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    ordinaryguy's Avatar
    ordinaryguy Posts: 1,790, Reputation: 596
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    #1

    Aug 14, 2008, 12:20 PM
    Why teach evolution?
    I think Olivia Judson makes a really good case for why evolutionary theory should be taught in public school science curricula. What do you think?

    NOTE: I'm posting this in Biology instead of Religious Discussions for a reason. If you have a religious point to make on this topic, please start your own thread on a religious forum, or contribute to one of the many threads on the topic already active there.
    N0help4u's Avatar
    N0help4u Posts: 19,825, Reputation: 2035
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    #2

    Aug 14, 2008, 01:02 PM
    Evolution is a theory so I think that any theory should be also at least mention the other theories. Shouldn't a good scientist be looking at all avenues and coming to their conclusions based on all things?
    Capuchin's Avatar
    Capuchin Posts: 5,255, Reputation: 656
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    #3

    Aug 14, 2008, 01:09 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by N0help4u
    Evolution is a theory so I think that any theory should be also at least mention the other theories. Shouldn't a good scientist be looking at all avenues and coming to their conclusions based on all things?
    Which other theories?
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    N0help4u Posts: 19,825, Reputation: 2035
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    #4

    Aug 14, 2008, 01:17 PM
    So evolution is the ONLY theory and nobody has any ideas how man came into existence?

    I might have to ask my UFO believing friends to explain how the aliens were involved.
    Origins and creation

    And then there is the creationists they DO have tons of things debunking evolution
    Origins and creation

    Actually that is mostly what I meant by teaching other theories too is the debunking of evolution.
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    NeedKarma Posts: 10,635, Reputation: 1706
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    #5

    Aug 14, 2008, 01:23 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by N0help4u
    I might have to ask my UFO believing friends to explain how the aliens were involved.
    Ask your friends to submit papers to the community complete with evidence, etc.
    Capuchin's Avatar
    Capuchin Posts: 5,255, Reputation: 656
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    #6

    Aug 14, 2008, 01:29 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by N0help4u
    So evolution is the ONLY theory [...] ?
    Yes.
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    N0help4u Posts: 19,825, Reputation: 2035
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    #7

    Aug 14, 2008, 01:30 PM
    Like I said I did NOT say teach other theories but mention there ARE other theories

    AND wouldn't a good scientist present here are the theories that prove evolution and
    These are the theories that say it can't be?
    I was taught a good scientist uses all available theories and hypothesis to come to a conclusion.
    Capuchin's Avatar
    Capuchin Posts: 5,255, Reputation: 656
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    #8

    Aug 14, 2008, 01:37 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by N0help4u
    Like I said I did NOT say teach other theories but mention there ARE other theories

    AND wouldn't a good scientist present here are the theories that prove evolution and
    these are the theories that say it can't be?
    I was taught a good scientist uses all available theories and hypothesis to come to a conclusion.
    You seem to be confusing what a theory is. There are no "theories that prove evolution and theories that say it can't be". Evolution is itself a theory. There are no other theories that explain how life got from a single self-replicating molecule to the diverse range of life we see today. The theory of evolution is the only theory.
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    #9

    Aug 14, 2008, 01:46 PM
    All I am saying is that I would think that a good scientist would go by things that debunk the claims as well as things that support the claim such as

    http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Ithaca/3440/evorel.html
    Capuchin's Avatar
    Capuchin Posts: 5,255, Reputation: 656
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    #10

    Aug 14, 2008, 01:53 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by N0help4u
    All I am saying is that I would think that a good scientist would go by things that debunk the claims as well as things that support the claim such as

    http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Ithaca/3440/evorel.html
    Wow... You don't think that the assumptions he makes even on the first page are somewhat ridiculous? That it's a "natural law" that every thing happens more than once?
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    #11

    Aug 14, 2008, 01:55 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by lmangileri
    lmangileri disagrees: You have never heard of any other theories? Ever heard of the big bang theory?
    I hope it was clear from context that I meant the only theory that explains the transition from self-replicating molecule to the complex and diverse life we see today. I wouldn't expect the Big Bang theory to compete with the theory of Evolution in the classroom, as they describe completely different processes and sets of evidence.
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    #12

    Aug 14, 2008, 01:58 PM
    Yeah Big bang proceeded evolution two different things both believed by evolutionists.
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    Curlyben Posts: 18,465, Reputation: 1857
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    #13

    Aug 14, 2008, 02:04 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by N0help4u
    Yeah Big bang proceeded evolution two different things both believed by evolutionists.
    Errrm NO.

    AS previously mentioned, what other scientific theories are there for life on earth and should they be taught instead of evolution?

    Also remember:

    Quote Originally Posted by dictionary
    the∑o∑ry
    1. a coherent group of general propositions used as principles of explanation for a class of phenomena: Einstein's theory of relativity.
    2. a proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural, in contrast to well-established propositions that are regarded as reporting matters of actual fact.
    3. Mathematics. a body of principles, theorems, or the like, belonging to one subject: number theory.
    4. the branch of a science or art that deals with its principles or methods, as distinguished from its practice: music theory.
    5. a particular conception or view of something to be done or of the method of doing it; a system of rules or principles.
    6. contemplation or speculation.
    7. guess or conjecture.
    We are really concerned with point 1 here.
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    asking Posts: 2,673, Reputation: 660
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    #14

    Aug 14, 2008, 02:09 PM
    Anyway, ordinaryguy, that's a lovely essay you posted. And thanks for posting it in Biology! :) You made my day.

