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Did Humans Evolve? No, Say Americans 2155

Posted by Zonk
from the i-do-not-think-that-word-means-what-you-think-it-means dept.
Stern Thinker writes "In a 2005 poll covering 33 countries, Americans are the least likely (except for Turkish respondents) to assert that 'humans developed ... from earlier species of animals.' Iceland, meanwhile, has an 85% acceptance rating for evolution." The blurb on the site for Science magazine is less circumspect about the findings: "The acceptance of evolution is lower in the United States than in Japan or Europe, largely because of widespread fundamentalism and the politicization of science in the United States."
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Did Humans Evolve? No, Say Americans

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  • by Chris Burke (6130) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @03:41PM (#15912608) Homepage
    Evolution isn't a scientific truth. It's a theory.

    Changes of species over time is a fact, in the sense that we've observed it. Explanations for how this occurs and what paths it has taken in the past are theory, and a very well established and emperically backed theory at that. Still, I'll accept this as a useful instance of pedantry.
  • by Yahweh Doesn't Exist (906833) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @03:41PM (#15912609)
    because you don't know the very first thing about evolution.

    humans did not evolve from apes. humans and apes evolved from a common ancestor.

    apes are just as evolved as humans. evolution does not have a goal. apes are not trying to become human. everyone is just trying to survive in their environment as best as they can.
  • by nizo (81281) * on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @03:41PM (#15912610) Homepage Journal
    Ahh, but humans didn't evolve from apes; they shared a common ancestor [bbc.co.uk] (who no longer exists). Nowhere in evolution does it state we descended directly from apes, current day or otherwise.
  • by jd (1658) <.moc.oohay. .ta. .kapimi.> on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @03:44PM (#15912632) Homepage Journal
    Because nothing is perfect for all places and all times. Apes were better suited to their conditions, humans better in theirs. There are still fish in the sea because they are far better swimmers than tortoises. There are still non-flowering trees because they are vastly superior survivors of forest fires.


    However, apes are less mobile and are therefore do poorly on savannahs - where humans first appeared. They can't swim, so are less able to spread than the more versatile beings who split from them.


    Tortoises exist because fish are really poor at climbing around on land. There are flowering trees because there are plenty of wooded areas where fires are improbable to non-existant.


    Evolution is not a replacement scheme, it is a code fork where the fork is optimal for different conditions.

  • Rants (Score:5, Informative)

    by whitehatlurker (867714) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @03:46PM (#15912658) Journal
    Why wasn't the Science article [sciencemag.org] linked to, rather than a newspaper?

    The article is about the US, Japan and a whole swack of European countries (presuming that I can include Turkey as European). Okay, but what about the rest of the world?

    Where is the "OK, this is lame" selection?

  • by jfengel (409917) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @03:48PM (#15912681) Homepage Journal
    Because apes are pretty good at being apes.

    A "daughter species" doesn't necessarily kick the parent species out of its niche. That's common when the environment changes but doesn't eliminate the old environment, or when the old environment splits into to different parts. Humans evolved from tree-dwelling apes who ventured out into the encroaching grassland. That selected for apes which walked on their hind legs at the expense of prehensile feet, but the trees were still there and apes live in them to this day.

    Go into an ape's niche and you'll find yourself massively out-competed. You'd make a lousy chimpanzee.

    Sometimes a daughter species does compete with, and outcompete, the parent species, and drives it into extinction. We appear to be working on that pretty vigorously. In a century or so the answer to the question "Why are there still apes?" may be "There aren't." But it doesn't really change the answer: new species come all the time without destroying the old ones.

    Remember that from the evolutionary point of view, humans aren't "better" than apes, any more than apes are "better" than fish or fish are "better" than amoebas. Each one fits into a niche without driving out the older species. It's only our bias that puts us on the top of an evolutionary ladder.

    It's not really survival of the fittest. In fact, that which survives, survives. And when the environment changes, it stops surviving.
  • Re:Sigh (Score:5, Informative)

    by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @03:50PM (#15912716)

    I just don't get it. What is the deal with people never changing their minds, or letting in new information?

    Do you remember back in elementary school and then high school when you were taught critical thinking, logic, problem solving, and the scientific method as applied to making everyday decisions?

    Yeah, nobody else was taught any of that either. Instead we were all subjected to mindlessly memorizing facts by rote, day after day, year after year.

    You can't even blame it on modern schools...We have a tradition of this type of mental blindness going back more than a century.

