Science is a process, not a conclusion


Orson Scott Card explains it better than I ever could. Darwinism, atheism, global warming-ism, all of the -isms are not science. Science is a process whereby what we think we know is replaced by better and more accurate ideas. He also encourages you to watch Ben Stein’s new movie, Expelled, because the movie accurately portrays this. (link)

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28 Responses to “Science is a process, not a conclusion”

  1. Samuel Skinner Says:

    A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Let me explain why.

    Darwinism/Wallacism (or more accurately evolution by natural selection) is a theory generated and backed by the scientific method.

    Atheism is a lack of belief generated by lack of evidence. Strong atheism is butressed by both science and logic.

    Global warming is also a theory. It isn’t as rock solid as evolution (that distinction belongs to ideas like gravity and its ilk).

    Ben Stein asks “Does evolution explain why the planets stay in their orbits?” I think we can take it for granted that someone who doesn’t understand basic physics or biology is not a good source.

  2. Jonathan Gardner Says:

    Except you forget that Darwinism has been entirely refuted. Darwin’s ideas were terribly naive.

    Strong Atheism (as you call it) cannot be scientifically disproven. It is not science. It is neither logical. Sure, you may make some assumptions and then logically prove that Atheism is correct. But you can never prove the assumptions correct, like the assumption that reasoning logically will lead to valid results. (And it is an assumption.)

    Global Warming (and I’m referring to all the scary stories about how the earth is going to dry up or become a water world or whatever) is a theory, a thoroughly debunked and erroneous theory. It has been entirely refuted. For the past 10 years, we’ve been seeing Global Cooling. That’s why it is no longer called Global Warming but Climate Change or Climate Catastrophe, as Al Gore says. The scientists who put forward the idea that the earth is warming uncontrollably have been proven to be using false data, or invalid methods of interpretation of data, like the famous Hockey Stick graph. Their entire reputation has been questioned as well, as they were found to be accepting money from George Soros.

    And I doubt you’ve seen Ben Stein’s movie. If you have, you can describe it to me. I hardly doubt that his point was that evolution fails to explain the orbit of the planets. His point, as I understand it, is that having a belief (valid or invalid) doesn’t make anyone any less of a scientist, and doesn’t affect the validity of their observations or reasoning. It is also that we are rapidly approaching a point in education where science as a process is no longer taught, but only science as a result.

    Don’t trust me? I have a hard time finding any real science in elementary school science books. Lots of facts, lots of observations, but no science.

    How come? Because children are not asked to try and propose new theories to replace the old, or to invent experiments that prove them wrong, or to show reproducible evidence that they are wrong. THAT, my friend, is real science. Thus, evolutionism (the belief that we came from monkeys), atheism (the belief there is no God), and whatever -ism is by definition not science, since it isn’t trying to disprove anything.

  3. DR King Says:

    I would like to offer a middle view on the subject of Evolution. Darwinism is the most “scientific” explanation of the origin of life that I know of. I have read extensively about evolution (including a number of Dawkin’s books), and I think evolution is an ingenious explanation. Darwin was a genius, in my opinion. But that doesn’t mean Darwin was right. Aristotle was also a genius, but he turned out to be wrong about a great many things.

    From a purely rationale perspective, Darwinism is the most plausible explanation of the origin of life offered to date, in my opinion. I have seen Ben Stein’s movie, and I am intrigued by the concept of Intelligent Design (ID). I’ve also enjoyed some of the video’s offered by the Discovery Institute. But scientists I respect like Francis Collins have not bought into ID.

    My problem with evolution is thus: First, as a theory, it is a grand, overarching explanation — too general to be proved. And even Ben Stein got Dawkins to admit on camera that nobody knows how life actually started and that Evolution kicks in after life has begun. Second, the details of the theory are constantly changing as new facts come in. Scientists tweak their theories about as often as people change their underwear. That’s an exaggeration, of course, but I know too much of the history of science to get too dogmatic about any specific scientific belief still being entertained fifty years from now. Darwin had no idea about genetics, for example, and the first geneticists thought Darwin was wrong. But subsequent generations of scientists found a way of using genetics to explain Darwinism. My point is, science by it’s very nature is always changing. Darwinism fity years from now — if it’s still the favorite theory of scientists — is going to be explained very differently than it is today. Third, I don’t think all reality can be defined with science. I am deeply religious, and I believe God had a direct hand in bringing man and other species into existence. But I don’t know how He did it. Did He use evolution? Perhaps, but I don’t know. And fundamentally, I don’t care much about *how* man was “created” as I do about the idea that God did it for a purpose.

    So with regards to Evolution, call me agnostic. I don’t begrudge others who believe in it.

    As for Global Warming, I am very much a skeptic.

  4. Samuel Skinner Says:

    Darwinism has never been refuted. His ideas were not naive.

    Strong atheism CAN be disproven. All it requires is that God show himself. It is logical. Sure it relies on assumptions- in fact, they are the same assumptions everyone normally makes. They are the ones that if you stop making people treat you as crazy- because you are crazy!

    It is called climate change because Republicans have been using that term to deflect fear. Yep- you have been brainwashed by your own party.
    As for the subject of wheter it is true or not, all I can say is that your data is wrong. Sorry.

    Ben Stein accuses Darwinism of being directly tied to the Holocaust and the Eugenics movement. And, no I haven’t seen the move- the arguments are simply so familiar I can understand it without even seeing it.

    How is what people learn in schol related to science? Science classes are to understand what people have gotten- not to learn how to do science. That is what college is for.

    You don’t understand….
    Evolutionism isn’t a real word… and it doesn’t say we are descended from monkeys.

    The theory of evolution by natural selection (instead of say, lamarkism) predicts humans are descended from hominids who are memebers of the primate family.

    Atheism is a belief statement. It is the lack of belief in God. Strong atheism is the fact declaration there is no God. The second falls under science.

    ANd, no scientists don’t spend all their time trying to disprove their own theories. They do spend some time trying to do that (particularly when a theory is first proposed), but afterward, they use a theory for research. It is worth noting that every experiment that passes it more evidence the theory is correct.

