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Why We Must Teach Evolution in the Science Classroom [Ecumenical Thread]
Red Orbit ^ | August 2, 2008 | Laura Lorentzen

Posted on 08/02/2008 5:57:18 PM PDT by Kevmo

Posted on Saturday, August 02, 2008 8:44:19 AM by Soliton

don't remember when I first learned about the theory of evolution, but nowadays I find myself reading of it a great deal in the popular press and hearing it discussed in the media. As my daughter enters elementary school, I find myself anxious to discuss with her teachers what they will cover in science class and where in their curriculum they plan to teach evolution. OUR COUNTRY HAS LAWS THAT SEPARATE church and state. Public institutions like schools must be neutral on the subject of religion, as required by the Constitution's First Amendment. Our courts have mandated that creationism is not an appropriate addition to the science curriculum in public schools; yet supporters of intelligent design press to have antievolutionary discussions enter the science classroom. Creationists even advocate that, when leaching evolution, educators should add the disclaimer that it is "just a theory."

Let's consider why all of us as educated persons, scientists and nonseientists alike, should take note of what science is taught - and not taught - in our public schools. In common language, a theory is a guess of sorts. However, in scientific language, a theory is "a set of universal statements that explain some aspect of the natural world... formulated and tested on the basis of evidence, internal consistency, and their explanatory power."1 The theory of evolution meets all of these criteria.

(Excerpt) Read more at redorbit.com ...

(Excerpt) Read more at redorbit.com ...


TOPICS: Religion & Culture; Religion & Politics; Religion & Science; Skeptics/Seekers
KEYWORDS: chspe; creation; crevo; ecumenical; education; evolution; scienceeducation; scientism; vouchers
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Soliton posted this thread and it seems to be taking the usual direction that crevo threads take, spiralling downward into a spitting contest, so I am opening this discussion as an ecumenical thread. In the next post I'll post the Religion Moderator's "rules" for ecumenical threads.
1 posted on 08/02/2008 5:57:19 PM PDT by Kevmo
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To: All; Religion Moderator

From the Religion Moderator’s home page:

Types of threads and guidelines pertaining to the Religion Forum:

Prayer threads are closed to debate of any kind.
Devotional threads are closed to debate of any kind.

Caucus threads are closed to any poster who is not a member of the caucus.

For instance, if it says “Catholic Caucus” and you are not Catholic, do not post to the thread. However, if the poster of the caucus invites you, I will not boot you from the thread.
The “caucus” article and posts must not compare beliefs or speak in behalf of a belief outside the caucus.

Ecumenic threads are closed to antagonism.

To antagonize is to incur or to provoke hostility in others.
Unlike the “caucus” threads, the article and reply posts of an “ecumenic” thread can discuss more than one belief, but antagonism is not tolerable.

More leeway is granted to what is acceptable in the text of the article than to the reply posts. For example, the term “gross error” in an article will not prevent an ecumenical discussion, but a poster should not use that term in his reply because it is antagonistic. As another example, the article might be a passage from the Bible which would be antagonistic to Jews. The passage should be considered historical fact and a legitimate subject for an ecumenic discussion. The reply posts however must not be antagonistic.

Contrasting of beliefs or even criticisms can be made without provoking hostilities. But when in doubt, only post what you are “for” and not what you are “against.” Or ask questions.

Ecumenical threads will be moderated on a “where there’s smoke, there’s fire” basis. When hostility has broken out on an “ecumenic” thread, I’ll be looking for the source.

Therefore “anti” posters must not try to finesse the guidelines by asking loaded questions, using inflammatory taglines, gratuitous quote mining or trying to slip in an “anti” or “ex” article under the color of the “ecumenic” tag.

Posters who try to tear down other’s beliefs or use subterfuge to accomplish the same goal are the disrupters on ecumenic threads and will be booted from the thread and/or suspended.

Open threads are a town square. Antagonism though not encouraged, should be expected

Posters may argue for or against beliefs of any kind. They may tear down other’s beliefs. They may ridicule.
On all threads, but particularly “open” threads, posters must never “make it personal.” Reading minds and attributing motives are forms of “making it personal.” Making a thread “about” another Freeper is “making it personal.”

