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Evolution and Creation

This sticker is incredibly stupid:

This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered.

"Evolution" is not the Big Bang theory, nor is it the "primordial sludge" theory. Evolution is part of the primordial sludge theory, but in and of itself, evolution is fact. We see it every day. Macro-evolution? Theory. Evolution of a species due to events and circumstances? Fact. Or, as I said before, "a reality."

Evolution and Creation are not mutually exclusive. You can believe that $DEITY created us and then let things evolve from there. Heck, perhaps $DEITY is controlling the changes. Let's not forget that Darwin was a religious man.

Read the article that prompted this post at ars technica.

16 Responses to "Evolution and Creation"

  1. You are absolutely right. I can't explain how amazingly entertaining it is when the christian channel has a science segment where they show "evidence" that there is no evolution. Fake molds of dinosaur prints and human foot prints makes for a good laugh. I think we need to put a sticker on the bible that says to approach *it* with an open mind because these people seem to think that everything written in that book is absolute fact. That scares me. The person currently in charge of our military believs the rapture is coming and that Jesus will be back now any day. I can't wait!

  2. The creationists also do not use (or even know?) the proper definition of a theory. If it contains something that cannot ever be proved, it's not a theory.

    One of's definitions: "A set of statements or principles devised to explain a group of facts or phenomena, especially one that has been repeatedly tested or is widely accepted and can be used to make predictions about natural phenomena."

    Wikipedia has a nice article about the definition of a theory.

  3. Oh, here was a better summary of a theory and what creationists do wrong:

    "A theory is an established paradigm that explains all or many of the data we have and offers valid predictions that can be tested. In science, a theory can never be proven true, because we can never assume we know all there is to know. Instead, theories remain standing until they are disproven, at which point they are thrown out altogether or modified slightly."

  4. You and I disagree on several things (I respect your viewpoints though, and appreciate reading them), but we're in 100% agreement on $DEITY.

  5. Evolution is not fact, it is a theory. Until all of the missing links are found between species boundaries, it can never be fully proved. Sorry if you dont like this, but its a fact. 🙂

    PS Im not religious. Nor do I blindly believe that theories are fact. We may not have the answers yet...

  6. If the sticker cautions that evolution, *as an explanation about the origin of the species*, is a theory and you yourself accept that macro-evolution is a theory, then why are you so worked up about the sticker? You and the sticker are saying the same thing.

  7. Pete, you can't argue a point simply by saying "no it's not." Missing links? You're talking about one missing link in the proposed evolution of mankind, and you're talking about finding things that are a few million years old. We've seen evolution - within the past century alone - a million times. Why is the medical world looking at alternatives to erythromycin? Because bacteria have evolved to resist the antibiotic. Tetracycline? Same story. Evolution is a scientific fact. (NB: that's not the same as a scientific "law.")

    Nathan, you simply aren't paying much attention. The sticker is typical "creation is the only explanation" fodder. As was said by the judges, the pushing of a religious theory is contrary to the separation of church and state. Saying "evolution is a theory" while simultaneously pushing only one other alternative is ridiculous and, in my original words, "stupid."

    I'm perfectly willing to accept that divine creation is a possibility to explain "how we came to be," but in the context of science, evolution - not "Big Bang" and "primordial sludge" creation, but pure simple evolution - is fact.

    There are a lot of theories as to how a bunch of chemicals turned into life forms as we know them today. The whole "primordial sludge/soup" is one of them. Creation is another. There are hundreds more.

    And if two or three paragraphs on the topic is "worked up," might I suggest you rethink your world view?

  8. Eric, I agree with you that according to your definition--evolution as the change of a species--is fact, seen in many different contexts over a large period of time. This is not what the sticker is protesting ("warning against", "cautioning", etc.). Popular usage of "evolution" connotes the "primordial sludge" view of the origin of the species and I believe that is what the sticker is talking about. To change the definition of a term and then ridicule somebody's else different usage of term does not seem very sporting.

