Evolution is a fact, Jack.

Xtremehkr

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Now, this may not seem to be directly related to politics, but apparantly the scientific community has been getting a little hot under the collar at all of the challenges to Darwins theory. The following is only an excerpt but I highly recommend reading this article in the magazine where you will be able to see all of it. Not only does the article talk about how strong Evolutionary theory was when Darwin spent 20 years preparing the presentation, but it also talks about the advancements made since and how important they are going to bein the future.

Seeing as science in general is being threatened by political and a religious resurgence, an article like this reminds me of how important science is and how disengenuous the rhetoric attacking it has become. Evolution is not just a theory anymore, and yes, you can see evolution at work even as we speak.

The work of the 19th-century English naturalist shocked society and revolutionized science.*How well has it withstood the test of time?


Get a taste of what awaits you in print from this compelling excerpt.

Evolution by natural selection, the central concept of the life's work of Charles Darwin, is a theory. It's a theory about the origin of adaptation, complexity, and diversity among Earth's living creatures. If you are skeptical by nature, unfamiliar with the terminology of science, and unaware of the overwhelming evidence, you might even be tempted to say that it's "just" a theory. In the same sense, relativity as described by Albert Einstein is "just" a theory. The notion that Earth orbits around the sun rather than vice versa, offered by Copernicus in 1543, is a theory. Continental drift is a theory. The existence, structure, and dynamics of atoms? Atomic theory. Even electricity is a theoretical construct, involving electrons, which are tiny units of charged mass that no one has ever seen. Each of these theories is an explanation that has been confirmed to such a degree, by observation and experiment, that knowledgeable experts accept it as fact. That's what scientists mean when they talk about a theory: not a dreamy and unreliable speculation, but an explanatory statement that fits the evidence. They embrace such an explanation confidently but provisionally—taking it as their best available view of reality, at least until some severely conflicting data or some better explanation might come along.
*
The rest of us generally agree. We plug our televisions into little wall sockets, measure a year by the length of Earth's orbit, and in many other ways live our lives based on the trusted reality of those theories.
*
Evolutionary theory, though, is a bit different. It's such a dangerously wonderful and far-reaching view of life that some people find it unacceptable, despite the vast body of supporting evidence. As applied to our own species, Homo sapiens, it can seem more threatening still. Many fundamentalist Christians and ultra-orthodox Jews take alarm at the thought that human descent from earlier primates contradicts a strict reading of the Book of Genesis. Their discomfort is paralleled by Islamic creationists such as Harun Yahya, author of a recent volume titled The Evolution Deceit, who points to the six-day creation story in the Koran as literal truth and calls the theory of evolution "nothing but a deception imposed on us by the dominators of the world system." The late Srila Prabhupada, of the Hare Krishna movement, explained that God created "the 8,400,000 species of life from the very beginning," in order to establish multiple tiers of reincarnation for rising souls. Although souls ascend, the species themselves don't change, he insisted, dismissing "Darwin's nonsensical theory."
*
Other people too, not just scriptural literalists, remain unpersuaded about evolution. According to a Gallup poll drawn from more than a thousand telephone interviews conducted in February 2001, no less than 45 percent of responding U.S. adults agreed that "God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so." Evolution, by their lights, played no role in shaping us.
*
Only 37 percent of the polled Americans were satisfied with allowing room for both God and Darwin—that is, divine initiative to get things started, evolution as the creative means. (This view, according to more than one papal pronouncement, is compatible with Roman Catholic dogma.) Still fewer Americans, only 12 percent, believed that humans evolved from other life-forms without any involvement of a god.
*
The most startling thing about these poll numbers is not that so many Americans reject evolution, but that the statistical breakdown hasn't changed much in two decades. Gallup interviewers posed exactly the same choices in 1982, 1993, 1997, and 1999. The creationist conviction—that God alone, and not evolution, produced humans—has never drawn less than 44 percent. In other words, nearly half the American populace prefers to believe that Charles Darwin was wrong where it mattered most.