When in doubt, review your use of the pronoun “you” before hitting “enter.”

Like the Smoky Backroom, the conversation may be offensive to some.

Thin-skinned posters will be booted from “open” threads because in the town square, they are the disrupters.

If you do not specify the type of thread, it will be considered “open.”
Certain sources have been determined to monger hatred and are forbidden. Sources that link to those sources are also forbidden. These include Jack Chick, Jesus-is-Lord.com, Vdare, KKK, Aryan Nations, National Alliance, Christian Identity, the false Jesuit Oath, the false Oath of the Knights of Columbus, anti-Semitic sources.

Recap

Prayer threads.

Who can post? Anyone
What can be posted? Requests for prayers and prayers

What will be pulled? Any debate

Who will be booted? Repeat offenders.

Devotional threads.

Who can post? Anyone
What can be posted? Meditations

What will be pulled? Any debate

Who will be booted? Repeat offenders.

Caucus threads.

Who can post? Members of the caucus and those specifically invited
What can be posted? Anything but the beliefs of those who are not members of the caucus

What will be pulled? Reply posts mentioning the beliefs of those who are not members of the caucus. If the article is inappropriate for a caucus, the tag will be changed to open.

Who will be booted? Repeat offenders.

Ecumenic threads.

Who can post? Anyone
What can be posted? Articles that are reasonably not antagonistic. Reply posts must never be antagonistic.

What will be pulled? Antagonistic reply posts. If the article is inappropriate for an ecumenic discussion, the tag will be changed to open.

Who will be booted? Antagonists

Open threads – all untagged threads are open by default.

Who can post? Anyone
What can be posted? Anything within the FR general guidelines

What will be pulled? Anything outside the FR general guidelines

Who will be booted? Thin-skinned posters


2 posted on 08/02/2008 5:59:18 PM PDT by Kevmo (A person's a person, no matter how small. ~Horton Hears a Who)
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To: All; Soliton; Texas Songwriter

Original FR discussion link:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/chat/2055375/posts?page=1#1

Here’s the first time I took this approach.
Should Scientism be considered a religion on Free Republic? [ecumenical thread]
Free Republic ^ | June 30, 2008 | Kevmo
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/2038869/posts
Posted on Monday, June 30, 2008 4:44:00 PM by Kevmo


3 posted on 08/02/2008 6:00:39 PM PDT by Kevmo (A person's a person, no matter how small. ~Horton Hears a Who)
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To: Kevmo

This makes no sense to me. You’re posting a duplicate thread because you don’t like the robust discussion occuring in the other one?


4 posted on 08/02/2008 6:02:37 PM PDT by Dog Gone
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To: Kevmo

Just close down all public schools. If the government is going to pay for education, then give the parents vouchers to send them to the private school of their choice.


5 posted on 08/02/2008 6:02:54 PM PDT by P-Marlowe (LPFOKETT GAHCOEEP-w/o*)
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To: Dog Gone
You’re posting a duplicate thread because you don’t like the robust discussion occuring in the other one?

Why is that a problem for you?

I thought this was FREE Republic.

6 posted on 08/02/2008 6:04:05 PM PDT by P-Marlowe (LPFOKETT GAHCOEEP-w/o*)
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To: Dog Gone

A lot of vitriol takes place in the guise of “robust discussion”. Basically, I would like to see a more polite debate on this topic and the Religion Mod has been generous enough to provide a pathway to such intention.


7 posted on 08/02/2008 6:05:08 PM PDT by Kevmo (A person's a person, no matter how small. ~Horton Hears a Who)
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To: P-Marlowe

Well, I agree with the voucher part, but the closing down of public schools thing strikes me as going a bit too far. The presence of a robust voucher system would mean that topics like this would be irrelevant. If parents don’t want a hypothetical construct which has evil moral implications being taught to their kids, they can send them to another school. Case closed.


8 posted on 08/02/2008 6:07:14 PM PDT by Kevmo (A person's a person, no matter how small. ~Horton Hears a Who)
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To: Kevmo

9 posted on 08/02/2008 6:07:28 PM PDT by MHGinTN (Believing they cannot be deceived, they cannot be convinced when they are deceived.)
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To: P-Marlowe

If the point was education instead of indoctrination, your suggestion would be a good one.

