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twdtunes

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twdtunes
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AronRaContributorUser avatarPosts: 565Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 1:47 pm

Post twdtunes

I'm going to try one more time to explain evolution to a creationist. This time I've got someone with apparently no prior experience in this discussion: someone I happened across on Twitter. We got the standard "evolution is a religion requiring faith" argument, followed "how do you explain" (sea shells on everest, polystrate trees, morality), the most basic first-timer arguments we ever hear. So this will be a very basic primer.

twdtunes, (or whatever you prefer to call yourself here) I'm going to share some terms that I think may be relevant to this discussion, just to make sure we start off speaking the same language.

Science:
An objective method of measurably or verifiably improving our understanding of physical nature in practical application or mathematics, through observation and experimentation with falsifiable hypotheses explaining a body of facts in a theoretical framework, to be subjected to a perpetual battery of critical analysis in peer review.

Fact:
Data which is either not in dispute, or is indisputable in that it is objectively verifiable.

Evidence:
A body of facts which are positively indicative of, or exclusively concordant with, one available position over any other.

Hypothesis: A testable and potentially-falsifiable explanation one which includes predictions as to what different test results should imply about it.

Law [of nature]:
A general statement in science which is always true under a given set of circumstances. Example: That “matter attracts matter” is a law of gravity, but it is not the only law contained within the theory of gravity.

Theory:
A body of knowledge including all known facts, hypotheses, and natural laws relevant to a particular field of study. A proposed explanation of a set of related facts or a given phenomenon. Example: *How* “matter attracts matter” is the theory of gravity.

Proof:
[legal sense, common vernacular] An overwhelming preponderance of evidence.
[scientific sense] Inapplicable except in the negative: It is only possible to dis-prove a hypothesis or theory. It isn’t possible to prove them positively.

Spontaneous generation:
Proposed by Anaximander in the 6th century BCE, and disproved in a series of experiments from 1668 to 1861: The idea that fermentation and putrefaction activates a latent “vitalism” (life-force) in once-living matter; thus recycling organic refuse such as old meat, rotting vegetables, and feces into new forms of already complex, albeit vile, viruses and living organisms from bacteria all the way to animals such as flies and even rats.

Abiogenesis:
Proposed by Rudolph Virchow in 1855, and coined by Thomas Huxley in 1870; the current explanation for the origin of life: The proposition that the formation of life requires a prior matrix, thus genetic and metabolic cells must have developed through an intricate sequence of increasingly complex chemical constructs, each having been naturally enhanced by particular environmental and constituent conditions.

Evolution:
Unless otherwise specified, the scientific context always refers to an explanation of biodiversity via population mechanics; summarily defined as ‘descent with inherent [genetic] modification’: Paraphrased for clarity, it is a process of varying allele frequencies among reproductive populations; leading to (usually subtle) changes in the morphological or physiological composition of descendant subsets. When compiled over successive generations, these can expand biodiversity when continuing variation between genetically-isolated groups eventually lead to one or more descendant branches increasingly distinct from their ancestors or cousins.

Microevolution:
“Small scale” evolution within a single species / interbreeding population.

Macroevolution:
“Large scale” evolution between different species / populations: The emergence of new taxa at or above the species level.

Truth:
Any statement which has been or can readily be shown to actually be true. Personal testimony, conviction, conjecture, or speculation can turn out to be true, and may even be accepted as true whenever objection seems unwarranted, but no statement should be classed as ‘truth’ until examined and vindicated.

Lie: Misinformation or information misrepresented with a deliberate intent to mislead or deceive.

On Twitter, I mentioned that this would be an interactive process, requiring a series of mutual exchanges to be sure you understand the basics before moving on to the next levels. So to begin, do you accept these definitions for the purposes of this discussion? If you can show reason that any of these need be altered, show why I will consider it. Others in this forum would hold me accountable if I did not.
"Faith means not wanting to know what is true." - Friedrich Nietzsche.
"Faith is believing what you know ain't so." - Mark Twain
Fri Aug 24, 2018 9:52 pm
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