Get the whole story in the pages of National Geographic magazine.
From Was Darwin Wrong?

Did you Know?

Where do you bury someone like Darwin, a man who admittedly had lost his Christian faith and declared himself an agnostic?* When he died on April 19, 1882, his family planned to bury him in the local churchyard beside the graves of his children. Some of Darwin's countrymen, however, had other ideas and quickly began lobbying leading scientists and members of government to come together and ask the dean of Britain's Westminster Abbey to allow Darwin to be buried there. The dean, Reverend George Granville Bradley, responded that his "assent would be cheerfully given," and so Darwin, the agnostic, was buried in Westminster Abbey on the afternoon of April 26. Darwin's old friend, botanist Joseph Hooker, was among the pallbearers, as were Alfred Russel Wallace, the young naturalist whose writings had pushed Darwin into publishing his own theory, and James Russell Lowell, the United States' ambassador to Britain. In a part of the Abbey known as Scientists' Corner, Darwin lies a few feet from the burial place of Sir Isaac Newton and next to that of the astronomer Sir John Herschel. It was Herschel that Darwin referred to in the introduction of The Origin of Species as the great philosopher who coined the phrase "mystery of mysteries" to describe the change of Earth's species through time.
*
—Patricia Kellogg
Just cause.
 

brap

macrumors 68000
May 10, 2004
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National Geographic have been running some really risky articles this year, seemingly designed to try and beat some sense into the American right wing; first oil, then global warming... now this? Wow. All I can say is bravo, we seem to have a dirty liberal editor.

Now I just wish my subscription came to my Canterbury address... bah! :mad:
 

IJ Reilly

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Jul 16, 2002
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Gravity is "just" a theory too. Maybe we should teach in school that some people don't believe that it exists. After all, we need to fully accommodate those who don't understand the first thing about science and aren't interested in learning.
 

blackfox

macrumors 65816
Feb 18, 2003
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IJ Reilly said:
Gravity is "just" a theory too. Maybe we should teach in school that some people don't believe that it exists. After all, we need to fully accommodate those who don't understand the first thing about science and aren't interested in learning.
I was reminded of this cartoon:
 

Attachments

daveL

macrumors 68020
Jun 18, 2003
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Let's see ... IQ is a bell curve, i.e. a normal distribution. The mean IQ is 100, so 50% of the population (anywhere, anybody) is stupid, by definition (stupid = not smart; smart = not stupid). So, 45% believe that god created us, as is. This is a surprise? No, this is what makes the world what it is, as nature intended it. You, and I, may not like it, but you better learn to live with it, because it isn't, ever, going to change. Checks and balances, for better or worse. I mean, come on, we elect a president for a second term that doesn't believe in global warming and thinks that raping the land is a sustainable strategy? It is frustrating, but I truly believe, as I believe in evolution, that it *can't* be any other way. We all can't be rocket scientists any more than we can all be dumpster divers.
 

IJ Reilly

macrumors P6
Jul 16, 2002
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I can't accept this reasoning. We don't find 45% of people believing that humans can breathe water or fly by flapping their arms. Many things are accepted universally as being empirically true. The reason so many people have a problem with natural selection and evolution is because it's tied up with a certain kind of religious belief which cannot accommodate scientific complexity. At the same time, they readily accept all of the products of science, in which they do not believe, that make their lives longer and richer. The cognitive dissonance this must create in their minds is difficult for me to imagine.
 

Xtremehkr

macrumors 68000
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brap said:
National Geographic have been running some really risky articles this year, seemingly designed to try and beat some sense into the American right wing; first oil, then global warming... now this? Wow. All I can say is bravo, we seem to have a dirty liberal editor.

Now I just wish my subscription came to my Canterbury address... bah! :mad:
They have been, I realized this when I was reading the readers responce to articles that have been run recently. Nat Geo recently covered FARC and did a more indepth story concerning how FARC manages to work within the local community. It drew a somewhat accusatory responce from a Federal Agency dedicated to shutting down FARC, for some reason they chose to accuse Nat Geo of somehow supporting FARC when clearly they will not. Hopefully I haven't made Nat Geo a political target by highlighting an article that runs against what is currently popular in politics. Time will tell.
 

