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Darwin Day Celebration

By FreeNSK in Science
Mon Feb 14, 2005 at 03:10:17 AM EST
Tags: Science (all tags)
Science

A group of scientists started the non-profit Darwin Day Celebration seeking to make February 12th, the birthday of Charles Darwin, an international celebration of science, verifiable knowledge, reason and humanity. They are working on to organize massive celebrations during the "big year" of 2009, when the Darwin legacy will be 200 years old, but in the meantime they have a directory of events you can attend on or around February 12th every year, and they can register your own event, too. Considering the recent intelligent design trends, will you celebrate Darwin and Evolution?


12 February 2005: On this day 196 years ago a great scientist was born: Charles Darwin!

Darwin made a very important contribution to science by discovering the process of evolution and developing the theory of natural selection, which he described in his famous book The Origin of Species.

A short biography of Charles Darwin:

Charles Darwin was born on 12 February 1809 in Shrewsbury, England. He enrolled to the University of Edinburgh at the age of 16 to study medicine.

Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, was the centre of the Scottish Enlightenment during the mid-1700s, and was the residence of many scientists and philosophers, including the very important David Hume. While at Edinburgh, Darwin developed a very active interest in the natural world and started learning more from his informal activities than the classroom.

He did not complete his medicine studies and at the age of 19 he enrolled to Christ's College (founded in 1505) of the University of Cambridge to become a clergyman in the Anglican Church. Darwin completed his degree in 1831 and went on a 5-year voyage on the HMS Beagle as an unpaid naturalist (he later described his experiences in his book The Voyage of the Beagle).

After he returned to England, which in the mean time had been transformed by the Industrial Revolution, he moved to London and became a member of the Geological Society in 1838. A year later, in 1839, he married Emma Wedghood and had 10 children with her.

Charles Darwin died at the age of 73 in 1882.

The Darwin Day Celebration:

Lest we forget the importance of Darwin and evolution, the nonprofit charitable corporation Darwin Day Celebration encourages everyone to hold events and celebrate science and humanity on or around 12 February every year.

The history of the Darwin Day Celebration (DDC) started when Dr. Robert (Bob) Stephens initiated an effort on 22 April 1995 to celebrate Science in general and Darwin's discoveries in particular, first sponsored by a Stanford student group. His event was successful and he decided to continue, giving birth to DDC. The group hopes to make 12 February an "International day to recognize Verifiable Scientific Knowledge" after the Grand Bicentennial Celebration of Science and Humanity they plan to organise on 12 February 2009, the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his insightful book.

The mission of the DDC organisation, in their own words, is to "promote public education about science and in addition to encourage the celebration of Science and Humanity throughout the global community including the general public, private and public institutions, science professionals, science educators at all levels, libraries, museums, the print and electronic media, and science enthusiasts everywhere". DDC also states that "Science is our most reliable knowledge system".

DDC is governed by a Board of Directors which includes Robert J. Stephens, Ph.D. (Chair), Arthur M. Jackson (Vice Chair), Benjamin Wade (CFO), Mary White, Ph.D. (Secretary). There is also a scientific Advisory Board which provides detailed assistance and answers to questions of scientific importance.

The text of this article is (C) Copyright 2005 by Nikolaos S. Karastathis. You are free to republish the whole text under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Licence, as long as this copyright notice and the link to its original location remain intact: http://portal.wikinerds.org/darwin-day-2005

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Poll
What do you think of Evolution?
o Evolution is the only theory that can explain life 18%
o Evolution is the best theory we have, but someday we may develop a better theory 64%
o The theory of Evolution has serious problems and a replacement is needed 4%
o Sorry, I believe in intelligent design 11%

Votes: 101
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Darwin Day Celebration
o Charles Darwin
o events
o intelligen t design
o Charles Darwin [2]
o evolution
o natural selection
o The Origin of Species
o Shrewsbury
o England
o University of Edinburgh
o medicine
o Edinburgh
o Scotland
o Scottish Enlightenment
o scientists
o philosophe rs
o David Hume
o natural world
o informal activities
o Christ's College
o University of Cambridge
o Anglican Church
o voyage
o HMS Beagle
o The Voyage of the Beagle
o Industrial Revolution
o London
o Geological Society
o Emma Wedghood
o children
o Lest
o history
o Stanford
o mission
o Board of Directors
o Advisory Board
o Nikolaos S. Karastathis
o Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Licence
o http://por tal.wikinerds.org/darwin-day-2005
o Darwin Day Celebration homepage
o BBC article
o Also by FreeNSK


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Darwin Day Celebration | 128 comments (93 topical, 35 editorial, 0 hidden)
Further proof that atheism and scientism (2.00 / 19) (#3)
by Unquestionably Irreverent on Sat Feb 12, 2005 at 03:24:19 PM EST

are hardcore religions on par with Christianity and Islam.

Tell you what... (2.88 / 9) (#39)
by Pxtl on Sun Feb 13, 2005 at 05:26:06 PM EST

I'll give up all of the technological devices I own that is based on Christianity if you give up all the technology you own that is based on science.  Then we can discuss which is a religion and which is reality.

[ Parent ]
Silly goose. (none / 1) (#46)
by Polverone on Sun Feb 13, 2005 at 10:11:59 PM EST

The difference between science and scientism is akin to the difference between medicine and transhumanism. Technology isn't based on scientism. A Christian's retort "I'll give up social conventions derived from physics if you'll give up social conventions derived from Christianity" is about as meaningful as your challenge.
--
It's not a just, good idea; it's the law.
[ Parent ]
So.... (none / 0) (#48)
by APL on Mon Feb 14, 2005 at 12:19:44 AM EST

Modern Christmas is was based not only on Christian mythology, but also on the pagan solstice celebration. Knowledge of the solstice is based on observational sciences.

I mention this because both people in your hypothetical conversation would be giving up Christmas.

Also, do driving laws constitute "social conventions"?

[ Parent ]
observational sciences? (none / 1) (#51)
by Polverone on Mon Feb 14, 2005 at 02:06:44 AM EST

Christmas is based on physics by way of astronomy and the solstice the same way that a man falling on his head and dying is based on physics. That is, not at all. Physics is a discipline. People looked at the night sky and fell on their heads and died for millenia before the existence of physics or even science itself. Physics can provide some explanation for observed phenomena, but there's no reason to believe that ancient stargazers conceived of their activity or observations in terms of physics. Sometimes people use "physics" as shorthand for "the laws and theories of physics," as in "physics decrees that planets will continue to orbit the sun." Of course the planets orbited for billions of years before people came along and had developed enough physics to say why the planets should do as they do.

My point was twofold: first, scientism isn't science. Second, someone who tries to make his -ism "win" by showing how important it is will have a very hard time going up against Christianity, which has affected Western thought, culture, and society so deeply that it's impossible to get away from it. A third, implicit point was that this sort of "contest" is ridiculous. Religion is worthless because it can't make shiny new gadgets just like physics is worthless because it can't comfort you in times of loss.

The funny thing is that sometimes people do want to turn science into a religion. They give it feast days like "Darwin Day," gather with like-minded people to share fellowship and reinforce their faith, then go out and proselytize to the unconverted. Some will reject or dismiss whatever their belief system doesn't handle well as predictably as any Bible-thumper.

"Why are some people evil? Why must we suffer?"

