So I was thinking today, i'm a pretty "hardcore" evolutionist, and ive read a few books on the subject lately, but what would I say if I had to debate with someone my own reasons for believing in evolution? Im not trying to start a war here between religious people and evolutionist.. so i'd apprecuate if no one posted here trying to convince me that evolution isnt real and stayed on the topic.
Now, to the topic: If you, as someone who believes in evolution, was asked why you believe in evolution, what would you say? I guess I would say something about how you can really watch things evolve, like bacteria, for example, by exposing them to antibacterial chemicals until some mutate, become immune, and all of a suddon its somewhat a form of evolution (not nearly as on a large scale as people coming from bacteria, but you get the point).
I'd also talk about how close our behavior and genetic makeup is to gorillas, chimpanzee's, etc. I also have some good "comebacks" to certain points someone could bring up, but I wont list all of it here.
So, im done rambling. Tell me why YOU believe in evolution, if in fact you do so, and again, please no one try and start an evlution/creationism thing =P.
That's the thing with science, you don't believe in it as it provides evidence and doesn't require belief. Furthermore it discourages beliefs and promotes thought. It's everchanging and expanding - it's simple exploration, not some holy ultimate truth. As opposed to static religion which requires belief without explanation.
When they say "it's just a theory" that's the most ignarant and stupid argument I've ever heard. A scientific theory is not the same as Billy's 'theory' on why Jane won't go out with him. Maybe they shouldn't "believe" in colors because it's only the color theory, right? In science everything other than a law is called a theory because knowledge of them is incomplete and/or they cannot be properly replicated within an experiment.
Evolution is known in the scientific community as fact with no alternatives, only variations. Creationism, on the other hand, is not a theory. It doesn't have what it takes to be a theory and will never be taken seriously by science.
Don't debate them, it's pointless even if you had 100% proof. These people never started believing in their religion because of proof. They do it because they were introduced to it at a fragile age and it became synonymous to 'good' so few people will be able to let it go.
But if you just want an argument.... Always think about it this way - you always have something to show for, some evidence, some examples. They have nothing. It is they who must prove that there's a reason for their blind faith. Never try and provide proof when their argument is based on puff.
Thanks guys, good points. Especially the last one. And, FightinIrish, like I said man- I REALLY dont want this to turn into a giant argument, haha. I shouldnt have said argument, that might have been a bad choice of words. I should have elaborated ans said "Give me reasons/points that to you, prove evolution". I dont know if that makes more sense but.. yeah.
And yeah I agree with the point that religious people should be the one trying to prove religion. But again, I dont want to start that fight.
The problem with debating this topic with religious people is that evolution is a highly complex science and does not lend itself well to little sound bites and quick explanations; evangelical bullshit does.
Another problem is that religionists want 100% iron-clad proof of something, which, by its very nature, science cannot provide. Theories are merely models which match observation, not something you cooked up while sitting on the toilet, as creationists would have you believe. Certain theories that have proven fairly solid are called "laws", but even they can be overturned if a better model is found. Science deals in facts, not truth, and it is very hard to make someone see this diference who does not already have a grasp of it.
However, one that I have used (since evolution debates seem always devolve into an argument for abiogenesis--something completely different--and from there the creation of the universe), when they ask, "how did we get life from nothing?" I state that maybe the universe has always been here. When they say God had to have created the universe, I ask, "so you won't believe in an eternal universe, but you have no problem believing in an eternal being?" and then make a circle around my head with my forefinger.
the most cogent answers that you could receive would be from someone of advanced academic caliber (I would assume)...
perhaps a wiser use of your time would be to pose this question to a biologist that specializes in the theory of evolution?
belief in any subject (evolution, creationism, solipsism, flying spaghetti monster, etc.) seems to transend evidence...it's WAY more common for people to make up their mind on an issue then search for 'evidence' to back it up (people have a tendency to 'see' what they want to see)...
hopefully you won't make this mistake...good luck!
Good point. Thats kind of the whole reason I ask is because if i were to argue this with someone, I would want little points to make, and thats the problem, like you said- Evolution is a very complex thing and it's hard to think of a few little anecdotes I could say that could convince someone.
Still, I like to carry little bits of things to say that might be helpfull, in a pinch =P
The question I have is why you feel like you have to argue it. You lose by virtue of entering the argument, since it is impossible to prove that God does not exist, and had nothing to do with evolution (or the creation of the Earth).
