The Evolution Epiphany

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posted on Jun, 21 2014 @ 12:07 AM
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Regulars in this forum know that I am a convinced evolutionist. I wasn't always one, though, because nobody is. The naive assumption, common to primitive humans and small children alike, is that the living things inhabiting this world were created by some powerful entity, probably the same one that created the world itself. I don't remember coming to this conclusion on my own — I think I was told — but I had no trouble believing it at the time, nor did I question it for many years. It made sense to me. It makes sense to most people, at least to begin with.

Later, as a result of what I had read and learnt, I came to understand that something called 'evolution' had occurred. This mysterious process had formed the multiplicity of finely-adapted, often very complex living things existing around me. It had formed me, too. I realized that the process had taken a very long time, but it still seemed quite improbable to me. I was happy to believe that evolution had had some help, possibly from God, who may have produced the earliest forms and overseen (perhaps guided) their evolution, or perhaps the help came from an inherent vitalism that causes all life to transcend itself and become something 'higher' — perhaps, ultimately, to become something worthy of being called God itself. I wasn't very clear about the details and, frankly, I wasn't that interested. It was just something to think about from time to time.

All this time, religion had come to mean less and less to me. If I still believed in a God, it was mainly because the existence of the universe, and of life and intelligence in it, seemed to demand a creator. Despite what I had learned of science, in particular evolution, the idea that it had all arisen more or less accidentally seemed a bit far-fetched to me.

Then one day, in my late twenties (I think it was), I read a book called The Blind Watchmaker. To describe its effect upon me, I can do no better than quote the late Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:


It was like throwing open the doors and windows in a dark and stuffy room. You realize what a jumble of half-digested ideas we normally live with... We 'sort of' understand evolution, though we secretly think there's probably a bit more to it than that. Some of us even think there's some 'sort of' god, which takes care of the bits that sound a little improbable. Dawkins brings a flood of light and fresh air, and shows us that there is a dazzling clarity to the structure of evolution that is breathtaking when we suddenly see it. And if we don't see it, then, quite literally, we don't know the first thing about who we are and where we come from. Source

This is exactly what happened to me. I read The Blind Watchmaker and suddenly, epiphanically, understood how evolution works, how it accounts for all the life we see around us today, and how it accounts for us.

Fired with excitement and curiosity, I quickly found and devoured Dawkins's masterpiece, The Selfish Gene. By the time I was halfway through that book, I had realized that not only does evolution account for how we came to be as biological organisms, it also accounts for how we behave, and answers nearly all the Big Questions — Who are we? What are we? Why are we here? Why do we do the things we do? Why is there suffering in the world? Why does love exist? Why must we die? — that theology and philosophy had struggled so haplessly with for thousands of years.

This was how I came to understand evolution: as an overwhelming intellectual and emotional epiphany. There was nothing 'spiritual' about it, but the sensation of 'seeing the light' was dramatic and utterly real. Just like finding God is reputed to do, it changed my life for ever.

*


In this ATS forum, people who understand evolution are forever trying to explain, to people who don't, how it works and how we know that it does. They very rarely succeed, even when the people they're trying to explain it to aren't religious bigots. There seem to be all sorts of mental obstacles that get in the way.

Evolutionists find this peculiar and frustrating. Mostly, we put it down to religious belief and prejudice on the part of the naysayers. And it is true that hardcore creationists do go about with their ears firmly stopped and their lips endlessly flapping. But I don't think that explains all or even most of the scepticism about evolution. Even some of the people who do believe it obviously don't understand it very well; you can see they're taking a lot of the story on faith.

So I think it's a bit of a Catch-22 situation. The problem is that evolution is very hard to believe in until you understand it properly, and you're never going to understand it properly until you're inclined to believe it.

Because understanding it, frankly, is a lot harder than simply believing in it. And when understanding comes — as it came to me, as it came to Douglas Adams — it comes as a mind-altering epiphany. I'll quote him again:


The thing about evolution is that if it hasn't turned your brain inside out, you haven't understood it. Source

This, I think, is the real explanation why we can't get through to creationists and other sceptics about evolution. Until you've experienced the intellectual revolution, the epiphany, of understanding it, the details of the process and the evidence for it simply don't make sense, because you don't have the frame to fit it all into.

