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  • #31
    ok, i realize all of this was posted more than a year ago, but for the sake of the record, i have to simply mention something about evolution, as it is (well, was) being repeatedly mischaracterized in some people's (read: lipster's) posts.

    evolution is not just a theory, at least not in the way the word is being used on this thread. we know that evolution happened. if you walk out of your house in the morning and there's snow on the ground, that means it snowed. you don't need to limit yourself to theorizing that it snowed. coming to immediate conclusions based on evidence, that's just good old-fashioned science. coming up with an explanation that unites known phenomena and proposes an answer as to how they work, that's a theory.

    darwin's theory of evolution - that is, that evolution occurred through natural selection - is a theory. it takes the known fact of evolution, provided by archaeological record, and presents a theoretical model to explain its mechanism. the theory of evolution through natural selection unites known phenomena - evolution, death and reproduction - to provide a possible mechanism for evolution. natural selection occurs, that much is clear (strong animals live and weak ones die), but it's still only a theory that natural selection was the only force behind evolution. another mechanism could have been the interference of a god or superintelligent alien.

    the argument of atheists is simply that either natural selection is probably sufficient to explain evolution in and of itself; or, if it's not, then that it certainly isn't necessary to propose the existance of a god to explain the rest. the scientific thing to do would be to say "we don't know" and attempt to find out more; not say, "it was god", so we don't need to study it any further. scientists certainly aren't settling with "it was natural selection".
    Last edited by zachsan; 12-30-2004, 05:51 PM.

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    • #32
      evolution is quite a simple thing. It applies not only to animals, but to everything in this world; What was is what died, and what is is what survived. The phenomenal world is impermanent, thus evolusion applies to everything we know or will ever know.
      The thoughts of our minds undergo the same process.

      I have not yet found anything that is not impermanent. If you do, plz email me ok?

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      • #33
        ok. just to clarify, i was talking about animals.

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        • #34
          If you believe it to be true, it is true; if you believe it to be false, it is false.

          This thread is HUGE. And by huge I mean, Holy crap, that is too much to read.
          Becoming what I've dreamed about.

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          • #35
            ok, i believe i can fly. seeya later guys, i'm out the window...

            Comment


            • #36
              Originally posted by zachsan
              ok, i realize all of this was posted more than a year ago, but for the sake of the record, i have to simply mention something about evolution, as it is (well, was) being repeatedly mischaracterized in some people's (read: lipster's) posts.

              evolution is not just a theory, at least not in the way the word is being used on this thread. we know that evolution happened. if you walk out of your house in the morning and there's snow on the ground, that means it snowed. you don't need to limit yourself to theorizing that it snowed. coming to immediate conclusions based on evidence, that's just good old-fashioned science. coming up with an explanation that unites known phenomena and proposes an answer as to how they work, that's a theory.

              darwin's theory of evolution - that is, that evolution occurred through natural selection - is a theory. it takes the known fact of evolution, provided by archaeological record, and presents a theoretical model to explain its mechanism. the theory of evolution through natural selection unites known phenomena - evolution, death and reproduction - to provide a possible mechanism for evolution. natural selection occurs, that much is clear (strong animals live and weak ones die), but it's still only a theory that natural selection was the only force behind evolution. another mechanism could have been the interference of a god or superintelligent alien.



              the argument of atheists is simply that either natural selection is probably sufficient to explain evolution in and of itself; or, if it's not, then that it certainly isn't necessary to propose the existance of a god to explain the rest. the scientific thing to do would be to say "we don't know" and attempt to find out more; not say, "it was god", so we don't need to study it any further. scientists certainly aren't settling with "it was natural selection".

              Why can't i give you rep points!

              I agree. Some things are not a matter of belief. The way i see it, the more evidence you have for something the less reason you have to believe it. How can you believe in something when there is so much evidence for it?

              As for Natural selection:

              One need not see Evolution just in terms of natural selection. The general definition of evolution is a change in gene frequency over time in a population. This does not need to happen "naturally", either. It can also happen when people selectively breed cows for milk/beef. This past semester, we had a population cage of fruit flies, that each group of 4 students was to monitor. Each group had different ratios of wild (normal) to mutant flies. Not only did the gene frequencies change significantly in all the cages, but they all went in the same general direction. The mutation was one that caused underdeveloped eyes- and guess what: the gene frequency went way lower than we started with for every group. Change in a poultation's gene frequency. In nature, this happens "naturally" (in other words, due to natural pehnomena which cause environmental changes that the gene is or is not compatible with). In different experiments, some people actually lost certain genes in their populations altogether- extinction.