If the point was that parents should have authority to say what kind of education their kids get instead of the state dictating it, you’d have a good suggestion.

Well, you have a good suggestion, it’s just that the opposition is not dealing in good faith.


10 posted on 08/02/2008 6:09:25 PM PDT by MrB (You can't reason people out of a position that they didn't use reason to get into in the first place)
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To: P-Marlowe

It’s a problem for me because this forum has standards of conduct and if anyone violates them the post is subject to being pulled and the poster disciplined if warranted.

Pulling out of an ongoing discussion where nobody is violating any of those standards, and hiding like a little girl behind the [ecumenical] shield in order to prevent opposing viewpoints is not what this forum is about.

The atmosphere on that other thread is not hostile to anyone. Some may be threatened by the mere mention of an opposing viewpoint, but if the solution is to hide and keep others out while offering NO new information, then what am I supposed to think?


11 posted on 08/02/2008 6:11:27 PM PDT by Dog Gone
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To: Kevmo

If the state didn’t think it “knows better” than parents how kids should be educated - we’d already have the “robust voucher system”.


12 posted on 08/02/2008 6:11:51 PM PDT by MrB (You can't reason people out of a position that they didn't use reason to get into in the first place)
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To: Kevmo

Why “must” it be taught? In 99.99% of occupations it makes absolutely no difference to your work or employer whether you believe in evolution or creationism.


13 posted on 08/02/2008 6:13:13 PM PDT by Blood of Tyrants (G-d is not a Republican. But Satan is definitely a Democrat.)
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To: Dog Gone; Religion Moderator

hiding like a little girl behind the [ecumenical] shield
***Well, I’ll suggest that what you posted right here, is hostile and it violates the rules of ecumenical threads. We’ll let the Religion Mod decide if it is antagonistic. One thing is certain, it isn’t polite; how difficult is it for you to be polite?


14 posted on 08/02/2008 6:13:51 PM PDT by Kevmo (A person's a person, no matter how small. ~Horton Hears a Who)
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To: MrB

My post #13.


15 posted on 08/02/2008 6:14:00 PM PDT by Blood of Tyrants (G-d is not a Republican. But Satan is definitely a Democrat.)
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To: Kevmo

Fine. All my posts from now on are ecumenical.


16 posted on 08/02/2008 6:15:46 PM PDT by Dog Gone
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To: Kevmo

If it is a theory, treating it as fact is an act of faith, a religion in and of itself. There are multitudes of so called scientists whose passion about this theory’s factual status rival jihadists’ passion.


17 posted on 08/02/2008 6:16:31 PM PDT by DBCJR (What would you expect?)
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To: Blood of Tyrants

Soliton’s just got a bug up his butt about Christianity for some reason.

His is the reason that underlies most of the “we must teach evolution” attitude -

they claim “religious neutrality” (I chuckled when I read that bit), but they really want to destroy any vestiges of any reminders of Christianity in our society so that something in their conscience doesn’t get bothered.


18 posted on 08/02/2008 6:16:47 PM PDT by MrB (You can't reason people out of a position that they didn't use reason to get into in the first place)
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To: Blood of Tyrants

Why “must” it be taught?
***Well, that’s the title of the article. I think the point the author is aiming at is more towards not allowing creationist teachings in the science classroom, hence the title. I agree with the notion of “let’s teach the controversy & let students decide for themselves.” It would actually spur on better research in the area, which is good science.


19 posted on 08/02/2008 6:17:31 PM PDT by Kevmo (A person's a person, no matter how small. ~Horton Hears a Who)
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To: DBCJR

I agree, and in fact I think what we’re witnessing is the formation of a new religion, based upon scientism. That’s why I opened up the original discussion on whether scientism should be treated as a religion on Free Republic.


