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The end of the evolution debate

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Ever since Darwin first floated the theory of evolution in the mid-19th century, creationists and scientists have argued – often bitterly – over the true origin of the species on Earth. In the next 15-30 years, that debate will cease. The evidence, at that point, will be irrefutable.

It used to be that a few fossils on a card table were enough evidence to convince scientists that humans had evolved. But today, there are hundreds of fossils spanning four million years in Africa. And the consistency of the story in terms of the anatomical evidence that shows change through time is such that to dispute it is simply silly.

What causes things to change in nature? It could be the Darwinian idea of natural selection, or it could be a more complicated process that hasn’t yet been distilled into a single word. Why it happens hasn’t quite been proven yet. But the evidence on the physical side, the geological side, and the dating side is very, very secure. We can trace this evidence from us back through pre-us and pre-them to first tools and pre-tools to the first upright, two-legged hominid. It’s a continuum. Obviously, there are some gaps in the story at the moment, but they’re being filled.

Since scientists have unraveled the genome, we can look at how genes have changed over time, and we can follow specific traits back through history. We can follow the mitochondrial strain back in terms of modern humans, and trace it all the way back to a population that lived in Africa 65,000 years ago. While that’s not really that long ago, there’s absolutely no question that we’re all descended from a population that existed well before biblical times.

The acceleration of data accumulation is rendering the evolution debate moot. The work of geneticists and molecular biologists, research in early human diet and stable isotopes, and the development of more complex techniques in analyzing fossil deposits – combined with the fact that we’re still finding new fossils – means that the aggregate of information is growing almost exponentially now.

As evidence becomes more certain, it’ll be incorporated in more and more education curricula around the world. There are still jurisdictions in the United States where creationism and evolution are given equal weight in education. But irrespective of what the Unites States requires in terms of curricula, the availability of data on the web – the whole IT movement – is making it more and more likely that an increasing number of young minds will have their own questions, and find their own answers.

There will always be the fundamentalists, but I think the general sense that we’re a product of a changed organism through time will go down as a tick on a list of things we needed to know.

What people will probably come to realize is that religion and evolution don’t have to be exclusive of each other. My grandfather was a devout Christian missionary, but he managed to reconcile evolution with the simple explanation of creation that’s in the Bible.

The Bible doesn’t explain everything. It doesn’t explain how we can get pictures through fiber-optic cable, or how we walked on the moon. But that doesn’t mean those things aren’t real, or that they are anti-Christian in some way. So, just because evolution isn’t explained in the Bible doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened. You can’t be a cherry picker on this.

My grandfather recognized that people need to have either a very good education or faith, because there are so many questions around us. If you don’t have access to answers to those questions, blind faith can be very helpful. But with the progress of science and the information that’s now available, I think more and more people are going to say, “Well, I can still believe in God, but I don’t think he has to have created me.”

The fight against evolution has been used to turn new generations against science. And although it doesn’t really matter in a country like the United States or Western Europe, the growing antipathy towards science in countries in Africa and South America is very worrying, because many of the problems that will beset nations around the world, particularly the poorer nations, will require investment in science. It’s critical, now more than ever, that we embrace the plethora of evidence that points to evolution. We need to accept our past so that we can prepare for our future.

© Japan Today

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75 Comments
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I love science.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

These so-called "experts" can't even explain why humans don't have body hair like other terrestrial mammals.

They still don't even know the true cause of hiccups for heaven's sake.

Wait 5 or 10 years and this theory will be supplanted by yet another one, ad infinitum.

-22 ( +7 / -28 )

@NeverSubmit

Considering humans do have body hair how can "experts" explain it?

12 ( +15 / -3 )

NeverSubmit,

Good idea. And you are absolutely correct. As new evidence comes in, scientists supplant explanations that no longer accurately describe how nature works with new explanations - sometimes called theories.

Newton's Theory of Gravity was accepted until Mercury's orbit was observed to not follow it. Einstein' stepped in with his general theory of relativity and Newton's theory was supplanted by one that better explained gravity (and Mercury's orbit).

