PDA

View Full Version : Evolution trial in Georgia



Swift
2004-Nov-08, 06:03 PM
An AP story (http://www.macon.com/mld/macon/news/politics/10123294.htm), this account in a Georgia paper, though it made the Cleveland, Ohio paper today.

ATLANTA - Science textbooks in suburban Cobb County warn students that evolution is "a theory, not a fact." The controversial disclaimer faces a court challenge Monday from a parent who argues the stickers promote the teaching of creationism.

Cobb school officials will defend their 2002 decision to place the stickers in textbooks, which they say simply encourages students to keep an open mind. The trial, in U.S. District Court in Atlanta, is expected to last four days.

The stickers read, "This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully and critically considered."
I am certainly sympathetic to those who oppose these stickers and I agree it probably is a ploy to teach creationism in schools. But I wish they would teach in schools the differences among hypothesis, theory, and fact. Evolution is a theory. So is Einstein's theory of gravity. I guess the physics textbooks should have a warning sticker too! And who, especially on this board, would disagree with "This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully and critically considered."

Humphrey
2004-Nov-08, 06:08 PM
I see nuthing wrong with the sticker as long as they tell the difference between a fact and a theory.

worzel
2004-Nov-08, 06:12 PM
Should there be a sticker saying that "the earth goes round the sun" is also just a theory?

I hardly see how this encourages kids to be open minded. The only people who are going to cling to this philosohpical point (that in a way that everything is just theory) in an attempt to "doubt" evolution are those who have already decided that the bible is literally true.

Is there a single atheist out there who doubts the theory of evolution?

papageno
2004-Nov-08, 06:13 PM
Considering that the sticker also says "regarding the origin of living things", it seems to me that who wrote that sticker does not understand the theory of evolution.

Ut
2004-Nov-08, 06:31 PM
Eh, the sticker itself is perfectly legit. What the sticker is actually saying, though, is that there's really no reason to believe evolution is an accurate or even acceptable model. Like you said, Swift, you need to know the differences between fact, theory, and hypothesis in order to get the proper meaning from the "warning", and most people are unable to tell the difference between theory and hypothesis.

Wolverine
2004-Nov-08, 06:44 PM
Considering that the sticker also says "regarding the origin of living things", it seems to me that who wrote that sticker does not understand the theory of evolution.

Spot on.

dvb
2004-Nov-08, 06:48 PM
Well, while we're at it, why don't we just put these stickers on the bibles as well. Since none of it can be proven either.

Edit: And we should keep an open mind to the bible as well should we not?

Silent Knight
2004-Nov-08, 07:05 PM
I'm taking an anthropology class right now, and either in the textbook or in a Gould article it says that evolution is a fact, but natural selection is a theory.

Weird Dave
2004-Nov-08, 07:21 PM
I have no problem with these stickers in principle, provided that the careful study and critical consideration tells pupils that the evidence overwhelmingly supports evolution and natural selection. The evidence should include the fossil record, genetics, and artificial selection of crops/farm animals/pet dogs etc.

Personally, I would call evolution by natural selection a fact (at least, it is a fact that it often occurs, even if other mechanisms exist), in the same way that the theory "the Earth goes round the sun" is so well supported by evidence that we call it a fact. Theory comes in with the details such as speed of evolution, punctuated equilibrium, the specifics of the evolution of a particular organism (e.g. humans) and, indeed, whether a Supreme Being's hand guides evolution. All those theoretical details can be discussed.

SeanF
2004-Nov-08, 07:23 PM
Well, while we're at it, why don't we just put these stickers on the bibles as well. Since none of it can be proven either.

Edit: And we should keep an open mind to the bible as well should we not?
Absolutely. There should be a warning sticker prominently applied to every Bible that students read as part of their public school education.

;)

dvb
2004-Nov-08, 07:39 PM
Well, while we're at it, why don't we just put these stickers on the bibles as well. Since none of it can be proven either.

Edit: And we should keep an open mind to the bible as well should we not?
Absolutely. There should be a warning sticker prominently applied to every Bible that students read as part of their public school education.