    So strong atheism AND evolution are well supported because they have had ZERO opposing results- nothing in their fields has failed to fit into the theories (unlike say, the orbit of Mercury and the theory of Gravity- it took Einstein to explain it).

  5. Jonathan Gardner Says:

    Darwinism has never been refuted. His ideas were not naive.

    Analogous organs? How does Darwin explain species such as Woodpeckers where multiple traits had to evolve at the same time?

    And his ideas are naive. How could he possibly know about mutation and DNA and the structure of cells and such? He couldn’t, he didn’t, and he doesn’t even approach these vital topics. Simply saying, “Natural Selection” is the same as saying, “Everything falls down.”

    Ben Stein accuses Darwinism of being directly tied to the Holocaust and the Eugenics movement. And, no I haven’t seen the move- the arguments are simply so familiar I can understand it without even seeing it.

    So, rather than argue that Hitler didn’t use eugenics (which is based on the science of natural selection—improve the human condition by weeding out the weak), rather than argue against Ben Stein’s and other’s arguments, you simply dismiss it as “I’ve heard that before” and “It’s so simple even I can understand it.”

    Does this mean Ben Stein is correct, or that you don’t want to argue against the facts of history? Darwin inspired the eugenics movement, which inspired Hitler’s campaign to make the German race the “supermen” of the earth by eliminating all the other races and purge the weak elements of the human race by force.

    Interestingly enough, the eugenics movement inspired Planned Parenthood, which to this day still hasn’t refuted its original goal of trying to eliminate the black race through abortion. This is the other great holocaust that the moral framework of science alone has brought us.

    No religionist of any persuasion, even the Islamic one, has slaughtered so many innocent people in so short a time. In short, Darwin’s ideas, or its interpretation by well-meaning scientists, had more blood on its hands than any religion.

    Hardly an argument worth refuting, right?

    It is called climate change because Republicans have been using that term to deflect fear.

    No, Al Gore is no longer calling it Global Warming since the earth has cooled over the past 10 years. Anti-fear mongers like myself would prefer he kept calling it Global Warming since it is so easy to refute nowadays.

    So strong atheism AND evolution are well supported because they have had ZERO opposing results

    Any evidence to the contrary is simply ignored by believers in both. The Bible? Fiction. Miracles today? Imaginations. Species that contradict Darwin’s theories? Ignored. The visible, obvious effects of religion in the lives of its sincere adherents? Non-extant. The rock-solid history of Jesus, confirmed by multiple, separate accounts that don’t contradict each other, along with the testimony, sealed by the blood of martyrs, of countless thousands of contemporary individuals? Vanity.

    It’s quite easy to have the world conform to your theories when you refuse to admit any contradicting evidence.

  6. Jonathan Gardner Says:

    Oh, I forgot another refutation of evolution: The pre-cambrian explosion. The fact that all species seem to have suddenly appeared, and no transitory examples have ever been found among the 1.5 millions species identified among the billions of fossils discovered. Even Richard Dawkins admits that this challenges Darwin’s theory of evolution.

  7. Samuel Skinner Says:

    Simple- they evolved in concert OR they evolved seperately in stages.

    Natural selection and survival of the fittest. Natural selection deals with living and survival of the fittest deals with reproducing. At its heart evolution is simple- if you have kids, guess what? Your traits are passed on to them! Traits that lead to having kids are kept, those that fail disappear. It relies on the idea that traits are discrete and that traits are inherited, and both of those assumptions happen to be true!

    Hitler was a eugenisists. So was the founder of Planned Parenthood. And Teddy Roosevelt, president of the United States. And… there are so many others. The only people who stood against eugenics where the reds and the libertarians.

    Eugenics is not based on natural selection. It is based on Social Darwinism. The poor are FITTER than the rich under natural selection- they have more children. However Social Darwinism is based on the idea that rich is the best and anyone NOT rich was flawed.

    It is interesting to note your usage of “purge the weak”. The idea that killing people would be a cleansing process dates back to the 1700s- long before Darwin.

    It is worth noting that Hitler killed only the handicapped on Eugenics grounds- the Jews were killed because they enemies of the German Reich, Christ killers and scheming money bags. Political opponents were killed for obvious reasons. Gypsies were killed because they were vagrants, along with prostitutes and other undesirables. Slavs where killed because he wanted their land for the German Lebensram.

    Only the handicapped where killed because he wished to improve the German gene pool- and it was justified on the ground of saving money.

    It also is relevant to note that evolution is about truth, not morality so this is all a red herring.

    If you actually look at the trend it was first Republicans that where refering to it as climate change. Dems adopted it because they have no spine.

    If you give examples of species that contradict Darwin I’d listen.
    As it is…

    Bible-fiction. Just like the Vedas and Rama and the Illiad and the Odessy… you get the point.
    Miracles- see that bridge? It was made by the monkey God. Secualr explanations are evil. Yes, it is from India.
    Visible effects- read “the Jungle”. You see similar effects when people convert to socialism
    Jesus history- you have to be kidding me. No one but the apostles notices a man who raises the dead?
    noncontradictory accounts- that is a lie. Look up “bible contradictions”. It does it frequently enough.
    maytars- see “the Great Patriotic War”

    The Precambrain explosion occured 600 million years ago. Immediately preceding it the planet froze over. I’m not making this up- it is what happens when you have land masses under both pools AND an ice age.

    Transitional fossils and species have been found repeatedly.

  8. Jonathan Gardner Says:

    All right. Let’s talk about facts.

    You say there are numerous transitional fossils. I’d love to hear about them. There are a lot of people that would love to hear about them.

    I (and everyone else who has seriously looked into the matter) have yet to see one that holds water under tight scrutiny. Yes, there are several candidates, but each one, under scrutiny, has been found flawed in one way or another.

    Remember, it just has to have these simple properties:

    (1) Existed after one species, but before the other.
    (2) Exhibits traits common to both species, and is not totally absent traits in one or the other, having the traits that the other species have.

    You’d think after how many billion fossils examined that we’d find one–just one–transitional species, right? I mean, with so many thousands and thousand and thousands of species, there should have been a few transitionals in the record?