So how does one acquire the frame?

Speaking for myself, the key to understanding was Dawkins's explanation that the unit of natural selection is the gene, not the organism or the species. Selection occurs, ultimately, among genes, and all of biology arises from that. But perhaps this insight doesn't work for you; maybe you don't even agree with it. Maybe the way into understanding is different for everybody. And this, now, is what I'm curious about.

So I am addressing this thread to my fellow evolutionists on ATS. When full understanding of how evolution works came to you, did it come as a sudden illumination, a moment of enlightenment, a Eureka moment, an epiphany? Did it 'turn your brain inside out' just like it did mine?

If so, what aspect or element of evolutionary theory (or anything else for that matter) provided the illumination?

If not, what was the process by which you came to understand evolution, and do you feel you understand it fully?

I am also troubled by the thought that only fairly intelligent and well-educated people seem to understand evolution properly. If this is so, then the greater part of the human race must take it on faith, because there is no other way they can take it. Do you agree with this, how does it make you feel, and what do you think can (or should) be done about it?

Non-evolutionists are of course welcome to make whatever comments they please in the thread, though I hope we will be able to stick at least roughly to the thread topic and not let things degenerate into another round of yes-it's-true-no-it's-not-you're-an-idiot.

edit on 21/6/14 by Astyanax because: you can't type a post this long without making a few mistakes.




posted on Jun, 21 2014 @ 12:36 AM
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originally posted by: Astyanax

Later, as a result of what I had read and learnt, I came to understand that something called 'evolution' had occurred. This mysterious process had formed the multiplicity of finely-adapted, often very complex living things existing around me. It had formed me, too. I realized that the process had taken a very long time, but it still seemed quite improbable to me. I was happy to believe that evolution had had some help, possibly from God, who may have produced the earliest forms and overseen (perhaps guided) their evolution, or perhaps the help came from an inherent vitalism that causes all life to transcend itself and become something 'higher' — perhaps, ultimately, to become something worthy of being called God itself. I wasn't very clear about the details and, frankly, I wasn't that interested. It was just something to think about from time to time.

All this time, religion had come to mean less and less to me. If I still believed in a God, it was mainly because the existence of the universe, and of life and intelligence in it, seemed to demand a creator. Despite what I had learned of science, in particular evolution, the idea that it had all arisen more or less accidentally seemed a bit far-fetched to me.

Then one day, in my late twenties (I think it was), I read a book called The Blind Watchmaker. To describe its effect upon me, I can do no better than quote the late Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:


It was like throwing open the doors and windows in a dark and stuffy room. You realize what a jumble of half-digested ideas we normally live with... We 'sort of' understand evolution, though we secretly think there's probably a bit more to it than that. Some of us even think there's some 'sort of' god, which takes care of the bits that sound a little improbable. Dawkins brings a flood of light and fresh air, and shows us that there is a dazzling clarity to the structure of evolution that is breathtaking when we suddenly see it. And if we don't see it, then, quite literally, we don't know the first thing about who we are and where we come from. Source

This is exactly what happened to me. I read The Bilind Watchmaker and suddenly, epiphanically, understood how evolution works, how it accounts for all the life we see around us today, and how it accounts for us.

Fired with excitement and curiosity, I quickly found and devoured Dawkins's masterpiece, The Selfish Gene. By the time I was halfway through that book, I realized that not only does evolution account for how we came to be as biological organisms, it also accounts for how we behave, and answers nearly all the Big Questions — Who are we? What are we? Why are we here? Why do we do the things we do? Why is there suffering in the world? Why does love exist? Why must we die? — that theology and philosophy had struggled so hopelessly with for thousands of years.

This was how I came to understand evolution: as an overwhelming intellectual and emotional epiphany. There was nothing 'spiritual' about it, but the sensation of 'seeing the light' was dramatic and utterly real. Just like finding God is reputed to do, it changed my life for ever.