    So, as I understand Johnson, she's saying that evolution: (1) explains how most biological traits came to be; (2) it can predict what to expect in populations of organisms (including our own) in response to certain situations; and (3) it constitutes an introduction to scientific evidence. Her version is a lot more fun to read than this, but I was trying to be brief.

    Is this what others understood her to say?
    ordinaryguy's Avatar
    ordinaryguy Posts: 1,790, Reputation: 596
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    #15

    Aug 14, 2008, 03:21 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by asking
    Anyway, ordinaryguy, that's a lovely essay you posted. And thanks for posting it in Biology! :) You made my day.
    Yes, she's really good at putting complex scientific ideas in plain English. I read her Blog in the Times regularly.
    So, as I understand Johnson,
    It's Judson. Olivia JUDSON.
    she's saying that evolution: (1) explains how most biological traits came to be; (2) it can predict what to expect in populations of organisms (including our own) in response to certain situations; and (3) it constitutes an introduction to scientific evidence. Her version is a lot more fun to read than this, but I was trying to be brief.

    Is this what others understood her to say?
    Yes, and I especially liked her closing comment about optimism and wonder:
    But for me, the most important thing about studying evolution is something less tangible. Itís that the endeavor contains a profound optimism. It means that when we encounter something in nature that is complicated or mysterious, such as the flagellum of a bacteria or the light made by a firefly, we donít have to shrug our shoulders in bewilderment.

    Instead, we can ask how it got to be that way. And if at first it seems so complicated that the evolutionary steps are hard to work out, we have an invitation to imagine, to play, to experiment and explore. To my mind, this only enhances the wonder.
    ordinaryguy's Avatar
    ordinaryguy Posts: 1,790, Reputation: 596
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    #16

    Aug 14, 2008, 04:00 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by N0help4u
    Like I said I did NOT say teach other theories but mention there ARE other theories

    AND wouldn't a good scientist present here are the theories that prove evolution and
    these are the theories that say it can't be?
    I was taught a good scientist uses all available theories and hypothesis to come to a conclusion.
    Science is not really about proof, or even about conclusions, it's about explanation. That's what scientific theories are--explanations that can be tested rigorously to see if they are fully consistent with all the facts that experiment and observation can produce. Explanations that cannot be tested may correctly be called theories, but they are not scientific theories because they can't be falsified. All scientific "conclusions" are tentative and more or less temporary. Scientific theories are continually being tested, refined, and improved to provide more complete, coherent and consistent explanations. They are not designed or intended to provide proof, just better and better explanations. Mathematics is the only "scientific" discipline where proof has an operational meaning. Everything else is analysis and inference.
    asking's Avatar
    asking Posts: 2,673, Reputation: 660
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    #17

    Aug 14, 2008, 04:22 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by ordinaryguy
    It's Judson. Olivia JUDSON.

    Yes, and I especially liked her closing comment about optimism and wonder:
    Judson! My brain wasn't working.

    I agree about the sense of wonder. Sometimes I have heard people argue that science takes away from the wonder of things. And I know it's not true for me. The more I learn about how things work, the more amazed and awed I am.

    I think teaching science to children and adults is a net good, for the individuals themselves and for society more generally. I can't see how ignorance of how things work ever did anyone any good.
    asking's Avatar
    asking Posts: 2,673, Reputation: 660
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    #18

    Aug 14, 2008, 04:36 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by ordinaryguy
    Science is not really about proof, or even about conclusions, it's about explanation. That's what scientific theories are--explanations that can be tested rigorously to see if they are fully consistent with all the facts that experiment and observation can produce. Explanations that cannot be tested may correctly be called theories, but they are not scientific theories because they can't be falsified.
    Great to distinguish between theory and scientific theory.

    Quote Originally Posted by ordinaryguy
    Mathematics is the only "scientific" discipline where proof has an operational meaning. Everything else is analysis and inference.
    Math and science are so often lumped together, but in many ways they are very different. Math per se is not a science, even though we often use math in the course of doing science. Math seems more like a logical language about abstraction, whereas science is a process of inquiry into the real world, the opposite of abstract. In science, we can try to describe the world in abstract terms, but ultimately we have to be able to make real predictions in the real world. As you say, science is the process of trying to understand, not the conclusions per se.

    I just watched the movie "Dogma" last night. In principle, the phrase "scientific dogma" is an oxymoron. Science, by definition, should not be dogmatic about specific conclusions. (In the case of evolution, the evidence is overwhelming, so the conclusion is not dogma.)
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    jillianleab Posts: 1,194, Reputation: 279
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    #19

    Aug 14, 2008, 04:40 PM
    Great article. Teaching evolution is critical to understand how biology works, and how many other things in science works (like creating medications). I wish there was more focus on bio and science in schools; I remember HATING science in school, just because of the way it was presented. Now it fascinates me...

    Similar to the topic (and not to digress too much) has anyone seen the new series on History called "Evolve"? It focuses on a certain trait each episode and explains how it evolved to what it is today. First episode was the eye, then guts (it was pretty gross), then jaws. REALLY cool show. Evolve - Eyes
    Credendovidis's Avatar
    Credendovidis Posts: 1,593, Reputation: 66
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    #20

    Aug 21, 2008, 02:48 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by N0help4u
    Evolution is a theory so I think that any theory should be also at least mention the other theories. Shouldn't a good scientist be looking at all avenues and coming to their conclusions based on all things?
    Evolution is a Scientific Theory. It is not a (hypo) thesis - what in normal daily life is called a theory (without the capital T). A Scientific Theory is as near to reality as we can get with present support.

    Quote Originally Posted by N0help4u
    All I am saying is that I would think that a good scientist would go by things that debunk the claims as well as things that support the claim ...
    A good scientist tries to explain and uses OSE to get there.

    :rolleyes:

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