    Every example that has come under scrutiny has either been found to be flawed as anachronistic or a non-transitional species, or a fake. That’s what Darwin wrote about when he tried to show that his theory was refutable and thus “real science”. He wondered, in his time, why there weren’t any good transitional example. Today, we are still wondering the same thing. At some point, with a lack of evidence, the theory has to be revisited. In other words, it has to be scrapped.

    Instead, we see more and more evidence of what Darwin did not predict—a massive number of new species appearing on the scene, without any variance in the slightest over the longest periods of time examinable.

    As far as the Bible and Jesus, you can shout all you want that it never happened. But we have physical evidence on our side. We have Josephus’s writings. We have numerous other writings and references. We have archaeological evidence, such as the name of David appearing in another culture’s writing at the same time, as well as references to other figures of the Bible. We even have Egyptian writing that refers to the parting of the Red Sea, etc…

    And we have the race of the Jews today, who have kept and preserved the records that Moses wrote with his own hand in the way Moses told them to. We have the Catholic church, who has records linking their beginnings to 0AD, and can trace their authority in an unbroken chain through Linus to the apostles to Jesus.

    I understand if you don’t want to accept supernatural manifestations, but the more extraordinary the claim, the more deserving of investigation it is. If it were true, after all, that there is a God in heaven who rules the earth, and the he sent his son to die on a cross, wouldn’t that be important to you in your daily life? We’re talking about something that would govern every thought you host, every word you speak, everything you do each and every day.

    If anything, when you have a book that claims something extraordinary happened, you have to come up with an explanation of why the author was lying or mistaken, and not just say it was impossible. The book speaks for itself and has to be explained away or contradicted with other evidence. When the book comes with numerous witnesses from various sources, well, you have a lot of explaining to do. Perhaps the entire human race was likewise deluded at that ancient time it was written?

    And when you have a book written by a twenty-year old third-grade educated boy appearing on the scene, one which verifies every fact of the Bible and supplements it with additional clarity in the Book of Mormon, one which has withstood every attack unscathed, isn’t it worthy of investigation as well? How can two books from two completely different sources agree so well on such important facts?

  9. Samuel Skinner Says:

    All fossils that aren’t the last in their line are transitional.

    As for your criteria, we have found it. Off the top of my head, humans are an excellent example. First you get bipedalism, than you get the face and brain changing. For example you have Austrolophicus, Homo habilus, homo erectus and then us. It is a comtinuim of features that become more and more human like.

    If you are genuinely interested, you can ask an actual biologist. They tend to know these things. Use the net if you want to do it quick and dirty.

    Nope- transitionals have been found repeatedly, even using your definition. Facts don’t mean “things that confirm my opinion”. Use reputable sources.

    You have heard of punctualated equilibrium? Or the fact that only bone fossilives? Or the fact your statement si a blatant lie?

    Honestly we have to talk about facts. Or your complete an total ignorance. I really can’t fix that- it is a personal moral issue.

    As for the Bible… okay you continue to make up things out of whole cloth. For starters the Eqyptians never mantion the Jews. Two, there is no question the Kingdom of Israel existed. Three we have things that happened after Moses death in Mose’s accounts…

    Basically your facts are false- they aren’t tied to reality. There really is no other way to put it. I’d go on, but without the willingness to question and to think it is pointless.

    Yes it would. The supernatural would be profoundingly important. It just happens there is no good evidence for it. Not to mention it is used to justify contradictory religions.

    Yes. Unlike you I am aware there are many books. The Vedas. Book of the Dead. The Koran. The Torah. All claim similar justification. And you reject them out of hand.

    The book of Mormon is BS.

    I’ll simply tell you what is happening. You are trying to claim the moral high ground against the unreasonable liberal. The flaw? Your facts have no basis in reality.

    Ex: The claim that the gospels date to 0 AD. That is plainly false. Jesus was born in 6 BC. He didn’t get his disciples until adulthood. The gospels themselves weren’t written and “selected” until the third century. And no one else in Israel at that time takes note of the fact that the impossible is happening at their doorstep. By contrast people who claim magic powers had a history in the empire to garner following.

    I’d go on, but as long as you blindly accept your facts as true because they confirm your opinion, their is no changing you.

  10. Jonathan Gardner Says:

    All fossils that aren’t the last in their line are transitional.

    So, by definition, evolution is a correct theory? Think about the logic you are using here. You are saying that the very fact that a fossil exists supports the theory of evolution. I don’t think even Darwin thought that.

    Using the same logic, I can prove the God exists: God created the earth, here is the earth, therefore God exists.

    As for your criteria, we have found it. Off the top of my head, humans are an excellent example. First you get bipedalism, than you get the face and brain changing. For example you have Austrolophicus, Homo habilus, homo erectus and then us. It is a comtinuim of features that become more and more human like.

    If only it were as you described… but it is not. These fossils are not compatible with the timeline that they existed from. They also don’t share attributes from both later and previous species.

    Australopithecus was simply an ape and had no features in common with humans that humans don’t share with other apes. They didn’t even walk upright.

    Homo Habilus is also an ape, sharing no traits with humans that apes don’t already share. In particular, the structure in the ear was a dead give-away. Today, scientists believe that H. Habilus walked upright less than Australopithecus.

    Homo Erectus is no different from Homo Sapiens. In fact, the only distinguishing factor is that Homo Erectus fossils are older. That’s it. Any difference is no more extreme than differences between modern races of men.

    Neanderthal man is no different than modern man. They used tools, made flutes that played the 7-note scale, sewed clothing with needles and threads, and so on and so forth. Any differences between Neanderthals and modern man are no more extreme than differences between the aboriginals in Australia and Inuits and Europeans and Asians and Africans.

    There is still the divide between apes and humans, one which no fossil sample has bridged. Yes, Australopithecus, H. Habilus, and H. Erectus were candidates, but close scrutiny showed they don’t deserve to be what they are described as being in popular culture.

    And I’m surprised you don’t know about the find in 2002 in Chad: Sahelanthropus tchadensis. Kind of throws the whole line you described on its head. Look it up.

    Do you want to try a different transitional? There has got to be one—one—that stands up to scrutiny, right?

    As far as the Egyptian record agreeing with accounts in the Bible, .