Evolutionists find this problematic and frustrating. Mostly, we put it down to religious belief and prejudice on the part of the naysayers. And it is true that hardcore creationists go about with their ears firmly stopped and their lips endlessly flapping. But I don't think that explains all or even most of the scepticism about evolution. Even some of the people who do believe it obviously don't understand it very well; you can see they're taking a lot of the story on faith.

So I think it's a bit of a Catch-22 situation. The problem is that evolution is very hard to believe in until you understand it properly, and you're never going to understand it properly until you're inclined to believe it.

Because understanding it, frankly, is a lot harder than simply believing in it. And when understanding comes — as it came to me, as it came to Douglas Adams — it comes as a mind-altering epiphany. I'll quote him again:


The thing about evolution is that if it hasn't turned your brain inside out, you haven't understood it. Source

This, I think, is the real explanation why we can't get through to creationists and other sceptics about evolution. Until you've experienced the intellectual revolution, the epiphany, of understanding it, the details of the process and the evidence for it simply don't make sense, because you don't have the frame to fit it all into.


((I took some stuff out of your post so there was more room for me to post.))

I am agnostic & strongly believe in Evolution. That being said, I did grow up as a Presbyterian so I still believe that a higher being created everything. Evolution is the natural process that has taken place since the higher being started to create.

I have not heard of those books you mentioned so I will have to add them to my list of books to read ((sorry it is a long list so I'm not sure when I'll get around to it))


I was happy to believe that evolution had had some help, possibly from God, who may have produced the earliest forms and overseen (perhaps guided) their evolution, or perhaps the help came from an inherent vitalism that causes all life to transcend itself and become something 'higher' — perhaps, ultimately, to become something worthy of being called God itself. I wasn't very clear about the details and, frankly, I wasn't that interested. It was just something to think about from time to time.
I think that souls do go on a journey in order to achieve purity (maybe to become Gods, who knows) and that life is the filter. ((Think of a water filter, water goes through the filter & comes out pure)) Evolution wouldn't be just for the purpose of helping souls achieve purity, it's the natural process that has happened ever since a higher being put everything into motion.

How did I come to believe in Evolution? Good question, I don't recall exactly when it came around, but I know I was still in church. I've always been a very curious girl so I liked to watch shows on the Discovery Channel. Back then I didn't fully know what evolution was but it made sense for things to evolve. As I got older, I started to hear more about evolution & saw that it wasn't just something that happened to humans & animals. The Earth & other cosmic things go through a type of evolution too. In the last 3 years is where my learning has really kicked into gear because my boyfriend came along & opened my eyes to everything and we talk about lots about different theories (like the theory about man evolving from a type of water monkey). One of the more recent proof of evolution for me was watching the BBC documentary Planet Earth. Seeing lots of animals evolving in order to survive has me still convinced in Evolution.

The one thing I've noticed Creationists use to argue against evolution is Macro-evolution. Some believe in micro-evolution but not marco, which to me, is silly because macro and microevolution describe fundamentally identical processes on different time scales.



posted on Jun, 21 2014 @ 12:37 AM
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The fact that you can't believe a single "official" or "factual" thing anymore might have something to do with it. Science has been co-opted by political and economic interests just like everything else.

In fact, shoving evolution down our throats with a religious zeal the way "they" do makes it all the more suspect to me. It wouldn't be so important that they get me to believe it unless they want something from me--namely the rejection of my philosophy in favor of theirs so they can justify their positivist worldview to themselves and feel smarter than everyone else in the process.

And the OP is bleeding condescension, despite the claim of contrary intent in the last paragraph.



posted on Jun, 21 2014 @ 01:02 AM
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Do you agree with this, how does it make you feel, and what do you think can (or should) be done about it?

