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Evolution has never been observed

Discussion in 'Evolution Vs. Creationism' started by Acim, Jul 28, 2011.

  1. Acim

    Acim Revelation all the time

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    I don't think I actually believe the title of this thread, but since it can't be discussed in the other thread, I thought I'd posit a few items here for consideration.

    I guess, I'd also like to think this thread could serve as discussion for that other one, but if for some reason the first point on the first resource listed goes on for 10+ pages, then I myself might start another thread for the following point(s), and go from there. Make sense?

    So, I guess this first post is working from this assertion:

    Be that (the underlined part) as it may, it is what all informal debates are pretty much about. I mean to me, it is akin to saying, "Atheists wrongly believe that their understanding of deities is what theists conceptions of God must be, and declare God as non existent. In fact, they haven't addressed the subject of God."

    But since evolution and atheism may have absolutely no correlation, just allow me to sneak that in there as point I wish to make, and let's move onto discussing (misconceptions of) Evolution (Theory).
     
  2. painted wolf

    painted wolf Grey Muzzle

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  3. Acim

    Acim Revelation all the time

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    "Evolution has never been observed."

    So, I'm coming from the resource that I linked in OP, but also from own ideas and what others (on either side, all sides) may wish to say.

    Without delving much into the linked material, I understand "evolution has never been observed" to mean, directly observed. As in, here one day is a pregnant possum, and the next day, possum gives birth to a giraffe. We observe this occurring, and therefore we conclude that evolution is something that is directly observable.

    Yeah, that would be preposterous, and is not what I think TOE is really hinting at, or looking to explain, based on evidence that is (all) around. At the same time, that sort of connotation seems not entirely far fetched in terms of a general claim of species evolving. Given the 'stakes,' and/or rhetorical demands from both sides of the debate, it seems like it is plausible to think TOE could be a little bit about that. As in, "it must be absolutely directly observable, or this thing that you are claiming is an uncertainty, and merely a belief. I shall not hold the beliefs you hold, for I like my wisdom / knowledge given to me directly."

    To me, it seems like there is some of that going on, even while the more level headed people (the flexible people) wouldn't be so adamant in that direction.

    IMO, the linked resource is a bit in that hyperbole direction. Expressing, "Evolution has never been observed" as if it is only a logical fallacy / straw-man. And not giving some credit that says how one might 'reasonable' conclude that. Such as,

    Which means some to a lot of inference must be allowed for evolution theory to work. And is also, somewhat a concession that "Evolution has never been observed." Not in that vein exactly, but more in vein of, "evolution (speciation) isn't something that human eyes observe directly, except in a few rare cases."

    Now, part of me wants to cherry pick quotes from the linked resource that is from the first one. Or, to be more clear, to cherry pick quotes from, "Observed Instances of Speciation." Cherry pick because some of what is being said there, isn't exactly bolstering the cause, but is kinda detracting from it. Also cause this is a fairly long read and would be nice to have shortened version to work from. Then again, that might be seen in this debate as 'cutting corners' and not the intelligent way to go about anything resembling refutation. Either buy into it hook, line and sinker, or please read all linked material, all 16 million words on evolutionary theory, and then (and only then) can we have reasonable discussion.

    Which is why I think it is conceivable that this first point from the first resource linked in the other thread, could go on for a good 10 pages on this thread. Because the answers and associated jargon aren't so simple. Perhaps it is, and perhaps someone reading this will be able to provide summary version of that article.

    For now, I think it is not entirely misconception to assert something as simple as, "Evolution in terms of speciation, is not something that is directly observable by human eyes." I realize even that is debatable, but in sound bite form, I think it works, to a particular degree, that I see in the material cited. Like all things debate, we'll need to define each term, and add in 1500 word essays on each segment to show the various degrees of how accurate/inaccurate such an assessment may, or may not, be.
     
  4. Acim

    Acim Revelation all the time

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    Carrying on with this.

    Curious what is being called fact?

    That insects are doing the developing?

    Or that resistance to pesticides is occurring?