;)

Not just in schools, but since the churches feel it necessary to put stickers on school books, why don't we put stickers on bibles in the churches as well. If churches feel it necessary to interfer with education, then we should be able to interfer with their teachings too. Are church and state not two seperate entities?

BTW public schools here don't teach religion. That's what the "Seperate Schools" are for. Unless you were joking seanf?

Swift
2004-Nov-08, 07:40 PM
I have no problem calling either evolution or evolution by natural selection a theory. I think the line between an extremely well established theory and a fact is a little vague. As Ut and I said, the problem is that in the general public's mind, the vagueness is between theory and hypothesis, with the mindset of "it's only a theory".

In school districts that are demanding such things, such as teaching that evolution is "only" a theory, or giving equal time to creation science and intelligent design, I think it would be a great opportunity to use this as an example of the differences among fact, theory, hypothesis, and belief, and to critically exam all of these competing ideas by equal measures. But I suspect those pushing creation science and intelligent design would quickly catch on to that means to discredit them.

pghnative
2004-Nov-08, 08:06 PM
Well, while we're at it, why don't we just put these stickers on the bibles as well. Since none of it can be proven either.

Edit: And we should keep an open mind to the bible as well should we not?
Absolutely. There should be a warning sticker prominently applied to every Bible that students read as part of their public school education.

;)
[snip]BTW public schools here don't teach religion. That's what the "Seperate Schools" are for. Unless you were joking seanf?

Well, he ended his post with a wink, so I'm guessing it was a joke.

SeanF
2004-Nov-08, 09:02 PM
Well, while we're at it, why don't we just put these stickers on the bibles as well. Since none of it can be proven either.

Edit: And we should keep an open mind to the bible as well should we not?
Absolutely. There should be a warning sticker prominently applied to every Bible that students read as part of their public school education.

;)

Not just in schools, but since the churches feel it necessary to put stickers on school books, why don't we put stickers on bibles in the churches as well. If churches feel it necessary to interfer with education, then we should be able to interfer with their teachings too. Are church and state not two seperate entities?

BTW public schools here don't teach religion. That's what the "Seperate Schools" are for. Unless you were joking seanf?
:o

Oh my.

There's a rather significant difference between (public) schools and churches, dvb. But let's discuss it over here (http://loresinger.com/FWIS/viewtopic.php?p=16351#16351).

Staiduk
2004-Nov-08, 10:52 PM
Heh heh - too bad it wasn't Tenessee. "What goes around comes around..." :D

Gullible Jones
2004-Nov-09, 12:19 AM
And I have one word about this fiasco:

DUUHHHH...

beskeptical
2004-Nov-09, 07:58 AM
The 'stickers' are absurd. They profess the extremely outdated argument we are always going over and over on this board. So many of those evolution naysayers have no clue about the state of the science of evolution past their own high school days.

They were happy when there was question in the theory. Where is 'the missing link'? What about this or that problem with the theory? Those questions have been answered. But here we still are. A school board again wants to put ID and creation pseudosciences in the texts. Another wants to put stickers in books claiming essentially, their Bibles are not wrong, (sorry Phil, it had to be said).

My son's high school physics book has some mamby pamby statement in the intro claiming science is "just different from religion" but they "compliment each other". No they don't. It is just an excuse so as not to offend. And the stickers are an attempt to maintain the facade that the Bible is not contradicted by scientific discoveries.

Well, they got over it when the world was circumnavigated, and the Moon was found to be reflected light and not a light that ruled the night. But for some reason, people just can't get past the rest of the stuff. Depending on one's degree of threat with the inaccuracies in the Bible, people stop at all sorts of arbitrary places. Young Earth, world wide flood, creation, ID, and so on up to, "it's all symbolism and "compliments science'".

Take your pick, it's arbitrary. Why not put the same stickers in astronomy texts claiming it's only a theory the Earth is 4+ million years old, and the Universe is expanding? And put another in the geology texts claiming we can't really rely on our dating methods and for all we know the Earth could be 6,000 years old.

There is just as much evidence in genetic and bio-molecular sciences to support the evolution model as there is evidence in astronomy science to support the Big Bang model. In fact, there may be more evidence.

