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David W Pratt
04-01-2011, 11:24 AM
Well, we had the debate yesterday but the Prof isn't going to declare a winner until next week.
My thought is that if it is close, we (Creationists) won.
Our weakness was failing to make a strong case for why Creationism should be taught. We mostly made a case for reevaluating Darwinism in the face of several problems:
The absence of intermediate forms in the fossil records.
Dogs have been domesticated for 10,000 years and can still interbreed with wolves and coyotes, even dogs from Australia, which has no wolves or coyotes.
They couldn't explain why we still have so much "junk DNA" why hasn't it been discarded?
There is a problem with the evolution of complex systems, eg Krebs cycle and cytochrome system, if you disable one step, the whole thing comes to a grinding halt, so how did it evolve in a stepwise manner?
They failed to explain how microevolution proceeds to macroevolution, a point I, as a biologist, will have to pursue.
How can a system driven by random events result in decreasing entropy?
As a biologist, I will have to answer all these objections.

One point we made was that if the Darwinians accept evolutionary theory uncritically, they are no better than Creationists. If they do that, evolutionary theory descends to the level of a secular religion and thus is prohibited by the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment from being taught in publicly funded schools.

Nanoose
04-01-2011, 11:28 AM
One point we made was that if the Darwinians accept evolutionary theory uncritically, they are no better than Creationists. If they do that, evolutionary theory descends to the level of a secular religion and thus is prohibited by the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment from being taught in publicly funded schools.

HA! Excellent!

wardd
04-01-2011, 11:44 AM
seems the other side was unprepared

there can be regions in which there is a net energy influx that can retain order or create order out of chaos

in the case of earth that source of energy is the sun, when the sun dies then a long period of stasis descending into entropy will ensue

John Smith
04-01-2011, 12:02 PM
HA! Excellent!

We are only hearing from one side.

Peerie Maa
04-01-2011, 12:13 PM
seems the other side was unprepared

there can be regions in which there is a net energy influx that can retain order or create order out of chaos

in the case of earth that source of energy is the sun, when the sun dies then a long period of stasis descending into entropy will ensue

There is math that shows that it is inevitable, and chemical systems that demonstrate the behavior in the chem lab beaker.

As to junk DNA, if it is harmless it will be propagated, just like a dogs dew claws and (bad example) our appendix. Stop thinking that evolution is intelligent.

Nanoose
04-01-2011, 12:36 PM
We are only hearing from one side.

Relevance?
I opined that the point noted was excellent.
YMMV

David W Pratt
04-01-2011, 01:59 PM
I have to say it was good being on the "wrong" side.
A bunch of stuff I need to learn about evolutionary theory.
And, more importantly, a wake up call about looking really critically at what we believe.

J. Brown
04-01-2011, 02:19 PM
I'll stay out of the details here, but I'd say that the points indicated above indicate a very poor understanding the current science on natural selection, and even the underlying fundamental concept. Don't feel bad - FWIW, few people, even non-ecologists, understand natural selection. Dig in a bit more and the points above in the debate can be easily swatted away.

Tom Montgomery
04-01-2011, 04:04 PM
One point we made was that if the Darwinians accept evolutionary theory uncritically, they are no better than Creationists. If they do that, evolutionary theory descends to the level of a secular religion and thus is prohibited by the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment from being taught in publicly funded schools.

HA! Excellent!
"Excellent?" This seems obvious to me.

Put another way: If scientists abandon the scientific method by uncritically accepting theory, science descends to the level of religion.

What is revelatory about that?

Frankly, I find that formulation to be insulting of religion.

The fact is that, despite the best efforts of institutions like the Discovery Institute and the Southern Baptist Seminary's Center for Science and Theology, no convincing evidence has yet been presented to refute the theory of evolution by natural selection.

Nanoose
04-01-2011, 04:35 PM
As I noted, Tom, YMMV.

Tom Montgomery
04-01-2011, 05:31 PM
Clearly.