    This is a case of obvious evidence being disregarded because it is too fantastic to believe. It would be like saying the Revolutionary War was a myth because no group of rag-tag rebels could stand up to the British Empire and win. Or that the Roman Empire didn’t exist because it was impossible for ancient man to organize and mobilize to such a degree. Yet we know these things did happen despite their fantastic claims.

    You are blinded by your predisposition to disbelieve anything that contradicts what you believe to be true. That’s fine, it’s human nature. But it’s the aspect of human nature that science is supposed to overcome.

  11. Samuel Skinner Says:

    Well, under every other theory there wouldn’t be fossils… not to mention that my statement happens to be true, no matter how obvious it is. And form between any two species is in transition… and for every species that didn’t dead end, this occurred.

    There is a difference between the logic I use and you use. If evolution is true, than by definition all fossils are transitional fossils. You might not like it, but it is definitionally true. By contrast, the Earth being made by God is an argument from ignorance, not definition.

    Lets see… I crack open an actual anthropology text.

    Sahelanthropus tchadensis- oldest found. The difference between it and the chimp line? Flatter face and walks upright. Just two.

    Australopithecus- teeth start looking more human, as is skeletal structure. First ones with shorter arms compared to leg ration.

    Homo Habilus- more human. Bigger brain, fire, primitive tools.

    Homo Erectus- very similar to modern humans. Face different, but brain much smaller- about 1000 ccs to humans 1500. Of course Erectus starts out smaller and gradually gets bigger brain size- the largest are almost 1400 ccs.

    Difference between homo sapiens and neanderthals.
    - Can’t interbreed (see mitochondrial record)
    - Larger brain size
    - Didn’t do paintings
    - Stone work is cruder
    - Cold adapted
    - Brow ridge, barrel shaped, stronger, etc

    Out of time. be back soon.

  12. Jonathan Gardner Says:

    Well, under every other theory there wouldn’t be fossils…

    Wow, you really are reaching for straws, aren’t you? What do you know of other theories?

    There is a difference between the logic I use and you use. If evolution is true, than (sic) by definition all fossils are transitional fossils.

    Yeah, I use the kind of logic that doesn’t beg the question (petitio principii). See for a quick overview.

    You might want to supplement that textbook with more modern interpretations and findings. You may want to spend some time on sites that actually show a different point of view and collect writings of real scientists who believe in evolution but admit that certain things either contradict it or don’t support it. AKA, real scientists who don’t let their beliefs get in the way of facts.

  13. Samuel Skinner Says:

    There are three theories- chance, design and evolution. Evolution is basically “self organizing system”.

    Under chance the living things we see today formed… literally by chance. It is just about impossible- it made more sense back in the day when we had no idea how living things work.

    Design is the one you follow. However, under design without evolution there would be no fossils- at least the ones we are finding. For starters, we know that LOTS of species came into existance and then disappeared. Which would mean a designer that is constantly making things… Well, it is freaking stupid.

    The other way is to have design with evolution… which makes no sense. Why? Because it is essentially an argument from ignorance- “what we can’t explain now must have been designed”.

    As for me begging the question, I’ll have to explain slowly why I am not.

    Transitional species- a species between two other species- the progenitor and the offspring.
    Extinct- a species that has no living memebers
    Dead end- A species that has no offspring species

    So lets take a look


    Now, lets say we get a fossil for each of these species. Which are transitional?
    B, C, D, E2,F, G,H

    The irony is you are attacking my argument because it fits too pat. Have you considered that might be because it is… well, true?

    And once again you show your true colors. “Real scientists” are those who secretly agree with you. Have you considered that your beliefs are getting in the way of your interpretation of the facts?

    Am I missing anything… oh yeah- you consider naturalism a belief getting in the way. Of course it just happens to be the foundation of modern science so I don’t think it “gets in the way”.
    Then there is your insistance on facts, which is code for “people who agree with me”. Given that the overwhelming majority of scientists don’t, there is either 1 a conspiracy, 2 a huge blind spot or 3 you are wrong. Guess which one is most likely?
    Then there is “real scientists”. I hate to break it to you, but if you do science, you are a “real scientist”. Which technically covers a large number of people. You’d say “accredited scientist”, because these are people with degrees… except the overwhelmingly have the opposing position.

    The fact is despite your claim of relying on “facts”, what you mean is “people who agree with me”. Which is the exact opposite of a reliable way of getting imformation.

    You will, of course ignore me. You will claim… I don’t know. Surprise me.

  14. Jonathan Gardner Says:

    Design is the one you follow.

    You are trying to argue that there are only 3 theories to explain the origin of the species (which is blatantly false–there are only 3 theories that you can think of right now), that I believe in one of them, and that since that one is wrong, I am wrong, therefore what I say has no merit.

    That doesn’t work as a basis for logical reasoning and scientific research. What I—or anyone else—believe or think is irrelevant to the facts at hand. I am arguing facts, not people. I am saying “X, Y, and Z show that A, B, C can or cannot be true”. That’s a basis for logical reasoning and scientific discovery.

    I am not saying, “This guy is from Mars therefore he is a lunatic therefore you can safely disregard anything he says, or safely conclude that everything he says is false.”

    That’s called argumentum ad hominem. It doesn’t work. It’s a sign of logical fallacy, that you are wrong. Don’t use it.

    My original point—the point that you have failed to accept and aruge because you take evolution to be the truth regardless of the facts—is that science is not a set of foregone conclusions. It cannot be such a thing. Science is a method of discovery, and discovery is made as we determine what the weaknesses are in the theories that we ascribe to today. So, in a way, science is exactly the opposite of a set of foregone conclusions. It says, “These are the conclusions we have today. They are different than the ones we’ve had a few moments ago, and will be superceded by different conclusions we will draw in a few moments.” It says that real scientific work is done by disproving current theories with more and more accurate evidence.

    In that sense, if we teach anything as a foregone conclusion, we are not teaching science. If we teach Darwinism as anything but a disprovable theory, as anything but what we think we know now but can be replaced by something better at any time, then we are not teaching science but a religion.