What? You are asking me? Me, a mindless confederation of loosely assembled emotional and intellectual sparks in a blood soaked bag? A chaos confused collection of random impulses masquerading as an integrated consciousness? What can I do about it but sit by and be fooled by this farcical universe around me suggesting that I am anything other than accidental.



posted on Jun, 21 2014 @ 01:03 AM
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i have a few problems with the theory so that resolves to not having a very handsome frame for the setting, is what you mean?

this is my issue.
the theory is that either natural selection will pick the strongest traits from each available option or it will not. if it does not, the species effected will decline in strength instead of upgrade. if this continued long enough there would be few if any species left on the planet because eventually those random downgrades would accumulate and produce unviable lifeforms. on the other hand, if it was constantly upgrading, we would never lose useful traits like regenerating limbs, water breathing, night vision, wings, fur, scales, feathers, hermaphrodism, eagle vision, talons, claws, and so on. mammals would retain features from their evolutionary tree that were most useful for survival.
edit on 21-6-2014 by undo because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 21 2014 @ 01:59 AM
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a reply to: Astyanax

Great post.

Its because religious belief is given to us as children during our formative years when we accept without questioning what we are taught. Also during those years its the easiest time to 'programme behaviour and beliefs' because we are only programmed for survival and haven't yet developed the ability to reason so we actually can''t question what we hear. Hence religion grabs young kids to indoctrinate them and then it reinforces its teachings throughout life by either the state expecting you to go to your religious house or family or your peers get you to go.

That is until you either quietly read and learn more, you have a really good teacher and they don't fear raising their heads above the parapet set by the school administrators - usually with a religious 'enforcer' in their midst. One should not forget also that the State likes religion because it backs us paying taxes and puts the queenie at the top of the pile of Gods good people or elsewhere whoever enforces easy government through the backdoor of religion. And they all dress up in ridiculous clothing to make you look at their martyred facial expressions - 'they do so much for you' as they parade by on your tv set and get the best seats and perks.

I don't think we can fairly comprehend time over billions of years, not because we are thick etc, but because we live for such a short life span in relation to the life of our planet. We have trouble going back over 2000 years, so 200,000 is next to impossible. This also helps cushion comprehension of time and helps to reinforce the idea of an eternal God watching us each individually. That is until one realises we aren't on a flat surface but spattered around a globe - imagine the size of his eyes??? But evolution happens both slowly over eons and faster when necessity makes food a problem. We adapt to where we live. An example of this for me is an Italian friend whom I have known over 50 years who lives on the Med and throughout his life of living in the sun, his skin, if you compare it to mine, or even his son who lives in Sweden, has adapted to protecting him by thickening so the adipose tissue under it is nearly three times thicker than mine from a Northern clime. When we were kids, we were very similar because I spent summers in his town and being dark people though I was a relative of his. Today adaption and time makes us look completely different apart from facial features and body structure.

I do think that the State, especially in the ME and Western world deliberately enforces religious teaching through our education system's corriculum in order to make us more governable - we should never forget that Christianity was put together at the behest of a Pagan Emporer and it cannot be proved if his sudden 'conversion' was for religious or more likely political necessity of joining up and integrating the Eastern and Western ends of his unruly and threatened empire.

However that said, I leave the question of our being a hybrid tinkered by (?) alone as although I can understand it, I am open for more information.

I do think (at the moment anyway) that a mixture of evolution and spiritual or mental linkage with the past, through our dna is possible. Animals communicate in ways we have forgotten, especially as we are at the top of the dna chain and presumably have some form of memory of the dna we have inherited from. I also think Sheldrake and his morphic resonance fields is certainly onto something linking humans together unconsciously etc and also our senses such as smell, taste etc for many are today quite dull in comparison to what they were some generations back and our eyes only seeing through certain spectrums, miss a lot that animals like a cat can see. So we are not in charge of this world in the way we seem to think we are. I think there is a side to our planet our senses cannot pick up with our hybrid bodies - and there leaves a question - we are so vulnerable, how long before evolution produces a strongerf species? Fascinating world.



posted on Jun, 21 2014 @ 03:03 AM
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I am interested in how people who do understand evolution came by their understanding, and whether the experience was revelatory for them in the same way it was for me. I'm not really that interested in the opinions of those who don't understand evolution.

