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#246186 - 05/30/07 11:13 PM Re: ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence [Re: Hagen von Tronje]
TheAbysmal Offline


Registered: 09/22/06
Posts: 1024
LeviathanXIII,

It was a bit of misplaced humor. My apologies if it detracted from the thread. Given lighthearted replies along the lines of "aliens staying far away from us for their own good" and such, I thought it would have flown more easily.

Still, it seems that you did see the humor?

All goofiness aside, it held a thread of seriousness. Evolutionary Theory, while indeed having much practical scientific basis—and actually quite few spots on My reading list—still has some serious flaws and detractors. I am sure you are aware of some of these, of course, so I will not list a bunch here.

Basically, given its imperfections when compared to something more formulaic such as math, where even unproven theorums seem to work without failure, I am reluctant to adopt Evolution any more fully than I am Creationism. To Me, it just seems too contrived, at least at the moment. That was the underlying thread of seriousness in My post.

Of course, I am equally reluctant to try proving either wrong.
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#246200 - 05/31/07 01:41 AM Re: ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence [Re: TheAbysmal]
Hagen von Tronje Offline

CoS Priest

Registered: 06/28/01
Posts: 10140
Evolutionary Theory, while indeed having much practical scientific basis—and actually quite few spots on My reading list—still has some serious flaws and detractors.

Detractors yes, but flaws? Such as?
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#246202 - 05/31/07 03:24 AM Re: ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence [Re: TheNaturalForce]
Svengali Offline
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#246203 - 05/31/07 03:25 AM Re: ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence [Re: TheAbysmal]
Bill_M Offline
CoS Magister

Registered: 07/28/01
Posts: 11565
Loc: New England, USA
 Originally Posted By: The Abysmal
Evolutionary Theory, while indeed having much practical scientific basis—and actually quite few spots on My reading list—still has some serious flaws and detractors.


If you truly found major flaws in this cornerstone of biology, why not publish a paper to a scientific journal? I'm sure you'll win a prize of some kind, if you actually have a valid argument.
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#246225 - 05/31/07 07:43 AM Re: No, please, list them [Re: TheAbysmal]
Mr_Atrox Offline
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Registered: 09/16/03
Posts: 1814
Loc: Lycopolis
 Quote:
LeviathanXIII...

...Evolutionary Theory, while indeed having much practical scientific basis—and actually quite few spots on My reading list—still has some serious flaws and detractors. I am sure you are aware of some of these, of course, so I will not list a bunch here




I'm actually very curious as to what it is you're referring to.
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#246361 - 05/31/07 11:09 PM Re: ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence [Re: Hagen von Tronje]
TheAbysmal Offline


Registered: 09/22/06
Posts: 1024

First, I doubt My arguments are prize worthy, and I am sure they have a reasonable chance of crumbling under hard debate. Still, the flaws of evolution that I see are based on a mixture of My own thoughts and observations, and those from other sources that seemed put together lucidly enough, imperfect though they may have been.


So, here they go:


  1. Evolutionary Theory is just that… a theory. It is not yet the Law of Evolution. It is not a scientific law because there is not sufficient evidence to support it as one. That is not the flaw, however. Was is the flaw is that it is based, in part, on incomplete forensic evidence that scientists have amassed after the fact (macroevolution), and, in part, on what scientists have been able to observe (microevolution). The microevolution side of the story, to Me, seems well enough founded, but the larger picture, macroevolution, is on very shakey ground. It is based largely on an incomplete fossil record and good guesses to fill the remaining holes. But, take another look at the Peppered Moth, and you will see that even what has been observed is still impcomplete.
  2. So what if it is not a law, right? Theories and theorums have seen great application without proof. The Pythagorean Theorum endured for time immemorial without a proof until recently. Recent proofs aside, it still had practical application, and you could reasonably expect to get an accurate answer, even if no one could prove how it worked. Einstein's infamous Theories of Relativity, still unproven (unless that has also changed recently), had very practical application and results. Where is the practical application of the Theory of Evolution? So far as I have been able to tell, the Theory of Evolution still remains unapplied, and seems to exist soley to answer the question from where have we come?, incompletely in My opinion. This is a bit of a personal perspective of mine. I could really care less what is theory, law, or otherwise, so long as it can be applied to produce some kind of tangible results with reasonable expectations, or even reasonable failures. So far as I can tell, the Theory of Evolution remains largely untested. To rehash My stupid joke, Evolution might win Me over if we do find another life-sustaining planet our there and seed it with some kind of results.
  3. Evolution seems, to Me, largely based on the principles of probability, such as the probability of stronger traits enduring longer than weaker traits. Survival of the fittest. What has been observed, microevolution, must be more than mere chance, right? It makes some sense, until you consider that in order to say what is probable, you must have an idea of what the different possible outcomes could be. To My knowledge, no one has yet been able to provide those. It is like trying to guess with sufficient probability what number will come up on the throw of a die without knowing how many sides it has, and what numbers are on those sides.