No stickers. Take the junk out of the physics books. Science is not enhanced by trying to be politically correct. In fact it threatens scientific integrety to do so.

Morrolan
2004-Nov-09, 08:05 AM
what is funny, in a way (or not, depending how you look at it), is that this is totally not an issue in Europe, or at least not that i have seen anywhere in the past 40+ years. it just doesn't come up. ever. no stickers or stupid disclaimers in physics books.

Maksutov
2004-Nov-09, 08:13 AM
what is funny, in a way (or not, depending how you look at it), is that this is totally not an issue in Europe, or at least not that i have seen anywhere in the past 40+ years. it just doesn't come up. ever. no stickers or stupid disclaimers in physics books.
It could be argued that, in certain areas, Europe has been enjoying maturity for some time, whereas the U.S. is still battling through adolescence.

Maksutov
2004-Nov-09, 08:17 AM
Heh heh - too bad it wasn't Tenessee. "What goes around comes around..." :D
I've been to Dayton, Tennessee, and to read the billboards out in front of the churches there, you'd think it was still 1925. :roll:

Morrolan
2004-Nov-09, 08:24 AM
what is funny, in a way (or not, depending how you look at it), is that this is totally not an issue in Europe, or at least not that i have seen anywhere in the past 40+ years. it just doesn't come up. ever. no stickers or stupid disclaimers in physics books.
It could be argued that, in certain areas, Europe has been enjoying maturity for some time, whereas the U.S. is still battling through adolescence.

maybe... on the other hand, maybe they've been on the receiving end of what happens when churches rule (Holy Inquisition) and decided enough was enough... :wink:

Maksutov
2004-Nov-09, 08:28 AM
what is funny, in a way (or not, depending how you look at it), is that this is totally not an issue in Europe, or at least not that i have seen anywhere in the past 40+ years. it just doesn't come up. ever. no stickers or stupid disclaimers in physics books.
It could be argued that, in certain areas, Europe has been enjoying maturity for some time, whereas the U.S. is still battling through adolescence.

maybe... on the other hand, maybe they've been on the receiving end of what happens when churches rule (Holy Inquisition) and decided enough was enough... :wink:
That would appear to be part of the maturation process: learning from one's mistakes. 8)

snowcelt
2004-Nov-09, 09:05 AM
what is funny, in a way (or not, depending how you look at it), is that this is totally not an issue in Europe, or at least not that i have seen anywhere in the past 40+ years. it just doesn't come up. ever. no stickers or stupid disclaimers in physics books.
It could be argued that, in certain areas, Europe has been enjoying maturity for some time, whereas the U.S. is still battling through adolescence.

I think that we all forget how huge the US is. I will come back to this shortly.

For all the maturity of Europe, was there any one country that suddenly became mature? No. It was a proccess the myriad nations, that which comprise Europe, came together through feedback with one another. One country would try one thing. Another would pick this up and add more. Kind of a dialectic. No one European nation was an island (contrary to what the German's think). Each nation was to small to travel the road to "maturity" alone.

Back to the US. After the US reached a certain population they started viewing themselves in a mirror of their on making: unlike Europe, were they saw themselves in many mirrors. I think that Americans are not capable of seeing other ways, because, they are in a feedback loop. To paraphrase Gwyn Dyer, their borders with other countries are so far away that those other countries are irrelevant.

Look at India. They still believe that there are six limbed, blue gods. Why? Because they are in a feedback loop.

China. Why do they think that they are the centre of the earth?

It is easy to call The US adolescent. I think it would be more correct to think that they are very mature (can't teach an old dog new tricks) in their view of the world.

If I am correct, we should start seeing countries like Brazil, Pakistan, and Indonesia doing the same things.

Finally. With Europe going the EU route do not count on them being forever changing.

AstroSmurf
2004-Nov-09, 10:45 AM
I'm taking an anthropology class right now, and either in the textbook or in a Gould article it says that evolution is a fact, but natural selection is a theory.
I think this deserves to be repeated. Natural selection may in fact be the least important of the mechanisms at work in evolutionary processes. IANABiologist, but I think the rapid acceleration of the evolutionary processes after the introduction of multi-gendered species argues that sexual selection is far more important. But all of this is 'the theory', i.e. subject to debate. That species change over time is a fact, and denying it is just plain silly.