In the worst case, say you "lose" this argument. So what? If your opponent strongly believes that God created the world in 7 days 10000 years ago, there was nothing you could do to change his mind anyway. And the fact that you lost doesn't make the theory of evolution any less true.
As was posted above, clearly there is some mechanism of evolution, we just cannot say definitely the mechanism.
That aside, the argument I give people is, natural selection is a model that I can gather evidence to support or refute. I can perform experiments and make repeatable observations. A theistic explanation for the same phenomena is no less accurate but because of the nature of the observations, ie, not repeatable is not a scientific explanation.
I'll keep my view on the subject in the realm of repeatable, verifiable scientific observation, where it belongs.
I believe in evolution because lots of people smarter than me do. Science dudes in white coats, even!
Survival of the fittest- with those with superior traits for survival passing on those traits to their offspring, subtly altering the species generation by generation- it makes sense.
The fossil record also can be used to show a progression in species.
Also, look how easily mankind has been able to selectively breed dogs, cats, and alter crops so they are more productive, etc. Although different from evolution, this shows how easily species can change. This is happening and has happened in nature from the beginning.
You know, wouldn't it be funny if our civilization as we know it was created by some bigger, more advanced version of ourselves that wanted to prove creationists wrong and had finally reached a level of technology that allowed them to actually demonstrate evolution. And, ironically, they themselves would be the gods to us
So you don't think that natural selection does a handy job of explaining changes in organism populations? Hmmm... back to class with you!!!
Seriously though, the original poster wants some background about this, so maybe I can cook some up, seeing as how I've been involved in many of our online debates here at T-Nation about this.
About abiogenesis: Not only is it possible, it is all but assured. Observation has proven that large unbound systems (like a planet which is continually bathed in energy), given enough time, will order themselves somewhat. For example, the Miller-Urey experiment. There is nothing supernatural about this, it is the natural way of the universe.
But what about the second law of thermodynamics? Don't take it the wrong way. Energy and order are intrinsically linked. Allow me to quote from talkorigins.com:
"Failure to understand that in thermodynamics probabilities are not fixed entities has led to a misinterpretation that is responsible for the wide- spread and totally false belief that the second law of thermodynamics does not permit order to spontaneously arise from disorder. In fact, there are many examples in nature where order does arise spontaneously from disorder: Snowflakes with their six-sided crystalline symmetry are formed spontaneously from randomly moving water vapor molecules. Salts with precise planes of crystalline symmetry form spontaneously when water evaporates from a solution."
Just remember that the second law actually explains the mechanism for order as well as disorder, it does not disallow it. Second law good. Without the second law, we don't have energy exchange.
Here's something cool to consider: those conditions which gave rise to prokaryotic life and thus, eukaryotic life are not necessary to create order from chaos. There's still plenty of freaky biological shit going on, and here is the third kind of cell which some of y'all may not know about yet:
The "bacteria" in this group are alien and weird in that they exist comfortably in places where no other life form would even have a chance. The discovery of these freaks has actually helped us quite a bit... the polymerase chain reaction technology that is of such good use in my field of medical technology was spawned by the discovery of "thermophiles".
The point is, given enough time and energy, life WILL happen... even in what we might consider impossible conditions. It is not some crazy one in a trillionty gazillionty occurence. The more we find out about our planet, the more we realize that life is more likely to be ubiquitous in a galactic sense.
I would not be surprised if we somehow discovered that there are exotic thermophilic archaea who sprung into existence on Venus, and have been hanging out for the last 4 billion years, waiting for us to discover them.
The bacteria example you gave is not a very good example of evolution. The cells that show immuntiy are genetic mutations of the original bacteria which is why they are unaffected. But, when the original bacteria is re-introduced the mutated cells that were immune die out as they cannot compete due to their mutation. The immune mutations are actually a step back in terms of evolution.
Check out the following websites. They are pro-creation, but they provide what I consider valid arguments concerning science and philosophy. If you want to argue Evolution over Creation (which is really the existence of an eternal being) using philosophical arguments check out http://www.rzim.org/ . If you want to argue based on scientific evidence then check out http://www.reasons.org/ . Both take an intellectual approach. The issue that I have with most creationists is that they use terminology and arguments that Non-Christians won?t accept as valid or can?t understand. The brain power contained in preceding sites goes way above what I can understand. Wouldn?t it be interesting to hear an argument for Creation that isn?t based on a book that you don?t believe in anyway? I guarantee that you will hear this argument with more proof, for lack of a better term, and in a way that you have not heard before.
If there is 100% proof then there is no reason for faith.