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> Evolution vs. Creationism
Cow Jazz
 Posted: May 24 2015, 02:43 PM
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I noticed nobody's yet bitten in this subforum. I figured, why not start the kind of discussion I've always wanted to argue on BZPower, but the rules never quite let me? So here's one, and it's a doozy: should evolution and creationism be considered equal theories of the origins of life? Should creationism (or its weasel-words "scientific" equivalent, intelligent design) even be considered a scientific theory at all?

Now, I consider myself a scientist, at least in theory. I approach the world with a sense of wonder, and I dedicate myself to learning as much as I can about the world and how it works.

As someone scientifically-minded, my answers to both questions are "no". I have done a lot of research in my spare time to wrap my head around this controversy, and I can't see it any other way. Evolution is a scientific theory (which is quite a bit different from the casual use of the word theory) with centuries of data and study put into it, all of which seems to work in favor of it. Even in the fossils, we can see gradual changes over time. (Take, for example, Psittacosaurus to Protoceratops to Triceratops; there's a clear progression in change, from the change to quadrupedalism to the development of the bony frill. [I'm not claiming these species exactly developed into each other; they lived in different areas on different continents. But a general progression can be seen.]) Additionally, as someone who completely and fully understands the mechanisms of evolution, they just make sense.

Creationism, meanwhile, requires a denial of scientific fact. Radioactive dating of rocks sets the age of the Earth at billions of years, yet young-Earth creationism insists that the Earth is only 6000 years old. (For reference, humans have been around for 200,000 years; it requires quite the truncation of human history to make it fit.) Even old-Earth creationism requires ignoring things like the morphological similarities between Tyrannosaurus and birds to insist that birds did not evolve from theropod dinosaurs, or the observed ways in which populations of creatures even now change slightly due to environmental changes.

Anyway, that's enough to set up my view on the subject. I'm interested to see where this conversation leads.

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Xinlo
 Posted: May 24 2015, 02:56 PM
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I think I agree with you on most of this. The only difference is I long ago gave up thinking I know what goes on in the world (and the universe obviously). So while I agree that evolution is the best theory we have and it's what I subscribe to, I do believe it could be wrong. I think human knowledge is so limited that we're still grasping at the air in front of the straws.

That said though, evolution is based on what we know, and it is as I said the closest we have to an idea of what happened on this little ball of rock. I'm less inclined to follow writings in a book than I am the progression of science over centuries of discovery, and while I have no problem with religion in theory or people believing in something other than I do, I think the school systems should be set up to teach the best facts available and not be rooted in information with a hazy history.

So in short I agree, I do not think they should be considered equal by society. Science should be the standard, based in facts and discoveries, and if you believe in something else that's your prerogative. I know many people who believe in both, so they don't have to be contradictory if you've willing to bend a little.

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Serein
 Posted: May 24 2015, 03:40 PM
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QUOTE
So here's one, and it's a doozy: should evolution and creationism be considered equal theories of the origins of life? Should creationism (or its weasel-words "scientific" equivalent, intelligent design) even be considered a scientific theory at all?


short answer: no

long answer: nope

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farmstink buttlass
 Posted: May 24 2015, 04:47 PM
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The idea that anything that has its basis on nothing but warped religious ideas (some faiths, for instance, Catholicism, recognize that much of the bible is allegory and thus belief in evolution is entirely compatible with faith) or something else without much basis should be considered equal in any way to actual scientific theory with actual evidence is, indeed, laughable. Denial of scientific facts to fit some sort of agenda is just. One of the biggest things I dislike about some facets of today's society, and, while this particular issue isn't as immediately damaging as, say, issues with vaccines or climate change, it's still a pretty irritating and frustrating line of thinking. So yeah, no. Creationism is just dumb.
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Letagi
 Posted: May 24 2015, 08:12 PM
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Most of what I've always argued has already been said here but I guess I'll chime in anyways.

I'm a university science student. I specialize in astrophysics, so the time scales I'm used to thinking on make it seem like the Cambrian was just last week.

Although I get supremely frustrated when I hear people trying to refute evolution, I have an even bigger problem with people asserting that, based on a book, they have a better understanding of the universe overall than physicists do. From what I've heard, most young-Earth creationists put the age on the universe at about the same as the age of Earth - usually around 6000 years - based on the assertion that Earth and humanity are the proverbial centre of the universe (an absurdly egotistical and irrational claim, I might add). Thus, young-Earth creationism can be refuted by more than paleontology and evolution; the fact that we can see objects that are 13.8 billion light years away means that the universe must necessarily have been around at least that long, based on a simple fact that anyone can understand: that light travels at the speed of light.