As for human's not having body hair... Have you never dated an Italian woman? Plus hiccups: http://kidshealth.org/kid/talk/qa/hiccup.html

16 ( +17 / -1 )

There is a group of religious thinkers known as Old-Earth creationist, who accept the possibility that evolution was a process used by "the creator" to diversify and propagate species. This suggests that The end of the evolution debate may be a fait accompli.

However, a related and more fundamental question persists, i.e., how did the process start? We are very far from satisfying religious (and scientific) thinkers on that question, or supplanting the idea of a first mover proposed by religion.

Moreover, philosophy and science provide scant clues as to the origin, development, or even existence of human consciousness. I'm not suggesting that religious ideas about the spirit and soul have merit. Science will eventually fill in the gaps of knowledge in these area too, but satisfactory debate-ending knowledge here is still far off.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The creationist theory is contructed with an absence of logic and has it's roots in an attempt by earlier man to explain the nature of the human condition without the tools and knowledge we have in the modern era to read and analyse the clues around us. To accept the creationist theory, at some point you are required to leave logic and reasoning behind in a 'leap of faith', or by embracing the' nature of faith'. To wit - forget logic. I think he is being overly optimistic in thinking that the two will ever be happy bedfellows. My guess is that Religeous institutions will soften, or shift their position to work the science in with the dogma.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Certainly there is a lack of logic here. There is also a lack of logic in the theory that the right chemicals just, by chance happened to coincide at one place, completely by accident and life was born.

What are the chances of that happening?

-7 ( +6 / -13 )

Evolution is a random process whereby nature produces anything possible. and only those survive as a species with similar behavior and body design, that is best adapted to their environment. In human turns it is more then that. It's a matter of taste as well, probably social background and needs. Why humans don't have much body hair? Do you know any man who likes a woman with beard? And nowadays the trend for women not to like man's bodily hair...If people with lots of hair have less chance to produce offspring, the hairy persons eventually die out....

3 ( +3 / -0 )

sorry, turns should be terms...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

from http://www.gotquestions.org/creation-evolution.html

The origin of the universe and the origin of life cannot be tested or observed. Both creation and evolution are faith-based systems in regards to origins. Neither can be tested because we cannot go back billions (or thousands) of years to observe the origin of the universe or of life in the universe. Evolutionary scientists reject creation on grounds that would logically force them to also reject evolution as a scientific explanation of origins. Evolution, at least in regard to origins, does not fit the definition of “science” any more than creation does. Evolution is supposedly the only explanation of origins that can be tested; therefore, it is the only theory of origins that can be considered “scientific.”

0 ( +3 / -3 )

johninnaha

Certainly there is a lack of logic here. There is also a lack of logic in the theory that the right chemicals just, by chance happened to coincide at one place, completely by accident and life was born.

Probably not high, I imagine. But we are evidence that it can and does happen, given the right set of factors. But I will say it's pretty illogical to conclude that, just because the probability of something happening is low, that it must there fore be evidence of God's work.

What are the chances of that happening?

There's the leap of faith. Evidence suggests god is a creation of man, not the other way around.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

i just always keep wondering why we avoid to talk about the Sumarian people and what they have to say about who or why we were created, maybe we dont want to know the real truth of whom created us?

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

sorry i mean sumerian people.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Both creation and evolution are faith-based systems in regards to origins.

It's completely wrong to try and equate creationism with evolution, which funnily enough the creationists love to do, but scientists never try.

Science produces theories based on logic and information, which can be replaced pending new information. Religion (creationism) makes things up and states them as facts.

5 ( +7 / -3 )

@Stranger, right on

The theory of evolution is among the finest examples of what science is about -- not just a collection of discoveries or conclusions, but a method of thinking that demands skepticism and thrives on being proven wrong. That is what distinguishes it from creationism, which is built on the a priori assumption that a certain socially-constructed idol (i.e. God) is real, and that any evidence to the contrary is to be dismissed out of hand.

Not all evolutionary biologists agree with each other about every question in their field. But there are certain basics that one would have to be looney to doubt.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

The Bible doesn’t explain everything. It doesn’t explain how we can get pictures through fiber-optic cable, or how we walked on the moon.

