Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Beginner's Guides To Evolution

My slightly crazy friend from Mississippi mentioned evolution in his comments. I'm not sure if this is something that he really wants to go toe to toe with me on, but hey, I'm game and it's been years since I have talked about the topic here. Also, while it is contentious to some people that refuse to believe science, it is not really political, so it's a nice diversion.

First off, understand a couple things about evolution.

1. There is no "controversy" about evolution in the worldwide scientific community. This question was largely settled over a hundred ago, and with the addition of modern scientific tools, the complete fossil record, and genetic sequencing, all of which have validated it, it is now considered to be scientific fact by those that study it. Serious research scientists realize that there will always be people that don't believe it on some kind of ideological grounds. They realize that it is a waste of time to try to convince people that simply oppose it for ideological reasons. Those that believe that evolution and religion are an either/or thing will always pick religion and find something to justify it. I am entertaining the subject as if there is some doubt.

2. Evolution is difficult to explain to someone that does not have a very solid grasp of basic biology. Without basic knowledge of biology, it will be very easy to dismiss it as making no sense. There are many, many helpful videos on youtube on the subject though, some of which I will introduce to you here. In return, if there is a video you want me to view that shows the opposing side, post it here and I'd be happy to take a look. I have found that most people that do not believe evolution to be true also do not have a good understanding of what it is, and the mechanisms behind it.

This first video is a very small portion of this complete video that is nearly two hours long. The short clip deals specifically with the genetic differences between humans and chimps. This is brand new research that was just confirmed in the last few years through genetic sequencing. It was one of the final "objections" brought up by the anti-evolution people, and now even that does not exist for them. The speaker is Ken Miller, a practicing Catholic, and one of the scientists that testified at the Dover Trial in Pennsylvania in 2005. I highly recommend "Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial" if you have Netflix.

This is a debunking of some creationist myths by someone else on youtube. He is quite good, and there are a couple others on youtube that are equally thorough. He is a biology graduate student in NC, and again is a practicing Christian, one of many who do not believe that evolution and religion are in conflict.


Anonymous said...

The Great Evolution 'Debate'. This sort of thing always makes me cringe.I have believed in evolution with every fiber of my being since I can remember. I simply do not see their grounds for questioning it, especially with their current ID boondoggle. That to me seems so defeatist at the outset 'It's so complicated I can't understand it so it must be the work of some Intelligence...'

One aspect they refuse to even consider is that the way the various species are today, including humans is just exactly that...the way things are at this moment. Humans aren't the end product, we are just the current version. I don't profess to understand (therefore it is too cmoplicated...enter the Designer...)all of the various interlocking fields of studues so thoroughly fitting together and supporting the reality of evolution but what I see and read shows me that everything goes together...biology, geology, astronomy, everything provides an additional field of evidence that proves and reproved the validity (shudder) Creationism, as if that deserves a capital letter,have to offer is 'The Bible said it, I believe it , so there.' I am reminded of the play'Inherit the Wind' where Drummond cross examines Brady...'we will hex the pentatuch...etc.'

More thought later, must push on with the day. Nice to talk to you Erik, GR

Two Dogs said...

If memory serves, I believe my comment referred to Darwinism or the commonly called "Natural Selection Theory," that fringe group that says that man evolved from a cucumber.

Still waiting on that one fossil that shows the staged failures of evolution. Of course, the Natural Selection guy's miracle explanation, "transitional stages were not able to fossilize," just doesn't cut ice for me. Math says those transitional fossils should be in the majority IF Darwinism is true. So Darwinists say that Darwinism trumps math and survives based upon the miracle aspect of science. Hoo boy, awesome science there!

That was where my tongue-in-cheek comment originated.

nicnerd said...

I watched your videos here. I agree with the science. How are creationism and evolution mutually exclusive? I am not one of these people that believe that the Earth is 4,000 years old or any such rubbish.

While I agree that the science shows us what happened, it does not mean that a creator did not set the wheels in motion.

It is statistically improbable that chance put everything together. Someone set the rules in motion.

The other point is that evolution requires some form of life to begin with. "something" had to evolve to begin with. Now you have your chicken and egg argument. How did the amoeba start? How did the sun come into being for that matter? Fundamentally all life is born of the sun's energy, yes?

Admittedly, you have studied a a great deal more on this than I have. I still do not see wither theory as mutually exclusive.

I will have to thank you for that Kirk Cameron Boeing analogy. Wow, that just made zero sense at all.

Erik Grow said...

Well, as for who set it in motion, and chicken/egg, that's hard to say. God himself would be a chicken/egg too, so it's kind of impossible to figure that one out. Evolution is about diversity of species anyway. Abiogenesis is the beginning of life from organic matter. There is research on that as well, but that is not evolution.

Two Dogs, the fossil record is absolutely full of transitional forms. Several decades ago you could have correctly claimed ignorance on that subject, but we have mountains of research since that time. Check this video out. There are several similar to it on youtube. Transitional fossils are literally everywhere.


Two Dogs said...

Erik, there is no squirrel-potato in that video. I DEMAND MY SQUIRREL-POTATO!

Erik Grow said...

Hehheh. What tenet of evolution would predict a squirrel-potato? Bah, I thought you wanted to have a real discussion on the science of it. OK, so what should my next topic be Two Dogs? *;-)

Nicnerd, would you like to share your thoughts on Two Dogs' home town of Jackson, MS? Heehee...

Two Dogs said...

No, no, no, I am from Louisville, MS. And I haven't lived IN Jacktown since I was 22. I am a suburb kinda guy, but pretty much all of the work that I do is centered around our fair capital city. It is a cesspool, not unlike DC.

Next topic, photos of 'Skins cheerleaders!

nicnerd said...

No offense to anyone who lives there, but Jackson is one of the most dreadful places that I have ever been. Other parts of Mississippi are wonderful, but Jackson, well Jackson ranks as one of the filthiest, nastiest places ever. As a silver lining, the people were very cordial and hospitable. I do not blame them that their city is craptacular.

Regarding the next topic... http://www.dallascowboyscheerleaders.com/

I win!

Two Dogs said...

How is your statement offensive other than it was kinda sugar-coated, nicnerd? Those of us that find it necessary to live near the center of government in Mississippi go into Jackson as rarely as possible. It is a festering cesspool on par with Columbus, Detroit, Pittsburgh, DC, and accomplishes that without the charm of those places. (Charm. HA.) What do these fair cities have in common? Yep, "progressive" government.

However, you can drive eight miles and be on the Ross Barnett Reservoir in the county in which I live. The county that has ZERO Democrat officials, the highest per capita income in our state, close to the lowest county taxes, the highest school test scores, and the lowest unemployment in our state. Coincidence? Uh, prolly not.