Should evolution be taught in high sc...

Should evolution be taught in high school?

There are 180394 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.

“ad victoriam”

Level 8

Since: Dec 10

arte et marte

#173771 Apr 29, 2014
HTS wrote:
<quoted text>
Until someone can propose a plausible mechanism for self sequencing of DNA, abiogenesis should be considered impossible by any rational scientist. The explanation of the origin of a genetic code is a dead end. The quest to explain abiogenesis is a hopeless fantasy.
Everything is impossible, when you have an invisible skydaddy to take care of all the hard questions for you.... Now say baaaaah baaaaah and run along and eat your grass.

Level 6

Since: Mar 12

Location hidden

#173772 Apr 30, 2014
HTS wrote:
<quoted text>Your concept of "organized" is twisted. A planet is a sphere composed of randomly-arranged particles. There is no "organization". The properties of matter which allow gases to condense and crystals to form have no relevance to the sequencing of a genetic code or, for that matter, any theory as to the genesis of life...so why do you bring up irrelevant distractions. A snowflake is not "organized". It is a random assemblage of water molecules, constrained into a symmetrical hexagonal shape by the molecular properties of water. That is not analogous in any way to the information required to create life. I have challenged you before and I will pose the same challenge again. Show an example of natural forces producing complexity that can be logically extrapolated to the self sequencing of a complex genetic code. So far all you've done is create smokescreens.
Is that all a planet is? Wrong again. Even without life, earth's matter would be structured into core, mantle, crust. Ocean and continent. Atmosphere. Energy driven processes would result in glaciers and hurricanes. Ores would not be randomly distributed but be found in variable concentrations.

As for your claim that "purposeful" RNA could not form...well that is false if it means anything at all in the first place. Up to 10% of random RNA sequences show spontaneous catalytic activity.

Your mental blinders are wedded to the false view that everything heads toward disintegration, while a thousand emprical examples can show you that this is not so, as long as free energy is available to do work. Only when all the free energy, the sort of thing that can power a tree or Jupiter's Great Red Spot, is exhausted, must everything run down.

The question is whether "non-living" modes of spontaneous organisation can achieve a degree of complexity sufficient for natural selection to begin. That is the core of abiogenesis research regardless of your denialism and your confusion over the meaningless concept of "purpose" in this context.
Mugwump

Glasgow, UK

#173773 Apr 30, 2014
HTS wrote:
<quoted text>
Until someone can propose a plausible mechanism for self sequencing of DNA, abiogenesis should be considered impossible by any rational scientist. The explanation of the origin of a genetic code is a dead end. The quest to explain abiogenesis is a hopeless fantasy.
WHAT !!!!

So in your warped view of science , the default position is 'it's impossible' rather than 'we don't know'

Good grief , you say some rubbish at times.

Level 6

Since: Mar 12

Location hidden

#173774 Apr 30, 2014
HTS wrote:
<quoted text>
Until someone can propose a plausible mechanism for self sequencing of DNA, abiogenesis shoulered impossible by any rational scientist. The explatalkn of the origin of a genetic code is a dead end. The quest to explain abiogenesis is a hopeless fantasy.
Its simple. A random RNA happens to catalyse a reaction whose end products produce more RNA, or hold a lipid sphere together or creates the right kind of hole in the lipid. Pretty random, not unlikely though. Natural selection improves the efficiency of the sequence over repeat iterations.

Order emerges from disorder in an energy flux. It never has to reach 100% though. Even today our genomes and proteins are loaded with sequences that are still prettty random.

You are talking about some fall from an imaginary state of pristine perfection. We are talking about the emergence of order spontaneously occurring in natural systems so long as the conditions are right. But do not overestimate the order of life, because life thrives on a balance between order and disorder anyway. To much order and you would be dead.

We like to think of ourselves as machines like a new mercedes or a computer. But those analogies can be misleading and in some ways we are more like a tornado, a dynamical balancing act between order and disorder.

Level 6

Since: Mar 12

Location hidden

#173775 Apr 30, 2014
HTS wrote:
<quoted text>
A snowflake is no more ordered than the patterns produced by a kaleidoscope. Every snowflake is erent. It is hexagonal and symmetrical only because of the polarity of water. Even if I conceded that a snowflake was "ordered", the formation of snowflakes by non intelligent forces does not remotely suggest that DNA can form by non-intelligent forces.
If snowflake formation is your poster child example of nature producing order without intelligence, then you are really grasping at straws.
Indeed, a snowflake is far too ordered to be alive.

Do not always mistake complication for ordered complexity either.

