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Creationism and the advance of counterknowledge
Telegraph ^ | Friday, September 12, 2008 | Damian Thompson

Posted on 09/16/2008 1:11:04 PM PDT by js1138

The 21st century is plagued by wild speculation and fantasies dressed up in graphs and tables and diagrams to look like independently verifiable fact. For example, Muslim lobbyists are currently pouring millions of pounds into producing bogus "atlases of creation", lavishly decorated with photographs and charts "proving" that every living species was created at the same time.

This material is currently being delivered free of charge to schools all over Europe. If it emanated from fundamentalist Christian America, I suspect it would be dumped in the wastepaper basket. But schools are more wary of offending the views of Muslim or Hindu pupils - and then along comes a useful idiot such as Prof Reiss to suggest that it's OK to examine this "worldview" in science classes.

(Excerpt) Read more at blogs.telegraph.co.uk ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Government; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: creationism; crevo; evolution
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1 posted on 09/16/2008 1:11:04 PM PDT by js1138
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To: js1138

I thought Muslims believed in a form of evolution. After all, don’t their clergymen teach that Jews are descended from apes and pigs?


2 posted on 09/16/2008 1:17:30 PM PDT by Berosus (I already have a Messiah, I'm looking for a new president.)
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To: js1138
The idea that all species that have ever lived once lived all at the same time some few thousand years ago has no scientific support.
3 posted on 09/16/2008 1:18:47 PM PDT by allmendream (Sa-RAH! Sa-RAH! Sa-RAH! RAH RAH RAH! McCain/Palin2008)
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To: Berosus

Muslim creationism is just doing in Europe what the Discovery Institute is doing in the U.S.


4 posted on 09/16/2008 1:20:25 PM PDT by js1138
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To: Berosus

Muslim creationism is just doing in Europe what the Discovery Institute is doing in the U.S.


5 posted on 09/16/2008 1:20:46 PM PDT by js1138
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To: js1138

I see creationism and healthy skepticism as a foil to refine science.


6 posted on 09/16/2008 1:22:33 PM PDT by Brian S. Fitzgerald
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To: js1138

Yesterday, I read the following:

At a soccer game in the Congo, a rumour that someone was using witchcraft instigated a stampede that killed dozens.

Some Muslim clerics believe decapitation may be appropriate for TV sorcerers who read horoscopes.

Some sort of German vampire cult had slaughtered, cooked, and eaten a handful of young victims.

Hmmm. Looks to me like for many peoples and places in the world, the Enlightenment never happened.


7 posted on 09/16/2008 1:28:45 PM PDT by swain_forkbeard (Rationality may not be sufficient, but it is necessary.)
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To: Brian S. Fitzgerald
I see creationism and healthy skepticism as a foil to refine science.

I think creationists would go berserk if science classes directly addressed the problems with a literal reading of genesis.

Any critical analysis of religious teaching would not be welcomed.

8 posted on 09/16/2008 1:28:59 PM PDT by js1138
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To: swain_forkbeard

Just look across the street.


9 posted on 09/16/2008 1:31:56 PM PDT by js1138
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To: js1138
I think creationists would go berserk if science classes directly addressed the problems with a literal reading of genesis.

You mean like when creationists point out that evolution is not falsifiable, and thus is not science? I see a lot of evolutionists go berzerk over that one.

If science class would stick to science, I think everyone would be happy. However, teachers (with all their wisdom) never fail to inject their own opinions into class. This isn't restricted to science class, but it seems to be the sticking point of many who do not believe in evolution.

10 posted on 09/16/2008 1:38:12 PM PDT by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: Berosus
I thought Muslims believed in a form of evolution. After all, don’t their clergymen teach that Jews are descended from apes and pigs?

Stupid muzzies. Don't they know that we came from apes, but are evolving to become pigs?


11 posted on 09/16/2008 1:40:46 PM PDT by Riodacat (Legum servi sumus ut liberi esse possimus.)
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To: js1138
…if science classes directly addressed the problems with a literal reading of genesis. Any critical analysis of religious teaching would not be welcomed.