"Oh, there's no real evil or significance, it's all genes and environment, and deep down, physics. We're robots made of meat. I'd tell you more but as a rational scientician I've deliberately stripped my life and vocabulary of meaning."

Scientism is not only religious, it's hollow, dry, and remarkably inept.

Can you imagine people building preachy celebrations around Maxwell's equations or Dalton's atomic theory? Of course not. Darwin's the patron saint because this holiday isn't about promoting science, it's about promoting scientism over rival religions. Modern Christianity gets along with science well enough that there's only one area where the scienticians can provoke any response, and that's evolutionary biology. If/when Protestants stop reading the Bible so literally and accept evolutionary biology, the only attraction the scienticians will have left to offer is "we can make you completely, instead of partially, blind to meaning and purpose in everything."
--
It's not a just, good idea; it's the law.
[ Parent ]

False comparison (none / 0) (#64)
by NoBeardPete on Mon Feb 14, 2005 at 11:09:33 AM EST

There are people who use non-religious, rational techniques to think about morality and meaning. They're usually not the physicists, but the philosophers. There are a lot of them, and many of them have good stuff to say. I'm no expert, but you've apparently never even heard of the field, so let me recommend Russel and Rawls. I think you'll find they can talk about morality and meaning without being religious.

As far as your assertion that have a "feast day" makes "scientism" a religion, come on. Try to think critically here. There are many celebrations, many feasts, that are not religious in nature. I bet you could think of half a dozen within a minute or two if you wanted. If you're having trouble, loot at my other comment in this thread.


Arrr, it be the infamous pirate, No Beard Pete!
[ Parent ]

This is not the work of philosophers. (none / 0) (#88)
by Polverone on Mon Feb 14, 2005 at 04:31:41 PM EST

The Darwin Day website says
Celebrations are an important part of every culture. They provide a tradition and a common bond to be shared among those who make up their culture, permitting them to experience a meaningful connection to one another and to the principles to which they subscribe. Unfortunately, most celebrations are based on ancient traditions that are relevant to only a specific country or culture, and they have often been, and continue to be, the source of serious conflicts.

At this juncture in history, the world has become so small and interdependent that we need a Global Celebration to promote a common bond between all people. The Darwin Day Celebration was founded on the premise that science, like music, is an international language that speaks to all people in very similar ways. While music is both intellectual and entertaining, science is our most reliable knowledge system, and it has been and continues to be acquired through human curiosity and ingenuity. Moreover, evolution, introduced by Charles Darwin, has become the central organizing principle for all basic scientific research; particularly in biology but also in physics and cosmology. In addition, Darwin himself has become an internationally acclaimed figure, whose influence on progressive modern thought continues to be both profound and pervasive.

I think they're overselling Darwin quite a bit, and either being disingenuous or blind about the universality and potential for intercultural bonding of their celebration. The only way this celebration can be universal is if their ideas are spread to, and embraced by, most of the world's population. Evolution certainly is not central to most scientific research. Just look at textbooks, references, or current papers in any field outside biology and see how much page-space evolution gets.

However, it is true that this alone isn't evidence of religiosity. Look at the Events link on the Darwin Day page. The activities look, walk, and quack like proselytization. Here's some of the information they'd like shared with schools on Darwin Day:

Perhaps the clearest way to look at all human knowledge today is to think of it as a continuum, with basic scientific knowledge at the left and pure imagination at the right. Basic scientific knowledge is our most reliable and fundamental knowledge about how the natural world and universe works, and it has been obtained through the rigorous demands of the scientific method. In other words, basic scientific knowledge informs us how the natural world and universe function. Following basic science on the continuum of knowledge is applied science. As soon as we introduce the idea of putting science to work for us, we introduce the element of subjectivity. It is often difficult to know if the application to which we are putting the scientific knowledge will, in the long run, be beneficial or detrimental to our world and we should take this into consideration. As we continue to move along this continuum of knowledge, additional subjectivity creeps into our decision-making process and we become more uncertain of the wisdom of making decisions. We should always be cognizant of the fact that we may need to reverse some of our decisions to prevent irreversible damage to our planet. At some point along this continuum of knowledge we leave scientific knowledge behind and enter into the realm of intuition or educated guessing and finally into pure guessing and pure imagination about what we may think of as `knowledge.' To make decisions using this information as our basis of action is very questionable and should be avoided.

So, science plus a light sprinkling of environmentalism is all that students should trust or embrace. Why do students need to be told this? They already learn about the scientific method and study scientific discoveries in school. They "need" additional instruction because the desired attitudes are part of a faith that mere knowledge of science can't impart. In their system as explained above, pure science reigns on top, then there's applied science, finally there's imagination, guessing, and all that other humanities and religion garbage sitting in a heap. What an empty creed. This is what I denounce when I explain my aversion to scientism.
--
It's not a just, good idea; it's the law.
[ Parent ]

Scientism (none / 0) (#66)
by Isenphon on Mon Feb 14, 2005 at 11:37:54 AM EST

imho, "Scientism" primarily exists as a reaction the attack against scientific truths. If, as you say, the Christian Right took their heads out of the sand on the issue of evolution, then Scientism-as-advocacy would probably wash away. Rabid atheists are fuelled by the frustration of watching people who deliberately cover their eyes and blot their ears from obvious truths and demand that other people's children be taught to do the same. There's nothing wrong with faith - I've spent my share of time in the Church (although I consider myself more Agnostic). The problem is when faith gets in the way of convincing evidence. Evolution and natural selection exist, just as we exist - there is too much evidence for any other theory to be valid. The question remaining is how does this affect God's work? Guided evolution? Or did He fake it all? Even if God faked evolution and created the universe recently - this would show that God respects the concept of evolution, because He made the all life on Earth in a pantomime of its existence, as well as providing geological and fossil evidence of billions of years of history. Either way, natural selection and mutation continues from the date of Creation. At any rate, Galileo would be a better icon for "scientism" - Darwin was humble about his theories, and allowed his editor to print disclaimers in his material. Galileo was belligerent - the Church tried to work with him, to have his material published within the Church and let them determine what to do about heliocentricity and the sudden unimportance of Earth. Instead, he made a stink, and so the Church bitchslapped him.

[ Parent ]
Sorry, should have made that clear. (none / 0) (#73)
by APL on Mon Feb 14, 2005 at 02:02:57 PM EST

I was choosing to include Astronomy under physics.<br<br> That might be a bit of a stretch, I'll admit. But less of a stretch than demanding a comparison to physics in a discussion about a biologist.

[ Parent ]
OK. (none / 0) (#116)
by bjlhct on Tue Feb 15, 2005 at 11:17:03 PM EST

I'll give up all the social conventions derived originally from Christianity if you give up all the social conventions derived originally from Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, naturalist religions, and/or pagan religions.

*
[kur0(or)5hin http://www.kuro5hin.org/intelligence] - drowning your sorrows in intellectualism
[ Parent ]
fine (none / 1) (#53)
by gdanjo on Mon Feb 14, 2005 at 02:19:25 AM EST

I'll give up all morality based on science (ie: none) if you give up all morality based on Christianity. See who ends up with Bubba first.

Dan ...
"Death - oh! fair and `guiling copesmate Death!
Be not a malais'd beggar; claim this bloody jester!"
-ToT
[ Parent ]

errr.... (none / 0) (#61)
by anthroporraistes on Mon Feb 14, 2005 at 10:30:39 AM EST

Christian morality?

