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The words are evolving as you read!
February 24, 2011 11:22 PM   Subscribe

"We all can agree...that this text is red. We can also similarly agree that this text is blue."

Clever use of HTML color codes go a long way to explain evolution on a Christian Forums thread. (Roughly put, creationists admit the existence of microevolution--or evolution that happens in a short period of time--but dismiss the notion of macroevolution, the evolution of a species over a very long period of time. Scientists do not recognize that there is any difference between the two, and simply refer to both as "evolution".)
posted by zardoz (82 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
Previously.
posted by jaynewould at 11:28 PM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ack, didn't see below the fold. Previously deleted thread, now with additional links!
posted by jaynewould at 11:29 PM on February 24, 2011


I am curious lavender.
posted by The Whelk at 11:44 PM on February 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


Ack, didn't see below the fold. Previously deleted thread, now with additional links!

Well, on the one hand, it's not the same thread anymore, as it's evolved a bit. On the other hand, we're yet to see if these new traits that it has obtained have increased its survivability.
posted by daniel_charms at 11:52 PM on February 24, 2011 [41 favorites]


Well, on the one hand, it's not the same thread anymore, as it's evolved a bit. On the other hand, we're yet to see if these new traits that it has obtained have increased its survivability.

If this were true you would be able to show evidence of a thread with only one additional link. WHERE IS YOUR DAWKINS NOW, HMMM?
posted by jaynewould at 11:57 PM on February 24, 2011 [9 favorites]


And by using the original discussion thread instead of a screenshot, it actually starts at an earlier point in its evolutionary development.

Still, seeing the reds and the blues and the colors in between reminds me that the American Electoral College's "winner takes all votes from the state" is a grossly un-democratic way to do an election that statistically, should have made the candidate with fewer votes the winner a lot more often than it has... *SLAP* *SLAP* *SLAP*

...oh

...sorry

Thanks, I needed that.
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:03 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


cntrl+w to Make it Stop.
posted by iamkimiam at 12:08 AM on February 25, 2011


Very clever young man, very clever.. But it's turtles all the way down!

And what good your timescale argument when the Earth is only 6000 years old?
Answer me that, whippersnapper!

posted by clarknova at 12:12 AM on February 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


what was the first purple word in the block of text above?

Simple, Delphiki: The very first word, viz. "If". You gave it a hexadecimal color code of #ff0010, which means that is has a 256/256 red component mixed with a 17/256 blue component, thus guaranteeing some shade of purple (combination of red and blue).

What's the first blue word?

Consider the very first word again: Your assigned color code of #ff0010 (256/256 red, 17/256 blue) still solves our problem. Since all other words in your text contain some amount of blue, and no word in your text exists with a color code of pure blue (#0000ff), we have an all-or-nothing proposition: Either none of these words are blue, or they all are. You have implied that blue words exist in your text, so again we have an answer of the very first word, viz. "If".