Keith Wilson
04-01-2011, 06:10 PM
. . . . I'd say that the points indicated above indicate a very poor understanding the current science on natural selection, and even the underlying fundamental concept.Well, of course. They were points in favor of creationism, fer Chrissakes. Winning a debate is not the same as being right.

J. Brown
04-01-2011, 06:19 PM
Well, of course. They were points in favor of creationism, fer Chrissakes. Winning a debate is not the same as being right.

That's well understood. Sorry my post was not more targeted. My point is that in a good debate, both sides really understand both perspectives and can argue either side well. When I've had casual conversations with well-read smart folks, I've been surprised at how many miss the basic concepts of natural selection, particularly as it applies to ecology. I point them to the Wikipedia article and they're often surprised.

That was my only point. Personally, I enjoy debate and particularly arguing the opposite of what I believe.

Keith Wilson
04-01-2011, 08:49 PM
I don't think it's possible to argue well for Creationism. The sort of stratagems David described are probably the best one can do.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
04-02-2011, 08:19 AM
I cannot begin to say how much this subject dismays me.

We are seeing the collapse of the United States right here on this thread.

People who really should know better - people who can read and write, can read whatever they like and can use whatever sources of information they choose, are turning away from the light of reason and seeking comfort in illiterate superstition.

In terms of scientific research, the USA is about to be eclipsed by China - a wholly self inflicted wound.

This is ghastly

McMike
04-02-2011, 08:49 AM
About to be eclipsed?

If you take all the geniuses in China and India, geniuses only, they far outnumber the so called college educated people in the USA. I say so called because I know quite a few college educated folks who wouldn't last 5 seconds in an Indian or Chinese primary school never mind a university.

The United States was passed at some point in the last 15 years and we are too self-absorbed as a people to know it.

David W Pratt
04-02-2011, 11:27 AM
Well, it is a little dispiriting that seven or eight upperclassmen Biology majors could not mount a more powerful defense of evolutionary science.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
04-02-2011, 12:08 PM
Well, it is a little dispiriting that seven or eight upperclassmen Biology majors could not mount a more powerful defense of evolutionary science.

I'll give you a match if you like.

Our weakness was failing to make a strong case for why Creationism should be taught.

Nobody can. There is no such case.


We mostly made a case for reevaluating Darwinism in the face of several problems:

The absence of intermediate forms in the fossil records.

What do you think you are looking for? Evolution does not proceed by a continual series of small modifications.

Dogs have been domesticated for 10,000 years and can still interbreed with wolves and coyotes,

10,000 years is not long.

even dogs from Australia, which has no wolves or coyotes.

That's because the dog was introduced to Australia by man, quite recently, like all the non-marsupial mammals in Australia

They couldn't explain why we still have so much "junk DNA" why hasn't it been discarded?

What is the evolutionay benefit in discarding it?

There is a problem with the evolution of complex systems, eg Krebs cycle and cytochrome system, if you disable one step, the whole thing comes to a grinding halt, so how did it evolve in a stepwise manner?

It probably didnt.

They failed to explain how microevolution proceeds to macroevolution, a point I, as a biologist, will have to pursue.

Don't see the problem here.

How can a system driven by random events result in decreasing entropy?

That's illiterate at all sorts of levels, from galaxies on down.

George Jung
04-02-2011, 11:21 PM
Let not your hearts grow weary,

for this was but a class assignment, a mental gymnastics, if you will.

There's been no breach in the fabric of Science; and the education of this bunch will be the better for it.

David W Pratt
04-03-2011, 08:29 AM
Actually 10,000 years is plenty. The cichlids in Lake nagubago were isolated from Lake Victoria only 4,000 years ago and the Faroe Island Mouse speciated within 250 years of being introduced by man.
I don't understand tyou "illiterate" comment.

perldog007
04-03-2011, 08:40 AM
It means there is no rebuttal I can think of so I'm going to rely on a fallacy of relevance.