“Think&Care”

Since: Oct 07

Location hidden

#173776 Apr 30, 2014
HTS wrote:
<quoted text>
A snowflake is no more ordered than the patterns produced by a kaleidoscope. Every snowflake is different. It is hexagonal and symmetrical only because of the polarity of water. Even if I conceded that a snowflake was "ordered", the formation of snowflakes by non intelligent forces does not remotely suggest that DNA can form by non-intelligent forces.
If snowflake formation is your poster child example of nature producing order without intelligence, then you are really grasping at straws.
At the molecular level, ice is ordered. Yes, the polarity of the water affects how the molecules are arranged and why they form the particular type of crystal they do. The larger scale structure of a snow-flake is a much smaller contribution to the overall order than the molecular level order.

Nobody is assuming that DNA arose initially in the formation of life. As far as I can tell, everyone is thinking there was some combination of metabolism and genetics using RNA, possibly in both roles. The transition to a DNA-based genetics was a later process. Because of this, the formation of DNA ab initio is not the relevant question. There *are* relevant questions about the functionality of RNA and the development of the RNA metabolism and genetics, but those questions are being investigated right now.

To focus on DNA is similar to asking how a eucaryotic cell formed. This type of cell is quite complex, with organelles, a nucleus, etc. It *is* an interesting question how such cells came about, but it is *not* a question of abiogenesis. The most 'primitive' cells we know of are procaryotic: they have no nucleus, no organelles, a much simpler metabolism, etc.

So, there *is* a good question how RNA was replaced by DNA, but that is a later stage than the development of life (meaning metabolism and genetics).

“Think&Care”

Since: Oct 07

Location hidden

#173777 Apr 30, 2014
HTS wrote:
<quoted text>
Until someone can propose a plausible mechanism for self sequencing of DNA, abiogenesis should be considered impossible by any rational scientist. The explanation of the origin of a genetic code is a dead end. The quest to explain abiogenesis is a hopeless fantasy.
Why is that the standard? Why not an initial RNA world that then gets replaced by a DNA based genetics? That is what the very ribosomes in our bodies suggests as a possibility. It is what the chemistry related to abiogenesis suggests. And it is, at least, a plausible mechanism for what we see today.

Is it proved? No. Is is *possible* and worth further study? Yes.
The Dude

Birkenhead, UK

#173778 Apr 30, 2014
HTS wrote:
A snowflake is no more ordered than the patterns produced by a kaleidoscope. Every snowflake is different. It is hexagonal and symmetrical only because of the polarity of water. Even if I conceded that a snowflake was "ordered", the formation of snowflakes by non intelligent forces does not remotely suggest that DNA can form by non-intelligent forces.
If snowflake formation is your poster child example of nature producing order without intelligence, then you are really grasping at straws.
Translation: "You're just WRONG, OKAY?!?"

But Hooter, it doesn't mean DNA CAN'T form by non-intelligent forces either. That's just your assumption. You can't even define what you mean by "order" in the first place.

Fact is your challenge was met and now you're moving the goalposts and saying it's not enough. Wuss.
HTS wrote:
Until someone can propose a plausible mechanism for self sequencing of DNA, abiogenesis should be considered impossible by any rational scientist. The explanation of the origin of a genetic code is a dead end. The quest to explain abiogenesis is a hopeless fantasy.
No, it's not a dead end until research exhausts itself. Since it continues right now as we speak quite obviously it's NOT a dead end. As much as you wish it to be.
HTS wrote:
You have no scientific evidence of a primordial soup 4.5 billion years ago.
You're right. About a billion years later is another matter.
HTS wrote:
That is raw conjecture. You have no scientific evidence that the earth was formed 4.5 billion years ago.
You're wrong. But then evidence doesn't matter to your position.
HTS wrote:
If God created the earth
It doesn't matter, since the concept isn't science so we don't have to give it the time of day.
HTS wrote:
He might have utilized matter that included a 4.5 billion year old rock. If naturalistic forces created the earth, it might have been formed from pre-existing matter that included a 4.5 billion year old rock.
Exactly. The HOW DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOU THERE argument. Last Thursdayism. Bogus argument.
HTS wrote:
You don't know HOW the earth was formed. You can only guess.
Yet it's an educated guess which you can only counter with Last Thursdayism via invisible magic Jew. We aren't supposed to talk about religion, remember?
HTS wrote:
You accuse me of "incredulity" because I don't have faith in abiogenesis.
You have not given me a single reason to believe in it.
Snowflake formation does not logically lead to a belief in the self sequencing of DNA.
Sure we have, but evidence doesn't matter to you.
HTS wrote:
You are the one driven by ideology...a predetermined FAITH in atheism.
Atheism isn't relevant to our points. Gravity is real whether a deity is involved or not. Same with evolution. And abio happened whether a deity was involved or not.

If you want to believe a deity was responsible for abio then by all means. But the fact is that life started somehow 3.5 billion years ago (or so), and your beliefs are irrelevant to science.

Now. Explain orthology Hooter.

