Skip to comments.The Religion of Science (Evolution as Faith!)
Posted on 01/13/2006 8:24:51 PM PST by WatchYourself
How can someone observe, study or experiment on evolution? Evolution is the process of something moving from one stage of development to another. What do we really have to scientifically prove evolution?
A scientist might have a fossil, but we can only speculate as to the age and appearance of the animal creating that fossil. No one has ever witnessed evolution of life, no one here now was there to observe, study and experiment. Like it or not, we can only form theories and beliefs about what might have been. As sound as these theories might be, they are and will always be theories. Evolution is simply a system of belief based on what we think might have happened. Those who believe in evolution have faith in the scientists abilities to speculate and imagine what might have been. This is not science. This is faith.
It is time we removed the phony and inaccurate label of science from evolution and see it for what it really is - a religion, based on faith and a system of belief. If public schools are not allowed to teach religion, then the theories of evolution have no place in a public school classroom. If they are allowed to teach theories based on faith, like evolution, then creationism should be taught also.
(Excerpt) Read more at capitolhilljournal.com ...
Missed that. Why were they being chased?
The kids need to learn the content of science. Period. If you want to pay extra to have someone say "this is God's work" or "this is Brahma's will", or whatever, fine. Just learn the science, what it says, the observations and experiments that back it, etc.
Maybe you dont understand that their are different types of foul. Ever hear of water foul(Ducks,Swans,)?
Tell MALDEF. I think the kids have to learn English, too, even if the parents are activists for La Raza.
And no, I don't think I'm forcing an educational philosophy (whatever that means). I'm stating that all kids need to be taught science. Part of science is the fact that biologists, overwhelmingly, support ToE. The kids need to learn the theory and the supporting evidence.
Do you really think Christian Scientist students should be excused from science, health, hygene, sex-ed, etc classes, because their parents claim (IMO pretend, in order to attract attention) not to accept germ theory? You really want waiters who scoff at the need to wash after peeing? (Let's hope the restaurant owner believes in germ theory!)
Wisconsin v. Yoder - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The US Supreme Court ruled in favor of Yoder in a 6 to 1 decision. The Court
found that,. "The evidence showed that the Amish provide continuing informal ...
The above is a Google link.
More likely, he's only read that one paragraph from creationist websites, rather than from the book itself.
"More likely, he's only read that one paragraph from creationist websites, rather than from the book itself."
It's very rare that a creationist has spent the time to read the entire book to catch the full weight of Darwin's theory. It's actually very easy reading; without the usual jargon that weighs down most other scientific works.
Regarding your post #335, where you talk about Jehovahs Witnesses needing to know about blood types...here is a little story...
Acquaintances of mine(I say acquaintances, rather than friends, as these people are Jehovahs Witnesses themselves, thus they consider me not as a friend, but rather as an acquaintance), work in a hospital lab, as lab technicians...one aspect of their job, required drawing blood from the patients in the hospital, and then testing the blood for blood typing, in case of need of transfusions...I have always found this to be rather odd..
The lab tech, is a Jehovahs witness, and according to his faith, blood transfusions are a sin, as well as what he calls 'taking in of blood'...that includes eating steak rare, with the blood oozing, and a couple of other quirky things...at least this is what he tells me...they are to abstain completely from taking in blood of any sort, from any source, as it is a sin...
Yet, he earns his living which he uses to support himself and his family, by drawing the blood of others, whose direct purpose is to provide the means of medically safe transfusions, which he considers to be a sin...I always found this to be somewhat contradictory...when I questioned him on this, he himself admitted that he himself had moral questions concerning his beliefs about blood transfusions, considering his job and what it involved...
I asked him if he ever considered doing something else in the medical field, and he said no, he had not...Its difficult for me, a non-Jehovahs witness to reconcile the fact, that someone who believes those who receive blood transfusions are committing a sin, and yet his job, and his diligence to that job, permit this person to commit what he considers to be a 'sin'...
I am not judging this man, as well I should not...I am just pointing out, I find his situation, well, odd..from what he tells me, he also finds it odd..
On the matter of Christian Scientists...I have worked for several years in nursing homes, and have taken care of 3 Christian Scientist ladies...as anyone who works in a nursing home realizes, you always wash your hands before and after you take care of any resident...I have sometimes wondered, if they felt my washing my hands before I took care of them, somehow violated their religious beliefs...