I don't mind that. I don't expect the Bible to explain everything. I mind that it explains things wrongly. If it was dictated by an omniscient god why couldn't it make it clear from the start that the Sun is just a star and the Earth is just a planet orbiting it with some species that have evolved enough to ask questions and seek explanations. We wouldn't have wasted a good few thousand years trying to get it right and Giordano Bruno wouldn't have had to die on stake for telling just that. Why the stupid creation myth and Adam and Eve BS? I know some people manage to believe both in evolution and the Bible but either they don't think about it at all or they do with a lot of convoluted mental gymnastics and quite a few jumps in logic, I presume.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

The Bible doesn’t explain everything. It doesn’t explain how we can get pictures through fiber-optic cable, or how we walked on the moon.

poor examples. both achievements are American. we weren't around back then.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Read the 12th Planet by Zecharia Sitchin, there you can find the prof of why Religion and Darwin are both wrong.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Both creation and evolution are faith-based systems in regards to origins.

And then, in the same paragraph:

Evolution is supposedly the only explanation of origins that can be tested; therefore, it is the only theory of origins that can be considered “scientific.”

The question at hand is not genesis; it is evolution. No scientist pretends to have an answer for the former, but very, very hard evidence for the latter surrounds you - that is, unless you believe God is continually "creating" new strains of viruses harmful to humans that just happen to be unaffected by human-created drugs. Google "Viral evolution" for more interesting info.

As thywillbedone mentioned, convincing evidence for the origin of life on earth is at present nonexistent. The same absolutely cannot be said for evolution.

4 ( +5 / -2 )

There is also a lack of logic in the theory that the right chemicals just, by chance happened to coincide at one place, completely by accident and life was born. What are the chances of that happening?

Once in four billion years on one planet out of every million perhaps. It's a big old universe out there.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

@johninnaha

There is also a lack of logic in the theory that the right chemicals just, by chance happened to coincide at one place, completely by accident and life was born.

There's quite a bit more logic to that than of some god waving a magic wand. As has been mentioned, evolutionary science does not presume to have a full answer for the beginnings of life. However, logical thought could reasonably hypothesize that in a universe of such immensity, a chance 'coincidence' of lightning and the right chemical mix would almost certainly happen at some time and lead over time to the evolution of a specie intelligent enough to ponder how all this happened. That happens to be us.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Right, Alan.

Those who say that the perfect match humans share for their environment is proof of a divine hand have it backwards: the environment was the driving force, and through evolution, humans found a niche. Some suspect non-carbon lifeforms also exist; those would have been created in the same way as man, responding only to a radically different environment.

Another question this article raises is the relationship between environment and biological suitability. The environment is for the major part driven by tectonics, which fortunately act very slowly in biological terms; the atmosphere also plays a major role, though, and the atmosphere is susceptible to very rapid change. The five major extinctions earth has experienced are all most likely attributable to dramatic, short-term atmospheric change. Too bad some do not want to hear this.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

the environment was the driving force

But once life was established on Earth, it also became a driving force by modifying the chemical composition of the sea and the atmosphere. It's a continual feedback loop in which life and the environment shape each other.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

There is not enough evidence for a theory of Evolution.. it's a hypothesis at best!.. now that is a fact!

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

Alan, I would agree that the appearance of photosynthesizing algae and later plants were a major factor in modifying the composition of the atmosphere, but other than the introduction of oxygen (and, some theorize, methane from dinosaur and human-raised livestock flatulence) , plants and animals have had a negligible effect on the atmospheric environment - until the introduction by man of massive amounts of carbon dioxide. To say that this feedback loop is normal is to suggest that biological-related occurrences have historically released a similar amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as humans currently do, and that is manifestly incorrect.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

As per the definition of "theory," any theory is subject to change or amendments as new evidence or data come up.