“Think&Care”

Since: Oct 07

Location hidden

#173779 Apr 30, 2014
HTS wrote:
<quoted text>
You have no scientific evidence of a primordial soup 4.5 billion years ago. That is raw conjecture. You have no scientific evidence that the earth was formed 4.5 billion years ago.
yes, there is plenty of evidence that the Earth formed about 4.5 billion years ago. The primordial oceans didn't form for a few hundred million years after that (the Earth had to cool down first). Whether life first formed in small puddles or in deep sea vents or some other situation is still being actively investigated. The 'soup' concept is probably far too simplistic alone.
If God created the earth, He might have utilized matter that included a 4.5 billion year old rock. If naturalistic forces created the earth, it might have been formed from pre-existing matter that included a 4.5 billion year old rock.
Except that the formation melted the rocks and reset the timing. This is simply a version of 'Last Thursdayism' where everything was formed last Thursday with all our memories. it is a philosophically absurd position. Sort of like solipsism.
You don't know HOW the earth was formed. You can only guess.
On the contrary, we can use the data we have collected from a variety of sources to determine when it happened. We can use observations of similar processes happening *today* in other star systems to learn how it happened. We can use the geology, physics, and chemistry we know to determine many of the characteristics of the early Earth.

Once again, you have a problem using science to determine what happened in the past. We can use the *known* laws of physics and chemistry to determine quite a lot about the past. Your Omphalos argument only weakens your position.
You accuse me of "incredulity" because I don't have faith in abiogenesis.
You have not given me a single reason to believe in it.
Snowflake formation does not logically lead to a belief in the self sequencing of DNA.
And that wasn't the point. The point is that matter can spontaneously form structures and order without an intelligent guidance. You have repeatedly made the claim that it cannot. Now the question is whether it can make the type of structures required for metabolism and genetics.
You are the one driven by ideology...a predetermined FAITH in atheism.
No, I am driven by the requirement to have a testable hypothesis that leads to experimental results. Abiogenesis does this, at least for now. It may end up in a dead end, but that is not the case now. The evidence doesn't change even if an intelligence directs things.

“Think&Care”

Since: Oct 07

Location hidden

#173780 Apr 30, 2014
Chimney1 wrote:
<quoted text>
Indeed, a snowflake is far too ordered to be alive.
Do not always mistake complication for ordered complexity either.
Exactly. If anything, life is characterized by an *intermediate* level of order. It isn't completely random, but it also is not completely structured. Crystals have an incredibly high level of order at the molecular level.

Level 6

Since: Mar 12

Location hidden

#173781 Apr 30, 2014
HTS wrote:
<quoted text>
You have no scientific evidence of a primordial soup 4.5 billion years ago. That is raw conjecture. You have no scientific evidence that the earth was formed 4.5 billion years ago.
If God created the earth, He might have utilized matter that included a 4.5 billion year old rock. If naturalistic forces created the earth, it might have been formed from pre-existing matter that included a 4.5 billion year old rock. You don't know HOW the earth was formed. You can only guess.
One can guess...or one can guess based on what we know about how materials behave in the actual universe. Then we can take a look and see how well the world matches our predictions. And so on, modifying our theories in accordance with our findings then looking for new data based on those modifications.. in an iterative loop that improves our understanding over time.

Could God plant 4.5 billion year old rocks in a younger Earth? Well, yes, but then God could do anything to fool us. You are really just spouting Last Thursdayism in another form.

There is good evidence that the Earth formed about 4.5 billion years ago and the Sun not long before. When your only defence against a theory is "tampering with the evidence", perhaps its time to give up on at least one aspect of your incessant, reflexive, pointless, denialism.

You realise that your denialism has to this point put you at odds with not only biology, but with geology, astronomy, physics, and even chemistry...all in your misguided war on atheism which is irrelevant to all of this anyway.

Level 6

Since: Mar 12

Location hidden

#173782 Apr 30, 2014
polymath257 wrote:
<quoted text>
Exactly. If anything, life is characterized by an *intermediate* level of order. It isn't completely random, but it also is not completely structured. Crystals have an incredibly high level of order at the molecular level.
Thats right!

In their mischaracterisation of life as exquisitely ordered, and their paradigm of perfection vs imperfection, creationists have missed a huge point here. Too much order is as inimicable to life as too little...life is a non-equilibrium system thriving in the space between order and randomness.
HTS

Mandan, ND

#173783 Apr 30, 2014
Chimney1 wrote:
<quoted text>
Is that all a planet is? Wrong again. Even without life, earth's matter would be structured into core, mantle, crust. Ocean and continent. Atmosphere. Energy driven processes would result in glaciers and hurricanes. Ores would not be randomly distributed but be found in variable concentrations.
As for your claim that "purposeful" RNA could not form...well that is false if it means anything at all in the first place. Up to 10% of random RNA sequences show spontaneous catalytic activity.
Your mental blinders are wedded to the false view that everything heads toward disintegration, while a thousand emprical examples can show you that this is not so, as long as free energy is available to do work. Only when all the free energy, the sort of thing that can power a tree or Jupiter's Great Red Spot, is exhausted, must everything run down.
The question is whether "non-living" modes of spontaneous organisation can achieve a degree of complexity sufficient for natural selection to begin. That is the core of abiogenesis research regardless of your denialism and your confusion over the meaningless concept of "purpose" in this context.
I was referring to a lifeless planet such as Neptune. Yes, the earth is organized...and it was created through intelligent design. You have no observational evidence of a heavenly body like the earth forming through naturalistic forces.

