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Some Important Things to Keep in Mind

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posted on Jun, 28 2005 @ 12:57 PM
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..with respect to Evolution and Creationism.


Firstly, the subject has been around for a long time, and in that time a lot of ground has been covered, often quite authoratatively and thoroughly, and much of what we do in the hear and now is redundant. If we want to Deny Ignorance, we need, above all, to be educated on the topic.

So lets take a look at a very sketchy and breif outline of the topics.


Evolution is a Fact, and a Theory

When one is talking about biological evolution, there is the fact that it occurs, and the theory that seeks to explain it. Evolution, defined simply as the change in allele frequencies over time, is a fact. We can physically (more or less) observe the frequencies of different genes in a population changing over time.

When scientists and others talk about a Theory of Evolution, they are talking about something completely seperate from the factual existence of evolution. They are usually talking about Darwin's hypothesis that evolution occurs thru a mechanism of natural selection and leads to adaptations and speciation.

Darwin, importantly, made a few generally agreed upon observations:

  1. Organisms within a population are variable
  2. An individual's characteristics are largely inherited
  3. More offspring are produced each generation than can and will surive
  4. An individual's characteristics can affect their survivability and fecundity


Given these observations, the evolution of populations thru a mechanism of natural selection is practically a logical requirement. If having, say, a thicker beak allows a bird to eat the hard to crack nuts that are nearly all that are available in a drought season, then obviously having a thicker beak is a benefit. And given this benefit, and the fact that characteristics are inheritable, thick beaked birds are going to tend to have lots of thick beaked offspring. And the small beaked birds are going to have very few, if any, offpsring. So in the next generation, most of the population is birds with thicker beaks. The population, as a whole, has come to resemble this favoured 'type'.

And yet, the above observations apply, and there is still variation within the population. So just as previously some birds had thicker beaks than others, so too now some birds have thicker beaks. And this allows them to more easily crack up thick shelled nuts and seeds and get more food and produce more offspring, and the whole process repeats. This can go on as long as the conditions (here a drought limiting the food source to thick shelled nuts that require big beaks to crack) persist. If this continues for a number of generations, we end up with a population that has beaks that are far beyond the 'original' variation, beaks that are thicker and bigger than any beaks in the population have ever been.

That, simply, is evolution. It can occur with almost any trait. Almost anything can be modified in a small, sensible, easy to understand way, and then continually modifed thru generational 'time'. This is way biologists say that evolution builds upon smaller, previous, steps.


Darwin
Darwin deserves special recognition. He was a great scientist, from a time when there weren't really science programs, science degrees, and science research groups, or anything that is normally thought of when one thinks of the process of science today. Darwin didn't even have much of a fossil record to work with in his studies, even tho usually today we think of paleontology as the 'big' evolutionary field.
Darwin came up with his hypotheses over a long period of time and thru actually studying nature, often going places where no european had ever been before, seeing ecoystems that were completely alien to England and Europe. He meticulously studied nature as he travelled across the globe (primarily on the famous HMS Beagle). He came up with his basic big ideas before long. But here is the spectacular thing. He didn't publish them. Instead, he thought about them, thought about all the variable ways in which his ideas conflicted or agreed with lots of the science and beleifs that were already out there. He spent years considering the full rammifications and implications of the things he had seen and thought about, often communicating with other luminaries in biology of the time, receiving positive and negative feedback from them. He, basically, becomes a model scientist from a time when science itself was just really getting going.
While voyaging on the Beagle to some of the most abundant and some of the most desolate places on the planet, Darwin was also studying some of the latest advances in the scientific community of his day. He received a copy of Charles Lyell's "Principles of Uniformitarianism", which influenced him heavily with its revlation that small processes, currently active in the world, can explain spectacular geological formations, like mountians, gorges, valleys and deltas, with the mere addition of long spans of time. This is probably why Darwin's hypothesis has a definite 'gradualist' slant to it, why he is impressed by and emphasises that small changes can lead to great differences given time. Its noteworthy to mention that Darwin was also influenced by the population and resources thinking of Malthus, who famously noted that (to paraphrase) "Population size will be controlled, if not by anything else, by famine, disease, or war"