    See, religion operates on a different basis. It says, “These are things that I believe that cannot be proven unless you assume first that they are true.” Religion says, “Do, think, and say x, y, and z regardless of the evidence.” It says, “We have evidence that contradicts my belief. Here is why that evidence is inadmissible or why it doesn’t actually contradict my belief, and I am not interested in seeing any more evidence of this sort anyway.” When you treat evolution as something like this, you are no longer doing science but religion.

    My argument with regards to Darwinism is and was that it has already been disproven and will be disproven again and again. The evidence for Darwinism as Darwin described it hasn’t materialized, and likely never will. In fact, a whole lot of evidence has come forward that refutes Darwinism altogether such as the pre-Cambrian explosion and lack of any confirmed transitionals.

    You are arguing that there are transitionals. That’s great. Name one. You can’t do it. Nobody can. People go around claiming they exist but they don’t. Every proposed transitional has been found completely lacking under scrutiny.

    You can’t address the pre-Cambrian explosion. No Darwinist can. Why did, all of a sudden, all of the Cambrian species appear all at once in their most advanced (and only) form? Why do we find supposedly advanced fish in the pre-Cambrian record?

    To reconcile that, the current theory of evolution has strayed a lot from what Darwin originally thought. It had to, otherwise evolution would of necessity be thrown out the window altogether as outright wrong and a silly concept that doesn’t match, even a little bit, the fossil record.

    Others are starting to question the basic premise of evolution altogether and are talking about things like information theory (look it up—very important!) to explain why evolution is impractical as an explanation for the archeological evidence we have so far uncovered.

    But rather than take these people on scientifically and try to argue one way or the other, they are simply cast out of the debate altogether, misrepresented in the media, and never given the proper attention they deserve.

    That’s fine, if you’re a religion. It is dangerous if you are trying to do science because it is certainly not science. It is even more dangerous if you tell people what you are doing is science when it is really religion. That’s where the Nazi and communists and mas starvation and mass graves come into play. When you hide your religion behind the guise of science, well, you have a bad thing.

    See, in the physics world, when it was proven that God does indeed play dice, then we moved on and accepted that. When it was proven that there were light particles, we moved on and accepted that. When we see the subatomic structure and uncover the strong and weak forces, we move on and accept that. We are more than willing to surrender all that we know if only for a better explanation of observed phenomena. We don’t believe in Newtonian mechanics or Quantum Theory or any theory for that matter. We don’t believe in it because there is nothing to believe in, and we know full well that they are incomplete and outright wrong in many edge cases. That’s what real science looks like.

  15. Samuel Skinner Says:

    Wow… just… wow.

    First off, I don’t discount you because you hold opposing views- I show your opposing views are wrong. You fail to show even once something that isn’t an argument from ignorance.

    Lets go on with the list.

    1) Number of possibilities for life’s variety. Only three have ever been proposed. The cover all the possibilities.
    A Design. A supernatural force designed life.
    B Chance. Life came about the same way everything else in the real world. Maybe it was sculpted by outside forces, but the forms that exists arose from mud and the like.
    C Evolution. This is “life forms itself”. Covers a HUGE variety, from lamarkism, D/Wism, punctualated equilibrium, etc.

    There is no forth type. Why? Because the options are
    1 Supernatural
    2 Entirely natural
    3 Natural process
    That covers… everything.

    Science is a process- that is correct. It is not devoted to disproving old theories- it is devoted to finding answers. If it disproves the old theories… then they were wrong. It is worth noting that theories like evolution and gravity are extremely reliable- they have stood time and time again.

    “Darwinism” is a disprovable theory- however, evolution isn’t. Why? Because it is essentially the ONLY theory- science does NOT include the supernatural.

    Evolution has not been disproven. “Darwinism” may or may not have been refuted- evolution by natural selection and survival of the fittest have been strengthened over time.

    A transitional fossil? Sure- just dig up a grave. You’ll find a human body and… what? Evolution NEVER stops- you may get living fossil species, but that is only when divergant members die. That doesn’t happen to humanity like it used to.

    For the ones you’d consider tansitional use an actual muesum. I’m sure the kind people could help you.

    Actually I can- so can others. The pre-Cambrain explosion occured because the world was moving out of a global ice age, characterized by the planet freezing over. It is what happens when you have an ice age and all the land at the poles. The burst occured just after it when there was a large amount of shoreline (increasing the area for species to live- the deep sea is as dead as a desert) and oxygen in the atmosphere.

    Information theory essentially asks “how did the information get there”. Basically complete ignorance of evolution. It was put there by mutations and then the quality control known as “dying” weeded out nonsense.

    That would be because ALL your arguments are arguments from ignorance. Every last one. We don’t have an answer, so it must be… failing to remember that they DO and you reject it out of hand.

    Religion pretends to science. You are aware the existance of things falls under the perview of science and, surprise surprise, that would include God.

    God plays dice means the universe is random. We do NOT live in a D20 world.

    These “incomplete” theories are the back bone of our science. Although science is open to new evidence, evolution is so simple that our current understanding is almost certainly true. I’d say absolutely- if you satisfy several criteria, evolution follows:

    1) Not all living things survive and have kids
    2) Not all offspring have identical traits
    3) Traits are inherited
    4) Traits affect mating and survival chances.

    If those conditions are met, evolution follows.

    I will return when the keyboard stops dancing… stupid sleep deprivation…

  16. Jonathan Gardner Says:

    “Darwinism” is a disprovable theory- however, evolution isn’t. Why? Because it is essentially the ONLY theory- science does NOT include the supernatural.

    You, as a scientist, would stand before God himself, have him declare his omnipotence with thunder and earthquake, view the entirety of nature’s history in the finest detail, every whit, and refute him and it, simply because you refuse to admit evidence that contradicts your preconceptions. That is what you are saying. You cannot admit the supernatural simply because you cannot admit the supernatural.

    I have gotten you at your own game. If you refuse to admit any evidence that can disprove what you believe to be correct, you are no longer a scientist.

    A transitional fossil? Sure- just dig up a grave.

    You lose. You really lose. There are no transitionals, and you have admitted it. Remember, folks, the transitionals simply have to exhibit these two characteristics:

    (1) Share traits between two similar species that are not otherwise shared between the species.
    (2) Exist before the later species.

