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    asking Posts: 2,673, Reputation: 660
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    #1

    Nov 7, 2007, 11:27 AM
    Why is evolution mostly discussed in the religion sections?
    Like a lot of people here, I am interested in answering questions about evolution. But the questions and discussions about evolution nearly all show up in threads about religion or spirituality, and, in one case, "other science."

    How come people don't post questions about evolution in the Biology section where (I think) it belongs? When I answer in the spirituality or christianity threads, I get the impression that some people there feel that the science fans like me are sort of crashing the faith party.

    So I'd like to ask people to post questions about how evolution works in the Biology section of AMHD.

    Questions about how evolution works should be in biology. But I'd be in favor of a special section in Society & Culture for those who want to talk about how the theory of evolution affects faith. It could be called "Evolution and Faith."
    Thanks!
    Asking

    The theory of evolution is the life blood of modern biology.
    templelane's Avatar
    templelane Posts: 1,177, Reputation: 227
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    #2

    Nov 8, 2007, 11:08 AM
    Hmm, I have never seen the evolution threads on the religious boards as I don't really go there. Mainly because I'm sticking to the if you don't have anything nice to say don't say anything at all...

    Maybe it is not in here because as far as biology goes it is a very well estabilshed theory, and well, scientifically boring. I don't mean that in a bad way it's just old news, I would rather discuss new discoveries such as siRNA, stem cell research, new drugs and petri dish organs to name a few. I don't really understand why people keep rehashing evolution.
    asking's Avatar
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    #3

    Nov 8, 2007, 11:47 AM
    Hi Templelane,
    I agree that evolution is well established (of course). But lots of people have questions about it. Some assume it's true, since biologists say so, but they just want to understand it better. Some are people who want to know whether it's controversial among biologists, as they've been told, or want a specific question answered. Also, there's lots of new research relating to evolution, just as there is in the areas you mention, e.g. in stem cell research and new drugs. Sometimes these areas even overlap. I don't think evolution is a dead subject (like Latin!) by any means.

    Anyway, I was just wondering if there's a way to get people to post in biology (or move questions to where they belong) instead of so consistently having these discussions in the religion area. I discovered this after using the search function and putting in "evolution." You can try it and you'll see what I mean.

    I haven't seen too many questions about modern biology--iRNA, stem cells, etc. A lot from people taking tests or introductory courses.

    Best,
    Asking
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    #4

    Nov 21, 2007, 07:50 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by asking
    Like a lot of people here, I am interested in answering questions about evolution. But the questions and discussions about evolution nearly all show up in threads about religion or spirituality, and, in one case, "other science."

    How come people don't post questions about evolution in the Biology section where (I think) it belongs? When I answer in the spirituality or christianity threads, I get the impression that some people there feel that the science fans like me are sort of crashing the faith party.

    So I'd like to ask people to post questions about how evolution works in the Biology section of AMHD.

    Questions about how evolution works should be in biology. But I'd be in favor of a special section in Society & Culture for those who want to talk about how the theory of evolution affects faith. It could be called "Evolution and Faith."
    Thanks!
    Asking

    The theory of evolution is the life blood of modern biology.
    Go to natural history and anthropology-I will answer whatever you want there.
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    #5

    Nov 21, 2007, 08:34 PM
    I don't have any questions. I just think it's weird that evolution gets discussed more often by people who supposedly want to talk about religion than by people posting to biology. Guess that's just the way it is. If you search "evolution" you'll see what I mean.
    Thanks anyhow. I'll check out natural history and anthropology...
    asking
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    #6

    Nov 21, 2007, 08:54 PM
    It is brought up mostly there by anti christians who wish to be trouble makers, so that is why you see them there.

    You are correct, if they really wanted to discuss them from a science viewpoint they would be asking them in a science area.
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    #7

    Nov 21, 2007, 10:21 PM
    Could be. I haven't counted. But the last couple I answered I think were posted by christians asking about evolution. I didn't feel like they were trouble makers.
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    #8

    Dec 5, 2007, 12:03 AM
    Dear!questions Like Evoloution Creation Of Cosmos And Other Such Questions Do Not Come Under The Proper Sequence Of Scientific Methodology So These Questions Are Left To Theologeans And Religious Heads Because They Have Theories Too. Science Can't Give Us More Than Theories And Assumptions In This Respect.
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    #9

    Dec 31, 2007, 07:57 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by MUHAMMAD USMAN GHANI
    Dear!questions Like Evoloution Creation Of Cosmos And Other Such Questions Do Not Come Under The Proper Sequence Of Scientific Methodology So These Questions Are Left To Theologeans And Religeous Heads Because They Have Theories Too. Science Can't Give Us More Than Theories And Assumptions In This Respect.
    Hmm. No offense, but I don't agree with this! I have studied evolution on and off all my life and there's no doubt in my mind that the evolutionary theory--how new species form and multiply--is definitely science. For example, if a population of mice were separated by a river or some other barrier, the two populations could gradually evolve apart and become different, one group of mice maybe living in a grassy plain and eating grasshoppers, the others living in a forest and eating nuts.

