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Debate Over Evolution Will Soon Be History, Says Leakey

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the overlapping-domains dept.

Earth 1226

Hugh Pickens writes "According to noted paleoanthropologist Richard Leakey, sometime in the next 15 to 30 years scientific discoveries about evolution will have accelerated to the point that 'even the skeptics can accept it.' 'If you don't like the word evolution, I don't care what you call it, but life has changed. You can lay out all the fossils that have been collected and establish lineages that even a fool could work up. So the question is why, how does this happen? It's not covered by Genesis. There's no explanation for this change going back 500 million years in any book I've read from the lips of any God.' Leakey began his work searching for fossils in the mid-1960s and his team unearthed a nearly complete 1.6-million-year-old skeleton in 1984 that became known as 'Turkana Boy,' the first known early human with long legs, short arms and a tall stature. At 67, Leakey conducts research with his wife, Meave, and daughter, Louise, and the family claims to have unearthed 'much of the existing fossil evidence for human evolution.' Leakey, an atheist, insists he has no animosity toward religion."

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Don't bet on it. (5, Insightful)

neokushan (932374) | about 2 years ago | (#40142405)

Never underestimate the stubbornness of sheer ignorance.

Re:Don't bet on it. (5, Funny)

Joce640k (829181) | about 2 years ago | (#40142425)

Satan planted all the fossils and make it look like the Earth was old just to trap the unenlightened.

Re:Don't bet on it. (0, Troll)

rubycodez (864176) | about 2 years ago | (#40142551)

and of course God made Satan, all part of His glorious circle-jerk to fuck with the head of the faithful

God's experiment in free will (3, Funny)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#40142667)

This universe is God's experiment in free will. Some people will show that they give a smurf about overcoming temptation to break from God's purpose. Those who do will be rewarded when the earth is rebuilt; those who do not will be destroyed.

Re:God's experiment in free will (4, Insightful)

rubycodez (864176) | about 2 years ago | (#40142737)

The voices in your head told you that?

Why would a "God" need to perform an experiment, when He already knows the outcome? It is all irrational nonsense, fabricated stories no more substantial than children's fairy tales.

Re:God's experiment in free will (2)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 2 years ago | (#40142751)

Whether they overcome the temptations of not is entirely dependent on the circumstances of the person's life, which is all planned by God. From the start, he's given some folks lives that lead them to accept temptation, and there's nothing they can do about it. It's their destiny to be damned.

Re:Don't bet on it. (5, Funny)

tmosley (996283) | about 2 years ago | (#40142571)

Satan continuously changes DNA in bacterial cultures exposed to new environmental challenges.

That wily bastard!

Re:Don't bet on it. (3, Insightful)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 2 years ago | (#40142769)

Mental Gymnastics of this sort are a violation of Occam's razor.

Of course, say that to a bible literalist / creationist and watch the blank stares.

Re:Don't bet on it. (5, Insightful)

khr (708262) | about 2 years ago | (#40142487)

Agreed. I don't think Dr. Leakey's argument holds water. The main problem isn't that there's a lack of evidence now, it's that people who don't believe it simply don't believe it, and choose not to. More evidence isn't likely to get change people's beliefs.

Maybe in that time frame people who believe the evidence will come up with more convincing arguments, better debating material, but not simply more discoveries.

Re:Don't bet on it. (5, Funny)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 2 years ago | (#40142513)

Agreed. I don't think Dr. Leakey's argument holds water.

So... Leakey is leaky?

Re:Don't bet on it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40142745)

Agreed. I don't think Dr. Leakey's argument holds water.

So... Leakey is leaky?


Re:Don't bet on it. (1)

smi.james.th (1706780) | about 2 years ago | (#40142533)

I was actually going to say something similar but you beat me to it. All the convincing evidence in the world won't help if someone just covers their ears and sings a stupid tune.

Re:Don't bet on it. (4, Insightful)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 2 years ago | (#40142627)

Yeah the "debate" has been raging for over 200 years now, I don't expect to live to see the end of it.

It also gives us a glimpse at the likely future of the AGW "debate" which we've been witnessing pretty much from the beginning: Arguments with any possible scientific merit dry up within a few decades, and for centuries later the "skepticism" consists of mighty stonewalls of outright denial and/or batshit insanity, although at slowly decreasing prevalence.

Re:Don't bet on it. (5, Insightful)

Waffle Iron (339739) | about 2 years ago | (#40142661)

More evidence isn't likely to get change people's beliefs.

If someone believes in supernatural phenomena, than natural evidence would be completely irrelevant, no matter what the quantity.

