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The "Theory" of Evolution vs. "Creationism"

argexpat

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Saying evolution is a theory is like saying gravity is a theory. While technically true, the evidence for it is so great as to render it fact. That life evolves over time is an undeniable, observable fact. How that process works is where the debate lies. There are competing theories---such as “punctuated equilibrium’---to explain how evolution unfolds. But insisting that evolution is a theory is silly pedantry. And it gives ammunition to the anti-intellectual forces of ignorance who agitate for teaching “creationism” along side evolution, thus establishing a bogus comity with it.

“Creationism” could be taught in school---in a mythology class along with all the other creation myths: Hindu, Greek, Muslim, Buddhist, Navajo, et al. But it has absolutely no place in a science class.

Essentially, it’s like saying, Santa Claus lives in the North Pole, and on Christmas eve he rides in a sleigh pulled by magical flying reindeer to every house in the world delivering presents. There is also a competing theory that says it’s your parents who place the gifts under the tree. It’s just a theory, though.
 
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bryanf

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I'm sorry I can't agree with you on very much there.

argexpat said:
Saying evolution is a theory is like saying gravity is a theory.
First of all, I have not heard gravity explained as a theory, rather, a law. It is undeniable that two masses are attracted to one another proportionally to the amount of mass and the distance between the two. That is readily replicated in a laboratory, or in space. To compare evolution to gravity, as I have seen done quite often, btw, is a faulty analogy. Something that one argues is constantly changing cannot be compared with what never changes.


argexpat said:
That life evolves over time is an undeniable, observable fact.
Who has observed evolution? I have yet to have been presented with convincing evidence that there were stages between ape and man, or fish and ape, or amoeba to bird. Even the charts that I'm sure many of us have seen is based primarily on speculation and on hoaxes.

argexpat said:
...insisting that evolution is a theory is silly pedantry. And it gives ammunition to the anti-intellectual forces of ignorance who agitate for teaching “creationism” along side evolution, thus establishing a bogus comity with it.
Again, I have seen no evidence showing that evolution has any more credibility that intelligent design. The arguments typically associated with it are not based on evidence, but on speculation. No record of evolution exists prior to the middle of the 19th century.

As far as can be proven, there is no strong evidence one way or the other. However, "creationism," or intelligent design, requires no fossil evidence, while the theory of evolution, by its nature does require such evidence. Seeing none, I think it is reasonable to give at least as much classroom time to that theory which requires none as to that theory which has none.
 

Schweddy

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I am not sure, I think that evolution and creation could be a mix.

A day to God is as a thousand years. Litterally, or figurtively?
Could the people back in the time fathom what one thousand was?

Again, I have seen no evidence showing that evolution has any more credibility that intelligent design. The arguments typically associated with it are not based on evidence, but on speculation. No record of evolution exists prior to the middle of the 19th century.
Alas, that is part of the argument for evolution. Darwin never said we came from an ape - but an "ape like creature". It is truely speculative, hence it is an argument.

Here is a scenerio, I have heard that women on the average are going through menopause at a much later age now than 100 years ago. Better medicine? Or, could it be that our lifetime spans are longer and naturally the womans cycles in ages have increased (evolution)? Could it just be that women just didn't live that long back in the day?
 

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vauge said:
I am not sure, I think that evolution and creation could be a mix.

A day to God is as a thousand years. Litterally, or figurtively?
Could the people back in the time fathom what one thousand was?
Absolutely. When it comes to the debate on this issue I've come to the conclusion that I know I don't know. But I held the possiblity of God's days and our days not being the same, in away way shape or form, for some time now. I'm not sure as men we can understand God or what time is to God. When it comes to issues of this nature- faith is the key. You can look at all the evidence and still be wrong. Some years ago I came across a TV show called "The Creation Network" I was quite intrigued. It used to be on Dish Network every Sat. morning. I watched several of these shows and thought they were really on to something. They quoted several DNA and carbon dating labs and had what looked like a lot of clear evidence. However when I went to check things out the labs and sites they quoted often had disclaimers right on their web sites that often read something like "we were contacted by the Creation Network, we dated this item for them, we told them this item was 4 million years old, yet they boardcast on their show that we said it was possible it was only 4,000 years old, we never said that." So does that prove creation never happen? No- it proves that the people doing that show probably want it to be true so bad they'll say anything. Doesn't mean it didn't happen. Maybe we just don't understand what all the facts actually mean. God works in mysterious ways, right?
 
