Politics and Evolution

Ronald Bailey has a helpful article over at Reason Online that describes each candidates stance on evolution. The Democrats all believe in evolution.

The Republicans…well you have quite a selection there. You have guys like Mike Huckabee who think the world was literally made in a week. To more sophisticated views like those held by Romney that can be described as theistic evolution. That evolutionary processes are at work, are what has shaped man, but that there is no reason that God might not have had some role in the process. McCain seems to be all over the map. In 2007 he stated he believed in evolution (which is a good thing since evolution is a fact*). However, in 2005 he expressed sympathy for the psuedo-scientific concept of intelligent design and that it should be taught in schools. In 2006 McCain also expressed sympathy for those who hold the view that the world was created in a week. Rudy Guiliani seems to have been very coy with his views on evolution, and true to form Dr. Congressman Ron Paul has a rather kooky view for a medical doctor that evolution is bogus.

Overall, on the Republican side I find Romney’s views the most appealing. However, given some of his speeches on religion and so forth, I don’t find him a very appealing candidate in general. That and some of his economic views also leave me quite cold.

Damn, but it is going to be a long year. Good thing I have access to lots of good scotch.
_____
*For the scientifically illiterate: Evolution is a fact, evolutionary theory is just a theory…just like the theories of gravity are just theories, but please feel free to disbelieve them then jump off a building. If you’ve found this footnote offensive, please read the long winded explanation below the fold.

One of the things that never ceases to amaze me about those who support creationism, intelligent design and oppose the concept of evolution is that they are amazing hypocrites. They will say things like, “Evolution is only a theory.” No. This. Is. Wrong. Evolution–i.e. that organisms change at a genetic level–is an observed fact. The theory man has constructed to explain the myriad of facts that fall under the broad umbrella of evolution is “just a theory”. However, this applies to other real phenomena such as gravity. Take a penny and drop it. It falls to the floor. It always falls to the floor. Of all the billions and billions of times people have dropped pennies (hear on earth) there is not one instance where the penny has not fallen to the floor. Do we fully understand gravity and how it works? No. Is there a single theory of gravity? No. Are there “gaps” in the theory? Yes. So why don’t all these people who fight so vigorously against evolution fight just as vigorously against gravity? My guess is because they know that people will regard them as irrational kooks who really and truly are anti-science. But evolution and evolutionary theory…why that is hard to understand without lots of set-up costs. So evolution is a “soft target”. But the exact same arguments that the Creos use against evolutionary theory can be leveled against any and all scientific theories. The bottom line is that these people are either ignorant or willfully obtuse. In either way, I don’t see it as a good thing in a candidate for any office including dog catcher.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2008, Science & Technology, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Steve Verdon
About Steve Verdon
Steve has a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles and attended graduate school at The George Washington University, leaving school shortly before staring work on his dissertation when his first child was born. He works in the energy industry and prior to that worked at the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Division of Price Index and Number Research. He joined the staff at OTB in November 2004.

Comments

  1. Jim says:

    You’re playing with semantics. Yes, genetic variations within organisms are an observable fact (micro), but when people ask, “Do you believe in evolution?” you know that’s not what they’re talking about – they’re almost always talking about macro.

    And it’s also invalid to relate the “theories” of evolution and gravity. Yes, both are theories, and yes, the bulk of evidence supports both, but not to the same degree. The mechanics behind the theory of evolution are still poorly understood and widely disputed.

    You label those who disagree with you as hypocrites. Yet you fail to recognize the most disappointing aspect of this entire “debate” – evolution and creationism are not incompatible.

  2. hln says:

    Steve –

    Since you spent so much time on it…

    You fail to distinguish between microevolution (which we’d all be fools to call anything other than a fact) and macroevolution (which sythesized down into a few words says we call came from sludge for no particular reason in a way no one can really define).

    But, hey, if I’d read your commenter Jim above, I wouldn’t have had to say that. So, ditto Jim. Amen and a good day to all.

    hln

  3. Tlaloc says:

    Macroevolution is also a fact. You can see it in real life. I’ve used this example before but look at dogs. The microevolution has gone so far that the largest and smallest dogs can at best barely interbreed. They are on the cusp of becoming physically incapable of mixing genes. It hardly takes much imagination to figure out that a few thousand generations after that they would diverge enough to be genetically incapable of interbreeding. Voila, macroevolution.

    It probably would have happened already if we hadn’t been so dilligent in crossbreeding our little buddies.

  4. Grewgills says:

    Jim and hln,

    Generally macroevolution is used as a synonym for speciation. Is that your intended usage?