    Public schools in this country were based upon the model of mental institutions, with a healthy dose of military brainwashing techniques. I can certainly blame them.

  • Re:Bad example. (Score:5, Informative)

    by JohnnyCannuk (19863) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @03:53PM (#15912741)
    You might want to provide a real link to back up that assertion. Degrading mustard gas shells from the Iran-Iraq war in the 80's do not constitute WMD, no matter how much you silly conservatives try to say differently.

    Hans Blix said they didn't have them. Scott Ried said they didn't have them. And except for a long forgotten stock pile of shells, they have never been found. No nukes, no mobile weapons labs, no sarin gas missle. Nothing.
  • by frosty_tsm (933163) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @03:53PM (#15912744)
    You downplay the importance of those semantics.

    The Aristotle's Physics are wrong (we use Newtonian Physics now), but they were accepted as the going theory for thousands of years.

    How many revisions has the model of the atom gone through? Now you can't even quite draw it, you just write it as an equation.

    Science doesn't have the answer to everything. There is a reason why they call it a "theory." It's because the guys smart enough to come up with the idea in the first place are smart enough to know they don't know enough to call it a "fact."

    I don't want to open another can of worms on here, but I see myself in between the two sides. People like to look at it as black and white, creationism or evolution. They like to say that they can't co-exist, but I disagree (no, I am not going to explain it here, it'd take too long).
  • Re:evolution (Score:1, Informative)

    by mahoneyj (456369) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @03:54PM (#15912768)
    Sorry, but that's the dumbest thing I've ever heard.
  • by buddhaunderthetree (318870) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @03:54PM (#15912772)
    I would refer you to Stephen Gould's article Evolution as Fact and Theory.

    http://www.stephenjaygould.org/library/gould_fact- and-theory.html [stephenjaygould.org]
  • by J. T. MacLeod (111094) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @03:54PM (#15912777)
    See, we don't really have evidence that humans evolved from apes.

    Micro-evolution is a theory.
    Human evolution from apes is a hypothesis.

    People are free to believe what they would like. But the growing anti-religion sentiment common among scientists certainly encouraged the idea of human evolution from apes.
  • by Zenaku (821866) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @03:56PM (#15912815)
    (sigh)

    Yeah, yeah, evolution is only a theory. So is gravity. From wikipedia:

    In scientific usage, a theory does not mean an unsubstantiated guess or hunch, as it often does in other contexts. A theory is a logically self-consistent model or framework for describing the behavior of a related set of natural or social phenomena. It originates from and/or is supported by experimental evidence (see scientific method). In this sense, a theory is a systematic and formalized expression of all previous observations that is predictive, logical and testable.

  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @03:57PM (#15912836) Homepage Journal
    Yes, you're wrong. The Urey-Miller Experiment [wikipedia.org] tested a theory that organic compounds evolved from inorganic compounds over time, in hypothetical ancient Earth conditions. That's nothing like the blind belief that god created the universe with a word.

    It's anti-intellectual posers who are afraid of science who look at the ongoing philosophical debates on the definition of "life" and flee into useless blind beliefs like Creationism. People who use the words of logic to pretend to dissect science. You know, the kind of people who post badly hidden Creationist propaganda on Slashdot, using their stupidity and disrespect for learning as a cover for their theocrat agenda.

    The people we're discussing in disgust while reading this story, because so many Americans are so ignorant.
  • by Tet (2721) <slashdot @ a s t r a d y n e .co.uk> on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @04:01PM (#15912894) Homepage Journal
    Isn't evolution still based on a blind belief that someday in the past, life just magically began with a strike of lightning?

    No. Evolution explains how one species turns into another over time. It says nothing about how the original one got there in the first place. Sure, there are various theories, such as the lightning strike you mentioned. But they're not part of the science that is evolution, (at least as the word is most commonly used).

  • by Guido von Guido (548827) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @04:01PM (#15912896)
    I guess I often think of something I heard someone say: "If humans evolved from apes...why are there still apes?"

    It's the same magic that allows one half of a family to move to America, and the other half to stay in Europe!

    See, it's not all or nothing. Evolution happens to populations. When one population becomes isolated from another population, they will evolve differently given enough time.

  • by meringuoid (568297) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @04:04PM (#15912932)
    I find the lack of 'intermediate' species, (like fish who are starting to grow legs, or whatever) difficult for me to accept. I'm asking myself why these species are not common in nature. Does that mean I cannot accept scientific understanding, or does it mean I'm observent enough to have more questions?