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bryanf

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That's the position I hold on the issue. There is not conclusive evidence one way or the other. You said it, Pacridge, "faith is the key."

It takes a lot of faith to believe that an intelligent designer, God, if you will, created the universe and everything in it, because obviously, you have to first believe in a God.

It also takes faith to believe in evolution, because there is no evidence, and what indications there are often cast at least a shadow on the theory.

The probability of either is miniscule, yet we typically accept that one of them must be true, as there has yet to have been another solution offered. Which one we believe should be up to us, and both should be offered in the classroom.
 

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bryanf said:
That's the position I hold on the issue. There is not conclusive evidence one way or the other. You said it, Pacridge, "faith is the key."

It takes a lot of faith to believe that an intelligent designer, God, if you will, created the universe and everything in it, because obviously, you have to first believe in a God.

It also takes faith to believe in evolution, because there is no evidence, and what indications there are often cast at least a shadow on the theory.

The probability of either is miniscule, yet we typically accept that one of them must be true, as there has yet to have been another solution offered. Which one we believe should be up to us, and both should be offered in the classroom.
Well I don't think we should be teaching creationism in the classroom. I think that would be a violation of church and state. If you start teaching that do you then also teach the Buddhist view of world orgin?

I also think there is evidence of evolution.
 

bryanf

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Pacridge said:
Well I don't think we should be teaching creationism in the classroom. I think that would be a violation of church and state. If you start teaching that do you then also teach the Buddhist view of world orgin?

I also think there is evidence of evolution.
Well, I haven't seen convincing evidence making evolution any more credible than intelligent design.

Since both are theories, then it wouldn't be fair to teach one without giving airtime to the other.

On the religious side, could evolution be painted as a product of the "faith" of atheists and agnostics? As far as I know, most of the traditional religions (that put faith in a god or gods) hold that that god (or gods) designed the universe.

There is no possible way that science can prove or disprove the origin of the universe, so anything taught to explain it is theory, based on faith. Perhaps it would be best not to teach the origin of the universe?
 

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bryanf said:
Well, I haven't seen convincing evidence making evolution any more credible than intelligent design.

Since both are theories, then it wouldn't be fair to teach one without giving airtime to the other.

On the religious side, could evolution be painted as a product of the "faith" of atheists and agnostics? As far as I know, most of the traditional religions (that put faith in a god or gods) hold that that god (or gods) designed the universe.

There is no possible way that science can prove or disprove the origin of the universe, so anything taught to explain it is theory, based on faith. Perhaps it would be best not to teach the origin of the universe?
My understanding of most Eastern religions is that the Gods or God did not "create" the universe but rather most believe God rearranges or manipulates the world that was already in existence.
 

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I must agree with the point of view that evolution and creationism are not mutually exclusive. Consider this:

The bible says that the sun was not created until the fourth day. Yet, it says that the light was created on the first day. We define a day as a 24-hour period of time (an invention of man, not GOD, f.y.i.), based on the Earth and it's relation to the sun. There is a logical contridiction here that states that the Earth was created 3 24-hour periods of time before there were 24-hour periods.

This seems to suggest that a "day" is used metaphorically. When the bible says god created the animals and then man, perhaps evolution is how he did it. Rather than creating man in a day, he created man over millions of years; the first homo sapien ever was Adam, and God created Eve from Adam so that they could mate and "populate the Earth."

If anyone has theological objections to this idea, please post them for consideration.
 

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Well I don't think we should be teaching creationism in the classroom. I think that would be a violation of church and state. If you start teaching that do you then also teach the Buddhist view of world orgin?
Yes. Yes you do. It's called "Comparative World Religions." It's usually a 100 level class in college.

Evolution theories can be proven or disproven and therefore belong in a science class. Creation theories cannot be proven or disproven and therefore belong in humanities/sociology.