Sorry kiddo, I'm violently anti-christian (things have to balance out until W is gone), and I still have a strong moral code based on human merit and worth, and societal wellbeing.  

I figure my moral system is better than any one based on christian metaphyisics, since I'm being good by CHOICE, your being good some some asshole deadbeat dad of a god doesn't punish you.  

---
biology is destiny
[ Parent ]

Metamorality (none / 1) (#65)
by basj on Mon Feb 14, 2005 at 11:30:54 AM EST

"my moral system is better"

Made me smile.

Do you perhaps want to discuss the meta-morality of your morals? I'm kind of interrested in the viability (and value) of 'bootstrapping' a moral system: regard the moral system as 'good' on the basis of the system itself.

Christianity doesn't do this as far as I know. But ulitarianism and a pure selfish morality do bootstrap themselves or so it seems. Which hints at their circular nature perhaps.
--
Complete the Three Year Plan in five years!
[ Parent ]

It is hard to put it into philosophical terms (none / 0) (#77)
by anthroporraistes on Mon Feb 14, 2005 at 02:23:26 PM EST

, but I figure that morality is intrinsic to humanity at some innate level, and that religion or a axiomatic philosophical system is superfluous, and not really needed. Part of it, I suspect, is that morality is memetic, and instrinsic to society. Also to some extent genetic. Pretty much I see morality as fundamentally personal, your moral/ethical system is different than mine, but they must still interplay. Also, you moral system is ultimately geared toward self-interest, no matter what you say, you have morals so you can sucessfully interact in society, so society remains healthy, so your offspring/legacy will remain intact. This allows a certain amount of wiggle room. There also was a theory basically stating that morality is how we make people trust us, while still allowing us to screw them over. Morality would equal face then.

---
biology is destiny
[ Parent ]
no memetics please (none / 0) (#90)
by basj on Mon Feb 14, 2005 at 06:35:23 PM EST

This...

I suspect, is that morality is memetic

...does not rhyme with...

Pretty much I see morality as fundamentally personal

... in as far as I understand this 'memetics' thing.

But I think you are failing to answer my original question here. I'm not really interested in 'your' or 'my' morality per se or where this morality is coming from. Instead I'm interested in analysing the logical structure of a system of 'value attribution' to certain 'states of affairs'.

This is relevant because, perhaps, as you say, people do have morals geared to self-interest, but does that imply their 'meta-morality' necessarily approves of those morals? Can I, for instance, believe it is wrong that I -- fundamentally -- have morals only for my own selfish gain?
--
Complete the Three Year Plan in five years!
[ Parent ]

Sorry... (none / 0) (#94)
by anthroporraistes on Tue Feb 15, 2005 at 12:19:20 AM EST

Wasn't fully grokking the term "meta-morality".  

At some level I really have a hard time with the concept, wishing to religate it to "what ever works".  But that, I fear, is begging the question of "define works".  

Metamorally I would say that which works would maximise the happiness of both the individual and society. Pure self-interest obviously doens't fulfill this completely, but with social constraints it might, which then leads us to answer the question of the existance of these constraints.  Which, I fear is a meaningless question.  This is why people have been arguing this forever.  

Some folk would just call the whole mess trancendental, and out of our epistemic bounds.  Sometimes I feel like agreeing.

Sorry, incoherence.  I'm trying to teach myself Wittgenstein and Heidegger, and it's valentines day, meaning my brain is slowly turning to jello.

---
biology is destiny
[ Parent ]

I'm being good because... (none / 0) (#75)
by APL on Mon Feb 14, 2005 at 02:10:59 PM EST

Personaly, I'm being good because I want to stay on Santa's "Nice" list.

[ Parent ]
huh? (none / 0) (#91)
by gdanjo on Mon Feb 14, 2005 at 10:38:26 PM EST

Sorry kiddo, I'm violently anti-christian (things have to balance out until W is gone),
And it's a mighty fine job you're doing. Hang in there buddy, the world depends on ya!

and I still have a strong moral code based on human merit and worth, and societal wellbeing.
I'm not saying you're immoral - my point is simply that Christian morals are encoded in Western laws, whether you like it or not. "Giving up" these morals is as ludicrous a suggestion as "giving up" the fruits of science.

since I'm being good by CHOICE
Uhh, you do realise that it is religion that defends free will and science that attacks it, no? Oh, the irony is de-creasing!

Dan ...
"Death - oh! fair and `guiling copesmate Death!
Be not a malais'd beggar; claim this bloody jester!"
-ToT
[ Parent ]

What? (none / 0) (#108)
by JohnnyCannuk on Tue Feb 15, 2005 at 01:46:11 PM EST

Uhh, you do realise that it is religion that defends free will and science that attacks it, no? Oh, the irony is de-creasing

Care to expand on that one? I'd really love to hear how you rationalize THAT statment..

Christianity has defended the free will of millions of Pagans, Jews, Muslims to choose to NOT be Christians...oh wait, no they didn't they killed them all.

BTW, you are aware that your idea of 'Free Will' is a vain attempt by Christianity to explain away why an omnimpotent God would allow evil in the world, because if it couldn't do this, the basis of the religion would crumble...ironic, no, you quoting intellectual dishonesty used to cover-up and rationalize a fundemental flaw in a religion as reason to not trust science.


We have just religion enough to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another - Jonathan Swift
[ Parent ]

huh? (none / 0) (#113)
by gdanjo on Tue Feb 15, 2005 at 08:38:04 PM EST

Care to expand on that one? I'd really love to hear how you rationalize THAT statment..
The claim by physicists that at sufficiently large scales the universe is deterministic is fundamentally incompatible with free will.

Christianity has defended the free will of millions of Pagans, Jews, Muslims to choose to NOT be Christians...oh wait, no they didn't they killed them all.
Oh, pish-posh. Stop turning this into a soapbox. I don't give a fuck what men do in the name of religion - I'm interested in the religion itself.

BTW, you are aware that your idea of 'Free Will' is a vain attempt by Christianity to explain away why an omnimpotent God would allow evil in the world
Yeah? No shit. Now let's hear you refute it.

because if it couldn't do this, the basis of the religion would crumble...
What basis? A "scientific" basis? Religion is based on faith, not rationality. Ergo, religious dogma does not "crumble" like scientific theories do.

ironic, no, you quoting intellectual dishonesty used to cover-up and rationalize a fundemental flaw in a religion as reason to not trust science.
Not only do you know nothing whatsoever about religion, but you also know nothing whatsoever about science. Here's a clue: if we "trust" science without reason to - if we stop questioning the reasons that science is fundamentally "good" - then it may as well be religious dogma.

Go away.

Dan ...
"Death - oh! fair and `guiling copesmate Death!
Be not a malais'd beggar; claim this bloody jester!"
-ToT
[ Parent ]

My My... (none / 1) (#122)
by JohnnyCannuk on Wed Feb 16, 2005 at 04:54:32 PM EST

The claim by physicists that at sufficiently large scales the universe is deterministic is fundamentally incompatible with free will.

Interesting. Which physicists would this be? Which theory in physics states this? Newtonian Physics? Relativity? String or M theory?

Oh, pish-posh. Stop turning this into a soapbox. I don't give a fuck what men do in the name of religion - I'm interested in the religion itself.

