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How you perceive the credibility still has no impact on the validity of the data.

Of course not. But most people cannot personally examine the data, and so must rely on credible people who have looked at the data.

Also, you are picking and choosing what data you look at. The timescales comment you made fails when viewing fruit flies, and also when we have historical climate records.

I am not. A fruit fly is a fruit fly is a fruit fly. Even with something as short-lived as them, you are not going to see them morph into some vastly different creature, in this timescale. A different species, yes, but still a fruit fly. In the fossil record I see countless fragments, missing pieces, and leaps of faith, and artist impressions, but I am not familiar enough with anatomy to tell whether or how reliable this is.

The decision is easy... at least in my book. I concede that there are a lot of politics and agenda pushing, but I'm fine with an agenda that is trying to save life as we know it. If you're going to choose anything, choose that, and err on the side of caution.

Par global warming, I do think that as you said we should err on the side of caution, renewable resources, independence from foreign oil, minimizing the [non-CO2] pollution from fossil fuels, efficiency, etc.

Per evolution by natural selection, not believing that is dumb. That's my opinion, and I stand by it.

Not keeping an open mind is dumb. That's my opinion, and I stand by it.

I think a rational man can still decide not to believe in evolution. However, we are at the point where we can sequence the genomes of entire creatures. This is the ultimate showdown. The theory of evolution makes trillions upon trillions of predictions, and all of the Intelligent Design theories that can call themselves science make trillions upon trillions of opposing predictions. When this is complete, I will be satisfied that evolution has been proven beyond any shadow of doubt, with math and impartial computers. And it will happen soon.

Until then, do not presume that I am an idiot because I keep an open mind.

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I am not. A fruit fly is a fruit fly is a fruit fly. Even with something as short-lived as them, you are not going to see them morph into some vastly different creature, in this timescale. A different species, yes, but still a fruit fly.

well this is still evolution. it has evolved fromone species to another. just because you would place it in the same class as a fruitfly does not mean biologist would view it that way. also, it's not as if it is going to go from a fruitfly to an iguana. if thats what you think then you have a very very crap understanding of evolution.

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I think a rational man can still decide not to believe in evolution.
I rather doubt this is the case. The evidence for evolution from comparative anatomy, the fossil record, embryology and genetics is of such depth and breadth, and so mutally supportive, that to deny the reality of evolution one would require to ignore a substantial proportion of this evidence. Certainly there are many aspects relating to the details of evolution, both in terms of mechanism and of historical relationships between organisms, that need to be worked out, but the 'big picture' is just about as certain as anything can ever be in science.
When this is complete, I will be satisfied that evolution has been proven beyond any shadow of doubt, with math and impartial computers.
We do not prove things in science, we merely increase the probability that a particular hypothesis is valid.

There is no such thing as an impartial computer. The program and the questions we ask are inherently (pun intended) biased.

Given your misunderstanding of these fundamental aspects of the way science works I think I can see partly why you would doubt evolution.

Until then, do not presume that I am an idiot because I keep an open mind.
Open minds are excellent, but as the saying goes, you don't want it to be so open that your brains fall out.
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Yeah, but the large scale class change won't happen any time soon. However, I found it interesting how many accounts they had of species to species change. I thought the species were still able to reproduce, so I didn't think much of it, but somebody (don't remember who) showed that they weren't able to reproduce with other similiar species.

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Until then, do not presume that I am an idiot because I keep an open mind.

An open mind is more about accepting nothing, than about accepting everything.

~Sig quote from a friend I've never met.

I don't mean this so much as a personal attack, but I do feel pretty passionately about the issue. If you doubt evolution by natural selection, you ARE foolish.

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well this is still evolution. it has evolved fromone species to another. just because you would place it in the same class as a fruitfly does not mean biologist would view it that way. also, it's not as if it is going to go from a fruitfly to an iguana. if thats what you think then you have a very very crap understanding of evolution.

I did not say that it was not evolution, only to show that at the timescales we are in we have not observed changes of the same magnitude that the theory of evolution requires to have occurred. Just because small changes are possible does not absolutely imply that the large changes have occurred. Kind of how the series 1/2 + 1/4 + 1/8 + ... will never get past 1. Again, I am not saying it isn't evidence, just that it is not direct observation of the larger changes required by evolution.