Studying only science does not make for a well rounded education.
 

bryanf

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LiberalFINGER said:
Evolution theories can be proven or disproven and therefore belong in a science class. Creation theories cannot be proven or disproven and therefore belong in humanities/sociology.
Can you prove evolution? Can you disprove it? If anyone can do so, I would like to hear it.

I have yet to see evidence clearly doing either, just as I have seen no evidence to prove or disprove creation. Perhaps both should be taught, then, in a humanities/sociology class.

I would not object, as long as they receive equal time and one is not favored over the other. Teach them in an objective manner, and let the kids think for themselves.

Btw, if something can be disproven, should it be taught as fact?
 

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LiberalFINGER said:
Yes. Yes you do. It's called "Comparative World Religions." It's usually a 100 level class in college.

Evolution theories can be proven or disproven and therefore belong in a science class. Creation theories cannot be proven or disproven and therefore belong in humanities/sociology.

Studying only science does not make for a well rounded education.
That makes sense to me. But you've got a lot of poeple who disagree with "Evolution theories can be proven or disproven" of course when it comes to religion and science there's a long history of ignoring each other. Then again maybe the sun does revolve around the earth, the earth is flat and who know's maybe the earth is only 6,000 years old?
 

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bryanf,

That you've never "heard gravity explained as a theory" proves my point precisely. It is a theory worked out by Newton to explain the observable phenomenon of gravity. That the apple fell to earth was an observable fact. How the apple fell to Earth was explained by Newton's Principle of Gravitation. Yet this "law" came under question as discrepancies were discovered between what Newton's law predicted and what was actually observed (specifically the motions of Mercury). It took Einstein's Theory of Relativity to explain this, thus this seemingly immutable "law" changed. Therefore, gravitation is still technically a theory, yet it's presented, and even you accept it, as a law.

The same goes for the "theory" of evolution. It explains the observable phenomenon, namely the fossil record, which shows that the further back in time you go, the simpler life forms become. If in the future scientists observe phenomena that isn't explained by the theory, the theory will be augmented or scrapped for one that does. That's called the scientific method. And it's here that "creationism" fails miserably. It doesn't explain the fossil record. And that's because it's not a scientific theory, but a myth, and why it has absolutely no place in a science class. And insisting that it does is simply dogmatic Christian anti-intellectualism masquerading as "science."

You also articulate some common misconceptions about evolution that belies your ignorance of it. There are no "stages between ape and man." Man did not "descend from the apes." Man and ape evolved simultaneously from a common primordial ancestor, who was neither man nor ape.

Also, the fact that there have been scientific hoaxes does not disprove anything. The Shroud of Turin has been proven to be a hoax, yet that doesn't mean Christ didn't exist. And how were these hoaxes ultimately discovered? By the use of the scientific method.

You also seem to confuse "creationism" and "intelligent design." Intelligent design is not a scientific theory, nor is it a myth. It's one of the philosophical proofs for the existence of God, and like all philosophies, is unprovable. It's more akin to a thought experiment. It could very well be that the "intelligent design" of the universe includes evolution.

You go on to claim: "No record of evolution exists prior to the middle of the 19th century." Are you referring to the fossil record, or the origin of the theory of evolution? You'll have to explain this because I have no idea what you're talking about.

You conclude with this astonishing statement: "However, "creationism," or intelligent design, requires no fossil evidence, while the theory of evolution, by its nature does require such evidence." Essentially your applying an egregious and telling double standard. Since "creationism" is not a scientific theory, but a myth, and thus can't be proven, it ”requires no fossil evidence." But evolution, which is a scientific theory, does require evidence. And since you "see none" you deem it on a par with "creationism." (And the only way this argument works is if you completely disregard that pesky fossil record, which is just willful ignorance. Unless you know something the scientific community doesn’t, you need to accept it and move on.)

This goes to the heart of the sham that is "creationism" and why it has no place in a science class. There is no double standard in science. There is one standard, and it's the scientific method. This is the only article of faith in science. And it's what separates the fact of evolution, from the fiction of "creationism."
 
