LOGIC BOT My studies in evolution have unearthed the following doctrine. #1 That evolution is a scientific theory that is fits into the epistemological scheme of the scientific method. #2 It can be falsified or edited based on the evidence. #3 Like all good scientific theories, it makes predictions, and allows for these predictions to be tested. #4 Like gravity, and other concepts, it unifies it's field. Evolution is the unifying theory behind biology. In this sense it is an applicable theory, and stands as the best explanation for biodiversity. What other naturalistic theory explains the evidence? What evidence is there that puts evolution in question? What replacement theory is there for the evidence that we already have? HELEN Hi Logic Bot, and welcome to the board. First of all, I would like to define terms. It's awfully easy to end up talking past one another in this sort of discussion. Understand that I know variation is normal. I consider it normal within type, or kind. I am defining that, for purposes of this discussion, as at the family level taxonomically (although it may vary in reality, this is sufficient for this discussion). In other words, for example, the family of 'canine' has a number of variations not just including wolf, coyote, and dog, but variations of wolves and dogs, certainly - although I am not sure how much variation there is within the coyote branch. But I think you get the idea. So understand that my argument is NOT going to challenge simple genetic variation. When we speak of evolution, I presume we are speaking of the distinct changes which must take place, no matter how gradually, in order to change some type of fish into some type of reptile, or amphibian, or mammal. Fair enough? And when we talk about the scientific method, I am presuming we are speaking about the gathering of extant evidence, the examination of it in light of what is already KNOWN (not simply accepted), the formation of a further or new hypothesis, the establishment of a protocol by which that hypothesis can not only be tested but repeated, the following of that protocol in order to validate or disprove the hypothesis, examination of the results, and the conclusions drawn, with, ideally, the results written up. I don't care, myself, if the results appear in a peer-reviewed journal or not. That may make the results more acceptable to some, but I am not even concerned with acceptability at this point. I simply want to define both evolution as we will discuss it and what you mean by the scientific method. Are we on the same track? LOGIC BOT First of all, I would like to define terms. Certainly. When I speak of evolution, I speak of common descent with modification. This would include mechanisms that we have observed such as speciation, genetics, etc. The whole kit and kaboodle. I would define the scientific method as an epistemological tool that stresses reproduction, clarification, testability, extraction, and rejection of unsupported ideas. HELEN Are you therefore agreeing or disagreeing with my definitions? The reason I am asking is because I don't want to get stuck in the morass of confusing the simple variation we see everyday with the distinct changes evolutionary theory claims the fossil record represents. In other words, I don't want to talk about 'how' you think it might have happened, but about 'what' happened in the final eventuality as far as evolution is concerned. We can't talk unless we agree upon terms. Regarding the scientific method, I gave you the classic form. If you disagree with it, please let me know and let me know what form you would like to use. Your current statement is much too vague to be useful. LOGIC BOT Your first definition wasn't needed. The progression of evolution is irrelevant. In some cases it's fast, in others it's slow. Common descent is what Darwin proposed, and is what is propped up by the evidence. That is the definition I will be using, it's the definition that science uses, and as such, what I will use as well. Your definition of the scientific method will do just fine. HELEN Great. Here are your four points. #1 That evolution is a scientific theory that is fits into the epistemological scheme of the scientific method. How? #2 It can be falsified or edited based on the evidence. How? What sort of protocol can be set up to test for descent from a common ancestor? #3 Like all good scientific theories, it makes predictions, and allows for these predictions to be tested. How? Can you give me an example, please? #4 Like gravity, and other concepts, it unifies it's field. Evolution is the unifying theory behind biology. In what way? Taxonomic categories predate evolutionary ideas via Darwin by quite a bit. Biology is the study of living things. They can be studied quite thoroughly without presuming common ancestry. So please explain yourself here. LOGIC BOT How? This question was answered by the previous assertions I made. Although we will be testing the validity of those assertions in this debate. To sum it up. Evolution is #1 A naturalistic explanation #2 Explains the evidence #3 Can be falsified What sort of protocol can be set up to test for descent from a common ancestor? Every unearthed fossil has the chance of destroying common descent. If a trait is in a different geologic strata, and just abruptly appears then It can cast doube into common descent. If there is no gradual progression in the fossil record, then common descent wouldn't be a very good explanation. There is a gradual change in the fossil record, and in this case common descent explains why. How? Can you give me an example, please? Certaintly If common descent were true then we would expect to see a gradual change of organisms in the fossil records. We do. In what way? Taxonomic categories predate evolutionary ideas via Darwin by quite a bit. Biology is the study of living things. They can be studied quite thoroughly without presuming common ancestry. So please explain yourself here. It unites all life