I rather doubt this is the case. The evidence for evolution from comparative anatomy, the fossil record, embryology and genetics is of such depth and breadth, and so mutally supportive, that to deny the reality of evolution one would require to ignore a substantial proportion of this evidence. Certainly there are many aspects relating to the details of evolution, both in terms of mechanism and of historical relationships between organisms, that need to be worked out, but the 'big picture' is just about as certain as anything can ever be in science.

But I am ignoring much of the evidence. My area of interest is physics, not spending the rest of my life looking through biology stuff. And I don't trust anyone in this area because of how politicized it is. An example: if you did not trust the physicists, would you be able to dig through all the area relating to, say, the particles they say exist, to verify it yourself? I don't think so! Why then do you expect me to do the same for the theory of evolution?

We do not prove things in science, we merely increase the probability that a particular hypothesis is valid.

And I gave my suggestion of what I believed would constitute enough evidence to completely convince me.

There is no such thing as an impartial computer. The program and the questions we ask are inherently (pun intended) biased.

But the program to do the comparison should be small enough to verify. And given an unbiased program, you get an unbiased computer.

Given your misunderstanding of these fundamental aspects of the way science works

Ah, the unforgivable crime of not taking things by faith. Not believing what the great high priests of biology say. I think that it is you who don't understand how science works.

I think I can see partly why you would doubt evolution.

Open minds are excellent, but as the saying goes, you don't want it to be so open that your brains fall out.

Don't worry, it won't.

An open mind is more about accepting nothing, than about accepting everything.

~Sig quote from a friend I've never met.

That's exactly what I am doing, not accepting something, that has you all treating me like a heretic.

I don't mean this so much as a personal attack, but I do feel pretty passionately about the issue. If you doubt evolution by natural selection, you ARE foolish.

And if you have 100% trust in anyone when it comes to a politicized subject, then it is you who are foolish.

******

I am not saying the evidence isn't there, only that I do not have the time to personally verify it myself, nor do I trust anyone's opinion on this issue because of how politicized it is, be they a scientist or not.

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I am not saying the evidence isn't there, only that I do not have the time to personally verify it myself, nor do I trust anyone's opinion on this issue because of how politicized it is, be they a scientist or not.

I'm a little perplexed about what you're doing here, Mr. Skeptic. I can understand your view point as expressed above, since I'm kind of this way myself when it comes to global warming (don't jump down my throat, people) - but since I definitely don't have the time to become knowledgeable about such a politicized subject, I don't try to argue with people about it one way or another. But you are most certainly arguing, rather vehemently, with knowledge that you just confessed above that you don't have the time to verify. If you decide that you don't want to believe in evolution until you yourself have become an expert in it, then what are you arguing with us for? You're not an expert, our statements are apparently untrustworthy, so why even bother?

I think it's a pity, though, that you don't trust anyone here because evolution is so "politicized." I know I'm biased since I'm a biologist, but I see nothing political about the science of evolution at all. It only becomes political when creationists etc. try to twist science in order to justify force feeding children a religious message disguised as science. But when it comes to the scientific community, there is nothing political about it. It may not all be evidence you personally understand, but there is more than enough to convince people who are knowledgeable about the subject that evolution is indeed a real phenomenon.

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I think a rational man can still decide not to believe in evolution.

Doubt away, but don't go and get a flu shot or one of the many other treatments of modern medicine that are the result of evolutionary theory. You have to doubt them, too.

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I'm a little perplexed about what you're doing here, Mr. Skeptic. I can understand your view point as expressed above, since I'm kind of this way myself when it comes to global warming (don't jump down my throat, people) - but since I definitely don't have the time to become knowledgeable about such a politicized subject, I don't try to argue with people about it one way or another. But you are most certainly arguing, rather vehemently, with knowledge that you just confessed above that you don't have the time to verify. If you decide that you don't want to believe in evolution until you yourself have become an expert in it, then what are you arguing with us for? You're not an expert, our statements are apparently untrustworthy, so why even bother?

Man, it takes a lot of faith to belive evolution

Friend, seriously. Please. It's not a war. It's about disregarding the most robustly supported proposal ever. It's not about a battle between religion and science, it's about the advancement of all life on our planet, and how a failure to think critically can lead to a failure to survive. It really is simple. It's not about faith. If you think it is, then that's okay, but please go ahead and take last year's flu vaccine so there's more of this year's for the rest of us.