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bryanf

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Gravity is not a theory. It is a law, even according to the article you referenced. Newton's theory was incomplete, as you noted, and needed clarification from Einstein. This does not change the truth about gravity. It exists, and gravity, as I said before, can be replicated in a laboratory. Evolution can not.

Even if what you say about the stratification in the fossil record is true, and I'm not arguing the validity of that claim, there are still no transitional stages that have been shown to exist between the earliest, "simple" organisms and the more complex lifeforms we know today. Mutatutions happen gradually, Whales don't give birth to calves (okay, yes they do, but their calves don't have four legs). There must be stages. That's one reason that I doubt evolution.

I have others, including the fact that the sun is shrinking at a rate of 5 feet per hour. That's not even miniscule in relation to it's current size, but at that rate (which if calculus is applied can be assumed to be slower than a few thousand years ago), a mere 100,000 years ago, the surface of the earth and the sun would be almost touching, and it would be far too hot for life.

The moon is getting further away from the earth, too. It's orbit is expanding by about 2 inches per year. Again, that's not much, but, not all that long ago (in evolutionary terms), the moon would have been touching the surface of the earth.

Also, I wasn't referring to the hoaxes as disproving anything, just that they don't provide evidence for evolution. They weaken evidence used to "prove" it.

The record I was referring to was of the scientific theory of evolution. That began with "The Origin of Species" by Charles Darwin in 1848.

I have heard our origin as being both from ape-like creatures (you're right, not apes), or from a common ancestor. It doesn't invalidate my arguments, however. Nor does it show an "ignorance of it." (which seems to me to be a rather crude accusation, anyway)

argexpat said:
This goes to the heart of the sham that is "creationism" and why it has no place in a science class. There is no double standard in science. There is one standard, and it's the scientific method. This is the only article of faith in science. And it's what separates the fact of evolution, from the fiction of "creationism."
Nice word choices. Inaccurate, but nice.

Again, I ask, can you prove evolution? If you cannot prove it, then it cannot be a fact. Let me provide some definitions for our argument.

Hypothesis is defined as "Something taken to be true for the purpose of argument or investigation; an assumption" by the American Heritage Dictionary. This definition can be applied to both evolution and creation.

Evolution: "Change in the genetic composition of a population during successive generations, as a result of natural selection acting on the genetic variation among individuals, and resulting in the development of new species." (emphasis added) This is taken from the American Heritage Dictionary. This definition, and that it refers to successive generations would indicate that there would be intermediary species in the fossil record. There are not, so it is a hypothesis, as I defined above.

WordNet 2.0 provides this definition, and example, of fact: a concept whose truth can be proved; "scientific hypotheses are not facts"

Evolution is a hypothesis, which can not be considered a fact. Creation also is a hypothesis, which can not be considered a fact. Since we can define them both the same, then why is it unreasonable to provide them each with an equivalent objective presentation in the classrom? Again, should we be teaching either of them in science classes?
 

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Again, for my position to stand, I only need to discredit evolution as being a scientific fact, since I hold that both are merely theories, based on faith.

I am presenting my arguments, and asking if you can prove or disprove evolution. If it cannot be done, then evolution has no right to be the exclusive theory of our origin taught in a science class (if it has a right to be in science class at all), because science is based on what can be proven and reproduced, as previously pointed out, not on mere theory.

Gravity can be proven and reproduced, I am contending that evolution cannot.
 

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bryanf,

You doubt evolution because you claim there are no transitional phases. Niether of us is a scientist in the field, so that may or may not be true. Yet you use this as the sole argument against evolution. But let's say for the sake of argument that no transitional phases have been found. This niether proves nor disproves the theory, because science requires that the theory explain the fossil record, not the other way around. And evolution is the theory which best explains the fossil record.

In other words, the fossil record doesn't have to "prove" evolution; evolution must explain the fossil record, which it does very well. So well in fact, that there is no repudable scientist in the world debating the basic concept that simpler life forms evolve into complex life forms over time. There is no competing scientific theory. So the debate isn't whether life forms evolve, but how. Hence the fact of evolution and gravity vs. the theories that explain them: Natural Selection and the Principle of Gravitation, respectively.

