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jimmy156

2,372 posts

67 months

[news] 
Saturday 25th February 2012 quote quote all
Richard Dawkins explains it quite well in one of his books, i think in relation to creationists using the fact that it is the "theory" of evolution, i.e its only an idea.

His point was that it is called a theory rather then a fact (or theorem) as it is possible, even though the chances are infinitesimally small, that it could be disproved but at the moment all the evidence (and there is an awful lot of it) says it that it is true.

I think the only "facts" in science come from mathematics and some physics?

R300will

3,697 posts

31 months

[news] 
Saturday 25th February 2012 quote quote all
jimmy156 said:
Richard Dawkins explains it quite well in one of his books, i think in relation to creationists using the fact that it is the "theory" of evolution, i.e its only an idea.

His point was that it is called a theory rather then a fact (or theorem) as it is possible, even though the chances are infinitesimally small, that it could be disproved but at the moment all the evidence (and there is an awful lot of it) says it that it is true.

I think the only "facts" in science come from mathematics and some physics?
Experimentation i think is the way of making something fact. If you get exactly what you predicted and you can show everyone then that's it. However we can show proof of evolution now. Look at the common cold virus, constantly evolving to outwit our immune systems.

Simpo Two

58,184 posts

145 months

[news] 
Sunday 26th February 2012 quote quote all
jimmy156 said:
Richard Dawkins explains it quite well in one of his books, i think in relation to creationists using the fact that it is the "theory" of evolution, i.e its only an idea.
My theory of the understanding of the word 'theory' has convergently evolved with that of Dawkins. Which can only be good smile


QED and home for tea and medals say I!

IainT

8,789 posts

118 months

[news] 
Monday 27th February 2012 quote quote all
R300will said:
Experimentation i think is the way of making something fact. If you get exactly what you predicted and you can show everyone then that's it. However we can show proof of evolution now. Look at the common cold virus, constantly evolving to outwit our immune systems.
Unless you have a loose connection somewhere!

crofty1984

10,261 posts

84 months

[news] 
Monday 27th February 2012 quote quote all
Nimby said:
Simpo Two said:
It might avoid misunderstanding if you dropped the 'theory' part and just called it 'evolution' smile
There is the Fact of evolution - "the distribution of alleles in a population changes over time" - even fundies don't deny that.

Then there are Theories which attempt to explain why this happens. The currently-accepted scientific theory is (more or less) Darwinian natural selection.
Others are Goddidit, Lamarckism, LastThursdayism etc.
Yup.

Fact = What happens/has been observed and is proved to happen

At which point people go "ooh, why does that happen? What are the reasons for it?"

So they have a guess/make a hypothesis (VERY DEFINITELY NOT A THEORY AT THIS POINT)

Does the idea explain the specific thing you've observed?
Does it now fit with everything else that's related to it? Nothing contradicts it? Not even one little thing?

Now can you set up an experiment and PREDICT what will happen using your hypothesis?

Was your prediction correct?
Does it ALWAYS correctly predict the outcome?

Only now are you allowed to call your idea a theory.

That's why scientists (I'll not flatter myself by claiming to be in this group - I'm an engineer who's trying to teach himself particle physics smile ) get frustrated when people say "Ah ! But it's only a theory!" There's no only about it. For something is a theory it has been very thoroughly tested and examined and has yet to be proved wrong.
It may be proved wrong, at which point science will say "well we were pretty close with the last explanation, but this new one trumps it!"

For (a crude and simplistic) example:

Fact: the universe, light and matter behave in a certain way at high speeds/small scales. We've seen it, we know this to be true.

Einstein had an idea about how this observed behaviour might be explained.

He predicted gravitational lensing would be visible during an eclipse. It was.

His theory of space-time and relativity was proven to be correct as far as we knew at the time.

It still continues to make observeable, measurable correct predictions to this day such as how long fast-decaying particles last near the speed of light or the fact that Sat-Nav works reliably.


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Jinx

6,213 posts

140 months

[news] 
Tuesday 28th February 2012 quote quote all
R300will said:
Experimentation i think is the way of making something fact. If you get exactly what you predicted and you can show everyone then that's it. However we can show proof of evolution now. Look at the common cold virus, constantly evolving to outwit our immune systems.
That's mutation and natural selection not evolution. Whilst "random" mutation and natural selection are the building blocks of evolutionary theory they are not in themselves proof of evolution (would become a circular argument if they were) .
random is in quotes as this is the one bit of evolutionary thoery that I disagree with - well that and Darwin's insistance that "humans" are the top end

Bedazzled

6,530 posts

101 months

[news] 
Tuesday 28th February 2012 quote quote all
It saddens me to see how few people understand theories like evolution and relativity. Darwin wrote On the Origin of Species 150 years ago, and it's so simple. Einstein wrote his papers on relativity 100 years ago, and while the maths is almost impossible for a layman like me to understand, it's amazing how many scientists abandoned their posts at the first sign of an experiment exceeding the speed of light. Unsurprisingly most of them are now busy saying "I knew it wasn't true"; thank God for people like Jim Al-Khalili who actually showed some conviction. Thankfully we won't have to watch him eat his boxers! hehe

R300will

3,697 posts

31 months

[news] 
Tuesday 28th February 2012 quote quote all
Jinx said:
R300will said:
Experimentation i think is the way of making something fact. If you get exactly what you predicted and you can show everyone then that's it. However we can show proof of evolution now. Look at the common cold virus, constantly evolving to outwit our immune systems.
That's mutation and natural selection not evolution. Whilst "random" mutation and natural selection are the building blocks of evolutionary theory they are not in themselves proof of evolution (would become a circular argument if they were) .
random is in quotes as this is the one bit of evolutionary thoery that I disagree with - well that and Darwin's insistance that "humans" are the top end
Well they kind of... are proof of evolution because how can you have it without the successive mutation and reproduction?

