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Old 03-08-2014, 10:00 PM   #766
Numpty
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TipRoast View Post
This is worth a read if you and pf09 are interested in the topic.


http://www.evolution-outreach.com/co...-6434-6-11.pdf
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Old 03-09-2014, 08:34 AM   #767
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Numpty View Post
This is worth a read if you and pf09 are interested in the topic.


http://www.evolution-outreach.com/co...-6434-6-11.pdf
Nice article - it points out that a lot of what has transpired in this thread is due to unclear definitions (e.g. belief).

My favorite passage from the article was this one:

Quote:
Natural selection is not an entity like Cher, Lady Gaga, or the Statue of Liberty, and it is not a force like wind.
Too often, I think, non-scientists rely on analogy to things that are familiar to them to help them understand scientific concepts. And not all analogies are successful.
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Old 03-10-2014, 01:21 PM   #768
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I've always described natural selection as "not getting eaten increases your chances of procreating."

Dumbed down but I think it gets the point across.
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Old 03-11-2014, 08:41 PM   #769
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I've always described natural selection as "not getting eaten increases your chances of procreating."

Dumbed down but I think it gets the point across.
"Reproduction of the fittest " is what I was also taught, but there is more to evolution than natural selection.

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Because science has no catechisms, there is not a single, standard definition of evolution. But some are more and less useful. A popular one, especially among scientists who work on population biology, is ‘a change in gene frequency in a population’. This means, for example, that an allele with a frequency of 0.75 in one generation can change to 0.73 in the next, and this is evolution. Well, sort of. In the next gener- ation, the frequency can change back to 0.75. So what has evolved? It is like defining a football game as the process of hiking the ball. This simple (or simplistic) definition gets to one level of the processes of evolution (yet it misses many processes from speciation to what causes changes in gene frequencies in populations). Other definitions, such as ‘the history of life’, get to the patterns
Page 2 of 13
of evolution, but do not describe their causes. So both kinds of definitions are inadequate on their own.

Darwin’s definition, which he used in On the Origin of Species, was ‘descent with modification’. Although it may seem at first glance simplistic or vague, it embodies both the patterns of evolution (descent) and its pro- cesses (modification). It is as useful on a short timescale as on a long one; it suggests minor evolutionary modifi- cations as well as major ones. In the last paragraph of Chapter 6 of the Origin, Darwin used this simple defin- ition to settle a century of debate about what controls the morphology of form in the first place (Figure 1).

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Old 03-13-2014, 03:57 PM   #770
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Originally Posted by Numpty View Post
I've been following this thread and notice that both you and I have felt the need to point out that the scientific method and religious beliefs are not mutually exclusive.
Understood. I do feel it is a failing of many "Christians" to attempt to present the Bible as a scientific text instead of a religious one, many times out of ignorance or laziness.

An example I often use to express my own beliefs/viewpoint is the story of the creation of our universe.
  1. Do I believe God could have created the entire universe in 6 earth days, cleverly planting a relatively infinite amount of evidence that the universe is much older than ~6000 years? Yes. He is God. He can do what He wants.
  2. Do I believe he actually created the universe in this fashion? No. Why?
  3. The Creation story was written by Moses and the audience at that time was a group of illiterate, wandering former slaves. Should God have attempted to explain quantum mechanics and string theory (the best theories we have to date, to my knowledge) to this group of people? That doesn't make very much sense and isn't even really necessary given that The Bible is a religious text, not a scientific one. Countless examples of stories to explain events and help people better understand them are used throughout the scriptures. Even now, turn on the Science Channel and the physicists interviewed use analogies and metaphors throughout to explain to the layperson, non-physicist viewer in order to help him or her better understand the extremely complex theories.
  4. The sun wasn't created until the 4th day, so what was a "day" before the sun was even there to use a measure of time? Certainly God would know that the eventual day would be 24 hours long, but that doesn't mean He is bound to that time duration - it certainly doesn't say that in the Bible. Furthermore, what is a day to God? God is not bound by time at all. To Him there is no difference between a day and, say, 13.7 billion years.
  5. The Creation story in Genesis reinforces the "work 6 days of the week, rest of the 7th" commandment seen elsewhere in the Bible. Given that the Bible itself never claims to be a scientific textbook, it certainly makes more sense to explain the story in a way that reiterates other commands. In essence, it is a story where God sets the example for man (a literary method also seen elsewhere in the Bible).
So if we can dispel with the notion that The Bible is a scientific document, it's context can be better understood and those who are unable to get past the scientific impossibilities presented in the creation story, as my example, can perhaps have a better understanding of the intent of the text.

Unfortunately, throughout time many "Christians" have tried to fill in scientific gaps - what we do not yet understand - with "God". And that's where the non-believer says, "WHOAH!!! I don't think so!" And I think that's a reasonable response from a logical person.
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