There is also the concept of plausibility. What's more plausible: life forms evolving over time from simple organisms to more complex ones through random mutations in the gene pool, or a mythical all-powerful being creating the heavens and the earth and all species of life on it all at once? C'mon, you have to admit they look pretty silly side by side. Yet that's what proponents of "creationism" insist be taught in a "science" class.

This is a classic apples vs. oranges case. Scientific theory vs. Judeo-Christian mythology. Each has its place. One in a science class, the other in Sunday school. :monkey

Regarding some of the other claims you make:

"...a mere 100,000 years ago, the surface of the earth and the sun would be almost touching."

This is false. Please provide some evidence for this.

"...not all that long ago (in evolutionary terms), the moon would have been touching the surface of the earth."

The Earth and the Moon, and the Sun for that matter, were indeed "touching" at one point. And that point is called the Big Bang, in which all the matter in the universe was set loose, eventually cooling into galaxies, solar systems, stars and, finally planets and moons. This happened billions of years ago. Again, if you have evidence to the contrary, please present it.

"...hoaxes...don't provide evidence for evolution. They weaken evidence used to 'prove' it."

I still don't understand how a hoax weakens anything. Somehow the existence of a hoax is grounds for discrediting evolution? But I've heard this argument before. And it's often used by religious zealots who believe that scientists are bent on discrediting religion and bamboozle us with fake evidence and baseless theories. There are people who do this, but they are not true scientists. And this is even more reason for trusting the scientific method, and not faith, to determine what is fact from fiction.

"Creation also is a hypothesis."

Creationism is not a hypothesis, it's mythology. It's like saying that the Earth resting in the shoulders of Atlas is a hypothesis. Should we be teaching that in a science class, too?

Ultimately you're requiring a much more rigorous burden of proof of evolution than you are of "creationism." Evolution needs to be proven, or it shouldn’t be taught, but "creationism," merely for being written down in an ancient text by people who had no way of knowing the truth, this gets a free pass? That's absurd.

P.S. It is never my intention to insult. I never meant to imply you were ignorant as a person, merely that your comments seemed to indicate that you did not have full command of the details of evolution. No offense was intended.
 

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In 1981, in the Astrophysical Journal, R.L. Gilliland, in his analysis of all the data available from the past 250 years determined that we can conclude that a thorough analysis of all the available evidence clearly suggests a steady long-term decrease of the solar diameter (i.e. the sun is shrinking) at a rate of almost 0.2 second of arc (150 kilometers or 93 miles) per century or approximately 30 centimeters (less than one foot) per hour, superimposed upon a 76–80 year cycle of systematic increase and decrease over a range of 0.8 second of arc (600 km or 373 miles).

So, it's not quite the number that I had, but even at that rate, it would have been touching the earth 100 million years ago, still far short of the 4-5 billion years that evolution "scientists" claim to be the age of the universe.

The absence of proof in the fossil record is only a part of my argument that evolution cannot be proven, and as regards to the burden of proof being on evolution and not on creationism, that is absolutely my position. I am not trying to say that creation should be taught in science class, I'm saying that evolution should not be. Since that is my position, I think that it is reasonable to put the burden of proof lies completely upon evolution.

It is interesting that you used "principle" to describe the "theory" explaining gravity. Principle mean "Law," or "A basic or essential quality or element determining intrinsic nature or characteristic behavior," again from the American Heritage Dictionary. A principle is not a theory, because it is an expression of something absolute, or "characteristic." So, again, comparison between gravity and evolution is a weak one.

argexpat said:
Creationism is not a hypothesis, it's mythology. It's like saying that the Earth resting in the shoulders of Atlas is a hypothesis. Should we be teaching that in a science class, too?
Look back to my definition of a hypothesis. Under that definition, which was the one I was applying here, both creationism and evolution are hypotheses.

Finally, I think that you're missing what is, perhaps, the biggest point of my argument, namely, that evolution should NOT be taught as fact in a science class room. I am NOT trying to argue that creationism should be taught in science class. That is why I am putting the burden of proof on evolution, and not on creation.
 