Really? So if we all have free will, as granted by God (I assume) why is it so many Christians, througout their history, do not seem willing to respect it? Are you aware that free will was not doctorine of Christianity until the 13th century? Just checking.

My point in this post, and in all the others we've tangled in, is that morality is a natural, biological function that serves to help propogate the species. It is not given down from on high by God. People were moral before Christianity came around and lots of people that do not beleive in either God or Jesus are moral people.

"Science" says nothing about free will. We may or may not have it. But you insisted in you grandparent post that science was against free will and that Christianity was for it, implying Christianity was better. When I pointed out that in the past Christianity has not been about free will, you told me to "Go away". Isn't that a bit hypocritical?

Our laws are not based on 'Christian' morality, they are based on morality period. They are based on consensus and the philosophy of the ancient Greeks and Romans. In many ways, they are diametrically opposed to Christianity.

Oh and I do know a bit about science. Science is about constantly questioning and actually finding evidnce and proof. If contrary evidence is presented, then science adjusts. Christianity is quite the opposite (to be fair, almost all theistic religions are). We are to believe in a God with no evidence. We are to believe in a person named Jesus, but with no evidence that this person ever existed. We are to believe that the earth was created in 6 days, but with no evidence. I can show evidence of evolution and of the biological basis for morality. But no, that means I'm on a soap box so go away.

Philosophy is questions that may never be answered. Religion is answers that may never be questioned

If you'd care to debate either religion or science, I'm quite prepared to rationally defend my position with evidence and logic. Are you?

No I guess not, since, as you say, religon is not about being rational.


We have just religion enough to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another - Jonathan Swift
[ Parent ]

Predestination (none / 0) (#128)
by werebear on Sun Mar 13, 2005 at 04:09:23 PM EST

Not the best example to use I suspect - the Calvinist christian doctrine of Predestination was fairly popular a few hundred years ago and quite unequivocally deterministic.

Hogg's 'Confessions of a Justified Sinner' is an interesting read covering the more extreme interpretations of predestination. A rather fanatical young man decides that because entry to heaven is fore-ordained and because he is obviously of the righteous, he can therefore murder anyone he wants. Hilarity ensures.

Science has room for non-deterministic approaches as well of course. Chaos/catastrophe theory, irrationanality, quantum/Heisenburg uncertainty ..... remember kids, if that nice Mr. Schrodingers cat is neither alive nor dead it is just possible we could be dealing with an undead moggy. Yikes.

[ Parent ]

so nothing (none / 0) (#79)
by mpalczew on Mon Feb 14, 2005 at 02:27:16 PM EST

> I'll give up all morality based on science (ie: none) if you give up all morality based on Christianity

Done, now for the other deal.
You know morality can exist without religion.  It's called philosphy.
-- Death to all Fanatics!
[ Parent ]

You know (none / 0) (#92)
by gdanjo on Mon Feb 14, 2005 at 10:40:32 PM EST

invention can exist without science too. It's called "doing stuff."

However, science makes invention more efficient - similarly, religion makes morality easier to understand, and therefore more likely to be implemented.

Dan ...
"Death - oh! fair and `guiling copesmate Death!
Be not a malais'd beggar; claim this bloody jester!"
-ToT
[ Parent ]

I'm not sure what point you are trying to make (3.00 / 2) (#104)
by mpalczew on Tue Feb 15, 2005 at 12:51:51 PM EST

> similarly, religion makes morality easier to understand,

in what way?  "x is moral or amoral because some big guy in the sky says so." is not understanding. Religion simply allows some people to see a reason for morality without undertanding, but rather morality by authority.

> invention can exist without science too.
Here's the difference between religion and science.  Science requires no belief.  If you can proove it it's real.  If you can disproove it it's not real.  If you most of your evidence points to it, it's most likely real.  There is no pulling something out of your ass to suit someones agenda.   Which is what religion is all about.
-- Death to all Fanatics!
[ Parent ]

yep (none / 0) (#114)
by gdanjo on Tue Feb 15, 2005 at 08:55:46 PM EST

> similarly, religion makes morality easier to understand,

in what way? "x is moral or amoral because some big guy in the sky says so." is not understanding. Religion simply allows some people to see a reason for morality without undertanding, but rather morality by authority.

Bingo. Morality by authority is indeed far more successful in eliciting behaviour from people. Otherwise we would be explaining to our children the basis of rational discourse to stop them from stabbing little johnny in the abdomen. Once this morality is ingrained, then the child may learn that there are other reasons not to stab johnny other than just the Big Man in the sky.

It's all about which strategy is more successful, and science's strategy of teaching morality is woefull - it's killing a fly with a 20megaton bomb.

Here's the difference between religion and science. Science requires no belief. If you can proove it it's real. If you can disproove it it's not real. If you most of your evidence points to it, it's most likely real. There is no pulling something out of your ass to suit someones agenda. Which is what religion is all about.
Here's the difference between science and religion. Religion requires belief. If you can believe, it's real. If you feel that God makes you a better person, then you will be a better person through your belief in God. There is no requirement of a formation of a theory of self or an understanding of neurological mechanics to rationalise the seemingly irrational behaviour of humans, like love and compassion. Which is what science is all about.

And your point was ... ?

Dan ...
"Death - oh! fair and `guiling copesmate Death!
Be not a malais'd beggar; claim this bloody jester!"
-ToT
[ Parent ]

Blind obedience (none / 0) (#126)
by mettaur on Sun Feb 20, 2005 at 03:04:45 AM EST

is easier to explain, but has nothing to do with understanding.

You fail it.
--
[Applying business theory to trolling]
[ Parent ]
Ok (none / 0) (#107)
by JohnnyCannuk on Tue Feb 15, 2005 at 01:34:06 PM EST

How about this.

It appears that the basis of 'morality' is evolutionary in nature and is part of the mechanism to sucessfully propogate the species and our genes, as explained by science.

What?

Oh, you meant 'morality' as in subjugating women, enslaving minorities, opposing rational thought and killing most everyone that didn't agree with you for the past 2 millenia.

Sorry, we seem to be confused on the meaning of morality...


We have just religion enough to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another - Jonathan Swift
[ Parent ]

huh? (none / 0) (#115)
by gdanjo on Tue Feb 15, 2005 at 10:33:54 PM EST

It appears that the basis of 'morality' is evolutionary in nature
Really? Everything on this fucking planet is "evolutionary in nature" - otherwise, nothing would change!

[...] and is part of the mechanism to sucessfully propogate the species and our genes, as explained by science.
Really? You should familiarise yourself with Occam's razor - cause if you need to invoke evolution to explain morality that is based on the teachings of religion, then you're a fool.

In any case, this has nothing to do with the discussion at hand; whether science can explain the origin of morality is completely irrelevant. I'm asserting that the creation of western morality can be largely attributed to Christianity (with no help whatsoever from science, mind you) and you have yet to refute this.

Oh, you meant 'morality' as in subjugating women, enslaving minorities, opposing rational thought and killing most everyone that didn't agree with you for the past 2 millenia.
No, I meant morality as encoded in western laws. But thanks anyway for the soapbox diahrea. I am now truly enlightened.