I feel very confident in asserting that someone who rejects evolution does not understand it, although it would be interesting to be proven wrong.

edit on 21/6/14 by Astyanax because: I want people to be clear about the topic of discussion.



posted on Jun, 21 2014 @ 03:14 AM
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edit on 21-6-2014 by XxRagingxPandaxX because: Off topic



posted on Jun, 21 2014 @ 03:16 AM
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a reply to: XxRagingxPandaxX

(Removed because no longer relevant. Thanks, XxRagingxPandaxX.)

edit on 21/6/14 by Astyanax because: no longer needed.



posted on Jun, 21 2014 @ 03:47 AM
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Great thread. Also I'd like to point out a cultural phenomena that, in my mind, hinders peoples acceptance of evolution, and, in fact, science in general, as a platform for explaining the universe.

Even from a secular point of view, the society in which we grow up is very much influenced by judeo-christian philosophy. One of the most "proeminant" values I believe, is absolutism. Judeo-christian culture is extremely manicheistic : even benign concepts that we take for granted are in fact rooted in a black and white world-view.

Take for example a silly word like "nothing", which we all have used at least once this week. No-one has ever observed "nothing" or the effects of "nothing", in fact, "nothing" does not/can not actually exist in the physical world. It is a philosophical concept. And as concepts go, it is an incredibly polarized, binary concept. Before I start rambling, my point is, we are a very "definitve" culture.

Moving on to evolution, and more broadly, science, I've noticed that even self-defined atheists or agnostics retain this judeo-christian clean cut worldview to a certain extent. We are educated to search for "truth", another polarized concept, but science does not work like that. Many people are incapable of understanding the emerging nature of scientific theory, because they still view reality in such a right/wrong way. Even people who don't have a religious education (quite frequent, here in Europe) often fail to detach from the black/white worldview that growing up in a western country entails, and have difficulty in simply accepting that "truth" (ie : what the world is) could actually be an evolving concept (ie : what we understand the world to be).

So I guess I'd have to only partially agree with you when you say that only smart people understand evolution. For me, it's more along the lines of being capable of comprehending and rejecting the philosophical standpoint endorsed by judeo-christian society. I'll certainly say that intelligence helps out in that endevour, but for me, the problem is more of an emotional/traditional nature than an intellectual one. It's linked to an entire conceptual upbringing, which unfortunately, is not getting old just yet.
edit on 21-6-2014 by Ismail because: he can't spell



posted on Jun, 21 2014 @ 03:54 AM
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could actually be an evolving concept


quite possible. consider that as time has advanced, we've learned more about the past as a result of archaeology, not just geology. we've learned that things we thought weren't true during the enlightenment, are actually true, to the extent possible, until something else comes along and refines or erases parts of that knowledge. for example, ancient cities thought to be myths because they were mentioned in ancient texts, have been discovered. this refined the idea of ancient texts being completely mythological, to being history mixed with myth. the places are real but are the events, is the new question.

same thing happened with evolution. several times in fact.



posted on Jun, 21 2014 @ 04:06 AM
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a reply to: Astyanax

Yes . . . great post, Astyanax.

For me, there was no "epiphany". I was lucky to have two grandparents (paternal grandfather and maternal grandmother) that taught me critical thinking skills, each for different reasons, as early as I can remember. This training in how to "question" saw me kicked out of youth bible studies, more than once. I was able to watch the original "Cosmos" on PBS as a 6 yr old, as well as, the many PBS specials with Joseph Campbell.

Because I grew up in a conservative state in the U.S., outside of programs like "Cosmos" and basic Biology in various science classes, Evolutionary Theory wasn't broached much by my teachers. The only mention of Evolutionary Theory we received in HS was about a page and a half description of natural selection and how Darwin observed finches to formulate the hypothesis. From there we were on to Mendel and heredity then Crick and Watson and DNA. While those subjects are obviously part of Modern Evolutionary Synthesis, it wasn't presented to us as interconnected in the way they should have been taught. We also didn't get into anything about phylogeny. It was simply presented as separate subjects . . . "parts" of biology, in the same way that anatomy or concepts like photosynthesis were.

However, understanding all of those concepts when I reached university level made the concept of evolution and the actual evidence for and predictions of a no brainer.


As far as our understanding as children, you may want to check out the work of Deborah Kelemen at Boston Univ. I've been familiar with her work for a long time, due to my background in Developmental Psychology. She has done several studies on how childrens' cognitive processes evolve and understanding of the world.