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bryanf said:
So, it's not quite the number that I had, but even at that rate, it would have been touching the earth 100 million years ago, still far short of the 4-5 billion years that evolution "scientists" claim to be the age of the universe.
First, please see this excellent debunking of the Incredible Shrinking Sun theory. From The Legend of the Shrinking Sun-
A Case Study Comparing Professional Science
and "Creation Science" in Action
:

"In recent years, advocates of the young earth hypothesis have assembled numerous lists of "scientific evidences" for their recent creation scenario. In this paper we critically evaluate the scientific adequacy of one such evidential claim of "creation-science," viz., that the sun's diameter has been shrinking in such a manner as to preclude the credibility of the standard multibillion-year chronology for terrestrial history. Within the professional scientific community, a preliminary report which suggested a long-term and rapid shrinkage of the sun presented a puzzle for solar astronomers. Consequently, additional studies were made and the credibility of the original data was re-evaluated. The result is that secular shrinkage has not been substantiated, but an 80-year oscillatory behavior was discovered. Within the "creation-science" community, however, the response to the original report has been remarkably different. The suggestion of rapid long-term shrinkage was uncritically accepted, the evidence and conclusions drawn from subsequent studies were generally dismissed, and extrapolations of the presumed rapid solar shrinkage have been performed without restraint. Isolated from the corrective of continuing professional investigation and evaluation, the "creation-science" community continues to employ this unwarranted extrapolation of a discredited report as a scientific evidence" for a young earth. The credibility of the Christian witness to a scientifically knowledgeable world is thereby clouded."

Second, this doesn't even make logical sense. The sun can not be "touching" the Earth. If it were, the Earth would be vaporized. How would this even work, exactly? The Earth was somehow ejected from the sun as it shrank? And in order to believe this discredited theory, you essentially have to discredit the validity of radioactive and carbon dating, which places the age of the earth at several billion years old. And if you do that, you might as well call all of science a fraud. The Earth is older than 100,000 years old.

Third, you easily accept this discredited theory, based on the claim of one scientist, yet you use this as evidence discrediting evolution, which has been verified by nearly every other branch of science and whose validity has only grown more robust since Darwin proposed it.

We seem to be going in circles, here, but, again, evolution is an observable fact, and not just from the fossil record, but in the amazing variety and adaptability of life on Earth. Evolution explains this better than any other "theory." This it not only did back in Darwin's day, but has only been further verified as science has progressed. "Creationism" on the other hand collapses under scientific scrutiny and doesn't explain any of the observable phenomena. Why do snakes have rudimentary pelvic bones? Why are there flightless birds? Why do human embryos exhibit gill slits and tails early in development? Is this God playing a practical joke? "Even though I created every species of animal at the same time, I'm going to make it look as if they "evolved" from simple to complex, and I'm going to create rocks that when tested will seem to be billions of years old when really the Earth is only 6 thousand years old. That'll confuse those humans!" Please.




bryanf said:
The absence of proof in the fossil record is only a part of my argument that evolution cannot be proven, and as regards to the burden of proof being on evolution and not on creationism, that is absolutely my position. I am not trying to say that creation should be taught in science class, I'm saying that evolution should not be. Since that is my position, I think that it is reasonable to put the burden of proof lies completely upon evolution.
There is no "absence of proof" in the fossil record. The fossil record is just that, a fossil record, and it is what it is. How do you explain not just the fossil record but life on Earth? Evolution. That's it. That's all evolution has to do to be valid, is explain better than anything else, which it does. You want to throw it out of the science class because it doesn't meet your preposterous standards, which you only seem to demand of evolution. The burden of proof is actually on you. If you want to have evolution thrown out of the science class, all you have to do is come up with a competing theory that explains life on Earth better than evolution. That's all anyone has to do, including "creation scientists." It's that simple. And "creationism" ain't it by a long shot.

bryanf said:
It is interesting that you used "principle" to describe the "theory" explaining gravity. Principle mean "Law," or "A basic or essential quality or element determining intrinsic nature or characteristic behavior," again from the American Heritage Dictionary. A principle is not a theory, because it is an expression of something absolute, or "characteristic." So, again, comparison between gravity and evolution is a weak one.
Darwin discovered the principle of evolution in biology just as surely as Newton discovered the principle of gravitation in physics. My point was that evolution has been so thoroughly validated since Darwin that to call it a theory is like calling gravity a theory. Or a round Earth a theory. Or electricity a theory. No one but "creationists" bent on discrediting evolution believe evolution to be anything other than fact. Like gravity, the theoretical aspect is in how evolution works, not that it works.