Chris Coose
04-03-2011, 09:25 AM
Well, it is a little dispiriting that seven or eight upperclassmen Biology majors could not mount a more powerful defense of evolutionary science.

Maybe they asked themselves, "Who gives a sh!t?" first.

Peerie Maa
04-03-2011, 09:27 AM
Hi David,
Did the Tutor get to pick the teams? Was there any bias evident?

perldog007
04-03-2011, 09:35 AM
Maybe they asked themselves, "Who gives a sh!t?" first. Fallacy of presumption.

David W Pratt
04-03-2011, 10:13 AM
sides were assigned picking pieces of paper out of a hat.

Chris Coose
04-03-2011, 10:15 AM
Fallacy of presumption.

God built it.

perldog007
04-03-2011, 11:23 AM
God built it. Your post?

George Jung
04-03-2011, 04:47 PM
The passions you've arroused with your 'debate exercise' are pretty amusing, Mr. Pratt!

I'd just point out that the 'outcome' says more about some students preparation and abilities, than it does about the subject.

SamSam
04-03-2011, 06:34 PM
Well, it is a little dispiriting that seven or eight upperclassmen Biology majors could not mount a more powerful defense of evolutionary science.
One point we made was that if the Darwinians accept evolutionary theory uncritically, they are no better than Creationists. If they do that, evolutionary theory descends to the level of a secular religion and thus is prohibited by the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment from being taught in publicly funded schools.
And vice-versa, in arguing "for" your side, you've done nothing here but postulate that creationism is secular religion and thus is prohibited, etc...

Andrew Craig-Bennett
04-04-2011, 05:03 AM
Actually 10,000 years is plenty. The cichlids in Lake nagubago were isolated from Lake Victoria only 4,000 years ago and the Faroe Island Mouse speciated within 250 years of being introduced by man.
I don't understand tyou "illiterate" comment.

In evolution by natural election, count generations, not years. Hence all those fruit flies.

"Illiterate" because the system is not driven by random events; those events lead to selection, which is not random, but in any case beware of building any argument on the second law of thermodynamics unless you have all the data - Kelvin himself got caught out that way.

This depresses me because people studying biology are, as a class assignment and not in their spare time, being asked to counter non-science which was disposed of a century and a half ago.

George.
04-04-2011, 08:51 AM
Actually 10,000 years is plenty. The cichlids in Lake nagubago were isolated from Lake Victoria only 4,000 years ago and the Faroe Island Mouse speciated within 250 years of being introduced by man.


And I bet that in both cases they can still interbreed.

Remember, the definition of separate species is populations which do not interbreed in nature.

ishmael
04-04-2011, 09:12 AM
I was raised agnostic. It was never a topic of discussion in my family.

When I went to college I took a four year degree in biology, with a year of both chemistry and geology. As far as I'm concerned evolution by natural selection is a well demonstrated fact off biology.

Where both religious faith and science fall down is with the question of ultimate origins. I look around, and neither God, nor random combinations of molecules, speaks satisfactorily to me about how this all got started. You can pick one if you want, but try and prove it.

PhaseLockedLoop
04-04-2011, 12:03 PM
It comes down to this: the evolutionists in this quibble are being required to explain every detail of their very complicated theory to the conversational satisfaction of their detractors, whilst the creationists, as supernaturalists, are not required to explain anything at all, or even know anything much. Or am I missing something? Is creationism something more than a claim of ignorance about matters that evolution aspires to explain?

George Jung
04-04-2011, 12:10 PM
It would appear that this 'debate' (in fact, a mind exercise for a science class) is being given much more import/gravitas than

it ever intended or deserves. ACB finds it depressing the time was even spent on a 150 yo argument; I'd counter that the very act

of having this debate, especially for those taking the creationist position, was invaluable - it required a review of one of the fundamental

tenets of science.

Does anyone really suppose this exercise has overturned evolutionary science????

Come on, folks. Really.