Now that's and exaggeration; surely the laws of physics are far better tested than evolution. The biggest problem with the evidence for evolution is the fanatics on both sides tend to exaggerate so it is hard to believe anyone even if they say they are scientists. That's also the problem with global warming btw.

That's how that started. I was agreeing with creato that it takes faith to believe in evolution, by pointing out that most people who believe evolution is true do so because they believe the scientists who tell them so. The relevant biologists are the ones looking at the data, not most people. So it would be secondhand knowledge about a subject which people are highly biased about.

I think it's a pity, though, that you don't trust anyone here because evolution is so "politicized." I know I'm biased since I'm a biologist, but I see nothing political about the science of evolution at all. It only becomes political when creationists etc. try to twist science in order to justify force feeding children a religious message disguised as science.

Because it conflicts with Christianity, and Christianity is a highly political subject. Some people think that Christianity and evolution can be reconciled, but that cannot be done without fundamentally destroying one or the other.

But when it comes to the scientific community, there is nothing political about it. It may not all be evidence you personally understand, but there is more than enough to convince people who are knowledgeable about the subject that evolution is indeed a real phenomenon.

That I agree with.

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That's how that started. I was agreeing with creato that it takes faith to believe in evolution, by pointing out that most people who believe evolution is true do so because they believe the scientists who tell them so. The relevant biologists are the ones looking at the data, not most people. So it would be secondhand knowledge about a subject which people are highly biased about.

But I think the faith creato is talking about and the faith you're talking about are different. In the context of the average layperson, yes, they do have to take the word of a scientist who understands it. But creato doesn't just mean laypeople, he means everybody, even scientists. Even you said, a rational man can still doubt evolution. A rational layman (at least in regards to evolution), perhaps - but a rational man in possession and understanding of all the facts? No, that man could not. Unless he really really didn't want to believe evolution, even in the face of the data itself, and at that point, he's not really a rational man anymore.

Because it conflicts with Christianity, and Christianity is a highly political subject. Some people think that Christianity and evolution can be reconciled, but that cannot be done without fundamentally destroying one or the other.

A modified Christianity could survive with evolution. But a strict, literal version of Christianity could not, in that I agree with you.

That I agree with.

I'm very glad to hear it.

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I did not say that it was not evolution, only to show that at the timescales we are in we have not observed changes of the same magnitude that the theory of evolution requires to have occurred. Just because small changes are possible does not absolutely imply that the large changes have occurred. Kind of how the series 1/2 + 1/4 + 1/8 + ... will never get past 1. Again, I am not saying it isn't evidence, just that it is not direct observation of the larger changes required by evolution.

Ok. Lets look at the earth for instance, obviously one would not doubt that its a dynamic system right? Well for it to do anything requires energy. There is quite a bit of energy moving around in the earth, enough to move tectonic plates, enough to build mountains, and enough to make volcanic activity. So lets just say for the matter or mass of the earth that we have a certain amount of energy, which giving the idea of the solar system in which we have a star and or a sun probably is not a fixed and or constant number.

So why geological differentiation? It sounds simple simply because of all the energy moving around in the earth, and of course we already pointed out that the earth is not a closed system, that can be further evidenced by the need of AC systems to sun block formulas. So then, we do have energy, and lots of it.

How much energy does a microbe require to sustain itself? How about a football field sized sheet of them? Would it be nearly as much juice as found in a lighting storm? To go back from that to another point, how could any chemical activity take place in a system that has no energy period? I think actual changes of atomic structure of an atom alone might be awfully rare on earth, but chemical reactions themselves seem to be overtly plentiful.

So then, how many spontaneous reactions have taken place and continue to take place to this very second. I would think it would be an incredibly large number though I don’t know who is counting.

So lets just postulate then for the sake of brevity that the earth has plenty of energy to reach activation energies and various enthalpies to simply enough energy to create mount Everest and fuel Vesuvius. Then again lets go to the point of the energy required for a microbe or even a few million to sustain themselves, just in terms of energy I think the earth as a non closed and energetically dynamic system has enough energy to supply this. So then we jump to probabilities.