    Probably means you've misunderstood the theory. Oh, and overlooked the amphibians, too.

    Suppose there's a world in which there are fish in the sea but no vertebrates on land (the insects got there millions of years earlier, though). A fish moving towards the amphibian lifestyle has competition in the sea, but no competition on land and if it plays its cards right it can flourish. In time some of its descendants might come to live entirely on land.

    Fast forward half a billion years. Now land and sea are both well stocked with life adapted to all available niches. What role now for a fish trying to make a living on the shore? Not much. Seagull bait. Between the well-adapted fishes still in the sea and the well-adapted animals on land, the intermediate has no niche.

    Intermediate forms, in general, are dead. This is why so many people are out in the world digging for fossils. You wouldn't expect to see a half-fish-half-mammal in the world today, but somewhere in the past you might hope to dig up a fossil of one of the earliest vertebrates to settle on land.

  • by zerocool^ (112121) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @04:08PM (#15912995) Homepage Journal

    Right, "Theory" in science, and "Theory" in popular conversation are not the same thing. When you say "I don't know where I left my keys, but I've got a good theory", you mean hypothesis.

    A "Scientific fact" is usually something that can be expressed as a simple equation or formula. Anything that can't be reduced to that level of certainty probably will never be anything but a Theory.

  • Not quite.... (Score:5, Informative)

    by cold fjord (826450) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @04:17PM (#15913148)
    A fine anti-Bush troll/joke, but a few facts [chron.com] are in order....

    WASHINGTON - All year, the government has promised stepped-up testing to see if bird flu wings its way to the United States. On Monday, the Bush administration announced those tests got a hit -- but the suspect isn't the much-feared Asian strain of the virus.

    In almost the same breath, Agriculture Department officials announced that routine testing had turned up the possibility of the H5N1 virus in the two swans on the shore of Michigan's Lake Erie -- but that genetic testing has ruled out the so-called highly pathogenic version that has ravaged poultry and killed at least 138 people elsewhere in the world.

    "We do not believe this virus represents a risk to human health," declared Ron DeHaven, administrator of USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. "This is not the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus that has spread through much of other parts of the world."


  • that's a lie (Score:4, Informative)

    by Scudsucker (17617) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @04:19PM (#15913197) Homepage Journal
    Yes, they found some old stuff, but it had decayed to the point of being usless of a weapon. It's not a weapon of mass destruction if it can't cause mass destruction.
  • by Akaihiryuu (786040) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @04:19PM (#15913199)
    The people that spout the rhetoric "evolution is a theory, not a fact" just plain don't know the meaning of the word "theory". Here's the best definition of the word I could find:

    "In science, a theory is a proposed description, explanation, or model of the manner of interaction of a set of natural phenomena, capable of predicting future occurrences or observations of the same kind, and capable of being tested through experiment or otherwise falsified through empirical observation. It follows from this that for scientists "theory" and "fact" do not necessarily stand in opposition. For example, it is a fact that an apple dropped on earth has been observed to fall towards the center of the planet, and the theory which explains why the apple behaves so is the current theory of gravitation."

    Sure, in scientific theory there is always room for stuff to be proven wrong and for improvement. Relativity superceded Newton's laws. Does that mean Newton was wrong and we had to throw all his laws out? No, it just means that he assumed that the conditions under which his observations were made were the same everywhere, he didn't know about relativity. His laws still hold perfectly true under certain conditions. Einstein didn't prove him wrong, he merely came up with a new theory that took that into account. Scientific advancement is building on the shoulders of giants, new theories build on top of existing ones, clarify them, sometimes prove certain points wrong, but it's very rare for an entire theory to be completely wrong. Sure, evolution as we understand it now may not be completely accurate, there may be more factors that we don't know about, things like that. However, learning more about it and clarifying things that we don't understand doesn't invalidate the original theory, it merely adds to it. Saying it's a "theory, not a fact" just shows the ignorance of these people...proving points of a theory wrong doesn't invalidate the entire thing, it merely clarifies and adds to it.
  • by btlzu2 (99039) * on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @04:21PM (#15913218) Homepage Journal
    I present: the missing link [abc.net.au].

    You must have missed it.
  • by chaosmind (31621) * on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @04:23PM (#15913262)
    Yes and no... I rather agree with the grandparent poster. The scientific method offers a process, a mechanism by which we may peacefully offer competing for confirmation or refutation by others, through strictly empirical and rational terms. If you are committed fundamentally to a belief, i.e.-the mechanism for finding the truth is MY holy book!, then your beliefs really are threatened by the methods of science.