    Your comment regarding "creation is the only explanation" is puzzling--I agree that the context in which the sticker was created has that air about it, but the sticker, read in isolation, seems to do a fair job of not mentioning divine creation in any manner. In fact, the sticker encourages students to think critically about evolution (as an explanation for the origin of the species), which seems reasonable in the context of a science course.

  9. Nathan, spell my name right. It's common courtesy.

    I don't care what "popular usage" of the term is. I care what science and the dictionary definition of it will be. Science doesn't deal in "slang" all that often, or misappropriated words. Evolution is a fact, and one with which scientists are intimately familiar. It's not sporting to change the definition? Then I suggest folks stop changing the definition. I'm using it properly.

    As to your second paragraph, please use your Web browser as it was intended and click the link to read the original article. I'll quote one of the relevant pieces here:

    Today a federal judge ruled against the practice, saying that the stickers violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the US Constitution, and the Constitution of the State of Georgia. A copy of the decision can be found here. While the court believes that the school board was actually trying to be a fair and careful with the language as possible, the effect of the sticker to a well-informed, reasonable person could easily be perceived as promoting or advancing the concern of a religion by a state entity.

    The sticker did not exist in isolation. It was placed there at the insistence of a religious group. Science itself does a pretty good job of teaching people to question, to ask, to postulate, and to prove. A sticker ain't gonna do it, and when it comes from people pushing an agenda, it really won't.

  10. Actually, the pope accepted evolution a few months ago and said that God simply created the stuff that big banged a while back, in order to let it evolve into the stuff we are today. The clever thing about that statement is that it fits into today's science (b/c the scientists have no answer to the question "where did all that stuff come from?" right now), and it doesn't contradict the Christian ideas.

    However, in my book, changing your official view of the world on a frequent basis doesn't make you a very trustworthy source of believes...

  11. Ah, my faith (heh) in the Judicial System as temporarily been restored. For Nathan and Pete, evolution (micro- and macro- they're different thing) has been experimentally verified, sorry. The only reason Evolution (meaning macroevolution) is not a 'fact' is that we can't do experiments on humans (nor would it work terribly well seeing as your subjects would live as long as you would AND it generally requires multiple generations to achieve speciation). Microevolution is actually a fact since gene therapy works and we have distinct genetic subpopulations (this came up recently in the PBS show Secrets of the Dead when they mentioned the 'Delta 32 mutation,' which conveys immunity to bubonic, and AIDS oddly enough. Erik's example is another case of microevolution (fun science fact: bacterial resistance to antibiotics is often exploited in the lab to make sure some gene you're trying to insert actually gets inserted into the bacterial genome. You put a resistance gene next to it so that it comes along for the ride. That way, the ones that live through being exposed to the antibiotic are likely to have incorporated the gene you're interested in. Neat, huh?).

    Finally, abiogeneis, the primordial ooze hypothesis, is a) hypothesis NOT a theory and b) the typical argument that is could not have occurred since it is astronomically unlikely is mostly just a misunderstanding (or a willful ignorance) of random events. Just because something has 1:10 gajillion odds says nothing about whether or not is will actually happen tomorrow. By that argument just because its astronomically unlikely that everything that happens tomorrow happens (from the perspective of today) tomorrow couldn't possibly happen. Which, we all agree is silly since we're all pretty sure it will. If you want to argue about that, by all means. Hell, you can even leave it out of textbooks if you want since there really isn't much to say (hypothesis. some promising early work. Aristotle came up with the original, provably incorrect, version.) Just don't go putting stickers on other only vaguely related fields 'cause its got your panties in a bunch. Especially since, ignoring the fact that you've missed the target entirely, you've got no evidence AGAINST abiogeneis in the first place.

    Right. /rant

  12. Actually, "evolution" in the sense that new, beneficial genetic information has been created that did not exist before has never been experimentally verified. All the usual "proofs" for evolution (fruit fly mutations, moths changing color in England, bacteria developing resistance to antibiotics, etc.) is actually an example of genetic "devolution" -- i. e., genetic information muting in a harmful way to the organism, or information simply getting lost. Bacteria that become immune to a type of antibiotic do so because they are unable to metabolize the substance properly. These so called "supergerms" are actually defective.