    Before you know it, they are two new species, one specialized for catching and digesting grasshoppers, one specialized for finding nuts and digesting them. Maybe the grasshopper-eaters hibernate in winter (because there's nothing to eat) while the nut eaters store nuts and wake up to eat ever few days in the winter. The two new species could become very different. So from one species, you have two. That's "speciation." It turns out that if you actually go out an study animals and plants, they actually do all this stuff. It's not just "theory."

    Just as you don't need to invoke religion to explain how the sun shines--we know it's nuclear fusion--we don't need to invoke religion to explain how new species form anymore. Nobody denies that sunshine comes from nuclear fusiom, so, to me, there's no reason to deny that new species form by evolution. It's just garden variety science.

    Recent research shows that species can evolve very rapidly, much faster than people used to think. Birds beak sizes can change in just a handful of years if there's a drought and the birds have to eat smaller seeds than they used to. They get smaller beaks in just a few years. Or if they have to eat bigger seeds, the average beak size gets bigger. If there's not much food and a lot of birds are dying, they can evolve very fast.

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    #10

    Jan 1, 2008, 02:24 PM
    So the question is: How did the evolution questions evolve? Was it because the religious people questioned evolution in the religious category and the evolutionists had to go to the religious category to answer them, etc etc. I recently saw a c-span program that had two science professors debating this issue. One of them was a Christian who believed in creationism and evolution. If he had an opinion which category would he be put in. Maybe I am being too facetious but I seldom look at the category to determine if I want to see more. The question either interests me or not.
    Does it really matter so long as the title of the question is such that one can determine the subject matter of the question?
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    #11

    Jan 1, 2008, 02:36 PM
    In most of our cases it is normally a non religioius person coming there to ask a baiting question for Christians to answer. This is fairly common on question and answer sites.

    But there are others who do see the possibility that God started the process and has allowed nautual process change and progress many factors
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    #12

    Jan 1, 2008, 02:41 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by smearcase
    So the question is: How did the evolution questions evolve? Was it because the religious people questioned evolution in the religious category and the evolutionists had to go to the religious category to answer them, etc etc.
    Yes. Mostly.

    Quote Originally Posted by smearcase
    I recently saw a c-span program that had two science professors debating this issue. One of them was a Christian who believed in creationism and evolution. If he had an opinion which category would he be put in. Maybe I am being too facetious but I seldom look at the category to determine if I want to see more. The question either interests me or not.
    Does it really matter so long as the title of the question is such that one can determine the subject matter of the question?
    No you are funny and make a good point. I think I want to see people see evolution as a science, not just a philosophical question where one person's opinion is as good anyone else's. To me, asking how evolution works in the religion section is like asking, in the religious section, whether sperm and ova are alive or how DNA encodes information.

    But, obviously, other people don't see it that way. Some people feel that the question of whether species evolved from other species or were specially created is purely a religious question, not a matter for science to weigh in on, just like Ghani says.

    When I first came, I kept looking the biology section for evolution discussions and there never were any. So I searched for evolution and discovered them in the evolution section or in Christianity. I think the section does make a difference because I don't want to tell Christians particularly how to think about Christianity. But I'm happy to tell them how to think about biology!

    Also, are you sure the biology professor who believed in creationism was actually a biology teacher? To my knowledge, there's only one of those. They are as rare as hen's teeth!
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    #13

    Mar 23, 2010, 11:10 AM

    It's discussed there because what most people who are looking up questions on evolution are interested in is the debate over whether it is valid science, how it reconciles with religious beliefs in creationism, and whether either, both or neither should be taught in schools. If people don't bring something up in a particular section it's simply that they don't have a question relevant to that topic that's appropriate for that section.

    I believe the debate over which to teach is appropriately placed in the religion categories.
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    #14

    Mar 24, 2010, 01:11 PM

    Hi Dontknownuthin,

    Evolutionary biology is a field of science. I am not sure what you mean by "a valid science." Are there invalid sciences?

