Levels of proof in science (evolution creation/abiogenesis)

ex-minister
atheistHigh Level ModeratorSilver Member
ex-minister's picture
Posts: 1708
Joined: 2010-01-29
User is offlineOffline
Levels of proof in science (evolution creation/abiogenesis)

 

I have been working out the levels of facts or proofs in science as it relates to evolution, which has been incorrectly lumped with creationism. I have not found anything clearly explaining the scientific basis of the theory of evolution and contradictory articles. It appears the word theory is a bad choice for the English language because it is open to a wide range of interpretations. My choice of words I know is poor below and would appreciate more accurate terminology. But conceptually I believe I am on the right track.  If there is some good website that clearly explain this I would appreciate knowing. Wiki was one of the ones I got lost in. 

 

So here is what I have put together so far.

 

There are level of proof in science

1: Hypothesis - is a suggested explanation of a phenomenon. It has not been found true or not false. It is a guess. Creationist confuse this definition with a theory. 

2:Conjecture - When a hypothesis is tested with repeatable experiments and it has not been found untrue it has moved up a level. More test need to be done

3:Theory - When a hypothesis has been thoroughly tested with repeatable experiments and the scientific community has become confident that this theory has always proven true, i.e. not falsifiable. This is what science means by the theory of evolution. All evidence found has supported this theory.

Creationism is not a theory but only a hypothesis and by its very nature cannot be falsified. Since it cannot be falsified it is not even wrong. Something that is not even wrong means since we cannot prove it is not true we cannot even learn  anything from it.

Creationism is a myth that explained to primitive people the origins of the universe.

Abiogenesis is hypotheses of the origin of the universe. Science does not claim to know how it happened. There are not even theories on it.

Evolution is a scientific fact

"In the broadest sense, evolution is merely change, and so is all-pervasive; galaxies, languages, and political systems all evolve. Biological evolution ... is change in the properties of populations of organisms that transcend the lifetime of a single individual. The ontogeny of an individual is not considered evolution; individual organisms do not evolve. The changes in populations that are considered evolutionary are those that are inheritable via the genetic material from one generation to the next. Biological evolution may be slight or substantial; it embraces everything from slight changes in the proportion of different alleles within a population (such as those determining blood types) to the successive alterations that led from the earliest protoorganism to snails, bees, giraffes, and dandelions." 

 - Douglas J. Futuyma in Evolutionary Biology, Sinauer Associates 1986

 

When someone claims that they don't believe in evolution they cannot be referring to an acceptable scientific definition of evolution because that would be denying something which is easy to demonstrate. It would be like saying that they don't believe in gravity!

Evolution is not about gradual progress because that is not true. It is not time constrained. It does not say that a lower form of life evolved into a higher form of life. It can say from a less complex form of life evolved into a more complex form of life.

 

TIA

 

 

 

Religion Kills !!!

Numbers 31:17-18 - Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

http://jesus-needs-money.blogspot.com/


Answers in Gene...
High Level Donor
Answers in Gene Simmons's picture
Posts: 4214
Joined: 2008-11-11
User is offlineOffline
OK, let me take your points

OK, let me take your points but in a different order.

 

Abiogenesis is not the origin of the universe. Rather, it is the beginning of life from material that is not alive. Scientists have some definite ideas of how that may have happened but the various lines of thought have not come together to form one consistent body of thought.

 

Cosmology is the study of how the universe developed from an earlier form (also the thoughts on the future of the universe. Cosmology also has some thoughts of just how the universe began but again, there is no single idea that everyone agrees on.

 

Now that that is out of the way:

 

There is a concept of the scientific method and you sort of have that down. However, if you read enough text books, you will find that different authors say what it is in different ways. Here is how I would put it (based in no small part from actual scientists).

 

First one starts with some observations of the world and tries to come up with a story that could explain the observations. At this point, you are guessing. Seriously, guessing is the most important part of the whole deal. If you never try to guess, you never get to move on to the rest of the process.

 

The second step is to try to check if your guess might be right. The usual way that this is done is to follow the line of thought from the first step and see if the guess carries any implications that were not already observed. Basically, the logic here would be along the lines of “If I am right, then this other thing must also be seen”.