20 posted on 08/02/2008 6:19:10 PM PDT by Kevmo (A person's a person, no matter how small. ~Horton Hears a Who)
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To: Kevmo

What’s funny is that even the Answers in Genesis people fully embrace Natural Selection and changes over time within a species,

they just point out the fact that genetic information is LOST over time due to specialization and natural selection,

not GAINED as it has to be to go from molecules to man over billions of years.


21 posted on 08/02/2008 6:19:38 PM PDT by MrB (You can't reason people out of a position that they didn't use reason to get into in the first place)
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To: Kevmo
Awww, freepers don't like whiners
22 posted on 08/02/2008 6:19:58 PM PDT by MHGinTN (Believing they cannot be deceived, they cannot be convinced when they are deceived.)
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To: Kevmo

The religion is Secular Humanism—God is supplanted with the glory of Man. Scientism is perhaps a sect within that religion, but it isn’t a religion unto itself. Allmendream’s posts should give us a clue ... probably very few true sceintists believe there is no God.


23 posted on 08/02/2008 6:23:08 PM PDT by MHGinTN (Believing they cannot be deceived, they cannot be convinced when they are deceived.)
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To: Kevmo
Well, I agree with the voucher part, but the closing down of public schools thing strikes me as going a bit too far.

What did you learn in public school other than how to ditch class?

After I got out of high school, I had to take all the same classes over again as part of my undergraduate studies. So what good was my public high school education?

24 posted on 08/02/2008 6:23:16 PM PDT by P-Marlowe (LPFOKETT GAHCOEEP-w/o*)
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To: Dog Gone
Reading the mind of another poster is a form of "making it personal" which is not tolerable on the Religion Forum.

Discuss the issues all you want, but do not make it personal.

Also, this is an "ecumenical" thread on the RF, so antagonism is not allowed.

Click on my profile page for more guidelines pertaining to the Religion Forum.

25 posted on 08/02/2008 6:23:19 PM PDT by Religion Moderator
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To: DBCJR
If it is a theory, treating it as fact is an act of faith, a religion in and of itself. There are multitudes of so called scientists whose passion about this theory’s factual status rival jihadists’ passion.

The theory of evolution is a theory.

The problem is not the theory itself, but the implications. Some folks object to the implications for religious reasons, and hence attack the theory using flawed science.

This, of course, annoys scientists who have a lot invested into the scientific method -- because it works.

So what do you expect them to do when the theory is attacked using flawed reasoning? And when they use the same flawed reasoning to promote their religion to school boards in the guise of science? Do you expect scientists to not be passionate about their work?

26 posted on 08/02/2008 6:23:37 PM PDT by Coyoteman (Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.)
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To: allmendream

Should have pinged you when I referred to you. Sorry, bro. Don’t hose me!


27 posted on 08/02/2008 6:24:07 PM PDT by MHGinTN (Believing they cannot be deceived, they cannot be convinced when they are deceived.)
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To: Dog Gone
It’s a problem for me because ....

You really need to get a life.

28 posted on 08/02/2008 6:24:19 PM PDT by P-Marlowe (LPFOKETT GAHCOEEP-w/o*)
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To: Religion Moderator

My objection had nothing to do with the poster, but that a duplicate thread was permitted in the RF in an effort to silence opposition.

However, I will stay off this thread from now on.


29 posted on 08/02/2008 6:28:50 PM PDT by Dog Gone
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To: MHGinTN

Awww, freepers don’t like whiners
***I understand that it looks like whining, but in reality it’s just a desire to see the discussion take place on a more civil plane. It’s been interesting so far. For instance, the religion mod disallowed the “wedge document” on a previous thread:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/2044051/posts?page=51#51


30 posted on 08/02/2008 6:29:38 PM PDT by Kevmo (A person's a person, no matter how small. ~Horton Hears a Who)
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To: Coyoteman

You missed my point. So called scientists, who forget scientific method, passionately adhere to a “belief system”, this theory, in denouncing all who are in opposition. I have encountered more than one who dared tell me that since the probability of any other explanation is so remote, inductive reasoning would suggest evolution to be fact - not theory.

Of course, intra-species evolution is fact. It has been observed and we have exploited it to develop breeds and strains of flora and fauna. It is the inter-species sort that is theoretical. Then to posit that as “The Origin of the Species” requires great faith against all odds.