Has anyone here ever been told that, as someone who studies or accepts science, or as a non-religious person, they are incapable of experiencing awe or wonder? It's a common claim; heck. Oprah Winfrey even said that to one of her guests once. It's also possibly the claim that enrages me the most, since it's the most difficult to refute logically.

-L

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Serein
 Posted: May 24 2015, 08:22 PM
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QUOTE (Letagi @ May 24 2015, 08:12 PM)
Has anyone here ever been told that, as someone who studies or accepts science, or as a non-religious person, they are incapable of experiencing awe or wonder? It's a common claim; heck. Oprah Winfrey even said that to one of her guests once. It's also possibly the claim that enrages me the most, since it's the most difficult to refute logically.


yuuup, I've been told that before.

it has never made sense to me, because I honestly cannot think of anything more awesome or wonderful than science. I find more amazement in the process at which the universe has developed and things have evolved over time than in the idea that an immortal and omnipresent being just made it all appear because he wanted to. that's way too simple and much less interesting of an answer. if anything, that takes the awe and wonder out of it.

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fishers64
 Posted: May 24 2015, 11:25 PM
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Unfortunately, I disagree with all of you. I have nothing against dissenting opinions or people who believe differently than me, though, so I hope you can tolerate my dissenting opinion. http://files.b1.jcink.com/html/emoticons/smile.gif

My problem with evolution is that it does not explain the origin of time itself, or the rigid time structure that governs our universe: past--> present --> future. Secondly, and perhaps more related, is that it supposes that this universe has infinite energy, and can go on forever (I think - feel free to correct me if I'm wrong http://files.b1.jcink.com/html/emoticons/smile.gif).

Science has firmly established that not only are we finite beings with finite lifespans, but so are our stars - they run out of energy (hydrogen gas) in a very long time, but still a finite timespan. Our universe is not an infinitely sustaining pool of energy.

Interestingly, the reason our universe cannot go on forever is because of the existence of time, since something cannot be finite (only sustainable for a certain amount of time) without it. Time is the force that turns us into old people and kills us. It's also the main requirement (billions of years) for evolution to happen.

Time's existence and the fact that we don't have infinite energy walk alongside each other. If we could make use of infinite energy, we could live forever. If we were timeless, we could live forever. But we are inside time and we don't have infinite energy. This is self-evident to most people. http://files.b1.jcink.com/html/emoticons/smile.gif

And thanks to the second law of thermodynamics, our energy in this universe is decaying. We are losing energy. So we had to have a whole lot more energy to start out with.

The other problem is that if the universe had infinite energy (and it was infinite of itself) it would supply or fail to supply that infinite energy randomly. Like there would be 50% chance of a box of Cheerios appearing on my doorstep tomorrow. For something that has infinite energy, causing Cheerios to appear would be nothing. It could do that.

Now you can argue that physical laws would dictate otherwise, but infinite power can overcome any physical law on the books. Flight power can overcome gravity, how much more infinite power...

Creationism does explain this. It says that there is an entity outside time that has infinite energy that created the universe. It also says that person controls the universe through things like physical laws and probability, meaning that the odds of a Cheerios box appearing on the doorstep tomorrow are pretty slim.

Or, as DL and GG put it:

QUOTE
But let's bring this down to our listeners level. Let's say you randomly decide that you don't want to go to work one week, and you want to stay home and watch TV and eat Cheerios. You don't take vacation, and you don't call in sick. Let's assume that Cheerios and TV programming are randomly the same as here. 

GG: In this world, you have a 50/50 chance of being fired, right?

DL: No. Well, sort of. First off, you have a 50/50 chance of your supervisor noticing your absence, and a 50/50 chance of her going to fire you. That's only a 25% chance of being fired.

GG: I'll take that.

DL: You also have a 50/50 chance of her deciding to take the week off and eat Cheerios too. We're down to 13%. And then, even if you do get fired, the odds of you getting a new job the next day is 50/50. If that doesn't happen, the odds of you finding the money you need on your doorstep in the morning is 50/50. 3.5% bad odds for Cheerios week.

GG: Man that's awesome! I would never go to work again!

DL: And if you have infinite energy, time is truly no object. You could eat Cheerios for weeks and weeks and weeks, and do infinitely number of other things, as much as you want. Wouldn't we all want to be God? If this universe isn't already controlled by a mind, by virtue of its randomness, it could come under the control of ours. We have 50/50 chance of having infinite minds!


There's other evidences for creationism, but this one is the most powerful - our universe isn't truly random. And I think that this debate really starts or ends here - if the universe is infinite and random, you can make up whatever you want to and claim it true. If it's not, the truth can only be one thing.