on earth in a phylogenetic tree, it explains why we see simmilarities in nature. Why we see vestigal structures, why we see vestigal structures such as fused wings under beatle shells, why we see simmilarities in genetic code etc. JOHN WELLS Certaintly If common descent were true then we would expect to see a gradual change of organisms in the fossil records. We do. We do" is an example? Sounds like a "because I said so" answer. LOGIC BOT I was giving an example of the theory making a prediction. In this case the prediction followed all of the rules of science, and didn't go against the current body of facts. We are speaking general concepts at this point, if you want references for anything that I post, don't hesitate to ask. But while we discuss general topics, the answers will be general. JOHN PAUL My studies in evolution have unearthed the following doctrine. #1 That evolution is a scientific theory that is fits into the epistemological scheme of the scientific method. Scientific method and the theory of evolution? Let me guess, the theory of evolution can be observed in the fossil record and tested by the same. If that guess is correct how would one verify those findings biologically or genetically? If not correct please correct me. I would like to hear how scientific method can be applied to the theory of evolution. #2 It can be falsified or edited based on the evidence. Finding fossils out of place MAY falsify common descent but would not harm the theory of evolution. However given the nature of the fossil record (incomplete and fragmented) I seriously doubt any ‘out-of-place’ fossils would do anything but add another contortionists’ move to the already shifting sands that is the theory of evolution. #3 Like all good scientific theories, it makes predictions, and allows for these predictions to be tested. According to Dennett on the PBS special on evolution ‘there is no way to predict what would be selected for at any point in time’. Most of the alleged ‘predictions’ are in reality, accommodations. How would you propose to test that a procaryotic organism could evolve into an eucaryotic organism? Or a single-celled organism evolving into something other than a single-celled organism? #4 Like gravity, and other concepts, it unifies it's field. Evolution is the unifying theory behind biology. Comparing the theory of evolution to gravity is deceiving. They are nothing alike. One can be empirically tested (gravity) and one can not because it is, by its nature, a historical science. If the theory of evolution IS the alleged unifying theory behind biology why does most of the evidence come from paleontology? What biological or genetic evidence do you think best supports the theory of evolution? In this sense it is an applicable theory, and stands as the best explanation for biodiversity. Now that we know what we do about DNA, even though we have much more to learn, we have observed that most mutations are deleterious or neutral. Very few are beneficial. Add that to the fact that most mutations will be lost in a population, even beneficial mutations, and the problems for that theory just begin to mount. What other naturalistic theory explains the evidence? And here lies the biggest problem of them all. On one hand we have evolutionists saying (I believe without just cause) that science can ONLY try to explain the ‘natural’ (I guess that means what we perceive to be natural- just how did ‘nature’ come about?). On the other hand we have Creationists saying that if the ‘natural’ explanation is NOT indicative of reality, what good is it? What evidence is there that puts evolution in question? It’s more like the evidence that the theory of evolution does not have that puts it in question. That would be any observable, testable, repeatable and verifiable evidence that a single-celled organism can ‘evolve’ into something other than a single-celled organism. Also some evidence that organs, complex nervous systems, respiratory systems, digestive systems, reproductive systems etc., could evolve from an organism that did not have them. That is NOT saying those evolved all at once. I know evolutionists worship Father Time, Mother Nature and the unknown natural processes so just sprinkle them where you need to. What replacement theory is there for the evidence that we already have? The Creation model of biological evolution and ID. John Boy, I have read where you and other evolutionists state that refusing to accept the theory of evolution is to reject all of science. You have accused me of such on several occasions. Now you turn around and say that other fields of science have no relevance to a biological theory. Please, make up my mind... Thanks JOHN WELLS What evidence is there that puts evolution in question? How about a non-living cell deciding to become a living cell? Richard Lewontin, Harvard geneticist stated, "in the struggle between science and the supernatural, we take the side of science because we have a prior commitment to materialism. The methods of science are driven by materialistic philosophy. The rules that define what qualifies as science in the first place have been crafted by materialists in such a way as to ensure they get only materialistic theories. We are forced by our a priori (a decision reached before examining the facts) adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations." HELEN Logic Bot, You said you learned, first, #1 That evolution is a scientific theory that is fits into the epistemological scheme of the scientific method. And I asked, "How?" Your response was that "This question was answered by the previous assertions I made. Although we will be testing the validity of those assertions in this debate. To sum it up. Evolution is #1 A naturalistic explanation #2 Explains the evidence #3 Can be falsified OK - first of all, you claimed that evolution theory fits into an epistemological scheme. That means you can formalize the study of it. That means it can be examined via certain