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Offline spider

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Misconception about creationism / ID
« on: August 28, 2008, 10:05:23 PM »
Almost every discussion involving evolution that I'm privy to, there are misconceptions about evolution that come up.  Heck, I'm sure I've probably said things that misrepresent or misunderstand evolution, just by virtue of the fact I'm not an evolutionary biologist.

Out of interest, I wonder if there are similar problems with people's understandings of various forms of creationism and of Intelligent Design.

Does anyone here know of common misconceptions about creationism and/or ID that wrongly influence people's attitudes to them?

Offline Ananukia

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Re: Misconception about creationism / ID
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2008, 10:25:10 PM »
creationism : make shit up

ID: make shit up, while saying it's "scientific"
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Offline CodyTowner

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Re: Misconception about creationism / ID
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2008, 11:00:37 PM »
A lot of common misconceptions about creationism and Intelligent design is that when someone says creationism or Intelligent Design, everyone immediately thinks God or the Bible. Now it's very possible to have a designer we don't know of.

Of course, it's complete lunacy that some magic space=being created us, but it's fun to toy with.

Evolution FTW


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Offline urs

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Re: Misconception about creationism / ID
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2008, 12:06:32 AM »
I am always curious about the evidence presented in favor of creationism, as opposed to the popular tactic of trying to debunk evidence of evolution. I've never seen any of this evidence. Debunking evolution, were it possible, still does not make creationism true, it would just make evolution less true, or less likely to be true. The alternative "theory of creationism" is really just as good a guess as my four year old could make, since there is nothing that directly points to such a conclusion.

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Re: Misconception about creationism / ID
« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2008, 12:22:27 AM »
A common misconception about ID concerns "irreducible complexity". A lot of people think that the only way an IC system could evolve is by all parts being produced at once. In fact, a lot of people think that this is Michael Behe's position, when it is not: he has admitted that IC systems could evolve in a step by step manner. He simple argues, from his own incredulity, that it is "improbable".

Offline Gargaroth

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Re: Misconception about creationism / ID
« Reply #5 on: August 29, 2008, 06:03:43 AM »
A common misconception about ID concerns "irreducible complexity". A lot of people think that the only way an IC system could evolve is by all parts being produced at once. In fact, a lot of people think that this is Michael Behe's position, when it is not: he has admitted that IC systems could evolve in a step by step manner. He simple argues, from his own incredulity, that it is "improbable".
Adding to this, he states that the current theory (theories) of evolution by natural selection alone cannot account for what we see in for example in the bacterium flagellum. Without other 'laws' at work, it would be too improbable.

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Re: Misconception about creationism / ID
« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2008, 01:29:37 PM »
I often see the misconception about intelligent design that it is a "scientific theory".  This is wrong and should be corrected by people that know better.  I find that many people also often think that intelligent design is "correct".  I also hasten to correct this common misconception.

Offline CosmicScherzo

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Re: Misconception about creationism / ID
« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2008, 03:05:48 PM »
What is it about the bacterial flagellum that's irreducably complex?
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Re: Misconception about creationism / ID
« Reply #8 on: August 29, 2008, 05:06:17 PM »
There's also the common misconception that Evolution argues that we sprung from apes. That is untrue. It argues that we sprouted in different ways from a common ancestor who has been lost for about five million years.
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Offline Gargaroth

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Re: Misconception about creationism / ID
« Reply #9 on: August 29, 2008, 06:00:47 PM »
What is it about the bacterial flagellum that's irreducably complex?

www.google.com

Offline Phantarch

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Re: Misconception about creationism / ID
« Reply #10 on: August 29, 2008, 06:10:37 PM »
What is it about the bacterial flagellum that's irreducably complex?

www.google.com


Oh, I wonder how no one else thought of that. lol
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Offline CosmicScherzo

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Re: Misconception about creationism / ID
« Reply #11 on: August 29, 2008, 06:53:27 PM »
What is it about the bacterial flagellum that's irreducably complex?

www.google.com

Yes, I know the argument.  I was questioning its validity.
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Offline Gargaroth

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Re: Misconception about creationism / ID
« Reply #12 on: August 29, 2008, 08:27:11 PM »
Yes, I know the argument.  I was questioning its validity.

