Evidence of Evolution

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by king_alvarez, Apr 24, 2008.

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  1. DorkmanScott Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
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    No, the odds of it being that perfect are not slim. The odds are 1:1 that an object A, of 400 times greater mass than object B, will be 400 times further away than object B in a stable orbit with regards to object C. There's no chance involved. it is mathematically certain that their relationship will be exactly that.

    What I think you mean are the odds of a moon being caught in our orbit in the first place. But we know that that is hardly an unlikely occurrence in the universe -- every planet in our solar system has at least one moon, and most of them have several.

    First off, we don't know how great the odds are. It could be that Earthlike planets are incredibly common based on physical laws we're not yet aware of. We only have a sample set of 1.

    Secondly, a planet like Earth would only be necessary for life as we know it to arise, and life is the way we know it because it arose on Earth. That's one of the reasons finding life on Mars would be one of the biggest finds in human history -- it would show that life is probably not as rare as we think and does not require Earthlike planets as its foundation. And at that point it hardly matters how unlikely it is that Earth is the way it is.

    You might also look at it another way -- perhaps Earth was comprised in such a way that life essentially had to arise, from the interaction of the fundamental physical and chemical forces that came together, indeed, by chance. It's unlikely that any one planet would go through all the events that Earth went through to become composed that way, but if a planet did then perhaps life as we know it was inevitable.

    Like, take Saturn. Famously, it has those big beautiful rings around it, which some scientists believe was a moon that was destroyed by Saturn's gravity, broke into tiny chunks, and then in chunk form fell into the stable orbit that it could not do as a moon. The odds of a space rock composed of such fragile stuff passing by a planet of such gravitational force may, on a case by case basis, be staggeringly unlikely to happen -- but, if it did happen, then it must necessarily create such rings as Saturn's. To not do so would be to violate the laws of physics.

    Staggeringly unlikely things happen every day in the universe. Saturn's rings are a thing that happened, because they created a circumstance where they couldn't not happen. If that circumstance had never happened, Saturn would have no rings, and whatever it did have -- a moon, three moons, no moons -- would strike us as equally unlikely as the rings do. The rings are just a thing that happened.

    Life is most likely like the rings of Saturn. We're very fortunate that it happened, but it is just a thing that happened, no more significant or unlikely on a cosmic scale than the rings of Saturn, or the hydrogen-to-helium fusion in our sun.

    It sounds tautological, but things are the way they are because if they weren't that way, they'd be something else. Something had to happen. It might as well ha
  2. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    This entire statement is horrifically not true.
    To start off with, the ratio of the diameter of the sun over the diameter of the moon IS around 400. (To be bit more precise, it's about 400.7. However, that's not the same as discussing the mass (which is what matters for gravitational equations), where the ratio of the mass of the sun over the mass of the moon is about 27 million. Next, gravity isn't linear like you're implying. An object twice as far away would need to have four times the mass to have the same effect, not the linear argument you seem to be putting forward. The gravitational forces, then, are by no means anywhere close to equal between the sun and the moon; the sun's gravitational force on the earth is just shy of 180 times the moon's gravitational force.

    Beyond this, by NO MEANS is it a mathematical necessity that the moon appear to be the same size as the sun in the sky, nor is there any mathematical necessity that the moon's orbit be where it is (as noted, the gravitational forces being equal is mathematically false). If that was true, then we would presume the over 150 moons we know of in our solar system would ALL be orbiting at the corresponding distances from their planets to be the same size as the sun in the sky and this is not the case.

    Third, the idea that the moon is in a stable location is entirely false. While a small rate, the earth's rotation is currently being slowed by the moon, and to maintain conservation of energy, the moon is gaining that energy, leading to it moving away from the earth at a slow rate of a few centimeters each year, but that we are currently not in a stable relationship with the moon in that sense, and we won't reach that until the moon has slowed down the earth sufficiently that the earth becomes tidally locked to it, at which point it will stop moving away from us.

    The first part of the odds being 1:1 is factually incorrect, that's not how orbits work in the slightest.
    As to the second part, the odds of capturing a moon are very small, it takes a particularly special situation to do so. Small moons, like Phobos and Demos of Mars, are relatively easy as they're small objects, but larger moons being captured are quite rare within the group of moons we know about, and the only one I'm offhand aware of as being what I'd count as very likely to have been captured as you refer to is Neptune's moon Triton, which rotates the
  3. DorkmanScott Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    Thank you for that information. I stand corrected.
  4. SithLordDarthRichie London CR

    Chapter Rep
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    Oct 3, 2003
    star 8
    The tilted axis of Earth is also important for seasonal change, were the Earth totally upright sunlight would pass evenly over it and so weather conditions throughout the year would be constant in most places.
    I have heard theories suggesting that if the Moon moves 10% further away the Earth could end up leaning on its side which would be extremely damaging for life as the temeperature changes in the climate would be quick and severe to the extent that most life would not be able to adapt fast enough.

