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Archive for Sunday, February 12, 2006

Fact and theory

February 12, 2006

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To the editor:

State Education Commissioner Bob Corkins' qualifications (or lack thereof) have been hotly debated. While perhaps well-intentioned, he is better suited for other work. There are many reasons for this, not the least of which is his following statement made at a recent University Forum meeting, reported in the Journal-World: "(Evolution is) the most well-researched and prevailing theory we have, but you don't teach it as fact when it isn't; you try to stimulate critical thinking skills on the part of the students."

This demonstrates Commissioner Corkins' woefully inadequate grasp of science. Darwinian evolution isn't a theory in the vernacular sense of the word. In the sciences, a theory is a framework used to describe and understand the world around us, to describe and understand the "facts" that we observe. Such a framework is recognized as a theory only after a firm empirical basis for its body of knowledge has been established by such things as long-term, extensive experimentation. Darwinian evolution has survived such rigorous testing for 100-plus years.

It is a fact that organisms have changed, or evolved, over this history of the planet, just as it is a fact that whatever you throw up in the air will come back down. Therefore, modern science views Darwinian evolution as both fact and theory, on the same scientific level as the theory of gravitation. A state education commissioner who doesn't understand this is bound to be a hindrance to the education of our state's students.

Marcel Harmon,

Lawrence

Comments

gr 8 years, 2 months ago

Thank you fossilhunter. That responds to Barclay's request and now he has some facts to respond to.

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fossilhunter 8 years, 2 months ago

OK, 1 more time. Here's a link to an article about whale evolution. How can you look at an aquatic animal with vestigal hind limbs and not say that is evolution?

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/03/4/l_034_05.html

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gr 8 years, 2 months ago

Instead of attacking Barclay, why not present what he requested, even if it has to be repeated?

It appears there was more emphasis in everyone attacking him and making themselves feel better about their beliefs than in confronting him.

The statements, "Every living thing is a 'transitional form.'" and "The truth is ALL fossils are transitional fossils in one way or another..." sounds like an presumed belief. I've "always" been told that anytime words such as "ALL" are used in a sentence, it is hardly ever true. It at least requires some further explanation. This would be like saying ALL vehicle models are transitional. It may be true for many, but hardly true for ALL.

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i_tching 8 years, 2 months ago

"When the student is ready, the teacher will appear." That's because the teacher is always there. But people like Barclay are not yet ready.

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yourworstnightmare 8 years, 2 months ago

I suggest reading the first chapter of "The Republican War on Science", a good primer of the political tactics and rhetoric used by the right-wing to discredit and magnify doubt about science.

Barclay is using a combination of "falsely magnify doubt" and "ignore evidence".

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Clint Gentry 8 years, 2 months ago

The truth is ALL fossils are transitional fossils in one way or another, the only case in which they aren't are fossils of animals that have gone extinct. That's what creationists don't get, there isn't an immediate shift in how animals/plants look in the fossil record, so it would appear to the unenlightened mind that there are no direct evolutional evidence, but that simply isn't the case. Of course these facts won't phase the creationists, as they won't be able to comprehend the amazing complexities that mother nature operates under.

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yourworstnightmare 8 years, 2 months ago

Barclay,

Many scientists (eg. fossilhunter) have posted much evidence of transitional forms on numerous blogs on this site. The facts are there, you just choose to ignore them. Why you keep asking this question is beyond me, as you have been presented evidence multiple times.

Your denial is simply a rhetorical ploy.

PS. How are the "intelligent design" exhibits from the Veritas madrasa coming along for the science fair?

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Souki 8 years, 2 months ago

Barclay:

I have a hard time understanding people who will acknowledge the existence of "microevolution" but not "macroevolution."

If you buy microevolution, then you have to accept that species will accumulate changes over time. Why, then, can you not accept that a species could accumulate sufficient changes as to emerge as a new species?

Every living thing is a "transitional form." You needn't look to the fossil record, although every organism preserved there is a transitional form, too.

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Curtona 8 years, 2 months ago

Amen observer. And the Bible doesn't count. It was written by MEN.

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observer 8 years, 2 months ago

Sure, as soon as you provide proof some alleged god created us and our surronding in 7 days, 8000 years ago.

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Barclay 8 years, 2 months ago

Please present one evolutionist that can present one transitional form- i.e. one species becoming another in the geologic record. Yes, there is microevolution, change within a species, but what is the hard evidence for macro-evolution?

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