    Just curious, so I know where to begin.

    which sythesized down into a few words says we call came from sludge for no particular reason in a way no one can really define

    I take it from this that you haven’t taken a biology class since high school and slept through that.

  5. Tlaloc says:

    To more sophisticated views like those held by Romney that can be described as theistic evolution. That evolutionary processes are at work, are what has shaped man, but that there is no reason that God might not have had some role in the process.

    And there’s not a thing wrong with that view, unless they try to say that there is scientific evidence of God’s role in evolution.

    Saying “Evolution occurs, but, philosophically speaking, I believe God has a hand in it” is perfectly reasonable.

  6. Daniel says:

    Grewgills beat me to it, but he was too polite. All the pontification in the world won’t change the overwhelming data that prove evolution. These nuts were called creationists, and then creation scientists (hah!), and now it is intelligent design. But it’s still nutty.

  7. Anderson says:

    macroevolution (which sythesized down into a few words says we call came from sludge for no particular reason in a way no one can really define).

    Well, yeah. So?

    It’s amazing how much we *can* infer about the origin of life, just as we can infer what happened a few microseconds after the Big Bang. The fact that we don’t fully understand *either* event is unsurprising.

    People who expect science to have all the answers, don’t understand what science is.

    Saying “Evolution occurs, but, philosophically speaking, I believe God has a hand in it” is perfectly reasonable.

    I dunno, Tlaloc. Saying God intervenes in a random process — that the Lucretian particles swerve this way rather than that b/c of the Nudge of God — may be a lot of things, but I’m not sure how “reasonable” it is.

    It’s like saying you think the Battle of Borodino was largely a natural process, except God gave Napoleon a cold.

  8. Todd says:

    So why don’t all these people who fight so vigorously against evolution fight just as vigorously against gravity? My guess is because they know that people will regard them as irrational kooks who really and truly are anti-science

    It seems to me that the reason no one argues against gravity is because the bible doesn’t say the penny dropped because God makes it drop. If it did, then there would be conflict and I’m sure an argument would be made.

  9. Michael says:

    And it’s also invalid to relate the “theories” of evolution and gravity. Yes, both are theories, and yes, the bulk of evidence supports both, but not to the same degree. The mechanics behind the theory of evolution are still poorly understood and widely disputed.

    We have a pretty good understanding of the mechanics of Evolution, we had them even before Darwin’s voyage. Genetics, inheritance, variation, for the most part we understand how all of that works.

    It may surprise some of you, though, to learn that we don’t have a damned clue about what causes gravity. We know that all mass exerts an attractive force, but no theory can actually explain what that force is and how it is conveyed. The best we have is Einstein’s curved space-time model, but even that doesn’t explain the source or propagation of gravity.

    When it comes to overall knowledge, we have a better understanding, better description, and more supporting evidence for theory of Evolution than we do for Gravity.

  10. Michael says:

    You fail to distinguish between microevolution (which we’d all be fools to call anything other than a fact) and macroevolution (which sythesized down into a few words says we call came from sludge for no particular reason in a way no one can really define).

    There is no “distinction” to be made because there is no such thing as “micro” and “macro” evolution. There is short-time evolution and deep-time evolution, but the process is the same in both cases.

    Saying that you believe in “micro” evolution, but not “macro” evolution, is like saying you believe a man can run a 4-minute mile, but he can’t possible travel 100 miles, no matter how much time he has.

  11. Kathryn says:

    When people write about evolution there’ll quickly be comments about “micro” vs “macro” evolution, claiming that the former has evidence and the latter has none. This claim is not true.

    The essay 29 evidences for macroevolution isn’t about 29 datapoints on evolution. It is about 29+ separate areas of scientific research–complete with links to research articles–that corroborate ‘macro’ evolution, aka evolution.

    Evolution explains the broken vitamin C gene that all primates share. It explains endogenous retroviruses. It explains why genetic similarities (an area of science not known to Darwin) match physiological ones, i.e. why the marsupial ‘wolf’ is nearly identical to kangaroos but not to standard wolves. It explains the many, many transitional fossils we have. It explains why human chromosome 2 looks exactly like chimp genes 2p and 2q if they got fused together, remnants of broken endpieces and all.

    And it explains the speciation events which have happened in modern times.

    Perhaps 30 years ago creationists could get away with lies about evolution much more easily.

    Now there are online databases of the tired old refuted arguments creationists make.

    Now students can actually compare- base by base- the genes of animals. Look up human gene 2 and chimp genes 2p and 2q.

