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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Theory of Evolution Primer (Page 2)

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Author Topic: Theory of Evolution Primer
mr_porteiro_head
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If I'm in error, all you have to do is correct me.
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King of Men
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I think he just did. Nothing says a correction has to be gentle. [Smile]
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Tarrsk
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quote:
Originally posted by Occasional:
"honest and intelligent" bringing it right back to calling Creationists idiots - exactly as some here have said is the main argument used when nothing else works to the Evolutionists advantage. What I find funny is the idea that "if they would just listen, everyone would believe in Evolution." Guess what? Just because the arguments are convincing (even overwhelming) to the Evolutionists doesn't mean they are to others.

Funny, I seem to recall there being quite a few posts in this thread alone discussing the evidence for evolution without ever resorting to the line, "if they would just listen, everyone would believe in Evolution." I wrote one of them. The only creationist in this thread who has made any attempt to argue on the basis of evidence is Reshpeckobiggle, and his (her?) arguments have, I think, been responded to fairly and in detail.

quote:
Evidence, or lack thereof, is in the eye of the beholder. There is no universal signs that say THIS IS A FACT! One person's facts are another persons folly. Get used to it.
I'm presuming that you're typing this on a computer, have at some point gone to a hospital and/or taken medication prescribed by a doctor, thrown a baseball or football, and used an umbrella to keep away the rain. Guess what? Every single one of those things is based on "universal signs" determined by scientists using the exact same approach to searching for truth as evolutionary biologists. This "evidence is in the eye of the beholder" stuff is nothing more than equivocation, trying to appeal to anti-intellectualism to avoid having to admit that experts in a field might actually have more valid opinions about their conclusions than you do.

*breathe*

Edit: That last was very specifically directed at Occasional, not anyone else on the thread. Sorry if it comes off as too harsh, but that particular argument really gets on my nerves.

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King of Men
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Thank you, Tarrsk, I was trying to figure out how to say that without getting banned. Splendid post.
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Will B
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And it's an argument that undermines itself!

Why should I believe that evidence is in the eye of the beholder? Can someone present evidence for this? But that evidence would be in the eye of the beholder, and is thus not reliable. Therefore there can be no proof that evidence is in the eye of the beholder: it must be taken on faith, and blind faith at that (since it can't be informed by any evidence).

I keep hearing this argument -- or anti-argument -- and I'm not sure why it hasn't died a quick death.

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ClaudiaTherese
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quote:
Originally posted by Tarrsk:
This "evidence is in the eye of the beholder" stuff is nothing more than equivocation, trying to appeal to anti-intellectualism to avoid having to admit that experts in a field might actually have more valid opinions about their conclusions that you do.

For added reference, as a side note: the Fallacy Files has an excellent discussion of the "Appeal to (Misleading) Authority." Not all appeals to authority are fallacious.
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MrSquicky
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I don't think it was answered yet (on this thread), so I'll throw out that the probably strongest case for observing macroevolution comes from the evolution of whales from a sort of wolf-like land mammal. You can look it up pretty easily and I've mentioned it on innumerable Hatrack threads about evolution.
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King of Men
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That's a good one, certainly. Another nice one is the broken Vitamin C gene in primates, and other genetic evidence of common ancestry between humans and chimps.
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Will B
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Say more. Link?
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MrSquicky
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Will,
Why can't you look it up on your own? It'd take you no more effort to find it then it would me and, as I've already said, I've linked it many, many times on Hatrack.

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Lord Of All Fools
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Squicky:
quote:
Why can't you look it up on your own? It'd take you no more effort to find it then it would me and, as I've already said, I've linked it many, many times on Hatrack.
I maintain that such statements are uncivil and not conducive to discussion. This is a community in which we (ideally) help one another come to an understanding AT LEAST about why we believe what we believe.

Civility seems to me to require that you provide a basis for your claims when asked. Even if you have provided that evidence before.

Will--

Here's a link.