    But not all religion is fundamentalist. Building on your "lightning bolts in the slime" notion, we really do have a better story on the origin of life, and it involves little more than natural selection. Stuart Kauffman [wikipedia.org], in his wonderful book At Home in the Universe [amazon.com] offers a compelling vision of the origin of life as autocatalytic sets. (If chemicals A,B,C catalyze chemicals D,E,F and so forth until X,Y,Z in turn catalyze the production of chemicals A,B,C, then technically we have met the first minimum requirement for life: reproduction of organic matter without conscious design.)

    Kauffman's work is in turn based on Ilya Prigogine [wikipedia.org] on dissipative structures, in particular the "Brusselator" (devised by the Brussels group) which may be the simplest known autocatalytic set in existence.

    What makes this interesting is that Prigogine, a nobel laureate chemist, believes in God. It's the political and religious fundamentalism that becomes incompatible with the scientific method... so you're both right.

  • by cayenne8 (626475) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @04:25PM (#15913288) Homepage Journal
    "Oddly enough, when the Jamestown colonists heard this, they bribed the Mayflower captain to dump them off where all the cod fishing was going on up north."

    I thought the pilgrims on the Mayflower actually wanted to land further south, where weather conditions were a bit better, but, they were running out of beer, and needed to stop to make more. Seriously...was on the History channel the other day.

  • by mstroeck (411799) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @04:28PM (#15913316) Homepage
    It's sad that this got voted "Insightful" on Slashdot... Please read the Wikipedia article on evolution [wikipedia.org] and the talk.origins FAQ [talkorigins.org], they will answer your questions.
  • by monkeySauce (562927) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @04:30PM (#15913345) Journal
    Maybe because the Science article requires a paid subscription or a one-time fee of $10.00 just to read it?
  • Re:Sigh (Score:3, Informative)

    by Richard_at_work (517087) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [ecirpdrahcir]> on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @04:30PM (#15913346)
    Yes, we found a shell here, a canister there. But the problem is that the findings in no way matched the capability discussed as a precursor to the invasion and noone in their right mind can consider the items found justification for said invasion - yes, Iraq was commanded to destroy their Sarin stocks, but one shell does not indicate that they didnt. Substances are incredibly easy to lose, after all in recent years forgotten dumps have been found in France, off the coast of British Columbia, in Delaware, Spring Valley Maryland, literally all over the western world.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @04:30PM (#15913347)
    Your average non-scientist citizen is not likely to go and check all the sources to verify that, yes indeed, evolution is the most likely explanation for the diversity of species. So, to demand that this average citizen believe in evolution is to demand the same leap of faith as for that citizen to believe in creation

    It seems to me the most appropriate solution to this problem is adequate science education in the public schools.

    Why don't these polls include an "I don't know, I don't have time to check the facts, and it really doesn't matter in my everyday life" option? I think that would be the best response for a thinking non-scientist.

    Did you read the article? These polls did include an 'I don't know' option.
  • by Kunta Kinte (323399) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @04:39PM (#15913475) Journal

    On the contrary, it's unfortunate that people have a religious or 'spiritual belief'.

    And it's even more unfortunate that people do not understand what religion [wikipedia.org] is.

    Religion is just a form of social control.

    Your laws stem from organized religion.

    Religion still does good in many societies without a strong secular method of government.

    There is nothing inherently 'bad' about religion. It is a tool, with no conscience.

    It really is sad that people that claim themselves scientist don't even take the time to study something that they seem to dispise so badly.

  • Re:ugh (Score:3, Informative)

    by Fastolfe (1470) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @04:44PM (#15913546)
    We'll need to record life for literally hundreds of thousands of years before we know that evoluation actually occurs and isn't just a bunch of bs.

    What do you think the fossil record is? One big practical joke? You have dated, complete skeletons (if not more) from thousands (if not millions) of species over millions of years.

    We can watch evolution as it happens. Not all species evolve as slowly as we do. Bacteria and small insects have incredibly short life spans and evolve extremely quickly when you change their environment. In easily observed time frames, we can observe speciation.

    Why do you think "antibiotic resistant infections" are on the rise? Bacteria are evolving, in the wild, right in front of our eyes. When you start killing them off with antibiotics, they're going to adapt and evolve into bacteria that can't be killed so easily by those antibiotics. These types of things are going on all around us right now. This is the very definition of evolution.