31 posted on 08/02/2008 6:35:37 PM PDT by DBCJR (What would you expect?)
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To: MrB
If the point was education instead of indoctrination, your suggestion would be a good one.

You know what they ought to be teaching in schools? How to build a table, how to mow your lawn, how to trim a tree, how to change your oil, how to barbecue a steak, how to make a bed, how to shine your shoes, how to kick the crap out of a bully, how to shoot a home invader, how to change out a light fixture, how to play the guitar, how to frame a house, how to... be a productive human being.

Instead they teach these kids to read and write and then indoctrinate them in liberal theology and turn our children into left wing robots who have no clue about how to do anything other than complain and whine about global warming and peace.

32 posted on 08/02/2008 6:36:37 PM PDT by P-Marlowe (LPFOKETT GAHCOEEP-w/o*)
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To: P-Marlowe

What did you learn in public school other than how to ditch class? After I got out of high school, I had to take all the same classes over again as part of my undergraduate studies. So what good was my public high school education?
***Your public High School education was worthless. Here’s where I discuss that subject...

We have been discussing ways to fast track kids through high school to avoid the liberal agenda and other idiocies:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1315730/posts?page=84#84

Proposal for the Free Republic High School Diploma.
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1316882/posts

I have been using the tag “chspe” to remind myself & others about the articles that have discussed this approach.


33 posted on 08/02/2008 6:36:58 PM PDT by Kevmo (A person's a person, no matter how small. ~Horton Hears a Who)
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To: Coyoteman
This, of course, annoys scientists who have a lot invested into the scientific method -- because it works.

I'm not going to spend a lot of time defending Ken Ham or AIG; I agree that Creationism is not science, because it's impossible to test it against empirical evidence. You can't design an experiment that will prove or disprove the idea; it's more of a worldview than anything else.

But. I have yet to hear a convincing case made that evolution - meaning all current life having descended from, basically, non-life - is any different. I know that natural selection and change within species are easily verifiable/falsifiable concepts.

But how do you design an experiment to prove - or disprove - that we descended from apes, or that birds descended from early reptiles, or that microbes formed from non-living soup? How is that not just as much a worldview (or a religion, for that matter) as Creationism? How does it conform to the scientific method any better than Creationism does?

I know it doesn't invoke God, but it seems to invoke Chance in the same manner; it seems to have little to do with the scientific method, and therefore little to do with science.

I'm interested in hearing where my logic goes wrong here.

34 posted on 08/02/2008 6:47:14 PM PDT by xjcsa (Has anyone seen my cornballer?)
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To: Coyoteman; betty boop; Alamo-Girl

The theory of evolution is a theory. The problem is not the theory itself, but the implications. Some folks object to the implications for religious reasons, and hence attack the theory using flawed science. This, of course, annoys scientists who have a lot invested into the scientific method — because it works. So what do you expect them to do when the theory is attacked using flawed reasoning?
***Thanks for this excellent synopsis. What I would expect is that the scientists would simply point out the scientific flaws and leave it at that.

And when they use the same flawed reasoning to promote their religion to school boards in the guise of science?
***This, really is what kinda gets to the heart of the controversy in America. Personally, I find that perspective is what needs to be worked on first, and from my perspective it is such Freepers as Betty Boop and Alamo-Girl who have it right. They wrote a book on this subject and it is excellent.
http://www.amazon.com/Dont-Science-Down-Timothy-Light-hearted/dp/1430304693/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1217728049&sr=1-1

Do you expect scientists to not be passionate about their work?
***My first venture onto the crevo threads was over the education requirements and philosophy, triggered by George Bush’s comment that “both sides” of the controversy should be taught. Prior to that, I stayed away from the crevo threads because there was simply too much vitriol, endless flame wars upon flame wars. I was actually asked to NOT post in evolution threads by one poster. That was because of my position that I considered this to be a policy topic and I didn’t want to get into the nuts & bolts of debating the finer scientific points of the controversy. Anyways, this is a roundabout way of coming to my point, which is that I have noticed there is a bit more going on than scientists being “passionate about their work”. If such were the case, why would scientists object to both sides being taught in philosophy courses? Why do so many insist that ONLY evolution be taught in such courses? It’s because scientism is becoming a religion.


