Monday, November 02, 2009

Creationism and Evolution

Whilst we're on the subject of Evolution, 60% of Brits apparently think that Creationism should be taught alongside Darwinian Evolution in Science Lessons.

From this we should conclude that 60% of the population are pretty dim. Creationism should certainly be discussed in lessons as it has excellent comedy value; but as for actually teaching it as a serious theory, I'd rather do Homeopathy, Crystal Healing and Fortune Telling.

Science is a strictly evidence based subject, not an opportunity to rote learn ancient myths.

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have no objection to creationism being discussed, as long as it's in RE lessons where it belongs.

TonyF said...

I can predict the future though: It will get taught, and idiots will believe it. Enough of them believe in the sky pixie already.

Lilyofthefield said...

The Science dept at our place have threatened to strike if they are made to present it as anything other than a historical misapprehension based om ignorance. We have a lot of pressure to teach Creationism in Science, not, as the Daily Mail might have us believe, at the behest of our many Muslim families (whom I daresay would prefer us to keep our atheistic noses right out of it) but from the ranty, right-on, post-Colonial-guilt-tripper, white PC brigade, most of whom I suspect are atheists themselves.

Respect for the tooth fairy? Santa? The flat-earthers?

Mr Natural said...

There’s so much crap in the science syllabuses these days, why not shove creationism in as well?

I blame those herberts in the Education Department at King’s College with their “We must teach children about science and how science works”, rather than doing science.

FFS, youngsters want stinks and explosions, sparks, shocks and frogspawn … lots of frogspawn.
Bugger creationism: give it to RE or PSHE; leave us to get on with our Bunsen burners.

phatboy said...

Are there serious proposals to teach creationism in science? If schools are going to waste time on RE lessons then I have no problem with it going in there (although I do have a problem with RE in the first place) but not in a science class.

Jonathan said...

I'm not so sure on the whole teaching creationism vs evolution issue. Despite accusations against my intelligence i think the case for Evolution is rather shaky. It depends on a number of factors that aern't available to watch. Much of it is inferred from the present state rather than observed in action.
It requires a huge amount of time and a lot of random chance.
The fossils and the dates used to support it are highly suspect.
The various experiments done to determine the age of fossils and the earth take on a rather circular logic.
1. The rock is x million years therefore the fossils in it are x million years.
2. The radiative decay in the rock is such that they calculate its age to be x million years
3. These calculations are "calibrated" by the fossils they find in the rock which they "know" to come from x million years.

Radio carbon decay fine and dandy. That has been calibrated to about a 3 thousand years back.
Using material found in marked graves which have dates on them.

but dating rocks from uranium and lead presuppose initial conditions that are unavailable for verification. It also assumes a steady and measurable decay rate of the isotopes.

All in all I find the whole thing rather open to criticism.
I apologise that I have only addressed the time issue. This is one that I am more familiar with.

slowfiddler said...

@Jonathan:

Being "rather open to criticism" is the basis of the scientific method. Hope you were wearing steel toecaps when you pulled the trigger.

Anonymous said...

Jonathan
Two words "antibiotic resistance" we can see evolution happening before our eyes.
Jobrag

MadOldBat said...

creationism is not the danger .The danger is "intelligent design" which has been described as creationism in a tuxedo.
ps my mate runs a department at the State Museum - they do tours and visits for schools but have to avoid the dinosaurs etc for the fundamentalist (Christian) schools.These schools are low cost private schools which means that 90% of their costs are met by the taxpayer ; this means that the government supposedly control their curricula.It racks up my irritation several notches .
PS look up the spaghetti monster .

Jonathan said...

Just I do realise the creationism is aslo hugely unproven.

To a certain extent that is my point.

Both sides have very little in the way of hard evidence.

By the way jobrag
antibiotic resistance is not a proof of evolution.

If you have read some of the reasearch in this field you would be aware that these bacteria aern't suddenly developing a resistance. It's only the ones that already had a gene making them more tolerant of antibiotics that survived to breed. The bacteria as a whole actually lose out on the deal becasue they lose variation that might otherwise have been useful.
I in no way can be extrapolated and used as a proof of "molecules to man"

Jonathan said...

My apologies for those spelling errors.

Another point that I thought I was making with my post is that although the theory of evolution has various flaws they are very rarely discussed. It is in my view as open to criticism as creationism but it is so very unfashionable at the moment to disagree with it.
I think there are some people that are so desperate for it to be true that they refuse the posibility that it could be any other way.