    Unless you have some other explanation?
  • Re:Not quite.... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Lijemo (740145) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @04:57PM (#15913715)
    By that logic, say they found two people who they thought were terrorists, but further investigation revealed that they were not terrorists after all. By your logic, this would be evidence that terrorism isn't really a threat to the country, since all evidence shows that these two individuals are not a threat.
  • by mypalmike (454265) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @05:14PM (#15913911) Homepage
    Show me anywhere that evolution (that is, where one species changes into another, one of many definitions) has ever been readily observable.

    Larus gulls, Ensatina salamanders, and Greenish Warblers [wikipedia.org]
  • by Citizen of Earth (569446) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @05:22PM (#15913997)
    Show me anywhere that evolution (that is, where one species changes into another, one of many definitions) has ever been readily observable.

    Evolution has been readily observed in microorganisms, which is quite easy to see because they reproduce so quickly. Speciation has also been observed in at least one type of bird, a pheasant, I think, though one gets into arguments about the exact definition of the term "species", because the new species can still breed with the old one, though it almost never does. Is a polar bear a different species from a grizzly?

    Natural selection does not produce this effect.

    It did with polar bears and grizzlies.

    Out of curiosity, are you a Bible thumper or a scientist? I can't imagine a scientist making such bold and absolute pronouncements about science.

  • by kalirion (728907) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @05:23PM (#15914007)
    That's actually what Classicfication #1 should be, and is a subset of Classification #2.
  • by dreamer-of-rules (794070) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @05:35PM (#15914138)
    Where is that? Even here in the "godless" Silicon Valley, there are plenty of literal creationists.
  • by Khomar (529552) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @05:38PM (#15914163) Journal
    All the evidence supports it, and none contradicts it... (emphasis added)

    Sorry, but that strikes me as a very absolute (and therefore probably wrong)statement -- and I see it a lot here on Slashdot from those who claim they are above such sins. Creationists are criticized for making sweeping statements like this, but if you believe in the popular theory (evolution) you are somehow allowed to make these same kinds of statements?

    I think most real scientists -- even if they believe strongly in evolution -- would disagree with that statement. There is plenty of evidence that goes against evolution. For example, the evolution of DNA is a puzzle. You cannot evolve DNA unless you have two organisms with compatible altered DNA to mate and produce offspring with the same characteristics. To simplify this idea, consider an organism with a DNA strand of 100 pairs evolving to an organism with 110 pairs. Two of these organisms would have to be born with 110 pairs, be able to meet and mate, and produce viable offspring that could continue the new strain. This seems like a very unlikely event. Does this disprove evolution? Not necessarily, but it is evidence that would seem to go against it until someone can prove a workaround.

    Another piece of evidence -- the saltiness of the ocean. The ocean becomes increasingly salty every year -- albeit slowly. It gains minerals faster than it loses them, and according to most estimates, it can only have been on its current pace for around 60,000 years assuming it started as a fresh water sea. This would indicate that the dates given for the age of the earth (in the millions or billions of years) are far too high. This again would be evidence against evolution. Add to this that we are discovering every day how things that we believed took a very long time to accomplish actually do not take long at all (the formation of the Grand Canyon, petrified forests, formation of coal and oil).

    There is evidence against evolution -- or at least the current theories related to evolution -- but most scientists believe there is more evidence (some say far more) to support it than disprove it. If there were not problems in the theory, we would not have so many people studying the field trying to overcome them. There continue to be missing links between various species. There continue to be steps of evolution that baffle scientists and do not match current theories. To say that all evidence supports evolution and that there is no contradiction is just as pig-headed as the creationists that you deride.

  • by SnowZero (92219) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @05:43PM (#15914223)
    I don't think they are entirely incompatible, if you allow non-literal interpretation. See the Catholic view [catholic.com]. The idea is that God created the big bang, and Genesis is true in topical order but not in literal time scales. It also posits that evolution may have created the body of man, but that God created the soul (i.e. the soul did not evolve).

    Not that you should/should not believe this, but just pointing out that the Bible and current scientific theory are not wholly incompatible. Many famous scientists have been religious insofar as they are willing to believe that a higher power created the universe.
  • by Crayon Kid (700279) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @06:14PM (#15914539)
    "Truth", with a capital T, is an imaginary concept. Of course it should be left to religion, which deals with explaining the unknown with fairy-tales. But let's leave philosophers out of it, shall we? Those guys actually try to make sense of things, rather than believe blindly.
  • by FleaPlus (6935) * on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @06:21PM (#15914612) Journal
    Would you have told Abe Lincoln to make sure he fully understood all the societal and economic consequences before he delivered the Emancipation Proclamation?