35 posted on 08/02/2008 6:49:13 PM PDT by Kevmo (A person's a person, no matter how small. ~Horton Hears a Who)
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To: DBCJR

I have encountered more than one who dared tell me that since the probability of any other explanation is so remote, inductive reasoning would suggest evolution to be fact - not theory.
***You can add one more data point to your collection. I also have encountered more than one who said the same thing.


36 posted on 08/02/2008 6:50:37 PM PDT by Kevmo (A person's a person, no matter how small. ~Horton Hears a Who)
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To: Dog Gone

in an effort to silence opposition.
***Wrong. It is an effort to have more civil discussion on the topic.


37 posted on 08/02/2008 6:54:18 PM PDT by Kevmo (A person's a person, no matter how small. ~Horton Hears a Who)
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To: xjcsa

that birds descended from early reptiles,
***Well, there’s the fascinating DNA experiments that have been going on.

Protein extracted from 68 million-year-old T. rex bones has shed new light on the evolutionary link between dinosaurs and birds.
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1816370/posts


38 posted on 08/02/2008 6:56:47 PM PDT by Kevmo (A person's a person, no matter how small. ~Horton Hears a Who)
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To: Kevmo

“I have encountered more than one who dared tell me that since the probability of any other explanation is so remote, inductive reasoning would suggest evolution to be fact - not theory.
***You can add one more data point to your collection. I also have encountered more than one who said the same thing.”

This sort of behavior cannot be defended by scientific method. It is prosyltizing toward a belief system, a religion of sorts.


39 posted on 08/02/2008 6:57:46 PM PDT by DBCJR (What would you expect?)
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Comment #40 Removed by Moderator

To: DBCJR
You missed my point. So called scientists, who forget scientific method, passionately adhere to a “belief system”, this theory, in denouncing all who are in opposition. I have encountered more than one who dared tell me that since the probability of any other explanation is so remote, inductive reasoning would suggest evolution to be fact - not theory.

I believe they would correct and you would be wrong. The theory of evolution is on more solid ground right now than the theory of gravitation.

This may take some explanation: The fact that things fall, and that organisms change through time, are facts. There are millions of details, or facts, involved in this. The theories of gravitation and evolution seek to explain those facts.

That things fall is well understood; why things fall, and all of the ramifications, is not well understood. On the other hand, we seem to have a good handle on evolution, both the how and the why.

Of course, intra-species evolution is fact. It has been observed and we have exploited it to develop breeds and strains of flora and fauna. It is the inter-species sort that is theoretical. Then to posit that as “The Origin of the Species” requires great faith against all odds.

The mathematical formulations that suggest that macroevolution is impossible are only as good as their ability to accurately model systems. Other models produce different answers. As one example, an online lecture I have seen deals with this general subject.

Making Genetic Networks Operate Robustly: Unintelligent Non-design Suffices

Description: Mathematical computer models of two ancient and famous genetic networks act early in embryos of many different species to determine the body plan. Models revealed these networks to be astonishingly robust, despite their 'unintelligent design.' This examines the use of mathematical models to shed light on how biological, pattern-forming gene networks operate and how thoughtless, haphazard, non-design produces networks whose robustness seems inspired, begging the question what else unintelligent non-design might be capable of.

Besides, macroevolution is pretty well established. All it means is change at the species level. This can be seen in what are called ring species. In ring species, a geographical feature separates populations of some organism. Each local population can interbreed with the next, but the two endpoints, where they meet and close the ring, has populations which can't interbreed. That is the definition of a separate species. And, what is particularly interesting is that all the intermediates or "transitionals" (which many creationists say don't exist) are preserved intact for study.

