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Evolution Disproven?
Posted: 15 July 2007 12:07 PM   [ Ignore ]
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My friends are telling me that evolution is outdated and has been disproven.  They can not give me any references, only that a ‘major scientist’ has already disproven the theory of evolution.  My husband says our high school bio teacher also confessed that evolution had been outdated at the time and that was 10 years ago.  What’s up??  Either way, this all sounds very hokey and testimonial but I just wanted to give a background for why I’m asking this question - has evolution been disproven?
I’ve searched in a science dictionary at the library, and evolution is still there…. where are these creationists getting the idea that evolution has been disproven?
It seems like the attitude in these discussions is ’ someone disproved it, that’s all I need to know”.  Who cares who it was, or what the evidence is for and against it.  But for personal interest, I wondered if anyone knows who this ‘scientist’ could be that allegedly disproved evolution ‘a long time ago’ so I could have an idea what they might be talking about

THANKS!

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Posted: 15 July 2007 12:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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There are three things you can do, J Free:

1) Believe your friends (or the church);
2) believe the scientists; or
3) read some biology books (I recommend The Ancestor’s Tale by R. Dawkins) and decide for yourself.

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Posted: 15 July 2007 12:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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J Free - 15 July 2007 12:07 PM

It seems like the attitude in these discussions is ’ someone disproved it, that’s all I need to know”.  Who cares who it was, or what the evidence is for and against it.

That is called confirmation bias, it is one of the most pernicious forms of dogma.

Anyway you are quite right to ask your friends to furnish proof of their claims. And indeed as George says educate yourself on the actual science. By the way, the process of evolution is observable every year, in what is commonly called a flu shot. The flu virus evolves and each year we design an antidote to counteract the new strain of flu.

Cheers

[ Edited: 15 July 2007 12:48 PM by cgallaga ]
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Posted: 15 July 2007 12:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Read Barbara Forrest’s article and watch her lecture.  They really are a deeply unpleasant and satanic group of people these creationists.

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Posted: 15 July 2007 02:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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You may want to go to Wikipedia for a rundown on evolution and the latest input.  I googled Evolution +disproved and saw quite a few sites.  The first one is a religious one, but the subsequent ones give the opposite views.

Occam

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Posted: 15 July 2007 06:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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hmmm, I didn’t find the religious one on there, but either way I think someone ought to inform the CSI guys at the Intelligent Design Watch section of this site about this possible new development of evolution having been proven to be untrue by an imaginary famous scientist ten years ago.  It looks like it needs investigating.

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Posted: 15 July 2007 06:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Hey thanks for responding.  I googled evolution disproved as well, and there’s just every opinion out there, but I found the sites with both sides presented. 
I’m reading ‘Origin of the Species’ right now, and afterward I want to read something more recent that explains evolution further.  My friends aren’t really open to a changed mind or debating it - they have faith in what they choose to believe.  But I was starting to feel like the crazy one here, so that’s why I posted. 

Due to my inadequate understanding of science thus far, I do have to rely on scientists which was pointed out to me - that I can’t prove or source many of the things I take for granted about science, but I still don’t think that makes me the same as a person who believes on faith in god or the bible.

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Posted: 15 July 2007 07:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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It doesn’t put you on that level because you are at least examining the teory and evidence will be presented in the books you are reading.  I’d better warn you in advance, that there are a lot of misconceptions bandied about about what evolution actually is.  This entry in wkipedia mentions some of them:
http://www.au.org/site/News2?abbr=cs_&page=NewsArticle&id=8314
and whilst I am a physicist, my knowledge of biology is sound enough to vouch for this author’s account.  I use wikipedia occassionally if I am developing novel idea’s during the cause of my work and have spotted numerous erroneous pieces of information on there in both physics and chemistry so you always have to be careful when using it.

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Posted: 15 July 2007 07:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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As a biologist, I echo narwhol’s point about wikipedia. Great place for a lot of information, but I find plenty of errors ont he biology side as well. Evolution is certainly a topic about which there are lots of popular books out, so you should have a lot to choose from.

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Posted: 15 July 2007 09:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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I’m not a biologist or a physicist…or any other ist come to think. But I can tell you an awful lot about the practical effects of this: dE - TdS + pdV \le 0. on what we eat. wink

The theory of the ORIGIN OF THE SPECIES and evolution by natural selection is rather simple, although earth shattering I think. First of all it does not speak to the origins of life or the origins of the universe as some would like to suggest. It speaks only to how variability of types of species came about and continues to do so.