On probability. For one minute of one day on earth the probability of life forming I would agree to be quite low. I think over all the seconds of say all the actions that can occur in a dynamic system over say a million years actually changes that low probability to the probability of highly likely. I mean flipping a thousand sided day for one day probably is not going to reveal much, flipping a thousand sided die for a million years constantly probably would reveal much more. Here is an example, what is the probability of a snowflake ever having a certain appearance? Looking at snowflakes alone its easy to see basically the endless forms such can take in all reality, which again I would just like to use as a pointer to the reality of time combined with a dynamic system in which free energy persists, more then enough to power early life.

Now lets jump away from that to the point in which life exists. Going from the study of such in time we have from the very simple relatively speaking, to dinosaurs, to primates, to humans. In which you find that it was not instantly everything, that many forms of life have gone extinct and or changed. So what can this be evidenced by? Well from the molecular to even the ecological to even behavior one can find physical evidence for evolution, its actually to numerous for a person a single person to know. Then we have how life survives. Currently it survives again in relation to energy, in the forms of trophs and or energy webs, or food chains. Its not just the bottom troph to the top with nothing in between also.

As for one last point, on the topic of form. How many kingdoms does life have? How many phylum’s? How many species currently exist? Those numbers seem a bit of a pointer I would think to something natural. It would also seem that the bauplan seems to be highly conserved, such as four limbs, be it four legs, or two and two arms, to how many digits each limb has. You see, people just think mutation, and while mutation is by in large a large part of evolution, its no where near everything. Plus non biologists or people that are not even students of don’t really study any of the details. Such as aquatic mammals or penguins. How about monotremes or marsupials to placental mammals? Or again even the existence of dinosaurs to aves. All physical evidence of all that life above as studied in the context of evolution only goes to lend support to evolution. So does any field of biology, be it developmental to ecological, to the concept or thing that is DNA and what it holds. You see the problem is that it is vastly complex. People were shocked when the human genome was uncovered and the quantity of genes did not support fully a DNA centered view of life, as in genetics is but one aspect of the whole... Yet any angle that is studied, objectivity, for empirical evidence, by anyone that wants to or does, finds support for evolution, empirically with physical evidence. I mean do you know what developmental buffering or developmental canalization is, or what a bauplan is? I mean lets just say life is a bit more complex then a snowflake, can you make a program that will predict perfectly what naturally occurring snowflakes all over the world will look like perfectly, as in real time? Now to say mathematical or computational biology cant work, but that’s a pretty high order for a system not truly deterministic as much as say something you might study in general chemistry.

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I guess we mostly agree then. I got carried away being the devil's advocate so I forgot to mention it also takes faith (of a slightly different kind) to believe in God.

A modified Christianity could survive with evolution. But a strict, literal version of Christianity could not, in that I agree with you.

Merging Christianity and evolution would destroy the vary basis of one or both. Consider:

1) the world was perfect and without death before Adam sinned. No natural selection.

2) the order of creation, eg the plants before the sun, the earth before the stars.

3) Original Sin -- as by one man (Adam) sin and death came into the world, by one man (Christ) salvation

4) Jesus' genealogy traced down to Noah then to Adam. In fact, every single genealogy in the Bible. Or were those figurative?

5) God having rights over us as our maker.

6) God having a plan for us before the creation of the world vs chance

7) Evolution being due to random mutations and natural selection

8) if evolution is true, then God has no business there (Occam's Razor)

So yeah, it would require some modification. And that's just off the top of my head. Basically, it would be "the Bible is not literal wherever it conflicts with science" also known as "ad hoc hypothesis". You can still love your neighbor as yourself though

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Because it conflicts with Christianity, and Christianity is a highly political subject. Some people think that Christianity and evolution can be reconciled, but that cannot be done without fundamentally destroying one or the other.

Here's my take. Evolution will reconcile with Christianity. Christianity, and most other religions for that matter, will ultimately be selected against and die. Botta boom... evolution.

<Ducks from the rotten vegetables being thrown by people of the cloth.>

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Lots of people have something of a "fridge" mentality with Science. They think it's like opening the door and grabbing what you want. But Science is, by definition not a "complete product". They don't get that it's a never-ending process of refinement and revision. The whole thing is uncertain, in some sense. But there's way too much evidence for evolution to rationally deny the possibilty.