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King of Men
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In case that was directed at me :

Chromosome evidence
Vitamin C paper

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MrSquicky
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Scott,
I disagree. What I said was not uncivil and it wasn't meant to be conducive to discussion, but rather as an urging for Will to avail himself of the vast resources of the web. Also, I think promoting self-education is actually a good thing. I gave Will with exactly what he needed to do the same Google search I would. I don't see why I should be responsible for doing even more in directing Will towards this information. The burden of time and effort should, in my opinion, rest largely on the ignorant person, unless the informed one can access the information much quicker, which is not true in this case.

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Tarrsk
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Squick, I'm afraid I have to agree with Scott here. Self-education is all well and good, but it's more than just good manners to cite your claims- it's good scientific practice. Of course, we aren't writing journal articles here at Hatrack, but I think the principle holds: it's very tough to believe what you're claiming to have read if you won't provide the means for others to read it themselves.
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by MrSquicky:
Scott,
I disagree. What I said was not uncivil and it wasn't meant to be conducive to discussion, but rather as an urging for Will to avail himself of the vast resources of the web. Also, I think promoting self-education is actually a good thing. I gave Will with exactly what he needed to do the same Google search I would. I don't see why I should be responsible for doing even more in directing Will towards this information. The burden of time and effort should, in my opinion, rest largely on the ignorant person, unless the informed one can access the information much quicker, which is not true in this case.

I've heard you make this claim before and after thinking about I see merit to your argument but I still conclude that if you honestly believe you have data that can enlighten others it is your responsibility to make it available to them.

As a missionary I observed other missionaries who tried to get as many copies of the Book of Mormon into peoples hands while simply saying, "The truth is found within." Now doubtlessly the person could just start reading and perhaps find something of value but 99% of the time I doubt it and I hold the book in the highest esteem.

Your refusal to help people along even just a little bit gives one the impression that you do not care very much for the truth you are trying to present.

Google is not perfect, there was a time that if I told somebody to simply google Mormonism or plug it into any search engine you would be buried under a stack of anti Mormon websites, almost all of which are dishonest and completely useless for understanding the religion.

I have no reason to believe that this problem is limited to Mormonism, or that search engines have completely eliminated the problem of inaccurate websites being visited just as often as accurate ones by visitors who have no direction and are just trying to see what they can find on a topic.

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MrSquicky
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Tarrsk,
from my perspective, Will was looking for information, not looking for debate. I don't have the time or interest to debate this, but I do have enough time to point him in the direction of the information. I don't have specific sources in mind, but I am aware that was I was saying was correct. I've also developed (I think) a strong reputation of never claiming things that I can't back up.

As I said, I wasn't looking to argue Macro-evolution, but pointing him in the direction of what he was asking for. I don't feel obligated by pointing out this information to also secure resources for him when him doing so for himself would take the same amount of time.

Where we arguing the point, I agree that sourcing one's claims is important (although that often doesn't seem to be enforced for the anti-intellectual side of a debate), but this was a response for a request for information. I don't think it is my responsiblity in that case.

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MrSquicky
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quote:
Your refusal to help people along even just a little bit gives one the impression that you do not care very much for the truth you are trying to present.
Except, as I've said, I've presented this information many times on this site. I am confident that you or Will or whomever would be able to find accurate information on this topic with a simple Google search or by looking at my previous posts. I do care about the truth and it would be my hope that Will would care enough to take some simple steps towards educating himself about an area that he is now ignorant of.

Also, I've got to wonder how "Here's what you are looking for. You could Google it or look at the earlier threads were I linked and addressed this at greater length." constitutes refusing to help people along even a little bit. Could you explain that to me?

[ February 20, 2007, 04:14 PM: Message edited by: MrSquicky ]

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King of Men
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Can we just assume that Will was asking for a link on the genetic stuff rather than the whale stuff, was provided with the link, and the whole debate is moot? [Smile]
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Samprimary
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quote:
* Samprimary, tell us about macroevolution being witnessed, and all those other verbs.
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-speciation.html
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camus
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While we all jump on Squicky for not posting a link, I think it's also noteworthy to point out Will's laziness for not even attempting to find the information on his own, but instead expecting others to do his work.
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BlackBlade
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Mr S: If you have posted the specific information you have cited before in hatrack then it may still be useful for you to link the thread, but still I agree that, what you said being the case, makes me agree with you more.

