryology - not evolution. what we are getting is much more information on actual mutations and how they influence the growth and development of embryos. This has done nothing to decrease the importance of DNA and natural selection. These new insights do nothing to change the idea of one mutation at a time, but it does recognize that some mutations have larger phenotype effects than others, which may be completely neutral.

Horizontal gene transfer and endosymbiosis are certainly ideas Darwin did not discuss, but is that a serious objection?

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I am inclined to believe that it might be useful to define 'nano-evolution' as selection without mutation.  Specifically, imagine a large natural population and sort by some characteristic, and then allow tall-tall and short-short mating, plus selecting additional tall and short individuals from matings of middle-sized individuals.

I think that over several generations this procedure would produce two subpopulation, one tall and one short, with many of the initial gene variants concentrated in one group or the other.  However, the extent of change would be limited to the amount of variation which was present initially.

 

In real evolution there is no exclusion of mutation, but in any breeding program of animals over human timescales, mutations have a very small (or zero) impact.

As to how much mutation might account for the various dog breeds, I think that we ought to wait until we have the results of gene sequencing from a number of different breeds.

 

As to your second complaint copied above, I think you should be complaining about genetics, genomics and embryology - not evolution.  what we are getting is much more information on actual mutations and how they influence the growth and development of embryos.  This has done nothing to decrease the importance of DNA and natural selection.  These new insights do nothing to change the idea of one mutation at a time, but it does recognize that some mutations have larger phenotype effects than others, which may be completely neutral.

Horizontal gene transfer and endosymbiosis are certainly ideas Darwin did not discuss, but is that a serious objection?

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Hi Keith,

 

Does evolution mean (neo- Darwin evolution theory (NDET): Random Mutation + Natural Selection (RM+NS)

 

Modern Evolution Theory (MET) changes that definition in not so subtle ways creating incompatible assumptions.

 

For example: What is common decent if you include horizontal gene transfer (HGT)?

Man could have evolved from an Aardvark not an ape.

 

Anouther example: What about the theory of epigentics. That non-genetic variation can sometimes be passed on to offspring. Maybe this happens through junk DNA.. This would affect the theory that Junk DNA can collect random mutations until it creates something useful.

 

Debating micro evolution when you include MET you have to cognizant that assumptions are changed. Something that proves one theory may contradict another.

 

Keith, if you have a favorite MET theory, like mutations at the embryonic level are more significant, then lay out a case for the theory. I would enjoy the debate.

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