Then by all means, continue..

Offline Cyberia

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Re: Misconception about creationism / ID
« Reply #13 on: August 29, 2008, 08:52:38 PM »
There's also the common misconception that Evolution argues that we sprung from apes. That is untrue. It argues that we sprouted in different ways from a common ancestor who has been lost for about five million years.
It's not a misconception, it's true.   That common ancestor was an ape...an extinct form of ape, but an ape nonetheless.  Furthermore, humans ARE apes!  Unequivocally.  We are a form of ape, one of the 4 extant ape species.

It doesn't take anything away from us.  We have to fit in somewhere...
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Offline Evolutions Golden Toad

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Re: Misconception about creationism / ID
« Reply #14 on: August 29, 2008, 09:47:24 PM »
There's also the common misconception that Evolution argues that we sprung from apes. That is untrue. It argues that we sprouted in different ways from a common ancestor who has been lost for about five million years.
It's not a misconception, it's true.   That common ancestor was an ape...an extinct form of ape, but an ape nonetheless.  Furthermore, humans ARE apes!  Unequivocally.  We are a form of ape, one of the 4 extant ape species.

It doesn't take anything away from us.  We have to fit in somewhere...

Hate to break it do you, but in order to be classified as apes per se we would need to belong to the same monophyletic group to which they belong, but we do not. 
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Offline Cyberia

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Re: Misconception about creationism / ID
« Reply #15 on: August 29, 2008, 10:29:22 PM »
Hate to break it do you, but in order to be classified as apes per se we would need to belong to the same monophyletic group to which they belong, but we do not. 

Ape from Wiki:
In taxonomy, it is sometimes used as a synonym for Hominoidea, which includes humans, alongside the more exclusive term 'non-human apes'.

...

the family Hominidae consisting of orangutans, gorillas, chimpanzees, and humans,[1][4] collectively known as the great apes.

...

Until a few decades ago, humans were thought to be distinctly set apart from the other apes (even from the other great apes), so much so that many people still don't think of the term "apes" to include humans at all. However, it is not considered accurate by many biologists to think of apes in a biological sense without considering humans to be included. The terms "non-human apes" or "non-human great apes" is used with increasing frequency to show the monophyletic relationship of humans to the other apes while yet talking only about the non-human species.

« Last Edit: August 29, 2008, 10:40:08 PM by Cyberia »
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Offline Evolutions Golden Toad

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Re: Misconception about creationism / ID
« Reply #16 on: August 29, 2008, 10:59:55 PM »
Conceded.  I was remembering an older phylogeny or misremembering a current one.  *shakes fist at molecular biologists*
« Last Edit: August 29, 2008, 11:03:14 PM by Evolutions Golden Toad »
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Offline xphobe

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Re: Misconception about creationism / ID
« Reply #17 on: August 29, 2008, 11:12:57 PM »
What is it about the bacterial flagellum that's irreducably complex?

www.google.com

Done!  Found this:

http://www.millerandlevine.com/km/evol/design2/article.html

molecular studies of proteins in the TTSS have revealed a surprising fact – the proteins of the TTSS are directly homologous to the proteins in the basal portion of the bacterial flagellum.

In other words, the mechanism for injecting poison into a bacterium's victim contains a subset of the flagellum's molecules.  It doesn't provide locomotion but it is fully functional for what it does.
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Offline Gargaroth

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Re: Misconception about creationism / ID
« Reply #18 on: August 30, 2008, 04:23:12 AM »
What is it about the bacterial flagellum that's irreducably complex?

www.google.com

Done!  Found this:

http://www.millerandlevine.com/km/evol/design2/article.html

molecular studies of proteins in the TTSS have revealed a surprising fact – the proteins of the TTSS are directly homologous to the proteins in the basal portion of the bacterial flagellum.

