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Should evolution be taught in high sc...

# Should evolution be taught in high school?

There are 180369 comments on the www.scientificblogging.com story from Feb 24, 2008, titled Should evolution be taught in high school?. In it, www.scientificblogging.com reports that:

Microbiologist Carl Woese is well known as an iconoclast. At 79 years of age, Woese is still shaking things up. Most recently, he stated in an interview with Wired that...

"My feeling is that evolution shouldn't be taught at the lower grades. You don't teach quantum mechanics in the grade schools. One has to be quite educated to work with these concepts; what they pass on as evolution in high schools is nothing but repetitious tripe that teachers don't understand."

Join the discussion below, or Read more at www.scientificblogging.com.

KAB
#170280 Mar 11, 2014
polymath257 wrote:
<quoted text>
Only because there are regular laws of nature. A Bayesian analysis can yield gradually increasing probabilities as the number of new days increases. But it has to start with a presumed initial probability.
Before you get so far in you can't see the trees for the Bayesian leaves, just step back and think for a minute. Do you doubt that there was a sunrise about 4.5 billion years ago? Do you doubt that there have been sunrises ever since? That would be over a trillion sunrises in about that many days. Thus, a significantly high minimum probability can be assigned to the sunrise, a naturally occurring event can't it?
KAB
#170281 Mar 11, 2014
polymath257 wrote:
<quoted text>
And I was pointing out that no probabilities apply to a supernatural because we know nothing about the laws operating in a supernatural realm. We can neither bound the probabilities above or below.
You point out incorrectly. Given that anything which overrides the natural is super-natural, it is only necessary to calculate or bound the natural probability. Then if actual results are statistically way off the mark, you have witnessed the effect of the supernatural.
KAB
#170282 Mar 11, 2014
Kong_ wrote:
<quoted text>
How would one test for and confirm 'supernatural possibilities'?
Quantify the probability of a natural phenomenon. Monitor actual outcomes, and if the results are statistically off the mark, then you have detected the supernatural.

“Do not bend, fold, staple or”

Level 9

Since: Jan 11

mutilate. Point down range.

#170283 Mar 11, 2014
KAB wrote:
<quoted text>
Quantify the probability of a natural phenomenon. Monitor actual outcomes, and if the results are statistically off the mark, then you have detected the supernatural.
So if there is no reasonable explanation, then it must be supernatural. So lightning used to be supernatural until its origins and properties were determined based on evidence. Disease used to be supernatural until the causes were identified, examined and determined.
KAB
#170284 Mar 11, 2014
polymath257 wrote:
<quoted text>
How, exactly, would one test for supernatural possibilities? Give some details about how that would happen and I am sure many people would be happy to step up and perform the experiments. Make a definite prediction that would separate a supernatural intervention from a purely natural process and we shall see what happens via observation.
In fact, this is an important point. If the theory of supernatural intervention is observationally the same as the theory of purely natural processes, then science cannot say which is correct: it becomes a matter of opinion and/or faith. From the scientific viewpoint, they are identical. So, what specific observation do you propose that would confirm a supernatural versus a natural process? Make it something that we have not yet done and that both the supernaturalist position and the naturalist position can make some definite claim and where they differ. THEN we can actually make an observation and resolve the issue.
Can we quantify by at least bounding a probability associated with some natural phenomenon?
KAB
#170285 Mar 11, 2014
sweets2360 wrote:
<quoted text>
Could you give me an example of how you test for magic? Show a few examples how that might work.
What do you mean by magic?
KAB
#170286 Mar 11, 2014
sweets2360 wrote:
<quoted text>
Yeah, as graphic design, art class, not science class
What distinguishes graphic design from the rest of art?
KAB
#170287 Mar 11, 2014
MikeF wrote:
<quoted text>
Here's my post,

http://www.topix.com/forum/news/evolution/TCT...

I don't know why you keep asking me to rub it in your face. I couldn't live like that.