I don't expect all of you to agree, but throwing this out there. http://files.b1.jcink.com/html/emoticons/smile.gif
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Cow Jazz
 Posted: May 25 2015, 12:07 AM
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QUOTE (fishers64 @ May 24 2015, 10:25 PM)
Unfortunately, I disagree with all of you. I have nothing against dissenting opinions or people who believe differently than me, though, so I hope you can tolerate my dissenting opinion. http://files.b1.jcink.com/html/emoticons/smile.gif

Okay, well, first of all, this is a misuse of the word "opinion", seeing as it is clearly thinking of something as factually true. Do I have the definition of opinion wrong?

QUOTE (fishers64 @ May 24 2015, 10:25 PM)
My problem with evolution is that it does not explain the origin of time itself, or the rigid time structure that governs our universe: past--> present --> future.

...why would a theory on how life forms change over time cover any of that? It's a far more specific theory than you seem to think.

QUOTE (fishers64 @ May 24 2015, 10:25 PM)
Secondly, and perhaps more related, is that it supposes that this universe has infinite energy, and can go on forever (I think - feel free to correct me if I'm wrong http://files.b1.jcink.com/html/emoticons/smile.gif).

Okay; you're wrong. Evolution does not violate the second rule of thermodynamics, because Earth is not a closed system. It receives energy from the Earth's core and the sun. When both of those sources of energy cease, energy stops entering the system, energy runs out, everything dies, evolution grinds to a halt.

Honestly, if evolution had a hole that gaping in it, do you seriously think 97% of scientists (many of whom are well aware of the second law) would support it?

That actually addresses your next few paragraphs; you were really gunning for this "Second Law of Thermodynamics" thing.

QUOTE (fishers64 @ May 24 2015, 10:25 PM)
There's other evidences for creationism, but this one is the most powerful - our universe isn't truly random. And I think that this debate really starts or ends here - if the universe is infinite and random, you can make up whatever you want to and claim it true. If it's not, the truth can only be one thing.

First of all, evolution isn't random. At its core is random mutations, sure, but the weeding out of those mutations isn't. It's like putting sand through a sieve to weed out the smaller granules.

Second, elements of the universe can be random without going to universal-law-breaking cheerio boxes. An important element of the universe that isn't random (and no, it not being random doesn't break evolution) is the way the brain works. Why is this important? Because that little anecdote about skipping work? It assumes that if natural processes are random, so are human decisions, as if randomness is a zero-sum game. Humans can think and make decisions; their ability to make non-random decisions does not change the fact that other things, like the replication of DNA, are subject to random processes like mutation.

I've seen all kinds "evidences" for creationism ("T. rex could eat plants", "lack of transitional forms", "the divine watchmaker", etc.) and none of them has ever provided the critical proof necessary for me to be able to accept it. (Well, for starters, the first one is wrong, and the second one is nitpicking.) None of them has ever actually made a solid case built on solid evidence against evolution. They attack the moral fibre of scientists, they make wild claims, but creation "scientists" have never actually provided a piece of solid creationist evidence that held up under scrutiny.

And that's all scientists ask for. You want to say we're wrong? Prove it. Give us the evidence, but by God, that evidence had better be good. If it's not, if you can make any claim at all and submit any evidence at all and hope to be treated as seriously as a thoroughly-researched proper scientific theory with 97% of scientists'report, then you cannot call it science, because it is rejecting the core basis of logical discourse in a scientific community.

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fishers64
 Posted: May 25 2015, 12:58 AM
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QUOTE (Cow Jazz @ May 24 2015, 09:07 PM)


QUOTE (fishers64 @ May 24 2015, 10:25 PM)
My problem with evolution is that it does not explain the origin of time itself, or the rigid time structure that governs our universe: past--> present --> future.

...why would a theory on how life forms change over time cover any of that? It's a far more specific theory than you seem to think.

Uh, evolution is the theory that throws the existence of God out, last I checked. Let me address that first. I'm not going to argue that life forms don't change over time, or how they do - I'm not a scientist. The topic title was "Evolutionism vs. Creationism" which gave me the impression that you were arguing the theory that supports God's nonexistance vs. the one that does. If you mean something else by that, I'd appreciate a clarification.

QUOTE
QUOTE (fishers64 @ May 24 2015, 10:25 PM)
Secondly, and perhaps more related, is that it supposes that this universe has infinite energy, and can go on forever (I think - feel free to correct me if I'm wrong http://files.b1.jcink.com/html/emoticons/smile.gif).

Okay; you're wrong. Evolution does not violate the second rule of thermodynamics, because Earth is not a closed system. It receives energy from the Earth's core and the sun. When both of those sources of energy cease, energy stops entering the system, energy runs out, everything dies, evolution grinds to a halt.

Honestly, if evolution had a hole that gaping in it, do you seriously think 97% of scientists (many of whom are well aware of the second law) would support it?