For reference, your progression of discrete, distinguishable colors was: #ff0010, #ef0011, #ee0012, #ec0014, #eb0015, #ea0016, #e90017, #e80018, #e70019, #e6001a, #e5001b, #e4001c, #e3001d, #e2001e, #e1001f, #e00020, #df0021, #de0022, #dd0023, #db0025, #da0026, #d90027, #d80028, #d70029, #d6002a, #d5002b, #d4002c, #d2002e, #d1002f, #d00030, #cf0031, #ce0032, #cd0033, #cc0034, #cb0035, #ca0036, #c90037, #c70039, #c6003a, #c5003b, #c4003c, #c3003d, #c2003e, #c1003f, #c00040, #be0042, #bd0043, #bc0044, #bb0045, #ba0046, #b90047, #b80048, #b70049, #b5004b, #b4004c, #b3004d, #b2004e, #b1004f, #b00050, #af0051, #ae0052, #ac0054, #ab0055, #aa0056, #a90057, #a80058, #a70059, #a6005a, #a5005b, #a3005d, #a2005e, #a1005f, #a00060, #9f0061, #9e0062, #9c0064, #9b0065, #9a0066, #990067, #980068, #970069, #96006a, #95006b, #94006c, #93006d, #92006e, #91006f, #8f0071, #8e0072, #8d0073, #8c0074, #8b0075, #8a0076, #890077, #880078, #870079, #86007a, #84007c, #83007d, #82007e, #81007f, #800080, #7f0081, #7e0082, #7d0083, #7c0084, #7b0085, #7a0086, #790087, #780088, #770089, #75008b, #74008c, #73008d, #72008e, #71008f, #700090, #6f0091, #6e0092, #6d0093, #6c0094, #6b0095, #6a0096, #690097, #680098, #670099, #66009a, #65009b, #64009c, #63009d, #62009e, #61009f, #6000a0, #5f00a1, #5e00a2, #5d00a3, #5c00a4, #5b00a5, #5a00a6, #5900a7, #5800a8, #5700a9, #5500ab, #5400ac, #5300ad, #5200ae, #5100af, #5000b0, #4f00b1, #4e00b2, #4d00b3, #4c00b4, #4b00b5, #4a00b6, #4800b8, #4700b9, #4600ba, #4500bb, #4400bc, #4300bd, #4200be, #4100bf, #4000c0, #3e00c2, #3d00c3, #3c00c4, #3b00c5, #3900c7, #3800c8, #3700c9, #3600ca, #3500cb, #3400cc, #3300cd, #3200ce, #3100cf, #3000d0, #2f00d1, #2e00d2, #2d00d3, #2c00d4, #2b00d5, #2a00d6, #2900d7, #2800d8, #2700d9, #2600da, #2500db, #2400dc, #2300dd, #2200de, #2100df, #2000e0, #1f00e1, #1e00e2, #1d00e3, #1c00e4, #1b00e5, #1a00e6, #1900e7, #1800e8, #1700e9, #1600ea, #1500eb, #1400ec, #1300ed, #1200ee, #1100ef, #1000f0

Evolution is obviously just a scam to weed out heretics who refuse to accept the One Highest Truth of the Binary.
posted by anarch at 12:22 AM on February 25, 2011 [22 favorites]


Sorry, clarknova, but the Earth is billions of years old; it's God who was created 6000 years ago.
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:23 AM on February 25, 2011 [35 favorites]


It's a neat visual trick.
posted by polyhedron at 12:26 AM on February 25, 2011


Evolution is obviously just a scam to weed out heretics who refuse to accept the One Highest Truth of the Binary Hex.

I won't use the acronym: it's just cheap gloating.
posted by clarknova at 12:44 AM on February 25, 2011


If red comes from blue, then why is there still red?????
posted by Uppity Pigeon #2 at 12:44 AM on February 25, 2011 [20 favorites]


That post really did have to be a pain in the ass, didn't it Mr. Flibbles?
posted by neewom at 12:47 AM on February 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Binary Hex Digital
posted by anarch at 12:51 AM on February 25, 2011


Binary Hex Digital Analog
posted by Skygazer at 1:00 AM on February 25, 2011


Just repeating this absolute gem from the deleted thread:

Red goes in, blue comes out. Cant explain that!

posted by phunniemee at 8:56 AM on February 22
posted by Corduroy at 1:16 AM on February 25, 2011 [11 favorites]


It'd be great to take anarch's hex code grid and do some color and/or word-primed categorical perception tests with it. People do this sort of thing with language/sound and you get some neat context-sensitive auditory/optical illusions. I like the McGurk Effect.
posted by iamkimiam at 1:18 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Needs more of God's Cool Designs
posted by benzenedream at 1:19 AM on February 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yellow journalism.
posted by twoleftfeet at 1:24 AM on February 25, 2011


I saw this on reddit. So now I've seen it on Christian Forums, reddit and MeFi.

But where are the transitional forums?
posted by Decani at 1:35 AM on February 25, 2011 [15 favorites]


This thread made me thank God that metafilter has evolved to not include signatures in posts.
posted by NoraReed at 1:38 AM on February 25, 2011 [7 favorites]


Just to play a little devil's God's advocate, I don't think the main thrust of the argument against macroevolution is that little changes over time can't lead to large changes, but rather that it's unlikely for such random changes to produce highly sophisticated and useful biological structures. Irreducible complexity, etc.