There, in a nutshell, is mostly why I do not give much more creedence to the Theory of Evolution than I do to Creationsm. Of course, I think it probably still has a reasonable amount of maturing to do. It is based on some observation, which is a strength. Why disregard what you see, even if you cannot fully or correctly explain it? Also, while untested, I would not say it is untestable. Perhaps we just do not yet have the means of conducting such a test.


And, now, I am all ears.

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#246367 - 06/01/07 12:37 AM Re: ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence [Re: Bill_M]
Discipline Offline
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Registered: 08/25/03
Posts: 6796
Loc: Forever West
I am not arguing in favor of what The Abysmal has stated, but mainstream science seems to keep alternative and contradicting material out of the public's sight or at least label it pseudo-science. This is usually done to maintain status quo, which is bad science in my opinion.

But anyways, on with the discussion.
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#246372 - 06/01/07 01:04 AM Re: ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence [Re: TheAbysmal]
Hagen von Tronje Offline

CoS Priest

Registered: 06/28/01
Posts: 10140
Seems to me that you don't know much about evolution at all.

Gravity, for example, is a theory. It's not a law because it is impossible to make it fit the definition of a law, not because it is unproven.

macroevolution, is on very shakey ground

Exactly how is it on shaky ground? You make such a claim, but you don't seem to have any reason for thinking so.

Conversely, the evidence for macroevolution is overwhelming. The fact that what eventually becomes your ear canal is, in a human infant, almost identical to gills should tell you quite a lot about how evolution is able to manipulate body parts to new uses.

We've also witnessed species formation. As in, an entirely new species forming under our observation.

Until you're prepared to actually back this claim with evidence rather than just "it's shaky," it's impossible to answer much more completely. You have a lot of reading to do.

So what if it is not a law, right? Theories and theorums have seen great application without proof. The Pythagorean Theorum endured for time immemorial without a proof until recently. Recent proofs aside, it still had practical application, and you could reasonably expect to get an accurate answer, even if no one could prove how it worked.

You confuse mathematical theorems with scientific theories, which are not at all similar.

So tell me, what application has the theory of gravity had lately, other than astronomical observation? Sometimes the application is purely knowledge, but in the case of evolution this is also not the case. We've employed our knowledge of natural selection in medicine, since microorganisms are capable of evolving at a much faster rate than multicellular organisms.

Evolution seems, to Me, largely based on the principles of probability, such as the probability of stronger traits enduring longer than weaker traits. Survival of the fittest. What has been observed, microevolution, must be more than mere chance, right? It makes some sense, until you consider that in order to say what is probable, you must have an idea of what the different possible outcomes could be. To My knowledge, no one has yet been able to provide those. It is like trying to guess with sufficient probability what number will come up on the throw of a die without knowing how many sides it has, and what numbers are on those sides.

Have you read anything on evolution? You sincerely have no idea what you're talking about.

There are not "different possible outcomes." This isn't some driven force, it's a matter of trends in a mathematical system affected by outside (natural) influences, namely population pressures from environmental factors. Evolution doesn't have goals in mind at all.

I might also comment, the idea that microevolution is possible but macroevolution is not is pure ignorance. If microevolution is possible, then it absolutely follows that on a geologic timescale, the only timescale applicable to evolution, major evolutionary changes will eventually accumulate. That is in fact the crux of the matter; the only way you can rationally disbelieve evolution (using the term "rationally" loosely) is to disbelieve that we have genes and that said genes mutate.

In any system composed of random variables with a selective influence upon them (survival of the fittest, by the way, is a total misnomer as to the way evolution works) is bound to result in a predicted trend upon said system, aka evolution.

You can test it yourself, if you want proof. If you have programming knowledge, write a program to the following effect:

A list of 1000 random numbers is generated, with a set upper limit.

That list will then be wiped partially out, but with a scale enforced. For example, if your upper limit is 100,000, make it so that any number above 90,000 has a 90% probability of being carried over to the new list, 80,000 has a 80%, and so forth. You can generate any number of variants or innovative selective processes, but the only thing that matters is that you have some selective process.

With the selected numbers carried over, have the random number generator fill in the vacated slots.

Run this process repeatedly. Create a function that generates a "total sum" of all numbers on the list each time you run it.

You'll find that while numbers above 90,000 have only a 10% chance of being generated, with the carryover feature enabled to create a selective process, the total sum result of all the numbers on the list added together will rise each and every time you run the program, until you achieve a certain equilibrium which it does not rise above by any notable margin.