Re:Don't bet on it. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40142547)

Unfortunately most "science types" never understand faith. Creation is believed by faith. It will never be over, ever. Physics, anthropology, and all of science can never answer the one question: WHY? It can tell us how, where, when, etc. but faith and religion is much more than a pile of bones and a bigger pile of theories. It is called Meta-physics for a reason, it is beyond physics.

And if I am sitting here enjoying my coffee in the great expanse of the Universe, due to a roll of the cosmic dice, holy cow! Now that takes alot of faith!

Re:Don't bet on it. (2)

bhagwad (1426855) | about 2 years ago | (#40142765)

Why what? Why are we here? Evolution. If you're asking for the greater purpose in life, there is none. Our lives are meaningless to everyone and everything in the universe except for each of us.

Re:Don't bet on it. (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 2 years ago | (#40142561)

Never underestimate the stubbornness of sheer ignorance.

Agreed. If toy can believe that the earth is 5,000 years old despite evidence then you can believe evolution is false no-matter what we discover over the next 30 years.

Re:Don't bet on it. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40142625)

Just like the global warming crowd ehh? Idiot bigots on here.

Re:Don't bet on it. (5, Insightful)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 2 years ago | (#40142645)

It has never been about proof or knowledge. This debate like many others has always been about faith. For some groups, they would hold onto their beliefs because they are defined by them. They cannot see past those boundaries.

Take for instance one of my high school friends who was aghast that I voted Barack Obama in the last election. One of main reasons she cited that she voted for McCain was because she honestly believed in the Birther nonsense. She still does to this day despite overwhelming evidence that there was no issue. For her, she would rather believe Obama somehow cheated than accept a world where her candidate wasn't elected in a fair election.

You see this in other aspects like fans of football teams. Truthers, Area 51, Birthers--Sometimes people cannot accept we don't live in a world of their design.

Obviously missed something... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40142409)

Why on earth would anything think that more/better science will help convince people who don't understand science?

If what he suggests is possible, it would have already happened.

Not likely (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40142411)

Some people still believe that humans rode dinosaurs to work. No amount of fossil evidence can change that kind of stupid.

Captcha: detest

Re:Not likely (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40142563)

Hey buddy, I saw the Flintstones. Are you going to try and tell me that was made up?

Re:Not likely (1)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#40142609)

Some people still believe that humans rode dinosaurs to work. No amount of fossil evidence can change that kind of stupid.

Ah but those people are not politically relevant or culturally influential, other than being laughed at.

Perhaps that's the angle he's aiming at, rather than christian creationism being "owned" as a core of one political party, it'll just be an ignorant fringe belief, much like flat-earth, hollow-earth, alien-visitation, humans-and-dinosaurs living together, etc.

There will always be stupid beliefs, but this individual dumb belief might be sun setting.

Personally I think they're will be a brief burst of non-christian creationism before it sunsets in general, especially after its no longer politically relevant, but that's just a guess.

Don't count on it (5, Insightful)

GammaKitsune (826576) | about 2 years ago | (#40142419)

His fatal mistake is to assume that creationists care about evidence.

Re:Don't count on it (4, Insightful)

Sique (173459) | about 2 years ago | (#40142465)

Your fatal mistake is to assume that everyone having doubts about evolution is a hardboiled creationist.

Re:Don't count on it (5, Insightful)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | about 2 years ago | (#40142483)

They are.

Re:Don't count on it (0)

JustShootMe (122551) | about 2 years ago | (#40142637)


I have no doubts that based on the evidence that we see *now*, that evolution appears to be the correct way that life came to being. Scientifically, that's not within doubt. However, I do not treat the idea of evolution as a religion, because I am aware of one little fact that many people seem to overlook:

It's *all* circumstantial.

I realize this is fanciful, and the odds are really high that this didn't happen, but who is to say that six thousand years ago something didn't just pop everything into existence fully formed, *including* all of the evidence?

They're really high, but not nonzero.

I prefer to think that this did not happen, but I don't dismiss people who might think it did as complete crackpots. Very, very unlikely, improbable, perhaps even vanishing - but possible. Unless you were there from the beginning of the Universe and saw everything happen, there's no way to tell. All you've got, and will ever have, is a best guess. A probably correct one - but not certainly correct.

Re:Don't count on it (5, Funny)

Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) | about 2 years ago | (#40142699)

I'm not saying that "gravity" is actually a series of elves pulling us down so we don't float out of the atmosphere, but there is a non-zero chance of it. I don't treat those who believe in that particular notion as crackpots.