(I never understood the appeal of that argument, since you'd think religious people would be thrilled to encounter a scientific process that apparently reduced entropy and created wonderfully intricate life out of dust. Kinda like how many reject the Big Bang theory, despite it positing the sudden, dramatic birth of the universe ex nihilo, Genesis-style. If fundamentalists weren't so literal, they could find a lot to like about science and cosmology.)
posted by Rhaomi at 2:11 AM on February 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


"Just to play a little devil's God's advocate, I don't think the main thrust of the argument against macroevolution is that little changes over time can't lead to large changes, but rather that it's unlikely for such random changes to produce highly sophisticated and useful biological structures. Irreducible complexity, etc."

Except that here you're assuming that ID/creationists/anti-evolutionists have a coherent argument. They really don't — it's a buffet of fallacies and wrongness, and each believer takes what bits suit their tastes. One of my best friends has a father who is a microbiology professor who simultaneously believes in young earth creationism, and he resolves the conflict by saying that God created everything in its 6000-year-ago state and that it's been evolving since then with God's help. It's entirely unfalsifiable, but allows him to believe in the mechanisms necessary for his job while simultaneously ignoring the logical conclusions thereof.
posted by klangklangston at 2:19 AM on February 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


OK. Somebody's got to argue from the other side for a moment. Disclaimer: I'm a scientist, through and through.

Rhaomi,

Where's right and wrong, if the universe was created billions of years before the presence of humanity?

Where's good and evil?

Where's hope and disappointment, rage and suffering? Where's betrayal and lust and compassion and joy and beauty and heartbreak and all the things the universe is actually made of?

There is the Universe of What. And there is the Universe of Why. Which informs our reality more? The answer isn't necessarily obvious.
posted by effugas at 2:54 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


If fundamentalists weren't so literal, they could find a lot to like about science and cosmology.

The point of science isn't the current content of scientific theory (big bang, evolution, relativity, whatever). It's the process. That's sort of where they get stuck, because the process explicitly does not assume that what they believe is true. To a fundamentalist, this means you are not one of them - which means you are a bad person, and are, in fact, a tool of Satan. I am not making this up. This is what I was taught in Sunday School.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 2:57 AM on February 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


klangklangston: "One of my best friends has a father who is a microbiology professor who simultaneously believes in young earth creationism, and he resolves the conflict by saying that God created everything in its 6000-year-ago state and that it's been evolving since then with God's help"

His "God" is a silly, silly man.
posted by notsnot at 3:04 AM on February 25, 2011


effugas, there's no need to argue a point which is depends on questions that are meaningless. "Where's right and wrong?" What? I don't even know what that means. Your questions weren't really arguments, they were groups of emotional words whose semantic content is indecipherable - at least, to me. "Made of lust" makes no sense.

I mean, it's a valiant attempt, but perhaps we should just let the people who reject science argue against it.

posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 3:05 AM on February 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Germanium is, in fact made of lust at the subatomic level.
posted by kyrademon at 3:45 AM on February 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: made of lust at the subatomic level.
posted by daniel_charms at 3:50 AM on February 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


What's really frustrating about this conversation is that because some people don't like your conclusions, they'll ignore the evidence.

Say you were in the Old West, and you found evidence of an attack, and you wanted to figure out who did it. Right at the scene of the attack, there's lots of evidence; clearly it did happen. You could track backwards to figure out where the attackers came from, but the further back you followed their trail, the harder it would get to follow. At first, there's clear footprints. As you go further and further, the footprints start to disappear, but you might still find, say, freshly broken branches. If the trail is long enough, all the broken branches start to look about the same, so maybe you look for evidence of fires or trash left behind. Eventually, your best efforts won't get you any further; all remaining evidence has been washed away or covered in leaves or whatever.

You may not be able to say with any certainty who did it, but you can definitely rule out a whole lot of possible explanations. You know what direction the attackers came from, how many there were, perhaps what kind of footwear they had, and what they were eating. You might find evidence of other attacks.

