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Author Topic: 63% of Americans Refuse to Evolve  (Read 12181 times)

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Offline The OverlordTopic starter

63% of Americans Refuse to Evolve
« on: February 12, 2009, 04:33:56 AM »


Speechless...utterly speechless.

What amazes me is that a country that has prided itself on academics and innovation can still give itself such a back eye on the world stage with crap like this. We've stopped drawing our maps with Here Be Dragons on the fuzzy blue parts beyond national coastlines, but this isn't too far off.

Let me explain it to those who might be reading and just haven't gotten it yet-


The theory of evolution is that; a theory. It is incomplete; that's why it's a scientific theory and not a scientific law. Evolution is a jigsaw puzzle with most of the big pieces lying on the table, with the rest scattered about as scientists slowly fit them in. We don't have the entire picture, but we know what it generally looks like.

It's as Doctor Jones put it in my environmental science class a few years ago; evolution is not a perfect, all-encompassing theory, but we have the big pieces and know a lot of it's correct. What the hell does she know though? She's only a research scientist at the renowned Atlanta CDC.

What does evolution have to support it? Only stacks and stacks of scientific research, strata and fossil records, and generations of brilliant, dedicated men and women in the field that cracked open the world to understand what made it tick.


What does creation have? An old book written ages ago by many (mortal) authors each with their own agendas, and hordes of the faithful that believe if they click their heels three times and wish real hard, there's no place like Eden.


Homo Sapiens came into the world in the last quarter-million years, and in more recent eras we haven't evolved massively; it's believed you could teach an Ice-Age man to use a laptop. We did NOT evolve from apes, we all are primates, bitter pill for some to swallow perhaps, and we branched off from common ancestors.


Evolution is real, and it's not an ancient force that sculpted life eons ago; it's very much alive and well today, thank you. Diseases like polio and TB which we believe we have eradicated have returned in more virulent strains. Cockroaches and other vermin become more resistant to poisons. Normal cells mutate into cancerous cells; mutation is one of the driving forces of evolution. The fact that evolution is imperfect is the reason it also works so well.


Quote- evolution is "a theory, not a fact [and] ... should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully and critically considered."

Actually it's a theory BASED on facts, and much of it is correct. It is a working model, but it's the best model we have. The mythology in your holy book doesn't float, for more reasons than I could go into right now without mucking up my own thread.


http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1105/darwin-debate-religion-evolution


Quote
Almost 150 years after Charles Darwin published his groundbreaking work On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, Americans are still fighting over evolution. If anything, the controversy has recently grown in both size and intensity. In the last five years alone, for example, debates over how evolution should be taught in public schools have been heard in school boards, town councils and legislatures in more than half the states.

Throughout much of the 20th century, opponents of evolution (many of them theologically conservative Protestants) either tried to eliminate the teaching of Darwin's theory from public school science curricula or urged science instructors also to teach a version of the creation story found in the biblical book of Genesis. The famous 1925 Scopes "monkey" trial, for instance, involved a Tennessee law prohibiting the teaching of evolution in the state's schools. (See The Social and Legal Dimensions of the Evolution Debate in the U.S.)


But beginning in the 1960s, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a number of decisions that imposed severe restrictions on those state governments that opposed the teaching of evolution. As a result of these rulings, school boards, legislatures and government bodies are now barred from prohibiting the teaching of evolution. Teaching creation science, either along with evolutionary theory or in place of it, is also banned.

Partly in response to these court decisions, opposition to teaching evolution has itself evolved, with opponents changing their goals and tactics. In the last decade, some local and state school boards in Kansas, Pennsylvania and elsewhere have considered teaching what they contend are scientific alternatives to evolution -- notably the concept of intelligent design, which posits that life is too complex to have developed without the intervention of an outside, possibly divine force. Other education officials have tried to require schools to teach critiques of evolution or to mandate that students listen to or read evolution disclaimers, such as one proposed a number of years ago in Cobb County, Ga. It read, in part, that evolution is "a theory, not a fact [and] ... should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully and critically considered." The Cobb County disclaimer and a number of other efforts have been withdrawn following successful court challenges by proponents of teaching evolution.

Recent public opinion polls indicate that challenges to Darwinian evolution have substantial support among the American people. According to an August 2006 survey by the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life and the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, 63 percent of Americans believe that humans and other animals have either always existed in their present form or have evolved over time under the guidance of a supreme being. Only 26 percent say that life evolved solely through processes such as natural selection. A similar Pew Research Center poll, released in August 2005, found that 64 percent of Americans support teaching creationism alongside evolution in the classroom.