In other words, the mechanism for injecting poison into a bacterium's victim contains a subset of the flagellum's molecules.  It doesn't provide locomotion but it is fully functional for what it does.


How, by the power of our flat Earth, could this be considered a subset of a propellant function? Bees don't fly with their sting now do they??

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Offline xphobe

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Re: Misconception about creationism / ID
« Reply #19 on: August 30, 2008, 08:16:01 AM »
What is it about the bacterial flagellum that's irreducably complex?

www.google.com

Done!  Found this:

http://www.millerandlevine.com/km/evol/design2/article.html

molecular studies of proteins in the TTSS have revealed a surprising fact – the proteins of the TTSS are directly homologous to the proteins in the basal portion of the bacterial flagellum.

In other words, the mechanism for injecting poison into a bacterium's victim contains a subset of the flagellum's molecules.  It doesn't provide locomotion but it is fully functional for what it does.


How, by the power of our flat Earth, could this be considered a subset of a propellant function? Bees don't fly with their sting now do they??


First, notice that I never made the claim that one function was a subset of another.  But I will answer your strawman argument.

A screwdriver's function is screwing screws.  It has a handle that fits in your palm so that you can apply constant pressure while turning.  Let's say for the sake of argument that it is irreducibly complex: without a handle it simply can't function as a screwdriver because it would hurt your hand, and you can't apply enough torque.

Now suppose I have a cheap screwdriver, and the handle falls off (i.e. a mutation occurs).  I could simply throw it away, but it just so happens that I also need a chisel or a prybar.  Hey!  I have this sharpened metal rod handy!  It's not a perfect chisel, but it will do in a pinch.  I don't need the handle in order to pound the end of the rod with a hammer.

And now that it's a chisel, I might modify it even further (apply selective pressure).  I might sharpen the blade so it more closely resembles a chisel.  Now it's even less screwdriver-like.  If you found it in my toolbox you might say "That's obviously a chisel, because anyone can see it would be no good as a screwdriver."

An imperfect analogy I'm sure, but I hope it stimulates your imagination a bit.
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Offline Gargaroth

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Re: Misconception about creationism / ID
« Reply #20 on: August 30, 2008, 02:20:26 PM »
First, notice that I never made the claim that one function was a subset of another.  But I will answer your strawman argument.

A screwdriver's function is screwing screws.  It has a handle that fits in your palm so that you can apply constant pressure while turning.  Let's say for the sake of argument that it is irreducibly complex: without a handle it simply can't function as a screwdriver because it would hurt your hand, and you can't apply enough torque.

Now suppose I have a cheap screwdriver, and the handle falls off (i.e. a mutation occurs).  I could simply throw it away, but it just so happens that I also need a chisel or a prybar.  Hey!  I have this sharpened metal rod handy!  It's not a perfect chisel, but it will do in a pinch.  I don't need the handle in order to pound the end of the rod with a hammer.

And now that it's a chisel, I might modify it even further (apply selective pressure).  I might sharpen the blade so it more closely resembles a chisel.  Now it's even less screwdriver-like.  If you found it in my toolbox you might say "That's obviously a chisel, because anyone can see it would be no good as a screwdriver."

An imperfect analogy I'm sure, but I hope it stimulates your imagination a bit.

I was of course just fooling around.

your anology indeed maked very little sense since your 'mutation' called into being a totally new function all at once.

I'd be the first to acknowledge that I find it impossible to imagine how life came to be on this planet. Specifically the evolution of selfreplicating molecules to even the 'simplest' forms of organic life. Puzzling.

Offline Obadiah

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Re: Misconception about creationism / ID
« Reply #21 on: August 30, 2008, 03:51:29 PM »
Almost every discussion involving evolution that I'm privy to, there are misconceptions about evolution that come up.  Heck, I'm sure I've probably said things that misrepresent or misunderstand evolution, just by virtue of the fact I'm not an evolutionary biologist.

