Author Topic: Headteacher mocked for claiming evolution is not a fact  (Read 20273 times)

Offline Gerard

Re: Headteacher mocked for claiming evolution is not a fact
« Reply #120 on: March 29, 2016, 05:14:40 PM »
"These are not holes in the theory. The theory still works fine even if we don't know some of the more detailed workings of the things this theory explains. There are for instance no huge and gaping holes in the theory of gravity, not even when considering the fact that we still have no clue whatsoever how gravity works."

In my view the inability to explain quantum leaps such as sexual reproduction and the evolution of multi cellular organisms are huge gaps.  I don't deny evolution, but I don't think it is done cooking.

There are very likely huge holes in the theory of gravity.  Since we don't understand it and the equations don't balance, physicists theorize things like dark energy to compensate for their ignorance.  I strongly suspect that in the future when we do understand gravity, Dark energy will be viewed as the phlogiston of the 21st Century.

Also your explanation of the Venus Flytrap doesn't make much sense.  How could such a complex, energy intensive system as the trap, digestion etc evolve in an environment in which it was not useful?  It seems to me that the ability to grow better root or metabolize the nutrient would have evolved faster than the trap system.

The simple answer is that none of these were quantum leaps. They all have surprisingly simple antecedents that were low energy and NOT indispensable for survival at initiation. They did however open new possibilities for the organism involved. Like entering a new niche. And only then discarding other traits not needed anymore. And only then these new traits developed into the more complex form we see them in today, which happened in circumstances (environment) different from the ones in which they first appeared. The ancestral plant that first primitively digested insect material could not have lived in the poor soil niche its present descendants live in. Also, the intricate way in which that trait (trapping flies) works today developed from a much simpler antecedent (probably just a hole in the plant material where their insides leaked out attracting flies that got stuck there). Indispensable traits in organism don't develop when they are needed. They're just an added gift. They BECOME needed, or even indispensable in new circumstances. And only then they can improve and become more complex.

Gravity just works like the theory explains from observation. No holes there. We don't know how it does what it does, but it still works. Evolution is another thing altogether. We may not know all the details but we know HOW it works.

Gerard
« Last Edit: March 29, 2016, 05:42:10 PM by Gerard »

Re: Headteacher mocked for claiming evolution is not a fact
« Reply #121 on: March 29, 2016, 05:44:25 PM »


I concede you are correct about facts.  However, the highest level of acceptance is not a theory, but a law.   E.g.  The Laws of Thermodynamics have been proven countless times without exception, and there are no unexplained loose ends.


A law is based on observations, a theory is an explanation of the law. Don't mix your apples with your oranges... :-)

Re: Headteacher mocked for claiming evolution is not a fact
« Reply #122 on: March 29, 2016, 06:00:36 PM »
The Laws of Thermodynamics have been proven countless times without exception, and there are no unexplained loose ends.

Science is not in the business of "proving" anything at all. No scientific theories have ever been "proven" in the sense of having been shown to be absolutely and certainly true. Theories can have experimental confirmation or disconfirmation, but no proof. Only mathematicians are out to prove things.
God Not Found
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Offline Gerard

Re: Headteacher mocked for claiming evolution is not a fact
« Reply #123 on: March 29, 2016, 06:21:12 PM »
Science is not in the business of "proving" anything at all. No scientific theories have ever been "proven" in the sense of having been shown to be absolutely and certainly true. Theories can have experimental confirmation or disconfirmation, but no proof. Only mathematicians are out to prove things.

Sure, but at some point a scientific theory that keeps being affirmed by new observations (new from the old ones that it was initially based on) becomes impossible to refute. Simply because any refutation thinkable, causes more problems than it solves versus the facts that already confirm the theory. To say that a theory like that (Evolution being a prime example) is not proven ( OK let's say consistently confirmed) is a matter of semantics. But basically you're right of course...... I'm just sometimes bothered by the semantics. Mathematics is of course another subject altogether. The way we deal with those premises is not comparable. ok, but that shouldn't even suggest that knowledge in other fields is impossible or even worth less.

Gerard
« Last Edit: March 29, 2016, 06:24:33 PM by Gerard »

Offline Baruch

Re: Headteacher mocked for claiming evolution is not a fact
« Reply #124 on: March 29, 2016, 06:39:58 PM »
Sure, but at some point a scientific theory that keeps being affirmed by new observations (new from the old ones that it was initially based on) becomes impossible to refute. Simply because any refutation thinkable, causes more problems than it solves versus the facts that already confirm the theory. To say that a theory like that (Evolution being a prime example) is not proven ( OK let's say consistently confirmed) is a matter of semantics. But basically you're right of course...... I'm just sometimes bothered by the semantics. Mathematics is of course another subject altogether. The way we deal with those premises is not comparable. ok, but that shouldn't even suggest that knowledge in other fields is impossible or even worth less.