Re:Don't count on it (2, Insightful)

rich_hudds (1360617) | about 2 years ago | (#40142739)

Who's to say that the world didn't pop into existence 10 minutes ago containing you and your 'memories'.

That's no more or less stupid than it popping into existence 6,000 years ago.

Re:Don't count on it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40142763)

The Theory of Evolution does not describe how life came into being, it just describes why there is so much variety within existing life forms.

Re:Don't count on it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40142771)

Would you like a fucking unreliable eyewitness account of human evolution? It's material and experimental evidence, there is no better kind, despite courtroom drama memes.

Re:Don't count on it (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40142511)

Maybe not "hardboiled creationist" themselves, but at the very least, strongly influenced by "hardboiled creationists" and the media which has no interesting news if there is no controversy.

Re:Don't count on it (3, Insightful)

jandrese (485) | about 2 years ago | (#40142669)

It's pretty hard to find an evolution skeptic outside of the hardboiled creationist crowd these days. I have not seen one in years. Unless you are totally impervious to reasoning, evidence, and logic or are hermetically sealed in a fact proof bubble it's hard to hold an anti-evolution stance these days. There are just too many exciting discoveries in genetics happening every day.

Re:Don't count on it (2)

Joce640k (829181) | about 2 years ago | (#40142685)

Your fatal mistake is to assume that everyone having doubts about evolution is a hardboiled creationist.

Your fatal mistake is not understanding Set Theory.

Re:Don't count on it (1)

rmdyer (267137) | about 2 years ago | (#40142753)

Where evolution is not true, all that remains is magic. There is no science that can cover magic. So it really wouldn't matter what you called it, creationism or otherwise.

Re:Don't count on it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40142761)

A fatal mistake? How will this opinion cause someone's death?

Re:Don't count on it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40142531)

There are creationists who care about evidence and try and be scientifically skeptical towards evolution, but seeing more fossils isn't going to stop them, because they already believe that the number of different species we see is just "variations on a theme" created by God. The evidence that would actually break that argument is if we were able to successfully speciate a creature, but even though we've iterated fruit flies millions of times and made all sorts of genetically freaky variations of the fruit fly, we've never been able to get them to speciate to such a degree that they can't go back and reproduce with the original species. Getting such speciation to occur might just be something that takes too long for a laboratory.

Wishful thinking. (3, Interesting)

JustShootMe (122551) | about 2 years ago | (#40142433)

There is a group of people who do not care about the evidence - the Bible says so, so there it is. That's not going to change just because you amass more evidence.

On the other hand, there are a group of people who believe in God who also believe evolution was the method God used to create all of the different kinds of life we see. That is not something you can prove or disprove, therefore it's not in the realm of science. In other words, you want people to keep their religions hands off science, great. Keep your scientific hands off God. They don't have to be mortal enemies.

Day-age creationism (3, Informative)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#40142509)

There is a group of people who do not care about the evidence - the Bible says so, so there it is.

But what the Bible teaches is not at all inconsistent with a multibillion-year-old universe. God created the universe in six ages [wikipedia.org], figuratively called "days" in Genesis 1. Notice that nowhere does the story of creation in Genesis mention an "evening and morning" for the seventh "day", which makes the 24-hour interpretation less likely. This and other mentions of God's rest (e.g. in Hebrews) indicate that the seventh age is ongoing.

Re:Day-age creationism (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40142613)

Unfortunately you are interpreting the Bible. The people who are most adamant that creationism is the right way are those who take what is written in the Bible word-for-word.

That doesn't mean that they are "ages", it means they are days. These are the same people who think the great flood really carved the Grand Canyon in the same amount of time that it should take millions of years for a river to do.

Please stop trying to make sense out of their arguments.

Re:Day-age creationism (2)

mark-t (151149) | about 2 years ago | (#40142641)

Actually, it was my understanding that the Hebrew word that is translated into English as "day" in Genesis 1 is the same word that is used to refer to the period of time from sunset until the following sunset.

Take from that what you will...

Re:Day-age creationism (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40142719)

So? Why do you speak of Hebrew? It is a well-known *fact* that Jesus preached from the King James version. You even know who King James is? He's a great basketball player and American. That's why the King James version is in American not Hebrew.

Take from that what you will...

Re:Day-age creationism (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about 2 years ago | (#40142729)

There is no reason whatsoever to believe that the ancient desert nomads who told and retold the collection of folktales which eventually got written down as the Book of Genesis meant anything at all other than the literal meaning of the word "day." The Hebrew "yom" has exactly the same meaning as the English "day," and while it can be used poetically to indicate other periods of time ("in those days," "a day will come," etc.) there is nothing in Genesis to indicate such a usage.