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Ah, the unforgivable crime of not taking things by faith. Not believing what the great high priests of biology say. I think that it is you who don't understand how science works.
What a strange suite of comments.

I believe in evolution because of the evidence I have observed directly and read about in detail while studying paleaontology. It is only in the last decade I have paid any attention to the mass of supporting evidence available from comparative anatomy, embryology and genetics. I certainly have taken none of it on faith. My teachers helped structure and channel my natural skepticism so that I took nothing on faith. (I'm still having trouble with accepting the conventional view of the Big Bang precisely because of evidential conflicts.)

And if you have 100% trust in anyone when it comes to a politicized subject, then it is you who are foolish.
Paralith has expressed my views on that point a little earlier. I would add that this is not a politicised subject within science. It certainly wasn't a politicised subject when I began my studies of it.
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• 1 month later...
Merging Christianity and evolution would destroy the vary basis of one or both.

Merging Christianity and evolution is no problem. Been done for over 100 years and both are fine. Merging Fundamentalism and evolution is not possible. Fundamentalism is a belief in a literal and inerrant Bible. All your examples are from Fundamentalism, not Christianity. And many are contradicted by a literal reading of the Bible. Ironic, huh?

Consider:

1) the world was perfect and without death before Adam sinned. No natural selection.

That's not what the Bible says. Look in Genesis 1:27. God gives people food to eat. Why? Why do people need to eat? So that they do not starve to death.

2) the order of creation, eg the plants before the sun, the earth before the stars.

Genesis 2 contradicts this order anyway. The order of creation is different in the 2 creation stories. So one of them is wrong. It is a sign you should not read Genesis 1-8 literally.

3) Original Sin -- as by one man (Adam) sin and death came into the world, by one man (Christ) salvation

Contradicted by Genesis 3. Nowhere does it say "sin and [physical] death came into the world". The death in Genesis 2-3 has to be spiritual, not physical. Remember, Adam was to die immediately upon eating the fruit (beyom in Hebrew) and he did not.

4) Jesus' genealogy traced down to Noah then to Adam. In fact, every single genealogy in the Bible. Or were those figurative?

Yep. Jesus' geneology in Matthew and Luke contradict anyway so we know they are figurative.

5) God having rights over us as our maker.

No problem. How does God's rights change if He created us by evolution rather than creating us by directly zapping us into existence?

6) God having a plan for us before the creation of the world vs chance

Again, no problem. First, the processes of chemistry, physics, and evolution are NOT chance! Evolution is contingent, but then so is human history. And no Christian has a problem with God being able to use the contingent events of human history to further His plan.

7) Evolution being due to random mutations and natural selection

Mutations are random only with relation to the needs of the individual and the population. Selection is the opposite of random -- it is determinism. So the "random" is a strawman. Also, there is nothing in science to say that God cannot introduce specific mutations. We would be unable to detect that. Even Dawkins', with is ardent atheism, admits this. So, a strawman problem.

8) if evolution is true, then God has no business there (Occam's Razor)

1. This is accepting the basic belief of athiesm that natural = without God. Who says that belief is correct? Ironically, not Darwin. He had this quote about the role of God in "natural" in the Fontispiece to Origin:

"The only distinct meaning of the word 'natural' is stated, fixed, or settled; since what is natural as much requires and presupposes an intelligent agent to render it so, i.e., to effect it continually or at stated times, as what is supernatural or miraculous does to effect it for once." Butler: Analogy of Revealed Religion.

This is just bad theology on Fundamentalism's part.

2. You are using the common misrepresentation of Ockam's Razor. The Razor isn't about theory evaluation, but about describing phenomenon. You shouldn't use hypotheses in the description of phenomenan. IOW, never use the word "because" and what follows when describing what is happening. The Ockham Razor statement about evolution would be "species transform to other species". Nothing about natural selection and nothing about God.

Basically, it would be "the Bible is not literal wherever it conflicts with science" also known as "ad hoc hypothesis".

1. This is exactly what Christians concluded before Darwin published Origin of Species: "If sound science appears to contradict the Bible, we may be sure that it is our interpretation of the Bible that is at fault." Christian Observer, 1832.

