T Nation

Evolution is Wrong?

It’s been brought to my attention that a significant portion of the American public does not believe in evolution. I’m not sure what this statement means, exactly, but I would love it if some of the individuals who hold this position could explain it to me.

If you don’t believe in evolution, please tell me what that means to you, why you don’t believe in it, and what your alternate belief is.

For the pro-evolution folks, I would really appreciate it if you could avoid insulting anyone that may respond. The purpose of this thread is for me to understand other people’s position, not to insult them. Therefore, if you have nothing constructive to add, please don’t reply to this thread.

I was raised Roman Catholic, and still am, but I am very open minded when it comes to this sort of discussion.

I don’t go to church every week, but I believe in a higher power. I personally know many extremely christian people, thing is they are very close minded and it’s either their way or no way. No one knows for sure what the deal is, and chances are we probably never will. One thing I know for sure is ghosts exist - I have experienced them first hand - and that leads me to believe there is something beyond life on earth.

I also believe in evolution because it makes sense - at least to me. The theories of evolution and why animals and organisms behave and reproduce the way they do is fascinating.

One thing I have never understood is why you usually get the 2 extremes - very religious or very much against it.

I think America has the second highest number of people in an industrialized nation who don’t believe in evolution. The only country who has a higher percentage is Turkey.

Sorry, this is one of those topics that falls off a cliff quickly and frequently.

I’m really not interested in the “Some people are crazy” type of argument. I want to know the opinions of individuals that do not believe in evolution. I’ve never had the opportunity to speak to such a person before, and I’m really interested in their beliefs. Please keep this focused and positive.

[quote]etaco wrote:

Sorry, this is one of those topics that falls off a cliff quickly and frequently. [/quote]

Wait

For

it.

Here’s the link to the story so everyone is on the same page for further discussion.

Notice how Iceland has the highest percentage of evolution belief along with the highest literacy rate…hmmm

If you want to talk about how stupid not believing in evolution is, go start your own thread.

I have a feeling that a lot of the American general public have a hybrid of beliefs, so evolution isn’t what they only believe in.

[quote]rsg wrote:
I was raised Roman Catholic, and still am, but I am very open minded when it comes to this sort of discussion.

I don’t go to church every week, but I believe in a higher power. I personally know many extremely christian people, thing is they are very close minded and it’s either their way or no way. No one knows for sure what the deal is, and chances are we probably never will. One thing I know for sure is ghosts exist - I have experienced them first hand - and that leads me to believe there is something beyond life on earth.

I also believe in evolution because it makes sense - at least to me. The theories of evolution and why animals and organisms behave and reproduce the way they do is fascinating.

One thing I have never understood is why you usually get the 2 extremes - very religious or very much against it.[/quote]

This might be too eggheaded but it explains population distributions. You could define this arguement in a probability space. The two extremes are at the ends. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Normal_distribution

also, the top 3 countries, they have some ridiculously good looking women. Coincidence? I think not!

[quote]rsg wrote:
I was raised Roman Catholic, and still am, but I am very open minded when it comes to this sort of discussion.

I don’t go to church every week, but I believe in a higher power. I personally know many extremely christian people, thing is they are very close minded and it’s either their way or no way. No one knows for sure what the deal is, and chances are we probably never will.

One thing I know for sure is ghosts exist - I have experienced them first hand - and that leads me to believe there is something beyond life on earth.

I also believe in evolution because it makes sense - at least to me. The theories of evolution and why animals and organisms behave and reproduce the way they do is fascinating.

One thing I have never understood is why you usually get the 2 extremes - very religious or very much against it.[/quote]

FYI…The Catholic church accepts the theory of evolution.

Well the argument people throw at me when I’m sitting reading my books are “if we evolved from monkies, why are monkies still around”, it’s a lack of understanding mixed with closed mindedness in people.

[quote]Aleksandr wrote:
It’s been brought to my attention that a significant portion of the American public does not believe in evolution. I’m not sure what this statement means, exactly, but I would love it if some of the individuals who hold this position could explain it to me.

If you don’t believe in evolution, please tell me what that means to you, why you don’t believe in it, and what your alternate belief is.

