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Author Topic: Is evidence against evolution all nonsense?  (Read 22003 times)

Offline Mjhavok

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Is evidence against evolution all nonsense?
« on: 17/11/2006 03:29:27 »
Polish "Scientist" Maciej Giertych wrote into Nature after their story about Polish MPs trying to get Creationism in schools. He talks about evolution and current recent evidence against it. Is he talking mince? His correspondence is below.


Creationism, evolution:nothing has been proved

SIR — In your News story “Polish scientists fight creationism” (Nature 443, 890–891; 2006), you incorrectly state that I have called for the “inclusion of creationism in Polish biology curricula”. As well as being a member of the European Parliament, I am a scientist
— a population geneticist with a degree from Oxford University and a PhD from the University of Toronto — and I am critical of the theory of evolution as a scientist, with no religious connotation. It is the media that prefer to consider my comments as religiously inspired, rather than to report my stated position accurately.

I believe that, as a result of media bias, there seems to be total ignorance of new scientific evidence against the theory of evolution. Such evidence includes race formation (microevolution), which is not a small step in macroevolution because it is a step towards a reduction of genetic information and not towards its increase. It also includes formation of geological strata sideways rather than vertically, archaeological and palaeontological evidence that dinosaurs coexisted with humans, a major worldwide catastrophe in historical times, and so on.

We know that information exists in biology, and is transferred over generations through the DNA/RNA/protein system. We do not know its origin, but we know it exists, can be spoiled by mutations, but never improves itself spontaneously. No positive mutations have ever been demonstrated — adaptations to antibiotics or herbicides are equivalent to immunological adaptation to diseases, and not a creation of a new function. We keep on searching for natural explanations of everything in nature. If we have no explanations we should say so, and not claim that an unproven theory is a fact.

Maciej Giertych
Institute of Dendrology,
Polish Academy of Sciences,
62-035 Kórnik, Poland
« Last Edit: 17/12/2006 16:09:13 by ukmicky »


 

Offline Mjhavok

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Re: Is evidence against evolution all nonsense?
« Reply #1 on: 17/11/2006 03:32:31 »
I just read that again. Does he actually say humans coexisted with dinosaurs? Surely this isn't wright. Humans existed since 100,000 years ago and dinosaurs 65 millions. Surely this is bogus. Anyone more versed on complex evolutionary theory and current evidence please clarify.
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Re: Is evidence against evolution all nonsense?
« Reply #2 on: 17/11/2006 18:18:59 »
There is evidence that primitive humanoids existed 2 million years ago (Richard Leakey discovered 1.5 million-year-old remains near Lake Turkana in northern Kenya and recently remains have been found in west Africa that have been dated at 2 million years old) but, as you say, dinosaurs became extinct (with a few exceptions such as crocodiles) 65 million years ago. There is no way the 2 could have co-existed unless paleantological, geological and carbon dating theories are seriously flawed.
 

Offline Heliotrope

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Re: Is evidence against evolution all nonsense?
« Reply #3 on: 17/11/2006 20:33:40 »
I have a question for all the "intelligent" design acolytes :

Would you prefer your computers, cars and airplanes designed by priests or engineers ?

 

Offline Heliotrope

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Re: Is evidence against evolution all nonsense?
« Reply #4 on: 17/11/2006 20:44:19 »
There is no way the 2 could have co-existed unless paleantological, geological and carbon dating theories are seriously flawed.

This reminds me of something.

Let us for the moment assume that carbon dating is flawed in some way.
How does one react to this information ?
Does one take stock and start looking around for new ways to verify the age of things or does one assume that the age of things cannot be verified and cease to look for new information ?

Those who have been misled by "intelligent" design would have us abandon all ways of trying to find out new ways to date things and examine only that which "proves" their own brand of irrationality.

Personally I find it very difficult to understand what can possibly have gone awry in a mind that it refuses and denies the relevance of the quest for knowledge.
 

Offline Heliotrope

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Re: Is evidence against evolution all nonsense?
« Reply #5 on: 17/11/2006 20:45:51 »
Evidence against evolution is this nonsense ?
Yes.

 

Offline gecko

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Re: Is evidence against evolution all nonsense?
« Reply #6 on: 18/11/2006 03:14:56 »
ok, im all for ripping "intelligent design" a new one, but in all fairness, this scientist didnt mention intelligent design being the logical alternative, just that he questions evolution.

we, by assuming he is an ID proponent, are making the same logical fallacy they are, that there are only 2 possible ways life could happen, and therefore "if we proove one wrong, the other is true!".

that said, i dont think the facts he presents, even if theyre true, amount to disprooving evolution. all they do is question certain mechanisms of it.
 

Offline gecko

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Re: Is evidence against evolution all nonsense?
« Reply #7 on: 18/11/2006 03:16:44 »
and besides, his credibiliy is tarnished in the first place. we all know about the polish mathematician.
 