Out of interest, I wonder if there are similar problems with people's understandings of various forms of creationism and of Intelligent Design.

Does anyone here know of common misconceptions about creationism and/or ID that wrongly influence people's attitudes to them?

"Creationism" at a term has almost lost it's meaning. Sometimes it simply refers to a religious belief that a deity created everything. Sometimes it is used specifically indicate it is a belief “as opposed to evolution”, and I’d like to believe that at some point in time it had been an attempt to rationally explain origins… but that usage fo the term is far gone by now.

“Intelligent design” can still be saved (I think). There are a lot of idiots out there who are writing things, particularly in the internet, and calling it an intelligent design argument. This is almost never the case

ID is a modern variation of Paley’s argument for design, the difference being that ID takes evolutionary theory into account. It is (or should be) a hypothesis that the same standards of intelligent design used certain scientific fields, aught to be applied to the universe. And the implied follow up that if they are we conclude that some intelligent being is involved with the design of the universe

“The universe is really complicated, something must have created it” is not ID

“Pitdown man was a pigs tooth evolution is wrong! Ahahahahah!!!!1!!” Is not ID

“and if you look at the structure of a human vein you can see that it is more complicated than this pen, but this pen was designed so your vein must have been” Is getting kinda warm, but if it’s ID at all, It’s really really bad ID

“The sequencing of the blood coagulation cascade represents an irreducibly complex system that cannot be adequately explained by  modern evolutionary theory, more importantly the system possessed a series of checks and balances which, in other circumstances would cause one to believe the system was build with an end in mind” Is ID

(I should note that I’m not necessarily saying that last argument is true, only that it represents an argument which is fair to call ID)

Offline xphobe

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Re: Misconception about creationism / ID
« Reply #22 on: August 30, 2008, 04:51:51 PM »
I was of course just fooling around.

Of course.  Rest assured I would never dream of taking you seriously.

Quote
your anology indeed maked very little sense since your 'mutation' called into being a totally new function all at once.

Actually it maked very big sense.  The handle falling off didn't immediately dictate that the screwdriver be used as a chisel.  If I absolutely had to have a perfect screwdriver and nothing else, that would have been a fatal mutation.  It just so happened that I also had a use for a chisel, and a screwdriver without a handle makes a passable chisel.  Just as a TTSS structure with a mutation might not make a very good poison injector, but it just might be slightly better at locomotion than one without the mutation.

Remember it's always a statistics game, played over millions of years.  Most mutations are fatal, some have no effect, and a very few are beneficial.  And by beneficial, I mean that in the long run, over many copies of an organism, that mutation will provide a statistically greater chance of survival.  Not that any one bacterium will instantly grow a fully-functional flagellum.

Quote
I'd be the first to acknowledge that I find it impossible to imagine how life came to be on this planet. Specifically the evolution of selfreplicating molecules to even the 'simplest' forms of organic life. Puzzling.

I wish I had a dollar for every time someone confused evolution with abiogenesis.  I have no idea how the very first life came to be on this planet.  But I have a pretty good idea of how natural selection works.  So far it fits the observations better than any other explanation I've seen, including Yahweh's 6-day wonder, or the Navajo First Man coming up through a hole in the ground.
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Offline Gargaroth

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Re: Misconception about creationism / ID
« Reply #23 on: August 30, 2008, 06:40:43 PM »
I wish I had a dollar for every time someone confused evolution with abiogenesis. 

Sigh..
« Last Edit: August 30, 2008, 06:44:10 PM by Gargaroth »

Offline xphobe

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Re: Misconception about creationism / ID
« Reply #24 on: August 30, 2008, 10:44:28 PM »
I wish I had a dollar for every time someone confused evolution with abiogenesis. 

Sigh..

I know it's complicted, but don't give up now. You're on the home stretch.

You know how evolution works with organisms, right?  They copy themselves, and the copies have differences, and these differences give the copies a differential survival rate, either better or worse than the original, and over time the copies with the better survival rate tend to dominate.