    Yes. And Lincoln certainly did try to limit the consequences -- there's a reason the Emancipation Proclamation only freed slaves in the seceding states, leaving those in Union states under bondage.
  • by Abcd1234 (188840) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @06:57PM (#15914950) Homepage
    Genetic differences disallowing breeding between closely related sub-species of birds mean that the birds lost some genetic information that allowed them to breed. This in fact happens among humans where there is great pollution or other factors (chemicals, etc.) that effect reproductive abilities. So, this means that some of these birds cannot mate and produce offspring. That is not evolution in the sense of simple beings evolving into higher life forms but rather "devolution" or genetic loss of information and decay in the gene structure.

    Holy shit... you have *no idea* what you're talking about, do you? "Lost genetic information"?!? W... T... F... They didn't "lose" anything. The two groups of birds experienced simple genetic divergence, resulting in the two groups being no longer able to interbreed for whatever reason.

    The specific example the parent is referring to is probably the Greenish Warbler [actionbioscience.org]. These birds live in a ring of mountains surrounding a desert. Starting in Siberia, these birds change gradually... in particular, coloring and male mating calls vary. However, in Siberia itself, the mating calls and coloring are sufficiently different that the two varieties do not interbreed, meeting the typical definition of speciation.

    Note, no genetic material was "lost", as you so ridiculously posit. Their traits are simply sufficient varied that they no longer breed with one another.

    Honestly, the least you could do is educate yourself a little before spouting off. "Lost genetic information"... it's been a long time since I've read something so patently ignorant.
  • by syousef (465911) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @07:13PM (#15915078) Journal
    You seem to be confusing Fact and Truth. To intertwine Science with Truth would be a huge mistake. Leave the pursuit of Truth for philosophy and religion.

    HUH????? Truth is a fundamental concept in science and math. For example all the algebraic manipulation you ever do with equations and inequalities rests on the fact that you've proven a fundamental concept is true and can be applied to transform that expression such that the expression still holds true.

    There is subjectivity in the world of science. Emotions do come into play. The latest theories are too often presented as fact. These are all human failings and failings of the scientific institutions we create. However trying to separate "fact" and "truth" is a strange notion. In the end a "fact" must be proven to be true. I suspect that you have no understanding of either concept.
  • by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @08:13PM (#15915443)
    I'm sorry, but stating that "schools should teach the controversy" (quote from Bush) is not being neutral on the subject of creationism. This implies that there is a scientific controversy, when there isn't. I'm with you on the subject of having creationism discussed in philosophy or other, similar classes. But Bush ain't getting off the hook for his support for creationism.
  • by Valfather (988886) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @09:40PM (#15915950)
    Circumcision apperently *does* prevent HIV transmission.

    Defense Mechanism: Circumcision averts some HIV infections

    Better-Off Circumcised? Foreskin may permit HIV entry, infection [sciencenews.org]

    Male circumcision could avert millions of HIV infections [sciencenews.org]

    All links from Science News online website (www.sciencenews.org). Note that the final two links are subscriber only.
  • by Literaphile (927079) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @10:05PM (#15916080)
    What's it like being ignorant? That's a very nice straw man argument you've constructed: pick a few bad examples of failed human specimens, and then represent them as being all the evidence we have for human evolution. Maybe you shouldn't bring a knife to a gun fight.

    This Wikipedia page [wikipedia.org] has links to dozens of specimens of various stages of human evolution. Some even with pictures! I know, I know, you might actually learn something that contradicts your small-mindedness, but it might be worth it.

    This page [si.edu] on the Smithsonian Museum's website (I know, I know, it's a 'devil's facility', but bear with me) also has a lot of stuff on evolution, including specimens. But, again, you might actually learn something, and then your straw man would fall apart.

    Follow these links with caution, Christian warrior!

  • by hr raattgift (249975) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @10:08PM (#15916099)
    I'm still looking for an example where speciation lead to one group having a different number of chromosomes than another group.


    Let's start with differences in ploidy. It happens often in some plants, it's readily observable, and it's an important factor in plant speciation (natural and through breeding).

    Wheat is straightforward: there are wheat species that are diploid (Einkorn wheat), tetraploid (durum), and hexaploid (bread wheat). The last evolved in farm fields, and the middle evolved in the wild and is the result of a non-human-influenced hybridization of two diploid wild grasses.