Gerard

Multiple observational and experimental confirmations make a theory very persuasive, even if unlike a math theorem, it isn't proven.  Newton's theory works almost always ... and is what engineers use most of the time.  Einstein didn't change that.  Maxwell's theory isn't quite as useful on its own, since solid state theory (quantum mechanics) is very useful too.  Quantum mechanics came about, with Max Planck, because he was trying to make a more efficient light bulb (on top of Edison's et al invention).
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Re: Headteacher mocked for claiming evolution is not a fact
« Reply #125 on: March 29, 2016, 06:57:45 PM »

"The great tragedy of science - the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact."
Thomas Huxley
God Not Found
"There is a sucker born-again every minute." - C. Spellman

Offline Gerard

Re: Headteacher mocked for claiming evolution is not a fact
« Reply #126 on: March 29, 2016, 07:30:48 PM »
Multiple observational and experimental confirmations make a theory very persuasive, even if unlike a math theorem, it isn't proven.  Newton's theory works almost always ... and is what engineers use most of the time.  Einstein didn't change that.  Maxwell's theory isn't quite as useful on its own, since solid state theory (quantum mechanics) is very useful too.  Quantum mechanics came about, with Max Planck, because he was trying to make a more efficient light bulb (on top of Edison's et al invention).

Of course. There is a line between different fields of knowledge and how their findings are acknowledged. Mathematics, Physics, Biology, alpha, beta.... and oh.... history, sociology. These are very different fields that are argued in somewhat different ways. But that's not the subject at hand.

Gerard

Offline Gerard

Re: Headteacher mocked for claiming evolution is not a fact
« Reply #127 on: March 29, 2016, 07:35:48 PM »
"The great tragedy of science - the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact."
Thomas Huxley


An ugly fact would of course end a wrong hypothesis. Which would have no chance turning into a theory. Strangely (or perhaps insightful), there are no such facts around that would do that to the theory of evolution. And that has remained consistently so since it's inception back in the 19th century.

Gerard

Re: Headteacher mocked for claiming evolution is not a fact
« Reply #128 on: March 30, 2016, 10:01:23 AM »
"The simple answer is that none of these were quantum leaps."

Biologists have been asking these questions for decades and they have NO answers, let along simple ones.  It is a fact that we don't know the answer to some very basic questions:
How did sexual reproduction evolve?  How did multi-cellular life evolve? How did self preservation evolve?  This seems trivial at first, however when you consider simple /primitive organisms, it is a conundrum.  Why didn't they simple succumb to entropic forces and die?

"No scientific theories have ever been "proven" in the sense of having been shown to be absolutely and certainly true."
This is an absurd statement.  Copernicus heliocentric theory, the existence of Neptune (There is currently a new theory of another planet that will eventually proven or dis-proven), the existence of atoms. etc.  I could go on and on and on.

"And that has remained consistently so since it's inception back in the 19th century."
I don't think that is true.  Darwin didn't know about genes/DNA.  Since their discovery, his theory has been revised several times.  Microbial cooperation conflicts with the idea of genetic competition. Recent gene mapping has confirmed horizontal gene transfer.  The Evolutionary tree with a trunk and 3 branches needs to be redrawn. (It will likely look like a colony of Aspen trees but who knows.)
A good theory makes accurate predictions and guides research in the right direction.  Recent advances in biology have occurred despite Darwinian Evolution, but because of it. 

I am not an ID proponent suggesting that we throw the baby out with the bath water.  I consider it a fact that natural selection occurs.  I also consider it a fact that random mutations and natural selection alone cannot explain all of the diversity of life.  I think from a purely scientific perspective, the Theory of Evolution needs to be refined/revised to explain these new findings.  That's how science works.
I think you have been too busy defending it against attacks from religious people that you became unable to acknowledge its' flaws.

Offline Gerard

Re: Headteacher mocked for claiming evolution is not a fact
« Reply #129 on: March 30, 2016, 11:33:47 AM »
"The simple answer is that none of these were quantum leaps."

Biologists have been asking these questions for decades and they have NO answers, let along simple ones.  It is a fact that we don't know the answer to some very basic questions:
How did sexual reproduction evolve?  How did multi-cellular life evolve? How did self preservation evolve?  This seems trivial at first, however when you consider simple /primitive organisms, it is a conundrum.  Why didn't they simple succumb to entropic forces and die?