We all know that children start asking "why" questions at the age of 4 or 5. This is because that is the age the brain starts to form its basis for reality and how to determine "fact" from "fiction". Most people assumed previously that religious belief was a result of the authoritative power of the adults in their life simply telling the kids what was "true", in a sense brainwashing them. However, she has found that when children start to "question the world" the brain is hard wired for teleological explanations for natural phenomena. When asked which they think to be "more likely to be true", a child will always favor the "purposed" based explanation. For instance, if tell a young child that some people say that the sky is blue so we have something pretty to look at and others think it is because of the way the light from the sun reflected in our atmosphere and our eyes see that relfected energy as blue . . . they will always say that "somehting pretty to look at" is what they believe to be the true statement. You would think as adults, our ability to reason would improve, but it looks as if we are hardwired that way even into adult hood.


It is well known that children favor teleological (purpose-based) explanations for a variety of phenomena. It may be cute to see a child thinking that rocks were made to break or icebergs exist for polar bears; however, it is assumed that adults should outgrow such explanations. The question is: Do They? How ingrained are these ideas?


My primary research area is cognitive development. Current interests focus on children’s developing conceptions of the living and non-living natural world, understanding of intentional agency and reasoning about artifacts and object function. Other projects are exploring the development of social categories and the role of parental input in children’s prescientific theory-formation.

Deborah Kelemen
Why Things Happen
The Human Function Compunction

This is the "real" reason you can't get through to "creationists" . . . or even science deniers and pseudoscience supporters.
edit on 6/21/14 by solomons path because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 21 2014 @ 04:25 AM
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a reply to: solomons path

Thanks for actually answering my questions, SP. How do you think the bias towards teleological explanations arises? An evolved trait? A by-product of cognitive development?

I remember, when I was a very small child, treating inanimate objects (toys, cars) as if they were alive. Almost every object had a face, a 'personality'. This faded with time, but I can still evoke that mindset when I want to.



posted on Jun, 21 2014 @ 04:56 AM
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originally posted by: Astyanax
I am interested in how people who do understand evolution came by their understanding, and whether the experience was revelatory for them in the same way it was for me. I'm not really that interested in the opinions of those who don't understand evolution.

I feel very confident in asserting that someone who rejects evolution does not understand it, although it would be interesting to be proven wrong.



I had no great revelation regarding evolution. As a small child, I was fascinated by primates. And as you begin to read about primates, you find out things that lead you toward evolution. Just little facts you encounter, like the difference between old world and new world monkeys.

And an interest in primates led to an interest in early man. At first these interests are just those cataloging interests a young mind has. Just as children will devote a lot of time to learning all the Pokemon creatures, I devoted time to learning all the primates and species of early man. And, like a Pokemon collector, I would develop favorite species of primates or early man. And these would change over time. I would stare at the pictures and charts in books, mastering the different names and their place in evolutionary history.

And growing up the seventies there were a lot of books and television specials on these subjects. I became fascinated by people like Louis Leakey and Jane Goodall and Diane Fossey.

If these subjects intrigue and fascinate you before you're eight-years-old, evolution doesn't come as a big revelation. Rather it appears as an element of a subject that interests you. Some time before I was ten, I learned about Darwin. I think I initially just loved the notion of a scientist who was also a traveler and adventurer. These same things had also got me excited about Leakey and Goodall. Around this time, I had a pet newt, I named him "Darwin".

Obviously, evolution is a lot more than primates and early man. But with that grounding the rest didn't come as much of a surprise. It seemed quite ....well ... natural.



posted on Jun, 21 2014 @ 06:21 AM
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a reply to: Astyanax

To many people, the term itself is misunderstood and that naturally generates obfuscation right from the start. Evolution is seen as being synonymous with improved when it isn't the case. A popular example of this is that spurious idea that humans will 'improve' in brain capacity (intelligence) and height in the centuries to come. They might look at the images of the skulls of our ancestors and see confirmation in their smaller crania and project that difference into the future; bigger and taller then connotes 'better.'

