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  •  Disagree-- (6+ / 0-)

    common descent is so reliably inferred from a wealth of independant sources as to be considered a fact. Just the interspecies molecular comparisons of nuclear and mtDNA alone is a slam dunk. The modern synthesis is a testable mechanical framework by which species can diverge over time and it unites a wide range of observed data under a single explanatory framework.

    ID as in what the Discovery Institute pitches is a PR movement that specifically targets non scientists preying on their ignorance and trust. Among other items they sell coloring books to kids and speak at revivals and bible classes so as to lubricate the way to declaring iD valid basiclaly by fatwa. It makes no testable predictions, it is not falsifiable. It's never even been stated as a hypothesis which would be testable in principle. It consists of the same recycled creationiost arguments that have been used for decades.

    Read UTI, your free thought forum

    by DarkSyde on Fri Jun 16, 2006 at 07:16:35 AM PDT

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    •  Well (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DarkSyde

      common descent is so reliably inferred from a wealth of independant sources as to be considered a fact

      Replace 'common descent' with 'the sun orbits around the earth' and move us back several hundred years and it sounds a little familiar. ;)  The 'everybody believes it' defence is not particularly persuading, especially since the creationists can make the same claim.

      I would say there are scientists on 'both sides' of the issue, but it's not really a binary issue. Let's just say there are scientists out there who have grave doubts about the evolutionary theory. These people do not on the other hand, think this proves creationism.

      I'm not trying to say that you shouldn't believe in evolution as an origin theory, or that there is a large body of science contradicting you: I'm saying the evidence is largely inconclusive either way. I'm saying that though evolution may be the current 'best' it has too many problems with it for my liking to be teaching as established fact in a class room. I know we may be worried that if we don't teach this then students might go believe some other wacky thing to fill the 'hole', but if we equip them to be rational questioning human beings with a healthy sense of skepticism, it shouldn't be a problem.

      Just the interspecies molecular comparisons of nuclear and mtDNA alone is a slam dunk.

      A Tenet 'slam dunk' maybe. ;) Comparison? To make a valid comparison we'd need DNA from species we know to have common ancestors and then DNA from species we know to have no common ancestry at all, then we'd have our two standards and we'd see which pattern DNA amongst earth species falls closest to matching. Sadly we don't have that.

      I think it would really take an outside observer to tell us for sure what happened here on earth that got life started. It's difficult for us to know our own origins, much like a baby is not aware of it's origins and only learns of them being told by others at a later date. Barring us meeting a race of intelligent extra terrestrials (And I wonder what religious folks would say about that :D )  

      I don't think we absolutely must have an answer to the 'what is the origin of life' question. I think it would be perfectly reasonable, when asked this question in a class room, to tell the students that we don't know for sure: humankind wasn't there to observe and record the event. Otherwise we're confusing the largely speculative pursuit of history and science.

      The modern synthesis is a testable mechanical framework

      Really. Our hypothesis that the origin of life was caused by evolution is testable? How so?

      by which species can diverge over time

      As an explanation of natural selection and modifications amongst already existing species, sure. Unfortunately, that doesn't speak much as to the origins of life.

      ID as in what the Discovery Institute pitches is a PR movement that specifically targets non scientists preying on their ignorance and trust. Among other items they sell coloring books to kids and speak at revivals and bible classes so as to lubricate the way to declaring iD valid basiclaly by fatwa.

      Agreed.

      It makes no testable predictions, it is not falsifiable.

      And this is the biggest one, for me. If some hypothesis cannot be disproven, it's not a scientific hypothesis. ID obviously falls into this category. (Hint to religious folks: that's why you have this thing called 'faith' - believing that which cannot be proven? Sound familiar?) Ergo, ID should not be taught as science or a competing view in a science class. It will confuse the kids we're trying to teach about the scientific principle.

      However, I think the same can be said of evolution in the context of life origin. How would you disprove the evolutionary hypothesis as far as that is concerned? I don't see how it could be done.

      It's an educated guess. The reason it's an educated guess instead of a non educated guess is that we use what we can scientifically observe in the world around us now but it still makes it a guess.