  12. John PM says:

    Todd,

    My thought exactly. However, to go a step further, the reason why the author(s) of Genesis did not say anything about what causes things to fall is that they could observe that if you dropped something, it fell to the ground. Conversely, it is fair to say that no one really knows how the Earth started. Because the author(s) of Genesis did not know how people came to be on Earth and did not have the tools to try to objectively determine that fact, they put forth their version of creation, just as other cultures have done through time.

    My wife and I were actually discussing this issue the other night. We both observed (there is that pesky word again) that the account of the creation of the animals contains vague references only to animals that the author(s) of Genesis would have seen in their own little part of the world (cattle, fish and birds, and everything that creeps upon the earth).

  13. Wayne says:

    First it is useless to talk reasonably with Steve on this subject. He has a religious zealot belief about the current Theory of evolution. He is no better then many of the Religious zealots on the religion side. His belief is fact and if you question it then your are ignorant and blasphemous.

    Second, he misstated Huckabees stated belief on this subject. Huck has stated many times that he believes God had a hand in it but does not know how exactly he did it. Maybe he did it by the use of the evolution process, maybe something else. He simply doesn’t know.

    Third many do believe god create gravity since god created everything. Does that mean gravity doesn’t exist or theories about gravity don’t have good parts to them? Of course not.

    I really don’t understand the need of the scientific zealots and the religious zealots to slam each other.

  14. Wayne says:

    Kathryn
    Theories usually do explain “why” but to consider them fact is faulty thinking. Sometime they are accurate and sometime they are completely wrong. Almost all theories need adjustment over time as new facts are observed. Remember when many considered “the expansion of the universe was slowing down” as fact. Now they think because of observation that is actually increasing. Theories are useful as a means to further understanding and directing research but should never be confuse as an undisputable fact and above being question.

  15. Grewgills says:

    Now students can actually compare- base by base- the genes of animals. Look up human gene 2 and chimp genes 2p and 2q.

    I’m using one right now to check on the identities of Symbiodinium sequences. Cut and paste the sequence, choose the database, and BLAST then you get all published or submitted sequences that match or come close, the degree of similarity, and the references. Not so very long ago it would take hours and hours looking through articles and hoping you did not miss something. It is amazing how easy it has become.

  16. floyd says:

    Evolution, and the purportedly related biological sciences, explain much about the natural world in which we live. These are young studies with much left to contribute. So far they have not directly addressed any spiritual matter. Those who claim spiritual knowledge on the basis of evolution are not scientists at all. They are merely proselytizing on behalf of science as a religion.
    Experimentally, truth should be able to stand in the presence of lies and dispel them, rendering open hostility toward the unknown,scientifically unnecessary.
    The truth of the matter is that evolution is not a science so well developed as to support atheism. It may yet lead to a better understanding of creation. It’s study has already caused a modification of dogma, in religion as well as in science.
    Those who are intellectually honest and wish to ban intelligent design as scientifically unfounded, should then wish to ban the use of evolution as a tool to attack religion as well.

  17. Science should not be seen as a body of knowledge, but as a particular methodological approach towards learning about this world. One of the primary principles of that approach is to hold everything to be theoretical. So it goes without saying that evolution is just a theory and not a fact. That’s the sine qua non of science. You *never* stop testing.

    Your example of pennies falling is a case in point. The world has perhaps never known of a theory with more success and support than Newton’s theory about gravity. Then Einstein came along and showed us that it was wrong.

    Note that even when a penny falls, according to Newton, although it can’t be observed, the penny is not falling. Instead the mass of the earth and the mass of the penny are being mutually attracted to each other. So even under a Newtonian view, what you state is wrong. The penny doesn’t just fall. At a level so miniscule it could never be measured, the earth also moves to meet the penny.

    So what you state at an unquestionable fact, as you’ve observed it so many times, is basically incompatible with what both Newton and Einstein stated.

    By the way, should we have knocked Newton’s theory out of the water a long time ago because of his wacky religious views, which he indeed had. I hope not. Newton got us to the moon, even though Einstein says he got it wrong.

    Another rule of science, separate the idea from the man. That’s also basic logic, by the way. You’d best sit down and have another scotch. The world’s not quite the way you thought it was.

  18. Michael says:

    The world has perhaps never known of a theory with more success and support than Newton’s theory about gravity. Then Einstein came along and showed us that it was wrong.

    Einstein did no such thing, Relativity didn’t change Newton’s equations, it added more detail to them. The equations of Relativity, when you use a small value for mass and speed, are so close to Newton’s equations that the difference is usually below our ability to detect. So no, Newton’s theories were not wrong, they were just generalized, kind of like saying 1/3 is 33.3%, not 33.3333333333333(etc). It’s not that 33% is wrong, it’s that it is generalized enough to be useful.