It isn't a great step from there to attributing values to these 'improvements.' We see our upright skeletons as better than primate cousins because we've evolved/improved when the reality is natural selection is blind to imaginary values and does not have a template or progress chart. In reality, the hairy little bonobo is as equally suited to its environment as the bacteria that thrives on sewage and as prone to extinction as we are should the environments change too suddenly. Without understanding that evolution is not synonymous with improved, understanding won't be achieved.

Insofar as I'd dare to attempt to lay any claims on 'understanding' evolution, it's come as a series of epiphanies beginning in the mid-90s and continuing to the present day. Attenborough's Private Life of Plants was a profound moment for me and the incomprehensible busyness of natural selection leaves me with a greater sense of wonder than childhood half-thought notions of what God might be.

In recent years, it's been fascinating to read about parasitology as it can be indicative that we and other life-forms aren't just biological 'robots,' we're even more complex than that. Our own sense of conscious sovereignty can be false when our behaviour becomes dictated to by parasites. By extension, these relationships are more daunting evidence of diversity through natural selection because a small population pool of hosts can accommodate many generations. A single host can move miles from the infection site and become host to something that evolves into a new taxa.

'Zombie' ants controlled by a parasite.



posted on Jun, 21 2014 @ 09:05 AM
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originally posted by: NthOther
The fact that you can't believe a single "official" or "factual" thing anymore might have something to do with it. Science has been co-opted by political and economic interests just like everything else.

In fact, shoving evolution down our throats with a religious zeal the way "they" do makes it all the more suspect to me. It wouldn't be so important that they get me to believe it unless they want something from me--namely the rejection of my philosophy in favor of theirs so they can justify their positivist worldview to themselves and feel smarter than everyone else in the process.

And the OP is bleeding condescension, despite the claim of contrary intent in the last paragraph.


perfect post!

i did detect a smidgen of arrogance too.

one thing bothers me about macro-evo is that genes are turned on or off.
there is no, let's say, "dimmer" on it.

so how would something transition gradually?
and if genes are turned on and off, they must have a whole blueprint to work from, from the beginning.

so how does that happen? and how can environmental pressures influence macro-evo?

something can't have every gene for every problem, right?

micro i can see but not a completely different body plan.

and how does this transitioned loner procreate?

meh, too many questions.

as to the op, it was what i was taught in school. sounded reasonable enough. not so much now, tho.



posted on Jun, 21 2014 @ 10:57 AM
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a reply to: Astyanax



I was baptized in a Catholic sermon as a baby and have no recollection of the baptism. Other than a funeral I attended and a few photos I don't remember much about the church.


I was raised by my father, I ended up having to go to a Mormon church after school and my dad would pick me up when he got off work. Even at that age I new there was something wrong about religion. I remember questioning the councilor as he read the bible, to the point where he would just end saying," you just need to have faith."
I new at this early age If I wanted answers I had to ask my dad, " is the book of Mormon the same as the bible?"..." is Joseph Smith, Jesus?"..." why don't they do the cross?"...And on and on...My dad had no idea about the book of Mormon or about any of the other stuff I was asking about, as a result he pulled me out of the church.


Later on my dad remarried and life went on. The only time we went to church was during the Easter holiday, weddings and funerals. I was still curious about this God, I believed at the time God lived in space. This is really where my journey started, I began to read and understand all I could about space and the stars, the books I was reading went from rockets to the Cosmos. Books like Chariots of the Gods, and Isaac Asimov's- The Gods Themselves... blew my mind.


Then I got married....

To be continued:



posted on Jun, 21 2014 @ 12:53 PM
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originally posted by: Astyanax
I am interested in how people who do understand evolution came by their understanding, and whether the experience was revelatory for them in the same way it was for me. I'm not really that interested in the opinions of those who don't understand evolution.

I feel very confident in asserting that someone who rejects evolution does not understand it, although it would be interesting to be proven wrong.



In evolutionary terms, I believe we are hard wired for such bias to avoid cognitive dissonance in the undeveloped brain. I know cognitive dissonance gets bandied about this site a lot, with most people not even really understanding what it means or the effects it can have. These effects can be devastating in young children. So, like various forms of apophenia (pareidolia being the most popular or well known form), those individuals with a stronger bias or are hard wired to this cognitive process were better adapted to survive in an often confusing and dangerous world. Couple that with the fact, much of what we understand about the natural world today came about only after we had the ability to design the technology to explore natural mechanisms, see the very small, or the larger context. IMO, it is easy to see why superstitious belief is so prevalent when human cognitive development is arrested in this stage.