Offline Mjhavok

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Re: Is evidence against evolution all nonsense?
« Reply #8 on: 18/11/2006 17:16:06 »
The guy who wrote the letter is a major conservative and total ID freak. Check him on wikipedia.
 

Offline daveshorts

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Re: Is evidence against evolution all nonsense?
« Reply #9 on: 20/11/2006 13:05:52 »
I like the way at the end that he essentially says, 'ignoring some very good examples of mutations with positive effects there are no examples of positive mutations....'
:)
 

Offline gecko

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Re: Is evidence against evolution all nonsense?
« Reply #10 on: 25/11/2006 02:44:42 »
ok.
 

Offline chris

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Re: Is evidence against evolution all nonsense?
« Reply #11 on: 10/12/2006 14:52:09 »
There is evidence that primitive humanoids existed 2 million years ago (Richard Leakey discovered 1.5 million-year-old remains near Lake Turkana in northern Kenya and recently remains have been found in west Africa that have been dated at 2 million years old) but, as you say, dinosaurs became extinct (with a few exceptions such as crocodiles) 65 million years ago. There is no way the 2 could have co-existed unless paleantological, geological and carbon dating theories are seriously flawed.

Mammals did co-exist with the dinosaurs, but humanoids, which popped into existence about 6 million years ago, certainly did not. In fact it was the demise of the dinosaurs that enabled the mammals to gain a toehold and subsequently the upper hand. This Polish politician and creationist is totally misguided in the picture he paints. Religion aside, people like this are dangerous because they misquote "facts" and confuse people. Some have gone so far as to say that Nature should perhaps not have published that letter.

On the other hand, science is all about informed debate - and judging by this letter, some workers are clearly better informed than others!
 

Offline Heliotrope

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Re: Is evidence against evolution all nonsense?
« Reply #12 on: 11/12/2006 22:21:53 »
Some have gone so far as to say that Nature should perhaps not have published that letter.

They have been criticised and in my view, rightly so.
But only because they have given a veneer of legitimacy to this buffoon who will now go around trumpeting this "legitimacy" to the bovines who stop to listen and then some of them at least will start thinking that he is legitimate because :
"Well, he's been published in the premier scientific journal on the planet so there must be something in what he says." Said a random member of the miseducated public.

This sort of thing does not help our case.
Yes, most of the people who actually read the article realise the man is clearly unbalanced and can reason him out of the picture but most of the people who will hear what he will be squawking about did not read the article and have undeveloped critical thinking skills. They just watch the box and accept whatever the obviously legitimate guy on there is telling them.

This is very, very bad.
Especially if the scientific community does not stand up as one and demonstrate to the public that these people are talking absolute nonsense.


Quote
On the other hand, science is all about informed debate...

Absolutely.
However there is one critical point concerning ID that almost everyone seems unaware of.
It is this :
THERE IS NO DEBATE.

There is no debate concerning ID.
They want us to engage in a debate about the scientific relevance and applicability of an utterly unscientific thing.
I will paraphrase a parallel argument...

Scientist : 2+2=4
ID(iot)    : Well we think that 2+2=5 and we want a debate about it.
Scientist : 2+2=4, what do you want a debate about ? There is nothing to debate. These are the facts as we understand them. 2+2=4.
ID(iot)    : Well not everyone says that 2+2=4. We think that 2+2=5 and we think our views should be taken into account.
Scientist : It doesn't matter what your views are. 2+2=4. End of story.
ID(iot)    : Well surely we can come to some sort of compromise where both our views are taken into account ?
Scientist : You cannot compromise the facts. If you have an idea and experiments, observation and reason do not back it up then it's wrong.
ID(iot)    : We will fight you in Congress and Parliament. We will have our voice. We will show the public that you will not listen to other reasoned argument. That your minds are closed. That you refuse to take other information into account.
Scientist : ??!!!??!?!?!!?????????
ID(iot)    : *smug*
Government: We propose the redefinition of 2+2 to equal 4.25 which is a compromise acceptable to all.
Scientist  : !!!!!!! *starts looking for a job in advertising*

That's about the top and bottom of the entire thing.

 

Offline Mjhavok

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Re: Is evidence against evolution all nonsense?
« Reply #13 on: 12/12/2006 04:14:51 »
lol Heliotrope. Good summary.
 

Offline chris

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Re: Is evidence against evolution all nonsense?
« Reply #14 on: 16/12/2006 12:02:47 »
The reason debates are useful is because they enable both sides of an argument to have the opportunity to make their points and back them up with appropriate evidence. If that evidence is shaky or not forthcoming, the weaker side loses the debate.

