Self-indulgant look on the descent from evolution

Scotracer

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Sep 8, 2006
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#1
This is a piece I wrote about 6 months ago. It is more a ramble (editing is a rather laborious process) than anything at the moment but I'd like to share it with the forum. My posting of this is inspired by the [wonderful] interest the universe thread has gotten and hopefully we can have another scientific debate within here. This is a largely abridged version of the paper with all references to religion removed since the forum doesn't allow such...


Pick n' Mix Science by Scott Thomson (aka Scotracer)

Since Darwin first published the Origin of Species there has been a surprising amount of backlash against it. Looking at the Theory objectively one can see that all it suggests is that life varies over time due to a number of factors: changing environment, reproduction with mutation and the fact that every living organism dies. When this is taken over a length of time the changes resulting can be from microscopic to the point where we, on the face of it, don’t understand how one became another without analysing the genetics and palaeontology of the species. With countless fossils showing many, many stages in the development of life on this planet all falling under the observations and predictions of Evolutionary Theory it is very bewildering to see people flat-out reject (when they have no authority to do so) the process. As a science, it is the backbone of modern biology and is as strong as any of the other Theories within science; i.e. Atomic Theory (which resulted in the Hiroshima bombings), General Relativity and Control Theory (without which no engineered system today would work). In fact, Evolutionary Theory has more supportive evidence and fewer contradictions than Atomic Theory and the Theory of Gravity; both of which we know are wrong.

The evidence for evolutionary theory would take about the same amount of time as your average speciation event (a poor attempt at biology-based humour I grant you) to occur with morphology, physiology, embryology, plate tectonics, migration patterns & DNA all confirming the theory it would take some self-assurance to claim anything otherwise but it happens, daily.

One may at this point be wondering just what the problem is. Two particular topics to study that spring to mind are religion and human self-importance. The latter is much simpler to describe; ever since we were infants we are told that we (regardless of religion convictions our parents may have had) are Humans and every other species are the Animals. There is a glaring, bolded boundary between the two. We then form many of our future judgements based on this. In addition, the fact we are so mentally superior to the rest of the animal kingdom and our advances are far more obvious that to place down to the same level as every other creature is somehow criminal. But, the fact of the matter is we are animals: apes to be more specific. The ape is collectively defined as any gill-less, organic RNA/DNA protein-based, metabolic, metazoic, nucleic, diploid, bilaterally-symmetrical, endothermic, digestive, tryploblast, opisthokont, deuterostome coelemate with a spinal chord and 12 cranial nerves connecting to a limbic system in an enlarged cerebral cortex with a reduced olfactory region inside a jawed-skull with specialized teeth including canines and premolars, forward-oriented fully-enclosed optical orbits, and a single temporal fenestra, -attached to a vertebrate hind-leg dominant tetrapoidal skeleton with a sacral pelvis, clavical, and wrist & ankle bones; and having lungs, tear ducts, body-wide hair follicles, lactal mammaries, opposable thumbs, and keratinised dermis with chitinous nails on all five digits on all four extremities, in addition to an embryonic development in amniotic fluid, leading to a placental birth and highly social lifestyle. It doesn’t take a scientist to realise that we fall right under that heading but still there is a mental barrier between fact and acceptance.


If people wish to believe they are somehow more important than any other animal they are free to do so but they must realise they are animals regardless of any notion of divinity. I quite like the fact we’re the 5th ape – it makes me feel more content in my surroundings, like we actually belong here and are part of this glorious eco-system just like any other animal. Hello my new brothers; sorry about the mess we made.


Still, there are the vast majority who have either not realised they are apes or refuse to acknowledge the fact and I find it criminal. We came into existence exactly the same way as every other life form so at least acknowledge our evolutionary equals – after all, evolution is not a ladder it is a diverging hierarchy, every being that is alive today is just as “evolved” as any other; in so much that they are suited to their environment so they may survive and propagate. It is a branched system with almost too many divergent paths to count. To make you feel a bit more proud of your heritage think of it this way: for you to be here today you must have a complete, unbroken lineage of ancestors all the way back to the beginnings of life on this planet, some 2 billion years ago. That’s quite a concept. Family pride will never get any more intense or justified than that.