bryanf said:
Look back to my definition of a hypothesis. Under that definition, which was the one I was applying here, both creationism and evolution are hypotheses.
So "creationism" is a hypothesis? OK, then, please explain the hypothesis because apparently I'm a little fuzzy on it. How does it work exactly? Mythical super being creates all life in one fell swoop, complete with evidence that seems to disprove "creationism"? And are we talking biblical creationism? If so, why that one? I'm a Buddhist, we have our own creation "hypothesis." I'm also half Greek. The Greeks had a creation "hypothesis." There are people who believe aliens visited Earth and intervened in our development and site all sorts of "evidence" for this.

In science, a valid hypothesis is a posteriori, meaning, it is derived from the empirical data, not the other way around. "Creationism" is a priori. Creationists believe a fairy tale they read in the Bible as fact, and they go about trying to prove it. (Actually, they don't even do that, because they can't. They merely attempt to discredit evolution through specious argumentation, trumped up "evidence" and bogus double standards.)

bryanf said:
Finally, I think that you're missing what is, perhaps, the biggest point of my argument, namely, that evolution should NOT be taught as fact in a science class room. I am NOT trying to argue that creationism should be taught in science class. That is why I am putting the burden of proof on evolution, and not on creation.
On the contrary, I completely understand your argument. And thousands of reputable scientists disagree with you. I'll take their word for it.

Lastly, we see the evidence of evolution when bacteria "evolves" into more resistant strains. When you watch a horse race or a dog show. (There were no shitsus or thoroughbred horses on Noah's ark. Man created them, by selective breeding. Yet "creationists" deny nature the same power as man.) And to deny evolution is to deny a fundamental force of nature we experience all the time: ideas evolve, culture evolves, art evolves, economies evolve, religions evolve, technology evolves. This debate we're having evolved from a simple post into a complex, multi-argument tirade. And yet "creationists" deny this obvious, verifiable, common sensical force in nature because it challenges their hidebound, dogmatic belief in fairy tales as fact.

P.S. Please see this excellent primer on evolution in the November issue of National Geographic [http://magma.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0411/feature1/], which eloquently covers everything we've been debating here. And contradicts your claim that evolution cannot be replicated in a lab:
"Can [evolution] be observed in the laboratory? The answer is yes. Peter and Rosemary Grant, two British-born researchers who have spent decades where Charles Darwin spent weeks, have captured a glimpse of evolution with their long-term studies of beak size among Galapagos finches. William R. Rice and George W. Salt achieved something similar in their lab, through fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. Richard E. Lenski and his colleagues at Michigan State University have done it too, tracking 20,000 generations of evolution in the bacterium Escherichia coli. Such field studies and lab experiments document anagenesis---that is, slow evolutionary change within a single, un-split lineage. With patience it can be seen, like the movement of a minute hand on a clock."
 

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Let me start over with some basic logic. First of all, do you believe that there are absolutes? Is there a right and wrong? If so, what determines that, and if not, then how do you justify anything that you do?
 

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bryanf said:
Let me start over with some basic logic. First of all, do you believe that there are absolutes?
No. As Einstein proved, everything is relative.

bryanf said:
Is there a right and wrong? If so, what determines that, and if not, then how do you justify anything that you do?
Yes, there is a right and wrong, and I, as a rational being with a free will, determine it.
 

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argexpat said:
No. As Einstein proved, everything is relative.
EVERYTHING is relative. So, is that an absolute, or are there exceptions?

argexpat said:
Yes, there is a right and wrong, and I, as a rational being with a free will, determine it.
If there is a right and wrong, there must be some standard that you compare them to. How, otherwise, would you be able to say that something is right, and something else is wrong? What basis do you use in your determination?