    Those who are intellectually honest and wish to ban intelligent design as scientifically unfounded, should then wish to ban the use of evolution as a tool to attack religion as well.

    Most do, evolution says nothing at all about God, so evolution being right or wrong should have no bearing on your belief in God. The problem is that some people’s belief in God seems to depend on evolution being wrong.

  19. Tlaloc says:

    Saying God intervenes in a random process

    Stop there. The second you refer to evolution as a “random process” you prove you don’t know anything about the subject.

  20. Einstein did no such thing, Relativity didn’t change Newton’s equations, it added more detail to them.

    That’s clearly a debatable point. See here:
    http://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=126189

  21. Tlaloc says:

    Those who are intellectually honest and wish to ban intelligent design as scientifically unfounded, should then wish to ban the use of evolution as a tool to attack religion as well.

    The problem is that the use of science to attack religion is much like the “War on Christmas.” In other words bullpuckey. It is made up.

    Science in no way shape or form says a damn thing about God. But if Christians want to claim god *did* this or that physical thing then science may very well refute them. That isn’t an attack on religion. It is simply correcting a false assertion made by someone religions.

  22. Tlaloc says:

    that should say “That isn’t an attack on religion. It is simply correcting a false assertion made by someone religious.”

  23. Michael says:

    That’s clearly a debatable point. See here:
    http://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=126189

    They’re debating semantics, not the validity of Newton’s theories. Again, saying that 1/3=33.3% is technically “wrong”, then it is no more wrong that saying 1/3=33.333333333%. If you want to take that definition of “wrong”, then everything you know is wrong, because everything you know is less than everything there is to know.

  24. Michael says:

    To follow up, I would say that Newton was right, but inaccurate, while Einstein was right and less inaccurate. Those that followed Einstein have been less inaccurate than him, and those that follow those will again be even less inaccurate.

    Some will be outright wrong, mind you, but just having a more accurate theory doesn’t make the less accurate theory wrong.

  25. Tlaloc says:

    That’s clearly a debatable point. See here:
    http://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=126189

    Not really. Read the link. The second poster makes it pretty clear, as Michael did above. Physics is actually my field. Einstein’s work did replace the Newtonian view of the universe, but you have to understand that relativity reduces to be the same as Newtonian mechanics *unless* you are dealing with enormous masses, extremely high eneries, or very fast motion. Similarly Quantum effects really only matter on extremely small scales. Consequently Newtons laws of motion are still taught and used today.

    Think about what that means. We still use his equations because for any everyday application they work. It is only when you are talking about fairly esoteric areas that you need to consider relativistic or quantum mechanical effects.

    Essentially Newton was right, as far as he went, but the overall picture was bigger.
    Einstein filled in a little more of the picture. Schroedinger filled in a bit more. And so on.

    The key point to take is that when a theory has accumulated an enormous amount of supporting evidence you can trust that any future changes are going to be marginal. They will exist at the edges, such that the essentials of the theory as it was examined previously remain valid.

    Same thing with evolution. There will doubtless be further advances in understanding the mechanics of evolution, but those will not change the big picture view one whit.

  26. Anderson says:

    Stop there. The second you refer to evolution as a “random process” you prove you don’t know anything about the subject.

    Uh, excuse me, you seem to be reading-impaired today.

    You said it was reasonable to think that God intervenes in evolution. How exactly do you think that? At what point could God intervene in a manner that fits our theories and doesn’t shout out GOD IS REAL in a manner obviously contrary to experience?

    Trying to give you the benefit of the doubt, I suggested that you meant God intervenes in the random events that undoubtedly do form a part of evolution. Would you prefer if I’d said “stochastic”?

    Which exact individuals reproduced, which gametes are fertilized, which populations move into contact with other populations … obviously there’s some randomness there.

    Would you kindly explain, then, how you think it’s reasonable to believe that God intervenes in evolution? I’m all ears.

  27. If you want to take that definition of “wrong”, then everything you know is wrong, because everything you know is less than everything there is to know.

    This is Clintonesque.

    Physics is actually my field.

    And not anyone else’s? Your primary point seems to be that it’s not a debatable point, then you go on to debate it.

  28. fadi says:

    Your premise is wrong. Science has officially classified gravity as a law and evolution is still officially a theory. Anyone who has taken a high school science class can tell you this.

  29. A species adapting to its environment (referred to in the comments above as micro evolution) is a fact. Whether this technique can account for the creation of all species is a completely separate issue. No one has been able to prove evolution created even a single new species, much less all species.