The fact that the theory of evolution has withstood those tests largely intact over the decades speaks highly of its soundness and refinement. And it's one of the most tested theories out there.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Evolution is a scientific theory that evolves... at the pace science evolves. Creationism is cult story-telling without the slightest interest.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Both creation and evolution are faith-based systems in regards to origins. Neither can be tested because we cannot go back billions (or thousands) of years to observe the origin of the universe or of life in the universe. Evolutionary scientists reject creation on grounds that would logically force them to also reject evolution as a scientific explanation of origins.

Evolution is not faith-based - I just love it how creationists attempt to answer questions concerning the origins of life without giving any sort of evidence or logical thinking, but merely just say it's all in the bible. Scientists don't have that luxury of saying 'because the bible says so'. Scientists are fully aware they can't explain everything, but at least attempt to think objectively and use evidence and reasoning. We didn't know about dinosaurs in the old days, but suddenly some creationist museums show humans walking around the planet with dinosaurs (never mind the fact that they died out 65Ma ago). It was this sort of narrow-mindedness that got people like Galileo into trouble. People, the sun no longer goes round the earth. And unless incest was rife, I don't know how Adam and Eve managed to have grandchildren (just who were the daughters-in-law?). People have their own opinions, but I find the bible to be full of holes. I just wished the bible had a list of references at the back, like any scientific paper subjected to rigorous checks and peer review.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The idea that creationists will suddenly stop arguing because there is now so much evidence to support evolution doesn't seem to jive with reality. People can deny ANYthing.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

OK Creationists...whose creation myth? There are thousands and thousands. In fact, the Bible has not just one but two. Which one is scientific fact? The one where God creates lots and lots of people, both males and females, or the one with the mud and the rib and the animal naming?

Judaism, some mainstream Protestant Christian denominations, and Catholic Christianity, even most of the uber-traditionalist strains, accept Evolution as the "how" of creation, but God as the "why." They also are willing to say a lot of the Bible is metaphor and should not be taken literally. There are super-pious "fringe" groups like the Haredim and the Pius X Society who argue for a literal reading of the Bible and reject anything having to do with science. But they are not mainstream in those religions. Protestant Evangelical Christianity, especially of the scary "dominionist" stripe, however, are mainstream in the US, and somewhat so in places you might not think like Africa and South Korea.

Unfortunately there are also elements of Islam, once the keeper of the Greek Fire of science and philosophy and voracious translators of scientific literature from the ancient world from Greek to Arabic, which are rejecting science and also advocating a literal reading of the Quran as received truth about the world. Between them, the Haredim of Israel who are becoming violent recapitulations of their Islamic enemies, and the Protestant "dominionists" are tearing down science in favor of their stripe of religious fundamentalism.

They all seem to hanker for a return to the Dark Ages, where small religious distinctions (does the Holy Spirit descend from the Father alone or both the Father and the Son?) flare into real wars with real weapons and real casualities. The Founders of the United States intended a wall of separation between Church and State because the Hundred Years War and the Thirty Years War in Europe was not ancient history, but a fresh memory with open wounds. Sort of like the Civil War remains here in the US, 150 years hence.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Tamarama

Evidence suggests god is a creation of man, not the other way around.

Well Said !

3 ( +4 / -0 )

At work my boss is a very well educated and intelligent man, however mention evolution to him and he goes off on one. He's a lay-preacher at a small church and is a creationist. We always argue about it... being an Athiest I must be like his very own Anti-Christ, lol

Seriously though, with the amount of evidence out there only the most naive would deny evolution.

On a related note, are Japanese women evolving into an ever more attractive type of human?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I love science too. I don't doubt evolution, but, admitting I am a simple lay person, I haven't discovered the explanation for something that started suddenly 40K to 65K years ago. The out of Africa thing, preceded by the shaping of the species that took millions of years. Pre-dated by all kinds of different animal species now long extinct. As a child, educated in a christian environment, I was in no position to question the Bible teachings, although I had many questions. Now this document looks like a synopsis of the origin/creation of the human race by a supreme power, and a collection of anecdotes and legends. Scientific evidence and explanations of things described in the Bible have been offered. The Book cannot be dismissed as total fiction, but the time elements will require some adjustment. And the translations of the original transcripts should receive more publicity. The existence of intelligent life elsewhere in the universe, now no longer dismissed, might have had an influence on how life and science evolved on our planet - but like I said, I haven't discovered the explanation, so please don't judge me for my ignorance. We now think evolution is an established fact. But how exactly this evolution took place, we may know some day.