Level 9

Since: Sep 08

Everett, WA

#173784 Apr 30, 2014
HTS wrote:
<quoted text>
I was referring to a lifeless planet such as Neptune. Yes, the earth is organized...and it was created through intelligent design. You have no observational evidence of a heavenly body like the earth forming through naturalistic forces.
Of course we do you moron. You have been shown the scientific evidence many many times. Your rejection of that evidence is meaningless. You have constantly shown yourself to be an idiot when it comes to even understanding what qualifies as scientific evidence and why it is accepted.

Instead of spewing idiocy why don't you ask for help in understanding what is clearly above your head? The people will educated in biology here would be more than happy to help you in your evolution questions. The people who understand geology here would be more than happy to help you on your problems with geology and the people who understand physics here would be more than happy to help you to understand physics.

All of these people willing to help you and yet you insist on showing that you are still an utter fool.

“Pissing people off since 1949”

Level 8

Since: Apr 08

Seffner, FL

#173785 Apr 30, 2014
I've noticed you've skipped over my request.(Imagine my surprise) So, when you take some well earned time off from trying to explain orthology, how about you answer me?
MikeF wrote:
Now tell me, Richard, where is the evidence of just ONE supernatural event that would lead any scientists to consider anything other than a naturalistic cause?
HTS

Sidney, MT

#173786 Apr 30, 2014
polymath257 wrote:
<quoted text>
Exactly. If anything, life is characterized by an *intermediate* level of order. It isn't completely random, but it also is not completely structured. Crystals have an incredibly high level of order at the molecular level.
That is false.
Take 6 x 10^23 molecules of crystallized water in snowflakes. How many different ways (mirostates) could those water molecules be arranged to result in the same snowflake configurations?
Now take 6 x 10^23 molecules comprising your DNA. How many different was (microstates) could those molecules be arranged that would result in defining all of the traits coded for in your DNA?

DNA is millions of orders of magnitude more complex than snowflakes.
HTS

Sidney, MT

#173787 Apr 30, 2014
polymath257 wrote:
<quoted text>
Why is that the standard? Why not an initial RNA world that then gets replaced by a DNA based genetics? That is what the very ribosomes in our bodies suggests as a possibility. It is what the chemistry related to abiogenesis suggests. And it is, at least, a plausible mechanism for what we see today.
Is it proved? No. Is is *possible* and worth further study? Yes.
The standard I have set is consistent with all standards of true science. As far as is known, no form of autonomous, self-replicating life based on RNA is possible. If you disagree with scientific observation, then it is up to you to prove it...not just advance unsubstantiated hypotheses.

“There is no Truth in Faith”

Level 5

Since: Dec 08

nowhere near a pound of $100's

#173788 Apr 30, 2014
HTS wrote:
<quoted text>
That is absurd.
You assume that mechanisms involved don't require intelligent design.
The fact is, Polymath... transmutation is not possible without intelligence. There is no naturalistic pathway of abiogenesis without intelligent design. You simply assume that there is.
In other words, you ASSUME atheism.
Whereas you ASSUME: Poof! A magic sky daddy comes out of nothing for no reason and proceeds to create everything else out of nothing because he wants to.

Oh yeah!! That's more logical! <not!>
HTS

Sidney, MT

#173789 Apr 30, 2014
Chimney1 wrote:
<quoted text>

Could God plant 4.5 billion year old rocks in a younger Earth? Well, yes, but then God could do anything to fool us. You are really just spouting Last Thursdayism in another form.
There is no logical reason to assume that an intelligent being would not create a planet from pre-existing matter. You are assuming, for the sake of "science", that a God would create everything out of nothing.

“There is no Truth in Faith”

Level 5

Since: Dec 08

nowhere near a pound of $100's

#173790 Apr 30, 2014
HTS wrote:
<quoted text>
Rocks occur naturally. That does not suggest that rocks can self-assemble to form a pyramid without intelligent design.
You challenge me to "prove" that life is too complex to form naturally. It is self-evident that it cannot. Therefore, it's up to you to determne a physical law that allows it. You're the one making the claim.
The face on Mars occurred naturally, so why not a pyramid?? In fact, I think they are called "mountains".

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