 

Now we move into testing. Since the conjecture in step two has never been seen before, we would want to design a test that would show if the conjecture works out. If the conjecture does not work out, then there was a problem somewhere in step two and we have to go back to step one to see where the problem lies.

 

If the conjecture works out, then we can say that we are reasonably confident that we got step two right. Now we move on to the next stage and write the theory which wraps up the observations, conjectures and tests into a whole explanation. This is what we call a theory.

 

At this point, the theory is generally considered to be pretty solid. However, the testing from step three must be considered to be new observations. Since observation is the start of step one, we can go back to that and start the process over with the new observations and see where those take us.

 

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

 

Now here I must note that the history of scientific thought is littered with examples of theory that actually turned out to be wrong due to the errors being subtle enough that nobody noticed right away. A good example is the nature of matter.

 

There was a famous dead Greek guy by the name of Democritus who conjectured (guessed) that there is a smallest indivisible bit of matter. Surviving documents suggest that he and his peers thought that that might be something possibly as large as a grain of sand. Democritus called that tiny speck of stuff an atom.

 

By the middle of the 19th century, chemists thought that they had found the ultimate elements (<--that is a hint BTW) of nature and they borrowed from Democritus to call them the atoms. Then only a few decades later, it turned out that atoms have an internal structure.

 

Not long after that, it turned out that atomic niclei have an internal structure. By the 1930's, it was understood that even protons have an internal structure. Current thinking holds that there may even be internal structures to what are now viewed as the basic particles.

 

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

 

Finally, I must tell you that you missed the bus on the idea that creationism can't be wrong because it can't be falsified. The fact is that even though it cannot be falsified on it's internal features, it is known to be wrong because it contradicts other falsifiable ideas.

 

For example, creationists like to talk about the Grand Canyon and something which they call “Flood Geology”. There are some huge problems with this. One big one being just how there could be a world wide flood about 4,000 years ago that the Chinese failed to notice. Or the American Indians. Really, if the whole of North America had been scraped clean, would that not have been evident in the geological and anthropological records?

 

Another example would be a creationist down in New Zealand who has an idea that the speed of light has changed over time. Huge problems here as well. Not the least one being that there is something known as Uranium in the universe. Hell, it produces over 20% of the electricity in the USA and even larger percentages in some other nations.

 

Well, the fact is that if the speed of light was many times the current value just a few dozen centuries ago, then the energy content off the Uranium in the Earth's crust would have been so great that the planet could not have formed in the first place without becoming a planet sized nuclear bomb.

 

So, yes, creationism is demonstrably wrong.

NoMoreCrazyPeople wrote:
Never ever did I say enything about free, I said "free."

=


ex-minister
atheistHigh Level ModeratorSilver Member
ex-minister's picture
Posts: 1708
Joined: 2010-01-29
User is offlineOffline
Answers, thank you for your

Answers, thank you for your reply. Appreciate the detail. Really want to clean up my understanding and awareness of even things that are considered unsettled.

Oh right,  Creationism is quite falsifiable. I was thinking of god's involvement. Would that be correct?  God is not physical so it is not falsifiable.  From a recent Science Channel video I watched, Einstein at the latter years of his life tried to catch god at work and was working on an hypothesis of everything. He was unsuccessful in part because he hated the theory of quantum mechanics. I guess because it would not lead down such a path.  

Good points on a worldwide flood. The same reasoning goes for the two times in the Bible the "sun stopped" Joshua at Jericho was the longest. Many ancient societies were focused on the sky. Having the sun stop for a day would be a huge event. Yet no mention anywhere.

I don't understand the NZ creation story in reference to the speed of light changing. Science says it is a constant I believe.  How does uranium disprove this?

How solid is the theory of evolution? As I see it from Darwin's time it is quite solid. There are things Darwin never knew about such as DNA (erv, chromosome number 2) but all new evidence in science/archeology confirms and enhances the theory but does not make it false. Compared to what you mention above about the atom is has been a very short period of time for evolution. Does science regard evolution a fact? (And of course I am not referring to Abiogenesis or Cosmology when I say evolution).

 

 

 

 

Religion Kills !!!