      I think this issue is a sensitive one for a lot of people. They either like to use the 'we evolved' argument as a beating stick to go after religious people and as a reason to claim the Bible is false, or they throw scientific principles out the window so they can hold ferociously onto their religious beliefs, and then they get into the very damaging enterprise of trying to use religion to disprove science. Neither is particularly helpful.

      "Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth." -- JFK

      by Tryptophan on Fri Jun 16, 2006 at 07:53:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Re: (4+ / 0-)

        Replace 'common descent' with 'the sun orbits around the earth' and move us back several hundred years and it sounds a little familiar. ;)  The 'everybody believes it' defence is not particularly persuading, especially since the creationists can make the same claim.

        The sun orbits the earth was replaced by the earth orbits the sun precisely because it better explained the observed data. Likewise, common descent and evolution replaced fixity of species and creation ex nil, because the former was far superior explaining the evidence than the latter. When and if creationism or ID can begin to do reverse that, then and only then will scientists seriously consider it. The IDCists aren't even trying to do that. Their methods and resources are focused exclusively on trying to convince non scientists using a variety of emotional appeals that ID is a valid alternative.

        I'm not trying to say that you shouldn't believe in evolution as an origin theory, or that there is a large body of science contradicting you.

        You and anyone else are welcome to research and present that data to any peer reviewed journal for consideration and acceptance. The fact that that hasn't happened and shows no sign of happening tells anyone with any experience it's a highly inaccurate statement, and that's saying it nicely my friend. To date, the Discovery Institute has presented and been accepted by one journal, and for a single article. That article was essentially snuck in past the routine editorial process and was subsequently eviscerated on every scientific level. Lastly, the only origins evolution explains is how one species becomes another. I'm not saying you do, but anyone who labors under the misunderstanding that evo explains the origin of life or the solar system or the universe is so far out of the info loop that just implying the converse immediately reveals them as a fraud or a laymen to any legit life scientists.

        To make a valid comparison we'd need DNA from species we know to have common ancestors and then DNA from species we know to have no common ancestry at all, then we'd have our two standards and we'd see which pattern DNA amongst earth species falls closest to matching. Sadly we don't have that.

        We Do NOT need to know the identity or morphology of the common ancestor to determine a familial relationship using base comparisons and molecular genetics. If you are my father, or if we share a father or a mother, we can determine that fact without knowing the name of the shared element, or any details about how they met or what happened to produce us. This could done even if you I were both in a coma, even if our parents were dead, even if there was not one soul who knew what happened-- we do not have to have any details or names to determine that relationship using genetic methods. And we can run that test as many times as we want to before accepting the results.

        Likewise, we can determine that humans are share a common ancestor with chimps or dogs or lizards using the same methods. In fact, it's even easier to do so than pinning down two humans.

        I don't think we absolutely must have an answer to the 'what is the origin of life' question. I think it would be perfectly reasonable, when asked this question in a class room, to tell the students that we don't know for sure: humankind wasn't there to observe and record the event. ... However, I think the same can be said of evolution in the context of life origin. How would you disprove the evolutionary hypothesis as far as that is concerned? I don't see how it could be done.

        Again common descent and evolution have nothing to do with the emergence of the first replicating objects. Zero, nada, zip. I cannot emphasize this enough. If you have been reading material that states otherwise, you need to find new sources.

        It's as irrelevent to the validity of evo as the origin of elements are to high school chemistry. It doesn't matter of the elements or the first population of living things were poofed, built in an alien lab, farted out of a magic cow, or came to be naturally. it doesn't matter if we have no idea how it happened, chem and evo still work independantly of that origin.

        I have never witnessed or even heard a recording of a science classroom instructor stating that we know how life arose, because we DO NOT know that. That science is called abiogenesis, it's actually a series of complex, interlocking subdisciplines, none of which lend themselves to simple and elegant explanations like natural selection. There is great debate, lots of work to be done, and we may never know the answer because it may turn out that no discernible record of those events is preserved into out time.

        Read UTI, your free thought forum

        by DarkSyde on Fri Jun 16, 2006 at 08:50:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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