    Apple species, tulip species and lilly species vary in their ploidy as well.

    With respect to changes in chromosomal number other than changes in ploidy, during meiosis, homologous pairs can fail to segregate properly (non-disjunction), leading to monosomy (where one of the chromosomal pair is missing in a normally diploid organism) or trisomy (where there is an additional chromosome attached to the chromosomal pair, again in a normally diploid organism). These are not exceptionally important factors in speciation, as aneuploidy rarely results in reproductive advantage for the organism affected (and often is disadvantageous).

    A pair of individuals with heritable monosomy may produce viable offspring that are missing a full chromosomal pair (or euploid "set" in a normally non-diploid organism). This is more likely in organisms with many or very small chromosomes, or in amphiploid organisms which are cytochemically of lower ploidy than they are in terms of reproduction (e.g. cotton, which has four sets of chromosomes, but behaves like a strict diploid).

    So heritable change in the number of chromosomes is observed in the wild and in the lab (or field), and while this usually creates significant phenotypal differences when it happens, the offspring between pairs of similarly mutated organisms is -- occasionally -- viable.

    Multiply "occasionally" by many generations and the result is that the possibility of two species with a common ancestor may have different numbers of chromosomes is entirely plausible.

    Finally, mutations within a chromosome are simply much less dramatic (in terms of being likely to help or harm (or neither) an organism) and are more likely to be caused by environmental factors than mutations involving the addition or deletion of entire chromosomes, and so the former will be observed in a natural population much more often than the latter.
  • by Darkman, Walkin Dude (707389) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @10:17PM (#15916152) Homepage

    You [cirp.org] need [norm-uk.org] professional [circumstitions.com] help, [infocirc.org] mutilator. [plosjournals.org] I mean what is it with you people and circumcision? Its like the crazed muslims and their hatred for women or something. Go back to the middle ages where you belong please. Irritation aside, you made a good and well informed post besides that, which I found interesting. But I'd thank you to get off the slicing little boys penises bandwagon.

  • by Brett Johnson (649584) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @01:02AM (#15916831)
    The most apparent flaw is that the theory of Evolution as I understand it proposes that living, conscious creatures were generated from inanimate matter.

    Evolution occurs in increments - some big, but most very small. The origins of life are believed to be extremely simple organic molecules that had some ability to replicate. [See research into the origins of life, such as the primordial soup experiments: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Origin_of_life/ [wikipedia.org] ] Complex attributes, such as binocular vision, opposable thumbs, and consciousness arrive much later in the evolutionary timline. This relates to your second "observed flaw":

    Another, albeit less easy to understand flaw is that the theory of Evolution proposes that higher forms of life (e.g. humans) Evolved from lower forms of life (e.g. monkeys/apes).

    This pattern is driven by the "survival of the fittest" mechanism described by Darwin in the book. Evolution is spurred by mutations in the genome [mutations caused by transcription error, radiation/chemical damage, etc]. Most mutations are benign. Many mutations are detrimental - resulting in disability and/or death. Some mutations may allow an organism to better survive in its environment - better camouflage, faster attack/escape, ability to digest different "food", etc. Organisms that are more likely to survive are more likely to live long enough to procreate and pass on those beneficial attributes. [See http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2003/1 1/18_smallpox.shtml/ [berkeley.edu]] Some mutations are both detrimental and beneficial - the defect that causes sickle-cell anemia also provides some protection against malaria. [See http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/01/2/l_0 12_02.html/ [pbs.org]]

    Our definition of "higher forms of life" is obviously biased, but we could probably agree it involves the addition of some attribute that increases the complexity of the organism in such a way as to significantly improve its chance of survival. The increased brain mass of humans allowed us to push our use of tools and language to the point where we could hunt and gather more effectively, communicate abstract ideas, maintain a record of experiences, radically adapt ourselves to our environment and our environment to ourselves, and ponder the origins of the universe and life.
  • by Brett Johnson (649584) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @01:46AM (#15916984)
    The (second) problem with Evolution is where is the evidence that 'lower' species are the ancestors of 'higher' species? Specifically where is the evidence that (non human) apes are the ancestors of modern humans? This is the 'missing link' problem.