I personally know the value of not relying on others for my information if I really do care to find it, so I personally did not need you to link the information but I can still see why its important to link. But as KOM stated its a pretty moot point now.

I'm glad I where you are coming from better, I was under the mistaken impression you had simply read studies on whale evolution and were grudgingly refusing to expend just a little effort in referencing at least one site you read those things from. As much as I employ search engines, I still think there are problems with using them without any referral or direction first given.

Camus: Will still has to read the material, and that constitutes far more work then just linking the material, but YMMV.

edited for clarity.

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camus
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quote:
As much as I employ search engines, I still think there are problems with using them without any referral or direction first given.

Camus: Will still has to read the material, and that constitutes far more work then just linking the material, but YMMV

I agree with both of these statements. I really do appreciate when people take the time to post links because, depending on the poster, I usually add more weight to the posted link than to what I might find on a search engine. However, I do also find it a bit rude to demand a link instead of actually trying to find a little information first or at least explaining why you may not feel that your personal search for information is as adequate as the original poster.
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Amanecer
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quote:
You are in effect trying to find some way to convince your sister that it is stupid to believe in Creation, and that she has to believe the way you do. Why don't you come clean with her and admit that is your real agenda?
I don't think it's stupid to believe in Creation. Belief in creation is based on faith and is entirely a nonrational (note: not irrational) thing. I think it would be impossible to dissuade her of that notion, nor do I really care to do so.

Further, I see no conflict between believing in Evolution and believing in Creation. My sister agrees with this. If God made evolution, then God made Creation. Does it really matter to your faith if God chose to do it all at once or instead set processes in motion that would slowly do it over time?

I would like for her to believe in macroevolution because I think it has a large amount of evidence supporting it and is the most likely explanation of how things came to be on planet earth. I also think that her current disbelief is based on ignorance and misinformation- two items that neither she nor I like.

quote:
And while you're at it,why don't you re-examine your own arbitrary assumptions, daring to test them against the responsible and well-reasoned Creationist side of the debate?
I actually have read a Creationist book. I found it tiring because it began with its end. Instead of trying to build up a solid scientific framework supporting Creationism, it mostly just took pot shots at evolution. Overall, I found it very unconvincing. All of my science credits in college (Genetics, Dinosaurs, & Biospheres) have touched on Evolution and what I have seen has been convincing.

Most Creationists will agree that microevolution occurs- we can replicate it in laboratories. I don't think it's even a little bit of a stretch to say that if you gave a species millions of years, it would go through many small changes (microevolution), and it's quite likely that eventually the species would be different enough that it couldn't mate with a subject from the inital species. I have yet to hear a well reasoned agrument that negates this.

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MightyCow
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There is no valid reason I can think of to give equal treatment to two sets of information when one has more validity than another. You wouldn't teach someone that 2+2=22 and let them decide on their own if they want to believe that it's 4, or if they'd rather go with 22.

There are certain facts about evolution, about the 2nd law of thermodynamics, about natural selection, etc. which are as close to the truth as we can call anything we know. Sharing that information with someone is not an agenda, any more than sharing any other education.

Faith is faith, and it shouldn't be treated as science.

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King of Men
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2+2 does equal 22, for values of '+' taken as 'string concatenation'. [Razz]
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Amanecer
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quote:
What I said was not uncivil and it wasn't meant to be conducive to discussion, but rather as an urging for Will to avail himself of the vast resources of the web. Also, I think promoting self-education is actually a good thing. I gave Will with exactly what he needed to do the same Google search I would. I don't see why I should be responsible for doing even more in directing Will towards this information.
I thought it was annoying. There is not only one person reading this forum. I, and likely others, was interested in what you were saying. If five people were interested enough to look for the info, that would be five times the effort it would have taken for you to just post it in the first place.

Further, we are bombarded with information. If you actually care about sharing information, and if you don't why even bother posting, I think it's wise to make it easy to access. In any given day while reading Hatrack, I am exposed to countless claims and ideas. There is not enough time for me to personally research all of them, or even to read all of the links provided. By not providing a link, your information becomes a lower priority. Providing links is not about creating co-dependence, it's about communicating information effectively.