Creationism
Around the time of Darwin, many scientists were creationists. Often they were said to be studying "Natural Theology", and one of the goals of this research was to learn more about the nature of god by examining that which he was wrought. So theologians would notice that a certain type of wasp is specifically adapted to crawl into the tiny opening of a fig, and find therein an environment that will protect and nuture its offspring, while at the same time the wasp spreads pollen from fig to fig and fertilizes them. Harmony and benevolent planning, it looks like, thus the creator is harmonious and benevolent. This sort of irrational thinking however didn't really lead anywhere, it couldn't answer any questions about nature, and of course, it just didn't seem to be true. If the wasp and the fig indicates benevolence and goodness, what did the wasp and the worm indicate, where a wasp would sting a particular type of catepillar, inject it with an immobilizeing agent, and then lay its eggs in it, eggs which would eventually hatch in the still living catepillar and gnaw their way thru it into the world?
So many researchers were unsatisifed with natural theology, and there were many 'evolutionists' that were around, before darwin. They recognized that animals, rather than being created as they are and being unable to change, had infact changed greatly, and that the world as it once was was very different as it is now. Many of them realized that organisms could change drastically, such as the Chevalier d'Lamarck. Lamarck is often parodied in science classes, and his ideas were far more complex than they are unfairly portrayed, but essentially, he didn't have a good explanation for the mechanism of change. Change, evolution, was recognized, but its mechanism was not understood.
So by the time Darwin published Origin, there was already a large body of scientists dissatisfied with natural theology and trying to figure out what was the real cause for these things.

In modern times, that is times since darwin's research, creationism has been somewhat different. Whereas the natural theologians of the past investigated nature and tried to explain it systematically (albeit religiously), modern popular creationism, as a movement (ie not all individuals), tend to merely take the bible, interpret it rather literally, and try to explain things as having been caused by events in the bible or re-interpret scientific findings in a similar way. So called "Intelligent Design" is more of a revivial of the old school of Natural Theology, with researchers doing actual research and sometimes trying to test and challenge their own ideas. In that way it is somewhat distinct from other types of creationism, but in the end, it's all covered by the "Big Tent" of Creationism.


As I noted earlier, many of the claims one hears today have been covered in the past. Indeed, when Darwin first published Origin, there was a great deal of debate. And for decades afterwards there was debate, all across the globe, in Universities and within Scientific Societies and between individual scientists. Many of the topics brought up today have, infact, been addressed and relatively settled for nearly a hundred years, but the average person, new to the issue, obviously hasn't been around for all that, and ignorantly (tho unitentionally) repeats the old arguements. Indeed, this happens no matter what one's persepctive on the issues are, and many people who consider themselves 'evolutionists' also have the same 'miseducation' on some of the fundamental propsitions of the theory.

The Great Sythesis
Not too long after Origin was published, there developed something of a split within the biological community. It was between Evoltuionists and Mutationists, which is counter-intuitive today, because we think of Evolution being practically synonomous with mutations. Indeed, this is because of the evolutionary synthesis of the early 20th century. Breifly, the debate was whether new species arise slowly and minutely or whether new species jump up as a result of massive, systemic, mutations. Was it the biology of herds and populations, or the biology of these new and unsual 'genes' and 'genetics'? This rift went on for a long time and finally the great discoveries of Darwin and Mendel were 'sythesised', brought together, in a number of scientific debates, conferences, meetings, and publications over the course of years. There were a number of reserachers, Like JBS Haldane, Morgan, and others, who were the primary actors of this happening, and its often thought of as an event. One of the big actors in this event was Ernst Mayr, who only recently passed away.