Exactly! I can just imagine what would happen if the YEC’s got their way in the science classroom and one day little Johnny came home and told his parents that “Today we learned about Genesis and Creation.” “Oh very Good!” “Teacher also asked us to hold the Bible up to a critical analysis and to the scientific method” “Oh nooooo!” “He can’t do that!” “How dare he attack our religion!” “Daddy, I don’t think the teacher is religious” “He said he was a Catholic” “Mommy?” “What is a Catholic?”
12 posted on 09/16/2008 1:43:26 PM PDT by Caramelgal (a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer except that you have actual responsibilies)
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To: ShadowAce
You mean like when creationists point out that evolution is not falsifiable, and thus is not science?

Give it your best shot. What's your best evidence that evolution is false?

13 posted on 09/16/2008 1:43:44 PM PDT by js1138
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To: js1138
I think creationists would go berserk if science classes directly addressed the problems with a literal reading of genesis.

As a person who believes in a spiritual side to the Universe, I wouldn't have any problem with it, and there are many other positions concerning ultimate origins that could be addressed also.

14 posted on 09/16/2008 1:44:09 PM PDT by Brian S. Fitzgerald
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To: Brian S. Fitzgerald

Why would a science class teach about ultimate origins? Is that a question that can be addressed by evidence?


15 posted on 09/16/2008 1:46:00 PM PDT by js1138
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To: js1138
What's your best evidence that evolution is false?

If you don't know what "falsifiable" means (in terms of the scientific method), why are you so adamant that evolution is true?

16 posted on 09/16/2008 1:46:01 PM PDT by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: allmendream

The idea that all species that have ever lived once lived all at the same time some few thousand years ago has no scientific support.

*********************************

1) Argument by assertion
2) See “Cambrian Explosion”. Seems to me though that everything just got buried in Noah’s Flood.


17 posted on 09/16/2008 1:49:24 PM PDT by ROTB (Our Constitution [is] for a [Christian] people. It is wholly inadequate [for] any other. -John Adams)
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To: Caramelgal

Doing a serious scientific analysis of the Bible as a science text would take about 10 seconds of class time, then the teacher could go on to teach science. Maybe it’d be worth it, just to get back on track. We need more dumbing down of schools (like teaching biblical creationism as science) like we need more debt to China and Saudi Arabia

I believe God created the universe, but the language of 5,000 years ago did not permit a scientifically accurate description


18 posted on 09/16/2008 1:51:05 PM PDT by MoreGovLess (The USA has one main political party: the Kleptocrats)
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To: js1138

I think creationists would go berserk if science classes directly addressed the problems with a literal reading of genesis.

Any critical analysis of religious teaching would not be welcomed.

***************************************************

You mean the way evolutionists go berserk when creationists want to bring the Bible back into schools, like in the days when:

1) there were no school shootings
2) many more of the girls were virgins
3) you understand ...


19 posted on 09/16/2008 1:51:36 PM PDT by ROTB (Our Constitution [is] for a [Christian] people. It is wholly inadequate [for] any other. -John Adams)
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To: js1138
"What's your best evidence that evolution is false? "

I assume you mean by 'evolution' the common usage implying no intervention by intelligent agents; somewhere between creationism and 'evolution', there could be hypothesized a variation of evolution directed by intelligent agents.

20 posted on 09/16/2008 1:52:32 PM PDT by Brian S. Fitzgerald
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To: ShadowAce; js1138

Bottom line on macro-evolution:

1) we didn’t see it
2) because we weren’t there
3) It’s not happening today


21 posted on 09/16/2008 1:52:40 PM PDT by ROTB (Our Constitution [is] for a [Christian] people. It is wholly inadequate [for] any other. -John Adams)
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To: ShadowAce

The same kind of reasoning that determines parenthood by DNA testing also produces a nested hierarchy of descent for living things. A nested hierarchy that matches the fossil record, and predicts where to look for fossils like Tiktaalik.

For a hundred and fifty years, evolution has suggested counterintuitive things, such as hundreds of millions of years as the minimum age of the earth — things not supported by the physics of Darwin’s time, but which have been confirmed by geology and physics.

A hundred and fifty years of forensic conformation is enough to support a claim of fact beyond reasonable doubt. Far more time and evidence than needed to send an accused felon to execution.


22 posted on 09/16/2008 1:54:26 PM PDT by js1138
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To: ROTB
Horses and fruit bats came about during the Cambrian explosion? Dinosaurs and placental mammals were there during the Cambrian explosion? Wow are you confused.