But, no matter how poetic I make it sound the depressing state of affairs show that people are still clinging to (or to flat-out deny anything) religion for solitude, hope and inner-peace. It is to be expected, though, as they are conditioned (and have conditioned themselves) to refute any evidence contrary to their dogmatic views on reality. So, it’s like teaching this to a blind and deaf person: they will just never get it. Even though this is the case, Evolution seems to have a special place on its mantel where it is even heralded as “Evilution” despite the fact that the Germ Theory of disease refutes a lot of things that may be seen as common sense. Illness is caused by demons, indeed. But is that attacked? Of course not – they can only be so hypocritical when they are picking up their medicines.

That is about 1/3 of the chapter (yes, I have written a book) as the rest has a lot of religious rhetoric that wouldn't be appreciated here. Comments and discussion welcomed and encouraged.
 

Scorched

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Feb 2, 2007
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#3
I'm afraid your thread is likely to be locked... even though it's scientific, for some reason evolution is considered to be a religious topic on here which are banned. :(
 

Đipic

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Oct 13, 2008
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#4
[QUOTE="Scorched, post: 0]I'm afraid your thread is likely to be locked... even though it's scientific, for some reason evolution is considered to be a religious topic on here which are banned. :([/quote]
Religion is clearly a prominent topic of the posted article. Besides we all know topics like this will always devolve into bickering from people who have no idea what they're talking about (on both sides). Honestly though, a PS3 forum probably isn't the most appropriate place for it and isn't likely to attract much civil or intellectual discourse.
 

claud3

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#5
amm what to say. I know man came from ape

and that god created the world in 6 days and rested on the 7th day to watch the football. But one thing i do know, We came from somewhere and i am happy with that
 

Scotracer

Master Poster
Sep 8, 2006
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#6
Đipic;4145230 said:
Religion is clearly a prominent topic of the posted article. Besides we all know topics like this will always devolve into bickering from people who have no idea what they're talking about (on both sides). Honestly though, a PS3 forum probably isn't the most appropriate place for it and isn't likely to attract much civil or intellectual discourse.
I did fear the above could happen but after such great discussion in the Universe thread I thought this forum had sufficient members to have a very pleasing discussion.

As a warning to any posters, please bring scientific critique of evolution (if you can think of any past Irreducible Complexity) not religious rhetoric.
 

claud3

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#7
this is a touchey subject to post on. Because one of us can say something. That would have an post war start. But i believe if some one wants to teach this in school and not the god created the world in 6 days theory then its fine
 

bayster

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Dec 30, 2005
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#8
Is it just me or does everyone on this forum think that if your religious your stupid and in denial?

Personally I find that just as bad as being a religious fundamentalist. Do I believe in something thing else, possibly but the worst kind of mind is a close mind.

No rational person denies evolution but it isn't hard to think there is some link we don't know and may never. However ultimately it doesn't matter, how will knowing or disapproving we are something special help us.

Oh and one more thing what is wrong with hope. Let people have their hope. Is it such a big deal that people believe in an afterlife? It could be argued they are taking the significance away from life as if you got an afterlife well... hell i can't really think of negative. Religions class life as 'sacred' e.g koran killing an innocent man is like killing all mankind.. somewhere along those lines.

I don't see why the idea of evolution can't coincide with spirituality and religion. Agnostic ftw.

That my lil rant.
 

Funeralfog

Master Guru
Nov 19, 2008
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#9
[QUOTE="bayster, post: 0]Is it just me or does everyone on this forum think that if your religious your stupid and in denial?

Personally I find that just as bad as being a religious fundamentalist. Do I believe in something thing else, possibly but the worst kind of mind is a close mind.

No rational person denies evolution but it isn't hard to think there is some link we don't know and may never. However ultimately it doesn't matter, how will knowing or disapproving we are something special help us.

Oh and one more thing what is wrong with hope. Let people have their hope. Is it such a big deal that people believe in an afterlife? It could be argued they are taking the significance away from life as if you got an afterlife well... hell i can't really think of negative. Religions class life as 'sacred' e.g koran killing an innocent man is like killing all mankind.. somewhere along those lines.