El Guapo

1,926 posts

70 months

[news] 
Wednesday 29th February 2012 quote quote all
Not wishing to appear to be a smart alec, but
Back in November I said:
Einstein wasn't wrong about the speed of light. Somebody has indeed made a silly mistake somewhere.
Nobody disses Albert on my watch.

Jinx

6,213 posts

140 months

[news] 
Wednesday 29th February 2012 quote quote all
R300will said:
Well they kind of... are proof of evolution because how can you have it without the successive mutation and reproduction?
Only if they become a more complex organism that is a separate organism in it's own right.
Evidence of mutation and examples of natural selection are not the same as evidence of an evolutionary change (they might be a step on the path or the organism's progeny might regress back to something genetically the same as the pre-mutated organism - a single evolutionary step is made up of a multitude of mutation/natural selection processes) .
Me I don't hold with the "random" mutation theory anyway - it sounds too much akin to the spontaneous generation thoery and is unnecssary if we take an extended-extended phenotype look at genetics (though not as far as the Gaia hypothesis noooooo )

Simpo Two

58,184 posts

145 months

[news] 
Wednesday 29th February 2012 quote quote all
Jinx said:
Only if they become a more complex organism that is a separate organism in it's own right.
Evidence of mutation and examples of natural selection are not the same as evidence of an evolutionary change (they might be a step on the path or the organism's progeny might regress back to something genetically the same as the pre-mutated organism - a single evolutionary step is made up of a multitude of mutation/natural selection processes) .
What creates change between generations if not a change in the genetic code? Only changes there can be passed to offspring.


Jinx said:
Me I don't hold with the "random" mutation theory anyway - it sounds too much akin to the spontaneous generation
I think that's a silly comparison. There are many things that can cause a genome to change, either from outside (mutagens) or by faulty transcription.

Jinx

6,213 posts

140 months

[news] 
Wednesday 29th February 2012 quote quote all
Simpo Two said:
What creates change between generations if not a change in the genetic code? Only changes there can be passed to offspring.
Recessive genes can be retranscribed - a natural selection event can favour the recessive gene - hence a "back" step - junk code may not have always been junk and may not alwyas remain junk.

Jinx said:
Me I don't hold with the "random" mutation theory anyway - it sounds too much akin to the spontaneous generation
Simpo Two said:
I think that's a silly comparison. There are many things that can cause a genome to change, either from outside (mutagens) or by faulty transcription.
Actually I think its a valid comparison as the spontaneous generation theory was postulated by lack of knowledge of the processes involved as was the "random mutation" theory . As you said many things cause the genome to change - therefore it is not a "random mutation" in the way the "Origin of the Species" describes it.

Predicting what changes happen when part of the genome is changed is one of the reasons we are mapping them in the first place.

Bedazzled

6,530 posts

101 months

[news] 
Wednesday 29th February 2012 quote quote all
Wiki explains all the basic evolutionary processes like random mutation, natural selection, biased mutation, genetic drift, genetic hitchhiking, gene flow, etc. Also have a look at this:

article said:
what is not obvious is how pervasive these ready-to-go molecular toolkits are. Almost all of the most important cellular processes evolved very early in the history of life, and much evolution since then has consisted of applying the fundamental organism-building toolboxes in new ways.
Whether or not it's gene mutation or the selection of predefined gene 'toolkits', and whether or not the random changes are biased by various factors is interesting detail, but the most fundamental point is that evolution occurs as a result of random change combined with natural selection. There is no focused goal or design and the only difference between micro- and macro-evolution is time. People often use clumsy phrases like 'evolved to outwit' but generally I think they know what they mean, it's just a limitation of our language.

Simpo Two

58,184 posts

145 months

[news] 
Wednesday 29th February 2012 quote quote all
Jinx said:
stuff
Are you a geneticist? I only studied it to degree level which is a good start although I know from my final year thesis on microbial genetics (now long forgotten) that it gets a lot more complicated. And bacteria are simple!

Jinx

6,213 posts

140 months

[news] 
Wednesday 29th February 2012 quote quote all
Simpo Two said:
Are you a geneticist? I only studied it to degree level which is a good start although I know from my final year thesis on microbial genetics (now long forgotten) that it gets a lot more complicated. And bacteria are simple!
Unfortunately not though I have dated a few (dating women with a deep rooted interest in very small things seemed like a good idea at the time) - it's amazing how much you pick up from micro-biologists.......
hehe
(the above is actually true)
note: If you don't have an interest in agarose gel electrophoresis, dna polymerase etc. then don't date molecular biologists as the question "how was work today dear?" will probably involve frantic searching through The Cell (5th Edition) just to keep up smile

turbobloke

59,837 posts

140 months

[news] 
Saturday 31st March 2012 quote quote all
At the end of this marathon saga the speed of light may be safe(*) but the job of the head of the Opera researchers clearly wasn't safe. Where's Dustin Hoffman and some oil of cloves when needed most.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-1756...

(*)Yet still the BBC get the basics wrong, though they're not alone in that matter.

BBC said:
relativity theory - which holds the speed of light to be the Universe's absolute speed limit
No, it doesn't.
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