Level 6

Since: Mar 12

Location hidden

#170288 Mar 11, 2014
HTS wrote:
<quoted text>
You have no scientific evidence that abiogenesis is possible. You have a belief.
No, I do not even have a belief. If the evidence comes in that shows it can happen, I will believe it can happen. If the evidence comes in that proves its not possible, I will believe it cannot happen.

Right now there is neither. So I believe more research is required.
You continue to artificially separate abiogenesis from evolution,
No, you continue to artificially conflate two different processes, hoping to discredit one we have huge positive evidence for (evolution), by an argument from ignorance for the one we do not understand (abiogenesis). Evolution does not care how life got started. You know that, its been explained why, and you have not refuted that explanation, merely continued to repeat your false claim ad nauseum.
....while ignoring the hundreds of millions of years of proposed SELF-REPLICATING LIVING ENTITIES that lead up the the first living cell
Crappola about whether the first SR was a cell or not is irrelevant, because what matters is whether the SR creates a copy of itself embodying the same instruction set. Only then can evolution be relevant. Now, if an SR were to be created in the lab that worked, no matter how imperfectly, we would not trouble ourselves over whether to call it a "living cell" or not. That is merely a categorical question. Who cares whether Pluto is a planet or not? Its just the same rock no matter what we call it. All we would be interested in was whether this SR carried an instruction set and if it could be altered randomly to change the daughter SR in some small way.
You are also assuming that your stories about evolution driving ever-increasing complexity throughout the ages constitutes science. You have no proof of this. To this point, the best evidence I'v e seen on this forum is Lenski's E. Coli experiments, which are hardly compelling.
I am assuming nothing. We can observe the same process today. We can model the essentials of it in a genetic algorithm and watch as self organised complexity develops in virtual creatures. The logic is the same - random changes with a selection process. There is nothing assumed, mysterious, or magical about the process. We have seen changes as predicted in the lab. Engineers are even using such processes to optimise designs. And we have piles of evidence from the fossil record including transitional forms to show that nature did the same thing..

Level 6

Since: Mar 12

Location hidden

#170289 Mar 11, 2014
HTS wrote:
<quoted text>
Most of what "we see in biology" cannot be explained by laws of science.
Do you know how the migratory instincts of sea turtles evolved?
Do you even understand how they navigate across open ocean?
Can you explain, without glossing over details, how a feather evolved from a scale?
Can you prove that such a complexity could occur without intelligence?
[the list could fill volumes]
You have nothing more than a philosophical belief that evolution can create complexity.
You may call your "evidence" compelling, but it is not scientific evidence.
There is a difference between "cannot" and "has not".

We can offer you actual evidence of complex changes in the fossil record, such as the 3-boned middle ear, which we now have positive evidence for, and which demonstrate IN PRINCIPLE that the other changes for which we lack fossil evidence are possible through an evolutionary process. That is enough.

The burden of continuing to prove that the same process can do similarly complex things is redundant. We are already there.
The commonly proliferated dogma that "science" has destroyed the need for God is one of the biggest lies propagated in institutionalized biology today. You simply fill in all the unknowns with "evolution did it without God".
Science has destroyed the need for God to explain lightning, plagues, the orbit of the moon, and many other phenomena. And now science has destroyed the need to invoke God in explaining the observed pattern of complexity and diversity in life. We know that beyond the first self replicator, God is not necessary. We also have a good idea of how the universe developed from the BB and God again is not necessary to explain the details of solar system and star formation etc.

Whether you want to plug in the remaining gaps such as the beginning of life or the BB itself, is up to you. Respected scientists like Craig Venter and Paul Davies have done so and the scientific community does not mock them for it.

But face the truth - ALL of science, not just evolution, has forced honest believers to alter their understanding of the ROLE of God, and the MANNER of the creation. Genesis just does not cut it. Anybody who understands science knows that. Venter and Davies believe in God but they regard Genesis as nothing more than a parable.