If we were having the equivalent of the modern argument, way back when, you'd be faced with a crowd of angry people who were absolutely convinced it was Indians. You'd know perfectly well that couldn't possibly be true; you took a cast of a bootprint, found a fresh empty can of beef stew, and the tracks came from the direction of a local fort. But the yahoos would cheerfully ignore your evidence, would insist that it was Indians, and would head off to start shooting up the local tribe. (sadly, in real life, this wasn't even that uncommon. :( )

Evolution is very much like that, in that we're trying to track the origin of life across a very great deal of time, timespans so large that humans have trouble dealing with the numbers. But there's a lot of tracks. We can see them very clearly in the genetic record, and less clearly in the fossil record. We have mountains of evidence, absolutely literally, about the age of the Earth; the geologic record is often poking above the ground, staring us right in the face.

We can say with a very, very great deal of certainty that the animals are related in certain ways, and that they change over time. We can point directly at recent branches in the genetic code, and can infer the existence of ones further back by using the same rules for genetic and fossil variation that we learned in more recent species. WHY these things happened is still open to interpretation and guesswork, but they did happen, regardless.

Out in deep time, we do lose the trail. We're not sure where life originally came from. But we can say for darn sure that it wasn't created 6,000 years ago. A mere 6 millennia is the tiniest drop in the largest imaginable ocean. We can't be certain about what is true, but we can be exceedingly certain about what isn't.

But even in 2010, we still have yahoos, and they want to ignore these mountains of evidence, because it doesn't suit their theory about whodunnit. They don't like the fact that the trail points at random chance instead of something with a motive. And because they refuse to believe that complexity can arise without motive, they'll ignore absolutely everything that's been so, so carefully documented.

It's true that we can't explain abiogenesis (the original creation of life from non-life), just like we couldn't prove which specific men at the fort did the deed. But we know absolutely for sure that creatures change into new ones over time, and that the Earth is very old indeed, just like we could tell that the attackers came from a specific direction, with specific footwear and dietary habits. We couldn't point directly at a specific band of outlaws, but that doesn't invalidate the rest of the evidence. Regardless of anyone's opinion, there were still bootprints and an empty stew can. Regardless of anyone's opinion, we have a vast genetic and fossil record to draw from.

We may never be able to provide a final answer. But we can be absolutely certain that some answers are wrong. Genesis is an explanation that simply cannot be literally true.
posted by Malor at 3:55 AM on February 25, 2011 [41 favorites]


Philosopher Dirtbike, you can't simply take the anti-realism position as a given.
posted by oddman at 4:07 AM on February 25, 2011


Nice try, heathen, but everyone knows that hexadecimal color codes and inline formatting are Satan's tools to tempt people away from the One True CSS.

Yes, #FFFF00 can turn into #FFFF333...but can "gold" turn into "goldenrod"? Only a fool or one tempted by the Fiend could think so.
posted by PlusDistance at 4:15 AM on February 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


Everything we call consciousness arises from weird combinations of ironclad physical law with meaningless randomness. Free will is the ability to choose randomly between a variety of valid responses to a situation.

Evolution works the same way. It chooses randomly between a variety of valid adaptations to an environment.

Therefore, Evolution is conscious.

As it created all life, Evolution is God.

WHAT NOW
posted by LogicalDash at 4:20 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


So what's the truth value of Peter Gabriel, then?
posted by Bromius at 4:26 AM on February 25, 2011


That text looks like a conspiracy to convince god fearing Christians that "red" people evolve into "blue" people.

It makes me purple with rage just the thought of it.
posted by MuffinMan at 4:44 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have a black and white monitor, could someone please explain to me what this is about?
posted by tomswift at 4:51 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


"I have a black and white monitor ..."

Ah, the Manichaean heresy.
posted by kyrademon at 5:00 AM on February 25, 2011 [8 favorites]


Well, bananas are designed for human hands and they are YELLOW.