              I think that the biggest misinterpretations of evolution are based on the following two things: Ancestral forms and Speciation.

              Suppose you are looking at a spider web, from the very middle. You decide to take one strand and follow it all the way out. In terms of ancestral lineage, you have followed one line from a source that had also formed many other lines. What this source has undergone is a phenomonom called Adaptive Radiation. A perfect example of adaptive radiation is that of the first Jaw elements in fishes. Some of the earliest known fishes were jawless, and appear to have been filter-feeding bottom-dwellers with hard, bony outsides. Evolutionary biologists generally tend to agree that the first Jaws come about from elements of the gills. Either way- once you have moving jaw parts which allow you to eat other fish, this opens up all sorts of doors. You have pressure to become more motile and light. Better developed fins and lighter skin are traits of some of the later aquatic animals. Also, there are different levels of the ocean that can be inhabited. See my drift? One really cool way you can see these adaptations is by looking at the embryonic development of fishes. In fact, embryology has come to play a vital role in our understanding of the evolution of animals.
              Anyway, what does this have to do with adaptive radiation? Condiser this: A jaw need not be a mouth full of big teeth (although that did come later...). The importance of a moveable jaw was the fact that a fish can expand the mouth and cause water to rush into its mouth. This is an adaptation so significant that it has remained present in just about every fish alive today- actually, a more correct way of saying it would be that the trait was beneficial enough to the bearer to have completely replaced the other feeding mechanism in terms of frequency. This movement from one ancestral form to many, many new ones is called adaptive radiation. Evolution can work on this. Not all new species live on forever. Elements in the environmant: salinity, pH, temperature, currents, terrain, predators (or the lack thereof), and many many more things are responsible for selection. Think back to the web, and how you followed one line from the middle. That is one lineage that you selected as you went outwards. it could have gone in many different directions, but it ended up coming out the way it did.

              As for speciation, this is a bit of a hot toipc. Mostly because there is a lot of debate of what a "species" is to begin with. Is it morphologically based? Is a species a species because it is reproductively isolated from other "species"? Whaty does "reproductively isolated" mean, anyway? By that do you mean the gametes wont produce a fertile zygote, or is it simply the case that me being in the US and one female of my particular interest living in Australia make us differnt species? A horse and a donkey produce a sterile offspring, but it is alive and functional otherwise. So are they the same species or no? There's been a lot of debate. And largely, it depends on how you want to approach the issue. I would define a species as a population of animals that have the ability to interbreed and produce viable, fertile offspring which in turn can produce offspring with the same capabilities. You can consider dispersal/physical barriers between such individuals depending on how you approach the issue. I, personally, see physical seperation as a vital factor in Evolution. However, physical seperation need not be permanent. So, while i would not consider physical seperation a part of my definition of a species, I still recognize its importance in the process of speciation.
              This brings me to my point about Speciation and Evolution- Evolution is not necessarily a product of speciation. Speciation, however, is most certainly driven by certain evolutionary factors.

              As for evolution altogether- the idea of Evolution preceeded Darwin. By a lot. In fact, we know that the idea of change in living organisms was present at least as far back at the ancient Greeks. Darwin is unique because he proposed an idea as to how this occurs. This is one thing that makes the pocess of evolution observable and, most important, testable. For the importance of testing an Empirical claim, see the thread "effects of directing the Qi". Zachsan pretty much nailed it on the head there.

              When many people thing of evolution, they defensively recoil at the thought that they evolved from a monkey. Not only is that childish and arrogant, it is also incorrect from an evolutionary point of view. A monkey is a highly specialized animal. Primates, generaly, are specialized and have evolved to suit very particular lifestyes. It is VERY unlikely that any primate today evolved from another primate existing today. An even loose understaning of Adaptive radiation and speciation will bring about a rather practical assumption- there was an ancestral form, at some point, which had something that was beneficial enough to have caused that trait to radiate. Humans are probably one result out of many that came about from such an adaptive radiation.

              the question for theists, however, is always that of source- so where did it all come from. The logical scientific answer for that shuold be something like :

              * scratches head * "I dont know."