Dan ...
"Death - oh! fair and `guiling copesmate Death!
Be not a malais'd beggar; claim this bloody jester!"
-ToT
[ Parent ]

Ok again (none / 0) (#120)
by JohnnyCannuk on Wed Feb 16, 2005 at 04:19:01 PM EST

I would say that you are still wrong. Most of our Western morality comes not from Christianity, but from the classical Greeks and Romans that pre-dated them.

Now, if you have specific examples of Christian 'morality' and how they created 'western' morality. And just what do you mean by 'morality'?

I'm prepared to play if you are...


We have just religion enough to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another - Jonathan Swift
[ Parent ]

ugh (none / 0) (#121)
by gdanjo on Wed Feb 16, 2005 at 04:50:58 PM EST

I would say that you are still wrong. Most of our Western morality comes not from Christianity, but from the classical Greeks and Romans that pre-dated them.
Who cares? This is all beside the point I was trying to make.

It all started with this post from Unquestionably Irreverent:

[Further proof that atheism and scientism] are hardcore religions on par with Christianity and Islam.

This was "refuted" by Pxtl thusly:

[Tell you what...] I'll give up all of the technological devices I own that is based on Christianity if you give up all the technology you own that is based on science. Then we can discuss which is a religion and which is reality.

I refute this as follows:

[fine] I'll give up all morality based on science (ie: none) if you give up all morality based on Christianity. See who ends up with Bubba first.

My point is that measuring science and religion by the "stuff" they produce is as useless as measuring them by the morality they induce. Science had no part in forming the foundation of our system of law or our method of judging right and wrong. Does this mean science is somehow lesser than religion?

Now, if you have specific examples of Christian 'morality' and how they created 'western' morality. And just what do you mean by 'morality'?
Your reductionist challenge will be completely ignored until you give up your soapbox and try to understand what the fucking thread is about. Stop relying on me to do the analysis for you.

Dan ...
"Death - oh! fair and `guiling copesmate Death!
Be not a malais'd beggar; claim this bloody jester!"
-ToT
[ Parent ]

I've given up all morality based on christianity (none / 0) (#127)
by mettaur on Sun Feb 20, 2005 at 03:15:39 AM EST

Suddenly I don't feel a desire to kill people who work on sundays.
--
[Applying business theory to trolling]
[ Parent ]
What? (none / 1) (#63)
by NoBeardPete on Mon Feb 14, 2005 at 11:02:03 AM EST

Does having a Fourth of July or Thanksgiving celebration mean that there is a religion called Americanism? Does May Day or Labor Day make organized labor into a religion? Does celebrating Martin Luther King day reveal one as a hardcore Civilrightsist? What do you make of the fact that college students celebrate the end of classes, that couples celebrate their aniverseries, that people celebrate promotions, retirements, birthdays, and more? Do these all reveal some powerful motivation, some nascent religion in the making? Or do these mostly secular celebrations merely reveal that people like to celebrate, and that they tend to do so in commemeration of something important to them?


Arrr, it be the infamous pirate, No Beard Pete!
[ Parent ]

about time (none / 0) (#78)
by mpalczew on Mon Feb 14, 2005 at 02:25:10 PM EST

Good thing too, cuz now I get to take a paid holiday. Damn my boss didn't fall for it.  What's worse is that my job is genetics.
-- Death to all Fanatics!
[ Parent ]
A celebration of verifiable knowledge?! (1.16 / 6) (#5)
by basj on Sat Feb 12, 2005 at 03:34:30 PM EST

And Darwin is their mascotte?

HIBT?
--
Complete the Three Year Plan in five years!

Damnit. Should be topical of course. [nt] (none / 1) (#6)
by basj on Sat Feb 12, 2005 at 03:35:26 PM EST


--
Complete the Three Year Plan in five years!
[ Parent ]
That's mascot. (3.00 / 2) (#31)
by Russell Dovey on Sun Feb 13, 2005 at 11:58:21 AM EST

At least practice verifiable spelling if you're going to be an idiot.

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan
[ Parent ]

Now you're just being silly (none / 1) (#58)
by basj on Mon Feb 14, 2005 at 10:01:45 AM EST

My speling is by definition veryfaibel if you are able to prove me wrongue.

But that's more than can be said of Darwin's 'theory' of 'survival of the fittest'.
--
Complete the Three Year Plan in five years!
[ Parent ]

Actually... (none / 0) (#70)
by JahToasted on Mon Feb 14, 2005 at 12:35:16 PM EST

his theory was never about survival of the fittest, thats something the Nazis, Communists, and Capitalists at the time came up with to summarise it. Interesting how all of those opposing ideologies latched on to a misinterpretation of darwin's theories to justify their ideas.

A better summary would "Survivavl of those best adapted to their environment". Of course that sounds pretty dry, but this is science, not poetry.

Now are you making the claim that it can't be verified that animals that are better adapted to their environment are more likely to survive and reproduce?
______
"I wanna have my kicks before the whole shithouse goes up in flames" -- Jim Morrison
[ Parent ]

Are tautologies verifiable? (none / 1) (#89)
by basj on Mon Feb 14, 2005 at 06:17:31 PM EST

Do you consider 'verifiable' to mean 'can be proven true', antonymous with 'falsifiable' which then should mean 'can be proven false'?

But that leaves only an abominable word like 'testable' to be used for the very handy expression 'can be proven true or false'. Karl Popper did the English language quite a disservice in this regard.
--
Complete the Three Year Plan in five years!
[ Parent ]

You're wrong again. (none / 0) (#112)
by Russell Dovey on Tue Feb 15, 2005 at 08:11:01 PM EST

If your spelling was right, I could verify that fact. It is hideous and pustulent, therefore I cannot. So it is unverifiable.

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan
[ Parent ]

You sure? (none / 0) (#69)
by Tobu on Mon Feb 14, 2005 at 12:11:21 PM EST

It is a French world that got lost.

[ Parent ]
No school reports, please (2.42 / 7) (#11)
by Kasreyn on Sat Feb 12, 2005 at 05:55:48 PM EST

12 February 2005: On this day 196 years ago a great scientist was born: Charles Darwin!

OMG ROR!!

Btw, that's Dr. Robert "Bob" Stephens. You use quotation marks to indicate a nickname, not parenthesis.

And verifiable knowledge? Quit trying to convert the heathens. Most evolution supporters are able to handle the concept of an unproven theory that, nevertheless, fits the facts better than any other theory yet proposed to explain the phenomenon in question, and why such a thing should be given a certain amount of limited credence despite the lack of concrete evidence. We don't need snake oil like "verifiable knowledge".

Also, why celebrate evolution? I would estimate that there aren't many Richard Leakeys at k5. If you put the lot of us down naked in the Serengeti, my guess is that only Tex Bigballs would still be alive a week later. A celebration of "humanity"? Natural selection resulted in our evolution, but if I can be forgiven for anthropomorphizing forces of nature, if we ever become unfit, natural selection will wad us up, throw us in the dumpster, and never look back. Where's the "humanity" in that?

Again, save it for the bumpkins. -1.


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
yeah (2.50 / 4) (#12)
by gdanjo on Sat Feb 12, 2005 at 07:08:24 PM EST

If you put the lot of us down naked in the Serengeti, my guess is that only Tex Bigballs would still be alive a week later.
You could be right. I hear accountants taste like shit.