Not very scientific.

Hill said...

Jonathan, every scientist knows that the bacteria don't suddenly become resistant to the antibiotic. It is just as you say- the ones that have a gene for resistance get to breed. That's how evolution works- survival of the fittest.

Now imagine this continuing through thousands of other trials where only the bacteria with certain genes get to survive and before you know it, you've got a bacteria that's very different to the one you started with.

To sum up: any species has a large amount of genetic variation. Selection repeatedly takes place favouring one variation over another and eventually you end up with something that is so different that it can no longer breed with the original example ie a new species.

I'm sure someone else could explain it more scientifically but that's the gist of it.

Jonathan said...

I really can't agree with the interpretation.
I'm not a biologist and so cannot approach the theory from that angle.
I approach from an information perspective.

The "molecules to man" theory of Evolution depends upon new features that help that organism better survive.
Goo to you as it was rather charmingly posited.

However if the observed cycles of bacteri has shown us anything it is that observed evolution has not added new features. it has only allowed the survival of those bacteria that had one feature the others didn't

This has been dismissed when previously debated by people suggsting that there where mutations in the genetic code due to imperfect copying and radiation damage. They suggest that this mutation would have been through sheer chance a usable feature. One that directly improves that organisms survival.
Fine
But we are talking a seriously huge probability against this happening.
Saying "we're here so it must have happened" does not solve the problem.
It also ignores that you need this sort of thing to happen not once but frequently.
Also in multiple different species since they first started branching off.
Somehow they didn't compete for the same niche?

I look at the world and I do not see random chance.
As an engineer I look at animals and creation and see an amazing array of designs all fitting together.

This is why I have a problem with the way evolution is taught in schools.
I'm only 25. I went through this in GCSE not to any years ago.

All I want is for the way genetics is taught to chance to reflect reality. Teach how birds pass on colours and traits.
Teach why someone has brown hair, and another blond.
Teach about this wonderful self compiling assembler code(DNA).

I don't need any teacher telling a student that god did it. I just don't want them saying it that it has been proven to be the result of random chance and billions of years.
I find it a very unscientific thing for them to say.
Off all the fascinating things that could be taught and get left out of the curriculem.
As a society we choose to teach the most divisive and poorly grounded thing we can find?

Anonymous said...

I don't need any teacher telling a student that god did it. I just don't want them saying it that it has been proven to be the result of random chance and billions of years.

So Jonathan what do you want taught?
Jobrag

Jonathan said...

Jobrag i believe i answered your question in paragraphs 7 and 8.

But there are many things biology that are currently left out or explained insufficently.

First Aid for example.
There was nothing about this in gcse biology when i did the course.
It dosen't take long to teach cpr etc.
It also ties in very well with other parts of the biology curriculem.

I'n sure there are other things.

Anonymous said...

Jonathan
You don't want creationism taught and you don't think that evolution is credible so what are you going to teach about how life on Earth got here?
Jobrag

Jonathan said...

Jobrag
Evolutionary theory has no relevance to the world we live in.

It's not used in any field.
Even biologists only use genetics.

I would devote perhaps a singal sentence to the origins or the universe.

"There are many fascinating theories as to how the world began."

Jobrag
Why do you find it so essential that Evolution is taught?
I mean school is for preparing children for life.
Giving the tastes of careers they might like to follow in life and a grounding to understand those things.
Evolution is not required to understand anything in biology.

Anonymous said...

Jonathan
What a very utalitarian world you live in. Would you restrict all education to vocational training? Lets leave English Literature off the sylabus no point in that. Art well as long as you can paint a wall that's OK.
The theory of evolution is one of the greatest liberating ideas ever, it allowed (allows) humans to concieve a world that doesn't require some supernatural creator who then needs to be venerated in some way, with a priestly caste creaming something off the top.
I'd be interested in your view of the Hubble Space Telescope no practical use there, and what about the LHC?

Jonathan said...

I'm not sure why you believe that is my stance?
I am not suggesting purely vocational training.


I am perfectly happy with LHC and Hubble.

As to your statement that evolution is a liberating theory.

I'm curious why you think that that is provable in any way?
As a theory it is by no means certain.
Please state what testable hypotheses are advanced by evolution theory?
Atheists may rail but that is because they require it to justify their position to themselves.
That does not somehow make the theory more valid or correct.

If my critique of the theory is in error then point it out.


In terms of your attack on "priestly classes".
I think that that misunderstands the christian foctrine of grace.

