Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by Yminale, Aug 27, 2012.
Creationism has no place in science classes, if it belongs anywhere it's in religious studies.
Certainly there can be closed minds on just about any issue that a person encounters. That doesn't mean it is so, here. The Scientific method, by it's very nature, relies on falsifiability. When you bring in a creator god, you no longer need science, because your new god can explain everything away.
"Why is the sky blue?" "God made it that way?"
"How did the earth form?" "God did it."
"Where did man come from?" "God made man."
You start answering questions like that, such as Creationism does, and you eschew the Scientific method of falsifiability, in favor of whatever flight of fancy you wish to believe, without needing a single shred of evidence to support it beyond one's own circular logic.
Having an open mind does not mean having a gullible one. Creationism, by it's nature, is a closed mind system. Everything one needs to know every answer in the universe is always going to fall back on some variation of "God made it that way". It is the device of the incurious.
I don't have much sympathy (or respect) for people who willfully reject science.
Creationism is simply impossible based on established science.
Anything since Galileo. Take your pick.
What you propose is Lamark's early theory of evolution based in the inheritance of acquired characteristics, like a Giraffe stretching its neck throughout its life and having children with longer necks as a result. This is as fantastic as a creator god when you get down to it, because it relies on additional functions that simply aren't there. DNA doesn't "know" what genes do what, it can't look through your eyes and think "Oh hey, that long necked gene sure comes in handy, lets pump out a few more of them. MORE VERTEBRA FOR ALL!" It just is.
Consider instead that mutation is constantly occurring and in a small and volatile population (one facing food shortages, predators, etc.) a single mutation can stand out much stronger than in a society like our own where a mutation barely makes a dent in the gene pool. If an early giraffe mutated an extra(or just longer, I'm not sure what the anatomical details of a giraffe's neck are) vertebra in its neck and the result was that his neck was that much longer he is going to have that much more success in eating food, surviving, and living to breed. If the mutation is passed on, his progeny now have it and a growing number within the Giraffe population acquire this trait. In selecting for this trait, evolution has also imbued the population with genetics more predisposed to this kind of mutation, and so this same or a similar mutation is more likely to present itself again, further increasing their long necks. As they reach the point of diminishing returns for further mutation(no longer beneficial to have an even longer neck, problems with circulation for example, or simply untenable without other mutations) The process corrects itself and the genetics of the population comparatively stabilize (at least for these particular genes).*
It is really quite intuitive.
* I am not anywhere near an expert on evolution or genetics, so if anyone can correct any mistakes I've made in this example, please do.
Climatic changes can occur over a long period of time. So a place coulget slowly cooler/warmer and as it does the life there adapts to the change in temapture.
True story bro.
So has our population become too large to further evolve? Wouldn't mutation in the human species get weeded out far faster than it could take over?
People are already a lot bigger than they were 1000 years ago.
People, of late, have this idea that there are two sides to everything, and that just isn't the case. Having an open mind doesn't mean blindly accepting everything on it's own merits without critically thinking. There aren't always two sides to everything. Sometimes, the other idea is simply baloney.
This is Creationism: http://www.creationism.org/articles/index.htm
They use the term "Creation Science", but nowhere, in that morass of theological hand waving, is the Scientific Method employed.
Here is a general study of evolution and the evidence for it: http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/0_0_0/lines_01
Notice the supporting information that doesn't rely on verses from the Bible to make it's points?
The two ideas are not even remotely equal. It would be as if you described to me the physics involved behind the development of a star, and I answer with "God said let there be light, and that's how it happened." There's just no reasonable comparison.
I have read that medical and social progress has interfered with the workings of natural selection. We no longer have the weak and less adaptable dying off just leaving the better adapted to pass on their genetic legacy.
I have also heard that as the less intelligent tend to have larger families, as the population grows it is the less mentally able that make up a bigger and bigger proportion of it. Mankind is getting dumber.
I don't know if these points are correct, but they sound as if they might be...