The end of the evolution debate? Maybe. The end of the origin-of-the-species debate? Unlikely.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Nobody knows why it all started let`s just hope it never ends.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

[jRing ...]

"Hello? God? Could you please tell me why I have toes and, especially toe nails? What good are they to us human beings in this day and age (except that the ladies like to paint their toe nails)? Fingers and finger nails are the 'in' things now for dealing with tiny objects, of which we have plenty, with plenty more and plenty smaller things coming."

God: "Mmm. So you're suggesting I eliminate the lower digits? Maybe put just a hinge there? Makes sense. Yeah, give me a second, but remember: a "second" to me is a few million years to you. Don't ever forget that. Most of you can't conceive that I'm not exactly some guy with a white beard, wearing a white robe and waving a magic wand. I'm bigger, made up of time and space AND I'm one hell of an intelligent designer. The more answers you uncover by looking through microscopes and telescopes, the more questions you'll have following each answer. To say you Creation-only-ists have pea-sized brains (putting Me on your level and/or putting yourselves on My level -- what colossal egos!) is the understatement of the millennia. Oh, and you Evolution-only-ists have no faith, no hope, whatsoever. My bad. I gave all of you free will, and, yikes, what a mess you've made ofi t!" ;-)

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

The debate ended in the 1930s, with the modern synthesis. The question is not whether evolution occurred, but how.

Make no mistake: there is no debate between science and religious fundamentalist who reject science. There only a battle.

And that battle will never cease.

To borrow a phrase: The irrational and superstitious will be with us always.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The Book cannot be dismissed as total fiction.

Regarding the origin of our species, not only can it not be dismissed; it must be.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Thunderbird2

On a related note, are Japanese women evolving into an ever more attractive type of human?

Ha! Based on the available evidence you'd have to suggess they are. Or maybe god has singled them out for some kind of Sims Earth attractiveness bonus points on his PC?

JTDan Man

Regarding the origin of our species, not only can it not be dismissed; it must be

Hear, hear.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Evolution by natural selection as an engine of biologic diversification is unquestionable, and clearly observable within a few generations.

Today, evolution and creationism do not belong in the same debate. They are completely different threads of discussion. Evolution deals with propagation and diversification of species. Creationism deals with the origin of the universe and life. It's unfortunate that in current discussions, creationism cannot be divorced from any particular religion or mythic story. There are realms which are out of reach of human understanding because they deal with infinity, which we are unable to grasp.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

There is a fascinating hint that someone in Biblical times, possibly in Babylon, had an insight into evolution. In the story of the fall in Genesis, god punishes Eve for tasting the forbidden fruit by cursing her to bring forth her children in pain. The problems that homo sapiens has with childbirth are directly attributable to the growth of our brains, and in particular the frontal areas responsible for self-awareness and conscience (i.e., knowledge of goodness and evil). It's a brilliant allegory for the positive and negative effects of evolution on a species. Unfortunately it's also been used to oppress women.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I would much rather be wrong that God does exist than be wrong about Him not existing.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

I think the theory of evolution as it is most often explained is absolute nonsense.

Yes we can find all these bones showing organisms changed, but why did they change?? The random accidental selection proposed has been shown to take too long, also it refutes several phenomena of life that most living ppl know to be true. I believe the will to survive and the will to reproduce and the will to change are a part of this change or "evolution". "Love" is another phenomena that is usually glossed over by scientists. Straight science only likes things it can measure because it can't admit to itself that anything besides measurement can be done. Hence it comes up with a lot of numbers based thinking and theories. Great discoveries that have changed our world, sure, but also a plentitude of nob-like thinking. Just looking at those advancements and saying this is the only way and believing blindly in science is just as short -minded as believing in the medieval church.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

There is no "end" to any kind of debate in science. This is the largest misconception about science if you ask me. In religion there is an end, but in science there will never be an end to any discussion. Of all the currently available theories, I personally prefer evolution, but I don't deny the fact that in due time new and better scientific theories will come that incorporate what we call evolution today. So The end of the evolution debate is simply a statement showing that the author has not understood the essence of science: that it falsifies its self.