This view is not shared by the nation's scientists, most of whom contend that evolution is a well-established scientific theory that convincingly explains the origins and development of life on earth. Moreover, they say, a scientific theory is not a hunch or a guess but is instead an established explanation for a natural phenomenon, like gravity, that has repeatedly been tested through observation and experimentation. Indeed, most scientists argue that, for all practical purposes, evolution through natural selection is a fact. (See Darwin and His Theory of Evolution.) These scientists and others dismiss creation science as religion, not science, and describe intelligent design as little more than creationism dressed up in scientific jargon.

So if evolution is as established as the theory of gravity, why are people still arguing about it a century and a half after it was first proposed? (See Evolution: A Timeline.) The answer lies, in part, in the possible theological implications of evolutionary thinking. For many, the Darwinian view of life -- a panorama of brutal struggle and constant change - goes beyond contradicting the biblical creation story and conflicts with the Judeo-Christian concept of an active and loving God who cares for his creation. (See Religious Groups' Views on Evolution.) In addition, some evolution opponents argue that Darwin's ideas have proven socially and politically dangerous. In particular, they say, the notion that more resilient animals survive and thrive ("survival of the fittest") has been used by social thinkers, dictators and others to justify heinous crimes, from forced sterilization to mass genocide.

But while theologians, historians and others argue over evolution's broader social impact, the larger and more intense debate still centers on what children in public schools learn about life's origins and development. Indeed, the teaching of evolution has become a part of the nation's culture wars, manifest most recently in the 2008 presidential campaign, particularly in the attention paid to Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin's statements in favor of public schools teaching creation science or intelligent design along with evolution. And while evolution may not attain the same importance as such culture war issues as abortion or same-sex marriage, the topic is likely to have a place in national debates on values for many years to come.






« Last Edit: February 12, 2009, 04:40:21 AM by The Overlord »

Offline HairyHeretic

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Re: 63% of Americans Refuse to Evolve
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2009, 05:09:11 AM »
A theory in scientific terms is something quite different to a theory in ordinary usage, and the creationists hope if they talk fast and loud enough, they can confuse enough people into believing them.

Offline Trieste

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Re: 63% of Americans Refuse to Evolve
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2009, 05:52:21 AM »
It's as Doctor Jones put it in my environmental science class a few years ago; evolution is not a perfect, all-encompassing theory, but we have the big pieces and know a lot of it's correct. What the hell does she know though? She's only a research scientist at the renowned Atlanta CDC.

Should be noted that unless her area of research is specifically evolutionary microbiology or some such, she's not entirely likely to know any more on this than the average layperson. Science is a field of foci - you can know an awful lot about and be brilliant in something like genetics, and know nothing of evolutionary science. Considering that she was teaching an environmental science class - which, to the average passerby, will sound like an ecology class - if you want to appeal to her authority, it would be wise to state if she has any.

I'm not disputing you, per se, just pointing it out.

Offline Sabby

Re: 63% of Americans Refuse to Evolve
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2009, 07:19:34 AM »
...over half of Americans refuse to evolve... well, I hope their next order of business if to refuse to breath

Offline Oniya

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Re: 63% of Americans Refuse to Evolve
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2009, 07:50:31 AM »
I like the fact that they mentioned the theories of gravitation.  Of course, since that's only a theory, we should also teach that it is possible for them to jump off a cliff and not fall.

Offline HairyHeretic

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Re: 63% of Americans Refuse to Evolve
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2009, 08:39:28 AM »
I believe The Onion did an article on Intelligent Falling some time ago :)

Offline Avi

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Re: 63% of Americans Refuse to Evolve
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2009, 09:15:41 AM »
I try to reconcile the two perspectives with this:  Evolution is so beautifully engineered, so utterly perfect that it is incredibly unlikely to me that it all just fell into place randomly.  Therefore, I believe that God is the mechanism behind evolution, and he's looking at our debate and going "Seriously, guys... what's wrong with you?"

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Re: 63% of Americans Refuse to Evolve
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2009, 09:43:02 AM »
I try to reconcile the two perspectives with this:  Evolution is so beautifully engineered, so utterly perfect that it is incredibly unlikely to me that it all just fell into place randomly.  Therefore, I believe that God is the mechanism behind evolution, and he's looking at our debate and going "Seriously, guys... what's wrong with you?"