What always upset me the most about taking care of them, is that when they were at the end of their lives, we were always forbidden to take their vitals, and also forbidden to give them any type of med which would alleviate their pain and suffering...no even aspirin was allowed...I am not sure if this is indicative of all Christian Scientists, or just the ones that I took care of(remember these were elderly ladies, who came to Christian Science as youngsters, thus they were taught early on in time, and I am not sure if Christian Science changes from time to time)...Its very distressing to take care of someone and watch them die in extreme pain, and be unable to alleviate that pain...but as workers in the nursing home we had to abide by their wishes, taken from their religion, and not take their vital signs, or give them meds of any sort...
Its quite amazing, what different interpretations of the Bible, different religions espouse...
"I'm reminded of a fairly recent creationist claim of having read Darwin's book, then stating that finches -- which are mentioned only three times in the work -- are a "boring subject"."
I remember the post, but not the poster. It was the typical creationist stereotype. Some people just don't want to know.
Regarding your post #201...excellent...I just spent some time reading the link, 'What is Evolution', and I found it very informative as it does try to resolve the confusion about precise definitions of biological evolution,(as you have stated), and it tries to do so, not gearing itself so much to the scientist, but rather gearing itself to the 'layman', to those lacking a scientific education, or precise scientific knowledge...thus, its directed exactly to me, and I would assume to many on this thread...but I actually wonder how many have actually clicked onto your link, and read the article...
With PHs permission, I would just like to copy and paste the beginning of this article, because I do think its worth a read...
What is Evolution?
Copyright © 1993-1997 by Laurence Moran
[Last Update: January 22, 1993]
Most non-scientists seem to be quite confused about precise definitions of biological evolution. Such confusion is due in large part to the inability of scientists to communicate effectively to the general public and also to confusion among scientists themselves about how to define such an important term. When discussing evolution it is important to distinguish between the existence of evolution and various theories about the mechanism of evolution. And when referring to the existence of evolution it is important to have a clear definition in mind. What exactly do biologists mean when they say that they have observed evolution or that humans and chimps have evolved from a common ancestor?
One of the most respected evolutionary biologists has defined biological evolution as follows:
"In the broadest sense, evolution is merely change, and so is all-pervasive; galaxies, languages, and political systems all evolve. Biological evolution ... is change in the properties of populations of organisms that transcend the lifetime of a single individual. The ontogeny of an individual is not considered evolution; individual organisms do not evolve. The changes in populations that are considered evolutionary are those that are inheritable via the genetic material from one generation to the next. Biological evolution may be slight or substantial; it embraces everything from slight changes in the proportion of different alleles within a population (such as those determining blood types) to the successive alterations that led from the earliest protoorganism to snails, bees, giraffes, and dandelions."
- Douglas J. Futuyma in Evolutionary Biology, Sinauer Associates 1986
It is important to note that biological evolution refers to populations and not to individuals and that the changes must be passed on to the next generation. In practice this means that,
Evolution is a process that results in heritable changes in a population spread over many generations.
This is a good working scientific definition of evolution; one that can be used to distinguish between evolution and similar changes that are not evolution. Another common short definition of evolution can be found in many textbooks:
"In fact, evolution can be precisely defined as any change in the frequency of alleles within a gene pool from one generation to the next."
- Helena Curtis and N. Sue Barnes, Biology, 5th ed. 1989 Worth Publishers, p.974
I do find this excerpt to be quite helpful, perhaps others will find it helpful as well....
Thanks PatrickHenry for the info...
Be fair. ChessExpert claims to have understood the opening sentence of the chapter. But then Chuck started to use longer sentences, bigger words, and aubordinate clauses, and it got all too complicated.
I don't think I could handle that.
Re: the Witness working in the blood lab. Reminds me of the last line of John Ross' Unintended Consequences.(from memory, it's the thought that counts)
The First Lady: Dear, I know Jews can't eat pork, but can they raise hogs?
FL: I coulda sworn Mr. Mann said something about feeding the pigs.
[the hero had fed them dismembered ATFers, Mr. Mann was going to give them the director.]
Actually, the Witness sounds like he's in the same position as a Catholic helping an abortionist, although I imagine that blood sins are not considered as serious as murder.