WINNING!
posted by orme at 5:02 AM on February 25, 2011


If you could reason with religious people, there would be no religious people.
posted by dougrayrankin at 5:02 AM on February 25, 2011 [7 favorites]


I'm in 256 Color mode, so this is easy.
The first purple word is 'letter'. The first blue word is 'eye'.
posted by MtDewd at 5:06 AM on February 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


What exactly is the point of spending your lunch hour to make an elaborately constructed but basically irrelevant argument defending evolution on a Christian forum? There is no chance that post is going to change anyone's mind. For that matter, if that's what convinces you about evolution, I'm not so sure I want you on my team.

I am grateful, however, for the reminder that I want to make a MeTa post about how we need the ability to post animated smilies.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 5:21 AM on February 25, 2011


For that matter, if that's what convinces you about evolution, I'm not so sure I want you on my team.

Wait... there's a team?

No, wait... there's a game?
posted by LogicalDash at 6:38 AM on February 25, 2011


I think, actually, this is a pretty powerful tool. Part of what seems to me to be the strength of religion, and the right, and the religious right, is an ability to be breezy and glib about complicated things. Because, it's just so much easier to say "God did it" than it is to try and conceive of the time-frames that lead from lightning-sourced amino acids aaaaall the way out to humans and wasps and archer fish and herpes. Path of least resistance. But this thing, this glib little trick that anyone can see and understand is simple enough to not really be arguable. I mean, yeah, Anarch is correct, but just by LOOKING at the words while reading them you can get what is being said. Even if it isn't a profound understanding of that concept, it is SOME understanding of that concept, and you don't have to work very hard for it. That's a powerful thing.

Plus, the person who posted this over there has 50,180,465,798,701,152 'reps'. That's 50 quintillion plus. How can you argue with that?
posted by dirtdirt at 6:39 AM on February 25, 2011


Metafilter: Hopefully this gets the point across. It cost me my lunch hour.
posted by 445supermag at 6:40 AM on February 25, 2011 [6 favorites]


Just to play a little devil's God's advocate, I don't think the main thrust of the argument against macroevolution is that little changes over time can't lead to large changes, but rather that it's unlikely for such random changes to produce highly sophisticated and useful biological structures. Irreducible complexity, etc.

I think the fundamental problem Christians have with evolution is that it is almost impossible to conceive of something that happens over millions of years.

It is the same problem as the 9/11 truthers. They just can't conceive physics and mass at that scale.

What exactly is the point of spending your lunch hour to make an elaborately constructed but basically irrelevant argument defending evolution on a Christian forum? There is no chance that post is going to change anyone's mind. For that matter, if that's what convinces you about evolution, I'm not so sure I want you on my team.

It tries to illustrate the scale. It tries to give context to something really really big. It's not a monkey giving birth to a math professor, but 1 million generations of monkeys that start to look professor like.
posted by gjc at 6:42 AM on February 25, 2011


Where's right and wrong, if the universe was created billions of years before the presence of humanity?

What does this have to do with Evolution, which has about as much to say about these things as plate tectonics and nucleosynthesis?
posted by KirkJobSluder at 6:45 AM on February 25, 2011


An infinite universe featuring microevolution is a terrifying place for any kind of creationist, because it is a place where advanced designs require neither an intelligent hand nor a random stroke of luck; a place where endless forms most beautiful arise inevitably. In such a universe, it would take a God to prevent man's creation.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 6:49 AM on February 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


I started reading the replies on Christian Forums.

Don't start reading the replies on Christian Forums.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 6:52 AM on February 25, 2011 [6 favorites]


Where's right and wrong, if the universe was created billions of years before the presence of humanity?

Where's good and evil?

Where's hope and disappointment, rage and suffering? Where's betrayal and lust and compassion and joy and beauty and heartbreak and all the things the universe is actually made of?


It's in (human) culture.

Seriously, what's so damn hard about that answer?
posted by vorfeed at 7:47 AM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


The wasted bandwidth in Christian Forums what with all the huge sigs and giant avatars is amazing... Are all non-blue forums like that?
posted by drmanhattan at 7:48 AM on February 25, 2011


I think the fundamental problem Christians have with evolution is that it is almost impossible to conceive of something that happens over millions of years.