rules. One of the reasons I put down a formal scientific method was to make sure we were on the same track here. But when I asked you how it fit into an epistemological scheme, you did not answer in the ballpark. You lobbed a few extra balls in, instead. So let me ask you again. How does the study of common descent fit into a formalized scientific method? I think that phrases the question in a way that says the same thing you were talking about only I have made it a question, because I am curious about that premise. As part of your answer, though, you said that evolution is a naturalistic explanation. Two points: 1. It is not scientific to eliminate a possible conclusion before you start, especially if that conclusion is being eliminated on philosophical grounds, which is happening here. By limiting the only possible conclusions to those which are naturalistic, you have eliminated, a priori, any explanation which is therefore not naturalistic. And why has this been done? Because science cannot work with something that is not naturalistic, it is said. But that is an incredibly arrogant statement at its core, because it implies that the only knowledge worth knowing, or perhaps even in existence, is that we can understand from our frame of reference now. In other words, if we can't work with it and it doesn't submit to our mathematical or physical manipulation, it doesn't exist. That is not rational or scientific. So your implicit requirement of a naturalistic explanation declares a non-scientific presumption which very possibly, on purely logical grounds, may not be true. 2. Evolution depends on not just natural selection, but on the genetic mutations occurring from which to select. These mutations must therefore be beneficial immediately in one way or another or, at the very least, neutral. But, in nature, this is not what we see happening. What we see in mutations which are expressed is nearly always damaging to the organism. There is no mutation I am aware of which affects form in a multicellular animal, for instance, which is beneficial. Those which affect function generally are lethal. The few exceptions, as I have mentioned earlier, such as sickle cell in humans, are beneficial only in specific instances and places and, in the case of that one, lethal when received from both parents (homozygous) instead of only one (heterozygous). Therefore I would submit to you that the theory of evolution does NOT reflect naturalistic processes, but distinctly unnaturalistic ones - processes which we simply do not see in multicellular organisms today. We do not see, even in unicellular organisms, which have extraordinarily short generation times and can mutate much more quickly, any series of mutations which end up fixing in a population and actually producing individuals who are different, as a rule, from the original population. We see the opposite occurring. We see the wild type being reverted to - even in the case of HIV virus (which is not even DNA based!) – every time, thus eliminating forced differences in a population. In addition, the variations we see occurring naturally are those which go 'back and forth', such as the finches' beaks on Galapagos. Beak size and shape is not fixed in any of the individual populations, but varies in response to seasonal rainfall. So I would say that the dependence upon mutation and natural selection to produce something with a greater complexity and different form or function in a population is depending upon something we don't see naturally and therefore cannot be presumed to be a naturalistic process. I would then submit to you that the creation explanation makes more sense and is better science, simply because it really does look for naturalistic explanation, only it looks for them within the framework of truth God has given us in the Bible. Therefore we expect to see what we do see: variation within basic type (the taxonomic family for purposes of this discussion); natural selection eliminating genetic information and not adding to it; a buildup of genetic load (the accumulation of negative mutations in a population); and the existence of a growing number of endangered species, simply because natural selection through the millennia has eliminated so much possible genetic variation that a certain species cannot deal with any but the specific environment it was 'selected' for through the elimination of those variations. The way I see it, then, is that the creation explanation fits the observable facts better than evolution, and is, in the long run, even a better naturalistic explanation within the bounds set for it by the Creator Himself. You said evolution can be falsified. No, it cannot be. For instance, when it was 'discovered' by evolutionary scientists that the eye could not be linked back to a common ancestral origin, it was not evolution or common ancestry which was looked at, but a new explanation was invented out of thin air: convergent evolution. It now appears that the eye has not 'evolved' just once, but as many as forty times, independently each time. This is pure hogwash, number one, and number two, shows that evolutionary presuppositions are matters of faith, not fact, and most certainly not observable fact! Evolution MUST stand, and so the grab bag of explanations gets bigger and bigger as more explanations are needed to explain away the very evidence which is falsifying evolution by any ordinary standards! I have heard that evolution could be falsified by finding a human fossil in a Cambrian strata. First of all, many anomalous fossil finds exist. Secondly, evolution either has an excuse or cries 'fraud, lie!' every time! Just for fun, consider Cremo and Thompson's Forbidden Archeology. It has about 800 pages of pretty well-referenced stuff. Let's suppose ¾ of it is pure fabrication - again, just for fun. That still leaves 200 pages of anomalies to be explained. Maybe it's time to take of the blinders, sir, and check out some of the evidence which does not fit?