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fugu13
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Amanecer: even better, we know of lots of cases where species have changed significantly enough that they cannot interbreed with another group of descandants from the same population, but can interbreed with each other. It can happen in as little as one generation with certain sorts of changes (polyploidy).
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MrSquicky
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quote:
If five people were interested enough to look for the info, that would be five times the effort it would have taken for you to just post it in the first place.
Or, you know, one of them could have posted the links they found.
quote:
If you actually care about sharing information, and if you don't why even bother posting, I think it's wise to make it easy to access.
I shared the information I had, which was that whale evolution gave one of the best examples of observing macro-evolution. That's solid information.

You're not complaining that I didn't share information I had; you're complaining that I didn't go out and look for links so that you didn't have to. It's not like I had information that I was sitting on that I wasn't giving out.

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mr_porteiro_head
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Internet Argument!
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Amanecer
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[Laugh] MPH
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rjzeller
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I think the most sensible post on this entire thread came from Ron. Why not respect your sister's beliefs and leave it at that?

Really, what is with the compulsion to "prove" her wrong or convince her that evolution is real. Smacks of arrogance, if you ask me.

If you continue to push at her this way, then you merely upset her. If she refuses to change her mind, then you get more upset. But what does it matter? If she's wrong, then what harm comes of it? How does her refusal to accept evolution as truth affect you, her, or society? I fail to see why this is a signficant problem that warrants the efforts you're trying to undertake.

And if she's right, then you've just insulted her belief system and questioned her thinking for nothing.

DO we know the truth? Of course many will argue they do, and many will argue they do not. The very fact that such an issue is so hotly contested clearly demonstrates that the issue IS still up for debate and is quite clearly NOT decided. So why do we treat those who don't accept evolution with such disdain?

We can establish that water freezes at certain temperatures, that the sky is blue, and that a fresh hot McGriddle sandwich is really quite yummy. But things such as global warming, peak oil, evolution, religion, and trickle-down economics are always going to be argued over NOT because one side is beign obtuse, but because these things have not yet been definitively proven.

Get off the high-horse, folks, and cut the rest of mankind a little slack.

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MightyCow
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rjzeller:

I don't believe that sharing known information smacks of arrogance. Educating people is not insulting their beliefs, it's pointing out areas where their beliefs may be misinformed or out of whack with facts.

I think having faith is a neutral situation. When a system of beliefs refuses to accept reality, I believe it becomes detrimental to both the person who is ignorant, and to society as a whole.

People who are uninformed cannot make educated choices in regards to anything which touches upon their lack of information. Giving people more information is a positive thing, it allows them to make better choices.

Simply because something is hotly contested does not change the reality of the matter. If a lot of people don't believe it gravity, we won't all start falling upward. If a lot of people are uninformed about evolution, it doesn't invalidate the fossil record.

In fact, it is people with your view, who don't want others educated about evolution, who keep this a hotly contested issue. If more people were educated about the facts of evolution, the 2nd law of thermodynamics, and all the other misconceptions they have, there would be far less uninformed debate.

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fugu13
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Many people who criticize evolution are being obtuse. For instance, anyone who says any of the laws of thermodynamics makes evolution impossible is being obtuse (at least, after the first time they've had the reasons that's not so explained to them; the reasons are extremely sensible and not interpretible to allow for the contradiction of evolution -- the laws of thermodynamics are concise statements).

And there are a large number of people who do that, and there are many similar examples. For instance, anyone who claims that its impossible for the genetic information in an organism to increase -- I added genetic information to bacteria in high school biology (using solely naturally occurring enzymes, just concentrated to speed the process up).

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King of Men
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quote:
Really, what is with the compulsion to "prove" her wrong or convince her that evolution is real. Smacks of arrogance, if you ask me.
Right. In fact, nobody should ever try to convince anyone of anything, lest they be accused of arrogance. This being so, why don't you stop trying to convince Amanecer not to convince her sister of evolution? I mean, that's pretty arrogant, innit, to think that you know best how to deal with conflicting beliefs. What's with this compulsion to have her leave others alone?
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King of Men
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quote:
Originally posted by mr_porteiro_head:
Internet Argument!