That's actually the kind of thinking I can really respect.  I knew a fundamentalist who reconciled the six days of creation with evolution by using a rather clever definition of 'day'. 

What it comes down to is actually thinking.

Offline Avi

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Re: 63% of Americans Refuse to Evolve
« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2009, 09:49:35 AM »
That's actually the kind of thinking I can really respect.  I knew a fundamentalist who reconciled the six days of creation with evolution by using a rather clever definition of 'day'. 

What it comes down to is actually thinking.

My sister did the exact same thing.  What's a day to God?  For all we know, Creation is true, but a day could be a billion years to God.  The Bible itself says human existence is but a blink of the eye in God's perspective, so a day could be really, really long from His point of view.

Offline Caehlim

Re: 63% of Americans Refuse to Evolve
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2009, 10:25:33 AM »
The theory of evolution is that; a theory. It is incomplete; that's why it's a scientific theory and not a scientific law.

Sorry, I'm about to be pedantic, but since this is a thread about science...

A theory is not an incomplete work within science, nor will it ever become a law no matter how much more complete it becomes.

A law explains the whats of the world. Newton's laws of gravity describe what happens to objects (they fall down).

Theories deal with the hows and whys. Einstein's theory of gravity describes why objects move the way they do (because of the curvature of spacetime).

Neither of these is in any way better or more complete than the other. Just because they manage to be treated as a law or theory does not mean that they are correct either. Both Einstein and Newton were on the right track, but these days we've had to update and replace their laws and theories to keep up to date with the cutting edge of the latest work in quantum physics.

Also it's important to note that in most of these cases the law comes first, then someone develops the theory. It's very easy to notice that objects fall, it's a lot more difficult to figure out exactly why. So no, evolution will never be a law.

Offline Caehlim

Re: 63% of Americans Refuse to Evolve
« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2009, 10:35:08 AM »
Evolution is so beautifully engineered, so utterly perfect that it is incredibly unlikely to me that it all just fell into place randomly.

Most of a parent's children dying so that the strongest can survive to carry their genes to the next generation is perfect?

The majority of mutations causing deaths, tumors or cripples and only a lucky few being of benefit isn't random?

Useless vestigial remains perpetually with a species because evolution can only move a single step at a time is well engineered?

Evolution is a horrible, disgusting process of pain, death and extinction which shows no caring or compassion. It's important to study because it's what is really out there, but it's far from good or perfect. I can only hope that it's random, because the idea that any intelligence would deliberately inflict this on lifeforms is a thought of unbearable cruelty.

Online Lithos

Re: 63% of Americans Refuse to Evolve
« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2009, 10:39:21 AM »
I try to reconcile the two perspectives with this:  Evolution is so beautifully engineered, so utterly perfect that it is incredibly unlikely to me that it all just fell into place randomly.  Therefore, I believe that God is the mechanism behind evolution, and he's looking at our debate and going "Seriously, guys... what's wrong with you?"

I do not see anything perfect or pretty in evolution, and if you take a real look at it, neither will you. It is just how things (by observable evidence) are. All living creatures us included have horrible flaws, but we do fine enough to survive. Still we have a lot of parts that we never even use anymore, some mechanisms in our body that are more of hindrance than help, our bodies are fit to inhabit only small part of our planet on our own.. the list of flaws goes on and on. Evolution sadly does not lead even close to perfect results, and if we really are image of god, then our god is far, very far, away from perfect.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2009, 10:43:48 AM by Lithos »

Online Silk

Re: 63% of Americans Refuse to Evolve
« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2009, 11:08:47 AM »


lets hope evolution takes out the "weak" minded as well as the weak physically to do us a favor so humanity can take a step in the right direction

Offline Caehlim

Re: 63% of Americans Refuse to Evolve
« Reply #13 on: February 12, 2009, 11:20:54 AM »
lets hope evolution takes out the "weak" minded as well as the weak physically to do us a favor so humanity can take a step in the right direction

That's harsh.

Humanity is a species of great potential, all of us, and I like to think that medicine, education and a culture of strong morality will make our genes irrelevant. Just like someone born without legs can have prosthetics or a wheelchair built by our science, someone who is born "weak of mind" can still make a great deal out of their lives with good education and a system that takes care of them.