Dan ...
"Death - oh! fair and `guiling copesmate Death!
Be not a malais'd beggar; claim this bloody jester!"
-ToT
[ Parent ]

It's the marinade n/t (none / 0) (#36)
by Benny Cemoli on Sun Feb 13, 2005 at 03:29:33 PM EST


"the fabric of space quivers at the touch of even a microbe."
[ Parent ]

He prefers (Bob) (none / 1) (#16)
by FreeNSK on Sat Feb 12, 2005 at 08:25:17 PM EST

You say: "Btw, that's Dr. Robert "Bob" Stephens. You use quotation marks to indicate a nickname, not parenthesis." I know that, but according to my understanding he prefers to use (Bob): This is how it is written in the original website, so I use his name as he writes it.

=== NSK ===


[ Parent ]
I can't believe the theory (none / 1) (#67)
by regeya on Mon Feb 14, 2005 at 11:38:46 AM EST

because it hasn't been proven

HTH

[ yokelpunk | kuro5hin diary ]
[ Parent ]

And I don't believe the theory (none / 0) (#96)
by ksandstr on Tue Feb 15, 2005 at 02:44:52 AM EST

Because it hasn't been disproven.


[ Parent ]
And I don't believe the theory... (none / 0) (#110)
by Russell Dovey on Tue Feb 15, 2005 at 05:47:14 PM EST

...because I'm a redneck with my thumb up my ass, just like the two preceding me.

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan
[ Parent ]

that's why it's not the 'Law of Evolution', duh nt (none / 0) (#99)
by Kasreyn on Tue Feb 15, 2005 at 05:55:24 AM EST

nt
"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
[ Parent ]
And Creationism has? (none / 0) (#106)
by JohnnyCannuk on Tue Feb 15, 2005 at 01:26:25 PM EST

Uhm, if you can't see the ever-increasing body of evidence which supports evolution, I can only assume you are willfuly blind.

Try going to National Geographic. They had an entire issue devoted to this last summer. Or Discover - the latest issue presents evidence from the University of Michigan in support if evolution..

Hell, try going to a library and reading biology text books.

There is by far more evidence for evolution than for the theory that we were all created as we are now by a big white-bearded man who lives in sky about 6000 years ago. Actually, there is no evidence for that one.

I will excuse your ignorance and assume you went to public school in Kansas.


We have just religion enough to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another - Jonathan Swift
[ Parent ]

I'm probably opening a hornet's nest, but... (2.60 / 5) (#17)
by SocratesGhost on Sat Feb 12, 2005 at 08:51:12 PM EST

Is it possible to discover a theory as in "by discovering the process of evolution". Granted, it's not purely a hypothetical theory. It just seems that using the word "discover" for a process that could be disproved seems a little too strong while the word "invent" seems a little too weak. "Posit" maybe?

I should probably qualify further before everyone reads much more into this than intended: there may be alternatives to evolution that don't include intelligent design, it may just be that no one has stumbled upon it yet or that the notion of evolution is an imprecise term to account for a series of more subtle processes or merely that our notion of "evolution" may be modified just as our notion of "heat" has changed from the idea of a "caloric fluid" to "mean kinetic energy".

-Soc
I drank what?


Evolution <> Natural Selection (1.66 / 3) (#18)
by FreeNSK on Sat Feb 12, 2005 at 09:12:16 PM EST

My idea is that Natural processes, such as Evolution, exist and wait for someone to discover them. Theories, like Natural Selection, are developed. Darwin discovered Evolution and explained it through Natural Selection. Evolution is a natural process because it is true no matter what you believe about it. Natural Selection is a (correct) theory developed after observation to explain the evident Evolution. Usually we use the word Evolution to describe both concepts, but I personally like to distinguish them.

=== NSK ===


[ Parent ]
Natural selection is either a tautology (none / 0) (#19)
by up on Sat Feb 12, 2005 at 09:50:31 PM EST

Or unintelligible, depending on how it's stated.

[ Parent ]
The entire theory of natural selection? (none / 1) (#49)
by APL on Mon Feb 14, 2005 at 01:00:58 AM EST

I'm always interested in this comment. What do people mean by it? From context, the people who use this argument must mean "therefore natural selection is false", but a tautology is a statement that is undeniably true regardless of the facts. To claim that the entire theory of evolution is a tautology is to tacitly admit that it is also true.

Perhaps people mean that the arguments in support of the theory of natural selection are tautologies? This would be a far more damning accusation, if true.

But which arguments? The fossil records? The genetic profiling? These are simply facts. Data can not be a tautology by definition, and the arguments used to apply this data to the theory are relatively straightforward.

They only tautology I can think of in relation to the theory of natural selection is that some people like to over simplify the entire theory into three words. "What Survives Survives." That statement certainly could be a tautology, but not in the way it's meant. The problem is that in cramming the theory into three words, you run into ambiguities of the English language. The first "survives" implies an individual lifeform's probability of survival, and the second "survives" relates to the propagation and reproduction of that individual's genes, bloodline, and species, long after that individual is dead.* In any case to "survive" is not enough. A successful species must multiply.

In a (slightly) less condensed form the theory could be stated "Individuals that survive will contribute their presumably superior genes to the next generation increasing the likelihood that their offspring will also survive." However this is still an oversimplification and not nearly as catchy a slogan.

However, if you really believe that something as complex the theory of Natural Selection itself can somehow be reduced to a tautology, then congratulations, you've just proved the theory correct! The Darwinists were right after all! And to think we thought we'd never have definitive proof! When you get your Nobel prize, can I have your autograph?

* Compare these two sentences : "President John F. Kennedy survived until the year 1963." "President John F. Kennedy is survived by his children Caroline and John Jr." Notice how one does not imply the other. Someone can survive for quite a long time and yet not be survived by any descendants.

[ Parent ]
the problem with tautologies (none / 0) (#55)
by gdanjo on Mon Feb 14, 2005 at 02:25:44 AM EST

is that they don't, by definition, prefer any theory relating to them. If "natural selection" is a tautology, then it neither helps Darwin's theory nor denies the existence of God. It's completely neutral, and all derived conclusions are as good as those that do not consider it.

Dan ...
"Death - oh! fair and `guiling copesmate Death!
Be not a malais'd beggar; claim this bloody jester!"
-ToT
[ Parent ]

What? (none / 0) (#74)
by APL on Mon Feb 14, 2005 at 02:08:26 PM EST

" If "natural selection" is a tautology, then it neither helps Darwin's theory"
Natural Selection is Darwin's theory.
If a theory about a factual series of events could magically also be a tautology instead of merely true or false, then I suppose you could argue that "If Natural Selection was a tautology, it would not teach us anything useful beyond it's own truthfulness.", But many people argue that already.

"[Darwin's Theory of Natural Selection] neither helps Darwin's theory nor denies the existence of God."
Darwin's theory says nothing about God one way or the other. Darwin was a devout Christian his entire life. To Darwin, Natural Selection was simply the method by which God creates biodiversity, in the same way that static electricity is the method by which God creates lightning. Few Christians would argue that because we understand lightning it is no longer an act of god.

[ Parent ]
Natural selection is a facet... (none / 0) (#97)
by Gooba42 on Tue Feb 15, 2005 at 03:18:35 AM EST

Darwin's theory was further expanded in his "Descent Of Man" which suggests that at a certain level of advancement a species aquires the ability to participate in it's own development through conscious action.

This is not a separate theory but an advancement of the original theory collectively known as "Evolution" to most laypersons.