Numbers 31:17-18 - Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

http://jesus-needs-money.blogspot.com/


cj
atheistRational VIP!
cj's picture
Posts: 3330
Joined: 2007-01-05
User is offlineOffline
theory and fact

ex-minister wrote:

Oh right,  Creationism is quite falsifiable. I was thinking of god's involvement. Would that be correct?  God is not physical so it is not falsifiable. 

ex-minister wrote:

I don't understand the NZ creation story in reference to the speed of light changing. Science says it is a constant I believe.  How does uranium disprove this?

I don't feel qualified to answer this one.  I'm sure someone else can later.

ex-minister wrote:

How solid is the theory of evolution? As I see it from Darwin's time it is quite solid. There are things Darwin never knew about such as DNA (erv, chromosome number 2) but all new evidence in science/archeology confirms and enhances the theory but does not make it false. Compared to what you mention above about the atom is has been a very short period of time for evolution. Does science regard evolution a fact? (And of course I am not referring to Abiogenesis or Cosmology when I say evolution).

Evolution is theory and fact.  In an ideal world, we would separate the meanings and have two different words, but this world is far from perfect or ideal.

We can observe evolution in the "micro" sense in a laboratory.  That is, fast changes in organisms that have very short generational spans such as bacteria, viruses, some plants and so on.  In the macro sense, there are examples, they are just harder to see as the changes span human generations.  My favorite example is Hawaiian Wallabies.  We know when they were imported to the islands, we know that they do not look like the original Australian Wallabies that were imported, and we know they eat food that would poison their Australian cousins.  Sadly, they are already going extinct less than 100 years later. 

Another example is the domestic dog.  View any portrait from earlier than 1900 and compare with the modern breed examples.  Also, they are now a ring species.  A Great Dane would kill a Chihuahua trying to breed it, but those breeds can interbreed with dogs closer to their own size.  It didn't used to be so and we have the evidence to prove it in the examples of wild dogs found on various continents.  Also, all canids can interbreed with each other - wolves, coyotes, domestic dogs, jackals, wild dogs.  So "species" is rather vague generally.  Biologists still argue over what is a species and how can you tell.

So Evolution is fact.  It is also theory.  It is a formal definition that explains facts and generates predictions that can be verified by anyone who cares to do the work.  It is the verification that makes it scientific.  Someone may claim to "see" or "hear" god, but there is no way to verify the experience.  If I claim to change environmental conditions such that a new species of drosophila evolves I had better be able to explain the changes and provide a genetic map of the changes in the species.

Which should answer your first question some what.  Since god is a personal experience, just like lust or love or anger or any other emotion, I can not disprove or prove your internal experience.  However, I can make a case for god never having manifested in the physical world.  We have no evidence of this ever happening, and therefore, we can say with confidence, that since there is no evidence, the proper assumption is god does not manifest in the physical sense.  Stated in this fashion, our premise is falsifiable.  No one has ever managed to find evidence for any god's physical manifestation that is not obviously fake or a misunderstanding of natural processes.  If ever any evidence is found, we can revisit this hypothesis.  Personally, I am not going to hold my breath.  We have had thousands of years to find this evidence and it seems to me to be a pretty clear no show for gods.

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.


Marquis
atheist
Marquis's picture
Posts: 776
Joined: 2009-12-23
User is offlineOffline
ex-minister wrote: I don't

ex-minister wrote:

I don't understand the NZ creation story in reference to the speed of light changing.

 

Some dufus introduced the idea that the velocity of light must have been much greater "before" - because this is necessary to make the model of the earth being only 6,000 years old harmonise with the discoveries of modern physics. This is of course a bunch of preposterous bullshit that doesn't even begin to have cohesion with any serious physical model of the universe that is being used today. It is nonsense, plain and simple. There is no evidence that suggests that the velocity of light has changed in any way since the big bang; 13.7 billion years ago.

This 5 minute video should give you something to think about:

 

 

 

 

"The idea of God is the sole wrong for which I cannot forgive mankind." (Alphonse Donatien De Sade)

http://www.kinkspace.com


ex-minister
atheistHigh Level ModeratorSilver Member
ex-minister's picture
Posts: 1708
Joined: 2010-01-29
User is offlineOffline
thanks

cj Thanks. I didn't know about those examples for macro evolution

 


Marquis wrote:

This 5 minute video should give you something to think about


WOW!!! It is over my head but I find it fascinating. I see there are related videos. Will check them out.

Thanks!

Religion Kills !!!