              The usual Theistic response is "You're completely wrong and it was all my invisible man!"

              Generally, one big difference i have always seen between religion and science is that scientists are willing to wait for evidence while Theists always have "all the proof they need". Typically, this leaves a situation where science does not necessarily impede on religious teachings, but religious teachengs are generally firmly opposed to scientific findings.
              Last edited by dogchow108; 12-31-2004, 06:41 PM.

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              • #37
                Originally posted by dogchow108
                Why can't i give you rep points!
                i think the system has just given up on my soul.

                A horse and a donkey produce a sterile offspring, but it is alive and functional otherwise. So are they the same species or no? There's been a lot of debate. And largely, it depends on how you want to approach the issue. I would define a species as a population of animals that have the ability to interbreed and produce viable, fertile offspring which in turn can produce offspring with the same capabilities.
                does the offspring of the horse and the donkey not belong to any species?

                Generally, one big difference i have always seen between religion and science is that scientists are willing to wait for evidence while Theists always have "all the proof they need". Typically, this leaves a situation where science does not necessarily impede on religious teachings, but religious teachengs are generally firmly opposed to scientific findings.
                it's interesting to think about, especially when you consider that religion and mysticism gave rise to science. science tries to expand, whereas religion tries to stay the same. and the desire of religion to remain the same led religious scholars who weren't satisfied to create science, which eventually broke off from religion entirely. i wonder what the scientific community would look like today if the catholic church had embraced the practice.

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by zachsan
                  i think the system has just given up on my soul.
                  Artificial intelligence??

                  Originally posted by zachsan
                  does the offspring of the horse and the donkey not belong to any species?
                  I dont necessarily mean to say that the offspring or the parents do or don't belong to a species, just more of a way of illustrating that the concept of "species" is very vague. This makes speciation a helpful tool in either education or confusing people, depending on what your motive is.

                  To answer your question, though, i was referring to the offspring in its lack of ability to reproduce, and to the parents in that they are morphologically different but produced a viable offspring.

                  Originally posted by zachsan
                  i wonder what the scientific community would look like today if the catholic church had embraced the practice.
                  yikes...

                  The thought of a religious authority controlling scientific practice is just scary.

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    Originally posted by Asger
                    evolution is quite a simple thing. It applies not only to animals, but to everything in this world; What was is what died, and what is is what survived. The phenomenal world is impermanent, thus evolusion applies to everything we know or will ever know.
                    The thoughts of our minds undergo the same process.

                    I have not yet found anything that is not impermanent. If you do, plz email me ok?

                    Change- the only permanent thing.

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      Originally posted by dogchow108
                      Change- the only permanent thing.
                      But isn't change illusion? Change can only have effect on form, and form is non-existent
                      But I guess you are right when it comes to the "phenomenal" world.

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                      • #41
                        Originally posted by Asger
                        But isn't change illusion? Change can only have effect on form, and form is non-existent
                        But I guess you are right when it comes to the "phenomenal" world.
                        No, permanence is an illusion. And change does not necessarily effect form exclusively.

                        That form is non-existent, also, is an idea more than it is a fact or even a working hypothesis.

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                        • #42
                          Originally posted by zachsan
                          ok, i believe i can fly. seeya later guys, i'm out the window...

                          Hahaha, I meant; if you want to believe it, then you will keep finding evidence on why it is true, and if you want to prove it false, you will keep seeing evidence you deem it to be false.
                          Becoming what I've dreamed about.

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                          • #43
                            so there's no such thing as just honestly trying to find out?

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                            • #44
                              No sir. No existant.
                              Becoming what I've dreamed about.

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                              • #45
                                well take that to the same extreme as the window example. if everything i see is only going to reinforce some preconceived idea that i have, then if i for some reason believe that a building's 30th floor window is really on ground level, then i can throw rocks out of it, watch them fall 30 stories and still warp that information to fit my idea that the window is really at ground level ('oh, those rocks falling are a hologram'). so then, i could still jump out of the window with absolute certainty.

                                fortunately for all of us, that's not quite the way the human brain works (when it's working, i should say). there is such a thing as honestly looking for the explanation behind something. the problem is that, when it comes to religion, it just becomes a bit more difficult than the window example. but that hardly makes it impossible.

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