Jim
2004-Nov-09, 01:36 PM
I'm taking an anthropology class right now, and either in the textbook or in a Gould article it says that evolution is a fact, but natural selection is a theory.

There is an excellent article in the latest National Geographic that explores this.

I would hope that the teachers will explain to their students the scientific meaning of "theory" and how very well founded, tested, and supported the theory of evolution really is. Maybe ask them to read that NG article.

Of course, I also hope Publishers Clearinghouse will draw my name...

Captain Kidd
2004-Nov-09, 01:49 PM
Heh heh - too bad it wasn't Tenessee. "What goes around comes around..." :D

Poor, poor Rhea County, first the Scopes Monkey Trial, then forced to put on a "Gay Day" event this year. They just can't keep themselves the sleepy little unknown community that they want to be. :)

beskeptical
2004-Nov-13, 07:33 AM
Of course, I also hope Publishers Clearinghouse will draw my name... :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

Love the comparison. :D

beskeptical
2004-Nov-13, 07:37 AM
We can't really get into the religious aspects on this board, but I think the maturity/immaturity angle is off base. I think it's more of a religious revival. And like other revivals/movements in the past, they just seem to come and go over time. I imagine an anthropology expert might be able to enlighten us as to the underlying causes.

Ut
2004-Nov-13, 08:06 AM
We can't really get into the religious aspects on this board, but I think the maturity/immaturity angle is off base. I think it's more of a religious revival. And like other revivals/movements in the past, they just seem to come and go over time. I imagine an anthropology expert might be able to enlighten us as to the underlying causes.

What I see is a country dealing with a whole new set of moral dilemmas. The western world has gotten progressively more secular over the past 100 years or so, but people are still by-and-large religious (as opposed to being simply spiritual, or neither). Religious people look to their faith when dealing with moral issues.

The Bible Belt has declared the US to be a 'Christian Nation', and this region of what I like to consider radical orthodoxy holds some pretty strong sway over political and entertainment outlets. So, in a time of crisis, such strong religious voices become a rally point (of course, it helps that the president just so happens to be one of these voices). A crisis happened, and now these same people, since heaved up into a place of higher influence, get to dictate the crisises and moral dilemmas themselves. Islamic "terrorists", homosexual "deviants", "dangerous" drugs, you name it.

When these issues go away, so will these people, and the western world will fall back into its secular hole, waiting for the next set of issues to be moralized and digested. Hence your cycle of religious revival, beskeptical. Give people something else to look to when deal with moral issues, and the cycle will shirt to that.

beskeptical
2004-Nov-13, 12:52 PM
While I respect your opinion, Ut, I am reluctant to agree any of us know exactly what factors are playing a role in the current religious movement in the US without some background expertise. Are you an anthropologist or historical scholar?

It's very easy to have an opinion about the state of things. We all have a large amount of knowledge of current events from which to speculate. But such large social changes cannot be so easily explained nor deciphered.

There hasn't been any kind of constant unrest, fear nor turmoil in the country. The economy does not come close to a depression. 9-11 was obviously extremely significant, but I find it hard to believe it has given people massive fear in their everyday lives that they should have to seek religion or experience other major social changes.

Religious fervor is growing, but I hardly think it is due to some underlying turmoil of believers now coming back to the flock. The evangelical movement did not start in 2001, nor did it make some drastic change at that time. People are just not in the crisis you speak of. I'm just not buying it.

Bush seized on the gay marriage issue and made a political marketing scheme out of it. Not many would have even noticed that Mass. had passed some civil union law had it not been for the campaign strategy of Carl Rove. And the drug war, come on. That's been around since the 60s. What is the big crisis? There is no big moral dilemma as you describe that has had some major influence here.

Rather, the religious movement has made these issues rallying points. No one would care if it wasn't being harped on by the Jerry Falwells and the Pat Robertsons of the country.

Well, this is sliding into forbidden territory so I shall get off here.