    This is the fundamental flaw in your understanding of evolution. You will not find evidence that modern "lesser" apes are ancestors of modern humans, because that is not the case. Humans, chimpanzees, and bonobos all share a common ancestor, approximately 5 million years ago. They each evolved separately from that ancestral base - three separate branches on the tree of primates. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bonobo#Closeness_to_h umanity/ [wikipedia.org]

    This also applies to the "God built humans from spare chimp parts" comment posted earlier.
  • by paxmaniac (988091) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @02:20AM (#15917079)

    HUH????? Truth is a fundamental concept in science and math. For example all the algebraic manipulation you ever do with equations and inequalities rests on the fact that you've proven a fundamental concept is true and can be applied to transform that expression such that the expression still holds true.

    Actually, in all of mathematics you must assume a certain number of concepts (known as axioms). All other statements are proved relative to the axioms. All mathematical "truths" are by definition relative.

  • by koreaman (835838) <uman@umanwizard.com> on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @02:52AM (#15917172)
    Don't take it so hard. Evolution is just the religion these guys follow.
    I suggest you go look up "religion" in the dictionary.

    It's popular with people who don't want to believe they will have to answer to a high power than themselves.
    What does who it's popular with have anything to do with whether it's true?

    Look how seductive it is for them to believe that they are the current culmination of advanced life.
    Actually, it's Christianity that says humans are something special, not science. Any reasonable scientist will tell you that humans are just another species. But, if by "advanced" you mean "intelligent", we obviously are according to anyone, scientific or religious.

    It makes them gods which is ironically what they don't want to believe in
    Explain how being the "most advanced life form on earth" is equivalent to being a "god".

    but don't happen to mind being as long as their little pseudo-science keeps whispering words of comfort to them.
    Are you serious? Pseudo-science? If you have some sort of valid reason that the theory of evolution is bad science, you should be able to disprove it. I highly suggest that you write this up and have it published in some sort of reputable journal. You should be out celebrating your Nobel prize, not posting on Slashdot.

    For more than thirty years they've been studying the programming language but still refuse to recognize the programmer.
    I have no idea (this isn't rhetoric, I really do have no idea) where you got the number 30 from. Also, I fail to see how anything we're talking about can be held to a valid analogy with programmers and programming languages.

    They permit their litte pet theory to flaunt KNOWN laws of physics such as entropy (sorry, sunlight only amounts to random radiation) which HAVE been tested and are continually REPOVEN in new and different ways by every new physics student trying to get a Phd.
    What are you talking about? Care to expand on this?

    I have FAITH that a majority of people who actually believe in evolution are liberal arts majors who want a good excuse to behave irresponsibly or just people who took their Weekly Readers too literally.
    I'm not even going to bother looking up the number of liberal arts majors and evolution believers in the world to prove you wrong. I suggest you go look up the word "majority" in the dictionary.

    Gee whizz, I guess since we've only been keeping actual standardized scientific records for over a hundred years we already can speak with authority on what has and has not happened in the last purportedly 4.5 billion.
    Just because the scientific community didn't actually witness the progress of macroevolution doesn't mean there's no evidence of it now. We weren't here to see the continents united as Pangaea, the ice ages, or the big bang, but that doesn't mean they didn't happen.

    I beg you to look at my responses not from a Christian perspective but from a rational one before you respond. I've tried to be civil and avoid personal attacks and too much sarcasm, and I hope you'll do the same so that we can have a civil, rational discussion.
  • by Fulcrum of Evil (560260) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @03:07AM (#15917204)
    After all, it could be argued that God started things up and then let them evolve after that. The Bible only says the beasts were created. It doesn't say exactly how.

    Philosophy.

    However, you can tell science is threatened because they scream to the heavens (pun intended) whenever someone wants to even mention in the classroom that there are alternate theories to evolution.

    That's because they then trot out some crap about Creationism and pretend it's a theory instead of Dogma. Keep it in religious studies.

    I remember learning that human embryos had gills and a tail during development--a blatent lie told to promote the evolution theory in the classroom.

    Week 5 [wprc.org]

    I find it amusing that the more science finds out, the more it CONTRADICTS their theories.

    It's not dogma - if you find something that contradicts your theory, then you fix the theory.

    Especially when there are so many other animals that have changed very little over the same period of years, such as the crocodile.

    They got a lot smaller, but otherwise, they're doing fine. Why change?

    It makes absolutely no sense unless it's the only way you can explain how one animal disappeared and another appeared because you can't allow that some deity, or other being was involved.

    That's because you can't deal with the timescales involved. None of this happened in less than a millenium by a log ways, except when we get involved. Humans are nasty creatures.

There's no such thing as a free lunch. -- Milton Friendman

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