Those who believe that the geological record is in any degree perfect, will undoubtedly at once reject the theory.
That seems clear.
It is indeed. Darwin is saying that if the fossil record is actually a perfect, complete record of every living thing which have ever lived on the face of the Earth, then the apparent "gaps" would show that evolutionary change had not taken place, because a gap in the record would mean an actual discontinuity in the life history.
HOWEVER, Darwin goes on to explain (CORRECTLY) that the fossil record is actually composed of only very isolated "snapshots" of certain places, times, and content. He's absolutely correct on this point.
It's very, very rare for the body of *any* animal, especially land animals, to be preserved at *all*. In most environments, the body will be eaten, decomposed, eroded, pulverized, or destroyed in any of countless different ways long before it could be "stored away" for later generations of paleontologists to find. And if it *does* manage to get buried in good condition through some enormous stroke of luck when the environmental conditions are just right, there's the question of whether it will *stay* in good shape over the next several million years, or be destroyed by worms, burrowing insects, bacteria, acidic groundwater, subsequent erosion, etc. etc. The extremely rare survivors of *that* can be subsequently buried so deep by other deposition that we'll never find them unless we dig up every square foot of the Earth to a depth of thousands of feet, or can be destroyed by subduction, or lost under a sea or ocean (there aren't many fossil hunters wandering around on the ocean floor), etc. etc. etc.
So Darwin correctly pointed out that the fossil record *itself* is such a spotty one that "gaps" in the fossil record are *expected*, and can not themselves be taken as evidence of the non-existence of certain forms or species.
The truth of this will become obvious when you realize that there are no fossilized examples of the vast majority of LIVING species. We *know* that these species exist (3,000,000+ and counting), and yet *most* of them have left no fossil trace of their existence. And so it obviously must have been for the countless species which have come and gone in the past, over hundreds of millions of years. Only a rare few have left a trace of their passing, which we have managed to find.
It is followed immediately by the following argument:
For my part, following out Lyell's metaphor, I look at the geological record as a history of the world imperfectly kept, and written in a changing dialect; of this history we possess the last volume alone, relating only to two or three countries. Of this volume, only here and there a short chapter has been preserved; and of each page, only here and there a few lines. Each word of the slowly-changing language, more or less different in the successive chapters, may represent the forms of life, which are entombed in our consecutive formations, and which falsely appear to have been abruptly introduced. On this view, the difficulties above discussed are greatly diminished, or even disappear. I put more weight on the one clear sentence, than on all the poetry that follows.
And well you should, because he's absolutely correct.
Think of it this way -- if you tried to trace your family tree, anything beyond a few hundred years ago would be *extremely* spotty. Entire wings of your family which once lived and thrived would have left no modern trace of their existence -- no lasting record that they had ever lived. Even your direct lineage (your great-great-great-grandfather, his father, his parents before him, etc.) would have major holes in it as you tried to reconstruct your descent from, say, your original Celtic ancestors. Does this mean that you didn't actually *have* a great-great-great-grandfather? Or does it just mean that it's very rare for people hundreds of years ago to have their lives documented in detail, *and* for those records to survive the long passage of time, *and* for the few surviving records to end up in locations where you can manage to locate them when you're trying to find them (as opposed to lost in someone's attic trunk five thousand miles away, listed in no index or catalog)?
Gaps in the fossil record tell us little, because the fossil record *itself* has left vast numbers of living things "undocumented". Instead, we should be thankful for the fossils which *have* miraculously survived the eons and then fallen into human hands, and learn what we can from the evidence we *do* manage to glean from the past.
See for example Taxonomy, Transitional Forms, and the Fossil Record. Excerpt:
The recognition and interpretation of patterns in the fossil record require an awareness of the limitations of that record. Only a very small fraction of the species that have lived during past geologic history is preserved in the rock record. Most marine species are soft-bodied, or have thin organic cuticles, and are essentially unpreservable except under the most extraordinary conditions. Furthermore, the destructive processes active in most marine environments prevent the preservation of even shelled organisms under normal conditions. Preservational opportunities are even more limited in the terrestrial environment. Most fossil vertebrate species are represented by no more than a few fragmentary remains. Because of the preservational biases of the fossil record, paleontologists must reconstruct evolutionary relationships from isolated branches of an originally very bushy tree.Also see: The Fossil Record: Evolution or "Scientific Creation"
[Note: "preservational bias" means that some kinds of organisms, and some kinds of environments/sediments, are more suitable for the preservation of fossils than others. - Ich.]