SciFi Chick
2004-Nov-13, 01:42 PM
In regards to the discussion beskeptical and Ut are having - which I maintain is still anthropological in nature, and thus not forbidden - :D :

I think part of the rise in religious fervor could be attributed to the current fragmenting of community. While on one level technology is making the world smaller, it's also separating us.

As little as 75 years ago, people could be born, live and die in the same 10 mile radius, and not know very much about the outside world at all.

Now, various cultures are being thrown together, the family dynamic is changing - I read where there's a trend towards people living alone in the city. All of these things leave people insecure, and I think reaching for religion gives some people that sense of community back. They can make a new family out of the church.

There's always the prevailing myth that things were better in the "good old days", and religion can make one think those days will return.

Humphrey
2004-Nov-13, 03:49 PM
I believe that the current religious "revival" is non existant. Up to one week ago many people did not even know that moral issues were really a key portion to the deciding the election.

What we see now has been going on for many, many years. I feel that is started from the slowly conservative turn of the U.S. during the cold war and climaxed During the Curren't Bush Presidency. It is not a new thing. This did noyt start after 9/11 in no way. That had nuthing to do with religion other than some people persecuting those of another religion.

The gay marriages happeneing in several states just angred and brought out some of those currently in the closet with their religiousness. They were always there, just never had a reason to speak it out.
I think they feel that this nation is a Christian nation. That the nation is founded upon Christian beliefs and keeps Christian beliefs alive. Thus by allowing Gay Marriage to happen, those christian beliefs are being thrown out in their mind for something else that they do not believe in. They get offended persoanlly by this.

Sure they are absolutely wrong in their belief, this is not a christian nation, but in their mind they are not.

Thus In recent times they have started to speak up alot more than they used to.

[Note: These are my personal observations. Also i am not saying in any way that Christianity is bad or evil or a wrong religion. All i am saying is how i feel they view this nation]

P.S. These are not my beliefs above, just my observations.

gethen
2004-Nov-13, 10:00 PM
Is this really a religious revival we're talking about, or simply the percent of the poplulation that is religiously active learning how to use the modern media? I am not sure that there are more "committed Christians" in the U.S. than there were 25 years ago, but the ones that exist have certainly become politically savvy. They realize that their votes are worth something to the candidate who wins them, and they know how to use that power to achieve their own ends. This has probably always been the case--people of a certain religious persuasion offering support to potential leaders who will then reciprocate when in power. What's new is the use of a 21st century media to get the message out.

Makgraf
2004-Nov-13, 10:15 PM
I think that the religious revival has been happening since the the Warren Court and the '60's counterculture. If you look at the country from the perspective of a "committed Christian" it is clear your values are under attack.

The media is a secular bastion that mocks your beliefs. Mainstream culture is becoming increasingly pornified: art, music, movies are moving towards an increasingly sinking lowest common denominator. Traditional marriage is under attack, with huge divorce rates and the specter of gay marriage. Millions of abortions are performed every year.

Now I personally like having a non-religious media, modern culture, gay marriage and a pro-choice country. But there are many who do not. Unless you want to return to an amish level of technology you can't prevent modern culture from seaping into your house. You can't prevent kids from seeing an MTV that could be mistaken for a soft-core porn channel with worse music. Because of the way that Roe v Wade was imposed, by judicial diktat outside political channel, it has become an increasingly polerizing issue. The solution was to enter the political arena to try and restore the old ways (which probably were not as they are idealized).

SciFi Chick
2004-Nov-13, 10:26 PM
Millions of abortions per year? It's actually around 5000. :)

Makgraf
2004-Nov-13, 11:13 PM
Millions of abortions per year? It's actually around 5000. :)
Millions is a bit hyperbolic (I don't think the number of abortions/year has every broken the 2 million barrier and anything less than that isn't by definition millions). But the number of legal abortions performed in 2000 was 857,475 (http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss5212a1.htm#fig1). Given that (apperently) abortions have been going up in the Bush years and that there are certainly at least a few unreported abortions I think we can round up the number of abortions to a million (round up as in say a million as opposed to hundreds of thousands).

Edit: Fixed link

hewhocaves
2004-Nov-13, 11:22 PM
Stamping out creationism is like playing whack-a-mole. Knock it out in Tennessee, it comes up in Georgia. Take it out in Georgia and it jumps to Kansas. Wham! Wham! Wham! and yet no sense is knocked in to anyone's head.