    Days were shorter in the early history of Earth because the Moon was closer to Earth and it rotated faster, but of course because the Moon orbits the opposite way to Earth's rotation it acts as a break and slows it down.

    This is not really the place to discuss such things, my point was it is easy to see how the idea of Intelligent Design came about seeing as it is remarkable how all things cvame together in order for life to form on this planet. Some would deem such conditions too perfect to be a cosmic coincidence and deem it to be the work of a higher power.
    Until we find a planet under similar conditions that life is likely, such theories will always exist (they will probably exist regardless no matter what evidence is found).
  5. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn The Other Saga Moderator

    Manager
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    Sep 23, 1999
    star 6
    Full disclosure: I didn't read all the previous discussion (sorry), but I presume you guys are talking about the moon because it somehow suggests that earth is 'special'? Well yeah, it is, but only by accident. I think the simplest way to respond is Adams's puddle.

    Imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, 'This is an interesting world I find myself in, an interesting hole I find myself in, fits me rather neatly, doesn't it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!' This is such a powerful idea that as the sun rises in the sky and the air heats up and as, gradually, the puddle gets smaller and smaller, it's still frantically hanging on to the notion that everything's going to be alright, because this world was meant to have him in it, was built to have him in it; so the moment he disappears catches him rather by surprise. I think this may be something we need to be on the watch out for.

  6. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    Missed this, but no it doesn't. The moon is orbiting in the same direction that the Earth rotates.

    Well, I think that wont get rid of it as then it will become look at how many times some higher power made it happen. The goalposts are ripe for shifting.
  7. Revan_SturmJaeger Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    May 7, 2011
    For me evolution and creationism go hand in hand. In ancient Hebrew a day is a period of time. That period is open to the writer. Who is to say that a day for God isn't 2 1/4 billion years?
    Having the universe as His canvas gives Him many options when it comes to changing His idea; asteroids, volcanism, gamma ray burst, massive solar discharges, black holes, methane gas explosions, ice ages, the list is endless. That is what I believed happened to the dinosaurs, he was having a blast creating these fantastic beast then realized, they won't work when he gets to us, so bye-bye. With all the countless galaxies, stars, and planets who can say He does not have other worlds inhabited with creatures/beings made in His image. On our planet that image is of a primate origin, on other worlds it could be Squid-like, winged reptiles, and so forth.
    Evolution is the refining of a project much like an automotive design. You start with sketches, move to models and refine it. Even when you roll out the new vehicle, it will change over the years of its production(i.e look at the Mustang, Corvette, Camaro, F-150). Much like those lizards. We get to see the mystery of God at work before our eyes. His design is constantly being refined and will always be a mystery to us.
  8. BLACKJEBUS Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 9, 2002
    star 4
    Biological evolution does not attempt to answer origin of the universe, nor the origin of life. It ONLY explains how populations of organisms, subject to various environmental pressures, will change over time and possibly lead to new species.
  9. DorkmanScott Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    The bigger question is, why should we contort language in order to bring observable fact into comity with an ancient book of stories which in every way fit the description of mythology?

    The fundamental problem here is the idea that evolution was leading to us, which there is no reason to think it was, though we should of course be glad it did.

    If, as you say right below, being made in his image does NOT mean "human," then why would he destroy the dinosaurs to lead to us instead of just making dinosaurs the expression of his image on this planet?

    How can he be making us in his image AND require refining of design in the process? Did he have a mid-eternity crisis and decide to get a combover or something?

    Or, instead of assuming there's a god for which we have no evidence, we start with what we DO have evidence for and go from there.
  10. VadersLaMent Chosen One

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    star 9
  11. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

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    Mar 19, 1999
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    This is something I've always emphasized with my own kids: don't decide how you feel about the issue until you've consulted a beauty pageant contestant.
  12. DorkmanScott Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    The academic freedom argument sounds great at first blush. Then you realize it's idiotic.