Here is some additional information:

Ring species provide unusual and valuable situations in which we can observe two species and the intermediate forms connecting them. In a ring species:

A ring species, therefore, is a ring of populations in which there is only one place where two distinct species meet. Ernst Mayr called ring species "the perfect demonstration of speciation" because they show a range of intermediate forms between two species. They allow us to use variation in space to infer how changes occurred over time. This approach is especially powerful when we can reconstruct the biogeographical history of a ring species, as has been done in two cases. Source


41 posted on 08/02/2008 7:06:29 PM PDT by Coyoteman (Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.)
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To: P-Marlowe
After I got out of high school, I had to take all the same classes over again as part of my undergraduate studies. So what good was my public high school education?

Sounds to me as if your undergraduate studies were a waste of time and money, since they just repeated what you'd already received in high school.

42 posted on 08/02/2008 7:07:14 PM PDT by Amelia
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To: Kevmo
Balogna Sandwiches in the extreme ~ I know fascism when I see it and have been demanding that John McCain pledge to eliminate all use of fascist principles in lawmaking in the future (plus renounce the failed McCain Feingold law).

It's all to little avail when it comes to McCain but I've seen fascist and communist speakers both use the old trick of having their confederates pop up in the middle of a speech and turn to the audience to encourage applause.

Creating a competing "religious thread" crevo thread in competition with the original one is tantamoung to using the buddy in the audience trick. It is a practice that should and must be prohibited in FreeRepublic since none of us are commies or fascists, capice?

43 posted on 08/02/2008 7:08:43 PM PDT by muawiyah (We need a "Gastank For America" to win back Congress)
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To: Kevmo
***Well, there’s the fascinating DNA experiments that have been going on.

That's interesting and all, but like other research on both sides of the question it doesn't "prove" anything about the past using the scientific method. You can certainly argue that it supports one side or the other of the debate, but such arguments are not the same thing as the scientific method and are therefore philosophy - or perhaps history - but they're not science. And that applies to both sides, as I see it. Again, where am I wrong?

44 posted on 08/02/2008 7:28:17 PM PDT by xjcsa (Has anyone seen my cornballer?)
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To: xjcsa
I'm not going to spend a lot of time defending Ken Ham or AIG; I agree that Creationism is not science, because it's impossible to test it against empirical evidence. You can't design an experiment that will prove or disprove the idea; it's more of a worldview than anything else.

I agree. But. I have yet to hear a convincing case made that evolution - meaning all current life having descended from, basically, non-life - is any different. I know that natural selection and change within species are easily verifiable/falsifiable concepts.

Actually your view of evolution is incorrect. It does not include origins. There is currently no accepted theory of origins. There are a lot of hypotheses competing for acceptance, but no theory.

There is, however, a robust theory describing how organisms changed since their origins. That is what the theory of evolution covers.

As for common descent, that was a decent theory for quite a while but was entirely supported when genetics came along. Genetics could have overturned that theory but rather it support it. There is no competing theory in science. There is the idea of "created kinds" coming from religion, but that idea has not been shown to be scientifically accurate.

But how do you design an experiment to prove - or disprove - that we descended from apes, or that birds descended from early reptiles, or that microbes formed from non-living soup? How is that not just as much a worldview (or a religion, for that matter) as Creationism? How does it conform to the scientific method any better than Creationism does?

Genetics can track the evolution of organisms pretty well. The other primates (apes and monkeys) were among the first critters to be sequenced. Those sequences have agreed pretty well with what the fossils already suggested. In science there does not seem to be much question anymore on this issue.

Microbes from non-living soup? Back to origins. See the above.

The worldview question is not that hard to answer. Scientists rely on evidence. They assemble facts and from those facts generate hypotheses and theories to explain the facts. In religion, the answers are revealed, and the data is rearranged to support that revelation. That is why scientists have such problems with creation "science" -- it does not follow the scientific method. It is designed to reach a specific conclusion no matter what the data say. Just look at Answers in Genesis and their Statement of Faith. The first line is: "The scientific aspects of creation are important, but are secondary in importance to the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ." Check out the rest. With a tenet such as this AiG and the other creationist websites are doing the exact opposite of science. They are doing what is called apologetics.

I know it doesn't invoke God, but it seems to invoke Chance in the same manner; it seems to have little to do with the scientific method, and therefore little to do with science.