For the pro-evolution folks, I would really appreciate it if you could avoid insulting anyone that may respond. The purpose of this thread is for me to understand other people’s position, not to insult them. Therefore, if you have nothing constructive to add, please don’t reply to this thread.[/quote]

Your question implies that there is some fact or proof behind the current evolutionary model and those who question it must be stupid. Well, going with the crowd has never been my style, so we could also ask why most all people believed that the world was flat and only a few thought otherwise for such a long time? And those who thought otherwise were considered freaks because it went against the popular view.

Personally, I believe in microevolution, which has been demonstrated in a controlled lab setting. Macroevolution, while a nice theory, has not be demonstrated in a controlled setting. Does that make it wrong? No. Does that make it right? No.

So I guess the question should be; why do people believe in a theory that has not been proven and treat it as fact?

I personally think that it shows a lack of imagination. Most believe in macroevolution because everyone else does and because that don’t have any other explanation. But this kind of thinking is what shuts down debate and further scientific exploration. So now, instead of scientists looking at all explanations for the development of life on earth, they just try to find proof to support their theory. And data falling outside that theory is discarded, while the theory remains.

I believe modern science is directed more by social norms and less by true scientific enquiry than most people know. This is why it takes decades for some scientific areas of research to move forward.

So, the reason I don’t not fully support the macroevolutionary model is because it is far from being proven and pushed mostly by social norms rather than true (open minded) scientific inquiry.

Lorisco, I disagree. If you’ll notice, I am trying to stimulate the open discussion of ideas that are unpopular (and in fact contrary to my own). I am a scientist, and as such I really value objectivity. I have never heard compelling reasons against evolution, and that is why I’m asking anyone who does not believe in it to share their reasons with me, so that I can better understand their position. Even though I have repeatedly asked for them not to, people insist on posting negative comments about people that do not believe in evolution, and I’m really sorry for that. I hope any potential poster notices that I do not hold the same position.

In addressing your beliefs, I find it curious that you accept microevolution but not macro. It seems to me that macroevolution is quantitatively different from microevolution, but not qualitatively so. If you can select for one trait in a population, why can’t you select for 1000? And if you continue to differentiate two groups within a population by selecting for different traits, doesn’t it stand to reason that, at some point, they will become different species?

[quote]Aleksandr wrote:
Lorisco, I disagree. If you’ll notice, I am trying to stimulate the open discussion of ideas that are unpopular (and in fact contrary to my own). I am a scientist, and as such I really value objectivity. I have never heard compelling reasons against evolution, and that is why I’m asking anyone who does not believe in it to share their reasons with me, so that I can better understand their position. Even though I have repeatedly asked for them not to, people insist on posting negative comments about people that do not believe in evolution, and I’m really sorry for that. I hope any potential poster notices that I do not hold the same position.

In addressing your beliefs, I find it curious that you accept microevolution but not macro. It seems to me that macroevolution is quantitatively different from microevolution, but not qualitatively so. If you can select for one trait in a population, why can’t you select for 1000? And if you continue to differentiate two groups within a population by selecting for different traits, doesn’t it stand to reason that, at some point, they will become different species?[/quote]

I do think “it stands to reason”, but that is not proof now is it? I think there is a big difference between adaptations within species to changing into a totally different species. I agree that logically it makes sense in a linear way of thinking, but many times in research what we think may occur turns out to be totally wrong.

For example, give adults stimulant type medications and they have increased heat rate, B/P, etc. Their system basically speeds up. So logically you would think that giving a teenager a stimulant would have a similar effect. Yet, the truth is that in most cases it has the opposite effect. Everyone has heard of Ritalin that is given to ADHD teens to reduce their hyperactivity. But not everyone knows that Ritalin is actually a stimulant.

So my point is that logic a reasoning are no substitute for verified controlled experiments. And many people do not just believe a reasonable theory as fact until it is actually proven, because many times the results are not predictable.

But it is a reasonable proposition. On the other hand, the idea of traits continuously being selected, but the species remaining stable, is not a reasonable proposition. Add to that a separate population of the same species, in which a different set of traits is selected for, and species differentiation is the obvious outcome.