    Probably the latter, yes? But if mentioned in informal debate as "insects are doing such and such" it would likely get shot down from the ignorance of whence it came. For sure if a "creationist" said or implied such, it would be shot down in vein of "epic fail." But if perceived to be in clique of 'fellow biologist,' then it is forgivable as mere misunderstanding of words, and not really detracting from the larger point of 'resistance to pesticides was observed.' How that developed is such a minor little thing compared to idea that we observed this. The obvious.

    Check that. The number of inferences supporting evolution is overwhelming.

    How does inferring data from the fossil record help us in moving forward (in our lifetime) with this theory?

    Anyway, until another arrives in this thread to carry discussion on points being made, I'll tackle the Observed Instances of Speciation literature that is linked.
     
  5. Acim

    Acim Revelation all the time

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    Actually before getting into that, there was another thing that occurred to me earlier today. Perhaps this deserves its own thread, but while I'm still formulating thoughts on it, I'll tuck it into middle of this thread.

    The idea is in vein of we have fossil records around us presenting evidence of something. Via observations of these records, considerable study, and inference of what this means, we arrive at conclusion that something came before this. A whole large pattern, covering thousands of years, of life in form of prehistoric beings who roamed the earth. We have stories that we've told ourselves to help us picture this, and grasp it in way that makes it more sexy / tangible. While that is more or less myth, the important thing to remember is we do have a fossil record and it is telling us something had to come before it to form the pattern(s) we are observing now.

    Which made me think, is this not exactly, precisely, the argument from intelligent design? I realize if someone thinks about this through filter of only one, rather shallow, version of 'creationism,' that same one will be able to point out huge differences from what I am implying and what is, I would say, rather obvious overlap.

    But from that skeptical level that reserves need to define reality of once was, is it plausible to you that these records are just there and don't need to be something that was brought to us from the remote past?

    Anyway, this is my first thoughts in this direction, so until I get some feedback and further contemplation on this, I'll just leave it here for now.
     
  6. E. Nato Difficile

    E. Nato Difficile Active Member

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    Strictly speaking, the concept of our solar system being heliocentric has never been "observed," either. No one observation validates the heliocentric hypothesis, it's a conclusion derived from considering the totality of observations and trying to construct a model that explains them.

    Evolution is the same. The notion of evolution by natural selection is a model contructed to explain observations from a wide range of disciplines: paleontology, morphology, molecular biology, genetics, embryology, and so on. The fact that the hypothesis does explain data from so many different avenues of inquiry is persuasive evidence that it's a reliable model.

    -Nato
     
  7. Acim

    Acim Revelation all the time

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    From the other FAQ

    Well, that is helpful to know that this isn't exactly something that is clear cut, even while some proponents of TOE may think it is.

    Cool. I hope my rendition of responding to this holds the attention of the audience as much as you have. Or better, as I don't really want people to fall asleep reading this.

    I snipped and cut the above from original material. The folk concept is what I think average people observe in 'life around us' in physical form.

    Like dogs begetting dogs?

    Didn't the folk conception already cover this?

    Again, covered by folk conception. Just less jargon.

    Again, covered in folk conception. Less jargon, and folk under explains reproductive patterns. But then again, so does this simple definition. Nor is it explaining natural, but at this point, does that really matter?

    I note the emphasis on what is happening in nature, and lack of definition on what is natural. Artificial insemination is natural. (Just to get at point of how one might define nature if one is 'observing' clearly.)

    I'll leave off at this point for now. I'll pick up on the section 2.2.2 in the literature which is 1/8th through the entire piece.
     
  8. Acim

    Acim Revelation all the time

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    So, is this concession that evolution has not been directly observed?

    It is a nice leap in logic to go from 'not directly observed' to 'it's a reliable model.' Do we just bypass that earlier point in favor of 'good model?'
     
  9. E. Nato Difficile

    E. Nato Difficile Active Member

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    Ask a creationist. Certainly we can observe changes in allele frequency in a population, but that's always handwaved away as 'mere adaptation' to a card-carrying anti-Darwinian.

    As for whether we observe the common ancestry of all life on Earth from one or a few common ancestors, I have to go with the heliocentrism analogy again. We do not observe this vast change, we infer it from assessing evidence from various disciplines.

    -Nato
     
  10. Acim

    Acim Revelation all the time

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    Straw-man #1 knocked down.

    In its place stands legitimate claim #1 by Creationists.