I think the fundamental problem some Christians have with evolution is that they believe that the Creator of All Things personally wrote a book for them and wants them to read it as a literal history book, and that book says right in the beginning that this Creator walked around on a big ol' blank ball and basically made all living things on earth in a couple of days. I really don't think it is any more complicated than that which is why it is so intractable among its most serious adherents.

Creationism is a big old pig's breakfast of crummy reasoning but if you are a strict biblical literalist in the mainstream orthodox conservative Christian sense it is pretty much the only game in town.
posted by nanojath at 8:11 AM on February 25, 2011


Maybe I'm missing something here, but this is only an analogy, not actual proof of anything. Why would anyone expect this to be remotely convincing to anyone who has made up their mind about something?
posted by Burhanistan at 8:14 AM on February 25, 2011


Burhanistan assumes that logical proofs have something to do with the way most people decide what to believe.

How quaint.
posted by LogicalDash at 8:54 AM on February 25, 2011


I think the analogy is supposed to make the idea of evolution conceivable and plausible. If creationists are arguing that evolution can't be true because it makes no sense, then this analogy shows you that it does makes sense.
posted by creasy boy at 8:55 AM on February 25, 2011


klangklangston: "One of my best friends has a father who is a microbiology professor who simultaneously believes in young earth creationism, and he resolves the conflict by saying that God created everything in its 6000-year-ago state and that it's been evolving since then with God's help"

This is the kind of reasoning I can get behind. I don't agree with it but I think it is a good attempt at reconciling religion and science. It is an explanation that doesn't invalidate either one. The bible says the earth is 6,000 years old so it must be 6,000 years old and yet, we can research all of the fossil evidence and draw conclusions from it as if the earth was as old as the evidence suggests and, most importantly, we can assume that God left this evidence there so that we could use it understand how things will progress in the future.

The main problem I see with most fundamentalists is that they assume that religion invalidates science and that believing in science invalidates religion.
posted by VTX at 8:56 AM on February 25, 2011


I had an artificial intelligence professor who's a creationist. She has to show her students slides about the theory of evolution while teaching genetic algorithms. From what I've heard, she has said that she believes one thing at work, and another at church. She also believes that strong AI is impossible because only God can create a soul.
posted by Stove at 9:19 AM on February 25, 2011


That quote later in the thread from St. Augustine shows that Christians have been embarrassing themselves this way for a very long time:

If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books.
posted by straight at 9:44 AM on February 25, 2011


Well, having read some of the more well-thought-out works by creation scientists, they state their fundamental epistemological premise up front:
1: The creation story as told in the Bible is divine revelation and literally true.
2: All science must be judged against those revealed facts.

So there's not much of an argument to be had because Creation Science advocates reject one of the key points that's important to mainstream science: falsification.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 9:54 AM on February 25, 2011


The wasted bandwidth in Christian Forums what with all the huge sigs and giant avatars is amazing... Are all non-blue forums like that?

Yup. The blue spoils us very much.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 10:13 AM on February 25, 2011


KirkJobSluder wrote "So there's not much of an argument to be had because Creation Science advocates reject one of the key points that's important to mainstream science: falsification."

By definition, if it isn't falsifiable they can't call it science. So, no. "Creation Science" doesn't exist. Creationism wrapped in pseudoscientific window-dressing exists. But there's no such thing as "creation science" and to be perfectly honest it offends me deeply whenever I hear anyone validate their pretense by repeating the lie.
posted by caution live frogs at 10:25 AM on February 25, 2011


caution live frogs: Sure, I'll agree that "creation science" is a misnomer. I'm just pointing out that these arguments are not going to convince them.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:08 AM on February 25, 2011


62 comments and not A SINGLE JOKE ABOUT DAVID HUME?