I do not want our "greatness" to be achieved by abandoning people and leaving them behind if they can't keep up. We, as a species, have the power to achieve pretty much anything we desire. We've split the atom and mapped the genome. Our only hurdle that remains is the morality to use this power with responsibility. I don't think this last hurdle will be achieved by allowing people to die.

Offline Zakharra

Re: 63% of Americans Refuse to Evolve
« Reply #14 on: February 12, 2009, 11:52:29 AM »
I do not see anything perfect or pretty in evolution, and if you take a real look at it, neither will you. It is just how things (by observable evidence) are. All living creatures us included have horrible flaws, but we do fine enough to survive. Still we have a lot of parts that we never even use anymore, some mechanisms in our body that are more of hindrance than help, our bodies are fit to inhabit only small part of our planet on our own.. the list of flaws goes on and on. Evolution sadly does not lead even close to perfect results, and if we really are image of god, then our god is far, very far, away from perfect.

  As a evolved species, we are damned near perfect. We've expanded to live within nearly every enviroment on this planet. Adapted to many different conditions. We are physically weaker, slower and very fragile to everything else. We damage easily, have no fur or hides to protect ourselves, but we are at the top of the food chain.  We are creatures of our world, a product of nature and life.

 Are we perfect? Not really, but we are the most successful predator in the history of the world. Evolution is concerned about one thing only. The species, not indivuals. By itself, nature is very cruel and uncaring, but ever adapting.

Online Lithos

Re: 63% of Americans Refuse to Evolve
« Reply #15 on: February 12, 2009, 11:57:31 AM »
  As a evolved species, we are damned near perfect. We've expanded to live within nearly every enviroment on this planet. Adapted to many different conditions. We are physically weaker, slower and very fragile to everything else. We damage easily, have no fur or hides to protect ourselves, but we are at the top of the food chain.  We are creatures of our world, a product of nature and life.

 Are we perfect? Not really, but we are the most successful predator in the history of the world. Evolution is concerned about one thing only. The species, not indivuals. By itself, nature is very cruel and uncaring, but ever adapting.

We are far from perfect, but at the moment we are best and that is what really matters. Evolution is not about being the best possible, but being better than the competition.

In shorter form, we are far from perfect species, but we are definitely uncontested at top of the food chain, which is quite good place to be :)
« Last Edit: February 12, 2009, 12:51:46 PM by Lithos »

Offline Zakharra

Re: 63% of Americans Refuse to Evolve
« Reply #16 on: February 12, 2009, 12:29:36 PM »
 I can't really argue with that.

Offline RubySlippers

Re: 63% of Americans Refuse to Evolve
« Reply #17 on: February 12, 2009, 12:33:51 PM »
Its simple Evolution is the apparent manifestation of how live became what is is today along secular lines.

Intelligent Design is the action of faith that using logic to consider that a creative force was indeed behind Evolution.

In the end we can indeed accept the former as fact and the later as fact, leaving the truth to the Creator when we get to the next world and find out.

Its not something that anyone of faith has to believe in or not, for example a devout Christian can believe in evolution or not its not that which saves souls but believing in God and the redemptive blood of Jesus as they teach it. I assume other faiths are similar to one degree or another.

In any case is it still not a miracle worthy of awe be this an act of chance or an act of a creative force?

Offline consortium11

Re: 63% of Americans Refuse to Evolve
« Reply #18 on: February 12, 2009, 12:49:13 PM »
One thing to consider is that the Catholic Church has long been one of the longest supporters of evolution with both classical thinkers such as St Augustine and St Thomas Aquinas, as well as Gregor Mendel, pretty much the father of genetics.

While there are some issues combining original sin/Adam and Eve with Evolution, it's a bit of a semantic issue.

As creationism generally turns into a debate about Abiogenesis rather than about evolution/"darwinism" it's worth noting it was Georges Lemaître... a Catholic Priest... who first proposed the Big Bang.

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Re: 63% of Americans Refuse to Evolve
« Reply #19 on: February 12, 2009, 12:50:18 PM »
In any case is it still not a miracle worthy of awe be this an act of chance or an act of a creative force?

Agreed - a rainbow is no less beautiful when you know the mechanics of refraction.

Offline Mathim

Re: 63% of Americans Refuse to Evolve
« Reply #20 on: February 12, 2009, 12:55:18 PM »
How are we by any means perfect? We eat and breathe out of the same tube. There are unheard of numbers of diseases and disorders that plague us more and more all the time, keeping well ahead of our medical capabilities. And we spit in the face of "Survival of the Fittest" every minute of every day by inventing wheelchairs, donating blood/marrow, and adopting children. We're a species of hypocrites, so while evolution is something that does make sense, it is by no means a GOOD thing. It just shows us how bad things really are, but puts it in perspective.

