Evolution: Right or Wrong

Discussion in 'Every Day Debating' started by havelockploz, May 21, 2004.

  1. Anir

    Anir New Member

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    Well, unfortunately it doesn't, because, die-hard Christian that I am, I don't usually take such things for truth. I am interested in what it looks like, since the article doesn't include a picture. It probably does tie in with micro-evolution and Creationism, as many "missing links" have been discovered before, and some of them seem more like one species than another. Example: Archaeopteryx resembles more of a toothed-bird then a link between a bird and a reptile. They say that its survival of the fittest, but if this creature is the fittest, why is it that we only have found one or two of them? I should think that if it truly was a missing link, then there would be many, many more of the same or at least some more that look a little more human than Ida.

    I've always been a little skeptical of carbon-dating, mostly because no one's explained to me how they can know something is 47 million years old when the oldest living thing on earth is a tree that's 3,000 years old. It just doesn't make sense to me, but if someone can explain it, I'd appreciate it.

    The microevolution side is probably best represented by this: Her nails got shorter because she required more use of her fingertips or something. (I'm not a scientist, so I don't know.) I don't know about the toes, though.

    Also, another thing that bothers me about evolution is that if its about survival of the fittest, then why didn't we all evolve into the same species? If the human race, or the bird race, or the fish race is the best survivor, why didn't we all evolve into birds or fish or humans?
     
  2. Unraveller

    Unraveller <a href="http://photobucket.com" target="_blank"><

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    Well where do you draw the line? Are you merely going on appearances? Biologically it shares attributes of both.
    The process of fossilisation is a complex one, but basically, the chances of it happening are minute. If you leave a dead animal lying around it will nearly always be consumed or decay. Fossilisation requires some very specific circumstances. The body must be encased in an anaerobic environment very quickly, before it decays, and then progressively compressed over an immensely long period. Volcanic ash, clay and tar are the best, hence the vast preponderance of fossils in these substances. Earth movements, other animals, plant roots, a huge number of variables can disturb and/or destroy the body before the process can even begin. If you think of the size of the planet and the way water levels have changed over millennia then it's hardly surprising that not many have been found. Did you know we had only found one complete T-Rex fossil when Jurrassic Park was filmed?
    The atomic isotope Carbon-12 decays at a constant, predictable rate. Once that fact is acknowledged then the concept of analysing the atomic structure of a substance containing carbon to determine how far along this process is isn't much of a leap.

    That's not how evolution works. The principal would go: a change occurred in the environment which meant that being able to use sensitive fingertips gave more of an advantage than long fingernails (perhaps feeling inside rotten logs for grubs). Over hundreds of generations those with shorter fingernails tended to survive and reproduce better than those with longer nails. As they passed on their genetic material, their children had the same traits. The simplest explanation is the aforementioned moth case.
    Before the industrial revolution a certain species of moth had a population that was about 98% white and 2% black. As they lived on trees which had light coloured bark the black moths tended to get eaten as they were easier to see. When England industrialised the resulting soot turned the bark black. As a result the white moths were almost wiped out as they showed up, while the black ones multiplied. Now that pollution levels have fallen the white gene has come back into the ascendancy.
    Because what's good for one set of circumstances isn't good for another and random mutations are just that. You're thinking as a member of a modern society with a global community. Even a thousand years ago it was highly unlikely that anyone (or anything) would travel far from where it was born (apart from migratory birds and sea creatures). A camel is highly suited for desert conditions but not arctic. Likewise, a penguin wouldn't last long in Mongolia.
     
  3. Raff the Sweetling

    Raff the Sweetling Threadkiller

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    The Evolution V. Creation argument seems to always have the same over tone. People that believe in evolution have to explain every nuance of evolution or its bogus, while the creationists are allowed to say, "because it just is". I obviously believe in evolution, I can touch a fossil, or see pictures of creatures long passed, it just makes sense to me. If god or whoever the devine creator is wants to prove me wrong, Im available. Anything less than Jesus H. Christ showing up and slapping me across the face, will probably not convince me otherwise. If people want to believe in Creationism, more power to them, heaven sounds like an alright place. But where's the proof?
     
  4. Anir

    Anir New Member

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    1. To be sure of that, wouldn't we have to examine its internal workings?

    2. I still think that we would find more than one of them, even if it is uncomplete. We found plenty of dinosaur skeletons, didn't we? They were incomplete, but we've still found more of them then missing links? I understand how unlikely it is, but shouldn't we have found at least two? (Aargh, that probably doesn't make sense.)

    3. As to carbon dating, it decays at the same constant rate, but isn't that assuming that the radiation in the world has been the same for millions and millions of years? Would it be affected by outside radiation, like from an atomic bomb or from natural radiation in the soil?

