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(no subject)
2012
unknownj
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4419796.stm

Wow, well done America for completely missing the point..

"Teachers have been ordered to tell pupils that Darwin's theory of evolution is unproven, and that the universe is so complex that it may have been created by a higher power."

1. Of course it's unproven, it's a theory. It just happens to be the only accepted scientific theory in the running.

2. Darwin's theory of evolution does not preclude the possibility that the universe was created by a higher power.

Consider this adaptation of Paley's Watch.. Imagine I find a length of wood, with a nail embedded deep within it. This in itself is too complex to have appeared by natural process, so one must assume that there is a carpenter. And similarly, one then infers that the universe in itself is too complex to have appeared naturally, and that there must therefore be a God.

Would we assume that this carpenter caused the nail to go through the wood by force of will alone? Are we to imagine that he designed it to be so, and thus it was? Or would we instead look to the tools that the carpenter might have - his hammer, specifically. Would we not therefore infer that the carpenter caused this state of affairs by relying on a specifically designed tool?

Is this not then analogous with God and evolution? If God wants humans, would he just will humans into existence? Or would he just get things started, and make sure that conditions were such that eventually, the end result might be kind of human?

While people can argue that there is no direct current evidence for evolution, that's because they're looking for the creation of a species right in front of them - that's not going to happen. As with many things scientific, it's based on inference and deduction, not "I saw it, so it is true". It is, after all, a theory. A peer-reviewed, testable, consistent theory.

And just so we're clear, a theory is as close as you can get to fact, without actually knowing it for sure. When somebody says "I have a theory.." what they usually means is "I have a hypothesis", and even then only sometimes. Otherwise it's an idea, or a belief, and those don't really belong in science lessons.

The thing about evolution is that it is the coming together of several different theories, all of which are demonstrable. The first is 'Survival of the Fittest', which dictates that those things that are suited to surviving are more likely to do so. This can then be extended to viability for reproduction, and you have a system in which the second generation is based on the reproductive viability of the first generation.

The second requirement for evolution is inheritance. Evolution requires that, following successful reproduction, some of the characteristics that determined your viability are passed on to your offspring. Again, this can be shown to take place in the real world, and has been happening in horticulture for centuries..

The third requirement is that random mutation is possible. Again, this can be proved by looking at the genome of a child, and comparing it to their parents' genetic code.

The fourth and final requirement, which really comes out of the third, is that in order for evolution to take place there must be variation in the population - there must be characteristics which determine reproductive viability, otherwise you have an even playing field and nobody does any better than anybody else. The existence of mutation fixes this for us, but even if it didn't, it can be shown that genetic variation exists in all species.

Ergo, I put forth the idea that 'Evolution' is the combination of these four (provable) characteristics of life. The process of evolution is one in which a population is able to pass on hereditary characteristics, which vary across the population and are capable of random change, to a second generation with a probability that can be expressed as a function of their own genetic makeup.

If we consider that the difference between species is down to genetic code alone, and that we have a means by which to change genetic code with almost limitless scope (given sufficient time), we can therefore conclude that evolution can create new species.

Once you get to the point where evolution can be shown to exist, and can logically create new species, proving the rest is rather pointless. The only people who'd dispute it are those for whom proof would never be enough. Throw in a bit of the anthropic principle just to be on the safe side, and you have a plausible scientific theory that explains the whole lot, can be disproved with just a single piece of contrary evidence, and does not require a God to function.

In fact, God's role in creation / evolution must finish the moment an organism arises which is capable of reproduction, and meets the criteria I outlined above. Because the rest is up to science, which is after all God's invention anyway..

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intelligent design

that's a town practically next door to where my mom lives.

This is why the rest of the world thinks Americans are stupid..

hey, it's me, the annoying american again.

in our defense, all eight of the school board members who were planning on putting that on the dover, PA curriculum were voted out of office.
http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/11/10/religion.robertson.reut/index.html

oh, and then pat robertson told them that they're all going to suffer god's wrath...

and that's why the rest of america thinks americans are stupid...

This is completely non-related to your post and you don't know me. I wandered over here from ask_me_anything and realized we had the same birthday, so I am here to say hi and happy early birthday. I have only met one other person with a Dec 1 b-day, so you are now Number 2.

I know plenty of people with my birthday.. but you'd be only the second person from Ketchikan that I've spoken to, if that helps.. :o)

Ooh, may I ask who the first person from Ketchikan you spoke to was? *curious*

I see in your bio you said your journal contains evil. Do you pronounce it "ee-vil" or just regularly? (This is key!)

Now, if you'd only told me about this post before bed last night... ;oP

Bah, you managed to get to sleep just fine :oP

howdy, just chiming in after coming across your entry :)

You've got a good response there... but may I just add something.
Your 4 points are observed and testable. But are not unique to Evolution. You mentioned another point in passing at the end of your post which is also required specifically for Evolution - "If...we have a means by which to change genetic code with almost limitless scope (given enough time)..."

This is not an observed and testable scientific process; it's an extrapolation based on observed phenomena. Until the process of adding new information that doesn't already exist in a viable community of organisms, and passing them on to subsequent generations is observed, Evolution of the kind you're discussing is still simply a belief - an extapolation of the observed facts.

The thing is, each of the 4 points you mentioned above that are observed phenomena, are also applicable to the Creation model of origins - that created animal(organism) kinds will continue to reproduce after themselves, this also includes speciation (simply a genetic difference enough that one code isn't compatible with another - this isn't new information required to evolve one kind of animal to another).

The points you mention above simply go to the extent of varying the genetic information within an organism, likely either killing the organism or producing an altered one whose new traits (due to loss or change of genetics) may allow it to survive in a different environment - thus survival of the fittest, natural selection. Mixing around the letters of 'superman' can't create 'superwoman'.

Even so, you're right - the universe is far too complex to have arisen by chance. That nail couldn't have been put there by natural, chance causes. :)

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