There is also no scientific support for the idea that there was a universal flood some few thousand years ago and that all terrestrial animals evolved from common descent from these creatures deposited on Mt Ararat (long way for that poor armadillo to swim!).

23 posted on 09/16/2008 1:57:08 PM PDT by allmendream (Sa-RAH! Sa-RAH! Sa-RAH! RAH RAH RAH! McCain/Palin2008)
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To: js1138
Far more time and evidence than needed to send an accused felon to execution.

Which, of course, is far less than is required for definite proof.

It's still not science.

24 posted on 09/16/2008 1:57:16 PM PDT by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: Brian S. Fitzgerald
I assume you mean by 'evolution' the common usage implying no intervention by intelligent agents; somewhere between creationism and 'evolution', there could be hypothesized a variation of evolution directed by intelligent agents.

Certainly. Intervention by an unspecified entity having unspecified capabilities and limitations, acting at unspecified times and places, producing unspecified results for unspecified reasons.

That'll work.

25 posted on 09/16/2008 1:58:50 PM PDT by js1138
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To: js1138
"Certainly. Intervention by an unspecified entity having unspecified capabilities and limitations, acting at unspecified times and places, producing unspecified results for unspecified reasons."

But you have to consider it, because it can't be falsified.

26 posted on 09/16/2008 2:01:55 PM PDT by Brian S. Fitzgerald
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To: ShadowAce
Which, of course, is far less than is required for definite proof.

I think you are a bit confused about what science is and what science does.

Name any non-trivial assertion in science that is definitely proved.

27 posted on 09/16/2008 2:02:12 PM PDT by js1138
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To: Brian S. Fitzgerald
But you have to consider it, because it can't be falsified.

Science doesn't consider vacuous propositions. If your proposition leads to some kind of research, such as looking for a specific class of fossil at a specific location in specific strata, it might be interesting.

Or if it suggested some kind of laboratory experiment, such as adaptation to alternate food sources in bacteria, it might be interesting.

28 posted on 09/16/2008 2:06:18 PM PDT by js1138
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To: js1138
"Name any non-trivial assertion in science that is definitely proved. "

To a high degree of repeatability:

1) special relativity

2) laboratory experiments involving physics, chemistry on short time scales.

3) observations of biological systems on human time scales

4) astronomical phenomena based on observations and the application of gravitational theory.

Processes that possess components of chaotic behavior might fall outside our ability to predict outcomes.

Processes that require large amounts of time that fall outside the limits of observation.

There are many discoveries yet to be made in Physics, such as dark matter, quantum mechanics and artificial intelligence that could modify our knowledge of boundaries of the Universe.

29 posted on 09/16/2008 2:13:50 PM PDT by Brian S. Fitzgerald
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To: js1138
"Science doesn't consider vacuous propositions. "

The existence of intelligent agents other than on Earth can be considered vacuous because we currently don't have the means to search effectively for it. Humans, of course, are intelligent agents in their own right, and by the postulates of evolution, intelligent multicellular beings should exist in the Universe. How long they last as such is another matter.

I speculate however that if a quantitative theory of evolution was ever established that predicted humans should arise 400 billion years after the first one celled organism rather than 4 billion years, one would have to at least add the intelligent agent hypothesis to the mix.

I'm not current on the research, but as far as I know, there is no quantitative theory that predicts the time scale from microscopic to human life.

30 posted on 09/16/2008 2:22:04 PM PDT by Brian S. Fitzgerald
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To: Brian S. Fitzgerald
Nothing in Science is ever “proved”, even the strongest most supported and long lasting theories are only accepted provisionally awaiting conflicting data or a refinement of the theory.

If something in Science was “proved” then it would be dogma and unfalsifiable. Anything that is unfalsifiable is not Science. Science must always allow for the possibility of evidence that would overturn the theory, or a refinement of the theory that would better explain the evidence or predict results.

31 posted on 09/16/2008 2:24:10 PM PDT by allmendream (Sa-RAH! Sa-RAH! Sa-RAH! RAH RAH RAH! McCain/Palin2008)
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To: js1138
"Or if it suggested some kind of laboratory experiment, such as adaptation to alternate food sources in bacteria, it might be interesting. "

My reading has encountered examples where adaptation to environments by bacteria might not depend on fortuitous mutations at the time, but of unexpressed DNA already in the organism's chromosomes that is activated under conditions of stress. You could say that evolution put the DNA for different environments in "cold storage" until such time as it was needed, or that DNA knows to archive these fragments for future use, or that natural selection favors those organisms that store this DNA, and the ability to pull it off the shelf when needed.