Chance is a term misused by creationists. The mutations that lead to micro- and then macroevolution are not totally random. They follow the rules of chemistry and physics. I don't have time to deal with this right now, but be assured that scientists are not just dropping the scientific method in favor of something else.

I'll check back later for any responses. I'm interested in hearing where my logic goes wrong here.

45 posted on 08/02/2008 7:31:45 PM PDT by Coyoteman (Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.)
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Comment #46 Removed by Moderator

To: Kevmo; P-Marlowe
OUR COUNTRY HAS LAWS THAT SEPARATE church and state. Public institutions like schools must be neutral on the subject of religion, as required by the Constitution's First Amendment.

Our courts have mandated that creationism is not an appropriate addition to the science curriculum in public schools; yet supporters of intelligent design press to have antievolutionary discussions enter the science classroom. Creationists even advocate that, when leaching evolution, educators should add the disclaimer that it is "just a theory."

"The curriculum taught in our science classrooms should be that which is based on measurable, quantifiable fact. Nonscientific content has its place as well, such as philosophy or religion classes."

This third quote is key. Public schools do not place the same emphasis on philosophy or on theology as is placed on science. Were public schools to remedy this inequity (thus giving a forum for ID, or even Creationism), teaching evolution based on scientific theory would not be such a flash point in education.

Until philosophy and theology courses are given equal time with science, teaching origins and development of species from a strictly "scientific" viewpoint amounts to the government endorsing secular humanism as a religion and thus violating the First Amendment. (By the article's admission, schools are to be neutral on the topic of religion.)

Science and Christianity need not be mutually exclusive (just like science and secular humanism need not be mutually exclusive). However, it is not being religion-neutral to omit the background that is necessary to understand the other arguments of origins. However, that is exactly what the public school system does at present.

Christianity (and for that matter the other two Abrahamic religions) make different presuppositions than secular humanism does. Natural Sciences are limited in that they can only study what is material; it is as intellectually dishonest to say that science "disproves" anything outside of the natural realm as it is to say that it "proves" anything outside the natural realm. To support one side or the other, certainly, but not to prove or disprove. Ultimately, those determinations are left to the Sacred Sciences, namely philosophy and theology, and their sub-disciplines.

That said, Natural Science is fantastic at discerning truths about the natural realm.

(some comments)
// The best discussion I've heard on the scientific methods (there are several approaches) took place in a Philosophy of Science course that I took.
/// Every time this topic comes up in the news, the more my sentiments match what P-Marlowe said in 5. I can't speak for anyone else but the Catholics, but we sure used to be able to do a real good job in teaching and learning science (Seismology is called the Jesuit Science). I have no doubts we still can.
//// The priest who is my seminary rector uses St. Thomas Aquinas's works to argue for evolution, and it's really compelling... it's probably the only reason I haven't abandoned belief in the theory of evolution entirely.

47 posted on 08/02/2008 7:42:14 PM PDT by GCC Catholic (Sour grapes make terrible whine.)
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To: Coyoteman
Correction to my post.

The line "I'm interested in hearing where my logic goes wrong here" was from the previous poster which got lost at the bottom of my response.

48 posted on 08/02/2008 7:49:14 PM PDT by Coyoteman (Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.)
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Comment #49 Removed by Moderator

To: Coyoteman

The theory of evolution is on more solid ground right now than the theory of gravitation.
***There are a bunch of theories of gravitation, not just one. There is the Law of Gravity, only one of those. But many nonscientists use the wrong meaning of the word Law when they discuss issues, usually heated items like evolution. In science, a law is simply an observation, or a set of observations. Keppler’s “laws” of planetary motion are simply observations.

A theory, on the other hand, is an attempted explanation of such observations, trying to suggest why or how. So when you say the theory of evo is on more solid ground now than the theory of gravity, there is some truth in that. That’s because we have no real good idea of why or how gravity works. But Kirchoff’s Current Law is a very strongly held observation, leading to tons of other strong theories about electricity.

I think the evos should use a different analogy than the “law” of gravity. It doesn’t work as well as, say, Kirchoff’s Current Law.


50 posted on 08/02/2008 8:10:05 PM PDT by Kevmo (A person's a person, no matter how small. ~Horton Hears a Who)
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