If we evolved, then it would follow that our reasoning evolved over time, as well. If that's the case, then how do I know that my reasoning has evolved correctly? That my process of weighing things in my thought processes is accurate?

Nietszche said that our errors have preserved our race (speaking, in particular, to our reasoning). If that is the case, then how do we know that our intellect is not deceiving us? For in so doing, it would preserve us.
 

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argexpat said:
No. As Einstein proved, everything is relative.
EVERYTHING is relative. So, is that an absolute, or are there exceptions?

argexpat said:
Yes, there is a right and wrong, and I, as a rational being with a free will, determine it.
If there is a right and wrong, there must be some standard that you compare them to. How, otherwise, would you be able to say that something is right, and something else is wrong? What basis do you use in your determination?

If we evolved, then it would follow that our reasoning evolved over time, as well. If that's the case, then how do I know that my reasoning has evolved correctly? That my process of weighing things in my thought processes is accurate?

Nietszche said that our errors have preserved our race (speaking, in particular, to our reasoning). If that is the case, then how do we know that our intellect is not deceiving us? For in so doing, it would preserve us.

Happy Birthday, btw
 

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bryanf said:
EVERYTHING is relative. So, is that an absolute, or are there exceptions?
Not sure what this has to do with teaching evolution, but I'll answer anyway: There is only one absolute, that everything changes.

bryanf said:
If there is a right and wrong, there must be some standard that you compare them to.
I ask myself, "What would my mother think?"

bryanf said:
If we evolved, then it would follow that our reasoning evolved over time, as well. If that's the case, then how do I know that my reasoning has evolved correctly? That my process of weighing things in my thought processes is accurate?
I don't know, but I have a feeling you're dying to tell me.

bryanf said:
Nietszche said that our errors have preserved our race (speaking, in particular, to our reasoning). If that is the case, then how do we know that our intellect is not deceiving us? For in so doing, it would preserve us.
Descartes said, "I think, therefore, I am." Meaning, the only thing you can know with certainty are the thoughts in your head. All else is speculation.

bryanf said:
Happy Birthday, btw
Thx! And Merry Secular Winter Festival Season to you!
 
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argexpat said:
Not sure what this has to do with teaching evolution, but I'll answer anyway: There is only one absolute, that everything changes.
But, if everything changes, and that is an absolute, then it doesn't change, so not everything changes. That argument doesn't make sense. I'm asking because I'm trying to enjoin it to my next argument.

argexpat said:
I ask myself, "What would my mother think?"
On what does she base her standards of right and wrong? This is what I'm getting at with the absolutes question. Is there an absolute right and wrong? If so, what determines it, and if not, how do you justify anything you do?

I don't know if our reasoning has evolved correctly to a point of accuracy, yet even in our long history of error in thought, we are unique in nature, because of our ability to reason. How can you explain our uniqueness with the theory of evolution?

Creationism has one requirement that an agnostic, or an atheist, will not give it, and that is the pre-existence of God, who is able to create. If you give that, then Creationism easily holds its own.

argexpat said:
Descart said, "I think, therefore, I am." Meaning, the only thing you can know with certainty are the thoughts in your head. All else is speculation.
It is interesting that you quoted Descartes, who, by his thinking, and the thoughts in his head, proved the existence of God, and brings up another of the arguments against evolution. That is this: every cause is at least as real as its effect. Something cannot be more real, or more complete, than the parts that make it up. The second law of thermodynamics illustrates this, as well. Plainly, without an outside influence, a system will go from order to disorder. Things decay if left alone, they don't get better.

If the second law of thermodynamics applies to the universe, why would it not apply to things on our little blue island? If evolution implies disorder to order, what outside influence has helped it along?
 
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Bryanf,

If you want to argue that evolution shouldn't be taught in school because it contradicts the Bible, then you should argue that. It's a valid argument, though not a particularly good one. And I think you know that, which is why you avoid coming right out and saying it and instead beat around the burning bush with convoluted rationales for arbitrarily denying a perfectly valid scientific theory. Otherwise you really have no argument and we're going around in circles.

But hey, this was fun!

Why don't we call this debate cashed and we start a new thread: Does an Absolute Morality Exist?

Peace out!
 
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