Dont Hurt Me

macrumors 603
Dec 21, 2002
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Every animal on the planet is involved in adapting to its enviroment,food supply and ecosystem. everything is in a state of change. evolution is a fact. look at man now vs 1,000 years ago. we are getting taller and bigger, look at dogs with selective breeding you have toy poodles to Great Dane all coming from the root dog. The planet is changing and so are we only our short life time make's it hard to observe. The right wing Zealots would like to forget science and make the bible the end all say all on everything. The fossil record cant be ignored no matter how much they want to spin it. Evolution is occurring every single day on gods time not ours.
 

takao

macrumors 68040
Dec 25, 2003
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i would be interested in such polls from other countries ...

i don't remeber getting taught something different in school so it's amzing that there are still people who refuse to accept it...heck even my grandmother accepts it and she goes to church every sunday

i think there is plenty room for religion beyond the big bang ..mythology always jumped in line when people couldn't explain something ...

..perhaps some people are too afraid of the extremly huge amount of new knowledge which the natural sciences throw out every _day_ ... for many people natural sciences are something like a big huge pile of a grey somethign they don't understand..and at some point they rufuse to take anymore and jump to faith...
just look at astronomy and it's stupid brother astrology ...
did you know that Pluto is no longer a planet for astronomy ? and that the US-Astrology Lobby prevented any big fuss about it and played that news down because it would get them into problems explaining their "calculations" and may have costed them money :rolleyes:

here the church has not really a problem with schools teaching evolution..because they have their own 1-2 hours a week in school (where they could teach creationsism if they wanted ... but they don't do it because of the resistance of students..it's more some sort of ethical stuff and basic things about the different religions etc.) and of course they don't want to alienate rather secular people who are paying the church tax of 1% ;) (more people are leaving the church then ever before..so it wouldn't be wise to stirr up additional problems for them ;) )
 

stubeeef

macrumors 68030
Aug 10, 2004
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Mark Hartwig
Social Research Analyst


Mark Hartwig has a Ph.D. in educational psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Active in the origins debate since 1985, he was one of the early organizers of the intelligent-design movement. For 10 years he was managing editor of the journal Origins Research, now published as Origins and Design. His articles on science and science education have appeared in such periodicals as The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, The Denver Post, Moody, World and Citizen.
Here is one of many arguments laid out..........

Part 1

Darwinists Deny the Obvious
June 6, 1996

by Mark Hartwig

The foundation is crumbling, but educators and scientists continue to worship at Darwin's temple of evolution.

The Hemet Unified School District in Southern California doesn't teach creationism. It teaches Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. And that's got some people up in arms.

But it's not the creationists who are upset. It's the Darwinists.

Why? Because Hemet wants to teach evolution as science, presenting evidence both for and against it. The school board mandated that the teaching of evolution include not only a "forceful presentation of well-established scientific data and conclusions," but also a "candid scientific discussion of anomalous scientific data, and unsolved problems and unanswered questions."

To many Darwinists, that's heresy. Testifying before the Hemet school board, University of California-Berkeley paleontologist Kevin Padian, president of the National Center for Science Education and co-author of California's science education guidelines, said, "If I can say just one thing about the teaching of evidence against evolution, there's a big secret: There is no evidence against evolution."

Surprised? You should be. Not by the secret, but by the audacity of Padian's claim. Indeed, the evidence against evolution is probably stronger than ever. But unlike students in Hemet, most kids will never hear this evidence. Here's a quick primer on Darwinism and its woes:

The Fossil Evidence
For decades, students have been taught that the fossil evidence buttresses Darwin's theory. Far from being a bulwark of support, however, it's always been a problem that Darwin and his followers have had to explain away.

According to Darwinism, the fossil evidence should show plenty of gradual changes. In theory, it should be hard to tell where one species ends and another begins. But that's not what the evidence shows.