    4. Evolution still makes little sense to me. How did they have shorter nails in the first place? If a genetic mutation caused it, would it cause other, less sought after mutations? If they passed on the faulty gene, wouldn't it just cause the same length nails as their parents? No one has ever really explained the theory behind it to me in detail, only that it is truth.

    5. Okay, let me rephrase it, taking into account the fact that not all circumstances are the same. Why isn't there just one species in each region? It seems to me that there is a needless variety of animals if they all have specific mechanisms to live in their specific enviroments. Why not all camels in the desert, since they are nicely suited to desert life, instead of all of the other species? Why not all penguins in the Antarctic, since they are so well suited to the life there? If they truly came from one ancestor, then why did they change into so many different things when only a few would do the purpose quite nicely?
     
  5. Unraveller

    Unraveller <a href="http://photobucket.com" target="_blank"><

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    A photo of the fossil can be found here: http://uk.news.yahoo.com/18/20090519/img/psc-a-47-million-year-old-s-1-f7812c2b097e.html
    "Although bearing a long tail, she had several human characteristics, including an opposable thumb, short arms and legs, and forward facing eyes.

    She also lacked two key elements of modern lemurs: a grooming claw and a row of lower teeth known as the toothcomb.

    "This is the first link to all humans -- truly a fossil that links world heritage," Hurum said in a statement."
    As I said before, no we haven't found loads of dinosaurs. And you're talking about finding something a foot and a half long that's been buried for 47 million years. Give a five year old something and tell them to bury it somewhere in your garden. Then go back a week later and try to find it. And that's when you know it's buried there somewhere. Then try it with the surface of the earth to a depth of a mile...
    Well we can calculate known historic events into the equation. For a full, simple explanation see here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiocarbon_dating#Libby_vs_Cambridge_values or check out some academic sources. It is a well documented, proven scientific process with replicatable results. If you want to fully understand it you'd have to take a university class. I did and it's still tricky to explain in an internet post. Besides, it's not applicable in this case as it's only accurate to 60,000 years. In this case they probably used potassium-argon dating.
    Random mutations occur all the time, DNA recombination in gametes is not exact, hardly surprising given the sheer numbers involved. You have traits not found in your parents. But you're still thinking in micro scale, a common mistake. A cow never has, nor ever will, spontaneously changed into a whale. Evolution is not an individual thing. You need to consider a population of millions over hundreds of generations. It's all about trends in survival and reproduction. If the majority of people find tall people attractive then tall people will tend to reproduce more often, meaning more kids with genes thattend towards being tall, hence over several generations the average height will increase. People who run fast or are strong are less likely to be killed and eaten and are likely to survive to have kids, passing on the genetic material that caused them to be faster/stronger. There's a huge element of random variance involved too, time for another course in probability theory ;)
    They're called ecological niches and food chains. Mice eat one group of foods, cows another. If you take a sample of creatures from a field you'll find that very few of them compete for resources, otherwise one would assume dominance and the other would likely die out. Take the American Signal Crayfish and the British Crayfish as examples, the American was introduced to English waterways by accident and are bringing the domestic crayfish to the brink of extinction, through eating their eggs and spreading disease. This does not mean that it's killing off the fish and other river creatures, just the one that shares its ecological niche. Likewise, where you get creatures you'll usually find others that eat them. Penguins eat fish, orcas eat penguins. Too many penguins, they're easy to catch so orcas have an easy life and breed more. Too few penguins and orcas die off too. Advanced mathematics and chaos theory again...
     
  6. Anir

    Anir New Member

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    You know what you're talking about, Unraveller, and I admire that. To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure I know enough about this subject to be debating on the same ground as you, so I think I'd better not make a fool of myself and stop debating. Thank you for answering my questions. I will certainly think about them.
     
  7. Elvenwriter

    Elvenwriter Mmmm, Spam

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    wroite. it's both. some aspects are right, and others are wrong. i halfway believe it, and i halfway don't.
     
  8. Unraveller

    Unraveller <a href="http://photobucket.com" target="_blank"><

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    Thank you Anir, learning and thinking are always good. I always try to make informed decisions, nothing is ao dissatisfying to me as not being able to defend an argument or opinion. By all means hold your own opinions but keep chasing the why.

    Elvenwriter, would you please direct me to the parts that you believe are wrong?
     
  9. Thy Fearful Symmetry

    Thy Fearful Symmetry New Member

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    Although I favour the notion of evolution over that of creation, one thing which perturbs me is the Cambrian explosion, in which many of the major groups of animals appeared in a geologically short space of time with no fossil evidence of common ancestry. Darwin himself thought that this posed a valid obstacle to his theory, and it certainly provides one for me. I've read various articles on the subject (from those on both sides of the debate), and am still none the wiser.
     