I suspect that there were lots of debates historically about whether the Earth was round or flat. And people even lost their lives for trying to argue that the Earth travels round the Sun. So the mere fact that people are holding a debate is to be saluted, not so much because people are no longer being executed but because it gives us an opportunity to teach people something.

I'll bet that in the wake of the intelligent design debacle a lot more people now know a lot more correct "facts" about evolution than they ever did before. I doubt that the same number of "converts" can be said to have been won over by the intelligent design argument.

Whilst I don't condone school teachers in the US having to go to court to defend the right to keep what amounts to religious education out of their science lessons, I'm glad of the opportunity provided by the creationists to get people talking about something real and tangible, which is evolution!

Chris
« Last Edit: 16/12/2006 12:09:02 by chris »
 

Offline Heliotrope

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Re: Is evidence against evolution all nonsense?
« Reply #15 on: 16/12/2006 15:05:33 »
That's all true.
However all that rests on one single assumption : That there is a level playing field.

Reagrding the ID buffoonery there is definitely not a level playing field.

The problem is the media in general and the highly developed skills of the ID(iots) in manipulating it to show them in the light that they choose.
Scientists seem woefully underrepresented in the media. The general public do not understand what scientists do, what they are trying to achieve or why they do what they do. Wild hair, lab coats and thick glasses etc... That's the popular view of a scientist.
Hence all that the man in the street sees is a group calling down the establishment for not being fair and holding an open discussion.

Science in general has yet to mount an effective counter campaign to demonstrate the flaws in ID and why it should not be taught in schools.
Now we all know those reasons but you can bet your car on the fact that my neighbours do not. Nor do yours. Nor anyone that they know.
Basically no one knows.
All they hear and see is the media which is already being controlled by the ID(iots).
Hence we have a situation where the general public are calling for a debate insomething that is undebatable.
And we now have politicians getting on the bandwagon.

I would suggest that hardly anyone knows any more facts about Evolution after the debate than before it.
That is because they are not being told about it. They are not being shown what Evolution actually is. They are not being shown how it has been arrived at.
All they see is the final product presented on a plate for their consumption because the establishment says that's what they must consume.
None of this involves any understanding on the part of the public.
So when they are presented with two different things on plates they sit in front of the 'box and assume that they are both equally valid.
The public assume that they must be equally valid otherwise they would not have been presented to them as such.
This is a faulty assumption but that's what happens.
It's the media.

Scientists need to get out there and show people what is going on.
Ivory towers are all very well but when your livelihood and the education of your children depends on something other than rationality you'd better get your arse out in the street and do something about getting the facts across.

 

Offline chris

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Re: Is evidence against evolution all nonsense?
« Reply #16 on: 16/12/2006 18:29:08 »
True; I could not agree more, and that's why we set up the Naked Scientists - to improve the public perception of science and scientists. Through our podcasts, website and this forum I think we're making progress!

There is some way to go, however, and Tony Blair and his loony leftie cronies' ridiculous political correctness drives, which give a voice to everyone and suppresses the right to object to anything on the grounds that it might offend someone, are not helping.

Interestingly, when I was at the AAAS in St Louis (February 2006) and hosting a series of programmes from the meeting for BBC Radio Five Live we held a debate on intelligent design inviting people to offer their opinions. I also interviewed the school teachers who won their court case not to include ID in science lessons, and also a woman employed to travel the US giving conferences on the science of evolution.

In response to that half hour programme, one person (from the UK) contributed about 5 vitriolic emails accusing me, and the BBC, of being one-sided, un-impartial and small minded. They reminded me that civilisations didn't exist before 6000 years ago and hence God must have made us.

Clearly that person was more up on their bible study than their anthropology or they might have realised that in the last 20-30,000 years there were at least 3 species of humanoids existing side by side on Earth (Homo sapiens, Neanderthals and Flores man).

Chris
 

Offline Heliotrope

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Re: Is evidence against evolution all nonsense?
« Reply #17 on: 16/12/2006 23:29:59 »
True; I could not agree more, and that's why we set up the Naked Scientists - to improve the public perception of science and scientists. Through our podcasts, website and this forum I think we're making progress!

Me too.
That's one of the reasons why I'm here.
I wish I could become more involved in showing the public what science is all about.
The mass media still needs to be cracked but the more people there are visiting places like this and asking questions the better.
More advertising, more publicity, more information and more education.
The public are not stupid. But if people do not have information then they cannot help but make decisions based upon the information they do have. If that information comes from the ID(iots) then that's what gets the upper hand.
It is ignorance that must be battled.
Education and information are the only weapons with which to fight it.
 

Offline Heliotrope

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Re: Is evidence against evolution all nonsense?
« Reply #18 on: 16/12/2006 23:43:13 »
In response to that half hour programme, one person (from the UK) contributed about 5 vitriolic emails accusing me, and the BBC, of being one-sided, un-impartial and small minded.