2. It is also what Fundamentalists do in other cases. Look at Luke 2:1. No Fundamentalist (or Christian) believes the whole world was enrolled. We use reliable extrabiblical evidence to know that Luke was speaking only of the Roman world. Fundies simply don't want to apply the rule to their interpretation of Genesis 1. They engage in Special Pleading.

3. This is not an "ad hoc hypothesis". Rather, it is a conclusion based directly on the Christian belief that God created. What did God create? Creation. What does science study? Creation! Christians believe that God has 2 books and can be found in both. When God's book of Creation contradicts with our interpretation of scripture, then it is out interpretation that is wrong.

Fundamentalism, OTOH, is a worship of an interpretation of scripture as a god. So yes, evolution and science contradict the god of Fundamentalism. But since that god is not God, there is no problem. Simply drop your false idol worship and you are fine.

Ummm... I AM a physicist?

That's no better.

Take a poll of physicists and ask them if they believe in a higgs or in technicolor, and then ask them why. The two answers are both possible, as we haven't observed the higgs sector yet. The consequences of the two theories are the same for the low energy data. But only a handful of people in the world think that technicolor is right, because the higgs is much simpler.

But you used the word "believe", didn't you? That is, this is their opinion in the absence of data. But it is only an opinion. None of the physicists have absolutely ruled out technicolor, have they? They are waiting for the data, the discovery of the Higgs particle.

Again, even in your discussions, it can be seen that we don't evaluate theories on simplicity. We may have a prejudice toward theories that are simpler, but we don't declare them correct based on their simplicity. Even physicists wait for data.

I can say, without a doubt, that in MY field (physics), simplicity is the deciding factor when it comes to two different descriptions of nature.

Unfortunately, the evidence in the physics literature and your own comments are refuting this.

You can save your lectures---I am writing a PhD on curled up dimensions.

And is that "simpler" than either 3 dimensions or Loop Quantum Gravity? Why do you stick with something that is more complicated that LQG?

Philosophy of science cuts across scientific disciplines. As I said, most examples used for illustrating the philosophy of science comes from physics.

We may be talking slightly different standards here. You seem to be insisting that this is how physics is practiced. I am talking about "normative" practice for science -- how science should be done correctly. So you have another problem: just because physicists do this doesn't mean they should be evaluating theories on simplicity; they are doing bad science when they do.

Dirac has a famous quote that it is more important for an equation to be "beautiful" than for it to be true. We know that is a bad way to do science. Evaluating theories by simplicity is a subset of Dirac's quote and is also a bad way to do science.

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Again, even in your discussions, it can be seen that we don't evaluate theories on simplicity. We may have a prejudice toward theories that are simpler, but we don't declare them correct based on their simplicity

Strawman. Of course we don't declare theories correct based on their simplicity. Neither Ben nor I said that. Physicists first and foremost demand that a theory agree with observations. Physicists use simplicity when two different theories yield identical predictions, e.g. Lorentz ether theory and special relativity.

This whole off-topic discussion started with you're complete misunderstanding of several aspects of physics. Sorry to be so blunt, but 'tis the truth. Lucapsa, please shut up about physics. You are great when it comes to discussing biology and evolution. You obviously don't know special from general when it comes to relativity.

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Comment: The word believe is not necessarily bound to the concept of an opinion. I believe I need to eat. I believe this because if I don't eat, I lose weight and so on. It has nothing to do with having an opinion of what food or eating is (although it's ok to have these).

I'm saying that belief is a lot more fundamental than some seem to be implying. Opinion is something that 'comes from' belief, but people can distinguish between conjecture and actuality. In actuality, if I stop eating I will die (because of this).

i.e. what I (or others) believe is what I know about things in the world around me (which includes, of course, myself). Is knowledge not believing something?

you used the word "believe", didn't you? That is, this is their opinion in the absence of data. But it is only an opinion.

P.S. I do understand that this particular word is overloaded with religious meaning (polysemantic), but belief is belief. Trying to nail some kind of strict definition onto it will not achieve the desired result, because language just isn't like that.

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Physicists first and foremost demand that a theory agree with observations. Physicists use simplicity when two different theories yield identical predictions, e.g. Lorentz ether theory and special relativity.