Re:Wishful thinking. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40142617)

God used to pull the sun through the sky each day over this flat earth.
Now he just created a thing called gravity.
Much like gravity, that was blasphemous in it's day, evolution is blasphemous now.
Eventually Religion will accept that Evolution is a tool of god.
Eventually a pope will apologize Charles Darwin they way they apologized to Galileo, but it will take enough time that we might all have grown tentacles by then.

The more curious part for me is if the current resistance to evolution is going to take longer because of the new ability of like minded people to communicate and congregate on the internet, or shorter as increased communication allows people to remove doubt about these ideas. I guess only time will tell.

Re:Wishful thinking. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40142681)

Even if as dawkins ppoints out, science makes the probiblity of no god high enough that one can safely say there is no god?

Evolution works.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40142435)

Personally, I think that the process of Evolution is just as good a way for God to create us and everything else as any.

Saying that God must create living things one particular way ("poof") is just a tad presumptuous.

Re:Evolution works.... (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 2 years ago | (#40142565)

Most "religious scientists" that I've heard about believe that either 1) God set it in motion and then let it go or 2) God set it in motion and then subtly influenced everything thereafter. Very few of them take the Bible at its most literal - God created everything 6 thousand years ago, etc.

God knows better! (1)

snowraver1 (1052510) | about 2 years ago | (#40142437)

Meh, God just plaed all that there to test our faith... The denial will continue.

Re:God knows better! (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#40142537)

God does not lie. His writing staff may use metaphors, such as a "day" for the age leading up to a particular milestone in creation, but he doesn't put false fossils in the ground.

Re:God knows better! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40142675)

God does not lie. His writing staff may use metaphors, such as a "day" for the age leading up to a particular milestone in creation, but he doesn't put false fossils in the ground.

It's hard to lie if you don't exist.

Re:God knows better! (1)

jandrese (485) | about 2 years ago | (#40142741)

Unless you are a Bible literalist, in which case God does not use Metaphors and if you don't believe that the Earth was created in 7 days and is only 2000 years old and that all animals that exist today are descended from a single pair that went on a boat ride, then you are going to hell. I suspect that this crowd makes up a not-insubstantial portion of the Creationist crowd.

By the way, did you know that the Bible has no contradictions in it and every word is literally true? I had a roommate in college who was a literalist and this is what he fervently believed. There is a whole corpus of little explanations as to why everything that looks like a contradiction or a metaphor is in fact ground truth.

My faith beats your evidence. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40142455)

if all it took to make people accept evolution was a convincing case then this "debate" would have ended decades ago.

Good luck! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40142457)

Logic and faith don't really co-mingle well.

Re:Good luck! (4, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | about 2 years ago | (#40142599)

Logic and faith don't really co-mingle well.

Well that's logical, so I can't believe it.

..I don't think you understand (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40142459)

The majority of arguments against evolution are about faith. No amount of facts will convince a person with their eyes shut and fingers in their ears. They will keep believing in what they believe in despite the facts. That's kind of the definition of faith.

I doubt it (4, Insightful)

pegasustonans (589396) | about 2 years ago | (#40142463)

The debate over evolution should've been history a century ago.

When a segment of the population refuses to accept scientific evidence, how is more of such evidence going to convince them?

And that's why he's wrong (4, Insightful)

slimjim8094 (941042) | about 2 years ago | (#40142575)

The debate about evolution was history a century ago. I'm sure you've heard of the Scopes trial [wikipedia.org], but the public opinion shifted away from creationism towards science, and went even further with the national focus on and trust in science after Sputnik.

We've regressed. That's all there is to it.

Re:I doubt it (1, Insightful)

rubycodez (864176) | about 2 years ago | (#40142595)

science doesn't deal in Truth, and its viewpoints and theories change with time. As with any other human endeavor, science is fallible and uncertain. science evolves. science makes mistakes. science has scientists some of whom are driven by political or monetary agendas.

Re:I doubt it (1)

pegasustonans (589396) | about 2 years ago | (#40142755)

science doesn't deal in Truth, and its viewpoints and theories change with time. As with any other human endeavor, science is fallible and uncertain. science evolves. science makes mistakes. science has scientists some of whom are driven by political or monetary agendas.

You're absolutely right, but I'm not sure what that has to do with the current state of the evolution debate.