    (To be clear, I am not old school Creationist, but am interested in a) getting deeper understanding in all this and b) making it less about 'us' vs 'them.' Put me in room of Creationists, and I may walk out tarred and feathered with sign hanging around my neck, written in my own blood, saying "Warning. Darwinian lurking about.")
     
  11. E. Nato Difficile

    E. Nato Difficile Active Member

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    Um, no, because we do observe "evolution" at its most basic level, the change in frequency of alleles in a population. We have observed speciation in bacterial forms. As I already stated, only if the creationist denies that these observations constitute "evolution" does it mean we don't observe evolution.

    The Straw Man stands.

    -Nato
     
  12. PolyHedral

    PolyHedral Superabacus Mystic

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    All ideas about how the universe works are wrong. Some are merely more accurate than others.
     
  13. Kilgore Trout

    Kilgore Trout Misanthropic Humanist

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    Or less wrong anyway.
     
  14. outhouse

    outhouse Atheistically

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  15. waitasec

    waitasec Veteran Member

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    absolutely not even close captain. anyone can conceptualize a deity...
    evolution is no loner a concept...it is supported by fact. it is fact, in fact.
     
  16. painted wolf

    painted wolf Grey Muzzle

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    The "Folk definition" is deeply flawed... There are lots of "species" that the folk definition proclaims that are either comprised of several different biological species (such as "the Shearwater" is actually at least seven species ) as well as several different "Folk species" that actually a single biological species (such as the Brown/Grizzly/Atlas/Kodiak/and so on Bear).

    wa:do
     
  17. atanu

    atanu Member
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    Acim

    I like this thread. The world as we know is a representational model. So, it is logical to accept the best performing model.

    Problem however is that there are leaps; and models become the truth. Although no one has created a single living cell 'bottom up' in laboratory, in recent times, some big names of science have extended TOE (in the name of Natural Selection) to creation of life from inorganic matter. Hypothesis is then bandied about as fact.
     
    #17 atanu, Jul 29, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2011
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  18. lunakilo

    lunakilo Well-Known Member

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    As far as I can see, this is a pointless debate.

    Evolution cannot possible be proved to a creationist.

    The problem is the following:

    Most creationists accept that what they call micro-evolution, that is gradual change within a species takes place.
    But as creationists correctly point out, variation within a species does not constitute creation of new species.

    So when does something constitute a new species?
    The definition that I usually use is that if two pouplation groups cannot mate and produce fertile ofspring, then they are two different species.
    But I am sure there are other people using other definitions ...

    If we for arguments sake use the definition I just gave, then the problem is this:
    Even if you do an experiment where you follow a population group which undergoes 'micro-evolition' to the point where it produced two distinct population groups which cannot interbreed, I doubt a creationist would accept this as proof.
    They would just say "but that is just variation within a kind" :foot:

    Am I right you think? Or is there a kind of evidence a creationist would accept?
     
    #18 lunakilo, Jul 30, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2011
  19. lunakilo

    lunakilo Well-Known Member

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    :confused:
    I am not sure I understand what you are getting at here.

    Are you suggesting that what evolutionists see as evolution is design in stages?
    That life was designed to turn out a certain way, but was created different from the end result and with a plan as to how to get there?
    It is possible that the fossils were put where they are by God for som reason that we mere mortals cannot understand, but I would not say that this is plausible.

    In fact it is possible that the universe was created only moments ago with you, me, our memories, the fossils, ect. just as you see it. I have no proof that it wasn't. But I do not consider this a plausible explanation.

    It is also possible that the geologists (I assume they are the ones responsible for the theory that puts the fossils in cronological order based on which layer they are found in) got it wrong and the fossil record is all wrong, but I don't consider this plausible either. If someone wants to claim this, they will have to come up with explanations for why the geologists are wrong.

    The fossil record is what I would call circumstantial evidence.
    You have to deal with it, you can't just ignore it.

    The current theories say that they come from the remote past, if you want to claim that this is not so, you need to back that claim up with something.
    Done :)
     
  20. camanintx

    camanintx Well-Known Member

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    I think you are right. Most creationists I've come across define speciation as making a dog into something that is not a dog or a cat into something that is not a cat. Since that is not the way evolution works, they will never accept any experiment you do as proof.
     
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