    That’s it. And no evolutionist can do it. None.

    God plays dice means the universe is random. We do NOT live in a D20 world.

    You don’t appreciate Heisenberg as much as everyone else who understands the most basic of the quantum world. Please, your ignorance is showing.

    Oh, and we most certainly do live in a d20 world—when you throw d20 dice. In electron slit experiments, that electron has to pass through one of the holes, right? When you go to find out which one, the universe is more than willing to let you know. If you don’t know what I am talking about, ignore it because it will take too long to explain.

    It is not devoted to disproving old theories- it is devoted to finding answers. If it disproves the old theories… then they were wrong. It is worth noting that theories like evolution and gravity are extremely reliable- they have stood time and time again.

    You cannot prove a theory with more evidence. No amount of evidence can ever prove a theory absolutely correct. You can observe all the phenomena in the known universe, in all times past or present, and still not have enough evidence to prove a theory correct.

    You can only prove a theory incorrect.

    And any good theory, at the time it is proposed, usually fails to explain all observations.

    As far as gravity being disproven, yes, it has already happened. What you think you know about gravity is very, very wrong. (I doubt you have taken a general relativity course not a QFT course.) In fact, what anyone thinks about gravity is wrong, and we know it because what we know doesn’t match the data we have.

    The universe simply doesn’t follow our theories very well.

  17. vooodooo84 Says:

    Have you never heard of Archaeopteryx? It has features of both theropod dinosaurs and primitive bird species. It seems to be one of the most likely candidates for a transitional fossil if ever there was one.

  18. Jonathan Gardner Says:

    Yes, I have heard of archeopteryx. Unfortunately, no one seriously considers it a candidate for a transitional fossil except in the popular media. There are only a few more transitionals you can propose, but they have already been thoroughly discredited, even among evolutionist circles.

    On the topic of birds, modern evolutionists don’t consider dinosaurs as the precursors to birds at all since they share very few common traits. In other words, if birds evolved, they didn’t evolve from dinosaurs but from something else. What is that something else? No one can say.

    And this pattern is repeated for every species and every genus and taxa. Whatever evolved into whatever we have today or in ancient times, no evidence of it exists. It’s as if we are only getting the leaves of the tree, with the branches and root and trunk curiously absent.

    Archeopteryx is a really good example of a transitional candidate that falls flat on its face under scrutiny since it was discovered and proposed over a hundred years ago. They all do in one way or another. No good transitional exists. All species seem to be “dead ends”, that appear as mysteriously as they go extinct, with none leading into another.

    When people point out that no good transitionals exist, while all evidence shows that species do not vary in the slightest over the longest periods of time measurable, they are poo-pooed and ignored and discredited with ad hominem attacks and circular logic.

    That is not the process of science.

  19. Samuel Skinner Says:

    Science, by definition does not accept supernatural explanations.

    1 and 2 have been done repeatedly. Seriously- take a look at the fossil record. I put up some links, but that comment didn’t make it through- I’m sure you can google and find examples.

    You don’t understand Hisenberg’s uncertainty principle- typical. The principle exists because our equipment is about the size of the objects we are measuring and we get information by HITTING what we are studying with it (photons have a noticable effect on electrons). The other effect is related to the nature of wave-particle duality.

    Gravity is the warping of space-time by matter. It isn’t nice to presume your opponents are idiots when they know more than you.

    I’m also familiar with general relativity- it is pretty simple. Confusing yes, but still simple.

    There hasn’t been ANY evidence evolution has failed to explain.

    Second round
    “Bangs head into wall” Wow- dinos and birds have few common traits- I guess 65 MILLION YEARS might do that to you! However they DO have certain traits in common- which is why they are believed to be related.

    Also you claim that the transitional was rejected in “evolutionist circles” Please give a source- as it is all you objections sound like you simply made them up. Is it a transitional- nope it has been rejected. Why? Not enough features in common…

    Given that not all features occur similtaneously, transitional forms won’t resemble half dino/bird. They will look like a bird that has a bunch of dino traits or vice verse- wait we have that!

    You do realize that the branches and trunk would be… well, the overwhelming majority of fossils dug up. 99% percent of them are extinxt species.

    The reason the are “poo-pooed” is because they try to sound like scientists and fail. Whu isn’t it a transitional? Because “someone” says so?

    I’d go on, but you are seriously close minded. Think it over a little- you reject all transitionals because they don’t fit YOUR definition of transitional. Oddly enough they fit the scientific communities definition of transitional. Maybe they know something you don’t? Based on the fact they have dedicated their lives to this field.

    This ain’t the courtiers reply by the way- when speaking about things that actually show the benefit of experience (recognizing fossils) than experienced peoples opinions matter.

  20. Jonathan Gardner Says:

    Science, by definition does not accept supernatural explanations.

    I’d like to see where this quote keeps coming from. I always though science was a pursuit of knowledge through observation and reasoning. I don’t believe that certain classes of explanations should be ruled out before any evidence had been examined. I understand that scientific pursuit of the supernatural is pointless, but I don’t believe that means it must be non-scientific.

    Seriously- take a look at the fossil record. I put up some links, but that comment didn’t make it through- I’m sure you can google and find examples.

    I don’t see any comments from you deleted. Please, present the evidence. I’d love to see it. Google shows nothing. Wikipedia shows nothing except the “everything is a transitional” defense, which is insufficient.

    You don’t understand Hisenberg’s (sic) uncertainty principle- typical. The principle exists because our equipment is about the size of the objects we are measuring and we get information by HITTING what we are studying with it (photons have a noticable (sic) effect on electrons). The other effect is related to the nature of wave-particle duality.

    I warned you to stay away from physics. That’s my home turf. It’s okay that you don’t understand the fundamentals of QM. I’m happy to explain where your understanding is wrong. As a scientist, I am quite capable of working with observations and reason to support the current set of theories I accept as most factual.

    Heisenberg has nothing to do with equipment, nor with the act of measurement. Even if we didn’t look at it, or even if we used Star Trek equipment, we would still observe the results and conclude that Heisenberg is correct.

    It has to do with the mathematical description of waves, and the mathematical fact that the momentum of the particle is related to the position of the particle in much the same way that the Fourier transform (look it up) is related to the signal.