Even if true, is that really a sign of evolution, or is a sign that our education system can't keep up with population growth? It's not like more babies are being born inherently dumber than other babies, just that they're not being allowed to reach their fullest potential.
The only thing I remember about humans is that we're getting taller, but that is more likely due to better nutrition than evolution.
Regarding the nutrition angle, that still plays into it. As we find better food sources, and better ways to fend off predators, our overall quality of life improves, and that includes the physical benefits from such a change in diet and surroundings.
Working as intended.
The larger and more successful a population is, the less they would benefit from further selection. Mutation is still possible, and some have the potential of becoming dominant and being passed on, but it is going to be a far slower process than in a smaller and more competitive population.
I agree with Ben. Now in terms of religion--it could be argued that it has a place. Compare H.L. Mencken with, say John Brown http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Brown_(abolitionist)
Mencken would be a wittier person at the dinner table--not a religious zealot of any kind. To Brown, slavery was more than unethical--it was sin. If you are an African American, John Brown was of more use to History than H.L. was
To the American mindset--an atheist is not someone who doesn't believe in the deity--that's you uncle Bill--but a hellfire club member in a puffy sleeve shirt. Sadly many Skeptics today have a libertarian bent. Ironically, Pat Robertson accepted (at least initially) AGW as real before Mencken fan Micheal Shermer did--and he of Skeptic magazine. Penn and Teller debunk all the gods--save mammon and supply side economics of course.
The fact is that we all have blind spots. There was no garden of Eden--but there was a fertile crescent in what is now Iraq. We saw what farming did in the Dust Bowl before we changed our ways. Being cast out of Eden was us overfarming--not respecting things. The muck of Adams bones were left by supervolcano Toba, which left a choke point in hominid evolution, keeping few ancestors to begin the world.
There was no planet filling Deluge, just the Black Sea filling.
Ironically, many gradualists thought any talk of catastrophism reeked of religious zealotry, so when folks used the Channeled Scablands to argue for Noahs flood, say, the backlash from the scientific consensus was to dismiss the evidence. The Young earthers were wrong of course--but as it turned out, the scablands WERE gouged by a flood from the failure of an ice dam after all: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Channeled_scablands
Now that Gene Shoemaker is dead along with the Alverezs, we see the gradualists trying to take back ground. Think talk about Global warming denialism is bad with arguements over 200--300-400 parts per million? We have folks questioning the impact of a million megaton continent buster on the dinos.
Speaking of Dinos, the recent Skeptical Enquirer has an article where Young Earthers have to believe T Rex was a melon eater. Good grief!
While strength and size has probably been selected for, the main cause of this has probably been due to nutrition allowing the already existing anatomical genes to present at a fuller potential. Look what happened to height in many immigrant populations once introduced to the western diet.
Mind: there are benefits to smaller stature such as less nutritional need to fuel it. (Particulary in large) populations with questionable stability in their food sources would naturally select for those who can survive food shortages the best.
Do Human as a species need to be all highly intelligent or is a mixture better, do humans all need to be tall our does a wider range of heights help. Both have advantages and disadvantages.
Actually, science can't prove creationism wrong, which it admitted long ago (I believe the era when that was last seriously debated was with Aggasiz (sp?)). The point was that science can't disprove that God put all those fossils in the Earth in a particular sequence for us to find, or that he'd made the world so that experiments and inquiries would turn out to make the world appear far older than it is.
Pro-evolution scientists made the point that although they couldn't refute the creationist-scientists' arguments about God rigging the data, those arguments also rendered all attempts to glean knowledge through observation and experiment a cheap charade in a parlor game, making science itself, along with human reason, useless for understanding anything.
So science can't prove that evolutionary biologists aren't trapped in the Matrix, performing fruit-fly experiments in a computer-generated dream world, but the fruit-fly experiments will continue nonetheless, because if we're in the Matrix, it really doesn't matter whether we're learning about fruit-fly evolution or leading the church choir. It would all be BS anyway.
Thanks for your usual invaluable insight.
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