*shakes head in despair*
Heard this sort of thing many times.
And what really galls me about it is not that there are people out there who have assorted beliefs and who wish to criticise others for having contrary beliefs.
What I have a problem with is that the organisations that receive these complaints seem to pay hugely disproportionate amounts of attention to them and simply accede without reference to the wider public view.
So you get a programme broadcast to 30 million people and 10 letters of complaint which are accounted enough weight to change the course of programming for the other 29,999,990 people who enjoyed the broadcast.


 

Offline Heliotrope

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Re: Is evidence against evolution all nonsense?
« Reply #19 on: 16/12/2006 23:45:27 »
Oh, and I know it's really a percentage game but even with the most outrageous statistical weighting methodology you cannot get 10 complaints to represent 51% of the viewing public.

 

Offline chris

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Re: Is evidence against evolution all nonsense?
« Reply #20 on: 17/12/2006 09:59:11 »
This is completely true. The vast majority were completely happy with what they heard / saw but one wasn't. So what do we do? That's right, we pander to the whim of the one. Tony Blair would be proud of us.

It's happening at all levels of society. We've got to be as inclusive as possible. And if that means bringing the level down so that everyone can have an A grade at A level, then that's what we have to do, it would appear.

I've been doing a bit of interviewing recently. All of the students I saw had (pretty much) A's across the board, but the spread of abilities amongst them was huge. Where once an A grade meant "top dollar" it now means 25% of the population.

Why I object to this is that it is not helping the students. When grades were more strictly awarded it was easier for young people to pinpoint their strengths and weaknesses. They could tell where their abilities, and their futures, best lay. Young people need all the guidance they can get because in late teenage you may not appreciate your real talents and abilities.

Now everyone's told they're brilliant at everything. Some poor souls will end up wasting a lot of time flogging a dead horse; They will make less informed (and hence more chancy) career choices, which will be based on a pipedream and little else.

This sickly namby-pamby sugar-coated world we're striving to create for ourselves is letting people down in a big way. It needs an injection of good old fashioned harsh reality, and Tony Blair and his bunch to be given the boot.

Chris
 

Offline chris

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Re: Is evidence against evolution all nonsense?
« Reply #21 on: 17/12/2006 10:02:52 »
Someone from Cambridge University wrote to the radio show the other day asking the question "Did God invent Darwin?". Genius.
 

Offline Heliotrope

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Re: Is evidence against evolution all nonsense?
« Reply #22 on: 17/12/2006 11:31:48 »
Someone from Cambridge University wrote to the radio show the other day asking the question "Did God invent Darwin?". Genius.
;D
Brilliant.

There was another good one I heard in an interview.
Michael Shermer, author of 'Why Darwin Matters' was asked "What do you think will happen over the next 20 years or so with the ID issue in schools..."
He replied, "Oh, It'll evolve. Really, seriously it will. It'll mutate into something else."

I almost can't wait for it;D

Reference : http://www.theskepticsguide.org/skepticsguide/podcastinfo.asp?pid=63
« Last Edit: 17/12/2006 11:35:59 by Heliotrope »
 

Offline Mjhavok

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Re: Is evidence against evolution all nonsense?
« Reply #23 on: 18/12/2006 05:15:42 »
True; I could not agree more, and that's why we set up the Naked Scientists - to improve the public perception of science and scientists. Through our podcasts, website and this forum I think we're making progress!



Chris

And I am glad you did set it up :-D
« Last Edit: 18/12/2006 05:25:21 by Mjhavok »
 

Offline Mjhavok

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Re: Is evidence against evolution all nonsense?
« Reply #24 on: 18/12/2006 05:23:05 »
I have many problems with religion, intelligent design, creationism bla bla bla.

My main point and probably my first ever point that made be an "atheist" (I don't really think I should have to label myself with what I don't believe it) was this point.

1. Christians or Muslims or whatever say that their book is the word of god. How do they know? It says it in the book or people have told them. I find this incredibly insane. I can easily write a book of utter nonsense about anything and say it was the word of god. Does this make it so? NO!. Just because someone says something is the word of god doesn't make it the word of god. The books where created by a human being, in most cases many human beings. If someone wrote a new holy book today and said it was the word of god people would ridicule him, but somehow it is accepted from people from over 1900 years ago.

Just because something is written down doesn't make it true or the word of god. Just because someone tells you something doesn't make it the truth.

Evidence is where in the truth lies. Science is backed by evidence. Religion is backed by witness testimony and fictional literature no more true than Shakespeare or Charles Dickens. Definetly not as entertaining as William Gibson, Iain M Banks or Raymond E. Feist. At least in my opinion.
« Last Edit: 18/12/2006 05:24:57 by Mjhavok »
 

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Re: Is evidence against evolution all nonsense?
« Reply #24 on: 18/12/2006 05:23:05 »

 

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