    That is, if you know that the wave is of a specific shape, and that shape has a well-defined position, then the Fourier Transform of that wave will yield a momentum wave with a very poorly-defined momentum. And vice-versa. Pure math, plain and simple. Even the mathematicians agree heartily with the physicists on this one.

    You cannot create a device that would contradict this result, never, ever, ever. This has nothing to do with observation, except that observation changes the waves because we are no longer so uncertain about what the wave actually is. Once the uncertainty is removed, then the wave is of a new shape. Remember the wave is really a probability distribution. It doesn’t require some living, breathing human being to actually see or measure something, however. It just requires that some uncertainty can be ruled out.

    There are no better candidates for a mathematical model at this time, although we know that the QM model is insufficient to describe all phenomena we have observed. However, the results of Heisenberg are readily observed in numerous experiments, even ones you can try at home. Any new model would have to explain these phenomena with the same accuracy and clarity.

    Perhaps you’d like to propose a new mathematical model? I’d love to hear it.

    See, physics is science (unlike evolution), where we can debate about facts and propose new theories without fear of losing our jobs and reputations.

    Given that not all features occur similtaneously (sic), transitional forms won’t resemble half dino/bird. They will look like a bird that has a bunch of dino traits or vice verse (sic)- wait we have that!

    So, there are no transitionals because species do not transition between each other, but magically are born as a completely new species, complete with all the traits of the new species?

    Are you even arguing for evolution anymore?

    In fact, modern evolutionist don’t believe that birds evolved from dinosaurs at all, but from some other group of animals that we have seen no evidence of yet. (You did read the article I provided, right? Do finger numbers mean anything to you?) This is because there is no evidence of birds evolving from dinosaurs, nor any other group of animals, and quite a lot of evidence to the contrary.

    In repetition to previous points: The fossil record shows these two significant facts: (1) species appear suddenly, often in massive groups, in perfect and so-called “advanced” forms. (2) species do not change, in even the smallest ways, over the millions of years they survive, although they do go extinct. These two facts from the fossil record refute every point of evolution in every way. It is exactly what Darwin predicted we would *not* find.

    Given this evidence, what kind of theory would you propose as the origin of the species? It seems to me that the animals around us are immigrants from some other source besides earth, and these immigrations occurred in stages of millions of years.

    If they did evolve, they don’t evolve over the time scales we can see, and they didn’t evolve here. Having no evidence for evolution, it is simply speculation. We can only say that evolution didn’t happen here, if at all.

    Just as you are free to propose new theories for Physics, shouldn’t I be free to propose new theories for biology based on the evidence? Shouldn’t these theories be refuted or challenged? Or should they be completely ignored? Even in the physics world, physicists take time to correct the cranks out there and point out the experiments and evidence and logic that disproves them. Why not here?

    I’d go on, but you are seriously close minded.

    On the contrary, I spent the time to familiarize myself with your theory of evolution, and found it lacking. Have you taken time to investigate my beliefs? I think not. Have you seriously read and thought about Quantum Mechanics at the same level I have? I think not. Have you seriously weighed my arguments against your preconceptions? I think not.

    If you’d like to consider me close-minded because I don’t agree with you, you are free to do so, but keep in mind the rest of the modern world can look past your beliefs and weigh your arguments reasonably.

    you reject all transitionals because they don’t fit YOUR definition of transitional.

    Interesting. I have tried my best to stick with Darwin’s definition of a transitional. Where have I varied? What is the correct definition of a transitional fossil? Would you like to use the definition you are trying to foist on the conversation—any fossil being a transitional? That’s circular reasoning, the same as if I said, “Since God created the universe, any matter is evidence. Oh look, matter! Therefore, God.”

    Or would you like to use Darwin’s own definition?

    Oddly enough they fit the scientific communities (sic) definition of transitional.

    Except the transitionals you cited were all refuted by the evolutionist scientific community (although not yet by the popular media). Or do you have another example?

    Maybe they know something you don’t?

    Perhaps they’d like to explain what they know. Keeping it to themselves isn’t helping their case.

    … experienced peoples (sic) opinions matter.

    Like the experienced people that agree that birds can’t come from dinosaurs?

  21. Samuel Skinner Says:

    The bloody thing discarded my responce! I think whenever I have links it does that- weird… it works for you.

    Any way, you can get the links on google “transitional fossils”. I’ll type up again later.

  22. Jonathan Gardner Says:

    Please submit again. I haven’t discarded anything.

    Yes, I did search on Google, and I came up empty-handed. You’ll note that there is a special section on Wikipedia’s article on the topic that addresses my charge that there is no transitional fossil, but they never name a single one, instead assert, as you did, that all fossils and all living creatures are transitional.

    To reiterate, by that same logic I assert that absolute proof that God exists and created the earth is given: the earth.

  23. Samuel Skinner Says:

    Actually the logic is slightly differant- not ALL fossils are transitional. Only fossils that are from species that had a descendant.

    For a more detailed look, examine the first site that appears on google under transitional fossils- talkorigins. Just type them into google- they are a site devoted to your… style of objections.

  24. Jonathan Gardner Says:

    I had already gone through that site, hoping to find some reasonable explanations. They complain that creationists won’t accept their arguments just like they refuse to accept creationist arguments.

    For example, for the argument that life, even in the simplest form imaginable, is too complex to be created from non-living material (abiogenesis), they simply downplay the complexity and try to muddle the waters by introducing things that have already been taken account of. They also haven’t updated their site to reflect the recent discoveries that Lucy is not a human nor a human ancestor, and also that birds couldn’t have evolved from therapods, so they are dealing with old information.

    That’s fine, it just means that they are pretending like all the answers they have are final, which, as science is, is never the case. The answers we have today from science are temporary and flawed, and anyone that can’t admit that isn’t doing real science. We shouldn’t grow fond of our scientific theories any more than we should grow fond of a carrot stick we are munching on.