Nerds, you have failed me.
posted by Lutoslawski at 12:27 PM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Science doesn't have anything to do with "falsifiability." That's Karl Popper's take on science, which is a philosophy that not all scientists are necessarily into.
posted by mikeh at 12:41 PM on February 25, 2011


Or more accurately, many scientists like the philosophy of Karl Popper, but many philosophers think that his philosophical rigor was lacking.
posted by mikeh at 12:42 PM on February 25, 2011


Someone should really smack that Karl Popper with a fire poker.
posted by Lutoslawski at 12:50 PM on February 25, 2011


There now follows a short intermission. Normal discussion in this thread will resume thereafter.
posted by dougrayrankin at 1:16 PM on February 25, 2011


If you could reason with religious people, there would be no religious people.

Hold it--which side is it that doesn't believe that slow changes over time can result in significant changes? I thought it was them, but now I'm confused.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 1:31 PM on February 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


BTW, if anyone's interested I've recently started blogging about fundamentalism and evolution from a different angle--tackling all the science that fundamentalists agree with that they would have to oppose if they were being consistent. I've only tackled the water cycle so far, with sexual reproduction, heliocentrism and linguistic divergence up next as I have time. Blog's linked in my profile.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 1:40 PM on February 25, 2011


So Malor, you're saying that God was a Native American?
posted by nickmark at 1:41 PM on February 25, 2011


Scientists do not recognize that there is any difference between the two, and simply refer to both as "evolution".

I was going to try to explain why this sentence is not true at all, but the link included about macroevolution that comes right before this sentence already clearly explains why. The article in the link was an interesting and well cited read about how the two terms are distinct and to what degree they are interconnected. I don't understand how you could say from reading that scientist don't recognize any distinction.

Furthermore this link also explains why I didn't like the the color change analogy: the color changing text is only analogous to anagenetic speciation. As noted in the macroevolution link, this type of "specialization" isn't a very useful concept, as there is no way to place exactly where the speciation event occurs (similar to how the main link's discussion of the purple between blue and red). This type of "speciation" also doesn't argue against creationists at all because demonstrating that species become different enough from their ancestors over time to be considered new species doesn't by itself demonstrate a common origin of different living species. To truly argue against the creationists, one needs to demonstrate that branching of the evolutionary tree occurs.

I am a firm believer in a common origin of all life on earth and totally think that microevolution can lead to macroevolution (which again is nicely discussed in the macroevolution link). However, I do not think that changing colored text is a good analogy for this, and it also completely misunderstands the issue to say that microevolution and macroevolution are just the same thing.
posted by DanielDManiel at 3:23 PM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am a firm believer in a common origin of all life on earth and totally think that microevolution can lead to macroevolution (which again is nicely discussed in the macroevolution link)
Sort of going on a tangent here, but if you accept that life can arise spontaneously (as I do, reference the Miller-Urey experiment and the odds of anything happening given enough chances), is it necessary to believe in a common source of all life? That is to say, if life can arise in place X on earth, is it not possible that life also arose at place Y? What I mean is, it's entirely possible (in my view) that life arose in multiple locations which had conditions conducive and that there isn't necessarily a single common ancestor.
posted by dougrayrankin at 4:43 PM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


dougrayrankin: I remember seeing some musing that, perhaps, the archaea came from a separate abiogenesis event. They are very different, and don't appear to share common ancestry with pretty much anything else. If life has arisen spontaneously on Earth more than once, the archaea are an excellent possibility.

They're also very hard to study, so we still don't know a whole lot about them.

It's quite possible there were a whole bunch of separate little sparks of creation, but if there were, it looks like all of them except the archaea were outcompeted and died off.

But if you're wondering if all the various forms of life you see around you came from different sources... no, they didn't. Pretty much all known species share the genetic machinery for life, and in most cases, even use the same genes to do the same things. For instance, all vertebrates develop in almost exactly the same order... the jaw is formed first, and then I think the skull, and the spine, and so on. And see this commonality in all creatures with bones. Somewhere in the distant, distant past, some creature managed to mutate its development into having a useful skeleton. That sort of thing takes astonishing luck, and later evolution from that base took what worked and modified it, rather than starting over. Creatures that mutated that basic system probably just died, where creatures that added onto that first system prospered.