We may not know all of the details, but since we do know the outcome and the mechanism, there are plausible narratives about the main aspects of these occurrences that are NECESARILLY true. In other words the things you mention here are not mysteries for which no plausible answer is available.


"And that has remained consistently so since it's inception back in the 19th century."
I don't think that is true.  Darwin didn't know about genes/DNA.  Since their discovery, his theory has been revised several times.  Microbial cooperation conflicts with the idea of genetic competition. Recent gene mapping has confirmed horizontal gene transfer.  The Evolutionary tree with a trunk and 3 branches needs to be redrawn. (It will likely look like a colony of Aspen trees but who knows.)
A good theory makes accurate predictions and guides research in the right direction.  Recent advances in biology have occurred despite Darwinian Evolution, but because of it. 

I am not an ID proponent suggesting that we throw the baby out with the bath water.  I consider it a fact that natural selection occurs.  I also consider it a fact that random mutations and natural selection alone cannot explain all of the diversity of life.  I think from a purely scientific perspective, the Theory of Evolution needs to be refined/revised to explain these new findings.  That's how science works.
I think you have been too busy defending it against attacks from religious people that you became unable to acknowledge its' flaws.

The discovery of genes and DNA have not basically changed the theory of evolution at all. Just the underlying narrative about what evolution brought about and how that has worked in detail in separate cases. It's important to separate these two very different things, the theoretical framework and the underlying detailed narrative. The fact that the underlying tree needs to be redrawn, or that Darwin didn't know what DNA was has not changed the mechanism Darwin proposed in any significant way. Every discovery made since Darwin's theory has essentially confirmed his findings. Of course they have also raised questions about details, but the thing is that they have not ever raised INSURMOUNTABLE questions about these details. The theory would have been abandoned if it had. You say: "I also consider it a fact that random mutations and natural selection alone cannot explain all of the diversity of life." I'm afraid that that is exactly what the theory of evolution asserts. That that random mutations and natural selection explain biodiversity as we observe it.

Very insightful things about these matters have been raised in books like "The selfish gene" and "The blind watchmaker" by Richard Dawkins (you don't have to like his more recent discourse on religion to see that he has described most or all the matters you raise here in a way that is still regarded as authoritative. The theory of evolution is not anywhere near the crisis you suppose it to be in.

Gerard
« Last Edit: March 30, 2016, 11:41:07 AM by Gerard »

Re: Headteacher mocked for claiming evolution is not a fact
« Reply #130 on: March 30, 2016, 12:49:40 PM »
I also consider it a fact that random mutations and natural selection alone cannot explain all of the diversity of life.  I think from a purely scientific perspective, the Theory of Evolution needs to be refined/revised to explain these new findings.

What findings would that be?
Please don't take anything I say seriously.

Offline Baruch

Re: Headteacher mocked for claiming evolution is not a fact
« Reply #131 on: March 30, 2016, 01:01:01 PM »
Consider the species of crab, in Japan ... whose carapace all look like scowling Samurai.  This is because of a local superstition, and the more likely a crab shell looked like that, the less likely they were eaten.  Similarly with deliberate breeding of dogs.  So of course, there is more than random mutation and the success or failure of predation and natural hazards preventing offspring.  Humans have been messing around with plants and animals for thousands of years.
Ha’át’íísh baa naniná?
Azee’ ła’ish nanídį́į́h?
Táadoo ánít’iní.
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Are you taking any medications?
Don't do that.

Re: Headteacher mocked for claiming evolution is not a fact
« Reply #132 on: March 30, 2016, 01:07:53 PM »
... the Theory of Evolution needs to be refined/revised to explain these new findings. 

That's why it's still an active field of research...

Re: Headteacher mocked for claiming evolution is not a fact
« Reply #133 on: March 30, 2016, 02:32:48 PM »
I did not mean to convey that it is in a state of crisis, but that it is still needs refinement. 
I have been meaning to read the Selfish Gene, but I think that is an old book  (I find this stuff fascinating.)  I would encourage you to look into some of the new ideas from other biologists.  There are other ideas that augment, not substitute genetic mutation. I think that in the future, biologists will accepct that other natural forces in addition to genetic mutation contribute to the biodiversity. 

Offline Hakurei Reimu

Re: Headteacher mocked for claiming evolution is not a fact
« Reply #134 on: March 30, 2016, 05:20:01 PM »
I did not mean to convey that it is in a state of crisis, but that it is still needs refinement. 
This is true even in well-developed fields. Science is always a work-in-progress. There's always something new to learn. This is why whenever a ballsy scientist announces the "end of" or the "death of" a certain field, he's always been wrong. It was wrong for astronomy, and it was wrong for physics, and it will be wrong for biology if anyone ever is stupid enough to say it.
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