The process of science is a method adhered to by imperfect humans, and one should probe the basis of current science under the very principles of that method, but people who deny all scientific evidence in favor of 3,000 year old myths don't have anything to do with that.

No problems here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40142475)

Perfect science is in harmony with perfect religion. Problems arise when religious texts are misunderstood. For example, anyone that thinks the Earth was created in six 24-hour periods is simply wrong. Yes, there is a God and He created the earth. He created the evolutionary process, and He described that process in Genesis in, unfortunately for of us, very little detail. But evolution is actually described in Genesis - read it again if you need to. First, land and water, then lower life forms, plants, etc. Then aquatic life, then land animals, then humans.

You wish. (2, Insightful)

geminidomino (614729) | about 2 years ago | (#40142485)

Let's be honest here. Even if we got our hands on Rick Berman's time machine and collected video evidence of every stage of human evolution from single-celled sludge to the "Alien Nation Reject" John Crichton, you'd STILL have the noisy nutcases "debating" it, because some 400-year-old book says it was a magic man in the sky.


Re:You wish. (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 2 years ago | (#40142585)

FYI, that book is older than 400 years: Current scholarship places authorship of Genesis at somewhere around 500 BCE.

Your basic point is correct though: The final line of defence for a dumb idea is refusing to listen to any source of contrary evidence. That sometimes takes different forms like "All the sources are biased" or "This is a test of my faith", but it's the same basic statement of willful ignorance.

Re:You wish. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40142605)

400-year-old book? Is there a reason you expect the time machine to break down before you get back to the present?

It's never going to be enough (1)

kanweg (771128) | about 2 years ago | (#40142491)

If the massive load of evidence collected since Darwin wasn't enough (with ERVs being the clincher, see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TUxLR9hdorI [youtube.com]), it will never be enough because people just shut it out.

Religion is there because it makes you feel good (if you have the ability to fall for it). However baseless, that is a tremendously powerful force in a shitty world. So, as long as people don't want to have their illusion challenged, they'll oppose it with all the denial they can muster.

As some guy said once: You can have your own opinion, but you can't have your own facts

Debate... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40142495)

The debate won't disappear until Religion either disappear or correct itself. And I don't see that happen in the 15 to 30 years. I'm a Scandinavian living in a Southern American state, and kids are spoon fed the Bible from early age and not getting much chance of being a free thinker. A few seems to be able to break out of it, but just look at the election and see how much backwardness that is thrown at people, and quite a bit believes it.

I'm not against faith, but please don't let it hinder your or your kids mind.

Fatal flaw (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40142499)

I am not a religious person nor an evolution denier. I agree evolution happens and causes species to change over time. However, it cannot be the whole picture. The basic tenet behind evolution is that a mutation helps an organism survive better and thus is kept. How does this explain the reproductive system? Without pretty much every part of the male and female anatomy working perfectly, none of it would help an organism survive, and in fact some argument can be made that requiring a baby to be carried around and live birth to happen hurts survivability. The argument always goes along the lines of "well you're talking billions of years". So what, the length of time doesn't change the problem. Likewise I've heard descriptions of how eyes formed from light sensitive cells. If those light sensitive cells were not hooked to anything that caused the organism to survive better why would they be selected for?

Darwin was brilliant, evolution happens, but it is FAR from the whole picture.

Re:Fatal flaw (1)

JustShootMe (122551) | about 2 years ago | (#40142545)

I agree with your general premise but I don't think you quite understand how natural selection works. For example, an eye may have started (I'm not sure the exact story here) with a simple little light sensitive organ which allowed a little critter to find a plant that grew better in the sunlight than shade, for example. And that proves to be advantageous, so it's kept. And then, a mutation occurs and the little organ can sense colors. Oh, look, that's bright AND green, I think I'll eat that. And so on, and so on. Nothing appears fully formed.

Re:Fatal flaw (1)

smi.james.th (1706780) | about 2 years ago | (#40142607)

I agree with you. There is plenty of evidence to suggest that evolution was the mechanism by which our world developed, but by itself it isn't an engineer which can make design decisions. Whether you believe in a God is a personal matter but evidence for evolution isn't evidence against a God.

Re:Fatal flaw (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 2 years ago | (#40142703)

You're right. There is a scientific truth aspect to creationism that can be disproved and there is a spiritual side to creationism that is part of the human myth-making ethos. The two don't actually meet anywhere. It's how vs. why.

The only way there is a conflict is if you believe the Bible is a literal document, and if you believe it's a literal document you have a whole host of contradictions you have to contend with anyway.