On a more serious note regarding fundamentalism (christian and otherwise) there is an excellent book out there called: "The Battle for God - A History of Fundamentalism" by KAren Armstrong (ISBN: 0-345-39169-1). For those who want the short one sentence answer: Religion is driven by the same thing that everything else is driven by: the market economy. In this case, I mean that with all the sects out there, they unwittingly compete against each other for 'converts'. You don't like being a southern baptist, try prespeterian, or mormon or whichever. You get the picture.

I think I mentioned this before... As a cave explorer (and member of the National Speleological Society - which is a member of the Am. Assn. for the Advancement of Science) I did an editorial article on the Kansas decision back in 98'. Naively, I figured that since the NSS was a sicence organization, I was preaching to the choir. WRONG! The magazine must have gotten two dozen emails and letters back from disgruntled members running the entire spectrum from "I was just dead wrong" to "I was an agent of Satan and Hitler". I wish I'd kept those latter ones. Very amusing to a grandnephew of concentration camp survivors. Interestingly, not a single person who complained had the audacity, conviction or courage to let me know directly I was "off base". Ladies and gentlemen, I feel that that sums up their movement in a nutshell.

John

PS: there's a link to the article online, but I'm afraid BA would pull it, as I'm already coming fairly close to dangerously volitile substances. If I'm over the line here, Mr. BA, please feel free to pull / edit this. You won't offend :-) Thanks.

Sticks
2004-Nov-14, 07:01 AM
Returning to the subject sort of..

When does a theory become fact?

I thought this was when you could get repeatability in a lab or by repeatable observations.

Going right back in time beyond any "missing links", to the origins of life, unless you can create life in the laboratory, the various ideas as to how it began remain a theory, sort of.

Moving forward in time to the dinosaurs, here in the UK we had a series on the BBC called Walking With Dinosaurs (http://www.bbc.co.uk/dinosaurs/). There was good work in looking at the skeletons and working out how the moved, however they went further and ascribed colour and behaviour on them, based on modern animals. This was then presented as a wildlife film, as if their "informed" speculations were fact.

You do not have to be a creationist or a religious person to see that they were playing fast and loose with the public, as some evolutionists pointed out. I know they gave more detail of how they came to the conclusions on how dinosaurs might behave on the website, but a number of the viewers would not have had access to this. They watch the programme and think, so that is how it was.

Yet all of this was speculation and none of it observed. Only the how they moved research gets near the status of fact.

The whole of the evolutionary story seems to be littered with these assumptions, which have yet to be "proved" in the lab or in the field. So how did it graduate from theory to fact.

As for Einstein, a lot of his postulations were proved in the lab and the field by the use of atomic clocks in planes and the use of linear accelorators and astronomical observations. Relativity has a greater claim to fact status than evolution.

SciFi Chick
2004-Nov-14, 01:13 PM
Sticks, you pointed out yourself that evolution scientists felt that "documentary" played fast and loose with the facts.

That's not what is taught in the classroom.

Whether or not evolution is completely a fact or not, there is NO OTHER COMPETING SCIENTIFIC THEORY.

Creationism is NOT a scientific theory and does NOT belong in a SCIENCE classroom.

Tensor
2004-Nov-14, 01:48 PM
Whether or not evolution is completely a fact or not, there is NO OTHER COMPETING SCIENTIFIC THEORY.

Creationism is NOT a scientific theory and does NOT belong in a SCIENCE classroom.

AMEN, :oops: er... wait a minute... ah.... RIGHT ON. :wink:

Humphrey
2004-Nov-14, 06:14 PM
Ive seen Walking with dinos and have the book too. I highly enjoyed it. Plus the second one in the series too :-)

Getting the movements is not as hard as you think. From the bones themselves you can get muscle placements and alot of things tyhat with careful examination and some math you get a prety good representation of how they walked, moved. Footprints help even more. It's not perfect, but you can get prety close.