Modern Evolutionary Theory
Obviously, modern evolutionary theory is far to large of a topic to cover in any sort of complete way, even breifly. But suffice to say that there are debates going on, right now, in numerous scientific circles, about many of the theories surrounding evolution. There is controversy amoung scientists about evoltuionary theories, often the debate gets quite vitriolic. Sometimes the debate is very specific, such as the question of the origins of birds from dinosaurs, and other times its very wide ranging and covers all of biology, as in Kimura's Neutral Hypothesis, Dawkins and the ultra-darwinians Pan-Adaptionist and Ultra-Reductionist approach, or even the incredible theories of Niles Eldridge and the recently and lamentably deceased Stephen J Gould with their Multiple Levels of Selection questions and Rate and Tempo in Evolution ideas.
But there is not really any controversy amoung biologists about the occurance of evolution, and there isn't any sort of big movement to 'throw Darwin out'. This is not to say that there aren't any individuals that don't doubt either thing, but in general, an impression is sometimes given that the scientific community is uncomfortable and doubtful of darwinism, when in fact thats absolutely false.


So, not to make a too long post any longer, everyone should keep in mind that there is lots of room for lively discussion on this subject, that there are a lot of different personalities involved, and, importantly, that not everything you thought you knew is infact true. And I hope that this breif outline is helpful to organize anyone's thoughts on the subject.




posted on Jun, 30 2005 @ 12:19 AM
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Here is the full text of Charles Darwin's Origin of the Species.

Did humans come from apes or monkeys?

No qualified scientist, including Charles Darwin, has ever claimed that human beings descended from monkeys or apes. Humans and apes are descended from a single species, a common ancestor, that no longer exists. This ancestor is commonly called the "proto-ape." While it can be said that we are related to apes and monkeys, they are in no way our predecessors. Humans share extreme commonalities with chimpanzees, apes, orangutans, and gorillas. Without regard to religion, it is undeniable to the scientific community that all humans, including Jesus Christ, belong to a group of mammals called "primates."

We are most similar in form to large apes from Africa and Asia - our social lives are similar and we share other common characteristics - for example, we do not have tails.

I will close with a quote. Please remember that no one with authority has ever claimed that humans came from apes or monkeys.


www.mnh.si.edu...
Comparisons of DNA show that our closest living relatives are the ape species of Africa, and most studies by geneticists show that chimpanzees and humans are more closely related to each other than either is to gorillas. However, it must be stressed that humans did not evolve from living chimpanzees. Rather, our species and chimpanzees are both the descendants of a common ancestor that was distinct from other African apes.


Zip



posted on Aug, 5 2005 @ 07:18 PM
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I'd also like to point out that, while creationism is a topic in this forum, and that obviously that will involve some theological issues, those theological issues should be short meanderings and backstory to the main thrust of the threads. The threads need to focus on Creationism, the conspiracy that is the modern political creationist movement, and how evolution is mixed in with all that. We also want people to feel free to discuss here other 'pseudo-scientific' theories of the origins of the world and man, such as the apparent claim amoung scientologists that man evolved from clams. However such discussions should stick to the general topic of the forum, not, in that example, be overly concerned with the religion of Scientology.


We don't want to stifle conversation in any way. We want for members to keep in mind that there is a Religion, Spirituality, and Theology Forum. That Forum is there specifically for threads that discuss religious issues primarily as religious issues. Its in that Forum that members can feel free to consider and learn about the full religious range of religious issues, rather than, say, be restricted to always staying within the creationism v evolution genre.

Thankyou.




posted on Aug, 18 2005 @ 12:24 AM
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I just created a very similar post and had I seen yours I wouldn't have made it. What I love about yours is you are not afraid to expose it as a fact what startles me is your posts willingness to dismay evidence which no creatism post is able to do at such a length. May I ask you why under the ideals of fact which I completely agree with, why people still believe in the ideal of creatism or id or what ever the hell they call it. Thanks great post.



posted on Sep, 27 2005 @ 10:17 PM
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Originally posted by innominate
I just created a very similar post and had I seen yours I wouldn't have made it. What I love about yours is you are not afraid to expose it as a fact what startles me is your posts willingness to dismay evidence which no creatism post is able to do at such a length. May I ask you why under the ideals of fact which I completely agree with, why people still believe in the ideal of creatism or id or what ever the hell they call it. Thanks great post.