Anonymous said...

Jonathan

"I would devote perhaps a singal sentence to the origins or the universe."

"First Aid for example.
There was nothing about this in gcse biology when i did the course.
It dosen't take long to teach cpr etc.
It also ties in very well with other parts of the biology curriculem."

Suggest that you see education as a mechanical process rather then an opportunity to open a child's eyes and imagination to the wonders and grandeur of life the universe and everything.

I know that when I was at school a discussion of the origin of life or the creation of the universe would have been far more important to my education then a quick trip around a CPR dummy.

Hill earlier on gave a good description of how evolution works, I don't think that I can improve on it.

If you don't think that evolution has had time to work how do you explain the diversity of life on Earth?

Jobrag

Anonymous said...

Jonathan:

"i think the case for Evolution is rather shaky"

You are wrong. You might not think you are, but you are.

You might just as well think the case for the Higgs field giving particles mass is shaky. The fact of the matter is, you're not qualified to hold that opinion. Put another way - it doesn't matter what you think.

"It depends on a number of factors that aern't available to watch."

No, it doesn't. See - you didn't know that. You're NOT QUALIFIED. Keep talking, by all means, but please do understand that you're just hooting.

"Much of it is inferred from the present state rather than observed in action."

False.

"It requires a huge amount of time and a lot of random chance."

False and false.

"The fossils and the dates used to support it are highly suspect."

False.

"The various experiments done to determine the age of fossils and the earth take on a rather circular logic."

False.

"Radio carbon decay fine and dandy. That has been calibrated to about a 3 thousand years back."

False.

"Using material found in marked graves which have dates on them."

False.

"All in all I find the whole thing rather open to criticism."

Fine. Criticise it. Do so in meaningful terms, backed by a better, more consistent of the observed facts, and you will be feted with rewards beyond measure. Every schoolchild will know your name.

But criticise with a string of easily demolished falsehoods, and expect contempt.

For instance:

"I really can't agree with the interpretation.
I'm not a biologist and so cannot approach the theory from that angle. "

This is much like saying "I don't agree with your interpretation of fluid mechanics that has allowed you to explain how this aircraft is staying in the air... I'm not an engineer, but..."

If you "cannot approach the theory from that angle", what you're saying is that you fundamentally don't understand it. You can't just choose to approach it from another angle and pretend that to do so makes sense. You might just as well try to understand aerodynamics in terms of pie recipes.

Just accept that you don't understand it, but that others, people who make it their careers, do. And that you're therefore not in a position to argue with them about it.

Jonathan said...

Whoever you are you certainly hoot the word false alot.
As it happens i am an Aicraft engineer.
All of which is based on repeatable experiments.
I am by no means an expert in this area but i am possesed of a reasoning mind.
Sir perhaps you would take the time to explain where the errors in my assertions lie?

Or is that beneath you to explain?
Or perhaps your position is not as secure as you assert?

Jonathan said...

Whoever you are you certainly hoot the word false alot.
As it happens i am an Aicraft engineer.
All of which is based on repeatable experiments.
I am by no means an expert in this area but i am possesed of a reasoning mind.
Sir perhaps you would take the time to explain where the errors in my assertions lie?

Or is that beneath you to explain?
Or perhaps your position is not as secure as you assert?

Jonathan said...

Apologies for the double post. My phone had an error

Anonymous said...

Jonathan I'm still wondering what you would replace evolution with?
Jobrag

Jonathan said...

I think you will find i answered your query already Jobrag. You obviously don't agree with it but you do have my answer.

Anonymous said...

Jonathan
I've re-read all your comments and, sorry if I'm a bit thick, but I can't see anywhere that you actually spell out how you would explain the start of life on earth and its subsequent diversity.
Jobrag

Jonathan said...

"It's not used in any field.
Even biologists only use genetics.

I would devote perhaps a singal sentence to the origins or the universe.

"There are many fascinating theories as to how the world began."

"

Pasted from previous answer.
Despite previous accusations of Utilitarianism. There really is a lot of fascinating and useful stuff left out.

Anonymous said...

Jonathan that explains why you wouldn't teach evolution to school children but it does not explain what you think! How do you believe the Earth came into being and how did life on Earth start? You must have views on this otherwise you wouldn't have posted in these comments.

Jobrag

Jonathan said...

I believe that God created the heavens and the earth.

Anonymous said...

Young Earth or Old Earth creationist?
Jobrag