I don't say this in favour of creationists though, I am only talking of scientific results not religious extrapolations!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Nice comedy (small section of "Friends") regarding this same issue:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEaM4ytrkbE

0 ( +0 / -0 )

...believing blindly in science....

Any scientist would find that an oxymoron.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Lowly

Selection is NOT random. Mutation is. Selection is not.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Astroboy

There is no debate in science that evolution has occurred. It is a fact.

The debate is how.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@: JTDanMan Defining "fact" as something that is absolutely known, I can say that there is no "fact" in science. The moment we stop questioning the things we know (take them to be absolute), we are not doing science any more, we will be doing religion! For ~200 years Newton's mechanics were considered "fact" until they were questioned. It was only then that we found out our previous known "facts" (newton's mechanics) were just approximations of a much deeper theory (relativity). A simple study of the History of Science will give you many more such examples. So there is no unquestionable thing (fact) in science.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Astroboy

While it is true that there are no absolutes, there are facts. As far as these things we call fact are concerned, it is a fact that evolution occurred.

Just as it is a fact that I type this post to you.

Thus, there is no debate in science that evolution has occurred. It is a fact.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@ JTDanMan:

From your definition and the example you gave, by fact you mean "evidence" or "observation". Which, based on the Scientific Method, is only one part of a scientific statement, the other parts are: giving a hypothesis (before the observation) and testing it (after the observation). So evidence (or as you call it, "fact"s) alone do not constitute a scientific statement.

The history of science has some very nice examples of how evidence have been interpreted in a totally different manner after scientific revolutions, those evidence didn't change, our interpretation of them did. Evolution (being a scientific statement) is thus only a hypothesis that has so far succeeded in explaining the current evidence, no one can guarantee it will continue to do so in it's current form in the next 10, 50, 100, or 1,000 years.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So The end of the evolution debate is simply a statement showing that the author has not understood the essence of science

Richard Leakey is a well famous paleontologist. I think he probably understands the "essence" of science pretty well.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

There is one perplexing conundrum that modern revolutionists will not step into which is the narrow band of mitochondria DNA within the human genome which speculates that modern man started out of a bare amount of less than 1000 even though it seems based on modern anthropological evidence that we had interbred heavily with other humanoids like the Neanderthals which would have given us a larger gene pool.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

At work my boss is a very well educated and intelligent man, however mention evolution to him and he goes off on one. He's a lay-preacher at a small church and is a creationist.

i know quite a few true believers in what we could call liberal creationism (i.e. leftists, "progressives", etc.) who "believe" in evolution. i like the part where they try to tell you that part of humanity left our supposedly common home of africa and we all evolved at exactly the same rate.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

JTDAMAN

Not sure what you want to say. Semantic knit-picking? Be my guest. My point is that evolution seen as a random progression and life as little machines/robots/chemical reactions is limited and simplistic and conveniently ignores consciousness, will, love, and other things.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

astroboy,

yes to hypothesis post, but your 2 or 3rd previous about "the biggest misconception" is pretty bimyou. Why? Ideally what you say may be true, but the way the world works among average ppl and among big swaths of the scientific community also is that ppl think what they think, and deny (&/or ridicule) things outside their expectations. And since science is based on repeatability, copying, counting, and plainly observable things, it denies/ignores/leaves out other important things. Leading to an overly rationalistic and shortsighted mentality in the modern world.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

we all evolved at exactly the same rate

I've no idea what that is supposed to mean. Do you imagine that individuals are the ones that do the evolving, and if one individual develops some new characteristic, all his pals (and individuals in other groups?) develop the same characteristic at the same time? Cos that's not how it works.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Stranger in a Strange Land,

In my own research field there are several very well known professors (that have relations named after them), that don't understand science, they just do it! You can tell from their papers! Unfortunately science has become so technical that people can be come very good and established scientists while not understanding what science is in the first place!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Lowly,

I totally agree with you. What I said was an ideal case. In the real world unfortunately the majority of work that is done under the name of objective science is just subjective guess work, due exactly to the reasons you mentioned.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

people can be come very good and established scientists while not understanding what science is in the first place!