Darwin himself acknowledged the problems. In his 1859 book, The Origin of Species, he noted:



The number of intermediate varieties, which have formerly existed on the earth, [should] be truly enormous. Why then is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links? Geology assuredly does not reveal any such graduated organic chain; and this, perhaps, is the most obvious and gravest objection which can be urged against my theory.1

Despite scientific advances since Darwin's day, for evolutionsists the situation has not improved. If anything, it's gotten worse. As the distinguished paleontologist David Raup pointed out in 1979:



We are now about 120 years after Darwin and knowledge of the fossil record has been greatly expanded.... Ironically, we have even fewer examples of evolutionary transition than we had in Darwin's time. By this I mean that some of the classic cases of Darwinian change in the fossil record, such as the evolution of the horse in North America, have had to be discarded or modified as a result of more detailed information.2

Two features of the fossil evidence refuse to go away: sudden appearance and stasis. Sudden appearance refers to the fact that most fossil species did not develop by the gradual transformation of their ancestors; rather they appeared all at once, fully formed. Stasis, meanwhile, refers to the fact that most fossil species change very little throughout their appearance in the fossil record.

The discrepancy between these two observations and Darwinism comes to a head with the Cambrian Explosion, which paleontologists claim took place about 540 million years ago. In a flash of geological time, perhaps 5 to 10 million years, almost every animal phylum seemed to pop into existence from nowhere, they say.

The word explosion aptly describes what paleontologists say happened. In the language of zoology, a phylum (phyla for plural) is the broadest category of animals that exist. As opposed to a single species -- like a cheetah, a cardinal, or a Mediterranean fruit fly -- a phylum encompasses a vast array of creatures.

The phylum that contains humans, for example, also contains newts, gerbils, hippos, buzzards, and trout. It contains every animal with a backbone -- and then some.

The differences between phyla are even more extreme. For example, as much as humans differ from catfish, they differ even more radically from squid or slugs. In fact, organisms in different phyla are built according to entirely different architectural themes.

What paleontologists find in the Cambrian Explosion, therefore, is not the appearance of a few new animals, but the appearance of animals so utterly distinct that they belong to separate phyla. Stranger yet, according to evolutionist chronologies, this biological "Big Bang" is followed by another half billion years in which almost no new phyla appear.

This is poles apart from what Darwin would have predicted. In Darwin's scheme, new phyla are produced as species become more dissimilar. As species split off from each other, they gradually become so dissimilar as to constitute new genera, families, orders, classes and phyla -- the progressively inclusive categories of living beings. Instead, the whole picture seems to contradict Darwin's plan directly.

Darwin blames his fossil woes on the fact that there are so many gaps in the anticipated fossil discoveries. Many of his followers do, too. And there may be many such gaps. But it raises the question: If it weren't for Darwinism, how much reason would there be to doubt the adequacy of the fossil record?

At any rate, Darwinists can hardly argue that the fossil evidence is a bulwark of support for Darwinism.
 

stubeeef

macrumors 68030
Aug 10, 2004
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Part 2 (sorry for the size but I really wanted this posted) :(

Irreducible Complexity
An even greater challenge to Darwinism comes from recent advances in biochemistry.

In The Origin of Species, Darwin wrote:



If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down. But I can find no such case."3

In Darwin's time, however, no one appreciated the excruciating complexity of living things. Cells, for example, were thought to be little more than tiny blobs of gel. But electron microscopes and advanced research techniques have revealed a level of complexity in even the humblest bacterium that makes a microprocessor or compact disk player seem primitive.

Biochemist Michael Behe, author of Darwin's Black Box, points out that "the simplest self-replicating cell has the capacity to produce thousands of different proteins and other molecules, at different times and under variable conditions. Synthesis, repair, communication -- all of these functions take place in virtually every cell."

What's more, Behe said, many systems in the cell are irreducibly complex.