It's no different with self-replicating molecules, really.  "Survival" simply means the copies will remain in existence through another cycle of replication.

The first replicators must have had some way to copy.  They didn't even have to be alive.  They just copied mindlessly, and mistakes happened (quite often probably in those pre-DNA days), and some of those mistakes made certain replicators more "fit".

Now if you ask me at what point a non-living replicator becomes alive, I'd have to say I don't know.   Like most of biology there is no cut and dry line which has non-life on one side and life on the other.  The quality of being "alive" is probably a gradient with no well-defined boundaries.

And if you ask me how the first replicators came from, I'd have to say I don't know, again.  But it's an infinitely huge gulf from "I don't know" to "God did it".  And to me it's simply unnecessary.
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Offline Gargaroth

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Re: Misconception about creationism / ID
« Reply #25 on: August 31, 2008, 07:10:01 AM »
I wish I had a dollar for every time someone confused evolution with abiogenesis. 

Sigh..

I know it's complicted, but don't give up now. You're on the home stretch.

You know how evolution works with organisms, right?  They copy themselves, and the copies have differences, and these differences give the copies a differential survival rate, either better or worse than the original, and over time the copies with the better survival rate tend to dominate.

It's no different with self-replicating molecules, really.  "Survival" simply means the copies will remain in existence through another cycle of replication.

The first replicators must have had some way to copy.  They didn't even have to be alive.  They just copied mindlessly, and mistakes happened (quite often probably in those pre-DNA days), and some of those mistakes made certain replicators more "fit".

Now if you ask me at what point a non-living replicator becomes alive, I'd have to say I don't know.   Like most of biology there is no cut and dry line which has non-life on one side and life on the other.  The quality of being "alive" is probably a gradient with no well-defined boundaries.

And if you ask me how the first replicators came from, I'd have to say I don't know, again.  But it's an infinitely huge gulf from "I don't know" to "God did it".  And to me it's simply unnecessary.


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Offline Gargaroth

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Re: Misconception about creationism / ID
« Reply #26 on: August 31, 2008, 11:11:48 AM »


Comments are welcome on the statements of mr Wells.

Offline xphobe

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Re: Misconception about creationism / ID
« Reply #27 on: August 31, 2008, 12:19:34 PM »
"Turning to the government to force your theory on others, particularly children, goes against the principles upon which modern western democracies are founded."
(Shermer, but Wells agrees)

According to Shermer, one option is to not have government schools.  Every government school forces some theories on children - Gravityism, for example.  Or Set Theoryism.  But Creationism and Intelligent Design are not even theories, so they don't qualify.


"There is no national campaign to mandate intelligent design in any science curriculum."

Wrong.  The Discovery Institute's own Wedge Document outlines their goals very clearly.  I bet they wish it had never been published :)


Wells complains about the teaching of one theory, but he admits he doesn't have an alternative theory.  I'm sure if there were valid competing scientific theories they would be taught.


"If it disagrees with experiment it is wrong (Feynman).   Therefore Darwinism is false."

How does Darwin disagree with experiment?  Here's an experiment: Take some DNA (unknown in Darwin's day), sequence it, and compare the sequences from different animals.  Hypothesis: that animals thought to be more closely related will have a higher correlation in their sequences.  Outcome: This is observed.  Humans and apes are closely related.

Here's another one: Study the fossils in rock strata.  Hypothesis: rock strata thought to be older will not contain animals that had not yet evolved.  Outcome: This is observed.  There are no rabbits in Cretaceous strata.

Let's hear about some experiments that falsify Darwin's theory.  This ought to be good.
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Offline Gargaroth

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Re: Misconception about creationism / ID
« Reply #28 on: August 31, 2008, 01:22:40 PM »
Gimme a year to read up on all that jazz.

But others with some actual knowledge on the 'controversial' stand points within the general scientific opinion (if this indeed is general), are more that welcome to post them.