That's a funny thing to say.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It is very logical when you think about it: people become so specialized that they loose the general view. It is very common. Please have a look at the history of science and you will see that when ever a revolutionary idea was put forward the mainstream grand scientists (that everyone respected and trusted) of any time would oppose it. It is exactly because of this very important fact.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

`astroboy

What you just posted is untrue. You need to study the subject more. There will alwayws be some who oppose, that is why science works, they don't agree due to 'faith' or superstitions.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

i wonder, do you have hindu creationists as well? their gods are a little older than the other true single one, the one people are still fighting about about who has the most true version of the true one. In its youngest form it's about 2000 years old, hindu mythology goes back WAY further down. Homo erectus was said to be around as far as almost 2million years ago. So, in terms of creationism, it's actually christians who believe the world popped out about 2000 years ago. Which is kinda anti-semitic since the old testament and the jews go back even a little further than that, not as far as the hindu and definitely not as far as the more ancient religions but still further back than the birth of the illiterate carpenters son who taught everyone that submission and acceptance is the only way to survive under the rule of the one absolute ruler. Later they got a little reaction from the east as the islam philosophy developêd into a world religion under pressure from the roman catholics etcetera ... no one has the truth, definitely not the churches. Bible has been altered many times during the dark ages. One of the greatest christian philosphers Augustine was in fact a sexually frustrated man who promoted chastity so until today a lot of priests have problems with sexuality as we have been able to see in the past few years with all the scandals... and so on, and so on ... and ... so ... on ... i think the how can be answered, the why is not important and even if it were, then the answer would be in the realm of philosophy and metaphysics. There might be more things between heaven and earth but to believe the (as in 'this') world just popped into existence a few thousand years ago because a (male for that matter) divine entity just thought like hey, i'm bored let's do it ... i can't get that, that's not thinking, that is NOT thinking. Besides ... they never tell the tale of his greatest archangel who refused to serve and got kicked out, so basically that would make him (there's that male dominant symbolism again) in fact the ancestor ... with (lilith?) i.o. adam and the proverbial eve. Symbolism for dictatorship of the one true (male) ruler, that's what it is

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johnnyglitterball:

I see what you mean. Scientific work actually encourages people from all sides to debate rationally, to understand all sides, and use logic, reasoning and evidence to prove or disprove something. Our present scientific knowledge of the world is finite. It's not the be all and end all. Future scientists will make more discoveries, and improve on our present knowledge. One of the scariest things about creationism is that it is NOT open to debate, it's an open and shut case, and its proponents are unwilling to listen to other ideas whilst maintaining certain ideas without a shred of evidence to support their claims. Life in the real world is never that easy.

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My point is that evolution seen as a random progression and life as little machines/robots/chemical reactions is limited and simplistic and conveniently ignores consciousness, will, love, and other things.

Good point, but be careful with how you express it: evolution is no more "progress" than is designing a building for a suddenly vacant lot. True, peaceful interim in Earth's history have tended to produce progressively more complex creatures - and those, like the dinosaur, are what capture attention - but they are neither more nor less important than, say, the cockroach, which has proved remarkably successful. In the long run, nature doesn't care how many stories you tower or whether you've produced Shakespeare; all that matters is that your able to survive or adapt. Humans, with their drop-in-the-bucket history, have yet to answer this question; perhaps it is the cockroaches which will answer it for us.

But yes, consciousness, will and love are most remarkable. Evolutionary prerogatives are sufficient to answer them all, but we hope that there is something more - we FEEL that there is something more. These three attributes may well be connected to the origin of life itself. I like to think that life is a force, like gravity, and perhaps existing as a separate dimension, leaking into our own - which imbues an hospitable location with the building blocks to manifest consciousness, will and love. Maybe someday science will have something to say about this. At the moment, it has zero.