    In my opinion Intelligent Design is consistent with micro evolution, and in fact one could say micro evolution is something created by the Intelligent Designer

  30. Science has officially classified gravity as a law and evolution is still officially a theory.

    It’s not clear what is meant by gravity is a law. There are theories about gravity. Newton’s theories were regarded as laws. Now, in my opinion, a better theory for describing reality is Einstein’s theory of gravity. (Though for solving everyday problems, Newton’s theories are more than adequate.)

    A species adapting to its environment (referred to in the comments above as micro evolution) is a fact.

    Please read the following:
    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/sciproof.html

    That’s an excellent overview of scientific methodology. (Of course there are different opinions, but this is a good introduction.)

    Science is about questioning things. It’s not about establishing facts once and for all. In science all facts are open to being reevaluated.

    In many religions *facts* like “God speaks to me when I pray” cannot be questioned. That is very different from science, which is even willing to question everyday experience like pennies falling to the floor.

  31. Wayne says:

    This discussion reminds me of the old joke about the engineer, physicist and mathematician seeing a black sheep while taking a train ride across Scotland. I love those jokes but no one at the bar seems to enjoy them much.

    I would probably fall in line with Matt’s thinking on this.

    As for the 1/3 = 33.3% argument, yes we use generalizations for practical purposes. There is nothing wrong with that as long as it is understood to be a generalization. I have a problem when someone says it is exact and yes they are wrong when they say it.

    Was Newton right or wrong? He was both which happens in complex theories. Is the “theory of evolution” right or wrong? I suspect both.

  32. Christopher says:

    Steve,

    Where did you get your science degree? A cracker jack box?

    Evolution is a THEORY. Gravity is a FACT.

    lol! I love how you liberal democrat atheists love to twist facts around! Why do you need to lie and swew untruths to support your position? If you believe it, great! Believe it! But you don’t have to lie. Well, I guess you do if you wanna actually win the argument.

    (btw, read John 3:16 sometime)

  33. Tlaloc says:

    Would you kindly explain, then, how you think it’s reasonable to believe that God intervenes in evolution? I’m all ears.

    The ways are innumerable. You can go with the “watchmaker” type of views where god created the basic mechanics and then let it go. You can believe that god pushes and pulls every single molecule into place. Or you can take any of the position inbetween.

    Regardless though, no matter what you may care to believe evolution is not and never has been a random process.

  34. Tlaloc says:

    Your premise is wrong. Science has officially classified gravity as a law and evolution is still officially a theory. Anyone who has taken a high school science class can tell you this.

    *sigh*

    the problem is that people who, obviously, only ever took junior high science think they know more than those of us with degrees in the topic.

    Look there is no such thing as a scientific law. It’s a misnomer. We call theories laws sometimes but that is not a function of the scientific method. The top of the heap in science is the theory. There is no scientific process by which a theory becomes a “law”.

    In short the term “scientific law” is sloppy shorthand for “well supported scientific theory.”

    Evolution is a THEORY. Gravity is a FACT.

    No. Both are facts, and our understanding of each is a theory.

  35. Tlaloc says:

    Your primary point seems to be that it’s not a debatable point, then you go on to debate it.

    No, I went on to answer you. For there to be a debate people who know the topic would have to come to opposing positions. That isn’t the case.

  36. Tlaloc says:

    Was Newton right or wrong? He was both which happens in complex theories. Is the “theory of evolution” right or wrong? I suspect both.

    The current theory of evolution is assuredly wrong in precisely the same way that Newton was “wrong”: there are aspects that are/were not fully understood or have been oversimplified but the bulk of the theory is correct.

    That’s true for all science. For instance modelling fluid dynamics is a headache. there is just so much going on that developing a good model of how fluids behave in all but the simplest scenarios is hard. There are doubtless many breakthroughs that will come in the future to help illuminate what really goes on- and yet nobody would say that science is wrong about the fact that water goes down a drain. It does. Physics may not be able to explain every detail of what happens but it certainly has a grasp of the overall picture.

  37. Grewgills says:

    People seem to be using different definitions of the word fact. Some seem to be using it to mean an eternal, unchangeable, and constant truth and others seem to be using it to mean something that has been repeatedly observed and measured. The former is for religious or philosophical discussion (Is what we observe real or maya?). The latter definition is the one that is meaningful in the context of scientific inquiry and by that definition both gravity and evolution are facts. We daily observe gravity and it is regularly and precisely measured. Evolution is less obviously present in our daily lives (until we get sick and then sick again) and can be more tricky to observe but it has been repeatedly observed in and out of the lab (both changes in allele frequency and speciation) and is regularly measured though there is considerable debate as to what measures are most meaningful and where lines should be drawn.