Behavior can be estimated from modern animals who live in a similar category to that species of dinosaur (ex. Plains grass eater in hot/dry climate, etc...). Also if the bones were there when they died you can gain some information on that. Are they in a herd? Is there nests near bye? are the ensts taken care of or covered and left? Are the young fully developed when hatched or are they still undeveloped? All of this and a good, intelegent imagination can give some estimates.

Its not perfect, its not a fact. ITs just the best guess we have now.

If i remember right Walking with Dinos never said their information was a fact and even gave information on how they estimated it before and after commercial breaks.

Evolution is a different matter. Walking with Dinos has nuthing to do with that. Knowing they evolved is very different from knowing how they lived.

hewhocaves
2004-Nov-14, 07:07 PM
Thinking back to what I was taught in high school.

A hypothesis is a model or experiment that is testable or verifyable.

A theorey is a hypothesis that has been tested succesfully, repeatedly.

A law or fact is a theorey that has been tested so many times we take it for granted as a fundamental tenet of that scientific discipline. This is why there are many 'theories' and so few 'laws'.

I've always felt that the problem is that the public was always thinking hypothesis when they said theorey and was thinking theorey when they said law. In other words, they were off in their definitions by one.

Long time creationists, however, are acutely aware of the difference and use the public's ignorance to their advantage. Just another of their common 'tricks' to try to bamboozle John Q. Pubhick.

John

Sticks
2004-Nov-14, 07:07 PM
Before we leave the dinosaurs programme, I can not speak for how they presented it outside the UK, but on this side of the pond, it was presented as if it were a wild life film. A "this is how it was" approach.

As it was shown on BBC1, there were no commercial breaks and no comments on how they made their guesses, unless you visited the website.

With the TV programme here in the UK, there was no critical evaluation of the evidence.

My point with this, is that these were guesses, albeit informed and educated guesses, but guesses none the less. These guesses are then presented at prime time, before the bedtimes of school children, as fact. Is that really honest?

Returning to evolution per say

The fundamental cornerstone of evolution has to be how life was started in the first place.

There have been many theories on how life began, but without repeatable evidence of creating life in the laboratory, this part has to remain a theory.

If this is a critical part of the whole of evolution, how does it achieve the status of fact?

Humphrey
2004-Nov-14, 07:51 PM
Returning to evolution per say

The fundamental cornerstone of evolution has to be how life was started in the first place.

There have been many theories on how life began, but without repeatable evidence of creating life in the laboratory, this part has to remain a theory.

If this is a critical part of the whole of evolution, how does it achieve the status of fact?

Not true. While this is starting to stray into a area that is not allowed to be talked about here, i will say this. It does not matter how we came about when considering Evolution. Evolution does not talk about or discuss how life came about. All it is, is a method for the changing of lifeforms.

SciFi Chick
2004-Nov-14, 08:36 PM
Returning to evolution per say

The fundamental cornerstone of evolution has to be how life was started in the first place.

There have been many theories on how life began, but without repeatable evidence of creating life in the laboratory, this part has to remain a theory.

If this is a critical part of the whole of evolution, how does it achieve the status of fact?

Not true. While this is starting to stray into a area that is not allowed to be talked about here, i will say this. It does not matter how we came about when considering Evolution. Evolution does not talk about or discuss how life came about. All it is, is a method for the changing of lifeforms.

Indeed. And this seems to be the point that creationists cannot seem to grasp. They always bring that up, then claim evolution can't explain it, then use that as some weapon for destroying evolution as a workable theory. It's ridiculous. And they never offer an alternative scientific theory.

And beskeptical will tell us that genetics is bringing the current theory of the origin of life into the realm of fact as well.

beskeptical
2004-Nov-15, 03:36 AM
Why thank you, SciFi. And you beat me to it.

We've had these evolution threads time and time again.

One observes and evaluates evidence.
The observations suggest relationships.
Hypotheses are suggested to explain the relationships.
One collects data to test the hypotheses.
A theory develops when enough evidence and data are collected to suggest an overall relationship explaining observations.
A theory might be established beyond doubt, or it might be one of several competing theories.

The term theory does not imply doubt nor does it equate to speculation.

The theory of evolution has been confirmed beyond any reasonable doubt. Genetic evidence and research has confirmed the theory of evolution and added to our understanding of the underlying mechanisms by which it occurs.