I'm new to this forum, but I have been getting a kick out of posts such as this. Did this reader actually "read"?
If evolution is a direct observation of "change", how does that address the origin?
I would suggest balancing opinion with logic. I noticed a thread devoted to logic in the list. I think I will check that out as well.



posted on Oct, 27 2005 @ 11:23 AM
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Originally posted by NobodyReally
If evolution is a direct observation of "change", how does that address the origin?


my thought exactly.
my understanding, and i have not researched extensively on the topic, was that 'evolution' does not add to nor detract from 'creationism' because evolution describes the process in which life changes or adapts, but does not explain the process by which life came into existence. at some point, life on this planet began, and science has yet to provide acceptable theories for this occurrence. life (in whatever form it was originally) has 'evolved' over time. the changes that took place in the life on this planet do not nullify the fact that it came to be- and still is.... that should be a reasonably acceptable statement to both sides of the debate. evolutionists and creationists can both agree that life exists, where and at what point does the controversy begin? what is it about a creationist view that prevents both schools of thought from being true at the same time?

i'm not trying to spur argument or rehash debates that may have already been covered, so if anyone is interested in providing some links where others have 'gone before', i would willing to read them in order to gain a better understanding... consider it a 'must read' list, the beginner's guide to the evolutionism vs. creationism debate, if you will... i'm particularly interested in how these two ideas can be so opposed, when i don't see how they are in competition to explain the same thing?...


thanks in advance....



posted on Oct, 27 2005 @ 02:06 PM
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originally posted by amithyzt

..... was that 'evolution' does not add to nor detract from 'creationism' because evolution describes the process in which life changes or adapts, but does not explain the process by which life came into existence.


You are correct, there is no conflict with evolution and creationism with regards to abiogenesis. Evolutionary theory states, in a nutshell; evolution is the process by which populations of organisms acquire and pass on novel traits from generation to generation, affecting the overall makeup of the population and even leading to the emergence of new species.

The conflict between (biblical) creationism and evolution is with "common ancestory". Evolution states that all plant and animal life share a common ancestor. Creationists argue that GOD created different "kinds" and that evolution or natural selection is just a 'designed' trait/ability of an organism to adapt. IOW creationists say that the mechanism of natural selection is insufficient, regardless of time and 'beneficial mutations', to change an animal to a different kind. Mainstream science says that there is no such thing as a "kind". That's more or less the heart of the debate.

Here some links for ya on that.

What is the Last Universal Common Ancestor?

Life comes in all shapes and sizes, from us humans to bacteria. So how do we know that all life has evolved from a single cell? The answer is written in the language of the genetic code



Ten reasons why creation scientists don't believe in evolution. (a pretty good back and forth on the basics of evo-creation debate.)

...Therefore, there is no actual evidence that evolution has occurred either in the past or the present.

...snip..

.... Natural selection (the supposed evolution mechanism, along with mutations) is incapable of advancing an organism to a "higher-order".




Most people don't realize that Intelligent Design Theory and evolution are not really at odds with one another.(i'd recommend reading this one in full, very informative)

ID and Common Ancestory

Bruce Gordon posits that ID is compatible with practically any position on the natural history of life on earth, and with evolution specifically

...snip...

First of all, what has come to be called 'design theory' is at best a means for mathematically describing, empirically detecting, and then quantifying teleology (goal-directedness) in nature, without prejudging where or whether it will be found.

...snip...

In conclusion, it is crucial to note that design theory is at best a supplementary consideration introduced along- side (or perhaps into, by way of modification) neo-Darwinian biology and self- organizational complexity theory. It does not mandate the replacement of these highly fruitful research paradigms, and to suggest that it does is just so much overblown, unwarranted, and ideologically driven rhetoric.


Well those should get you started. As an old-Earth creationist i like Reasons.org. And there are some good threads here on ATS too. The best i've read is Creationist Confusion, alot of information on that one. Especially with regards to the "kinds" argument.