"An irreducibly complex system," Behe said, "is one that requires several interacting parts to function, where if you remove or destroy one of the parts, then the function is also destroyed."
"The heart and soul of Darwinism is its unquestioning allegiance to naturalism. To a Darwinist, nature is all there is."

An everyday example is a mousetrap. A mousetrap has five parts: a platform, holding bar, hammer, catch, and spring. When assembled there's no gradual improvement of function. It doesn't work until every part is in place.

The same thing is true inside a living cell. Many of its systems just won't work unless every part is there. One such system is that which moves proteins from one part of the cell to another.

Proteins don't just float around freely inside of cells, Behe said. "It turns out that eucaryotic cells [cells that make up most living things] have a number of different compartments, like rooms in a house. When a protein is made it has to get from the compartment where it's made to the compartment where it's supposed to be."

Consider what's involved in simply moving a protein through a compartment wall. Cells have two fundamentally different ways of doing this: gated transport and vesicular transport.4

In gated transport, the compartment wall is equipped with a "gate" and a chemical "sensor." If a protein bearing the right "identification tag" approaches, the sensor opens the gate and allows the protein to pass through. If one with the wrong tag approaches, the gate stays shut.

Note the irreducible complexity in even this simple example. All three components -- the gate, the sensor, and the tag -- must be in place. There's no way to produce the system in a gradual, Darwinian fashion.

If the tag is missing, the gate won't open. The same is true if there's no sensor, or if there's just a solid wall. And if there's a hole where the gate should be, proteins will pass through haphazardly.

Vesicular transport is even more complicated. As with gated transport, the compartment wall is equipped with sensors. In this case, however, there's no gate. Instead, when a protein bearing the right identification tag comes along, the wall grabs it and then bulges outward, pinching off into a little "bubble" (vesicle) with the protein inside.

The vesicle, which has it's own identification tag, travels to its destination -- another compartment. There, a sensor on the compartment recognizes the vesicle and lets it merge with the compartment, spilling the protein inside.

Here we have two sensors, two identification tags and the vesicle. The vesicle itself is a complex object made of fats and special proteins that allow it to bud off from the original compartment. And that's not to mention the other proteins that help it merge with the destination compartment.

Furthermore, this complexity is not limited to cell transport. In his forthcoming book, Behe discusses several other examples, including blood clotting, the chemistry of vision, the immune system, and the structure of cilia -- little hairlike contraptions that some cells use as oars.

In the face of irreducible complexity, Darwinism falls mute. Because there is no simpler level to which they can appeal, Darwinists can't explain how these systems arose.

"If you look in the professional science literature about how such systems arose, it turns out that nobody has published anything," Behe told Citizen. "Scientists simply assumed that it happened through evolution. But if you try to call them on it they can't produce anything. They just kind of wave their hands."

Evidence? What Evidence?
Many Darwinists, of course, are unfazed by the evidence against evolution. Like paleontologist Kevin Padian, who is fully aware of the Cambrian Explosion, they persist in saying that there is no evidence refuting their position.

According to Berkeley law professor Phillip Johnson, a critic of Darwinism and the author of Darwin on Trial, this denial is not surprising, given Darwinists' philosophical commitments.

"The heart and soul of Darwinism is its unquestioning allegiance to naturalism," Johnson told Citizen. "To a Darwinist, nature is all there is.

"If God exists at all, He's more of an onlooker than a creator. That being the case, Darwinism must be true, because nothing else works. God is out of the picture, and the other naturalistic theories are even worse than Darwinism."

Thus, in the minds of Darwinists, there's no such thing as evidence against Darwinism -- only minor problems that science will eventually solve.

"Obviously we can't expose children to this evidence, because they might be confused and think that there really is evidence against Darwinists," Johnson said wryly. "That's how the reasoning goes."

In addition, Darwinists often muddy the water in public debate by using varying defintions of the word "evolution." According to John Wiester, chairman of the American Scientific Affiliation's Science Education Commission, Darwinists use the word "evolution" in many different ways.

