Bill Nye - Ken Ham - Evolution vs. Creation

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by xcel, Feb 5, 2014.

  1. ksstathead

    ksstathead Moderator

    I treasure knowledge.

    Truth is overrated. Every time we hold absolute belief, BAM! New evidence makes us re-think what we 'knew.'
  2. booferama

    booferama He who posts articles

    Just to provide a useful resource: UC Berkeley's "Understanding Evolution" page is a wonderful resource, with great explanations for the lay person (that would be most, if not all of us). I challenge those who doubt or reject evolution to read the "Misconceptions about evolution," "What is evolution and how does it work," and "What is the evidence for evolution" pages. All of us could learn something.
  3. bestmapman

    bestmapman Fighting untruth and misinformation

    Really this is not a debate about evolution per say. It is about if scientific theories are indeed fact. My contention is that they are "just" theories, but many treat them as fact.

    That is all.

    A debate about evolution is an entirely different subject. Indeed a long one.
  4. NeilBlanchard

    NeilBlanchard Well-Known Member

    Theories are virtual certainties. We are sure as we can be the evolution is what happens.

    We don't actually "know" how gravity works for sure, but like evolution it is explained by the working theory. (Look up the search for the Higgs boson for more information.) Gravity works - apparently - over a virtually infinite distance, and while it is very weak, it always is there.

    We do not know how or why gravity works, but the Theory of Gravity holds that it does "exist". Even though we cannot prove that it does ...
  5. EdwinTheMagnificent

    EdwinTheMagnificent Legend In His Mind

    If I read it on the Internet , isn't it a "fact" ?

  6. booferama

    booferama He who posts articles

    To address the broader theory question, then: theory does not equal belief, at least not in the scientific community. (To point out the obvious: words sometimes have different meanings in different contexts.

    The wikipedia summary explains it well: "A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on knowledge that has been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experimentation." (Emphasis mine.)

    Then, this further clarification: "This is significantly different from the common usage of the word "theory", which implies that something is a guess (i.e., unsubstantiated and speculative)."

    Evolution, gravity, the efficacy of hypermiling: these are all, within the scientific but not the common use, theories. That does not equate them with faith. If you're confusing the two, you're either being willfully inflexible, ignorant, or confused.

    If you think that's an insult, I'd like to remind us all that, at any given time, every one of us has been willfully inflexible, ignorant, or confused. No person or party has a monopoly on human failure and frailty.

    HOWEVER: creationism, creation science, and intelligent design are not scientific. They all wear the trappings of science without its substance or rigor. More importantly, science and faith are not necessarily combating viewpoints. Science deals with the physical, observable world. Faith deals with the metaphysical, unobservable world. When one field creeps into the other--when, for example, someone looks to millenia-old religious texts for explanations of the physical world--one should be careful and open to the rigor and methodology of that field.

    Ken Ham has his beliefs, and he works backward from them. He refuses to examine evidence that contradicts his beliefs. Scientists have hypotheses, then test them. When those hypotheses function as the most elegant, precise explanations for observable phenomena, they become scientific theories--well-substantiated explanations of some aspect of the physical world.
  7. bestmapman

    bestmapman Fighting untruth and misinformation

    So you agree with me then. Theory is not fact. You may as others have stated here that it is just as good as fact, but it is not fact and that is why it is a theory. Even with this you and others want to somehow elevate it to a special category of theory in that it is the best we have. Therefore it is just as good as fact.

    It is not.

    In science there are two branches One is actual observation, which is repeatable and verifiable.

    The other is opinion based on observation, but it is still an opinion. That is why it is called a theory. Yes it is "just" a theory not fact.

    So why is this a point. Because it is taught and "considered" fact. Unquestionable fact. To think otherwise it scientific heresy. That is my point. It is very obvious in this thread that some of you consider me a "heretic" by even suggesting otherwise.

    Why can't you all just admit Evolution from a single cell is "just" a theory.

    Or lets hear from those who think it is a an actual proven fact.
    Now to talk about the actual merits of evolution from a single cell that is a different subject.
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2014
  8. bestmapman

    bestmapman Fighting untruth and misinformation

    So I think we have settled it. Evolution from a single cell is a theory. (I left of "just' off, just for you ksstathead)(and some would say I don't have feelings. Ha)

    Some may think otherwise and I would encourage you to say so.

    I think that you all agree with me then that in science there are two branches. One that deals with and explains actual phenomenon and one that is opinion derived from that phenomenon.
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2014
  9. seftonm

    seftonm Veteran Staff Member

    Yes I consider it a theory. Just like gravity or relativity. We do not have all the data but I consider it to be the best theory on the origins of life that we have right now. Further evidence may help to strengthen or weaken my opinion.
  10. ksstathead

    ksstathead Moderator

    I do not agree that there are two branches of science:

    Theories to be derided: Evolution, Big Bang, Climate Change, Anything else the church thinks sends us to hell

    Everything else

    Those seem to be the dividing line in your two branches. You are unable to admit any testing or observation has occurred in any area that conflicts with conservative protestant theology. Well, there has been testing that is quite extensive. You were taught by some dummies in science class that you aren't supposed to have faith when that is not the purview of science. Shame on them.