It's quite startling how similarly, say, humans and chickens develop; human fetuses do pretty much the same things chickens do, in the same order. But the chickens finish early, and hatch; humans stay in the womb a lot longer, adding many more systems to the basic stuff that all animals share.

Should humanity speciate into something even more complex, chances are almost certain that gestation will be longer than ours... homo post hominem will take our foundation, and add to it, just as all other creatures added to what they inherited.
posted by Malor at 5:15 PM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


is it necessary to believe in a common source of all life?
No not necessary, just what I believe about extant life on earth based on my current knowledge and understanding. I'd be interested in reading whatever musings Malor is talking about. I knew archaea were different enough from bacteria to warrant their own kingdom, but hadn't ever read anyone discuss the possibility of a separate abiotic creation. I feel like such discussions might get very semantic surrounding pseudo-life precursors with common origins. The specifics surrounding the origins of life on Earth are so theoretical and speculative that I am happy enough to stick to the notion of a single common ancestor for all living life until I get compelling evidence to the contrary.

This is a very different discussion from whether dogs and cats (or even fish and fungus) were created separately in something like their current form by an intelligent force/designer and what gradient colors have to say about it.
posted by DanielDManiel at 5:51 PM on February 25, 2011


"It's quite startling how similarly, say, humans and chickens develop; human fetuses do pretty much the same things chickens do, in the same order."

That's why human fetuses are so good with toast and hashbrowns.
posted by klangklangston at 5:58 PM on February 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Defining "species" for single-celled organisms has always been a bit problematic. The Archaea are a bit too close to Eukaryota and Eubacteria in some specific respects to comfortably identify them as a completely different branch of life. Furthermore, the last time I dipped into the literature there, was growing evidence that root of all three branches involved a fair amount of gene-swapping through various mechanisms, which is a nightmare for traditional evolutionary theory and completely incompatible with "all creatures in their kinds." It's a question that might never be resolved because the best we can do is create a statistical profile of what ancient microorganisms might be like. Without biochemistry, you can't even distinguish living bacteria from each other in most cases.

That said, creationists are most concerned with the kingdom we're members of, Eukaryota. (Assuming you don't take the view of Homo sapiens as an ecosystem where human cells are the largest minority.) And there, we have multiple lines of evidence with thousands of data points that yes, man, mouse, mushroom, and maple descended from a common ancestor. While the fine details of taxonomy are open for debate, the broad strokes are supported by more evidence than we have for almost everything else taught as fact in the science curriculum. We have stronger evidence for evolutionary biology than we do for heliocentrism, which I'll point out has never been directly observed, only inferred by the relative motion of planets and our abilities to throw things at them.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:01 PM on February 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


And yes, I know that rejecting heliocentrism would be ridiculous. But the arguments against evolution on the grounds that the evidence isn't complete, continuous, or conducted as a double-blind experiment demand rejecting heliocentrism as well.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:18 PM on February 25, 2011


What exactly is the point of spending your lunch hour to make an elaborately constructed but basically irrelevant argument defending evolution on a Christian forum?

Maybe you're a Christian who understands and embraces science and rationalism and you want your brothers and sisters in the faith to know that God doesn't require them to reject reason.
posted by KathrynT at 9:04 PM on February 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


doug, if you're really interested, I posted an article about 18 months ago that talks about abiogenesis, as well as a possible source for the archaea. It's an extremely good article.

Unfortunately, it's also now moved behind their paywall, so I think you'll have to cough up if you want to read it. But there's some good stuff in the thread comments, might be worth a read.
posted by Malor at 3:20 AM on February 26, 2011


Oops, that was the wrong link. This is the right one. Sorry about that.
posted by Malor at 3:21 AM on February 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yes, the text changed colors. But it was still just text at the end. Not sure how that is somehow supposed to boost the argument for microevolution = macroevolution. Logic FAIL.
posted by republican at 6:44 AM on February 26, 2011


Yes, the text changed colors. But it was still just text at the end. Not sure how that is somehow supposed to boost the argument for microevolution = macroevolution. Logic FAIL.
Lots of small changes == One big change
posted by dougrayrankin at 12:17 PM on February 26, 2011


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