It says that any biological system (on earth to be most accurate) in the process of duplicating will and does develop small errors in the code…think of them as typos. The key is that our dna does not duplicate (replicate) itself like a photocopy machine but more like the old days of re-writing each letter by hand. But even in a copy machine as you make successive generations of copies (copy of a copy of a copy) you will lose fidelity. This is what is happening with gene replication, a certain loss of fidelity, or propensity towards mutation.

MOST of this mutation is undesirable and often is weeded out over successive generations.

Occasionally a mutation occurs that allows for an improved ability at survival of a specific sub species. This species will have an environmental advantage and reproduce more of its own than a species less suited to the environment. Example, because there were many short necked giraffes and only a few randomly mutated a longer neck, those with a longer neck could reach an environment of less competition (especially in times of scarcity) so they lived longer and healthier lives passing on code to more children, who in turn had longer necks. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Now here is the part that is hard to accept, though not hard to understand: It normally takes amounts of time our minds just can not fathom. Just like we can fathom the price of a copy machine but the value of Xerox as a company is beyond our experience. Even the slight mutations between the flu virus and the vaccine are very subtle. All the while we have been fighting flu they are still flu virus and we still make a flu vaccine. Though they mutate rather rapidly it is subtle changes and so they remain in the same class of virus.

Over billions of years. Literally billions. This process has shaped the variety of all life we can find today.

So what it shows (with alarming clarity actually) is that over billions of years through 1. faulty replication and 2. environmental pressure all variety of species has adapted out of original single cell life.

The time part is what fools everybody. Keep in mind that in 100,000 years there have been 1388 generations of humans at current life span. That means in one family line there are nearly 1500 generations in 100,000 years. in a family line over a billion years there are hundreds of millions of generations.

It is an abstract to our minds. The number is beyond our reconing.

[ Edited: 15 July 2007 09:33 PM by cgallaga ]
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Posted: 15 July 2007 09:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Culinologist maybe? grin

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Posted: 16 July 2007 02:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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J. Free, cgallaga did an excellent job of pointing out the reasonableness of evolution and why the average religious person cannot get his/her mind around the huge numbers.  In addition to the incomprehensible length of time that mutations have been taking place, is the even more incomprehensible number of organisms on the planet at any one moment - probably trillions.  The creationsts claim the probability of any positive mutation is so extremely small that it’s silly to even consider it.  However, if you take an extremely small number (probability) and multiply it by a much much more extremely large number (of time times the number of organisms), you get a probability of close to one for any particular mutation you can imagine. 

Occam

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Posted: 16 July 2007 09:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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mckenzievmd - 15 July 2007 09:50 PM

Culinologist maybe? grin

That would be cool…gonna see about joining up.

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Posted: 17 July 2007 12:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Yeah, thanks cgalla, and occam - really great summaries.  I am only about a third of the way through Origin of Species and it’s just really interesting.  The other problem with explaining how LONG the process takes to a creationist, is that many believe the world was created in 6 days.  I asked the one guy I was talking to the other day while we were having this discussion if he would still believe in Jesus if it was disproved that he ever lived.  And he said never, it didn’t matter what the evidence.  I realize it would be pretty hard to have evidence against such an old story being true, but even the principle of evidence is not important to a faith-based view on life.  I know this from experience.  When my husband first suggested to me that he wasn’t sure the bible was the word of god, I was just mad.  Because in order to believe the fairytale, you have to shut out reason.  The two really do not co-exist.  I’ve seen some debates on science and religion not coexisting, and I don’t know about that - but if Science is reason and Religion is faith, then no, I don’t think they can co-exist.  Because there is no reasoning allowed in faith, and to reason does not require faith…

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Posted: 20 July 2007 09:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Part of the problem is that they expect one simple answer for everything.  On a Christian forum (Planet Wisdom), one poster insisted that his sister had disproved evolution!  Apparently she was a graduate student in paleontology, and she had spent three years studying dinosaur footprints in an attempt to draw up a kind of family tree linking dinosaurs to birds (the details were of course vague the way the poster explained it).  She was apparently unable to do it.  So according to the poster, evolution must be wrong!  Careful questioning couldn’t bring out any more details, except one—his sister was STILL an evolutionist.  But he didn’t see any significance in that.

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Posted: 20 July 2007 01:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Maybe what he meant was that she showed no physical signs of having evolved from an ape-like ancestor?

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