Indeed, a perfect description of the E/C debate. You have a bright five-year-old kid, excited at finding things out, arguing with a stubborn old donkey.
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Amanecer
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quote:
If you continue to push at her this way, then you merely upset her. If she refuses to change her mind, then you get more upset. But what does it matter? If she's wrong, then what harm comes of it? How does her refusal to accept evolution as truth affect you, her, or society? I fail to see why this is a signficant problem that warrants the efforts you're trying to undertake.
Mighty Cow covered a lot of your points excellently. As for this one though, you're mistaken. She does not have firmly held beliefs about evolution and is open to learning more. It's not of great importance to her, which is why the burden of finding this information is placed on me. If this was an issue she felt passionately about, I agree that it would be a poor use of my time to try and convince her and that it would likely only create negative feelings. So while I would likely drop the issue in that scenario, I also believe that there would be a net harm to herself and society in believing something false (just as I think it's harmful when people say that landing on the moon or the Holocaust never happened).

quote:
So why do we treat those who don't accept evolution with such disdain?
Because the matter is really only up for debate with those that have not done much research or blatantly do not WANT to believe it (much like those that disbelieve in the moon landing and the Holocaust).
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BlackBlade
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You all seem to be missing the fact that whether or not Amanacer's sister wishes to learn is entirely her decision.

Human beings trying to share beliefs with other human beings only works so far as both parties are interested. The person sharing could harm the message by being rude or unappreciative of the receiving party's view point. The receiving party could have no interest in changing their minds or even testing out the views of the party that is sharing.

If either of those things are true there is NO point in trying to continue sharing, both parties will only dislike each other more as either side tries to support their views.

If Amanecer's sister is interested in seeing studies on the topic, good for her! If she says, "I don't agree with you and that's that." Amanecer does nothing productive by pushing the point and in fact could damage the relationship if Amanecer tries harder and harder.

Only Amanecer can articulate his relationship with his sister and it does not do anyone any good to say, "If *I* was his sister I'd be glad/annoyed, and I would perceive Amanacer as trying to be helpful/arrogant."

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Amanecer
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quote:
his
*her [Wink]
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by Amanecer:
quote:
his
*her [Wink]
oh geez I seriously debated this very detail in my head and finally decided that Amanecer was a gender neutral name and just guessed him. My apologies!
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Amanecer
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No problem at all! [Smile]
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Lord Of All Fools
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quote:
I don't see why I should be responsible for doing even more in directing Will towards this information.
Because it's courteous.

EDIT: Also, it's a pretty well established tradition on this forum. Jatraqueros provide information when asked, if they can, especially when the seminal point has been made by them.

[ February 20, 2007, 09:09 PM: Message edited by: Lord Of All Fools ]

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Will B
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Thanks for the links!

(And a good thing for the argument -- the original one, not the explosion over whether posting links is good. If someone hadn't posted the whale and wolf link, I wouldn't have gotten that anyone considered that to be observed macroevolution, as opposed to (reasonably) deduced macroevolution.)

--

(From David Letterman)

New Yorkers have a reputation for being rude and uncaring, but it's just not true. Ask someone from the Midwest for the time, and he'll tell you the time. Ask a New Yorker, and he'll say, "Dumbass! Why don't you get your own freakin' watch?" See? He's looking out for your welfare! Trying to help!

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Reshpeckobiggle
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First, I think there is a point to whoever said that anyone who automatically dismisses a creationist's arguments is being unfair. I am not an idiot and I have a rather sharp understanding of the principles of evolution. I took it for granted all throughout school that evolution is simple fact. I had trouble reconciling it with my religious convictions, but I managed. All it took was one book debunking most of evolution's "proofs" and all of the sudden everything became crystal clear.

Now I admit that a large part of that is because coming to the conclusion that evolution is false removed a perceived dichotomy within my belief structure, and therefore made me much more receptive to the sea change, but that does not mean that I am any less capable of understanding the reasoning behind the change.