Eventually, the energy from our sun is going to run out, probably destroying the Earth, however. That would grind biological evolution to a halt. I've seen scientific evidence documenting the life cycle of stars.
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RKO Mom
 Posted: May 25 2015, 01:00 AM
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QUOTE (fishers64 @ May 25 2015, 12:58 AM)
QUOTE (Cow Jazz @ May 24 2015, 09:07 PM)


QUOTE (fishers64 @ May 24 2015, 10:25 PM)
My problem with evolution is that it does not explain the origin of time itself, or the rigid time structure that governs our universe: past--> present --> future.

...why would a theory on how life forms change over time cover any of that? It's a far more specific theory than you seem to think.

Uh, evolution is the theory that throws the existence of God out, last I checked. Let me address that first. I'm not going to argue that life forms don't change over time, or how they do - I'm not a scientist. The topic title was "Evolutionism vs. Creationism" which gave me the impression that you were arguing the theory that supports God's nonexistance vs. the one that does. If you mean something else by that, I'd appreciate a clarification.


Evolution doesn't even touch on God. It's a theory concerning the natural selection of species over time. It has nothing to do with God.
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fishers64
 Posted: May 25 2015, 01:04 AM
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I'm curious to know what you would define Creationism in this context, then.
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RKO Mom
 Posted: May 25 2015, 01:05 AM
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QUOTE (fishers64 @ May 25 2015, 01:04 AM)
I'm curious to know what you would define Creationism in this context, then.

Creationism is the idea that some sort of sentient higher power created the universe as we know it.

That's at least as I understand it.
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Cow Jazz
 Posted: May 25 2015, 01:07 AM
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QUOTE (fishers64 @ May 24 2015, 11:58 PM)
QUOTE (Cow Jazz @ May 24 2015, 09:07 PM)


QUOTE (fishers64 @ May 24 2015, 10:25 PM)
My problem with evolution is that it does not explain the origin of time itself, or the rigid time structure that governs our universe: past--> present --> future.

...why would a theory on how life forms change over time cover any of that? It's a far more specific theory than you seem to think.

Uh, evolution is the theory that throws the existence of God out, last I checked. Let me address that first. I'm not going to argue that life forms don't change over time, or how they do - I'm not a scientist. The topic title was "Evolutionism vs. Creationism" which gave me the impression that you were arguing the theory that supports God's nonexistance vs. the one that does. If you mean something else by that, I'd appreciate a clarification.

What? No, it doesn't. It never has, and it never will. Evolution is not and never has been about denying the possibility of any kind of deity. That has nothing to do with evolution.

This topic is "Life forms have been changing over time for hundreds of millions of years" vs. "All life was made in more or less its present state", or worse, "All life was made in more or less its present state over a period of six days. Also, Earth is only 6000 years old." That is the controversy that's sweeping the nation, that is the debate that's rocking schools, that's what people are talking about. It is not and never has been "godless scientists vs. holy religion". Evolution does not require god, but it also doesn't preclude him.

QUOTE (fishers64 @ May 24 2015, 11:58 PM)
QUOTE
QUOTE (fishers64 @ May 24 2015, 10:25 PM)
Secondly, and perhaps more related, is that it supposes that this universe has infinite energy, and can go on forever (I think - feel free to correct me if I'm wrong http://files.b1.jcink.com/html/emoticons/smile.gif).

Okay; you're wrong. Evolution does not violate the second rule of thermodynamics, because Earth is not a closed system. It receives energy from the Earth's core and the sun. When both of those sources of energy cease, energy stops entering the system, energy runs out, everything dies, evolution grinds to a halt.

Honestly, if evolution had a hole that gaping in it, do you seriously think 97% of scientists (many of whom are well aware of the second law) would support it?


Eventually, the energy from our sun is going to run out, probably destroying the Earth, however. That would grind biological evolution to a halt. I've seen scientific evidence documenting the life cycle of stars.

Yes, yes it is. All life will die. Scientists do, in fact, believe in an end to the universe. It's called the Heat Death of the Universe, when all energy runs out. It's a long way off.

The problem here is you are assuming scientists believe things they do not.

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fishers64
 Posted: May 25 2015, 01:18 AM
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In that case, the problem is if God exists, he could create the world in six days without using evolution.

And if he said that he did...well yeah. I'd think I'd trust that over a bunch of scientists with limited information. But that's just me, the non-scientist. It's not like my life is going to come apart over it.

I've done my fair share of reading up on this. It's all incredibly skewed research in one direction or the other. It seems that there is no neutrality on this subject, and everyone comes down hard on one side or the other and flames the other side for not doing their homework. Anyway. :shrugs:
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RKO Mom
 Posted: May 25 2015, 01:23 AM
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Can I just say that I'm a hard line born again jesus christ is god christian and I firmly believe in evolution. Faith and reason are not mutually exclusive.
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