    The micro vs macro evolution line is a canard. It is the same mechanism doing the same thing. Saying one is possible and the other is not is akin to saying that a word can be altered by adding, subtracting, or transposing letters but a sentence or paragraph cannot be so changed.

  38. floyd says:

    Michael;
    You are,IMHO, precisely correct in your third comment.[both paragraphs]
    I would only add that it is also true that some people’s belief in evolution seems to depend on a premise of atheism.
    Disparate and non-dependent positions that should be separately addressed.
    Thank you for this moment of refreshing mental clarity.

  39. Michael says:

    Where did you get your science degree? A cracker jack box?

    Evolution is a THEORY. Gravity is a FACT.

    Well then perhaps you and your non-cracherjack degree can explain to all of us how exactly the force of gravity is transmitted between objects.

  40. floyd says:

    tlaloc;
    Your anger driven agenda renders reasonable discussion moot. Condescension seldom wins converts,and so one can only conclude that your purpose is merely vitriolic.

  41. Michael says:

    I would only add that it is also true that some people’s belief in evolution seems to depend on a premise of atheism.

    Most atheists implicitly trust science, which isn’t necessarily wrong. I have met more than a few, though, who believe in evolution simply because it is perceived as anti-religious. Those people are usually just as ignorant about evolution as those who don’t believe in it, and have less reason for their belief than those who believe in creationism.

  42. Grewgills says:

    I would only add that it is also true that some people’s belief in evolution seems to depend on a premise of atheism.

    I don’t see it that way. I do see that lacking a belief in a religious explanation for life, the universe, and everything leaves science with no real competition for explanation of how life developed and continues to develop. This leaves most atheist in the evolution camp by default if not evidence based understanding.

  43. floyd says:

    Grewgills;
    No need to wonder any longer, the answer is 42! [grinz] Eureka!! or hallelujah!! which ever is preferred![lol]

  44. floyd says:

    grewgills; I assure you that last comment was gall-less!

  45. Tlaloc says:

    Your anger driven agenda renders reasonable discussion moot.

    What anger is that, exactly?

    When I’m angry there is no question about the matter. It is much less pleasant than this.

    I think what has happened here is you realize you can’t argue the matter successfully so you are looking for an out. You don’t need one, you can always just walk away. I have no power to make you confront facts, absorb logic, or listen to those who are better educated in the matter at hand.

  46. floyd says:

    Tlaloc;
    SEE? You’re asea! Si?

  47. From Newton’s theories (given initial conditions) there are logical conclusions that follow about the world. Say set A.

    From Einstein’s theories (given initial conditions) there are logical conclusions that follow about the world. Say set B.

    Set B contains an accurate description of Uranas’s orbit (as best we can tell). Set A does not.

    Set A and set B are not compatible.

    The theory that Tlaloc is a competent physicist does not change this one way or the other. In fact, it’s completely irrelevant no matter how many times he insists it.

  48. Christopher says:

    Tlaloc,

    Is your anger similar to that scene in Star Trek #42 when you went off on that other green alien guy?

  49. Christopher says:

    Grewgills,

    What the heck are you talking about? Evolution has been “repeatedly observed in and out of the lab”? Huh? That’s your proof? LOL you’re crazy man!

  50. Christopher says:

    Well, Michael,

    Many people believe that several decades after the discovery of general relativity, it was realized that general relativity is incompatible with quantum mechanics. It is possible to describe gravity in the framework of quantum field theory like the other fundamental forces, with the attractive force of gravity arises due to exchange of virtual gravitons, in the same way as the electromagnetic force arises from exchange of virtual photons (force of gravity is transmitted between objects). This reproduces general relativity in the classical limit. However, this approach fails at short distances of the order of the Planck length, where a more complete theory of quantum gravity (or a new approach to quantum mechanics) is required. Many believe the complete theory to be string theory, or more currently M Theory.

    Does that answer your mundane little question? I suspect not, based on your predictably low intelligence level.

  51. Set B contains an accurate description of Uranas’s orbit (as best we can tell). Set A does not.

    Uranus should read mercury. Sorry.

  52. Kathryn says:

    Don Singleton-

    Did you look at the ’29 evidences for macroevolution’ essay I linked to above? Followed the links in it to the examples of speciation seen recently?

    Christopher-
    many religious people believe in evolution- you seem to be suggesting that readers here don’t know Bible verses.

    To believe in young earth creationism is to believe in a creator who is a plagiarist, and a bad one at that.