There are two opposite errors which need to be countered about the fossil record: (1) that it is so incomplete as to be of no value in interpreting patterns and trends in the history of life, and (2) that it is so good that we should expect a relatively complete record of the details of evolutionary transitions within most lineages.
What then is the nature of the fossil record? It can be confidently stated that only a very small fraction of the species that once lived on Earth has been preserved in the rock record and subsequently discovered and described by science. Our knowledge of the history of life can be put into perspective by a comparison with our knowledge of living organisms. About 1.5 million living species have been described by biologists, while paleontologists have catalogued only about 250,000 fossil species representing over 540 million years of Earth history (Erwin, 1993)! Why such a poor record?
From this brief survey of fossil vertebrates, it is clear that transitional forms between higher taxa are common features of the fossil record. The morphology of species within a higher taxonomic group becomes less divergent toward the point of origin of that group. Morphological diversity and disparity increase with time. In addition, transitional species possess mixtures of morphologic characters from different higher taxa often to the extent that their taxonomic assignment is uncertain. This pattern is obscured by taxonomy which gives a false impression of discontinuity. The fossil record thus provides good evidence for the large-scale patterns and trends in evolutionary history. Recognizing its limitations, the fossil record appears to be consistent with the wide range of evolutionary mechanisms already proposed.
For more transitional fossils (and documentation of creationist lies about it), see for example:
Now, getting back to specifics, the point you keep missing -- even though I over-belabored the point and drove it into the ground in my last post to you -- is that regardless of the "gaps", there is a vast amount of "nongap" data that you seem very determined to totally ignore. That available data itself makes an overwhelming case for Darwinian evolution. Why do you keep failing to address any of it? Why do you keep fixating on the inevitable "gaps", and not on the evidence? The evidence is *far* more complete than the "gappers" like to imply, and makes an incredibly compelling case on its own. Why aren't you looking at *that*?
Now back to your specific charge. You write of, "the many rationales Darwin's defenders provide to explain away the gaps in the record". First, no one is trying to "explain away" the gaps. What we're trying to explain to the creationists who "can't see the forest for the gaps" is that:
1. There will always be gaps in the fossil record, for the obvious fact that not everything gets fossilized, then not everything that gets fossilized will survive (many are destroyed by erosion, subduction, etc.), then not every fossil that survives will be accessible (some will be buried deep in the Earth), then not every accessible fossil will be discovered (people can't scour every square inch of the planet), etc. etc. Hell, there aren't even fossils for each and every species that exists *today*, so obviously the fossil record will always be a small fractional slice of all life that has ever lived on the Earth.
2. Because there will always be gaps, one can't conclude a damned thing from the simple fact that gaps exist in the record. Of *course* they do. There would be gaps no matter *what* the reality of the history of life on Earth was, even if it *was* truly gradualistic change. Even then there would still be gaps in the fossil record, because that record *itself* is "gappy" -- fossilization occurs too rarely to cause a "snapshot" of every significant lifeform at every significant moment in time at every significant location on Earth. Period.
3. So the meaningful question (for anyone who actually *wants* to seek the truth, instead of seeking excuses to ignore the evidence like the creationists do) is this: Is the pattern of the fossil evidence we *do* manage to find (including the pattern of the "gaps" in that evidence) of the type we would expect to find if (a) Darwinian evolution actually happened in the way predicted by the Theory, and (b) fossilization produced imperfect snapshots of that process in the way fossilation is known to take place (and not take place)? The answer to *that* question is a resounding "yes".
Come on, DRF, if you've done real engineering, you *know* how to do these kinds of analyses. If you have a process that occurs in a certain way, *and* you can only take samples or observations of that process at certain intervals or from certain narrow viewing angles or whatever, you know how to work out how to test whether the results of your limited sampling method matches the expected operational results or not. It's not rocket science.
Similarly, it's not hard to determine whether the fossils that we *do* find (GIVEN THE KNOWN LIMITATIONS OF FOSSILIZATION AND RECOVERY) are of the number, kind, and pattern that we would expect to find if life arose by evolutionary processes. And when we do such determinations, we find that the actual fossil record *does* match the predictions of evolutionary biology. So any whining about "there are still gaps" is just tunnel-visioned naysaying.