Natural selection is only part of Darwin's theory, something which scientist and layperson alike have doggedly refused to recognize for a long time now.

[ Parent ]

He's talking about the nature of tautologies (none / 0) (#119)
by SocratesGhost on Wed Feb 16, 2005 at 11:59:58 AM EST

Whether we call it "natural selection" or "oogada boogada", the nature of tautologies prevents them from having any meaningful content.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
More to the theory... (none / 1) (#111)
by Mazement on Tue Feb 15, 2005 at 08:02:36 PM EST

Natural selection is only part of Darwin's theory.

Basically, it's a fact that populations change over time, and this change is called "Evolution".

Darwin's theory is that Evolution is caused by three factors: Random mutation (which creates new forms), Inheritance (which preserves existing forms), and Natural Selection (which removes old forms).

There are two ways that Darwin's theory could be disproved. You could prove that one of those three factors doesn't work. (For example, if it had turned out that mutations couldn't be inherited.) Or you could identify a fourth factor that Darwin had overlooked.

Note that Darwin's Theory of Evolution doesn't deny the existence of God. (It does contradict some heretical forms of Christianity that falsely claim that the universe is only 6000 years old.)

[ Parent ]

Evolution <> Natural Selection (none / 0) (#72)
by Tobu on Mon Feb 14, 2005 at 01:00:49 PM EST

So the split is:
  • evolution, the fact that species change
  • natural selection, the fact that species change lest they become irrelevant and disappear
It is always good to be accurate. When people say they don't believe in evolution, which one do they mean to contradict?

[ Parent ]
Reversed (none / 0) (#98)
by Sgt York on Tue Feb 15, 2005 at 03:55:20 AM EST

Evolution is a proposed process by which the observed diversity of life came to be. The vast preponderance of evidence points to evolution being the process by which this diversity arose, and one of the mechanisms of evolution is another observed process known as natural selection.

The only things that can be known in science are what can be observed directly; the rest is inference from that data. Natural selection is an observation. It is as close to scientific fact as you get. Same goes for diversity of life. Evolution is the logical consequence of these two things, but as far as science is concerned, it is still just inference. This is why it is still regarded as a theory, and it always will be until a time machine can be invented.

It's the best there is, it fits all the facts, and is all likelihood quite accurate. But don't say that it is known as more true than natural selection. We have observed natural selection, and it is therefore much more factual from a scientific standpoint.

There is a reason for everything. Sometimes, that reason just sucks.
[ Parent ]

Invent vs Discover (none / 1) (#118)
by bob6 on Wed Feb 16, 2005 at 03:16:36 AM EST

Nowadays we say construct.

Cheers.
[ Parent ]
Other than that silly CC license, (2.66 / 3) (#21)
by HardwareLust on Sat Feb 12, 2005 at 09:59:25 PM EST

I like the article.  It's informative, and obviously posted solely to piss off the neocons and the christians, which is always a good thing.


If you disagree, POST, don't moderate!

-1, too nerd centric, arrogant/insulting author, (1.50 / 8) (#26)
by the ghost of rmg on Sun Feb 13, 2005 at 03:14:00 AM EST

and deadly boring material.

i thought i already said something about this article, but i don't seem to see the comment i thought i wrote, so i'll just go and throw in an additional two cents.


rmg: comments better than yours.

yes you are indeed insulting the author / nt (none / 0) (#37)
by whynot on Sun Feb 13, 2005 at 04:16:10 PM EST



[ Parent ]
God and Darwin (2.50 / 8) (#29)
by OldCoder on Sun Feb 13, 2005 at 06:16:12 AM EST

I find it interesting where they agree -- both of them, in effect, tell us to have lots of children. They both indicate that species are important. With all the emphasis on the conflict of the two world views, the areas of agreement have been ignored.

--
By reading this signature, you have agreed.
Copyright © 2004 OldCoder
You are wrong (3.00 / 2) (#62)
by NoBeardPete on Mon Feb 14, 2005 at 10:51:50 AM EST

Darwin's Theory of Evolution is entirely descriptive. It is not prescriptive in the slightest. He says, "This is what happens," and never addresses "This is what you should do."


Arrr, it be the infamous pirate, No Beard Pete!
[ Parent ]

-1, Stupid and pointless CC license. [nt] (1.80 / 5) (#35)
by alby on Sun Feb 13, 2005 at 03:06:12 PM EST



I wuz gonna ... (none / 1) (#44)
by Peahippo on Sun Feb 13, 2005 at 08:27:07 PM EST

... give this article a quick walk through, then go on to bigger and better things. But then I saw some stupid assbitches complaining about how the author chose to handle his copyrighting. So I voted +1. So fuck you, Sport.


[ Parent ]
Have you noticed that... (none / 0) (#57)
by FreeNSK on Mon Feb 14, 2005 at 04:55:36 AM EST

hordes of creationists show their advertisements in Google? Could it be that creationist websites are financially supported by a large organisation which can pay for advertising?

=== NSK ===


Ummm. No? (none / 0) (#82)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Feb 14, 2005 at 02:50:54 PM EST

What, exactly, do you spend so much time googling for that you've been singled out as a candidate for creationism?

I never said that.
[ Parent ]
Ha! (none / 0) (#59)
by anthroporraistes on Mon Feb 14, 2005 at 10:20:21 AM EST

I decided to celebrate this instead of xmas this year.  I think it makes baby Jesus cry.

Seriously, the theme for this year was fish, after that I'm think amphibians.

---
biology is destiny

Not Until we get Albert Einstein Day (3.00 / 2) (#60)
by bobbuck on Mon Feb 14, 2005 at 10:27:17 AM EST

C'mon. Can you use evolution to make electricity, faster submarines, bombs, or GPS?

Not until we get a Newton Day! (nt) (none / 0) (#76)
by APL on Mon Feb 14, 2005 at 02:12:57 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Bah. In *my* day we had (none / 0) (#81)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Feb 14, 2005 at 02:49:51 PM EST

Archimedes' Day and we jumped out of our tubs and ran around naked shouting Eureka!

and we liked it!

I never said that.
[ Parent ]

Stephen Hawking Day! (none / 0) (#117)
by edmo on Wed Feb 16, 2005 at 03:14:38 AM EST

You heard it here first :)

[ Parent ]
Yes! (3.00 / 2) (#87)
by Eight Star on Mon Feb 14, 2005 at 04:22:14 PM EST

Google 'Genetic Algorithms' or 'computational evolution'

[ Parent ]
Kinda useful (none / 0) (#93)
by Sgt York on Mon Feb 14, 2005 at 11:42:54 PM EST

But the main direct application of evolution within science is to further explain evolution. Useful, interesting, and a valid thing to research, for certain. But it is not as useful as other contributions. The utility of a theory is determined by how it affects research outside its immediate scope. New conecpts of evolution have little to no impact on scientific fields outside evolution, except maybe political science.

Evolution is a great explanation for why we have the patterns of diversity we see, but it is the pattern itself that is useful. It truly doesn't matter how that pattern came to be.

If in some hypothetical world intelligent design was proven true beyond any possible doubt, we wouldn't change how science is done in any arena other than evolution. However, if in some hypothetical world General Relativity was suddenly blown out of the water, it would radically alter multiple theories and hypotheses in a host of fields.