I don't see why the idea of evolution can't coincide with spirituality and religion. Agnostic ftw.

That my lil rant.[/quote]


hahaha, the first line you wrote there is insanely true. people talk like a religious person is just an ignorant moron. how offensive is that? its worse than bigotry IMO
 

Admartian

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Nov 28, 2006
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#10
Sorry, not to nit-pick, but sources/citations please? ;) Doing two Anthro/Archaeology essays at the moment so I'm in that 'frame of mind'.

What I find interesting here, in this topic or subject matter that is and not this thread specifically, is the disregard of many relgious anthropologists and archaeologists. It often seems that these people are always ignored when bringing up academic theories.

The notion that religious = ignorance is also very, very, flawed. There is not one form religious/spiritual ideology. We experience different phenomena and ways of seeing (religion) quite differently, which is based on our own, varying cultural environments and what we learn during our enculturation. Therefore to assume this, is to be ignorant ourselves. Yes, there are indeed people like this, however, has no bearing on their outlook. Rather that they are that way because they simply are. Their religious nature is simply the manner in which they express their ignorance.

Religion just plays the part of funnelling their narrow-mindedness.



Anyways, not a bad article. Makes a good read. :)

BTW, interestingly enough, many sociologists and anthropologists consider Atheism to be a religion. Or at least make very strong arguments and comparisons of similarity between belief in [a] God or not in one. Both share a similar formula in ideology.
 

Scotracer

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Sep 8, 2006
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#11
If it came across that I was saying religious people are somehow stupid or very ignorant that is not what was intended. My opinion on it is that they are indoctrinated (usually from a young age) to a belief in such. And as a god-filled existence and a god-less existence are polar opposites it can be very hard to transition between them.

With that out of the way I will tackle some of the responses.

Of course there are religious anthropologists and archaeologists(some of the best in the world in fact!) that are theists. Look at Kenneth Miller - he is one of the most prominent Evolutionary Biologists but he is also Catholic. Of course he interprets Genesis rather differently ;)

But I still hold the opinion that Religion in this form is rather useless; if you aren't going to follow the scripture of your religion why cling to the religion at all? It is like the Anglican church where they dismiss most of the stuff they don't like. It is nonsensical to me - just drop it all!

But you rascals have got me talking about religion and that was not my intent - it was merely society as a whole's rejection of evolution. "I didn't evolve from some monkey!" I've heard that countless times and it is rather odd for someone to not like that idea - even though it's wholly incorrect.

Oh and atheism is a null-hypothesis, not a religion. You wouldn't say it was religious to deny the existence of fairies. You wouldn't call bald a hair colour, would you? ;)
 

seebs

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Dec 29, 2006
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[QUOTE="bayster, post: 0]Is it just me or does everyone on this forum think that if your religious your stupid and in denial?[/quote]

There's a reason for that appearance. Generally, the people most likely to talk loudly about what their beliefs are may be the people most devoted to them, but least aware of what other people think and believe. I'm very religious, but people who don't specifically talk to me about religion rarely notice. They might notice my behavior, but unless I specifically say "I'm being nice because a dead guy said to be nice", there's no reason for them to assign a label to it.

That's one of the reasons that, in some cases, I will sort of pick a convenient opportunity to mention religion in passing, just so that people are aware that we're not all Fred Phelps. :)

(FWIW, I'm mostly a Quaker.)
 

Scotracer

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Sep 8, 2006
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#14
[QUOTE="seebs, post: 0]There's a reason for that appearance. Generally, the people most likely to talk loudly about what their beliefs are may be the people most devoted to them, but least aware of what other people think and believe. I'm very religious, but people who don't specifically talk to me about religion rarely notice. They might notice my behavior, but unless I specifically say "I'm being nice because a dead guy said to be nice", there's no reason for them to assign a label to it.