Now, even Kelemen will say we don't have enough evidence as to the exact reasons this would have been such an evolutionary benefit or why some people don't move past this stage. However, I think its plain to see why some don't who have the teleological explanations reinforced by the authority figures in their life or simply were not exposed to natural explanation, whether due to censorship or culture.

Here is another paper of her's that gets right to the point of what we are talking about . . . I'd give you quotes from the actual paper, but the .pdf forms of the papers won't let me copy and paste, so you'll have to read . . .
Abstract:

Teleological explanations are based on the assumption that an object or behavior exists for a purpose. Two studies explored the tendency of adults and first-, second-, and fourth-grade elementary-school children to explain the properties of living and nonliving natural kinds in teleological terms. Consistent with the hypothesis that young children possess a promiscuous teleological tendency, Study 1 found that children were more likely than adults to broadly explain the properties of both living and nonliving natural kinds in teleological terms, although the kinds of functions that they endorsed varied with age. Study 2 was an attempt to reduce children's broad teleological bias by introducing a pretrial that described, in nonteleological terms, the physical process by which nonliving natural kinds form. In spite of this attempt, Study 2 replicated the effects of Study 1, with only fourth graders showing any shift in preference for teleological explanation.

Why are Rocks Pointy? .pdf

ETA - Here is another take on it . . . although, I can't find a .pdf version . . . so, you would need a subscription to Psychological Science.
Are Children Intuitive Theists? Reasoning about Purpose and Design in Nature
edit on 6/21/14 by solomons path because: (no reason given)
edit on 6/21/14 by solomons path because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 21 2014 @ 01:19 PM
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a reply to: Astyanax
Also, should be noted that her research into this phenomenon in the late 90's was the one of the reasons for the Discovery Institute's later tactic of "teaching the controversy". They realized that if the natural bias for "design" was reinforced by presenting it as "equally valid" by authority figures, children will side with the "design" argument. This solidifies the teleological argument in the still developing mind, making it harder to shake in adulthood without creating cognitive dissonance. In turn, furthering their promotion of creationism.

Just goes to show how the whole Intelligent Design movement rests in deception. And if you have to use deception to sway young minds . . . well? As a parent, I have nothing but disdain for those charlatans.
edit on 6/21/14 by solomons path because: (no reason given)
edit on 6/21/14 by solomons path because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 21 2014 @ 01:35 PM
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a reply to: NthOther

I starred your post for this part:

The fact that you can't believe a single "official" or "factual" thing anymore might have something to do with it. Science has been co-opted by political and economic interests just like everything else.

Because - yes! Damn straight! But, then:


unless they want something from me--namely the rejection of my philosophy in favor of theirs so they can justify their positivist worldview to themselves and feel smarter than everyone else in the process.

Kinda want my star back now :-)


And the OP is bleeding condescension, despite the claim of contrary intent in the last paragraph.


I thought the OP was pretty generous, welcoming and friendly - if conciliatory. And why shouldn't it be? This subject rankles both ends of this argument almost to the point of bloodshed

Anti-intellectualism seems to me to be not so much just a fear of knowledge as a fear of looking dumb. A fear of not being smart enough to know whether or not we're being hoodwinked

It is a fear of something in any case - and a wounded ego fills in the gaps

Was what I just said condescending?

I'm not quite bright enough to really understand evolution past the very most basic parts - but I get the gist of it. There's an obviousness and a logic about the whole process I see in the world around me that makes sense

For the OP: I honestly can't remember when all this first dawned on me - when I saw that light through the window

I know it was before I was 12 - and I remember that for a bit it sucked the wind out of me - and stole away some magic

But it wasn't long after that that all the magic came rushing back after I realized that the reality of things was just as beautiful as the story
edit on 6/21/2014 by Spiramirabilis because: sometimes more is more





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