Lorentz ether theory is not an example of "simplicity". According to the website, it's an example of

1. an unfalsifiable statement: "However, in LET the existence of an undetectable ether is assumed and the validity of the relativity principle seems to be only coincidental, which is one reason why SR is commonly preferred over LET." and

2. an invalid ad hoc hypotheses: "Lorentz in 1892 (already quantitatively) suggested that the molecular forces are affected in such a way, that the dimension of a body in the line of movement is less by the value v2 / (2c2) than the dimension of the body perpendicularly to the line of movement. However, an observer co-moving with the earth would not notice this contraction, because all other instruments contract at the same ratio. In 1895 Lorentz proposed three possible explanation for this relative contraction: [8] [9]

The body contracts in the line of motion and preserves its dimension perpendicularly to it.

The dimension of the body remains the same in the line of motion, but it expands perpendicularly to it.

The body contracts in the line of motion, and expands at the same time perpendicularly to it. "

Notice that there is no independent test of the hypothesis. Lorentz is avoiding falsification by making an ad hoc hypothesis that has no other effect than to avoid falsification.

Again, with all due respect, it appears that physicists (or perhaps just you) don't know what they are doing when it comes to how science is done.

However, thank you for backing down and admitting that theories are evaluated on data, not simplicity.

But you may want to rethink your fall back position as well. Because physicists don't do that, either. We have competing theories for the cause of the Big Bang: multiverse, No Boundary, quantum fluctuation, God, etc. Of these, the simplest is God. Yet physicists don't seem to take the simplest theory, do they?

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Lorentz ether theory is not an example of "simplicity".

There is no extant professional physicist who ascribes to LET. Non-profession psychoceramicist wanna-be physicists, maybe. OTOH, it has but one axiom, the Lorentz contraction. Pretty simple, no?

According to the website, it's an example of

1. an unfalsifiable statement: "However, in LET the existence of an undetectable ether is assumed and the validity of the relativity principle seems to be only coincidental, which is one reason why SR is commonly preferred over LET."

Of course its falsifiable. Particle accelerators did not exist back then. Anything that would falsify special relativity would simultaneously falsify LET, as special relativity and LET are indistinguishable with regard to predicted behavior.

2. an invalid ad hoc hypotheses

On what grounds? It conforms with observation, including the failure to observe any variation in the speed of light.

Notice that there is no independent test of the hypothesis.

Notice that there are many independent tests of the hypothesis. Particle accelerators did not exist in Lorentz' time. All that is needed is one relativistic collision that contradicts the predictions of the Lorentz contraction.

Again, with all due respect, it appears that physicists (or perhaps just you) don't know what they are doing when it comes to how science is done.

That's rich, a biologist, a field in which the number of ad-hoc assumptions borders on $\aleph_0$, trying to tell physicists how science should be done.

However, thank you for backing down and admitting that theories are evaluated on data, not simplicity.

Strawman. I never said that, and you know it. I said that physicists use Occam's Razor in part to evaluate competing hypotheses that do an equal job of explaining observations. Special relativity and LET are indistinguishable in terms of predicted outcome. So why has LET has fallen by the wayside? It is because it is purely an empirical theory. Special relativity's axioms (and "axiom" is nothing more than a fancy word for ad-hoc assumption) are elegant, simple, and deep.

Of these, the simplest is God. Yet physicists don't seem to take the simplest theory, do they?

Strawmanning again. The god hypothesis is admittedly quite powerful. It explains everything, including us. "Where did we come from, Daddy?" "We came from Adam and Eve, and God made Adam and Eve". At the same time the god hypothesis explains absolutely nothing. It has zero predictive capabilities. While the god hypothesis is simple, it is scientifically worthless.

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What precisely is meant by "God"? Like, here in the thread.

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"God", in the context of this thread, is any agent or set of agents that acts outside of natural law. Examples include the pantheon of Hindu gods, the flying spaghetti monster (see this CNN article).

Science is the study of natural law, including determining the very nature of these natural laws, ascribing behaviors to these natural laws, and predicting outcomes based on these natural laws. By definition, gods act outside of these natural laws. As such, attributing god as the cause of some event is a scientific dead end.

In the context of this thread ("questions about evolution"), the god in question is most likely the god of fundamental Christianity. This group of people adamantly believe in some very ascientific notions and have worked very hard to foist those beliefs on others (e.g., cdesign propentism).