Level 6

Since: Mar 12

Location hidden

#170290 Mar 11, 2014
Urban Cowboy wrote:
The basic tenet of justice is that punishment must fit the crime. So if hell is the proper punishment, what is the crime? Sin. Sinners are traitors, rebels; refusing to love, thank, serve, and obey their maker – the one that made them…they spurn God’s love and despise His sovereignty, mock his justice, and has contempt for his justice, and assaults his holiness.
Now, what would you call a Loving Father who tells his daughter that unless she loves and obeys and adulates him, he is going to lock her in the cellar for all eternity and burn her skin every day with hot pokers?

Kim Il Jung could not have put it better than you just did.

So a person who obeys the tenets of morality that MATTER - such as treating others well, playing fair, not stealing, raping, cheating, etc...well they all go to Hell simply because they did not believe in a God who refuses to offer any real evidence for his own existence.

Such a God, like Kim Il Jung, would deserve to be crucified slowly for his sins against Man, if he existed.

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#170291 Mar 12, 2014
HTS wrote:
Look at the failed paradigm of genetic determinism. For decades, evolutionists were peddling the "DNA is everything" paradigm. Now it is believed that DNA alone does not define every human trait. There is something else. Prior to the human genome project, many biologists were expecting the discovery of 150,000+ genes. They don't exist. It was believed that science indicated that DNA defined all human traits, only because that is all biologists saw. All you see is chemistry. That doesn't mean that all human emotions are ultimately subservient to chemistry.
I would love to see this "DNA is everything" paradigm you claim as if biologists insisted on it at any point.

You also appear to have missed your own point too, because scientists were surprised as you say, that when there turned out to be only 22,000 genes, it meant that more than 98% of the genome was non-coding DNA. Something jocularly labelled "junk DNA", which elsewhere you claim was a central prediction of evolution, but was actually a surprise to them as you also claim.

You confuse yourself by making inflated claims about what evolution claims, then attacking your own straw-man.

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Since: Mar 12

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#170292 Mar 12, 2014
KAB wrote:
<quoted text>
Try the theory on this observed fact: The original living thing (self-replicating cell?) had virtually no DNA. Human DNA has about 3.5 billion base pairs. Explain ToE accumulating that in 3.5 billion years. I know it's a simple calculation. Just add on average one base pair per year. Is that what's observed?
We would not expect a year by year increment of one base pair. Additions to the genome come in "lumps", with gene duplication or the insertion of an ERV etc. A dramatic example it the modern wheat plant, which has literally 3x the chromosome number of ancient Einkorn ancestral wheat. The genome incorporated wholesale the entire genome of first one then another related wild grass. This happened naturally though the result was artificially selected by farmers because it was simply "better wheat".

Unlike plants, animals are not likely to survive that amount of wholesaling in addition of entire chromosomes. However, gene duplication is evident and we see for example that some humans have only 5 copies of the amylase gene while some have as many as 15. And the more you have, the better you can digest starches.

But really, why go into this in detail with you when you utterly failed the mtDNA discussion and dishonestly refuse to admit it? What is the point of discussing anything with you?

“Think&Care”

Since: Oct 07

Location hidden

#170293 Mar 12, 2014
HTS wrote:
<quoted text>
How long of a list of unknowns do I need to post for you to be convinced that evolution is not "capable of explaining everything we see...?"
If evlulution can "explain everything we see", then explain how sea turtles migrate,
First of all, the *how* of turtle migration isn't an evolutionary question. How that migration ability came into existence is. If we don't fully understand how they migrate, we won't likely understand how they came to migrate. That said, my first *guess* is that it has to do with continental drift as to the cause of migration and something either with the magnetic field or polarization of light as the mechanism.
how the millions of ordered changes in genetic code appeared, and how each was favored by natural selection. You cannot explain it... you can merely employ wishful thinking that it happened.
Not all those millions of changes need to be favored by natural selection. They can be neutral, for example. Furthermore, the changes in the control genes have much wider influence than those in locally expressed genes, so those are where we would expect to see the changes to give large structural changes.
Virtually every proposed macroevolutionary transmutation requires faith in unproven forces.
I think you wildly underestimate how powerful mutation and selection can be. The two can select close-to-optimal solutions incredibly fast.
... and nothing about nature "seems random"...what are you talking about? Does the genetic code "seem random?"
Well, all events at the level of quantum mechanics are random. Period. Not causal and random.