    Evolution is by no means a "fact". I understand what a theory is in the context of scientific discussion, but evolution is no more supported by evidence than creation, which is also a scientific theory. Thousands of scientists all over the country with prestigious degrees working in prestigious positions accept the theory of creation, and new discoveries are being made every day that challenge evolutionists. With the latest findings in molecular cell structures, especially DNA, it seems hard to imagine how life ever arose without a designer. Every "missing link" (there sure are few of them) that comes along turns out to be a perfectly normal "standalone" species or a simple variant of an already existing one. Huge anomalies in common dating methods continue to be exposed. And the big question, as I said before, is:

    How do new, beneficial mutations -- which practically never occur naturally or even artificially -- create the sequence of steps necessary for generations of organisms to develop completely new structures? This incredible and mysterious mechanism is somehow never quite explained.

    Until I see a major set of reasonable, logical, and verifiable proofs that evolution through beneficial mutation, along with natural selection (which is real, obviously), has occurred billions of times throughout the course of history, evolution will be to me nothing but a strange and shaky hypothesis which continues to haunt the blind scientific establishment of our day. Woe to those that dare to speak out against Darwin, whether creation-oriented or otherwise, for that, my friends, is intellectual heresy! *roll eyes*



  13. P. S. Sorry Erik, I just realized you had a beef with confusing life origins ideas with Darwinian Evolution proper (just like Linux the OS distribution is often confused with Linux the Kernel proper). So when my message above refers to "evolution", what I really mean is "evolution along with popular origins concepts which exclude the need for an intelligent designer". Thank you. 🙂

  14. "The person currently in charge of our military believs the rapture is coming and that Jesus will be back now any day. I can't wait!"

    ZAC: what's funny is that this "rapture" isn't even biblical at all. no where in the Bible does it mention a rapture at all.


    i absolutely hate the Ev v. Cre thing, it's stupid that most people believe it's mutually exclusive.

    the idea to try and let people know that there are theoretical and unproven concepts inside of a Life Origins package that often include elements of evolution, i think that's a good idea. too many kids are told "evolution is a FACT" when only micro-evolution is a fact... no one seems to think it's important to specify. EVOLUTION, which it would be reasonable to assume that the term contains both micro and macro unless otherwise noted, is *not* a fact, simply because it contains unproven, highly speculative information (which is macro)

    i think you get what i'm saying.

  15. Bacteria that become immune to a type of antibiotic do so because they are unable to metabolize the substance properly.

    First, hardly: a bacteria has a number of mechanisms for obtaining antibioctic resistance and FAILURE to metabolize the antibiotic is not among them AFAIK. Take penicillin for instance (which inhibits the production of cell walls, keeping the bacteria from dividing!). Here the bacteria can modify its penicillin binding proteins, produce something like beta-lactamase (which METABOLIZES penicillin) or by reducing the permeability of the cell well to keep penicillin out (IIRC this his why penicillin doesn't work on Gram Negative bacteria). While its possible there might be some loss of efficiency in the resulting bacteria in some sense (requires more resources or takes 22 minutes instead of 20 minutes to replicate) its not like they don't work or anything.

    With the latest findings in molecular cell structures, especially DNA, it seems hard to imagine how life ever arose without a designer.

    Bah. Out comes the usual ID party line. Hate to break it to y'all, but the sheer complexity of the system speaks AGAINST design of any sort, intelligent or otherwise. Biological systems are totally insane (And not just because we name genes all sorts of crazy things like Sonic Hedgehog. Arguably one of the most important genes and its named after a videogame character. *sigh*). Entire pathways get repurposed (did you know your immune system has a lot in common with fruit fly development pathways?). Hell, the only way our cells get enough power to run is because we've got a little single-celled symbiote (mitochondria) inside of 'em. Furthermore, 'the system is too complex to be random' is no sort of proof. People simulate biological systems (e.g. genetic programming) to solve problems that would be difficult/impossible to 'design' specifically because a simple set of rules can result in fantastically complex solutions.

    Anyways, back to work...

  16. F.Y.I. It has now been proven that Darwin's finches can, in fact, interbreed.