    But no, there is zero agreement on your two branches. I'd say it is all theory, even where you have accepted it as physical science.
  11. NeilBlanchard

    NeilBlanchard Well-Known Member

  12. RedylC94

    RedylC94 Well-Known Member

    That's an unusual classification system.

    "I believe I understand the evidence for the theory" = Science;
    "I don't understand the evidence" = "Just a theory."
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2014
  13. bestmapman

    bestmapman Fighting untruth and misinformation

    No you have it wrong.

    Physical Science (that is what I am calling it)
    Observation: Newton, what goes up must come down. (obvious simplification) That is measurable, hence an observation. It is repeatable and verifiable. This is physical science. Engineering is based on it.

    Theoretical Science (that is what I am calling it)
    Opinion. Theory of gravity. Gravitational force is mediated by a massless spin-2 particle called the graviton.

    That is the difference. One is fact one is not.

    That is my classification system.
  14. bestmapman

    bestmapman Fighting untruth and misinformation

    It seems to me that the idea of two branches of science has hit a nerve with you all. I did not mean to raise the hornets nest with my statements, but it seems to be very important to you all.

    Why it is so important not to think of Physical Science and Theoretical Science differently. It is clear that they are different. So what is the big deal.
  15. booferama

    booferama He who posts articles

    Some thoughts:

    1) You write about evolutionary theory as if it's entirely theoretical and non-evidentiary. But it's not. Even a cursory look at the link to Berkeley's Understanding Evolution page demonstrates that--whether it's DNA, the fossil record, homology, etc. Evolution, the central theoretical framework of biology, is a physical science.

    2) You claim that scientists are trying to brainwash children. That claim not only demonstrates a profound misunderstanding of science, scientists, and teachers, it represents a broader attack on science and schools by the likes of Ken Ham and others, who wish to infuse religion into schools via non-scientific rubbish.

    3) You seem hung up on distinguishing fact from theory. Again, wikipedia gives a nice (if brief) explanation of how scientists use and understand the term fact. If you read closely, you'll see how fact, as used by scientists, and theory, as used by scientists, converge.

    4) You've also claimed several times that people agree with you, when in fact that isn't the case. You ignore and blur the distinctions people draw. People generally find that frustrating. I doubt it's your intent to frustrate some of us, but I think that's the effect. (Maybe I'm wrong about this.)

    5) Scientists bristle at claims that science is a faith because that claim reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of what scientists do--both as individual scientists and as members of the broader scientific community. Scientists and science educators want students to develop critical thinking and logic skills, to develop habits of observation.
  16. ksstathead

    ksstathead Moderator

    What boof said, with one tweak: the non-scientific stuff is not rubbish in my eyes, just non-scientific stuff. Believe in creation or don't, but keep it out of public school science curricula.
  17. booferama

    booferama He who posts articles

    Just to clarify: I don't think religion or faith are rubbish, but creation scientists and intelligent design advocates call what they do science when it isn't. They often misrepresent scientific work and make clearly false (and falsifiable) claims about observation. I stand by calling that rubbish.
  18. ksstathead

    ksstathead Moderator

  19. bestmapman

    bestmapman Fighting untruth and misinformation

    No, as I said Scientific Theory (Theoretical Science) is based on observation. It is opinion on what those observations mean. In the case of evolution from a single cell it is an opinion based on fact, but not fact in and of itself.. Whether or not it is plausible or "believable" is up to you. I am merely pointing out the difference between what is fact and what is not fact. This discussion has not been about evolution itself. That is an entirely different debate.

    I did use the term "brainwash".
    I wrote "Exactly, evolution is a theory it is not a fact. But it seems you and established science treat it as a fact, and want to brainwash people (mandatory teach it in schools as a fact)."
    When it is taught as a fact and people deliberately exclude other possibilities, yes, it is a form of brainwashing. I did not say children, although I wrote schools and did not quality, as my experience was in college. Bin there observed it first hand. Yes it happens like it or not.

    It is not me who seems to be the one hung up on it. Fact is fact,. theory is theory. I am merely pointing out that theory is presented as fact, or as good as fact, or settled science, or whatever you want to call it. I am merely pointing out that theory is not fact.

    I have said people agree with me, because they do. They make my point for me. Remember the only thing I am discussing here is my premise that there are two branches in science. One is Physical and the other Theoretical. I am merely pointing out that there position is the same as mine. Why does that frustrate you. I have tried to keep on topic and not wonder off topic. Is it because I don't agree with you. I am yet to see an argument that counters my contention that theory is just that it is theory and not fact. When I point out the evolution is considered "as good as fact" and take exception to it you get frustrated. I don't get it. Why would you get frustrated over that.

    It really doesn't matter who is bristled. When you claim theory is fact it is a misrepresentation. I just want people to acknowledge what is fact and what is theory. Why has this caused so much "frustration" and now there are all the "scientists" walking around all bristley.
  20. bestmapman

    bestmapman Fighting untruth and misinformation

    Think about what you are saying. WOW the science police in action. To actually consider someone's work and thought rubbish is a pretty intolerant view.

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