You can then, if you feel like it, create an entirely different means of selective carryover and apply it to this list, and watch the trend change once again.

This demonstrates conclusively that so long as genes are able to mutate, and there is any selective process in nature, you will find a trend in gene frequency.

Evolution, in case you didn't catch on, is just a change in gene frequency in a population.

If you have a reading list, as you claim, I suggest picking it up and reading it. I'd start with Richard Dawkins The Selfish Gene for an overview of modern genetic theory.
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"The devil I'll bring you," answered Hagen. "I have enough to carry with my shield and breastplate; my helm is bright, the sword is in my hand, therefore I bring you naught."

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#246490 - 06/01/07 07:26 PM Re: ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence [Re: TheAbysmal]
Chess Offline
CoS Member

Registered: 09/09/02
Posts: 1473
Loc: Chicago, IL USA
Shooting dead fish in a barrel here, but I'm in a debate-y mood tonight. So here we go.

Evolutionary Theory is just that… a theory. It is not yet the Law of Evolution. It is not a scientific law because there is not sufficient evidence to support it as one.

You DO realize that there's no absolute standard for declaring something a "Law", don't you? It's just an informal way of referring to the mathematical parts of theories. The Law of Gravity is just an informal name for the theory of universal graviation. Kepler's Laws of Planetary Motion are a subset of the same theory. The Ideal Gas Law is a mathematical consequence of the atomic theory of matter. The Inverse Square law is a straighforward bit of geometry that applies to (among other things) electromagnetic theory.

Or did you think there was a panel of scientist-judges out there debating whether to grant official "Law status" to, say, the photoelectric effect?

The microevolution side of the story, to Me, seems well enough founded, but the larger picture, macroevolution, is on very shakey ground.

False distinction. "Macroevolution" is simply "microevolution" proceeding over a longer time interval; the terms were invented by creationists to try to gloss over the fact that adaptation and speciation have been directly observed to occur -- in other words, everything that's also required (except sufficient time) for "macroevolution". It's like saying that you accept "microerosion", where a stream washes away the topsoil in one field (since we can see that happening all the time), but not in the "macroerosion" which created the Grand Canyon (since no one has ever seen a Grand Canyon form).

The Pythagorean Theorum endured for time immemorial without a proof until recently.

Funny. I guess the half-dozen different proofs known to the ancient Greeks, ancient Chinese, ancient Persians, and ancient Egyptians were just figments of my History of Mathematics professor's imagination.

Einstein's infamous Theories of Relativity, still unproven (unless that has also changed recently)

Let's flip a coin and pick General Relativity to defend. First of all, it neatly solved the anomalous perihelion progression that had been observed happening to the planet Mercury. It predicted (precisely!) the gravitational bending of light, which has been directly observed in everything from deflection of background stars during solar eclipses to Einstein Rings around distant quasars. Frame dragging is another consequence, one that has been indirectly detected around black holes (which are themselves another prediction of General Relativity), plus there's a satellite in orbit right now trying to detect it directly. These are just some of the most well-known and obvious proofs; I could go on all day about things like how my colleagues at Fermilab have to account for Special Relativity when the particles in the Tevatron are doing better than 0.9999 c. But I trust my point is made -- these "infamous" and "unproven" theories are some of the best-tested and most-strongly-confirmed pieces of science in human history.

Where is the practical application of the Theory of Evolution? So far as I have been able to tell, the Theory of Evolution still remains unapplied

So... the heliocentric theory of the solar system was invalid until the invention of interplanetary probes? It would surely have disappointed Copernicus to know that he would be wrong for the next four centuries, even if he would then spring instantly into full-blown correctness once a direct and practical application was invented.

Evolution seems, to Me, largely based on the principles of probability

Yup. So is quantum mechanics. And big parts of chemistry. And other chunks of biology. Plus of course all of the statistical sciences, like epidemiology and population dynamics. And bunches of others. Um, what exactly was the problem here, again...?

It makes some sense, until you consider that in order to say what is probable, you must have an idea of what the different possible outcomes could be. To My knowledge, no one has yet been able to provide those.

We don't know every possible planetary system that could ever form. Therefore, planetary formation didn't happen. (...What?)

There, in a nutshell, is mostly why I do not give much more creedence to the Theory of Evolution than I do to Creationsm.

Oh, okay then. It's because you don't know a damned thing about science. I get you now. ;\)

Now, scientists are indeed fallible. Widely-accepted and well-supported theories have fallen in the past and may well fall in the future. For all we know, evolution could be conclusively disproven tomorrow. But not by any of this stuff here, which I could refer to most charitably as "misinformed".