That's one of the reasons that, in some cases, I will sort of pick a convenient opportunity to mention religion in passing, just so that people are aware that we're not all Fred Phelps. :)

(FWIW, I'm mostly a Quaker.)[/quote]

I suppose my distaste of religion comes from a dissonance it creates in my head: how can intelligent people (and you very much are - probably my intellectual superior on many fronts) believe mythical things? Perhaps it's more to do with your type of mind, not pure intelligence...

For instance, which parts of the bible do you take literally and which metaphorically? How do you handle the contradictions and nonsensical parts of the bible? I really need to know.
 

Mopey.

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Apr 19, 2008
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#15
[QUOTE="Scotracer, post: 0]I suppose my distaste of religion comes from a dissonance it creates in my head: how can intelligent people (and you very much are - probably my intellectual superior on many fronts) believe mythical things? Perhaps it's more to do with your type of mind, not pure intelligence...

For instance, which parts of the bible do you take literally and which metaphorically? How do you handle the contradictions and nonsensical parts of the bible? I really need to know.[/quote]

Thats almost like saying "How do you make sense of all the convoluted theories of the universe?" You just ignore some things and put your faith in others.

Religious people may not fully understand our blind faith in physics and science just the same way we dont understand their blind faith in the bible.
 

desolationw

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Feb 27, 2008
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#16
Your title, should it not be descent as in 'to descend' rather than dissent, which would be looking at bad behavior from evolution.
 

Scotracer

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[QUOTE="Mopey., post: 0]Thats almost like saying "How do you make sense of all the convoluted theories of the universe?" You just ignore some things and put your faith in others.

Religious people may not fully understand our blind faith in physics and science just the same way we dont understand their blind faith in the bible.[/quote]

You don't quite understand what blind faith means. Blind faith is faith irrespective of evidence or even evidence to the contrary. Science is the exact opposite of it.

And seebs has a good understanding of science so I don't think that follows.
 

bayster

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Dec 30, 2005
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#18
I can see what your saying but things don't have to be so black and white. I understand how people say why follow religion if you pick and chose what to believe and follow. However I think it's the modernisation of religion in society we make things to suit us and you have to take into account bible is slightly old so people take that into account when deciding what is true.

Also another thing, would you include spirituality as religion. As religion is just a part of spiritual journey. I believe those who have blind faith in their religion and believe others are wrong don't get it. These are type of people that are against these theories.

Personally I just don't get how people can just be atheist. I mean what's wrong with an open mind, although it could be said you either believe or you don't.

Anyway back to topic.. We are a very cocky species we 'make' our religions stress our importance, this I don't like. We created the idea of sacred life--guess who that helps--yep us. I prefer to think of myself as a spiritualist and like the idea behind that of Buddhism. My logic could be considered flawed but I would call those with blind atheism illogical.

Sorry for going about religion but I'm doing a religion and philosophy course (with a lot of points) so any time I can fuel these discussions I will.
 
Dec 25, 2005
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Nice writeup. I've always had a belief(lol irony) that everything that the human race has been doing and will do is regarding self-importance and self-preservation of, either personal being or the collective species. I think that after-life and "God has a plan" and all that is just a manifestation of this importance felt towards our species by us(No offense intended in any way to religious people).
 

ex nihilo7

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Nov 13, 2006
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#21
[QUOTE="Scotracer, post: 0]You don't quite understand what blind faith means. Blind faith is faith irrespective of evidence or even evidence to the contrary. Science is the exact opposite of it.

And seebs has a good understanding of science so I don't think that follows.[/quote]
Do you believe in Scientism?
 

Scotracer

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#22
[QUOTE="ex nihilo7, post: 0]Do you believe in Scientism?[/quote]

Sorry but what on earth is Scientism? :lol:

If you are meaning methodological naturalism (SCIENCE!) then yes, I trust it because it's the only way we can tell what's real from what's fantasy. Belief without evidence doesn't help anyone and just believing a book because you either want to or have been told it's correct is futile. When it comes to science you start with some fact in real life (with Darwin it was noticing the variety of finches) and then you come up with an idea (your hypothesis). You then test this hypothesis thoroughly and then eventually with review and editing it becomes the top it can be - a Theory. To denounce this Theory all you must do is find something that is contradictory to it (a simple way would be to find a fossilised rabbit in the Cambrian).