    How does creationism explain that all primates have a broken vitamin C gene, and that errors in it are similar across similar primate species?

    If two students have identical right answers, that isn’t suspicious. If two students have identical wrong answers, you’d be sure one’s test is a copy of the other one’s test. The same holds for our identical broken genes.

  53. Grewgills says:

    Evolution has been “repeatedly observed in and out of the lab”? Huh?

    I know you are not serious but here are some to get you started. A previous link also provides much the same examples from the same source.

  54. Michael says:

    Several decades after the discovery of general relativity it was realized that general relativity is incompatible with quantum mechanics.[11] It is possible to describe gravity in the framework of quantum field theory like the other fundamental forces, with the attractive force of gravity arises due to exchange of virtual gravitons, in the same way as the electromagnetic force arises from exchange of virtual photons.[12][13] This reproduces general relativity in the classical limit. However, this approach fails at short distances of the order of the Planck length,[14] where a more complete theory of quantum gravity (or a new approach to quantum mechanics) is required. Many believe the complete theory to be string theory,[15] or more currently M Theory.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravity#Gravity_and_quantum_mechanics

    It is always best to cite your sources, Christopher, that way nobody is confused into thinking that you actually understand what you posted. If you did understand what you posted, you would also know that even though we have observed the force-carrying particles of every other force, the existence of the graviton is still only theoretical, it has not been observed.

  55. Christopher says:

    Geez Michael, if you already knew the answer, then why did you ask me? Looks like evolution skipped your family tree lol!

    And Kathryn,
    I really don’t know how God did it, created the world. But I do have faith that He did indeed do it. And I can recognize an atheist when he says that evolution is fact, which it is not. Heck ask Steve yourself if he is! He’s a flaming liberal as well, another big strike against him. Heck I bet he is also pro-abortion! Now there is an evolutionary concept: killed your species unborn children as defenseless fetuses in the womb simply because of convenience. Hey Grewgills! Maybe this would be one of those “observable” instances of evolution! Of course, it would have to be termed backwards evolution.

  56. Tlaloc says:

    From Newton’s theories (given initial conditions) there are logical conclusions that follow about the world. Say set A.

    From Einstein’s theories (given initial conditions) there are logical conclusions that follow about the world. Say set B.

    Set B contains an accurate description of Uranas’s orbit (as best we can tell). Set A does not.

    Set A and set B are not compatible.

    Sets A and B overlap for virtually everything you will observe in real life. The only places where they diverge is at some pretty esoteric limits. To put it another way there is a subset of B that is so close to the set A as to be indistinguishable to all but the most sensitive of experiments.

    So is B wrong then? “Incomplete” would be a much better way of saying it. Or if you study phusics you call A the first order approximation. B is the second order approximation.

  57. To put it another way there is a subset of B that is so close to the set A as to be indistinguishable to all but the most sensitive of experiments.

    They are obviously different, therefore incompatible. You admit this.

    The point is that science works with conjectures, not dogma. Whether we are talking about the theory that pennies always fall or evolution, science deals with theories. Science always questions itself. That is not a vice, but the beauty of science. So many people are so anxious to stomp out what they view as the evils of religion that they abuse science by trying to make it to be more than it is supposed to be.

    Newton’s theories about gravity were so highly regarded they were taken as the laws of physics. Then Einstein came along and taught us, once again, that holding theories as unquestioning laws is not what science is about.

    To quote Karl Popper, the 20th century’s greatest philosopher of science:

    Let me point this out first for the best kind of human knowledge we have; that is, for scientific knowledge. I assert that scientific knowledge is essentially conjectural or hypothetical. Take as an example classical Newtonian mechanics. There never was a more successful theory. If repeated observational success could establish a theory, it would have established Newton’s theory. Yet Newton’s theory was superseded in the field of astronomy by Einstein’s theory, and in the atomic field by quantum theory. And almost all physicists think now that Newtonian classical mechanic is no more than a marvellous conjecture, a strangely successful hypothesis, and a staggeringly good approximation to the truth.

    http://cavehill.uwi.edu/bnccde/PH29A/popper.html

  58. One of the things that never ceases to amaze me about those who support creationism, intelligent design and oppose the concept of evolution is that they are amazing hypocrites. They will say things like, “Evolution is only a theory.” No. This. Is. Wrong. Evolution—i.e. that organisms change at a genetic level—is an observed fact.

    What’s being neglected is that the supposed *fact* could not be observed without the theory. Otherwise, it’s the tail wagging the dog.

    When a new theory comes about it nearly always allows us to *see* things we might never have imagined to look for before.