  10. Turambar

    Turambar Harebrained Staff Member

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    The whole idea of carbon dating is that it's a constant result from outside radiation. The carbon (I thought it was C-14), in the form of carbon dioxide, gets radiated by the sun in the upper layers of the atmosphere. This happens at pretty much a constant rate, making the concentration of C-14 in the air pretty constant as well.

    This carbon is being taken up by plants (as well as a few microorganisms) though photosynthesis and will be implemented in pretty much all it's carbohydrates. Animals eat either eat these plants - or eat the animals that ate from these plants, making the level of C-14 in living organisms pretty level: we all eat from the same source.

    When we keel over and die, however, we stop eating. We stop ingesting C-14; nothing is added anymore, leaving C-14 to what it does best: slowly decaying. After all, it is a radioactive isotope. And when, after hundreds or thousands of years, people want to know how old organic material is - the only thing you have to do is determin the concentration of the C-14 that hasn't decayed in comparison to normal carbon.

    That's how it works :)
     
  11. ~Elladan~

    ~Elladan~ A Elbereth Gilthoniel

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    It is true to say though that C-14 can only measure back to about 60,000 years ago. They have to use other elements such as uranium to go back millions of years (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uranium-lead_dating). That said either would seem to clearly disprove the 6000 year young-earth creationism theory held by some Christians, who take the Old & New Testaments literally.
     
  12. Jorick

    Jorick Well-Known Member

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    I think the evolution vs. creationism debate is stupid. They aren't mutually exclusive theories. One says that lifeforms adapted to suit their environment, causing changes to their structure. The other says that life was created by an omnipotent being. My thought is this: where do these theories contradict one another? Couldn't lifeforms have been created, and then evolved into what we have today?

    I don't know of any religious text that says "our god made everything just as it is today and there have been no changes to anything ever." And I don't know of any book on evolution that states that early life couldn't have been created by a god of some kind. It seems to me that only the hardcore literalist religious folks would say evolution is wrong, and only atheists who believe in evolution would say that creationism is wrong. And yet that's not how it is. Strange.

    Personally, I think the question of where everything came from is a better debate. Who cares about whether life evolved or not, where did all the planets and stars and junk come from? And I'm talking initial existence, not how they got to where they are now. The Big Bang theory is cool and all, but where did all the matter that got blown all over the universe come from?

    Screw the evolution debate, I want to debate existence.
     
  13. clouded_perception

    clouded_perception clouded_perception

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    Oddly enough, most leading YEC speakers decry evolution... and then invoke it happening thousands of times faster to explain the variation that we have today. I'm not sure why this is supposed to make MORE sense.
     
  14. clouded_perception

    clouded_perception clouded_perception

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    The Cambrian explosion is usually poorly explained by both sides. Evolutionary biologists assume that their audience knows enough about evolution to tell when they're being poetic, and creationists have either been misled or are trying to mislead when they speak about it.

    There are precambrian fossils. The reason we don't get as many is that this is about the time most animals were getting exoskeletons and so forth, which fossilise far better. So we see a sudden increase in fossil number.

    It's important to remember that these "major groups of ancestors" weren't any different from each other than we see in other times of rapid change. This stuff happens. The cambrian explosion is interesting because that particular period left a lot of surviving species that went on to evolve and speciate themselves, so given how long ago it was, it was a defining point in developing what has today become key differences between phyla. Some people like to go on about how inventive and extreme evolution was then as opposed to now... this is just poetic license to try to make the audience think. It wasn't any more extreme or improbable, it's just that there's been so much time since then that the developments turned out to be really important and the descendants of the creatures are now very different from each other.
     
  15. Thy Fearful Symmetry

    Thy Fearful Symmetry New Member

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    Thank you, that clarifies things somewhat.:)
     
  16. Jorick

    Jorick Well-Known Member

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    This made me laugh. A lot. :D
     
  17. rough666

    rough666 Head of the Dept. of Evil

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    Denying evolution is denying science, and that makes me laugh. A lot.

    Although, a talking snake does sound pretty bitchin'. I want one!
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2009
  18. Kakashi

    Kakashi The Fighters Guide House Member

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    Religion and Evolution can coexist, easily.

    I say that God created life and everything from that point was science

    and **** the whole 'in his own image' thing

    the bible/tanak wasn't divinely written. it's not 100% correct, a lot of it is parables etc.
     
  19. Kakashi

    Kakashi The Fighters Guide House Member

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    the snake represents evil and temptation.
     
  20. Anir

    Anir New Member

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    I don't deny science, and that was a prime example of false logic. I can deny some parts of science because I don't think it's true, just like other people deny my faith because they don't think it's true. But I don't laugh, because it's their choice.