In terms of proof, you don’t need to look further than dog breeds. Modern dog breeds are fairly recent, and are the result of what I would call semi-natural selection (much if it was not done deliberately, as in artificial selection, but it was still done by humans). The result is over 400 breeds of dog, most of which have been around for less than 200 years. Isn’t this evidence of macroevolution?

In cases where major changes occur over a period that is too long for humans to have records of, fossil records provide compelling evidence. You can look at two lineages, and as the fossils get older, they become more and more similar. So again, I can’t see a compelling argument against evolution.

Moreover, since evolution provides a better explanation of how life works than rival theories (if there are any), I would suggest that the burden of proof to demonstrate that evolution is insufficient to explain life (and to propose a better theory) is on the opponents of evolution. Hearing this evidence is the purpose of this thread.

[quote]Lorisco wrote:

For example, give adults stimulant type medications and they have increased heat rate, B/P, etc. Their system basically speeds up. So logically you would think that giving a teenager a stimulant would have a similar effect. Yet, the truth is that in most cases it has the opposite effect. Everyone has heard of Ritalin that is given to ADHD teens to reduce their hyperactivity. But not everyone knows that Ritalin is actually a stimulant.

[/quote]

Not to digress too far, but ritalin has the same calming effects on me now as an adult as it did during the periods I tried it as a juvenile.

[quote]Lorisco wrote:

Your question implies that there is some fact or proof behind the current evolutionary model and those who question it must be stupid. Well, going with the crowd has never been my style, so we could also ask why most all people believed that the world was flat and only a few thought otherwise for such a long time? And those who thought otherwise were considered freaks because it went against the popular view.[/quote]

There are volumes of evidence to support evolutionary theory. I agree with you that scientists must remain objective, but rationality is equally valuable. We may have been beamed here in our current state by some unknown power, but there’s far less evidence to support that idea. As for your personal style, I’d say that none of us are able to help you.

True, however, every scientist will more than willingly predicate every claim he/she makes with the phrase “Evidence would suggest…”. There is no evidence that actually suggests otherwise, there are circumstances that don’t fit the current theory, but there are none that suggest another entirely different theory. Moreover, and I think you’ll cede this, there are those who would co-opt the story of creation to support their needs. The absence of an intrinsic creator in evolution helps to ensure that the theory propagates itself and only itself.

This could be asked of any theory. Newton’s theory of universal gravitation remains largely unproven to most people (Have you seen how the sun holds the earth in orbit?). Unlike Darwin and ToE, Newton merely explained the way gravity behaved. Darwin not only explained how species are created, suggested a mechanism which constructed and bound this behavior. And at the same time, largely independently, Mendel suggested the smallest unit which can be enacted/transfered within Darwin’s mechanisms. We have yet to discover gravitons, we have no clue (or we have some made up clues) as to how they bend space/time. To reject the constructs of evolution based on ‘lack of evidence’ would rationally predicate the rejection some of the more useful aspects of general sciences. And unlike God, science doesn’t claim to be all powerful and all-knowing, it aspires to it.

That’s funny because, I consider those who discard evolution on the basis of religious reasons to be the ones lacking imagination and/or faith. To think that God spent a week playing in the mud to make all the animals and burying all the fossils and tweaking all the DNA codes and protein sequence probabilities just to confuse or trick us seems infantile. Especially when you consider the scope of what is to be his power, if gravitons exist and if they exist transdimensionally, I would only assume God created both (or all) dimensions an the particles in each. God is infinite and all powerful, why is it that people who “truly believe this” see science as a threat?

This is how science works. If it needlessly adhered to millenia-old useless tenets that could only be practiced and demonstrated by one person or a few people it would be religion. And it’s funny that religious-types would choose to ‘debunk’ evolution when a God that creates gravitons or multiple universes in multiple dimensions would be much more infinite and powerful (both literal and argumentatively/logically).

It has a mountain of evidence behind it and most are quite ready to discard and/or reconcile some of it’s farthest-reaching assertions should different/better evidence show up (Let’s imagine someone digs up a 2B yr. old UFO or finds a pegasus living somewhere in the Amazon). You, on the other, refuse to believe the current evidence and the directions in which it points because it’s not “your style”.