Scientists know this. They are not stupid. The article discusses the mechanics of evolution, and nothing more, because evolution is all that science has evidence to address at this point. To not address issues unaddressable by available technology is not to deny their importance; it is to respect them. Science has bent over backward to accommodate faith; the reverse can hardly be claimed.

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JohhnyGlitterball,

It would be great if you had read the discussion that lead to my previous post.

I am not criticizing the fact that they oppose, in fact if you look at my first few posts you will see that I am saying that in the debate about evolution (like any other subject in science), opposition is natural thus the debate has not "end"ed and in fact will never end, as you so nicely put:

There will alwayws be some who oppose, that is why science works, they don't agree due to 'faith' or superstitions.

What I was saying in my last post was the dogmatism that is so prevalent in science today. The dogmatism that leads some scientists to ignorantly think that the debate about a certain topic (in this case evolution) has "end"ed.

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Looking around on Youtube, I stumbled upon this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dK3O6KYPmEw

It's from a few years ago. Notice what the Catholic speaker says at the end.

astroboy:

Definition of dogmatism from Mirriam-Webster:

1: positiveness in assertion of opinion especially when unwarranted or arrogant

2: a viewpoint or system of ideas based on insufficiently examined premises

As I said, no scientist worth their weight in salt, would contemplate on making statements without some sort of evidence. They'd be ridiculed by other scientists. I sure do see dogmatism, but it's coming from somewhere else.

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Only in America.

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Pukey2, It is plainly obvious that no scientific debate has an end. This is the definition of the scientific method. Who ever claims that debate on one scientific theory has "end"ed (no matter who they are) is making an "unwarranted" statement. It seems the owner of a statement is more important than the statement it's self! Fear of the owner of the statement especially if they are an influential figure is why other scientists prefer to affirm him/her. You see it all over the history of science and even in the scientific papers today!

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It is plainly obvious that no scientific debate has an end.

Ah, the wonder of whether the cosmos orbit the earth, or whether the earth orbits the sun which in turn orbits its galaxy: I await the resolution of this question with great anticipation!

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Religion is SO OBVIOUSLY a human construct, I find it amazing so many in the world still believe in it, or do they..............

Religions stories of how it all happened are so full of holes & contradictions that the main reason many grasp them is to simplify things so they dont have to worry or think so much about whats what.

At least science is a more honest, when new info arises its taken a look at, added or tossed on its merits, discussed, debated, where as with religion that simply isnt tolerated & thats scares me, thank goodness I wasnt born a few hundred years ago I tell ya!

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Laguna, if you open some astronomy journals you will see the quality of all these issues is still the subject of lots of debate. The number of questions in astronomy today is far more than 10 years ago much less 100 or 1,000 years ago. We know the Earth orbits the Sun but the nature of Gravity that keeps earth orbiting is still far from known.

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GW, don't you think science is also a human construct? Has any thing in the universe changed in the last 500 years? No, nothing has changed in the universe, but the system we have constructed to understand it (science) has changed.

Why does everyone try to compare religion with science, I agree the religious people make this mistake but why should we? Science says there is no absolute truth (by the scientific method, the only truth is observation which is its self constantly improving) and religion says there is. There is no point in trying to refute religion with science, as I said before the unknowns in science are exponentially increasing, for a religious person these scientific unknowns only strengthen their God!

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It's a bit optimistic to think that in 5 to 10 years people will accept evolution despite religion's blatant display of "Blind Denial" in the face of facts in the past.

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Where is this evidence that is filling the gaps in evolution? I dont think they have been found. I think the faith in linking a couple of different skeletons over 1million years apart is a little more dubious.

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jonniehaha

There is also a lack of logic in the theory that the right chemicals just, by chance happened to coincide at one place, completely by accident and life was born.

Ah, but if you see the universe as an incredibly large place, then it seems likely that somewhere this chance coincidence must happen. Think monkeys / typewriters / Shakespeare.

We just won the lottery.

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