    I honestly don’t know where you are getting this stuff from, but it sounds a bit like David Stove. You should read Rafe Champion’s review of his book, which is here:
    http://www.the-rathouse.com/AnythingGoes.html

  59. Michael says:

    They are obviously different, therefore incompatible.

    Newton’s theories about gravity were so highly regarded they were taken as the laws of physics. Then Einstein came along and taught us, once again, that holding theories as unquestioning laws is not what science is about.

    Different!=Incompatible. Newton’s theories were never considered a 100% explanation for gravity. Einstein came and filled in some of where it was lacking, but even Relativity isn’t considered a 100% explanation, and many people have filled in where Relativity was lacking. An incomplete theory is not an incorrect theory, and nothing in Relativity invalidated anything in Newtonian gravitation theory.

  60. Michael says:

    What’s being neglected is that the supposed *fact* could not be observed without the theory. Otherwise, it’s the tail wagging the dog.

    Most successful theories are an explanation of a previously observed fact that could not be explained by previously available theories. Newton observed gravity first, Einstein observed the relative speed of light first, Darwin observed evolutionary change first, you would be hard pressed to name many theories that came about before the observation of the facts they try to explain.

  61. Newton did not *observe* that two objects mutually attract each other. No one has ever observed this first hand.

    There are always old sets of data. When we switch allegiance to a new theory, the way we view that data has changed.

    You want to say it has not. I strongly disagree with this.

    It’s like one of those pictures where you can see a duck or a rabbit. Where once we saw a duck when looking at the data, we now see a rabbit.

    Of course, whether the theory is a good one or not will depend on what it predicts and how well those predictions bear out.

  62. Tlaloc says:

    They are obviously different, therefore incompatible. You admit this.

    No, actually I don’t admit any such thing. They are rather highly compatible since, for the fourth time now, Relativity reduces to newtonian mechanics in all but a handful of cases.

    Science always questions itself.

    Very true, but since creationists are supporting a theory that is ruled out by the evidence what they are doing is not questioning but attacking science.

    Newton’s theories about gravity were so highly regarded they were taken as the laws of physics. Then Einstein came along and taught us, once again, that holding theories as unquestioning laws is not what science is about.

    And again- they can STILL be regarded as “Well supported theories” (which is what “law” really means) for 99.9999% of situations you are likely to encounter.

    You are trying to pretend that what amounts to a minor correction was instead a “start from scratch” total reworking. It is simply not the case.

    When you have a well supported theory it is pretty much a given that any problems with the theory will end up reducing once again to the original theory under the conditions in which the supporting data was collected.

  63. Tlaloc says:

    you would be hard pressed to name many theories that came about before the observation of the facts they try to explain.

    In modern physics you get more and more past a threshold where the science is theoretical (i.e. starts with the conjecture and then looks at the evidence to see if it is right) rather than experimental (starts with the physical results and tries to explain them, then tests with more experiments). But that’s because a lot of physics now a days occurs in regimes that are simply difficult to observe.

    But you are right that the majority of historical work has been motivated first by the observation.

  64. Tlaloc says:

    When we switch allegiance to a new theory, the way we view that data has changed.

    Allegiance?

  65. Michael says:

    In modern physics you get more and more past a threshold where the science is theoretical (i.e. starts with the conjecture and then looks at the evidence to see if it is right) rather than experimental (starts with the physical results and tries to explain them, then tests with more experiments).

    True, I added the qualifier “successful” in my first sentence for exactly this reason, and I should have included it in my last as well.

    Newton did not *observe* that two objects mutually attract each other. No one has ever observed this first hand.

    Right, nobody every noticed that things fell down until Newton told them they did.

  66. In regards to Michael comments about Newton. I do think Newton’s theories are better than the notion that things just fall down. However, if you want to continue to believe that or that the earth is flat, you are certainly welcome to do that.

  67. Kathryn says:

    Christopher,

    Churches that refuse to accept theistic evolution are damaging to the children who go there.

    A child who is told that only a 6,000 year young earth is compatible with faith will have a great deal of difficulty once exposed to the (literal) real world, when they go off to college, say.

    Astronomy proves events that happened 100,000 light years away. Physics and geology show the million-year-old ages of rocks. Genetic similarity correlates with the fossil record.

    All of these sciences are hands-on: things a student can test. all of these are completely incompatible with creationism. (Creationism would explain animals sharing identical functional genes. It does not explain identical broken fragments of genes.)

    Once he learns that all of Gish’s books–all the creationist books– are filled with long disproven lies, then what keeps the student from losing faith entirely?