Or click on "find posts" on either Nygdan, Mattison0922, Zipdot to name a few. Those guys are usually in the evo-creation threads. You'll find that just about every point of view can be found on ATS. Good luck hope this helps you get started.



posted on Oct, 27 2005 @ 05:33 PM
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Rren-

that was more than i could have asked or hoped for.... thank you so kindly for hunting down and compiling all of this information!! a quick look at the clock and i've been reading longer than i intended! my, where did the time go????

i am particularly enjoying the link to the 'creationist confusion' thread, although i've only made my way through three of the 10 or so pages. i see that some of the articles you've directed me to are being referenced and quoted within the thread, i can't wait to dig into it and see what else these guys have pulled out of their 'magic hats'!

i thank you again- i've learned new information today! i've also learned that i don't feel as strongly or as passionately about the topic as some of the other members, but i can certainly appreciate the time, effort and dedication it requires to arm themselves in the lively discussion- fascinating.... i'll make an effort to get through the entire thread in the next couple of days...




posted on Apr, 22 2006 @ 08:33 PM
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Nygdan,

Sorry but IMHO your Graphic needs Sunglasses. I mean to be a "Man in Black" it's pretty much mandatory dude.


TommyTrouble



posted on Apr, 22 2006 @ 08:35 PM
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Nygdan,

Here...Here.......I can see why you are a Moderator.........VERY nice job.

TommyTrouble



posted on Apr, 23 2006 @ 02:06 AM
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Rren

I"ve looked at your suggested websites and they are like many others I've seen.
I must say, the information they provide is compelling on the surface, but when you take an in-depth look, you can see that it is a well contrived viewpoint with a very narrow view of the world today, not unlike
most religions.

I believe that American scientist Stephen Jay Gould can sum it up better
than I, so please visit this website and give me the courtesy of reading
his convictions on Evolution vs. Creation, since I have read yours.

prelectur.stanford.edu...

I think you will find his arguments much more compelling since they are based on true unbiased Scientific facts, instead of misconstrued Religious Dogma ;-)
TommyTrouble



posted on Apr, 23 2006 @ 02:25 AM
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Amithyst

You must have led a sheltered life


Creationism is based on a Myth, the one from the Bible is just one of many. Please see the following link: www.cs.williams.edu...

and this one: library.thinkquest.org...

The Creation Myth from the Bible is one that was carried over from the Ancient Sumerian as was the account of the Great Flood.

Evolution is based on Scientific Observation (the search for the truth).

The problems arise when Creationists try and equate the two as equals. And The vast majority of people are opposed to this, since Myths and Science are not the same thing. Not even close.

Please see this link for more on the evolution side:
prelectur.stanford.edu...

TommyTrouble



posted on Jul, 14 2006 @ 01:55 PM
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Originally posted by tommytrouble
dubious at best

Rren


I've been called worse.



I"ve looked at your suggested websites and they are like many others I've seen.
I must say, the information they provide is compelling on the surface, but when you take an in-depth look, you can see that it is a well contrived viewpoint with a very narrow view of the world today, not unlike
most religions.


You obviously did not view all the links as they represented both sides (I did that to keep my post in the 'spirit' of the thread topic.) Did you want to be specific? Or was this guy -
- the extent of your ... um 'argument?'



I believe that American scientist Stephen Jay Gould can sum it up better
than I, so please visit this website and give me the courtesy of reading
his convictions on Evolution vs. Creation, since I have read yours.

prelectur.stanford.edu...


I like Gould too
You do realize he was not an advocate for NDE (Modern Evolutionary Theory/Synthesis), yes? Hard to square PE with gradualism don't ya think? From your link:


A third example of his enthusiasm for verbal battle is his open opposition to the advocates of strict neo-Darwinian theorists and evolutionary psychology




I think you will find his arguments much more compelling since they are based on true unbiased Scientific facts, instead of misconstrued Religious Dogma ;-)
TommyTrouble


Riiiiiight. That site was his biography (short version of course) which arguments are you talking about exactly?

Which books by Gould have you read? Have a favorite? Or did you just google up a famous evolutionist and say 'yeah I'm with him... silly creationists?'