Since literalists ignore these contradictions out of hand anyway, you're back to Leakey's comment. It doesn't seem he will be correct when you know that this group of people can ignore facts at will.

As Ripley said to Vasquez ... (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about 2 years ago | (#40142517)

... "I hope you're right. I really do." But we know how that worked out.

Leakey is being wildly optimistic. The evidence for evolution is already overwhelming (and no, "intelligent design" is not required.) There is a large and noisy group of people who have made it very plain that they will not accept this evidence. It's an ideological issue for them, not a scientific one. And they will continue to maintain this position in the face of any new evidence that is presented to them. There's no way to win them over with appeals to logic. The only solution, AFAICT, is to continue to shower them with the mockery they so richly deserve, and hope that they're driven back to the lunatic fringe where they belong.

Evolution is too broad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40142527)

The problem is that "evolution" isn't one clearly defined topic but a bunch of closely related ones. There will be unanswered questions no matter how much we uncover and there will be (and should be) skeptics asking what those missing bits mean.

Re:Evolution is too broad (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 2 years ago | (#40142705)

The problem is that "evolution" isn't one clearly defined topic but a bunch of closely related ones. There will be unanswered questions no matter how much we uncover and there will be (and should be) skeptics asking what those missing bits mean.

I agree 100%. The thing is the skeptics should understand that they have to provide falsifiable hypothesises, and that their model should explain the known evidence at least as well as the current theories. Personally I think that the theory of evolution by natural selection will be augmented rather than replaced. It is quite valid to ask why (for example) evolution seems to go fast at some times and then be followed by periods of stability, rather than at a steady state. To just say "it must be wrong cos the bible says so" is not a valid criticism tough.

No. No it won't. (4, Informative)

MyLongNickName (822545) | about 2 years ago | (#40142529)

I am a Christian. However, the overwhelming evidence is that the Earth is 4.6 Billion years old, life on Earth is Billions of years old and yes, my great^50000 grandfather was an ape. Yet, not matter what the evidence, there is a contigent who will ignore it. It is human nature to look at facts through the lens you wish to view it. One intelligent person I was disucssing fusion with denies that fusion was the power of the stars, saying instead that it is gravity that produces the energy of the Sun. I was dumbfounded. Even after asking why we see millions of stars with different colors and asked him how his model accounted for this, he could not answer. After asking why the Sun isn't shrinking rapidly as the equations would indicate they would have to to produce the amount of energy output of the Sun, he couldn't answer. Did his opinion change? Nope. Facts don't often change opinions.

So, no, new evidence won't change anything. From my perspective, the debate was over about 150 years ago. Now we just have yelling.

Re:No. No it won't. (2)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 2 years ago | (#40142723)

As a Christian, evolution should be freeing you up to ponder the spiritual meaning of creation. Again, healthy religion will not take bible writings literal (it does massive injustice to the document) and be considered with the "why" and not the "how."

Re:No. No it won't. (3, Insightful)

JustShootMe (122551) | about 2 years ago | (#40142731)

Technically, he is, to a degree, correct. The pressures at the center of the sun that cause initiation of fusion are caused by gravity. What we are seeing now is a balance between the outward pressures caused by fusion and the inward pressures caused by gravity. The reason supernovas are so violent is that the star runs out of fuel, the outward pressures get too high, and the whole thing just collapses in on itself very quickly.

That said, if he is denying that fusion is the process (or one of the major processes) that keeps the star from collapsing in on itself and creates the energy that causes the radiant heat we see, well, he's beyond hope.

Both sides are correct... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40142535)

The terms used in the religious books of ancient times were written for a simpler people... So the terms used were of course simplistic.

7 days? would people have understood eons or thousands of days/years or millions or even billions of years? no - so 7 days was good enough.

Created man from the earth (soil as in carbon - we are carbon based - so why not?) - created woman from a rib borrowed from Adam? - How about taking genetic material from adam to go from XY+a little leg off to the right of Y (think hermaphrodite) - to modify Adam to be XY and Eve to be XX - actually makes sense if you think of genetic material transfer instead of just a rib.

Anyway - I believe that both sides are true and neither side precludes the other. But that's just my opinion..

FTFY (1)

warrax_666 (144623) | about 2 years ago | (#40142695)

The terms used in the religious books of ancient times were written by a simpler people..

FTFY. No need to thank me.

Re:FTFY (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40142759)

Both are correct... By and For - but giving the benefit of the doubt that the words or stories were handed down by a higher intelligence leads towards the "for" interpretation...

No thanks given either way...