Numbers 31:17-18 - Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

http://jesus-needs-money.blogspot.com/


Answers in Gene...
High Level Donor
Answers in Gene Simmons's picture
Posts: 4214
Joined: 2008-11-11
User is offlineOffline
ex-minister wrote:From a

ex-minister wrote:
From a recent Science Channel video I watched, Einstein at the latter years of his life tried to catch god at work and was working on an hypothesis of everything. He was unsuccessful in part because he hated the theory of quantum mechanics. I guess because it would not lead down such a path.

 

OK, I do not know what that video was but either it was mistaken or you missed what was going on. The fact is that Einstein had a very specific concept of god and it was not anything like the man in the sky thing that the fundies have going on.

 

Rather, he considered god to be the totality of the universe. All the matter, energy and physical laws are part of god. No disembodied brain that is concerned with everyone's private parts.

 

So if by “catch god at work” you mean that he was trying to describe the universe at every level, then yes, that is pretty much what he was doing. Sure, he had issues with quantum dynamics. However, he also founded the field and he never much cared for where it went once the theory was out in the open.

 

ex-minister wrote:
I don't understand the NZ creation story in reference to the speed of light changing. Science says it is a constant I believe. How does uranium disprove this?

 

OK, perhaps I was not quite clear on that. As Marquis observed, the guy in NZ is a brain dead turd. If you want to google him, look for “Barry Setterfield Scientist”. I have personally hacked his web site and while he does not have a link to the specific document, he does have his academic CV stored there. His claim to being a scientist rests solely in having taken a single semester of freshman geology before declaring a major in theology. So as far as I can tell, he is using the word scientist as part of his legal name.

 

Anyway, if the speed of light used to be in the range of about 2,000,000 light years/year, then all of astronomy can fit neatly into the 6,000 year chronology. Of course, it had to slow down to the present value at some point, so he cherry picked some old and inaccurate measurements of the speed of light which had error bars that overlapped the curve that he feels best matches his particular brand of lunacy. Then he asserts that despite known error bars of as much as 20%, each experiment actually determined the speed of light to be just what he says it must have been.

 

As far as disproving the matter, we just need to look at any of the equations of physics that use the speed of light as one of the terms and see how the universe would have been vastly different. What I did not explicitly say was that I had E=mc^2 in mind.

 

Now if the speed of light was that much greater in the recent past, then the energy content of normal matter would scale with that. Actually, since the term is squared, the scale factor would be 4*10^12 greater energy in any matter. I only picked Uranium because it would be an obvious choice.

 

However, any change in any of the fundamental constants of nature would be a problem for physics. If the fine structure constant was less by even 0.1%, chemistry as we know it would not be possible.

 

ex-minister wrote:
How solid is the theory of evolution? As I see it from Darwin's time it is quite solid. There are things Darwin never knew about such as DNA (erv, chromosome number 2) but all new evidence in science/archeology confirms and enhances the theory but does not make it false. Compared to what you mention above about the atom is has been a very short period of time for evolution. Does science regard evolution a fact? (And of course I am not referring to Abiogenesis or Cosmology when I say evolution).

 

Well, it is on very firm footing. In fact, had Darwin not published when he did, it would have been known about almost instantly as he co-published with Alfred Russel Wallace who had very similar ideas. In fact, both papers were read into the record on the same day. Had that not happened, Gregor Mendel was, at that moment, studying the concept of heredity and his work would have led to modern evolutionary thought in due time as well.

 

The next time you are at your local library, check out “The Greatest Show on Earth” by Richard Dawkins. That is his most recent work and he wrote it specifically to lay out the evidence for evolution in one place in an easy to read form.

NoMoreCrazyPeople wrote:
Never ever did I say enything about free, I said "free."

=


ex-minister
atheistHigh Level ModeratorSilver Member
ex-minister's picture
Posts: 1708
Joined: 2010-01-29
User is offlineOffline
Einstein and the Mind of God

Answers,

Here is the video. It is possible I missed the point. Take a look and let me know. 

 

http://jesus-needs-money.blogspot.com/2010/02/einstein-and-mind-of-god.html

 

 

"No disembodied brain that is concerned with everyone's private parts."  - 

Religion Kills !!!

Numbers 31:17-18 - Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

http://jesus-needs-money.blogspot.com/