32 posted on 09/16/2008 2:30:02 PM PDT by Brian S. Fitzgerald
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To: allmendream
"Nothing in Science is ever “proved”, even the strongest most supported and long lasting theories are only accepted provisionally awaiting conflicting data or a refinement of the theory."

Usually, however, a laboratory experiment and its controls eliminate the chance that outside agents have an effect on the experiment and that a scientist could repeat the same experiment subject to the controlled environment thousands or millions of times. If variations in the results occur, there is a limited number of factors to be examined to explain the variations.

Biological evolution on Earth, on the other hand is not a controlled experiment, and has far more factors and degrees of freedom, than say, historical geology and tectonic plate theory.

33 posted on 09/16/2008 2:38:50 PM PDT by Brian S. Fitzgerald
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To: MoreGovLess
I believe God created the universe, but the language of 5,000 years ago did not permit a scientifically accurate description.

I understand the strong objection to Evolution by many. I was raised by parents who were deeply religious and my mother rejected Evolution because it didn’t fit with her understanding of the Biblical account of Creation. My father on the other hand, although also deeply religious, was also fascinated by, interested in and well versed in science especially Astronomy for a man who never graduated from HS. While my father didn’t exactly believe in all the tenants of Macro Evolution himself, when discussing Evolution and the Big Bang and the Bible with me, I think he summed it up pretty well.

What he told me was that the Bible was the Infallible Word of God as told to mortal and fallible men and transcribed by mortal and fallible men, men who lived in a much more simplistic time, men who didn’t have benefit of the knowledge and technology we have today and thus may not have been able to understand the vast complexities of God’s Creation so God might have told them about it in terms they could readily understand.

But that He; God created us with a brain and imbibed us with a natural curiosity and ability to learn. He also told me that he didn’t know nor did he really care about exactly how God went about creating us, but cared most that He did.

The mechanisms that God used, whether the literal simplistic interpretation of Genesis or in creating the complex mechanisms like the Big Bang and Evolution was secondary. He told me that the Bible wasn’t so much about the How as it was about Why.

He told me that the Bible tells us Why we are here and How to live our lives according to God’s will and that all the arguments between fellow Christians on how to interpret every single word or in arguing with the findings of science about the workings of natural world was a complete waste of time and that people who did so were missing the real message.
34 posted on 09/16/2008 2:41:32 PM PDT by Caramelgal (a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer except that you have actual responsibilies)
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To: Brian S. Fitzgerald

Relativity is obviously incomplete, because it cannot be reconciled with quantum mechanics.

Your other statements are too nebulous to be considered theories.


35 posted on 09/16/2008 2:45:33 PM PDT by js1138
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To: Brian S. Fitzgerald
My reading has encountered examples where adaptation to environments by bacteria might not depend on fortuitous mutations at the time, but of unexpressed DNA already in the organism's chromosomes that is activated under conditions of stress.

Your reading is simply wrong.

36 posted on 09/16/2008 2:47:55 PM PDT by js1138
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To: Brian S. Fitzgerald
Evolution can most certainly be the subjected of a controlled experiment, and has been thousands of times.

The data gathered by these experiments have gone a long way towards supporting the theory that evolution takes place due to natural selection of genetic variation.

In fact a typical experiment in evolution is much more controlled than either geology or plate tech-tonics.

37 posted on 09/16/2008 2:51:22 PM PDT by allmendream (Sa-RAH! Sa-RAH! Sa-RAH! RAH RAH RAH! McCain/Palin2008)
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To: js1138
"Relativity is obviously incomplete"

When the experimental conditions are described and the experiment is repeatable, and the theory is applicable to the conditions as stated and the results always fall within experimental error, and explained if not, I would say that as good as we can get in any science.