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any agent or set of agents that acts outside of natural law. Examples include the pantheon of Hindu gods, the flying spaghetti monster
You mean instead of any concept or notion of an 'internal' agent? Many Christian scientists -cosmologists, astronomers, biologists- 'believe' or think about something like:

Is belief in God wishful thinking? If you talk to someone who believes they have experienced something, that is only explicable in terms of an "unknowable" power, or experience that the mind simply cannot rationalise, it's obvious they are "convinced", certainly it must be pretty powerful "wishing".

You may have had a similar experience at some time in your life. Lots of people do, and sometimes this can change their outlook dramatically. I don't think such people are deluding themselves, so much as trying to explain it (which can't really be done).

"God" is not hidden but inside of you, so you must be the one hiding himself from "God".

The limitations placed upon energy are there because "God" placed them there.

Look inside yourself, the energy that is God, the 'Life' force is in you.

-Mr. Robin Parsons physorg.com

Or you could say that the science and philosophy of Life and its evolution is, in fact, the understanding of something like "God".

Religion and the codifying and dogma of this non-ontological feature of science/philosophy is the extant issue, or problem. But I don't personally believe it can be 'defined' out of existence. I do believe that what fundamentalists and religious people try to do is convince everyone (proselytise) that they are the only ones with the right 'knowledge'...

P.S. This is why I do not prescribe personally to any 'organised' religion, or canonical set of beliefs, or any doctrine as such, regarding this, whatever it is...

"I now wish to give some reasons why I regard Darwinism as metaphysical, and as a research programme. It is metaphysical because it is not testable. One might think that it is. It seems to assert that, if ever on some planet we find life which satisfies conditions (a) and (b), then © will come into play and bring about in time a rich variety of distinct forms. Darwinism, however, does not assert as much as this. For assume that we find life on Mars consisting of exactly three species of bacteria with a genetic outfit similar to that of three terrestrial species. Is Darwinism refuted? By no means. We shall say that these three species were the only forms among the many mutants which were sufficiently well adjusted to survive. And we shall say the same if there is only one species (or none). Thus Darwinism does not really predict the evolution of variety. It therefore cannot really explain it. At best, it can predict the evolution of variety under "favourable conditions". But it is hardly possible to describe in general terms what favourable conditions are except that, in their presence, a variety of forms will emerge."

(Popper, Karl R., [Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, University of London], "Unended Quest: An Intellectual Autobiography," Open Court: La Salle Ill., Revised Edition, 1982, p.171)

"However, Darwin's own most important contribution to the theory of evolution, his theory of natural selection, is difficult to test. There are some tests, even some experimental tests; and in some cases, such as the famous phenomenon known as "industrial melanism," we can observe natural selection happening under our very eyes, as it were. Nevertheless, really severe tests of the theory of natural selection are hard to come by, much more so than tests of otherwise comparable theories in physics or chemistry."

(Popper, Karl R., [Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, University of London], "Natural Selection and the Emergence of Mind," Dialectica, Vol. 32, Nos. 3-4, 1978, pp.339-355, p.344)

Mr Popper got it wrong twice...

Evolution is a process ...Do methods do things all by themselves? No more than processes think or sit around.
Does life exhibit purposeful behaviour' date=' and is this behaviour the same thing as 'having purpose'?

[/quote']

Evolution ...is not "using" Natural Selection --> therefore it's not quite right to say it's a function.

Looks like a bit of contradiction (or something) in there...

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Looks like a bit of contradiction (or something) in there...

It also looks like you have an agenda, a poor understanding of evolution by natural selection, and also an inability to realize that the quotes you shared came from other threads which were closed due to your trolling behavior.

Fred - I really think you're an ideal candidate to be sent to coventry.

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evolution is but a theroy people. But, there is great proof of it out ther. However, humans being evolved might not be what we think. What if our ancestors turned out to be based from a mircrobial life form that came from a planet that contained beings like ourselves and they sent that germ out as a "gift" to prehistoric earth. That life could have come on a meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs and brought not only our ancestors to this planet, but other ancestors of animals we see today. What if every animal you see today was not of Earth orgin, but of another planet's orgin. What if are "aliens" in a sense of not belonging. Think of that and pm me your thoughts.

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