    The concept of evolution reconciles very well with some aspects of religious belief--which is why millions of Christians both believe in God and understand that evolution is a word for an historical fact that is not different from other scientific knowledge such as how oil and coal form or why the Moon orbits the Earth. On the other hand the evolution of life of Earth reconciles very poorly with the specific religious belief called special creation.

    I think that talking ABOUT evolution--how it works, what happened and how we know-- belongs in the biology section. But I agree that talking about whether the idea is in conflict with certain beliefs within some religions belongs in the religion section.
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    ebaines Posts: 12,130, Reputation: 1307
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    #15

    Mar 24, 2010, 01:33 PM

    We just had a long "conversation" recently in the paleontology section about how we know that men and dinosaurs have never coexisted. Some of those posts bridged off into a discussion of evolution. As you might guess, even though this is a science forum we had a fair number of responses that were based on religious faith rather than the scientific principles.
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    #16

    Mar 24, 2010, 01:39 PM

    At least they are in the science section.

    I have been avoiding AMHD, trying to be good and get some work done... :(
    I miss it!
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    #17

    Mar 24, 2010, 01:40 PM

    There are many people who do not believe in Evolution - they argue that the science is not valid. They insist that God put people on earth in our present state on the 6th day,with a day literally meaning 24 hours.

    Many people home school their children just to keep them from being taught evolutionary theory so they can instead teach them creationism. There have been many state and federal law suits in an attempt to compel that creationism be taught in public schools, either along with or instead of evolution. They have all failed to date.

    You may have reconciled the two theories in your mind, but it remains a huge debate among many others. And the official language of most religions at this point does not accept evolutionary theory as valid. I disagree with them and still believe in God as do many, but the debate rages on among others.

    If you want a string elsewhere about evolution, you can always start one. To date, apparently, nobody was interested in doing it, so they didn't.
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    TUT317 Posts: 657, Reputation: 76
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    #18

    Mar 24, 2010, 02:12 PM
    I have a question about biology and I am hoping someone with a biology background can answer it. It is possible in asking this question it may even help to answer the question as to why evolution is discussed in the religious section.

    Biology, like all sciences is an empirical study. Religion, on the other hand uses a different methodology. Namely, teleology. Roughly speaking religion starts with the conclusion and works backwards. Science starts with the facts as works forward to a conclusion- keeping in mind a hypothesis is not a conclusion. I am not saying one is better than the other. I am just pointing out they use different methodologies.

    Because they are different methodologies this creates problems. To ask a religious question in the biology section invites an empirical response. To ask a biological question in the religious section invites a teleological response.

    As far as my question is concerned.- Teleology is the study of end purposes. For example the end purpose of a plant seed might be to glorify God's creation. The end purpose of a seed from a biological point of view might be to give the seed its greatest chance of germination.(It could be argued that this sentence is not even a scientific statement)

    My question is. Has the science of biology in the past used teleology as a methodology? Does it use teleology now as a methodology?


    Many Thanks

    Tut
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    #19

    Mar 24, 2010, 02:22 PM

    Hi dkn,
    I actually started this thread three years ago, so I don't really need to start another one elsewhere. Also, in my last post I acknowledged that evolution conflicts with some religious beliefs but not others. I think we agree on that, yes? Did you read my post? I'm confused about what you are responding to.

    Evolutionary biology is a valid science--as valid as physiology, physical chemistry, astrodynamics, epidemiology, or mycology. Evolutionary biology is just not acceptable as a religion, which makes sense. It was never intended to be or replace religious thought.

    Science has often conflicted with religion in the past. But it seems that soon or later, the church eventually accepts that the science is correct, although sometimes that process may take hundreds of years. For example, in 2000, the Vatican issued an apology for giving Galileo such a hard time about heliocentrism in the 1600s.
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    #20

    Mar 24, 2010, 02:29 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by TUT317 View Post
    My question is. Has the science of biology in the past used teleology as a methodology? Does it use teleology now as a methodology?
    Hi Tut,
    Nowadays I would say that teology is considered a big no no in biology because it confuses people about the science. I think the idea that structures have functions (rather than a purpose) is key to keeping clear of confusion and also has a very long history.

    Natural historians have been trying to figure out the function of seeds and pumping hearts for thousands of years. How does this work? Why is this here? Why do we have a liver? What does it do? These questions are primarily about function. When you add the idea of design or purpose, then you raise the question of a designer, which is outside the pervue of science.

    Hope that helps answer your question.
    asking

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