Above that level, randomness is a relative thing.But studies of how species change over time show very few actual trends: in many lines there is a general increase of size, but not always. But the lengths of time species are relatively stable seems randomized. The types of changes seems randomized. And the specifics of the mutations seems randomized.

But again, you seem to miss the point. Deities are consistent with evolution. It is possible a deity got life started; it is possible a deity got the whole universe started; it is possible there is an interventionist deity that runs under the radar of detectability. All such would be consistent with science and evolution as we know it today. Now, those gaps for a deity will surely decrease in size as science progresses, but there will always be gaps to hind your faith inside.

What is shown wrong is the idea that species are fixed, that the earth is less than 10,000 years old, and that there was a global flood during a time when a human could build a boat to save all the animals. If you believe those things, you are in trouble with science.

“Think&Care”

Since: Oct 07

Location hidden

#170294 Mar 12, 2014
Urban Cowboy wrote:
<quoted text>
What kind of God would make rules that don’t matter? Who would respect a God that let’s everybody off the hook no matter what they believe?
Why is that even an issue? We are asking about existence, not character. We can address the character issue after the existence issue has been settled.
God gave us free will to decide who or who doesn’t love their maker; but being free to choose doesn’t mean there won’t be consequences. The Commandments are not for being restrictive, but for an overall happier existence.
Thank you for telling us your myth. Now do you have any facts?
If God rewards all his creation whether or not they are obedient, just what kind of God is that? Only fallen, unregenerate minds come up with such nonsense. You cry out,“That’s not fair!” The basic tenet of justice is that punishment must fit the crime. So if hell is the proper punishment, what is the crime? Sin.
How in the world is eternal torture a just punishment for *anything*? You might be able to argue that a thousand year punishment *might* be morally acceptable, or even a 10 thousand year punishment. But by what distorted logic is an eternal punishment for simply saying the holy spirit is a myth a justifiable thing?

No sin, however great, is bad enough to justify *eternal* punishment. That is the sort of thing cruel dictators decree to justify their egos when someone disagrees with them. Simply destroying a person is much more justifiable.
Sinners are traitors, rebels; refusing to love, thank, serve, and obey their maker – the one that made them…they spurn God’s love and despise His sovereignty, mock his justice, and has contempt for his justice, and assaults his holiness. It is ironic that non-believers who protest the idea of eternal judgment as cruel and repugnant do not employ the same outrage to describe the sin itself! Think about it. If you back-talk or strike a Cop, you will be severely punished. If you threaten the President, you will go to jail for a long, long time. Yet, you think you should be able to do worse to your maker and not face any punishment? To accuse God of injustice is the height of arrogance and audacity.
Yes, severe punishment, but not *eternal* punishment. People make mistakes. They get facts wrong. Even rebels can reform. Under that knowledge, no sin can possible *deserve* eternal punishment.

Of course, this is even if your immoral and cruel system was true. Fortunately, it isn't.

“Think&Care”

Since: Oct 07

Location hidden

#170295 Mar 12, 2014
Urban Cowboy wrote:
Sinners are traitors, rebels; refusing to love, thank, serve, and obey their maker – the one that made them…they spurn God’s love and despise His sovereignty, mock his justice, and has contempt for his justice, and assaults his holiness. It is ironic that non-believers who protest the idea of eternal judgment as cruel and repugnant do not employ the same outrage to describe the sin itself! Think about it. If you back-talk or strike a Cop, you will be severely punished. If you threaten the President, you will go to jail for a long, long time. Yet, you think you should be able to do worse to your maker and not face any punishment? To accuse God of injustice is the height of arrogance and audacity.
If I simply scorn the president, am I punished? If I mock a cop, is that a crime? If I say a judge is a stooge outside of his courtroom, do I get arrested? No. So how is eternal punishment for saying God is a cruel dictator a reasonable thing?