    We don't teach students multiple versions of the Pythagorean theorem, or alternative resolutions to the Civil War, and encourage them to make up their own minds. While I think it's important to teach kids how to think, and not just what to think, it is school's job to present the facts that students don't have, not to sprinkle them in amid nonsense and expect the kids to sort it out when they haven't been given the tools to do so.
  13. Champion of the Force Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 27, 1999
    star 4
    I suppose we should give them some credit - none of them said that it shouldn't be taught.

    Though that girl near the end (forget which state) stating that "facts should be taught, not theories" doesn't have much of an idea of what she's saying. :oops:
  14. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2004
    star 5
    If theories weren't taught, then you'd have to throw out like 80% of all science because nothing is ever conclusively proven and even long-held theories can be overturned and proven wrong. Then again, throwing science out of the classroom is probably exactly what creationists want.

    Or maybe we should teach kids about existentialism. That way, facts aren't really facts because nothing's real, and you don't have to go to school anymore!
  15. DarthIktomi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2009
    star 4
    Re: the Civil War, history textbooks tend to teach the Lost Cause, even though it's completely discredited by what the Confederates themselves said. Also, there's this myth that the war with Mexico was for freedom, which is ridiculous when one considers that the proximal cause for the invasion of Mexico was that in 1829, Mexico abolished slavery. (Of course, before that, there was Hidalgo v. Costilla.)

    Speaking of slavery, there's also a myth that the United States was the first country to abolish slavery, and that "white Christians" were the first people to oppose slavery. (I'm sure slaves, regardless of color or religion, were opponents of slavery.)
  16. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    Most don't, it seems. I recently at work had to try to cover what a theory is ("it's not been proven, it's just a theory"), and how creation science isn't.
  17. DorkmanScott Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    I actually just read the book Lies My Teacher Told Me, which is specifically about the persistent myths that history textbooks continue to pass to each generation. I think it just illustrates my point further that students can't be expected to know better if they're not taught better, but it probably confuses the issue in terms of creationism. I should probably restrict my analogy to math.
  18. DarthIktomi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2009
    star 4
    Point is, students in a creationist class, just like in many a history class, know they're being fed horse [expletive deleted].
  19. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    I'd go with "no they don't" know that.
  20. DorkmanScott Manager Emeritus

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    Mar 26, 2001
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    Yeah, the problem is exactly that they don't know that they're being fed falsehoods. They will believe what the textbooks and teachers tell them because textbooks and teachers are seen as authorities, and there's a tacit, naive assumption in the mind of most students that in order for something to be taught in a classroom, it has to be true. It would never even occur to most students -- pre-collegiate, anyway -- to question whether or not what the textbook says is true. What frame of reference do they have?
  21. PRENNTACULAR VIP

    Member Since:
    Dec 21, 2005
    star 6
    In that case, wouldn't it be better to teach alternative theories and teach students how to arrive at their own conclusion?

    Kids think that their teachers only teach fact because that is how our eduation system is set up. Teach kids a fact, have them memorize it, and test them. We don't put an empahsis on critical reasoning or logic, or teaching kids to come to their own assumptions about the way the world works.

    If I were a biology teacher, I would teach evolution as the likely scientific theory, and then mention creationism as the crazy alternative, if you are interested in disregarding reality...which is a choice you can make.
  22. DorkmanScott Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    Primary and high school students don't have the foundation of knowledge that they need to be able to draw their own conclusions. That's the purpose of those levels of schooling, to GIVE them that foundation. The solution to falsehoods beig taken at face value is not to introduce more falsehoods. That's the opposite of a solution, and a waste of time to boot.

    I do, however, think that more of an emphasis should be placed on critical thinking, and that instead of litanies of "these are the facts," lessons should be "these are the facts and here's how we know that." But students should learn how experts in the fields drew their conclusions, not be expected to draw their own conclusions based on limited knowledge. If there's a legitimate controversy (which evolution is not, BTW), then sure, say so, but how can a high school sophomore be expected to draw anything like an informed conclusion if experts in the field, with years and years more information and experience, can't even do so to a reasonable level of consensus? That's just absurd.

    Students are uninformed and uneducated basically by definition. That's what school is for.
  23. BLACKJEBUS Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 9, 2002
    star 4
    Although that's totally the correct thing to do (it also wouldn't hurt to throw in a few ancient Greek, Japanese, Indo-Chinese, Native American, African, and Hindu creation stories on top of the Christian one), I am sure you and your principal would receive a few very stern letters over trivializing creation myths like that.
  24. VadersLaMent Chosen One

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    Apr 3, 2002
    star 9
  25. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

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    Jul 13, 2008
    star 7
    My brain nearly exploded until I realized that that was a parody.

    A parody of something that made my brain explode.:mad:
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