Let's see .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40142557)


Cue Einstein quote on the infinity of human stupidity ....

DNA has already shut down any reasonable debate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40142567)

DNA evidence of related genetic lines and ancestral splits that independently verify the fossil record is all that is needed. A far greater answer to any criticisms than whatever further fossil gaps may be filled in.

Remotely Plausible Origin of Life Scenario (1)

geoffrobinson (109879) | about 2 years ago | (#40142591)

Once there is a remotely plausible naturalistic Origin of Life scenario that actually has details and lots of steps that can be shown to be true, then the tide would turn.

If you are a naturalist, I wouldn't hold my breath waiting.

Of course it won't be history (4, Insightful)

DrXym (126579) | about 2 years ago | (#40142619)

People debating evolution are not rational people. If over 100 years of overwhelming evidence from multiple strands is not enough to convince these people then what difference will a few more make? The first rule of the denialist is to ignore or handwave away the evidence no matter how comprehensive it may be. Ignore it, cherry pick it, nit pick it, place undue weight on dubious evidence, emphasise the gaps in knowledge or minor discrepancies, employ copious amounts of wishful thinking and pseudoscience to pretend it doesn't matter, quote mine your opponents, and generally do everything to avoid confronting it at all. And above all else, never advance another explanation which is in any way reasonable or testable.

Creationists are old hands at doing all of the above but the technique is common to denialists of all shades - moon hoaxers, 9/11 truthers, anti-vaxxers, global warming deniers. The same tactics every time.

Thoughts as a former Creationist. (5, Interesting)

DiscountBorg(TM) (1262102) | about 2 years ago | (#40142631)

Growing up very religious in a small town, I really thought that I knew what evolution was, and why it was wrong. It seemed so silly to me that 'scientists' could believe in this conjecture,er 'theory' full of 'missing links'. Clearly it was a conspiracy by godless atheists (where I now seem to comfortably fit in) to drown out the 'Truth'.

Then at age 18 I got the internet and began to discover that I never, in fact, had ever been taught what Evolution really was. I had been taught a fantasy, an imaginary concoction that nobody actually believed in. As we all have seen, Creationists create a straw man simplification of evolutionary theory and then attack the straw man, rather than attacking the real thing.

So I set out with my newly acquired knowledge. Surely, I though, now that I know that we've only been taught a mistaken notion of what evolutionary theory is, I can convince some people. Boy oh boy was I ever wrong. The first responses I got was, quite literally, "how dare you accuse our religion of LYING to us. They wouldn't lie to us". And so forth. I learned a lot about logical fallacies. The straw man. The fallacious appeal to false authority (look, this 'scientist' says evolution is fake, therefore it is). The argument from ridicule ("Man was made from monkeys, what kind of nitwit believes that"). It was a fascinating and revealing time in my life, and the clear intellectual dishonesty I saw compelled me to change my life. Within a couple years I went from being a homophobic creationist to going out to queer parties, not because I was gay, but because I discovered many of my friends were queer, and hadn't told me for obvious reasons.

I am reminded of this Salon article talking about how social conservatives basically assign a lot of emotion and identity to their belief. They think it is rude if others challenge their beliefs, yet they desire to push their beliefs on everyone else. http://www.salon.com/2012/02/24/the_ugly_delusions_of_the_educated_conservative/ [salon.com]

In the end, you cannot convince people who do not want to challenge their presuppositions and assertions. What will happen in the future, is that we will continue to move on and embrace exciting new advances, technologies, medicines that stem from biology, while those who do not understand it will simply be left behind.

Why does this happen? We will never know. (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 2 years ago | (#40142639)

Why does this happen? We will never know. Science cannot answer that question. Science can answer how it happens and what happens, but as for why, other than the mechanism involved, which is really the how, that answer is outside the realm of science and is left to philosophers and theologians. That it happens is a given. How it happens will be come more and more clear as time goes on. Why it happens. Nobody knows and it is unprovable regardless of one's position.

You guys don't understand (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40142653)

This is all God's will. He is so caring that he even made sure all the future paleoanthropologist would have something do. So he took the time to create and bury old stuff everywhere. Of course there's no mention of this anywhere because that would be handing out the location of the treasure in a treasure hunt.

There you have it, no need for logic when you have faith :)

Past history suggests it will still take a while (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40142677)

It will be a long process, as it was for other theories [wikipedia.org]. The Earth moves, life moves. It's no big thing from a scientific point of view. Ideas can change. It's different when people invest heavily in a simple and static model and build their whole religion around it. In those circumstances it takes especially long for people to accept the profound surprises that the universe throws at us. Oh, you thought all life was created at about the same time in its present form, because that's what (your literal interpretation of) a religious book says? Surprise!