Indeed, you're the objective, rational, one.



posted on May, 18 2007 @ 05:30 PM
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I agree that Darwin was a great scientist. I do not agree entirely with his theories, but I would defend to the death his right to hold his views.



posted on Oct, 10 2007 @ 09:48 AM
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Originally posted by Heronumber0
I agree that Darwin was a great scientist. I do not agree entirely with his theories, but I would defend to the death his right to hold his views.


That's great. If anyone tried to bully Darwin to change his mind, they'll have to fight past you first.



posted on Nov, 15 2008 @ 01:07 AM
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Actually, I would state that evolution does go back to the dawn of life. Only that far - before that there wasn't any

BUT - didn't some people win the nobel prize in the 70's for research into past conditions on Earth that could bring about the spawning of life?
If evolution does not encompass the creating of life; what does?



posted on Oct, 13 2009 @ 09:20 PM
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I think a major problem here is the failure to properly define terms. The equating of creationism and biblical fundamentalism is no longer correct.
As those scientist involved with exobiology might take offense with being lumped together with people claiming our planet to be under observation by UFOs flown by a race of alien vegetable people the automatic assumption that those people who believe our world as viewed today cannot adequately be explained by evolution should not be coupled with an automatic assumption they are fundamentalist hung up on a literal interpretation of scripture.

I am a creationist who accepts the idea of intelligent design. I, however, see nothing in the evidence which causes me to accept that idea which in any way offers any evidence supporting any religious belief system or set of scriptures.

I do not accept the bible, the koran, the torah or the Bhagavada Gita. I do not accept any organized religion. Yet I see problems with the materialistic view of creation which is totally dependent on the cumulative effects of gradual change over long periods of time.
I am a creationist. I have nothing to do with attempting to prove a literal interpretations of creation as told in the bible. Your attempt to lump all creationist into such groups leaves us in a position similar to the exobiologist
constantly asked to explain how the vegetable people have designed their flying saucers. We are doomed before we begin.

May I offer a counter definition of creatonist?
A view which holds that certain natural phenomena or patterns in nature cannot adequately be explain as the result of random chance or the end result of many small gradual random changes but of necessity require an intelligent consciousness in their design.

I will not ask your exobiologist to prove the existence of carrot people. I ask you stop asking creationist to prove Christian fundamentalism which is an entirely different subject and one which many may not endorse.



posted on Oct, 14 2009 @ 02:05 PM
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reply to post by Robin Goodfellow
 



May I offer a counter definition of creatonist?
A view which holds that certain natural phenomena or patterns in nature cannot adequately be explain as the result of random chance or the end result of many small gradual random changes but of necessity require an intelligent consciousness in their design.


You basically said what Nygdan said, only in fewer words. What did catch my eye in your 'definition' is the usage of random chance. Do you proclaim to know the cause of every effect? Here is my take on chance: "That there is no chance as chance is merely a term indicating extant causes not recognized or perceived." Basically, to say thing's exist as random chances *which is just silly to be honest* is to indicate that what you call chance is nothing more than your lack of knowing what initially lead to the effect you see as chance. Not knowing is not proof of.



posted on Oct, 15 2009 @ 07:53 PM
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I really think You need to ask the Question why the human Primate wants/needs to believe/adopt either Creationism or Evolution or both ???

Perhaps there is yet another story to tell that Humanity is not ready to discover or for that matter can even face???

Perhaps humankind is Too superstitious and insecure at this time???

If you were to by some chance meet an alien 10,000 years ahead of the human race what would they think???

Do you really believe they would think like us, and their knowledge regarding this be the same as ours???

I don't think so do You???


[edit on 15-10-2009 by The Matrix Traveller]



posted on Oct, 18 2009 @ 04:51 PM
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Eeer.... did I get something wrong here? My use of the word 'chance' was in describing evolution as defined by those who accept it, which I do not.
I concede I may be misunderstanding what pro-evolution people believe to be the major motivating force behind evolution. If so I would appreciate your enlightening me.
Their theory is not built upon the idea of random mutations being better suited to survive in a given environment and thus surviving longer to pass on their particular set of mutated genes? And that the cumulative effect of these gradual 'chance' mutations eventually produce new species, life forms, whatever? What am I missing?



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