These are not "rationales". These are informed analyses. And it's not just "Darwin's defenders". Anyone with any existing belief can perform the same analyses and get the same results -- if they honestly want to. The creationists don't.
On the same subject Darwin himself wrote:
There's absolutely nothing in the fossil record that "undermines" Darwinian evolution. The *only* thing I've seen the creationists even *attempt* to offer in support of such a ludicrous statement is itself an obvious, blatant fallacy -- all such claims rest on the fallacy that "absence of evidence is evidence of absence". In other words, they rashly conclude that if there's a gap in the fossil record, it represents "proof" that there are no transitions to be found. The obvious nature of the fallacy is twofold:
1. Many of the gaps are simply spans where no fossils are available AT ALL, for ANY animals of any kind, because of subduction, deep deposition, or other obvious reasons. It really is obviously a "missing data" problem, *not* a "missing XYZ when everything else has been found" problem, as the creationists like to dishonestly imply. For example, it's extremely rare to find *any* mammal fossils of any kind from the Oligocene era. It's not just the "transitions" which are missing from that era, almost *all* fossils from that era are unobtainable.
2. You'd think the creationists would stop making this error, because they've fallen on their faces *so* many times already doing it. It seems that just when the creationists like to make a Poster Child of a particular "missing link", paleontologists find it after all. Whales with legs, proto-birds with partially formed wings, fish with feet, proto-mammals with jaw joints that are half reptilian and half mammalian... The list goes on and on. Creationists kept ridiculing biologists for not finding these "obviously" ludicrous life forms which would "obviously" remain "missing links" forever as an eternal "gap" in the fossil record -- and then such fossils *were* found to fill in the gaps that the creationists had wrongly presumed were "real" gaps. Oops.
Furthermore, by ranting obsessively about "gaps", you keep overlooking the fact that many, many, *MANY* lineages HAVE been filled by enough fortuitously found fossils to provide a clear, continuous record of evolutionary change across many millions of years, of the kind that the creationists keep falsely claiming aren't possible and don't actually happen. Oops again for the creationists. Any special reason you're not discussing *those*?
Additionally, you're glossing over the fact (I *hope* it's because of ignorance, not dishonesty) that even when "gaps" exist, they're often small and minor enough that the fossil sequences which have been found provide an overwhelmingly complete picture of the evolutionary relationships. Creationists often like to try to convince people that any gap at all is a vast discontinuity, but let's face it, when the gaps are minor enough and the nongap data is voluminous enough, it doesn't take a genius to literally "connect the dots" when the picture is that complete and obvious.
Finally, the creationists like to "forget" to deal with the fact that even when (often relatively minor) gaps exist in fossil sequences, DNA analysis and other kinds of independent evidence can and does provide overwhelming cross-confirmation of the fact that the apparent fossil lineages (gaps and all) are, indeed, true lines of descent. But the creationists don't like to talk about that...
We shall, perhaps, best perceive the improbability of our being enabled to connect species by numerous, fine, intermediate, fossil links, by asking ourselves whether, for instance, geologists at some future period will be able to prove, that our different breeds of cattle, sheep, horses, and dogs have descended from a single stock or from several aboriginal stocks [...] are really varieties or are, as it is called, specifically distinct. This could be effected only by the future geologist discovering in a fossil state numerous intermediate gradations; and such success seems to me improbable in the highest degree.Here Darwin was pointing out that new breeds can appear in just dozens or hundreds of years, and yet representative fossils of the transitions are unlikely to be produced or preserved, because they are so few in number (and fossilization is a rare event requiring special circumstances).
Even so, Darwin's pessimism was overstated. Countless transitional fossils, including many gradual sequences, have been found, wonderfully supporting evolution in both large and small scopes. But Darwin's points still stand and explain why we'll likely never be able to recover *all* (or even a large majority) of such sequences.
I got the link from one of Ichneumon's always-enlightening posts.
I actually wonder how many have actually clicked onto your link, and read the article...
The creationists never visit The List-O-Links.. If any do go there, once they see how much material is available they quickly return to the thread and mumble something about "no proof!" and then their one brief shining moment of being on the verge of learning something is over.