-Chess


Edited by Chess (06/02/07 02:01 AM)
Edit Reason: Fixed a typo.

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#246509 - 06/01/07 11:09 PM Re: ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence [Re: Hagen von Tronje]
TheAbysmal Offline


Registered: 09/22/06
Posts: 1024
Clearly you and Chess are far better informed on the subject. Far better equipped to debate it by that virtue, and quite passionately in My opinion, if I may add.

It piques My interest to look into the subject more deeply. I love learning, and if My perspective is indeed as flawed as you both show, so much more a reason to look. Thank you for that.

It also makes Me want to leave this debate with My dignity intact while I can. Singed, not scathed...

I will go ahead and pick up some more books on the subject. I have, in truth, read on subject. It occurs to Me that what I have read may be biased or inaccurate, or I did not fully get it. Actually, I happen to be reading a book right now that, minimally at least, touches on the subject: Ray Kurzweil's The Age of Spiritual Machines, which I have enjoyed so far, and two other of his books. I will go ahead and throw The Selfish Gene on the list, too.

UPDATE: Ordered The Selfish Gene on Amazon for about $8. Grabbed the God Delusion, too.

Also, next time I will take care to have My ducks in row before I take a shot at one of the masters, even in jest.


Edited by The Abysmal (06/02/07 12:39 AM)
Edit Reason: Put My money where My mouth is
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#246514 - 06/01/07 11:34 PM A good book on this issue. [Re: Discipline]
Nemo Offline
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Registered: 10/06/02
Posts: 12591
Loc: Point Nemo s48:52:31:748, w123...
Tangled Minds by Dean Radin is not only an excellent examination of this phenomena but also is hands-down one of the best summaries with regard to the evidence for psi phenomena I have seen between two covers.

I do not recall that he says anything about evolution however. ;\)

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#246534 - 06/02/07 01:52 AM Re: A good book on this issue. [Re: Nemo]
Discipline Offline
CoS Warlock

Registered: 08/25/03
Posts: 6796
Loc: Forever West
Thank you for the book suggestion, Magister.

I know you have discussed this elsewhere in further detail. I have come to the conclusion that evolution is fairly accurate. Yet, there are gaps in certain areas that are not noticed by most in the mainstream. These gaps that I have been picking up don't refute evolution but definitely give me pause as to what might have happened. I am sure you already know what I am speaking about.

It is sad that being a full time science student doesn't allow me the luxury to fully pursue these ideas of mine.
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“The first principle is that you must not fool yourself—and you are the easiest person to fool.” ~Richard Feynman

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#246598 - 06/02/07 01:40 PM Re: "the truth" [Re: Discipline]
Nemo Offline
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Registered: 10/06/02
Posts: 12591
Loc: Point Nemo s48:52:31:748, w123...
The nice thing about our religion is that we do not have to know "the truth".

We do not have to know whether the current views on evolution, devolution, creationism, or Big-Juju-Is-Fooling-All-Of-Us-ism (or any other -ism for that matter) are "right" or not.

As Satanists we only really look at whether a view is somehow useful or not.

The rest is for intellectual fun.

If discovering the origins of life in general or human beings in particular could be useful then we will tend to go with the best information we know about.

If not, it can still be fun to speculate and dig for evidence.

The Satanist is a God who does not lay claim to omniscience.

But you already knew all that.

I just like repeating it sometimes! ;\)

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#246637 - 06/02/07 04:58 PM Re: "the truth" [Re: Nemo]
Discipline Offline
CoS Warlock

Registered: 08/25/03
Posts: 6796
Loc: Forever West
>>As Satanists we only really look at whether a view is somehow useful or not.

Exactly. Most of my time fooling around with electricity and alternative ideas on that subject is in the effort to someday apply them to something useful. Of course I may never get around to doing that or even get the chance, but in my opinion it is worth it.

>>The rest is for intellectual fun.

Indeed. I am not a biologist and anything that has to do with evolution really has no real point in my career choice. But I find it intriguing and I am curious as how the pieces of the puzzle fit. It is purely entertainment for me and that is why I don't get emotional about people who are pro or against evolution.

Feel free to repeat it when you have the urge. It never hurts to hear it every once in a while.
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"I've learned . . . that life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes." ~Andy Rooney

"At last I shall have time to devote myself seriously and freely to the destruction of all my former opinions." ~Descartes

“The first principle is that you must not fool yourself—and you are the easiest person to fool.” ~Richard Feynman

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#246644 - 06/02/07 06:03 PM Re: ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence [Re: TheAbysmal]
Marianne Offline


Registered: 10/11/06
Posts: 29
Loc: N.Ireland


<>

My comments I made that 'aliens' would be better not coming near us were not made in humour....I was being serious.

M
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