Further reading led me to see why it is so difficult for some (most?) to abandon the theory and instead invent more and more elaborate explanations as to why the theory does not jibe with observable evidence, to the point that Darwinists actually believe that the evidence does nothing but support the theory. But I have to tell you, from my vantage point everything is perfectly clear.

Something important to understand is that no one is infallible. I may be completely convinced of my side, and still be 100% wrong. I do not think that this is the case. But those of you who are completely convinced that Macroevolution is a fact might do well to look at how well Ptolemy's model of the solar system fit the observable evidence, with just minor discrepencies. It was absolutely brilliant. Pure genius. And completely, utterly wrong. String theorists are in the same boat.

Evolution is the only acceptable theory for scientists to accept. Non-scientist atheists have no real alternative either. This is because it is the only explanation put forth so far that can account for our simple existence that does not include the supernatural. And the supernatural just isn't scientific. So you can't blame a self-respecting scientist for adhering to the only scientific option out there. Unfortunately, the strict guidelines of science has forced evolution scientists to create an un-scientific theory. No matter how elaborate the explanation, the fact reamains that the theory is unfalsifiable.

Darwin falsified his theory by saying that if the fossil record (which during his time was very scant) would eventually reveal an enormous number of intermediates. This has not happened. Instead, what has been found is completely formed species with no halfway developed parts. Without exception. But the theory cannot be abandoned. Think about it. What would be the consequence? And so circuitous explanations are made. This has been the history of the theory. It has been so severely modified and all the evidence has been awkwardly shoehorned in that it is a completely unfalsifiable theory now.

So call it science if you want. It is certainly more scientific than Creationism. But that doesn't mean it's right, because the basic premise that rules out Creationism and favors Naturalism may very well be false. And that premise is the outright rejection of the supernatural. Prove to me that the supernatural doesn't exist! You can't; it's a catch-22. But according to all of philosophy, mathematics (pi, for instance), and quantum mechanics, the mere existence of this universe is a catch-22.

So have some respect for those of us who don't accept the theory. Some do it out of religious conviction. Others, like me, are just able to see right through it.

Unless, of course, I'm wrong.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
Instead, what has been found is completely formed species with no halfway developed parts. Without exception.
This is remarkably wrong, and is one of the most common lies of Creationist literature.
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Reshpeckobiggle
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I'm sorry Tom, but you are wrong. If you say archeopteryx to me, I will respect you less than I never did.
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Blayne Bradley
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Resh if by perfectly clear you mean perfectly deluded and possibly brainwashed sure go right ahead on thinking that.
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Reshpeckobiggle
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Brilliant retort, Blayne. I see exactly what you mean.
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Reshpeckobiggle
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Look, I gotta go to the gym. I'll be back in about two hours. I just ask that you seriously consider the part I wrote in bold and see how that may change what you think.
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Blayne Bradley
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Ha equally brilliant on your part to bad clever semantics gets us nowhere except a one way ticket to the bathroom. First allow us to look at the statement about the fossil record containing not a single intermediatary record, I know this both through logic and observation to be false so please provide us with these sources.
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Amanecer
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quote:
I had trouble reconciling it with my religious convictions, but I managed.
I find this incredibly problematic. Why is there difficulty reconciling the two ideas? According to the Bible, God freed the Israelites. Does the idea that the Pharoah, after persuation from Moses and miracles, was the one that actually freed them really matter? There are tons and tons of examples of God doing things indirectly in the Bible. I can not grasp why this issue is treated as different by so many people.

quote:
Instead, what has been found is completely formed species with no halfway developed parts. Without exception.
This is false. Here's a link full of transitional fossils.

quote:
So you can't blame a self-respecting scientist for adhering to the only scientific option out there. Unfortunately, the strict guidelines of science has forced evolution scientists to create an un-scientific theory.
If the evidence did not support evolution, I would have no incentive to believe in it. If the evidence pointed to the earth being only 5,000 years old with no trace of evolution, I would have no problem accepting that. But it doesn't. It seems that Creationists feel threatened by evolution, which again I don't understand, and thus have an incentive to disbelieve. If you want to go in to which encourages cognitive dissonance and perpetuates false data, it is undoubtedly creationism.
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