Even in pure mathematics there is no guarentee of completeness (Wikipedia):

"Gödel's first incompleteness theorem, perhaps the single most celebrated result in mathematical logic, states that:

Any effectively generated theory capable of expressing elementary arithmetic cannot be both consistent and complete. In particular, for any consistent, effectively generated formal theory that proves certain basic arithmetic truths, there is an arithmetical statement that is true, but not provable in the theory. "

My point is that there are degrees of proof in Science, and physical theories addressed by repeatable laboratory experiments are useful and valid in circumscribed conditions. Theories that attempt to describe the history of life on Earth are incomplete composites of laboratory theory, and are extrapolative, and should be assigned less of a confidence rating.

38 posted on 09/16/2008 3:00:15 PM PDT by Brian S. Fitzgerald
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To: Brian S. Fitzgerald
You could say that evolution put the DNA for different environments in "cold storage" until such time as it was needed, or that DNA knows to archive these fragments for future use, or that natural selection favors those organisms that store this DNA, and the ability to pull it off the shelf when needed.

You misunderstand how experiments in evolution are conducted, and misunderstand the results.

Evolution is about heritable changes in the genetic code. Always has been. The most recent experiments on E.coli make this clear.

39 posted on 09/16/2008 3:00:39 PM PDT by js1138
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To: js1138
"Your reading is simply wrong. "

Could you please elaborate on your assertion?

40 posted on 09/16/2008 3:01:57 PM PDT by Brian S. Fitzgerald
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To: js1138

What is your view on the so-called “junk DNA”?


41 posted on 09/16/2008 3:02:54 PM PDT by Brian S. Fitzgerald
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To: Brian S. Fitzgerald
My point is that there are degrees of proof in Science, and physical theories addressed by repeatable laboratory experiments are useful and valid in circumscribed conditions. Theories that attempt to describe the history of life on Earth are incomplete composites of laboratory theory, and are extrapolative, and should be assigned less of a confidence rating.

All theories extrapolate. Astronomers extrapolate the positions of planets over time. Geologists extrapolate the movement of continents based on contemporary measurements. Physicists extrapolate measurements of cloud chamber phenomena to the universe at large.

So what?

42 posted on 09/16/2008 3:05:47 PM PDT by js1138
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To: js1138
"The most recent experiments on E.coli make this clear. "

if left to itself, in a stable macroenvironment with suitable nutrients and energy sources, subject to the known forces of mutation, how long would it take for a culture of E.coli to evolve into a human-like organism? Can you cite any references or studies?

43 posted on 09/16/2008 3:07:32 PM PDT by Brian S. Fitzgerald
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To: ROTB
You mean the way evolutionists go berserk when creationists want to bring the Bible back into schools, like in the days when:

1) there were no school shootings 2) many more of the girls were virgins 3) you understand ...

predatory homosexual priets, Jim Bakker, Tammy Faye, Jimmy Swaggart,...

44 posted on 09/16/2008 3:13:48 PM PDT by LoneRangerMassachusetts
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To: js1138
"All theories extrapolate."

I agree insofar as theories make new predictions to be checked. Discovery (or lack thereof) is a never ending process.

45 posted on 09/16/2008 3:17:24 PM PDT by Brian S. Fitzgerald
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To: All; y'all; et al

bmflr


46 posted on 09/16/2008 3:17:54 PM PDT by Kevmo (Obama Birth Certificate is a Forgery. http://www.freerepublic.com/tag/certifigate/index?tab=articles)
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To: Brian S. Fitzgerald; js1138
"Name any non-trivial assertion in science that is definitely proved. "

To a high degree of repeatability:

1) special relativity

I believe Special Relativity has an object with mass no matter how slight becoming infinitely massive, with a length of zero, and time stopped once it reaches the speed of light. We have experimental evidence of this?

47 posted on 09/16/2008 3:24:53 PM PDT by LoneRangerMassachusetts
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To: Brian S. Fitzgerald

http://myxo.css.msu.edu/ecoli/


48 posted on 09/16/2008 3:40:40 PM PDT by js1138
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To: LoneRangerMassachusetts
What is the experimental basis of Special Relativity?

Apparatus to measure relativistic mass increase

49 posted on 09/16/2008 3:41:14 PM PDT by Brian S. Fitzgerald
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To: Brian S. Fitzgerald
I agree insofar as theories make new predictions to be checked. Discovery (or lack thereof) is a never ending process.

True, and what differentiates evolution from creationism and ID is the range of predictions that can be checked. Most spcifically the nested hierarchies of similarities and differences among living things.

50 posted on 09/16/2008 3:43:09 PM PDT by js1138
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