There is a reason for everything. Sometimes, that reason just sucks.
[ Parent ]

Hardly a theory (3.00 / 2) (#71)
by Tobu on Mon Feb 14, 2005 at 12:51:03 PM EST

Evolution is the only theory that can explain life

The idea is so simple, I'd hardly call it a theory: individuals can change, changing can give them an advantage, that can be inherited, so that the species itself changes, and becomes more complex.

One can say it explains life, there are people who fear it can be used to explain where humanity comes from.

That's only an explanation on a broad level. There is always room for theories that explain

  • how much time it could take for life to appear, would it always take the same time in the same conditions (if all life was erased from earth, say)
  • why evolution comes in bursts at times of crisis,
  • if evolution can throttle itself so that there is only one kind of biochemistry to be seen;
  • how a particular species (such as ourselves) appeared,
  • how life appeared in detail,
  • if intelligence is really a more complex step in evolution, or if it just an unimportant side effect
Celebrating Darwin is nice, but it's time to quit bickering about his simple idea and move forward.

It's not that simple. (3.00 / 2) (#80)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Feb 14, 2005 at 02:47:28 PM EST

You've misstated Darwin's theory in several respects.

Individuals can change, changing can give them an advantage, that can be inherited

Errr. Did you ever hear of Lysenko? Individuals cannot change in inheritable ways, rather random, inheritable, genetic changes can be expressed in individuals.

so that the species itself changes, and becomes more complex.

Again, that's wrong. Evolution is an undirected process that tends to adapt a species to its environment. It has nothing to do with complexity and species can often lose complexity through evolution. Trivial example: the ancestors of snakes had legs, therefore snakes cannot be considered "more complex" than their own ancestors.

Also note that I didn't say "adapts a species to its environment", I said "tends to adapt" - the vast majority of genetic changes will be harmful and get weeded out of the species (i.e., genetic diseases). Many others will be "neutral" - they don't harm the species but cause variation with in it (hair color, eye color, etc..). Only a very small minority of the random genetic changes a species experiences will confer some sort of survival advantage.

Finally, you missed the big point of Darwin's theory. Darwin's theory was never that individuals change or that a species genome can change (he didn't know about genes) but rather that, within a population, enough small changes can collect to create a new species.

Telling people to move forward is nice, but I'd be happier if you actually understood what you're telling people to get over.

I never said that.
[ Parent ]

Celebrate Darwin? no (3.00 / 2) (#84)
by Sgt York on Mon Feb 14, 2005 at 03:41:18 PM EST

Celebrate Darwin Day? I can think of a good number of scientists, acheivements, and fields that are more deserving and that have made a greater contribution to science and to mankind. Einstein, Pasteur, Copernicus, Archmedies, and Newton spring immediately to mind. Each of these men made contributions to science that dwarf the contribution of Darwin. If I took a few minutes, I could probably list a few dozen more.

Sure, Darwin made a sizable contribution to human knowledge, but he really just added one thing. And it's not a hugely helpful thing, either, as far as continued advancement goes.

I applaud the goal of celebrating science, but picking Darwin as the focal point is juvenille. It looks like an agenda, a rhetorical thrust, or an insult at an opponent. By picking the only scientific discovery over which there is any real controversy at all, they make the whole thing political. It looks like an attempt to make a political statement, not an attempt to celebrate science.

Or would any of you argue that Darwin gave us more than any one of the scientists I listed above?

There is a reason for everything. Sometimes, that reason just sucks.

It is Darwin who is under attack ... (none / 0) (#85)
by tilly on Mon Feb 14, 2005 at 03:55:04 PM EST

so we rally around Darwin.

[ Parent ]
My point (none / 0) (#86)
by Sgt York on Mon Feb 14, 2005 at 04:10:31 PM EST

If the idea is to "celebrate verifiable science", then celebrate the greatest scientist you can think of. Or just celebrate science in general, honoring the great acheivements of the past year.

If the point is to defend Darwin, then do that. Don't call it a celebration of science, because that's not what it is. The misdirection is transparent and juvenille.

My beef is that they say it's to celebrate science, but it's really to make a political point; to "defend Darwin".

There is a reason for everything. Sometimes, that reason just sucks.
[ Parent ]

You sound like a person ... (none / 0) (#100)
by tilly on Tue Feb 15, 2005 at 09:54:15 AM EST

who is suffering from a condition known as "having too few real problems".

Find something less trivial to be outraged about.

[ Parent ]

From someone (none / 1) (#101)
by Sgt York on Tue Feb 15, 2005 at 10:03:47 AM EST

From someone that posts on K5, that's quite funny. I love irony.

And this is a real problem to me. I'm a research scientist, and the image people like the organizers of this thing portray hurts my field politically, and reduces funding.

There is a reason for everything. Sometimes, that reason just sucks.
[ Parent ]

LOL ... (none / 0) (#102)
by tilly on Tue Feb 15, 2005 at 10:19:11 AM EST

I took 18 hours to respond to you.

You came back in 7 minutes!

I hope you weren't at your terminal waiting for all of those 18 hours.

[ Parent ]

Waiting on pins & needles (none / 0) (#103)
by Sgt York on Tue Feb 15, 2005 at 10:30:17 AM EST

Your opinion means that much to me.

There is a reason for everything. Sometimes, that reason just sucks.
[ Parent ]

I left the building [nt] (none / 0) (#109)
by tilly on Tue Feb 15, 2005 at 03:36:10 PM EST



[ Parent ]
IAWTP. (none / 0) (#105)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Feb 15, 2005 at 01:18:16 PM EST

And this is a real problem to me. I'm a research scientist, and the image people like the organizers of this thing portray hurts my field politically, and reduces funding.

Absolutely. Acting as if scientists need some sort of emotional affirmation to continue doing their work is, frankly, kind of embarrassing. Particularly when some of these D-Day adherents don't seem to even understand the theory of evolution themselves.

I never said that.
[ Parent ]

Darwin did not discover evolution (2.80 / 5) (#95)
by flo on Tue Feb 15, 2005 at 02:21:56 AM EST

He did manage to explain, it though.

Evolution is the notion that species change over geological time. This was already known before Darwin, by people looking at fossils. For example, Lamarck had earlier attempted to explain evolution via his theory of "inheritance of acquired traits". This theory turned out to be false, but there was no way people could have known this at his time, before people knew anything about genetics.

What Darwin and Wallace discovered was the correct mechanism driving evolution, natural selection.
---------
"Look upon my works, ye mighty, and despair!"
uh. (none / 0) (#123)
by poIytarp on Thu Feb 17, 2005 at 04:58:00 AM EST

darwin knew natural selection was correct and lamarck was wrong BEFORE genetics.

[ Parent ]
NO NO NO NO NO (1.00 / 3) (#124)
by ShiftyStoner on Fri Feb 18, 2005 at 05:23:30 PM EST

Darwins birthday should be a day of cleansing. A day were all hospitals shut down. ANARCHY FOR A DAY! Kill those miserable worthless fat retarted fucks. That aint gana happen.

All you fucking losers should kill yourselfs on his bday, out of fucking respect. or at least get nuetured. Another generation of you people, wow, i don't even want to think about it.
( @ )'( @ ) The broad masses of a population are more amenable to the appeal of rhetoric than to any other force. - Adolf Hitler

Darwin Day Celebration | 128 comments (93 topical, 35 editorial, 0 hidden)
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