Evolutionary questions

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Re: Evolutionary questions

Postby Rian » Sat Oct 17, 2015 1:12 am

Simplyme wrote:
tirtlegrrl wrote:Is it really an evolution book that's needed, or one on philosophy of science?


I think if we are going to discuss evolution I would think an Evolution book is needed. If I wanted to study bridges I would not get a book on the philosophy of bridges, I would get one on the construction of bridges.


http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/evolphil.html

Philosophy of science is essential to studying science; it basically sets up the rules that scientists follow. That's what she means.
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Re: Evolutionary questions

Postby Jesus Raves » Sat Oct 17, 2015 1:30 am

I'm not frustrated; I just needed to know your thoughts on the age of the Earth to understand why you have so much trouble accepting evolution in the long term.

I don't think I'm up to the challenge of being the only evolutionist (for lack of a better term) in this convsation. I'm not as knowledgeable and not as adept at expressing my thoughts as Spongebob and Sayak are (considering only those I recall being in the conversation, so don't be hurt if I left you out! ;) ). Otherwise I'd love to.
Last edited by Jesus Raves on Sat Oct 17, 2015 9:13 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Evolutionary questions

Postby Rian » Sat Oct 17, 2015 8:24 pm

(and speaking of philosophy, it's time for a link to that Monty Python classic, The Philosophers' World Cup!! Definitely one of my top 10 Python moments!!)
"Aurë entuluva! Auta i lómë!" ("Day shall come again! The night is passing!") -- from JRR Tolkien's The Silmarillion

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Re: Evolutionary questions

Postby sayak » Sat Oct 17, 2015 10:23 pm

Rian wrote:
sayak wrote:Rian, do you believe that the earth is old? I was thinking that geological dating methods are a relatively compact science that can be looked into to address your concerns about how the scientific method can be successfully applied to uncover what happened in the past.
I can answer this quickly, so I will.

I think that the age of the earth is one of those things like macroevolution that relies upon some assumptions and upon extrapolation, and that we can make some good estimates of the age of the earth, but we can't really say what the age is with the same level of confidence as, say, something that doesn't rely on extrapolations.

I'm sorry for the frustration, JR; I really do try. In fact, I was thinking of only responding to you on this thread to try to cut down on the sheer volume of things to respond to. But maybe the book is a good idea - I'm up for anything, but I just can't post at the rate that you guys do, plus it's multiplied by the fact that there's only one person on my side and what? four or five on the other side?

Anyway, I'm not tied into the YEC figure at all - what is it, 10,000 years? I think they make some pretty substantial assumptions on their side, too, so their number is pretty shaky.


So it seems a good idea to discuss the science of paleogeology. One could go over a book that describes the methods used to determine age of the earth and the conditions associated with ancient ages of the earth. The only question important for science is which theory best explains the observed evidence. One can go over such a book and understand what the evidence is why the accepted theories are the what they are. The thing is easier to deal with as well since geology uses the known laws of physics and chemistry which are very clear cut and well understood.

One thing Rian, philosophy of science describes the philosophy of epistemology used for science, but does not prescribe it. Indeed all philosophy is primarily descriptive, not prescriptive.
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Re: Evolutionary questions

Postby Rian » Sat Oct 17, 2015 11:51 pm

I wasn't saying it tells scientists which experiments to run; from what I understand, it deals at a higher level.

From that website I linked to on another thread - philosophy of science.

It's from a prestigious university, Cal Berkeley, in collaboration with the American Institute of Biological Sciences (just to name one of the prestigious collaborators) and funded by the NSF (National Science Foundation).
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Re: Evolutionary questions

Postby sayak » Sun Oct 18, 2015 9:15 am

Rian wrote:I wasn't saying it tells scientists which experiments to run; from what I understand, it deals at a higher level.

From that website I linked to on another thread - philosophy of science.

It's from a prestigious university, Cal Berkeley, in collaboration with the American Institute of Biological Sciences (just to name one of the prestigious collaborators) and funded by the NSF (National Science Foundation).

The website is good enough. What I was saying that philosophers look at the practices of science and figure out what brand of epistemology is important for scientific work. In that way it is descriptive. The greatest debate about philosophy of science continues in the field of Quantum Mechanics, the most accurate scientific theory of all time. Philosophers had to significantly change ideas about epistemology etc. from the impact of the scientific field of QM. The practice of science itself drives the philosophy, not the other way round. That was what I was saying.
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Re: Evolutionary questions

Postby sayak » Sun Oct 18, 2015 9:18 am

Anyways is the idea of starting with the geological history of earth sounds good?
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Re: Evolutionary questions

Postby Rian » Sun Oct 18, 2015 5:01 pm

Sayak wrote:The practice of science itself drives the philosophy, not the other way round. That was what I was saying.

I think it's a little more of a mutual thing, but I see what you're saying.


Anyways is the idea of starting with the geological history of earth sounds good?

I'd prefer not on this thread - I'd like to keep this more focused on evolutionary questions (i.e., life forms evolving). Can you start another thread?
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Re: Evolutionary questions

Postby sayak » Wed Nov 04, 2015 10:45 am

Evolution in the lab:-

Evolving multicellular organisms from single cells.

https://www.quantamagazine.org/20151103-snowflake-yeast-multicellularity/

I would consider this a direct demonstration of real time macro-evolution in the lab.
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Re: Evolutionary questions

Postby Rian » Thu Nov 12, 2015 9:29 pm

(sorry it took forever to get back to you, tirtlegrrl and I have spent many hours behind the scenes lately working on some moderator issues)

What specifically about it makes you think it qualifies as "macroevolution"? (for reference - the University of California at Berkeley says, here, "Macroevolution generally refers to evolution above the species level.")
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Re: Evolutionary questions

Postby sayak » Thu Nov 12, 2015 11:06 pm

Rian wrote:(sorry it took forever to get back to you, tirtlegrrl and I have spent many hours behind the scenes lately working on some moderator issues)

What specifically about it makes you think it qualifies as "macroevolution"? (for reference - the University of California at Berkeley says, here, "Macroevolution generally refers to evolution above the species level.")


I do not consider it a good definition of macro-evolution as that definition only concerns large multicellular eukaryotes that reproduce sexually which form a very small minority in the great tree of life (however much pride may tell otherwise). An island bird that gets an yellow tail feather through sexual selection from its red tail feathered mainland bird does not, for me, is an adequate case of macroevolution. For me, macro-evolutionary changes consist of a cascading sequence of major morphological or functional innovation that creates a "phase-change" in the biological trajectory of the oraganisms in that lineage. This is what Gould would call a "punctuation event". Examples include

1) The origin of the eukaryotic organism through endosymbiosis. LINK
2) Evolution of mitochondria and plastids
3) Evolution of sexual reproduction LINK
4) Evolution of unstructured multicellularity (early multicellular organisms, jellyfish etc.) The study I refer to was
5) Evolution of structured multicellularity through developmental genes (the Cambrian explosion)

Other more recent examples include coral reef co-evolution, flowering plant-pollinating insect coevolution, eusocial insect evolution, development of central nervous systems, C4 photosynthesis in grass etc. Such macroevolutionary punctuations are typically followed by radiation events as the new functionality makes new areas of the fitness landscape available to the organism resulting in a near exponential growth and eventual species (or strain) diversification.
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