Offline Sho

Re: 63% of Americans Refuse to Evolve
« Reply #21 on: February 12, 2009, 04:08:29 PM »
Just have to put in my two cents. Hopefully I won't make anyone mad. :P

As a Christian, it can be a bit hard for me to reconcile evolution and Christianity. I happen to be something of Deist...I believe God created the world, set things going, and then lets things run their course. So, yes, I think God made the world and in doing so made evolution. But since evolution cannot be proven the way that Newton's law can (here's where I'm hoping I don't offend anyone), I don't think there is anything wrong with teaching both options. Rather than forcing children to learn either Intelligent Design or Evolution, I think both should be taught in schools. That way children are able to choose what they feel comfortable believing in, rather than being forced to believe in either one. If they think the proof backs up evolution more strongly, then they can believe in that. If they think that Intelligent Design is more plausible, then that can be their opinion. I don't think its fair to push one option or the other down the throats of children, who, as everyone knows, are easily susceptible. I was raised around both ideas, and was given a fair representation of both. I think that, for me, evolution seems to make sense but I also don't dismiss God having created the world.

It just irks me a bit when I see people pushing evolution as a thousand times better than Intelligent Design. Either way, it comes down to what each and every person believes in on their own...they shouldn't be forced to believe one or the other.

Just my two cents. :)

Offline consortium11

Re: 63% of Americans Refuse to Evolve
« Reply #22 on: February 12, 2009, 04:17:11 PM »
Just have to put in my two cents. Hopefully I won't make anyone mad. :P

As a Christian, it can be a bit hard for me to reconcile evolution and Christianity. I happen to be something of Deist...I believe God created the world, set things going, and then lets things run their course. So, yes, I think God made the world and in doing so made evolution. But since evolution cannot be proven the way that Newton's law can (here's where I'm hoping I don't offend anyone), I don't think there is anything wrong with teaching both options. Rather than forcing children to learn either Intelligent Design or Evolution, I think both should be taught in schools. That way children are able to choose what they feel comfortable believing in, rather than being forced to believe in either one. If they think the proof backs up evolution more strongly, then they can believe in that. If they think that Intelligent Design is more plausible, then that can be their opinion. I don't think its fair to push one option or the other down the throats of children, who, as everyone knows, are easily susceptible. I was raised around both ideas, and was given a fair representation of both. I think that, for me, evolution seems to make sense but I also don't dismiss God having created the world.

It just irks me a bit when I see people pushing evolution as a thousand times better than Intelligent Design. Either way, it comes down to what each and every person believes in on their own...they shouldn't be forced to believe one or the other.

Just my two cents. :)

Just a quick point, Evolution doesn't deal with what created the world or any other questions about "how it all began", so acceptence or denial of evolution has no baring on the creation of the world.

Offline Sho

Re: 63% of Americans Refuse to Evolve
« Reply #23 on: February 12, 2009, 04:21:32 PM »
Oh, I understand that it's not about how the world was created. But a lot of people seem to think that holding the idea that God created the world or has a hand in how things play out currently is somehow irreconcilable with the theory of evolution. Personally, I believe in both. I just think that each option should be taught to kids. They should make their own decisions. I feel like people should always know both sides of an argument, and then they can choose which side to support.

Offline consortium11

Re: 63% of Americans Refuse to Evolve
« Reply #24 on: February 12, 2009, 04:52:34 PM »
I'm not sure: is abiogenesis (the first life forms) or even big bang (which started out as a catholic theory) really taught to kids to begin with? Because those are the theories that generally conflict with Creationism (and even they can be reconciled to an extent).

I think my stand on the arguement is quite simple. There's very little scientific evidence putting the hand of a creator in evolution, where as there is for the "darwinist theory" (and I dislike that term). I'm all for choice, but creationism isn't a "science" and as such should be taught in religious study type classes, not a science class.

I think the other issue with creationism is this: what would the reaction be if it was taught as the evil emperor Xenu created the world and the creatures rather than "God"... would it have the same support.

I'm a diest, in that I believe there is a "god"... by which I mean a concept we as of yet have no understanding of which could be the matrix or we all live in a giant snowglobe etc... which started everything, but I see no need for it to be taught as a science.