As to the beginning of life, there is no evidence against it having started by random interaction of inorganic molecules. Researchers have good evidence including laboratory demonstration of the mechanism for inorganic molecules to become RNA. From there we have the rest of the story.

There is no evidence for ID. The usual argument is there hasn't been time for the random molecules to have assorted themselves. Evidence is clear there has been enough time. ID and religious creation supporters cling to old arguments and ignore new evidence. Oh well. But it's a shame when they try to keep scientific advances from their kids because of their own ignorance.

Two steps forward, one step back.

Since SciFi agrees with me there is an anthropological story behind the religious movement, and because there seems to be so many opinions here about the movement being due to this or that social event, I'm going to do some research and start a new thread. I don't agree with the idea society has gotten in a bad place and religion is the response. I do know generation after generation experience the same things over and over, rebellious youth, longing for the old days, and so on. Today's crises are hardly as bad as the 60s and no one turned to religion then. So let me see what I can find.

ToSeek
2004-Nov-15, 02:46 PM
The fundamental cornerstone of evolution has to be how life was started in the first place.

There have been many theories on how life began, but without repeatable evidence of creating life in the laboratory, this part has to remain a theory.

If this is a critical part of the whole of evolution, how does it achieve the status of fact?

I disagree. That's like saying that you can't have a theory of gravity without knowing exactly what causes gravity. But Newton did pretty well, even so (and Einstein even better).

Ut
2004-Nov-15, 02:56 PM
The fundamental cornerstone of evolution has to be how life was started in the first place.

There have been many theories on how life began, but without repeatable evidence of creating life in the laboratory, this part has to remain a theory.

If this is a critical part of the whole of evolution, how does it achieve the status of fact?

I disagree. That's like saying that you can't have a theory of gravity without knowing exactly what causes gravity. But Newton did pretty well, even so (and Einstein even better).

Agreed.
Saying that "things evolve" is akin to saying "things fall down". That's not a theory, it's an observation. Theories are invoked to explain evolution, such as natural selection, sexual selection, or intelligent design (some being more scientifically valid than others).

Gmann
2004-Nov-15, 03:29 PM
I have heard recent rumblings, from PA if I recall, that they are supposed to teach a concept of creation based in intelligent design, attributed to an "Unspecified Higher Power". I could run this one into the ground, but decided against it. This is definite "FWIS Food".

Harvestar
2004-Nov-20, 01:53 PM
Heh heh - too bad it wasn't Tenessee. "What goes around comes around..." :D
I've been to Dayton, Tennessee, and to read the billboards out in front of the churches there, you'd think it was still 1925. :roll:

Sounds like Vidor, TX. *shudder*

Disinfo Agent
2004-Nov-20, 09:43 PM
what is funny, in a way (or not, depending how you look at it), is that this is totally not an issue in Europe, or at least not that i have seen anywhere in the past 40+ years. it just doesn't come up. ever. no stickers or stupid disclaimers in physics books.
For the time being. If the enemies of science succeed in the U.S., I'd bet others will soon try to mimick them around the world.

With respect to whether evolution is indeed only a theory, the Talk Origins Archive is always a good place to look on these matters. According to them, Evolution is both a fact and a theory (http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/evolution-fact.html).

Careless
2004-Nov-29, 07:52 AM
some additional stickers for textbooks (http://www.swarthmore.edu/NatSci/cpurrin1/textbookdisclaimers/index.htm)

Swift
2004-Nov-29, 02:55 PM
some additional stickers for textbooks (http://www.swarthmore.edu/NatSci/cpurrin1/textbookdisclaimers/index.htm)
=D> :lol:
I particularly liked this one

This textbook suggests that the earth is spherical. The shape of the earth is a controversial topic, and not all people accept the theory. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered.
Of course we know the Earth to be banana shaped (reference: MPHG, G. Chapman, J. Cleese, T. Jones, et al., 1975, LINK (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0071853/))

Maksutov
2004-Nov-30, 01:57 AM
If you follow the links to the grade report from Yale University, you'll find that a certain G. W. Bush received a 69 in Science II Astronomy. 8)