“Think&Care”

Since: Oct 07

Location hidden

#170296 Mar 12, 2014
KAB wrote:
<quoted text>
Try the theory on this observed fact: The original living thing (self-replicating cell?) had virtually no DNA. Human DNA has about 3.5 billion base pairs. Explain ToE accumulating that in 3.5 billion years. I know it's a simple calculation. Just add on average one base pair per year. Is that what's observed?
Again, you assume changes happen one at a time. Starting with one base pair, 3.5 billion would be about 32 doublings. Plenty of time for that to happen, especially when we notice that gene duplication is a common method of evolution.

“Think&Care”

Since: Oct 07

Location hidden

#170297 Mar 12, 2014
KAB wrote:
<quoted text>
Before you get so far in you can't see the trees for the Bayesian leaves, just step back and think for a minute. Do you doubt that there was a sunrise about 4.5 billion years ago? Do you doubt that there have been sunrises ever since? That would be over a trillion sunrises in about that many days. Thus, a significantly high minimum probability can be assigned to the sunrise, a naturally occurring event can't it?
I have confidence that there will be a sunrise because I understand the physics of the situation. Applying that physics leads to the conclusion that the earth was spinning on its axis 4.5 billion years ago and so there were sunrises (ignoring the possibility of a dense atmosphere that blocked them).

But again, does a trillion events in a row *prove* the next even will happen? No. It makes it reasonable to assume it will. And that is the basis of science: repeatable, testable observations lead to confidence in our predictions and explanations.

So yes, the probability that there will be a sunrise tomorrow (more accurately, that the earth will continue rotating through tomorrow) is very high. On the other hand, it is *possible* for an asteroid hit to supply enough angular momentum in the wrong direction to stop the rotation of the earth. Since we don't know of any asteroids of that size that are likely to hit the earth between now and tomorrow, that probability is quite low.

So how does this apply to our discussion? What is the probability that something in nature that is complex was designed? Well, what are the relevant physical laws governing this question? Do those laws allow for increasing complexity without an intelligent intervention? Are there any known intelligences that could have been involved? How can we differentiate between designed complexity and un-designed complexity? These questions have to answered before anything like a reasonable probability can be calculated.

“Think&Care”

Since: Oct 07

Location hidden

#170298 Mar 12, 2014
KAB wrote:
<quoted text>
You point out incorrectly. Given that anything which overrides the natural is super-natural, it is only necessary to calculate or bound the natural probability. Then if actual results are statistically way off the mark, you have witnessed the effect of the supernatural.
Wrong. We may simply be witnessing the operation of a previously unknown natural law. Such happens.

“Think&Care”

Since: Oct 07

Location hidden

#170299 Mar 12, 2014
KAB wrote:
<quoted text>
Can we quantify by at least bounding a probability associated with some natural phenomenon?
Unfortunately not. To bound the natural probability, we have to know the natural laws in sufficient detail to be able to calculate. But if we are wrong in our understanding of the natural law, that calculation is invalid.

So, for example, using Newtonian physics we could have calculated the probability that there was a planet orbiting inside the orbit of Mercury given the observed motions of Mercury. In, say, 1900, that probability would have been calculated to be fairly high because the observed motions of Mercury didn't correspond to the predictions made based on the known planets and using Newtonian gravity.

Well, Newton was wrong. Einstein produced a different model for gravity and in that new model, which was more accurate, the probability for that same planet orbiting inside the orbit of Mercury is very small.

If, in the late 1800's, we would have done a calculation of the probability that an atom had a hard core (a nucleus) and orbiting electrons, that probability would have been exceedingly low. Such a scenario violated the laws of physics as known at the time. Well, we now know that atoms do, in fact, have a hard nucleus and electrons orbiting. The laws of physics as understood at that time were wrong, so the probability calculation was meaningless.

I can supply a whole collection of such situations. Simply using the laws of nature as currently known to calculate a probability and seeing that probability is violated doesn't imply a supernatural event. It only shows are understanding of natural laws needs to be revised. This, by the way, is part of the problem with most 'fine-tuning' arguments. They assume the there is no dynamics pushing things to what we see.

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