    Looking through their list of transitional fossils, I am completely unsatisfied. This is speculation at best, it appears. I would have to read through the actual studies to pinpoint exactly why I feel like they are doing a lot of hand-waving. A lot of these are easily dismissed with the same kind of hand-motions employed to elevate them to transitional status. Remember that Darwin predicted that transitionals would be common. Mathematically, that must be the case. But they are not. Even if all the transitional candidates turned out to be really good examples, why are they so few when there are so many species? Why do species exist for so long without the slightest change, while evolution happens in rapid, almost instantaneous bursts? Isn’t evolution a gradual process, like a glacier creeping forward only a few inches in a year?

    I like his attempt to explain away the pre-Cambrian explosion. It’s actually quite funny in a sad sort of way, kind of like Einstein trying to refute QM.

    His attempts to explain to me why my religion is silly are downright childish and absurd. He simply doesn’t understand religion, particularly my beliefs. He should stick to science which he does reasonably well, although his assumptions overwhelm his perception.

  25. Samuel Skinner Says:

    Let me get this straight… you refuse to accept their arguments… why? You don’t feel like it?

    And then you make a bunch of assertions unconected with evolution being true or not.

    The origin of life is CHEMISTRY, NOT BIOLOGY.

    Lucy isn’t Human (duh). You however, delare she isn’t an ancester because… I’m at a loss here.

    If you read the articles, it says that they are arguing if birds evolved from dinos or reptiles. It is not a hole.

    Transitional fossils that aren’t speculation…
    (Must resist urge to DESTORY!!!)
    I’m sorry, but … brain damage calallalsmfhrb
    Just a moment- I recovered. Seriously- that did cause me actual pain. You do realize that except for “living fossil” species, they HAVE to speculate? The organisms they are dealing with are extinct!

    You haven’t been paying attention when I point out almost all fossils are transitioanl by definition, have you? Here- I’ll put it in a way you can’t simply toss.
    1) Fossils are the remains of living things that fossilized.
    2) Each fossil had to come from a living species.
    3) That species had to come from a previous species (cept the first)
    4) Many of these fossils had other fossils that come after that appear to be from descendant species.
    5) By descendant species, I mean species that are more closely related to them than any other species is.
    6) IF you have a species before… and one afterward… you have a transitional.

    That is why Gould came up with punctualated equilibrium. Don’t know if it is true though.

    The pre-Cambrian explosion is due to the fact it is when living things first had parts to fossilize and the fact that the planet was just moving out of a massive freezing- land was at both caps, allowing the planet to literally freeze over.

    You seem to think your arguments are irrefutable… but you don’t say why. You mearly say things like “he is wrong”, “they are unconvincing” or “attempts are absurd”. Unless you can present an actual reason to say evolution is false, you seem to just be repeating yourself.

  26. Jonathan Gardner Says:

    You are now asserting yourself without any argument at all. Shouting and pretending to have brain malfunctions isn’t helping your case. Numbers help organize your thoughts but you still aren’t arguing—you are just stating things without support.

    You seem to think your arguments are irrefutable… but you don’t say why.

    Because they are irrefutable—they can’t (or simply aren’t) being refuted.

    Go ahead, refute them. Stop acting like a child and try to use reason and logic and evidence.

  27. Samuel Skinner Says:

    Well aparently logic doesn’t work for you, so I will use the absolute- the standard that trumps even logic.


    This is about a recent experiment showing showing bacteria developing a completely new trait. Not a single mutation, but multiple that are useless by themselves, but together have an effect.

    I literally don’t get what you don’t see- living oragnizisms change. We can see it happening. Heck, for humans too- none of us are copies of our parents.

    Or, in really freaky cases, these people-
    Yep- beneficial human mutations! Most are harmful, even more are useless, but some make you five times stronger than a normal human being.

    Generally a big sticking point seems to be speciazation

    I don’t expect you to change your mind… but when the OVER WHELMING majority of biologists not only hold the theory as right, but USE it in their every day work and get results… well, they could be on to something.

    I hope you too one day see the light.

  28. Jonathan Gardner Says:

    I was hoping someone would mention the bacteria experiment that was recently revealed. In the end, I doubt you’ll be celebrating this experiment as revolutionary or insightful, or even as supportive of the theory of evolution.

    There are several problems with it, issues that I haven’t seen people question but are plainly obvious:

    (1) Why does it take so long for such a simple mutation to occur? What does that mean for how long it would take something like Australopithecus to change into Homo Habilis? If you consider each generation is roughly 10-20 years, how many generations would it take to evolve the necessary number of favorable mutations? The number I came up with puts the age of Homo Sapiens well into the age of the universe.

    (2) Why does the evolved form lack so many core and important features of the original form? Aren’t evolved forms supposed to be superior? These bacteria barely survive in the environment (dare I say it) DESIGNED for them, let alone any real-world environment out there. It seems like it had to give up 10 good traits to get 1 new trait. This is not promising for the theory of evolution if the only types of evolution out there lead to more degenerate and less hardy species.

    (3) Why is this considered a new trait? The mechanism for digesting citrate already exists within E. Coli. It is only suppressed in oxygenated environments. I am sure we can develop a strain of house cats that are resistant to certain environments by killing off all those who don’t stand a chance of surviving. But would the remnants really be showing signs of evolution?

    (4) Why did they have to carefully select which generations to work with after each cycle? Why couldn’t they allow them to evolve naturally without interference? It looks as if they have simply bred out odd traits, like we do with dogs. Producing a new breed of dog is hardly evolution. Producing a dog that meows, now that would be interesting.

    These are simple, obvious questions that I would be interested in hearing good answers to. If anything, I would’ve expected this and other experiments like it (which have all failed, by the way, to produce a beneficial mutation) to produce better results more rapidly.

    Generally, when science reporters close the book on something, they are hiding a lot of questions that need good solid answers. As my thermodynamics professor explained (the one that showed how to solve multi-variable integrals over infinite dimensions to calculate the properties of an ideal gas), whenever we add a bit more knowledge to the total sphere of understanding, it only expands the surface of that sphere, which represents the things that we have an inkling of understanding about, enough to ask wise questions. In the end, we are left with more questions than answers. The simplistic explanations of yesterday hardly explain what we are seeing today.

    And there are alternative theories that explain what was observed. One such is the idea that all creatures were created in a perfect form and have been degenerating over time. This is certainly consistent with that.

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