"Sometimes it simply means 'change over time,' " Wiester said. "Other times it refers to minor changes, like changes in the size and shape of bird beaks, or the color of moths."

Still other times, Wiester said, it refers to the grand Darwinian view that the living world is a product of natural forces and chance. And they could be using any one of these definitions when discussing evolution.

"Just when you think you've nailed them with the evidence, they shift ground and say, 'Oh, I was only talking about change over time' or something like that. Then when the heat is off, they go right back to talking about Darwinism. It's a shell game. You have to make them define their terms up front," Wiester said.

Darwinists think their theory is an indisputable fact. They'd like everyone else to think that, too. But it's not a fact, and students should have a chance to weigh the evidence for themselves -- all the evidence. []

This article appeared in the June 1996 issue of Citizen magazine.

Mark Hartwig is Religion and Society Analyst for Focus on the Family. He is also a specialist on the Origins Debate.
1Darwin, C. (1979). The Origin of Species. (Reprint of first edition.) New York: Avenel Books, p. 292.

2Raup, D. (1979). "Conflicts Between Darwin and Paleontology," Field Museum of Natural History Bulletin, vol. 50, no.1, p.25.

3Darwin, C., p. 219.

4There are three different ways a protein can cross a compartment wall. The third way is called transmembrane transport. For the purposes of this article, however, it can be considered a form of gated transport.
 

jsw

Moderator emeritus
Mar 16, 2004
22,819
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Andover, MA
stubeeef said:
Another great article to broaden your thought, if you want it broadened.

Fact, Fable, and Darwin
From the article:
I write as neither a creationist nor a Darwinist, but as one who knows what is probably the most disreputable scientific secret of the past century: There is no plausible scientific theory of the origin of species!
Sorry, wrong.
 

Taft

macrumors 65816
Jan 31, 2002
1,319
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Chicago
stubeeef said:
Here is one of many arguments laid out..........

Part 1
Four words for you: Part of the problem.

This guy has been spouting off these misconceptions for years. If YOU are really interested in opening your eyes to the actual facts behind evoluation, please look here:

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-misconceptions.html
http://www.talkorigins.org/origins/faqs-qa.html

Mark Hartwig, like many evolution detractors, exploit the fact that people don't understand the difference between evolution the theory and evolution the fact. Evolution is both fact and theory, as explained here: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/evolution-fact.html

Taft
 

stubeeef

macrumors 68030
Aug 10, 2004
2,702
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The odds of creating even the simplest organism at random are even more remote--Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe, celebrated cosmologists, calculated the odds as one in ten to the 40,000th power. (Consider that all atoms in the known universe are estimated to number no more than ten to the 80th power.) In this sense, then, Darwinian theory does rest on truly miraculous assumptions.
Due to the remotest of remote odds, it would seem to take MORE FAITH in a creator to accept evolutionary theory.

From the above link "fact, fable, and darwin"
 

IJ Reilly

macrumors P6
Jul 16, 2002
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Okay then stubeef, the next time you get an infection I expect you to refuse a prescription for any of the new antibiotics. You'll do that, won't you?
 

IJ Reilly

macrumors P6
Jul 16, 2002
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You should only need penicillin, vcillin or maybe tetracycline. If you don't understand what I'm driving at here, ask your doctor. But by no means should you take any of the new antibiotics because the Bible says that they could not possibly be necessary.
 

stubeeef

macrumors 68030
Aug 10, 2004
2,702
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IJ Reilly said:
You should only need penicillin, vcillin or maybe tetracycline. If you don't understand what I'm driving at here, ask your doctor. But by no means should you take any of the new antibiotics because the Bible says that they could not possibly be necessary.
Could you be driving at the constantly changing and resilance of bacteria, and therefore they might be come a monkey and then man?
 

IJ Reilly

macrumors P6
Jul 16, 2002
17,915
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Palookaville
The process of natural selection is happening in your own body, even if you choose not to believe it. Fortunately science understands this process and can help us overcome it. In your case, I strongly urge you once again to remain true to your beliefs and refuse modern antibiotics.