Knowing from evidence is the only way to figure out...well, anything.
 

ex nihilo7

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Nov 13, 2006
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#23
metaphysical[/URL], philosophical, and religious claims, as the truths they proclaim cannot be apprehended by the scientific method. In essence, scientism sees science as the absolute and only justifiable access to the truth.
http://www.pbs.org/faithandreason/gengloss/sciism-body.html

Here's a recent article by the Vancouver Sun discussing Scientism and Evolution:

http://www.evolutionnews.org/2009/04/scientism_called_on_the_carpet.html

Direct Link: http://www.vancouversun.com/Life/Scientism+infects+Darwinian+debates/1464023/story.html

I think scientism might be a recent term, since the first time I actually heard of it was earlier this month, but maybe its just not talked about that much. It doesn't sound the same to me as methodological naturalism.
 

Scotracer

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Sep 8, 2006
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#24
For some reason that term, to me, seems to have been made by someone that either doesn't like science or doesn't understand it. The Scientific Method is the only way since humanity jumped down out the trees to learn anything. Claiming something without evidence gets you no closer to the facts of the matter.
 

JoNJoN

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Oct 21, 2007
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#25
"Still, there are the vast majority who have either not realised they are apes or refuse to acknowledge the fact and I find it criminal."

So your saying all religious people should be locked up? I don't know what else you could mean by this sentence. Maybe a return to the glory days of Rome and we can have Christians fighting lions to the death with their bare hands? Maybe you should reconsider the criminal part, just a thought.
 

Scotracer

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Sep 8, 2006
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#26
[QUOTE="JoNJoN, post: 0]"Still, there are the vast majority who have either not realised they are apes or refuse to acknowledge the fact and I find it criminal."

So your saying all religious people should be locked up? I don't know what else you could mean by this sentence. Maybe a return to the glory days of Rome and we can have Christians fighting lions to the death with their bare hands? Maybe you should reconsider the criminal part, just a thought.[/quote]

Maybe it's a British saying but to find something criminal is something that is so infuriating and against...well, everything that it requires that term. I'm not saying, by any stretch of my rather degenerate imagination, that we should lock religious folks up - in fact, I am an anarchist so that would be the LAST thing I'd do!
 
Aug 23, 2006
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#27
But arent all religions man made? Just like how science is man made o_0 Some people believe in gods because people a long time ago invented them.. just like with science
 

JoNJoN

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Oct 21, 2007
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[QUOTE="Scotracer, post: 0]Maybe it's a British saying but to find something criminal is something that is so infuriating and against...well, everything that it requires that term. I'm not saying, by any stretch of my rather degenerate imagination, that we should lock religious folks up - in fact, I am an anarchist so that would be the LAST thing I'd do![/quote]

Aaahhhh, one of those cultural word difference things. I would still say not to use it because there are people out there who believe in both a creator and the evolutionary process. It's just the levels of each belief that differ from person to person. The "absolute" answer of how we came to be and when life and time started will never be "factually" proven with hard evidence so I wouldn't call it a stretch to believe in a creator much like someone would believe in a "big bang" or primordial soup beginning.
 

SnakeDevil

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Feb 16, 2007
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#29
[QUOTE="Scotracer, post: 0]You don't quite understand what blind faith means. Blind faith is faith irrespective of evidence or even evidence to the contrary. Science is the exact opposite of it.

And seebs has a good understanding of science so I don't think that follows.[/quote]
My Biology teacher (who teaches and believes in evolution) believes in a "higher power".

Just because someone believes in god, that doesn't mean they're ignorant of the sciences.
 

ex nihilo7

Master Poster
Nov 13, 2006
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#30
[QUOTE="Scotracer, post: 0]For some reason that term, to me, seems to have been made by someone that either doesn't like science or doesn't understand it. The Scientific Method is the only way since humanity jumped down out the trees to learn anything. Claiming something without evidence gets you no closer to the facts of the matter.[/quote]
Scientism basically goes against some of the pre-suppositions science is based on, such as logic, so its not really good for science. That's what I have understood about it so far. I'll have to re-read on it again.