If I was religious, I'd say it's God using the ample surprises in His creation (the ones that seemingly defy the literal doctrine of the day) to remind us to be humble about our interpretations rather than thinking we're infallible.

Clearly someone hasn't read Douglas Adams (1)

jonwil (467024) | about 2 years ago | (#40142683)

Everyone knows the so-called "Fossils" are actually fakes put in by the creator(s) of Earth when the planet was made.

My .02 (1)

DaMattster (977781) | about 2 years ago | (#40142693)

The debate of evolutionism vs. creationism will probably never end due, in a large part, to the human adversity to change. Humans have a tendency to hold on to what is familiar or what they think they can grasp and understand. Humans are a bit change adverse. The very religious and the fundamentalists will never disavow the bible, torah, koran, etc. As others have noted, new evidence will change nothing. In the end, those that produce the new evidence will be lambasted by the creationists. This is an argument that will probably never disappear, as much as we wish it would.

One day I'll be a real boy! (1)

xdor (1218206) | about 2 years ago | (#40142711)

I have all the evidence you need: just check with me later. Like next month, or the month after...

Ha ha ha ha (1)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about 2 years ago | (#40142721)

This must have been written by someone who is surrounded by like minded people and out of touch with Joe Sixpack. People watch ghost hunting shows thinking that finally this one will have some solid evidence. Gamblers laugh in the face of math and talk about patterns with zero statistical backing (I usually win on rainy days).

We have spent a long time evolving into superstitious creatures so anyone who genuinely believes in evolution should understand that unless, in the next 15 to 30 years, there is massive selective pressure against superstitious people that we will be lucky to be much more than a step or two forward. Maybe education might evolve into something better but keep in mind it is the same dolts shaping education that watch the ghost shows.

Oh God (1)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | about 2 years ago | (#40142735)

The bible was written by the men with a (limited) understanding of the known science 2000 years ago. If someone saw dinosaur bones it was a demon, and demon's are from Hell, and the bible describes demons from hell for bones of creatures not understood to have come from a lineage of millions of years of evolution that eventually became a mouse, deer or rabbit.

I think the biggest arrogance of men is in assuming they are worthy and clairvoyant enough that they could fully interpret and understand the voice of God to accurately describe it in written word. I believe that if God could actually talk to a person then I would imagine the event to be so incredibly awesome and overwhelming that our feeble brains could only absorb and understand a small fraction of his/her/it's words. The sooner people accept that the bible could never be a direct, accurate and literal transcription of God's word, and is only some feeble account of some schmuck's encounter with some heavenly force, then we could end these "debates". The bible is a moral compass, at best, and should not be interpreted as a scientific account of the history of mankind.

I like to think God made us in a way we could discover, rationalize and understand the natural world instead of holding a book in front of our faces and regurgitating verbatim the scientific ignorance from 2000 years ago.

Dismissing science and only accepting the "Written Word" as truth is an insult to the idea that God gave us a brain and didn't just make us a race of mindless zombies.

Good Omens (2)

oneiros27 (46144) | about 2 years ago | (#40142767)

Or, Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman were right, and it's just a sign that God has a sense of humor:

Current theories on the creation of the Universe state that, if it was created at all and didn't just start, as it were, unofficially, it came into being between ten and twenty thousand million years ago. By the same token the earth itself is generally supposed to be about four and a half thousand million years old.

These dates are incorrect.

Medieval Jewish scholars put the date of the Creation at 3760 B.C. Greek Orthodox theologians put Creation as far back as 5508 B.C.

These suggestions are also incorrect.

Archbishop James Usher (1580-1656) published Annales Veteris et Novi Testamenti in 1654, which suggested that the Heaven and the Earth were created in 4004 B.C. One of his aides took the calculation further, and was able to announce triumphantly that the Earth was created on Sunday the 21st of October, 4004 B.C., at exactly 9:00 A.M., because God liked to get work done early in the morning while he was feeling fresh.

This too was incorrect. By almost a quarter of an hour.

The whole business with the fossilized dinosaur skeletons was a joke the paleontologists haven't seen yet.

The whole first chapter* of Good Omens is on the Harper Collins website: http://www.harpercollins.com/features/pratchettBooks/excerpt.aspx?isbn=9780060853969 [harpercollins.com]

* I *think* that it's the intro + first chapter, as I believe the first chapter started 'It wasn't a dark and stormy night.'

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